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.


James Demarko said...

Good evening.
With words of eloquence that will promote the sighs of longing – I will offer clues to the ideas that now lie hidden within the sequence of events you described.
My mistress to help me reveal these hidden themes is Fear + Trembling (Soren’s book I wrote a paper on)– which, now lying beside me, just whispered sweet something’s in my ear as I caressed her pages. She spoke of Abraham: “I cannot understand him.. I can learn nothing from him but be amazed.” So too seem the scenes in LOST, perhaps the theme being events so absurd must be expected – but like God guaranteeing providence to Abraham after his first born was sacrificed – you must have faith in the absurd and know LOST’s odd scenes will turn around to make sense (bit of a stretch I know, but screw it, I have to bring something to the blog party)

As for the wisdom of Bill Shakespeare and words from him I can pore forth like RAM Beer from a nice frothy Mr. Boeke Mug – the monster, a Mr. Smoky Mcgee – seems to remind me of Hector and Ajax in Troilus and Cressida. Both had their hearts torn from their breast in battle, and were smote right in front of their own villages.
Predicting Ajax’s eventual downfall, like the fate that will await Smoky McGee, and Bill has the character Thersites in Act 3.3 (250-264) remark:

Thersites: “Why, he stands up and down like a Pea-
cock, - a stride and a stand; ruminates like an
hostess that hath no arithmetic but her brain to set
down her reckoning. Bites his lip with a politic
regard, as who should say, “There were wit in
this head an ‘twoud out”; And so there is, but
it lies as coldly in him as fire in a flint, which will not
show without knocking. The man’s undone for
ever, for if Hector break not his neck I’ the combat,
he’ll break himself in vainglory.
…He’s grown a
very land-fish, languageless, a monster.

Blah blah.
I wanted to add “and pierces the coolest thinkers heart” in there but I figured it would ruin a sentence – lol.

Joshua Boeke said...

Very profound commentary Mr. Demarko. The random Shakespeare is always a welcome addition to any blog worth it's salt. You might know that Mr. Boeke (and his RAM beer) majored in Shakespearean literature in college. You should talk some time.

James Demarko said...

thats awesome