Friday, May 23, 2008

R.I.P.... Sayid?

I want to make this very clear from the start -- I am not saying that I think Sayid will be killed in next weeks Season Finale. I am just saying that he should.


I like the character, don't get me wrong. But I think the writing demands it.
It is one thing to be able to tell a story and skillfully act out emotions and conflicts and surprises on screen. It is quite another to make the audience actually feel what the characters themselves are feeling. I think these writers have proven that they are up to it. They also have proven that they have a few tricks up their sleeves.
Go back a few weeks. Ben is standing in a house in New Otherton. Keemy has Alex at gunpoint. He is threatening to kill her if Ben doesn't surrender. Ben, however, is supremely confident that everything will be OK and the situation is under control. Why? Because he has seen a role that Alex has yet to play in the future. He knows she won't be killed because the island still has work for her to do.

It's like Michael, who we have seen escape death four times now (car crash, suicide, "not yet" bomb, Keemy pulling the trigger at point blank range) or Jack who has escaped at least once (jumping off a bridge) or Locke who has defied the odds at least twice (falling out an 8-story window, being shot by Ben) -- the rules of the universe are that you cannot be killed until it is "your time" -- and if you still have work to do in the future, it is not yet your time.

So Ben knew that Alex would be safe, until... BAM! Someone changed the rules.

What do you think Ben was feeling in that moment? He had seen Alex's role in the future. He loved Alex and had invested so much into her survival. Then suddenly, without warning, she was gone -- stollen away before her time. This is a significant turn in the story -- the rules have changed -- how do you live in a world where the rules have changed -- what do you do?
A perfect cliffhanger for a season finale, wouldn't you say?

So if you were a writer, how would try to get the audience to feel what Ben had felt when the rules changed? Well, first you would have to give the audience the ability to see the kinds of things that Ben can see -- you would have to introduce flash-forwards as a storytelling device (check). Then you would have to create a sense of security for a few beloved characters -- let the audience know that these people are safe in the "now" because they have seen them in the future -- make the audience emotionally invest (check). Then you would have to unexpectedly kill one of them -- you would have to change the rules.

Since the beginning of season 4 we have seen 8 characters in flash-forwards: Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Sun, Aaron, Ben, Widmore. If you were a writer, which would you kill to create the "changing the rules" emotional effect?

I think we can rule out Ben and Widmore right off the bat. They are both too central to the overall story, and there is apparently something larger happening between them where they cannot kill the other person, otherwise Ben would have just killed Widmore in that bedroom and not bothered threatening Penny (interestingly enough, so that Widmore could feel the rules-changing loss that he had felt). I'll give these two a 2% chance of being killed in the season finale, although I also acknowledge my bias here -- I really want them to survive.

Aaron would be a very weak choice for death. No one has invested much in Aaron's future role at all, and the reaction to his being included among the oceanic six was just this side of Nicki and Paolo pretending they had been part of the cast since the beginning. Killing Aaron would be an easy character to kill, but it would not have the desired emotional impact. (10% chance of being killed).

I think we can rule out Sun. She bought a controlling share in her dad's company and she has unresolved issues with Jin's apparent death. There are still loose ends to be tied and we have an emotional investment here, but there has not been enough clarification on her future role to make her a signifiant candidate. (20% chance)

I think we can rule out Kate and Hurley because they are too central to the show emotionally. Yes, that means it would come as quite a shock, but I don't see that the writers have developed much of a role for them this season for the overall scheme of things. Besides, I think the public outcry in killing them off would be too great. But again, aside from Kate raising Aaron and Hurley having the ability to see Charlie (and Jacob's cabin), we haven't really been asked to make much investment in their future roles. (25% chance)

I think we can rule out Jack along with Ben and Widmore, because he is too central to the story as well. That said, however, it would certainly be a massive shock, which makes him a strong candidate for an emotionally-charged, rules-changing death. But Jack has to get back to the island to correct his mistakes and play his destined role in overthrowing Ben. As tempting as it would be, I wouldn't off Jack. (40% chance)

So that leaves us with Sayid, and he matches all the criteria perfectly (which is no accident, to be honest, since I created the criteria with Sayid specifically in mind). We have seen him twice as an assasin in flash-forwards, so we know his role very well. We have been given the emotional investment with his marriage to long-lost-love Nadia. And best of all, no one would ever suspect it. He is the perfect central-yet-not-so-central character for this kind of emotional payoff. (51% chance).

The writers have promised that in the finale we would find out who is in the coffin. After all the speculation that it is Michael or Sawyer or Ben, wouldn't it just freeze those donkey wheels right off you to find out it was Sayid?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Faraday's notebook

We got another peek inside Faraday's notebook last week.

Among all the scribbled equations, I was really happy to see the following messages:

Timelike Factor

Spacelike Factors


So what does it mean? It means I'm right, of course -- there is a difference between consciousness-time-life-traveling and "teleporting" to another location. In other words, a difference between being unstuck in time vs. being unstuck in space.
Can the two happen simultaneously?
Well, sure, it is volatile and unpredictable. Is that what happened in the Orchid station orientation video with bunny #15?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ep. 4.12 No Place Like Home

What a great set-up for the two-hour finale coming up in two weeks. I'm just going to ignore the obvious "Wizard of Oz" reference here because I just don't care enough about metaphorical ruby slippers. But some really nice tidbits came out like:

Sun buying a controlling interest in her baddy daddy’s company.

Hurley and the numbers reuniting after a long absence.

Claire’s longtime bed-ridden coma-momma “appearing” to Jack after Christian’s wake (She’s a ghost, like Charlie and Christian, right? An agent of the universe sent to deliver a message and plant the seeds for Jack’s eventual return? Do you think she really came out of that coma and flew all the way to LA for her papa-was-a-rolling-stone ex-lover?).

But the biggest question lingering with me is “why are the O6 lying?” Let me try and walk through this one if I can:

After the crash of Oceanic 815 (or maybe even before it, if someone had a – eh hem – bug-eyed foreknowledge that it would happen) someone staged a fake Oceanic 815 complete with fake Oceanic 815 passengers deep in the Sundra trench. This fake wreckage was discovered by a group who were – interestingly enough – searching for the wreckage of the Black Rock – the 18th century slave ship we have seen sitting in the middle of the jungle on Lost island. The discovery was announced to the world – all the passengers of 815 are dead!

Someone is behind this elaborate hoax. So far, we have heard two different possibilities. Widmore’s people say that Ben did it; Ben’s people say that Widmore did it. I don’t expect a firm answer to this question by the end of this season. This is one of those mysteries the producers want us to debate back and forth over the upcoming hiatus. But they will give us clues to work with, and a big one is the cover story we are seeing from the Oceanic six.

According to the lie, the plane did indeed crash in the ocean and sink deep into the Sundra trench, but not before eight of them were able to escape. (Why eight? Does it have anything to do with the numbers? Who were the other three? Aaron hadn’t been born yet.)

According to the lie, Jin never made it out of the plane, which explains the date we saw on his tombstone earlier this season.

According to the lie, Aaron is Kate’s baby (he couldn’t be Sun’s, since she’s already pregnant, and… well… Korean).

According to the lie, there is no magical island, there are no other survivors, there are no other “others” and – most importantly – there is no Benjimin Linus.

Who stands to benefit more from that lie, Widmore or Ben?

I’m pretty comfortable – at least for the next two weeks – with my theory that Ben is behind both the staged wreckage of 815 and the return of the Oceanic Six, who’s cover story fits the hoax perfectly. (And didn't the man behind the curtain send Dorothy back to her no plasce like home? Sorry, I said I would ignore the Oz stuff).

Of course these people are supposed to stay on the island to bring about the overthrow of Ben. Ben’s cosmic nemsis (the Universe/fate/destiny/God) clearly does not want Jack and co. to get off the island, which is why in the future we see it trying to get them to go back (sending Charlie, Christian, etc to send messages), but Ben has, once again, temporarily outwitted his cosmic nemesis by removing these potential threats. And at the perfect time, too – just before he gets John Locke to move the island, making the potential O6 return all the more difficult!

How did Ben know where that box was buried? How did he know it would have the mirror he would need to communicate with his people who just happened to be waiting for his signal at the top of that mountain. How did he know that the crackers were exactly 15 years old? Easy. Cuz he’s the one who put it there 15 years ago, like Bill and Ted stealing the keys to the cell after they escape and going back to hide them nearby before they ever got there.

And does anyone think that Keemy and his mercenary friends have any chance at all against Ben and his current plan? Keemy will die, that device on his arm will trigger the explosives on the freighter, everyone on the freighter will die, the island will move to a new location, and Ben has nicely covered his tracks to block the aggressive moves of his earthly nemesis (Widmore). Of course some people (Locke, Sawyer, Miles, Charlotte, Daniel) will be stuck on the island with him. But they are for Claire and Christian to take care of, now.

So the other lingering quesions:

How will the six get together?
Helicopter to the frieghter, about to land, frieghter explodes, but Sun and Aaron and Michael are already in a raft -- sorry Jin, you almost made it.

Did you just say Michael?
Yep, he makes it back but is not included as Oceanic six -- but he does make it as far as the coffin...

Why will Sawyer decide to stay on the island?
Something to do with Locke and continuing the search for Claire, but not before asking Kate to look after his daughter when she gets back -- we'll see.

What will happen to Jin?
He’ll die with the freighter explosion, or at least it will look like it to Sun.

Still on the beach -- probably won't even see her. Either that, or Ben will convince her to stay and continue her research – he still needs it for Annie, you see.

Miles/Charlotte/Daniel (and the Rose and Bernards of the world)?
Stuck on the island, although maybe Charlotte will die, which is why Daniel was crying when he watched the Oceanic footage on TV.

But I don’t think the island will be moved in ‘time.’ I think it will be ‘teleported’ the way that Ben was able to ‘teleport’ to Tunisia in that Sayid flash forward earlier this season. Furthermore, I expect it to move someplace cold – cold enough to warrant heavy Dharma parkas (aka dharkas). The reason it is unpredictable and dangerous is because you can never be exactly sure where the island will end up, or if it will arrive 100% in tact – you know, like the Star Trek/Galaxy Quest transporters where – ooops – my insides are now on my outsides.

But Widmore is smart, and he will anticipate the island’s move, and there will be another wave of attacks on Ben and the island. He may even become the primary means that the O6 have for getting back to the island. But that will be the subject of season 5 – how they get back. It will also give us more of a look at the Dharma initiative and Ben and Widmore’s back story. I expect our first glimpse of Annie’s importance towards the end of season 5. Season six will give us the final moves against Ben, and the restoration of Jacob, and that is when we will know what the smoke monster is and who the Adam and Eve skeletons are.

Finally, there is one theory out there that I am secretly hoping against, but I think it has some possible merit. This theory says that as a result of the moving of the island (or maybe a way that Ben tricks him while moving the island) John Locke will be sent back in time, become the leader of the hostiles, and assume the title of Jacob. I hope that John is not Jacob, but I can see how it might work out that way, and it could still fir into the Ben vs. the Universe theory – but I don’t know – we’ll see.

So what do you think is going on? And what in the world are you going to do after the finale when we have to wait another SEVEN MONTHS to get our next real Lost fix. This season went by too fast – a brilliant flash in the pan.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ep. 4.11 Cabin Fever, Pt. 2: Q&A

Lostpedia is a fantastic resource for all things Lost. I was looking through their review of Cabin Fever and came across a bunch of questions at the end. I thought it would be fun to take a stab at answering them here:

Flashback Scenes
How did Richard get to the mainland?
The same way Ben got to Tunisia. He has been unstuck in space and can “teleport” from one place to another.

Why did Richard think Locke was special?
Because he remembers the future and he has seen the role that Locke is destined to play in the restoration of Jacob and the overthrow of Benjamin Linus.

Which were the items that belonged to John already?
The Book of Laws (as a leader on the Island) and the vial of sand (representing the island) and the knife (from his role as a “hunter” after the crash of Oceanic 815).

Why was he disappointed in Locke's choice?
Because Locke couldn’t see past his “hunter” role to his ultimate destiny. He was short-sighted, not ready to see who he really was.

Why did they want to recruit Locke for Mittelos Bioscience Science Camp?
To test if he was ready to recognize his destiny yet. Future John Locke already knows what Mittlelos is, so teenage Locke should recognize it if he is truly in tune with his destiny.

Does adult Locke remember meeting Richard in his youth? Did he recognize him on the island?
Eventually adult Locke will be unstuck from space and time and will be able to remember all things, past, present, and future. But at this point, he is still coming to grips with his destiny. He may have felt some deja-vu when he met Richard on the island, but he doesn’t understand it… yet.

Why is Abaddon interested in Locke?
For the same reason Richard is interested in him, and Ms. Hawking and Father Campbell were interested in Desmond. Locke has a role to play and needed some guidance along his journey.

What happened during Abaddon's walkabout?
Abaddon was speaking metaphorically. Abaddon was a slave on the Black Rock. When he came to the island, he learned who he really was. He became a follower of Jacob and was lead by Widmore before Ben took control of the island.

On the Island
What is Frank's intent in giving the survivors a satellite phone?
So Jack and the others can find them and stop Keamy.

How is Locke supposed to move the island?
Good question. I don’t know.

Where is Jacob, and why are Christian and Claire in his cabin?
Jacob is imprisoned somewhere. Christian (who is dead) has been recruited by the Universe (like Charlie and Libby) to play a role in this final drama against Ben. This is Christian’s chance to redeem himself for the mistakes of his life. Claire (who may or may not be dead) is playing a role in it as well, but I don’t know what that is yet.

Why was Claire so calm and nonchalant?
Because at heart she has always been a cool hippy chick who likes imaginary peanut butter.

Why did Christian ask Locke not to tell anyone that he saw Claire in the cabin with him?
Awesome question. No idea.

How does Christian know Keamy and his men are on their way back to the island?
Because it has already happened – the future, past, and present are one eternal round – the universe knows all and Christian is working on the side of the Universe.

Where is the "one place" that Ben would go to hide, as stated by Keamy on the ship?
Two possibilities: The temple or the Orchid station. Not sure.

Why is Ben no longer the chosen one?
He never was the chosen one. Everything he has he stole from Charles Widmore.

Who was the Others' leader before Ben?
Charles Widmore.

On the Kahana Freighter
What causes the time fluctuations that allowed for Ray's body to wash ashore before he was killed on the freighter?
An electromagnetic “bubble” atmosphere thingy around the island. Certain coordinates are required to pass through the bubble. If they are not followed exactly, they can send a person to a slightly different place in time.

Why does Ray's body wash ashore a full day before the helicopter reaches the island?
It hit the bubble at a coordinate that sent it backwards by a day.

What is the secondary protocol?
Another way of Widmore “changing the rules.” It explains what happens in the future so that they can anticipate and change it.

What is the device strapped to Keamy's arm?
Something that monitors his heartbeat. If his heartbeat stops, it triggers a massive (nuclear?) explosion that burns the entire island.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Ep. 4.11 Cabin Fever, Pt. 1: Review

Okay, time to do some more fine-tuning to my “Cosmic Game of Chess” theory.

I admit it -- during the first few moments of tonight’s episode I was a little disappointed that this was Emily Locke getting ready for a date, and not a teenage Annie, who I was secretly hoping was on the island getting ready to go on a nice Dharma date with her un-motherly-approved-boyfriend Ben. But no, it was Locke’s mom. Still, it was super cool.

So Richard Alpert – what is up with this guy? Keep in mind the line to Locke from the dream-visage Horace Goodspeed, “Jacob has been waiting for you for a long time.” Why? I still think Locke's destiny is to free Jacob from whatever power Ben has him under, although I am a little less sure of that after this episode than I was before.

But it looks to me like Richard is working for Jacob – sent to look out after Locke at certain times in his life. When he put those items on the table in front of little Locke and said “which one already belongs to you….” Awesome. And how else could little Locke draw a picture of smokey smashing Mr. Eko? Clearly he has some “memory” of future things that will happen to him in his life – and future is all relative, right? All things – past, present, future – are one eternal round, right?


Do I need to point out that little Locke was playing Backgammon – the same game he was playing in the pilot episode – the game he explained to Walt as the most ancient of all games? Even Richard made a point of commenting on the Backgammon game. Not exactly Chess, but still a very nice “game” reference where one player tries to anticipate and outmaneuver the other player (like Widmore's second protocol Keemy pulled out of the safe) – although the “chance” roll of the dice has more impact here than it would in chess.

And how cool was it to see Mathew Abaddon pushing Locke in that wheelchair, planting the idea of the Australian walk-about. At first I thought that we are seeing two sides with competing interest in the future of John Locke – mainly because I was had originally imagined Richard as being on “Ben’s side” (the black pieces) and Abaddon as being on “Widmore’s side” (the white pieces, aka The Universe’s side). But now I think Richard and Abaddon are both on Jacob’s side (aka, The Universe’s side). And here is why:

I’m still halfway considering that “Jacob” might be a piece of Widmore’s soul still imprisoned on the island – maybe the source of the nightmares Widmore spoke about. This would mean that Jacob/Widmore was the leader of the group that – as Ben referred to – ordered the mass execution of the Dharma Initiative. Ben was part of that group, but ultimately betrayed Widmore/Jacob and banished him from the island, imprisoning that little piece he needs to serve as his constant. I know, this is sounding a little stupid, right?


Well, it get’s even more stupider. So Richard, who was a Jacobite (aka, follower of Widmore/Jacob), supported Ben because he didn’t really know the role Ben played in Widmore/Jacob’s overthrow – he only knew that Ben was “chosen” (or so he claimed), so he followed him. But not all the Jacobites did. Some people like Ms. Hawking, Brother Campbell, and now Matthew Abaddon left the island to watch over key people -- to put pieces into play that would be needed to eventually overthrow Ben’s grip on the island.

Hawking and Campbell have helped Desmond on his destined path. Abaddon has helped Locke. And we know that Abaddon hired Naomi and the freighter folk, and we can see that they have a role to play in the overthrow of Ben, too.

Still, I really hope that Jacob and Widmore are two different people, where Jacob is maybe some personification of the island (like a "yoda" who has melded into the Force, and that Ben has somehow imprisoned) and Widmore was once one of Jacob’s “chosen ones” (like Obi-wan Kenobi) before Ben ran him off and sullied his name. I can see that Ben is claiming that he was one of Jacob’s “chosen ones” as well, but that may still be part of his big lie.

Is there any doubt now that Widmore can see future events and that he is using that knowledge to outmaneuver Ben? What was it the Keemy was saying about torching the island, and where Ben had gone/would go (and why was there a Dharma symbol on that second protocal folder?) All one eternal round to these guys, right? Unless of course they violate what is “supposed to be” and surprise the other person by “changing the rules.”

Which brings us to the best quote of the series to date. Drumroll please:

“Destiny… she’s a fickle bitch.”

I love Benjamin Linus! And Michael Emerson -- genious. What brilliant delivery on that line!!! But what does he mean?

Well, I still think he is angry at the universe because of this whole “destiny” thing. Even the way he said that he was “supposed to” get a tumor and that Alex “was supposed to” die because it was his path – that just sounded to me like he was mocking the things Ms. Hawking revered – the idea that everyone has a path and that the Universe is in control. So I get the “bitch” comment. But why fickle?

Because it’s changing, right? Which is why Faraday couldn't remember all of the cards Charlotte was about to show him, right? Or why Alex was killed when she wasn't supposed to be killed, right?


If you believe Ben – one day you are the chosen savior of the island, and the next day you are replaced by Uncle “don’t tell me what I can’t do” Fester (sorry – I’m not Sawyer – I shouldn’t even try). But that aside – Alex wasn’t supposed to be killed because he saw her in the future – that was against the rules. And if the all powerful universe can take his beloved Annie because “it’s her path” and he is not supposed to do anything to change it, shouldn’t the universe also allow his only-somewhat-less-beloved Alex the chance to fulfill “her path” instead of having it cut short by Martin Keemy? How is the universe going to course correct that? Fickle bitch.

(Ok, so I just like saying that – would it make it less offensive if I transposed it to Bickle Fitch?).

Claire in the cabin with Christian was downright creepy. Not sure what to make of it. There’s a lot of speculation going around that Claire is actually dead – that she died in that house explosion, but didn’t realize it (nor did anyone else around her, except for ghost-whisperer Miles). I’m not sure I buy into that completely, but I can’t dismiss it either.

A retraction:

A few weeks ago I suggested that Ben and Mr. Friendly were long-conning Michael with that whole “the island won’t let you die” thing. I thought Friendly had switched out Michael’s real gun with a rigged gun to perpetuate the illusion. Then Martin Keemy goes and tries to shoot Michael on the ship. Click click. So much for my great Long-con theory.

See, I'm not too arrogant to admit when I’m wrong. Right?


Just an all-around AWESOME episode. This show is the coolest.

And thanks to Kyle Dutton of Norfolk VA for emailing me and pointing out the Buddy Holly song "Everyday" - a song about destiny. (Nice touch)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Ep. 1.1 Pilot

We had some friends over for dinner tonight and watched the pilot episode of Lost with them. They have seen a few bits and pieces over the past few years, but really don't have any idea what Lost is, so we decided to get them hooked. As I was watching the pilot episode, I had a few ideas based on this "Ben vs. The Universe" theory:

1. Locke is sitting alone on the beach with a Backgammon board. Walt approaches him, and asks if it is like Checkers. Locke says it is better than checkers -- that it is the oldest game in history, the earliest known set was from Mesopotamia over 5000 years ago. He also said, "There are two players. One side is light, and one side is dark." This is possibly a foreshadow to the oldest game in history -- fate vs. free will -- being played currently by Ben vs. The Universe.

2. The monster is in the trees around the beach, but never comes onto the beach. Is it possible that it is actually protecting the Losties? I haven't completely thought this one through yet, but if "the island" brought 815 to the island because people like Jack, Locke, Hurley, Sayid, etc. all have a role to play in the overthrow of Benjamin Linus, could the smoke monster be protecting the Losties from Ben? Is this why Ms. Clue tells Michael in season 2 "we can't do that" when Michael asks her why they don't just go to the camp and rescue Ben themselves? Maybe not, but it was a thought. I still have no idea why the monster ripped the pilot out of the cockpit and killed him, or why it didn't kill anyone else on the beach.

3. I also wondered why the island, with all its "healing properties" (i.e. Locke, Rose) didn't heal Kate's U.S. Marshall friend.

I plan to go back and watch episodes of season 1-3 over the next few weeks, and will add any information I see that might support (or not) my Ben vs. The Universe theory. Stay tuned (or not).

Friday, May 2, 2008

Ep 4.10 Something Nice Back Home

I guess after ending with Ben and Widmore squaring off last week, a let down is kind of innevitable. In the immortal words of Randy Jackson, "this one was just a'ight for me, you know? I wasn't really feelin it." At least no one was pitchy.

So what did we learn? There were a few interesting moments:

1. Christian Sheppard is playing a behind the scenes role. It was cool to see him holding Aaron and to hear Claire say "dad?" But I really wanted that scene between him and Jack. I guess we'll have to wait. My guess is that Jack will see him before he leaves the island, and Christian will explain that he (Jack) is meant to be on the island, that he has work to do, that Claire is his sister, and that he is not supposed to raise his nephew, Aaron. I got the distinct impression when Hurley delivered Charlie's message that Jack had heard this once before. Someone had a theory about "Jacob" being like Scrooge's Jacob Marley. Well, we are sure seeing the visits from the ghosts, aren't we?

2. The island wants Jack to stay -- thus the problem with his apendix. Jack is not supposed to leave the island. But we already kind of knew that, didn't we? Still, it was interesting to see Rose put that piece together. Jack is still fighting that destiny, and we see the missing piece between the Jack at Kate's trial and the bearded drug-abusing Jack.

3. Sawyer chose to stay. That was an interesting reveal. Do you think he chose to stay because he is still determined to find the missing Claire?

4. Future Kate has her teeth capped -- like oversized chiklets. Distracting. But the rest of her ain't too bad.

Maybe there are some other interesting things that I missed, but I don't know -- it was my least favorite episode of the season. What did you think?