Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lost Episode Review 5.14, "The Variable"

"For the first time in a long time, I don't know what will happen..."

Kinda sums up my thoughts exactly.

I liked this episode - it certainly filled in a lot of blanks, and confirmed a lot of stuff we suspected (like Charles being Daniel's father) - but it didn't tell us anything really new except for 1) the fact that Daniel seems to think the future can be changed and 2) finally gives us some insight into Eloise's motivations. It was really sad to see Daniel die, especially since that scene seemed kinda forced to me. Daniel didn't need to use the gun - he had Richard's attention once he mentioned the hydrogen bomb. Blargh. At least Desmond's going to live (for now anyway, given he's the newest member of the show with some legal problems).

The other thing that I'm a bit disappointed by is the fact that the Comic Con video is probably not canon now since Daniel, Miles and his wife were all in the background and it seemed like it took place before the Incident (i.e. in the next four hours). Pierre might make something similar, but certainly not with any of them around. I did love seeing the scene between Daniel and Charlotte in real time - genuinely heartbreaking.

The best part of the episode to me was that we now know why Daniel tried to get Desmond to find his mom. He was trying to get her to not send the O6 back to the Island. If they don't get on Flight 316, they don't go back in time and The Incident likely never takes place. But he didn't have time, so to speak, to get the whole message out to Desmond, so ironically he probably instead reinforced her thought that she was doing the right thing by "helping" them. Was also really nice to see the continuation of Daniel's initial flashback scene, watching the news of the fake plane finding.

And we also now know what Eloise's role was in all this. She was convinced that the future couldn't be changed (lest the universe comes to an end or something) and that no matter what she did, she had no choice but to make sure all the events of the past came to pass. She spends her whole life making sure Daniel gets back to the Island so she can shoot him. But now, after sending them all back, she's essentially free - wonder what she and Charles are going to do now? Also makes me wonder if Charles Widmore was a bastard to Desmond in the past because he knew Desmond had to end up on the Island to push the button? Kinda casts him in a more benevolent light, eh?

Okay, lots to talk about:

Five Questions:

1) So can they or can't they?

Change the future, that is? Is Daniel right or wrong?

First of all, now that changing the future has been introduced, the Dark Tower ending I predicted so very long ago becomes much more real possibility. Will they be trapped in an time loop that they can't change, forced to repeat the same tragic events over and over again? Until, that is, perhaps an outside variable - like Desmond - arrives to intervene. And you just know now that he reiterated his "I'll never leave ya" promise to Penny that it's going to be broken before the show's end.

But we're not totally sure the future can be changed. Daniel could have been right the first time. After all, his mom certainly seemed to think so - she never would have sent Daniel to the freighter if she thought it she could have changed things. And she certainly said as much to Desmond when she encountered him in the pawn shop (of course, that could have just been to scare him into going to the Island). They could very well try and fail, much like Roland does with the Tower (which is my guess as to what's going to happen) and now it'll be a little be gray as to whether the universe course corrected or whether they simply did it wrong.

Regardless, Jack and company are at least going to try. If they succeed, theoretically, Flight 815 should never crash. But what would happen on the Island from that point forward? If Daniel never goes back in time, does the hydrogen bomb detonate in 1954? Does Desmond marry Penny instead of joining the army? Does Locke become stuck in a sucky life as a box company drone? That's the most interesting thing to me - if Jack and company save the future, Locke becomes irrelevant to the Island. So if Jack and company succeed, think Locke will try and change things back? That could set up and interesting Jack vs. Locke theme for the final season.

But if they fail (as I think they will, so we can see the actual Incident take place), I think it's going to be up to Desmond to try and change things. And, really, he may be the only one who's actually able to do so.

2) Um, dude, you really want to detonate a hydrogen bomb?

This perplexes me. Wouldn't detonating a hydrogen bomb be worse than the Incident itself? Seems that would certainly annihilate everything on the Island and we know that doesn't happen, yet another reason why I think they're going to fail.

3) So how bad is The Incident? What will happen to people who don't leave?

Daniel said that the energy underneath the Swan Station was 30,000 times more powerful than the energy underneath the Orchid. But the thing is we know is it won't kill everyone - not only does Pierre survive the Incident, but we know DHARMA-life continues for another 15 years on the Island, until the Purge. Is everyone who remains essentially quarantined there? Is that why "quarantine" was written on the Swan and Arrow station doors?

Another possibility that just came to me - is it possible the Incident releases the Smoke Monster from the Underworld? I don't think we've ever seen Smokey in 1977, have we? We've certainly seen him in 1988 with Danielle, but I don't think we've seen him before that. Now the ruins on Ben's door suggest that Smokey is much, much older than 1977, but perhaps he'd been sealed away and maybe the Incident is akin to opening Pandora's Box. Just a thought...

4) If Jack and company fail, what happens to them?

This is a really big question. If the future can't be changed, what happens to Jack and everyone who tries to help him? Do they die? Do they stay on the Island in DHARMA? Do they leave? And if they survive, can they try and change the future at another time? Can they try and prevent Flight 815 from taking off? Can they try and prevent their younger selves from ever getting on the plane in the first place? Can they contact them and let them know what happened in the past?

My guess is that if they did survive and end up trying to play around with time, they're not going to try and prevent things from that point - we've never seen any indication any of the Losties had any knowledge of the future. In fact, it seems much more like people arranged things behind the scenes to get them onto Flight 815 rather than the opposite. But maybe they end up trying to change the time loop in other ways - like, say, the note Marty gave to Doc in "Back to the Future."

Roland eventually went back in time with his horn. Maybe the final scene of Lost will have Jack waking up in jungle and finding a note from himself in his pocket, hinting that maybe this time Jack will be able to do things right. A sad ending, but offering hope for the future. I kinda like that.

5) And who's getting on the sub?

This is only an important question if Jack and company can't change the future. We know Pierre survives the Incident, sans arm, but who else gets on the sub? The previews showed Sawyer and Juliet being marched to the sub. But what about Hurley, Jin and Miles? Do they get on the sub or do they help Jack and Kate? Looks like Sayid's going to be lending a hand too.

And we know for certain baby Miles, Pierre's wife and Charlotte leave, but what about Annie? We still haven't seen her again since "Man Behind The Curtain." She could remain on the Island and get Purged instead, but I'm kinda hoping we'll at least get a glimpse of her before the end of the season.


* Loved young Daniel's braces

* The metronome ticked 864 times

* Charlie's really a cute kid, as was young Charlotte

* Other quote nominees:

"I can do both. I can make time."
"Why haven't you gotten rich by inventing the DVD or something?"

"I've got some bad news for you, Jack. She was wrong."

"I'm going to detonate a hydrogen bomb"

"I'm getting kinda used to insane"

* Daniel was "Twitchy" and "H.G. Wells" to Sawyer, but the look Juliet gave Sawyer when he called Kate "Freckles" could have dropped a rhinoceros in mid-charge.

* Desmond was taken to the Marine Medical Center, Long Beach

* Also, anyone else think Eloise was going to steal away her grandson when Penny went in to see Desmond?

* So what was up with those weird "What did you see" commercial thingys. Here's what I saw:

1) A blue soldier's coffin
2) A bride and groom kissing
3) A surfer on a surfboard
4) A sonogram
5) Kids on the steps of a school

A very good episode. Not up to "Constant" levels, but certainly one that sets up what looks to be a rollicking finale. 4/5. Can't wait for next week!

The Constant, Part II?

All indications are that tonight's episode,"The Variable," will be the long awaited Daniel flashback episode which should fill in some of the blanks on all the time travel machinations of the Island and, hopefully, we'll get a bit of backstory on Daniel's mom as well.

So one question for tonight is what is the variable? The easy, quick answer to this is Daniel, since it is his episode and Desmond has already played the role of the constant before. But perhaps a better question is what is the equation instead? "The Constant" was referring to the rules of time travel itself, i.e. one needs a constant through the time periods when one's consciousness travels through time. But I'm thinking tonight's episode might refer to the ultimate solution to the show itself.

Perhaps Daniel, who essentially figured out a way to time travel on his own, is really the key to finding a somewhat happy ending to Lost. After "Flashes" aired, I guessed that Lost would end with Desmond going back in time to save everyone with no hope of getting back to the future. Penny then volunteers to go with him and they end up becoming Adam and Eve. Since then, considering we haven't seen Rose and Bernard since everyone started time traveling, it seems a lot more likely they're really Adam and Eve instead.

But let's say Daniel is a metaphorical variable to the end of the show. How could he affect things? Originally I thought Desmond was going to be a fluctuating wild card when it comes to time travel, possibly able to break the rules of the equation itself. And while that may still be true, perhaps Daniel is going to play an equally important time traveling role, something akin to a master course corrector. Desmond seems to need a lot of course correcting to get him to where he needs to be, with Daniel's mom having taken primary responsibility up until now. But maybe from here on out it will be Daniel's job instead.

Expectations are high for tonight. It's going to be hard for tonight's episode to match "The Constant" simply because Desmond and Penny have a wonderful relationship to build an episode around. But one of the biggest knocks on this season has been the relative paucity of Daniel screentime. That gets corrected tonight! Enjoy the show! Review up tomorrow morning! :)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Miles' Shark T-Shirt...

In my review of Hoth, I mentioned how cool I thought Miles' shark t-shirt was. Doc Jensen actually tracked it down and, well, it's even COOLER when you see the whole thing:

Yes, that's a shark fighting a bear, which is as cool if not cooler than a ninja fighting a t-rex. You can order the shirt here, though they're kinda pricey. :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Well, That Was Lame...

Anyone watch the clip show? Bleah.

It wasn't a terrible summary of the last season and a half, but there was absolutely nothing new in there. Course, it was still better than watching the Mets, who seem to be quite adept at finding new and intricate ways to aggravate me. :P

And I don't know if you've seen this video yet, but it's fairly neat (though nausea inducing) - reminds me of a cross between Cloverfield and Half-Life. Seems like it was made by some Lost fans since it uses Michael Giacchino's score and apparently is connected to a couple Lost fan-sites around the web.

Does it actually have anything to do with Lost? Probably not. But it's still better than a clip show. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lost Week

Since it's a quiet week with no new Lost, I thought I might go through some of my old theories postings to see if we've learned anything new since I posted them. Keep in mind, most of these were posted between Seasons 3-4, so we've come a long way since then.

My very first Theory Question regarded Richard Malkin, who was one of the most puzzling aspects of the entire first season because more than anything else, his insistence (and later admittance that he was a fraud) strongly implied that someone knew that Flight 815 would crash and specifically hired him to get Claire on that plane.

This is especially interesting now that it seems Claire (and Aaron's) role seem to have been diminished by the fact that neither of them went back in time. Now one could argue since Aaron is one of the Oceanic Six his presence helped get Kate, Jack and the Others go back in time, but there certainly wouldn't be any time-loop problems if a pregnant Claire never got onto the plane.

That being said, someone still must have hired Richard Malkin to get Claire onto that specific flight. One of my initial thoughts was that Christian, before he died, without any knowledge that Flight 815 was going to crash, hired Malkin to put Claire on the same flight as her brother and that the adoptive family waiting for her was going to be Jack's mom. Thus Claire's presence on Flight 815 was kind of an accident - Christian had no idea that the Flight was going to crash, he just wanted her on the same flight as Jack. This also kinda preserves the "you must raise this child yourself" theme. Once in the states, Claire could live with her half-brother and his family and raise Aaron herself.

But the time travel changes everything. Now we know, assuming they survived the decades, that there are several people in 2004 with prior knowledge of the crash: Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sawyer, Sayid, Miles, Daniel and Juliet, plus anyone they might have told over the years. Any of them could have arranged for Claire to be on that flight.

Now why would they if they knew the plane was going to crash? Well, my guess would be that they essentially become course-correctors, making sure everyone who's supposed to be on Flight 815 gets on there. Claire certainly needed a good deal of persuasion to get on that plane; certainly wouldn't have herself without Malkin's influence. And they might not have to do it directly, just as long as they leave specific instructions on what has to happen and when.

That's my updated guess for now - Malkin was one of the first things that fascinated me about Lost. I have no doubts we'll get an answer to this question before the end of the show.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lost Episode Review 5.13, "Some Like It Hoth"

"Dude, they're building our Hatch."

Well, well, well. Looks like we've got another Lostie with Daddy Issues. Thing is though, this Daddy actually seems to be a pretty good guy, at least when he's with cute Baby Miles. Seriously, Miles-in-diapers is by far the cutest child we've seen on the show. Of course, since Miles doesn't remember Pierre at all, we know his mom bails on him relatively soon, even though Pierre doesn't die until the Purge - remember he states that he does in the comic-con video.

And I loved the interaction between Miles and Hurley - this was really one of the best character episodes we've had in a long, long time. Miles' flashbacks didn't tell us much that was new or that we hadn't guessed already, but it had some great character moments, especially the opening scene in the hotel and the final flashback with the young football player's father. Nice to see Naomi again too. And I got chills when Hurley saw the Swan being constructed - you knew it was coming eventually, but it was still so cool to see on screen. And hooray for Daniel! I guess the fact that he "was gone" didn't mean he was gone in somewhere in time. Just went to Ann Arbor instead.

One of the things about the Swan that still confuses me is how much did Ben know about it? Long ago, I thought the writers explicitly stated that Ben didn't know about the Swan until Locke stumbled across it. Now obviously the Swan was a secret project in DHARMA that Pierre didn't want the general population to know about, janitors included. From that standpoint, you wouldn't expect that Ben knew about the Swan pre-Purge at all.

However, it seems hard to believe that once Ben kills everyone and has access to their records that he wouldn't find some mention of the Swan somewhere. Not to mention, DHARMA is supposedly building this in "Hostile Territory" right under their nose? Just doesn't seem to add up there. But we should be getting answers to this fairly soon (see below).

So who's flashbacks will we get next episode? It looked like it was in 1977 again, so that would suggest one of the time traveling Losties. We've already gotten one from Sawyer, Jack, Kate, Sayid and Miles. That leaves Hurley, Daniel and Juliet (unless it's someone totally different, but ABC probably would have hyped it up). My initial inclination was Hurley because we still don't know how he got Charlie's guitar, but maybe we'll get a Juliet episode - she hasn't really had a whole lot to do this season, except for boinking Sawyer and saving Ben's life. :)

Five questions:

1) So what's going to drive Miles' mom away?

The short answer to this is I guess it's going to have something to do with the Season Finale, which if you haven't heard by now is called "The Incident." But according to the Blast Door Map, the incident didn't happen until 1985. Now, of course, the map could be totally wrong about the date since it was written by Kelvin (who didn't seem to know a whole lot about DHARMA) and, allegedly, Radzinsky (allegedly, because I'm thinking more and more that it was an impersonator in the Swan calling himself Radzinsky because the real Radzinsky wouldn't have needed the Blast Door Map). Not to mention, they seem to be setting everything up to have The Incident take place in the very near future.

Alvarez, the dead guy Miles was delivering to Pierre, who was killed by electromagnetism from the Swan, seems to suggest that the Incident could easily occur before the Swan was finished, and cost Pierre Chang an arm (and possibly an eye, though that could have been Mikhail's). Not to mention, it eventually leads to the construction of the computer in the dome. So it seems like the Incident is a likely candidate for them leaving.

But remember the comic-con video. Pierre made it with Daniel, but during filming he yells at his wife and you can hear Miles in the background, so they hadn't left yet. In it, Daniel had obviously warned Pierre about the future and told him he couldn't change anything. But given that, it seems possible with this advance knowledge, Pierre sends his wife and son away to try and save their life from the Purge and/or Incident. If that's the case, it's kinda noble, really. Miles may have Daddy Issues, but I don't think he has Bad Daddy Issues.

2) That being said, did Pierre and the Island have anything to do with her death and Miles' powers?

Miles' mom looked like she was suffering from some form of cancer when he visited her on her deathbed and the first thing that ran through my mind was "Hmmm... had she been exposed to some weird type of radiation?" And then my follow-up thought was "Hmmm... I wonder what Pierre was working on when Miles was conceived?"

If Miles and his mom didn't leave before the Incident and it turns out to be something like the Discharge, perhaps that could be a unique reason behind both phenomena. But if Pierre sends them away before the Incident, then maybe something he was working on in the past affected them both. I think it's looking more and more like we're getting Pierre Chang flashbacks in the finale, which would mean a Daniel episode sometime before that, more likely than not.

Speaking of which...

3) So what exactly was Daniel doing in Ann Arbor?

All we know about Ann Arbor is that that's where Pierre Chang was from. Since Daniel returned with a group of scientists, I assume he was doing research there and now he's returned to work on the Swan and Orchid stations. Remember we saw Daniel in the Orchid with Pierre in the season opener.

4) Who is Bram working for?

This is really the $64,000 question. Bram is the guy who was with Ilana on the Hydra Island beach with the guns. Since we now know they're not working for Widmore, who the heck are they working for? Certainly doesn't seem to be Ben, so is there a third party involved?

My crazy theory for this one: They're actually working for... Jack! The elderly Jack who's now thirty years older in 2007 than he was in 1977 and now knows he has a mission to accomplish once his younger self goes back in time on Flight 316. See this post, if you're confused by that last statement. :)

I suppose a more serious answer is Alvar Hanso. We know he's still alive in 2005 or so at least, thanks to Rachel Blake. Sun's father, Mr. Paik, could be another possibility. Granted, he doesn't control his company anymore after Sun bought it out from under him, but he probably still has considerable money and influcence. But of course since they're not working for Widmore, the other obvious choice is Ben - perhaps he told them not to show any recognition of him at all on the plane? But that just seems weird. Not to mention, a third party just seems more likely because we still don't know who sent that orderly to subdue Sayid back in "The Little Prince." It could have been Ben, for sure, as another smokescreen, but it seems to fit better if there was a third party involved instead.

5) What's going to happen to all the time travelers now?

Now that Sawyer's gone and tied up his greasy-looking underling, seems the ****'s going to hit the fan next episode. You could see this coming a mile away because it seems that something eventually spurs the Losties to leave DHARMA behind. Question is, where do they go? Off the Island? To the Others?

And, this is really the big question on my mind, does one of them end up causing The Incident? Seems to me like that's where they're heading right now. Very cool.


* Lots of Numbers this episode, not including the ones on the Hatch. The microwave in the beginning was on 3:16. Miles want into Apt. #4 and was offered $1.6 million dollars (I had forgotten about that).

* The key to the dead guy's apartment was under a rabbit statue. :)

* The Swan is in Sector 334, Hostile Territory.

* "Circle of trust" - isn't that from "Meet the Parents?"

* Loved the shark t-shirt Miles was wearing in one of his flashbacks.

* Also loved the Apple and Books DHARMA logo on Hurley's notebook:

* Matt, by e-mail: "The look Miles gave his dad when he said he 'liked country' was awesome." Agreed.

* I agree with Sawyer, Kate took her stupid pills this episode.

* The dead guy Naomi had was Felix, who was on his way to deliver some papers to Widmore on empty graves and the purchase of an airplane.

* I said it before and I'll say it again, love the new laid-back Jack.

* Lots of Egyptian writing on the chalkboard Jack cleaned off.

* Miles ate at La Vida Tacos.

* Loved everything Hurley said about Star Wars. Much more inspired than I originally thought that plot was going to be.

* Other quote contenders:

"You on some kind of secret mission?"
"Polar bear poop, got it."

"And let's face it, Ewoks suck, dude."
"That dude is my dad."
"Hey Miles! Long time, no see."


Pretty good as the season winds down. Didn't tell us an awful lot of new stuff, but it did move things right along and was entertaing from start to finish. 4.5/5.0. So now we have to wait two weeks for some new Lost? Sheesh. What happened to showing the season straight through? :P

I'm jumping on a plane in a couple hours and will be gone for a few days. Probably won't get a chance to respond to e-mails and questions until I get back. Have a great weekend everyone! :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Trust me..."

Okay, so this week's Miles-centric (I assume) episode is called "Some Like it Hoth?" You've got to be kidding me. I'm hoping this doesn't mean we're getting a joke episode this week with Miles - I really want some nuggety-DHARMA goodness with a character that after two seasons we still really don't know much about at all.

Now considering the Losties are stuck in 1977, I'm assuming the title has something to do with Star Wars premiering on May 25th of that year. Don't suppose there's any way Hurley could hijack the sub to go see it, do you? :)

And, BTW, so far my predictions of season ending episodes look pretty good. So far we've had Kate, Ben and now Miles. My predictions were:

11. Hurley
12. Kate
13. Ben
14. Miles
15. Caesar
16. Sun/Jin
Finale - Daniel

Of course, it doesn't seem like we're going to have a Caesar episode now (unless he somehow survived), but an Ilana episode seems much more likely. And if this episode is comedic at all, perhaps we won't get a Hurley episode. Much rather have a Pierre Chang/Richard/Charles Widmore episode instead. :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Like A Rolling Stone...

Nice Lost article in Rolling Stone - nothing spoilerish, just some quality time with Darlton and company. As a bonus, there's a neat Q&A with Michael Emerson too that starts off like this:

Rolling Stone: So, how can I believe anything you tell me?

Michael Emerson: Heh-heh. [Long silence follows]

Check 'em out! :)

EDIT: Okay, my mistake. The article's from last year. Weird how I stumbled across it now - need to put down the gin and tonic before posting. :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Further "Dead is Dead" Thoughts

Some of this post came out of a discussion on a GameFaqs message board (you have to be a registered user to read it).

1) Ilana

The more I think about it, the more I think this is a case of Widmore one upping Ben. I bet Charles knew what Ben was up to and sent Ilana (and several others) to make sure they were on Flight 316. He certainly must have known that Ben had Sayid picking off all his people. Probably just told her to latch onto him like glue and make sure they all got on whatever flight Jack Shephard booked.

2) Ben, Eko and Smokey

From the linked discussion above:
Upon what criteria does Smokey judge those it comes into contact with? We only have two real people where we get to see it from beginning to end, and they are starkly different.

EKO: I ask for no forgiveness, Father. For I have not sinned. I have only done what I needed to do to survive.

[Yemi lets his hand fall from the cross and Eko lowers it.]

EKO: A small boy once asked me if I was a bad man. If I could answer him now, I would tell him that... when I was a young boy, I killed a man to save my brother's life. I am not sorry for this. I am proud of this!

[Eko drops to his knees in front of Yemi and spreads his arms out.]

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

As compared to:

BEN: Ohh, Alex. I am so, so sorry. It was all my fault.

There has to be more to it besides remorse and repentance, but that's a nice base. Right after Eko ends his speech Smoke Yemi gets disgusted and kills him shortly afterwards. After Ben, it simply says "I know" and lays the verbal smackdown on him about future trespasses. I mean, Eko wasn't a saint but he was much more of a 'better man' than Ben. Maybe not to the Island though, which may have been a tipping point if we still believe it's the Island's security system.
I think that this actually was a bit of a cop-out by the writers, much the way Ben entering the Temple "erased" his memory. Realistically, there's no way Ben should have lived after being judged by Smokey if his whole life was weighed. But instead Smokey conveniently chose to weigh the one single aspect of Ben's life where he showed a glimmer of humanity: Alex (and his decision to let Penny live). Kinda lame.

Now you could argue that the remorse and repentance factor was the only straw there - and I think that's what the writers are aiming for, but does Ben show any remorse for slaughtering the entire DHARMA initiative? For turning Sayid into a killbot? For blackmailing Jack into doing surgery by threatening to kill Sawyer? And, most importantly, for killing or attempting to kill John Locke three times (I count convincing John not to press the button so he'd get imploded as one)?

Ben can argue that everything he's done has been for the Island - everything, that is, except trying to kill John, which to me was solely because he saw John as a threat to his power and it seems the Monster should have been a LOT more pissed at him for that than he was.

3) Ben, Ethan and DHARMA

Seems like Ben (and Ethan) spent quite a bit of time with the Others while they were still in DHARMA. How did they manage to get away without arousing too much suspicion? Perhaps DHARMA life was a bit too chaotic towards the end to keep track of everyone? I wonder if they had a lot more Other moles in DHARMA aside from Ethan and Ben to help cover for them. Maybe Ben recruited people over the years...

4) Smokey and the Blast Door Map

Just to refresh our memories, here's what the Blast Door Map had to say about Smokey:
Primary nexus of Cerberus related activity

Caduceus station believe to have been abandoned due to AH/MDG incident of 1985...
...or possible catastrophic malfunction of Cerberus System
The DHARMA folk (or at least Kelvin/Radzinsky) called the Monster, Cerberus, after the legendary guardian of the underworld. The map makes it sound like the Monster is a DHARMA security system that "malfunctioned," but we know now that's not true since the Monster certainly seems to an Island native that pre-dates DHARMA.

Now we know DHARMA built the Barracks directly over the place where the Monster was summoned AND built a sonic fence to keep him out. Perhaps they kind of co-opted the Monster to use against the Others, summoning it when the Others attacked them - it wouldn't have entered the Barracks as long as the fence was up. One may ask why it would attack Island natives, but it really doesn't seem to have any great love for anyone aside from Ben or Locke. Maybe it worked for a while, but eventually Ben convinced it to stop and turned it against them entirely. Certainly one of the biggest questions we have left.

5) The Whispers and the Blast Door Map

I also have long thought that these BDM notations were references to the Whispers:
  • High potential for R.V.S. Facility
  • Interference might also prevent location use as listening station/cryptography research/communications analysis facility
With R.V.S. standing for Remote Viewing Station. In other words, DHARMA had a station used to view all around the Island (which they actually had several since The Barracks, The Pearl, The Flame and The Hydra had some security camera viewing stations in them), but that at least one "listening station" had the capability to listen in on and communicate with other areas.

But considering Ben told Danielle to run if she heard the Whispers when he took Alex (which pre-dates the Purge) really suggests that the Whispers are entirely an Others phenomenon and not a DHARMA one. This, to me, means that the likely source of the Whispers is in the Temple.

Remember also that Whispers were heard right before Richard and the Others ambush Keamy's team in "There's No Place Like Home," when Richard and the Others were already supposed to be at the Temple. And this has happened several times where the Others have seemingly appeared out of nowhere right after the Whispers are heard. So maybe the Temple has some sort of teleportation ability that's able of viewing, listening in on, communicating with and teleporting people to any area of the Island? Only thing I can think of at this point.

Lots to think about after this episode. Can't wait to get the scoop on Miles next week. :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lost Episode Review 5.12, "Dead is Dead"

"The fact that John Locke is walking around this Island scares the hell out of me."

As good as this season has been of late, I do think it's suffered a bit from the lack of Ben, Locke, Desmond and Daniel. And given that a few of the best episodes of the entire series were pretty much all Ben vs. Locke, this one was pretty much guaranteed to be a classic by default.

And while I think it lived up to its hype in general, I kind of wanted a bit more. I also thought the Smokey special effects were a bit weak, didn't you, especially when it came out of the hole ridden slab? I mean, remember how Smokey appeared to Eko in the 23rd Psalm - that was a top notch effect. When he came out of the hole it looked kinda... well, fake and cheesy, I thought. But Ben and Locke were fabulous and we had a lot of holes filled in Ben's past:

1) One of the main areas of contention between Charles and Ben was 1) Ben's decision to let Alex (and Danielle) live and 2) Charles having Penny off-Island with another woman. The former was an odd, rare moment of compassion by Ben that, granted, may not have been motivated entirely by pity, given that he may have coveted Alex to raise as his own.

2) However, it was this act that also caused him to spare Penny's life (which, in turn, may have caused Smokey to spare Ben's).

3) Charles Widmore appears to have been banished shortly after the Purge in 1992, given Alex's age. So did Charles order the Purge himself or was it Ben's idea? Seems strange that Charles would order the catalytic event that ended up with Ben taking control. And it seems Ben was hanging out with the Others quite a bit, pre-Purge, given that he stole Alex (with Ethan, no less) in 1988. Interesting, too, that Danielle would almost certainly have recognized Ben when she captured him and turned him over to Sayid. You would think she would have said something along the lines of "this is the man who stole my daughter."

4) Did Ben really kill Ceasar? Honestly, his character has been kind of Paolo-esque, but WTF? Seems there's a lot more to Ilana than I first thought, eh? Either that or she's gone insane.

5) Ben does not seem to have killed Desmond. In fact, Ben gets his ass kicked by Desmond. I was genuinely (and happily) surprised at the outcome of that scene. And what did Penny mean when she said "my father and I have no relation whatsoever?" Does that mean she's not related to Charles? She's certainly wasn't born on the Island, though. That seems definitive.

6) Ben, in his own words, wasn't supposed to return to the Island. As punishment, it seems that he now has to follow John Locke around like a puppy dog. Good entertainment potential there.

7) Ben seemed to confirm the Others were behind The Whispers. He certainly seemed to know what they were. I always thought they were from a DHARMA remote viewing station that the Others took over, but given that Ben told Danielle this pre-Purge makes me think the Temple might have that ability instead.

The questions this week are going to take a bit more of a philosophical, speculative turn than usual...

Five Questions:

1) Is Jacob really the Island itself?

I've lone thought that Jacob was the "god" of the Island, but Richard (I think) in the very beginning of the episode seemed to insinuate that Jacob and the Island were one and the same. Perhaps this isn't really a new thought, but if Jacob is the Island itself, it seems to make a bit more sense to me, especially in how it seems to communicate through the dead bodies that land on him.

Plus it makes sense that when any of the Others say they're doing things "for Jacob" or that something is "what Jacob wants" is really doing it for the Island itself. It also gives new meaning to several things, like when Jacob told Locke to "help me" and The Discharge (and possibly the Incident). Is that why Jacob needs help? Is he hurt?

I know this is just semantics to an extent, but I think it really changes the way we think about things. Including...

2) So how is Locke alive again?

The Island obviously wanted him alive, but as Ben said "dead is dead." Now of course we've seen Christian, Yemi, Charlie, Claire and Alex all wandering around and talking at various points. Some of these (Yemi, Charlie and Alex) were obviously Smokey taking their form. Claire could very possibly be Smokey as well.

But Christian seems to be something else entirely. If the Island can bring Locke back to life (and it does seem like it's really Locke and not Smokey Locke or Zombie Island Locke), then can the Island do it to anyone else? And obviously the parallels between Locke and Christian can't be dismissed. Both of them came to the Island in a coffin brought by Jack and both are now walking around and acting pretty much like their former selves ("say hi to my son for me"), i.e. not like the Monster pretending to be someone.

So the question has to be asked, if Christian is really and truly alive, is Jack responsible for bringing them both back to life? He is a doctor, a saver of lives, - it's pretty much what he's done all is life, right?

3) So now what is Smokey?

Well, he doesn't appear to be Anubis, given that the mural above the holes showed Smokey appearing before Anubis himself. Here's the image from Dark UFO:

Could that be Ammit, as I speculated last week? Smokey's head looks vaguely animal-ish, I suppose. But it's hard to say anything except that he doesn't appear to be Anubis. But perhaps he's not really one of the Egyptian gods, but rather a tool of them? Perhaps he's really just Anubis' way of "judging" people?

But if that's true, then is the Island, and by extension, Jacob, really Anubis, then? Perhaps we'll get this answer when we find out...

4) What lies in the shadow of the statue?

This was the weirdest scene of the entire episode. So is there more to Ilana than what we saw in Sayid's flashback or were she and the others possessed in the same way Danielle's crew was possessed? Is she really an Other?

And what does lie in the shadow of the statue? Does the Smokey tile mean that the statue itself is of Anubis? I think it's a stronger possibility than before, but remember that Anubis is the god of the underworld (where Ben and Locke were exploring). Let's see who's worshipped in the Temple above Anubis first.

I'm also very relieved she didn't kill Frank. :P

5) Where does Locke go from here?

He seems to be getting some instruction now on where to go and what to do (had he ever been to the Temple before, I don't think so). Now he's got a subservient Ben in tow and a Sun who needs to get thirty years into the past. Supposedly Locke's going to help her do that. How? The Orchid again? Or will they finally enter the above ground Temple?

Sadly it looks like we won't get this answer next episode. Fortunately, we get something even better: Miles!


* Did anyone else think the young-ish Charles Widmore didn't look like either of his younger or older counterparts?

* I loved it when Locke walked behind Ben's desk in The Hydra and put his feet up. :)

* Also loved the Risk game still out in Ben's house.

* I liked the method of summoning the Monster with the icky drain.

* The Others' huts looked a lot like the fake huts where the Others kept Michael (the ones Sayid later found)

* Other quote contenders this episode:

"I'm going back to be judged"
"We don't have a name for it, but I believe you call it The Monster"

"If everything you've done has been in the best interest of the Island, then I'm sure the Monster will understand"

"This gentleman and I are taking this boat.
Anyone else have a problem with that?"

"When you hear "The Whispers," run the other way"

"Find Desmond Hume and tell him I'm sorry."

"I did kill Alex"

* Interesting that the Monster's door was in Alex's room

* Young Ben had really nice hair. Charles too. :)


Ben and Locke, Locke and Ben. 4.8/5.0 - it only loses a couple points for some poor Smokey effects and bad casting of the young-ish Charles. Otherwise a terrific episode and it looks like next week we finally get one of Miles! Woo hoo!

Hearts And Kidneys Are Tinkertoys

Tonight's episode is called "Dead is Dead," and while we know it will feature lots of Ben (and hope it contains lots of Temple/Smokey goodness), the title intrigues me. Could we get some answers tonight as to how Smokey is assuming the forms of dead people on the Island? Is it reanimating their bodies or assuming their form? Or is the title merely a reference to Locke? Perhaps Ben has a hard time understanding how he's alive.

Of course, to me, the title immediately brings to mind one of the opening scenes in Young Frankenstein as Gene Wilder admonishes one of his students:
Medical Student: Isn't it true that Darwin preserved a piece of vermicelli in a glass case until, by some extrordinary means, it actually began to move with voluntary motion?

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Are you speaking of the worm or the spaghetti?
[the class laughs]

Medical Student: Why, the worm, sir.

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Yes, I did read something of that incident when I was a student, but you have to remember that a worm... with very few exceptions... is not a human being.

Medical Student: But wasn't that the whole basis of your grandfather's work? The reanimation of dead tissue?

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: My grandfather was a very sick man.

Medical Student: But as a Fronkensteen, aren't you the least bit curious about it? Doesn't the bringing back to life what was once dead hold any intrigue to you?

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: You are talking about the nonsensical ravings of a lunatic mind! Dead is dead!

Medical Student: But look at what has been done with hearts and kidneys...

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Hearts and kidneys are tinker toys! I am talking about the central nervous system!
Enjoy the show, everyone! Review up tomorrow morning! :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

“Don’t act like Ben. It will ruin what’s to come.”

In case you missed it, the NY Times had a short interview with Sterling Beaumon, who plays Young Ben. It's pretty neat and may, may, help to tide you over until tomorrow night. :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lost Episode Review 5.11, "Whatever Happened, Happened"

"Sawyer broke your heart. You needed him to fix it."

Okay, so was this the best Kate episode since "Tabula Rasa" or simply the best Kate episode ever? I'm actually inclined to think the latter. Yeah, the scene where she said goodbye to Aaron was a bit melodramatic, but not outrageously so. So many things I loved tonight:

1) Total Protonic Reversal - Jack acting like Locke, Sawyer acting like first season Sawyer, Kate acting like first season Kate and not one, but several, love trapezoid conversations that actually sounded, shall we say, normal? Perhaps that isn't the right word, honest is probably better. Everyone this episode was actually honest with each other, especially...

2) Cassidy - Cassidy simply rocks. She's been awesome in every episode she's been in, she actually told off Kate to her face several times (about time, eh) and I really loved their relationship. Loved how Clementine called her "Auntie Kate" too.

3) Miles and Hurley's Excellent Conversation - Which pretty much summed up my thoughts on how time travel works in LOST. For those of you who missed it, you can check out here and especially here. Heck, Hurley even brought Back to the Future into it. Am I good or what? ;)

4) Richard's Five Lines of Dialogue - Between that and next week's preview (which, since it's a Ben episode, makes me two-for-two on flashback predictions so far), I think we can can make some pretty safe guesses about some pretty big things on this show, including what the Smoke Monster really is. More on that later...

5) Wakey-wakey! - Yeah, the ending was just awesome. Can't wait to see the continuation of that scene next week.

I loved every second of this episode. Was it better than "LaFleur," "316" or "This Place Is Death?" Yeah, it might be. Of course, this whole season has really been one long episode strung together, so it's kind of hard to judge them individually. But WHH did something no Lost episode has done in a while - actually make me care about some of the character relationships again.

It's about time Jack told off Kate, about time Kate got told off about Aaron, about time someone made Sawyer face himself, about time Juliet confronted Kate and Jack, about time Miles and Hurley had a serious time travel conversation (sorry, I was on a roll). Wasn't it all... refreshing? I think this was the best Lost has interlaced its mythology with its character drama since the second season (The 23rd Psalm and The Long Con come to mind).

I can't believe we have to wait seven days for next week. :)

Five Questions:

1) So whatever happened, happened?

Yeah. Again I'm going to refer y'all to this previous post of mine, which pretty much sums up Miles and Hurley's conversation. But basically they really can't change anything. Jack was always going to refuse to save Ben (and, ironically, probably did more to make Ben the man he becomes than even Sayid did). Juliet was always going to patch him up and Kate was always going to try to save him.

Now we need to find out if Desmond is truly the exception to the rule...

2) So what did Richard tell us?

It seems that once you enter the Temple, you "lose your innocence," likely another way of saying you cease to be a "good person." Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Richard also said that Ben was "going to forget all this ever happened?" If true, it's a convenient way of retconning the fact Ben didn't seem to know Sayid in the Swan (as Hurley pointed out to Miles). Of course, I'm not 100% positive of this because Ben could have simply lied to Sayid, accepting the fact that all of this was going to happen for the good of the universe.

But we know Ben returns to DHARMA and remains there for another 15 years. So assuming he eventually returns to camp and remembers everything going forward, will he remember Sawyer, Jack and the other time travelers? Provided they're still there when he returns, that is - I'm thinking they may have to flee after what happened this episode. Of course, if they did flee and, in fact, the sub isn't supposed to return for a few months there's really only one place in 1977 for them to go... to the Others.

Richard also seemed to suggest Ellie and Charles were still in charge at this point. Ben seems to assume full command after the Purge in 1992, but when then is Charles exiled? Also, if Penny hasn't been born yet, it's gotta happen really soon (she's got to be at least 30 years old in 2007). Will we get to see her be born on the Island? Now that I think about it, Charles Widmore is another possible candidate for flashbacks in the season finale.

4) Is the Magic Box in the Temple?

Seems to me it has to be. It's the only way I can think of that Richard is going to cure Ben. But why does using it cause you to lose your innocence? Is that why the Others need kids? Is that why they needed Walt? If Richard hadn't had to take Ben to the Temple, would he have been able to use it in the future? If that's the case, Ben should be very, very angry at Jack. It seems to me that Jack's decision to do nothing (which was so awesome, by the way) seems to loom even larger and has bigger consequences than any other decision he ever made, including to call the freighter. And will Ben learn all about this in the future?

5) Is Smokey really Ammit, The Devourer of Hearts?

Okay, this is from next week's preview, but I have to ask it now (actually I already brought this up several weeks ago, but it's well worth revisiting). It seems to me Smokey has to be the incarnation of one of the Egyptian Underworld gods. I originally thought he was Anubis, but perhaps I was wrong.

Back in "The Cost of Living," Smokey asked Eko (in the form of Yemi) whether he repented, whether he showed remorse for all the wrongs he had committed in life. His response was:
"I did not ask for the life I was given, but it was given, nonetheless. And with it, I did my best."
And then Smokey killed him. Now it's hard to say whether Eko was already "judged" at that point. Smokey told him he had to come and "confess," which sounds to me like he was already found guilty. But it certainly was Smokey that carried out the final sentence.

Next episode Ben gets "judged" and Smokey's going to be there. Now we know Smokey comes from the Underworld, the only question is who is he really in Egyptian mythology? Is he the Judge or the Executioner? If he's the judge, he's probably Anubis or Osiris, but from Eko's encounter with him that doesn't seem to be the case. If he's the Executioner though, he's probably Ammit. From the weighing of the heart:
In Egyptian religion, the heart was the key to the afterlife. It was conceived as proceeding at death to the future world, where it gave evidence for, or against, its possessor. It was thought that the heart was examined by Anubis and the deities during the Weighing of the Heart ceremony. If the heart weighed more than the feather of Maat, it was immediately consumed by the demon Ammit.
So who is this Ammit?

Ammit was not worshipped, and she was never regarded as a goddess. Instead, she embodied all that the Egyptians feared, threatening to bind them to eternal restlessness if they did not follow the principle of Ma'at. Thus Ammit was depicted with the head of a crocodile or dog, the front part of her body as a lioness or leopard, and her hind quarters in the form of a hippopotamus, a combination of those animals which were considered as the most dangerous to the Ancient Egyptians. Although often referred to as a demon, by destroying evil she acted as a force for good
Of course, Smokey could be something totally different, perhaps a combincation of all members of the Underworld court. It can certainly serve as judge since it can read minds, and it seems to weigh whether someone is good or evil. But then it also attacks without warning and seems to have no problem killing people outright.

Also if Smokey is Ammit, why did he appear to John Locke (in Walkabout) as a white light? Was Locke judged to be an innocent? I would think he certainly would be now that he was resurrected. But the bottom line here is that it seems to me Smokey is at least representative of one of the figures in Egyptian mythology and will be taking part when Ben has his heart weighed next episode. May god have mercy on his soul.


* I had such a hard time picking out a quote for the top of the post. Other contenders:

"Sawyer sent me"
"Then he dies. I've already saved Ben Linus once"
"You didn't like the old me, Kate"
"You and me would never have worked out, Kate"
"I'm going back to find your daughter"
"If I take him, he'll be one of us and his innocence will be gone"

and, of course,

"Welcome back to the land of the living!" So awesome.

I also considered putting "Juice box!!" up there, but stopped myself. ;-)

* Em welcomed the return of the "cute infant Aaron"

* The song Kate was singing to Aaron was the same lullaby, "Catch A Falling Star," that Claire loved. It was also the song the Others' mobile in The Staff's nursery played.

* I also really liked how suspicion in the Case of the Flaming Bus was thrown on Jack because he's the new janitor.

* Miles and Hurley were playing chicken foot. Awesome.

* I'm kinda afraid to admit this, but what made me think of the Egyptian Heart Weighing Ceremony was actually an old G.I. Joe Episode, "The Gods Below." Believe it or not, you can actually watch it here. God, I'm old.

* Again, I really loved Kate and Cassidy's relationship. Best one Kate's had on the show.

* Sawyer called Kate Freckles again. Loved it.


I really think this was the best Kate episode ever. She still has some mystery in Tabula Rasa, but this episode actually made me like Kate again. For now. 4.8/5.0 - loses a couple points for being a tad bit long in her goodbye to Aaron. Now if we could only jump a week forward in time...


Tonight's episode is called "Whatever Happened, Happened," which sounds like we're going to get a Daniel-type lecture from the the 1974-ers on not being able to change the future. It would be very cool to get that straightened out, even cooler to get it from Daniel himself.

Including the season finale, there are seven episodes left this season. Assuming Lost has returned to flashback mode (there's certainly a lot we need to know), I kinda wonder who they're going to spotlight for the remaining episodes? The finale could be a smörgåsbord, but I bet the other six are going to focus on a specific character. So far this season we've had:

1. Because You Left - O6
2. The Lie - Hurley
3. Jughead - Desmond
4. The Little Prince - Kate
5. This Place Is Death - Sun/Jin
6. 316 - Jack
7. The Life And Death Of Jeremy Bentham - Locke
8. LaFleur - Sawyer
9. Namaste - Smörgåsbord
10. He's Our You - Sayid

Out of those that have already gotten an episode, Hurley, Kate and Desmond (or Ben) are the ones in most need of a second one. We still need to know 1) How Hurley got Charlie's guitar and ended up on 316 2) Where Kate stashed Aaron and 3) What did Ben do to Penny and Desmond? I think it's very possible we're going to get a Ben episode instead of another Desmond one. That would be very cool, but the Hurley and Kate episodes would only fill in some minor blanks.

So who do we need besides them? Well, Ilana and Caesar come to mind, even though we already got a good portion of Ilana's story last episode, but really Daniel and Miles are the two most interesting characters out there in need of a flashback. And since we need to catch up with Sun and Frank again, I wouldn't be surprised to see one of them get an episode as well. So let's take a guess:

11. Hurley
12. Kate
13. Ben
14. Miles
15. Caesar
16. Sun/Jin
Finale - Daniel

Saving Daniel for the finale seems like a very LOSTish thing for the writers to do, but I also wouldn't be surprised if they throw us a curve and give us something totally unexpected like, say, Pierre Chang or Richard flashbacks instead. Either of those would be awesome. While I really, really want a Daniel flashback, I think we'd all be hard pressed to say we wanted one over a Richard flashback, eh?

Enjoy the show tonight! Review up tomorrow morning! :)