Monday, July 30, 2007

Top Ten Episodes #5: 2.01 "Man of Science, Man Of Faith"

You're gonna be knowing
the loneliest kind of lonely.
It may be rough goin';
just to do your thing's
the hardest thing to do.

But you've gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song,
Make your own kind of music - even if nobody
else sings along! Rating:
9.4 (#20)

Brief Summary: In one of the best opening sequences ever imagined (and directed), we follow a strange man who appears to be starting his day, he wakes up to an odd beeping sound, hits a (very old) computer, puts on a Mama Cass record, makes breakfast, washes the dishes, exercises, showers, gives himself a strange injection... and then has his world rocked by an explosion. He puts on a suit, grabs a gun from what appears to be a locked armory, and peers into a (very old again) telescope, which, sure enough, takes his gaze up the dark shaft of the Hatch, taking us right back to the end of last season, with Jack and Locke peering down into the darkness.

With the ladder broken, Jack suggests they all go back to camp and wait out the night together. They all head back, but Locke gathers up some cable saying whatever Jack does, he's going in.
Kate tells Jack she's going with him to the tune of "live together, die alone." Jack, hesitates knowing the camp needs him, but eventually follows them, concerned about Kate.

While everyone is waiting for Jack and the others to return, Shannon heads into the jungle with Sayid in tow to search for Vincent, who's missing. They finally see him, sitting creepily in the jungle darkness, but as they approach, he runs off. They get separated and Shannon trips and falls. She looks up and sees a vision of Walt, dripping wet and seemingly speaking some mangled form of Parseltongue. Sayid finds her and Walt disappears.

Amid all this, Jack thinks back to how he first met Sarah, who was in a terrible car accident with Adam Rutherford, Shannon and Boone's dad. Jack tells Sarah he's going to "fix her," something he doesn't really believe is possible. After the operation, Jack tries burn off his perceived self-failure by trying to complete a "tour de stade," in a nearby stadium. Desmond is also there training and they have a surreal, mystical sounding conversation about Jack, Sarah, and miracles. Afterwards, Jack heads back to check on Sarah and it turns out against all odds she can walk again.

Jack climbs down into the Hatch. Inside he finds a strange complex, which houses something rumbling and magnetic, magnetic enough to pull the key around his neck towards the wall, centered around a geodesic dome. He finds Locke held a gunpoint by an unseen assailant. He asks where Kate is and Locke tells him she's fine. Locke's captor tells him to put down his gun "or I'll blow his head off, brutha!"

At that point, Jack sees his face, recognizes Desmond, and says "You!"

Drum ending.


Why it's a classic: Having just finished Harry Potter 7, the question that's been at the forefront of my mind since the very last page has been how often do you find something that not only meets, but exceeds your expectations?

Harry Potter was like that for me, as was Return of the Jedi, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, all of the Lord of the Rings films, and Wizard and Glass (the fourth book in Stephen King's Dark Tower series, which appeared five years after book three ended on an incredible cliffhanger). All of these I had been waiting for with an immense amount of built up anticipation, counting down the days until their release. And after viewing/reading/playing them, I was completely and utterly satisfied.

"Man of Science, Man of Faith" just about topped them all.

Granted, as I've mentioned before, I didn't have very long to wait for this one (I watched the whole first season on DVD). But there were so many ways the writers could have screwed this up and instead they hit one out of the park. Yes, I wanted more of the inside of the Hatch, but you can't deny how awesome was the ending of the episode. And I think, in retrospect, that's partially why "Adrift" was one of the worst episodes of the entire series - it rehashed "Man of Science" without adding anything new and made you wait two weeks to discover the computer, the Numbers, the Button, all while surrounding the meaningless plot with fairly meaningless flashbacks.

Speaking of which, not only did we get some great Jack flashbacks for a change, but the scene with Desmond probably provoked more speculation than just about any other scene in the second season, until Desmond showed up again in the finale and cleared things up.

Jack Ow, damn it.
DesmondYou alright, brother?
Jack I'm fine. I'm fine.
DesmondTake it easy. Keep the weight off. Here, let me have a look. Does this hurt? You haven't sprained it then. I don't fancy your chances of catching up with me tonight, though.
Jack I wasn't trying to catch up.
DesmondAye, of course you weren't.
Jack What do you know about sprains anyway?
DesmondI was almost a doctor once.
Jack Small world.
DesmondYou a doctor then? So what's your excuse?
Jack Excuse?
DesmondTo run like the devil's chasing you. My excuse. I'm training.
Jack Training for what?
DesmondFor a race around the world. Impressive, I know. So your excuse better be good, brother.
Jack Just trying to work a few things out.
DesmondAh, a girl, right?
Jack A patient.
DesmondAh, but a girl patient. What's her name?
Jack Her name's Sarah.
DesmondWhat'd you do to her then?
Jack Do to her?
DesmondYou must have done something worthy of this self flagellation.
Jack I told her... I made her a promise I couldn't keep... I told her I'd fix her and... I couldn't. I failed.
DesmondWell, right. Just one thing. What if you did fix her?
Jack I didn't.
DesmondBut what if you did?
Jack You don't know what you're talking about, man.
DesmondI don't? Why not?
Jack Because with her situation that would be a miracle, brother.
DesmondOh... and you don't believe in miracles? Right. Well then, I'm going to give you some advice anyway. You have to lift it up.
Jack Lift it up?
DesmondYour ankle. You've gotta keep it elevated. It's been nice chatting.
Jack Jack.
DesmondJack, I'm Desmond. Well, good luck, brother. See you in another life, yeah?

"To run like the devil's chasing you"

"You have to lift it up"

"See you in another life"
Looking back now, it's actually a pretty innocuous coversation, but boy, didn't you think Desmond was some sort of mystic at the time? And, in retrospect, given that Desmond's already gone back in time once and seems to have his life pushed in certain directions, I do wonder if Ms. Hawking had a hand in setting up the conversation with Desmond and Jack. Remember, not only does Desmond meet Jack on that fateful evening, but he meets Penny as well and tells a pretty crucial bit of information: That he's going to enter her father's race.

Big props to both Matthew Fox and Julie Bowen here for some terrifically emotional scenes; this episode just overflowed with some quality Jackface. I still get verklempt at the end of the episode when Sarah asks Jack why she can feel her toes and he discovers to his amazement he really did fix her. He even had a great scene with his evil daddy, who chastised him in a very non-evil way for his putrid bedside manner. And that scene actually tied into the episode when Jack told everyone that everything was going to be okay. Holy relevant flashbacks, Batman!

Oh, and then there's "Make Your Own Kind of Music." Harry Knowles of AICN has a penchant for writing tiresome, juvenile, pedantic reviews. But he does know film exceedingly well and occasionally will have a somewhat novel bit of insight. Something he once wrote about "The Battle Without Honor or Humanity," now better known as the theme to "Kill Bill," has stuck with me over the years (forgive me for not being able to find the link, I'm paraphrasing here). Basically he was commenting on how independent pieces of music made into themes or incorporated into movies can become so associated with them it becomes impossible to listen to the pieces again in their original setting without thinking of the new scene.

Quickly, without thinking, what do you think of when you hear the following songs?

Stuck In The Middle With You (Reservoir Dogs)
In Your Eyes (Say Anything)
Don't Stop Believin' (Sopranos Finale)
Singin' in the Rain (A Clockwork Orange)
Puttin' On The Ritz (Young Frankenstein)
I Heard It Through The Grapevine (The Big Chill)

More than likely, most of these will remind you of a certain film or TV show (answers in invisotext next to each title, just highlight to reveal). The Kill Bill theme was taken from an obscure series of martial arts films Tarantino loved. Now should you ever happen to watch one of them, all you'll be able to think about is Uma Thurman and Vivica A. Fox dueling cutlery in the kitchen.

And to any Lost fan, Make Your Own Kind Of Music is, and forever will be, Desmond's Theme.

It was the perfect song at the time, a familiar blast from the past eerily emanating from a very strange place. But now, given what we know about Desmond, one wonders whether there's even more meaning behind it. Take a look at the verses again:

Nobody can tell ya;
There's only one song worth singin'.
They may try and sell ya,
'cause it hangs them up
to see someone like you.

So if you cannot take my hand,
and if you must be goin',
I will understand.

You're gonna be knowing
the loneliest kind of lonely.
It may be rough goin';
just to do your thing's
the hardest thing to do.
I get chills, I tell you, every time I hear it. It's almost like Ms. Hawking (or, perhaps, Penny) was singing the song to him. And remember, Desmond hears it again in "Flashes Before Your Eyes." It makes me think more and more that Desmond's going to have to sacrifice himself to save them all. Regardless, it was a simply inspired inclusion by the writers and something that will forever now be associated with Lost.

Other great scenes: Walt and Shannon in the jungle. Jack and Hurley talking about the Numbers ("your bedside manner sucks, dude"), Jack vs. Locke, Round 2.

But it all ends, and begins, at the Hatch. And, boy, was it worth waiting for.

Summary: There was no doubt this episode was in my Top 5. It really is such a shame that after such an amazing beginning to the season, they follow it up with the clunker ironically named "Adrift."

But, without a doubt, the writers came up huge here. We all wanted answers and we got them, to me anyways, in a perfectly satisfying way.

Previous Reviews
#10: White Rabbit
#9: The Man From Tallahassee
#8: Exodus
#7: Numbers
#6: Lockdown

Friday, July 27, 2007

Lost Theory Question #4: Libby

Sorry for the lack of posting this week. While I'd like to hide under the busy schedule excuse, the truth is that I had more... *ahem*... Potter-esque activities to complete. And, might I say, it was utterly fantastic. :)

But back to the question at hand: Just who is Libby and what's her agenda?

She has two significant connections to two of the Losties, Hurley and Desmond, but we know so little about her it's really hard to say whether her associations with them are simply pure chance or something more sinister. And, believe it or not, I'm actually thinking it's the former. Bear with me here...

We know that sometime before 2000, Libby lost her husband and, shortly after that, she ran into Desmond in a coffee shop and gave him her husband's boat. Remember that Desmond crashed on the island in 2001 (three years before the plane crash) and that he took a year to train. Now this meeting could be simple chance - her emotion and offer to me seemed genuine. She was obviously pretty upset over his death and it doesn't seem that strange that she gave it to him.

Could Charles Widmore have put her up to it? Sure. But chance just seems much more plausible here.

But what about her association with Hurley? It could be that she never got over her husband's death and that sent her to the mental institution. This fits with the timeline (i.e. she ended up there after she gave the boat to Desmond) since Hurley was in Santa Rosa right up until shortly before he won the lottery.

Now it is possible she was stalking Hurley - she must have gotten out of Santa Rosa shortly after him, probably saw that he won the lottery, and followed him to Australia. Remember, we still have no idea why Libby was there in the first place. But maybe she really did take notice of him in the institute and formed some sort of obsession. And if she was stalking him, it kinda explains her attraction to him and why they were both on Flight 815.

So is she really a psychiatrist, or did she lie because it's better than saying that you're a mental patient? Assuming there's no malevolence involved, I'm thinking the latter.

The only argument against all this is that it's pretty amazing she ended up on the same island with Desmond. Could she be a spy for someone, maybe another one of Ms. Hawking's pawns, working towards making sure both Desmond and Hurley ended up on the island together? Was it coincidence or was it fate? What do y'all think?

Monday, July 23, 2007


I'm back! Em and I had a great weekend at the Grassroots Music Festival in Ithaca. Great music, great food, lots of beer, lots of sunshine, and lots of friends and relatives. It's an annual event and highly recommended.

I wanted to make a separate post about Blogshares because it's a fun addictive game, especially for anyone who owns a blog.

The Premise

The real goal of Blogshares is to create an index of blogs, hand-sorted into very specific categories for easy perusal. The game is the reward system surrounding the index; for every blog you sort into a category or remove from the index because it's "dead," you get chips which are worth millions of blogshares dollars (B$) which you can then use to purchase various commodities and increase your wealth. Thus, the more you time you put into the game, the wealthier you become.

Of course, this all means that as long as you keep working the index, there's no real way to lose - your wealth will keep increasing over time. However, to truly advance up the overall game rankings, you will have to play the system intelligently and, this is the truly addicting part to me, collect all the different artifacts and ideas in the game.

It's also great to see your blog in the index and all the links going to and from it. As an owner, you get 1,000 free shares in your own blog and any shares in your blog that you own cannot be stolen from you. I find it a lot of fun to watch your blog expand and grow over time.

Here's a brief overview of the important aspects of the game and some things to do when you're starting out. For a more thorough explanation of everything here, check out the complete rules on the website.

The Game

The basis for everything in the game are the blogs themselves, which are valued on the number of incoming and outgoing links they have. Blogs with large numbers of incoming links will be very valuable and, as a result, their outgoing links will be valuable as well. One incoming link from a big blog can be worth much more than several incoming links from smaller blogs. This is the backbone of the game.

Your overall ranking is determined by your individual ranking in six major categories: Wealth, Chips, Ideas, Artifacts, Karma, and Sigma. I'll briefly go through each one:


Plain and simple, your B$, your liquid assets. Gained by selling shares and...


Primarily gained by 1) Voting on blogs 2) Finding dead blogs and 3) Adding new blogs to the index. Currently worth between 25-30 million in B$, you need them to gain the cash to buy shares, ideas, and artifacts. I find it's really hard to gain rankings in this in the beginning because you need the money. But after a while you may want to starting building up your stock to increase your ranking.


Ideas are produced by blogs that have been voted into their respective categories. They can be kept as investments or used to build artifacts. Ideas can't be stolen so they're pretty safe in that regard, but their price fluctuates over time so you do need to keep and eye on their indicators.


Aside from being collectible fun, artifacts are critical tools in the game, used to take over blogs, drive their prices up and down, and get free ideas if they're available on the market. They're made from using 10,000 ideas in their respective industry. Obviously the money these various ideas are worth is lost when you create an artifact, meaning certain artifacts could cost you tens of billions of B$. While some players view these artifacts as unnecessary, you can reap back quite a bit of your investment by raiding the market of free (expensive) ideas and then reselling them. I tend to view artifacts as a sunk cost - you need them to increase your overall ranking anyway and anything you recoup from your investment later on from raiding blogs for free ideas is just gravy. Yes, this will take you much longer to increase your net worth, but it will be much easier for you to maintain it in the long run.

I also love writing new artifact descriptions. New artifacts are randomly released by game moderators from time to time and they pick new ones out of suggestions written in the forum. So far, I've written the descriptions for Sci-Fi/Fantasy Television (Captain James T. Kirk), the New England Patriots (Bill Belichick), and the New York Mets (Tom Terrific).


Karma is earned by voting blogs into correctly voting blogs their respective categories, correctly being the key word here; you lost karma with sloppy voting, maybe even garnering a censure or a fine if it's a continuing problem. The key threshold for karma is 750, which gets your double daily artifact usage. One of your initial goals in the game should be reaching that level ASAP.


Sigma is earned by both adding new blogs to the index and reporting dead ones for deletion. Sigma is much, much easier to earn than karma because of one key recent addition to the game: The Dead Blog Finder. Once you reach 100 sigma, you can use the DBF, which then lets you easily gain up to 400 sigma every 24hrs (not to mention 4,000 chips too). Reaching 100 sigma should be another early goal (try using the random blog link to quickly find dead blogs, you net more chips/blog with that method too) .


There are two ways to play the game: passively or aggressively. I prefer the former, but I'll go over both here.

Passive Play

To me, since wealth is pretty much unlimited given the fact you can always earn and sell chips by attending to the index, I've found that passively increasing your wealth is fun and kind of a "safe play" because you're not pissing people off by raiding their portfolios.

Playing passively you should keep earning and selling chips, find, add, and subsequently buy blogs (once they're in the index) that have a lot of links and will become very valuable over time. There are a TON of very popular blogs out there that aren't in the index yet. Finding them and buying them cheaply can greatly increase your wealth over time (this is long-term profit we're talking about here, not short term).

Of course, you've still got to defend yourself from players who will try and steal your blogs. This is where your artifacts and karma come in. Artifacts are your trump card; they're used to both steal blogs and to get them back. The more artifacts you have, the more likely you are to be able to recover a blog from someone. However, you can only use each artifact once every 24hrs... that is, unless you have over 750 karma. Once you reach that level, you can use each artifact twice per day, a huge advantage. You only gain karma by voting blogs into their correct categories in the index, a very slow and tedious process. But you really can't be a top player until you reach that level.

I find passive play enjoyable because it's relatively stress-free and I really enjoy finding valuable blogs that haven't made it into the index (or are owned by someone who hasn't played in a couple years - those blogs are fair game). Plus collecting artifacts is like Pokemon on crack.

Well, to some addictive personality types anyway. :-)

Aggressive Play

Aggressive players act by making huge, short-term profits off stealing the most valuable blogs in the game at a low price, driving the price up using their artifacts, then selling it at an immense profit.

You can make a lot of money over a very short period of time using this method and it has the added advantage of being exciting and fun - think of it like playing the Zerg in "Starcraft"; speedy, deadly, reckless. Many of the aspects of passive play still apply: you still need artifacts and karma, you still need to earn chips and sigma, but you'll likely make some enemies within the game and need to find allies by joining or creating a corporation (something you can do anyways, but in aggressive play it's almost mandatory).

Aggressive play is probably the closest the game gets to a video game, one of the reasons it's so alluring to many. To have to plan out (and coordinate) your raids and be vigilant at protecting your assets, always be on guard. My schedule isn't really conducive to this round-the-clock alertness, one of the reasons I prefer the former style. But to those who have the time, energy, and stratgery, it can be exceptionally thrilling and rewarding.


Lastly a bit of advice on what to do if you're starting out.

1. I recommend getting a premium membership. It's only $15 for a year and it offers you huge benefits towards playing the game. Of course, playing WITHOUT premium is a tremendous challenge and some people may prefer that.

2. Introduce yourself in the forum. Players will often welcome you with free shares and chips. Booyah!

3. Buy some shares, make some profit. Full instructions on how to do this can be found here.

4. Build up your karma and sigma by voting on blogs and deleting and adding them to the index. Remember 750 karma gives you double artifact usage and 100 sigma allows you use of the Dead Blog Finder. Reaching both levels is critical.

5. Buy all the cheap, common artifacts. Many of the most common artifacts like the Oxford Dictionary (for English language blogs) and the Stud and Morrighan (blogs written by males and females respectively) only cost B$1,700 because their ideas are so plentiful.

6. Lastly, think about joining (or starting if you're a premium member) a corporation. The biggest corporations get a terrific interest rate on the money invested in them and are well worth joining. Ask around to find one that fits your style of play.

Well, that's my plug. I reiterate my offer that if anyone has a Lost blog and I own the shares to it, I'll gift them away if they join (well, except for DarkUFO. His shares I'm keepin'). :-)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Link Dump: 7/19/07

I hope everyone has enjoyed the reviews so far. I'll be away this weekend, so the start of my Top 5 reviews will be delayed a week and start a week on Monday, July 30th instead. A few links to tide you over.

* Looks like Lost was snubbed for the Best Drama Emmy yet again. I like "The Sopranos," but Lost had a much better overall year and a hugely better finale. Also snubbed: Elizabeth Mitchell for Best Supporting Actress. Grrrrrr... so very angry.

The good news, however, is that both Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn were nominated for Best Supporting Actor (kinda odd - isn't Terry a lead) and Damon and Carlton were nominated for writing "Through The Looking Glass." I honestly don't know if I could pick between Ben and Locke.

* Memphish is asking everyone to post their favorite lines from Lost. It's really hard to pick just one!

* Need summer beach reading? Check out the Lost Book Club!

* I've now entered most people's Lost Blogs into the Blogshares database (and I own many of them now as well). It's a terrifically fun Stock Market game using blogs as stocks. If you have a blog, you can play and claim some free shares from your own blog.

I'll have an extended post on this next week, but if you decide to join and play the game and you want all the shares from your blog, e-mail me and I'll gift them to you. :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Top Ten Episodes #6: 2.17 "Lockdown"

"We did find your balloon, Henry Gale, exactly how you described it. We also found the grave you described... your wife's grave. The grave you said you dug with your own bare hands. It was all there. Your whole story, your alibi, it was true. But still I did not believe it to be true. So I dug up that grave and found that there was not a woman inside. There was a man... a man named Henry Gale." Rating: 9.6 (#7)

Brief Summary: At the end of the last episode, Henry tells Jack and Locke that he drew a map to his alleged balloon for Ana-Lucia. Jack is pissed, but since they have a day's head start there's nothing they can do. They throw Henry back in the armory and Jack heads to the beach leaving Henry alone in the Hatch with Locke.

They both become trapped when it spontaneously undergoes the lockdown procedure. Locke becomes trapped under the blast door and needs Henr to crawl through the venting system to puch the button in time. While Henry is accomplishing the task, the Blast Door Map is revealed under blacklight at the end of the lockdown. Locke thanks Henry for pushing the button in time, but Henry says he didn't do anything - the timer simply reset by itself and the Hatch went back to normal.

Meanwhile, Jack plays Sawyer in poker for his medicine stash while they wait for Sayid, Charlie, and Ana-Lucia to return from the trek to the balloon. Astonishingly, the trio does find the balloon and the grave of his wife, just like he describes. Jack beats Sawyer at poker and heads back to the Hatch in the evening, he runs into Kate (who's looking for a hot steamy shower) and they both notice a strobe light in the jungle. It turns out to be a giant parachute with a food drop of DHARMA brand rations. But before they can contemplate anything, Sayid and crew pop out of the jungle and say they need to head to the Hatch.

Henry helps Locke up and asks for his protection. Locke reluctantly agrees as Sayid and Jack barge in. Sayid confronts Henry and tells him he dug up his grave - and that he found the real Henry Gale's body inside!

Why it's a classic: "Lockdown" is one of the brightest spots of the wildly inconsistent second season, but one which reminded everyone why they fell in love with the show in the first place. It had something for everyone: Significant plot movement on multiple fronts, with new information about the Hatch and DHARMA, a terrificly funny poker subplot, complete with Jack and Sawyer eye-candy for the ladies, a great Locke-centric episode with interesting flashbacks and a neat was-that-who-I-think-it-was character connection, and a jaw-dropping, evil trombone ending.

And then, of course, there's The Map.

What will quite possibly go down as the greatest TiVo moment outside of Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction, the Blast Door Map was a secret love letter to the fans of the show. It contained a plethora of information, not necessarily needed by the casual viewer, but vastly helpful for those of us obsessed with trying to untangle the show's mythology.

And that moment generated so much water-cooler buzz the day after, they re-aired the episode again on Saturday night just so people could go back and tape it to get a better (high-definition) look.

The week before the episode aired, ABC breathlessly exclaimed there would be five AMAZING reveals during the episode. Now the episode was so chock full of stuff, it wasn't really an exaggeration - in fact, I can pick out at least six, seven depending on your definition of AMAZING.

So what were they?

1. Blast Door Map - Just an incredible moment in the series. Too bad no one but Locke and Desmond actually know about it. I do wonder just how much more Desmond know about DHARMA that he hasn't mentioned to the group yet?

2. The Lockdown itself - Seeing the Swan actually DO something aside from beep was incredibly cool. It was also the first suggestion that it might be something more than just a psychological experiment. Of course, Henry further plays with our (and Locke's) mind in that regard later on in the episode.

3. "Henry Gale" is a liar - I love, love, love, love, love Sayid's monologue to close out the episode (the quote at the top of this post). It's Sayid at his very best. Did you get chills when we got the evil trombone ending? I did. The only ending since then that's made me feel the same way was when Juliet and Ben were talking through his plan at the end of "One of Us." Ben endings rock.

4. Henry Gale, however, is real - Sadly, ABC gave this one away in their episode preview. But it was still pretty spectacular to see. I still want to know what happened to the real Henry Gale and I hope that we'll get his story in one of Ben, Juliet, or Richard's flashbacks.

5. The Food Drop - Talk about a WTF moment. The food drop answered several pressing questions in one fell swoop: Why the food didn't run out, how Desmond survived down there for three years, and why the Hatch went berserk. It also set up some nice Hurley angst later on, not to mention providing a further excuse for him not losing weight.

Reveal 5a could be Locke meeting Sayid's love, Nadia, in Los Angeles, and 5b could be the suggestion that Anthony Cooper was a serious con man, serious enough to be THE con man everyone's favorite nicknamer. While there were already some minor whispers going around among theorists at that point that Anthony Cooper could be the real Sawyer, this episode real stoked those fires.

And if you're kinda non-discriminating, 5c could be the super-fun Jack-Sawyer poker subplot which also revealed that 1) Jack had gotten his tattoos in Phuket. Ironically, this reveal ultimately led to ABC hyping "Stranger in a Strange Land" in much the same way as "Lockdown," only with much less AMAZING results. :)

This was also one of the first real interplays between Locke and Ben. While they're not as good as in "The Man from Tallahassee," Ben playing with Locke's mind in this episode really solidified his status in my own mind as my favorite character on the show. Here's the scene:

Locke What did you do... what did you do to end it... to make the doors go up?
Henry GaleI did what you told me to. I punched in the code and pressed the execute button, but nothing happened other than that clock flipping back. I was climbing back into the vent when the lights went out. 10 seconds later the doors went up. I didn't do anything.
Locke You think it was all just random?
Henry GaleDon't look at me, it's your hatch.

Looking back on this exchange again, it really seems like Ben's motivation here is just to create some confusion and perhaps torment Locke a bit. He had no idea what would happen if the Numbers weren't entered, that was made clear later on when the Others were surprised by the effects of the Discharge. In fact, I think it's entirely possible he himself thought it was a stupid psychological experiment given that he knew of the Pearl and probably had viewed its Orientation tape. But Ben and the Others at this point were certainly aware of how the island healed Locke and Ben was probably already jealous at this point.

Given that Ben almost certainly could have escaped during the Lockdown, I think he stayed behind to gather information, size up Locke, and toy with him a bit. However, he underestimated Sayid, not thinking he'd dig up the grave. D'oh.

Lastly, while the poker scene is also one of my favorite light-hearted subplots of the entire series. Not only did it give Jack and Sawyer some face time, but it set up an important plot point too: Jack and Sawyer's face off over the guns:

Jack 10 mangos.
Sawyer Okay, I'll call you with the aspirin and raise you with a bottle of Amoxicilin.
Jack Do you even know what Amoxicilin is?
Sawyer You may have been to Phuket, Doc, but I've been to Tallahassee. Let's just say something was burning and it wasn't from the sunshine.
Jack I'm all in.
Sawyer Well, that's the move of a man who wants me to lay it down.
Jack You're not going to lay it down.
Sawyer I'm not, huh? Why's that?
Jack Because there's a bunch of people watching us right now and you don't want them to see you lose. Again.
Sawyer Well alright, I call. What you got? Pair a 9s? You pushed in with a pair of 9's?
Jack You got me. Let's see 'em. Guess it was enough, huh?
Sawyer Son of a bitch.
Jack I'll come get the meds later.
Sawyer Hey, when I asked you what you wanted for stakes... why didn't you ask for the guns?
Jack When I need the guns, I'll get the guns.

But you know an episode is a classic when it has a hilarious subplot which doesn't even contain the funniest exchange in the episode. That honor goes to Hurley:

Jack Hurley, you seen Ana-Lucia?
Hurley She took off into the jungle with Charlie and Sayid yesterday.
Jack Yesterday. They say anything about where they were going?
Hurley Well, that would like assume that anyone actually tells me anything. Maybe if I were in the loop I could be more helpful.
Jack There is no loop, Hurley.
Claire Excuse me, Jack... um... he's been really hot and fussy and do... do you mind having a look?
Jack Yeah, sure, sure.
Hurley Loop, dude, loop.

I love using "Loop, dude, loop" in the lab now whenever people don't tell me something like, for example, when we're out of a particular reagent. No more Trizol? Loop, dude, loop!

Summary: I was surprised at how high up this episode was on's list. To me this episode feels like a guilty pleasure. After all, the flashbacks, while good, didn't blow you away, but all the on island stuff is pure Lost gold - the map, the poker game, the balloon, the ending. It also felt too gimmicky to be on the Top 10 list. After all, causal viewers probably saw the Map and went "huh?" And I know many people who love the show who have never checked out the Map on the net. But to me, it's certainly Lost at it's best

So what do you think? Classic? Overrated? Cheesy ABC marketing ploy? Did the map make it too weird for causal watchers? Would this episode be in your Top 10? Have at it!

Previous Reviews:
#10: White Rabbit
#9: The Man From Tallahassee
#8: Exodus
#7: Numbers

Friday, July 13, 2007

Lost Theory Question #3: Influences

We all know Damon, Carlton, and J.J. Abrams were heavily influenced by Stephen King. Lostpedia has an excellent list of Lost King references and King himself is not only a huge Lost fan, but met with the writers last year to talk some shop.

Given this, I don't think it's implausible to look through the literary influences and references of the show for clues as to what the ultimate ending is going to be. I've already speculated on how King's Dark Tower series could factor in, as did Bigmouth recently.

But there are lots more. Lostpedia also keeps a list of literary works seen or mentioned by the show. Some that stand out are:

1. The Third Policeman - In this book (which I haven't read... yet), Lostpedia says it mentions a "black box" that contains "ominium," a substance once described as “the essential inherent interior essence which is hidden in the root of the kernel of everything,” literally whatever one desires. Magic Box, anyone?

2. A Wrinkle In Time - One of my favorite books of all time. A brother and sister travel to another dimension (through a "tesseract," a wrinkle in time) to rescue their father from a great evil being. Sawyer's been seeing reading this one twice. This one fits into the multiple dimensions/realities theory.

3. The Time Traveler's Wife - This was brought to my attention yesterday by Memphish, whose site is a must-read folks. Here's her description:

Henry, the time traveler in the book, has a genetic
mutation that results in his involuntary movement
through time. One minute he's in the present, and
the next he's naked and somewhere else in time. A
geneticist replicates this mutation in mice, but it took
a while because:

The hard part was getting the dams, the mother
mice, to carry the altered mice to term. They kept
dying, hemorrhaging to death. . . . The mothers died,
and the babies died. We couldn't figure it out, so we started

watching them around the clock, and then we saw what
was going on. The embryos were traveling out of their
dam's wombs, and then in again, and the mothers bled
to death internally. Or they would just abort the fetus
at the 10-day mark.
Creepy, huh? And very cool - sound a lot like our baby problem. Remember when Richard Alpert showed Juliet a 26-year-old woman's womb that looked like she was in her seventies?

So what other influences so think there are? Anything which really stands out to you?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tag, You're It!

Hannah's tagged me in the latest blogging game, an entertaining enough diversion to be sure.

The Rules: "Each person posts the rules before their list, then they list 8 things about themselves. At the end of the post, that person tags and adds links to 8 other people and then visits those peoples' sites. Leave a note in their comments letting them know that they have been tagged, and to come read the post, so they know what they have to do."

1. I'm a graduate student, working on diabetes and metabolism research, particularly low-carbohydrate diets and how they affect diabetic complications.

2. I should have defended my thesis by now (and will soon), but I just can't seem to stop working in the lab. In other words, science experiments are fun, science writing sucks mouse balls.

3. Right now, my plans are to graduate, work for one of my collaborators for a couple years, apply for a grant, and either start up a lab or sell my soul to industry. Mmmm... baked soul.

4. I grew up in upstate New York, went to undergrad in Boston (lived there eight years), doing my undergraduate in New York City (lived there six years), and currently live in Bronxville (north of the city) with my awesome psychologist significant other.

5. I'm an uber-geek, Nintendo junky, comic book maven, board game jerk, and useless trivia wizard. All exceptionally employable commodities.

6. I'm a huge New York Mets fan, as is all my family, and baseball junkie in general.

7. I'm the oldest of three brothers, both of whom are married, and I have two young nieces, one two and a half years old and one two days old. :)

8. Other sites I frequent on the net: Fark (I'm a Top 100 submitter there), Blogshares (addictive little game), GameFaqs (I will win one of their summer contests one of these years), StumbleUpon (my old blog that started my Lost reviews). I'll have an extended post on Blogshares sometime.

Okay. Time to tag. I don't necessarily expect everyone to participate, but it does give me a nice chance to plug my blogroll and some other blogs I happen to like.

Ben Lundy At Broadcast Depth
Movies, television, and a whole lotta Lost. There's a lot to love here. :)

Blog All Around

Lost fan Yessifer's blog. Check out her post on the writers' Emmy suggestions for the show - I happen to agree with her 100%

Blogging Zelda
Guy plays through every Zelda game from the beginning, blogging along way. Great idea, and really nifty execution


Bigmouth writes insightful, thought-provoking Lost theories. Check out his newest post on something near and dear to my heart: The Dark Tower

Hiding in Public
Ana's personal blog. Huge Lost fan who hangs out on Daniel's site...

CF is another great Lost theorist Check out his latest post on The Temple

The Lost Diary
Daniel's non-TMZ Dairy site. He runs a Q&A every Monday and is currently reviewing the first season. His most recent review is for "The Moth"

LOST, Hearts and Minds
Juno Walker analyzes Lost from a philosophical perspective. Check out his recent post on Ben's motivatons

Lost Island Time
Very nice new Lost Blog

MLB Trade Rumors

For any baseball junkies out there. The trade deadline is fast approaching and this is one of the best places to get your daily scoop on all the buzz out there.

Totally Amazing Lost Blog of Awesomeness
Best... Lost Blog Name... ever

The Lost Nazi

Lauren's a frequent poster on Daniel's site and a huge Lost fan.

Ryan's Smashing Life
Bostonian music fan. Positively wonderful blog. If you happen to be on StumbleUpon (or a blog reader) be sure to subscribe to his feed.

Synchromystic Librarian
Think "Foucault's Pendulum" on acid. Lost symbolism is the key here. Neat stuff

*phew* - that's a lot of reading! Check 'em out! :)

BTW, the category here stands for "And Now For Something Completely Different," which just looks too ugly in the sidebar

Kate Does France

In a summer that's seen some curious career choices for our favorite survivors, it's nice to see some of them doing indie flicks rather than the schlock horror cheesefests or summer blockbusters. Particularly Evangeline Lilly who, despite how poorly her character has been written for the past season and a half (pretty much since Sawyer arrived back on the beach in the second season, turning her brain into schmaltzy mush), still is one of the best actresses in the cast, behind only Elizabeth Mitchell at this point.

Anyhoo, looks like she's going to spend the summer filming the indie French flick, "Afterwards," with French film star Romain Duris and the always entertaining John Malkovich. (Malkovich?)

While it may not necessarily end up being a good film, it's nice to see her being discerning about what roles she takes. She vaulted to stardom fairly quick, thanks not only to "Lost," but to... *ahem*... a couple very nice photoshoots. Like this one:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

While I'm not complaining about the eye candy, mind you, does anyone else want the kick-ass Kate from Season One back? I really hope Season Four gives her an edge again.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I haven't seen "Transformers" (yet), so I've had to patiently wait to see the odd, curious trailer from J.J. Abrams' new project that aired before the movie. Unfortunately, until now, Paramount had taken down any copies that were posted on the internet.

But it looks like they finally came to their senses. AICN says it's a monster movie codenamed "The Parasite," and they previously suggested it might be an H.P. Lovecraft film. Mmmmm... Cthulhu.

Whatcha think? Neat? Cheesy? You can see it here in Quicktime too.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Top Ten Episodes #7: 1.18 "Numbers"

: "You shouldn't have done that! You've opened the box!" Rating: 9.5 (#14)

Brief Summary: Michael starts to build a new raft in the wake of the first's destruction. Hurley suggests they get a battery from Danielle to power a transceiver, but when they go to ask him if he would get one from her, he refuses on grounds that she's insane.

Hurley spots the Numbers he used to win the lottery - 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 - on one of Danielle's notes that Sayid had taken. He decides to set off after her to both get a battery for the raft and to confront her about them. When the others figure out where he had gone, they set out after him.

Through flashbacks, we see how Hurley won the lottery playing the Numbers, but ran into great misfortune as well. His grandfather dies, his new house burns down, he's arrested for being a drug dealer. Plus, he triples his wealth through misfortune - a tropical storm hitting Florida sending orange futures skyrocketing, his insured sneaker company in Canada burning down, killing eight people.

We learn he first heard the numbers from Leonard Simms, a fellow inmate in his insane asylum who repeats them over and over. He asks Lenny where he first heard the Numbers and tells him he used them to play the lottery. Lenny looks up and tells him he "shouldn't have done that" and he's "opened the box!" Lenny then tells him that he and Sam Toomey heard them while stationed in the South Pacific and that Sam now resides in Australia.

Hurley heads to Australia to find Sam Toomey's widow, who's living in a desolate cabin in the middle of nowhere. She tells Hurley how, like him, Sam won a bean counting contest using the Numbers and was beset with great misfortune afterwards. She says Sam committed suicide because he was convinced he was cursed. Hurley is distraught, but Mrs. Toomey comforts him saying we all make our own luck, despite her husband not believing it.

Hurley finds Danielle who tells him how her team heard the Numbers transmission when they first came to the island. When she found the radio tower, she changed the transmission to her distress call. Hurley tells her his story and she agrees with him that he's cursed. She also gives him a battery for the raft.

Locke also builds the cradle for Claire this episode.

Why it's a classic: To many fans, I think, this was the episode that hooked them for good. I mean, yeah, it was neat that there was an island with a Monster, polar bears, some mysterious "Others" who kidnap pregnant chicks, and crazy French women running around. And it was intriguing that there were all these odd connections between this seemingly random group of people.

But the closing shot of this episode - the Numbers on the Hatch - sealed the deal for many people, including myself. Not only did they establish the foundation of Lost's expansive and addictive mythology, but if people weren't obsessed with the Hatch before, well they just HAD to know what was inside now.

And there was really no buildup at all to this episode - it just came out of nowhere. Hurley was the last of the main characters to get a flashback in the first season. In fact, Jack, Kate, Charlie, Jin/Sun, and Sawyer had all already had their second by the time we were treated to Hurley's story. And, really, what had been Hurley's big contribution been to the group at that point?

He built a golf course.

I know, I know. Hurley was the one who found Ethan out by checking everyone in the manifest. Fine. But really, up until "Numbers" aired, Hurley was merely the stereotypical, wise-cracking fat guy whose sole purpose on the show was comic relief. He was the buddy, the pal. The guy everyone liked because he usually got all the good lines, but had no depth to his character at all.

Boy, how that all changed.

Hurley went from being comic relief to a tragic figure with deep psychological scars and, at the time, appeared to be central to the mystery of the island. After all, it couldn't just be coincidence that the Numbers were on the Hatch, was it? He couldn't have crash landed on the island by accident, could he?

Well, actually, now we know that it probably was a coincidence. We know how he ended up hearing the Numbers and it seems it really was an accident that he ended up on this island (although that coincidence was so shocking, it did cause his hallucination of Dave to reemerge).

But at the time, we didn't know any of this. All we had were the stories of everyone who had come in contact with the Numbers and the fact they were on the Hatch, a revelation that couldn't help but give you chills after hearing Hurley's conversation with Lenny:

Lenny4 8 15 16 23 42...
HurleyHi, Lenny. Remember me? Hugo. Hurley. Well I was... was just, you know, in the neighborhood, and um... Look, Lenny, I've got to know, what do the numbers mean?
Lenny4 8 15 16 23 42...
HurleyC'mon, Lenny, give me something. Anything. Where'd you get the numbers. Is that why you're here, Lenny? Is it because of the numbers. Did they do something to you? Because I think they did something to me. I think they turned me into a... a jinx, bad news to everyone around me. And when I tell people I think I'm the cause they... they... they look at me like I'm nuts. They don't believe me. But I know, ever since I won the lottery with those numbers.
LennyYou used those numbers to play the lo... lottery?
HurleyUh, yeah.
LennyWell, you shouldn't have done that. You've opened the box!
HurleyI what?
LennyAh, you shouldn't have used those numbers.
HurleyWhy not?
LennyIt doesn't stop! You've got to get away from those numbers! You've got to get far, far away!
OrderlyAlright, hey, hold on. Lenny, Lenny. Calm down. Lenny.
LennyDo you hear. No, don't you understand? You've got to get away from it or it won't stop!
OrderlyTry and calm down.
HurleyWait a second, I need some answers.
OrderlySir, you need to step away.
HurleyThose numbers, where'd you get them?
LennySam Toomey. He heard them.
HurleyWho's Sam Toomey?
LennyHe heard them in Kalgoorlie.
HurleyWhat's Kalgoorlie?
LennyIt's a town where he used to work.
HurleyIt's a town where?
LennyIn Australia! Oh God!

That scene still gives me chills.

"You've opened the box!"

"It doesn't stop!"

The Hatch is later referred to "Pandora's Box" by Locke, but you first got the analogy here. You couldn't help but think the Hatch contained all sorts of horrible things (and hope) waiting to be unleashed after hearing that exchange. And it did, really. The horrible thing was the Discharge, which has already wreaked havoc on the Others and the island (and poor Eko), but the hope was Desmond, who may end up being the salvation of all the remaining survivors.

Lost has some of the best character development of any show I've ever seen. But Hurley's is, by far, leaps and bounds over everyone else. The fact that the jovial character we all had come to know and love ended up one of the most tortured and angst-filled of the entire show was an absolute treat.

So you got the final backstory of the major castmembers, some significant plot development, and a absolute bomb of an ending. Could it get any better? YES! How?

You get the delightful subplot of Locke building a cradle for Claire.

This was mystical Locke in his prime. Cool. Confident. Nothing he couldn't accomplish. The Shaman. Did you realize it was a cradle before he turned it over? I didn't. But I grinned like a Cheshire Cat when he did. It may seem like a small thing, but it just shows how every single moment of this episode featured quality. And that's something truly worthy of a Top 10.

Summary: "Numbers" could have fallen anywhere in my 6-10 group. I had it at #10, moved it to #6, then settled it at #7 (my Top 5 are pretty set in stone at this point).

What say you? One of your favorites? Should it be Top 5? Do you like Hurley and his backstories? Were you as blown away by the ending of this episode as I was? Have at it! :)

Previous Reviews:
#10: White Rabbit
#9: The Man From Tallahassee
#8: Exodus

Saturday, July 7, 2007


I had one of these as my avatar on my Stumble Upon blog for a while (my current avatar there is the uber-cool Locke drawing in my profile), but they're worth mentioning here. Design Sushi has created a series of great backgrounds featuring all our favorite Losties, including Vincent and the Smoke Monster. Shannon and Boone as crosses are a nice morbid touch as well. Take a gander (click link above to see the full set):

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Lost in Lego

Hope everyone had a great 4th! I ran across these a while ago and I've been meaning to post them. Check out these cool Lost Lego scenes someone created. There are no official sets from Lego, unfortunately, but maybe we'll get a few in the future.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Top Ten Episodes #8: 1.23 "Exodus"

: "Do you really think all this is an accident that we, a group of strangers survived, many of us with just superficial injuries? Do you think we crashed on this place by coincidence... especially, this place? We were brought here for a purpose, for a reason, all of us. Each one of us was brought here for a reason." Rating: 9.5-9.6 (Part one is 9.5, #13; Part two is 9.6, #9)

Brief summary: Oh, jeez. So much happened, where do I begin? Well, basically this is three separate stories:

1) The trek to the Black Rock to get the dynamite to blow the Hatch
2) The launch (and very short voyage) of the raft
3) Packing up the beach, and getting Aaron back from Danielle

Through these stories, we saw the Black Rock for the first time, learned a lot about the Monster, met some more Others, and blew open the Hatch.

And these three epics were all sandwiched around flashbacks behind the individual stories of how everyone boarded their fateful flight. In these, we learned why no one noticed Locke was paralyzed before (he was carried onto the plane before anyone else), that Jin was threatened in the airport bathroom, how ironic it was that Shannon turned her future boyfriend into airport security, and how Hurley's "bad luck" allowed him to board in the nick of time. We also even met Ana-Lucia for the first time, giving us our first hint that Rose's prediction of Bernard being alive was true (since she made a point of mentioning to Jack that she was in the rear of the plane).

And, of course, it ended with a terrific (depending on your point of view) double cliffhanger.

Why it's a classic: I have to admit, I had a slightly different viewing experience of "Exodus" than many Lost fans. My roommate at the time, Josh, and I bought the season 1 DVD set two weeks before the season 2 opener, watched 3-4 episodes per day and finished them up about four days or so before it aired. Our total waiting time for "Man of Science, Man of Faith" was about 96 hours.

Obviously, doing it this way will slightly color your opinion on things. We were both stoked after watching "Exodus" - what a fantastic finale, can't wait until Wednesday when we get to see what's in the Hatch!

As opposed to everyone else who were forced to wait six months.

But even if you were pissed at having to wait, one can't deny how incredible the finale was, simply packed with now-classic scenes. "Exodus," in my humble opinion, was the best of the three season finales. Yes, it was technically three hours as opposed to two. But really, "Greatest Hits" was the prelude to "Through The Looking Glass" and I think "Exodus" blows them both out of the water. Interesting too that TTLG went back to the Exodus formula with the intertwined but separate storylines with the entire cast that was (somewhat) abandoned in "Live Together, Die Alone."

But what puts Exodus above TTLG in my book is that there are so many more classic lines and moments which I still remember today after only one viewing two years ago. GH & TTLG, while both great episodes with an equally good cliffhanger, just isn't as quotable or iconic.

Still disagree? Let's count down the top 10 moments from "Exodus, Parts 1-3."

As always, thanks to The Lost Hatch for their invaluable episode transcripts.

10) The Hurley Bird

We start with what's become a Lost inside joke.
On the trek to the Black Rock, Hurley sees a huge bird of prey flying overhead which seems to screech his name. This prompts him to say that naming this place the Dark Territory was "genius."

While it seemed like nothing at the time, the Hurley Bird proved
to be so popular he made a re-appearance in the season 2 finale as well.

And I have to say, I was greatly disappointed we didn't see him in "Through the Looking Glass" too.

9) Shannon and Walt
Walt Why are you folding the clothes?
Shannon Because I'm anal. Is there something you want?
Walt I think you should take Vincent.
Shannon Are you serious?
Walt He'll take care of you.
Shannon What's makes you think I need a dog to take care of me?
Walt Vincent took care of me when my mom died and nobody would talk to me. They pretend like nothing happened. So I had to talk to Vincent. He's a good listener. You could talk to him about Boone if you want.
Shannon Alright, but only until you get us rescued, okay.

I greatly disliked Shannon from the start, but this moment with Walt was one of the of the most touching of the series. It was also the only interaction her character had that felt genuine. Maybe it's just me, but I really couldn't feel any chemistry between her and Sayid at all.

But Walt's gesture was as genuine as they come, and it set up several very creepy second season scenes as the bond they forged on the beach with Vincent manifested itself literally in a dripping vision of Walt in the jungle. Cool.

8) Hurley in the Airport

Hurley's run through the airport was just a terrific scene, capped by his thumbs up to Walt when he finally makes his flight. There wasn't much done with Hurley's "curse" in the third season, really nothing since Libby was shot (which of course Hurley blames on himself). But I always thought it was neat the way the writers made Hurley almost miss Flight 815, only to "luckily" make it in time.

But his crazy run was also notable because it was so chock full of well-placed numbers, including quite possibly the best easter egg of the series: The girls soccer team. Check it out:

7) Stop me if you've heard this one: Con man and a surgeon walk into a bar

Before the raft launched, Jack approached Sawyer in the jungle and gave him a gun. Sawyer was so touched by this expression of manly testosterone, he broke down and told Jack his story about meeting his dad in a Sydney bar.

It was a great scene with a great setup several episodes before and, much like the payoff we got earlier this year with Ben showing Jack the Red Sox World Series clip, it didn't disappoint.

Sawyer Excuse me?
JackI never asked you what you did back in the real world, so I'm taking a wild guess lumberjack.
Sawyer Something I can help you with, Doc, because I've got work to do.
Jack I've got something for you. You're the only one on the raft who knows how to use one.
Sawyer What do I need a gun for?
JackJust in case.
Sawyer You think we're going to run out of food or water? Am I supposed to put the kid out of his misery?
JackJust in case.
Sawyer What are you doing with the rest of them?
JackI'm giving them to Sayid.
Sawyer Going into the jungle after the boom sticks, huh?
Sawyer By the time you get back we'll be in the water. Guess this is pretty much goodbye, then.
JackYeah, I guess it is. Good luck, Sawyer.
Sawyer Jack. About a week before we all got on the plane I got to talking to this man in a bar in Sydney. He was American, too. A doctor. I've been on some benders in my time, but this guy he was going for an all time record. It turns out this guy has a son... his son's a doctor, too. They had some kind of big time falling out. The guy knew it was his fault even though his son was back in the States thinking the same damn thing. See, kids are like dogs, you knock them around enough they'll think they did something to deserve it. Anyway, there's a pay phone in this bar. And this guy, Christian, tells me he wishes he had the stones to pick up the phone, call his kid, tell him he's sorry, that he's a better doctor than he'll ever be... he's proud and he loves him. I had to take off, but something tells me he never got around to making that call. Small world, huh?
Sawyer Good luck, Jack.

6) Launching the Raft

Lost has had it's share of touching cast montages, the best of which was when the Tailies arrived back on the beach with Sawyer, Michael, and Jin. But this was second best with everyone gathered on the beach to see the raft off. Vincent getting left behind, Sun and Kate saying goodbye.

And at the time, you really didn't know how the writers were going to resolve it. Obviously they couldn't have four starring members of their cast leave the show (although that doesn't sound quite as strange now given their propensity for killing off cast members), so you knew they'd have to end back up on the island somehow. But didn't you have a bit of fear in the back of your mind that something bad was going to happen? I did.

Touching and sweet with just a dash of dread. Just how I like it.

5) Smoke Monster: Enter Stage Right

KateWhat was that thing?
DanielleIt's a security system.
JackSecurity system? What does that mean?
DanielleIt's purpose is that of any security systems... to protect something.
KateProtect what?
DanielleThe island.

Uh, what the heck was that!?

Remember the first time you saw the black smoke? A little wisp of a thing fluttering through the jungle. When I first saw it, I really didn't think it could be the Monster. In fact, it was about as far from what I expected the Monster to be as anything.

Of course, then it uprooted a couple trees and tried to drag Locke into a gaping hole and I thought "Hey, this could work." :)

And Danielle's comment that it was the island's "security system" also suggests that she knows more about it than she's letting on. I know she's a few spark plugs short of a full engine, but the fact no one has ever questioned her fully on this is beyond maddening. Maybe next season she'll have a little pow-wow with her daughter and we'll finally get her backstory (which happen to be the one Lost thing I want to know most of all).

There was a review of "Jurassic Park" that sticks with me from my old hometown paper, the Albany Times-Union. Basically, the critic complains about the first hour of the film, how slow it was to build. But then he says when the T-Rex came on the screen "talk about charisma. He bares his teeth and the show comes to life for a rollicking hour."

That's how I feel about Smokey. :)

4) The Black Rock

Danielle: The Black Rock is not far. This is where it all began... where my team got infected... where Montand lost his arm. We must move quickly.

Raise your hand if you were expecting the Black Rock to be a giant pirate ship sitting in the middle of the jungle. No? Me either.

Of all the WTF moments Lost has given us, this has to be one of the top five. Curious too that this is where Danielle says her team got infected. Granted, I still think that DHARMA's sickness is a hoax. But that doesn't mean her men didn't become sick from something else.

3) Arzt

ArztYou know what I'm... I'm sorry, I'm sor... I'm sorry that I'm not cool enough to be part of your merry little band of adventurers.
ArztI know a clique when I see it. I teach high school, pally. You know, you people think you're the only ones on this island doing anything of value. I've got news for you. There were 40 other survivors of this plane crash. And we are all people, too.

Arzt was really one of the great bit roles we'll ever see on television. Think "Andy, Andy" from the early seasons of "Cheers." Arzt was the writers' way of parodying themselves and voicing all the grievances fans had during the season:

"Why don't we see any of the other survivors?"
"Why doesn't Hurley lose weight?"
"Why so few people get to do all the cool stuff on the island?"

Of course, the fact they blew him up in mid-grievance could also be a way of them telling us to stop complaining and just enjoy the ride. And Hurley's now classic, "Dude, you've got some Arzt on you" line is still one of the funniest of the show.

2) Man of Science, Man of Faith

LockeThat's why you and I don't see eye-to-eye sometimes, Jack because you're a man of science.
JackYeah, and what does that make you?
LockeMe, well, I'm a man of faith. Do you really think all this is an accident that we, a group of strangers survived, many of us with just superficial injuries? Do you think we crashed on this place by coincidence... especially, this place? We were brought here for a purpose, for a reason, all of us. Each one of us was brought here for a reason.
JackBrought here? And who brought us here, John?
LockeThe island. The island brought us here. This is no ordinary place, you've seen that, I know you have. But the island chose you, too, Jack. It's destiny.
JackDid you talk with Boone about destiny, John?
LockeBoone was a sacrifice that island demanded. What happened to him at that plane was a part of a chain of events that led us here... that led us down a path, that led you and me to this day, to right now.
JackAnd where does that path end, John?
LockeThe path ends at the hatch. The hatch, Jack... all of it... all of it happened so that we could open the hatch.
JackNo, no, we're opening the hatch so that we can survive.
LockeSurvival is all relative, Jack.
JackI don't believe in destiny.
LockeYes, you do. You just don't know it yet.

Absolutely the best Jack/Locke, science/faith exchange, I still get chills hearing it. And it's this exchange that later led Jack to warn Kate of their potential "Locke problem." Does Jack have a destiny on the island? I think he does, but I also think there's a logical explanation for why that is.

Interesting that their path doesn't end at the Hatch, though. The Hatch is really where it begins.

1) "Only, the thing is we're gonna have to take the boy."

Did you get chills when that line was spoken by the man we'd eventually come to know and love as Tom? Did you see it coming? In retrospect, I probably should have but I certainly didn't at the time. I remember thinking "oh crap, oh crap, oh crap" as Sawyer was shot, Walt was yanked, and the raft was blown up. And even though it wasn't funny at the time, it was the first time we ever heard Michael say "Waaaaaaaaaaaaalt!"

The ending of this episode reminds me of the ending of Stephen King's "The Waste Lands," part of his Dark Tower series that undoubtedly influenced the writers. The end of TWL has one of the best cliffhangers I've ever read, one which left you thinking "Good lord, how could they end it there? I need to know what happens NOW." King published TWL in 1992. We didn't get the next book until 1997. For any of you jealous that I didn't have to suffer with "Exodus," be comforted in the fact that I do know what suffering is.

The other thing that makes this episode so fantastic is how "Exodus" makes me want to share it with someone. Imagine sitting there watching it with someone that's never seen it before. You want to see the look on their face when the raft explodes, and watch them squirm as the camera pans down the Hatch's shaft. To me that's one of the things that really makes the episode great - that it makes you want to share these moments with someone. Other Lost episodes do this, but this one has more than just about any other.


Before the second season began, Stephen King wrote a terrific Entertainment Weekly column on Lost, basically saying that the show should tell its story and end rather than drag on and get stale. He recommended two or three seasons at most and, truth be told, "Exodus" felt like it was the end of the first novel in a trilogy, much moreso than the other two finales to me at least.

It could have been higher on the list, no question. But the real question is how can I like this finale better than the other two? And what do all of you think? Is "Exodus" the best of the three finales? Or do you like Future Jack from "Through The Looking Glass" or all the Desmond-y goodness of "Live Together, Die Alone?"

Previous Reviews:
#10: White Rabbit
#9: The Man From Tallahassee