Monday, April 26, 2010

Cool Read...

If you haven't seen this article in Wired, you're missing out. Lots of cool stuff here. Loved the cargo list from Flight 815. :)

Addendum: It goes without saying that if you look closely at the big board behind Darlton, there are some spoilers to be seen, including the centricity of the next two episodes. Squint at your own risk. :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Subtle Hint Or Writer/Fanboy Mindgames?

This has been noted elsewhere (via New York Magazine), though it was first pointed out to me by Matt over e-mail.

Could this be a subtle hint as to the identity of Adam and Eve? If it's really a hint, I like it. A lot. (Biggie)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lost Episode Review 6.13: "The Last Recruit"

"John Locke was not a believer, Jack. He was a sucker..."

(Thanks to Dark UFO for all the screencaps).

Once again all of my predictions were totally wrong, but this time I don't feel quite so bad. Just who was the last recruit anyway? Jack, I suppose, not that he really joined up with Locke. Maybe it's because he's the only one left now after everyone else got blown up? It would be interesting to have Jack and Locke together for the remainder of the series, kinda like a warped version of "Midnight Run." And you know some portion of the finale is going to come down to Jack vs. Locke, as it should be.

To me this episode felt like The End, Part I of VI. It moved things along, got a lot of pieces into place (especially in the Alt, which I really dug) and set things up for the final stretch. Despite this (or perhaps because of it), it felt kinda slow to me. Yeah, a lot of stuff happened, but the end result was just to shuffle a bunch of people around. Not a whole lot of big reveals and the ones we got (like Smokey finally admitting to Jack he was one impersonating Christian) weren't really earth-shattering.

And I was disappointed that a lot of the tension that had built up in some storylines and subplots were diffused so easily, especially in Kate confronting Claire and the Hurley/Smokey talk, which turned into a Hurley/Jack talk instead (which was neat, but was I the only one expecting something a lot more suspenseful in the culmination of Hurley's plan)? Claire started off so wonderfully creepy this episode with her "you're with him" conversation, had some tension build when she said Locke's the only one who didn't "abandon her" and then was summarily abandoned by all the Losties, but had all that wonderful tension totally diffused by... a Kate sob story? Disappointing.

As far as the Alt goes, Desmond is acting as chessmaster, setting up the board for some grand design. I loved every moment of the Alt and now we have a plan to get just about everyone together at the same time. Jack's at the hospital with Locke, Ben, Sun and Jin. Presumably Miles and Sawyer will be coming to interview Jin (and Ben for that matter, since he saw Desmond). Sayid and Kate will probably be sharing a jail cell at some point and Claire and Ilana will have at least one more meeting with Jack. It's all coming together, the only question now is "For what?"

It was particularly difficult to find five questions this week because, by and large, they're the same questions we've been asking all season. We're a little bit closer to getting the answers, but nothing was really clarified. But I think I made a valiant effort here. :)

Five Questions:

1) Can Claire and Sayid be redeemed?

As I mentioned before, the one striking thing about this episode to me (that was actually kinda disappointing) was how both Claire and Sayid both made choices that were less, well, evil than in recent episodes. Claire in particular seemed to do a 360 - she seemed so evil and manipulative early on with Jack and the others, but seemed to melt after Kate had a heart-to-heart with her. Raise your hand if you expected Claire to fire. I sure did. Seemed too easy to me.

Sayid also softened after Desmond asked him what he would say to his dead lover when Smokey brought her back (which I thought was a very good scene). Perhaps Evil Minion Sayid can feel something after all? He certainly let Desmond live and I suspect he helped him out of the well as well. So what's the future hold for these two?

If they really are both dead and resurrected by Smokey's black magic, they're probably not getting off the Island. But perhaps their souls can be redeemed by sacrificing themselves for the others. I'm guessing Sayid in particular is going to sacrifice himself to save Jack or one of the other candidates at some point.

Though I'm still holding out hope that Claire's hunger for Kate's brain will return.

2) What will happen when Jack fixes Locke's spine?

Locke's going to walk again, for certain. And now it seems that the sole purpose of Desmond running Locke over was so that Jack could operate on him. Will this merely help both Jack and Locke remember or is it something more powerful than that. In the first few seasons, Locke's wheelchair came to represent everything that was pathetic and futile about his life. Does it also carry a greater significance here?

One other Alt thing: Obviously the shooting has restored Sun's memory of the original timeline as well since she recognized Locke (or did she recognize Smokey - seemed kinda scared when she noticed him).

3) What did Claire mean when she said "if you spoke with him, you're with him."

This goes back to the same "don't let him speak to you" line that Dogen said to Sayid and Smokey said to Richard (referring to Jacob). It could simply be that Smokey's a very good persuader - in other words, there's nothing special about talking to him, it's just that he's really good at getting people to do his evil bidding. If Eve had never spoken to the Serpent, there would never had been a Fall, after all.

But all of these "don't talk to him" instances seem to indicate it might be something more. Can Smokey plant the seeds of infection through his voice? Is that how the evil spreads throughout the world? If so, Jack might be in a world of trouble if he's going to be buddy-buddy with Smokey for the rest of the show.

4) Can Widmore stop Smokey without Desmond?

Judging from Tina Fey's actions this episode, Widmore seems just a wee bit desperate to get Desmond back. Now this implies either 1) that Widmore doesn't think Desmond knows what he has to do yet or 2) Widmore thinks he has no chance of stopping Smokey without Desmond.

It could also be some kind of combination between those two - he needs Desmond to release some EM energy in order to stop Smokey, but if Smokey's coming to Hydra Island now, does Widmore have anything in his sub aside from the fancy sonic pylons to stop Smokey or keep him at bay long enough to let Desmond do what he has to do.

I don't think he does. And I think we're going to see a Smokey rampage in an episode or two. But ironically, there is someone on Hydra Island with a weapon that might be able to hold Smokey at bay: Hurley, and his pouch of Jacob's ashes. Widmore might have been unwittingly handed the best weapon remaining on the Island... if he doesn't shoot Hurley first.

5) Where is Desmond now?

I was going to title this "Did Sayid really kill Desmond," but we all know the answer to that. No, the real question is where did Desmond go, since I imagine Sayid also helped him out of the well.

Presuming he knows what Widmore needs him to do, I imagine he's heading towards one of the pockets of EM on the Island. If he doesn't know, he heading back to Widmore... on Hydra Island... where Smokey's heading. That would be bad. Methinks Desmond knows better than that. I expect to see Desmond at a new DHARMA station in an episode or two and I'm guessing Charles is going to try and meet him there.


- Augh! No new Lost next week? And they didn't even warn us? The rest of the season runs straight through after that, but still... way to ruin my Lost buzz, man. :P

- "There are pills for that, Doc." Sawyer still gets the best line of the night award.

- Ilana's office was on the 15th floor in the law offices of "Sweetzer & Verdansky"

- Nice to see the "Elizabeth" again, though I can't believe they all simply abandoned it and swam aboard. Why not simply dock the ship - felt weird to me.

- Still want to know who Jack's ex-wife is. Still think it's Juliet.

- Anyone else think it's weird Sawyer didn't know who Anakin was?

- Also, when Sawyer called Frank "someone who came out of a Burt Reynolds movie," I was actually surprised he didn't reference "The Love Boat" instead.


This was an okay episode for me. It felt kinda scattered since there was no centricity, but it certainly moved things along. 3/5. Now we have the long two-week wait until The End, Part II. :P

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fearless Predictions...

Tomorrow's curiously titled episode, "The Last Recruit," doesn't tell us a whole lot about its centricity, considering it will likely be about whoever Smokey's final recruit will be (remember that Sawyer was technically his first recruit). So let's go through the possible candidates (outside of the real candidates):

1) Frank - Smokey needs Frank to fly the plane, so presumably he's going to have to recruit him.

2) Jin - Smokey presumably needs Jin back in order to leave the Island, something that will be a whole lot easier now that Sun is in his camp.

3) Charles Widmore - Make your enemy your friend by making him an offer he can't refuse, like serving him up the Island on a platter.

I can't really see Smokey recruiting anyone else but these three and, out of the three, Frank seems the most plausible, especially since we've already had a Jin/Sun episode this season.

So a Frank-centric episode tomorrow? I would admittedly love that... :)


1) If we do get a Frank-centric episode, his Alt story will feature Desmond searching him out so he can ask him when he's next flying to Guam.

2) Jin will finally sit down with Widmore and Tina Fey and tell us all where the pockets of EM energy are on the Island.

3) Ben, Miles and Richard will arrive at the Barracks looking for explosives and find Smokey beat them to the punch.

4) Hurley will attempt to trap Smokey with Jacob's ashes, but Evil Minion Sayid will ruin his plan.

5) Now that Jack, Sun and Hurley are all in Smokey's camp, Claire will subtly attempt to cover Kate's head in BBQ sauce.

I am 100% certain all these things shall come to pass. Enjoy the show! Review up Wednesday morning! :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Link Dump 4-17-10

- This might just be the most awesome thing ever:

TV Guide has reported that O'Quinn has written a "Bible" for a series that would reunite him and Emerson, and possibly even LOST creator J.J. Abrams. That project, still untitled, will center on O'Quinn and Emerson "as suburban hit men juggling family issues." Does that not sound like perfect TNT fodder? And does that not sound even more awesome with those LOST names attached? I'd watch it, no doubt about it.

“I really hope this works out because Michael would be in his prime in this. We’d play kind of awkward partners," O'Quinn divulged. This is pretty much the antithesis of their LOST characters, in that neither Ben or Locke are exactly awkward. This would make the series even more awesome to see yet another side of our beloved Ben and Locke.

“It’s very sweet of him,” says Michael. “I’m all in favor of it. Any reason to work with Terry again.”

Would I watch this? Hell yes.

- Neat article on Hiroyuki Sanada, who plays (played) Dogen. Sounds like a really nice guy.

- Some fun, silly stuff:

- Paula has a nice review of all the dead people that have been seen on the Island. And I totally agree that Dave is merely a figment of Hurley imagination. In fact, I kinda consider the entire episode a tongue-in-cheek mind game the writers were playing with the fans. After all, at that point we still didn't know whether there was even an outside world or not (that wouldn't be revealed until the Listening Station set up by Penny caught the Discharge), so we really didn't know whether to take Dave seriously or not.

Of course, if the entire show had been merely a figment of Hurley's imagination a lot of people would have been a wee bit ticked off. ;)

- In case you missed them from the comments two weeks ago, these guys have a very entertaining Lost Vlog.

- I'm currently watching the finale of Battlestar Galactica on DVD. I might post a short review of thoughts and likes and dislikes of the series as a whole once I'm done (but no comments here - I still have the last two parts to watch). But regardless of how it ends, I've really enjoyed the series. Fabulous cast, great writing (in general) and just a lot of fun. I think most people who enjoy Lost will probably like BSG and vice versa. Highly recommended. :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lost Episode Review 6.12: "Everybody Loves Hugo"

"Dead people are more reliable than alive people..."

(Thanks to Dark UFO for all the screencaps).

Well, not only were most of my predictions totally wrong, but I completely forgot Richard said they were going to destroy the plane two weeks ago. Yeek. But I've never been so happy to be so totally wrong.

I loved this episode from start to finish. Yeah, a few of the scenes were a bit disjointed and some of the motivations seemed kinda forced (like Hurley taking everyone to Locke, the explanation for the Whispers), but this episode totally shocked me twice: When Ilana got the Arzt treatment and when Alt Desmond flattened Alt Locke with his car (Locke sending Desmond well-diving you could see coming from a mile away). Lost is always at its best when it surprises and tonight was probably the best twisty-turny episode of the season.

Not to mention, there we're so many great little things about last night:

- Pierre Chang giving Hurley his T-Rex award. I want one of those.
- Seeing Michael again.
- Seeing Libby again.
- Ben's morose monologue about Ilana and the Island. He's kinda got a point too.
- Smokey trying to figure out Desmond.
- Alt Desmond looking so cool, calm and collected, helping people get their memories back
- Hurley and Libby getting their picnic on the beach. I never really bought the two of them together - always thought it was kinda forced - but there was some genuine chemistry last night.
- The trippy "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" preview for next week, which was taken from a 2005 album by Pendulum.

Just so much win this episode. Kudos to Jorge Garcia who gave it all last night.

Lots to ponder here, eh? Time to... *puts on Desmond's sunglasses*... ask some questions, brutha!

Five questions:

1) Is Alt Locke really Smokey? Does he realize he's Smokey?

The ending of the episode totally shocked me. At first I thought Desmond was simply trying to shake Locke's memory loose, but 1) Desmond hit Locke a wee bit too hard to just be trying to jog his memory and 2) he certainly didn't have to do that to Hurley to get his brain moving. So why kill Locke?

The most obvious answer is that Alt Locke is really Alt Smokey who, like all of the other Losties, has lost his memory in this pocket universe as well. If this is true (which it very well may not be - maybe Locke needs to die to collapse the pocket universe or something), it would suggest a number of things about the Alt:

1) Smokey is just as trapped as the rest of the Losties

2) Smokey is still stuck in Locke's form

3) Smokey didn't create the pocket universe at all

There are a couple things I like about this theory, especially in that it explains why the Alt is so normal. After all, the Island is destroyed in the Alt and the world certainly doesn't seem to be this Hell that everyone says would come about if Smokey escaped. Also I've been expecting Smokey to make an appearance in the Alt for several episodes now and this would certainly explain his absence. It also gives us another theory as to why the Alt exists: It's a last-ditch effort to contain Smokey.

With the Island gone, Smokey is free. But let's say someone (or some people) created the Alt at the last minute to prevent Smokey from escaping into the world, and you have to think Eloise is one of the primary masterminds here. Thus the Alt is really a proxy for the Island here - it's simply a prison to contain Smokey and everyone else just got taken along for the ride.

But there are a few problems with this theory. First if all, if this is the case, what good would it do to destroy the Alt? Seems in this case you'd want to keep it intact since you get the best of both worlds: Smokey contained and most of the Losties are happy. Furthermore it seems weird that Smokey would be trapped in Locke's form here since he didn't attain the form until 2007 in the present day universe.

I'm not totally comfortable with this theory - too many loopholes, so to speak. But I think we can say for certain that Desmond wants Alt Locke dead for some reason and that seems to suggest to me that if Locke isn't Smokey in this universe, then Smokey needs Alt Locke alive for some reason.

Poor Locke. Has anyone in the history of television had a more miserable existence?

2) Does Smokey really know what Desmond can do or why Widmore really wants him?

The conversation with Desmond and Smokey intrigued me in that Smokey really didn't seem to know what to do with Desmond. He insinuated that Widmore wanted to use Desmond as a compass to locate pockets of EM energy around the Island. This is plausible at face value, but doesn't seem to be what Widmore needs him for. After all, Widmore now has Jin to show him where the pockets of EM are, that's why he kidnapped him in the first place.

And Desmond was almost certainly lying when he told Smokey he was "John Locke" - I think Desmond knew exactly what Smokey really was. In fact, since Desmond's Alt trip, both versions of Desmond seem to have complete awareness of what's going on, which partially makes me think Desmond wanted to get thrown down the well knowing that 1) he'd survive and 2) there may be a pocket of EM energy down there. Note that the well Smokey threw Locke down was not the Orchid well. There's no Donkey Wheel down there for Desmond to turn.

If all this is true, it says a couple things to me: 1) Smokey isn't able to read minds anymore and 2) Smokey probably decided to kill Desmond just in case. You have to think if Smokey could still read minds, he would have scanned Desmond for sure, but lacking that option after a normal interrogation probably figured the safest thing to do was to simply get rid of him. Bit surprised he didn't go full blown Smoke Monster on him. All the James Bond villain ghosts on the Island must be facepalming right now, since he'd certainly still alive. Speaking of which...

3) Why are all the ghosts stuck on the Island? Can they interact with each other at all?

So the Whispers are really the muttering of ghosts who, in Michael's words, "can't move on." This seems to suggest the Island is really some kind of purgatory for wayward souls, even though it does seem to really physically exist in the world as well. And remember that since Hurley saw Richard's wife on the Island, it's not necessarily only people who have died on the Island either - it really seems to be a full-blown purgatory for spirits.

Looking back at some of Lostpedia's whisper transcripts, it does seem that the spirits can interact somewhat, talking to each other while they observe the living people on the Island. But it's kinda weird that Michael told Hurley to tell Libby he's sorry if he sees her. After all, if Hurley sees her wouldn't that suggest she's trapped on the Island just like Michael?

So why are the spirits stuck there? Is there something that can be done to help them move on? I'm guessing that the new Jacob will be able to address this question in the series finale.

4) If Jack becomes the new Jacob, will Hurley become the new Richard?

All through this episode I sat thinking, "Man, Richard is really useless now. Hurley's doing his entire job for him." And doesn't it seem weird that even though Jacob told Ilana that Richard would know what to do, Richard really doesn't seem to have a clue? When Jack interrupted Richard's suicide attempt in the Black Rock, we never actually got to see whether it would have worked in the absence of Jack. I'm betting that with Jacob dead, Richard can die now and will do so before the end of the season.

Now the new Jacob doesn't necessarily need a new Richard; he or she can simply choose talk to people directly. But I was struck by the conversation Jack and Hurley had in the jungle where Jack told Hurley that he trusted him and Hurley then gave Jack some advice - seemed like a really great working relationship to me.

So what would be Hurley's motivation to stay on the Island if Jack is chosen as the new Jacob? How about being able to talk to ghostly Libby all the time?

5) Does Hurley plan to try and trap Smokey with Jacob's ashes?

When Hurley went through Ilana's belongings, he grabbed a drawstring bag, which is probably the one Ilana filled with Jacob's ashes back in LA X. Is the reason Hurley suggested that everyone go see Smokey because he's planning to try and trap him a different way? If so, suddenly Hurley's decision to travel to Locke makes a lot more sense. I do kinda wish he had said to Jack "I have a plan" or something, but I'm betting we'll see those ashes in action sometime in the near future.


- So if Smokey kills Desmond and Alt Desmond kills Alt Smokey will the universe implode?

- So Jacob told Richard once what the Island really was. Any chance Ben or Miles will follow up on this in the next few episodes? Ordinarily I'd say no, but we are awfully close to the end of the show.

- Interesting that Desmond could also see Jacob/Aaron in the jungle. Richard couldn't see him, but Sawyer could. Does this mean Desmond's a candidate too? There's certainly something very significant about people who are able to see him and that boy is the one thing on the Island that seems to annoy the heck out of Smokey. At first glance, the boy seemed older to me too, but it seems to be the same young actor in both episodes.

- I love Locke's curious head nod (like the one he used when he saw Desmond for the first time), which makes him look like he's a velociraptor, right before it's about to tear your face off. ;)

- The book Hurley picked up from Ilana's stuff was Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

- "You talk to wood now?" Sawyer still gets all the best lines despite his limited screen time. Seriously though, what was Smokey carving that stick for? Is it a new Jesus Stick?

- A while ago I tried to predict what centricity the remaining Lost episodes would be. My predictions:

6.08: Sawyer
6.09: Jin/Sun
6.10: Ilana
6.11: Claire
6.12: Frank
6.13: Charles Widmore
6.14: Hurley
6.15: Richard
6.16: Desmond

And what we've gotten so far is:

6.08: Sawyer
6.09: Richard
6.10: Jin/Sun
6.11: Desmond
6.12: Hurley

Out of my remaining four predictions, the only plausible one I think is left is Charles. Ilana is now gone and Frank and Claire just don't seem that likely to me. So who could the remaining four be? Well, there always could be a repeat from earlier in the season - Jack being the most likely candidate (pun intended) there. But I can't see having really more than two repeats, so were going to have to get at least one more new (for this season) flash in addition to Charles (assuming Charles actually gets one).

So now that Richard, Ben and Miles are broken off into their own group, I really think Miles is going to get an episode. He's the only one of the three who hasn't gotten one this season and he ties into Sawyer and Kate's Alt stories, so we'd be able to see the resolution of that storyline (of course, they'll all probably be getting a visit from Desmond soon).

- Another good thing about a Miles-centric episode this season: More Daddy Chang. :)

- Desmond's order number at Mr. Cluck's was 42.

- Did Dr. Brooks have that photo of an Island in his office in the original timeline? I think he did, but it's been a while since I've seen "Dave."


I loved this episode from start to finish. Is it a Top 10? Don't know yet, but it's got two top Lost moment contenders in Ilana blowing up and Desmond running over Locke. Regardless it's one of the best episodes this season. 4.8/5

Fearless Predictions...

The title of tonight’s episode, “Everybody Loves Hugo,” is an Alt-play off the Season 2 episode “Everybody Hates Hugo.” I’m expecting healthy doses of Numbers, ghosts and Alt-y goodness this evening! :)

1) Hurley will be the first person Desmond contacts in the Alt and helps regain his memory. But Alt Hurley will love his new life so much he’ll want nothing to do with Desmond. Odds Alt Hurley is married to Libby: 80%

2) Widmore is told that Sayid has captured Desmond and says “Good. All according to plan.” Odds Smokey freaks and kills Desmond outright when he sees him: 50%

3) Jacob tells Hurley about Desmond and tells him they need to get him away from Dark Minion Sayid. Odds Jacob tells Hurley how one of the candidates will become the new Jacob: 10%

4) Illana and company finally join up with Team Widmore as they try and figure out how to stop Smokey. Odds one of them comes up with the idea of destroying the plane: 0%

5) Widmore brings Hurley a giant tub of ranch dressing as a present, tells him to try it with some of his delicious chicken nuggets as it really brings out the ham. Odds Hurley actually has a stash of chicken nuggets somewhere on the Island: 108%

I am 100% certain all these things shall come to pass. :)

Enjoy the show! Review up tomorrow!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Further Thoughts On "Happily" + Link Dump

I still haven't had a chance to rewatch "Happily Ever After," though I have read several other recaps and the Lostpedia transcript. While I still think the pocket universe holds pretty well (especially in that I really do think Smokey's manipulated the Alt in some way), I'm waffling on the Alt being flashbacks. While it's still possible, if everything we were seeing in the Alt was a flashback that ends up resulting in the time travelers getting back to the Island in 2007, it would take away a lot of the drama of the final six episodes. After all, we're now set up for some pretty exciting stuff in the Alt as Desmond sets out to contact all the Losties using the Flight 815 manifest. If the Alt is total flashback, then Desmond's quest loses all of its drama and suspense since we know he's going to be successful. But I'm still having trouble believing that the Alt is simply a parallel timeline from our present day one (and as Bigmouth points out there are a lot of inconsistencies with that scenario). So what are my biggest hangups with the Alt timeline theory:

1) Jack's physical evidence - His appendix scar and the cut on his neck in the plane. Both of these things the writers went out of their way to point out and both of them seem to suggest that Jack, at the very least, is the same physical Jack from our world that was somehow transported into this Alternate Universe. We haven't seen any evidence from any of the other Losties that this is the case, so it's possible that Jack is special in this regard. But regardless if this was a "simple" alternate timeline Jack these things certainly wouldn't have been pointed out.

2) The memories - Likewise the buried memories Daniel and Desmond have of our present day universe also suggest this isn't a simple AT. In a simple AT, none of these memories should exist at all.

3) Eloise - The Eloise of this Alt certainly seems to know exactly what's going on and may even be helping it along.

Taken all together, I just can't believe the Alt is a simple alternate timeline. But if it really is a pocket universe instead, when in time does that pocket universe exist and what effect does it have on the present day universe? It being in the past still makes the most sense, even if it does undercut the drama of the show. But here's another theory I'm been muddling:

Let's say the pocket universe was indeed created by Smokey when Juliet detonated the bomb and right now it exists in parallel with our present day universe. But the thing is, that universe is not set in stone. Let's say that Smokey's goal is to escape the Island and eliminate our present day timeline, replacing it with the pocket universe instead. But if all the Losties choose to do so, they can collapse the pocket universe on their own when they regain their memories. That's where Alt Desmond comes in. I think this idea is a bit more consistent with what we've seen so far and it keeps the suspense that flashbacks would lose.

Am I right? Probably not. But I feel a bit better about this theory, and isn't that what really matters? The answer is no. ;)

I also really liked this comment from American Hooch:
Not sure if anyone's mentioned this yet but, I'm going to predict that Desmond and Penny are Charles Widmore's father. Their son Charlie is actually Widmore before he time travels in some bizarre way. Goes with that Adam & Eve thing...
That's just brilliant. Granted, it would be ripping off the best episode of Futurama, but I like the idea a lot. And I do think that time travel will be a big factor into the ultimate resolution of the show.

Link Dump:

- If you've never played a game of Pokémon in your life, this will probably be lost on you, but trust me when I say that Pokémon + LOST = Hilarity. Nuzlocke Comics is based on a particular set of (difficult) rules for playing through a Pokémon game, but this guy also happens to be a big LOST fan as well.

Well worth reading and I think I'm going to do my own Nuzlocke Challenge at some point in the future.

- May 23rd, the finale night, will feature a five hour LOST extravaganza. Two hours of preview, the two hour show, then a one hour Jimmy Kimmel retrospective. Nice!

- Daniel Dae Kim calls the Lost finale "very satisfying."

- Emily Nussbaum's entertaining rant in New York Magazine set off a bit of a firestorm on some of the message boards. I love her reviews and I can understand some of her frustration, but I do take issue with this sentiment:
And yet, I'm bitter! Because all those great themes — about society, about human nature, about recovery after trauma — and all those great threads — the Others, Dharma, the childbirth mystery — feel to me simplified by the news that it's all an abstract experiment between super-frenemies in whether human beings are corruptible. To me, that's like folding an enormous, colorful, mysterious map into a tiny wad of chewing gum.
First of all, "Good vs. Evil" isn't the only theme on Lost. In fact, I think one can convincingly argue that "Fate vs. Free Will" is actually the more dominant theme. Locke believed he was destined for greatness to the point where he became nothing more than Smokey's puppet. I still think one of the best scenes from this season was from the season opener where Smokey tells Ben that John Locke's final thought was "I don't understand." Everybody has a choice. And I'm convinced there are going to be many hard choices before the season ends.

But even moreso, "Good vs. Evil" is a pretty darn powerful theme when 1) you have an excellent, competent villain who does horrific things and 2) the heroes are flawed and must overcome those flaws to triumph over the villain. Smokey is certainly one of the best TV villains I've ever seen and he's by far the best part of this season so far. And I'm really looking forward to seeing what our Losties are going to have to sacrifice in order to best him.

While I can certainly see how some people may not like the twists and turns the show has taken the last season or two, LOST has still consistently managed to adhere to these epic themes that have made it one of the best things on television.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lost Episode Review 6.11: "Happily Ever After"

"It's okay. I understand. When do we start?"

(Thanks to Dark UFO for all the screencaps).

If there was ever an episode in need of a second watchthrough, it's this one. I loved it from start to finish, but I'm still not 100% sure of what I just saw. We certainly learned a few things about the Alt, but I can't quite figure out how all the pieces fit together. So what do we now know for certain?

1) All the Flight 815ers in the Alt have buried memories of the original timeline and it seems they can be brought out spontaneously with a traumatic event (Charlie choking to death, Desmond nearly drowning) or through dreams (Daniel).

2) Seems many of the Flight 815ers have been given "the thing they wanted more than anything," as Eloise said to Desmond. Jack's a good father, Hurley's lucky and everyone likes him, Locke has Helen (and possibly a relationship with his dad), Sawyer's a cop instead of a criminal, Desmond has Charles' approval. Even Eloise has it pretty good - married to Charles with Daniel alive again. More on that last one later.

3) Desmond seems able to mind shift between the Alt like he did in Flashes Before Your Eyes. And I think it's neat that he flashed back at the moment he ran into his constant.

In fact, this entire episode was really just an alternate reality echo of Flashes Before Your Eyes, but in Flashes, didn't Eloise say that time has a way of "course correcting?" This is clearly not how things were meant to be and it seems that everyone regaining their memories is the key to setting everything on its proper course again.

This review was probably the hardest one for me to write so quickly. I might do a follow-up review in a few days after it's had time to marinate a bit more in my brain.

Five Questions:

1) So what exactly is the Alt Universe?

All of a sudden the Alt looks a lot less like an alternate timeline and more like a pocket universe to me. The difference? An alternate timeline is where something changes at a critical juncture in time creating a branch in the time stream. Think Back to the Future when Marty saves his Dad from getting hit by the car. But the bottom line is that alternate timelines are usually connected at some early point. Up until now, this is what I thought the Alt was, but now it seems more like a combination of that and a pocket universe.

A pocket universe doesn't necessarily have to be part of the original timeline at some branch point - it can be a totally separate entity, existing in its own rules. The best illustration of this is in Marvel Comics' Age of Apocalypse and Onslaught storylines. But one of the most common characteristics of a pocket universe is that the latter often can be created by a separate (powerful) entity and used as a prison to contain people in a way so that they don't realize they're being contained. Kind of like the Matrix and Liddleville from the Fantastic Four comics, but in this case the Losties don't just have their memories transported - they are in the pocket universe, at least that's what Jack's appendix scar and cut on his neck seem to suggest.

Doesn't it strike you as odd that the Alt universe is so... comfortable for so many of the Losties? As I mentioned before, Eloise pointed out that Desmond was given the thing he desired the most, Charles Widmore's approval. In fact, just about everyone was given lives that make them relatively content and free of the angst that plague them in the regular universe. Yes, they still have problems - Charlie's still a druggie, Kate's still a fugitive, Sayid's still a killer, but they're all in lives that seem to keep them docile and contained. This really suggests to me that Smokey is using the Alt to prevent things from changing back and prevent the time stream from course correcting itself like it normally would.

So what is the Alt, how was it created, where does it exist and what is its relationship to the regular universe? Here's my current theory - Remember that Juliet detonated the bomb on the Island in 1977. In doing so, it seems the Island was destroyed, likely freeing Smokey to wreak havoc upon the world. But the universe doesn't want the bomb to go off - ideally it wants the Incident to happen so that the Swan is created and Flight 815 crashes, but it doesn't want to destroy the Island. So the way to correct all this is to send all the time travelers to 2007 present day timeline before Juliet detonates the bomb. But let's say that Smokey, at that moment, somehow created a pocket universe to contain all the time travelers, altering their memories and preventing them from reaching 2007. They still have memories of the normal timeline buried deep down, but they're buried as long as they're kept happy and content.

So what happens now? I think the time travelers will eventually escape from the pocket universe with the help of Desmond and will end up in the present day. Thus when we saw them all in LA X at the destroyed Swan site, they basically had just emerged from the pocket universe. Yes, this would mean that the sideways flashes are actually flashbacks if we take them in chronological order. None of the present day time travelers have any memory of the pocket universe anymore, but I think the Alt storyline is going to end with all the time travelers (meaning Jack, Kate, Hurley, Jin, Sawyer, Miles, Sayid and Juliet) returning to 2007. Obviously Smokey would prefer to keep the pocket universe intact - that way there's no risk of one of the candidates becoming the new Jacob. However, at least Smokey has his loophole as a backup plan in the present day timeline.

And it's also possible that the only way to collapse the pocket universe is for all the time travelers to choose to come back. This may be a very difficult thing for many of them to do, especially since one 1) it would mean many people who are alive in the Alt - (Charlie, Daniel, Charlotte, Nadia, Alex, Helen and possibly Juliet, who I still think is Jack's ex-wife) would die again and 2) it would mean returning to the misery of their former lives. But I think many of them would still choose to do so, even if their lives are less "perfect."

Is this right? I have no idea. I think I'm going to have to reserve the right to revise this theory after another viewing and some sleep and caffeine. :)

2) Did the two Desmonds mind-switch? Do both of them have all their memories?

Given that Alt Desmond fainted in the stadium, it seems almost certain that Desmond mind-switched with his Alt counterpart, but his reaction when he returned to the present day universe was odd. I still don't quite understand why Desmond simply ran off with Sayid (or why Sayid let the Tina Fey clone live for that matter). Seems to me that the Hydra Island experiment sent Desmond's mind into his Alt counterpart where he experienced everything in the episode then returned. That's fine.

But if he has clarity about what the Alt universe is now, why would he go with Sayid so willingly? The only thing I can think of is that he knows what he has to do to change things back and he can accomplish it by going to see Smokey.

Why spend the effort searching him out when Dark Minion Sayid would gladly lead the way? :)

3) Is Eloise working for Smokey?

At first glance, it certainly seems Eloise has no desire to upset the status quo in the Alt, but does this mean she's in cahoots with Smokey? I don't think she's exactly working for him, per se, but I do think she has a vested interest in keeping the Alt intact. After all, of all the people we've seen in the Alt, she has pretty much has the best life of them all. She's married to her one true love, who happens to be the most one of the most powerful men in the world while her son, Daniel, is still alive (instead of dead by her hand) and is a talented classical pianist. What more could anyone ask for?

I think Eloise is simply looking out for herself, an dark twist given how tirelessly she worked to keep the normal, traumatic timeline (where she shoots Daniel and sends Desmond to the Island) in place. Smokey gave her everything she ever wanted in the Alt. All she has to do in return is help keep it intact, which brings us to...

4) Why would Desmond regaining his memories be a "violation?"

I think it's a violation of the agreement Smokey made with Eloise. I think he gave her everything she wanted in exchange for helping keep all the Losties in check. That's why she didn't blast Desmond for losing Charlie - she wants to keep him placated and happy.

Question now is, what happens when Alt Smokey finds out the Losties are regaining their memories and that Desmond is actively helping them do so? Will he step in and take matters into his own hands? I've been expecting this for several episodes now - I do hope this was the breaking point that will draw him out into the open.

5) What's the sacrifice Desmond's going to have to make?

Desmond can survive "catastrophic EM events." I'm guessing Charles needs him to release another pocket (or pockets) of EM energy on the Island because he's the only one that can do it. But I'm also guessing that, like the Donkey Wheel and the Failsafe Key, there's a side effect of releasing the energy. And maybe that side effect is that Desmond gets sent though a wormhole to another time and/or place where he never gets to see Penny and Charlie ever again, but he also can take comfort in knowing that they will be alive and safe.

I wonder if Charles has an extra copy of "Our Mutual Friend" lying around anywhere? :)


- I loved all the warped nods to previous episodes we got. My favorites:
1) Desmond saves Charlie from drowning, a successful version of "Through the Looking Glass"

2) Charles shares his MacCutcheon whiskey with Desmond after denying him a taste in "Flashes Before Your Eyes"

3) Daniel becomes a classical pianist, instead of Eloise pushing him into science ala "The Variable"

4) Eloise basically tries to prevent Desmond from fulfilling his destiny in "Flashes Before Your Eyes
- Got two eye shots of Desmond this episode - both right, I believe.

- Flight 815's luggage was on Carousel 4.

- The rabbit was named "Angstrom," a unit of atomic measurement and a nifty literature reference to boot.

- Penny's last name is Milton? Paradise Lost anyone? Think this is a subtle hint that Desmond and Penny are really Adam and Eve? Don't know how Penny would get back in time though at this point, unless she comes out of the Magic Box.

- Great seeing George Minkowski again too. Hope we get more of him.

- Desmond did seem to have a wedding band in LA X, a blooper, it seems. Thus I think that's why the writers went out of their way to have George point out that Desmond wasn't wearing one here.

- Loved the Watchmen reference (to Dr. Manhattan's creation) when Desmond was trapped in the velociraptor crate.

- Loved the pic of the scales in Alt Widmore's office. Is it a Jack Bender original?

- I've never been a big Charlie fan, but I did enjoy Dominic's performance here - seemed like he was having a lot of fun with the role. It was funny seeing him run around in that hospital gown too.


After Season 3 ended, my #1 favorite episode was Flashes Before Your Eyes. If I did my Top 10 list today, I think it would be The Constant. Is "Happily Ever After" better than either of those? I don't think so at this point, but this might well be an episode that looks even better in retrospect after the season is over. Either way, it's the most thought provoking episode we've had this season. 4.5/5

Fearless Predictions...

Because our mutual friend, Desmond, is finally back on the Island, I have exceedingly great expectations for tonight!

1) Tonight's Darlton-penned episode, "Happily Ever After," won't be quite as good overall as Ab Aeterno, but it will have the most shocking reveals of the season and the best episode cliffhanger.

2) We will find out whether Widmore arranged for Libby to give Desmond the Elizabeth or not.

3) We will find out whether the Alt timeline is in any way connected to the present day universe.

4) Smokey will freak out in some way when Sayid tells him Desmond is back on the Island

5) Jack, Ben and Hurley will suddenly burst into song at some point as a way of promoting next summer's greatly anticipated "Lost: The Musical"

Bonus (Serious) Prediction: At some point in the season, maybe even tonight, Desmond will know he's about to die (probably by sacrificing himself in some way) and will pull out "Our Mutual Friend" and start to read.

I'm 100% certain these things shall come to pass.

Enjoy the show! Review up tomorrow morning! :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

They Feel Our Pain...

This is great from Letterman and Colbert. :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!