Thursday, January 29, 2009

Darlton Q&A

Really cool Darlton Q&A on of all places (I used to be a Mets blogger for them several years ago). Talks a lot more about the writing of the show and behind the scenes stuff than the plot of the show itself. This part is great:

What's interesting is, it's almost a time travel conundrum, which is, if I could go back in time and be more convincing about saying, 'I will write this pilot, but we need to be six years and out,' and therefore those episodes don't get written, would I do it? The answer is no. The journey is the journey. But more importantly, if "Stranger in a Strange Land" -- which, universally, is (considered) the worst episode we ever produced -- had not been produced, we would not have been able to convince the network that, "This is the future of the show: how Jack got his tattoos. Everything we've been saying for two years about what's to come, is now all here on the screen. You argued that an hour of Matthew Fox in emotionally-based conflicts, it doesn't matter what the flashback story is, it'll be fine. But now that we're doing his ninth flashback story, you just don't care."

We can't go back and apologize for the creative mistakes that we made, because we had to make them. If that episode hadn't been made, we weren't able to get a notes call that said, "We don't like this episode," and where we could then say, "We don't like it, either, but it's the best we can do if we're not moving the story forward. And we're now at a point, guys, where we can't move the story forward." And they asked, "Well, what would you do if we allowed you an end date?" And we said, "Give us an end date, and we'll tell you what we'll do." And the conversations then reached a new pitch.

Everything has to happen the way it happened.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lost Episode Review 5.03, "Jughead"

"Your name is Widmore?"

Well this episode certainly clarified a lot of things that confused me the first two episodes! I still don't like the fact it really doesn't have specific flashbacks (although we saw a lot of the past this week, didn't we), but I guess "Jughead" would be considered a Desmond-centric episode if anything, and I'm always down with that.

So what was clarified? Here are ten things we learned:

1) The Losties traveled back to the 1950's.
2) The U.S. military knew about the Island back then and planned to use it for bomb testing.
3) Richard Alpert was leader of the Others.
4) Richard really doesn't age!
5) We now know why Richard visited Locke in L.A. when he was just a child (and how he knew he was there).
6) Charles Widmore is a freakin' Other!
7) Daniel sent the mind of a young woman (possibly his student), Theresa Spencer, through time.
8) Charles Widmore funded his research.
9) Desmond and Penny have a two-year-old son named Charlie (awwwwww).
10) Daniel Faraday's mom is in Los Angeles. And since Ben and Ms. Hawking are also both in L.A. (as we saw last episode), the chances Ms. Hawking is really Daniel's mom just went up tenfold!

Again this wasn't an outstanding episode in terms of a stand alone, but it not only moved the plot along, it was a LOT easier to follow than the season openers. In addition, I'm really grooving the moving through time because 1) it may give us an explaination for a lot of the coincidences we've seen throughout the show (as we enter time periods of the show itself i.e. September 2004-January 2005) and 2) we may get to see first hand some of the stories we've missed, mainly the time jumping is an excellent way to FINALLY get the Rousseau flashback we've been waiting for! Plus maybe we'll see what actually happened during some of the more infamous DHARMA moments, i.e. "The Incident" and what happened to Radzinsky in the Hatch.

Okay, enough rambling...

Five Questions:

1) What was Charles Widmore's motivation for getting back to the Island and why did he leave?

Seems like a bit of a hothead in his youth, eh? So why did he leave? Was he kicked off or was he sent on a mission never to return? And since Charles Widmore funded DHARMA, was DHARMA also an agent of revenge? I have to say, Charles Widmore being a (former) Other turns a lot of theroies on their heads - it gives him a much different motivation than simply being an evil corporate guy trying to take over the world. Now he's more like Dr. Doom trying to reclaim Lavertia... or blow it up if he can't. I like it a lot - it makes him a much more interesting villain.

And as an aside, I also liked the way he was worried about Penny. Even Dr. Doom loved his mother. Widmore genuinely cares for her and I can't wait to see what happens when Ben eventually realizes who she is.

2) So what makes Richard so special that he doesn't age?

It's certainly not being Leader of the Others - didn't really seem to help Ben or Locke (of course, both of them weren't born on the Island either). But there certainly does seem to be something there that makes him special and different from the rest, aside from being "selected" by Jacob.

3) What's Daniel's timeline?

Desmond couldn't remember when he visited Daniel at Oxford, but we know it was in 1996. Present day in the real world, it's early 2008. Sometime after Desmond's visit, Daniel transmogrified the brain of one of his students and was kicked out (...) and was eventually hired by Abaddon to accompany Naomi and the rest of Widmore's crew to the Island (January 2005). So what happened in between all that?

Presumably at some point the Island is going to end up in the period where DHARMA was building the Orchid station (which is why we saw Daniel in the first episode looking pretty much excatly like he did today). But Daniel, from his journal, already seemed to have time jumped a bit before arriving on the Island. Did that happen at Oxford or was he involved with something after they kicked him out (presumably with Widmore).

4) How's Daniel going to cure Charlotte?

Assuming Charlotte has the Time Jumping Flu, she's going to need a constant to snap her out of it. Will we finally get a taste of her past history? Charlotte flashback, please...

5) Is Locke going to have to use the Magic Box to get off the Island?

Ben got off the Island by using the Orchid wheel, but that seemed to be more a side effect of using it than anything (not to mention, Locke probably doesn't want to move the Island again). So how will Locke get off? Will we finally get to see the Magic Box and what it actually does?

It seems this season is set up to end with the Oceanic 6 getting back to the Island, thus the 70 hour deadline that could easily and conveniently fit into, say, 14 more episodes. But Locke needs to leave the Island this season as well. With the show winding down they can't save ALL the big Island mysteries for Season 6 and it seems the Magic Box is one they could give us in the finale.


* Is it just me, or do the writers seem to be be actively trying to thin the Losties' herd this season? Seems like we've lost a lot of red shirts the first three episodes (and I don't think any of them, except for Frogurt, were actually wearing red shirts).

* The blond Other who takes Daniel to the bomb is named Ellie

* The Department of Physics room number Desmond visits is 142-08

* Don't know if there's any meaning behind the "Jughead" moniker of the bomb, besides the Archie Comics reference. "Jarhead" is military slang for a U.S. Marine.

* Another neat thing about the time travel is my hope we're going to get to see Amelia in her youth (remember her)? Perhaps we'll even get to see her crash on the Island. ;)


I really, really liked this episode. We got some good Desmond and Penny time, good Daniel time, good Widmore time and NO Jack or Kate time. If we had gotten a little Ben, it would have been perfect, but as it stands I'm giving it a 4.5 out of 5. Still hoping we get a couple traditional flashback episodes this season too.

"One Of The Best Ever"

Hercules over at AICN is a huge LOST fan, whose tastes in episodes I find generally correspond with my own. He calls tonight's "Jughead" one of the best episodes ever. There's a preview clip too, although I haven't watched it. Greatly looking forward to it though, provided it doesn't take me twenty hours to get home through the snow and sleet. :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lost Episode Review 5.02, "The Lie"

"You're playing one of your mind games aren't you?"

Speaking with my brother (also a huge Lost fan) over the phone last night, he was kinda disappointed with the first two episodes, especially because the way the writers have set up the Island time travel thing is really confusing and doesn't make a whole lot of sense. And I totally agree. I hope Darlton has worked out the time travel rules to make them consistent - i.e. why the survivors are jumping through time, but not the Others.

The fact that the two previous time travel stories Lost has done have been my two favorite episodes - "Flashes Before Your Eyes" and "The Constant" - makes me think they have ironed it all out, but I do hope they explain it better soon. Judging from the previews of next week's episode (the fact that Charlotte seems to be getting worse), gives me hope we'll get a bit of clarification.

Any disappointment I had with the episodes stems more from the format than anything. Without flashbacks, I felt the first two hours of this season ran together - if there wasn't the
L O S T sign at the end of the first episode, I probably wouldn't have realized it was over at all. And while "The Lie" was certainly a Hurley-centric episode (certainly having its moments of typical Hurley humor), it still felt kinda weird.

Five Questions:

1) What's going to happen in 70 hours?

Oh jeez. That last scene was so bizarre I really have no idea what to make of it. Out of it we gleaned that:

1) Ben knows Ms. Hawking
2) Ms. Hawking knows physics (and may be Daniel's mom)
3) She's got a Foucault Pendulum and is tracking "Event Windows" on a DHARMA era computer. 4) Ben has only 70 hours to get all the Losties back to the Island

When I first saw the Pendulum, I thought it was simply a nod to the book (one of my favorites), but my guess is that in 70 hours the Island is going to appear at one specific spot she's tracking and then disappear again. So Ben's going to have to get the band back together by then or, in the word of Hurley, "bloop."

But the bigger question here is what role has Ben played in Desmond's fate? I was always under the impression that Ben didn't really know about Desmond - has Ben ever even officially met Desmond face-to-face? But now it's possible Ben was manipulating Desmond behind the scenes through Ms. Hawking (of course, the reverse is possible too - Ben seemed kinda stressed when she gave him his deadline).

If Ms. Hawking is really Daniel's mom, we should find an answer to this soon, since Desmond's heading out to find her.

2) So who's Butcher Lady (Jill) and all her secret little friends? And what's in the box Ben pulled out of the vent?

So Ben seems to have a vast network of secret followers and helpers around (which seems to include Ms. Hawking). Who are these people (Gabe and Jeff were the names of the other two guys)? Are they Others he sent on missions (back in Through The Looking Glass he claimed to have sent people off on missions "to Canada" and elsewhere and we know Tom regularly went to New York.) or just an organization of people protecting the Island.

And what's in the box Ben took out of the vent in the hotel room? We'll probably be seeing that again very soon.

3) So are they going to have to break Hurley out of jail?

Seems where this is going. I always thought Kate was going to be their biggest problem since she can't leave the state by order of the court. But unless a Deus ex machina comes along with a keyring (definitely possible), seems like Lost is going to have a prison break.

This could be fun, and it certainly adds a layer of suspense to the "70 hours" deadline, but I hope it doesn't become an overreaching story arc. I don't want them to be spending the next several episodes trying to figure out how to break Hurley out of jail. On the other hand, I kinda hope Hurley has a visitor while he's in his cell - maybe another cool cameo (Charlie, Claire, Libby - remember her)?

4) Is Sun going to go all "Kill Bill" on Ben?

OK, raise your hand if you thought Sun was going to kill Kate? Now raise your hand if you openly wished for Sun to kill Kate. Yeah, that would have been kinda cool, wouldn't it?

Sun has now openly stated that Ben is the other person she blames for Jin's death (along with her father), but there was some real malevolence in her voice in her scene with Kate. When she announced last season that there were two people she holds responsible, I really thought Jack was going to be the second. Ben makes more sense from a story perspective because this plot device (unlike Hurley being arrested) could make for some wonderful tension, especially since she threw in with Widmore.

And don't forget that Ben is still gunning for Penny too, in revenge for Widmore's private army killing Alex. Of all the plots and subplots going on right now, I think I'm enjoying these revenge storylines the most. And Sun has become one of my favorite characters on the show.

5) So who was Jones (and who were his crew) and who whipped up the Flaming Arrow Rainstorm?

We now know the Island is in the future (or at least the Losties on the Island are in the future). Question is, how much in the future? Did Widmore find the Island again or is this a totally new group. When I first saw Jones' uniform, I thought he was a Ghostbuster.

I think one of the guys is still alive and will hopefully be around to give some vague, nebulous answers next week. :)


* Ana-Lucia's cameo was awesome. For a minute, I thought Hurley had time traveled, but having him hallucinate was a terrific way to get her into the show. Kudos there.

* Matt sent me an e-mail shortly after the episode was over saying "they just should have called it 'Weekend at Sayid's'" On my note sheet for the episode I wrote "Sayid = Bernie" - too funny.

* Vincent! Nice to know he's still around. They better not kill him off.

* Ben's deli counter number was 342

* So the Arrow Station's purpose is "to gather intelligence and devise defensive strategies against the Island's Hostiles." Good to know.

* I thought Hurley's story to his mom was both hilarious (Jorge's delivery) and touching (Hurley's mom's response).

* Hurley's look at the end (at Ben) when he was arrested was great too. Matt passes along this as well:

Is Hugo the new Rorschach? "The Oceanic Six will look up to me and say 'Join us'....and I'll whisper, 'No.'"


I thought this was an okay episode - not quite as good as the first half, but that's mostly just based on the format - having a character centric episode with no flashbacks just felt like we got an overdose of Hurley plot movement without a self-contained story. But my appetite is certainly well whetted for next week. 3.0 out of 5

Lost Episode Review 5.01, "Because You Left"

"You're going to have to die, John."

Woooooooooooooooo! Lost is back!

Did everyone enjoy yesterday's double dip? I certainly did. And I don't know about anyone else, but with no real flashbacks or forwards (unless you count switching from the Island to the mainland a flash forward), the episodes felt... fuller somehow. I think it also helped that Lost has so many different groups of people doing things that we have to follow, it made for much denser episodes than we've gotten the past couple seasons.

Of course, the trade off is having a less self-contained story in any given episode. Even "The Lie," which focused mostly on Hurley, really didn't feel like a Hurley episode to me because we were sprinkled with happenings from everyone else throughout. And while I'm happy things are moving right along, I kind of miss the flashbacks/forwards and hope at least a few episodes this season return to that format (Daniel & Charlotte, hello????)

Lots of stuff to pick through this episode.

Five Questions:

1) Exactly how much does Daniel know about DHARMA and the Island?

Going into this episode, I was under the impression Daniel was on the Island to try and cure himself of his temporal sickness & memory loss, caused by decades worth of frying his brain with violet radiation. But now that we know Daniel has visited the Island in the past - physically visited it too - judging from his age there seemed to be no consciousness traveling there, just how much does he know? How many times has he been there? Did he actually help construct various DHARMA stations?

And it also seems from that scene, that Dr. Pierre Chang was much more important in DHARMA than I originally thought. Every orientation film except for "The Orchid" made him seem like he was more of a prop guy actor rather than a real scientist (and even the Orchid film has him going over a script and getting his nose powdered). But this episode made him seem like the guy in charge. I'm hoping we're at least going to get more "mini-flashbacks" like this season.

2) So people can physically time travel now? And how does this work?

I wasn't surprised that the Island became "unstuck in time," but I was surprised that everyone on the Island seemed to be. So - if I'm understanding this correctly - turning the Orchid Wheel sent the Island somewhere else in time. But it also sent everyone on the Island (all the survivors and people who landed on the Island) somewhere else in time (i.e. somewhere else in time on the Island) as well. O.K. That I can sorta deal with. And it means that the Island can send people physically back in time (which strengthens my thought that Adam and Eve are really Desmond and Penny).

But what happened to the Others that Locke was with? They didn't start "skipping like a record" because they were on the Island in the past? And what about Cindy, Zach and Emma? Did joining the Cult of the Others cause them not to skip as well? Richard certainly didn't seem to be skipping. This puzzled me more than anything in the episode and I hope the writers clarify some of the time skipping "rules" in later episodes.

3) So when Daniel spoke with Desmond (his constant) did that stop him from skipping? Does everyone else (i.e. Charlotte) need to find a Constant of their own?

It seems Daniel's real priority in going out to The Swan station was to give a message to Desmond for the future. Fine. But why is Charlotte suffering from the time jumping sickness? Is she the only one? Will she need to find a Constant of her own?

And if she is the only one, why her? Was she exposed (like Daniel) to high amounts of radiation in her past? Of course, a Charlotte flashback episode might clear a few of these things up. *ahem*

4) So is Desmond's super power that he can course correct? Did Ms. Hawking lie to him?

Why is Desmond "uniquely special," aside from the fact he's already time traveled? Ms. Hawking told Desmond he couldn't change his fate. But did she say that just to scare him into pushing the button. Now that we know she's in league with Ben (and may be Daniel's Mom?!) is she just a someone out to manipulate Desmond? Is this what everything's been about - manipulating Desmond into doing what's best for them? And if it turns out that Desmond can course correct on his own, can change history, can he reverse everything that's happened (including Locke's death)?

Daniel seemed pretty adamant talking with Sawyer and Juliet that you couldn't change things in the past. But then he turns around and tells Desmond he's special - that to me suggests Desmond can change things - and I hope, if Ms. Hawking does turn out to be Desmond's mom, that she puts Desmond straight in the very near future.

5) So what's Locke gotta do?

We know he eventually gets off the Island and kicks the bucket, which sets in motion the events that start motivating everyone to return. Certainly seems to involve more time jumping goodness, but the real question is how will he get off the Island? Will he have to use the Orchid Wheel like Ben? If so, he certainly doesn't have the connections to get him from the Tunisian desert to L.A. like Ben did.

Unless Ben or Ms. Hawking is waiting for him there.


* Loved, loved loved the way Frogurt got "Artzed." Kudos to Darlton for that inspired bit of hilarity. If you haven't seen Frogurt before, then you haven't seen all the Missing Pieces mobisodes. Best work Frogurt's done since, well, this.

* Liked how Dr. Chang played out the record metaphor in the beginning.

* The compass that Richard gave to Locke looks to be the same one he tested Locke with when he visited him as child (in Cabin Fever).

* I like the way Sawyer gets answers. More please. Called Charlotte "Ginger" too. Heh.

* Lots of good lines this episode. My favorites (I'm paraphrasing here):

"Maybe if you ate more comfort food you wouldn't go around shooting people." - Hurley to Sayid

"Ethan shot me!" - Locke
" What goes around, comes around, John." - Richard

"Benjamin Linus appointed me your leader!" - Locke
"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard!" - Ethan

* Loved that Penny had a wedding ring. You go Des! :)

* Sayid's fight in the kitchen was awesome. Em, last night: "That's way you don't load knives in the dishwasher pointy side up!"

* Em also thought that Elizabeth Mitchell looked very... curvy this episode. Is she pregnant again? Not complaining, mind you...

* I have a lot of thoughts about Sun too, but they'll go in my review of "The Lie"


Overall a very good episode. The opening scene was terrific and meaty (not quite as good as the opening five of "A Tale of Two Cities," but pretty cool. And while I missed the flashbacks here, the episode was so chock full of stuff, it really didn't suffer (in contrast, I think "The Lie" did a bit). Bonus points for killing Frogurt with flaming arrows. 4.0 out of 5

Two For The Road

I'm going to have two, count 'em, TWO reviews for LOST's big opening night because 1) there's just too much stuff to pack into one review and 2) they were two separate episodes (though, to me, it didn't really feel that way - more on that later).

Loved last night! New polls up soon! First review hopefully up by the evening. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Everyone excited? I am! My review of "Because You Left" will hopefully be up either Thursday or Friday, depending on my schedule. I also wanted to point out that, while I've been staying away from pretty much anything Lost related to prevent myself from getting spoiled, Entertainment Weekly has revamped its Lost page with a whole lot of spiffy video.

The first video that pops up is Doc Jensen talking to Darlton about EW's Top 6 Lost Episodes as voted by the fans. I was a bit surprised, not at what was included, but at the exclusion of "Flashes Before Your Eyes" and "The Constant" coming in at #4. Well worth watching! Enjoy tomorrow night! Woo hoo! :)