Friday, March 21, 2008

Ep. 4.8 Meet Kevin Johnson

I loved this episode. I’ve only watched it once so far, but I think we learned a lot.

Ben vs. The Universe reinforced

My theory still stands, and I think this week brought more evidence -- at least in the way the game is being played. Ben has harnessed the power of the island and is trying to outfox the Universe by staying a few moves ahead of its course-correcting counter-moves (i.e. the cosmic game of chess).

Case in point:
Mr. Friendly’s proof (the Widmore File)

Remember a few weeks ago when Ben had Locke open his safe and pull out a video tape with Widmore on it? Wasn’t that just a little too convenient, that this tape just happened to be sitting there in Ben’s safe at the exact moment Ben needed it? The same sort of thing happened in tonight’s episode with Michael and Mr. Friendly.

Here is what is happening:

Michael asks Mr. Friendly for proof against Widmore. Mr. Friendly’s consciousness instantly travels back in time and instructs someone to prepare a file and leave it on the table in his penthouse. His consciousness then returns to the very moment when Michael asked him for the proof and bingo, there it is on the table (you know, the way Bill and Ted were able to escape from jail just in time to give their most excellent history presentation).

This instantaneous backward-forward consciousness time-traveling can explain many things: how Ben got that video tape in his safe, how Mr. Friendly knew where Michael would be when he committed suicide (which they stopped), etc etc.

And what if Ben really did give Michael a working bomb, and Michael really did blow up the freighter, but then in one of the Universe’s counter-moves, Ben realized that the destruction of the freighter actually worked against him, so he traveled back in time, deactivated the bomb, and put a little pop-up flag saying “not yet’ for Michael.

And since ghost-Libby and ghost-Charlie seem to be working against Ben, I am sticking to my theory that they are agents of the Universe trying to free the island (and Jacob) from Ben’s malevolent grasp.

Carl Bites the Dust

Well, as a father of two girls, I say he got what was coming to him. So who shot him and Rousseau? The freighter folk. You know, the guys who were “shooting stuff” in tonight’s episode. Remember, Frank Lapidus took them off the freighter last week. So now they are on the island, hunting. And Ben knew exactly where they would be, and he sent horny Carl and expendable Rousseau right into their path – but only after he gave Alex all the information she would need to save herself. It will be interesting to see how he uses the capture of Alex against them.

Mr. Friendly

It has been speculated since he told Kate that she “was not his type.” Now it has been confirmed. Okay, so Mr. Friendly is gay. Big deal.

Taller Ghost Walt

The Walt who appeared on the island to Locke was not really Walt. It was a manifestation of the island – maybe the smoke monster – encouraging Locke to get up and get to work. But the real Walt (or at least a body-double with real Walt’s CGI-imposed face) is with his grandmother in Manhattan.

Why Jack Couldn't Jump

When a badly-bearded suicidal Jack almost threw himself off a bridge last season, a car crashed behind him. The lure of saving someone was too strong, and he avoided an untimely death. Why? Because, like we found with Michael this week, he still has work to do, and "the island" won't let him die.

And, by the way, I still think that Michael is (will be) the man in the coffin.

I know there are at least four people who will read this. So what did you guys think of this episode? Did it raise any new questions for you? Let me know.

P.S. I am working on a website dedicated to flushing out my theory. It's a work in progress. Take a look at what I have so far and let me know what you think.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ep. 4.7 Ji Yeon (aka: Gee... YAAAAWN)

Another week, another Lost fix. So what new info did we learn in this latest episode of lost? Unfortunately, not very much.

Juliette spilled the beans about Sun's affair, but that was just rehashing stuff we already knew. Jin's forgiveness was touching, and the way he took responsibility for his role in their crappy marriage was admirable. But for the most part, I thought this episode was a bit of a bore.

So what were this episode's biggest reveals?

1. Michael is Ben’s spy on the boat
This wasn’t huge news – it has been anticipated for weeks. It’s a great storyline and next week's episode “Meet Kevin Johnson” should give us Michael’s backstory, explaining how he got on the freighter and why he is working for Ben. I have some ideas about that. I’ll discuss them a little later.

2. The wreckage of Oceanic flight 815 was staged
Again, not too revealing. We have known about this since Naomi first parachuted onto the island last season. We even saw the television footage of the discovery of the underwater wreckage in this year’s season premier. The only thing really new tonight was the direct implication that Ben is the one who staged it all. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. I expect that will be a question we still won’t know even at the end of this season. We will see some compelling evidence to implicate Ben as well as Charles Widmore as the two people possibly behind the hoax. Regardless of who dunnit, the intriguing question is: why? Again, i'll get to that in a moment.

3. Sun is one of the Oceanic 6, but Jin is not (cuz Jin is dead)
Or is he? The date on the tombstone said 9-22-04, the date Oceanic 815 crashed. We know he didn’t die then, so this is clearly a cover-up. But what, exactly, is it covering up? The oceanic 6 have a secret. We still don’t know exactly what it is. But we do have some clues as to who arranged their rescue (Ben) and at least a few small hints of the price they had to pay (Sayid the super assassin) to get off the island.

4. Annoying Bernard really likes to talk
But this wasn't really anything new either. Bernard is one of those guys I dread sitting next to on a plane. Please, just give me a big set of headphones. I’ll listen to anything, just don’t make me pretend to be interested in whatever he has to say. Instant karma’s gonna get you.

So what does this episode do for the overall story?

I still think Ben is moving people around like pieces on a chessboard, manipulating them to serve his nefarious purposes – to try and change some future (or past) event and stay one move ahead of the course-correcting universe. He must have hundreds of agents like this. We've already seen a few of them. Now we know that Michael is among their ranks -- like he pretty much was the last time we saw him.

We already know that Michael is crazy enough to do anything to save his boy, and we know that Ben does what he always does (as he said to Juliette last season), “I find something people care about and I exploit it.” So you put the pieces together, and Ben has some power over Michael, and it is going to be tied to Walt.

I have seen some people suggesting that this is not really Michael, but is instead a grown-up Walt. I think those people are way over-thinking this whole ‘time lag’ thing on the island and are trying too hard to anticipate mind-blowing stuff that -- in this case at least -- doesn’t really fit with the tone this show has set for the past three-and-a-half seasons. No, it’s not a grown-up Walt. It is Michael. And he’s doing the same thing we saw him do over and over on the island – betraying people who trust him so he can get his boy back.

The Charles Widmore Theory

As for the staged Oceanic flight and the 324 dead bodies in the bottom of the ocean, let’s assume for a moment that this is actually Widmore’s doing, and not Ben’s as Cap'n Gault asserted (I really like that guy, by the way. They have brought on some awesome new actors this season). What would be Widmore's motivation for staging this crash? Where would he get his resources?

I had this thought in the season premier – when they showed footage of the underwater salvage team, and they flashed a number on the screen for family and friends of the victims to call. Remember when the guy Lapidus called in and said he knew that was not the real pilot, because he didn't have a wedding ring, and he knew this guy personally because he was supposed to be piloting 815 on that day? As I was watching that, I thought that the whole thing was staged for teh sole purpose of attracting the friends and loved-ones of the 815 survivors -- enough people to get some kind of 'psychic' connection.

I think it is safe to say that Widmore is definitely trying to find the island. Why? So he can get control of the immense power that it gives (the immense power that Ben is currently monopolizing). It is possible that Widmore staged the crash as a way to get in contact with people close to the survivors of 815.

It is also possible that he is using his daughter's connection with Desmond as a way to find the island (he may even have set up the race around the world and arranged for libby to give desmond the boat for the sole purpose of setting these events in motion and locating the island -- that might suggest some foresight on widmore's part -- and why not? Maybe he has had previous experience with the island -- the artwork in his office certainly suggeests as much -- and has 'unstuck' himself in time as well -- but i think i am getting a bit off track) – if he knew that they were still alive on the island and that people with a close connection to their loved-ones might – in some psychic, ESP kind of way – help lead him to the island.

What if Widmore had access to the island before – through his connections with Hanso and with Dharma – and he used the island to amass his current fortune, but lost that connection to the island with the Dharma purge (which wouold explain why he sent a team to neutralize the gas that purged out Dharma in the first place). That is one idea. I like it, and I don't think it has to be mutually exclusive to the Benjimin Linus theory.

The Benjimin Linus Theory

But what if Ben is behind the hoax – what would be his motivation? Well, that is pretty easy. He wants to keep the island for himself. He doesn’t want anyone to come looking for the survivors, so he arranged the hoax to tell the world that there were no survivors, so don't bother looking. I think this theory is more likely (although i can't completely discount the Widmore connection), and I think we will see it emerge as we learn more about the Oceanic 6.

Remember, those six are living a lie. We don’t know the entire lie, but we know that they have told the world that every other member of 815 is dead (so don’t bother going to look for them). But Widmore doesn’t believe it (his agent Mathew Abaddon asked Hurley “are they still alive?”) – Widmore is still looking for the island. Somehow, the return of the Oceanic 6 has thwarted Widmore’s efforts, at least temporarily. And who other than Ben would be behind something like that?

So is Jin really dead, or did he agree to work for Ben in exchange for Sun being able to get off the island? We can ask the same question about Claire and Aaron. Or maybe Sawyer gave himself up for Kate. Maybe Juliette for Jack. But if Jin is still alive and is working for Ben, it is possible that Sun doesn’t know. She might really think that Jin is dead. That would certainly make the lie seem more believable to the people who are definitely keeping an eye on the Oceanic 6.

"Gee... Yawn" is right!

There are other connections to make, but it’s late, I’m tired, and I've created enough loquatious "yawns" of my own for now, so I’ll call it quites for now. I'll just end by saying it was a good episode, but not a great episode. I felt a little frustrated at Jin’s flashback – contrived as it was simply to mess with the audience. It would have been better if his flashback would have contributed more to the overall storyline, but all it did was set up one of those “huh?” moments – it didn’t add anything to the show other than that. Unless of course I am missing something. Which is not beyond the realm of possibility. It's not as if I have been to the island and am in on the hoax as well.... or is it?

I'll never tell.