Monday, August 24, 2009

Yin vs. Yang -- The Moustrap Theory

Ok, so I am still waiting for the Ben-Annie storyline to develop and give us more insight into Ben's motivations, but after season 5 it appears that it is not Ben vs. The Universe, but Yin vs. Yang -- Jacob vs. the MIB. I think these guys have to exist in harmony -- balance -- the peace and the chaos -- and what we have seen is the chaos finding a loophole to finally destroy the peace -- but not before the peace can set in motion events that will close that loophole before any major damage can be done.

So here is my most recent theory.

I haven't been following the theories lately, just re-watching seasons 1 and 2, so if I am treading on someone else's ideas, you have my apologies. But this is my theory, and I think it's pretty clear:

What Happened, Happened

No reboot. No alternate timeline. Jughead always exploded. But when you explode an atomic bomb over a pocket of electromagnetic energy, you don't get a normal explosion -- you get "The Incident" which a brilliant guy like Radzinsky can work to contain. That's why the Swan hatch had cement poured over it like Sayid hadn't seen since Chernoble. It's why Desmond told Locke in S2 Finale that the blast doors could even withstand an atomic blast. Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Jin -- they will all survive the Incident. But they won't rejoin Dharma and they won't flash back to where they once belonged. They will have to get back to the future the way we all do -- one day at a time -- but they will not age because Jacob's touch "Alpertized" them (they just haven't lived long enough to see that they don't physically age yet) and they will go through their lives from 1977 to 2004 with a foreknowledge of what is to come and a crystal clear understanding that Ms. Hawking is right -- you can't change "the past."

They will be rescued from the angry Dharma mob by Richard Alpert and the hostiles and they will be recruited into the "what lies in shadow of the statue" club. They may even become leaders of this group and will make key, behind-the-scenes moves to set things up for what has to happen -- to the point where they set up many of the things we have already seen in previous seasons: arranging the food-drops; broadcasting the numbers from the radio tower to bring Rousseu to the island; getting Radzinski to paint the flourescent map on the hatch door; splicing the swan orientation video and hiding the missing piece on the other side of the island where they know the tailies will find it; salting the earth around the pearl station to make a "question mark" that Eko can see from the cliff; instructing Ms. Clue to give their names to Michael to bring in exchange for Walt; having the others build a runway for Ajira 316, etc etc etc etc. In other words, they will be setting up a game of moustrap for their younger selves and ensuring that they get where they need to be. I mean, how many times has Lost shown us game-changing presentations of the same event told from different perspectives? This is what it's all about.

In the first half of season six, we will learn that Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Jin, Hurley, and Sayid are the main people setting the stage for the oceanic 815 crash -- even to the point where they 'encourage' and 'manipulate' certain events to get people on the plane who need to be on the plane (even their younger selves). But that's just the first half of Season 6. There is still the overall victory that must be won -- the final battle -- the loophole that must be closed -- the war that must be won. The consequences to Ben's loophole killing of Jacob and the showdown with un-Locke/MIB and whatever else is going on with this mysterious island and the smoke monster and whatnot. The balance between yin (Jacob) and yang (MIB) must be restored, and Jacob has found a way to out-loophole the loophole -- Jack and co. to the rescue ("they're coming...") -- still some surprises to come, I am sure.

My ideal final scene of Lost would be a repeat of the season 5 finale's first scene -- with Jack catching a fish and cooking it on a rock, and Locke coming up to him and saying "do you know how badly I want to kill you?" Jack is the new yin and Locke (or at least the smoke monster in locke's form) is the new yang.

Oh yeah -- one other part of this "What happened, happened" theory -- we will learn that Rose and Bernard are the Adam and Eve skeletons of the caves from season one. I mean we have already seen them hermitting it up in 1977 -- not such a stretch to find them dead and decomposed by 2004. white rock, black rock -- it's pretty obvious, no?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

LOST REVIEW: Ep. 5.11 "Whatever Happened, Happened"

Great episode, but I’m already building my hopes up WAY TOO HIGH for next week. I love Ben-centric episodes, and next week looks like it’s gonna be awesome. But I like the way this week played out. Sayid shoots Ben and that leads him ultimately to Richard Alpert and the others. I didn’t see the role that Juliette (and Kate and Sawyer) would play in it, but that made perfect sense and gives some significance to the “what are they meant to do – why did the island put them in 1977?” question. I wonder what will become of Sayid and I am very disappointed in the use of Miles, but I’ll get to that eventually.


Amazing performance. When she said her tearful goodbye to her sleeping little blonde haired boy it made me want to go in and hug my own sleeping little blonde haired boy. It is nice to see the backstory and to understand the intended motivation for her return to the island. I can’t say that I buy it 100%, but they had to get her back to the island somehow, and this seemed like the best way to do it. But I don’t believe that finding Claire is her #1 objective. She went back for Sawyer, plain and simple. She realized that Aaron was her crutch in a Sawyer-less world, so she went back. Not sure why she still got the love on with Jack, unless that was her flawed way of closing that book, but it does explain her former comment, “just because I’m with you doesn’t mean I am WITH you.”


I liked seeing Cassidy again – I have always loved how her super power is to sniff out BS. Yeah, Sawyer ultimately duped her in a long-con, but she is smart and can tell when people are lying. She’s cool. I like her. And I liked her cynical take on Sawyer’s heroic helicopter bail-out. And she was right on the money. He wasn’t being a hero to just be a hero. He didn’t want to go back and deal with the Jack-Kate thing, so he bailed. Good call. I think he acknowledged as much with his reaction to Kate when she confronted him with it.

Hurley and Miles

Great dialogue about time travel and some direct nods to the audience about how confusing it can be and that you just have to get used to it or stop existing (i.e. go watch American Idol) in which case it doesn’t really matter. I thought that the “ah hah!” moment was a little forced – why didn’t Ben remember Sayid when Sayid first tortured him? Who’s to say that Ben didn’t remember Sayid? Do you think that Ben is the kind of person who reveals all the cards in his deck? That Ben/Sayid question to me is a non-issue, and I certainly hope that Richard Alpert’s “he won’t remember this” is not the way the writers intend to answer Hurley’s question.

And Miles – man, this guy has got some serious talent as an actor and such an amazing super-power as a ghost whisperer. There is a reason he was selected to be part of the fantastic freighter four, but all we are seeing from him is “yes sir, okay sir” second fiddle to LeFleur. This guy is being wasted, and I hate watching it happen. So much potential, just not enough time to let it play out I guess. Too bad. I want to see more Miles. It’s a good dilemma to have, I guess, that you have characters like Miles and Desmond and Hurley and Faraday and Ben and Richard and Widmore, etc etc, who you really want to see more of but just can’t quite squeeze into a 45 minute show every week. Anyway…


First of all, the barging into Jack coming out of the shower was way too Dharma-90210-ish for me. Not what I watch the show for. But the earlier moment when Juliette realized that there was “another way” that little Ben could be saved – that was cool. And it’s about time she starts leaking a bit more of her “The Others” knowledge, although the more I think of it, the more frustrated it makes me. I really like the Sawyer-Juliette pairing, although Tracey really hates it. And as I was trying to justify it to her after we watched the show, I realized that I have only been thinking about their relationship one way – the way that Sawyer had changed as a result of it – that he could be more open, less con-man, more mature and secure and be accepted by Juliette for who he is with all the dirt and baggage that goes with it. But when I started thinking about that in reverse, it didn‘t quite click for me. Has Juliette told Sawyer everything about herself, all her dirt and baggage? Wouldn’t you think that after three years playing house together that Juliette would tell Sawyer more about who and what the hostile others are all about? Maybe she has and we just haven’t seen it yet, but other than “they speak Latin and so do I” there hasn’t been a lot of info coming from Juliette, and that is frustrating, so I was glad to see this moment when Ben is pointed towards Richard.


I was a little surprised that he did not scrub up and go fix little Ben. I would have thought that a guy who is slowly sipping Locke’s “maybe I really am special” or “maybe the island really does need me here for something” cool-aid would jump at the “this must be why fate put me here” rationale. And if you follow the domino line of possibility, maybe Jack could have changed some things if he had saved Ben. Then Kate would never have conspired with Juliette, and Ben would never have been taken to Richard, and the island never would have healed little Ben, and Ben would never have turned into a forever-loss-of-innocence one of “them.” Or would he?


I don’t normally do this, but this time I want to respond directly to’s Jeff Jensen, who tried to point Ben’s eventual turn to “the dark side” to a single random incident (or a series of single random incidents). He walked us through a little domino logic, and for the most part I agree, but I think he is forgetting the bigger picture (or, at least, he doesn’t see the bigger picture the same way that I do – which, by default, makes him wrong):

The way I see it is this: If Aaron didn't ask for some liquid refreshment to parch his creepy little throat, then Kate — a.k.a., Ms. ''Can't tell my (fake) kid 'No''' — wouldn't stop at the supermarket. If Kate didn't stop at the supermarket, she wouldn't get distracted by Aaron's change-of-mind (Me want juice box instead!) and an ill-timed phone call from Jack. If Kate didn't get distracted, then she wouldn't lose track of Aaron when he wandered off, dazzled by the pudding pop display. If he didn't wander off, then Kate wouldn't get rattled when she found the boy walking hand in hand with a dead-ringer (from the back at least) for Claire. (Pale, long blonde hair, wayyy too much make-up.) If she didn't get rattled, then she wouldn't get the epiphanies that finally compelled her to leave Aaron with Grandma Littleton, go back to the Island, and take it upon herself to save the life of her future foe in order to save the Star Wars generation from timeline-collapsing paradox. Aaron, we owe you one.

Well, yes, and no. Did we learn nothing two seasons ago from Desmond and Charlie? Remember what Ms. Hawking told us – that the Universe has a way of “course correcting.” Some things are just going to happen, no matter what we do to try and change it. Maybe Kate will ignore Aaron’s whining and not go to the supermarket, but that doesn’t mean that something else won’t trigger the emotions already welling up inside of her to return to the island and do whatever it is that she is supposed to do. Little details may change. But significant events will not.

And this, to me, is the essential brilliance of Lost. The show has always been about exploring the mysterious space between fate and free will, between faith and reason. The way those questions are explored is fascinating, and most importantly, incredibly entertaining.

So here we are, with a confirmation that both Widmore and Hawking are currently (in 1977) playing leadership roles among the hostiles. Ben is joining them, and we know that eventually he will unseat them, trick them off the island, and strip them of their power. And it looks to me that “The Universe” actually wants this to happen – it has gone to a lot of trouble to put Sayid and Kate and Sawyer into the past to make this happen and that is significant. Is Ben really a bad guy? Will Kate’s sympathy in saving little Ben be similar to Bilbo Baggin’s sympathy in sparing Gollum – an event that will pay big dividends in the final chapter of Lost? I say yes, but in Lost’s case, we still haven’t quite seen “The Precious” – this “magic box” on the island that makes all your wishes come true. But perhaps next week we will. Can’t wait.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

LOST REVIEW: Ep. 5.10 "He's Our You"

This will be pretty short compared to last week (for those ADD sufferers out there). Simply put: awesome.

I loved seeing a good old fashion Lost flashback to open this week's episode, and it totally fit that little Sayid would have no problem at all snapping that chicken's neck.

We also got to see how Sayid's soft spot for the ladies (his achilles heel -- or achilles something) got him in handcuffs onto Ajira 316. I think Alana (or whatever her name is) is really working for Ben, but she just doesn't know it.

I loved seeing drugged-up Sayid spill everything to "their him" -- including the fact that they gave him just the right amount of truth dope. His acting there was terrific.

The flaming Dharma van (and Sawyer's comment to Jack about being back for one day) -- awesome.

Kate and Hurley's reaction watching Jack take a back seat and just let Sawyer do his thing-- awesome.

Uncle Rico sure is mean to little Ben, isn't he? It makes you feel sorry for the kid. He just wants to be loved, is that so wrong?

And then in the end -- boom -- right in the chest. But we've seen this before, haven't we? Only last time, Ben was on the other side of the gun, and John Locke was the one getting shot. I expect that this will have the same effect.

Sayid did not "change" anything. He did what had already been done -- what HE had already done. I am dying to go back to season two, when Sayid first met (and tortured) Ben (aka "Henry Gale") in the Swan station. I doubt at the time that Michael Emerson was told "you already have met this character -- he shot you and left you for dead when you were a kid" -- but it is nice to think that all of the interaction that Ben has had with Sayid has been beased on the knowledge that he first met Sayid in a Dharma prison in 1977. It is all just so interesting and rich storytelling and allows you to enjoy previously viewed episodes with new intel and just adds layer and depth to an already incredible show.

So my guess is that this event -- the shooting -- will be another domino event that makes Ben into Ben. Of course his father's abuse is a big factor in that, and if there ever is the "Annie" storyline that I keep expecting, that will be a big one, too. But getting shot like this -- wow.

Here's how I hope it plays out: I hope that Richard will pick him up and bring him into the hostiles camp. Ben will meet Charles Widmore for the first time and he will go back to Dharma as if nothing had happened, and will be a Hostile spy (until he turns against the leader of the Hostiles as well).

At least that is the way I would like to see it. Another possibility is that Jack gets involved and has some life saving surgery for little Ben, which would keep Ben in Dharmaville and would be an interesting irony.

But either way, with Ben surviving the gunshot, it raises the question "why does the island want Ben alive?" Locke couldn't be killed. Michael (off island) couldn't be killed. Jack couldn't be allowed to jump to his suicide. So the island doesn't "off" you unless it is done with you. But is Ben really the island's protector, as he has claimed? Does the island really need to keep him alive for some important role he will play? Interesting questions.

Another question I have is who is behind Dharma. I used to think that Widmore was behind it, but Widmore is on the island right now leading the hostiles (he said he lead them for three generations -- so from the 50's, 60's, 70's -- then the purge, and then he gets tricked off the island by Ben). Radzinski made this ominous reference to the people in Michigan who run this Dharma thing making the final decision on Sayid. So who is it? How does Dharma tie in to the mythology of the island? It's coming more clearly intofocus, but still no clear answers there.

That does it for this week's review. I told you it would be short. A great episode. Can't wait for the hnext one.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

LOST REVIEW: Ep. 5.9 "Namaste"

I’m just 2 hours into a 13 hour Chicago to Tokyo flight. We just hit a patch of turbulence and were asked to fasten our seatbelts. So far I have not seen any flashes and no one around me has vanished from the plane. It’s time to re-watch this last episode of Lost and write my thoughts as I go. I certainly have the time.

Before I start, I just have to say that when I first watched this episode I felt a little underwhelmed. It didn’t seem to “do” as much as I have gotten used to the past few weeks on Lost. But yesterday, when I watched it a second time, it felt better to me. And reading Jeff Jensen’s column reminded me of a lot of cool stuff in this episode. There is actually more going on than I originally caught. So this will be my third viewing (and I’ll watch it again with Tracey when I get in to Tokyo tonight). Hello, my name is Glenn, I’m a Lost-a-holic.

Future Knowledge

People keep doing stuff because they know that other stuff is going to happen. Perhaps the most clear example of this so far has been Faraday’s explanation to his young mamma (a few episodes back) that the reason he knows the H-Bomb Jughead will not go off is because he has seen 50 years into the future of the island, and the bomb didn’t go off. That is the same kind of future knowledge that – to me – explains why Ben told Widmore last season “you and I both know I can’t do that” when Widmore asked if he had come to kill him. I think it also explains Ben’s shock about the death of Alex, who he had (I am guessing) seen in the future, and his disbelief in the statement that “he [Widmore] changed the rules.”
I mean, at this pointin the show, is there really any doubt that Ben knows that certain things that are going to happen in “the future?” How many times has he hidden little kits for himself, or left outriggers concealed on the beach, so that he can use what he needs when the time comes.

Of course he doesn’t know everything – there is still information that he has to extract along the way (i.e. that Ms. Hawking was the one in Los Angeles to point them back to the island, thank you John Locke), but I think he knows about certain significant events and certain significant people. And I think he uses that knowledge to prepare for the things he needs to prepare for (i.e. building a runway on Hydra Cage Island in 2004 to prepare for an emergency landing he will be a part of in 2007) and to prevent (or try to prevent) things that are not exactly in his favor (i.e. turning the donkey wheel himself to move the island instead of leaving that up to John Locke).

Each week we see more and more examples of this future knowledge, and these examples are key. You think this explains the names on “Jacob’s list?” (or, more specifically, on “Ben-the-man-behind-the-curtain’s list.” Yes, I still think that Ben has somehow “imprisoned” the real Jacob, who is an agent of “the Universe,” and part of Ben’s motivation is to maintain his control over Jacob – keep him under wraps). This may even tie into Ben’s at least partial control over the smoke monster. But more on that to come.

Frank Lapidus

It struck me in this episode that Lapidus will play a more significant role in the ultimate end-game of Lost than I had previously expected. Imagine this scenario with me –
Lapidus has some key role in a significant future event that Ben is aware of, but Ben doesn’t want him to play that role. So in 2004, when flight 815 is leaving from Sydney to Los Angeles, Ben arranges – somehow – for Frank to NOT be on that plane like he was supposed to be. In Ben’s mind, he knows that Lapidus is supposed to be on the island, so he keeps him from getting there (or at least he tries, but you can’t really change the course-correcting universe, can you?).
Widmore, however, also has this future knowledge of key people and key events, and to Widmore, having Lapidus on the island (as some part of this future “war” he told Locke about) is in his best interest, so he has Abaddon and Naomi recruit Lapidus as the helicopter pilot for the freighter folk. So, thanks to Widmore, Lapidus gets to the island like he’s supposed to. Chalk one up for destiny.

But Ben once again Ben is wiley, and he finds a way to get Lapidus off via the chopter and the Oceanic 6, and he moves the island before Lapidus can get back, so boom, score another one for Ben.

But Widmore is also wiley, he does not give up, and he arranges Lapidus to be the pilot on Ajira 316, to get him back to the island where he is still supposed to be. And now he is there again, and he are getting closer to whatever role he is supposed to play.
Now, what that role is I don’t specifically know. And he will probably be a minor piece that is sacrificed in some bigger domino mousetrap move by one side or another. But it looks to me like he is yet another pawn being moved in and out of place – a part of this great chess/mousetrap game of Lost.

The Players

Now I mention Widmore and Ben as the two main opponents in this chess/mousetrap analogy, but I still think it is really “The Universe” (aka fate, destiny) that both men are fighting against, and control of the island is what is at stake. How else do you explain Kate, Jack, Hurley, and Sayid being yanked out of time and placed in distinct, separate locations in 1977? I don’t think Ben or Widmore have the power to do that.
But the Universe… Why not?

So what is the ultimate role for these four? Why are Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sawyer, and Juliette “meant to be” in Dharma in 1977 and Sayid is “meant to be” seen as a hostile? Surely it was no accident that Sayid ended up in a different location than the other three. Why did the Universe put him where it did? It will be interesting to see the answers to these questions come in to focus. And I expect that in the end, it will explain why Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sawyer were singled out in season 2 as the four “names on the list” that Michael had to bring to Ben in order to free Walt.

The Numbers

I didn’t catch this the first time around, but if you listen closely to the radio in the cockpit when Lapidus’ co-pilot is shouting “mayday, mayday” you can hear what sounds like possibly Christian Shepherd’s voice (or perhaps a masked, deeper Hurley) repeating “4-8-15-16…”
Why are the numbers being repeated over their radio broadcast? What is the source?
Remember, this is what was being broadcast from the radio tower when Rousseau’s team shipwrecked onto the island and that was then replaced by Rousseau’s “help me, they’re all dead” French-Lady message (circ. 1988), which Jack and co. shut off in order to get their message out to the freighter folk (circ 2004). So if Lapidus and the Ajira 316 guys are really in 2007, why is that broadcast repeating as if it had never been removed? Please don’t tell me that this is an alternate future, where Rousseau’s team never came to the island or changed the numbers. But what is really going on?


That is Sayid’s last name, right? I read Jeff Jenson’s column on He thought that Alana (or whatever her name is – the woman who had Sayid in handcuffs -- the one who looks like Jordin Sparks) Jeff though that Alana said “Sarah” when Caeser woke her after the crash. I think she said “Jarah,” and this is evidenced by her reaction – turning to see that Sayid is gone, and reacting like she just lost a partner rather than a prisoner. I suspect that she works for Widmore, or maybe Ben. Does this mean that maybe Sayid is in league with her, working for Widmore (or Ben), too? Maybe Widmore. More on this later.


Interesting that Sun is not ”meant to be” in 1977 with the rest of her O6 companions. What role does she have to play? And do you really believe that Ben doesn’t know where they went? All he says is, “How would I know?,” which is typical Ben-speak smoke-screen diversion for “you have no idea all the things that I know, and I’m not going to tell you.”

Sawyer and Jack

I like seeing Sawyer more confident in his leadership abilities and seeing Jack a little more humble as a team player, but they still have a ways to go, don’t they? One of my favorite all-time moments in Lost came in Season one, right before Sawyer got on the raft (such a long time ago!) when he told Jack that he had met Jack’s father in Sydney. When Jack asked “Why are you telling me this?” Sawyer said, “Because Doc, you’re the closest thing to a friend that I’ve got.” I like that rivalry-friendship between them, and I saw hints of it in their initial reunion in this episode, but they are still not quite bosom buddies yet, are they? I want them to be. Their friendship is now more interesting and meaningful to me than whichever of them ends up playing house with Kate. Can I start a group of fans called the Jawyers? (just cuz I like that better than Sack).


Loved finally seeing this guy. He knows the island, and he knows Dharma. This is the guy who drew the fluorescent map on the door of the Swan station (that as of 1977 has not been built yet, and appears to be an important secret they plan to keep from the hostiles). I can’t wait to see who it is that will tell Radzinski that he needs to draw that invisible map, where he needs to draw it and why he needs to draw it. There has got to be some information on that map that will be key to the end-game of Lost – something that Locke needs to know that Ben will not know that he knows. And I expect that at least one of these guys have been put back here in 1977 to communicate that information to Radzinski.

I think this also will explain those yellow hazmat suits (or whatever they’re called) that Radzinski and Kelvin (and eventually Desmond) were wearing whenever they ventured outside the Swan station – because Radzinski escaped “the Purge” and wore the suit anytime he left the station as protection against poison gas residuals or possibly another poison gas attack. I am really looking forward to seeing his storyline develop.

And did you make the connection that he was manning the Flame communications center that Patchy ends up inheriting years later after the purge? (and that Locke ends up destroying). But where was the cow?

Juliette and Sawyer

I wanted to see them talk more about Kate’s return. I especially wanted to see Sawyer reassure Juliette that she’s the only gal for him and that he really does love her. I really like Juliette and Sawyer together. Can I start a group of fans called the Jawyers? (oh, Wait….)

The Snoring Dude in 4A.

There is a guy across the isle from me right now who is one of the loudest snorers I have ever heard. I have earphones in and I am watching Lost and I can still hear him over the sound of crashing planes, explosions, andsmokey-clicking-esque VW Busses! I wish I could record it and play it for all y’all (“y’all…” I am country now). This guy should be in Guinness.

Desmond and Aaron

Okay, I’m watching the part where Sun is following Ben through the jungle, and something just caught my eye. I had to go back and freeze frame. Did anyone else see Desmond hiding behind those trees with little Aaron holding his hand and reaching out as if he were being reunited with his mother Claire? This was just as Ben was confronting Sun.

Ok, hang on – I just made that part up to mess with you. Sorry. Blame it on the snorer. It is so incredibly distracting.

Baby Ethan

Man I dig Reiko Ayelsworth. I loved her as Michelle Dressler in 24. She’s just cute as a button. In a good way. The Amy character is a bit weaker for her than Dressler, but she was really pretty laying there in that hammock, so no complaints from me. And we now have confirmation that she is in fact Ethan’s mommy. Do I get points for guessing that right a few weeks ago? I know it was a popular pick.

My guess is that Ethan will be recruited by Ben and will turn against Dharma, although it is possible as someone suggested last night over tamales (yes, Sarah, I’m looking at you) that baby Ethan will leave the island like little Charlotte and will later be recruited back by Ben. Maybe. But my guess is that he lived on the island his entire life. How interesting that the woman he helped recruit (Juliette) would be the woman who delivered him at birth. I wonder if he knew.

Juliette looks just like…

Which made me wonder if Juliette looks just like… well… Juliette. Remember Harper the Harping Psyche lady who told Juliette that it is no surprise that Ben has a thing for her because “you look just like her?” Well, this is quite a stretch, but wouldn’t it be something if little adolescent Ben gets a little Bennie-Margine crush on the sexy auto mechanic Juliette back in 1977? Yes, indeed I think it would be something. I’m not sure what, though.

It would be even more of a stretch and even more more of a something if little Ben actually got with the much older Juliette and they had a little thing together, so that later in life when he says “you are mine!” he really actually means that from experience. Creepy, huh.

But not nearly as creepy as it would be if he actually got her pregnant and she died as a result of whatever it is that starts killing pregnant women. How ironic that would make it then if part of the reason Ben recruits her in the first place is to solve the mysteriouos conditions of her own past/future death.



(way to go little Ben!)

Hurley’s Keen Knack for Exclaiming the Obvious

I loved it when Hurley shouted “Sawyer’s back” when the loud clunkity Dharma van drove up behind him. Thanks for letting us all know Hugo. We were wondering who else it might be in that Dharma van out in the middle of nowhere. (And thank you Craig for the laugh).


Jack: “Is he here?”
Sawyer: “Not anymore. “
Cool. I’m still hoping he makes it back to 1950’s to build the Lamppost Dharma station in Los Angeles that helps them find the island in the first place.

Hello Frank

Did Ben and Lapidus ever meet before this moment on the island? That “Hello Frank” from Ben seemed awfully casual. Curioser and curioser.

The Swan

It was cool to see the model for this future button-pushing Dharma staton on Radzinsky’s table and to hear the intrigue behind where they are building it. My guess – it is outside the boundaries of their treaty, and it is in the same location where Jughead was buried, and it will harness the H-Bomb’s power in little 108 minute burts – or something.

Smokey and Christian

Is it a coincidence that we glimpse and hear the smoke monster just before we hear the whispering voices and see Christian Shepherd creak open the door to the rec room, so reminiscent of the Cabin door creaking open for Hurley back in season 4? Is Christian a manifestation of the smoke monster (and isn’t the smoke monster somehow controlled by Ben?) Could this shed light on Ben’s connection to Jacob and the power that he holds over him – even if it is only in part?

This is a fuzzy area for me. Let me take a stab at a few things:

When Locke goes into Jacob’s cabin for the first time, he crosses over this ring of ash. He watches Ben put on a little show in front of an empty chair and then he turns to leave but hears a voice say “help me.” So from this, we can assume that Ben dows have some kind of power over Jacob, but it is not complete, as Jacob can still get a brief message to John. Something that means John must be shot and left for dead, removed fro m the course of his destiny. But that didn’t work.

When John goes into Jacob’s cabin for the second time, he sees Christian Shepherd, who says he is not Jacob, but he can speak on his behalf. By this time we have learned that the cabin can move and appear to people if it chooses. So again, whatever power Ben has over Jacob,Jacob still has some wiggle room.

But what is this “power” of Ben’s? I expect it to be tied to the ash circle that we saw, but have we ever seen Ben exercise power of something really really powerful? Just the smoke monster. Just once. And he came out of his little hidden Egypt room covered with ash.

Now in tonight’s episode, we see the smoke monster before we see Christian. Whether or not they are one in the same – a physical manifestation of smokey – theydo seem to be in league with each other. We saw something similar with Mr. Eko and his “you-speak-to-me-as-if-I-were-your-brother” Yemi. So it seems quite possible that there is a connection between Jacob-Smokey-Christian, and that part of that is under Ben’s power/control, but not all of it. Make sense? Not sure. We’ll see.

Phil the Security Lackey

This guy has definitely got some Stephen Erastus Knudsen in him. He would pick up a little old lady by the armpits and drag her kicking and screaming across the street just so he could fulfill the cliché “help little old ladies across the street (whether they want to or not) Boy Scout mentality. Letter is more valuable than spirit to Mr. Phill. Or so he seems. The perfect candidate for disillusionment in a grand but flawed ideal, and a turn to a regimented dark side (Shout “heya” if you feel the Spirit).

Sawyer and Kate

The only thing I am really interested in with these two is what he whispered in her ear before he jumped out of the chopper and what she was doing for him in LA that she wouldn’t tell Jack. I expect it has something to do with his daughter, Clementine. I’m just waiting for that confirmation.

Little Ben

They sure did a great job of casting with this kid. It almost makes up for the young Rousseau and young Ms. Hawking incongruities (well, unless you are Tracey, in which case nothing will make up for those two casting abominations). So at this point, do you think Ben is already working for the Hostiles? I get the sense that he is, and that our security Phil is a Hostile turncoat, too. He seems a little too anal to just let some random kid walk in and see this prisoner alone behind closed doors with a brown paper bag in his hands (Phil doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who would believe it was really a sandwich without taking a bite out of it first) .

I love the look in little Ben’s eyes when he asks if Sayid is “a hostile.” And the way he says “I’m Ben” and Sayid says “It’s nice to meet you Ben” makes me wonder if Sayid is still working for Ben, and if adult Ben in 2007 prepped him for this moment (and that young 1977 Ben has some future flash awareness from his adult self that this guy is here to help him). Interesting stuff.

But the other possibility—and the more I think of this the more I like it – is that Widmore pulled Sayid aside, and explained to him that he has to go back to the island, where he will encounter a young Ben (and possibly a young Widmore). And Widmore has entrusted Sayid with a mission that he needs to carry out against Ben, or to thwart some Ben move somehow. Of course it would have been a role that – in 2007 when Widmore had this conversation with Sayid – a role that Sayid would have already have played in 1977. So he’s not changing history. He’s just ensuring that whatever happened still happens. I’m interested to see if this theory bears any fruit.


So, as you can see, what initially seemed rather boring and mundane actually turned out to contain a lot of arcane Lost minutia jam packed at the seams. Or maybe that’s just me. Of course those of you with mere mortal minds will continue to struggle to connect all the pieces and fill in all the gaps that require, on average, a minimum commitment of five viewings per episode going all the way back to season one; and of course you would need the immense brain power to retain and manipulate all the information once you see it; but alas, the lonely life of a brilliant red headed zombie.

All I ask of you mere mortals is that when we discourse all things Lost in those spare moments I deign to give you, that that you listen completely and attentively to my full well-constructed and in-depth answers before launching into your next barrage of silly haven’t-quite-been-paying-attention questions. Is that too much to ask?

But alas, that requires patience and capacity that the mere mortal…

Blah blah blah. I still have eight (8) hours to go on this flight. I’m really just trying to drown out the amazing display of raw power and stamina emanating from Edward Scissor-throat in 4A. A mere mortal’s esophagus would be a shredded bloody mess after all that cacophonous grating.

Yawn. I’m bored. Time to take my ambien.

Until next week, possibly on my flight back to Tokyo from Shanghai (what, me brag?)


Thursday, March 5, 2009

LOST REVIEW: Ep. 5.8 "LaFleur"

Did everyone notice the chess players in the Dharma compound?  I did.  How many subtle chess references is that now?  Four?  Eight?  Fifteen?  (Shall I go on?)  I know I’m not the only one here, but I have long held that Lost is an elaborate chess game between Ben and “The Universe” (or God, or Fate, or whatever you want to call it…. not Simon Cowell).  Of course it is not as simple as chess.  There are elements of Moustrap, and Othello, and Backgammon as well.  But this is what makes Lost so interesting for me – figuring out who is up against who, how each character fits into the equation, and what exactly the stakes are.  Anyone reading this who has not read the ton of other garbage I have written over the past year can look it up here:

 So… Welcome Jim LaFleur.  I like it.  As far as the whole “chess” analogy goes, I have always wondered what role Sawyer and Jin (and Kate and Hurley, etc) would play as the chess pieces.  I believe they are agents of “the universe” and that they will play a key role in the defeat of Ben Linus, and in this episode, both Sawyer and Jin’s possible role and importance started coming a little more into focus.  I’m so interested to see what – if any – reaction there will be from Sawyer (the new sheriff in town) when Horace brings little Ben and Roger Workman to the island.  If he will even still be there.  

I expect --- at least I hope – that the final moment in this season finale will be adult Ben tricking these Losties off the island yet again in another “ah hah!” “oh crap!” moment.  But when things like this happen, the Universe is prepared, and it just puts them exactly where and when it needs them – i.e. the early 1950s where Faraday can build the Dharma lamppost station and find how to track the island.

That’s one possibility.  But here’s another.  What if “the war is coming” (so said Mr. Widmore) is actually “the purge” that we have already seen, and that Locke and co. – if they are there for “the purge” this time around – will ensure a different outcome?  Maybe.  I’m not sure all the pieces stack up, but it is another of the many intriguing possibilities this show has to offer.

So… who is Amy and Horace’s son?  Born in 1977, this person would have been, about 27 years old at the time the Losties crashed on the island (assuming normal timelines, a dangerous but reasonable assumption at this point).  My guess is Ethan.  Juliette mentioned that the hostiles wiped out MOST of the Dharma initiative.  We know Ben was spared.  I think Annie was as well, if she was alive at that time.  Maybe Ethan made the switch as well.  We’ll see. 

And as for Annie dying in childbirth (what I think Ben is trying to change/prevent -- the ultimate "stakes" in his chess game) -- Sawyer gave that great line to Juliette "what if whatever caused that to happen (pregnant women dying) hasn't happened yet?"  It hadn't.  Amy gave birth without a hitch.  Of course.  Ben isn't even on the island yet.  He hasn't started abusing his "life travel remembering the future" abilities yet to continually save her life (like Desmond with Charlie) and the universe hasn't changed the properties of the island to kill women in childbirth to course correct Annies fated death.  That's still my theory.  I haven't given it up quite yet.

I am a little confused, though, about Horace’s love life.  He seemed to be with a blonde woman when he came across Ben’s birth just outside of Portland (before the events we saw last night).  He seemed to still be with that same woman when young Ben came to the island (after the events we saw last night).  So what exactly is going on here?  Did Horace grow up in Juniper Creek? 

We saw the back of the four-toed statue.  Not the best CGI I have ever seen, but cool to get another little tease about the antiquities of the island.  Can’t wait to see the front.  Someone suggested it may be the face of John Locke.  Maybe.  But this looked Egyptian-feline to me.

The record isn’t skipping any more.  You know, I think I have been a little too generous in my application of “time travel” with some of my Ben/Widmore theories.  I think it is becoming more clear that physical time travel/displacement is a rare, exceptional thing – maybe it is the thing that makes this group of Losties so “special.”  Richard Alpert – who clearly has some deep, supernatural mysterious connection to the island – does not time travel.  He also does not seem to “life travel” (the term I used last year to describe what Desmond has been experiencing with his flashes – the consciousness moving to different points in his life, allowing one to “remember” the future).  Richard doesn’t do that.  He exists in a linear time and experiences his meetings with these Losties in that linear sphere.  (Can a sphere be linear?)  I don’t think this group is going to be in the 1970’s for long.  Faraday was up to something next to that Donkey wheel n the season premier.   They’ll get back somehow.  I just really hope they are tricked by Ben, like the way he tricked Widmore.

But it is not yet clear “when” Ben and Locke and the new plane crash victims are.  It is clear that they are much later – probably 2007 by the look of the Dharma station Caeser was messing around in.  So it will be really interesting to see what happens with Locke and Sun, who did not get magically sucked from the plane like Hurley and Jack and Kate.

Random thought: You think Hurley and his guitar may become Geronimo Jackson?

And sure, okay, I’ll spend a little time on the Kate-Sawyer thing.  Yes, an interesting plot development.  Not a surprising one.  Didn’t we all see this Sawyer-Julliette romance coming the moment they left together in season three to go back and rescue Jin-Sayid-Bernard?  And especially last season when Sawyer swam back to the island pretty much right into Juliette’s arms.  I liked seeing them together.  They were happy and good for each other.  I like thinking of Jim LeFleur as the redemption of little James Ford who witnessed the murder/suicide of his parents and spent his whole life angry and vengeful.  I liked him in the 70’s, happily playing house with Juliette, and it conjured up a line or two from Seals & Croft “Summer Breeze” –

see the light a’shinin’ in the kitchen

food's cookin’ and the plates for two-oo-hoo

feel the arms that reach out to hold me

in the evenin’ when the day is through-oo-hoo


and I come home from a hard days work

and you’re waiting there without a care in the world


Summer Breeze, makes me feel fine….


Sorry, I just dig that song.  And we are in the 70's Dharma hay-day.

So now unreliable gorgeous firecracker “freckles” is back in Sawyer's life.  I just hope we don’t see Jim LeFleur slide back into his angry Sawyer self as he tries to work out his feelings for her.  But the dude did jump out of a helicopter to save her life.  That is pretty amazing and a love like that can’t be “gotten over” in three years, or ever.  So maybe Horace has a little cabin waiting for him at Juniper Creek.  Let’s just hope that Juliette is more stable a first wife than Wanda.

That’s all I got for this week.  I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts and hopefully some responses to you guys in the comments.  Till then, Namaste.  Lost is back in full swing and the record is groovy man.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

LOST REVIEW: Ep. 5.7 "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham"

Another grand slam this week. I was glued. You didn't have to wait long to find out who put the camera up to await John Locke's arrival, and we had some great dialogue between Widmore and Locke. Of course Locke didn't ask all of the questions we may have wanted him to ask, but we got a clearer sense of the stakes this week than we have in the past: "There's a war coming, and if you're not on the island when that happens, the wrong side will win." How true this is remains to be seen, and it sure is conditional for all of the fate and destiny we see on this show, but it sure is interesting.

Do you believe Widmore? I think most of what he said was true. He was a leader of the people on the island. But if his idea of "peaceful defense" is snapping the neck of the colleague who is about to reveal the location of the camp, then this is going to be some awesome war! So no, I don't completely trust Widmore, but I do trust him more than Ben, and I love the reveal that Ben tricked him off the island -- something we have suspected since last season's "The Shape of Things to Come."

Was anyone really surprised the Ben strangled Locke and framed it as a suicide? He finds out what people are invested in, and he exploits it. He just needed to keep Mr. Special alive long enough to get the name of the person who would put him back on the island, and goodbye Johnny, again. Last time Ben tried to kill Locke he later said "I should have known better." WHy? Because he knows Locke has a role to play in the future and that he is already around for it. But Ben is all about changing fate, so he's going to keep testing it. I'm sure he thought he was getting rid of John by killing him like this and hoping that he could just leave him buried in some cemetary in LA. It wasn't until later that he learns that even dead John must go back to the island in order for him to be able to return. Drats, blocked again. The cat and mouse between these guys is awesome.

Do you think Helen is really dead? We have already seen that a gravestone in a cemetary does not a dead Jin make, and wouldn't it make sense for Widmore to stage Helen's death if some stupid notion like "the pursuit of love" were to distract Locke from getting where he needs to go?

Did you notice the "love" theme here? Sayid's "best nine months of his life" with the love of his life. Kate's "you wanted to leave the island because you've never been in love." And Abbaddon's "maybe you could have been together, but that was not your path." Nothing definitive in those themes, of course, but I still think it is forshadowing Ben's motivation -- doing all this nefarious business for the sake of cheating fate and spending more quality time with his beloved Annie. I know he is a liar and all, but I actually believed that bit of remorse when he said farewell to hanging corpse John -- I really will miss you. Regretably he has to do these things, but in hs mind (and his heart) the ends justify the means.

There is still some more off-island backstory to tell (Sayid's capture, Hurley's release, Kate & Aaron, Desmond & Penny, bloody Ben, etc) but it looks like we've tied up most of main the loose ends and are ready to continue the rest of the story on the island.

But I still have a few Widmore-related questions:

Ben clearly didn't know that Hawking was the way back to the island. Does Widmore? If he knows where she is I think that he must. So why doesn't he use her to get back to the island himself?

Richard used to visit off-island. Has he ever looked up Widmore? Are they enemies? Allies?

Anyway, another excellent episode. Can't wait for next week.

Monday, February 23, 2009

LOST REVIEW: Ep. 5.6 "316" (Additional Thoughts)

Something wasn’t sitting quite right with me last night. It wasn’t the albondigas soup – that was fantastic. It was more the dilemma I face daily as I try to make sense of this puzzle that is Lost. It started with the simple question, “where did Ben go and how did he get so bloodied?”

Well, I think the obvious answer is that Ben went to kill Penny. He had seen Desmond minutes earlier at the church, and his eyes lit up in “future recognition,” although he had never actually met Desmond or known about his connection to Penny or even known that Penny has accompanied Desmond to Los Angeles in the first place (not from his past experience – only from his future experience). But Ben left jack in the church saying that he had made a “promise to an old friend” (i.e. that he would kill that old friend’s daughter) and had that loose end to tie up before heading back to the island for good. Clearly something went wrong with his plan – no, I don’t think that he did kill Penny – he was thwarted and barely made it back to the plane in time to get back to the island, which – ultimately – was more important to him than revenge. So Ben made it on the plane following the plan that Hawking set up to get him back to the island.

But when you start pulling on that string, other strings begin to unravel. Like this:

Why can’t Widmore use Hawking to get back to the island?

When Ben promised Widmore that he would kill his daughter, and Widmore said “you’ll never find her” Ben gave a “right back at ya” remark in regards to the island. But – hang on a minute – because this is the same Widmore who pointed Desmond to Los Angeles in the first place, to go find the mother of the guy who’s research he had been funding for so many years. If Widmore knew Hawking was in LA, he must also have known about the lamppost Dharma station and the island-finding pendulum. Infact, if Widmore is really trying to find the island and he is really funding someone’s research, isn’t it reasonable to expect that those two things go together? In other words, Widmore should be able to go to LA and look at the swinging pendulum himself and know exactly where the island is going to be in time – where the “windows” will open and close.

So why doesn’t Widmore do it himself?

Probably the same reason you don’t use your king to make aggressive moves in Chess. You get your pawns and bishops and knights to clear the way.

Which explains, I think, who these other people on the plane are with the Oceanic 6. The woman escorting Sayid – the Arab man who spoke to Jack – these guys are part of Widmore’s “next group” to go to the island for him – the group after Naomi, Faraday, Charlotte, Miles, etc. Heck, even clean-shaven Frank Lapidus is flying the plane, and he was a part of that previous group as well.

This flight is yet another attempt of Widmore to get back and regain control of the island. Widmore may even be the reason Sayid (captured) and Hurley (released from jail) and Kate (Aaron taken away) changed their minds and got on board in such a short amount of time. We already know he has something going on with Sun.

But Ben keeps gumming up the works, doesn’t he? John Locke was supposed to turn the donkey wheel, but Ben did it instead. John Locke was supposed to round up the O6 and take them to Hawking for a ticket back to the island, but Ben did that instead. Now Ben is situating himself once again between Widmore and his objectives. It would not surprise me at all to see that Ben is somehow undermining this third or fourth or whatever number attempt Widmore is making to get back to the island.

It also wouldn’t surprise me to see that Faraday is the “clever man” who created the lamppost station for Dharma in the early 50’s as the culmination of a research grant from Widmore that started in the early 80’s and that Widmore’s reason for including Faraday as part of Naomi’s first group to the island was to get him back to the 50’s to create that lamppost station that finally finds the island for Widmore after years of searching. He has the tool to find it, but the only way to get back is to ride the coattails of someone that the island really needs – like Jack Sheppard or John Locke or the other O6 who’s roles and overall importance are slowly coming into greater focus. I like all the Narnia and Caspian references I have been seeing from Doc Jensen and elsewhere. It really is looking like the return of the noble family of Narnia or something. They don’t really know who they are yet.

Such a cool show.

Friday, February 20, 2009

LOST REVIEW: Ep. 5.6 "316"

“Is he telling the truth?”

“Probably not”

I loved every minute of this episode. From the very beginning with the iconic “eye close-up” on Jack waking up again on the island – I was absolutely hooked. The pacing was so much better – slower – more character driven. The reveals were so much more significant. It ranks right up there in my top five favorite episodes. Awesome.

So, thank you Nate for pointing out the Desmond quote that “these people are playing a game and we are just the pieces.” But the most significant reveals in this episode to me were Ms. Hawking’s history lesson about how Dharma found the island – “this is how they found the island.” Who exactly are the “they” she is referring to? I have some wacky ideas.

“A very clever fellow” built the pendulum on the theoretical notion that they should stop looking for where the island was supposed to be, and start looking for where it was going to be. This man and his team figured out where the island would be at a certain point in time.

I can’t help thinking that Daniel Faraday is/was/will be that very clever fellow, and that Jack Shepherd and his friends from Oceanic 815 are his team. If I am right, this all happened in a past that these guys haven’t quite arrived at that point in their own history yet. But it has already happened, so Ms. Hawking can confidently tell Desmond that the island is not through with him, because she knows that he has already played this important role in the past, just as she knew that he would go to the island and push the button.

It also explains her answer about what would happen if they all didn’t get back to the island – it would be unpredictable – which means, of course, that since they all DID get back to the island (it already happened) and their actions put into motion events that have already occurred, if that were somehow changed, you couldn’t predict with any certainty what would happen next.

Which – I think – is exactly what Ben is trying to accomplish in his quest to maintain control of the island and harness the power it gives him.

If Faraday and Jack and Co. are the historical founders of Dharma, the builders of the lamppost station, and the finders of the island, then Ben would have learned this in his history lessons on the island. He would have had knowledge of what had already happened, even though the players themselves had not advanced that far yet in the game.

One theory that I have scoffed at for the past two seasons is the suggestion that Jacob is John Locke. I haven’t completely embraced this idea yet (especially since Richard didn’t recognize Locke at one point when he said that Jacob sent him), but now I am seeing how this could possibly be the case, and if it is, I wouldn’t really hate it.

Imagine that Locke goes through everything he is going through – that in a return to the island as “proxy” he is reincarnated somehow -- but at an earlier stage in the island’s history – it is possible that he could become the “Jacob” who is the protector of the island. It is also possible that he is somehow imprisoned – or whatever the current state of Jacob is – by a greedy power-hungry guy like Charles Widmore, who then loses the island to greedier power-hungrier Benjamin Linus, who recognizes the young Jacob in John Locke, and tries to insert himself into Locke’s historical path to greatness so that he (Ben) will become the historic “Jacob” instead of Locke (example: Ben “moves the island” instead of Locke doing it because he thinks that will put himself on the path that makes Locke become Jacob).

It’s late. I’m rambling. And it’s late.

At one point in this past episode I started thinking along these “usurping” lines and I told Tracey that when Jack opened up the coffin to put in the shoes, he would find Ben inside instead of Locke – Ben, of course, trying to take Locke’s place. But, um… I was wrong.

It doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying.

Remember in this season’s premier, we saw Faraday in Dharma attire doing something sneaky around the soon-to-be orchid station. Well, I’m expecting a twist in this season’s finale. Faraday and some of the Losties (Jack and Co.) will hatch some plan to harness the energy to get them back to where they need to be, but will once again get booted off the island. Somehow Ben will be behind this to get them out of the picture. They will be sent back to the outside world, but this time they will be in the past – the 1950s – and they once again will have to find a way back to the island. That’s when they will build the lamppost, and will start Dharma, and will put all these things in to motion, and do it with a clearer picture of what will happen in the future, because they have already seen it and experienced it, and they will create a game of mousetrap to outsmart Ben linus with their 20-20 hindsight.

Let me walk you through another crazy mousetrap scenario I can imagine:

In order for Locke to finally triumph over Ben, he has to posses some knowledge that Ben does not know that he has – the glow-in-the-dark map of all Dharma stations he saw on the blast door. This knowledge will ultimately save the day. Somehow. Just work with me.

In order for Locke to see the map, Ben has to do whatever Ben did in the swan hatch to reset the system and cause the blackout and the map to start glowing (without knowing, of course, what he has done).

In order for Ben to get into the Swan hatch in the first place, he has to be captured unexpectedly by Rousseau in her net and delivered to Sayid and the Losties.

In order for Rousseau to build her net traps, she and her team must be lead to the island.

In order for Rousseau’s team to find the island, someone (my money is on Hurley) must transmit the numbers 4 8 15 16 23 42 from the radio tower. (I really like the idea that Hurley is the ultimate source of his own numbers paranoia).

In order for Locke to be able to see the map and the information it contains after all of this has happened, some named Radzinski (Faraday? Locke himself?) must paint it invisibly onto the blast door.

This may be way off, but with the new time twists in Lost, we can see all of these potentially mind-blowing possibilities of the older Losties preparing the island for the arrival of their younger selves. Who knows – maybe they somehow arrange the food drops in advance because they know they will need them in the future? There are so many ways this can be used.

Of course this episode also has many other minor mysteries to be solved in the next few episodes:

What happened with Aaron?
How did Ben get all bloodied?
Who is the woman with Sayid, and the Middle Eastern man in the seas with them?
Where (when?) are the other people on the plane (did it crash, or did the island just reclaim the people that weren’t supposed to leave it?)
Why did Frank Lapidus shave his cool Kenny Rogers beard?

So many questions. So many possible answers. So glad that Lost got itself back on track after Locke fixed that annoying skipping donkey wheel.

Yes!!!! It’s back.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ep. 5.5 This Place is Death

I’ve been a little disappointed in Lost the past few weeks -- too much so to really devote the time to a blog about it. It felt rushed (flash, bleed, flash, bleed). Anti-climatic (my name is Rousseau, Danielle Rousseau). Pointless (didn’t we see Claire give birth to Aaron a couple of seasons ago – do we really need to see it again?) Genuine character motivations were sacrificed for the sake of plot advancement (“Do not trust Benjamin Linus – well, okay, I’ll go with you, but I’m driving”). It got to a point where I thought maybe Nikki and Paulo were writing the scripts.

But this week was better.

The pacing felt better – less frenzied. And it was refreshing to see the main characters start acting more like themselves again. Sayid seemed more like Sayid (if I see either of you two again…). Kate seemed more like Kate (you are crazy, I am outa here). Locke was definitely Locke (climbing down that rope into the well that you knew with the next flash would probably not be there anymore). Overall it felt like the story started getting back on track.

I loved seeing Christian Shepherd help Locke to the donkey wheel. He confirmed my suspicions when he said “I told YOU to move the island.” What does that mean? It’s obvious, right? In the great game of chess between the Universe and Ben, the Universe has a killer move (Locke moves the island) so Ben sees that and blocks it (Ben moves the island instead). Exactly WHY that is such a killer move is yet to be revealed, and I haven’t thought through it well enough yet. It must have something to do with Ben losing control of the island somehow. Maybe if Locke would have turned the wheel in the first place, the island would have “moved” with he and his people intact and Ben and his people would have been skipping along the record of time. Whatever the real reason, Ben is still Ben, and that is refreshing as well.

Did anyone else think that the “wobbliness” of the donkey wheel had some correlation to the random flashes Locke had been experiencing?

I liked what I saw of Rousseau’s team this time, and I am glad that they will not be dragging out that storyline any longer. They were obligated to show a Danielle flashback – longtime fan expectations and all -- and thankfully the moments they chose to depict were meaningful. We knew already that Montague had lost an arm. Now we know how. And it was great to get back to that season one “smoke monster dragging people into the ground” thing. And it was cool to see the temple, with the hieroglyphs that we have seen in a few other places (the swan hatch numbers and Ben’s secret door). It was cool to hear Robert tell Danielle that smokey is a security system to protect the temple, and to get a sense for the unreliable nature of that information that we have had since season one. Just because Rousseau said it was a “security system” doesn’t mean that it is really a security system. It’s just what she heard from the mouth of her once-trusted husband who was lying through his teeth about many other things at that point so he could make her think that nothing really happened (what DID really happen?) and blow her brains out. And were they really “sick” or was this just Danielle’s interpretation of what happened after they went down on smokey? You understand Danielle’s “craziness” a little better this time.

I will miss Charlotte. I think Rebecca Mader had/has a lot untapped potential as an actress there. Maybe we will see her again and her storyline will continue to develop, but now we know why Faraday, when we first met him last season, was crying while watching the wreckage of 815 on TV. He was remembering the future loss he felt in Charlotte’s death. I do think that their relationship would have benefitted from more time together and more narrative development so that we as an audience would feel (and completely believe) the grief that Faraday felt. But that storyline is just window dressing at this point -- a nice little side-story not really worth the time or effort that could have made it much more meaningful. I did like the realization she experienced of her imminent death by the convenient (contrived?) recollection of the crazy man Faraday who warned her to never go back to the island or she would die, but there are much better ways to delivered that backstory than a deathbed exposition. That’s the downside of having a definite end date for the show – rushing through things like this that could have been done much better, and have been in past seasons when they had more of a luxury of time.

And Eloise (yes, that sound is me making armpit raspberries) Hawking. I resigned myself to the fact that she would be Faraday’s mother two episodes ago. But I still don’t really like it. Oh well. Looks from the previews like next week will be a really cool episode with her explaining more about the island and these “windows.” But I do feel a little cheated and manipulated at having the Ms. Hawking tease end two of the first four episodes of the season. That’s going to the well a little too often if you ask me. Maybe they were afraid it would disappear in the next flash.

So overall, I was happy with Lost this week. That doesn’t mean it was perfect. The Sun with a Gun storyline fizzled to its obvious conclusion (no, not Jack, she’s gonna shoot Ben – woo hoo). Jack still isn’t acting quite like Jack. Miles from Encino is pointless extra baggage without his awesome ghost whispering talents put to use. And Jin rearn so fast Engrish storyrine reary noying.

But Ben stopping the car and acting like a jilted drama queen was awesome (don’t make me stop this car again).

I’ll give this one a B-

Looking forward to next week.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ep. 5.1-2 Because You Left/The Lie

I miss the flashbacks. Even last season, when they were called flashforwards, they were great. Okay, maybe I just really like flashing, but mostly I really liked the way one episode would center around one specific character. You could say "this is a Jack episode" or "I can't wait for another Ben episode" but the new format looks like they are getting away from that, and I miss that. Hopefully I'm wrong.

But as for this theory of mine... I think it's still safely on track. Let's recap:

1. Ben is waging a cosmic game of chess against "the universe" (aka "fate")
2. The powers of the island give Ben his ability to play this game, and he will keep that power at all costs
3. The stakes: changing history (specifically, saving the life of his beloved Annie)

Those are the Bernard-colored spectacles through which I interpret this show, and I think I'm still doing pretty good. What additional information did we learn from the two-part season premier?

1. Ben has more chess pieces off the island than we previously suspected

Not a huge surprise. We saw how he used Sayid last season, and we saw the video where Widmore took out one of "Ben's men" -- if he could stitch up Sayid in a vet he can store Dead Bentham in a butcher shop.

Any doubt that Ben hired those attorneys to flush Kate and Aaron out into the open?

Any doubt that Ben’s man was the guy sitting in the car keeping an eye on Hurley so that Ben could come in and take him when the time was right?

Any doubt that the men shooting Sayid with a tranquilizer (instead of real bullets) were Ben’s men trying to get Sayid so they can go back to the island together?

Any doubt that Sun is playing double agent? I just haven’t decided if she is working with Ben against Widmore, or if she is truly working for herself against Ben, using Widmore. Not sure... It is easy for me to imagine, however, that Ben would have sought her out after her return the way he did Sayid – that he would have explained to Sun that the freighter and the explosives and the second protocol and Martin keamy and the plan to kill everyone on the island were all Widmore’s doing. I can even imagine Ben giving her a similar line to the one he gave Michael: “wouldn’t a father (or wife) do anything to save (or avenge) his son (or husband)?” – a question very similar to the one Sun asked Kate. And you're telling me that Sun just happened to fly to Los Angeles within this 70-hour window of time when ben has to get everyone back onto the island, and she just happened to call Kate's cell phone right after Kate was scared out by the big bad my so-called attorney? Smells to me like she is pulling the strings for someone, and I'm going out on a limb to say it is the ultimate con-artist, Ben (although it may very well be Widmore trying to gum up Ben's plans -- we'll see).

But Ben is, once again, moving the pieces, pulling the strings. And he’s really really good at it.

2. Ms. Hawking

I loved seeing her again so much that I broke out the DVD collection and showed The Others to my daughter. That is such a great movie. But is Ms. Hawking really working for Ben? I’m not sure. I don’t really see her as a piece on Ben’s chess board. But she certainly possesses information that he needs. I loved the druid hood and all the time watching and the 70-hour window. But what is her true role in all of this?

My previous guess was that she was a long-time inhabitant of the island, maybe along the lines of Richard Alpert. But at some point, the original inhabitants had to choose who they would follow – maybe at the same time that Ben usurped the island from Widmore – and while Alpert chose Ben, Hawking chose Widmore. Maybe. But if so, why is she helping Ben? Ben always finds out what people are emotionally invested in and he exploits it. It Hawking wants back to the island, maybe he is using that to his advantage – allying with a former adversary to achieve a common goal.

One thing I know for sure about Hawking – if she turns out to be Faraday’s mother, I’m going to start making raspberry sounds with my armpits (and that is not a good thing).

3. Ben’s foreknowledge

This is something that has interested me for a while. Ben, wherever he is, always seems to go to some hidden place and retrieve something that was previously left for him there. We saw it last year with the buried lunch box and the mirror (and the 15-year-old crackers) and in one of the deleted scene on the DVDs he gets a little care package out of a rock in the middle of the Arabian desert after turning the frozen donkey wheel.

Now, in the season opener, he pulls a package out of the air conditioning vent at the hotel. I think this is evidence of his foreknowledge – he knows that Bill and Ted are going to need the keys to the prison cell so he swipes them from Bill's dad and puts them right where they can find them ahead of time. It’s an example of how the time-manipulating properties of the island give Ben the power he needs to try and outmaneuver the universe. And it's only scratching the surface (please only be scratching the surface -- don't tell me that Lost is only as sophistacated as Bill and Ted).

4. You can’t change history – once something is done, it is done

So says Daniel, the academic. But I've been in academia, and I know a bit about how these theories work. It’s a nice theory. It is sound and testable. And it is one we’ve heard before, from Ms. Hawking for one (please don't be his mother!!!). But the problem is, through the magic of dramatic irony, we -- the audience -- have insights not available to Dr. Faraday. We have seen that his theory is not necessarily true. Or at least we have seen that there is some grey area here.

Desmond changed Charlie’s fate, and that change had some serious repercussions. If Charlie would have been struck by lightening, or killed by that pigeon (he was at one point pecked to death by a pigeon, right?), or shot with that booby-trap arrow (I just wanted to say booby), then he would never have pushed those good vibration buttons that allowed Widmore’s freighter folk to get a lock on the island, and that set a whole range of events into motion. Of course Ben was able to somehow turn that donkey wheel and block Widmore’s move, but Charlie’s single button-pushing event seriously influenced the lives of dozens – if not hundreds – of people. How course-correction fits into this I don’t really know, but it seems that history can in fact be changed -- at least kind of.

But this is going to be another one of these science vs. faith, free will vs. fate dichotomies that we have come to know and love on Lost. My money is on the ability to change history, and Ben is going to do it to save his woman. Can’t wait to see how close I am with this Annie thing.

5. Stuff I really liked

The skipping record metaphor

“Previously on Entourage”

Ms. Hawking (duh!)

Ben trying to get Hurley to trust him (or perhaps to “not” trust him, see Anna Lucia discussion below)

Sayid has discovered Ben’s duplicitousness (and I have discovered a fun new word). I am looking forward to seeing how Sayid finds out that it was really Ben who had Naudia killed – not Widmore.

Ah who am I kidding – I liked pretty much all of it.


6. Stuff I didn’t like

Not a big fan of the Back to the Future II “future self watching past self do things that defined past self's success but could not have been accomplished without future self’s intervention.” (Stop it - I'm dizzy). I hope Lost doesn’t go too far down that path, although I suspect that we will see a few things like that (and in some sense, Ben leaving packages for himself a'la Bill and ted is one form already).

Didn’t like Locke watching the Nigerian plane crash.

Didn’t like Ethan running out of the jungle to shoot John Locke. Wouldn’t Ethan have remembered an encounter like that?

Didn’t like Faraday talking to hatch-Desmond to send a message to sleeping-next-to-Penny-conveiently-at-the-right-moment-in-our-narrative Desmond. Wouldn’t Desmond have remembered an encounter like that in more than jsut a dream several years later? (or at the very least blown his brains out for not being “him”)

Not a big fan of the meaningless cameos. What was the point of Ghost Anna Lucia? Maybe there is more here than I am seeing – maybe she is on the side of the Universe (like Chrlie and Libby and Christian and all the other ghosts) and is trying to block Ben’s pieces in this cosmic game of chess. Except that she told Hurley to avoid cops and to NOT get arrested, and Ben didn’t seem to want Hurley to get arrested (or did he?), but Hurley chose to not go with Ben and get arrested anyway (okay – so maybe we will find out next week that the policemen Hurley surrendered to were really Ben’s men, and this was part of what Ben meant when he said “looks like our plans have changed” to Jack. Maybe Sayid killed the guy that was supposed to bring Hurley in, so Ben had to stage something bigger). Okay, so maybe the Anna Lucia thing might not be so bad after all.

But really, I’m not a big fan of all the new questions this premier raised about time travel and the people on the island. How are the Losties traveling through time on the island all together, even in different locations (i.e. Locke) and with all their stuff? What binds them to each other instead of to the island? Why is it that Locke disappeared into time but Alpert and the others didn’t? What binds them to the island? Why wouldn’t Juliette, who was an "other" for so long, also be bound to the island like Alpert and the other others? (Did the brand she received for killing Picket truly separate her from that group somehow?) It's not really the questions I don't like -- I guess I'm just nervous about the potential answers.

But mostly, I didn’t like Dr. Chang’s clunky acting. Stick to the orientation videos.

7. The Intro

It was, however, very cool seeing Dr. Chang and his baby. Whether or not it is Miles, why isn’t anyone asking what it means about the pregnancy issue? Looks to me like this was before whatever caused pregnant women to die on the island. So maybe we will see the event that makes things change.

8. The Event That Makes Things Change

Aka “The Incident”
Aka “The Volcano”
Aka “What Daniel Faraday is doing in the past by those holes drilled in the cave wall”

Remember the message in the Swan Station orientation video – there was “an incident” so now this button must be pushed every 108 minutes to release the energy that is building up.

Remember the volcano that is supposed to explode and have a major impact on the island?

Is it possible that Season five will end with a volcanic explosion – an explosion that is caused by a group of time-hopping Losties who are trying to get the record to stop skipping, so they blow a hole into the wall to get to the center where the donkey wheel will fix whatever went wrong – a hole that Dharma tries to cover up with the Orchid station (and later is blasted again and used as the corridor through which Benjamin Linus travels to turn the frozen donkey wheel to make the record start skipping inthe first place) – a hole that, becaise of Faraday and the time-hopping Losties, leaks energy now and makes Dharma build the Swan station as a release valve so that the volcano doesn’t explode again?

And somehow this is all being done so that Ben can maintain control of this island, so that he can skillfully engage the universe in a cosmic game of chess, and maybe – just maybe – find a way to save his Annie from her awful fickle bitchy fate (can someone say Adam and Eve).

By the way – my wife got a mysterious package under the Christmas tree this year addressed in unfamiliar handwriting from a J. Bentham. Man I’ve missed this show.

It’s been a long time. Good to be back.