Wednesday, April 26, 2006
For now, here is a lame last-minute post about tonight's episodes of Alias and Lost.
8:00 - Alias
Episode Title: "There's Only One Sydney Bristow"
TV Guide Description: Sydney cuts her maternity leave short to rescue Will, who has been abducted by archnemesis Anna Espinosa. Meanwhile, Sloane gets one step closer to obtaining a cure for Nadia.
To refresh our memories...
Should You Watch? ABSOLUTELY. This should be the resolution to the Will / Francie / Evil Francie / Anna Espinosa storyline that occupied much of Seasons 1 and 2!
9:00 - Lost
Episode Title: "Reckoning"
TV Guide Description: The survivors of Oceanic flight 815 have been locked in a test of faith ever since they crashed on the island. Discover how this faith has been tested for both the fuselage survivors and tailies.
Are you a person of faith or science? This is the dilemma that plagues the island survivors and also defines their character. Discover how faith in the hatch led Locke on a mission to find a way inside, and how his discovery of Desmond led to his belief that punching in the numbers every 108 minutes would ensure everyone's survival. In addition, Michael's dogged mission in finding Walt, the tailies fight for survival during their first 48 days through their collision with the fuselage survivors, the uncertainty of prisoner Henry Gale's allegiances, and tensions between the survivors and "The Others" have left everyone questioning what they believe in. Additionally, the healing powers of love are explored through a timid Hurley's struggle with asking Libby out on a date, through the strong bond between Sun and Jin, and through Jack and Sawyer's mutual - yet unrequited - attractions to Kate.
Should You Watch? Sure. I don't think there's anything else worthwhile on at 9:00. But this is a full-fledged recap episode. There won't be anything new here, just some storylines stressed that might hint at what is upcoming on Lost. These serve to aid the average viewer (with a forgetful memory) of what happened on the show since last September. But Blog readers like yourself probably don't need any sort of refresher.
Sorry for the lame post. I promise we'll be back to normal in time for new Lost next week.
Express your anger in the Comments section!
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Why should you, the average Lost viewer care?
Because it is probably going to show us what we’re in for when Lost finally comes to its conclusion four or five years from now. How?
Both shows were created by JJ Abrams. Both shows offer deep mythology and multiple-season-spanning storylines. Both shows are often incredibly frustrating by not giving the audience the answers to the mysteries of the show. Both have mysterious numbers show up ALL THE TIME without an explanation of why (yet)! Both featured actors Greg Grunberg and Terry O’ Quinn. Replace “Rambaldi” with “Island”, and they’re almost the same show :)
These are the final episode of Alias ever. It’s the last chance to answer the questions the show raised, and see what sort of resolution we get for the characters. Basically, it’s time to show your cards. Did you have answers to the questions you teased for years, or were you just making things up as you went along? If we get answers to Alias, we’ll get answers to Lost (someday). If we don’t, chances are we might not ever get sufficient answers to Lost.
See the importance?
I know what you’re thinking: “But I’ve never watched this ‘Alias’ show before, I can’t just start now!”
Wrong. Here is the Cliff’s Notes version of “The Alias Storyline So Far”:
Alias is like James Bond meets Buffy meets Da Vinci Code. Kickass female lead character, mysterious ancient prophecy, fun spy gadgets and costumes, and shifty double crossing characters who always seem to have alterior motives. The big underlying mystery on the show centers around Milo Rambaldi, a 15th Century Architect / Philosopher / Potential Prophet. (SAT-wise, Lost::Island, Alias::Rambaldi). Over the course of the show, there has been a race to collect pieces of his works, assemble them, and figure out what in the world they are supposed to be used for. There have also been crazy prophecies that may involve the characters on the show and may bring about the end of the world. But this isn’t some “fantasy show”. Just like Lost, everything is based in science. Most characters on the show don’t believe the Rambaldi prophecy stuff, even as it keeps coming true.
Intriguing? We’re just getting started. Here are the season by season breakdowns of major storylines:
The main character is Sydney Bristow:
She thought she was a CIA agent… until she found out that she was actually working for SD-6, a secret terrorist organization who tells their employees that they’re working for the CIA (discovered in the first episode after SD-6 kills her fiance). Determined to avenge his death and destroy SD-6, she approaches the real CIA with the plan of being a double agent - continuing to work for SD-6, but all the while stealing intelligence and foiling their plans for the CIA.
Her “handler” (contact inside the CIA) is the dreamy Micahel Vaughan:
They have smoking hot chemistry with each other, but due to the whole “secret agent” deal, can never be seen in public together, and thus can’t go steady. It’s sad.
Sydney comes to discover that her father, Jack Bristow, who also works for SD-6 is also a double agent for the CIA. Like father like daughter!
But everyone else in SD-6 thinks that they are honestly working for the good guys… except the SD-6 leader, Arvin Sloane (the “bad guy”, if you will):
(He’s obsessed with all things Rambaldi.)
Jack and Sydney, sometimes working together, are trying to destroy SD-6 from the inside. The main goal of SD-6 is to collect as many artifacts of Milo Rambaldi as possible. (Honestly, when you watch the first season of Alias, you think “Wow – Dan Brown ripped off most of this stuff for his book “The Da Vinci Code” from Alias… only it’s done much better on Alias.” I really think JJ Abrams could sue Dan Brown for copyright infringement and win.)
SD-6 is constantly in a race to recover these items with another terrorist organization, headed by the mysterious "The Man."
In the course of the season, Syd also discovers that her dead mother (Irina Derevko) was a KGB agent and that she is very much alive.
Her mother only married her father as part of a KGB plot, and then left him and Syd by faking her own death when her mission was over. The season ends with Syd finally coming face to face with "The Man"… who turns out to be her mommy.
Pretty good stuff so far, huh?
The search for Rambaldi artifacts remained the central plot point in Season 2. However, the main event of the season (that changed the Alias world forever) was the destruction of SD-6. After accessing security codes on an airborne server, the CIA raids all SD cells in the world simultaneously. In a single hour of TV, SD-6 (the “bad guy” of the entire series) was no more, Sydney was no longer a double agent (meaning she and Vaughn could finally hook up!), and the show became focused on the "Spy Family" of Jack, Sydney, and Irina (what JJ said he wanted the show to be all along – note that it took a season and a half to get there. Compare to Lost, where it took us a year and change to learn about Dharma – which may be what he wanted Lost to be all along!)
Irina has a ton of knowledge on Rambaldi, so the CIA takes her into custody and uses her for information throughout the season. As we learn more about Rambaldi, we find that the artifacts hold mysterious powers (Eternal life? Destructive power?), and that Sydney herself seems to be at the center of some mysterious Rambaldi prophecy written hundreds of years ago.
The season ended with Irina breaking out of prison, and Sydney waking up on the streets of Hong Kong, two years in the future, with no memory of the previous two years.
Still with me?
The third season is basically divided in two parts. The first half deals with Sydney's attempts to find out where she'd been for such a long time. The second half focuses once more on the relentless pursuit of the sacred Milo Rambaldi artifacts, which may hold the answers to Sydney's destiny.
When Sydney comes back to the CIA, she is shocked to find out what's happened in those two missing years. Jack is being unlawfully held in prison due to his questionable methods of trying to track down his missing daughter. Irina is in hiding, and her arch-nemesis, the shifty Arvin Sloane (former head of SD-6) has been granted a full pardon by the government for his role in bringing down over a dozen terrorist cells and is the head of a charitable group.
Most shocking of all is that her former lover, agent Vaughn is now happily married to the National Security Council's CIA liaison Lauren Reed.
The new evil this year is the Covenant, a terrorist outfit who (surprise, surprise) is determined to collect the Rambaldi artifacts. The CIA is also attempting to solve the equation of Rambaldi's endgame, so Sydney and her team attempt to capture these same artifacts and figure out their true meaning before the Covenant can get their hands on them (sound similar to Season 1?). We find that Vaughn's wife, Lauren, is also working for the Covenant and is pure evil (also having an affair with a high up Covenant member, Mr. Sark).
The season wraps up with the Rambaldi artifacts leading to Sydney's long lost half-sister, Nadia - an Argentinean spy who was imprisoned in Russia.
She also seems to be critical to the whole Rambaldi puzzle. The season finale ends with Sydney killing Lauren, much to the delight of Sydney/Vaughn fans the world over.
This is the point where Alias went from being unbelievably great to just good. ABC strong-armed the show into being more “single-episode oriented” and tried to attract new viewers by dropping a lot of the Rambaldi and double-crossing agent stuff (which, I’ll admit was getting pretty confusing). To achieve a sort of “reset” of the show, the writers had Sydney quit the CIA and joins a Black Ops unit called "Authorized Personnel Only" (APO) alongside with her partner Dixon (who somehow I haven’t pictured until now! But he’s been her field partner from the start):
along with Jack, Vaughn and Sloane. Basically we were almost back to the way the show started, with different names for all the organizations involved.
Vaughn began researching his father’s death after he found some signs that he might still be alive. In the end, he seems to conclude that his father is dead, but was also obsessed with Rambaldi and may have some connection to Nadia.
We learn of Rambaldi’s desire to have a complete worldwide cleansing through an apocalypse. A Sloane impersonator (who looks freakishly just like him, even though he was played by another actor) assembles stolen Rambaldi artifacts, resulting in a giant red floating ball (Rambaldi’s famed “Mueller Device”) appearing over a Russian city, and all its citizens turning into zombie like people as a result. (Like I said, the fourth season was a little sketchy sometimes).
In the end, the entire Spy Family (with the true Sloane) comes to the city to destroy the device and save the world. They succeed, but in the process Nadia gets “infected” by the device and ends up in a coma.
The big season finale twist this time is that a now engaged Sydney and Vaughn are driving along, when Vaughn tells Sydney his real name is not Michael Vaughn… then they get smashed by a truck.
(Note: something Alias has done, better than any other show on TV – is create unbelievable season finales that leave your jaw on the floor all summer long.)
We learn that Vaughn’s real name is Andre Michaux and his father was a mathematician involved with a top-secret project called "Prophet Five." “Vaughn” learned all this info seven years ago from a woman named Renee Rienne and has been working with her since.
We also learn that Sydney is now pregnant with Vaughn’s baby.
They meet James Lehman, a friend of Vaughn's father. Lehman explains that brilliant scientists and linguists were recruited for Prophet Five in the 70's and were asked to break the code of a 500 year-old document on advanced genetics. After this group succeeded, its members were systematically murdered. As precaution, Vaughn's father changed his identity, as did Lehman. He warns that the murderers are relentless. While talking with Lehman, a new character, Gordon Dean appears and murders both of them.
Two new characters are introduced - Thomas Grace (experienced loose cannon)
and Rachel Gibson (new girl who is just like Sydney, unknowingly worked for Gordon Dean for years thinking he was a good guy. Once she learns the truth, she joins APO).
Sydney and APO are attempting to discover whom Gordon Dean is working for and what their end game is. But meanwhile, Sloane (now back inside APO – will they never learn?!) is being blackmailed by Gordon Dean, who promises he has a cure for Nadia. Sydney and APO attempt to discover whom Gordon Dean is working for and what their end game is.
In the last episode we have seen, Sydney is kidnapped by someone who has an obscure interest in her unborn child – her mother.
Okay. Hopefully that wasn’t absurdedly hard to follow. Really, you owe it to yourself to check out the DVDs of Season 1 and 2 (at least) to appreciate how good this show is. Honestly, week to week it’s better than 95% of action movies I’ve ever seen. It makes me really excited for Mission Impossible III even though I know I should hate it since Tom Cruise is in it. But if JJ could do this much with Alias on a TV budget, I can’t imagine what he can do with a big movie budget…
But I digress. With that behind us, here are the big questions I think we, as viewers, not only need but deserve after all these years (note: if you have never seen Alias, I might lose you here. It would be like never seeing Lost and then reading my Blog – your mind just might explode):
The biggest question of all. The question that has been bouncing around my head for the better part of the past five years. Like I said, it would be like Lost ending without explaining the purpose of the Island or who the Others really are. You just can’t do it. Unless you want me rioting outside your house the next morning.
Here’s the tricky thing – we’ve seen the Rambaldi hint at three separate, very different things over the years:
- Rambaldi foreseeing Sydney / Nadia / Irina somehow being involved in an apocalypse-type battle that might bring about the end of the world.
- Rambaldi learning the key to eternal life, and hiding the secrets through all his artifacts.
- Rambaldi creating a weapon of unbelievable destruction that could be used to “cleanse” the world.
Of the three, I think the first two are the most intriguing. I’ve just seen the “big weapon that will destroy the world” storyline done a few times too many to make it seem important enough to be the underlying purpose of the entire series. Rule it out.
However, one of the second two seem more likely if you look at it logically. Why would you hide clues and pieces of the puzzle all over the world if your purpose was to warn people about the danger of Sydney / Nadia / Irina? Wouldn’t you want to have the information easily accessible to as many people as possible? I know I would. Rule it out.
Which leaves us with number two – eternal life. In all honesty, when I first heard about Rambaldi in Season 1, this is what I was hoping for. It really seems like the only “mystery” that is important enough to have hidden all the pieces of the puzzle in the way he did.
If I was writing the show, I’d have a big finale where Sydney finally meets Rambaldi. That’s right. Remember that clock maker a few seasons back who seemed to be as old as Rambaldi? If he was alive (until getting strewn with bullets), I’m thinking Rambaldi is alive as well. Also - clearly Rambaldi has something against Sydney if he has prophecies about her bringing about the end of the world. But what if these are all lies?
Let’s hypothesize that Rambaldi figures out a way to live forever, but he’s not “invincible”. Let’s say he also has the power to somehow see into the future. He could have foreseen that Sydney would be the one to finally kill him (perhaps accidentally?), and therefore he makes up numerous fake prophecies about her in hopes that it will cause someone else to kill her before she can kill him.
That would be pretty cool and tie things together nicely, don’t you think?
The one thing that worries me is that in a recent interview with JJ Abrams, he mentions that “originally we wanted to get much deeper into the Rambaldi stuff with the finale, but ABC was against it. They were always against the Rambaldi stuff.” Blast you ABC. If you even rob me of a Rambaldi-filled finale, I will never forgive you…
The prominent storyline this season. Is he alive? Is he dead? Was he a double-agent all along? Is he good? Is he evil? The writers completely turned this character on his head in the first episode of the season, then killed him off before we could get any real answers.
It’s pretty clear that whoever he is, he loves Sydney. However, would Sydney love him back if she found out he was working for the bad guys all along?
The story looks to be leading towards a “Vaughn is following in his father’s footsteps” storyline, with him working for Prophet 5 (which sure sounds close to a group of Rambaldi followers, doesn’t it?), faking his death as his “extraction” from the CIA, and now working behind the scenes to unravel the mystery.
His father also seems to have some connection to Nadia (and presumably then to Sydney). Again, if I was writing the show, I’d have it all tie together with Vaughn’s dad being obsessed with Rambaldi, saving Nadia for the purpose of having her murder Sydney some day (remember the prophecy about one sister killing the other?). But when this all falls apart, Vaughn is called on to eliminate Sydney. He has to choose between his love and his “faith” in Rambaldi. That would be pretty intense!
(Note the similarities between Jack and Irina and Sydney and Vaughn!)
Remember a few seasons back when Sydney was abducted and then had a scar around her hip? I said “I wonder if they were stealing her eggs to make a Rambaldi baby someday”. Well, it doesn’t look like that was the case, but I think the whole baby storyline would be way cooler if it was. Is the baby just a regular baby? Or does it somehow fit into the prophecies? Irina seems to have a keen interest in it, and we all know she can’t be trusted.
So let me see if I can get this straight. Sloane went from being bad (SD-6) to good (CIA) to bad (stealing Rambaldi artifacts) to good (APO) to bad (helping Gordon Dean). So what is it? This is probably a case of someone not being truly good or truly evil – but has everything he’s done been driven by his obsession with Rambaldi, or is it really for love of his daughter (Nadia) or Sydney? And what’s up with him and Jack? They still seem to have some secrets they’re not telling everyone. Is Jack on the up and up? And what about Irina? She’s the biggest wild card of them all. Who is she working for? Has she been using Sydney all along, or is she really a good mother who cares about her children?
I suppose it’s fitting on a show entitled “Alias” that there are so many questions about the true identity and allegiances of so many characters, but some firm answers would be nice.
So that’s all for my Alias recap and looking towards the future. In the end, even though Alias has had its ups and downs, I’m sad to see it go. It’s one of a handful of shows that I would call truly “great”, and that I absolutely loved. I’m glad it has a chance to go out on top, knowing that it only has a few episodes left to get their story told (as opposed to some shows which get blindsided by their cancellation, leaving storylines hanging – I’m talking about you, “Alf”!)
I’ll try and include some Alias talk on the Blog each week in addition to my Lost posts. The show deserves it.
Friday, April 14, 2006
But as always on Lost, regardless of how little actually happened, there was still plenty to discuss…
Check out the picture. There are lots of them!
No, not “Others” in the traditional sense of “non-Survivors of Flight 815”, but in terms of “the other 20ish Survivors of Flight 815 who we NEVER SEE OR HEAR FROM”. Last season, I mentioned how I thought it would be cool to see some of these people come to the foreground this year, (theoretically providing new flashbacks, new interactions, and replacing “Front Line” Survivors who I assumed would be dying).
But that hasn’t been the case. Instead we got the Tailers to provide fresh faces and stories to the existing cast. While I was happy to see at least some reference to them being on the Island this week, I’ve come to accept that they’re just going to be bodies for the remainder of the show’s life. Actually, if this “war” with the Others ever happens, who wants to bet that these guys are going to be the first to die, while our Front Line Survivors somehow all survive?
(It’s just like when Jack Bauer goes on a mission with two random CTU agents… we all know only Jack is coming out alive.)
One of the episode’s strongest themes was that of “Fools and Fool’s Errands.” Rose referred to Bernard as being a fool, and his mission to get her cured was a fool’s errand (meaning a fruitless or pointless mission). You could easily apply this theme to a few other activities happening on the Island, namely Locke entering the Numbers in the Hatch.
After his talk with Rose, Locke seems to come the decision that he needs to stop entering the Numbers, another “fool’s errand”. It’s interesting that after Jack, Michael, and most of the other Survivors tried to convince him not to enter them – and even after HGI told him they do nothing, he still wasn’t convinced. But when Rose talks to him, he changes his ways. Why?
Locke has finally found someone else on the Island who shares his “love” for it, who thinks it’s a beautiful place, because Rose has also been “healed by it”. Sharing this common bond, Locke seems to have found some sort of peace with himself, knowing that he doesn’t need to enter the Numbers to have a “purpose” on the Island. Instead, just being there and getting a new chance for life seem to be enough. Good enough for Rose, good enough for Locke.
So what’s the key to the magic healing power of the Island? Do the Others have magic powers? Not likely. More and more, it’s looking like it’s simply “fun with magnets.”
Bernard was trying to heal Rose by taking her to Uluru – the healing, spiritual place of the Aboriginal people of Australia. It’s a sacred place for them religiously. Scientifically, this place has unique magnetic properties due to the enormous raised piece of earth (that actually is a huge long rock that descends deep into the Earth – which I guess gives you weird magnetic properties?).
It’s interesting that Issac (the healer) said that he couldn’t help her. More specifically, he said that “this place” couldn’t help her, as if she could still be cured by magnetic powers… but not this one.
We’ve already seen that there is some sort of powerful magnet inside the Swan Hatch that is sealed off, yet still strong enough to attract a key hanging from Jack’s neck.
As Rachel brought up in the Comments section, there seems to be some limitation to the power of the magnet. It gave Locke his ability to walk, it cured Rose’s cancer, it made Jin fertile (maybe – still not sold on this one) – but it didn’t cure Boone when he fell in Eko’s plane, Shannon when she was shot, or the Warden’s injuries.
I guess it makes sense. I’m no doctor (or am I, beth?!) but you could imagine that the radiation / magnetism of the Island could break up Rose’s cancerous cells, wake up Jin’s swimmers, and jostle Locke’s spinal electrons back into place – but it couldn’t heal a hole in Shannon or broken leg on Boone.
One thing that doesn’t make sense is Locke’s apparent healing ability. Remember last year when a piece of shrapnel shot into his leg, and he didn’t feel it? Later in the episode, he touched the fire with his leg to a similar non-result. But when the Blast Doors fell on him, he clearly felt the pain. What’s the difference between the two? Were his leg nerves damaged in his accident, causing him to feel no pain at first – but now are healing so he can feel again? Or is it just sloppy writing?
If we weren’t sure before, we really should be now. HGI is pure, unadulterated EVIL. I mean, look at this picture!
But again, here’s the big question:
What’s his goal?
If his goal is to keep the Survivors entering the Numbers and continuing the experiment, why convince the biggest Numbers believer that entering them does nothing? Nope.
If his goal is to stop the Survivors from entering the Numbers, he certainly helped his cause, and we should believe him when he says he actually didn’t enter the Numbers when Locke when stuck under the Blast Doors. But then why the evil smile? Why make the comments about “if I were an Other, I would give Ana-Lucia a fake map and lead her into a trap.” Maybe.
If his goal is to create havoc, he’s certainly doing it. Bingo. Here’s my newest take:
As I’ve said before, the Others are outnumbered. The Others are a bit afraid of our Survivors. The only advantage they hold over the Survivors is knowledge of the Island, the experiments, and what’s going on. Knowledge is power. HGI was sent to cause some havoc, create some rifts among our Survivors, and do a little “divide and conquer”… and he’s doing just that. He intentionally let himself get caught in CFL’s net, has already created tension between Jack and Locke, and now is twisting the knife a bit more with the Numbers.
This face is the face of evil happiness, knowing that your plan has succeeded.
So now what? Does he stick around to cause more ruckus, or plan his escape?
Speaking of CFL, how creepy was her trap that Jack and Kate got caught in?
Seemingly, this is a trap that was set long ago, using a baby doll as bait to try and “catch” Alex and get her back once she was stolen by the Others. But this brings up the question of - Why wouldn’t Alex come voluntarily back?
If we are to assume she was somehow drugged / brainwashed (a la Claire… and Michael – but more on that later), it would make sense.
But the girl we saw help free Claire from the Medical Hatch was clearly working against the Dharmites. Does that mean they were no longer brainwashing / drugging her? Or did she become wise to their methods and somehow outsmart them to gain her mental freedom again?
Perhaps this is the distinction between the By the Book Dharmites and the Rebel Dharmites – the Rebel Dharmites have had their eyes opened by ceasing to take the 4815162342 medicine (that we saw with Desmond and again in the Medical Hatch). This furthers the argument that the Rebel Dharmites are the ones who made the Blast Door drawing, which states “The disease worsens with the treatment. The remedy is worse than the disease.”
It’s all coming together.
Kiss the Girl.
Seriously, that was hot. It’s curious that the writers are teasing Kate and Jack as a couple again. But what are their chances of lasting? Let’s compare some other TV couples that seemed destined to be:
- Dawson and Joey: didn’t end up together
- Corey and Topanga: ended up together
- Kevin and Winnie: didn’t end up together
- Ross and Rachel: ended up together
- Buffy and Angel: didn’t end up together
- Sydney and Vaughn: to be determined
So the track record is spotty at best. It’s a common TV writer trick to constantly break up and make up your most popular couples because it makes for good TV. So are jerk TV writers just jerking us around? Actually in this case, it makes sense from a storytelling point of view. Let’s psycho-analyze how the Jack/Kate romance is coming up again:
During “What Kate Did”, Kate symbolically chose Sawyer, giving in to her “dark side”. Things seemed pretty clear cut. We would have Kate/Sawyer and Ana-Lucia/Jack. But then things changed. As a response to Kate being all girly with him (cutting his hair, making him miss football games, etc.), Sawyer got tough (conning everyone out of the guns). Then Jack started standing up to people (Locke, Sawyer), and then symbolically beat Sawyer in a game of Poker (a man’s game). Kate, as an observer to all these events, suddenly sees Jack as the up-and-comer tough guy among the Survivors, and Sawyer as being a loner and jerk.
Therefore, she’s suddenly thinking Jack might be the horse to bet on. He’s got the dreamy leadership quality, a touch of “tough guy”, standing up to other people, and he probably is a more stable person to attach yourself to when on a crazy deserted Island.
(There are also those pesky rumors about Michelle Rodriguez being booted off the show she’s apparently quite the trouble maker in Hawaii. We can’t leave our dramatic lead without some sort of love interest!)
Did the Isaac of Uluru scene strike anyone else as a bit odd?
To me, this isn’t the face of “I can’t help you, sorry”, but “I can see what’s going to happen to you and it freaks the hell out of me.”
It just really reminded me of Claire’s visit to the psychic where he was like “You must raise the child” and then put her on the doomed Flight 815.
So either psychics in Australia are for real, and can see the future (but then why wouldn’t he warn Rose about 815 going down?), or there’s something innately bad / scary / different about the overall aura of both Claire and Rose (and possibly all of our Survivors) that made the psychics freak out.
Since the show began, I’ve had the feeling that everyone on the Island was somehow “hand picked” to be there – but what? Are they “chosen ones” that were meant to end up on that Island? It’s an intriguing thought, one I’ve had since the show began. I still have nothing even close to semi-scientific means (as everything on the show will allegedly be explained by) of putting a logical theory together, but this is another small action that just strengthens my feeling that there is something that identified our Survivors out of everyone else in the world, something that put them on that plane and brought them to the Island – on purpose.
Rolla on the River.
If you’re anything like me, as soon as you saw jotting down his recollection of the Blast Door image, the first thing you thought was “What was he writing on?! It must be a clue!”
Well, he was writing on a page of the 1833 poem “Rolla”, by French poet Alfred de Musset. Needless to say, it’s a pretty heavy read. But readers in France, Quebec, or Djibouti, have a read!
Ambitious but non French-speaking readers can peruse the text in English here:
Lazy Americans who don’t appreciate poetry, here’s a one sentence summary:
Rolla is one of the strongest and most depressing of Alfred de Musset’s works; the skeptic regrets the faith he has lost the power to regain, and realizes in lurid flashes the desolate emptiness of his own heart.
Whoa. Massive symbolism there! Locke is now no longer a “Man of Faith”, but a skeptic! He said himself, “I’m done with entering the Numbers”. But this makes it sound like Locke is sad about this new development, when in the episode he seemed happy, upbeat, and in a way freed from the Numbers due to his skepticism. But as I’ve mentioned before, this was his purpose on the Island, and without it, he would feel a certain “emptiness in his own heart”. Locke is going to have to find some other “goal” to pass his time on the Island, unless he’s content following Rose’s path of “just being happy to be there, healthy again.”
(For those of you keeping track at home, because of Lost I’ve now learned about French poets, Latin, Hieroglyphics, Greek mythology, the Aboriginal people of Australia, and the history of the phrase “S.O.S.” over the past month. Who says that watching TV rots your brain?)
Lastly we come to our boy Mikey. Time for a little reader participation…
So did the Others agree to Jack’s proposed trade? Giving them Michael and hoping they’ll get HGI in exchange? Not bloody likely.
Assuming he’s a Rebel Dharmite, HGI holds no major importance to the rest of the Others. You also get the impression that HGI could bust out of there at any moment either by overpowering or outsmarting our Survivors.
So where did Michael come from? Another product of Alex freeing a prisoner? I mean, he showed up just like Claire did. But I’m guessing that the writers won’t rehash that storyline.
Did he break out himself? I don’t think so. At least not if he’s the Michael that we know and love. There is no way he would have left without Walt. Remember the blind irrational passion in his eyes when he swiped a gun and left the Hatch to find Walt? (Whatever happened to that gun anyways?) He would have sooner died than leave Walt behind. Also – if it’s that easy to break away from them, wouldn’t Walt have done so a long time ago?
So although he comes back and confirms one of my longest running theories this season: “There aren’t that many of them, and they’re not armed – we can take them!”, I don’t think he can be trusted.
That’s right, I smell a trap.
It’s a little too neat and clean that he comes back and stirs up everyone to go march in the Jungle and attempt to overtake the Others by sheer force. The Others are too crafty, and probably realize that Michael (who obviously isn’t “good”, or he would have been taken long ago) has no value to them other than being someone who can bait everyone else into walking into a trap.
So we have two options here:
- Michael is drugged / hypnotized / whatever the Others do to you, and isn’t intentionally leading them into a trap.
- Michael went into the Jungle, got slapped around a bit by the Others, tortured, and told “You won’t get Walt back unless you bring everyone else to us.”
There’s probably an option 3 I don’t want to get into involving this not being the real Michael, similar to how Locke changed when he first met the Monster in Season 1, but I think one of the other two are far more likely. Either way, it serves as an impetus to FINALLY get the confrontation between the Others and our Survivors started – making me extremely excited for the rest of the season.
What do we think?
(PS - Happy Easter, everyone)
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: Although most people think that “S.O.S.” stands for something like “Save Our Ship” or “Save Our Souls”, it turns out that “S.O.S.” means nothing. It was simply adopted as the uniform distress signal at the Second Berlin Radiotelegraphic Conference in 1906, since the three dot / three dash / three dot radio signal is easy to distinguish.
Basically, “S.O.S.” means to immediately stop doing whatever you are doing and to respond to the distress signal.
But here’s the funny thing: the distress signal is actually “SOS”, with no periods in it (for obvious telegraphic reasons). Our episode title definitely has periods in it. Meaning?
Our Lost-writers are not avid telegraph users, and didn’t do the research of the history of the term (like uber-nerd I did). So let’s just look at this from the commonly understood meanings of “S.O.S”:
- The letters represented by the Morse Code signal used as an international distress signal, especially by ships and aircraft.
- A call or signal for help.
Either way, it seems as though our Survivors are in distress, and need of help. The two ongoing storylines for this episode seem to be about Jack and Kate proposing a trade of HGI for Michael and Walt, and of Locke questioning the purpose of the Hatch (more on these later). The weird thing is, I wouldn’t classify either of these stories as being “in distress”… until you remember this scene we saw from the “Next week on Lost” preview:
By the looks of things, Jack and Kate are caught in some sort of trap set by the Others (or possibly CFL? Doesn’t it look like the same net that she caught HGI in?). If Jack (de-facto Survivor leader) and Kate (de-facto Island hottie) were suddenly captured, I would think both Jack / Kate and the other Survivors would be in quite a state of distress. But who are they going to send an “S.O.S.” to? Desmond? CFL?
Am I crazy to hope for a trip to the radio tower near the Black Rock (that has been often referenced, never seen?) where they could change CFL’s ramblings into a true “S.O.S.” signal that passing ships might pick up? Should I get my hopes up that our Survivors finally come to their senses and realize that they need to start working on getting off the Island? Probably not…
Given all the Latin we saw on the Blast Door, I went ahead and cross-referenced “S.O.S.” with “Latin”. Turns out it is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase “si opus sit” – which means “if needed”. But again, I can’t think of any character or situation that would reference this – another dead end.
Finally, this is also the Rose / Bernard flashback episode, so there must be some distress in their marriage as well. Look for a symbolic “S.O.S.” to exist in the marriage of Rose and Bernard… which leads us to…
TV Guide Description: Rose is surprisingly and vehemently opposed to Bernard's plan to create an S.O.S. signal; romantic sparks are rekindled between Jack and Kate when they trek into the jungle to propose a "trade" with "The Others"; and Locke begins to question his faith in the island.
TV Guide Breakdown: Why would Rose be so opposed to creating an S.O.S. signal? All I can think of is that she falls into the John Locke category of “happy on the Island, doesn’t want to get off”. But why? Rose and Bernard are the seemingly sickly sweet couple full of love for each other. But since no character ever seems to have a happy back story on Lost, there must be something bad in their past lives. The problem is, every single reason I can think of has already been done or has holes:
- Bernard spending too much time at work, making Rose lonely? Nope, already been done with Jack and Sarah.
- Bernard abusing Rose mentally or physically? Nope, the both are sickeningly sweet in love.
- Bernard or Rose having some disease / disability before they landed on the Island? Nope, too similar to Locke being able to walk / Jin being able to make babies (maybe).
- Bernard and Rose were criminals, who now have their freedom? Nope, been done with Sawyer / Kate.
For once, I’m out of ideas. I feel so embarrassed. I apologize.
Thankfully, the rest of the episode is much more clear to me. Although the Kate / Jack romance seemed to be dead in the water earlier this season, when she symbolically and literally chose Sawyer over Jack, it looks to be re-emerging. Why?
Since before the season began, I was expecting the Sawyer / Kate / Jack / Ana-Lucia “love rhombus”, and after a brief flirtation with pairing off Sawyer with Kate and Jack with Ana-Lucia, we seem back to our original Sawyer / Kate / Jack “love triangle”. What’s this mean? Is Ana-Lucia the next character to die? Or are they simply beginning to setup the Ana-Lucia / Sayid “love line”?
The trade with the Others is very intriguing, and the commercials showing Jack screaming in the rain for the Others to come and get him are pretty Jack-Bauer-esque in terms of awesomeness. But as HGI mentions, “They’ll never give up Walt”. Why? Have you seen Walt lately?
He is considerably older than the last time we saw him on the Island, even though in Island time only a few weeks have passed. The inevitable TV issue of kids growing up is exacerbated by Lost’s slow-moving episode timeline. Instead of each season being a year, each season is about a month – making such growth spurts unacceptable. As a writer, you only have two ways to deal with the Walt situation:
- Make him appear, suddenly older, and have to explain how Dharma has some funky time-warp / instant-aging experiments going on.
- Don’t show him on-screen. Either kill him or keep him “kidnapped”.
My money is on choice two. Doing the whole "time warp" storyline would be awfully tricky, and would verge on Lost becoming too "sci-fi" for the average American viewer. So the question is will Kate and Jack settle for just trading Michael for HGI? Will Michael accept being handed back over to Jack and Kate without Walt going with him? Doubtful, unless the Others have fed him some mind-bending drugs, a la Claire.
As for Locke questioning his faith in the Island, it’s the same point I touched upon last week. If entering the Numbers has no meaning, Locke no longer has his “greater purpose” on the Island. Again – I would anticipate this building up to the Locke vs. Jack showdown on Number entry later in the season.
I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty excited for this episode. It’s also the first episode in a long time where I feel like I have no idea what’s going to happen – which leads me to…
Spoilers. Knowing what’s going to happen on the show ahead of time. For me, it’s like finding your Christmas presents ahead of time and looking at them, or getting a DMB Setlist before the show – it’s just wrong and ruins the event.
The tricky thing is, in the past two months, I’ve twice stumbled across pictures that turned out to be considerable spoilers and posted them on the website. At the time of each, they were both “potential spoilers” that I wasn’t sure how would play out on the show – it gave me some new topics to discuss and points to ponder. However, that’s not what this Blog is all about.
In an effort to keep this place spoiler-free, I’ll be sure to sufficiently “hide” any potential spoilers in the future – or not post them at all. This is assuming I ever come across something like the Balloon Picture or Libby Picture ever again. In the two years I’ve been watching the show, I’ve only come across things like that twice – it just happened to be in the past few weeks on top of each other.
I ask the posters in the Comment section to do the same, and restrain themselves from posting spoilers as well. If I see something too spoilery, I’ll delete it. Everyone who has told me “I’m not going to read your website anymore, it ruins the show” can rest easy. Now the only way the show will be ruined is by me being smart enough to figure out what’s going to happen by using my brain. Sound good?
Comment Q and A! So this is another new section for the Blog, which I’ll try to make a regular section (assuming this first attempt doesn’t fail miserably). Basically, I notice that there are a lot of comments that are asking questions, or looking for input on different topics. Since it can be tricky to keep up and address the right people in the comment section (and some people don’t venture into the “scary comments section”), I’m going to post the comments (or the applicable portion of the comments) here, along with my responses (in fancy italics!). Let’s see how this works out…
Tsw: What about Libby?
Before the episode, I was all over the board on my thoughts for Libby. Is she just crazy? Is she really a Dharma sent to bring Hurley (and the Numbers) back to the Island?
But after watching it, I’ve narrowed my Libby thoughts down to one of the following:
She was crazy, and is acting like a psychologist. Her “craziness” is being a pathological liar. Once escaping / being released from the Mental Institution, she began telling people she was a clinical psychologist. Since she probably spent a good deal of time with psychologists who were trying to help her get over her lying, she could impersonate one quite well.
She was crazy, and became obsessed with Hurley while in the Mental Institution. Her “craziness” was actually Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and her newest obsession is one Hugo Reyes. She tracked him down following her release from the Institution and ended up on the Island with him, much to her delight. This explains why the semi-hot Libby would be interested in such a large mammal (Hugo) on an Island with limited deodorant.
Note the common theme being “Libby used to be crazy.” I’m basing this on the fact that she not only looked crazy, but was being administered medication during the episode. I’ve also eliminated the “She could be working for Dharma” possibility since she prevented Hurley from jumping. If she was an “Other”, who I theorize are outnumbered and threatened by our Survivors, you let him jump – lowering the number of Survivors by one.
Non-anonymous: Just a quick suggestion you forgot to talk about how no one saw a plane when the food "drop off" happened.
I’m just glad the Survivors at least called attention to this, unlike many of the other random occurrences they just seem to ignore. You have to think that if the Island can somehow “mask” itself from the outside world, they could apply the same technology to some sort of “stealth” airplane.
1. Libby? Many possibilities exist for her 'back-story'. What do incidents from past episodes tell us about her (namely, she saying Hurley stepped on her foot while boarding plan and he apparently didn't, etc)?
This either means Libby is a liar (Option #1 above) or afraid Hurley will discover she’s a stalker (Option #2 above). Either way, she’s afraid of Hurley finding out the truth.
2. What is Eko building? Why is it a secret? Do we think it is a church?
I think a Church is the only logical answer, given Eko’s history. Why secret? Well, Eko’s a pretty secretive character, and he probably knows the non-religious of the group would be less inclined to help if they knew they were building a God House.
3. What about HGI comment to Locke about NOT having inputted any #'s into the computer? Do we believe him? How might this play out (trailer looks interesting in how Locke is trying to understand 'black light' chart)
As HGI has a history of lying, we are inclined to not believe him. But look at it from the point of view of “HGI’s Goal”: If it was to have the Survivors keep pressing the button, why would he have even told Locke that he didn’t push it? Clearly, he wants the Survivors to stop pressing the button. Why?
My theory remains that HGI is a Rebel Other, who’s discontent with Dharma and their experiments. He knows the button pressing is merely an experiment that keeps our Survivor’s focus off other things going on with the Island. Even though this means HGI is telling the truth, I think it’s the only logical answer.
Also – as I said before, it’s a great way to setup an argument between Locke and Jack about pressing the button, and will finally bring the issue to a head. This will be the event that causes our Survivors to finally stop pressing the button.
Julie B: Also, on the flipside, how do they know that this food isn't sent from the Others? If they are so frightened by the Others, who have killed/kidnapped/threatened quite a few of the survivors, wouldn't they be a little skeptical of food that arrived with Dharma logos on it? It could be poisoned, it could leave bizarre psychological effects on them. But instead they just take it. I know that this goes against the whole "survival" issue, as it's food and is needed to survive but I'd still be a little skeptical about its source.
Great point! One would think that food emblazoned with the logo of the very group that threatens your life is something you should approach cautiously. However, I think that after 40 days on the Island without any processed snack foods, you pretty much throw caution to the wind and chow down. It would be like if I went without Skyline for 40 days, and then you gave me some that had a Steelers logo on it. I’d eat it without thinking twice about it.
(But something else to think about is that if this food is “poisoned” somehow, it would explain why Hurley is the first one of our Survivors to have the “Sickness”, seeing imaginary people and going crazy. He’s been eating the food the most in the past 40 days.)
Locke_D: Does anyone know all the number sequences in the flashbacks?
This is a pretty daunting task, one not even I am up for. Last year I found a website that listed every reference to the Numbers during Season One. This would be a good place to start:
Mike: What makes this somewhat confusing to me is that if the flashbacks are memories, how are people remembering things they were not aware of to begin with? Jack never saw the stair he tripped on, Locke had his back turned to the oceanic logo on the plane flying above the motel, etc.Either we're getting the island's "reading" of a person's past with the numbers getting picked up, or it's just a regular "omniscient" (that's a word right?) viewpoint of what has happened for the audience, without a direct correlation to what a character is thinking about at the moment.
You have to understand there is a difference between what the character sees from their point of view, and what we see from the camera’s point of view. In the case of Jack running up the steps, from his eyes he only saw the steps in front of him. But the camera is in the air above him as he’s running, so we as a viewer can see exactly what step he is on.
In the flashback, the character only remembers things from their point of view, but we are provided a full look at the scene from the larger eye of the camera.
Henryford: By the way, wasn't it an illogical argument that Libby made while convincing Hugo at the end? - the man with broken leg
I don’t think so. It really depends on how deep you want to get with the “It’s all in your head” debate.
If something is in my head, does that mean I already know it? There are all sorts of examples where I forget things from my past, or can’t remember things like someone’s name of phone number – Libby and the broken leg could be something like that.
But I think it works because even if it’s a bad example, there are events that continue to unfold on the Island that Hurley has no premonition about. You would think if it was all in his head there would be more “Wait a minute I’ve seen this before” moments, or other events would start bleeding in that he would identify from his past – besides the Numbers and Libby.
Rutkowskilives: So there we find Sayid, Ana-Lulu and HGI, with Sayid going Matlock on HGI, and HGI mentions a "he" or a "him" or something like that. And Ana-Lulu says something to the effect of "The guy with the beard?" and HGI says "He's nothing!"
Waitaminute! What the heck is HGI talking about? We suspect due to Kate's finding that Mr. Friendly/Zeke wears a beard as a disguise (has Ana-Lulu ever met him? Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think so. Did Sawyer mention him?). His comment tells me several things - first, he doesn't know that our Losties know about Zeke's game, and he is fine letting them believe the disguise (more on this later). Second, HGI knows all about the interactions between the Losties and the Others. Third, HGI has an understanding of the hierarchy within the Others. Fourth, the Losties knowing that Zeke isn't a hot shot is really not informational beneficial to them in anyway. Add this all up, and what does it mean?My guess is that HGI is in cahoots with Danielle. Pardon the scattered logic, but here goes...
So CFL has never really seen the Others, yet has intricate traps set up around the island just in case one comes by? I guess that's reasonable since, you know, she was alone and had to do something for 16 years, and she did manage to catch Sayid this way not too long ago. Oddly enough, shortly after trapping Sayid, she gets HGI, because HGI let himself get trapped. Why? Becuase HGI is a dealer and is all for exchanging to fulfill needs. He understands that CFL's need is to see/know about her daughter. He needs to be delivered to the Losties because DHARMA isn't nearly as strong as they are leading our Losties to believe, and they need to know how big a threat they are facing because their smoke and mirrors bearded Others act can only last so long. Plus, the Losties have only run into the grunt Others and they seem pretty freaked out by them as it is, and it would be good for the Others to know exactly how well the Losties understand them. CFL, considering the implications of this find, and the fact that she really has no loyalties to the Losties and probably figures that infected Aaron will kill them anyway, sacrifices her desire to take revenge on an Other in favor of the possibility of seeing her daughter. HGI of course gets what he wants under a very well planned disguise (he's trapped and has what he believes to be a solid fake ID). CFL doesn't want anything to happen to the Losties though, and despite a rocky relationship, does trust Sayid to handle HGI. CFL knows for sure that HGI is an Other, and thus explains to Sayid that she does indeed know him to be an Other, and that as such, he will lie. And lie some more. And so Sayid needs to be careful, and it seems like that is exactly how he is going about things. Because let's face it - Locke was the man in season 1, in season 2, it's all Sayid.
One other thing about Libby - I've been intrigued by her character since the beginning, and have been rooting for her ever since her conversation with Sawyer when he wasn't looking too good. She is a person that understands psychology, be it from study or because she herself is mental, I don't know. She also seems to possess a survival instinct beneficial to both herself (knowing when to stick with and then bail on Ana-Lulu), and to others, evidenced by keeping Hurley, Sawyer, Ana-Lulu (in the beginning) and to an extent Claire going. I will go on record as saying that I believe she has nothing to do with the Others. In fact, I think Libby is slowly emerging as an emotional leader of the Losties, and an extremely important one, because HGI has never had a chance to learn about her, and the Other that did, Goodwin, is dead.
Oh, and one more thing - even though they may be comfortable on the island, I like that Eko has taken on a construction project, whatever it ends up being. Building permanent structures is a great way to stick it to the Others. Anyway, I'm sure my thinking has all kinds of holes in it, but I'd love to hear some response to my ideas.
Okay. Wow. Longest Comment Ever. Very impressive.
First off, I just think that CFL is going to remain a “wild card” on this show. If she were in cahoots with HGI, why would she shoot him? If HGI wanted to be captured, why would he try to run away from Sayid when he was released?
I agree with you that HGI is a “grunt Other”. In fact, I think that all “Rebel Dharmites” are going to be people pretty low on the Other totem pole. I think it’s possible he let himself get captured, and it’s possible his “mission” was to do reconnaissance of the Survivors to see their interworkings.
As for Ana-Lucia commenting on “the guy with the beard”, since Sawyer, Jack, Locke, and Kate have all seen him – you would assume (although on this show you never know) that one of them mentioned him to Ana-Lucia at some point. I don’t think that Kate has yet made the connection between the fake beard and Zeke…
I still think Libby is crazy. I can’t see her being any sort of emotional leader for the group unless it benefits her well-being. As you mention, she seems to be looking out for her own well-being at all times, regardless of who that aligns her with.
Lastly, I think that HGI yelling “he’s nothing!” is more a product of him getting caught up in his emotions than any deeper meaning. It could be out of jealousy towards “Him”, anger towards “Him”, or fatigue from his three days of capture getting the best of him.
E other: thinks that this is going to be a recurring/cycle thingy? The cave that the losties 1st chance upon, there were people (or evidence of people) before them. They found the corpse, right?Like the losties entering and taking over the hatch and Desmond leaves. Before Desmond was there, there was another guy who died.So every group thinks of the other as the OTHERS?
Another good point. I wouldn’t be surprised. We’ve seen a few examples of things from the past that indicate the Island has been there for a while (Black Rock Pirate Ship, skeletons), but also things that reference time doesn’t pass normally on the Island (CFL equipment seeming far more than 16 years old, commenting “has it been that long” about how long she’s been there). There is also the intriguing line from Season One that got edited about how CFL’s team was “Studying time”.
Also – most characters on the show are wearing watches. Time really has no meaning once you’re on a desert island, so I view it as hidden symbolism that there is some sort of messed up time on the Island.
Julia: I was on IMDB two weeks ago. It says that Ian Sommerhalder is going to be back somehow on this episode.
Rule #1 of Lost – never trust ABC or their promos.
Rule #2 of Lost – never trust IMDB. Anyone can post “information” on it. It’s been way wrong in the past. It’ll be way wrong in the future. IMDB is a reference guide – meaning it’s a good place for things that already happened, not a good place for things yet to come.
Anonymous: Brian, I have a question for you. I found some info on thetailsection.com about the remaining episode titles and the centricness of each one...with the exception of the finale. I was wondering if you could confirm:
219- S.O.S. Rose/Bernard....duh
220- Two for the Road Ana Lucia
221- ? Mr. Eko
222- Three Minutes Michael
I can confirm the following schedule:
4.12 - “S.O.S” (Rose/Bernard-centric)
4.19 – No Lost (but Alias returns!)
4.26 – “Reckoning” (New “Recap” Episode to bring everyone up to speed on the season so far)
5.3 - “Two for the Road” (Ana-Lucia-centric)
5.10 - “?” (Centricity unknown)
5.17 - “Three Minutes” (Centricity unknown)
5.24 – Season Finale (Title / Centricity unknown)
Cas: Does anyone know what DHARMA stands for yet? Guesses?
Latest and Greatest Guess from Brian:
But I’m not even content with that. Watch it be something that doesn’t even include Degroot or Hanso…
Steve Poke: sure you all have thought of this, and probably dismissed it, but what if HGI was a Keiser Sose-type figure? Any time he refers to "he", he's actually talking about himself...He was captured intentionally, to find out for himself who the Losties are and what they're doing in the hatch. Thoughts?
Truth be told, I totally would have called out HGI as being a “Keiser Soze” if I didn’t use the expression two nights earlier when we found out the President was behind everything on 24. Two Keiser Soze references in one week seemed excessive and made me think my mind went there just because it was fresh in my mind.
However, looking back, I like it – remember how angry HGI got when they called Zeke his “boss” and he snapped “He’s nothing!”, it sounded as if he was insulted that they thought Zeke was more important than him.
The big thing working against this theory isn’t that he said “He’ll kill me if I talk”(this could always just be another lie), but that I don’t think the leader of the Others would be walking around the Jungle by himself, or allow himself to get captured. Shouldn’t he have bodyguards or something like that? Shouldn’t the Others be attacking the Survivors right now in an attempt to get him back? They’re not – so I think he’s a Rebel Dharmite more than anything else.
Andi: CFL said that he would lie for a very long time and only then would he tell the truth.Can we surmise that he told the truth regarding the numbers? Or is he still in the lying phase?Or was CFL lying in the first place?
I wouldn’t take CFL’s comments literally. I think she was just trying to get the point across that “He will lie and lie, and then if you torture him enough eventually he might tell you the truth.”
He might have let a few morsels of truth slip out, but I still think he’ll lie all he can do achieve whatever his goal might be and try and save himself.
That’s all for this week!
Friday, April 07, 2006
It’s like the writers decided to entice the average, non-Blog reading viewer with theories of Purgatory and “It’s All a Dream” by temporarily playing both of them up as true. But after some quick and easy analysis, both are easily dismissed, leaving the episode a bit hollow. Most had surmised that Dave was all in Hurley’s head way ahead of the episode’s reveal (since everyone has seen “The Sixth Sense”), and I partially ruined the big Libby ending twist (that’s my bad – and I’ve adopted a new policy to ensure it never happens again).
But it was a good episode. It exceeded expectations. There was a lot of intriguing things that happened. We’ll get to those. But first…
As much as I love Lost, there are a couple things about the show that really, really bother me. This episode started out with one of the main ones:
What the hell was that? Yes, I understand the symbolism of Hurley “kicking” his food addiction habit, but guess what? YOU ARE LIVING ON AN ISLAND WITHOUT A STEADY SOURCE OF FOOD. How about you think about a little thing called “survival” first, before worrying about how you have an overeating problem? I guarantee there are a bunch of people on the beach who would happily have eaten that food (and even instantly forgiven you for not telling them you had it all along).
Granted, we did have the magical Food Drop from the sky, but at this point in the episode, Hurley had no idea about it.
It’s just a small part of a much greater point I want to emphasize: The Survivors are far too content on the Island.
When’s the last time someone talked about getting off the Island? They all seem happy enough playing cards, hanging out, and building shelters. Gone are any of the fundamental “survival” issues, or any sense of urgency in wanting to get off the Island.
Because they found a Hatch? No, only a few seem to have ever set foot inside.
Because they think there are Other people on the Island? No, because these people seem pure evil and have killed fellow Survivors, which should make you want to get off the Island ever more!
Because their lives were all miserable prior to the Island? Possibly. This is actually the one answer that would give a lot of explanation to what we’ve seen thus far - they’re actually quite happy living on the Island with a fresh start, away from the troubles in their lives. Maybe they all just want to stay there, start over – start fresh – and build a better life.
For more on this theory, listen to the Guster song “Keep It Together” (which could basically be an outline for the entire series of Lost, in reality). At this point, it would be a plausible explanation for the lack of drive to get off the Island…
Sayid is awesome. He has single handedly proven HGI to be an Other at this point. No one else would have dug up the grave. No one else would have searched the body and found a $20 bill with writing in the wallet. Without Sayid, “Henry Gale” would have been exonerated of the “Other” claim and probably would be wrecking havoc on our Survivors… or escaping into the Jungle without helping answer any of the Lost mysteries!
I hope this point isn’t lost (no pun intended for once) on the rest of the Survivors, as I think this thrusts Sayid into a leader position in the group. His high level of cynicism and failure to blindly believe what he encounters is a welcome change from the desire to believe of John Locke and the slow-paced “don’t make waves” leading style of Jack. If I was Joe Schmoe Survivor, I’d be wanting Sayid making some more decisions… especially given his military training background.
(PS - I know this point isn’t lost (again, no pun intended – twice? I’m Johnny Serious tonight!) on HGI, who is probably sitting in his cell cursing Sayid. “I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those pesky kids… and that Iraqi!” Who wants to bet Sayid becomes Target #1 if target Sayid first if HGI ever escapes?)
Which brings us to HGI’s comment that I found very intriguing:
“God doesn't know....God doesn't know how long we've been here John....God can't see this island anymore than the rest of the world can..."
I know my first reaction to this was “Oh, they’re playing up the ‘Purgatory’ storyline again”, only to realize – of course God can see Purgatory, can’t he?
My second reaction was “Maybe there is some sort of magical cloaking device around the Island that makes it invisible to everyone?” But one would think God could see right through that anyways.
So what did HGI mean?
The quote isn’t meant to be taken literally. HGI feels abandoned – not just by his fellow man, but also by his God.
This manner of thinking ties in nicely to the quotes written on the Blast Door:
“It’s a bad plan that cannot be changed”
“I think therefore I am depressed”
“The wrath of the gods is great, but it certainly is slow”
“Save yourself from hell”
Here’s my newest theory on HGI – he’s not just an Other, he’s a desperate Rebel Dharmite. HGI has clearly had some interaction with whoever the “He” who is the boss of the Others, and knows him enough to fear him. But his quote about God not seeing the Island clearly means something going on the Island is at odds with his morals, as in “If God could see this place, he wouldn’t allow it to happen.”
(PS – doesn’t this remind everyone of Season 1 of Alias when they referred to “The Man” the whole season, only to find out it’s Sydney’s mom all along? If the “He” who is the leader of the Others turns out to be Jack’s Dad, I’m calling JJ Abrams out for copyright infringement of himself).
However he was originally ended up on the Island, whatever he used to believe in – he’s disenfranchised by it. He wants to get off the Island. He wants to end the experiments going on there. He wants to bring Dharma down. This desperation is a strong candidate for the explanation of why he got caught in the first place - HGI wanted to get caught. He was a prisoner to the Dharma life, and wanted to get out of it, no matter what it took.
But there’s still the other part of his statement, and I took this part to be quite literal – the rest of the world can’t see the Island. This could easily be explained by some sort of stealth technology / cloaking magical mumbo-jumbo I suppose, or they could fall back on the “Bermuda Triangle” theories that I was a pretty strong believer of last season – which help explain how different things from all over the world ended up there. Long time readers, remember this?
(Basically it’s the Super Mario Bros “Warp Zone” theory that there are 10 areas around the world where unexplained phenomenon occur due to some complicated scientific region. Could easily explain how the Nigerian plane, polar bear, etc. ended up there – and why no one can find it.)
So is the Island all in Hurley’s head? No. Although Dave’s explanation does neatly tie up the “Numbers” and strange activities (plus there was a picture of an Island in the mental institution!)
We’ve seen multiple instances of Hurley “learning things” on the Island that he should have already known if it was all in his head. Also, it would be the biggest cop-out of a storyline ever. Not something you reveal mid-season of Season 2. (Want to see a better example of how to play out the “Is this all in someone’s head” mind-bending storyline? Check out the Buffy Season Six episode “Normal Again”. Once again I’m reminded of the greatness of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.)
So why did Dave say that? Besides providing the writers a chance to throw out a popular Internet theory and discredit it? Hard to say. In the end, he was just trying to get Hurley to kill himself. So here’s a thought:
If you believe that the Dharmites have the technology evidenced in the Smoke Monster to “scan” someone’s brain and pick up on their memories, it’s possible to think that they can somehow pick out fears or weaknesses through such a scan. They could then use this knowledge to exploit / trap / kill the Survivors. If you think the Others are outnumbered by our Survivors (like I do), this is a safe and easy way to pick them off one by one without risking another Other getting killed (Ethan) or captured (HGI).
I mean, think about what we’ve “seen” so far on the Island:
Jack – dead father
Kate – black horse
Eko – dead brother’s plane
Shannon – Ghost Walt
Boone – dead Shannon
Sawyer – person he killed in the form of a boar
Hurley - Dave
Each could easily be seen as a “worst fear” or “bad memory” of the character. Hmmm… I like this theory more and more…
So was Dave real? No. At this point, everyone knows everyone in our group of Survivors – especially with all the dangers of Others on the Island, any new person who suddenly shows up would have been noticed and immediately captured / interrogated. When Dave first shows up, it’s around the Supply Drop with a lot of other Survivors. Someone else would have seen him.
The tricky thing is that some of these visions have turned out to be “true” in the past. Sawyer saw Kate’s horse. Sayid saw Shannon’s Ghost Walt. Boone / Locke / Charlie saw Eko’s plane. Are these visions somehow becoming reality on the Island? I say “becoming” because they all seem to start out as something that only one person can see, but eventually end up being seen by someone else.
Only Kate saw the horse at first. Only Shannon saw Ghost Walt in the beginning. Locke originally saw Eko’s plane in a vision before actually finding it. It brings up some interesting possibilities about needing to have someone else believe you to make it real, or the things you believe you see eventually becoming real on this Island (somehow related to the “Mind’s Eye” ability that Walt had?)
So Dave could eventually become real? I guess... except he seemed to killed himself at the end by jumping off the cliff. I’m not sure how that would work with the “rules” of the visions.
So what was the point of Dave? In the end, the point of Dave is the point of the episode. We learned that Hurley indeed was in a mental institution, we learned he indirectly killed two people, (giving him something in common with most of our other Survivors), and it shows that Hurley is still kinda crazy.
He’s always been a “normal” one on the Island who provided comic relief and seemed above the drama that everyone else has had… but not anymore. As time goes on and we learn more about the Survivors’ pasts, they just keep having more in common.
Comment away! Please make up some sort of name instead of being “Anonymous”, if you don’t mind!
Monday, April 03, 2006
Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: Clearly this is another shout out to me from the Lost producers. First they play Dave Matthews Band's “Stay” earlier this season, now they title the episode after the frontman of the band. Once again my worlds collide and I am in danger of spontaneously combusting.
Or… I guess it’s entirely possible that the title refers to this guy:
I’ll go out on a limb and say his name is “Dave”. Why?
- There aren’t any characters on the Island named Dave that we’re aware of, and he’s the new character that seems to be introduced this episode.
- You can hear Hurley say “Dave?” at the end of the preview, and he’s clearly the only person seeing this guy.
So who is Dave? Based on his getup, he’s probably someone Hurley met during his time in the mental institution. (PS – can we please learn why Hurley was in the mental institution in the first place this episode? Please?)
But after last week’s triple layered deeper meaning, this week looks to be the least symbolic Lost episode title yet. Even Season One’s “Pilot” could be viewed two ways (the pilot episode of the series, and the Pilot of the plane who faced an untimely demise from the Monster).
Sorry to disappoint loyal reader, but I’ve got nothing for this one. I even tried searching the Net for some acronym of D.A.V.E. and found nothing.
It’s like the Lost creators are trying to put me out of a job.
TV Guide Description: Libby lends Hurley support when he begins to think the island is having a strange effect on him, and Locke's sense of purpose is shaken when the prisoner provides new information about the hatch.
TV Guide Breakdown: After a few simple interactions, it looks like the Hurley-Libby relationship is finally going to start being developed on the show. Libby once again looks to be donning the “clinical psychologist” robe to help Hurley, who thinks he’s going crazy when he starts seeing imaginary friends from back in the day. But why does Hurley seem to know her? More on that later…
Is Hurley going loco? Well, he has been eating more Dharma food than anyone else on the Island, thanks to his secret stash. If there is something fishy with the food (which, doesn’t there have to be? Otherwise why would they need Dharma-manufactured food instead of just buying name brand stuff off the shelf? Hello, product placement ABC!) he would be the first one to feel the effects.
Or it could be that Hurley’s been a little nuts all along. Although they’ve never officially come out and say it, it’s been insinuated that he spent some time in a mental institution, but was released. I don’t think it would be unrealistic to see him lapse back to “crazy mode” due to the stress of the crash and life on the Island. He’s definitely a little touchy about the subject matter, since the previews show him literally jumping on Sawyer when Sawyer mentions something about “going crazy” to him.
So why is Hurley seeing Dave all the sudden? Well, think about the other visions we’ve had on the show:
- Jack seeing his father (who he wronged / drove to his death).
- Sawyer thinking a boar is someone from his past (who he killed).
- Shannon seeing Walt (who may or may not already be dead).
Based on this, I’ll go out on a limb and say Hurley wronged Dave in some way (possibly killed him?), and is now being haunted by his memories. Hurley is one of the few Survivors left who have a seemingly “clean” past, so it’s about time his gets muddied up with some sins to put him in the same boat as everyone else on the Island.
The more interesting storyline looks to be about Locke’s sense of purpose being shaken by Henry Gale (I can’t keep calling him that, so let’s call him Henry Gale Impersonator – HGI), when HGI tells him new information about the Hatch.
Ever since he discovered the Hatch, Locke felt that it represented his “mission” on the Island, the greater purpose for why he’s there and why he found it. Once he saw the 108 Timer and was told it was necessary to save the world, he had exactly that. So I’m betting that HGI tells Locke that entering the numbers is simply an experiment, and nothing will happen if he stops doing it.
Clearly this would shake Locke to the core, since his “purpose” on the Island would be gone. But this would bring up a very interesting scenario:
On the one hand, we’d have Locke – who would try to convince everyone else that HGI is lying and that they need to keep entering the Numbers.
On the other hand, we’d have Jack – who finally has some evidence that tells him what he’s suspected all along – that not entering the Numbers wouldn’t cause any catastrophe.
With all the Jack / Locke conflicts we’ve seen building up over the past few weeks, this would be a great way to bring them to a head. It would also be a way to force Locke to start telling people what he’s seen, to use as evidence of why they need to keep entering the Numbers (such as the hieroglyphics and the blacklight image).
ABC. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – never EVER trust anything you see from ABC. Last week’s preview promised “five revelations, each more shocking than the one before”… which didn’t really pan out. This week looks to show Hurley plummeting to his death from a cliff on top the Island… also probably not going to happen.
But this doesn’t just go for the TV commercials. Their website is also guilty. Someone commented that “The Real Henry Gale is Rose’s brother! There’s a letter on ABC’s website!” But here’s what Lost's creators have to say about that…
"It's on the ABC site, but we [the producers] are not necessarily generating nor fact-checking content. We are sort of aware of it, and we sort of pitched the concept, but it sort of went off the rails a couple of weeks ago, talking about Henry Gale being their brother, and you know, we were a little surprised."
Translation – we can’t come out and say “Stupid ABC is just making stuff up because they pay the bills that allow us to live and film in Hawaiian paradise”, but that’s clearly the underlying message.
Episode Prediction: Although we’ll be dealing with the aftermath of the Henry Gale fiasco, (and hopefully the Locke / Jack conflict over entering the Numbers I described above) I’m thinking this episode will be a bit of a “slow” episode compared to last week.
Expect some development of the Hurley / Libby relationship, and Hurley to be haunted by his past in the form of “Dave”. Hurley will think he’s going crazy again and will go off in the Jungle looking to clear his mind. Libby will follow and end up being the only one who can help him. At the moment of truth, when Hurley is about to jump / fall off the cliff, he’ll remember why he knows Libby.
- Is Libby crazy too? Certainly looks like it from the picture. Hurley clearly knows her from his time in the looney bin. So is she lying about this whole “clinical psychologist gig”? She seemed to know what she was doing when helping Claire out retrieve her memories. Which makes me think…
- She’s undercover. Acting crazy to help her patients, who see her as one of them (former Lost episode title pun intended) instead of a “doctor”. Could it be that she was assigned to “monitor” Hurley, to the extent that the whole reason she was on Oceanic Flight 815 is because she’s following him?
- If you want to get really crazy, you could hypothesize that she’s a Dharma employee hired to monitor crazy Leonard, who is repeating the Numbers over and over again? Once Hurley started using the Numbers, she began following him, with the mission of “controlling” these cursed Numbers to prevent them from affecting anyone else.
- And if that’s the case, is Hurley the whole reason for Oceanic Flight 815 crashing? A way to “bring the Numbers back home”, eliminating the possibility of them spreading any farther?
Whoa. This is how awesome Lost would be if I was in charge of it…