Wednesday, March 31, 2010

LOST 048: Sun, Thing Wicked This Way Comes

Could it possibly be? The final "moving the pieces" LOST episode ever? Probably not, but they've still got a lot of explaining to do. There are eight hours left. Doesn't seem like a lot, but then again, that's basically the entire running time of the Lord Of The Rings movies, and I've never heard anybody complain that those were just not long enough.

We'll get there. This show can give you an answers explosion in 3 minutes.

Oh man. There are only eight more hours left.


Hanging questions:

What was the purple sky event?

Who are the different factions of the Jacobians?

What does the Nemesis mean by "wanting to go home"?

What is the process of a successful candidate? An unsuccessful candidate?

What did the bomb do?

What is The Infection?

What is this Sideways World?

Tall Ghost Walt?

Short, once very-important Walt?


Adam and Eve?

The whispers? The ghosts?

Why can't women give birth?

What is the magic box that Ben told Locke about?

What was the Dharma Initiative? Who was behind it?

Why did Sayid come back to life?

What happens if the Nemesis gets off the island?

What is the Nemesis?

What is Jacob?

Glowing Creepy Island Kid?

Where is the island? WHAT is the island?

What are The Rules?

What are the Rules?


There are some good signs that we are getting to a number of these answers; most promising of which are the appearance of Charles Widmore (who can explain a whole lot of things along the lines of the Jacobian factions, Dharma, and seems to have a working understanding of The Rules) with son-in-law Desmond (who was, of course, present at ground zero of the Purple Sky Event and definitely appears to be communing Sideways-like) in tow. Nevertheless, there's a lot of ground to cover.

My suspicion is that, for better or for worse, LOST will remain LOST, which means that it will remain firmly rooted in its characters, delivering an ending that gives us emotional payoffs for all these people, but leaving the unifying theories tantalizingly open. I may have TV Stockholm syndrome, but I'm almost hoping for it; it'll allow us to go on debating LOST for years to coming.

Can you imagine LOST with a nice neat pat ending? It seems unlikely.

On to the episode.

* Extreme double triple MC Hammer gas face to ABC for putting a never-removed advertisement for their new sci fi show in the corner of their screen in the exact place that Sun's notepad was. Way to obscure dialogue, ABC. This is why I will probably not ever watch network TV anymore after LOST wraps. DVD and streaming, baby.

* Widmore's crew has abducted Jin! Sort of! That is to say, they shot him and all the other Smokesters in the neck with tranqs, then burst into camp, and took him. They killed nobody. Either Widmore is wearing the white hat, or our friends really are not killable within The Rules. The fact that Widmore is also trying to stop the Nemesis augurs well for him. Less good is that time he sent Keamy and company to kill everybody. We all make mistakes.

* Apparently, Widmore needs Jin to help him mumble mumble something something pockets of energy. I am all for bringing the science back, if only for balance. Also, a final investigation of the Swan and Orchid pockets could give us some much-needed exposition on the Purple Sky Event, the Incident, What The Bomb Did, and perhaps even What/Where The Island Is. Now, why did they want to wait before capturing Jin?

* A few more of the rules constraining the Nemesis are now made clear. First, he can't Smokemonster over to the island, which suggests that his Smoke form is bound in some way to certain geographic parts of the island. I'm guessing he makes himself vulnerable when he goes over. His concern for Jin seemed real, didn't it? You almost get to thinking he might be the good guy . . . and then he offers to feed Kate to Claire once Ms. Austin is no longer of use to him.

Speaking of using people, it also appears to be the case that the Nemesis can't get off the island unless ALL the candidates are with him. I'd say this tells us why he doesn't kill them, and brings us back to the whole directive that ALL the Oceanic Six need to return. They are the Nemesis' boarding pass. So what does that say about the people who issued that command, and their potential alignment? Locke got the directive straight from the Nemesis-as-Christian's mouth, but it was repeated by Widmore, and Hawking, and Ben, and (I think) Abbadan. And then Jacob recruited Ilanya to make sure that one of them returned. Wheels within wheels. Jacob's plan sometimes meshes so well with the Nemesis', it's hard not to think the Nemesis is being played even now.

* Yeah this is getting crazy. Is Ilanya there to protect the candidates? Because neither Widmore nor the Nemesis seems to want them dead . . . at least not yet. Meanwhile, it seems like a dead Candidate would be just the thing to put gum in the Nemesis' britches. So if it comes down to it, does Ilanya start a-killin'?

* Richard now wants to destroy the plane to prevent the Nemesis' escape (let's just pretend for fun that this is a plane that could actually take off, that it has nearly enough runway, and that Frank would actually fly it for the bad guy.) Remember back in the old days, when Locke was preventing anybody from leaving the island, blowing up subs and so forth? That takes on a whole different meaning now, right? Seems to me that the moments when Locke seemed at his craziest was probably the time when Locke was serving Jacob best.

* Meanwhile, Sun is having none of Richard's guff. She's all "I'll cut you, eyeliner boy", but in Korean because she got hit on the head and Soap Opera. Or, maybe, just maybe, she moved a little bit Sideways, accessing a version of Sun who never spoke English. Naaaah, it's just silliness.

Anyway, it's a good reminder that this whole Nemesis/Jacob thing means nothing to a lot of our heroes, at all. Sun is a mother who left her child behind to find her husband long thought dead. She wants her family restored, period. It's nice to see these characters behaving for the most part the way they would.

* What an amazing moment for Jin, seeing his daughter for the first time. Daniel Dae Kim just nailed it. I'll admit it got a little dusty in the room. I tell you, the acting on this show is under-rated. So many of the actors bring it strong every week. And then there's Kate.

* OK, only one bullet for Sideways World until I figure out why we are even seeing it. Sun's boobs. Um . . . what was I saying? Oh. Right. Cool to see Mikhail again.

* Based on Widmore's comments, I am guessing that I'm correct in my assumption that the Nemesis' successful escape will in some way unravel reality itself. What I wrote before Season 6 started still stands as my understanding of LOST's most elemental conflict:

Jacob can leave the island. He can touch people. He can restore them to life. He can keep them from aging. He can heal them. He can also choose not to heal them. He can allow them to become sick. He can allow them to suffer. He can influence people. He does this through revelation.

He can appear as a man, though he rarely does. He can also appear as an animal, like a horse, or bird. Or a Labrador retriever. It is possible that he can appear in the guise of those who are dead.

Jacob wants to use the island’s unique repeating time loop to perfect the timeline. He does this by making modifications. By bringing people to the island, by influencing them, by leaving them to do what they will. To make different, hopefully better, decisions. He revels in the slow evolution toward perfection. He accepts pain and death as the price paid for this progress.

Yes, he accepts death. Even his own.

The Nemesis is unable to leave the island. He is unable to harm Jacob physically. He can touch others, and, occasionally, chooses to (or is allowed to) harm them. He is very clever. He, too, can influence people. He does so through lies.

He can appear as a man, though he rarely does. He can appear as the dead. He can also appear as smoke.

The Nemeis is maddened by this constant repetition. He tires of the flounderings and failure of these limited creatures, humans. He wants to bring a stasis to the timeline. The only way he can accomplish this is to end Jacob’s experimentation. The only way to end Jacob's experimentation is to end Jacob. If Jacob stops changing things, then every event throughout every iteration of the loop will be exactly the same every time. Which will mean that one will be indistinguishable from the next. Which means it will all finally only happen once. The timeline will only begin once. The timeline will only end once.

Currently, the timeline ends with the destruction of space and time.

The Nemesis craves the kindly slumber of entropy.

* So here is my latest theory on the Nemesis, based on the paradigm-shifting revelation that Jacob's interest in gradual progression and free-will progress extends not exclusively to the humans he brings, but to the Nemesis himself. He wants the Nemesis to get better. He won't let the Nemesis leave until he gets better.

And the Nemesis wants to kill himself.

And he can't do it.

Because the island won't let him die.


Friday, March 26, 2010

LOST 047: You Had Me At Hell. . . Oh.

And this is why I watch and obsess over this show. Answers, deeper questions, amazing and affecting acting and character work, an ever-deepening mythology, and not a clunky expository paragraph of dialogue in sight. By the time they've wrapped this show up, last night's hour will stand as one of the very best of the entire series. Wow.

Also? I've got to say I didn't miss the Sideways World. At all.


So, we've had the long-demanded Alpert episode. What have we learned? First, we've learned that the depth of this show's commitment to "show don't tell" storytelling runs very deep, indeed. This is the guy who's life has spanned pretty much every major formative event of the island's history, who was around before any of the Jacobian "Others" appeared, who has watched the development of various factions and sects and power struggles . . . and we spend nearly the first half of the episode off-island, building the back-story of Richard's character, rather than that of the island's mythology. I wasn't surprised a bit. In fact, I approve. Alpert isn't just a puzzle piece, he's a person. We need to understand who he is as a character to understand why we should care about him, and if we don't care about him, than the answers his stories bring will be as clinical and antiseptic as working through a checklist. The scenes of Ricardo chained in the hold of the Black Rock were among the most effective and chilling of the series. When I watch the whole thing again, I know I'll be seeing the Black Rock with new eyes.

Second, we've learned that Nester Corbonell is one of the finer actors on the show. I've got to say, Richard has been such a rock of confidence for such a long time that at times he seemed dull. More than a little mysterious, but occasionally a square-jawed and dull know-it-all nonetheless. I had no idea the range and emotional power that Carbonell could bring to a suddenly very vulnerable and confused and human Richard, a poor Spaniard from the Canary Island who, sadly born before Obamacare, accidentally slew a venal doctor to secure medicine he couldn't afford for his dying wife. Dying? Make that already dead. Tragedy! Everybody drink! It's total melodrama, but the acting sells it. Richard on the island closing his eyes and finally hearing his wife? Chills.

We've also learned a lot about Richard's frame of reference. The island isn't hell, but to Richard that has always been a possibility. Ricardo, that good 18th century Catholic and accidental mortal sinner, is told that he is irreparably damned by the priest who takes his confession, and he believes that it is true in his bones. (Damn, priest, you really may as well have stayed home, if it weren't for the rather heavy implication that you make a nice little kickback off the condemned prisoner slave trade. Bad priest. No wafer.) Thus, he's primed already to consider the island hell, and when his hold-mate claims that the statue-through-the-storm is el diablo, it's pretty much a given that when the Nemesis heads on down into the hold to "read" Ricardo's mind (the better to manipulate him), what he's going to find there is a whole lot of hell. His Smokemonster "savior" is more than willing to feed those suspicions, by posing as his dead wife and telling him exactly that, in so many words, then sending him to fillet Jacob, using the exact same instructions Dogan used upon sending Sayid (more on this later). Jacob, in turn, cold-cocked Richard, baptized him into a new understanding and a new life. Richard's been living for a century and a half with his choice of Jacob over the Nemesis, so it can be no wonder that, with the object of his faith dead and dust, he returns to his previous belief system: This Place Is Hell.

The big reveals were delivered in true LOST sideways fashion:

1) Jacob is bringing people to the island for the sake of the Nemesis. We now have it confirmed that the nature of the conflict between Jacob and the Nemesis is this: The Nemesis hates humanity and considers them to be hopelessly given to sin. Jacob believes that humans are salvageable and ultimately good, and to prove it he brings them to the Nemesis as object lessons. What's interesting is that the people he brings are some of the least likely people ever for the purpose. Think of it: If you were trying to prove to some kind of Great Accuser of Humanity that humans were ultimately good, would you choose Sawyer, Sayid, Jin, Sun, Kate, Hurley, and Jack (to say nothing of any other random dozen murderers and liars from the pool of island denizens)? It's a very Biblical concept -- God constantly chose the least, the weakest, the incapable, the outmatched, to work his will -- but really, Jacob, why not bring Gandhi and Martin Luther King? I suppose Jacob is playing this game on Expert Challenge level.

In any case, what really threw me is not that Jacob is bringing people to the island to conduct experiments in human potential, goodness, free will, and choice, but that he claims to not be doing it for the people themselves. Rather, he is doing it to show the Nemesis something. To educate him. To perhaps redeem him? Riddle me this: Isn't it likely that, if Jacob is somebody who has hope and faith in the goodness of people . . . that he has similar hope for the Nemesis? He has the Nemesis contained, but is there a point at which he wants to see what the Nemesis will do with free will?

The whole thing plays out very much like the book of Job, in which Satan (also known as humanity's Accuser) tells God that men only follow him because he has given them good things, and, should he take those good things (wealth, family, health) away, they would surely turn rotten and curse him. God takes Satan up on the game, and they play it out in the life of a good man named Job. It seems to me that this island is crawling with Jobs.

Are their lives on the whole better, or worse, without the island? What has Jacob taken from them? And to what purpose?

How does that make you feel about Jacob?

2) Not all ghosts are the Nemesis in disguise. This may not seem as big a deal, especially given that we sort of expected it, but since we discovered the existence of the Nemesis and his plot to kill Jacob, it's been at least a strong possibility that all dead people on the island have been him in some form, with the likely exception of Jacob, as revealed to Hurley. Now, however, we have this extra overlay. Sometimes (maybe), the ghosts are truly who they seem to be. Perhaps this is not true, but to reverse it would take away a very powerful emotional moment from Ricardo, and I haven't observed the LOST writers engaging in dirty pool like that. So who are the "real" spirits? The off-island ones, certainly. Tall ghost Walt? Christian, appearing to Jack to show him water, and then later to Michael on the freighter, releasing him? Jungle whispers? Basically, what this gives me is the ability to not be so confused if some apparitions don't seem to have been following the Nemesis' script.

3) Jacob is irrevocably committed to the idea of free will. And irrevocably hands-off about it. Clearly, Jacob believes that he could make people behave correctly, and just as clearly he believes that to do so would make such behavior meaningless. The way his job offer to Richard was presented, it's quite possible that Jacob's prophet is the only one to have ever actually seen him; and even then rarely. The implications of this upon the Others is great. Rather than a group with a series of leaders who receive the Will of Jacob (such as Ben was suggesting was the case in Season 3), we may instead simply have a series of leaders who rely on The Prophet Ricardus to present Jacob's will to them, some of whom (or most of whom) claim to speak to Jacob in order to solidify their power. There is some evidence that Jacob probably has invited some Jacobians to him through Richard over the years, but these visits would be rare, indeed.

So what we have is a group of people (the Jacobians) who follow Jacob without seeing him, obeying (or not) the words of Jacob as delivered through his prophet. So everything we've seen of the Jacobians -- their rituals, their rules, their justice system, their policies and punishments and factions and wars -- is all their interpretation of Ricardus' delivery of Jacob's will. It's . . . religion. A holy game of telephone, if you will, in which "Don't hoe more corn than you can fry" may translate to "All homos must die. Chicken ranch melon." Rather than the relationship with Jacob, they have their rules, which calcify into dogma and all the while are subject to the manipulations of the Nemesis. I think we have ample evidence that the Nemesis has been actively (and in large part successfully) been working to corrupt and pervert the Jacobians. As an example, I present to you Dogan, who, though he has by his own testimony met Jacob (off-island), still uses the same words (and I think the same knife) in sending Sayid to kill the Nemesis, as the Nemesis used in sending Ricardo to kill Jacob. I think this probably explains why, when Jacob brings new people to the island, his people greet them not with openness (do you think Jacob cares more for the people he brought here a long time ago than he does for those he just brought in?) but with hostility and kidnapping and territorial attitudes and sometimes war.

And I think that it is very likely that the Prophet Ricardus allows many of these defects and shortcomings and errors, and many of these active corruptions by the Nemesis, in honor of his master's will to be non-active, in order to allow choices. So Richard certainly knew that Ben was lying about meeting with Jacob, and why, but allowed it to continue.

Furthermore, Jacob is not somebody who is going to show up and help you out of a problem, even a deadly one. I think that if the Nemesis hadn't appeared, Ricardo may have been allowed to die down in the hold. I think it is entirely likely that Jacob came to Ricardo sometime before he arrived on the island, to call him there. Jacob's direct manipulations seem to happen before the island, to draw people there. Once on the island, manipulations cease. His turn of the game is done. The Nemesis' turn has begun.

But even though Jacob is dead, he is still manipulating events. Hurley is his new prophet.

Other Random Thoughts

* The stakes are starting to become clear. If the island is the plug keeping the darkness in, and the Nemesis, who hates all people, needs to be contained, I'd say the theory that the Nemesis wants to kill EVERYBODY is gathering strength. Based on his heavily-symbolic breakage of the metaphorical wine bottle, I gather that my pre-season prediction that the Nemesis actually wants to unravel reality itself may not be far off.

* What is the Nemesis? The bottle metaphor Jacob chose (to say nothing of a main character who is actually named Jin) would give a lot of ammunition to anybody who wanted to make him a djinn (AKA a genie), an infinitely powerful wind spirit in Islamic tradition. When I notice that the apocryphal character from the Eden story, Lilith, Adam's first wife, may in some traditions have given birth to the djinn, I as Eden-theorist-in-residence take special notice. Anyway, whatever he is, he is, much like Shaft, a baaaaaaad shut-yo-mouth.

* We really didn't get much detail regarding the various factions of island-aware and Jacobians. I suspect that the almost-inevitable Widmore-back will give us some of this.

* I don't know the reason for the choice, but the editing was jarringly different this time. It makes realize how truly straightforward the directing has been that a few simple cross-cuts are immediately noticeable as a stylistic break. If this continues, I'll presume it is to up the tension and the sense of propulsion as all the pieces finally snap into place. If it's a one-off, I guess I will just chalk this up to being The Very Special Richard Alpert Hour.

* Hugo as a freelancer -- "This has nothing to do with you, Jack" -- is enjoyable every time.

* So the statue was destroyed by the Black Rock, in what must have been a tsunami. The physics are pretty weird, but I think we've already left some of that behind. However, that does make the first conversation we see between Jacob and the Nemesis harder to place in time. The ship they were watching has been assumed to be the Black Rock, and while it's not impossible that it could be, it doesn't seem likely, since the ship was nearly to the island on a bright sunny day, and the Black Rock arrived in a storm with 4-story waves. That conversation could now have taken place at any point prior to the Black Rock's arrival, and that ship could be pretty much any ship.

* By Jacob's own admission, nobody gets into his statue home unless they are invited. I guess that would mean that the Nemesis and Ben were invited. It's really starting to seem that the Nemesis' scheming is a part of Jacob's larger plan.

* "Ricardus will know what to do," Jacob told Ilanya. Richard has no idea what that means. I think we can take it to mean that Jacob has faith in Richard to do what needs to be done, since Jacob rather obviously hasn't given Richard any instructions.

* An interesting idea: From the Nemesis' POV, this may be hell. He was for sure manipulating Ricardo, but he may not have felt he was lying to the guy.

* Jacob warns the Nemesis that killing him won't change a thing, because a candidate will replace him. "Well, then I'll kill them all, too," snarls The Man Who Would Be Smoke. So now we know what Mock Locke has in mind. I'm guessing he doesn't do the killing himself because it would be against The Rules.

* Anybody get the sense that we have an episode coming up titled "The Rules"?

* I would just like to point out that in the "Island Cork / Wine Evil" analogy, Jacob turns the bottle over . . . which would put the island at the bottom of all that liquid. I'm not saying the island is on the bottom of the ocean in some strange way. Well, no. Actually, that's exactly what I'm saying.

* I do have a little bit of hope, via the AV Club, regarding the Sideways World. Perhaps it isn't the entire-series-negating future and total narrative disaster that some have proposed it is. Try this on for size:

You know what might end up being the central episode of this whole damn series when all is said and done? “Flashes Before Your Eyes.” Remember how Desmond returned to the world before he went to The Island, and how Mrs. Hawking told him he had to snap out of it and resume his responsibility? Two other relevant tidbits about “Flashes Before Your Eyes:” Desmond throws the engagement ring he bought for Penny into the Thames, just as Sawyer throws the ring he bought for Juliet into the water. And when Desmond wakes back up on The Island, his head still hurts from being whacked with the cricket bat right before he flashed—much as Jack still bears wounds and scars from his Island life in the Alterna-world. Not only am I going to predict (tentatively, of course) that the “flash-sideways” will resolve in much the same way they did for Desmond, with Hawking or someone similar shocking the Alterna-815ers back to “reality,” but I also predict—as many of you already have—that this resolution has already occurred, and that the season-opening scene at the imploded hatch takes place after our gang has given up their other lives and jumped back. I could be way off here, but that’s my sense of things. After all, it can’t just be a coincidence that The Hatch was the site of two of these reality-splits. (By the way, if I’m just repeating a theory that some of you have already espoused, I apologize. I do read the comment section extensively every week, but it’s hard to keep track of everything that’s been proposed.)

That's all for now, kids.

Give me Widmore-back or give me death.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

Your Weekly Dose Of Crazy

Well, not so "weekly" these days. More like Your Sporadic Dose of Crazy.

In any case, heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Crazy!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

LOST 046: Law(st) & Order

All the crazy ladies, all the crazy ladies
All the crazy ladies, all the crazy ladies
Put your hands up
If you liked it then you gotta put a skull on it,
If you liked it then you gotta put a skull on it.

Where was I? Oh yeah, Claire went all Cast Away, and turned her little chicken-skull doll into her own personal Wilson. Then she tried to kill Claire while Sayid sat on a bench and acted like he'd just ripped seven monster hits of John and Yoko's temple hash.

Huh. Claire killing Kate. Huh. She's saying 'Help me, Sayid." Sayid. Sayid. Sayid. Sayid. Sounds like "say 'weed' Heh heh. Looks like Kate's getting her throat cut. Interesting. Oh, wow. Have you ever looked at your hand, man. I mean, really LOOKED at it?

Anyway, anybody who thinks Claire has really forgiven Kate? Nah, me either. Let's get started, just as soon as I finish this episode of Little House on the Prairie.


* So, Sawyer would have been a cop instead of a crook if Jacob hadn't given him that pen, huh? On the other hand, he would still be totally consumed with revenge. On the other hand, he would have the intestinal fortitude to finally fess up to it to his goodbuddy Miles. On the other hand, whoa-mama! Charlotte cleans up nice! You think he killed the wrong Anthony Cooper down Australia way, much as he iced the wrong guy in Reality 1.0?

* Let me get this straight: Sawyer is a cop, and apparently a good one, but apparently one that is more than willing to help a handcuffed fugitive escape from security at the airport? Help me out here, LOST. Does Kate's mere presence cause logic to stop functioning? The only way I can work this out is if these people begin to revert to their island selves in proximity to one another. Otherwise, flag on the play, insulting our intelligence, 10 yards, loss of down.

* MAN, it is fun watching Sawyer do all of his double-crossing Sawyer things again. Even better? He did it without lying about anything at all, except that in each case, he left out the small point that he is not on anybody's side except for him and those of his friends he can help. He really is going to let the Nemesis walk into a trap. He really is going to betray Widmore. Should be fireworks. I enjoy the fact that Jack has moved into the Locke slot and Sawyer, with his focus on getting all his friends off-island, is in the Jack spot, but in a far more enjoyable Sawyer way. By the way, I think we can take Kate, Sawyer, and Jin out of the evil camp. They are geographically there, but they aren't aligned that way. This indicates that the Nemesis probably can't just whisper honeyed words and get you "infected" or whatever it ends. You gotta die, brotah. Just as Claire was in a house that blew up but "lived" and Sayid was drowned before he could bleed out but "lived."

* Creepiest moment maybe ever was Sayid just sitting there as Claire tried to cut Kate's throat. I'm really sad about Sayid. Death would have been better if this is what he's become. On the other hand, this is Kate, so maybe he was thinking, "Sweet! No more idiotic Kate episodes!"

* Let's try to piece everything together here.

All the Jacobians/innocent bystanders who came along on Ajira, Ilanya excepted, are dead. I think it is equally likely that they were killed by Widmore's people or the Nemesis-as-Smoke. Widmore has come with some portable anti-smoke fenceposts, so I think we can take his anti-Smoke position as writ. If he doesn't want to kill the Nemesis, he's at least aware that the Smoke probably wants to kill him. As a result, Charles Widmore becomes a very problematic character. His access to Dharma technology is only the latest tie he has to the Initiative. It seems very likely that he was a driving influence behind the D.I. even as he was acting as lead guitar and vocals within Richard Alpert's Amazing Hostile Band. He is hostile to Ben Linus, who he views as having stolen the island from him. He is almost certainly the man who sank an airliner's worth of bodies under the waves. He's basically a supervillain, but it doesn't appear that he's aligned with either Jacob or the Nemesis. I think he wants the island, but not for the sake of either the Big Entities. I think he just wants it for him alone. I think it is possible he's more than willing to let Smokey off the island in his submarine if he gets to stay.

Meanwhile, the Nemesis claims he wants to fly Ajira 316 off the island. I hope it becomes clear that this is just a story he's telling, because I don't think I can buy that plane being able to take off from Hydra Island. Maybe if he Smokemonsters it up into the air, but really, if he can do that, he doesn't need the plane anyway. Even if he really does have a viable plan for getting off-island with the plane, he'll need Frank, who is on the Beach of Goodness. We'll just watch this developing story.

In any event, one of Widmore's new batch of mercenaries looks like Spanky from The Little Rascals at about age 16. Just saying I am looking forward to Sawyer's nickname for him.

*Sawyer, to his credit, realizes that it isn't realistic to try to fly Ajira 316 off the island. Sawyer, to his discredit, seems to think that piloting a submarine will somehow be easier. Come on Sawyer. Access your non-stupid side.

* So if you're undercover trying to take down a con man, you can just do his wife to get near him? How does that work? What was the sting there? He was trying to get her to think he was a bad con man so she'd . . . what? Huh? I think they basically looked for a way to get cute about revealing Sawyer's lawman status and didn't try to make too much sense. Did I mention that Sideways Sawyer is about to run into Kate? Yep, the Vortex of Logic is about to get her own share of Sawyer. Meanwhile, Sawyer screws things up with Charlotte so that he can still run into Juliet, hopes my wife and everybody else who cares who Sawyer "winds up" with.

* Honestly, I refuse to care too much about Sideways World until I understand what we are seeing. This had better not be the reality after the first 5 seasons and the more interesting half of Season 6 crawl into a wormhole and disappear into the Never Was. LOST, you've already accomplished the extraordinary, and at this point nothing can take that from you. However, I am begging: Please stick the landing. Any of you out there that think what I have described in this bullet point would be a good way to end it? You're wrong. I'm sorry, it's nothing personal, but you are wrong. That isn't opinion. You just are. It would not be a good way to end it. It wouldn't. I can prove it on an Etch-a-Sketch.

* Locke had a crazy mother. Was the Nemesis referring to that, or did HIS mother also have a few sprinkles missing from her ice-cream cone? Nemesis was at one point allegedly a man, after all. Given my proposed ending to the whole thing last week, I think it's clear that I think that there is an entity currently residing in Locke who once resided in another man. That man, I believe, was one of the previous candidates, perhaps from another time and another place. Perhaps from another reality. I think the same is true of Jacob.

* For those of you keeping score at home, tonight was the 141st-149th Sawyer "sonofabitches.

* How many years would it take for Kate's sundress to disintegrate on Hydra island? A month? Two months? Why didn't she put it on after having bear cage sex with Sawyer? I honestly forget about that. Anyway, good to see the cages again. Blast from the past.

* It is time to give us the stakes of the game. It is time for us to understand what we stand to lose, and what we stand to gain. There's only one way to do it. We need to go back. Not back a little. Back a lot.

Give me Alpert-back or give me death.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

LOST 045: The Principled Principal

Wow, I'm late this week on one of the better Season 6 episodes so far. Sorry about it, it couldn't be helped: I was digging my own grave.


What do you know, a Ben Linus episode with nearly zero mindscrew. Ben's been stripped of his power, of his modest family, of his followers, and even of his belief in the island. Nothing left of him except all the wrong he's done. In much the same way, this episode was pared down to the Essence of Linus (one of the worst-selling fragrances ever, by the way): A man who, when it mattered, valued power more than love, and who now deeply regrets that choice. In Parallel Land, we see a Ben who, faced with a similar choice in a mundane setting, makes the correct choice, letting Principal McEvilcrap keep his school nurse-affair-having position, once he realizes that his power-grab will in effect doom his favorite student/protege to the worst thing in the entire universe, which is, of course, State College. Anyway, Dr. Linus does the right thing, squashes his dreams of high school administration, and then for some reason doesn't just put the screws to William Atherton (AKA the guy who is ALWAYS a dick in every role) as soon as the glowing letter of recommendation is written.

I'm mindful of the fact that there is a man, Charles Widmore, who believes that Ben's rise to island power was nothing short of theft, and I wonder . . . were the seeds of Alex's death sown in the moment of Widmore's defeat? In other words, did Island Ben have the same opportunity to let Widmore off the hook, knowing full well he was risking his daughter, and did he still grap the reins despite that? Widmore seemed to suggest as much on the dock before he was put on the Submarine of Shame after Ben voted him off the island. And recall that the reason that Widmore was being shown the door had to do with Ben's discovery of an illicit sexual affair on Widmore's part. How deep do these parallels go?

I think it is clear that Paralleloworld serves some sort of actual narrative plot function that has yet to be established; however, it's also clear that it is functioning as thematic commentary upon these characters. Thus far, I think I enjoyed Ben's trip to sideways world best.

Even better? The return of Charles Widmore in his submarine. My guess to his purposes? I think the evidence suggests that Widmore is the Nemesis' ride off the island. Widmore was the one who wanted to make sure that Locke got back to the island so that the "right side" won. Well, Locke got back to the island, after a fashion. And look what side appears to have won thus far. It was Widmore who sent the mercenaries who were the driving force behind the time shifts that made it all possible. I think it is Widmore who is working with the Nemesis. And why? Remember what the Nemesis, tempter that he is, offered Ben? He asked Ben to come with him because he needed somebody to be in charge of the island after he left. I don't think it's at all unlikely that he made the exact same offer to Widmore, who we know wants the island back badly.

Ben was going to take the Nemesis up on it, because when you're digging your own grave at gunpoint, you're low on what we in the Options business call "options." However, it looks like Ben has come through his crisis of faith with soul intact, or restored. Given the slightest opportunity to abandon the Sisterhood of the Traveling Nemesis, and really with no guarantee that Ilanya wouldn't be all "Psyche, dummy!" and shoot him as soon as he put his gun down and came back to Craphole Beach, he decided to drop the Heroes and stick with the Zeroes.

Think Widmore is the guy that Jacob said was coming to the island? I mean, obviously he was coming to the island, but was he the guy Jacob meant? Also, what has changed that Widmore can now get to the island?

Even if I'm wrong about Widmore's intentions, I am betting that he's going to give this plot a much-needed and swift kick in the Let's Get On With It, Already. To that, I say "kudos", and without further ado, I would like to segue into the Pringles Potato Chips® Let's Get On With It Island Character Motivation and Location Roll Call Round-Up, brought to you by Exxon.

Real Locke: Team Jacob, Mostly Dead. Under the beach, decomposing. Because he was sensible enough to not be buried with millions worth of diamonds, he has not had his dirt nap disturbed by Graverobber Miles, who wins the awesome continuity prize, as well as the thanks-for-reminding-us-of-characters-we-hated-but-loved-to-see-die prize.

Nemesis Locke: Team Nemesis, Rather Obviously. He can be anywhere on the island he chooses, at any time, or so it seems. This leads to the rather obvious question: Why doesn't he just kill everybody on the beach right away?

Jack: Team Jacob, Maybe Sort Of. Jack's and Hurley and Richard's return to the beach, accompanied by the requisite strings and slo-mo embraces of old friends who thought they'd never see each other again, was such a visceral stylistic return to Season 1 that it raised my spirits. Meanwhile, Jack has gone crazy, and not just regular crazy, either. Locke crazy. The man of science is now perfectly willing to sit around by a lit stick of Black Rock Dynamite on nothing but faith in the island/Jacob. I'm very interested in Jack, his headspace, and what he's going to do. Last time I felt this way about Jack, he decided to blow up an atomic bomb. At this point, Jack clearly doesn't give a rip. He's thug life personified. Nemesis might want to watch out.

Black Rock Dynamite: Bringing you high-quality plot development (and fresh Artz meat) since 2004!

Sawyer: Team Nemesis, Maybe Sort Of. Last we saw the Artist Formerly Known as Lafleur, he was getting his Hell Yes on for the Nemesis down in Jacob's alleged cave of numbers. But you know our man Sawyer. When it matters, he doesn't sell out his friends, even the ones who are his enemies. And he can run a long con with the best of them. Let's say that Sawyer is probably over at Hydra Station like Locke-ness said, but let's not be too sure of either his location or his loyalties.

Sayid: Team Nemesis, Mostly Crazy. Over at the Hydra. I don't like this. I like my Sayid like I like my politicians: morally good and deeply conflicted about his actions.

Ben: Team Jacob, Finally. I've already covered Ben, but can we just talk about how amazing Michael Emerson is? He really can sell Ben to me every damn episode, even though he's lied 100 times before. Anyway, Ben has chosen his side for good, I think, and I'm proud of him. Ben's on the beach, and he's already dug his grave for his eventual heroic martyrdom. I also love Ben for doing exactly the kind of half-assed grave digging that I'd be doing given the circumstances.

Jin: Team Sun, Limping. Jin was noticeably missing from the temple attack, though really with that game leg he'd have just held up Crazy Claire from all that crazy. Location unknown, but smart money is that he's been shipped UPS to the Hydra. Jin's a true neutral, but he's not going to be down with any program that attacks a group that includes Sun.

Hurley: Team Jacob . . . and Team Cheese Curds. Hurley's become the key, as the only link to the island guardian who really is Team Jacob's only remaining hope. Also, he has a healthy respect for dynamite.

Kate: Team Kate, As Always. She'll be at the Hydra, too, if Claire hasn't already starting to make her rub the lotion on herself, or she'll get the hose again. It seems unlikely that Kate will align with the Nemesis, but on the other hand he's persuasive, and he's got Sawyer for now. Time will tell.

Claire: Team Nemesis, Crooning Softly To Her Skeleton Baby. Whoo mama. She's not right.

Ilanya: Team Jacob, Stoically Doomed. So, she's protecting the candidates. Great. Good luck with guns vs. smokemonster, Ilayna. Hopefully Jacob's ashes make a wide circle.

Miles: Team Diamonds, Blingity Blingity. Miles, hilarious as always, needled Ben during his dig of shame, but then he diamonded the diamonds. It doesn't diamond, though; Diamond's diamonds are all that diamonds. Diamond? Sorry, Diamond is a little distracted. Miles is on the beach. Put him down as Team Jacob, but not all that zealous about it.

Richard: Team Jacob, Suicidally Doubtful. Right after Jesus was murdered, his disciples totally lost it, certain that their lives were a waste and that they'd be dead in a week or so. I don't know how many times Richard denied Jacob this episode, but it might have been three. Then again, imagine working on a project for 300 years and then having the budget pulled. Richard basically was on page 93 of his term paper when his hard drive died, so we can forgive him for getting a little Twilight Fan on us for an episode. However, if LOST kills him before we get his flashback, I will rage. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you," and "It's a long story" do not cut it any more. Richard is on the beach. Hopefully he can catch a few rays and chill out.

Sun: Team Wide-Eyed Stare. She's thinking of having a line next episode. Good luck to her! Sun's on the beach, so let's say she's another of those TJBDKI (Team Jacob But Doesn't Know It).

Frank: Team Curmudgeon. On the beach. TJBDKI. Good for grizzled rumination.

Dogan: Team Corpse, Floating Tranquilly. Then again, you never ever know.

Widmore: Submar-team. Here he comes.

Missing In Action: Desmond, Penny, Hawking. Unless Widmore has them tied up in the next room on that sub.

So here we are. The Nemesis wants to go home. He's said he wants to get off the island, but I think what he wants to do is end reality so he doesn't have to keep playing out this timeloop again and again and again. He wants entropy. He wants uncreation. He wants it over. For some reason, Jacob acts as counterpoint. Both creatures can or (probably) must take on human form.

I think I am starting to see the final scene.

Here it is:


[Clay water jugs sit in the corner of a room on a stone floor. A spinning wheel spins coarse threads. The spindle is fed industriously by hand, as a rope sandal-shod foot works the pedal. It is a man sitting working the spinning wheel; he wears dark pants and a white shirt and sits alone in a large cavernous room supported by several large columns several feet in diameter. Fire crackles in a large round pit at the center of the room. The far wall is decorated with a faded painting of the winged Egyptian goddess Isis. Up from his wheel, the spinner uses a primitive loom to weave his coarse threads into a tapestry. He uses long-bladed knife to ever so carefully push the threads together. The man is bald, with a faded vertical scar over the right eye. His tapestry depicts a pair of wings outstretched from an encircled Eye of Horus, and what appear to be seventeen long arms emanating like rays out from the eye. Across the top is emblazoned a Greek-lettered motto, ΘΞΟΙ ΤΟΣΑ ΔΟΙΞΝ ΟΣΑΦΡΞΣΙ ΣΗΣΙ ΜΞΝΟΙΝΑΖ. The fire pit burns brightly to ash.]

[Outside, on a sun-drenched shore, the tide comes in on some rocks that form a pool near the shore. The man, LOCKE, wades into the pool, clothes and all, and reaches down inside to pull up a hand-made fish trap, sort of an inverted cone of bundled reeds. The man inspects it to note his catch. He climbs the beach and empties the trap onto a rock in the sand. A beautiful golden fish comes out. The man filets the fish with the same long-bladed knife from before, and sets the filets onto a rock that hangs like a balcony over a beach fire. A short time later, he removes a cooked filet from the rock using his knife and places the filet into a shiny green broad leaf. He plunges his knife into the sand and sits against a log on the beach to enjoy his breakfast, looking out onto the sea, where a several-masted sailing vessel slowly approaches the Island on the horizon. As the blond man eats, a gray-haired man, CHARLES, approaches. CHARLES, similarly, wears clothing that looks to be hand-made--a dark blue shirt tied close with a belt of rope.]

CHARLES: Morning.

LOCKE: Mornin'.

CHARLES: Mind if I join you?

LOCKE: [Shaking his head] Please. Want some fish?

CHARLES: Thank you. I just ate.

[CHARLES sits down not far away.]

LOCKE: I take it you're here 'cause of the ship.

CHARLES: I am. How did they find the Island?

LOCKE: You'll have to ask 'em when they get here.

CHARLES: I don't have to ask. You brought them here. Still trying to prove me wrong, aren't you?

LOCKE: You are wrong.

CHARLES: Am I? They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same.

LOCKE: It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.

[CHARLES stares at his compatriot.]

CHARLES: Do you have any idea how badly I want to kill you?


CHARLES: One of these days, sooner or later... I'm going to find a loophole, my friend.

LOCKE: Well, when you do, I'll be right here.

CHARLES: Always nice talking to you, John.

LOCKE: Nice talking to you, too.

[The Man in Black stands up and walks away. Planted just near and towering above the beach spot where Locke has made his breakfast is the four-toed statue of Taweret.]


Friday, March 5, 2010

Your Weekly Dose of Awesome

The Donkament is back, sort of, for this week at least.

Be there. It is going to be very.

Also, here's the latest from Autotune The News. Which is awesome.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

LOST 044: Apocalypse Why?

I'm so far down, I don't know where up is. Get ready, I'm going to rant about a program that I still enjoy quite a bit.


I must confess, I don't know what to think anymore. The Nemesis has just flipped Sayid like a gentrified house, got him to panic-attack a whole lot of Jacobians over to his side and then kill John and Yoko. That accomplished, he smokemonstered into the Jacobian holiest of holies, killed all the remaining Jacobians real good, and then walked out of the place with his now loyal army behind him. And Kate.

Sayid's traded in his "I'm a Murderer But My Conscience is Killing Me" expression for something more along the lines of "Damn, It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta." Infection? Embracing thug life? In any event, it looks bad for our remaining heroes, who appear to be a scattered crew composed of Sun, Miles, Ilanya (who?), Richard, Jack-if-interested, Hurley, Frank, Jin-if-alive, Kate-if-not-stupid and Maybe Sawyer. It looks worse than bad. It looks like the war is over before it even started. And some of our beloved characters have chosen the Bad Side.

And so what? What does it mean? What are the stakes? What happens if the Nemesis wins? What happens if Jacob loses? What's to be gained? What's to be . . . LOST?

See, right now, I should be saying something along the lines of "Oh NO, the Nemesis looks like he's pretty much won! Unless Jack can hit his unprotected exhaust port with his one remaining plasma missile, the Nemesis is going to . . . "


B) "Kill all the humans!"

C) "Greenlight Caddyshack 3!!"

D) "Assassinate the queen!"

E) "Recreate the "Thriller" video with all the dead characters!"

We don't know. It's sort of a problem. As a single episode, this one pretty much had it all: Lots of action, some strong acting and character development from Naveen Andrews/Sayid, story progress, murders, sword-fights, revenge, pirates, miracles, true love . .. it's one six-fingered man away from a tropical Princess Bride. But we don't know what it means. Up until now, that was OK, because savoring the mystery was kind of the point. Now, however, we are rapidly reaching the tipping point, where mystery is going to get in the way of the story. We may have already reached it, because I just don't feel connected like I should to the action of the past few episodes. What am I rooting for the heroes to accomplish? Why am I rooting for the heroes? Sayid and Claire are "infected." Should I be worried? I guess I should, because they're following the bad guy, but then again, a whole bunch of non-infected Jacobians are following him around, too. Are they now infected? How much do they know?

Meanwhile . . .

Where is Widmore?

Where is Hawking?

Where is Walt?

Where is Penny?

Where is Desmond? I don't mean Desmond Vista who appeared to Jack on the plane. I mean Desmond XP, the one we know already.

And why do I care about these Sideways characters, anyway? You know what I'm interested in? I'm interested in the main characters who are off the island in our 2007 reality, many of whom have a lot of 'splaining to do. I presume there is a reason for Sideways world. I think this will all be re-coded in a very compelling way. The idea that this is the epilogue-in-advance is growing, but I sure hope they don't do something that negates all we've seen. That would be pretty bad. Luckily, it doesn't feel like an epilogue. It feels like the same people with the same messy problems, with somewhat-to-significantly-changed circumstances. What it all feels like is disjointed and disconnected.

I'm starting to feel like that's the point.

I mentioned last week that I found it interesting and potentially significant that we were no longer seeing any 2007-era off-island action. "Potentially significant" in that the actual location of this moving Billy Pilgrim island of space/time wahooey . . . is up for grabs again. It could well be in our Sideways World right now.

But that doesn't change the fact that we still need to get some context in here, pronto, if this is going to be more than an intellectual exercise.

OK, now onto the episode itself.

* Just as the character of Locke contains a central question: "Is his faith well-placed or is he a sad dupe?", so the character of Sayid asks "Is he fundamentally good despite his often murderous and torturey actions?" The answer to Locke's question right now appears to be "total dupe" and the answer to Sayid's question appears to be "irredeemably bad." I can't imagine we're going to let them end in that way.

* I'd say that Dogan's got a pretty good handle on what "infection" means. Sayid appears to be wearing the crazypants. He's a killer, but until now he's never been happy about it. I'd say Dogan's got a worse handle on staying alive. See ya, Dogan. Wouldn't wanna be ya. You were a confusing character that never really made much sense. Were you the top boss of the Jacobians? Were you just the temple boss? What was your relationship to Ben? To Richard? Could you have explained things less? Does the Smoke B Gone ash lose power when you lose your life? I know the answer to that one. It's "yep." I don't know why, though. Maybe the ashes were the remains of all your other baseballs. Maybe Ilanya can use Jacob's ashes to similar effect.

* I have some more questions for you, Dogan. Why did you send somebody you understood to be evil to kill somebody you understand to be evil? Why did you send him with a murder weapon you knew would be ineffective? Why did you let somebody you wanted out of your camp back into your camp to sow discord? Why did you converse with him over by your drowning pool? Oh, wait. You were a corporate banker. We know what happened to the banks. Never mind. Nice hiring there, Jacob. Alcoholic banker. Well done. You might want to have a word with your HR department.

* So what infects you, anyway? It's not Sayid's Lazarus trick, which, as Miles pointed out, surprised the Jacobians as much as anybody. Dogan said "If he starts talking it's already too late." Is it just the Nemesis' serpent tongue that infects? If so, the list of the infected is long indeed.

* If Sayid was drowned in the pool, and Sayid came back to life . . . what happens to Dogan?

* Kate? Claire's going to kill you. With her teeth. Enjoy.

* You know what the serpent told Eve? He told Eve that God was holding out on her, keeping knowledge for her, lying to her. He promised her knowledge. Full disclosure. Let me hear my Garden of Eden peeps. Holla.

* I loved Ben's slow back-away from Crazy Sayid.

* I don't have much to say about Sideways Sayid. He's still a bad-ass. I don't know what anything he did means to the larger story.

* Give me Alpert flashback, or give me death.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

LiveTweeting LOST 0606

Hashtag #LOSTGoat as always.

Monday, March 1, 2010