Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Lost (The Beginning of the End)

Lost Episode Title: "Numbers"

Character Involved: Hurley (the last of the main 14 characters to receive an episode!)

TV Guide Description: When Hurley becomes obsessed with the French woman and heads into the jungle to find her, Jack, Sayid and Charlie have no choice but to follow. Meanwhile, Locke asks Claire to help build a mysterious item.

Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: Back when this episode title was announced (about a month ago), the teaser I read said "Hurley accomplishes what most Americans dream of", and that the title was "Numbers". Enter the genius of Brian Joseph Sullivan and Brian Joseph Sullivan - the combined brain power of the Delta House together and came up with the theory that Hurley must win the lottery. After last week’s shot of Hurley on the TV in Korea (and special thanks to James Joo for the translation of "Lucky Winner - Los Angeles, CA"), I’m more sure than ever that this is what happened. Who wants to bet that the winning numbers somehow involve 815? We’ve also been told that all the characters on the show are somehow connected to each other, and we’ve seen that the number 815 seems to appear all over their pasts - could this episode finally bring the connection to the forefront? Or explain the importance of 815? Here’s hoping!

TV Guide Description Breakdown: This episode was written by David Fury, who so far this season has written "Walkabout" (Locke’s episode - the best hour of TV so far this season), "Solitary" (Sayid’s episode that introduced CFL), and "Special" (the Walt episode that showed he had special powers). Based on that, I think we’re all in for a very special treat.

I’m unsure why Hurley would suddenly become obsessed with CFL - seeing as he hasn’t shown much interest in her up until this point. Does he see her as the best bet to get off the island? Does something he learns about her connect with something in his own past? Is he Alex? (Maybe Sayid mentions that she has her own power source, and he sees this as a way to continue to jam to music, now that the batteries to his Walkman are dead!) It’s been far too long since CFL was around given how important she is. Perhaps Sayid will bring the maps with him and attempt to get some answers from her? Are the attacks seen in the preview coming from CFL as the they approach her camp? I think we’re all hoping those attacks are coming from "The Others". I know I am. Given we also saw a shot of the four of them crossing a man-made bridge we haven’t seen before, it looks like they’re going into a new part of the jungle, and perhaps closer to the Black Rock.

Locke asking Claire to build a mysterious item? It has to be something to do with the metal hatch in the woods, as this has been Locke and Boone’s obsession of late. But what could Claire build that they couldn’t build themselves? Does it have something to do with the fact that she is pregnant? Does her baby somehow have the power to open the hatch? We all know that Ethan wanted the baby - is this why?! Mystery abounds!

Last Week’s Episode Discussion Points:

Fantastic episode.

1. Jin never killed anyone. Our assumption from the Sun episode was that he was basically a goon for her dad, coming home bloody from murdering someone. In fact, he was the exact opposite. Her father wanted him to be a hit man, but he found a way to both please her father and not murder someone. Sure, he gave him a heck of a beating, but as he put it "I just saved your life" as the other goon with the gun stood in the doorway. I guess we don’t know if there were other "jobs" that we don’t see - but I have a feeling that Jin has never killed someone (unlike Kate, Charlie, Sawyer, Sayid, Walt?)

2. Does Jin understand English? I went into the episode thinking, "Oh, this is going to be ironic - Jin and Sun will both be able to speak English, but neither will know about the other!" After watching the episode, I’m not so sure. Here are the main points:

a. Jin stopped when Sun was explaining to him why she was going to leave him, even though she was speaking in English. His response was as if he understood what she just said… "It’s too late".
b. Jin was planning on going to America for a job - would he need to have at least a rudimentary understanding of the language to do business there?
c. At the end of the episode, Jin referred to Michael by name. How could he have picked out Michael’s name from the rest of the English words everyone was saying? I guess it’s possible he’s put it together over the weeks on the island, but maybe he’s also putting together an understanding of the English language.

3. Why didn’t Jin go back with Sun? Based on his talks with his dad, he was all set to turn his life around. One last job for Sun’s dad, then turn over a new leaf and get a fresh start on life, getting back to lovin’ the hotties and hatin’ the crime. Sun explained her rationale for wanting to leave him, but then said "This is our chance to start over." Which seems precisely what Jin wanted too! Is her brief interaction with Michael enough for Jin to throw it all away? Very odd.

4. Putting Hurley in the background on the TV is the kind of attention to detail that I appreciate in a TV show. The creators know that we watch and dissect with a fine toothed comb, so touches like this is a direct nod to people like us, saying "Hey, we know you’re going to screen capture this and send it around at work the next day - have fun." I also love how the episode ended with the parallelism between Claire and Hurley sitting on the beach with their large stomachs, and then the camera held on Hurley, a foreshadowing that his episode was coming up next.

5. I think we all knew that Jin was not responsible for burning down the raft, but the fact that is was Walt that did so was a great twist. I also assume he used his mind to burn the raft, rather that setting it on fire manually. If you remember, when Michael yelled at Walt a few episodes back for reading the Spanish comic book, he threw it into the fire. Is this Walt’s way of getting back at dad? You burn my book, I burn your boat?

6. Locke was genius for using this as an opportunity to give a pep talk to his "troops". He put all the focus on The Others, making it seem like they have just made the first attack against the Flight 815 Survivors. When he comes back to them in a later episode, saying "We need to attack the Others", no one will have a reason, they’ll already have one.

7. The Locke and Walt scene at the end was great. It was almost the exact same scene as in the first episode where the two sat down at Backgammon. If you remember that episode, Locke introduced the game as "a game of two players, two sides, dark and light" and then said "do you want to know a secret?". The rest of their conversation is still unknown, but isn’t it ironic that now these two both like it on the island and want to stay?

LOCKE. This week, I was posed the following question: "Why are you surprised that Locke knew how to handle the gun in the episode two weeks ago? Didn’t they hint at his involvement with the military in his first flashback?" This got my mind racing - I definitely remembered the phone call that Locke received in that episode where he was talking in military time, and someone called him "Colonel". I went back and read the script for the episode (no, I didn’t transcribe it, it was on the Internet, home of anything in the world you could ever want to know!) and the phone conversation was concerning the risk-like game that he played at lunch. So there really has been no hint of Locke being anything special before coming to the island. Therefore, the real question is: why did Locke have a suitcase full of knives on the plane? These wouldn’t be needed on the Walkabout, would they? If he worked at a box factory and was in a wheelchair - what in the world did he need all the knives for? That’s the one piece of Locke’s past that doesn’t make much sense.

FAMILY. I also find it very interesting that we’ve heard about Locke’s family in recent episodes. His sister dying, his father leaving his family - it just contributes to the overall "family theme" that we’ve seen on this show for a bunch of characters. Jack, Kate, Charlie, Walt and Michael, Sun and Jin, Boone and Claire, Sawyer… all full of family issues! The only character who has no real connection to anyone else so far is Hurley… and I bet we get that this week!

HURLEY. Based on the TV shots, Hurley won the lottery. But when people win the lottery, they generally don’t put it on TV in a foreign country, do they? There must have been something very odd about the way he won, or it was like the world’s biggest lottery jackpot ever. I don’t know. Something doesn’t add up. I’ve really gone back and forth on the Hurley character from the start. He has always been very "happy" on the island. Listening to music, building the golf course, playing Backgammon - he’s going with the flow and doesn’t seem too worried about things. However, he was also the person that found the manifesto and was worried about doing a census.

After the whole census / Ethan issue - I was wagering that Hurley was actually the one who wasn’t on the plane. However, Ethan being crazy, and the flashback showing Hurley on TV seems to squash that idea. There have been other hints at Hurley’s past though - when losing at Backgammon to Walt, he owed like $50,000 to Walt and laughed about it. Then he made some reference to being a "warrior". Did Hurley maybe win his money through some contest - not a lottery win? Like a Backgammon contest? That would add all the more irony to the fact that he lost to Walt - it would also explain better why it would be on TV in Korea…

WALT. Walt is 100% on Locke’s side. The two have now shared the confidence that both want to stay on the island, and Locke definitely has more influence over him than Michael does. If Locke is building up his troops for a battle, this is easily the most powerful soldier he can have on his side. If Walt torched Michael’s boat with his mind, does he realize the power that he has? If he does, what’s stopping him from going crazy? Does he realize there’s a reason that he always wins at Backgammon? Can he truly control it without focusing on what he’s doing? If he dreams something in the middle of the night will it come true? Walt may be the most powerful, but I think he’s also the most dangerous. I could see him "accidentally" killing someone by thinking the wrong thoughts…

DEATH. Which brings me to this. It’s a well known fact on the internet that someone is going to die before the end of the season. As time goes on, a few more clues have been brought to light. Everything I’ve read leads me to believe it will be a MALE character who dies (there are only like 4 female characters on the show for one). I’m also betting that we get some "Circle of Life" action by having the death and Claire’s baby birth being in the same episode. If they’re going for true shock, I expect Jack, Locke, or Sayid to die. If they play it safe, I’ll bet on Boone, Jin, or Michael. We’ll see how much chutzpah the show’s writers have.

EXTRAS. Have you noticed that there is more screen time of extras on the show lately? You know, the other 30 or so characters who we don’t know by name but have seen walking around on the island in the background. Lately they’re actually showing these characters faces in focus. It makes you wonder - is that guy / girl going to be a main character next season? I wonder what their story is? Were they in the original episode? I’d be curious to see how many people are actually under contract on this show - people that appeared in the first episode just standing around that are going to be full fledged stars next season? How crazy would it be if you signed up to star on this hit TV show and no one knew you yet?

NUMBERS. 815 has been everywhere. Sawyer’s shirt, Charlie’s copier, Kate’s safe deposit box, etc. I have to assume these numbers play a role in Hurley’s "big win". But there are other numbers that this can refer to. The episode preview hints that Hurley is going after CFL - what about the numbers on CLF’s maps? What do those numbers mean? A latitude and longitude? Some math equation? Will Hurley somehow figure them out?

CFL. Just one quick thing - what side of the battle do you think CFL is going to come down on? I see her being a wild card, as I can’t imagine her siding with The Others who made her crew go crazy, stole her son, and likely tried to kill her. On the other hand, she’s CRAZY - she obviously was about to kill Sayid before he talked her out of it. I’m thinking that Hurley is unsuccessful in making contact with her, and she remains in the background until everyone comes under attack. Then she swoops in to save them (did someone say Deus Ex Machina?)

ALEX. Speaking of wild cards - is this guy even still alive? Is he even a "he"? Forget CFL, he could be the true Deus Ex Machina - a true warrior of the forest that comes crashing in from the trees when our heroes are surrounded by the Others. Whoa. When I wrote that I just got to thinking… if Alex isn’t a "he", if it’s a "thing" - how great would it be if our heroes (let’s say Locke, Jack, Kate, and Sayid) are trapped in the season finale, about to get killed by the Others and "the monster" which is actually "Alex" comes in and eats the bad guys and saves them? Talk about coming full circle! I know I would geek out like when Seth and Summer get together on the OC! Why aren’t I writing for this show again?

SAD NEWS. Why is it the beginning of the end? Well, from a story telling standpoint, this should be the episode that gets the wheels in motion that will lead to the season finale. The preview for this week showed explosions, guns, and our survivors coming under attack. This would serve by far as the biggest danger they’ve faced so far this season, and isn’t something they can "ignore" for the next few episodes (like they did with the Hatch / Ethan / Claire going missing). The bad news is that this is the last new episode until April 13th. That’s right, not March 13th, but APRIL - over a full month away. The good news is that it will be new episodes from April 13th through May 11th (when it is predicted the season’s two hour season finale will air). So breathe the sweet taste of new Lost episode goodness in deep this week! It’s going to be a long time before we get another taste.

Thank God for March Madness to help us keep our sanity for the next four weeks!

Delta House. 8:00 pm. It’ll be a Lost-astic time!

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