Lost Ollie – Season 1 Episode 3 “Bali Hai” Recap and Review
It’s 1965 and we’re at the same amusement park that once bustled with life and laughter. Zozo, of course, had his own stand, where the game was won if you could knock him down by throwing a ball at him. But he took it like a champ.
Still recovered from the blows, his eyes fall on Nina, an authentic Balinese doll and the love of his life. On the other side of the Bali Hai booth, she danced with majestic rhythm and grace. Zozo instantly fell in love with her. Nina also seems interested. Later that night, Nina approaches Zozo. Unfortunately, it is fixed on a spring and therefore cannot move. But that’s no obstacle for Nina who holds her hands and the two share a romantic dance.
In 1970, however, fate takes a dark turn for the clown. The same girl, whom we saw fascinated by Nina’s dance, comes to the park auction with her piggy bank. And just like that, as the hammer falls, the love of Zozo’s life is ripped from him. All he can do is watch her go. Years pass and the park closes, returning to its current state.
Nobody kidnaps Zozo and he spends all these years alone, in the same place. One day, the ceiling above him falls on him and he is freed. With fine sewing work, he is able to sew legs for himself. Since that day, he hasn’t stopped looking for her.
The trip brought him to Rosie, whom he arranged and made his partner. Together, they traveled miles in search of Nina. When nothing happens, Zozo slowly loses hope. Gradually, the love and warmth of his heart are replaced by a more sinister and vile force. He is even seen killing a stuffed rhino for “misleading” it towards Nina.
Zozo notices his change and laments the soul he has become. He leaves Rosie behind, refusing to take her with him. But she finds him at Flossie’s, where Zozo hoped to find Nina. All Zozo can remember of Nina is her face and the sound of her jingle, which he hears once Ollie enters.
After that, we jump to the present, where Zozo has tied up Ollie and is torturing him for answers. Rosie feigns interest in torturing Ollie on Zozo’s behalf, knowing he will never let the bunny go, even if he doesn’t get the answers he seeks. He is overwhelmed by the black shadow of his absence which does not want to let go. She laments the lost soul Zozo has become and tells Ollie that he was different when she first met him.
Instead, she frees Ollie and he returns the favor by telling her about the best memory of his life: the snow day. Rosie gestures to Ollie to remember the sign they saw before heading to the park. Ollie remembers it as Billy’s school – the black dot on the map.
At the same time, Jim realizes that Billy is not at home and that he does not know where he has been. A car truck stops at the park and runs behind Billy. It is also a rainy day, which indicates that it could be the same night. Zozo gives chase to Ollie when he discovers Rosie let him go.
Rosie isn’t too far behind and fights Zozo. She is ejected from the Swan car on which Ollie escapes; the rabbit too. This is how he ends up in the water – the very first scene of Episode 1.
The episode review
I’m amazed at the depth of storytelling and nuanced brains behind this project. Whoever tried to paint it as a children’s show was certainly crazy! It is remarkable and moving cinema in the purest and most sincere forms. Using the shape and form of an unexpected vessel, Shannon Tindle has tied together a wholesome narrative that does so much with so little.
In Episode 3, we see a responsible backstory for Zozo, a character most of us had fallen out with after Episode 2 ended. And like the rest of the series, it’s heartbreaking. William Joyce’s source material is so good that Tindle’s job is just to keep it simple and believe in its strength. She masterfully extracts the most touching parts and adds a bit of her own magic.
The whole flashback from Zozo’s perspective and Tim Blake Nelson’s gritty voiceover is one of the best movies I’ve seen on Netflix. He begs us to ask ourselves: why can’t they do it more regularly?
The many moving parts of the Lost Ollie story come together in a chilling finale. We still don’t know if Ollie and Billy will ever be reunited, but know that they’re close and now Lady Luck has to work her magic to make that happen.