Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New Poll

I was surprised "Jacob's Nemesis" won my previous poll on what to call him. I'll be using that whenever I refer to him over the summer. My schedule the next couple weeks is going to be busy as I'm traveling to both Boston and New Orleans, so my blogging time is going to be rather sparse.

My new poll is up, although I expect it's going to be heavily skewed towards "The Incident," but you never know. "LaFleur" and "Dead is Dead" were both terrific episodes (especially the latter, given we now about Jacob's Nemesis) and the ending of "Jeremy Bentham" certainly becomes much sadder in retrospect.

I'm revising my Top 10 episode list as well, but I have to back and rewatch a few before I start posting those. Everyone have a nice Memorial Day? :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Couple Theories...

Doc Jensen and Bigmouth have some interesting and very different takes on the finale. Here's a point from each that struck me, first up is Doc:
Last week, I speculated that in the new Lost timeline that will flow out of Juliet's detonation of Jughead, the characters that angelic Jacob visited and conspicuously touched during the flashbacks — definitely Sawyer, Kate, Sun, Jin, Jack, Locke, and Hurley — will retain their memories of the previous, now-deleted timeline. (Similar yet slightly different to what happened to Desmond after he was physically obliterated by the Swan's implosion — his consciousness migrated to the fateful week in which he broke up with Penny.)
I speculated on something like this after "The Variable" aired, only guessing that it was going to be Desmond alone that retained his memories rather than the whole group. I kinda like that idea better because it's less messy - if the entire time line changes, then when will all of Jacob's touchy-feely guys get their memories back? Will they have them from birth? Will they just suddenly remember (like Desmond did of Faraday's message)? Or will their minds be transported to their alternate time line's bodies ala Desmond in "Flashes Before Your Eyes?" If they do end up retaining memories, I think the latter is the most plausible way. Of course, when in the time line they end up is solely at the discretion of the writers.

But the big problem with changing the future in general is that it would also likely negate Jacob's death. If Flight 815 never crashes, there's no loophole for Jacob's Nemesis either (unless the Island is somehow immune to the time change). Why the heck would they even want to go back if they know Jacob is still alive and Jacob's Nemesis' motivation is thwarted? This fact alone makes me think Jack and crew caused the Incident rather than negated it. Plus, if "they're coming" means Jack and company are being transported back to 2007, then it seems likely time didn't change.

Bigmouth has the same sort of problem with this:
Nothing we've already seen on the show has changed as a result of detonation of the Jughead's fission trigger. Flight 815 crashed on the Island just as it always did -- there is no reboot yielding a grandfather paradox. If that's where the show were going, I believe we would have received some small but clear indication of its direction. Something like Cort's horn -- those of you familiar with the Stephen King's Dark Tower series will know what I mean. Instead, we got just the opposite in Miles's sardonic comment that Jack and Co. might be causing the Incident by trying to prevent it.

By that same token, it's equally wrong to say this was all simply a case of whatever happened, happened. I maintain that our Losties, like Desmond, changed what was supposed to happen. It is this altered timeline, in which they save the world, that we've witnessed thus far. Because neither the Incident nor activation of the Fail-Safe was supposed to happen, the general rule of course correction doesn't apply. Both events must thus be actively preserved. If anything changes, as Ms. Hawking said, every single one of us is dead.
In other words, the reason all this happened is because now they're supposed to be transported back to 2007 and save the world from Jacob's Nemesis. Yes, they caused the whole situation in the first place (likely because of Jacob's Nemesis' machinations behind the scenes), but because Jacob visited them all in the past, he set up a loophole of his own so they can make everything right again (and possibly get himself resurrected in Frank's body). Erasing the fact that Jacob gets killed is the biggest problem I have with the changing the future scenario.

And one last point to chew on - we know Desmond still "has a role to play," according to Eloise, and we know he's going to end up back on the Island at some point (in order to tragically break his promise to Penny - you know the writers wouldn't have set that plot point up for nothing). So if all the Incident Losties do end up back in 2007, how does Desmond get back to the Island? What motivation is there for him to go and what will he have to do when he gets there? I'm guessing that Desmond is so important that Jacob's Nemesis tries to kill him and his family, so Desmond goes back in order to protect Penny and Charlie and plays an instrumental role in the Nemesis' defeat.

That's my theory for the moment anyway. I'm sure it will change 27,000 times between now and next year. :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Another Reason The Rival May Not Be Smokey...

Looking back over my review of "Dead is Dead," I came across this screenshot I had totally forgotten about (via Dark UFO):

If the Rival is really the Anubis pictured here, then Smokey is definitely something different all together. To me, it looks like Anubis is summoning Smokey here, which gives some credence to the thought Smokey might be one of his minions or servants. One could certainly take it the other way around, I suppose, so that Anubis is genuflecting to Smokey instead, but my feeling is that Anubis is in command in this panel. Just something else to think about.

Also, what does everyone want to call Jacob's significant other? Rival? Nemesis? Enemy? The Man in Black? I've been going back and forth between Rival and Nemesis to see which sounds better, but I can't decide. I've added a poll on the sidebar with the question. Starting next week I'll also have a series of polls on Season 5, for best episode, best scene, best quote, best revelation, etc... :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Incident Tidbits And Second Viewing Thoughts

(This is essentially Part III of my Incident review. Click here for
Part I and Part II)

I was going to go over some scenes and happenings in light of The Incident, but my outline is kinda long, so maybe I'll make it an off season series of posts instead. Em and I just watched the finale a second time and, upon a second viewing, I think it actually might be the best finale of the show. I do need to go back and watch "Exodus" again, but I think this may have even topped that. A couple things that struck me:

1) All the acting in this episode was spectacular. I mentioned Michael Emerson and Elizabeth Mitchell before, but Terry O'Quinn also deserves a mention for actually playing someone other than the character he's played for five years. It was a masterful, subtle performance and I wonder if he's going to play the Rival for the entire next season? Will Terry O'Quinn now become the main villain of the show? That would be pretty cool.

Even Jack, Kate and Sawyer deserve some props. I still disliked the scene between Jack and Sawyer, but Matthew Fox and Josh Holloway did their very best with what they were given. Evangeline Lilly too (who looked better in this episode than she has in a long time, I think). And that last scene between Sawyer and Juliet was even more heart wrenching on a second watch. If Juliet is truly dead, she certainly gave it her all at the end.

2) This is something I totally missed the other night - must have be distracted for a second or two: Seeing what was on the parchment in Jacob's cabin (click for biggie version, thanks to Dark UFO):

Yeah, looks like the statue is definitely Taweret. This, I think, might give a bit more credence to the idea that Jacob and his Rival are really Ra and Apep. And if that's the case, perhaps Smokey is really Taweret herself, since she's supposed to be the consort of Apep. That could explain why Smokey seemed to be helping him, especially in the scene with Ben and Alex.

3) Ilana, after returning from Jacob's cabin, said "He's not there. Someone else has been using it." I'm curious as to why she used the word "using" - it certainly implies that the Rival was impersonating Jacob there, rather than having been imprisoned. And that further implies that perhaps the ring of ash was protective rather than used for containment - in other words, the whole reason the Rival was able to co-opt the cabin was because the ring of ash was broken.

4) Jacob and touching. Linda and others have pointed out how Jacob seems to touch everyone of the Losties he visited. It can be debated as to whether he actually touches Jack and Sawyer when he hands them the pen and candy bar respectively, but Em was convinced some sort of contact was there. But I have a slightly alternate theory: What if it wasn't the touch that was important, what if it was the gift? What did he give everyone?

1) Kate - The lunchbox
2) Sawyer - The pen
3) Sun and Jin - His blessing
4) Sayid - His life
5) Jack - The candy bar
6) Hurley - Charlie's guitar

And you can also argue, he gave Locke his forgiveness for being the ultimate pawn in his demise (or perhaps his life - maybe Locke wouldn't have survived the fall without Jacob being there). Just something else to think about.

5) The Rival and the statue. I was a bit surprised the Rival needed Richard to tell him where Jacob was living. He had no idea all this time? Kinda odd.

6) Pierre Chang's arm. On a second look, it seems Pierre only got his hand pinched, not his entire arm. I need to go back and watch the Swan Orientation film again.

7) Frank as a candidate. This was mentioned somewhere else - I forget where - but is it possible that Frank might be a candidate for Jacob's next body? Perhaps Jacob will be reborn, much like Ra is every day, but he needs a new vessel who has to be a "good person." Maybe the reason Jacob (assuming it was actually Jacob that was giving Richard the lists over the years) was collecting good people, is because he knew this would happen and would need a new, uncorrupted vessel for his body. Perhaps that was why he had Ben put Walt in Room 23.

The more I think about this, the more I like it. And I love the idea that Frank could be the next Jacob. ^_^


* I meant to mention this in Part I of my review but I forgot. I watched the clip show before the finale that had a good deal of Darlton musings and they mentioned that the reason Jack, Hurley, Sayid and Kate were sent back in time was because they failed to replicate the conditions of Flight 815 adequately. In other words, it was a bit of an accident that they were sent back in time.

This also brings in question Kate's decision to leave Aaron behind. What if she had brought him along, or if Locke had asked Walt to come? Would that have been sufficient to prevent them from time shifting? And how does this fit in with the Rival's plan? I might muse on this in more detail later on.

* Anyone else notice the sub guys had their own DHARMA symbol? Cool.

* The book Jacob was reading when Locke fell was Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor. It has a white dove pierced by a black arrow on the cover. Nice.

* Sun and Jin had a very nice setting for their wedding.

* I just realized that the scene where we get to see Jack counting to five was the original scene he recounted to Kate in the Pilot. Seems he conveniently left out the fact his dad was the one who helped him hold it together, much the same way he did to Kate. Very cool.

* What the heck was Ilana doing in Russia?

* Ben lied to Locke when he said he was a Pieces - he's actually a Sagittarius.

* Quotes- lots of good stuff this episode. Could quote Ben's entire speech to Jacob.

"Do you know how much I want to kill you right now?"

"If Jack wants to blow up the Island... good for Jack."

"I'm this way because of Jacob."

"I don't know... but his Korean is excellent." - I can't tell you how much I loved this line.

"Let's get it started!" - When Radzinsky said this, I clapped my hands.

"I know John Locke. And if I were you, I wouldn't give up on him." - D'oh, Jack!

"I'm not going to kill Jacob, Ben. You are."

"Because we're retired."

We're together, that's all that matters in the end." - <3 Rose and Bernard

"So I lied. That's what I do."

"Someone else has been using it."

"I'm sorry this happened to you." - Notice Jacob didn't say to Locke "I'm sorry this had to happen to you" - seems to implicate his Rival.

"Looks like you found your loophoole."


After a second viewing and musing on it for a few days, I think this may be the best season finale, simply because of how it changes the way we have to view both Locke and Ben (something I'll talk further about in future posts). The introduction of Jacob and his Rival is a game changer on par with anything we've seen on the show, and certainly presses if not exceeds Jack's initial flash forward for the top spot. I think when the show finally runs its course, if the show ends well, this episode may become as iconic as anything seen on the show. It's a 5.0, easily.

So what's up here for the hiatus. Certainly a revision of my Top Ten episodes list and some musing on how some of the central mysteries of the show have changed. Plus I'd like to create a checklist of all things we need answers to in the final season and see if the writers deliver. I'll try and make a substantial post at least once a week - hopefully I won't be quite as busy this year as I was the last. :)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Make Your Own Kind Of Coffee

Nothing gets you going better than some DHARMA brand coffee in a spiffy new mug. It's so good, you could have a cup every 108 minutes! ;)

It's part of an entire set of DHARMA station mugs which sadly don't appear to be for sale anymore on the ABC website (they've got shot glasses instead). You can see an old review of the set here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thoughts and Theories on "The Incident"

(For Part I of my review,
click here. I've edited a few things since Thursday night, nothing content-wise, just some exhaustion fueled typos and grammar. :P)

The Incident gave us a lot to think about when dwelling on how the show is ultimately going to end. By showing us Jacob actively manipulating the lives of the Flight 815 survivors, we now know:

1) Jacob and/or his Rival have a vested interest in the fates of these characters.
2) Everyone really was on Flight 815 for a reason, though it may not be time loop purposes.
3) Daniel was right in that it does seem that our Losties have a choice in what they do.

Where does this lead us in terms of an overall plot to Lost? Well, how about an eternal conflict between two deities, one good, one evil. The good one thinks the best of mankind, that when they're given a choice they're going to do the right thing because they're ultimately "good people." The evil deity takes the opposing view - when given a choice humanity ultimately resorts to violence and corruption (like Ben did).

The good deity formulates a plan to test humanity to see if he's right. The evil deity, partly afraid of being wrong, partly simply hating the good deity and being... well, evil, decides to foil his plan by not only corrupting several of the characters, but also by exploiting one of them into killing Jacob. And with Jacob out of the way, he's now free to take over/destroy the world. Thus, the catastrophe Eloise Hawking predicted. The survivors of Flight 815 were all merely pawns in a giant game of chess - their "destinies, " so to speak, were all part of this grand experiment.

But Jacob knew his Nemesis would cheat and built in a loophole of his own. I'm guessing all the time travelers he visited in the past will be transported back to 2007, if they chose to detonate the bomb and they're the only ones who can defeat the evil one. Enter Season 6.

It's not perfect, but I think it captures the overall feel of the show and, if this sort of scenario is really what's going to happen in Season 6, I'd be pretty happy with that. I think the primary themes of the show are going to boil down to good vs. evil and free will vs. fate; can't get much better than that.

Ten Questions:

1) Can you change history?

In my pre-finale predictions, I said "they can't make this the cliffhanger, can they?" D'oh!

All signs, however, point to yes. Jacob repeatedly says throughout the episode that they have a choice - it's free will vs. fate and he seems to come down decidedly on the side of free will. Ben chose to stab Jacob, Juliet chose to detonate the bomb. Plus we got a flash at the end of the episode, likely not a natural flash.

Jacob’s view of humanity in the opening scene also seems to suggest they will eventually alter the time loop. This calls to attention the Dark Tower ending. Eventually Roland does remember to take his horn, offering hope that the loop could eventually be broken. Perhaps this series of events we’ve seen the past five seasons, ending with Jacob’s death, can be slightly altered to change the outcome. And perhaps Jacob planted the seeds of that when he visited them all in the past.

2) Did they just change history or merely keep it on its course?

Miles hit this one on the head.

Since we don’t know the original sequence of events of the Incident (we’ve never seen a film or written history of what happened) we really don’t know if the Incident was caused by the hydrogen bomb or whether what they did actually changed things.

When Jack went to throw the bomb down the well, the drill was already pulling itself into the pocket of electromagnetic energy – Pierre said there was no way he could stop it. Did the bomb actually change things or did it keep them on its course. Pierre still lost his arm, something that happened in the original Incident, suggesting everything up until that point was on the same path.

I’m thinking Miles was right, the bomb exploding was part of the original Incident. Now it may have actually had good consequences, preventing something even worse from happening (in fact, according to this article, it does seem like Daniel's plan to detonate the bomb on a pocket of electromagnetism wasn't as crazy as we originally thought), but it was something that was supposed to happen. If this is true, if they really want to change the future, they may have to go back in time again and stop themselves.

3) Who's coming?

Well, when Jacob said "they're coming" it could have meant one of two things: Ilana and the Others are coming or all the Losties are coming from 1977. I'm definitely thinking the latter. Also remember Christian (or whatever he was) promised Sun that if she went with Locke, she'd meet up with Jin again. Of course, if Christian was the Nemesis, he could have been lying, but still.

And who of our time travelers did Jacob see in the past? Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Jin and Sayid; that's the majority of them. I'm thinking whomever Jacob visited might have been spared the explosion and time traveled.

Juliet might be dead (Sayid too), but interestingly (and ominously) Jacob didn't visit her. Miles either, if he survived, he might be stuck there with his dad. Jacob seemed to have visited Locke for the express purpose of making sure he survived the fall.

This also makes one wonder why Jacob was even helping them in the first place if they're all part of a plan that would lead to his death? I think it's because he actually cares about them as people. When he said to John "I'm sorry this happened to you," I don't think he was talking about the fall itself, I think he was talking about John being the biggest pawn of them all.

4) Is Jacob’s Nemesis really the Smoke Monster?

Here’s the $100,000 question, folks. I’m of two minds here:

Evidence for:

A) Both Smokey and the Nemesis are able to impersonate dead people on the Island

B) Both Smokey and the Nemesis can read minds (Zombie Locke certainly had access to all of Locke’s memories)

C) Christian certainly seemed to be manipulating Locke in order to create the loophole

D) Christian was the one inhabiting Jacob’s old cabin

E) The dead people Hurley saw also tried to convince him to come back to the Island in accordance with the Nemesis’ plan

F) Smokey, as Alex, certainly told Ben to obey the Nemesis

G) To everyone but Locke, Smokey appeared as a big, evil-looking black cloud. Locke saw something white. If Smokey was really the Nemesis, you would think he’d want to get on the good side of his ultimate pawn.

Evidence against:

A) Every time a body comes back to life on the Island, the body disappears. Locke’s body did not, suggesting it might have been a different form of impersonation.

B) Smokey could be summoned by Ben and seemed to serve a protective function for the Island. The Nemesis doesn’t strike me as that type.

C) Smokey seems obsessed with confession, redemption and “judging.” The Nemesis doesn’t strike me as having that sort of motive in mind.

D) Smokey specifically told Eko to make sure Locke keeps pressing the button and was so enraged when he failed, he killed him.

E) Zombie Locke seemed genuinely surprised to me when Ben told him what Alex told him to do.

F) The fact that Locke saw something totally different than everyone else when he saw the Monster does suggest that there might be two “Monsters” on the Island: Smokey, and the Nemesis, who appeared to Locke as something totally different.

G) Christian seemed to want to help Sun, who really had no big part to play in the Season 5 endgame.

Weighing the two bodies of evidence, I think the writers certainly want to suggest that they’re one and the same, but that seems like too much of a cop-out to me. I’d like to think Smokey is actually not the Nemesis, but rather an independent third party who could possibly be aligned with him instead. I think the Nemesis was certainly impersonating Christian, who seemed to be just a wee bit too critical in spurring Locke forward on the Nemesis’ chessboard. Likewise I think the Nemesis impersonated all the dead people everyone saw off-Island (including Christian there). Smokey Alex was also very, very invested in having Ben obey Zombie Locke. Granted she could have been doing that in concert with the Nemesis, but Smokey Alex certainly suggests they’re one and the same.

But it’s just weird to me that an evil god who could rival Jacob could 1) be summoned 2) cares about whether people actually redeem themselves or not 3) cares about the button being pushed, a rather crucial part of the Nemesis’ plan. Without The Discharge, Charles Widmore never finds the Island, Jack never makes the phone call, the Island never disappears. It’s at complete odds with his plan.

I actually think Smokey and the Nemesis must have some similar abilities and perhaps Smokey is even a minion of the Nemesis (he certainly helped him when he impersonated Alex). But I think I’d be a bit disappointed if Smokey and the Nemesis turned out to be one and the same.

5) So who are Jacob, the Nemesis and Smokey really?

You have to think they’re three gods or three god-like beings from Egyptian mythology. Let’s go over a few possibilities for each

For Jacob:

Horus, Osiris, Ra

Horus is probably the most likely here, given that the symbol at the top of his tapestry is the Eye of Horus, but these three deities are almost interchangeable in Egyptian mythology - the eye is also called the Eye of Ra.

For his Nemesis:

Anubis, Set, Apep

If Jacob is Horus, his Nemesis is probably Set, his rival. Likewise, if Jacob is Osiris/Ra, the Nemesis is probably Anubis/Apep. There are good reasons for the other two pairs - Anubis and Osiris are the two major players in the weighing of the heart ceremony, whereby a person's heart is judged and weighed to see if it's worthy to pass unto the afterlife. This ceremony has a third player who wasn't a god - Ammit, the devourer of souls. If Smokey was a third party, this is who I think he'd be (as I speculated before).

The Ra and Apep tandem basically represents day and night. Every night Apep kills Ra, who's resurrected every morning. If this is the case, it just became nighttime on the Island.

Realistically, it doesn’t matter which gods Jacob and his Nemesis really are. They represent good and evil, light and dark. They have an eternal conflict and evil just won a round. That’s really all we need to know here. And, y’know, I really love the fact that Lost has gotten back to this basic theme. Science and faith has been turned on its head this season (and faith has been proven to be a total tool). But light and dark is something we saw throughout the first season: backgammon, Locke’s eyes in Claire’s dream, the white and black stones found on Adam and Eve (wonder if we’ll ever see anyone come across those stones next season), but it’s something I felt the show had gotten away from and it’s awesome to see it finally return to it’s roots, so to speak.

6) Assuming it was really the Nemesis inside Jacob’s cabin, what did the ring of ash do? Who left the note in the cabin?

You’d have to think it was a containment circle, made to keep him prisoner. Ilana focused on the ring of ash just a little too long when she saw it was broken. Who broke the ash ring? I’m guessing Hurley, when he stumbled across the cabin back in "The Beginning of the End."

The whole cabin thing in general confuses me. Why did Ilana show up at the cabin first rather than going straight to the statue? Jacob has certainly lived in the statue for a very long time – why not go there first? Secondly, assuming Jacob actually imprisoned the Nemesis there, who left the note behind? The Nemesis, telling them what he was about to do or Jacob afterwards, letting Ilana know where to find him and that his Nemesis had escaped?

Lastly, Richard certainly knew who Jacob was and what he really looked like. He was the one responsible for bringing Ben messages and lists from Jacob and, presumably, showed Ben where he really lived at some point. So why did Ben bring Locke to the cabin? Did he not know that the Nemesis was imprisoned there? Must be – he probably just took Locke to what he thought was Horace’s old cabin (or perhaps he knew it was Jacob’s old cabin and thought it was abandoned) and put on a show. Unfortunately he brought Locke right to the Nemesis instead.

There is one other possibility as well - that the ring of ash was a protective circle made to keep something out (like Smokey), but it seems like the containment circle is a much more likely possibility at this point.

7) What did Richard say to Ilana? What was written on Jacob’s tapestry?

Richard said "Ille qui nos omnes servabit," Latin for "He who shall protect/save us all."

Across the top of the tapestry is a quote from Homer's Odyssey that says, "may the gods grant thee all that thy heart desires." A second quote farther down, also in Greek says, "may the gods grant thee happiness."

Seems everything here is saying in big, bright, white letters "JACOB IS THE GOOD GUY!" :)

8) Are the Others the descendants of the Black Rock crew?

I think Jacob brought the Black Rock to the Island to populate it, making at least some of the Others direct descendants of the Black Rock crew. This theory has been tossed around for a while and now knowing that Jacob himself is responsible for bringing the ship to the Island (as opposed to it being a complete accident) seems to give this more credence.

Of course, that still doesn’t explain how it got to the middle of the jungle. Sure, it could have been dragged, but that’s so boring.

9) So what is Ricardus’ role?

Richard is Jacob’s “advisor” who has had immortality bestowed on him by his benevolent boss. Seems to me he’s got to be the equivalent of a high priest of whatever deity Jacob really is. Ricardus is Latin for Richard.

10) What is Frank a “candidate” for?

Methinks it’s probably not an elected office one really wants to run for.

Ilana thought he might be important so he brought him along. Is he simply a "good person" or does she think he might have a larger role to play in everything? I certainly hope so, I love Frank! This past season we've lost Charlotte, Daniel and Juliet. Plus, things probably don't bode well for Miles. We'd better not lose Frank too else I'll be pissed! :)

What worries me is that candidate sounds vaguely sacrificial, although if Ilana's working for Jacob, that's probably not the case.

Over the weekend, I’m going to re-watch the finale from beginning to end and go through some past scenes that take on new significance in light of the finale. Tidbits and quotes too. :)

Edit: Part III of my review is here.

Lost Episode Review 5.16 & 5.17, "The Incident, Parts I & II"

"I guess all it needed was a little push..."

(Dark UFO has some fabulous screencaps of Jacob's tapestry. Lostpedia has a bit of analysis.)

For 99% percent of this episode, I was positively euphoric. "The Incident" had the feel of an early Lost episode, mixing action, plot, character and wonder in perfect balance.

And then they dropped us down a Hatch for the ending. AUUUUUUGGGGGGHHHHH!

I actually had the fortune of missing the "Exodus" frustration by watching all of Season One on DVD about two weeks before Season Two began, thus missing out on the "Summer Of Wondering What The Hell Was In The Hatch." Now we get the summer and fall of "Wondering Whether Time Is Fixed Or Mutable." Grrrrrrr....

Still, despite the ending, this was one of the richest, deepest episodes of Lost I've seen. I have so many thoughts and so much to say on it, it's going to take a couple of posts to get through it all. I think while everything is fresh in my mind, let first me go through the stuff I loved, setting aside the Watchmen Issue #11 ending for a moment. Then on Friday I'll go through some questions, theories and tidbits.

1) The Jacob Flashbacks

The opening scene was incredible. We discover Jacob is real, and he has a rival. Jacob is clothed in white, his rival in black. Certainly suggests who's on who's side, eh? Oh, and we get a slightly better view of Jacob's statue - not Anubis, certainly. It looked kinda like Taueret, but I thought the face had more of a crocodile feel to it than hippo. Sobek, perhaps? I'll muse a bit more on the Egyptian god stuff on Friday.

But then we see Jacob visit:

A) Kate, as she tries her hand at shoplifting the NKOTB lunchbox used for their time capsule
B) Sawyer, at his parents' funeral
C) Sayid, saving his life as Nadia is killed
D) Jin and Sun, at their wedding.
E) Ilana, in what was probably the most surprising flashback, asking for her help
F) Locke, as Cooper throws him out the window
G) Jack, after his first major operation with his dad
H) Hurley, giving him Charlie's guitar

Jacob seems to be preserving the time loop here, setting up events (certainly with Sayid and Hurley) that would lead them back to the Island. But he also takes a personal interest in our favorite Losties far in the past. I thought all of these were exceptionally well done and gave me a feeling of wonder I really haven't felt since the first season flashbacks.

I chose the quote above because I felt it was a common theme through the entire episode. Both Jacob and his Rival seem to have manipulated everyone - giving them little pushes - to get to the right place at the right time. Everyone has free will, still has a choice, but they moved the pieces behind the scenes. Zombie Locke's statement "you have no idea what I had to go through to get back here" was quite apt. Was everything the Losties went through all part of the Rival's plan to find a "loophole" and kill Jacob? That's a thought for tomorrow's post.

Oh, and we now know his Korean is excellent. ;)

2) Jacob's rival/Zombie Locke

"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." So begins Stephen King's Dark Tower series. Now we know Lost really begins with the arrival of The Black Rock on the Island, called there by Jacob himself, sitting on a beach, who seeks to prove his black garbed rival wrong regarding humanity. His rival says "they come, fight, destroy, corrupt... it always ends the same." Jacob responds with "it only ends once... whatever happens before that is just progress."

These two... deities, perhaps, to me, seem to be conducting an experiment - something like the Q did in Star Trek: The Next Generation - testing humanity of their worthiness. I loved the conversation between Jacob and his Rival - watched it about four times.

Every great show needs a great villain. For a long time, we thought the villain was either Ben or Charles Widmore. Nope. Turns out they're all just pawns on Mr. Evil's chessboard. And Locke, poor sap, he was the Queen's Sacrifice (note, don't click the link if you haven't read The Westing Game). Finally the show gets back to its good vs. evil, white vs. black themes with black suddenly standing out a lot more prominently all of a sudden. And that's a good, and very entertaining, thing.

Lastly, one of the big questions for Friday - Is Smokey = Jacob's Rival? There's evidence for and against here.

3) The Variables

So what did we learn from that aforementioned conversation between Jacob and his Rival?

1) Jacob and his Rival know how things are going to end
2) How it ends depends on the choices our Losties make
3) As Jacob repeatedly tells them, they do have a choice (i.e. Daniel was right)

Jacob tells Ben he has a choice. He also tells Hurley he has a choice. Even though he seems to influence an awful lot in our Losties lives, he never seems to force them to do anything, but he sets up circumstances that allow them to choose. Sayid didn't have to become Ben's hitman, he chose to do it, despite swearing earlier that it never, ever would happen.

But it also seems to me that Jacob's Rival wants to cheat. He seemed to exploit the time loop set up by Locke in order to get back onto the Island and manipulate Ben (HA!) into killing him. Speaking of which...

4) Ben's choice

Ben's speech to Jacob was tremendous. If it doesn't earn Michael Emerson an Emmy for this show, I don't know what will. But the dynamic between Ben, Zombie Locke and Jacob actually reminded me a lot of the Ray Kinsella, Terence Mann and Shoeless Joe dynamic from "Field of Dreams, " when Terence is invited into the corn, but Ray isn't.
Ray Kinsella: I did it all. I listened to the voices, I did what they told me, and not once did I ask what's in it for me.
Shoeless Joe Jackson: What are you saying, Ray?
Ray Kinsella: I'm saying... what's in it for me?
Shoeless Joe Jackson: Is that why you did this? For you? I think you better stay here, Ray.
Terence goes on to explain there was a reason he was invited, just as there was a reason Ray was chosen to build the Field (and make a sacrifice).
Terence Mann: Ray, there was a reason they chose me, just as there was a reason they chose you and this field.
Ray Kinsella: Why?
Terence Mann: I gave an interview.
Ray Kinsella: What interview? What are you talking about?
Terence Mann: The one about Ebbets Field. The one that charged you up and sent you all the way out to Boston to find me.
Ray Kinsella: You lied to me.
Terence Mann: Well, you were kidnapping me at the time, you big jerk!
Ray Kinsella: Well, you lied to me!
Terence Mann: You said your finger was a gun!
Ray Kinsella: That's a good point.
Terence Mann: Ray. Ray. Listen to me, Ray. Listen to me. There is something out there, Ray, and if I have the courage to go through with this, what a story it'll make: "Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa"

Yeah, it really does suck to work your whole life for something and never get any appreciation from someone you adore. Ben had daddy problems to begin with, after all; this must have been devastating, especially since he doesn't realize that John Locke isn't really John Locke. And talk about parallels, Ray Kinsella is eventually rewarded with seeing his dead father alive and well again (of a sort). Think Jacob had something eventually in mind for Ben and his mom? Think maybe Jack is being put through all of this to patch things up with his dad? So many wonderful things come to mind with that scene...

Was this Ben's destiny? To kill the man he's adored all his life, slaved for all his life, sacrificed for all his life? And not only that, but after having a life of being able to manipulate everyone around you to have your buttons pushed by someone who's embodying the one person you've hated the most. Man, if so, sucks to be him...

5) Juliet's pain

I hated most of the love triangle stuff (I'll get to that in a bit), but I loved every scene with Juliet. And as painful as the fade to white ending was, her scene with Sawyer at the end was tremendous. And it suggests she had a much larger role to play in all this than I previously thought. If she doesn't fall down the shaft and explode the bomb, does it ever explode? I'll muse on this a bit more tomorrow. But Elizabeth Mitchell should get an Emmy nod as well.

Also, anyone else think Juliet was going to wake up at the bottom of that shaft and see Christian? I did.

6) Bernard, Rose and Vincent

How awesome was that scene? "Because we're retired." And not only was it so wonderful to see them again, it was wonderful to see them get a significant scene. They provided the perfect antithesis to Jack and Sawyer. Why do anything? Why not just live and enjoy your life and let the chips fall where they may? Is that so bad?

Of course, unlike most of the Losties, Bernard and Rose have a nice life with each other and are perfectly happy in it. They really don't have a reason to change things and make things "better," but you have to wonder about the question they pose: "Why do anything?" How many of the Losties would still be alive if they all simply made camp and went on with their life on the Island after the crash?

"We're together, that's all that matters in the end." This scene also seems to strengthen the idea that Bernard and Rose are really Adam and Eve. They're old, and they're on the Island long enough in the past to become the skeletons. Guess Vincent's body must get eaten by a polar bear. ;)

7) Sun Finding Charlie's Ring

I still hate 90% of Charlie's time on Lost, but "Greatest Hits" redeemed a lot of his character for me, and Sun finally finding Charlie's ring in the cradle (three years later, no less) was really touching. I got a bit verklempt.

8) Jacob's Loom

I loved the idea of the statue being hollow and Jacob's home. Brings to mind thoughts of the Sphinx. But what was the giant tapestry Jacob was weaving? A tapestry of life? Is Jacob one of the three fates? If so, that's kinda interesting. If so, he would almost certainly be Clotho (to be honest, I don’t think he is – I think him and his Rival are other Egyptian gods instead, but I’ll muse upon this tomorrow).

So what the heck does the tapestry mean anyway? Can you cut any of the strings? Can you re-weave it?

9) The Incident Itself

Overall, I thought it was really, really well done. Pierre was great and we saw him lose his arm. I got chills when the magnetism started kicking in. Sawyer's scene with Juliet was heartbreaking, despite being a bit too "Titanic" for my taste. Nice to see Sawyer spare Radzinsky and Phil's lives too (even if Phil did get spectacularly skewered afterwards).

And maybe I’m wrong about Radzinsky not being the real Radzinsky in the Swan. Since he was still alive pre-hydrogen bomb exploding, perhaps he did survive the Incident and end up in the Swan with Kelvin. He could have lost his memory in the explosion, I suppose, which would explain his questionable knowledge on the Blast Door Map.

Regardless, I still think Kelvin kills his annoying ass in the Swan, 108 minutes be damned. BTW, in case you haven’t seen, they have an app for that. :)

10) Details

The Black Rock. "Live together, die alone." Apollo candy bars. The dog painting in Jacob's cabin. The time capsule & toy airplane (which was cool to see Jacob have a hand in, even if that episode was lame). Sawyer’s letter. Locke’s fall. Nadia. Counting to five. There were so many awesome moments and details, Darlton deserve kudos for a greatly detailed finale.


Y'know, aside from the abrupt ending, the only thing I really disliked about the episode was the scene with Jack and Sawyer. Are we supposed to believe that Jack is going through all this because he's heartbroken over Kate? Yeesh. Let’s see what other alternative motivations could Jack have had?

1) He wants to save everyone – Yes! He wants to bring everyone who’s died on the Island back to life. That’s what he does. That’s what he’s done on the show from day one. That puts him squarely in the hero/destiny seat. So why not use it?

2) It’s his destiny – For most of this season, he’s been New Age Jack, the Man of Faith. He’s been going around telling everyone it’s his destiny to do this. Would have been a perfectly reasonable explanation to Sawyer:

“Look, I didn’t believe Locke the first time around. I made that phone call to the freighter when he told me not to and it ended up getting him and a lot of other people killed. I’m not going to screw this up a second time.”

Wouldn’t that have been a great scene?

3) He wants to do it for his dad – Expanding on the “Field of Dreams” do it for your estranged father idea, Jack could have said something along the lines of:

“Before he died, Locke told me he saw my father here on the Island, alive. Now I don’t know if he’s telling the truth or not, but I have seen my father walking around this Island. Saw him shortly after we first arrived here. And somewhere in the back of my mind, I get the feeling that this is what he wants me to do.”

Neat, eh?

But instead we get sappy Season 3 Jack as his motivation. And the likely reason why Darlton wrote it this way is that we're going to get an ending to the show focused around their relationship (or lack thereof). Perhaps one where history is re-written and Jack and Kate land in L.A. and not know each other; they get a brief moment to speak in the airport before Kate is carted off to jail and Jack collects his father's corpse, the final scene echoing the end of “Through The Looking Glass” with the two of them together.

And I guess this kinda frustrates me because, even though Jack and Kate were set up from episode one was the “leads” of the show, there are so many better relationships. Penny and Desmond. Sun and Jin. Bernard and Rose. Sayid and Nadia. Daniel and Charlotte. Sawyer and Juliet would also be in the upper echelon if Kate wasn’t around to screw it up. And I kinda understand Darlton wanting to end the show with a relationship – Lost is first and foremost a character drama. The writers care as much about these characters as we do. I just wish that if the show had to end with a relationship, it was with a different pair (or, perhaps, that Jack and Kate’s relationship hadn’t gotten to be so melodramatic and annoying as the series progressed).

But really, overall I thought it was a tremendous episode, even if they did torture us at the end. You would have thought we'd at least get a brief glimpse of what happened post-incident. I was so waiting for one more scene after everything went white, something along the lines of when we first saw Penny’s Listening Station. But noooooooo… now we have a solid eight months or so to think about it.


So where does this finale rank among the Lost finales? I’d put it squarely in the middle of the pack – Below “Exodus” and “Through The Looking Glass,” but well above “Live Together, Die Alone” and “There’s No Place Like Home,” certainly closer to the top two than the bottom two (especially since it really had an Exodus feel to it with the ending)

Tomorrow I'll be back with some questions and theories. :)

Edit: You can read Part II of my review here. :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Review Note...

As I have just realized Lost ends at 11pm tonight as opposed to 10pm, my review might be up a wee bit later in the morning than usual. If I work on it on my spiffy new laptop on the train, it'll probably be up around 10am or so. We'll see, maybe I'll be so excited I'll just stay up and finish it after the show.

Enjoy tonight, everyone! :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

So... What Is This "Incident" You Speak of?

The Incident will be this Wednesday from 9-11pm EST, with a one-hour clip show before hand. I don't about all of you, but I really enjoyed this season from start to finish. The time travel aspect of the show being so overt (and crucial to the plot) was totally unexpected and (to me) a delight. I originally expected the season to end with the O6 finally returning to the Island. Instead, they reached it by Episode 6.

The Incident itself will set up what to expect for Season 6, which is really up in the air at this point. I think either way it's going to revolve around trying to change time, but the question is will they (meaning Desmond, most likely) be trying to erase the present time line (scenario #1) - meaning Jack and company fail in preventing the Incident, they all die and the time loop is preserved - or trying to restore it (scenario #2) - meaning Jack and company succeed in preventing the Incident, but it leads to an even worse future than the one they already have?

My gut feeling after last week's episode was that it was going to be scenario #1, which would mean we'd have an ending where Flight 815 would end in L.A. as if none of this ever happened. I still kinda feel that way, but it does cut a little too close to being a Newhart or St. Elsewhere ending to me - both of which were good, BTW - and it would be a little sad to see all the history we've gone through with these characters suddenly wiped out, even if a lot of this history is sad.

But we won't know until after Wednesday! Here are a couple things I'll be looking for (and my guess for the percentage chance of seeing them)...

Things I'd like to get answers for in the finale:

1) Who or what is Jacob? (100% - in some form or another)

2) Can the future be altered or not? (50% - they can't make this the cliffhanger, can they?)

3) Will Sun be able to see Jin again? (40% - one can hope, right?)

4) Who are Ilana and Bram working for? (75% - I bet they'll figure in prominently)

5) What lies in the shadow of the statue? (75% - if we get #4, we'll get #5)

Things I'd like to see in the finale (aside from the Incident itself):

1) Smokey (100% - can't have a finale without Smokey, especially since Jack's in the tunnels)

2) Pierre Chang lose his arm (90% - he does lose it in the Incident, after all)

3) Bernard, Rose, Vincent and Frank (100%, 100%, 95%, 90% - Bernard and Rose are rumored to be back, Vincent's probably with them)

4) Inside the Temple (40% - depends on where Locke ends up)

5) The front of the Statue (25% - probably not, unless there's a picture somewhere)

My review might end up being in two parts, depending on how much I have to say about it. There will be a general review up on Thursday, but I might have some expanded thoughts on Friday as well if it proves to be extremely tidbit-y. :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sizing Up The Wish List

I was going back through some of my old posts and I found this one on what Lost mysteries/events I'd like so see by the end of the season. Here's how my list come out:

1. Danielle, Part II

We got a bit of this - certainly got to see Ben stealing Alex, though we never got to see her record her message in the radio tower.

2. Daniel & Charlotte

Got to see this scene, and it was good.

3. The Incident

Getting this in the finale. :)

4. The Black Rock

Probably won't get this next week, unfortunately. :P

5. Henry Gale


6. DHARMA Origins

Got a bit of DHARMA, but really only for a short period in 1977. We still know next to nothing about what happens between the Incident and the Purge, ostensibly the most important time period for us. Of course, if Season 6 picks up where this season leaves off, we should get a bit of this next season.

7. Kelvin & Radzinsky

We've gotten a LOT of Radzinsky and he is totally insane. I'm still not convinced that this is guy who ends up in the Swan and starts the Blast Door Map. I am convinced, though, that if this really is the guy that ends up with Kelvin, he didn't commit suicide, Kelvin shot him himself. Can't imagine anyone staying cooped up with him for very long.

8. The Four Toed Statue

Got it! Not the front, but a decent look nonetheless. I bet we'll get a front view in the finale.

9. Mikhail

No Mikhail. :(

10. Amelia

No Alicia. I'm a bit surprised by this, especially since there should be a young Alicia somewhere in the Others camp (unless she was recruited by Ben later on like Juliet was, I suppose).

Not bad, really. The show has started to tie up all their loose ends, despite still having a season worth to go. I'll be away this weekend, but I have some further thoughts on possible endings that I'll post before the finale. Have a great weekend everyone! :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lost Episode Review 5.15, "Follow The Leader"

"If this works, it will save us all. If not, at least it will put us out of our misery."

Okay, so I guess we won't get any Richard flashbacks after all. :P

Despite this, I loved the episode as a whole - reminded me a lot of the early season time travel episodes - and it was great catching up with Sun, Ben and Locke again. But it really was simply a bridge to the finale - kind of how "Greatest Hits" was really the first part of "Through The Looking Glass." A few things we learned this week:

1) According to Richard, all the time travelers died in the Incident.

If true, this means that A) none of the older Losties are alive with their younger counterparts in 2004 and B) Jack and company are going to fail.

Not really surprising, I suppose. And from next week's promo, it looks like Sawyer, Juliet and Kate somehow end up back on the Island again as well. I feel so awful for Juliet - when Kate was put on the sub, my heart just sank. Usually the love triangle stuff just annoys me, but that scene actually made me really want to see Sawyer end up with Juliet at the end of the show. I'd also imagine at this point, if Juliet ever gets free and armed, Kate better not be around.

2) "What plane?"

Couple things about Ben - was he confused when Locke said he was bringing him to the plane? Ben certainly knew of the beechcraft - he took Juliet to the Pearl and told her to tell Tom to cover the station hatch with the plane. Seemed kind of a weird comment to make (and sounded genuine at the time), but then again Richard didn't seem to know what the plane was either and Locke explained it to both of them. Perhaps Ben's comment was to bluff Richard? Something just felt wrong to me there.

Secondly, has Ben really never seen Jacob? Could Jacob really be "The Man Behind The Curtain?" i.e. a construct of the Ben and Richard to keep control over the Others? I don't think so at this point, since Locke's going to try and kill him. But Ben was certainly pissed enough to shoot him back when Locke heard Jacob say "Help me..."

Lastly, Ben playing Richard against Locke was wonderful. And it seemed in that scene that Ben and Richard did have some sort of understanding regarding Jacob, which makes me think Richard hasn't seen him either.

3) Locke completing his own mini time loop

Despite this being a repeat scene, that was really cool. And now we know how Richard knew where to find Locke and how he knew Locke had to die. Well done.

Lots of questions this week - let's get right to them:

Five questions:

1) Is the Island really speaking to Locke? Did it tell him to kill Jacob? Who or what is Jacob? Isn't the Island itself Jacob?

I know, I know. It's really unfair to lump all this together, but there are a lot of issues here.

First off, is Locke crazy or is the Island really talking to him? At first glance, it does seem that the newly resurrected Locke knows what he's doing, assuming that Locke isn't something like Christian - i.e. a manifestation of the Island itself. In that case, of course, he'd know exactly what he's doing. He knew he had to take Ben to the Temple to be judged and he knew exactly when to send Richard to the beechcraft. All well and good. But why kill Jacob? What would that accomplish?

Let's first assume that Locke is Locke and the Island itself really is telling him to kill Jacob. This likely means that Jacob is not the embodiment of the Island itself, unless it means to commit suicide. This is a very real possibility - the "help" Jacob needs could be for Locke to kill him. The other thing that fits in with this theory is the weird line of grey ash surrounding Jacob's cabin - perhaps Ben and Richard put it there to trap Jacob and are using him in some way. If Locke kills Jacob, perhaps he'll free him from them.

But what if Locke really is - say - the Monster or something else. Ben did say "dead is dead," right? We really don't know if Locke is really Locke. And if it were the Monster, for example, it presumably would have access to all Locke's memories - it would know it could use Locke's persona to herd the Others and assume control of them by symbolically killing Jacob.

Locke really seems to have no purpose on the show aside from the things he set up for himself in the past. Would he really be this important to the Island if Flight 815 never crashed? His most powerful asset is the fact that Richard and the Monster (remember the scene with Ben and "Alex") seem to consider him important. This makes me think that perhaps the Monster is impersonating Locke in order to kill Jacob. There is another possibility for the ring of ash as well: it could be protective to keep the Monster out. But perhaps it won't keep it out if it's in "Locke form."

One last thing - Locke's indifference to Sun's quest to find Jin also seemed very un-Locke-like to me. Regardless, we should get an answer to this next week.

2) So what will the consequences be of "Locke" killing Jacob?

Seems to me it will have no consequences for any of the Losties, save perhaps Sun. Since it's 2007, it shouldn't affect the time loop at all, but what will happen to the Island itself? Will Sun be able to meet up with Jin once Locke kills Jacob? Again, hopefully we'll get a solid answer to this in the finale.

3) What the heck is Jack supposed to do with the hydrogen bomb?

Even with Daniel's journal, Jack has absolutely no idea what to do with it. I suppose Daniel could have made some detailed notes on what to do, but basically they're probably going to have to wheel the thing though the tunnels to a point underneath the Swan station. Not an easy task, I imagine. Plus, what if they run into Smokey down in the Cerberus Vents? How will he feel about them trying to blow up a bomb in his tunnels?

4) So if everyone's dead, who's left in the future who knows what happened in the past?

We don't know if any of the Losties manage to survive or escape, though next week's preview seems to suggest that they're at least all still on the Island during the Incident, which doesn't bode well. If that's the case, then really Charles and Eloise are the only two people off-Island who know what happened back in the 70's. We know Pierre Chang survives the Incident too, but he's reportedly killed in the Purge. Desmond has no knowledge of the past on the Island either.

I'm only asking this because it certainly seems someone is trying to preserve the time loop in 2004 (evidenced by Claire being put on the plane), and if isn't any of the Losties then it seems it has to be Eloise and Charles.

5) So what Lost ending seems the most likely after this episode?

If all the Losties die in the Incident, then this gives much more strength to a scenario where the time loop is eliminated at the end of the show. Having all the time travelers die in the past preserves the time loop - they caused the Incident, which caused them to travel to the past. But if they don't travel to the past, there the Incident doesn't take place. After Eloise sends them back to the past on Flight 316, the time loop is completed and intact. Now we still don't know whether breaking the time loop would be catastrophic for the universe or not, but Daniel certainly didn't seem to think so.

My gut feeling is that eventually something or someone (probably Desmond) is going to time travel and break the loop at the end of the show, causing the entire time line to be rewritten and Flight 815 to land in L.A. (assuming the plane doesn't go off course again). This would actually be a sad ending, as Kate pointed out last night (one of the few insightful things she's ever said). As I mentioned earlier in the week, if this ending comes to pass, most of the Losties will be pretty miserable in their former lives, with the exception of Daniel, Sayid and everyone who died and none of them would know each other either. It would certainly suck to be Locke again, eh?

But there is something satisfying about that ending too. Everything comes full circle... and we get closure.


* Richard seemed to be making a model of the Black Rock in the opening

* Jack bounced back pretty quick after getting cold-cocked REALLY HARD with gun.

* I'm not sure if we've heard this before, but Radzinsky's first name is Stuart. And more and more, I'm thinking Radzinsky wasn't really the guy in the Swan with Kelvin, it was someone just using his name. But if he really was, Kelvin was the one who shot him - he's seriously crazy. Question is, what was the map Sawyer drew for Radzinsky? Was it a Blast Door Map template?

* The scene where Pierre quizzes Hurley on history trivia just might be my favorite scene of the season. I also loved Miles seeing his father in a new light.

* Charles' hand on Eloise's stomach seems to suggest she's currently pregnant with Daniel. Guess he's an Island baby too.

* Saywer called the sub guy "Nemo"

*Em thought the CGI sub looked fake, though I thought it was a fairly decent effect for once.

* How many of you went "YES" when Kate thought she was shot, then went "DAMMIT" when it turned out she was fine? *waves hand*

* Tons of great quotes this episode. In fact, my note sheet was pretty much all quotes, very little note taking/reactions. Speaks to the script, eh?

"I have a purpose now"
"He's an advisor... and he's had that job for a very, very long time."

"I watched them all die"

"It was not all misery" - "Enough of it was"

"Alright dude, we're from the future"

"This must be quite the out-of-body experience"

"You've never seen him, have you?"

"Do you know who you sound like, because he was crazy too?" -
love this line
"We'll buy Microsoft"

"I have a feeling this John Locke is going to be trouble"

"Why do you think I tried to kill him?"

"So I can kill him"


A quality, action-packed bridge to the finale that well-whetted my appetite. I'm still a bit peeved we didn't get any Richard flashbacks, though that's a bit of a nitpick. 3.8/5.0. Finale next week! Season went by so fast! :(

Monday, May 4, 2009

Further Thoughts on "The Variable"

Been wrapping my brain around a few things all week long. First off, it appears there are only two episodes left this season since they're counting the two-hour season finale as two episodes (Part I & Part II). That sucks, but the good news is that this week's episode, "Follow The Leader," is RICHARD CENTRIC! WOO HOO! About damn time!

Secondly, as Carly (and Missie through e-mail pointed out to me), Eloise is definitely not Charlie's grandmother. Charles may be his grandfather, but he certainly has hinted that Penny may not be his biological daughter after all. Perhaps he took her from someone the same way Ben took Alex? That would be.. poetic, perhaps?

Now some thoughts on the episode itself:

1) Eloise and Daniel

All this season I've wondered what Eloise's motivations were. She forced Desmond to end up on the Island, even when he had a chance to change things. She helped the O6 (and Ben) get back to the Island, even though she had to know they'd end up in the past (I wonder if she knew Ben and Sun would end up in the present day). And lastly, she worked her whole life to make sure her son ended up on a path that would take him back in time to be shot at her own hand.

I have to think that if she thought she had any chance of changing things, she would have taken it. Thus she seemed to have been working all this time to preserve the time loop and the events of the past, a thought that, up until he returned from Ann Arbor, Daniel would have shared with her. But whatever research Daniel conducted in Ann Arbor, made him change his mind. Thus now Jack and company are going to try to change things, even though I think they're going to fail (and that that failure directly results in the Incident).

So who's right? Eloise or Daniel? It's possible they both are - most people can't change the future, but a few of them (like Desmond) can.

2) Where do we go from here?

So will happen post-incident? If they can't change the future, the Incident will happen and we move on from there. In this scenario, they may end up trying to preserve the time loop with their present day selves, much like Eloise did with Daniel. That would be a kind of sad ending.

But if they can change the future, I'm betting they will end up changing it for the worse (i.e. catastrophically) and end up in Season 6 trying to change it back. That would be kind of fun. Furthermore, let's say they do change the future catastrophically, but Desmond isn't affected.

In other words, you get kind of a Back to the Future, Part II dark alternate future where Kate's in jail, Sawyer's dead, Jack's a druggie and Hurley's insane. But Desmond wakes up in this alternate future, not only without Penny and Charlie, but with a complete memory of the old time line (also known as the Bishop effect)! He's freaked out and desperate to get back to the old time line, back to his previous life. So what does he do? He gets as much of the old band back together as he can and manages to convince them to help him get back to the Island. Once there, he changes things back, even though it means some of his friends (Charlie, Daniel) will die. I kinda like that idea too.

3) If the time line changed, what would happen to everyone?

Grub Street commented on this in the comments of the review. Assuming a non-catastrophic future, what would everyone's lives look like if the Incident never took place? Two things to think about here - Off-Island and On-Island:


The Incident takes place in 1977. However, because of the time travel several events that took place in the past wouldn't happen, most notably Daniel telling Richard to bury the Jughead bomb. If Daniel doesn't make that trip, there's a decent chance the bomb could explode in the 1950's instead. Now that could end up creating our catastrophic future. It also could be why Eloise was so fixed on making sure Daniel stayed on his path. Perhaps you can change the future, but if you do, it'll be worse than not changing it.

But let's say that even without Daniel the bomb gets buried and everything's okay, what happens next? Eloise never shoots Daniel, who probably goes on to become a classical pianist.
Ben and Richard could still Purge the DI (even though Ben never gets shot by Sayid), kidnap Alex and banish Charles. But Locke never meets Richard, who never expects him to appear and Ethan is never born as Sawyer's not around to save Amy.

But DHARMA might be a bit stronger on the Island without the Incident. The computer and button aren't needed, so Kelvin is also never needed in the Swan (and possibly not recruited). Also, if the Incident is the reason pregnant women keep dying on the Island, it's possible Ben never recruits Juliet (he might not be quite as evil without being shot by Sayid as well). Desmond may still crash on the Island, but perhaps he's killed by the Others instead of ending up in the Hatch. Alternatively he could decide to simply marry Penny the first time. And lastly, of course, with no button for Desmond to push, Flight 815 never crashes.

In present day, it's likely the Others would be living quite peacefully on the Island with limited problems.


Presumably, all the Losties lives would continue on the course they were on when they boarded the plane. As of last episode, none of the time travelers have met up with their younger counterparts, so there would be no rewriting of history in that regard. All their lives should be exactly the same right up to the moment they get on Flight 815, which would then touch down safely in L.A.

Everyone who died on the Island would be alive: Boone & Shannon, Arzt, Frogurt, Eko, Ana-Lucia, Libby, Charlie, Claire (presumably), Michael, even Nikki & Paolo. Jack would head back to L.A. and have his dad's funeral. Kate would go to jail. Locke would remain paralyzed, go back to box company, if he didn't commit suicide first. Rose would die of cancer. Sayid and Nadia would likely meet and get married. Sawyer would probably end up in jail too. Charlie would still be a druggie, washed-up musician. Sun and Jin would probably end up getting a divorce, thanks to Sun's father (either that or one or both of them would end up dead). Hurley would still be unlucky and rich (of course, it's possible with Hurley that he never hears the Numbers if anything happened to the Radio Tower and Leonard never heard them).

Claire's the most interesting question. Who was the family in L.A. who was going to adopt Aaron in L.A.? Was it Jack's mom? Someone from DHARMA? Or, as I suspect, if one of the time travelers arranged for Claire to get on Flight 815, does she even board the plane at all if history is changed? Perhaps the Australian family adopts Aaron instead since she'd probably have fewer reservations?

Overall, I think everyone would be fairly miserable, except for Sayid and Daniel (who's probably alive and happy his mom didn't drive him to be a scientist). The Island, if nothing else, gave everyone a blank slate and, with the exception of those who died, probably improved their lives. If the show ends with time being re-written without the Incident, it might make for a very sad ending to the show, especially since none of the Losties would ever get to know each other.

Anyhoo, just three more hours this season. Enjoy the show Wednesday! Review up Thursday morning! :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Quick Note

I do have some additional thoughts on "The Variable," but they'll probably have to wait until next week (or at least Sunday) because I'm swamped at work right now. Still sad about Daniel dying though - why do they have to kill off all the best characters? Way things are going, Ben and Desmond will probably die in the finale. :P