Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy New Year!

I really shouldn't be doing anything Lost related right now since my thesis is due next week, bu tI just had to share this: Lost-Media has the Season 4 cast promo photos up.

*insert Flanders-like squeal of joy here*

Scroll back and forth to see them all. I think Elizabeth Mitchell has officially become my favorite eye candy of the show. Smart, tough and beautiful with a sinister side. Me likey. Plus, she's not married to a hobbit.

Eeeeeeeeeee.... check 'em out. And have a great new year everyone! :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lost: Access Granted Tidbits

I'm loving my Lost Season 3 DVD, but I was bummed when I found out the Blu-Ray edition included an additional special feature not included on my DVD: Access Granted.

Basically it's Darlton sitting down and answering some long standing questions, several of which we've all speculated on. As it turns out though, DarkUFO has a nice, concise summary of all the info. None of these are really spoilers, just clarifications of things we speculated on or already knew. The best tidbits to me are:

1) Kelvin Inman, Mikhail, Christian Shepherd are officially dead, however "just because you're dead doesn't mean you can't reappear."

Boo! Hiss! Not surprising though. This, to me, says that the Monster probably absorbed their bodies and will assume their shapes at some point.

2) The others do not just get in the submarine and travel off the island. The submarine is only a part of the mechanism that allows the others to travel off the island.

This is interesting, especially given that you seem to need to be unconscious in order to travel back and forth. This has a very Lanogliers feel to it for me: a Stephen King story that deals with time travel (sorta) where only people that were unconscious survived the warp.

3) We haven't seen the last supply drop. How it's being dropped on the island is a mystery. Keep in mind that just because the package had a parachute attached does not mean it was actually "dropped."

Teleportation? Magic boxing?

4) There's only one Richard Alpert. He just has good skin. "Age is all relative on the island."

So much for the immortal Richard Alpert. But is age relative once you leave the island?

5) The Others are responsible for bringing Anthony Cooper to the island. Drugs + Accident = arriving on the island. "There are other nefarious things that The Others are doing in the real world, but we can't tell you about that yet."

Again with the unconsciousness. So I guess Ben was sort of lying when he said they pulled him out of the magic box? And I wonder if it was really all Ben's doing in order to push Locke's buttons, i.e. Jacob didn't order this?

6) The Blast Door map was incredibly accurate. However, there were two spectrums to the map, and we only saw one. The question mark is the Pearl Station, and the various references to the monster and its travel patterns were "pretty definitive."

The question mark is officially the Pearl? I'm a bit disappointed. But there being another layer to the map is very interesting to me, especially since in order to see it, we're really going to have to get a Radzinsky or Kelvin flashback, probably via the monster or some other DHARMA employee (Marvin Candlemudfax).

Some very neat stuff. There's lots more that I didn't talk about too about Walt, the Swan, Room 23 and Henry Gale. Check it out!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Lost Theory Question #8: Kelvin Joe Inman

I love Clancy Brown. He's got one of the best voices in the business and a calm, menacing presence on the screen. His Kelvin is one of the most enigmatic characters of the entire show - all we really know about him post-Iraq is what he told Desmond while they were in the Hatch together. However, since we also know he was just stringing him along so he could steal the Elizabeth and escape, how much of what he said to him is really true? Let's first take a look at what he told Des in the Hatch:

Kelvin Are you him?
Desmond What?
Kelvin What did one snowman say to the other?
Desmond What are you talking about? Who are you?
Kelvin I'm Inman. Kelvin Inman.
Desmond What... what happened to my boat?
Kelvin I found you washed up on the beach. There was no boat.

[The alarm sounds and Kelvin enters the numbers]
Desmond What was all that about, then?
Kelvin Just saving the world.

[Shot of Desmond watching the Orientation Film]
MarvinNot long after the experiments began, however, there was an incident. And since that time the following protocol has been observed. Every 108 minutes the button must be pushed. From the moment the alarm sounds you will have 4 minutes to enter the code into the microcomputer processor.
Kelvin How many times are you going to watch that thing?
Desmond Why are there missing parts?
Kelvin Radzinsky made some edits.
Desmond Who's Radzinsky?
Kelvin He was my partner?
Desmond And what happened to him?
Kelvin Just make sure you put that back behind Turn of the Screw when you're done with it.
Desmond Why do you wear that suit?
Kelvin So I don't get infected out there. Give yourself a shot of this every 9 days. You were out there a while before I found you. Hope it's not too late.

Later we see Kelvin working on the Blast Door Map:

Desmond How do you even remember where you left off from?
Kelvin Slowly, Des. Very, very slowly. You should have seen Radzinsky do this. He had a photographic memory. I mean, this whole baby was his idea.
Desmond Yeah, right, Radzinsky. Radzinsky figured out how to fake a lockdown. Radzinsky created this great invisible map. More and more tales about your former partner. Yet for some reason, you never want to tell me what bloody well happened to him.

[Kelvin walks over to Desmond and points to a spot on the ceiling]
Kelvin See that brown stain, there? That's Radzinsky. He put a shotgun in his mouth when I was asleep. The bitch of it was I only had a 108 minutes to bury the poor bastard.
Desmond Well, if you don't want me to go crazy, next time let me go out.
Kelvin Well, you want to go out there with the quarantine and the hostiles?
Desmond I haven't been outside for 2 bloody years! Yes, I want to go. I was in the army for God's sake!
Kelvin Oh, right, Her Majesty's Army, correct? Tell me, Desmond, why'd you leave that nice old lady's army? Oh, I remember now. You got kicked out because you couldn't follow orders.
Desmond And why did you leave your army, Kelvin, huh?
Kelvin Because men followed my orders. Ah, but then thank God I joined the Dharma Initiative. Namaste, thank you and good luck.
Desmond Please, Kelvin. Let me go out. Huh? Just once?
Kelvin Sorry, Des. You stay here. You push the button. That's an order.

So what can we glean from this?

1) Radzinsky - I think Kelvin's probably telling the truth when he says Radzinsky edited the Orientation Film and made the map with a photographic memory, but I bet he's lying about how Radzinsky died. On one hand, you would think he wouldn't want to kill him and be trapped in the Swan. On the other, maybe Radzinsky was planning on abandoning his partner, much like Kelvin was planning to do with Desmond, and Kelvin shot him before he could go through with it.

It seems to me that at some point we're going to have to hear Radzinsky's story. He obviously pre-dates Kelvin, but the fact he was making a map of stuff he knows about DHARMA suggests he was really kept in the dark about everything. Furthermore his notations on the map also suggest he was in the Swan 1) Post-incident and 2) Post-Purge. Thus he may have been someone DHARMA recruited after the purge to keep the button pushed. While Kelvin says he joined DHARMA voluntarily after the CIA, maybe both he and Radzinsky were abandoned by DHARMA in the Swan. The Snowman Joke certainly suggests Kelvin was waiting for his replacement. Either way, it does seem that for some reason, DHARMA failed to send anyone else, even though the food drops continued. Maybe the Food Drop Station (Symbol: Apollo Candy Bar) failed to get the memo. :)

Memphish recently asked who the heck "Him" was and why were they making the map in the first place? It seems to me that Kelvin and Radzinsky were recruited post-purge and abandoned by DHARMA. They were kept in the dark about a lot of things except for the Swan station, where they were essentially kept prisoner by the button. Remember that, according to Darlton, Ben had no knowledge of the Swan until Locke uncovered it - DHARMA wanted to keep the station secret. It stands to reason that DHARMA really wouldn't tell any of their recruits any more than they absolutely needed to know. I imagine once their replacements failed to show up, they started venturing out to see if they could find out why and, hopefully, someone they could get to replace them.

From the Blast Door Map, we know they knew about the other stations (although they didn't seem to know their location) and they seemed to know the computer could be used to talk to other stations. Eventually they must have decided to head out and explore as much as they could, in the process discovering the sickness was a fake. They made the map in black light just in case there was a hidden camera watching them. I have no idea if this works - you have to imagine the writers tested it, right?

The big question for me here is why did Radzinsky edit the Orientation tape with regard to using the computer to communicate? Was this part of his plot to abandon Kelvin?

2) Kelvin's men - This sounded genuine to me too, genuine guilt. We know he forced Sayid to torture people so he's certainly capable of making underlings do horrible things. But is there more to it than that? Kelvin sounds an awful lot like all of our Losties here - a sordid, possibly murderous past from which he's running away.

Now we get to the fail-safe. There are two separate flashbacks that address this:

Desmond What is this?
Kelvin This is the only other way out, partner.
Desmond What are you talking about?
Kelvin Failsafe. Turn this key and this all goes away.
Desmond What's behind that wall, Kelvin? Huh? What was the incident?
Kelvin Electromagnetism, geologically unique. The incident... there was a leak. So now the charge builds up and every time we push the button it discharges it before it gets too big.
Desmond Why make us do it... push the button? If we... if we can just...
Kelvin [Laughing] Here's the real question, Desmundo... do you have the courage to take your finger out of the damn and blow the whole thing up, instead?

Then we flash-forward to Desmond confronting Kelvin outside the Hatch.

Kelvin Well, gosh, I didn't think you had the stones to come after me. I was a spook for 10 years, Des. I know when I'm being followed.
Desmond What are you doing with my boat?
Kelvin I'm fixing it.
Desmond You were leaving?
Kelvin Well, I mean, not yet. It's still about a week away. You wrecked it pretty good, Des. What do you think? Want to come with me?
Desmond Come where? What about the button?
Kelvin Screw the button, man. Who knows if it's even real?
Desmond That's not what you said when you were going on and on about dams and electromagnetics and failsafes!
Kelvin Well, I was drunk.
Desmond Why did you lie to me?
Kelvin I lied to you because I needed a sucker to save the world after I left.
Desmond You crazy old bastard! You stole my life!
Kelvin Oh, come on.
Desmond What else did you lie to me about huh?! What else? Tell me?!

First off, what do we learn here?

1) The Sickness is a red herring - Kelvin confirms this here. And you have to wonder if Kelvin and Radzinsky discovered it the same way Desmond did - "Oh look, an errant hole in the biohazard suit. Hmmm.., I haven't gotten sick. Let's go out without one and see what happens."

2) The Incident - The incident is real and the magnetism is real. Kelvin obviously believes in it or he wouldn't still be there pushing the button. However, after Desmond catches him, he dismisses the button as a possible hoax!

This, to me, is incredibly perplexing at face value. From the first flashback, Kelvin sounds like he's genuinely scared of the button. In the second, he not only disses it, he even suggests that Desmond abandon it after spending three years scaring him into staying! The only thing I can think of here is that he was just trying to calm Desmond down and get him to lower his guard.

But what exactly was DHARMA doing with the electromagnetism? Why didn't Kelvin blow the fail-safe earlier? Did he know the Swan would implode? Was he told that the world would be destroyed if he turned the key? We still don't really know what the ultimate consequences of the Discharge are going to be, however I can imagine they're not going to be good for anyone on the island.

Now I'm going to ask the big question: Is Kelvin dead? Let's take the two possibilities:

1) He's dead - In this case, I imagine the Monster scavenged his body like it did with Christian Shepherd's and Yemi's.

2) He's alive - If he's alive (which is what I hope), then where is he and why didn't he take the Elizabeth? If the Others found him in the harbor, they would have found the Elizabeth too. It's possible he might have been captured on the way back to the Swan, bloodied and disoriented from his fall. But even saying that, where have the Others been keeping him? The Temple? He wasn't kept in either the Barracks or the Hydra, that's for sure.

Occam's Razor says he's dead, but the reasons I think he might be alive are because 1) It just seems like a stumble on some rocks is an awfully cheesy way for a major CIA spook to die and 2) His flashbacks seem to be greatly important.

We have a dearth of information from the Purge up until Kelvin arrived on the island. Ben is certainly going to get another flashback and fill a bit of that in, but I doubt he could fill in all the blanks since he didn't know about the Swan. I, for one, would welcome Kelvin Inman running around the island again. Just wait until he sees what's left of the Swan. :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

He's Special, Dude

I've been so busy, I know been out of the loop for a while. Couple quick hits before I plunge back to work:

Jorge's Blog

Did you guys know Jorge Garcia started up a little personal blog on Blogger? It's pretty funny. Don't miss his Halloween costume.

Room 23

In other news, have you seen the newest Mobisode, Room 23? The ODI has the video and transcript. It's pretty neat, actually giving us new information on the Others and Walt. It's cleverly done too because they managed to make Walt the premise of the mobisode without actually having him on screen. This basically confirms/lends credence to several things:

1) Room 23 was the "room" Bea Klugh threatened Walt with back in "Three Minutes"

2) As I speculated before, Walt's powers seem to involve summoning animals to some degree, especially subconsciously under duress. And I can easily see him being under duress in Room 23. Question now is, was he subjected to the same treatment as Karl in there or did he have his own "special" test? Looks like Ben was telling the truth when he told Michael Walt was "more than they bargained for."

3) Jacob was the one who wanted Walt. So what did he want Walt for? To open the Magic Box? To help him somehow, like he asked Locke to help him?

Now I really want to see a full flashback on Walt's time with the Others. What a great episode to chew on. :)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Top Ten Episodes #2: 2.10 "The 23rd Psalm"

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Rating: 9.3 (#24 overall)

Short Recap: We get to see Mr. Eko's sordid past, as a group of Nigerian drug lords force him to kill an innocent man in order to save his brother's life. Eko goes on to become a feared drug lord himself while his brother goes on to become a priest and respected community leader.

Eko "purchases" a large amount of heroin from some fellow thugs, but he needs to smuggle it out of the country in order to sell it. Since the only private planes currently allowed in the air are for U.N. aid or Catholic missionaries, Eko turns to his brother for help. He asks Yemi to make him and his associates priests so they can smuggle the heroin out of the country in Virgin Mary statues further telling him that if he refuses, his associates will burn his church to the ground. Yemi reluctantly signs.

As the plane is about to take off, Yemi pleads with Eko to stay. The military then appears, guns a blazin'. Yemi admits to Eko that he tipped them off and ends up getting shot in the crossfire. The plane takes off with Yemi's body aboard and the military thinks Eko, disguised in priest's garb, is actually Yemi. Eko returns to the village in Yemi's place.

On the island, Eko notices Charlie's Virgin Mary statue while talking with Claire. He smashes it open to reveal the heroin inside. He finds Charlie and demands he take him to the Beechcraft. Charlie reluctantly agrees.

On the way to the crash site, Eko is confronted by the Monster who scans his brain for his memories. After a short standoff, it glides silently back into the jungle. Eko and Charlie find the plane and Eko finds the body of his brother. He takes the cross from around his brother's neck, gives Charlie a statue to replace the one he broke and together they burn the plane with Yemi's body inside.

Claire, noticeably upset with Charlie for lying to her, kicks him out of her tent. The episode ends with Charlie adding the Virgin Mary statue to a hidden cache of others he had secretly scavenged from the wreck.

Why it's a classic: The very best episodes of Lost generally give us the golden trifecta of plot advancement, character development and island mythology, served up with some savory acting and dialogue.

The 23rd Psalm does this better than just about any other.

I have to admit I loved Mr. Eko from the start. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje has one of the most tremendous screen presences I've ever seen; he completely dominates every scene and his vow of silence early on merely added to his mystique. So when this episode came along I think fans in general were pretty primed for his backstory.

Oh, and what a backstory it was.

By this point in the second season, generally considered the worst of the three my most Lost fans (although I have to admit I really loved it), the flashbacks of the main characters were already becoming repetitive and tepid. So the episode had an initial bonus going in of being something new. But I certainly wasn't prepared for just how powerful Eko's backstory would be.

Every segment was intense: Eko saving his brother by killing an innocent man, Eko brutally killing two fellow thieves with one swipe of his knife ("Go. Go and tell them that Mr. Eko let you live"), Yemi's death and Eko's guilt. We were left with a portrait of an extremely complex character, one capable of incredible brutality and evil despite the fact we recognize (and even sympathize with) his motivations. Interestingly though, Yemi does not share our sympathy. At all.

Mr. EkoSo I come to visit you for the first time in 3 years and you won't hear my confession? You know, Monsignor would have said he failed to raise a proper Catholic boy.
Yemi Well, why waste your time confessing. It won't help you.
Mr. EkoIt won't?
Yemi No, for confession to mean something you must have a penitent heart.
Mr. EkoYou and your guilt, Yemi. I've only done what I needed to do to survive. How is that a sin?
Yemi You may live far from here, but that doesn't mean I haven't heard of who you are and what you have done.

[Mr. Eko pulls the cross he wore as a boy out from under Yemis shirt]
Mr. EkoHave you forgotten how you got that cross, brother... the day they took me? Is what I did that day a sin? Or is it forgiven because it was you that was saved?

When Eko says here that he only did what he needed to do to survive, we believe him. But is that really his only motivation? Do you think Eko enjoys his power and his ability to instill people with fear. Yemi does and tells Eko so. Later on he further tells him he will never be a priest.

Mr. EkoI'm going to make this easy for you. You will make us priests and we will fly the drugs out ourselves.
Yemi Make you priests?
Mr. EkoJust sign these ordination documents and I will give you the money for the vaccines.
Yemi Leave this church now, Eko. Go. Now.
Mr. EkoYemi, I understand that you live in a world where righteousness and evil seem very far apart, but that is not the real world. I am your brother and I would never do anything to hurt you, but my friends... if you do not do what I ask... they will burn this church to the ground. Is that worth less than the price of your name on a piece of paper? Think of the lives you will save.

[After a mental struggle, Yemi grabs the papers and signs them]
Yemi My signature does not make you a priest, Eko. You could never be a priest.

Obviously this conversation had a wee bit of impact on Eko. :)

At the time, this episode showed us a despicable man who was trying to turn his life around, trying to make up for the horrible things of the past (hullo thar redemption theme). And I don't know about you, but I believed Eko HAD redeemed himself at the end when he took his brother's cross.

The rest of season also followed in the same manner: Eko became the priest of the Lost community, baptizing Aaron (hmmm... in retrospect, did that baptism count), building a church on the beach and even telling Michael a handy parable as they sopped up Libby's blood (one of my favorite scenes of the show). The fact that it was later revealed Eko did even more horrible things, not feeling sorry for them in the least, is the only reason I did not make this episode #1, since it takes away a lot of the power Eko's backstory held (I discuss this more in the summary below).

But, of course, Eko's story isn't the only reason this one's a classic. There's also 1) Charlie's banter with Eko and 2) the first real good look we get of Smokey.

This episode actually marked the beginning of Charlie's decline, despite it giving him his most memorable dialogue of the series. Episode 2.12, "Fire + Water," is easily the worst episode of the season, if not the entire series. But here we see Charlie at his best, holding his own against Eko's intensity and uttering one of the funniest lines of the entire series:

Mr. EkoClimb that tree.
Charlie What?
Mr. EkoClimb that tree and perhaps you will be able to get your bearings or see the plane.
Charlie You climb it. What if I don't? You going to beat me with your Jesus stick? I find it a little odd that your scripture stick has dried blood on it.
Mr. EkoAre you going to climb that tree or not?
Charlie What kind of priest are you, anyway?

Simply awesome. Josh, my roommate at the time, and I were rolling. It was also touching to hear Charlie recite the 23rd Psalm along with Eko when they burned the plane, reminding us of Charlie's strong religious streak.

But the big reveal this episode was ol' Smokey. Whoever was responsible for convincing the brainless execs at ABC to keep Smokey a secret deserves a basket of fish biscuits because it was one hell of a surprise. So what did that one encounter tell us?

1) It really is a cloud of black smoke - Even though we saw Smokey in "Exodus," I still wasn't totally convinced Smokey was just a black smoke cloud; I thought it might be a shapeshifter (which it sorta is). But it seems the the smoke is, at least, its default form.

2) Smokey can read minds
- One of the best TiVo moments of the series. We now know too that it doesn't just seem to read minds but it seems to be able to communicate telepathically too, at very least through dreams.

3) It comes from underground - You can dispute this if you want, but it looked pretty clear to me. When Smokey appears, trees and soil fly into the air and if you watch it as it leaves Eko, it clearly looks to me like it goes down into the ground, just like it did when it tried to drag Locke with it in "Exodus." Is there a Cerberus Vent near the Beechcraft? Seems so.

Looking back on the scene, I still don't quite understand what the Monster's motivation is. There's something it saw in Eko that made it spare him. His devotion to his brother, perhaps? Later, it asked Eko for his help in making Locke push the button. The fact that Eko failed in this regard might be partially why the Monster killed him (is the Monster capable of anger and retribution), but it seems more to do with the fact that Eko wasn't sorry for any of his sins. But if that's the case, why did it not kill Eko the first time it met him?

The only thing I can think of here is that Eko did indeed try to redeem himself at first. But the destruction of the Swan shook his faith and made him defiant again. Also maybe the Monster communicating to him as Yemi made him stubborn. Maybe the fact that Yemi felt so strongly about everything he had done made Eko react to the Monster the way he did. Since the writers have long said understanding the Monster is the key to understanding the island, we're probably going to have to wait awhile for a definitive answer.

Summary: I so wanted to make this episode #1. In fact, for a very long time it was my #1 episode. But as much as I tried to separate "The 23rd Psalm" from what the writers did to Eko's character down the road, I simply couldn't. Much of the power of this episode stems from the fact Eko was an unabashedly evil character who did some horrible things who finds redemption and closure on the island. But despite his evil deeds, you also sympathize with his actions because they all stem from his (good) motivation to save his brother's life. It certainly made me think Eko was a good man who merely did what he needed to survive (as he repeatedly professes).

But "The Cost of Living" essentially retconned this. They showed another horrible episode from his past, one where he did have a choice; He could have chosen to stay in Yemi's church and dealt with the warlords in a different way. He could have become, like Yemi, a true priest and a peaceful leader of the community. Instead he sold the vaccine (that would have been stolen anyway) to another warlord and used the proceeds to run away from his guilt and shame. And in the process he defiles Yemi's church, killing men inside and even washing his hands in the holy water basin. Then, much like he told Yemi so long ago, Eko told the Monster (in Yemi form) that he did not regret anything he had done:

"I did not ask for the life that I was given. was given, nonetheless. And with it...I did my best."

While he certainly didn't regret saving his brother's life, he certainly regretted much of what he had done since then. While this discrepancy may seem trivial, it stained Eko's character and, to me, took away from "The 23rd Psalm" quite a bit. You mean all the time he had spent repenting during the second season was fake? I just can totally buy that. And while the episode today still retains much of it's power thanks to Eko's incredible origin, the Monster scene and his banter with Charlie, it gets demoted to #2.

As just a final word on Eko, there is one loose end in his story: We still don't really know how he got assigned to Australia. He was supposed to be heading to London after the events of "The Cost of Living"; we still don't know whether he even made it there. And furthermore, we really don't know why he was heading to L.A. either. I wonder if we ever will?

Despite all this, not only was "The 23rd Psalm" the best episode of Season 2 (for which it was nominated for a "Best Writing" Emmy) but to me it still stands alone as one of the best episodes of Lost. And for someone watching the show through for the very first time, I don't know how you can not vault Eko's character up your favorite character list after viewing it.

What say you? Was Eko one of your favorites? My #1 favorite episode review will be up sometime before Christmas. Yay!

(As always, thanks to The Lost Hatch for their excellent episode transcripts)

Previous Reviews:
#10: White Rabbit
The Man From Tallahassee
Man of Science, Man of Faith
#4: The Pilot
#3: Walkabout

Thursday, November 29, 2007

"Crazy Good"

How can you not keep yourself from bubbling over with excitement upon hearing this:
Sources tell me ABC has secured a deal to air promos for the upcoming fourth season of Lost (with new footage!) before all movies rated PG and above in Screenvision and NCM chains in December....

And by the way, this also means ABC thinks the new season of Lost is so good, it warrants such play. I've heard from Alphabet-net insiders that the upcoming eight episodes filmed so far are "crazy good" and will "even satisfy the haters."

Just one more reason to see "The Golden Compass" on the big screen (as if I needed another reason). :)

Added Bonus: If you like my spiffy new avatar, check out Papiohead - it's where my original Locke avatar came from, but now he's added a whole new page of avatars for the Others! Love the eyeshadow on Richard Alpert here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mobisode Madness!

Well I have to admit that, as depressing as the fact is that the writers strike will probably disrupt our uninterrupted new season of Lost, I was equally delighted to find that the Lost mobisodes began in my absence.

The first three are all up now at the ABC website and the fourth one is up over at Dark UFO. Lostpedia also has nice summaries of all four.

While none of the spots really tell us anything new, it's awful nice to see our favorite characters on the (very small) screen again. Memphish has already asked us which moment we'd like most to see so I'll direct you to that thread for my answer, but if the first four episodes are any indication it doesn't look like we're going to get any big reveals in these.

Of course, we did get some nice tidbits during the hiatus' "Lost Moments," so I could be wrong. But these just seem like extra character development bonuses. The only really new thing is giving Neil "Frogurt" a face: The guy from the Aaron Burr "Got Milk" commercial. And he was slimy enough that it makes me want to see more of him on the show itself.

Either way though, I'm finding the mobisodes to be delightful little snacks to help sustain us through the barren winter offseason. How about you?

Sunday, November 25, 2007


I'm back! It was a great trip - I'll post some details and photos a bit later on. This week of catchup is going to be brutal at work.

In the meantime, does this writers strike suck or what?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Update and Schedule

Click comic for biggie version.

Yeah, PhD Comics sometimes hits too close to home (No Miss, Em's not pregnant).

I'm so delirious from typing and making figures I thought I'd take a break and type some more. Gleefully, I'm typing here, which is eminently more enjoyable than working on a doctorate thesis.

The good news is that by early January I should have this monster science critter off my back forever and can get back to the important things in life like LOST and the new Super Smash Bros. game that comes out on February 10th. Oh yeah, there's that whole "planning a wedding" thing too but, as I said, I have priorities. (I keed, I keed. Please don't kill me.)

But anyway, here's my schedule for the next couple months (blog related stuff):

November 7th-20th - Vacation in Italy
November 21st-22nd - Sleep off jetlag
November 24th-December 24th - Finish/revise thesis. Finish minor experiments. Attempt to get a few hour sleep per night. (finish Episode Reviews)
December 25th - Open LOST Season 3 DVD
December 26th-Early January - Work/practice thesis talk (Third Policeman Review)
Early January - Thesis Defense. Celebrate. Buy Nintendo Wii
Late January - (Lost Season 4 Previews).
Early February - Joy! Joy! Joy!

Yes, I'm going to be gone the next couple weeks to recharge my batteries before the stretch run. But there will me much Lost related goodness once I return. Anyhoo, here's a few links, some Lost-related, some not, to tide you over while I'm gone.

* As y'all have no doubt heard, Daniel Dae Kim was arrested recently for DUI making him virtually guaranteed to be killed off next season. Well, not really, but it certainly does move Kim's odds up in my Death Pool predictions.

* The imminent WGA strike worries me, although it does seem that Lost has a bit of a safety net thanks to their late start on the season.

* For those of you going to see "Beowulf" in the theater, it seems a new trailer for J.J. Abrams upcoming monster flick will be aired beforehand (I posted the original trailer here.) According to that CHUD link, the movie may actually be named "Cloverfield" and looks to have monsters plural both big and small. Sounds like a post-thesis must-see to me.

* Bigmouth got a big shout-out from Doc Jensen over at EW! Sweeeeeeeet!

* If you like video games, Yahtzee Croshaw over at The Escapist offers some of the funniest reviews on the internet. My favorite: His review of Tomb Raider Anniversary.

Anyhoo, hope everyone's holding up through the hiatus. For some good LOST talk, I'm sure Mempish, Bigmouth, Cool Freeze, Capcom and everyone else in my sidebar can keep ya' entertained until I'm able to engage to y'all again.

Light! Light at the end of the tunnel, I see!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I'm Alive!

Barely. One paper down, only like three to go. Then my defense. I'll get to the last two episode reviews eventually. *sigh*

But here's a cool piece of news:
"Lost" will soon be found on G4 and Sci Fi Channel.

Cablers have pacted with Disney-ABC Domestic Television for off-net rights to all six planned seasons of ABC's hit thriller, with segs scheduled to begin airing next September.

G4 will have Monday-Friday strip rights to the show (along with some weekend plays), while Sci Fi will air the skein Monday nights as a stack of four episodes from 7-11 p.m...

Mmmm... four hour Lost marathons.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Scriptwriting 101

A bit of news from Hawaii. It's not really spoilerish - just a setting, no plot or cast info - but I put it in invisotext for those that don't want to know anything. Highlight to read, don't read below if you don't want to know. :)
The media circus at the state Capitol on Friday did not involve the Legislature. It was the crew from ABC's hit show "Lost," which was filming a scene. People passing by saw flashing lights, fake police cars and a horde of news media. The cast was shooting for the upcoming season, which begins airing in February.

The show's producers are extremely secretive so the plot of the scene is being kept under wraps.
Okay. So we have a scene at an official looking building with an event that causes the police and media hounds to show up. Speculation time! Posit:

1) Flashback, flash forward, or off-island real time.
2) Who the scene involves
3) General description of what's going on

Think of it like a "Clue" solution. I'm going with 1) Flash Forward (Kate), 2) Kate, Jack, and Lance Reddick's new character 3) Kate reluctantly agrees to help Jack get information that will help them get back to the island, but Reddick catches them *ahem* "Red" handed.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Paging Mulder and Scully

As far as series in-jokes and cross promoting go, this one's top notch. Chuck, cursed with a treasure trove of government secrets buried in his brain, is given the Room 22 treatment by a bunch of men in black. And what was one of those regurgitated little facts?

"Oceanic Flight 815 was shot down by surface-to-air missiles"

Simply awesome. Watch it for yourself.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Question of Time... Slots

I just put two polls up in the sidebar because I'm curious of when y'all would like Lost to air when it returns. I do have a preference, but I'll add my vote at the end and talk about it in the comments.


Four more months, everyone. Just four more months.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Off-Topic Observation #1

Graphic designers for local TV stations have far too much time on their hands.

(Taken from this story, via Fark)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

About That New Podcast

In case you missed it (or didn't miss it but haven't had time to listen yet), TALBOA has a great summary of all the good tidbits. The most important of which is the following:
The flashforward is set-in-stone. It's not a possible future or an alternate reality. Carlton mentions that the flashforwards would be less exciting if they never really happened (I agree). However, we will continue to see more weird time stuff, a la Desmond's time travel. Damon says that "Flashes Before Your Eyes" laid all the ground rules on how time travel works on the series. (Yes, Damon said "time travel." There is time travel on LOST. I hope people start believing this).
Interesting, eh? In my review of Through the Looking Glass, I laid out three possible scenarios the flash forward represented. According to the podcast, it seems that scenario #1 (future set in stone, we get to see how it happens) seems the most plausible now. But the fact that they specifically say time travel is possible (and more importantly that Desmond laid the ground rules) gives a glimmer of hope that scenario #2 is also possible (the future really happened, but they can go back in time and alter it).

So what are the ground rules?

1) If you're going to die sometime in the near future, you can't escape that fate

Charlie and Red Shoe Guy proved this one

2) Altering small things in Desmond's visions may change the whole future

Would Desmond have found Penny hanging from the tree had he not saved Charlie? We don't know that yet. But clearly Desmond does have the free will to alter things. Which brings me to the big one...

3) Desmond had a choice in the past. He could have stayed with Penny and everyone would have died.

The big thing here is that Mrs. Hawking didn't tell Desmond that no matter what he does he was going to end up on the island. On the contrary, she had to convince him not to stay with Penny and that pushing the button was more important. Yes, if Desmond had stayed it would have been catastrophically bad, but the point here is he had a choice to stay. And if Desmond has choices when he travels in time, who's to say that he can't go back in time and do it again.

Desmond sacrificed himself when he went back, sacrificed a life of happiness with Penny to save the world. I think he (or maybe Jack) is going to be presented with a similar choice towards the end of show.

Whatcha think? Yea or Nay? :)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lost Theory Question #7: The Capsule Dump

Note: I'm immersed in thesis writing right now. Posting will be slight for a little while. Management thanks you for your understanding. Yes, that means you, Missie.

One of the unanswered things Memphish's latest question brought to mind was the capsule dump. Along with the statue, it was one of the weirdest happenings in the Season 2 finale. The fact that the dump was a dump, i.e. a tube that emptied into the middle of nowhere rather than another station suggests DHARMA really didn't care much for their contents. This further suggests that the Pearl inhabitants were in the station for something other than simply monitoring the inhabitants of other stations.

In "Live Together, Die Alone," Desmond suggests it was the Pearl inhabitants who were the subject of an experiment:

Desmond Tell me about this other hatch you found... this Pearl.
Locke What do you want to know?
Desmond Details.
Locke The Pearl is a psychological station full of TV monitors. And uh... 2 men sat in viewing chairs and filled notebooks with observations on what happens in here. And then they put the notebooks in pneumatic tubes and send them back to their headquarters so they could evaluate us... as an experiment. What?
Desmond What if you've got it backwards?
Locke Backwards?
Desmond What if the experiment wasn't on the 2 men in here, but on the 2 men in there? I want to see that tape, John?
Locke No, you can't. There's no way to see it down here.

The dump seems to corroborate that assertion, but what was the experiment? An examination of note taking abilities? A trial run for the Swan to see if they get cabin fever? It just seems like an odd set-up to me.

Furthermore, the computer in the Pearl that was connected to the Swan does seem to suggest DHARMA was making sure the button was being pushed. But perhaps the note writing was merely cover. In other words, DHARMA didn't want anyone to know what was going on in the Swan, but they needed it monitored, presumably by underlings. So they concocted a phony story about the Swan inhabitants being the subject of an experiment so the underlings wouldn't suspect anything. The Swan gets monitored. The unsuspecting underlings get nothing but writers cramp. Win-win all round.

Of course, why they chose to have the capsules dumped in the middle of nowhere is still very odd. They certainly could have had them sent to a station so they could be destroyed or something. Seems awfully trashy for a bunch of hippie scientists, doesn't it?

So whatcha think? Do you agree, or do you have a totally different take?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Everybody In The Death Pool!

There's a scene midway through Jaws where Richard Dreyfuss' character Matt Hooper is looking for Rob Schnider's Police Chief. He arrives in bedlam as hordes of fishermen have decended on Amity Island to claim a $3,000 reward for catching the shark.

Hopper runs into the Chief amid the chaos who enlists his help in trying to stop eight fishermen from piling into a tiny motorboat. Hooper tells them they're overloading it, but they casually brush him away.

Dreyfuss then, with a masterfully sarcastic delivery, utters one of my favorite lines in all of moviedom:

"Hahahahahahah! They're all gonna die!"

Since Lost has such a penchant for killing off characters, regardless of their popularity (see Eko, Mr.), I'm kinda wondering who's going to kick the bucket next season. We know Jack and Kate make it off the island, but everyone else is squarely in the crosshairs.

Here are my top five candidates for horrible island death (with odds):

1. Michael (even) - The most hated man on the island returns. With all those weapons around, don't you think someone's going to take some revenge? Maybe Dave will get Hurley to do something way of out character for him. Maybe the Monster will make him pay for his sins.

Either way, I bet he'll be screaming at the end.

2. Rose/Bernard
(2:1) - I'm shocked, shocked I tell you that one of them didn't die in the finale. They are actually the perfect candidates: They'd create a huge emotional response, but it really wouldn't overly affect the show since they're so minor. Plus, Rose's cancer could easily make a return allowing for a death scene with a weepy Bernard. Book it - one of them won't make it off the island.

3. Jin (5:1) - Many of the main characters have already had their complete stories told, so they're pretty much fair game for the writers' sickle. Sun already has a date with death in Season 6 unless the Losties figure out why pregnant women die midway through, so that leaves Jin as odd man out here. He's one of the the more likely of the main characters to die, his death would have an incredible emotional impact and it would create a lingering plot point with Sun. Of the remaining first season Losties, I think Jin's the most likely to go.

4. Sayid (10:1) - On the other hand, there's Sayid. His story isn't fully told (what happened to him in Basra), he's extremely popular and his military/electronic/torturing abilities has made him an excellent deus ex machina for the writers. Losties in a tight spot? No problem! Sayid to the rescue.

However, because Naveen Andrews has such a budding film career, I think he make make a date with death himself; if he's killed, it's because he asked the writers for out. But if he goes, he's definitely going down in a blaze of glory. No going gentle for this English gent.

5. Danielle (25:1) - We know we're supposed to get her story this season and, if we do, I can see her being offed once her story's been told. She's been reunited with Alex and would likely do anything to protect her now. I'm betting she dies saving Alex's life.

Honorable Mentions, in order of death likeliness (and why they won't end up dying)

1. Claire - Partially because Jack doesn't know she's his half-sister yet. But mostly because them someone else would have to take care of Aaron all the time (and Christian Shepherd's grandson ain't going nowhere). Locke has no time for babysitting.

2. Hurley - You can't kill the funny guy. That's just lame, dude.

3. Sawyer - They'd lose 95% of their female audience

4. Desmond - They'd lose the other five percent. Besides, he can see it coming.

5. Sun - Too important a plot point

6. Juliet - Ditto. Besides we haven't seen her whole story yet

7. Ben - Because I'd hunt down the writers and kill them.

8. Richard
- Too new a character to kill. Besides, he's got some killer eyeshadow.

9. Locke
- HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. To think some people thought he was dead last season. Locke will be here until the end.

10. Vincent - Since he's the evil mastermind of the island, he's not going anywhere.

Who do you think's going to die in Season 4? Everyone? No one? Just the new guys? Discuss?

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Real Reason Ben Shot Locke

Congrats to Terry O'Quinn on his well-deserved Best Supporting Actor honor!

Top Ten Episodes #3: 1.04 "Walkabout"

"Don't tell me what I can't do!" rating: 9.5, #14 overall

Brief Summary:
Lost at its best. The first time we find out anything about the strange, orange-eating, secret-telling man who apparently has a trunk full of knives.

The episode has two simple threads: The funeral and the boar hunt.

The fuselage has to be burned because the decomposing bodies are attracting some renegade pork which, in turn, gives Locke the idea to get some chops for the camp. Kate and Michael go with him, the former to try and use the transceiver that Sayid fixed and the latter to, well, be a manly dad or something.

Michael is injured during the hunt and Kate drops and breaks the transceiver during a Monster scare. Locke comes face-to-face with the Monster and saw something "beautiful." He also manages to bring a boar back to camp, earning the respect of all the hungry Losties.

Meanwhile, Claire gathers up all the info on the dead for a eulogy at the funeral. She asks Jack to speak, but he wants nothing to do with saying goodbye, especially since it seems to usually involve whacking coffins with a sledgehammer. Claire reads off the names of the dead as they burn the fuselage.

Other minor plot points include, Jack getting Rose to talk, in which she informs him her husband's still alive, Shannon manipulating Charlie into catching a fish for her, and Jack seeing what he thinks is his dad standing in the water.

But the biggie this episode is Locke's flashback, the contrast between the confident, skilled leader shaman we see on the island and the meek, downtrodden, pathetically beaten man we see beforehand.

Oh, and the fact he was paralyzed before he fell out of the sky. Yeah, that too.

Why it's a classic:
Well, duh.

Oh, you mean you actually want me to talk about the episode? :)

I was actually surprised how low Walkabout was on the listings considering, I think, most "Lost" fans would consider it the best episode of the show. And it really hasn't lost any of its luster over time either; you still get goosebumps when you see Locke in the wheelchair, when you see said wheelchair sitting by the burning fuselage, when you see Locke staring up at the Monster.

"Walkabout" was the best of the character introductions, not just because it was the best revelation of all the characters, but because 1) it was a perfectly written and paced episode and 2) Terry O'Quinn has done a masterful job of portraying a complex character both as powerful and tragic as John Locke. Let's take a look at the first season character surprises (only the surprises here, not the episodes themselves) and see how they stack up, not counting this one, my favorite.

2) Hurley's a cursed multi-millionaire
3) Walt's the second coming of Franklin Richards; his dad can barely deal with a normal child
4) Kate's a fugitive who did something really, really bad
5) Sawyer's a con man with a tragic past

6) Sun can speak English and her husband works for the Japanese mob
7) Sayid's a torturer who helped his true love escape from execution
8) Jack's a brilliant surgeon with daddy issues
9) Charlie's a druggie rocker
10) Boone and Shannon do the nasty

Looking back at these, the thing that stands out to me is how much more powerful the revelation was when it dealt with something that was happening on the island. Charlie's a drug addict? Ho hum. Hurley won the lottery with the same freakin' numbers on the Hatch? Whoa! Can't wait for next week!

The revelation that something about the island allowed Locke to walk again was really the first real notion, aside from the Monster and a brief glimpse of Christian Shepherd, that perhaps there was something magical or paranormal about the island. The moment we saw Locke in the wheelchair in the Australian office it made us think that maybe, just maybe, this show was a bit more than a glorified "Cast Away" on the small screen. It changed the dynamic, and genre, of the show in one moment and greatly contributed to its popularity; Locke is still arguably the most popular character and any episode featuring him seems to drive up the ratings.

If you have a friend who has never seen an episode of "Lost" before and just wanted to show him one episode that perfectly encapsulates why the show is so enjoyable, I'd argue that "Walkabout," not the Pilot, is the episode you show him or her. What more can you say about that?

Okay, before y'all kill me for not making this #1, let me just say that the hardest decision I had to make was the order of my Top 3. I love all these episodes and I think they're all terrific.

I put "Walkabout" at #3 because, while I loved the episode and I think it's probably THE most representative episode of Lost at its best, the other two episodes above it on my list 1) are also terrific episodes and 2) I like them for very different, subjective reasons than most people would probably give.

Is "Walkabout" your #1? Do you even think it's the best Locke episode (notice it's my third Locke episode in my Top 10). Would "Tallahassee" or "Lockdown" give it a run for your money? What say you!

Previous Reviews:
#10: White Rabbit
The Man From Tallahassee
Man of Science, Man of Faith
#4: The Pilot

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Real Lost/Heroes Connection?

Could it be that they're going to be shown back-to-back on Mondays, with "Lost" at 8pm? Be still my heart! Hey ABC, make this so!

I've had an incredibly busy week, but my next Top 10 Episode review is done and will be posted on Monday morning. In the meantime, don't forget to root for Michael Emerson (or Terry O'Quinn) this Sunday during the Emmy Awards!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Blargh (+ Season 4 Tidbit!)




Friday, September 7, 2007

The Infinite Aaron Theory of Lost

Now I'm convinced Aaron is really the key to Lost. Immortal. Eternal. With infinite evil doppelgangers all quietly manipulating the Losties from the comfort of his crib. Control the baby, control the world.

No wonder the casting director in charge of Aaron's tiny thespians is so frazzled all the time. Just wait - The Misfit is going to start comparing Aaron face shots any day now. :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Need... L O S T... info... brain ... melting...

Man, February just can't come fast enough. I see the fall TV previews and weep because LOST is nowhere to be found. :-(

My next episode review will be a bit late - I forgot I was taking off for the weekend. To tide you over, here's an EW article on the five new cast members. I'm really interested to see what they have in store for Ken Leung - his episode of The Sopranos was indeed terrific.

Anything you guys are interested in watching this fall to pass the time? Em and I are trying to get through the third season of House in time for the Season 4 opener.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Quick Question

I finally got around to reading the Q&A transcript with Darlton from the the Comic-Con - which was fascinating, BTW - and I started thinking about what I would ask them if I ever had the opportunity.

There are some questions you should never ask - like "what's the monster?" - because you know they're never going to answer it. I think the best questions are the middling ones which ask a specific unresolved plot point but whose answer won't give too much of the overall plot away. The question about Henry Gale that Memphish pointed out to me in my previous post that some enterprising young fan asked was an excellent one, I thought. It addresses a previously unresolved plot point and gets a definitive answer. Thinkin dude!

After giving it some thought, I think my question would be "What year did the Purge occur?" Why?

Well, I still have trouble putting all of the major island happenings in order. It seems to me that it must have been:

The Incident (1985)
The Purge (mid/late 80's)
DI funding cut by Hanso (1987)
Danielle arrives (1988)
Kelvin joins DHARMA (early-mid 90's)
Desmond arrives (2001)
Henry Gale arrives (late 2003 - early 2004)
Flight 815 crashes (September 2004)

I've included links to where I took most of my dates from. The thing that bothers me is Kelvin. It seems that he must have joined DHARMA well after the Purge and well after Hanso cut DI funding because we know he was in Iraq with Sayid around the time of the Gulf War (1990-1991) and he joined DHARMA afterwards.

Now since the Food Drops were still going on all the way up to 2004, we know the DI was still at least sending food to whomever was in the Swan. So it's possible that all of DHARMA was gone, but they were still afraid of what would happen if the button wasn't pushed, so they kept one or two people secretly in the Swan just to push the button.

If the Purge occurred after Kelvin joined in the mid-90's, it seems Danielle would have met at least some of the DI in her first seven or eight years on the island. Furthermore, at the time of the Purge, Ben did not yet have Alex, further suggesting the Purge occurred before Danielle arrived. Make sense? Asking what year the Purge occurred simply seems to me to be a question they could, and would, answer definitively.

So what would you ask Darlton? Do you think they'd answer it? :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Face of Jacob?

In some terrific casting news, looks like Jeff Fahey will be joining our Losties on the island! And EW picked a very curious picture to accompany their article:

Said Cuse:
The producers wouldn't comment on the character that Fahey will be playing, but said he was the first and only choice for the role. ''The Lawnmower Man and [the 1995 TV series] The Marshall are personal faves,'' says Cuse. ''And he has the most intense eyes of any guy out there, and I say that as a non-gay man.'' Adds Lindelof: ''Fahey is one of those actors who feels like he fits into the Lost model: He's enormously talented and will be vaguely recognizable to some people, but he'll be able to land on our island without most people going, 'Oh, I know who that guy is.' And especially for the part we cast him for, he has exactly the right sensibilities.''
First and only choice? Intense eyes?

That says Jacob to me and, if he really is going to play the critical part, that's just an awesome job on the casting. Booyah!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Top Ten Episodes #4: 1.01 "The Pilot"

"Guys, where are we?" Rating: 9.46 and 9.43 for Parts I & II respectively (#16 and #22 overall)

Brief Synopsis: Let's do this "We Didn't Start The Fire" style, eh? Any attempt to sing this is thoroughly discouraged by the author. Bold are flashbacks.

Jack. Vodka. Vincent. Beach. Claire falls. Locke walks. Turbine Man. Wing crashes. Boone finally brings the pen.

Jack and Kate, Sewing drapes, 1-2-3-4-5. Marshall down, Monster roars, Cindy brings Jack a drink.

Cockpit hike, Charlie sings, Pilot wakes up. Transceiver found, Charlie high, 1,000 miles off course.

Monster attacks, pilot gets snatched, 1-2-3-4-5 (again!) Jack is safe, Charlie's fine, Pilot's in a tree.

Cindy chases Charlie, Sawyer fights Sayid, Hurley makes a friend, Republican Guard.

Hike number II, Kate's coming too, Jin serves up some urchin. Shannon and Boone, Shannon's coming too, Sawyer joins in the fun.

Walt and Locke, Oldest game in the world, Do you want to know a secret? Radio check, growling attack, "I just shot me a polar bear!"

Marshall's still out, Hurley's bad with blood, Sawyer has the badge. Kate's says she's bad with guns, but an excellent liar, the radio finally works.

Shannon translates, sixteen years, all of them are dead.

Guys, where are we?

Why it's a classic: Think back to all the first episodes of television series you've seen. How many of them stand out in your mind? Furthermore, compared to the overall quality of the rest of the series, how many of them are among the best the series has to offer?

Not many.

When you generally think of first episodes, you think of raw, stilted dialogue and actors trying to find their character and their chemistry with each other. Here are a few famous ones that stand out in my mind:

1. Seinfeld -
As great a show as Seinfeld was, the pilot was a poor representation of the series as a whole and an example of a "true" pilot - an example of an unrefined concept. Not terribly funny, no Elaine, Kramer's called "Kessler." Many of the elements of the show are here, but it's still trying to find it's footing, like it was through much of the first season.

2. Cheers - Better than Seinfeld here - the show is fairly established and it felt like a true episode of the show. I
t also introduced the series well - setting up Diane's predicament when she's dumped by her boss and betrothed.

But it's still not perfect. Who knew Cliff Claven would become such a TV icon from his
couple lines as a throwaway extra? The writers certainly didn't yet. And Sam and Diane hadn't quite gotten their rhythm and banter down. But it still felt like an episode of "Cheers," albeit an ordinary one. In fact, if it wasn't the first episode, there wouldn't be anything remarkable about it at all.

3. Star Trek: TNG - I remember watching this with my parents and brothers the night it premiered. We were all so excited to have another Star Trek series on the air. And it was an event - a big budget, well-hyped show with a thorough plot. "Encounter at Farpoint" introduced Q, one of my favorite Star Trek villains and had a clever, interesting (albeit predictable) plot. A refined introduction to the series to be sure, and one that intended to suck viewers in.

But I remember afterwards thinking how the show could be good, but it didn't really inspire me to watch the rest of the series. I thought Picard was stiff and boring compared to Kirk, Riker was a smarmy, arrogant idiot, and Wesley was just annoying. Granted, I was comparing it to the series that came before (and, for the record, I'm not a Trekkie at all - I just enjoy good sci-fi on TV. Buck Rogers, Bionic Man, etc...), but I really didn't think at the time that ST: TNG would become the phenomenon it eventually grew into. And again, compared to the series as a whole, it was a rather ordinary episode and one that even feels a bit awkward when viewed in conjunction with later seasons.

Complete aside here: If you love ST:TNG and haven't seen the Episode Guide Song, I highly recommend checking it out. :)

But the reason I'm bringing all these up is because I think you could make a case for the Pilot Episode of "Lost" being one of the greatest Pilots (or first episodes) in the history of television.

Yes, it has the advantages of a monster budget and a terrific cast. But let's face it, "Lost" could have flopped from the very start. With weaker writing and acting, "Lost" could have turned into an unfunny "Gilligan's Island" and been canceled well before they even found the Hatch.

Instead, however, not only did the show become a tremendous hit, but in some ways "Lost" has spent it's entire run trying to live up to its first episode. The writers set the bar so incredibly high, it makes you appreciate how good that first season was all the way through. The first real clunker of an episode for me wasn't until the aptly-named "Adrift," the second episode of Season 2.

And while I don't think I was totally hooked on the show until "Special" and "Numbers," when more of the seemingly fantastical aspects of the show reared their psychic and numerical heads, I certainly wanted to keep watching to find out where that transmission was coming from (and give the writers credit here - they answered that question within the first ten episodes).

You also have to give props to the cast, who gelled together quicker than any I can think of in my couch potato history. Of course, filming in a tropical island paradise may help matters there - or, perhaps, force them. Heh.

But there was so much to like about the Pilot as a "Lost" episode itself - the initial scenes between Jack and Kate, Sawyer and the polar bear, the Monster and the pilot, and Danielle's transmission, to name a few.

The Pilot makes my Top 10 list because not only do I think it's one of the best pilots ever made, but because in the context of the show it doesn't feel like a pilot - it simply feels like an excellent episode of "Lost" and one that easily makes my Top 5.

Here's hoping when I rewrite this list after Season 6, the final episode is here alongside it.

: It felt almost cheesy having the first episode on this list. I almost took it out because it was the first episode, but I simply couldn't in retrospect. The Pilot is one of the few episodes I've watched more than twice - it's simply a spectacular 80 minutes of entertainment - one that still gives me chills each time I view it.

So whatcha think? Is The Pilot one of Lost's best or am I simply being just too nostalgic and gooshy? (a definite possibility, BTW)

Barring disaster at work - next week #3!

Previous Reviews:
White Rabbit
The Man From Tallahassee
Man of Science, Man of Faith

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lost Theory Question #6: The Real Henry Gale

Today we're off to see the wizard!

There are a lot of flashbacks I'd still like to see on the show: Danielle, Richard Alpert, Marvin Candlewickhead, more Ben. Unfortunately, two of the flashbacks I'd like most to see involve dead characters: Libby and the original Henry Gale.

Libby's backstory we're supposed to get through the eyes of another, yet undisclosed character. However, there are currently no plans to tell Henry's tragic tale. And that, to me, is a shame.

Despite him being just a pile of bones underneath a bright happy grave marker, we actually know a good deal about Mr. Gale. First off, his driver's license:

We know he hails from Minnesota and would have been 40 years old at present island time. Also, given that his license expires in 2003 and assuming that it was current, he must have crashed prior to that year. Lostpedia also says that since Minnesota has a four-year license renewal period, it seems likely he crashed between 1999-2003.

Of course, provided it's not a prop error, it's possible Henry crashed only a year prior to the rest of the Losties. The $20 bill that he wrote his farewell note to Jenny on was issued in October of 2003, meaning his license could have been expired and that he crashed sometime either late 2003 or early 2004.

And speaking of the note, it read:
Well you were
right. Crossing
the Pacific
isn't easy.
I owe you a
beer. I'm
hiking to one of
the beaches to
start a
signal fire, but
if you're reading this,
I guess I didn't make it.
I'm sorry,
I love you Jenny,
always have,
always will.
So Henry crashed in the valley, wrote a note on a bill and stuffed in his wallet, then hiked to the beach. The question now is what happened in between? Did he die of natural causes or did the Others kill him?

Obviously the Others at least found his body and buried him, but Ben (under interrogation) seemed to know an awful lot about Henry Gale:

Sayid Tell me about this balloon.
Henry GaleWhat?
Sayid This balloon that brought you here with your wife. Tell me about it.
Henry GaleWhat do you want to know?
Sayid Everything.
Henry GaleShe's 140 feet high, 60 feet wide. And when she's up in the air 550,000 thousand cubic feet of helium and a 100,000 thousand of hot air keep her up. And if you could look down on her you'd see a big yellow smiley face on top.
Sayid Why would you travel in that way?
Henry GaleBecause I was rich. Because it was my dream. And Jennifer thought it would be neat.
Sayid You were rich?
Henry GaleI guess I'm thinking of things in the past tense now. How's that for optimism?
Sayid What did you do to become so rich?
Henry GaleI sold my company.
Sayid What kind of company?
Henry GaleMining.
Sayid What did you mine?
Henry GaleWe mined non-metallic minerals. I know, everyone wanted to talk to me at cocktail parties.
Sayid Give me your hands. Give me your hands!

Ben could have made up the balloon facts and gotten Jennifer's name from the note in his wallet (I'm sure Ben knew of the note, he just didn't think Sayid would dig up the grave - or a least he hoped he wouldn't). But the fact that he knew Henry Gale was rich, that he sold his company and that they mined non-metallic metals is awfully personal.

But Ben didn't have to interrogate Henry to find out everything about him. If they can have files on all of the Losties, they could have easily found out everything on Mr. Gale. How? Well, his balloon gives that info away:

His company is the "Minnesota Metallurgy Mining Co.," a company likely inspired by 3M, and the two ads on the side are from "Mr. Cluck's" and "Nozz-A-La Cola," the latter being a brand prominently featured in Stephen King's Dark Tower series.

Now I've spoken about how I think the Dark Tower fits into Lost before, especially in the context of the season finale. But the fact Nozz-A-La is on the side of Henry's balloon is especially interesting. In Book 4 of the Dark Tower, Wizard and Glass, the heroes of the book end up traveling through a "thinny," basically a portal to another dimension, and end up in the version of Topeka, Kansas found in "The Stand."

They eventually come to a great glass palace, which one of the characters from our world recognizes as a twisted version of the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz. In W&G, the wizard that the group finds within the city is King's version of the devil from all his novels, the evil being who relished the decimation of humanity in "The Stand," and the evil royal advisor from "Eyes of the Dragon," Randall Flagg.

It makes me wonder if Mr. Henry Gale came to the island from another dimension, perhaps even from Stephen King's world. And since he owned a mining company maybe really didn't crash heer accidentally - maybe he was really looking for this very island in the first place. Maybe he was even employed by the same people who sent Naomi, perhaps one of the first scouts sent out to find it.

And maybe - this woudl be sooooooo cool - the head of whatever evil group Jack radioed is the Lost version of Randall Flagg. Dum, dum, DUM!

Regardless, I'd still LOVE to see Henry Gale's story. Obviously it would have to be through someone else's flashbacks - either Ben or Richard on the island or perhaps someone more sinister off-island.

What do you all think? Is Henry a simple travelin' dude, accidentally caught in the Others' nefarious net and killed? Or did he have an agenda like Naomi and was purposely purged by the Others like DHARMA was?

Addendum: Of course, after I post this I remember yet another crucial point - Widmore Labs also sponsored Henry's balloon trip. Charles Widmore = Randall Flagg? Discuss.