Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Lost - "The Cost of Living"

(Whoa. I leave for four days and the Blog goes to hell. My Google Ads get disabled (it turns out you aren't allowed to ask people to click your ads - what is this, Communist Russia?) costing me $130, people start posting Spoilers in the comments section (remember, we voted to ban this action last season?), our pets heads are falling off... It's getting crazy. But now I'm back and intend to right this ship. No longer blinded by the prospect of becoming rich off the Blog, I'm back to my roots, doing it for the right reasons - to help keep my co-workers and friends from doing actual work at their jobs.)

Episode Title: "The Cost of Living"

Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: Finally! After spending two and a half seasons dealing with the mysteries of the Island, it looks like Lost is finally getting around to something far more interesting - economics! As the episode title hints, this episode seems to be dealing with the economic principle of the cost of living. A Cost of Living Index measures differences in the price of goods and services over time. Price indexes, such as the U.S. Consumer Price Index, are examples of these indexes. Price indexes measure the cost of purchasing a bundle of goods and services. In a nutshell, it tells you how expensive it is to buy basic necessities in a given area.

So what does this have to do with Lost? Absolutely nothing - I'm just doing my public service to make the world a smarter place. You'll thank me when you're on Jeopardy someday. But on to the deeper meaning...

What is the cost of living? What do we pay each day in order to remain living, breathing, and alive? You could argue that the cost of living is putting up with the pain and suffering that inevitably comes from time to time in life. From a religious perspective, one could argue that the cost of living is the risk that comes each day that you will commit some action to damn your soul. You could even argue that the cost of living is death. Whether we like it or not, everyone dies. The cost of living is that some day you're going to die. As Dave Matthews puts it, "Another year older - another year closer to being dead"). Wow! Most morbid paragraph on the Blog ever! How Halloween appropriate!

Which brings us to Eko.

The Cost of Living is an Eko-centric episode. Who has had a higher cost of living than Eko? Even Locke's "horrible past" pales in comparison. Think back. Eko was forced to murder a complete stranger to save his brother from the same act, he turns into a feared drug lord, and is eventually responsible for his brother's death. He's killed a lot of people, including those closest to him. That's a lot of baggage for someone to shoulder, even if they are built like a hoss. The cost living for Eko is this burden of his past - and it looks like he's coming to grips with it this week.

But he's not the only one. In a nutshell, Lost has always been about people with tortured pasts for one reason or another, and coming to grips with these burdens. Even now, we've got Jack wrestling with the decision of helping the Others in order to get off the Island (the cost of living - off the Island!) and the Others seemingly having an internal struggle (the cost of living on the island is a lack of free will?), without even re-hashing all that we've learned about Sun, Locke, and Sawyer this season. Everyone has plenty of issues, no question there. What worries me is that in the past, when you overcome your demons and find peace on Lost, you usually die (see: Boone, Ana-Lucia, Shannon).

The cost of living can be steep. But to take it to the extreme, the highest cost of living is one person sacrficing themself so that another can live. That puts the value of one life over the value of another. The cost of one person living can sometimes be the death of another (see: Bruce Willis at the end of Armageddon).


TV.com Description: A delirious Eko wrestles with past demons; some of the castaways go to the Pearl station to find a computer they can use to locate Jack, Kate and Sawyer; Jack does not know who to trust when two of the Others are at odds with each other.

TV.com Breakdown: When we last left Eko, he was seemingly still unconscious from his Polar Bear attack (I think we can safely chalk up his "talking" to Locke as a hallucination on Locke's part). The way the description is worded, his "wrestling with past demons" could happen regardless of if he wakes up or still unconscious. I'm curious to see if this struggle is going to be another trippy scene that's all inside Eko's head while he's still unconscious and dreaming, or if it's a product of him waking up and being "changed" by the Hatch implosion, a la Desmond. Only instead of seeing the future, Eko's seeing his demons from his past. Either way, I'm expecting a heavy dose of Yemi guilting Eko about his past.

Meanwhile, it looks like Locke decides a return trip to the Pearl Station is in order to help facilitate his journey for Jack, Kate and Sawyer. It’s about time that one of the Survivors started thinking logically, using the resources from a Hatch to their advantage! It’s still bothered me that there have been no repeat visits to the Staff, the Pearl, etc. other than the initial visits there. If it was me, and I was stranded on a mysterious Island with no idea what was going on all around me, you better believe I’d be tearing each Hatch apart, trying to find some clues.

Inside the Pearl, I’m assuming Locke encounters this freaky image:

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Who is this guy? Well, given that he has an eye patch, smart money is on the fact that he’s the same person who lost his glass eye inside the Arrow Hatch. It’s also likely that he was the one who was sitting at the desk inside the Pearl, burning cigarettes (whose butts were found by Locke and Eko last season).

Rather than being our first “Reject”, I’m more expecting him to become a “wild card” on the Island – the equivalent of someone like CFL, who doesn’t seem to have any true allegiances, but seems to have a fair deal of knowledge about the Island. Although mega-freaky, he doesn’t quite have the “savage look” that I would expect from the Rejects, and also seems to be all alone, which somewhat rules him out for being an Other. Look for him to provide the clues necessary to lead Locke to Jack, Kate, and Sawyer – and also be plenty freaky.

Lastly, it seems that we’re getting our first taste of some dissension among the Others, and Jack is right in the middle. Although it might be something as simple as Pickett and Ben arguing (over if Pickett can kill Sawyer or not), it would make more sense to have this be a fight between Juliet and Ben – over the tumor that Jack pointed out last episode. Juliet seemed a bit taken aback by Jack’s comment about the X-Rays showing a tumor, and the previews seem to indicate that the endangered spine was none other than Ben’s.

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Suddenly, the reasoning behind the kidnapping of Jack becomes quite clear. Ben needs spinal surgery. Jack is a spinal surgeon. It’s pretty simple really. Kate and Sawyer are brought along for the ride to help “coerce” Jack if needed.

So why the argument? I’m guessing that none of the other Others were aware of Ben’s tumor or the need for Jack. Something tells me that they were under the impression that Jack, Kate, and Sawyer were kidnapped for some higher purpose than just helping Ben survive. Suddenly, it seems that Ben is out for his own well being more so than that of the group. At least that’s my hope, in my dream world of Others and Rebel Dharmites.

Previously on Lost...

Brian's One Word Review of "Every Man for Himself": Intense.

I was really surprised to see how many people were not huge fans of last episode. Granted, I didn’t believe the “exploding heart” bit for a second, but it was still the most action packed episode of Lost so far this season. Between Sawyer getting his ass kicked by Ben (reminiscent of Ethan’s domination of Jack in Season One, anyone? Maybe these Others do have some sort of super strength after all…), getting stabbed in the heart (which to me was a pretty clear reference to the movie “The Rock”, not “Pulp Fiction”), Colleen dying, and the bunny seemingly being shaken to death, there were enough “edge of your seat” moments this episode to more than make up for the weak flashback and “exploding heart” storylines.

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Again, it wasn’t a five star episode, but I enjoyed it as much as any episode so far this season. So what happened?

Desmond. As predicted, he’s using his newfound clairvoyance to help protect his fellow Survivors from danger – in this case, saving Claire, Charlie, and Aaron from a lightning strike that could have seriously injured them – or at least ruined their shelter. So what’s the deal here?

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We didn’t really get any further information about how or why Desmond suddenly has this power, but it’s clear that it’s not strictly some sort of “mind meld” with Locke and Eko, but rather straightforward seeing into the future. Knowing exactly when and where the lightning bolt would strike was in no way tied to any knowledge that any of the Survivors would have. Needless to say, if Desmond somehow has control over this power, it would prove indispensable in any sort of “fight” against the Others, as well as predicting what is going to happen on upcoming episodes of Lost! Here’s hoping we continue to learn more about one of the most intriguing developments on Lost we’ve ever seen.

Purple Haze. As some commenters have astutely noted, one of the big lines of the episode was something of a throwaway line between Tom and Ben when Sawyer was waking up on the operating table, where Tom mentions somewhat frantically that “the sky went purple, we’ve lost communications, and Colleen is dying…”

Why is this so important? For one, it demonstrates that the Others have no idea what happened when Desmond blew up the Hatch any more than our Survivors do. The curious thing is that Ben’s capture and toying with Locke seemed to be for the purpose of getting them to stop pushing the button – why would he have done so if they were unaware of the consequences of such action? This also leads me to the question – if the Others don’t know what happened when the sky went purple, who will? Are we ever going to get a firm answer of the repercussions of this action, or are we going to have to piece it together as we go along, chalking up new occurrences on the Island as resulting from the Hatch implosion?

Also huge in this conversation is that the Others have lost their communication with the outside world. When the magnetic force “released”, it clearly knocked out whatever sort of communication equipment they were using – leaving them as stranded on the Island as the Survivors are. Will this possibly lead to the two sides working together? Not likely – the Others seem quite content to stay on the Island, which is the exact opposite of how our Survivors feel. What this might do, though, is give our Survivors a bit of an upper hand in some sort of “battle” between the two groups. With their communications down, maybe their ability to remotely monitor the Island is lessened as well.

Crappy Equipment. I also found it curious that the Others lacked functioning medical equipment. If they had Defibrillator Paddles, Colleen might have been able to be saved – but Juliet quietly admitted that they did not. These Others are definitely not as advanced as we initially gave them credit for – they might somehow be able to get ten copies of the same book for Book Club, but they can’t request updated, functioning medical equipment? Something seems a little off here – as if they don’t have as constant communication lines with the outside world as they would have us to believe. It’s almost as if they’re holding on to their life on the Island even after their supporters on the outside world have forgotten about them. Very intriguing.

Lame. Much less intriguing was the flashback this past episode, showing us that Sawyer was able to con people for some good. I suppose the flashback gave us a more well-rounded image of Sawyer as a person, but it really didn’t do much for me. Yes, it was nice to see Cassidy back, showing some continuity between Sawyer flashbacks. Yes, it was nice to know that Sawyer has a kid out there (allegedly), and has the heart to support this kid in his own way. But my main problem with the flashback, and something that seems to be happening more and more, is that the flashbacks seem to have little to no connection to what’s going on the Island at the time.

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I remember back to Season One, when a character on the Island would say or do something that would “launch” a flashback, where we would see something saying or doing something similar. That makes sense. The actions on the Island are “triggering” the character to have that flashback. Anymore, it seems very disconnected, as we have Sawyer in a cage, plotting his escape – then flashing back to him in a boxing ring – huh? It just doesn’t make much sense.

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One of my fears for a while has been that the flashbacks among our core group of characters would become stale with time. It’s slowly happening, but it’s not because the things happening in the flashbacks are uninteresting or lack a huge “twist”, a la Locke being in a wheelchair – but rather they are just starting to feel extraneous to the storyline on the Island. More than anything, this seems to be a product of lazy writing. Disappointing.

Paulo. Speaking of disappointment, I again have to mention what an absolutely horrible job the writers are doing introducing Paulo and Nikki – another episode with a throwaway scene featuring Paulo where we don’t learn his name or anything about him, but instead see a forced scene with an existing character, acting like they’ve known each other all along. This is getting to the point of awkwardness. You know how when you meet someone new, if you forget their name, you only have so much time to ask them what it is again before it becomes too awkward to do so since you’ve already been hanging out with them so much? I think we’re officially there with Paulo. Nikki, you’re not far behind.

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Alcatraz. Finally, the big shock at the end of the episode is that there’s more than one Island on Lost. If we’re to believe Ben, the Island that they’re currently on is used as a “prison” of sorts (thus the “Alcatraz” reference). After seeing this, some immediate questions come to mind:

  1. How have the Survivors, the Tailers, CFL, etc. NOT seen this until now? Is there some sort of “magic invisibility shield” around it? Did the Hatch exploding somehow make it visible, where it was cloaked in the past? Or are we to believe that no one has ever made it to the side of the main Island that it lies across from?
  2. Here’s a big question – was it even real? It’s almost a little too convenient, given that we saw the Others’ “main civilization” is on the main Island, and could be nothing more than some optical illusion designed to keep Sawyer from any escape plans. How? No idea – but something to keep in the back of your mind…
  3. Assuming that the Island is real, was the wire that Sayid found along the beach somehow running communications / power from the main Island out to Alcatraz? If so, wouldn’t he have seen Alcatraz out in the ocean when he was looking at where the wire was going? Or is this where the “cloaking” comes into play?
  4. Again assuming Alcatraz is legit, how do the Others get to and from the main Island? There was some mention of “the sub returning”, so it sounds as though they do have some means of sea transportation – but we’ve yet to see any proof of this.
  5. What is the purpose of this second Island? It isn’t mentioned at all in the “Numbers” Orientation video, but may have been referenced in the Pearl Orientation video, where they talk about performing your experiments and then returning to the ferry to take you back to the barracks. Is Alcatraz the true “living quarters” for the scientists, to protect them from the wacky experiments going on the main Island? If so, what are we to make of the fact that the Others were seemingly living on the main Island during the first scene of Season Three? Is that their “summer home”?

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Spoilers. Last but not least. Someone forgot the golden rule of “Lost and Gone Forever” – that is, we don’t post spoilers in the Comments Section, since they are the equivalent of fast-forwarding to the end of a movie before watching the middle, or searching for your Christmas presents around the house the week before Christmas – it just ruins the fun for everyone.

Because of this, and for the sake of all those who don’t actually read the Comments (which I hope is most people!), I’m going to refrain from commenting on the post in question (but have already kinda hinted at my thoughts already) – but will say this – I have a very hard time believing it to be true. From a storytelling perspective, it doesn’t make any sense to me, and I will be shocked to see it come to fruition.

Maybe I’ve already said too much.

So with that, I’m done for this week. I’ve got to say, I’m going into this week with little to no expectations about the quality of the episode, which should hopefully leave me pleasantly surprised. But honestly, we’ve only got two weeks of Lost left before the winter break, and it has definitely under-performed up until this point. It’s going to take a strong finish for Lost to build some momentum to carry us through the cold winter months – but here’s hoping.

PS – God bless those male Lost producers. Another week, another scene of hot Kate action!

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Lost - "Every Man for Himself"

Episode Title: “Every Man for Himself”

Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: Quite fittingly, this is a Sawyer episode. If anyone on the Island has embodied the spirit of "every man for himself", it's James Ford. Since Season One, Sawyer has always been the one Survivor hoarding supplies, bartering goods for his own advantage, and showing little concern for the well-being of anyone but himself. Although he sometimes will flash hints of heroism and altruism (taking a bullet trying to protect Walt, for example), it seems that just when you think he's coming around and has learned to be a team player, he goes and does something that totally casts him back as the selfish loner (such as stealing all the guns last season).

But this loner behavior isn't limited to his time on the Island. Even in his flashbacks, we've seen a seeming "Sawyer Finds Love" story turn out to be nothing more than a "Long Con". So what gives with this guy? Well, think about his past - he lost both of his parents very violently at an early age, leaving him somewhat all alone in the world. Even worse, he doesn't know exactly who is responsible for the death of his parents - only that his name was "Sawyer", making everyone in the world the potential person who indirectly led to the death of his parents. With that sort of rough start, it's understandable that he doesn't trust anyone but himself, and he's only looking out for himself.

Therefore, with a title like “Every Man for Himself”, you have to wonder if Sawyer, presented with the same offer that Jack received a few weeks back (“Help us and we’ll send you home”), if he wouldn’t jump at the opportunity – leaving Kate and Jack, along with the other Survivors to fend for themselves, he’s on the slow boat back to America.

Or would he?

Being imprisoned with Kate, there’s some quality bonding going on between the two of them. Based on the smooching between the two of them two weeks back, you might think that if Sawyer were to escape his cage, his first plan of action would be to free Kate. I mean, how could he abandon Freckles after all that they’ve been through together? Well, based on the episode title and the history between the two of them, maybe it isn’t so unrealistic.

Think back to the past two seasons, all the twists and turns of the "love triangle" on the Island between Jack, Kate, and Sawyer. Very little of it has made much sense? How realistic is it to have Sawyer, Mr. Loner, Mr. “Every Man for Himself” intertwined in it? Is Kate hot enough to make Sawyer change his ways? Does Sawyer just want to prove that he's better than Jack and win the girl, even though he doesn't want her? It's hard to say.

If you remember last season, Kate seemed to "pick" Sawyer as her dreamboat. She cut his hair, he gave her guns, it was a storybook romance. Yet it seemed to end as soon as it began. Sawyer quickly ruined any potential chance he had with her with his Long Con, duping all the Survivors (including Kate) in stealing the guns from the Hatch. If he really cared getting down and dirty with Freckles, he probably would have resisted the urge to horde the guns… or getting horizontal with Ana-Lucia – but that’s a whole other story.

In fact, when you look back to the history of the love triangle, it's really been all over the board. We've had documented instances of Kate flirting with Jack, Jack flirting with Kate, Sawyer flirting with Kate, Kate flirting with Sawyer, and Jack flirting with Sawyer (oh wait) - but it seems as soon as the slightest bit of romance builds up, it’s quickly dismissed and the characters distance themselves again.

Why do I bring all of this up? Because I'm a sucker for Dawson's Creek style romance? Well yes, but - in an episode titled "Every Man for Himself", it sure does seem that the Others are pretty curious about the relationships between the three of these characters. Remember Ben’s comments to Kate about why she asked about Sawyer before Jack? The satisfaction he showed when Jack stopped incessantly asking “Where are my friends” and actually talked to him? The Others care about these relationships for some reason.

In fact, the preview would lead you to believe that they go so far as to torture Sawyer to force some sort of profession of love out of Kate…

Pretty intense, right?

Are the Others trying to learn about “love”, like some crazy robots that can’t love and thus can’t understand it? Probably not. My bet is that this torture scene / forced love confession is all tied to breaking down our boy Jack. As we’ve documented, up until this point, Jack seems to be the one they care about – Kate and Sawyer seem to be accessories. What would tear him apart more than anything? Seeing his honeybun saying that she loves Sawyer, perhaps? It’s as logical a reason as any I can think of as to why the Others took Sawyer and Kate along (I refuse to believe it’s just to do manual labor). Or perhaps this forced confession is one to see how serious Sawyer is about their offer – would he go along with the Others even if he knew that Kate loved him? It’s all very confusing, and I’m hoping this episode clears some of these questions up.

In past episodes, we’ve seen Sawyer seemingly take the high road and do the right thing, only to have the twist in the end be that he’s still a jerkface working towards his best interests alone. So be on the lookout – no matter what Sawyer does this episode, remember that he’s still living life with the motto of “Every Man for Himself”.

(Note: Or maybe once again the American previews are misleading us, and we should turn to our more trustworthy neighbors to the north for a more accurate episode preview, where the torture scene is more downplayed, and the focus is more on Ben and his offer to Sawyer – probably more representative of what this episode will actually be about…)

TV.com Description: The Others prevent Sawyer and Kate from escaping, leaving Sawyer perplexed by the extent of the measures taken to keep them imprisoned. Jack is asked to use his medical training to save the life of one of the Others. At the beach, Desmond's strange behavior attracts attention. He begins to construct a mysterious device.

TV.com Breakdown: After the episode description last week teased a sex scene we never saw, I’m cautiously approaching the episode preview this week. Be on the lookout for sentences of this preview magically disappearing during the actual episode – maybe appearing later in the season, maybe being saved for “extended episodes” down the road. Who knows – anyways, let’s get breaking down…

Based on the previews above, it looks like Sawyer and Kate make another attempt to escape their oversized Other cages, but are unsuccessful. Sawyer is perplexed by these extreme measures – why would the Others spend so much time and energy watching and guarding he and Kate, when putting these resources towards the manual labor that they are doing there would be far more effective? If they had this army of Others moving rocks, all the rocks would already be moved. This is going to get the wheels turning in Sawyer’s head that there is something bigger going on here, which will make him more curious than ever, and more focused on escaping and figuring out what is going on with these “Others” – which is a good thing because it’s about time someone started asking questions rather than half-heartedly going along with the Others actions (Kate) or just stubbornly ignoring everything they do (Jack). Sawyer’s our man to ask some questions and (hopefully) get some answers.

Elsewhere in Otherland, Jack is asked to put his medical knowledge to good use and help save an Other. Is this Colleen, who was shot by Sun two episodes ago? Someone different? How will Jack react? On the one hand, he’s a doctor, and their Hippocratic oath binds them to help someone in need regardless of who it is. On the other hand, he’s finally got a bit of an upper hand with his captors, and could use this as a bargaining chip to escape / rescue Kate and Sawyer. It’ll be interesting to see the internal conflict on this one. You also wonder, as I mentioned in an earlier post, if Ben somehow knew this was coming, and this was precisely the “favor” he was talking about with Jack two episodes back. This also confirms our suspicion that the Others lack a doctor, which might explain why they kidnapped him in a ridiculously simple sort of way.

They took Jack because he’s a doctor. They took Kate and Sawyer because they could be used as psychological pawns to affect Jack and get him to do what the Others want. The Others are just looking for a family physician to move to Othersville!

Back at our Survivors’ camp, we return (thankfully) to the most intriguing storyline of the season thus far – Desmond. What happened to this guy? Can he read minds? Can he see the future? Did he have a mind-meld with Locke and Eko in the Hatch? No idea. I’m guessing the “strange behavior” that people start to notice is more Desmond referencing things that haven’t happened yet, or possibly using this knowledge to prevent things from happening (accidents, injuries, etc.)

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Also, he’s constructing a mysterious “device”. It’s interesting that they use the term “device”, which seems to describe something that has a purpose – a function. It’s not like when Eko started building his church or Michael built the raft. You wouldn’t describe either of those as “devices”. The term “device” hints at something complicated, mechanical, and built for one reason.

So what could this possibly be? Well, if we assume that Desmond can pseudo see the future, maybe he knows that something is coming or something is about to happen, and he’s getting prepared for it. The device could be a weapon of sorts, but I think the more likely option is that the device ends up being something to help the Survivors get found – a flare gun, a spotlight, something like that – something like that, using the materials available.


Because Penny’s coming – and Desmond wants to be sure that she finds him. I know we haven’t seen or had any mention of her yet this season, but mark it right now, the big Episode Six cliffhanger will be Penny Widmore showing up on the Island. They can’t let that storyline dangle for much longer without everyone totally forgetting about it, can they?

(…or this could be the Red Herring in the Episode preview, and Desmond won’t be building anything at all.)

Previously on Lost…

There were lots of mixed emotions on the last episode of Lost. Some loved it, some hated it, some were Switzerlandic in their indifference. Let’s discuss…

The Good. I think everyone can agree that Locke’s trippy dream sequence was the highlight of the episode, giving us a glimpse into each character’s current state and place on the Island. Here’s the breakdown…

Claire / Charlie / Aaron – “They’re fine… for a while” – Sounds like the only action for the happy family for a while will be relationship based. Boring. These are two characters sorely in need of a good storyline! Look how happy they all look – that doesn’t make for good TV!

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Sayid / Sun / Jin – “I think Sayid’s got it” – Sounds like the three will survive the long march back to the Survivors’ camp, led by Sayid’s navigation and survival skills.

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Hurley – “Not Hurley” – I like that they show Hurley at a computer, typing in the Numbers. With the destruction of the Hatch, everyone else is through with the Numbers, but they still haunt Hurley and his life.

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Desmond – “Forget it, he’s helping himself” – First, the wording of that is hilarious since Desmond is with three girls (who might be triplets?), but it also strengthens the theme that Desmond is still somewhat separate from the other Survivors. He’s taking care of himself, figuring out what happened to him in the Hatch, and doing his best Jesus impression.

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Kate / Sawyer / Jack / Ben – “There’s nothing you can do for them, not yet” – All kinds of symbolism here. Aside from Kate looking all kinds of hot, which represents the heat of the Island… and that Kate is an attractive female, we have Kate and Sawyer getting all flirty with each other (showing that she “chooses” Sawyer over Jack?), Jack separate from the other two (Every Man for Himself?), and Ben checking Jack through security (acting as the “guard”). Also love that the metal detector makes the same beep as the 108 Numbers. Nice touch!

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The curious part is that it ends with Boone saying “Clean it up John – they’ve got him. You don’t have much time.” To me, “they” doesn’t mean “the polar bear”… it would reference the Others or the Rejects or something like that. Odd. Although the dream was clearly meant to get Locke to save Eko, I wonder if there was more than meets the eye to the Polar Bear attack (such as setup by the Others)? I’m probably reaching there, but anything would be better than it just being a Polar Bear attack, right?

The Bad. How awkward was the introduction of Nikki and Paulo (the ones who were supposed to be having sex in Jack’s tent)? Here are two characters who came out of nowhere and freaked out upon hearing that Jack was captured. Did they even know Jack? Were they all buddies off camera? It just all seemed very out of place.

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If the editors decided to cut the sex scene, where we could get a proper introduction to these characters, they should have also removed them from the scene where Hurley tells everyone about Jack, Kate, and Sawyer. My understanding is that these guys are going to be series regulars, so I hope they get a proper introduction in the next episode or two (like, I don’t know – giving the audience their names and relationship with each other – if any?)

The Ugly. The Polar Bear. Seriously, terrible, terrible CGI. I’m pretty sure Lost is making enough money to pay some computer nerd to do something better than this:

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Heck, they could probably just pay some Lost-obsessed computer nerd with information about what is coming up on the show in return for their services. It looks like a hybrid Polar Bear / Werewolf. Unless that was the point, and Dharma was doing freaky animal experiments, maybe they should have went back to the guy in the Polar Bear suit from last season…

Once again, I’m the bearer of bad news. I’m heading up to Maine for work this week, which explains this lamely short Blog post and the potential for no Instant Reaction post Wednesday night / Thursday morning. Stupid work getting in the way of the more important things in life, like Blogging! But I’ll be back this weekend, and definitely get an update up then. The good news is, after this I’m back in the Delta House for the remaining episodes of Lost before it goes on winter break – so there will be plenty of timely and complete updates.

Until then, happy Lost-ing!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

"Further Instructions" Chatter

Brian's One Word Review: Disappointed.

Maybe I was setting myself up for it by setting my expectations too high, but this episode disappointed me for two major reasons:

  1. A Polar Bear? Really?! All the crazy stuff on the Island that could put someone in danger (Smokey, Others, CFL, Rejects) and you bring in a polar bear that we haven't seen or thought of since Season 1, Episode 1? That's terrible writing in my opinion - it felt out of place, had crappy CGI, and served no real purpose.
  2. The Flashback. What was the point? Once again, we learned that Locke had a crappy life before the Island, and got taken advantage of left and right. All he ever wanted was a family, and he didn't get it from his real family, his foster family, or his crazy cult family. How about telling us how he got in the wheelchair? Or maybe a flashback to time on the Island, like when he encountered the Smoke Monster the first time in Season One? All would be awesome. I suppose you could argue that it developed the reason why Locke was a "hunter" (and not a "farmer"), but that's about it.

On the other hand, there was plenty to like about the episode.

  1. The drug-dream sequence was fantastic, giving us hints about the current state and fate of all the characters ("They'll be alright... for now", "You can't help them...yet", "I think Sayid has that under control"), and it's good to see that Locke is coming back as a badass rather than lame Locke from last season.
  2. Desmond. I'm not sure if he can see the future, or if he's somehow mentally linked with Locke and Eko after the hatch implosion, but the whole "time warp" theories about the Island are getting more and more evidence in their favor.

What happened to the steamy Survivor sex we were promised? Must have been cut (and I can't say I'm upset about it - watching the episode, I kept thinking "how are they going to have that scene in the midst of all these other ones? It will feel terribly out of place."), along with that sweet line from the preview of Locke picking up his hunting knife and saying "I've missed this." Apparently they're filming a lot more than they're using these days - because this makes two of the three episodes where major elements were filmed and never shown... unless they're coming up down the road?

Sorry for letting everyone down with this episode by hyping it up so much, but I have to admit - if I was writing the show, it would be far more interesting. We're three episodes into the season (halfway through the alleged "mini-storyline" that runs through the fall break) and I don't feel like anything has happened. I don't know much more about the Others, I don't know why they wanted Jack, Kate, and Sawyer, I don't know what the reprecussions of the Hatch Implosion are, etc. I know it's Lost, and answers are always slow coming - but I was expecting more out of the gate.

Anywho, feel free to comment away - full analysis coming next week!

(PS - I finally hit $100 in Google Ads - which means I get a paycheck - good work everyone! I'm not rich yet... but I'm on my way!)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Lost - "Further Instructions"

Episode Title: “Further Instructions”

Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: Okay, so “A Tale of Two Cities” and “The Glass Ballerina” didn’t really live up to my “deeper meaning” expectations – but I’ve got a lot of hope for “Further Instructions”. It’s a Locke-centric episode (always a good sign), and it’s the pivotal third episode of the season (which historically has been one of the best episodes of the season). So what are these “Instructions”?

Well, let’s take a trip down memory lane with our boy John Locke. Remember how badass and mysterious he was in Season One? He was one of the first characters to face Smokey (and survive), and emerged from the encounter with seeming newfound gifts of survival and knowledge about the Island. In return, he had a love (and almost a respect) for the Island. He gave his “I’ve looked into the eye of the Island – and what I saw was beautiful” speech and always seemed to be manipulating everyone else on the Island for his benefit. Locke felt he was brought to the Island for a reason, that he had a special purpose… and he was hellbent on finding out why, even if it meant sacrificing people in the process.

Enter the Hatch. Once Boone and Locke discovered the Hatch, Locke found his purpose. Getting inside that mysterious metal door consumed him. He didn’t really know what was inside, or why he needed to get inside, but the Island seemed to be leading him there (remember the creepy visions of dead Boone and the Beechcraft plane?)

Then came Season Two. Locke found exactly what he was looking for. Through entering the Numbers, he was saving the world – his greater purpose was as great as anyone’s purpose could be. And yet, Locke was… different. Gone were the days of badass Locke winging hunting knives at people and manipulating the rest of the Survivors. He became a slave to the Hatch, becoming a man who sat at a computer mindlessly entering numbers all day (not so different than his former, boring, pre-Island life). There was nothing more telling of Locke’s total change in character than the finale, featuring a crying Locke apologizing to Eko inside the Hatch. That was not the badass John Locke we all knew and loved.

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But with the conclusion of Season Two, and the “destruction” of the Hatch, “Computer Nerd” Locke seems to be firmly behind us, and John Locke is once again is looking for meaning – for “Further Instructions”, if you will. Where does he go from here? Will Locke step in as the de facto leader of the Survivors? Will he embark on a quest to save Jack, Kate, and Sawyer? Will he shift his focus to another Dharma Station (back to the Pearl, perhaps?) in his quest to better understand the Island?

Maybe eventually, but there seems to be more pressing matters for Locke this week – namely, saving Eko…

TV.com Description: The aftermath of the hatch and its implosion results with Locke and Desmond safely alive. However, Mr. Eko remains in grave danger with Locke trying to save him. Meanwhile, Claire is stunned to see castaways Paulo and Nikki having sex in Jack's tent. Also, Hurley discusses in detail to the camp survivors on what it was like being captured by the “Others.” Lastly, flashbacks reveal more about Locke’s past. Locke also begins to come to terms with his involvement in Boone’s death.

TV.com Breakdown: Wow. Best episode description ever. Seriously, our typical episode descriptions give us one or two generic sentences about the episode, revealing little of what is actually going to happen. This is like a Cliff’s Notes summary of the episode! I had a hunch this episode would be huge after looking at the third episodes of the first two seasons, but after reading that description, it confirms it – this will be the best episode of Lost so far this year. Where to begin?

After spending Episode One entirely with the Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and the Others; then spending Episode Two splitting time between them and Sayid, Sun, and Jin, we’re finally getting back to the rest of the Survivors. Finally! While my most pressing questions about Lost revolve around Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and the Others – it’ll be nice to see the rest of the amazing ensemble cast again.

As predicted by most everyone this summer, Locke, Desmond, and Eko all survived the white light Hatch meltdown from last season. No big surprise there. The intriguing thing is, based on the episode preview, they aren’t all stumbling out of the Hatch together – they seem to be scattered all over the place in the Jungle. I suppose the meltdown could have “thrown” them out the Hatch – but doing so without totally beating them to death seems pretty amazing. It makes you start to wonder, as the producers have suggested we start thinking about, what exactly happened when the meltdown occurred… How will each be affected?

The one specific thing the episode preview tells us is that Eko isn’t in the clear yet. He’s not just in danger, he’s in “grave danger” – that’s the worst kind! What on the Island could possibly put someone in such a perilous state? CFL? The Others? Trapped somewhere with Claire blabbering about her “babay” being in danger? Nope, nope, and please God no – the only thing I can think of is our old friend Smokey the Smoke Monster. Why? Well, think about how well it would all fit together…

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Smokey (although producers hint we saw him last season and we didn’t even know it – which I have no explanation for), so we’re due for a reappearance. It hasn’t been since Eko’s encounter with it during “The 23rd Pslam”, which coincidentally was the most we’ve ever seen of our favorite magical smoke friend (well, maybe second favorite – can’t forget about Puff). Eko and Locke are the only two who have successfully stood face to face (face to smoke?) with Smokey and lived, so it would reason they are the two most “knowledgeable” about it. We’ve also been promised that we would learn much more about the nature and purpose of Smokey this season.

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Therefore, if Eko is in “grave danger” from Smokey, the most logical choice to rescue him becomes John Locke. I could also see this “encounter” giving Locke his new purpose for the Island – much like his first encounter with Smokey gave him his initial purpose on the Island. Exciting!

(Sidebar: I’m also kicking around the notion of Locke “killing” Smokey. I don’t know why, or how this would even be possible, but I just get this feeling that something big is going to happen. The producers have hinted that they would be “wrapping up” some un-answered storylines from the first two seasons early in Season Three to make room for some new storylines starting up. I would say the “mysterious monster” storyline would qualify. It’s clearly not critical to the overall story of the show, since it has disappeared for huge chunks of Seasons One and Two without having any huge impact on Lost. It also just seems like the perfect “circle of life” ending to the whole Smoke Monster storyline. Locke serving as the hero, saving Eko, and killing the very thing that gave him his powers.

From a thematic view, one could argue that the first two seasons were really focused on fear of the unknown – Smokey, Desmond, the Others, etc – and how our Survivors discovered and dealt with them. But now, with the integration of the Others (who we can assume know much, if not all about what is going on on the Island), I feel like the answers to these “unknowns” are going to start coming. I’m expecting the theme is going to switch to a more action-based, “how do we get off the Island?” deal... and if it does, Locke ending Smokey seems like a great way to wrap up the storyline. But I digress…)

Elsewhere, we’re finally going to be introduced to the other two new series regulars this season, Paulo and Nikki – and what better way to meet a new friend than with a steamy sex scene? In case you can’t identify the new characters through their sinning in Jack’s tent, here are a few pictures from their pre-Lost lives:

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I like what Paulo and Nikki represent (hot steamy lovers! I mean...) – the “background” characters we’ve seen milling around, attending funerals, carrying rocks, finally getting their time to shine, to step forward and introduce some “fresh” characters without needing another plane or boat to crash. (It really was a genius move on the part of the Lost creators to have these background characters never be identified in the first two seasons.) Expect Claire to have a minor freak-out session upon discovering the love muffins in Jack’s tent, since other individuals taking over Jack’s tent seemingly represents Jack being gone and never coming back, so his possessions are up for grabs.

These feelings will be exacerbated by Hurley’s return, when he describes how they were quickly and efficiently taken down and captured by the Others, helpless against them. I’m expecting a major freak out session among the rest of the Survivors when they realize that three of their strongest members were no match for these mysterious “Others”. Someone is going to need to step up and calm everyone down and organize them. With Sayid still away, and Locke off saving Eko, I’m looking to newcomer Paulo to be the man to do so.

Lastly, after Locke spent last season pretty remorseless over Boone’s death, he seems to finally be dealing with it. Up until this point, he could justify the death as being part of the path he was on – leading him to the Numbers, which were saving the world. Now that they’re gone, and the world didn’t end, he’s forced to look in the mirror and justify where all his actions got him. He’s back at square one, again looking for purpose on the Island, again looking for “Further Instructions”.

Previously on Lost…

Back to last week’s episode. I gave you my Instant Reactions a few days ago. Now it’s time for my more well thought out analysis, which should be a little lighter on the crazy (Sun killing Jae? What was I thinking? I don’t remember drinking during Lost last week)…

Groups. Although a lot about The Others still remains a mystery, the one glaring piece of the puzzle that I could never fit were the costumes that they wore. If you think about it, the only reasons someone would wear a costume is to either hide from someone or trick someone (or possibly to get free candy). But two episodes into the third season, it doesn’t seem like the Others are hiding from anyone. On the contrary, they’ve actually intentionally interacted with our Survivors (the opposite of hiding). Likewise, although they might be outnumbered by the Survivors, they’ve got much more knowledge on their side, which gives them the power edge.

So it’s pretty clear to me that the Others aren’t donning their derelict Mugatu costumes for the sake of the Survivors. But why? Say hello to my newest group on the Island – one I’ll term “Experiment Rejects”.

So who are these “Rejects”? I think they’re the victims or products of whatever messed up experiments Dharma was carrying out on the Island. Think about those freaky feet we saw early last season creeping through the jungle. Now, after spending two episodes with the Others, they don’t seem very Other-like, do they? There was something supernatural about them, something very disturbing about the way they were dragging an old Teddy Bear around. While the Others certainly seem to have some stealthiness about them, it’s nothing compared to these guys:

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When you start adding all the clues in your head it starts to makes sense. A picture starts to form. We’ve seen the Others obsession with children. We know Dharma was working on experiments to extend life, messing with the ability to accelerate or slow down the aging process. Who would be carrying a dirty Teddy Bear? A child who has aged unnaturally fast, and is clinging on to their only memory of youth. How about the creepy whispers we’ve heard from time to time? Remember the Dharma experiments dealing with mind-reading and telepathy? What if it’s just the byproduct of these Rejects communicating with each other? Remember Kelvin? He was Dharma, and yet spoke of the “Hostiles” that he needed to avoid. There has to be a third party, a dangerous party to the Others that are in the mix – and it’s none other than the Rejects.

What about the Others disguises? Well, if these Rejects are as savage as I think (the result of numerous torturous Dharma experiments over the years), it’s in your best interest to blend in with them – thus the Others’ disguises to look like them. I’m thinking that the Rejects have the power, but the Others have the brains, and are effectively outsmarting the Rejects by traveling around the Island incognito.

This also would validate Ben’s claim that “they’re the good guys”. They’re the civilized guys. They’re the ones the Survivors can trust (hard as that may be to believe now). From a story-telling point of view, it gives us “bad guys” on the Island, bringing back the fear that we’ve somewhat lost as we’ve learned more about the Island (note: this would be especially critical if Smokey is gone after this episode, as I insanely predicted earlier) – you need that tension, that fear of the unknown in the jungle – and the Rejects provide just that.

So, for those of you playing at home, we’re now looking at the following on the Island:

  • Survivors (Jack and Co.)
  • Others (Ben and Co.)
  • Rebels (Alex and Co.)
  • Rejects (TBA and Co.)

Boat. The other thing that’s been puzzling me is why Ben was so concerned that our Survivors had a boat. Based on our assumption that the Others can come and go from the Island as they please, there would be no reason for the Others to need that boat for escape from the Island, or anything of that nature. We’ve seen that the Others camp is smack in the middle of the Island, so it’s not as though they’re afraid that the Survivors would stumble upon it if they had a boat. Heck, Ben gave Michael a boat, along with the coordinates to get away from the Island. If they were concerned about something off the coast, don’t you think Desmond would have run into it as he sailed in circles around the Island for the prior month?

So why did he freak out? The only plausible explanation that I can think of is that the boat provides any of the Survivors with a means to get off the Island, and Ben wants to keep them there. Giving Michael the boat was controlled. Michael and Walt got on the boat, and left (and even that was after the Others had presumably “gotten all they could” from Walt). There was no chance of anyone else jumping on board since Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley were all bound and gagged at the time. However, this new boat introduces a wild card. Literally any of the Survivors could hop on board and sail away – and that’s not something the Others are ready for.

The Survivors provide the Others with fresh skills and resources – they could be anything from workers (Sawyer) to experiment test subjects (Walt) to tasty eye candy (Kate). Although the Others seem to have access to resources (through the perpetual supply drops), the one resource they might lack is people. As a commenter noted, you don’t see any Other Kids running around, do you? The Survivors might provide the one thing they need – fresh blood. The Others have plans for them, and they’re not ready to lose any of them yet.

Offer. Speaking of these plans, what do we make of the offer Ben made to Jack? Ben seems to have a very specific request in mind for what he wants from Jack, yet didn’t come out and say it – why? Since Jack is a doctor, it seems the logical answer that they need Jack for some medical purpose. The really intriguing thing is that an episode description a few weeks from now mentions something about “Jack tending to a wounded Other”.

Could Ben have somehow known that this event was forthcoming, and know that he would need Jack to save his fellow Other? It sounds a bit too sci-fi for me, but it would help tie together a few dangling storylines – like why the Others didn’t take Jack, Kate, and Sawyer when they had the chance. This information could have been garnered from kidnapped Walt, using his crazy special “powers”, after the Jungle encounter between the Others and Jack. They’ve kidnapped them, and they’re trying to win him over, knowing that they will need his help down the road.

It fits nice – but is a tad too supernatural for my liking, especially for a show that claims that all its mysteries will be explained by science. We’ll see…

Comments on Comments. But enough of my crazy ramblings. Time for your crazy ramblings! And my crazy rambling responses to them….

Mike said… As for Jae's death... the fact that he was holding the pearls that Sun rejected leads me to believe it was suicide. I think this was one of the best sequences of flashbacks in a while, especially how Jae knew exactly why Jin was beating him even though Jin DID NOT know why he was beating him. That is really good writing.

You’re absolutely right. Jin beats the crap out of Jae and Jae thinks that Sun has told him about their affair, effectively ending it. Since he can’t bear to live a life without her, he grabs the pearls (a memory of her) and jumps out the window, giving up on life. Little does he know that Jin doesn’t know the truth and Sun didn’t tell him. It’s like a Shakespearian tragedy! Great, great writing.

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Trixie said… Usually I'm not one for wack-a-doo theories.. but wasn't part of the initiative tests having to do with extending life expectancy?? If so, here's my submission. Juliette is .. oh around 80 yrs old... just doesn't look it. When Benry was whining that he didn't get soup made for him, I took it as at one time, Ben was cared for/trained by Juliette like Jack is now (perhaps from a baby forward as he's been on the island all his life)... also explains her older musical choices and also points to the comment in the 1st episode about who she was "a long time ago". Perhaps they all just aren't aging, and if they leave the island, they do.

It’s wack-a-doo alright, but it would also make total sense given everything we’ve seen so far this season. However, I think it also skews a bit too “nerd sci-fi” for Lost – although it is an intriguing concept. Good thinking!

THE GREAT ONE said… Does it bother anyone else that the Others know EVERYTHING about the survivors?? we know the two spies, ethan and the other dude, did not get that much info. And even with contact with the outside world, there is no way they can gather that much info at once about a bunch of people from all around the world. They know way too mcuh for ppl that they have lived with for 70 days...there is something behind the others, supporting them.

That’s a really good point. I could see them getting a ton of information about someone like Jack (doctor), Charlie (former star), or Sun (rich), but what about someone like Locke, who was pretty much a nobody in his former life? I know there’s no such thing as privacy anymore in this age of phone taps, Internet monitoring, and surveillance cameras, but it still seems like a bit of a stretch. Maybe they have some sort of government CIA / FBI / CSI computer on the Island that they’re using to gather all the information about each of the Survivors from around the world. Big Brother (1984, not crappy CBS show reference) is watching us!

Jenn said… I'm just really bothered right now in how CFL could know the island so well but not know more about the Others. How come they don't seem to know/care about her? How come she is still walking free? Weird.

Seriously. I don’t trust her. How has she never stumbled upon the Other’s cul-de-sac during her sixteen years of wandering around the Island? Why don’t the Others care about her? She’s a wild card, which makes me think the Others have either a) already used her for whatever they needed her for – and she’s in effect, a “Reject” or b) have plans for her in the future and the time hasn’t come yet.

Hobbes said… In Alvar Hanso's numbers revealed video he comments to the Dharma initiates how before they (the newbies) get sent to a top secret facility (the island) he makes reference that they will go through "induction counseling and survival training". Of course that could just mean "here's a pamphlet and a box of matches." But as some of you have been thinking what if Jack or Kate or Sawyer are going through a similer procedure. Maybe it has to do with the One True Way or Dharma. Possibly all of The Others do or have gone through it at some time.

Exactly. Like an initiation of sorts to join Club Others. Also, think about this – both Kate and Sawyer (the two who are doing the slave labor) are the two of the certified KILLERS out of the Survivors. As much as we love them for their hot bods (I mean, “personalities”) they’re criminals, and maybe this is the way the Others are carrying out punishment for their crimes.

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And with that, I’m spent. Good stuff as always loyal readers! Keep the great comments coming. Enjoy this week – I hope I didn’t hype it up too much (as I tend to do with pretty much everything I love in life), but I’m honestly giddy about it.

If you’re bored killing the time between now and 9:00 pm tonight, go ahead and relentlessly click on those Google ads on the top of the page. I think I get a lot more money when people click on them vs. when people just visit the page. And we all know, I’m only in this for the money. Well, that and the women.

Happy Lost-ing!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"The Glass Ballerina" Reactions

Brian's One Word Review: Uneven.

There were definitely parts I liked, there were definitely parts that seemed to drag. The ironic thing is that I feel like the first two episodes have been focusing on things that I really didn't care about (Sayid's "trap" this week) - but when they get back to the good stuff (Ben and Jack) it's freaking awesome. At any rate, here are my instant thoughts:

  1. You were right, I was wrong. There's definitely something between Juliet and Ben. I saw some sparks this week, which makes Juliet's "sadness" last week all the more puzzling.
  2. I have this creeping suspicion that Sun killed Jae. The episode seemed to show us that Sun isn't the frail "glass ballerina" that we thought she was. She isn't above lying, cheating, and stealing (okay, we never saw her steal - besides Jae's heart, of course).
  3. There is more question than ever if Sun's baby is Jin's or Jae's. Jae's death definitely could have been the straw that broke the Jin's back, and convinced him to get on Flight 815 to America. Thirty or so days later, Jin finds out she's preggo. I think that math adds up for either to be the potential father?
  4. What is the purpose of having Sawyer and Kate bust up rocks and move them? There are clearly enough Others to do the work much quicker. I wonder if they're just trying to break them down?
  5. Episode One = Kate in Shower. Episode Two = Kate Bending Over in Dress. Season Three = BEST SEASON EVER :)
  6. So... maybe Juliet isn't part of the "Rebel Dharmite" group, but Alex clearly is... and so is her boy from the cage in episode one.
  7. If there was any question about "if the outside world exists", it was totally blown out of the water at the end of the episode. For all the crazy stuff we've seen on the past two years of Lost, seeing footage of the Red Sox winning the world series was the most surreal. It's like the fantasy is gone... which kinda makes me sad.
  8. Ben has lived on the Island his whole life - does that make him a second generation Dharmite?
  9. Ben doesn't want to leave the Island, but he says he will take Jack back to the rest of the world. Does he have the ability to come and go as he pleases?
  10. The more I see of the Others, the more it screams "crazy cult!" They seem to be like a religious colony full of people who blindly follow rules.
  11. This is two weeks in a row where the episode title seemed to have little or nothing to do with the episode. Weird.

Ready? Set? Comment!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Lost - "The Glass Ballerina" (and "A Tale of Two Cities" Breakdown)

Did you miss me? After nearly two and a half straight weeks of traveling, I’m finally back to the Delta House and ready to talk Lost. Although most of you have already discussed and forgotten last week's episode, I'll go ahead and rehash it before we get to this week's episode...

One Word Review for “A Tale of Two Cities”: UNDERWHELMED.

I know a lot of people loved this episode, but it didn’t connect with me the way the Season One or Two premieres did. I thought the opening was great (giving nice parallels between Desmond starting the day in Season Two) and giving us a “where in the world are we?!” moment (just like Season Two), but after that we didn’t get much.

There were hints that some bad times were coming up for Kate and Sawyer, there was the mystery about how Juliet knew so much about Jack, but the storyline didn’t really move anywhere.

I guess I was disappointed that we didn’t get any insight into the Others’ intentions with our Survivors. I also would have liked to at least get a scene or two back at camp to confirm the fates of Locke, Desmond, and Eko instead of solely focusing on Kate, Jack, and Sawyer. In the end, I guess it boiled down to the fact that nothing in the episode really surprised me.

But enough complaining. It was still a very solid episode. Ben (the artist formerly known as HGI) still can scare the hell out of you just by looking at the screen. The character of Juliet is introduced and delivers a great multi-layered performance (more on her later). After a four month hiatus, any Lost is a good Lost.

Let’s get analyzing…

Book Club. So it turns out that the Others actually seem to be living in a Wisteria-Lane-esque village in the central part of the Island.

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From our brief glimpse into their lifestyle, we can interpret a lot about the Others:

  1. They are not worried about “survival”. Unlike our Survivors, who have had to contend with finding food, water, and shelter, in addition to fending off wild boars, Smoke Monsters, and Crazy French Ladies, the Others seem to be living a pretty mundane existence (see: Book Club).
  2. They have access to the outside world. Even with all the Dharma supplies and facilities we’ve seen on the Island (including the ration drop last season), the Others had multiple copies of the Stephen King book “Carrie”. If they’re having a book club, reading different books each week / month, clearly they have a way to get these books to the Island. Also, the dossier on Jack? They must have pulled that information from somewhere (Internet?).
  3. They are not worried about getting off the Island. If the Others were truly “stuck” on the Island, they wouldn’t be living in the center of the Island – they’d be living on the coast, where you’re more likely to be seen by a passing airplane / ship. They want to be there.
  4. They are normal. After Ethan’s seeming super-human strength in Season One, and Ben’s (it still feels really weird to write that instead of HGI) ability to withstand torture in Season Two, you might start to think that these Others are a race of superhuman soldiers trained for battle. But one of the first things we saw was Juliet burning herself with the oven. If you prick an Other, they bleed.
  5. They knew nothing about our Survivors. They didn’t cause Flight 815 to crash. They didn’t orchestrate getting specific individuals on the plane. When they looked up and saw the plane coming apart in the sky, the first thing Ben requested was that Goodwin and Ethan go “listen, learn, and don’t get involved.” They weren’t sure if there were any survivors or not, let alone who these survivors were.

So who are they? I think I’m finally ready to drop my “Rebel Dharmite” theory for a new one, which I’ll term “Former Dharmites”.

Former Dharmites. When Jack asked Juliet about Dharma, she said “That was a long time ago.” From the Lost Experience Game over the summer, we learned a lot about Dharma. They thought the world was about to come to an end. They thought they could prevent this from happening through the experiments being carried out on the Island. They also failed.

The question becomes – if this is all true, why are they still on the Island? Do they think the outside world is gone? That the end of the world came and went and they’re the only ones left? Not likely, since we’ve already established that they have access to the outside world and supplies. Maybe they were just sick and tired of rush hour traffic, and decided permanently living on an Island paradise was a better idea? If that was the case, why not just move to Wyoming?

Well, what if the end of the world they were working to prevent wasn’t like in the movies (nuclear bombs and alien attacks), but the proliferation of some sort of virus around the human race (which might eventually lead to the end of the world)?

We’ve now established that Ethan / Tom are part of the Others. Both have been involved in actions involving injecting the 4-8-15-16-23-42 medicine into Claire / Aaron. When they saw Flight 815 crash, their reaction wasn’t “Wow! There’s a plane – the outside world must still exist!” It was more of an “Uh-oh – this plane is crashing our party, there might be survivors, we need to deal with them.”

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However, they didn’t just kill the potential cootie carriers off immediately. They approached them cautiously and learned about them. Perhaps the virus isn’t contagious, so as long as the Others are still getting their 4-8-15-16-23-42 medicine, I don’t know. The Others are still scientists, carrying out some sort of freaky experiments on the Island (see: Walt). But perhaps their goals changed once “Dharma failed”. Maybe they’re no longer concerned about saving the world, but in saving themselves. I’m not sure.

Some of the details are still a little fuzzy, and I welcome your input here, but this “Former Dharmite” theory is my best guess at this point. The thing that saddens me about this theory is that the “Rebel Dharmite vs. Dharma vs. Survivors” storyline was much more intriguing to me – but it seems that we’re down to just two groups of the Island: The Others and The Survivors.

But I digress, back to the details of the life of the Others…

Carrie. If I were a betting man, and you told me that in a Lost episode titled “A Tale of Two Cities” there would be a Book Club, I would bet the house on the fact that the book they would read in said Book Club would be “A Tale of Two Cities”. But Lost is tricky! Instead, we find they’re reading Stephen King’s “Carrie”.

For those of you unfamiliar with the book or movie, Carrie is basically about a high school girl (named Carrie, who would have guessed?!) who is tortured by mean kids at school and her uber-religious mother at home. Lucky for her, she finds out she has telekinetic powers that let her get supernatural payback on those who have wronged her.

Where’s the connection to Lost?

Well, besides the obvious telekinetic connection to Walt, what about Juliet? She seemed awfully sad at the episode’s start, as if she was about to cry. There’s some obvious tension / conflict between her and Ben. Could it be that she is also being tormented by the Others as a sort of “outcast” among them? It was pretty obvious that they were at odds with some of her decisions, saying things like “Ben would never have picked this book”, but I think it could go farther.

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Remember her line right before the plane crash? “Free Will still exists on this Island!” Maybe there are Rebel Dharmites after all, even if it’s just Juliet (and maybe that guy in the cage next to Sawyer). It’s clear that Ben is running the show, and everyone is pretty much everyone following him without question. But remember Ben’s line in the Hatch last season, referring to a “Him” who was clearly more powerful and higher ranking than he was? I’m more intrigued than ever to find out who that might be…

Music. One more quick thing about Juliet / the intro before we move on. The song played in the beginning was “Downtown” by Petula Clark. The first part of the song clearly seems to be speaking to Juliet’s current state of mind…

“When you’re alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go downtown.”

Some have hinted that Juliet and Ben used to have a relationship, which is the cause of their current tension, but I didn’t get that feeling. However, this song would seem to strengthen that argument. I’m still sticking with Juliet being a “Rebel” for now. Anyways, the other part of the song that is intriguing is this line:

“And you may find somebody kind to help and understand you,
Someone who is just like you and needs a gentle hand to
Guide them along.”

I could very easily see this tying Juliet to Jack. Maybe it’s all an act on her part, but she does seem genuinely concerned with his well being. Assuming she is sick and tired of the Former Dharmite life, I’d look for her to be the one to help Jack and Co. escape (and serve as a future love interest, perchance?).

Blood. Which brings us to Kate, Jack, and Sawyer. Like I said, we got very little information about why the Others chose these three Survivors, but there are a few nuggets of information we picked up last episode.

For instance, they made a point of showing each of them ripping off a bandage from the inside of their arms. Although Juliet made reference of administering Jack a sedative, this bandage is more likely indicative of drawing blood from each of them. But why? Are they testing their blood to see if they are “infected” with whatever the 4-8-15-16-23-42 juice cures? Are they looking for “test subjects”, who fit some criteria that would make them useful for their experiments?

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I’m inclined to think that they found something they liked in Jack – which is why he seems to be getting treated quite differently than Kate and Sawyer thus far. Then again, maybe we’ll soon see that they have the life stories of Kate and Sawyer as well, although they seem destined to two weeks of unpleasantness that Jack somehow avoided.

As for what those two weeks will entail is anyone’s guess. If it was going to be manual labor, why choose Kate and not Jack? Why put Kate in a pretty dress? I’m leaning towards it being two weeks of intense scientific testing (using them as guinea pigs) or “detox” to get the infection out of their bodies. Then again, maybe it’s just a fraternity initiation to allow Kate and Sawyer to join the Others in their happy neighborhood. I wonder if this will have any influence on which McBoy Kate will choose? The one she’s locked up, going through a miserable two weeks with? Or the one who potentially could come in and save the day in some kind of escape? Hmmm…

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Flashback. Speaking of our boy Jack, his flashback served to add another layer of self-blame and loathing to the onion that is Jack’s life. Not only did his workaholic nature drive his wife away, but his freaky obsession over finding out who Sarah was cheating on him with may have caused his father to start drinking again, which eventually led to his death. Heavy.

For those wondering, no – Jack’s dad was not sleeping with his wife. That’s icky and this is ABC, not HBO. Jack’s dad may have been cheating on his mom with some lovely lady in Australia, but the way the episode was filmed, hinting at an affair between Sarah and Jack’s dad, was intended to be showing things from Jack’s perspective, as he was getting crazier and crazier about it.

Lastly, did you note the parallelism at the end? In the flashback, Jack was obsessed with finding out the name of the man Sarah was cheating on him with. He incessantly shouted “What’s his name?!”, whereas on the Island, he was obsessed with finding out where Kate and Sawyer were, asking little other than “Where are my friends?!” Nice to see the character continuity!

And with that, let’s take a look at this week’s episode:

Episode Title: “The Glass Ballerina”

Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: Initially I thought this must be the title of some movie / song / famous location. But no matter how hard I googled, all that I could find when I searched for “Glass Ballerina” was this thing:

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Lame. So I guess we’ll keep it simple this week. The flashback this week is Sun (although I bet Jin is in there a lot too, if their past flashbacks are any indication), and she is admittedly the most glass ballerina-like of the Survivors. I’m not going to lie, I’m a little worried this is going to be a lame flashback about how Sun wanted to be a ballerina in her former life.

The “glass” part of the title would refer to her being fragile, which is clearly how Jin views her. Remember how hell-bent he was on not letting her come with he and Sayid on the boat last season? To Jin, Sun is his “glass ballerina”. Awwww…

And that’s all I got – worst deeper meaning guess ever. Give me something to work with, Lost episode title creators!

(Note: Although the preview of the episode seemed to show Sun getting shot, I’ll tell you right now that there is no way that they would do this and basically copy the “Sawyer getting shot by the Others on a boat” storyline from last season. If anything, the fall she takes off the boat might cause her to lose her baby or something along those lines – or at least make Jin go crazy and whoop some Other ass.)

TV.com Description: Sun and Jin's lives are put into danger when Sayid decides to locate Jack. Meanwhile, Henry (i.e. Ben) gives Jack an offer that is very tempting. Lastly, Kate and Sawyer work and adjust to harsh conditions that they are being forced under by "The Others."

TV.com Breakdown: So here’s how I expect this episode to go down:

Sayid concludes that Jack’s plan has failed, and they have been captured by the Others. Since they’re already on the other side of the Island, he decides to launch a rescue mission with Sun and Jin. (Thus putting their lives in danger – check). Expect to see Jin oppose this plan and try to keep Sun on the boat (thinking this will keep her safe). The problem of course is that the Others learn that our Survivors have a boat and set off to get it. This puts Sun in the most dangerous position of the three of them.

Meanwhile, Ben gives Jack an offer that is very tempting. This could be anything from setting him free if he gives up information to offering him a way off the Island. The catch is going to be that Kate and Sawyer (along with everyone else) are not invited. Jack, ever the hero, respectfully declines.

Lastly, we begin to learn about what these “harsh conditions” Ben warned Kate were coming up are all about. Busting rocks? Diggin a ditch? Calculus tests? It’s anyone’s guess at this point, but as soon as we find out, I think we’ll have a much better insight as to why the Others took them in the first place.

So here are my big hopes for the episode – I want to get some hints as to what the Others are all about – their goals, hopes, and dreams. I want to have some scenes from back at the base camp revealing the fate of Locke, Eko, and Desmond. I want to see the base camp freaking out that Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, Sun, and Jin are all gone and they’re on their own. I want to see Jack, Kate, and Sawyer asking some questions, and strategizing their escapes. I want Kate to be forced to shower again. Is that so much to ask?

But here’s my hunch: if you look back to the first two seasons of Lost, the third episode has been the big reveal episode. In the first season, this was the “Walkabout” episode, where we learned Locke was in a wheelchair before crashing on the Island. In the second season, it was the “Orientation” episode where we learned all about Dharma and the 108 Numbers. Why would this season be any different?

Happy Lost-ing!