Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Best CDs of 2005

So every year magazines come out with their “Top CDs of 2005” lists and every year they make me angry.

It seems that they always either slide “too edgy”, proclaiming “hip bands” like Death Cab for Cutie or the Decembrists the second coming of Christ, or slide “too commercial”, naming CDs by Kanye West or Gwen Stefani simply because of one or two hit songs on the discs. Call it the iTunes syndrome, where people can just download one or two songs instead of buying the whole CD. If they like these select songs, they assume they come from a great CD. However, I’m a traditionalist and know that this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

I’m the kind of person who listens to a CD from start to finish, a person who thinks that skipping over tracks is insulting to the artists who put their hearts into making the CD.

I also think it kinda sucks that you’re only supposed to include CDs that came out in the calendar year 2005. Although I dedicate a good deal of time to hunting down new CDs and artists, there are inevitably some that slip through the cracks. But that doesn’t mean I won’t discover them in the future. Therefore, there are three CDs on my list that didn’t officially come out in 2005, but I discovered them in 2005. As far as my memories are concerned, these CDs came out in 2005. I tried to cut my list down to a “Top 10”, but in the end, couldn’t bear to cut any of these thirteen.

So here’s my list. The Top 13 CDs of 2005:

13. Foo Fighters – In Your Honor

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Ever since “The Colour and the Shape”, the Foo Fighters have hinted that they have the ability to create the greatest rock and roll CD of all time. Songs like “Everlong”, “My Hero”, and “Monkey Wrench” were songs that had heart, a great beat, and plain out ROCKED. However, they seem to struggle in putting together a full CD of these consistent rock anthems.

“In Your Honor” is no different. The first four tracks are absolute fantastic angry, loud rock and roll. Then the songs seem to lose their character. The guitar riffs are still there, but they’re not as catchy, not as powerful, and just pale in comparison to standout beginning tracks like “In Your Honor” and “Best of You”.

Nevertheless, in today’s world of “The” bands supposedly being “rock and roll” (I’m talking to you The White Stripes, The Shins, The Strokes, etc.), none of them come close to rocking the way Foo Fighters do.
Now if they could just make that “greatest rock and roll CD of all time”…

12. Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning

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Amanda Dickman recommended Bright Eyes to me. She raved about how fantastic they were, so I gave them a shot. At first listen-through, I was thoroughly under whelmed. Bright Eyes’ style is very strange – it’s almost spoken word verses over very minimalist music.

But slowly, the CD grew on me. I began to appreciate and adore the quiet simplicity of the songs. The messages of love, lost, and fear of the future come screaming through on each track, no matter how simply and quietly they are sung. The fact that they’re sung so simply make could-be-cheese phrases like “If you walk away, I’ll walk away” in “Landlocked Blues” painfully poignant. Sung by anyone else, “First Day of My Life” would be the cheesiest love song ever. I mean, come on – it has the line “this is the first day of my life, I’m glad I didn’t die before I met you.” Yet – I love it.

They won me over.

11. Xavier Rudd – To Let

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If you attempt to buy a Xavier Rudd CD, it costs you upwards of $40. Seriously. But it’s totally worth it. Why does it cost so much? Well, near as I can tell – none of his CDs have ever been officially released in North America. If you’re buying it, you’re buying it from Australia.

If you didn’t read my “Xavier Rudd Love Fest” earlier this year (, check that out first so you get an appreciation for his music.

“To Let” is a fantastic CD that critically looks at the modern world at large. While Rudd has always sung about the environment and the aborigine people of Australia, this CD takes a closer look at the new world that 9/11 brought us, on tracks such as “12th of September.” The disc also contains the first Xavier Rudd song I ever heard, and probably still my favorite – the title track, “To Let”. In it, Xavier does everything he does best. It starts out slow, builds to a flat out rocking jam with him wailing as loud as he can, and uses every instrument in his repertoire.

It’s easy to compare other artists to each other, but there is no one that sounds anywhere close to Xavier Rudd.

10. The Killers – Hot Fuss (2004)

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Wow – this came out of nowhere. Andy Wintering talked me into seeing them in concert on our way to see DMB up in Wisconsin, so I started listening to the CD in the summer of 2005. Of course “Mr. Brightside” was one of the catchiest songs of the year, but the rest of the CD didn’t really connect with me. Then I saw them in concert, and damn it if their mix of glam-techno-rock didn’t win me over. Since then, I’ve come to appreciate their CD in full and understand why there were hundreds of screaming girls packed in to see them this summer. Catchy, sing-along songs with enough power to feel real. Not too poppy, not too rocky, just right.

9. Of a Revolution – Stories of a Stranger

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O.A.R. has grown up a lot over the past three years. They started out as the consummate college band, writing infectious, catchy, island-sounding music, that was great for a kegger or sitting on the porch sipping a forty. But upon closer inspection, there wasn’t much lyrical or musical substance under the surface to their music. That all changed with their previous studio release “In Between Now and Then” – a fantastic, often overlooked CD that added more musical variety while still keeping the “summer vibe”.

On “Stories of a Stranger”, they raise their music to another level. Their music is still undeniably catchy, fun, and upbeat – but the songs are more mature and complex than ever. “Heard the World” is the type of song that gets stuck in your head for days at a time. “Love and Memories” is a fast, anthem-filled song that embodies everything about O.A.R., but has a much more polished sound than anything they’ve done before.

If you wrote off O.A.R. when you got your college degree, it’s time to give them another chance. There is a lot to like, and very little to criticize about them anymore.

8. Ben Folds – Songs for Silverman

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I desperately wanted to love this CD. Ben Folds previous official studio release, “Rockin’ the Suburbs” still stands as one of my favorite CDs of all time. Between that disc and the release of “Songs for Silverman”, Ben released three 5-song EPs, each containing at least one or two great songs. I figured if he’s releasing all these quality songs on limited edition EPs, the songs he’s saving for his next full-blown release would all be pure gold. The first single, “Landed”, further convinced me that “Songs for Silverman” was going to be the best Ben Folds CD ever.

I was disappointed. You can see that it still was one of the Top 10 CDs of the Year, but it just seemed to have a lot of purely average songs. Maybe I was spoiled by the EPs, or had absurd expectations after “Rockin’ the Suburbs”, but for every great song like “Landed”, there was a mediocre song like “Prison Food”.

Not that this CD was without highlights. “Gracie”, “Late”, and “You to Thank” showcase the broad spectrum of music that Ben can write. His lyrics can be hilarious, poignant, or serve as social commentary, always backed by infectious piano stylings.
But I’m still left to think… what if. What if instead of releasing those EPs, he saved the songs for this release? If “Songs for Silverman” looked like this:

- There’s Always Someone Cooler Than You
- In Between Days
- Landed
- Gracie
- Give Judy My Notice
- Late
- You To Thank
- All U Can Eat
- Dog
- Wandering
- Songs of Love

It would have probably been my third favorite CD of the Year.

7. Coldplay – X and Y

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I remember reading somewhere that Coldplay was poised to become the next U2. I’m not sure about that, but with each release, they keep getting better and better. On “X and Y”, it was more of the same sound we heard on “A Rush of Blood to the Head” with solid super-sonic songs like “Speed of Sound” and “White Shadows” and solid mellow songs like “What If”.

But the real highlight of the CD, the song that became “bigger than Coldplay” was “Fix You”. Starting out slow, the song builds to a crescendo before you even realize that this quiet song is also the rockingest on the entire disc. The lyrics can be taken as joyous (“Lights will guide you home, I will fix you”) or downtrodden (“When you try your best and you don’t succeed”) which is probably why it has shown up everywhere from romantic movies to action movies. It should be included in any “Song of the Year” talk.

6. Dave Matthews Band – Stand Up

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“Stand Up” is probably the most upbeat DMB CD since 1996’s “Crash”. Although the albums that came in between offered their share of great songs, there were far more dark songs than the happy songs that made the band famous. Although “Stand Up” has its share of these dark / angry songs, but there are far more upbeat / sunshiney ones – songs that rekindle the true spirit of the Dave Matthews Band that has been somewhat subdued on their other recent studio releases.

The two true highlights are “Hello Again” and “Louisiana Bayou”, so it’s fitting that the two segue into each other on the disc. While both are approximately one thousand times better in a live setting, the studio versions contain the same spirit, albeit in truncated form.

In fact, it’s hard to think of any of the songs without thinking of how they translate in the live setting and being influenced by it. This works both ways though. “Hello Again”, “Louisiana Bayou”, “American Baby Intro”, and “Hunger for the Great Light” are all much stronger live; whereas “American Baby” and “Dreamgirl” are much better kept on the CD.

It would be easy to turn cynical on the band, calling this CD “too pop” or “too different” from their original sound. While the sound itself may be a bit different, the spirit remains the same – in fact, it is probably closer to “Under the Table and Dreaming” than it is to “Everyday”. Stalker-like obsessions aside, looking at the CD objectively as a whole, comparing to the other original music released this year, it definitely deserves its spot on the list.

5. Our Lady Peace – Healthy in Paranoid Times

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The trademark vocals of Our Lady Peace lead singer Raine Maida have always made the band sound a bit melancholy, even when their guitar riffs were screaming the opposite. On “Healthy in Paranoid Times”, they are infused with a twinge of pop that works surprisingly well with their style.

In a way, I would put Our Lady Peace in a similar boat with Of a Revolution. Both bands released a few CDs that all had similar sounds in their early years, but really began to break out with their previous two releases. I was always somewhat of an Our Lady Peace fan, but their last CD, “Gravity”, really won me over. This one put me over the top.

Ironically, although the music would make you think this was “Our Lady Peace Light”, the CD is heavier than ever. As somewhat referenced by the title, this is Our Lady Peace’s most political and purpose-driven disc yet. There are overwhelming themes of saving others from the chaotic age we live in, making the world a better place, and finding salvation inside yourself.

The disc starts out with a fantastic guitar rift in “Angels Losing Sleep” that you would never imagine belonged to an Our Lady Peace song. There are so many songs that could easily be hit singles, with “Where Are You” is probably the catchiest song the band has ever written.

Start to finish, there are no throwaway tracks. Each is meaningful, haunting, and upbeat enough to not leave you drained by the heady subject matter.

4. Xavier Rudd – Solace

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Two Xavier Rudd CDs on the list? Absolutely.

Whereas “To Let” was much more of a social commentary on a dark and uncertain future, “Solace” is more simple, more spiritual release, and captures what I can only describe as an “Australian Hippie” view of life and the world.

Highlights include “Let Me Be”; a fun song that inspires the listener to almost hoe-down. “Green Spandex” is a song of mourning, missing a loved one that showcases Rudd’s voice rather than his ability to play different instruments, and is absolutely gorgeous. “Yirra Curl” is a lyric-free jam that does the exact opposite, highlighting his ability to have each limb of his body keeping a different beat and playing a different instrument.

“Solace” is the stronger, more complete of the two Xavier Rudd releases that found their way to America this year, and yet neither hold a candle to actually witnessing these songs live.

3. The Postal Service – Give Up (2003)

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If it wasn’t for Janel Brown, I probably still would not have discovered this fantastic CD. Earlier this year, she requested I download this CD for her. I had never heard of this “Postal Service” she spoke of, and assumed it was some music the kids were listening to that was far too hip for me. However, since it was saved on my computer, over time it found its way into the random play of my Winamp that I listen to each morning as I got ready for work. Whenever a Postal Service song would come on, it would catch my ear.

If I were going to describe their sound, it would be “video-game-music-beats meet introspective-indie-rock”. The Postal Service started as a side project for Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, but in my eyes, it’s leaps and bounds better than anything Death Cab has put out – far more interesting, optimistic, and catchier.

From the left-right alternating beats at the start of “Such Great Heights” to the intentional record-sounding skips of “Nothing Better”, The Postal Service finds more interesting ways to create a rhythm than anyone else I’ve ever heard, and it works like a charm. Although they are relegated to the background of the songs, anyone who has hummed along to the theme of an Nintendo game, will instantly pick them out and love them.

Their lyrics are equally interesting – full of love, love lost, and an objectively skeptical look on our world today. Rather than simply sing about a breakup in “Nothing Better”, they include the other side of the story sung by Jen Wood, telling Ben Gibbard about his faults and why the breakup was necessary. How creative and fantastic is that?

All in all, Death Cab has its moments, but I would be much happier if this “side project” came into the forefront for our friend Ben. It’s unlike anything else I listened to this year.

2. Kelly Clarkson – Breakaway (2004)

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I’m as shocked as you are. Remember my whole speech in the beginning about hating people who put pop CDs on their “Best Of” lists just because they were a commercial success or had one or two hit songs? It would be very easy to assume “Breakaway” falls into this category… until you give the full disc a listen, take it seriously, and realize that it is one of the best constructed CDs of the year.

You’re probably familiar with the hit songs – “Breakaway”, “Since U Been Gone”, “Behind These Hazel Eyes”, and “Because of You”. But did you know that those are also the first four tracks on the CD, in order? Either the disc’s producer was a genius, and somehow arranged the CD in the chronological order of the singles that would come from it – or each track on the entire CD has the potential to become a huge pop hit (I believe the latter to be the case).

Here’s the thing – yes, the songs are hella catchy and well produced, but the lyrics are all of one common theme – love lost, becoming independent, and learning to let go. This underlying message permeates through each track on the CD, tying the slow ballads and rock anthems together in one cohesive musical experience. Although Clarkson only has writing credits on six of the eleven original tracks, you truly feel like she is speaking from the heart on each and every one.

I’m not so much of a music snob that I can’t appreciate a pure pop CD, especially when it’s this good. Sure, you could complain about the fact that she’s a former American Idol, or a product of the pop music machine – but this disc represents a step away from the Britney Spears / Jessica Simpsons of the world – it’s actually closer to a rock CD than anything else.

Leave your pre-conceived notions at the door. This is the best commercially successful disc in years.

1. Jack Johnson – In Between Dreams

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I don’t even know where to begin. The first time I heard this CD, I wasn’t that impressed. The first single, “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing”, didn’t fully connect with me and very few of the other songs on the CD jumped out and grabbed you like a “Bubbletoes” or “Rodeo Clowns” on previous Jack discs. But on repeated listens, “In Between Dreams” just gets better and better. I’m still too close to this CD to have an unbiased historical perspective on it, but it really has a chance to be my favorite CD of all time.

I have an almost religious love and appreciation for this disc. It’s the kind of CD where if it comes on at a party, you stop – everything around you seems to melt away – and you’re just focused on the music. One of my favorite memories of the past year was sitting on a back porch intently listening and singing along to the CD with Joy Riley from start to finish while everyone else was busy drinking and socializing. We both appreciated the music, and just sat and soaked it in.

Looking at Jack’s previous CDs, each had it’s “fast songs” and “slow songs”, but on this CD, each track is more “middle of the road” – which works to tremendous results. Yes, there are some slower songs (“No Other Way”, “If I Could”) and some faster songs (“Sitting, Waiting, Wishing”, “Staple It Together”), but neither variety ever stray too far from a solid mellow groove.

From the start, the theme of Jack Johnson music has been best summarized by the first line of his first song – “slow down everyone, you’re moving too fast”. Jack Johnson is an old soul, someone from an age before highways, the Internet, and the rat race. Listening to his music, you just picture him sitting on the beach in Hawaii, living in a hut, living a simple life playing his guitar. It made for perfect music for the summer or for relaxing.

But on “In Between Dreams”, he’s also singing about some heavier subject matters. “Crying Shame” is a song about war – but unlike many other artists, he’s not looking to place blame on a particular political party, he’s simply lamenting about how we’re all on the same in the end, and fighting isn’t going to lead to anything. “If I Could” is a simple, tear-jerking song about the circle of life, and the helplessness we all feel when a loved one dies.

That’s not to say that Jack has gone political – “Breakdown” is a classic slow-down-and-enjoy-life song, and has perhaps the best guitar rifts Jack has ever played. “Do You Remember” and “Banana Pancakes” are pure love songs, playful and honest. From the opening guitar rifts of the love-letter-song “Better Together” to the closing guitar rifts of the let’s-sit-and-stare-at-the-stars song “Constellations”, the entire CD is about enjoying life, examining the current state of the world, and love – and in the end, what else is there?

Rather than dramatically change his style, in typical Jack fashion, he’s slowly expanding his horizons and adding new sounds and themes without losing what makes Jack Jack. Listening to the disc instantly takes you away from the hurry and stress of modern day life and refreshes your soul. What more could you possibly want from a CD?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Lost - "What Kate Did"

Episode Title: “What Kate Did”

Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: This one is a puzzler. There really are a few options to explain this cryptic title…

Just kidding. If you’ve listened to this week’s Podcast, you know that this title isn’t some sort of cruel trick. The writers finally saying “here you go.” Since the first season we’ve debated Kate’s family, the toy plane, whether or not she’s good or evil, how hot she is, etc. – but now we’re finally going to see – definitively – what the original crime she committed was.

My bet? As I mentioned last season, she can’t be evil, so it has to be some crime where she was a victim or acting in self defense. I’m banking on the “abused by her father, then she killed him” storyline. Technically this makes her a “murderer” and “criminal”, yes – but a sympathetic one that allows us to continue to love her without feeling guilty about it.

TV Guide Description: Kate's original crime that started her life on the run is revealed. Meanwhile, the survivors lay one of their own to rest, Kate sleeplessly watches over a feverish Sawyer, and Mr. Eko has a surprise for Locke regarding the hatch.

TV Guide Breakdown: As if the episode title wasn’t enough, the first line of the TV Guide description also promises answers. The Survivors (my official name for the Tailers + Originals) will bury Shannon right next to Boone, but I really don’t feel much emotional connection to this.

Yes, Shannon got a bit of redemption in her episode, but her death now occurred a full three weeks ago. As a viewer, any emotion I’ve invested in her storyline and death are long gone, making this burial scene seem like digging up (bad pun unintended) old storylines. This is one of the major drawbacks of the “show something shocking, then show it from another angle, then move forward” style of episode the show’s writers have twice employed this season. Yes, it makes the story more full and complete, but at the cost of the tempo and mood of the singular plot moving storyline. But I digress…

Kate sleeplessly watches over a feverish Sawyer. This might explain why she looks a bit crazy in the commercials. A lack of sleep will do this to you – make you start seeing things, freaking out about things, and lose all rationality. Here’s my guess for how the episode breaks down:

- Kate refuses to leave Sawyer’s side. She always kinda had a thing for him, he was the bad boy, She’s gone through the emotional roller-coaster of not getting to say goodbye to him before he left on the raft, then thinking he was dead when they found the letters in the bottle, and now he’s back but on his death bed. She feels like she owes it to him (and possibly that she’s the only one who can bring him out of him coma-like state. Let’s be honest, if you were in a coma and hot Kate was sitting bedside, wouldn’t you wake up too?)

- As time passes, she begins to think about her past (queue up the flashbacks) and has some sort of tragic issue in her past. Did she sit bedside with her father after she shot him? Did someone else in her past die? In my mind, it’s gotta be her daddy. Due to the lack of sleep, she begins to confuse reality with these flashbacks.

- Suddenly, she sees Sawyer as her poppa, and freaks out (the previews show Sawyer laying on the ground), perhaps attacking Sawyer?

- The previews also have Kate saying “Do you believe in Ghosts?” Could she be seeing her dead father a la Jack in Season One? Or does she just see him in Sawyer?

- Jack chases after her, convinces her that it’s all going to be okay. There is some sort of emotional scene where she breaks down, and then Jack kisses her. That’s right. A kiss right on the kisser. The shot we’ve all been waiting for since Episode 1.1.

Pretty good episode, right? Yes, but we didn’t even get to the good part yet.

Mr. Eko has a surprise for Locke regarding the Hatch?! This excites me very much. Granted, it’s probably going to be something simple like Eko telling Locke that he’s been inside another “Hatch” where he saw a Dharma logo (remember how closely he was looking at the logo last week?), which will start a trek around the Island to find the other Hatches, but there’s something very fantastic about Locke and Eko.

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Again, if you listen to the Podcast, the show’s creators mention how giddy they were to have Locke and Eko finally meet last episode. According to them, their relationship and discoveries drive the plot for the majority of the Season. They’re both men of faith (obviously – more on Eko later), and Locke wants to believe in something extraordinary on the Island. I think it will be these two that delve into the Dharma mystery and start coming up with answers, while Jack / Sayid / Ana concern themselves with everyday survival.


PS – Eko is quickly becoming a favorite character on this show. If I were going to rank the top 5 characters currently on the show (in terms of how interesting they are / awesome they are), it would be as follows:

1. Locke
2. Eko
3. Sawyer
4. Kate
5. Jack

Previously on Lost…

We learn through flashbacks that Ana-Lucia was an LA Cop in her previous life. Her mother is her Captain, she’s got a bad attitude, and is going through some sort of psychological rehab to get back on the force.

Back on the Island, Sayid freaks out after she shoots Shannon and goes after her. She ties him up and refuses to release him, even after Michael and Eko try to convince her otherwise.

Eko realizes that Sawyer is dying, and picks him up and carries him back to the Originals camp, where they bring him inside the Hatch and Jack starts pumping him with medicine.

Slowly, everyone turns on Ana and wants to move on and let Sayid go. In the end, Sayid talks to her and convinces her to release him. We learn that Ana was pregnant and was shot on the job, making her lose her child. The man who shot her was actually brought into police custody, but she let him go so that she could get her revenge. She followed the man (to Australia?) and shot him repeatedly.

The episode ends with a tearful reunion of Vincent and Michael (totally forgot about this one, yet easily the most emotional of all the reunions), Rose and Bernard, Sun and Jin, and Jack and Ana-Lucia. The Survivors are now all together.

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Ana. So now we know this “Ana-Lucia”. Verdict? Eh, thanks, she’s okay.

Given Ana’s storyline, I suppose we’re supposed to feel sympathetic for her, and while I understand where she’s coming from, her character is still pretty unappealing to me. She’s a “badass” without Sawyer’s wit and charm, and has a troubled past – but has no mystery to her like a Kate or Sayid. I don’t know, maybe I’m being too hard on her, but I do love Libby and Bernard, who are much more “down to earth” characters who I’m interested in learning more about.

Australia. According to my count, the number of people who went to Australia to murder someone is now up to two (Sawyer and Ana), the number of people who went to collect a body or ended up getting someone killed is at three (Jack, Kate, and Sayid). Yikes – moral of the story, don’t go to Australia, you’ll end up dead.

Rumors. There is a huge rumor running around the Internet that the first episode of next year is a flashback for… the Island itself.

That’s right, it would show how the Island came to be (was created?), the people who have found their way to the Island, what happened to them, etc. The details of the episode are pretty sketchy at this point, but it’s pretty much the most unbelievably cool thing I’ve heard rumored for Lost since the Vincent-flashback episode that got squashed at the end of Season One due to the Internet ruining it for everyone.

Can you imagine? Two big reasons why I could see this happening:

1. It would fit into the “have a cliffhanger, then move away from it for a week, then come back to it once you’ve explained more” motif they’ve been working this season (Shannon’s Death, the Desmond encounter). What’s the cliffhanger? It’s at the end of this post, of course. But showing the Island’s backstory would give us an insane amount of information about that cliffhanger and would make the events that happen in the episode following much more meaningful.

2. It allows us as viewers to understand the Island while we watch the characters discover the same. The “Dharma Film” served as one sort of very clean plot device to explain things that happened on the Island prior to our Survivors arriving which they couldn’t possibly know about. It affords the writers to still be telling the story from our cast’s point of view without having a character (such as Desmond) give an exposition about the history of the Island. The Island flashback would be the ultimate plot device to get pre-CFL, pre-Dharma information about the Island, and allows the writers to keep characters such as Alfred Hanso and the Degroots a mystery.

Stick. Okay, I mentioned this last week, but it’s time to really dive into this whole “Eko Stick” business. What do I think? I think Mr. Eko is John the Baptist or Moses.

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Before you write me off as being 100% crazy, let me take you along my thought process:

Remember back in Locke’s original flashback when his loony mother told him he was immaculately conceived? Well, there’s only one dude in history who has been born this way, and that’s JC. The first season was filled with Locke as Christ symbolism. So let’s assume that whoever John Locke is, whatever his purpose is, he’s the “Christ figure” on this Island.

Eko comes out of the water wearing a bleached-white shirt – an image of purity, and as if he was just baptized. Two Others who attempt to take him (because he’s one of the “Good Ones”, per Goodwin), then goes into a sort of prayerful silent meditation for 40 days (the Bible’s favorite number!) to mourn their murder. He gets a stick, or “staff” and shows an interest in the Bible that the Tailers found in the Arrow Hatch.

Check out how the Bible describes the birth of John the Baptist:

“He hid me; He made me a polished arrow, in His quiver He hid me away”

He seems to be a man of Faith. The show’s creators have said that he and Locke will develop a relationship. Like, this kind?

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Could Eko be the one to show Locke the way? Is he what Locke has been searching for this whole time on the Island? Or is it vice versa?

Desmond. Where has this guy been? One interesting point brought up on the Podcast that I hadn’t really thought about – hard to believe I know. Everything that Desmond said made it sound like he thought the Island – and world – would be destroyed if the 108 Clock struck 0:00. However, he picked up and ran away when he thought the computer was destroyed. Where did he think he was going? Obviously, you can’t outrun the end of the world.

Unless he knows about some other “safe bunker” (read: Hatch), running seems futile. Did he intentionally make up the story to get Jack and Co. to continue his experiment? Does he really believe bad things are going to happen, but has an escape plan? Or is the “4815162342 antidote” render him safe from the “sickness” that’s sure to follow? Why do I bring this up? Well…

See the Canadian TV Lost Preview Here:

I’ll wait for you. You have to type http:// in front of that bad boy, then download it. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Got it? Watched it? Okay, FREAK OUT.

Are you kidding me? Why do the Crazy Canucks get that sweet preview when ours shows five seconds of quickly cut scenes showing Kate crying? My theory is that in order to compete with other

Final Five. Okay, so once you’ve seen the preview, here is my prediction for how the last five minutes of this episode play out (after the last commercial break)…

Locke and Eko are so preoccupied with the film, Locke’s not paying attention to the countdown of the 108 Clock. Jack returns to the Hatch after playing kissy-face with Kate and hears the beeping. He and Locke go racing to the computer, attempt to punch in the numbers, but either accidentally mis-type, or are simply too late and the clock hits zero.

Fade to black.


PS – remember the Lost Podcast I referenced a few times this week? You can listen to the 25 minute broadcast here:

Trust me, it’s worth it.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

TV To Be Thankful For

I remember a few years back when critics began lamenting the death of TV. It was overrun with cheesy cookie cutter sitcoms and reality TV shows, and there was very little fresh, creative TV aside from a few programs on HBO.

However, things have changed. Over the past two years, network TV has finally realized (thanks to ever-plummeting ratings) that they need to break the mold – get some new ideas, and break the mold.

If you remember before the fall TV season started, I wrote a Fall TV Preview, listing the shows that I was excited about, shows that I intended to watch. But like every year, shows that looked promising turned out to be pretty mediocre, and shows that weren’t even on my radar became new obsessions. Back in September, I estimated there would be 15 shows I would be watching and loving. In reality, right now, there are only five shows I consider “must see”.

In honor of Thanksgiving, here are the five reasons to be thankful for the state of television today.

5. Lost.

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Obviously. I write volumes and volumes about this show every week. Admittedly, this season has been pretty uneven. The first few episodes this season were fantastic – introducing the Dharma Initiative, the Hanso Foundation, the Tailers, Desmond, etc. – but since then it’s kinda been in a rut. Yes, Shannon died. Yes, we saw our first true glimpses of the Others… but at this point, the show needs to get back into the Hatch, start finding out about Dharma, and exploring this Island.

You almost get the feeling like the writers could tell the story they want to tell in about 10 episodes, but they need to stretch it into 22. Thus, we have episodes like the Sun flashback, the Hurley flashback, etc. – which, while they are nice episodes, well made, and well meaning – are really throwaway episodes that the average viewer could skip and still miss nothing critical to what’s happening on the Island.

I’m hopeful for the future. Now that they’ve tied up the loose ends of how the Tailers spent their first 48 days on the Island, got the “big death” out of the way, there’s nowhere to go but forward with the story.

In a nutshell, it’s beautifully shot, well acted, smart, interesting, and different. It’s getting huge ratings when in reality it should be a cult-show. Definitely one of the top five shows on TV.

4. The Office.

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Quirky. Subtle. Hilarious. If you work in an office full of cubicles and strange co-workers, this show is for you.

This is the perfect example of a show being the opposite of standard “sitcoms” that you see on CBS Monday Night. There’s no laugh track. The show doesn’t center around some “married couple who get in fights and their misbehaving kids and weird neighbors.” There is no background music, so awkward silence abound. It’s told in a single roaming camera shot / confessional style (similar to Arrested Development, RIP) that makes the show feels unlike anything else on TV.

The cast is phenomenal. Steve Carell is fantastic as clueless-boss-who-wants-to-be-everyone’s-friend Michael Scott. Rainn Wilson is probably the most entertaining character on TV as Dwight Schrute. The two “normal people” in the office, Pam and Jim, give us a gateway to the lunacy. Each character on the show has the potential to deliver a great comedic one-liner or just make an expression that makes you laugh out loud.Some episodes are better than others, but there’s usually at least one or two scenes that are great. When the show goes out on an edge, such as their Diversity and Sexual Harassment episodes, it’s as politically incorrect and hilarious as TV comes.

3. My Name is Earl.

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The most feel good show on TV. As Will Riley puts it, “this show had the best 15 minute setup in the history of TV”. A white trash con-man wins the lottery and learns of kharma from the prophet Carson Daly. How can you go wrong with that setup?! Each week centers on him righting some wrong that he has committed in his life, yet there is always a twist, a lesson, and some laughs.

Jason Lee deserves Emmy consideration for the way he has embodied the character of Earl, to the degree that Johnny Depp seems to “become” each character he plays, Lee is Earl.

The show doesn’t always make you laugh out loud, but it does make you smile and feel good about life. It’s different – and that’s a good thing.

2. Grey’s Anatomy.

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This show came out of nowhere to become my new obsession. I had caught bits and pieces of this show last year after Desperate Housewives, but never really gave it my full attention. However, I’d heard some good buzz about the show and ended up sitting down and watching a heartbreaking episode a few weeks back (if you watch, the one where the two people had the pole going through them). I was hooked. Since that point, I’ve downloaded the entire first season, devoured them, and watched each episode this season.

Why didn’t I watch it initially? Call it fear of this being another medical-type show that were all the rage in the early 90’s. But it’s not. Yes, there is medicine on the show, but it’s closer to “Sex and the City” than “ER”.

Ellen Pompeo plays Meredith Grey with a heartfelt honesty that I can’t really compare to any other actress on TV. When she hurts, we hurt. When she’s happy, we’re happy. The cast is young and interesting, each a multi-layered individual rather than a stereotypical character. The narrative is unbelievably strong (voiced by Pompeo), book ending the action of the hospital with a an overall theme for each episode.

I can’t think of any other show on TV that can consistently make you want to laugh, cry, and learn a lesson each episode.

1. Prison Break.

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A show that started as a filler for Fox until 24 comes back to the schedule in January turned out to be the best show of the Fall. It’s got all the action of the aforementioned 24, but it’s in a completely fresh setting, making it totally different. Putting the show inside a prison gives it an Oz meets the Sopranos feel. But the nonstop action is intense. I can’t think of any other show (including 24) that gets my heart beating and honestly makes me worry about the characters as Prison Break does. When Michael Scofield is secretly climbing through the jail walls as a guard approaches his cell, I sit on the edge of my seat.

Part of this is due to the fact that we don’t know the rules of the show yet. Could Michael die? Where is this series really going? Will he end up in jail? Will they break free? Will it be like “The Fugitive” or like “Law and Order” once they escape?

Unlike most shows on TV, the viewer really gets the feeling like the first season was entirely mapped out from the start, with bits and pieces of how these prisoners will break out of prison unfolding with each passing episode. I truly hope the show keeps its intensity and action once it goes outside the prison walls.

(Note: Scrubs and 24, cruely put on hiatus until early 2006, barring any sort of trainwreck seasons, will almost surely make this list by the end of the Spring.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lost - "Collision"

(It's short but sweet for certain this week, loyal readers. Since most of my comments about last week's episode reside two posts below - and there's the sweet interview with the Executive Producers one post down - I don't really have too much to say at this point. Happy Thanksgiving. Be thankful for stuff.)

Episode Title: "Collision"

Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: There are a few obvious "collisions" coming up this week.

After last week's "all flashback" episode, we're back up to speed, picking up the storyline right after Ana shot Shannon. Based on the rage in Sayid's eyes, and the previews for this week, Collision #1 is Sayid and Ana-Lucia.

But don't be fooled by these previews. There is absolutely no way that Ana is slicing and dicing a tied up Sayid, as we see in the clip. I would bet good money that she's cutting him free, after finally trusting that he won't hurt her. However, this should setup an interesting group dynamic from here on out. Similar to Jack vs. Sawyer, or the old Jin vs. Michael rivalry, it creates tension among our castaways and forces people to start picking sides.

The far greater collision is going to be Tailers vs. Originals. There is pretty much no way these two groups are going to be all lovey dovey initially. First there's the whole "Shannon was killed by the Tailers" thing. But more importantly, there's the whole "We've been picked off, stolen, and murdered by the Others" chip on the Tailers shoulders, while the Originals have been living a pretty cushiony lifestyle on a gorgeous beach with little terror (aside from a monster here or there). This should create some more tension between the two groups as jealous erupts and they start judging each other.

Lastly, this is an Ana-Lucia flashback episode. Based on everything we've seen about her so far (able to handle a gun, natural leader, knows CPR) I think she was a cop in her previous life. Look for some collision (a car accident or something - given the amount of car accidents we've seen on this show, I wouldn't be surprised!) that drastically changes her life... possibly sending her to Australia, and thus puts her on the plane.

TV Guide Description: "Violence erupts when Ana Lucia and her group discover the other castaways."

TV Guide Breakdown: Violence erupting? This seems to be taking it a bit far. Probably the Ana-Lucia / Sayid fighting? I really can't see Jack / Locke / Eko / Libby / Michael / Almost anyone else allowing anarchy to break out. I mean, these people all shared a similar experience. They've got to understand they're all in this together, and their best hope is to work together.

I just pray they talk to each other, share stories, and start figuring some stuff out!

Comment away!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Interview with Lost's Executive Producers!

(This is a good read. I'll probably throw my thoughts in the Comments section below the post. You should do the same.)

First off, I have a bone to pick with you, Damon. Last July, I asked you if a female character was getting killed this season on Lost, and you said — and I quote: "I think it would be fairly silly for us to kill a woman — there are only three or four of them on the show. And they're all really hot." So, I guess my question is, how can I ever trust you again?

Damon Lindelof: I never said we weren't going to kill a woman. I said it would be silly. And you know, Carlton and I are pretty silly guys. You should see the hat that he's wearing right now.
Carlton Cuse: That's all I'm wearing.
Damon: And also a sock, but that's another story.

Did it bug you that Maggie Grace's people leaked that tidbit about her possibly joining the cast of X-Men 3 over the summer? It was a pretty major tip-off that she might be leaving the show.

Carlton: There's no incentive for them to preserve the creative sanctity of Lost. You have an agency full of people whose job it is to get Maggie Grace other work. And how could we begrudge her that? We can't prevent her from going out and earning a livelihood, you know?

There's the perception that Maggie had to turn down X-Men 3 because of Lost.

Carlton: I don't think that was the circumstance. We would have been accommodating had she been offered that job.
Damon: Carlton and I would have bent over backwards to see if there was a way to make it work.

Why was Shannon marked for death?

Damon: It was by no means a result of Maggie's abilities as an actress, which, we felt were gaining ground every time we saw her on the screen. But Shannon is a 22- or 23-year-old character, and the flashback stories and limitations in terms of her life experience…. The younger the character is on the show, the more limited you are in terms of stories you can tell. So, before we started running Shannon into the ground and doing the same stories over and over again, it felt like it was a very natural time to kill [her] off. And the idea that was appealing to us, and certainly to Maggie, was that we would finally show Shannon in this different light. Make her incredibly sympathetic and then she would die.

Will Shannon be back, like, say, in one of Jack's flashbacks?

Carlton: It's always possible she could pop up in someone's backstory. But she is definitely dead. When a character dies on the island, they stay dead.

Are you concerned that Ana-Lucia is beyond redemption? I can't tell you how many e-mails I got from readers asking, "When is that bitch going to die?!" Actually, I can tell you: 124.

Carlton: At the beginning of last season, people didn't like Josh Holloway's character either. And by the end of the season, he was one of the most-liked characters on the show. It'll be really interesting to see, as we tell more about Ana-Lucia, whether that changes the audience's perception of her. We think it will.
Damon: In the same moment that we decided Shannon would die, [we also decided that] Ana-Lucia would be responsible for that death. It would be the first time one castaway was responsible for killing another, and it would give so much inherent conflict and trauma [heading to] the merge. We're walking a very tenuous tightrope with her, but we feel that over the course of the next two episodes the audience will hopefully get a better understanding for that character and what she's been through.

Can you confirm that Shannon was, in fact, shot? Fans have been speculating that she looked like she had a stab wound.

Carlton: She was shot.
Damon: People are getting a little too…

They're reaching a little too much?

Carlton: They totally are. And she did not have a Dharma Initiative stamp on her.

Let's talk about Malcolm David Kelley and Walt. Why was his role reduced this season? Were you concerned about him aging faster than the time line on the show?

Carlton: That's a legitimate issue. We've only gone 50 days on the island, and he's a kid in puberty. But Walt's disappearance and, ultimately, Michael's efforts to reunite with him were part of a grander plan. There are also financial considerations. Since Walt wasn't going to be around for a lot of episodes, we had to make an arrangement to have his role be a more reduced role.

Whether you use him once or twice a year or every week, the aging thing will still be an issue, no? Might you recast?

Damon: To answer that question is sort of to reveal what the plan is for Walt, and there is a plan. I always feel like recasting is the nuclear option. You do not do it unless it is absolutely, 100 percent necessary. But obviously, we have a story that we want to tell about Walt and about Michael and Walt.

Last week Shannon and Sayid gave us our first big Lost sex scene….

Carlton: It was the second big sex scene. Boone and Shannon had sex together [last season]. So, if you have sex on the show, you're pretty much going to end up dead.

So, who's having sex next?

Carlton: (Laughs) As we move into the middle run of episodes, we're definitely emphasizing the Jack-Kate-Sawyer romantic triangle. The level of sexual tension between those three characters is definitely being ramped up.

How will Ana-Lucia figure into it?

Damon: As the respective leaders of their respective units, Ana-Lucia and Jack have a great deal in common with each other, and that's definitely something we're going to be exploring. But [the fact that] Ana-Lucia inadvertently murdered one of the members of the tribe doesn't exactly [lend itself] to candlelight dinners and walks on the beach. She is a woman; she will have romantic entanglements. But I think the one that will begin to emerge over the season will be the one that you least expect.

What about Charlie and Claire?

Carlton: We're definitely going to be paying attention to their relationship, but it's not going to turn in ways the audience expects.

Will we get any clarification about the numbers this season?

Damon: Carlton might want to punch me for actually going on record and saying this, but I think that that question will never, ever be answered. I couldn't possibly imagine [how we would answer that question]. We will see more ramifications of the numbers and more usage of the numbers, but it boggles my mind when people ask me, "What do the numbers mean?"

Will we find out why Ethan abducted Claire?

Damon: Yes.
Carlton: You'll learn more about it this season.

Will Claire get some of her memory back?

Damon: The loss of her memory happened so long ago that it requires a sort of deft touch in order to reintroduce the concept. Once we start assuming that everybody is intimately familiar with everything that has ever happened on the island, I think the show risks becoming slightly confused. But all of that stuff is in play. It's just a matter of when and how we reactivate it.

Are you still planning to reveal why the plane crashed this season?

Carlton: Yes.

Are you saving that little doozy for the finale?

Carlton: We're saving it until later. We consider that on the ground of fairly major revelations.
Damon: We don't want to stick that one in the middle of March.

ABC billed last week's episode as the one "everyone will be talking about." What'll be the next one "everyone will be talking about"?

Carlton: Ironically, it's the next episode [airing tonight]. We think for us, it's even more of a water-cooler episode than the death episode. This is really a very special episode in that it's kind of a concept episode. It deviates from the form and style of our other episodes.

On Nov. 30 we'll finally learn what Kate's precrash crime was that landed her in so much hot water. Any other big flashback revelations this season?

Damon: In the next string of episodes, one of the really compelling backstory elements is what happened to Jack's marriage. We think Julie Bowen is amazing and she and Matthew Fox are so great in scenes together, and I think the audience is really curious as to what went wrong there. Carlton: And you should pay attention to Mr. Eko's stick.


Carlton: Yeah.
Damon: Keep your eyes on Mr. Eko's stick.
Carlton: That stick is an important ongoing clue.

Will we learn more about Monster this season?

Carlton: Definitely.
Damon: Absolutely.

Has Disney approached you about doing a Lost feature film?

Carlton: No.

And if they did, what would your response be?

Damon: I would punch them as hard as I could. We couldn't even begin to wrap our brains around how we would produce a feature film. Obviously, the production team in Hawaii is amazing, but the amount of time [it would require] to do a TV show and a feature on top of each other… I think it's safe to say it would be impossible.

Last question: Will there be another death this season?

Carlton: (Laughs) You're very good, Michael, but we can't say.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

"The Other 48 Days" Thoughts


In a word: choppy.

I understand that cramming 48 days worth of action into a forty-seven minute episode (extended from the typical 42!) is pretty difficult, but I think the episode felt rushed.. like a Cliff's Notes version of the story. Granted, this was needed - because as viewers, we're anxious to see what's going on RIGHT NOW, but it would have been nice to see a full ninety minute episode dedicated to telling the tale of the Tailers (I'm so clever).

However, it was very information heavy, particularly about the nature of the mysterious Others, and now we're al up to speed and ready for the storyline to move on!

Here are seven thoughts that will occupy my brain for the next week:

1. Mr. Eko. Okay, so he wasn't a Nigerian who has been on the Island for some time. But how did he know to kill the Others that came the first night? Did he simply defend himself? Or did he know they were evil? He "fasted" from talking for 40 days after killing them, as pennance, then took interest in the Bible found in the Arrow Hatch. Who is this guy?! I want an Eko flashback!!!

2. Good. When Goodwin (hilarious pun, Lost writers) said that he was only taking the "good" ones, does that refer to good as in "holy" or good as in "useful"? Aren't there any Original Survivors that are "good", and worth stealing? Or is the "Security System" simply protecting them from the "Others".

3. Groups. I still think there's multiple groups on this Island that are at odds with each other. Scientists (Pirates who stole Walt), Others (Savages who escaped experiments), and random other people brought there (CFL, Desmond). Goodwin feels like a Scientist to me. Ethan feels like an Other. I still think there's something weird about Nathan. Maybe he was an Other too and Goodwin killed him out of fear he would talk and blow his cover?

4. Yin and Yang. To play on the light / dark, good / evil, yin / yang theme of the show, think about these eerily similarities between the Tailers and Originals:

- Locke and Eko - both Men of Faith, one light, one dark, their names are similar when you spell one backwards
- Kate vs. Ana-Lucia - cop vs. criminal, light vs. dark
- Jack and Libby - both doctory, male and female
- Cindy and the Pilot - both told them about being off course, then both gone
- Bernard and Rose - obviously
- Goodwin and Ethan - Others

5. The Glass Eye . What Dharma Initiative do you think would involve a glass eye and Bible (Arrow)?
- Life Extension Project?
- Electromagnetic Research (Swan)
- Extraterrestial Intelligence?
- Mathematical Forecasting?
- Cryogenics Development?
- Juxtapositional Eugenics?
- Remote Viewing Training?

6. Death. Didn't it seem like Others die really easily? You just hit them on the head with a rock. But what about Ethan? He was pretty badass. Weird. (Credit: Will Riley)

7. Teddy Bear. Are the stolen kids really better off? We saw the Teddy Bear three weeks back, which means one of two things:

- When the Others steal the kids, they do something to them that makes them grow up very quickly. There still seems to be something up with time on this island - people aging very quickly (Adam and Eve in the Caves) or thinking time is passing too slowly (CFL).
- The Others are carrying the Teddy Bear as a freaky souvenier of their exploits.

Ready? Set? Discuss!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Lost - "The Other 48 Days"

(This is a weird one for the ol’ Blog – typically, I have all sorts of stuff to predict about the forthcoming episode, but this week – we all know what’s going to generally happen and how it’s going to end. What will be interesting is the details, and how those details shed light on what’s really happening on the Island. This is a fancy way of saying, the post is going to be a little shorter than usual, because I don’t have as much material.)

Episode Title: “The Other 48 Days”

Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: Maybe the most straight forward episode title of Lost ever? This episode clearly deals with how the Tailers spent their first 48 days on the Island. Given that typically, one episode equals two or three days on the Island, it’s understandable that this episode is a “special extended” one, although per my DVR, it’s only five minutes longer than usual.

The episode should be quite intriguing though. Clearly, the Tailers have had a much rougher go than our Original Survivors, and this episode should show that. From the previews, people (especially children) seem to get ripped away from the Tailers, others are killed, and the remaining seem pretty shaken up by the whole experience.

However, could there be a little play on words in the title as well? The Other 48 Days, as in, 48 days filled with the Others? I think so, you clever Lost-title-creators!

TV Guide Description: The harrowing first 48 days in the lives of the tail section survivors are revealed.

TV Guide Breakdown: Shortest TV Guide Description Ever. We’re going to watch the 23 (?) survivors from the Tail section deal with some serious drama after the crash. They’re going to get picked off, beat up, and left as the shaky, distrusting Tailers we saw beat up and take hostage Jin / Michael / Sawyer at the end of “Adrift”. They’re obviously not very trusting of others… and for good reason, I’d wager.

Should be a pretty intense episode.

Previously on Lost…

Sayid and Shannon get down and dirty (literally – they’re on an Island, people). Ghost Walt reappears to Shannon and says “They’re coming, and they’re close”, except he’s talking backwards so she doesn’t understand. After a quick visit to Boone’s grave, she lets Vincent lead her off into the Jungle with the command “Find Walt!” Sayid follows.

Meanwhile, the Tailers make a B-line through the Jungle in hopes of reaching the Survivors campsite before Sawyer dies. He basically goes into a coma, and has to be carried by the Tailers, Michael, and Jin on the journey. Along the way, Cindy (one of the Tailers) suddenly disappears, and we begin to hear whispers.

It pours down rain, Sayid proves he has no concept of love by professing it to Shannon, who he really just met, then both he and Shannon see Ghost Walt telling them to “Shhhh!” Shannon proves she has no concept of how to keep quiet and goes running in the Jungle after Ghost Walt.
Gunshots rang out like a bell, we find that Ana-Lucia has accidentally shot Shannon.


The episode started pretty slow, but ended fairly strongly, setting up some great potential conflicts between the Survivors and the Tailers, Sayid and Ana-Lucia, etc. Shannon’s flashback gave us one final farewell to both her and Boone, and showed that Shannon wasn’t always a bad person – she just had an evil stepmom, like so many Disney characters.

Death. They dangled a dying Sawyer in front of us all episode, probably tricking people into thinking that he would be the one to die (and causing many a female to cry during commercial breaks), but true to having a TV show be cruel to its characters, as soon as Shannon finds someone who loves her for who she is, she ends up shot. When will people learn? When you find happiness, you’re going to end up dead!

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One interesting point: Sayid saw Ghost Walt at the end. How?

Up until now, only Shannon seemed to be able to see or hear Ghost Walt. Does Sayid now see him because he believes Shannon and is willing to believe that he sees him? Or was there some “transfer of power” between Shannon and Sayid when they got to know each other in the Biblical sense on the Island, where now only Sayid will see Ghost Walt?

The good news is, Sayid is much more trustworthy than Shannon – and much more respected than she was. If he starts telling Sayid secrets, there’s a better chance people will listen to Sayid when he reports them.

Doctor. Did you notice when Shannon and her mother arrive at the hospital and ask about Adam Rutherford, the doctor who answers them says “he was dead when he arrived” (while Jack walks by in the background – did you catch it?). This is a flat out lie. As we saw in the Season Premiere, Adam Rutherford was in bad shape, but alive when he arrived at the hospital, but Jack chose to save Sarah instead. I think we would all have done the same, as Sarah was a comely female, whereas Adam was an old dude. However, what this means is that the other Doctor was covering for Jack, doing the very thing that Jack refused to do for his dad when his dad lost a patient due to having been drinking earlier that day. Deep.

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Mr. Eko. “I liked you better when you didn’t speak” says Ana-Lucia in “Abandoned”, which begs the question, who is this guy!? I still think he’s a survivor from the Nigerian drug smuggling plane. Perhaps he was a child when the plane crashed, and was taken in by the Others (as we know they like children for some creepy reason), only to escape and live as a rogue mystery man in the Jungle?

One the Tailers crashed, he joined them in an effort to protect them from the Others. His lack of speaking initially could be a result of him not knowing English.

Or, perhaps prior to the crash, Mr. Eko was unable to speak. Much like Locke’s newfound ability to walk, did Eko gain the ability to talk? Again, this could explain an initial silence as he found his way with the words.

Very intriguing, and hopefully this episode should shed some light on how Mr. Eko came to be with the Tailers.

New Numbers. We've all been trained to pick out any instance of 4 8 15 16 23 42, or any combination of them (such as 108) - this is why the numbers in "Abandoned" jumped out at me so much… they're not our numbers! Ana-Lucia said “They took 3 of us, then two weeks (14 days to you and me) they took 9 more.” We all know if this happened to our Survivors, it would have been “They took 4 of us, 15 days later they took 8 more.” Weird.

But what about the fact that there were originally 23 survivors from the tail of the plane (as Ana-Lucia mentioned)? Isn’t that one of our numbers. Yes, but…

I’ve got a creeping suspicion that things here are not as they seem. Remember back in Season One when Hurley found the flight manifest and discovered that there was an extra person among them? Remember our super-strong, super-freaky, friend Ethan?

Sure you do.

That means, if they were counting the number of survivors from the crash, they were actually one high. There really were only 47 of them (a number that should be near and dear to all you Alias fans out there, but I digress).

If we assume Ethan was a part of some larger group (Others, Scientists, something), what are the odds that they would secretly infiltrate the Survivors without doing the same to the Tailers? Not high. More on this later.

My point is, that actually puts the number of Tailers at 22, not 23. Which means, the Tailers numbers are 3, 9, 14, 22. If you don’t see where I’m going with this, it’s here:

3 9 14 __ 22 __
4 8 15 16 23 42

If the pattern holds (one less, one more, one less, one more), we should see the numbers 17 and 43 come up during the Tailers “other 48 days”.

Yes, I could be completely crazy. Just something to think about. But there’s more:

Isn’t it somewhat odd that such terrible things have happened to the Tailers, while our Survivors have remained relatively unscathed? Think back to the fundamental things we know about “The Numbers”.

They were written on the “medicine” that Desmond was shooting up with, seemingly to protect him from the “sickness” on the Island.

Hurley “used them” and found himself basically invincible. Yes, terrible things happened to those around him, but never to him.

In both cases, the Numbers are being used to “protect”. We’ve seen the Numbers pop up on the Island and in the flashbacks of our Survivors, is that why they’re all still alive? Have they all been “touched” by the Numbers in their lives, giving them some sort of mystical protection? Or does their close proximity to Hurley on the Island give them protection by association?

If this is the case, would the lack of the Numbers, or having different Numbers on the Tailers side of the Island bring about all the death and destruction they have encountered?

Teddy Bear. In “… and Found”, we saw the Others carrying a creepy teddy bear. Yet in the previews for this week, the teddy bear is seen in the clutches of a small child from the tail of the plane (and doesn’t look creepy at all). Did the Others steal the kids and keep the teddy bear as a plan to entice other children they might find? Are the Others actually just those children, who have mysteriously grown up very fast due to some wacky experiment?

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Libby. As I said earlier, I think it’s entirely possible that there is an “Ethan” among the Tailers – someone who is watching them, steal them, murder them, etc. My vote is for Libby. Why?

She was the closest one to Cindy before Cindy disappeared. Both were climbing up the side of the creek bed, Cindy gives her backpack to Libby, Cindy disappears. Also, she tells Sawyer she’s a “clinical psychologist”. The Island sounds like a perfect place to study the psychology with all the extreme experiments of the Dharma Initiative. Perhaps she’s not an “Other” (and neither is Ethan), but I’m leaning strongly towards the fact that she’s a Scientist experimenting on the Island.

Hanso. There is finally an update to the Hanso Foundation website! It’s this “press release” about an orangutan named “Joop” living to be 105. Could this be foreshadowing a discovery about the Life Extension project on the Island? Has CFL really been on the Island for much longer than 16 years? Are the “Pirate Others” who took Walt the same people who crashed the Black Rock so many years ago?

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Ultimate Theory. Think I’m crazy? Read this and blow your mind: (obligatory shout out to Mullivan for finding this and making us all much smarter) – I like a lot of the points the gentleman brings up, some are a little too “sci-fi out there” for me, but much like the Purgatory Theory, there are enough facts to give it some validity.

Dave Matthews Band. Lastly, did you catch the DMB playing in the background of one of Shannon’s flashbacks? I think this proves, without a doubt, one of the following:

1. I am actually a writer on Lost.
2. The Lost writers read this Blog and are toying with me.
3. I bribed the Musical Director of Lost with a fiver to get him to play DMB on the show.

DMB on Lost! Worlds collide! It’s like happiness overload for Brian!

To put this in perspective for the rest of you, it would be like them selling a LaRosa’s Pizza with Skyline Topping, or having it puppies fight crime, or seeing a monkey riding on a dolphin.

Something awesome like that.

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Sunday, November 06, 2005

Lost - "Abandoned"

(I’m back! In my absence, I know there were rumors of me being eaten by a gator in Florida, having my computer shut down by the Feds, or finally getting a social life and quitting the Blog business, but I can assure you none of them are true! The truth of the matter is, I didn’t have the Internet in Florida three weeks ago (when “…and Found” aired), and by the time I got back a week later, I really didn’t have anything to write about – more on that later. Rest assured, as we enter sweeps, there’s more to write about than ever. So let it be written, so let it be done…)

Episode Title: “Abandoned”

Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: Well, this is a Shannon episode (the last Shannon episode ever?! More on that later), so the obvious deeper meaning is how she has been abandoned in life by pretty much everyone. Let’s review…

In “Pilot, Part II”, we learned that Boone and Shannon were step-brother and sister. Shannon’s dad married Boone’s mom when they were children. So right off the bat, something happened to Shannon’s birth mother, but she died very early. Abandoned once.

In “Hearts and Minds”, we learned that Boone’s mother screwed over Shannon when her father died, giving the Wedding Planning Business to Boone. Now Shannon has no mother or father. Abandoned twice.

In “Do No Harm”, Shannon found that Boone had died, leaving her alone on the island. No family left. Abandoned thrice.

The only real connection she has to anyone else on the island is to Sayid, and he’s kinda been breaking ties with her, now that he thinks she’s crazy for seeing Ghost Walt. No real friends left. Abandoned four times (fource?).

Add it up and we see that Shannon is now an island in the world (pun intended). She has no real connections to anyone or anything, and is now being tormented (it seems) by visions of Ghost Walt. When you have no one to ground you, relate to you, or love you, you’ve got nothing to live for. This makes Shannon a great candidate for murdering someone or getting herself killed (much more on this later).

Whatever happens, it’s going to be because she has been abandoned.

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TV Guide Description: Sawyer's wound becomes life-threatening as he, Michael and Jin make their way through the interior of the island with the tail section survivors. Meanwhile, Shannon is once again haunted by visions of Walt, and Charlie becomes jealous of Locke's interest in Claire.

TV Guide Breakdown: In your face, nurses and doctors who read the Blog! I’ve heard numerous comments from people in the know about medicine who say “Sawyer’s wound would totally be infected”. Looks like they’re keeping it realistic on Lost! Does this mean that Sawyer is the one who dies? How can they possibly treat it? I don’t think the Tailers can, so all the sudden the rush to get to the rest of the Survivors becomes more important. They’re going to need Jack and his bag o’ medicine to keep Sawyer from getting Boone’d. (Can I make that a valid expression?)

We can also infer that Michael has “abandoned” his search for Walt on his own, and has now accepted that he can’t find Walt by wandering around the jungle by himself. Also, if they’re going through the interior of the Island, are they going to come across the Black Rock? The Island’s “Security System”? The “Dark Territory” full of Others? There’s a lot of potential for them to encounter some serious obstacles, but something tells me that they’ll make it the remainder of the way without much trouble.

It also looks like Ghost Walt is going to be visiting Shannon again. Will he be talking backwards, telling her again about the dangers of pressing the button? Will he be warning her of some new danger? Why does he only appear to Shannon? Is it just in Shannon’s head? Lots of questions.

My professional opinion is that Walt is somehow channeling his “knowledge” – aka his ability to see things before they happen in his mind’s eye – in hopes of protecting the other Survivors. Why Shannon? If you remember, he gave Shannon his dog Vincent prior to hopping on the Raft, a symbolic passing of power. You’ll notice that the first time Shannon saw Walt, Vincent basically led her to a particular place in the jungle where she saw him. Look for that to happen again.

Or… is the power really lying in Vincent all along? Sully, here’s your obligatory “Dog is God backwards!” theory. Did Walt ever really have any power? Or did Vincent have it?

What is Locke’s interest in Claire? My bet is it’s actually an interest in Aaron. Locke knows there is something special about children on this Island, and now that Walt is no longer there, he’s going to start monitoring Aaron for signs of mysterious powers.

Previously on Lost…

Michael breaks away from the group to find Walt. Jin convinces Mr. Eko that they need to go find him, while the rest of the Tailers continue their march towards the Survivors’ base camp. We get a brief glimpse of the Others walking by, and eventually the three meet in the jungle and convince Michael to return to the group on their march.

Sun loses her wedding ring only to find it buried with the bottle of letters. We learn that she met Jin after giving up on an arranged marriage, thus adding to the “…and Found” theme of the episode.

It was the weakest episode of Lost yet. I was actually very disappointed in last week’s episode. That’s right, I don’t just blindly think that anything Lost does is fantastic, I’m actually still watching and judging each week. Thinking back to Season One, there were a few episodes that I kept referring to as “spinning their wheels, waiting for something to happen.” Well, between Hurley’s episode (which I actually enjoyed, but nothing really happened) and this Sun / Jin episode (It was a nice enough love story, but it really didn’t move any stories forward), I’d term them as “wheel spinners”. It’s frustrating, but now that we’re in Sweeps, those days should be behind us until 2006. We should see four knock your socks off episodes, starting with this week.

Others. They do exist!

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They’re barefoot and they move with stealth through the jungle! Per Mr. Eko, you can’t find them, but they can find you. Their clothes look ragged, there were both males and females, and there appeared to be only about four or five in this particular group. Is this the sum of the Others, or are they just a part? I’m thinking there has to be more of them, and they’re maybe living in separate “clans” on the Island.

Teddy Bear. So how creepy is this picture?

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Three schools of thought on this:

1. The teddy bear is being taken to Walt. This would mean Walt is now a captive of the Others. Maybe they’re bringing him a “toy” in hopes of calming him down. But this would mean that the people on the boat were part of the Others, which I don’t really buy – I still think they are Scientists – or that the Others somehow stole him from the Scientists. Also, if the Others are as savage as they’ve been made out to be (see exhibit A below)

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why would they care about comforting Walt with a Teddy Bear? Therefore, this is a stupid theory…

2. Or… it could simply signify that the Scientists were doing experiments on kids many years ago as part of the Dharma Initiative… and that’s what the “Others” are – an experiment gone terribly wrong. Think about it, if you were a kid, and were being experimented on, then broke away, you would totally go “Lord of the Flies” on the Island, because you would have no sense of how to function and survive – those skills are obviously learned in college through drunken nights and countless hours of movie watching.

3. Or… the teddy bear was Alex’s as a child, and the now grown Other keeps it as a memento of her past. This is a pretty strong theory, since Alex was stolen away as a baby, and would likely have some sort of stuffed animal toy.

Brian’s Official Stance: Alex is now an Other. This is going to prove critical, as I could foresee some future episode where we have to rely on CFL reconnecting with her daughter in order to save the Survivors from an Others attack.

Nigerian. Were you lost when I referenced “Mr. Eko” earlier? Well, he’s this guy:

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But who is Mr. Eko? I really don’t buy that he was one of the Tailers. I don’t remember seeing him on the flashbacks to the plane, and he just seems… different. He’s too strong, and doesn’t seem as shell shocked as the rest of the Tailers. Also, remember this summer when he was cast and his description was as “a Nigerian”? I still can’t shake this feeling that he was a part of the smaller plane that crashed with Nigerian drug smugglers, and has been living on the Island as a rogue Others killer all these years… but that still doesn’t explain how his co-smugglers could already be skeletons when he still seems pretty young. Is there some sort of time warp going on? I don’t know, but he intrigues me very much.

Found. The “deepest” part of the last episode was a minor little scene between Locke and Sun…

SUN: I don't think I have ever seen you angry.
LOCKE [laughing]: Oh, I used to get angry all the time. Frustrated too.
SUN: You are not frustrated anymore?
LOCKE: I'm not lost anymore.
SUN: How did you do that?
LOCKE: Same way anything lost gets found -- I stopped looking.
Think about that for a minute. It’s so true.

Locke spent his whole life looking for some sort of meaning and purpose to his life. Growing up as an orphan, first he tried unsuccessfully to rekindle a relationship with his father. Then he failed to maintain a relationship with a lady friend due to his festering obsession with his estranged dad. He was working in a dead end box factory job, but he still had a shred of hope - he was working towards going on a walkabout, where he could reconnect with nature and turn his life around. Unfortunately, due to his handicap, he’s denied the opportunity.

At his lowest point, where he’s at absolute rock bottom, we could assume that he’s pretty much “given up” attaining any of the things he’s wanted in life. Then Flight 815 crashes. He is now able to walk, one with nature, and a person that is respected – everything he was always looking for.

In a way, almost every one of the Survivors was lost… but has found exactly what they wanted on the Island, whether they know it or not. I won’t re-hash it again, but think about how Kate got her fresh start, Michael got all the time he could dream of with his son, Jin got out of the mafia, etc. These “wishes” were all granted when they were at their lowest points, brought about by the plane crash.

(Also, I’m willing to bet this will be the same way that Walt is found. Once they abandon hope of finding him, once the group can convince Michael that he’s dead or that they can’t take on the Others to rescue him, that’s precisely when he’ll turn up.)

Death. I hate ABC and their promos. I really cannot believe the creators of the show permit ABC to run commercials saying “One of the following characters will die.” Are you kidding me? This should come as a huge surprise, not as something everyone is expecting and then nonchalantly says “Oh, so that’s who died. Neat”. No! It should be a jaw-dropping event, like “I can’t believe they killed him / her!” Want to see a perfect example of how to kill a main character on a TV show? Check 24’s Season One Finale. Out of nowhere, shocking, and powerful. Want an even better example? Check Buffy’s Season Five Finale. Unbelievably good and sad. Honestly, after that episode aired, a friend called me hysterical about the death. I would love if Lost was the same way. Unfortunately, ABC probably is more concerned with ratings than storytelling, and a way to artificially drive up ratings is to promise something drastic is going to happen. Sigh.

I’ll get off my soapbox. Since we know it’s coming, let’s check out the top five candidates to bite the big one this week…


Why? The episode centers around her, so it would make sense. She has little to contribute and has very few connections to anyone else on the Island. Also, given the Walt visions she’s now having, she’s likely going to go crazy. What if she committed suicide, as she couldn’t handle the visions anymore? That would be a twist… Finally, there isn’t much of her backstory that’s a mystery anymore.

But - Maggie Grace (Shannon’s for real name) just bought a house in Hawaii. And if she dies, who is going to see the Walt visions? Who would take care of Vincent? Who would provide eye candy by prancing around the Island in bikinis? Plus, can you kill both a brother and a sister?


Why? He’s got an infected gunshot wound, and he’s wandering around through the jungle. In addition, Ana-Lucia has already threatened to kill him. Plus, we have a plethora of males on the island, and a dearth of females, so a male dying would make more sense.

But – he’s so dreamy! They couldn’t kill him and lose all the female viewers who just watch to see him! Also, there are still a ton of unanswered questions about his past.


Why? It would be absolutely heartbreaking to deny the viewers a Sun / Jin reunion, which would make good TV drama. Like Shannon, there isn’t much of her backstory that is a mystery.

But – she serves as a “nurse” to Jack’s doctor. Who would tend to the herbs and vegetables that she planted in her garden? Let’s be honest, deep down, we’re all high school girls who can’t wait to squeal in joy as she and Jin reunite and warmly embrace.


Why? Killing her would give Charlie’s story a needed boost as he’s left to care for Aaron, fighting to keep Aaron away from Locke’s influence. Again, what else do we need to find out about her past?

But – could they kill the only Australian on the show? I’m assuming she’s breast feeding Aaron, and Charlie couldn’t take care of that. Plus, if she doesn’t raise Aaron, he’ll turn out evil – remember what the psychic said!


Why? We don’t care about her enough to count her death as a true loss, so killing her would keep all our favorites safe. She’s marching through the jungle ripe with Others and the Monster. She has a pugnacious attitude that could get her into trouble.

But – we barely know her. There is a rumored Ana flashback episode coming up. It would be a cheat out of the promise to “kill a major character”.

Official Pick: Shannon.

Killers. So someone is going to die – but who’s going to kill them? As much resonance as the death will have on the show, who kills him / her will have even more resonance, because that character will be forever changed on the show. Here are my best guesses:

Shannon. Just because it would be great if that “suicide” theory I came up with out of nowhere came true. Also, it keeps everyone else on the show as a “good guy”.

Ana-Lucia. She’s a fighter, like Christina Aguilera. She has a gun, and doesn’t seem like the type of person who would get along well with other females, especially the pretty rich type.

Locke. He could be killing to keep a secret that Ghost Walt is trying to spill. We still don’t know his master plan or what he’s willing to do to keep it in motion. He indirectly killed Boone.

Sayid. He's the closest to Shannon of all the remaining people on the Island, and he was right with her after she saw Ghost Walt last time. If she starts going crazy after seeing Ghost Walt again, it might be on Sayid to take her out to protect everyone else.

Kate. We know she has a sketchy past, but she’s always been a good guy in our eyes. This could totally throw her character in a new, very interesting direction. Plus she’s already killed all men a little bit by dating a freakin’ hobbit in real life, might as well kill someone on the show too.

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(I hate you Dominic Monaghan, I hate you!)

Jack. Jack’s been awfully clean on this show, relatively speaking compared to the other Suvivors. How great would it be for him to suddenly become a killer, to give him some more depth and layers as a character?

An Other. Maybe Vincent leads her a little too far into the Jungle and she is killed by an Other? Or would this make Vincent the killer? Or Walt?

Nature. Who says it has to be a person? In the wild jungle on the Island, it’s much more likely that you’ll fall to the cruel hands of nature than anything else. We’ve already seen rockslides, freak rain storms, and the Island is full of high cliffs and things. What if a vision leads her off a cliff?

Official Pick: Sayid.

Lastly, I can’t wait until it comes as some big shock that the person who died in the car crash during Jack’s flashback turns out to be Shannon’s dad. Come on people, read the Blog – we went over that many weeks ago in great detail J

It’s pretty doubtful that Jack remembers the name of the person who died while he was working on Sarah, and since Shannon wasn’t there, I don’t think the two of them will ever realize their connection – but we as viewers will, and we’ll have another example of how everyone on the Island is somehow connected to each other in their former lives…

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Lost - "...and Found"

(I'll be traveling for work Sunday through Thursday of this week. Granted, I'll have a laptop, but you never know if you'll be able to get a good connection or enough free time to write thesis-length documents discussing TV shows - stupid work! Just in case, this should tide you over for this week's episode. If I get a chance, I'll add some more and do the typical instant-review - I think this episode is going to need it. I'm very nervous.)

Episode Title: “… and Found”

Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: It’s another Jin episode, thus following the naming convention from Season One’s “… in Translation”. But what does it mean? Will Michael find Walt? No. Will the Tailers find the rest of the Survivors? Not yet. I would think since the two groups have not yet met on the Island, it will be a multiple episode journey – they’ve got to be far away. So what is found? I’ll get to it…

I’m on the record of complaining about the flashbacks this season. Aside from Jack’s, there hasn’t been anything earth-shattering revealed. I expect Jin’s to keep this trend. We already learned Jin’s complex background – for those of you who forget (or didn’t watch Season One), here’s what makes Jin tick (it’s kinda like the movie Aladdin):

He was a poor Korean who wanted to marry a rich girl (Sun). He entered the mafia to get the money / respect from her father that he needed to get her hand in marriage. The marriage soon begins to fall apart as he becomes addicted to his job. She gets ready to leave him and learns English to help start a new life. In the end, we find out he was trying to get out of the mafia to rekindle his marriage. Sweet.

So what are we going to see this week? More of Jin’s actions in the mafia? More of his history with his father (who he apparently was embarrassed of, due to his poor and simple roots)? I’m not sure – but again, nothing like this would drastically change how we view and understand Jin. I’m hoping to be surprised!

TV Guide Description: Michael sets off into the jungle by himself determined to find Walt, but discovers that he is not alone. Meanwhile, Sawyer and Jin are ordered by their captors to take them to their camp, and Sun frantically searches for her missing wedding ring.

TV Guide Breakdown: It seems as though the Tailers are finally comfortable enough with Michael, Sawyer, and Jin that they’re not keeping as close an eye on them as they initially were – this will provide Michael with the opportunity he was looking for to make a break for it in his search for Walt… as insane that it sounds.

Honestly, I understand that you just lost your son, but do you really think you have a better chance of finding him (let alone stealing him back from the “Boat Others”) by yourself vs. having Shaft, Ana, Sawyer, and Jin on your side, helping in the hunt? No – but I guess we can chalk this up to “Michael acting crazy since he just lost his son”. I guess there’s no way to tell how you would react in this situation.

So what does he find in the jungle? I’ll put my official bet on “Savage Others”. Are these Savage Others the same as the Boat Others, or are they different Island cliques? If they’re the same, we could see Michael captured and being held with Walt – which I guess would make him happy. If they’re different, we might have Michael captured (or killed?) by the Savage Others, while Walt is still a prisoner of the Boat Others. That would leave the Tailers + Survivors (who I think, if they merge together, I’ll just term “The 815ers”) with two search parties to lead – yikes!

Sawyer and Jin being ordered to take the Tailers back to the Suvivors’ camp? Obviously! Aside from a drowning and an accidental “falling Nigerian plane” death – none of them have suffered any major loss in their first 50 or so days on the island. However, the Tailers have obviously had their ranks thinned (“There were 23 of us.”)

It seems to me that the Tailers unfortunately landed in the “Dark Territory” of the Island, home base of the Savage Others who have been picking them off one by one. When they hear about the luxury resort (relatively speaking) of the beach and caves, they’ll want to get there… NOW. Plus, there’s the whole safety in numbers thing. The more 815ers, the better!

Lastly, we have Sun searching for her wedding ring. Based on finding the bottle of letters, she’s got to assume that Jin has died. She probably has a freak out session when she realizes that she’s lost her ring – the one symbol she has to remember him by – and goes on a frantic search for it. Will she find it? Well, the episode is entitled “… and Found”…

Previously on Lost…

Michael, Jin, and Sawyer are led by their captors (who turn out to be survivors from the Tail of the plane) to their “home base” – another Dharma Initiative lab! This one seems to be abandoned long ago. We find that there were originally 23 tail survivors from the crash… but something has happened to about 15 of them, leaving about 5.

Hurley is put in charge of figuring out how to make the food from the Hatch last, which brings about pressure from various Survivors asking for food / items. Hurley can’t handle the pressure, briefly considers blowing it all up – but then decides to simply have a big party and have everyone pig out on the food and get rid of it.

Oh, and we saw Kate in nothing but a towel, as she took a much needed shower in the Hatch. Awesome.

It was a pretty simple episode, a short, sweet story about Hurley and his hatred of fame and fortune, and simple desire to be liked. There were just a few points I wanted to touch on this week (as most have been discussed in my review below). If I get the chance to update, here's what we'll be talking about:

Three Logos.

Dharma Food.





If not, feel free to comment to keep the discussion going!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Day After Lost 2.4 Review!

In one sentence: The Happiest Episode of Lost - EVER.

This really worries me. I was brought up on the Joss Whedon method of storytelling - whenever something terrible is going to happen, you have something really happy happen right before it, which makes the terrible thing sting even more and hit with more resonance. Between this and the scary previews for next week (the guy impaled?! the teddy bear?!), I'm more afraid of next week's episode than any episode of Lost in recent memory.

I've heard some people complain that "nothing happened". Well, it might not have been as earth shattering as the first three episodes - but it was definitely a character building episode, and very enjoyable.

However, since it was rather light in content, here are five thoughts for the weekend, along with some pictures (which technically are worth 1000 words, making this my longest review ever):

1. There were 23 of them, say the Tailers. By the looks of the "Second Hatch" that they were in, there were about 7 left. The Savage Others have attacked them - hard.

2. That's right, it's definitely a "Second Hatch" that the Tailers are in - did you see the Dharma logo on the wall in the background? Totally different!

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3. I liked that they are now building the Jack / Kate relationship again, as well as developing the Sawyer / Ana one - when everyone reunites, here comes the "love rhombus" I was hoping for!

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4. Is anyone else worried that they're all eating the food with the Dharma logo on it? What if it's poisoned or part of some other Dharma project? Well, everyone is eating the Dharma food except for Rose...

5. Hurley's old boss (Randy) is the same as Locke's old boss (Randy). What does this mean?

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(...and just for Irmaliz)

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