Thursday, February 18, 2010

Episode 3: "The Substitute"

In progress...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

LOST in C. S. Lewis

Devoted reader (and fellow LOST nerd) Smamse brought up an interesting parallel between the story of Aslan and the White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe), and the events as they played out in the premiere. Specifically he thought it was interesting that Jacob seemed to offer himself up to be killed, much like Aslan did to the White Witch. Clearly there are differences and I don't necessarily endorse the parallel (I think it was more him pointing out a possible allusion being made by the writers as opposed to a direct comparison of the two stories), but bringing that up got me thinking about C. S. Lewis and the possible influence he might have had on the writers of this show (naming Charlotte after him might be indicative of that influence *Charlotte Staples Lewis - Clive Staples Lewis*).

The island does feel very Narnian-esque in some ways: the disconnect between it and the rest of the world (parallel dimensions), the way that time seems to act differently than it does everywhere else, the way that people sort of teleport onto/into it via a portal (or bearing) of some kind, and even the way that a force seems to "bring" them to it (the children being "summoned" to Narnia vs. the others being "brought" by Jacob to the island). Now I'm not trying to argue that the show's connection to the Narnia Chronicles is anything more than a friendly wink and a nod, but it's still certainly a possibility that Lewis was a major influence on some of the show's broader themes.

With that in mind I came across this link from Dr. McGrath's blog (returning the shout out! *seriously though, you should check out his blog if you're into anything religion related - Christianity I would say more specifically - or LOST/sci-fi*, he always has cool links and interesting conversations breaking out). It's actually a link to another LOST blog done by a "DocArtz" (why he would choose the most hated character this side of Nikki and Paulo is incredibly baffling to me, maybe he was being ironic). My personal issues with his name aside, I found this to be an interesting look at the Smoke Monster's take on John Locke at the end of "LAX Part 2". I thought this might be of particular interest to Smamse as I know that he is a fan of a somewhat lesser known Lewis' book, The Great Divorce.

Here's the link, followed by the corresponding text, followed by some more of my wonderfully insightful commentary. Go and visit his site if you're interested in reading more of what DocArtz has to say (his blog might not be as good as the one we run over here, but only hearing one voice on a particular subject is never a good idea *even when that voice is as inerrant as mine*).

The season premiere’s most intriguing bit of dialogue is the exchange between Ben and MonsterLocke, following Jacob’s murder and the slaughter of Ilana’s team. The absurdity of the setting (inside of the four-toed statue) and the somber tone of the discussion create a mood of fantasy and postmodernist dissonance—Waiting for Godot meets Alice in Wonderland. Locke the Smoke Monster tells Ben about the pathetic nature of John Locke’s life and death. His heartbreaking comment about John’s confusion in his final moments makes it seem that this man-monster has nothing but contempt for the “irreparably broken” man. But then he defends Locke: “He was the only one of them that didn’t want to leave. The only one, who realized how pitiful the life he’d left behind actually was.” Now we are in C.S. Lewis /Flannery O’Connor territory. The Smoke Monster’s depiction of the island’s significance illustrates the Christian ideal of the afterlife and man’s reluctance to leave behind worldly attachments. John embraces the mystical, spiritual life and rejects the comforts of his life back home. He readily engages in the work of the soul when others refuse to “let go” as Rose instructs Jack to do on the plane in the alternate universe/flash sideways world.

This Post is courtesy SCS over at

In particular, this conversation recalls Lewis’s The Great Divorce, a slim fable-like novella published in 1945. The term “divorce” refers to the great chasm that exists between heaven and hell according to many Christian theologians. In the preface, Lewis claims that “if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell” (8). But it is not so much the dualism of monotheism that makes this story comparable to the recent musings found in Lost. Though we know that the island is not purgatory or any kind of afterlife, the tone of the dialogue between the residents of heaven and those of hell/purgatory is identical to not only the Smoke Monster’s monologue, but also to Jacob and “Esau’s” discussion in “The Incident.” Consider a conversation from The Great Divorce between a “spirit” of heaven and an unsuspecting resident of Hell. The spirit is trying to explain to this man where he has been dwelling for so long. “Where do you imagine you’ve been?” asks Dick, the heavenly spirit. “Ah I see,” replies the ghost, “You mean that the grey town…with its field for indefinite progress, is, in a sense, Heaven, if only we have eyes to see it?” The spirit replies, in no uncertain terms, that it is, in fact, Hell, “though if you don’t go back you may call it Purgatory” (36). Maybe the Smoke Monster will be equally revealing about the island’s identity (and that of his own) in forthcoming episodes.

More of this author’s work can be found at and

I've never been convinced (and I'm still not) that Smoky is in fact the evil force in this story (after all, in Genesis, Biblical Jacob did steal his brother Esau's birth-right and deceive his father *who, by the way, was Isaac, the almost sacrificed son of Abraham, the story of which is the focus of Soren Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, which was the book that Hurley found on the dead Frenchman in the premiere; see it's all coming together now!*), though I admit that the evidence is not in his favor at the moment (but we know that, much like Henry Gale, LOST is a show that does not hesitate to deceive the viewer intentionally, "he will lie. For a very long time he will lie. But he IS one of them." - Danielle Rousseau; only providing the true clues to those who are willing to dig up the grave and check for ID). I don't know if the Smoke Monster is the evil force that the majority seem to view him as or if perhaps there is something more going on, but either way I'm always very interested to hear the opinions of people who venture off the beaten path.

All that being said, I haven't actually read the book (The Great Divorce not The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which I've read 10 to 15 times) and so I would be interested to hear Smamse's take on this, given that he in fact has. Others feel free to chime in if you'd like (I'd particularly like to hear from Dr. McGrath, him being a Biblical scholar of some repute). Even those out there who haven't read The Chronicles of Narnia probably still have some idea of what they're about from the recently released Disney movies - or check out the wikipedia page, I'm sure it will fill you in nicely - so jump right in. Find more information on The Great Divorce here if you're interested. If anybody noticed/notices any further C. S. Lewis allusions in the show please make mention in the comments.

I love me some Lewis and I love me some LOST.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Discussion Corner: Apos Q and A

I am calling this “Apos: Q and A.” Maybe this will become a weekly segment, or not, depending on whether or not Apos cooperates. Regardless, Steven brought up some interesting points in his response to my “What Kate Does” post and so I thought I would just make a whole new post out of them. Here’s Steven’s (Apos) comment (italics) followed by my response (bold).

Seeing as I got a shout out in this post I'll take the initiative to be the first [comment]. I've been speculating and theory crafting on several issues. One of which you jumped on too, I'm pretty convinced that Richard came to the island on the Black Rock.

I also think the Claire issue needs to be looked at much more closely. She is said to be "infected" now, does this mean that the stories we received from Rousseau about her husband and crew were in fact inaccurate? Could it be that Rousseau was the one that was "infected" and in her craze killed all of her crew members. I'd say its a good guess. I also think something of Claire's condition has to be directly linked with the fact that she is no longer with/taking care of Aaron. I say this of course because of the several clues we've received throughout the series stating that 1.) "You must raise the child" and 2.) the numerous visions to Kate that shes not suppose to raise Aaron. I'd also like to point out the obvious similarities between Claire and Rousseau: Claire looks like Rousseau, Claire is placing traps and seems bewildered, and of course we can't forget the fact that both were separated from their children.

As for the Dogen comment, the possible reasoning for the poison reaching his "heart" could be that many ancient civilizations such as the Chinese and Japanese believed the mind was an essence of the heart (life force), not the brain. I also question the whole Ben never being the same issue, because if being healed by the Spring had some negative effects why would Dogen so willingly plunge his hand into the water. Yet again, I think that there was definitely something about Ben's revitalization that caused him to be as ruthless and cutthroat as he is.

There's plenty of other crap I've thought of and would like to discuss, but its getting late and honestly I can't keep all my thoughts straight in this tiny little box, so we'll continue this later. (P.s. the island is actually Atlantis - am I being serious? Who knows).

I think most LOST theorists agree at this point that Richard came on the Black Rock, though most theories I've seen have him as the captain of the ship (implicit racism perhaps at work), but in light of the chains comment by Smoky it might very well be that he was one of the slaves. I think we will find out much more about Richard and his relationship with Jacob and Smoky in the weeks to come.

You make some interesting points about Claire. You bring up some parallels with Rousseau that I hadn't thought about (specifically about them both being separated from their children *though under somewhat different circumstances*). I’m not sure if that parallel is important or not, but I will keep an eye on it for future episodes. As to Rousseau perhaps being the one infected I would have to disagree. If you remember the episode in question (“This Place is Death”), the other members of her expedition crew follow the Frenchman into the hole, but Jin stops her from going in saying, “you don’t follow.” Later we see her in a faceoff with her baby’s daddy (Robert) and he talks her into lowering her gun before he pulls the trigger. If she were the one infected I doubt that she would be persuaded to lower her weapon, and the fact that he pulls the trigger tells me that obviously he has changed if he is willing to kill his own child and wife/baby’s momma (that’s not something normal people do). Also, Dogen says that the infection changes everything you once were, but on several occasions we saw Rousseau, even years later, profoundly impacted by the loss of her daughter (something I don’t think we would see from an infected person). The physical similarities between Claire and Rousseau could be explained by the simple fact that they both have been living alone in a jungle (one would expect them to get a bit dirty), and that both were/are a little bit insane (maybe as a result of both losing children, like you said). As for the trap making, it’s not hard to imagine that Claire would use similar traps, after all she has been living alone on the island now for several years and would undoubtedly have come across many of Rousseau’s traps that she had setup all over the island while still alive.

About Aaron; I too have questions about his role in all this. It has certainly been hinted at that he is an important character in the larger story that LOST is trying to tell, but I almost wonder if the writers of the show have decided to go in a different direction and left Aaron somewhat out of it. We were led to believe that the psychic who told Claire to raise the child was a fraud (he admitted as much himself to Mr. Eko in episode 21 of season 2, “?”). That doesn’t necessarily mean that he is actually a fraud (he could have been lying to Mr. Eko so that he would drop the investigation), or that what he told her isn’t significant; they definitely made it seem like he had some knowledge of the future, and he had no clear motive to lie to her (even refusing to take her money/buying her a plane ticket). I don’t think we ever had a vision to Kate saying she shouldn’t raise the child (if you can recall specifics I will go back and look it up), we had a vision to JACK saying that he shouldn’t raise the child, and we had Claire appearing to Kate telling her, “don’t you dare bring him back, (presumably meaning to the island)”. It just seems to me that Aaron has become less and less of a factor as the show has gone on. He may very well come back into play in a major way, but it wouldn’t particularly surprise me if he doesn’t.

I wasn’t trying to argue that Dogen didn’t know that the brain is responsible for personality and not the heart, as some ancient civilizations believed. My point was more a question of whether Dogen meant to imply that the ‘infection’ was spiritual and not physical. Is it actually affecting the heart (in a spiritual sense, aka the soul or life-force) or is it affecting the brain (heart here used metaphorically to mean the personality aspect of the brain). That’s all I meant by it.

On the issue of Ben, I guess what I was unwittingly implying was the he had somehow been healed by the smoke monster (which now thinking about it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense). My idea was that if the smoke monster “claimed” him as he did Sayid, then it would explain his dramatic change in personality (changing everything he once was, as it were). But we now know that there’s no way that Richard would enlist the smoke monster for help, so that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I guess the spring healing him is the only logical alternative, but I don’t know why that would take away his innocence. Thinking about this has brought to mind an interesting point though, if Ben is working for Jacob, and Jacob and the smoke monster are enemies, why would the smoke monster allow itself to be “summoned” by Ben to kill off Keamy’s soldiers? He told Smoky (who we thought was Locke at the time) back in season 5 that he only knew how to “summon” the monster, he didn’t actually know where it “lived”. Why would Smoky allow himself to be summoned by a pawn of Jacob? Unless maybe he was somehow being forced to do so… interesting. I’ll have to think more about this.

I don’t think the island is Atlantis (since Atlantis was a city and the island clearly has no cities on it), though it might be from another planet and/or dimension.

Moving On Up!

As you all (few though you may be) have probably noticed, there have been a couple changes to the site layout. My brother (much thanks to you by the way sir) helped me out this afternoon with some HTML editing - that's me and him working hard there on the left - and we managed to stretch the text out across the screen so that you don't need to scroll down quite so much. Hopefully this change will drastically increase the readability of the site. Rob (that's my brother Rob, not Rob Farrelly - though he's a great guy as well) also helped me add that fantastic smoke swirl that you might notice hugging the right side of the text (pretty awesome right?). Let me know what you think about the additions.

Friday, February 12, 2010

"The Substitute" Sneak Peeks

So there are a couple of clips up previewing next week's episode. I had postulated that the title might reference Jack "substituting" for Sayid, but now I'm not so sure. The obvious connection to the title is John Locke being "the substitute" for Christian Shephard's body on the return trip to the island. From the clips below it is clear that the upcoming episode is Locke/Smoky-centric (color me excited!). Of course it's entirely possible that the writers have chosen this title to have a double meaning and that both interpretations (or neither) are correct. Anyway, here are the clips.

Tell me that second clip hasn't majorly peeked your interest? "The most important question in the world"!? That really raises the stakes doesn't it? Tuesday can't come soon enough.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Episode 2: "What Kate Does"

What Kate Does

I have followers now so it looks like I’ll have to stop with the zero readers jokes (I’ve had some complaints about it *Steven*). I’m a couple days late on this episode breakdown so I apologize to you special few who are reading this masterpiece (in the future I plan to post these things the night the show airs). I’d like to thank Mr. Steven Apostolidis for the sweet new banner (I’d take credit for it myself but he’s significantly stronger than me and he might take issue *that's him on the left there*), tell me those aren’t the two greatest images you’ve ever seen put side by side; orange smiley face was always one of my favorite Locke moments (season 1: episode 3 “Tabula Rasa” I believe, if you want to relive it), and Smoky McGee looking like he’s going to murder some people as a perfect contrast (from LAX Part 2 of course).

Once again for those who haven’t read the previous posts, JISAS refers to the “reset” timeline and BTFF refers to the “failure to reset” timeline (for further explanation read the first couple paragraphs of LAX Part 2). I feel like I should also probably confess that of all the episodes on LOST the Kate-centric ones are generally my least favorite (if you don’t count Charlie of course). It’s not that I don’t like Kate (though she does a lot of stuff that annoys me), I just find her episodes to be less than engaging. I hope that won’t be the case here; so if I seem overly critical or snarky it might just be a reflection of my subconscious expectations for this episode to suck (and when I say suck I am talking by LOST standards, as even a bad episode of LOST is better than a good episode of just about everything else, with a few exceptions of course). Now on to the show!

Interesting opening sequence here. Dogen sits at a desk having just finished finger typing something (another LOST mystery no doubt) on an old typewriter (not unlike the one we saw Smoky finger typing on behind Ben’s desk in season 5, though there’s likely no connection other than maybe the LOST writers’ love of typewriters). Sayid’s alive, or so we are to believe. Something tells me there’s more to Lennon’s words “he’s alive” than it might at first appear. Dogen’s expression almost suggests that he isn’t particularly surprised by this news, it’s as if he was waiting to hear that Sayid had resurrected and is a bit disappointed when he does, but I could be wrong. I also don’t know if this is significant at all but it appears that Dogen grabs and rubs his necklace ominously (if it’s even possible to grab a necklace ominously). I can’t really tell what is on the necklace but it almost looks like a small cylindrical container of some sort. Maybe it contains grey sand?

Sawyer clearly isn’t happy with Sayid being resurrected while his smoking hot Juliet is dead in the ground (I feel his pain, so here’s another picture of Juliet to help ease it), “He’s an Iraqi torturer who shoots kids, he definitely deserves another go round,” might be a bit harsh, but I feel you Sawyer, I feel you. I look forward to seeing how his escape attempt turns out (it’s going to work, just a hunch).

We’re back with Kate in the JISAS timeline and she is hijacking the puppet master’s cab again. I think we’re going to find out if he still has powers (I’m betting no). I know Kate’s desperate but pointing a gun in the face of a massively pregnant Claire seems like a bit much. The long look at Jack is clearly significant. It’s somewhat obvious at this point that these JISAS LOSTies are still retaining some residual memories from their island life, albeit deeply embedded in the subconscious. How slow is this Marshal that he can’t catch up to the cab stopped in front of the startlingly irritating Dr. Artz? I mean they drove what, 500 feet? Anyway, continuity errors notwithstanding, Kate manages to escape the airport (running over Artz’s bags in the process, got to enjoy the little things).

The gang is back at the temple and it’s revealed that Sayid’s wound is “almost completely healed.” Why would Sayid’s wound be healed but Dogen’s hand still appears to be heavily bandaged (unless he’s in the habit of wearing a glove on only one hand)? It’s obvious that Dogen isn’t convinced by Sayid’s sudden healing. What exactly he thinks happened is hard to say, but given that we know Smoky’s propensity for inhabiting the bodies of the dead it’s not much of a reach to think that maybe Dogen fears an infiltration. Sawyer makes an appearance with a gun, though how he got said gun is not yet known. Sawyer has really reached rock bottom, he doesn’t seem to care anymore. I wonder why Dogen insists on them all staying put, telling Sawyer, “Please, you have to stay.” I doubt think that he is afraid for their safety, given that he was all too ready to have them all executed before reading Jacob’s note. What reason could he have for wanting to keep them all confined to the temple? Without even watching the rest of the episode I can pretty much guarantee that Kate is going after Sawyer. Telling Kate “don’t come after me” is just about the best way to make sure she will (that woman sure doesn’t like being told what to do).

We’re back from commercial break, and hey look! it’s Mac from Paddy’s Pub in Philadelphia! Not going to speculate how he arrived on the island (I know, he was in an earlier episode, “Not In Portland”, as well), but if I know Mac you can bet there’ll be some high jinks in the near future. I won’t point out the irony of telling everybody to calm down while screaming and putting guns in their faces (oh wait, I just did!). Here’s come Kate, being as predictable as ever, did we really think she wasn’t going after Sawyer? I don’t know if it’s just me but I never really bought the tough side of Kate’s character. I mean when she’s crying in 1 out of every 3 episodes it’s hard for me to see her as an intimidating presence.

Back to Los Angeles. Kate’s pointing guns at people again. Fortunately for her the first mechanic she runs into just happens to not only be sympathetic to criminals but doesn’t seem to particularly mind having a gun pointed at him. What luck! While stealing a set of Claire’s clothes Kate comes across a photo of the pregnant Claire (why anyone would place a Polaroid of themselves at the top of their own suitcase is hard to say). I’m probably not the only one to recognize the whale that she pulls out of the bag, if you recall Kate had purchased the same whale for Aaron during her time off the island in season 4.

Back on the island Jin has volunteered to accompany Kate on her “recovery” mission. I don’t think he has any interest in Sawyer (here’s hoping we get a Jin-Sun reunion soon). Dogen is now blowing grey sand all over a strapped down Sayid. We can only assume this is the same grey sand used to repel Smoky and must be some kind of test to determine if Sayid has been infected by the smoke monster. A few electrocutions and a branding later we find out that it was in fact a test and that Sayid has apparently failed (though Lennon tells him otherwise). This sequence has peeked my interest. I can’t figure out how electrocuting and branding him is a test for infection. Maybe an infection by the smoke monster increases pain tolerance and this is a way to test that, or it’s possible that there is some cue that gives away the presence of the infection when pain is administered, but why electrocute him AND brand him? If any form of pain is sufficient then why do both? Perhaps an infected person doesn’t scar the same way that a normal person would, I don’t know.

Kate is back in Los Angeles and has relocated Claire (feeling guilty perhaps?). You would imagine that it wouldn’t be too tough to find a stolen cab (don’t they all have GPS these days?), but let’s just go with it. Kate gives Claire back her stuff and offers her a ride, amazingly she accepts her offer (Claire’s never struck me as the sharpest knife in the drawer but her survival instincts must be seriously underdeveloped to get back into a car with a person who just escaped police custody and pointed a gun in her face).

On the island Mac is informing Kate that they’re protecting them from Smoky (not buying it). Jin is making inquiries about plane crashes. Kate is out-tracking the others (which seems highly unlikely). A very Rousseau-esque trap almost destroys Kate’s face. We know it can’t be Rousseau of course, as she was killed by Keamy back in season 4 (along with poor Karl). So who is running around the island setting traps? Interesting. Anyway, Kate knocks out the guards and her and Jin escape (I’m just going to ignore the canteen situation, but you know I’m upset).

Jack is VERY unhappy to hear that Sayid has been tortured. Dogen is mixing some green powdery substance in a mortar and pestle, we can see rather thick open book in front of him (a book of potions perhaps?). Lennon tells Jack that Sayid has been “infected”. The wordage here is clearly meant to bring to mind the French expedition team who were “infected” by the smoke monster back in season 5. What this infection is exactly we don’t yet know. Dogen puts his green concoction into pill form and tells Jack he must give it to Sayid. Lennon informs him that it must be taken willingly. Strange no? What kind of a substance only works when taken willingly? My knowledge of medical science is less than stellar but I don’t know of any medicine which requires the patient to “allow” it to work. Assuming that it is in fact the smoke monster who has infected Sayid, what is the nature of that infection? Thinking back to the other “infected” members of Rousseau’s expedition crew we know that there never appeared to be any physical symptoms. David (Rousseau’s infected lover) does try to kill her, which makes one think that the effects must be psychological, an alteration in their personality. Personality changes can certainly take place by altering a person’s brain. It’s been suggested that the smoke monster is a machine of some kind, nano-robots or some such thing. If that’s true than it might conceivably be possible that those nano-robots could alter the makeup of a person’s brain at the synaptic level, drastically changing their personality. It’s also possible that the smoke monster is supernatural and then of course all bets are off.

Back in the temple and Jack is having a heart to heart with the infected Sayid. Nothing real interesting going on here, Sayid tells Jack he’ll take the pill and Jack weighs the options.

Jin is looking for Sun (of course), and his only lead is the others. Kate still seems hell bent on defying anyone and everyone.

Back in Los Angeles Claire and Kate are bonding. Claire seems concerned that her adoption plans might be falling through. I pretty much hated this whole scene so I don’t have that much to say about it. Claire goes into labor (several weeks sooner than she did on the island).

Kate has managed to track Sawyer across the jungle (riiiight) and is back in Dharmaville. Sawyer is back in the house he had with Juliet. Kate spies on him from the doorway as he uncovers a box hidden in the floorboards. The box appears to contain a black cloth of some sort, maybe my memory is failing me here but I don’t remember any black cloths of any importance (though I know if it were me there’s probably only one type of black cloth worth hiding under some floorboards, if you know what I’m saying *people rarely do*). Kate seems to realize that she has made ANOTHER mistake in following ANOTHER person who asked her specifically not to, but in turning to leave Sawyer discovers her spying on him, a fact he is none too happy about.

In Los Angeles Kate and Claire have just illegally parked in front of a hospital. Of course Claire’s doctor is Ethan, though I don’t quite understand why as we were told by Ben that Ethan was a surgeon (I don’t know that much about delivering babies but I’m pretty sure it’s not done by surgeons). I guess it’s possible that in this version of events Ethan is not a surgeon, either way it’s largely irrelevant. Moving on. A few lame needle jokes later we’re back on the island.

We find out at this point that Sawyer blames himself for convincing Juliet to stay on the island so he wouldn’t be alone. The acting here by Josh Holloway is pretty convincing. I think back to who Sawyer was when this show started and it’s hard to imagine he would ever care enough about another person for a scene like this one to ever occur. Of all the characters on the show I think the writers did the best job with Sawyer. He has always had great dialogue and witty one-liners, but from the middle of season 5 onward he has undergone a pretty significant transformation that I think has given his character considerable depth. If I had to point at the one thing that bothers me most about Kate it’s that she has never really changed, she seems no different to me now than she did on day 1. But hey, that’s just one man’s opinion. Sawyer reveals that he was going to ask Juliet to marry him (it just keeps getting worse doesn’t it?). Is it just me or does that ring looking an awful lot like the one that Desmond throws into the river back in episode 8 of season 3 “Flashes Before Your Eyes”? I would go back and look it up but I’m too lazy. I guess it’s not really that important. I could probably write another 500 words speculating on why Kate breaks down at the end of this scene but I will just spare us all and not. I’ll just say that I’m hoping it’s because she is empathetically heartbroken at seeing Sawyer’s pain and that she will leave him alone now (one can hope right?).

Dogen explains his reasons for using a translator (to keep distance between him and his crew in order to make the decisions he has to make a little bit easier) and that he was “brought” to the island like everyone else. Of everything in this scene I think it’s probably this bit that is the most interesting. Dogen asserts that Jack knows “exactly” what he means by brought, and Jack doesn’t seem to press him any further. We know that Smoky asks Jacob in the season 5 finale if he “brought” the men on the boat to the island, to which Jacob says yes, prompting Smoky to say that “it always ends the same.” We can safely assume from that conversation that Jacob is the one bringing these people here, and I don’t just mean Dogen and the others, but Jack and all the other LOSTies as well.
Smoky seems to be opposed to the idea and thinks Jacob should just leave it alone. The other important bit of information from that conversation in season 5 is that Jacob is trying to bring about an “ending” of some sort, as his reply to Smoky’s objection is simply, “It only ends once. Everything else is just progress.” It’s unclear if the people being “brought” to the island by Jacob are aware of his intentions or ultimate end game. Obviously the LOSTies don’t have any idea what he’s up to but we aren’t sure if the others do. Ben, who was the leader of the others, certainly seemed not to know (as he never even met Jacob and got his orders through Richard). What then is motivating these others to do Jacob’s bidding? It’s not clear to me. Maybe we’ll find out soon. The scene continues with some Jack and Dogen back and forth, blah, blah, blah, Jack tries to swallow the pill, Dogen heimlich’s his ass and informs him that the pill is poison, he doesn’t elaborate.

Back at the hospital Claire covers for Kate with the cops and gives her some money. Claire explains that she “knew” Aaron’s name somehow (more subconscious crap).

Dogen tells Jack that Sayid has been “claimed”. Interesting. Dogen says that when the infection reaches Sayid’s heart it will change everything he once was. We don’t know if he means his literal heart here or if he perhaps means to use the term metaphorically. I would assume he means it metaphorically as an infection of the heart would have no affect on personality. This brings up an interesting question though. We know that Richard took child Ben into the temple walls (where the smoke monster had been living) and he told Sawyer and Kate that he would never be the same, that his innocence would be gone. So did Ben live his entire adult life “infected”? It looks that way to me. Ben Linus aside, the big reveal of the episode is that Claire was apparently “infected” as well. The last time we saw Claire on the island she was in a cabin with Christian Shephard (who we know for sure to be dead). It did seem like she had undergone a change in personality at that point (she was wholly unconcerned about Aaron, a major departure from her character’s history) and seemed content to follow her dead father around. If she had been changed by the smoke monster that would make some sense. If Smoky is “claiming” these people what exactly does that mean? Is this some kind of turf war between him and Jacob? He was clearly upset at Jacob for bringing people to the island but seems more than happy to “infect” them once they have arrived. It’s all very mysterious. I guess I am making the assumption that it is indeed Smoky who is infecting these people, though that fact has yet to be confirmed.

Jin is accosted by our friends from the temple and tries to escape, but his attempt is thwarted when he steps on a bear trap. This scene is pretty brief but there is an interesting exchange when Brian tells Aldo that they can’t shoot Jin because he is “one of them” to which Aldo replies, “he MAY be one of them.” I honestly have no idea what this means but thought it was worth pointing out. Who is “them”, why are they not allowed to be killed, and why does Aldo say that Jin “may” be one of them? If “them” means the members of flight 815 then he clearly wouldn’t be a “may”. Anyway, something to think about. Brian and Aldo are shot by someone. The camera pans around to reveal that this someone is Claire Littleton, a very ragged looking Claire Littleton. I won’t lie, I’m confused by this. Claire somehow went from carefree cabin dweller, hanging out with Christian Shephard (“I’m with him” if you recall), to ragged dirty jungle madwoman running around shooting people and setting traps. I don’t think there’s even a point in guessing as to why, there just isn’t enough information.

Well that’s it. “What Kate Does” is now in the books. I’ll say that I thought the episode was pretty weak, I just don’t like Kate-centric episodes. For whatever reason they always seem to be less interesting. That being said, we did learn some good information and the last third of the episode or so was pretty solid. The teaser for next week looks aaaamazing. Finally Smoky McGee is going to get some face time (and with Sawyer no less!). A bloodied up Richard fervently claiming to Sun that, “he wants everyone dead, everyone you care about.” Of course he could only be talking about one guy, that’s right, Smoky McGee! I don’t know that I believe Richard, we don’t know what his motives are yet or what their history is together. The comment about Richard being in chains could be interpreted as Smoky having put him in those chains, but it could also have been a reference to the ship that Richard came in on. If you recall the “Black Rock” was revealed to be a slaving ship and it’s possible that Richard was one of those slaves, hence him having been in chains. Clearly Sawyer and Smoky are going on an adventure together, though as to the where and what for I can’t rightly guess. Is it just me or does that look like the back of Jack’s head that Smoky is telling, “I promise, I’ll tell you everything.”

I’ve seen the title for next week’s episode, “The Substitute.” My theory is that we are going to learn some new information about what Dogen meant when he said that Sayid had been “claimed”. I’m betting that Jack is going to offer himself up as a substitute (hence the title of the episode) to be “claimed” in Sayid’s place. Just speculation. Well, that’s it for me. Only 3,600 words this time, not bad. I’m still waiting for someone to comment on this blog, so be the first.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Episode 1, Part 2: "LAX"

LAX Part 2

Thus begins part 2 of my as it happens, up to the minute, blogging extravaganza of the LOST season 6 premiere; the FINAL season! To my devoted following of zero readers I want to thank you for reminding me each day why I put in the time. You inspire me, and in turn I hope that one day I can inspire you!

Just to do a quick recap for those of you not familiar with my elaborate nomenclature, the “reset” timeline I am affectionately referring to as the “Juliet Is Still Alive Somewhere” timeline or JISAS,
in reference to the fact that my beloved Dr. Juliet Burke is somewhere still alive in this timeline (as the events on the island presumably never occurred). The “failure to reset” timeline I am calling the “Back To The Future” timeline or BTTF, an obvious reference to the successful sci-fi franchise of movies starring Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly and the incomparable Christopher Lloyd as the zany but brilliant Dr. Emmett Brown. Now that we have that cleared up, on to the show!

LAX Part 2 opens back on the island (having left us on a plane landing in Los Angeles back in part 1). Sayid is somehow managing to hang on to life despite having been shot over a week ago (not literally), he might kill kids but he’s one tough son of a bitch. Just in these first 5 minutes we already know what the big question of the episode is going to be, “What’s in the guitar case?” If I had to guess I would say it’s probably a banjo, because we all know there’s nothing funnier than a banjo in a guitar case, am I right? Of course I’m right. Anyway, Sawyer is off to bury Juliet and has no interest in receiving any help from Kate (another nail in the coffin of that love triangle?) and enlisting the aid of Miles instead (though one must wonder if he is after his special “ability” more so than his grave digging prowess). I’ll just quickly say about Miles that I pretty much liked him from the get-go, he provided a nice sarcastic counterbalance to the cerebral Daniel Faraday and gave us some much needed relief from all the high tension drama of season 4. I don’t feel like his character has ever really been given the full LOST treatment (I believe he only had one solo episode, that being Season 5: Episode 13 “Some Like it Hoth”; if he had another I’m sure my legion of zero fans will point out my mistake soon enough), and though he was used rather sparingly in season 5, his conversations with Hurley were not to be missed. Continuing with the episode breakdown it seems that Sawyer aint following nobody any more, I know this because he literally just said, “I aint following nobody.” Double negative aside, I like this new devil-may-care Sawyer, he has nothing to lose and that makes him interesting. I never liked the Kate-Sawyer romance, it always felt shallow to me, bad girl falls for the bad boy; I’m hoping the writers are finally closing the book on that unfortunate chapter (and so far this season all indications seem to be pointing in that direction).

And we’re back in Los Angeles, the city of angels and, ironically enough, also the den of Satan. Jack’s being paged by the airline, which as anyone who travels knows, is NEVER a good thing. In this particular case it’s doubly bad, the airline has not only failed to transport the body of his deceased father (one Christian Shephard, a very important figure if you’ll recall) but have somehow lost it entirely. Granted this is a new timeline and so we may very well be operating under a new set of rules, but as LOST diehards we know that a missing body is never as simple as misfiled paperwork. We’ll have to keep a close eye on that (and by we I mean me since nobody else cares).

On the island… Hurley, Kate, Jin, and Jack venture into the mysterious underground hole that goes under the temple walls. Hurley comes across the body of a dead Frenchman who apparently died while reading a book. A quick pause of the DVR reveals that the book in question is written by the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. I think it is worth noting tha, I have found, it’s often these seemingly innocuous hints that yield the most fruit (says I to myself). Though the title of the book is partially obscured by Hurley’s considerable thumbage, we can make out the middle word “et” and most of the last word which looks like “Tremblement.” Because we know that this is the French version it doesn’t take much of a leap to assume that we are looking at Kierkegaard’s book, “Fear and Trembling.” A quick inquiry into the contents of this book yields some interesting results. Apparently the book deals with an examination of the story of Abraham and Isaac from Genesis 22 (which for the uninitiated is the story of Abraham being asked by God to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham is about to follow through with the sacrifice when God stops him and explains that it was all just a test of his faith), Kierkegaard looks specifically at whether or not otherwise unethical behavior might be considered ethical if in service to God, as is the case here (human sacrifice being in every other instance an immoral act but seen as acceptable in the story of Abraham because it was demanded of him by God). Are we bound to serve God absolutely? Even beyond that which could be considered ethical? I would be willing to wager that these themes will emerge at some point in this final season of LOST. It’s also perhaps worth noting (as it supports an earlier statement that I made in part 1, and this being my blog I will of course only point out information that supports my theories and none that conflicts with them) that Kierkegaard dealt heavily with subjects relating to the emotional impact of making difficult life choices (if you’ll recall my postulation that choice will be a major theme in season 6 as it has been in seasons 1-5). Anyway, enough about Kierkegaard and how right I always am. The Frenchman in the tunnel is of course the one-armed man from Jin and Rousseau’s run in with Smoky (Season 5: Episode 5, “This Place is Death”). The whispering can only mean one thing, the others are teleporting around again; I am very much looking forward to the explanation on that one, I don’t even have a viable theory at this point. I would love to see the two others tasked with hauling Hurley in, maybe that can teleport other people as well. We finally see the temple that has been talked about for years, but only briefly. It’s an impressive set piece, I look forward to seeing how they use it.

Back in LA… Kate and her shadow, U. S. Marshal Edward Mars, are debating the merits of an unscheduled bathroom break. Of course as veteran viewers we (me, myself, and I) know damn well that Kate has no interest in such trivial matters as waste expulsion, no she’s hatching an escape plan. I found this scene oddly unsettling, to quote the classic coming of age tale “Not Another Teen Movie,” “girl go pee-pee not something me want to see-see.” Watching Kate sitting on a toilet while a man asks her, “are you done yet,” to which she responds, “not yet” or “I’m not finished,” evokes certain images that I can honestly say, as hot as Kate is, I would rather not see, even in my mind’s eye. Scatological pleasantries aside, Kate once again successfully escapes the custody of the oft-thwarted Marshal Mars (what you thought she was going to spend half of season six in prison?). Who’s waiting for her in the elevator? Well Sawyer of course, and he’s just as brash, arrogant, and quick witted as we remember from season 1. It’s a testament to Josh Holloway that he can convincingly transition from the carefree cock of the walk in one scene to a broken and devastated wreck in the next; these Sawyers might as well be different people considering how far apart they are in almost every respect.

On the island… as I predicted earlier (since nobody will read this I suppose I can congratulate myself with impunity), Sawyer uses Miles talents to reveal what would have been Juliet’s “very important” last words (“it worked”). And important they were. To get an in depth look at my take on the subject just head back up to my post on LAX Part 1 where I outlined in detail what I felt was the significance of these words and why Juliet meant to say them. I won’t rehash it all here, but I will say that I think this is probably a portent of things to come. I believe that for this season to satisfy fans and accomplish the ambitious feat of giving such a fantastic show the ending it deserves, there is going to have to be, at some point, an overlap in the JISAS and BTTF timelines. I simply can’t imagine the writers allowing the show to end with two separate timelines going on simultaneously; it’s far too ambiguous and would probably fail to satisfy anyone, casual or diehard. If you accept that premise (as all of the zero people that make up this blog's readership do), then it must follow that something has to happen that brings these alternate timelines back into alignment, and for that to happen I would think that the heroes of our story will have to at some point become aware of the fact that these alternate timelines exist. How that’s going to happen I can’t yet say but if my theory about Juliet is correct (not to mention the heavy hinting going on regarding JISAS Jack somehow retaining memories from a life on the island), then it might be possible that these characters will in some way be able to inhabit the consciousness of their alternate timeline counterparts. All of this is highly speculative at this early stage, but I think it’s worth considering as the show goes on. ANYWAY… we’re back at the temple now, Jack, Kate, Jin, and Hurley are being interrogated by Ujio (Hiroyuki Senada) from “The Last Samurai” with “Deadwood’s” Sol Star (John Hawkes) translating, referred to here as Dogen and Lennon respectively. Japanese is just a badass language is it not? “Why yes it is friend, I whole heartedly agree.” “Ah, well thank you for being such an agreeable chap.” “Cheers.” “Cheers.” “Best be getting back to this blog business before my readers get upset!” “Hip-hip, cheerio then.” We get another glimpse of Cindy the stewardess, God only knows what kind of crazy trip she’s been on over the past few years, perhaps we’ll find out (though I wouldn’t bank on it). Dogen orders our heroes summarily executed, but thankfully Hurley is there to save the day. Inside the guitar case is a giant wooden “Ankh,” which is an Egyptian hieroglyphic that represents eternal life (though probably more popularly known to our readership as the necessary reagent for conjuring the Shaman specific reincarnation ability in the popular MMORPG World of Warcraft). Inside the shattered shell of this hollow wooden object is a piece of paper. We can only assume that this paper lists the names of each of the party’s members and gives instructions to keep them alive (an inference I have made based on the combination of each member reciting their name and the subsequent cryptic explanation by Lennon that the paper said simply, “if your friend there dies, we’re all in a lot of trouble.”) This obviously raises the question of Jacob’s prescience. He gave Hurley a guitar case in Los Angeles that contained within it a piece of paper giving instructions about a situation that had yet to occur. This seems pretty compelling evidence that Jacob has some knowledge of the future, or at the very least has enough knowledge of the people on the island to accurately predict their future behavior based on his observations of antecedent causes. I imagine we will find out which it is soon enough.

After some nonsense with Jin and Sun (her pretending not to speak English again), we are back in the temple, but this time in a room that appears to house a massive hot spring of some sort. Lennon expresses alarm at the fact that the water isn’t clear like it should be; no further explanation is given. Dogen cuts his hand and submerges it in the water, when he draws it back out the wound is still clearly visible. A couple things here. First, the people whom we have to assume are the caretakers of this temple, or at least seem to be in charge, are surprised and perplexed by the color of the water, which signals to me that it’s something they’ve never encountered before, hence Lennon asking, “what happened?” If that’s true then it means that something unique has happened on the island recently. Jacob dying would be the obvious answer. My guess is that this spring must get its properties from Jacob directly, or something similar. Second, clearly Dogen expected some kind of healing to take place when he put his hand in the water, an expectation that was not met. This would make sense if the healing properties of the spring are somehow tied to Jacob’s life force (we know Jacob can himself heal people, as he healed Locke after falling 8-stories to his death, and we know that Richard claims that Jacob made him the way he is; seemingly eternal). That being said, if Jacob knew that his death would adversely impact the healing power of the spring why would he send Hurley to the temple in the first place? Perhaps the well retains some of Jacob’s life force and thus some of his healing power, though significantly weakened. Let’s watch more! I can’t even speculate as to the origin of the hourglass timer, clearly it marks the amount of time it takes underwater for healing to occur, but how it works or why it exists I obviously have no idea (feel free to suggest some ideas, oh wait, that’s right, there’s nobody here but me). Aside from Sayid dying (riiiiight, I don’t think any of us are buying Sayid being dead), we learned that Dogen has some serious martial arts training, and that Jack still has a habit of performing CPR on dead bodies (hey, it worked for Charlie).

Meanwhile in Los Angeles… Kate is escaping from the airport (I can’t believe they’ve given Frogurt more face time in this episode than Smoky McGee, such a waste of talent), and making it look surprisingly easy, at first anyway. As an aside to Kate, if you’re trying not to be seen it’s probably best to avoid making direct eye-contact with the enemy, just a thought. Kate jumps into a taxi driven by the Puppet Master from Heroes (I don’t know if he retains his powers since LOST is on a completely different network) and we get our first glimpse of Claire since we last saw her in the cabin with Christian way back in season 4 (Episode 11, “Cabin Fever”).

Sawyer is dragged in unconscious while Miles blabbers on about rocks or something, it’s not important. Hurley talks with Dogen, Lennon translates (I have to agree with Dogen, Japanese just sounds better). Hurley tells them that Jacob is dead, news that clearly shocks and upsets Dogen greatly, sending him into a frenzy of barking orders and preparing defenses (including prodigious use of grey sand). I am going to speculate based on the reaction here (i.e., the immediate laying down of vast amount of grey sand) that Jacob was somehow protecting the temple from Smoky, and now that he is dead Dogen fears some kind of an attack. Go to love the “Him? Him who?” Cut to Smoky dragging a dead body. Pretty excellent.

Back at the statue Smoky McGee appears to have his hands full (literally in this case) taking care of the mess he just made with lumberjack and his boys. Terry O’Quinn again just dominates it, he’s barely on screen for the entire episode and in 5 minutes he blows everybody else away. “You’re the monster.” “Let’s not resort to name calling.” Classic. I really can’t wait to find out what’s going on with Smoky, I can’t tell if he’s a good guy, a bad guy, or something in between. He gave those men a chance to leave peacefully and only killed them after they fired upon him, but in season 5 he also appeared to Ben as his dead daughter and tricked him into killing Jacob, a twisted act of manipulation if there ever was one (though we don’t know what Jacob did to a provoke his wrath), and he also might have mentioned something about “taking care of” the Ajira passengers back in season 5, but I’m willing to overlook that. I guess time will tell, I very much hope that we get to see considerably more of Smoky in the weeks to come, I can’t handle these 5 minute teasers of awesomeness and then get nothing for huge stretches, here’s an idea for the writers, cut out Frogurt completely and just use that extra time for Smoky, simple. This conversation with Ben, while patently awesome, also confirms some things that most of us already suspected. Namely that Smoky completely inherits the memories of his, shall we say… victims? I’m not going to lie, I was a huge John Locke fan, and so to hear Smoky bad mouth him doesn’t sit particularly well with me, but he does it in such a badass way (using the lighting to excellent effect), that I really can’t fault him for it (plus he throws in a backhanded compliment there at the end, so at least that’s something). His answer to Ben’s final question, “What do you want?” will undoubtedly be the talk of the blogospheres (is that singular or plural? Well I guess since nobody is going to read this it really doesn’t matter) this week. “I want to go home.” I guess this means that Smoky has been thrown out of his home, presumably by Jacob, which might be why he killed him (maybe it was the only way he could get past the defenses that blocked him from his home). The obvious question is “well where is home?” To which the obvious answer would be “the temple.” Of course I don’t know if that is in fact the correct answer, but given the sudden panic set off at the temple by the news of Jacob’s death, it’s hard to imagine where else he could be meaning. It’s also possible that Smoky isn’t from the island, though I don’t think this is the correct interpretations, it is certainly a legitimate possibility. Given the supernatural and/or alien like properties of both Jacob and Smoky, it is not unreasonable to assume that they are not of this earth at all, perhaps the island itself is a broken chunk of another planet or perhaps another dimension (a theory I believe postulated by the mirror matter moon folks), and maybe Smoky wants to return to said planet or dimension. Why Jacob would be standing in his way were that the case I don’t rightly know. Anyway, 100 theories could probably be generated given the limited information available, so I will cease speculation for the time being so that I can get to the end of this damn blog post.

Here comes the Sayid resurrection, I’m calling it right now. Hmm, Miles can’t hear Sayid. I wonder what that means. And, shit, just when I was convinced the writers were finally putting the kybosh on the Kate-Sawyer debacle it rears its ugly head again, Juliet’s body is still warm! Let the man grieve in peace!

Jack and Locke, back together, we fans (meaning me and the zero or so people who will read this blog) have been waiting for this reunion for quite a long time, though I don’t think many of us saw it happening like this. I have to say I am pleasantly surprised. I always liked the old Locke and it’s good to see him and Jack forgetting (quite literally in this case) old grudges and talking like friends. I’m intrigued by the possibility of a JISAS Locke-Jack friendship. I could even see a situation where somehow JISAS Locke and Jack team up to stop BTTF Smoky from accomplishing some nefarious plot (and Locke finding redemption in the process). That would be a pretty sweet ending, though part of me is hoping for Smoky to succeed in whatever thing he is trying to achieve.

And right on cue, here’s Smoky emerging from the Statue, cool as a cucumber. It’s interesting that Richard yells, “don’t shoot him!” I wonder if he fears angering Smoky. Okay, now this finish was epic. “It’s good to see you out of those chains.” SAY WHAT!!! Richard is scared shitless of this guy. The throat shot was pretty solid too. Smoky might be disappointed in all of them, but I’m disappointed with the writers for depriving me of my fair share of Smoky McGee screen time, this guy’s a monster (literally and figuratively), he walks past Locke’s body as if it isn’t even there. I genuinely can’t wait to see where this is going. LOST you’ve done it to me again!

Oh, and Sayid’s alive – BAM called that! You have to wonder though if it’s really Sayid, with so many people being possessed around here, who’s to say.

Well that’s it for LAX Part 2. The season premiere is in the books. I managed to cut that post down from 4,500 words to 4,000, its progress anyway. Critiques, comments, questions, ideas, whatever, let me know. Otherwise I’ll just create a bunch of user accounts and comment on my own blog so it looks like I have readers. Is it pathetic? You bet your ass it is.

Episode 1, Part 1: "LAX"

LAX Part 1

The season premiere begins with Jack back on flight 815, though he looks strangely confused by finding himself there, looking around as if in a dream. I think it’s safe to assume from this that this sequence is meant to suggest that these events are happening AFTER the hydrogen bomb incident and is not simply a flashback. As fans of the show have undoubtedly noticed, the dialogue here with the stewardess is identical to that of season 1, of note though (or maybe not) is the fact that she only hands him 1 mini-bottle of vodka instead of 2 as she did the first time around. Probably insignificant, perhaps just the writers cluing us in to the fact that something has changed and that this timeline will be different. Again, the dialogue with Rose is the same as season 1, that is until the turbulence hits. Jack has a curiously strong reaction to the turbulence, holding on for dear life as if EXPECTING the plane to crash. Could it be that some part of his consciousness from the island has remained intact even though the events of the island were prevented from happening at all? Following a typical saccharine moment with Rose and Bernard (somewhat sullied by the fact that we of course know that Rose will soon die of cancer, it having not been cured by the island in this alternate timeline, is it funny or sad that nobody seemed to care that Rose would die of cancer if they “reset” the plane crash? though I don’t think many fans did either). Now Jack is in the bathroom and discovers a mysterious cut on his neck, confused as to its origin. Is this evidence perhaps that more than just their minds have gone back in time? Are their bodies in some way still connected to the events on the island? Let’s watch and find out!

Okay, we now see Desmond on the plane, so presumably something has happened to the island in the years since they blew up the bomb, either that or Desmond still went to the island (having crashed there during his race around the world, which we assume wouldn’t have been affected by the actions of Jack and his crew on the island in 1977) and is now off of it, though how he managed to get off the “snow-globe” of an island is an interesting question. Either way, whatever the reason is, Jack is eyeballing him something fierce, again suggesting that maybe Jack has some memory of the island in this parallel timeline. Interestingly Desmond seems genuinely surprised by Jack’s question of familiarity, which wouldn’t make sense if a) Desmond had met Jack on the island and remembered it (which might raise questions as to whether Jack is the only one who has some memory of the island), or b) if they had met during Desmond’s training for the race around the world (as was the case in the original timeline); if you’ll recall, Desmond recognized Jack immediately in the hatch, so him not recognizing him here could be significant. Are we to assume then that the entire history of these characters has changed or just their time spent on the island? I guess you could make an argument that says if the island was destroyed in 1977 then Charles Widmore presumably died on it, thus never insulting Desmond’s honor, Desmond never enters the race around the world, never is training for it, and hence never meets Jack. That seems to be the most obvious explanation. A legitimately terrible CGI sequence (not sure if it’s quite as bad as the season 5 finale submarine debacle, but close) reveals that the island – and concomitantly the statue – is in fact under water.

Back from commercial and the first scene is a flashback of Juliet being pulled into the pit-o-death, and is it just me or did that scream she just let out give you a slight chub – my apologies to any lady readers [who am I kidding? Nobody is reading this] (on that point, I really loved Juliet – the season 5 version that is, season 4 version was kind of a bitch – if you haven’t seen GIA, do yourself a favor, stop reading this, assuming anyone is to begin with *highly unlikely*, and go find a copy; vhs, dvd, it doesn’t matter, pirate it if you have to – though I would never endorse such a thing – then skip ahead past all the boring crap at the beginning to about the 24 minute mark; you there? Tell me that’s not the greatest thing you’ve ever seen)? Anyway, moving on… great acting all around (not that I’m any kind of expert on such things) by Josh Holloway (Sawyer of course) and Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet… don’t lie, you’re googling that GIA sex scene as we speak).

And what’s this! We’re back on the island. After an inexplicable sequence that finds Kate up in a tree with her ears ringing (how an explosion knocked her into a tree but didn’t seem to harm her is a mystery of LOSTian proportions), Kate runs into Miles and, in case he wasn’t sure, informs him that they are in fact BACK… to the future (not bad right? I see you LOST writers!). Okay, so it looks as if we are dealing with some kind of parallel timeline situation. In one version of events the bomb offset the pocket of energy, apparently sinking the island somehow and ensuring that flight 815 never crashes. In the other, as we are now finding out, nothing seems to have changed at all, though how both of these outcomes could have occurred simultaneously we are left only to speculate. The intricacies of time travel are confusing at the best of times and seem to lead only to circuitous speculations and intense nerd anger, so let’s just go with it. Moving on… I’m guessing it is not a coincidence that we see Sawyer and Jack lying quite literally side by side as the camera moves from Sawyer and then to Jack from a Kate POV-shot. Who does she run to check on? Jack of course. Could this finally mark the end of the infamous Kate-Jack-Sawyer love triangle (previously the Kate-Jack-Sawyer-Juliet love parallelogram, may Juliet rest in peace)? One can only hope. It’s not obvious from the shots that we get whether or not Jack has a cut on his neck here in timeline 2 (henceforth to be referred to as the “back to the future” timeline, or BTTF for short) as he did in timeline 1 (henceforth to be referred to as the “Juliet is still alive somewhere” timeline or JISAS), at the very least the writers aren’t drawing attention to it if he does.

Back to the plane we go! Jack runs into a handcuffed Kate Austin and her shockingly dickish escort, U. S. Marshal Edward Mars (do you think we can we petition to have him killed a second time?), the lingering shot of Jack as Kate sits down seems to hint that a larger game may in fact be afoot. Dr. Arzt returns as annoying as ever, though his presence is thankfully short-lived. I found the conversation here between Hurley and Sawyer to be interesting on a couple of levels. First of all, we find out that, for whatever reason, the destruction of the island in this JISAS timeline has somehow resulted in Hurley going from being surrounded by bad luck (albeit only to other people) and seeing the money as a curse, to being a contented business owner to whom nothing bad ever occurs. Why this should be the case is hard to say. If you recall, Hurley won the lottery using numbers he got from Leonard Sims in the psych ward, who in turn heard them on a broadcast emanating from the island (as seen in season 1: episode 18 “Numbers”). So if the island is sunk in 1977 then those numbers are never broadcast, Leonard never hears them, Hurley never uses them to win the lottery, etc. etc. the curse never happens. But here in this JISAS timeline Hurley is still a lottery winner but presumably without all the negative side effects found in the BTTF timeline, so he must have won using different numbers, which would of course be astronomically unlikely if we are meant to assume it was just blind luck. The question then must be, is “the island” (whatever that means at this point) still influencing events in this JISAS timeline or is it just a coincidence that Hurley happens to win the lottery in both scenarios? We’ve seen in the past that “the island” can influence events taking place all around the world (e.g., Michael being unable to kill himself in “Meet Kevin Johnson” season 4: episode 8), would submerging it really make a huge difference? Don’t really know. The other interesting thing, perhaps only to me, about this conversation was the way that Sawyer “warned” Hugo about being wary of people trying to take advantage of him. I don’t know if this is hinting at Sawyer being somehow “different” in this JISAS timeline, maybe he isn’t a con man at all (or maybe he is warning him BECAUSE he is a con man, it’s hard to say), though I am probably just reading way too much into it.

Back to the island we go! Juliet is still alive (I might have to change the name of my JISAS timeline)! At least momentarily. I know from reading press clippings that Elizabeth Mitchell is not a season six regular, so I can’t say I’m real optimistic about her surviving this episode. It’s likely that this is a bit of fan-service from the writers for people (I number myself among them) who felt that Juliet’s death was way too abrupt. Anyway, we’re back with Hurley who is being paid a visit by our favorite man in white, that of course being Jacob… and commercial break, typical.

Back on the plane… it looks like whatever memories Jin might have from the island adventure haven’t made much of an impact as he is back to his misogynist ways (I really hope they don’t make us relive Jin and Sun from the first season). Locke and Boone are back together! Even Neil makes an appearance here (more commonly known as Frogurt, or simply “the flaming arrow guy”). This is definitely a nice little fan shout out, I know that Ian Somerhalder (Boone) is on a different show now (something about teenage vampires or something, I don’t know) so I doubt we will see him very much, but it’s nice to get Locke and Boone back together, at least briefly. A couple things to note here, Boone is on the plane, but Shannon appears not to be. Not sure if that’s really even noteworthy but at the very least it seems to be another tidbit that suggest significantly divergent events here in the JISAS timeline (I’ll think of a new name if I have to but I am kind of liking it, has a nice ring to it). What IS noteworthy is Locke’s little story about going on a walkabout. Either he is lying (which would be consistent with his pre-crash, sex-phone operator calling, father obsessing, broken back having, overall pretty pathetic self), or he is telling the truth (which would really cement the idea that there have been some pretty major changes in the life histories of our LOSTies), the answer to that might be significant… let’s watch!

Back to the island… I quite enjoyed this transition. Gentleman Locke to murderous crazy Locke, or Not-Locke in this case (aka the smoke monster, I am calling that shit right now!). Not-Locke/smoke monster cuts off a piece of Jacob’s rug (well what I assume is Jacob’s rug, I don’t know if maybe Jacob stole this statue from someone else, lord knows that in these tough economic times statue living space is limited just about everywhere but I’d imagine it’s especially tight on a beautiful Pacific island). By the way he folds it up as if to put it in his pocket you must assume that he is taking it with him for some other purpose. I will be interested to find out what is up with the rug, the only link that comes to mind here is the piece of cloth that Ilana and her gang find ominously knifed to the wall in what had previously been known as “Jacob’s Cabin,” and which prompted her to say, “someone else has been using this cabin.” Don’t know the significance of that, just pointing it out. Ben is staring at the fire where Jacob’s body SHOULD be but isn’t. Not-Locke informs him that, “Jacob is gone.” Is it possible that Jacob is in fact a Jedi master? That would certainly explain why he left no body behind. I guess that would make Not-Locke (smoke-monster) a Sith Lord. What if this show turns out to be the prequels to the prequels of the original Star Wars trilogy? Wouldn’t that be nuts? Jacob is the very first Jedi and Locke, who originally comes to the island to train as a Jedi, ends up being turned to the dark side and becomes a Sith Lord. Who do you think Locke would take on as his apprentice? Jack? Maybe Walt? Okay, I agree, this is getting ridiculous, back to the show. Something tells me that, “I guess he knew that he was beaten.” isn’t going to be the reason that Jacob let himself be killed. Just a hunch. I hope that Not-Locke was only joking when he said that, I so desperately want him to be a badass. Lapidus doesn’t buy Ilana and her crew as the good guys, so does that then make Not-Locke the good guy? They clearly seem to be enemies, though that certainly doesn’t mean either side is “good”. Ha, I love how Ben covers his shirt up when he comes out as if that’s going to hide the copious amounts of blood splattered all over it. It’s nice to see Richard show some emotion, he’s been a relatively stoic figure up to this point. I always had him pegged as a sort of automaton, doing what he was told because he seemingly had no other choice, but this sequence suggests to me that perhaps he does have some personal interest in what happens on the island. I hear that we’ll be getting Richard’s back story this season, I am very much looking forward to it. Got to love Ben’s face when he realizes he’s been duped. Commercial break.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the island (monkey island anyone?)... Jacob explains to Hurley that he died an hour ago, once again raising the question, “Why can Hurley see dead people?” Still don’t have an answer to that one. Either way, the most intriguing bit of information to come out of this conversation has to be when Jacob explains his murder as, “an old friend grew tired of my company.” What happened between these two “old friends” that led to one going to such extreme lengths to take the other out, or as Not-Locke put it, “you have no idea what I had to go through to be here.” We got a taste of their relationship in the season five finale, with the man in black (aka, Not-Locke, who I am also predicting is the smoke monster) politely informing Jacob of his desire to commit murder upon him, a fact that little surprised or bothered Jacob at the time. The conversation that they had in that episode is also of interest here as it may hint at how the rift started. For those theologically inclined among us (again, not a single person is reading this, which makes this kind of sad doesn’t it?) it’s possible that you, like myself, might have seen that conversation as a discussion of free-will vs. predestination (or destiny in LOST terms). Jacob was seemingly advocating a position of free-will while the man in black seemed convinced that, “it always ends the same.” You might remember Jacob telling Hurley in the taxi, “I want you to understand Hugo, you have a choice.” Or even Ben as he was practically taunting him, “Whatever he’s told you, understand one thing, you have a choice.” But what exactly constitutes free-will? A question with a multitude of answers no doubt, and one that could fill volumes. For the purposes of this blog, however, I would simply ask if it can really be considered free-will if someone has been manipulated to the point that a given outcome is a virtual certainty (was Ben truly exercising free-will when he killed Jacob, believing as he did that his own daughter demanded it as retribution for causing her death? Not-Locke had manipulated him to the point that there was only one possible outcome when faced with that “choice.”)? I think this will continue to be a major theme for the remainder of the show, as it has been since pretty much the beginning (even think back to when Ethan tells Claire outside the medical hatch in season 2: episode 15 “Maternity Leave”, “We won’t do anything you don’t want us to, you have to remember Claire, it’s your choice.” But would anyone call that choice an act of free-will, especially given her drugged addled mind?). I’d tell you to discuss in the comments, but since nobody is going to read this I guess I’ll just skip that (even though I just wrote it anyway). Back to the show. It looks like we’re finally going to answer one of LOST’s greatest mysteries, “what’s in the guitar case?”

And… we’re back to the plane. I think we’re about to get a Charlie Pace sighting… and there he is, did FlashForward get cancelled already (I kid, that show isn’t that bad)? Commercials. Whoever invented the DVR, I drink to you sir (or madam, but let’s be honest, it’s probably a sir).

Plane again… Sayid helps Jack resuscitate Charlie. Nothing particularly interesting here, other than Charlie almost choking on a bag of heroine.

Back to the island… the rubble is cleared away and we get a second chance to say goodbye to my beloved Juliet (you read what I said earlier about GIA right? Yeah, you’re going to want to look that up, it’s good stuff). I’m not a huge fan of being forced to watch Juliet die twice (well three times if you count punching the bomb), but I’ll admit this didn’t leave nearly the bad taste in my mouth that it did the first time she died, so well done writers (and there’s always JISAS right?). Nice to see Hurley finally growing a pair, it was about time that he manned up and did something productive.

Back at the statue… big lumberjack guy is already pissing me off. Hopefully he isn’t long for this world as I can’t imagine that barging in on old Johnny with a gun is a great idea if you want to live. So these chumps are Jacob’s bodyguards? Pretty worthless. Shooting Not-Locke? Bad idea it would seem. Aaaand….. he’s dead. Oh, and, NAILED IT! I called Not-Locke as the smoke monster months ago (of course I wasn’t the only one, but that’s of little consequence). Finally, I can simply refer to him as Smoky or sometimes Smoky McGee if I’m feeling frisky. I won’t try to speculate on the significance of the grey sand, though it clearly has some kind of repulsive quality for old Smoky. Come on, you have to admit that Terry O’Quinn is straight beasting this premiere (as he did the last half of season 5 as well)! It really is unfortunate that he hasn’t had more screen time up to this point. I love him as Locke but he is twice as good as Smoky McGee. In terms of that scene, it’s interesting to me that it seemed like Smoky had to hide his bodily form and then come back into the room from some other place. I don’t know if that was just a strange sequencing or if the Smoky part of his person is somehow separate from the bodily manifestation. The bent bullet was a nice little reveal, shit’s really starting to heat up!

And back to the pipe cave of death (aka Juliet’s death knell part 2, may she rest in peace)… even covered in blood she is still impossibly good looking. This scene, while hard to watch, does have some good information for those of us who watch LOST with an eye on theory crafting (and if the last 3500 words haven’t given it away yet, I am one of those people). What did Juliet mean when she said, “We can get coffee some time. We can go Dutch.”? At first this comes off as the ramblings of a woman close to death losing her grip on reality, but having now watched the rest of the premiere I am tempted to think that this might have a more significant implication. It’s not so much what she says but rather how it’s presented. Going Dutch for coffee (referring to the common phrase “to go Dutch” meaning to each pay for their own expenses) on its own is largely meaningless, but when coupled with the later Miles Straume revelation that Juliet was trying to tell him “it worked” it takes on perhaps an added importance. I’m speculating here of course, but is it possible that Juliet was slipping in and out of the two parallel timelines (BTTF timeline and her own aptly named, if I may say so myself, which I can because this is my blog, JISAS timeline)? Why would she say at the beginning of their conversation, “it didn’t work, we’re still here,” but by the end of it is saying, “it worked.” Clearly something happened in those intervening 30 seconds that changed her mind. What else could that be but a temporary experience of that alternate timeline? The only point in their conversation where anything strange takes place (and coincidentally enough happens to coincide with her sudden change of heart) is when she starts talking about going out for coffee. It is my theory (and I’m sure the theory of others as well, lest you – you of course meaning me because nobody is reading this – think me capable of an original thought) that Juliet was talking to Sawyer in the parallel timeline and that in that timeline they are together and happily married (the last bit is entirely wishful thinking, but it’s possible right?). Isn’t that a comforting thought? It was for me, so please, don’t rain on my parade.

Back on the plane… having survived another Juliet death we are rewarded with the relative calm of flight 815 once again. I don’t know if Jack asking what happened to Desmond is of any importance. I won’t jump to conclusions and say that he imagined him outright, but the way the writers sort of emphasized that sequence makes me raise an eyebrow at the very least (careful not to raise them both or people will simply think you’re surprised). I know I’ve been pushing this whole “everything’s different” theory up to this point in regards to the JISAS timeline, but the quick-cut montage here at the end (classic LOST finish by the way) is making me rethink that position. The writers are bringing it all back to focus on objects of familiarity for the audience: Hurley and his headphones, Sayid and his pictures of Nadia, Jin and his father-in-law’s watch, the stewardesses and their seatbelts (okay not so much the last one), Kate and her handcuffs/U. S. Marshal, Charlie and his drugs, and last but not least… wait for it… yep, Locke and his crippled legs. It appears that he was in fact lying to Boone, so maybe not that much has changed for our beloved LOSTies after all.

Wow, so that was super long. Granted it was the first episode of season six (I’ve had a whole off-season’s worth of pent up LOST waiting to get out) and it was my first crack at writing a blog post (I take it they’re not generally supposed to be this wordy if you want people to actually read them). I think as things progress these will hopefully become more concise. If anybody actually read this whole thing I would love it if you left some kind of indication in the comments so that I can mock you publicly. Well that’s it for Season Six: Episode One “LAX Part 1.” Part 2 arrives shortly.

Blog Introduction

I was doing an independent study for a class I'd taken and decided I wanted to write a LOST blog. I'm a huge fan of the show and since I was going to be doing the work anyway I thought I might as well share it with other LOST fanatics like myself; I know more about LOST than any human being probably should. I honestly don't expect anybody to actually read this but I won't lie to you, this is some pretty fantastic stuff I've written down, so you'd be missing out.

The format of the blog is pretty simple: I basically write a free-flowing analysis of each episode as I watch it. These blog entries tend to be pretty long so if there's one part or another that you're particularly interested in you can just scan through it as I have written them in a logical chronological sequence. The show this season is marked by two distinct divergent timelines and so the format of my blog mimics this; each new paragraph is a transition either to a new timeline or a different story element (e.g., Locke vs. Hurley et. al. would be two different story elements even though they both occur on the island's timeline). My episode reviews are somewhat information heavy, something in the neighborhood of 3,500 words each, though I would argue that it's pretty damn entertaining 3,500 words. Feel free to read all of it, none of it, whatever, it's there if you're interested, and if not that's fine too.

The first few paragraphs of the first post are kind of sloppy and disjointed as I was working out my process as I went along, but it smooths out from there. I am going to try and post blog entries to correspond with each new episode. Obviously because the show is already in its third week I will be posting the entries for the first three episodes all at once. Comments are of course welcome: criticisms, suggestions, critiques, alternate theories, compliments, whatever. There is no progress without opposition, so feel free to present an antithesis to my thesis and maybe together we can create a synthesis.