Wednesday, November 29, 2006
With that, I give you the second "moment" of Lost that aired during "Day Break" last week. I'll be adding the third "moment" that aired tonight as soon as it's up on YouTube. Here's a curious thought - with the ratings that Day Break is getting, it's looking like it'll be cancelled in no time. Then what is ABC going to do? Go back to showing Lost reruns? Air more "news" type shows? And what will become of these "Lost Moments"? Will they air during whatever show is on Wednesdays at 9:00? So many questions...
For now, enjoy the clip. It makes me happy to hear that Hurley is actually questioning what happened to the Hatch implosion survivors, rather than just brushing it off like so many Lost mysteries. Ask questions people! It's the only way you get any answers!
Thursday, November 16, 2006
If you remember, these "mini clips" of upcoming episodes of Lost are airing during commercial breaks of Daybreak each week as a way to entice us to watch and appease the crazy Lost fans currently standing outside ABC with pitchforks and torches, protesting the "fall break".
Nothing really special here, but an extended look at the scene of Charlie tackling Desmond that we saw in the preview that aired after "I Do".
(PS - yes, this is not the full analysis of "I Do" that I promised. Unfortunately, it looks like that's still a week or two away. I just ran out of time this weekend. No time! There's never any time! I'm so excited, I'm so excited, I'm so... so... scared!)
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
This episode was really symbolic of how this entire six episode story arc felt for me. It started pretty slow - to the point that we were thirty-five minutes in before any of the "action" started, but the last five minutes were as exciting as anything that's happened on "Lost" in the past year.
In the end, I can't help but be a little disappointed. I mean, we've gotten hints about the nature and purpose of the Others, but I don't feel like we've gained the insight I was hoping for at this point in the season. Jack, Kate, and Sawyer are still "trapped" - although it seems at least Kate and Sawyer are on the brink of freedom. The rest of the Survivors don't seem any closer to saving them, or finding out what happened when the Hatch imploded. We've been hinted that Desmond has some super-power, and that Locke has found a new "mission" on the Island, but there really hasn't been much payout in any of those storylines either.
Points to Ponder:
- "Sheppard wasn't on Jacob's list". That probably makes Jacob the "he" that Ben cryptically referred to last season, as the overall leader of the Others - and probably a seriously bad dude.
- That also means that Jack isn't one of the "good ones" who were on the list of people to kidnap from the crash. He was brought to the Others' camp for no reason except to operate on Ben. If it wasn't for Ben's greed, Colleen would probably still be alive - thus the reason that Danny Pickett is so angry.
- I don't remember the exact wording, but when Ben inquired about Alex, Juliet said that they took Alex "back home" - possibly to the main Island. I'm betting wherever they "took her", that's where all the kidnapped kids from the Tail are going to be too!
- Jack is a badass. Like I said, he's quickly become the most interesting character on the show. He's taking no prisoners and isn't afraid to get his hands dirty anymore - and I like it.
- Sawyer is a badass... but with a heart of gold underneath his tough exterior! He hearts Kate and Kate hearts him!
But enough about me. Your turn for feedback, questions, etc. I'll get a full analysis up sometime this weekend.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Episode Title: “I Do”
Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: When you see a title like “I Do”; the first thing that logically comes to most people’s minds is weddings. I know we have the whole “Kate-Sawyer-Jack” love triangle on the Island, but I really don’t see that ending with marriage in any way this week, so I think we can rule out any wedding action on the Island. However, this is a Kate-centric episode, so it’s not out of the question that we might see some sort of Kate wedding flashback. Although she definitely seems single now (yes!), given her sketchy past on the run from the law, a prior marriage would fit her character – especially if it temporarily gave her some shelter and protection.
But if weddings are ruled out, where’s the connection of the episode title to the action that’s actually taking place on the Island? Well, I think you can point to two things:
- Kate choosing Sawyer over Jack. (Jack: “Do you love him?”, Kate: “I do.”)
- Jack making his decision regarding helping the Others. (Juliet: “Will you help us?”, Jack: “I will.” – okay so that’s not “I do”, but it’s an affirmative, so that’s close enough right?)
Anyone who has paid close attention to the preview for this episode saw the hot Kate on Sawyer clothes-stripping, baby-making action inside the cage. If that doesn’t signify her “choice”, I don’t know what does. The funny thing is? Kate really made this decision a long time ago… and I think the Others knew it.
Remember “What Kate Did” last season? In it, Kate symbolically “picked” Sawyer over Jack (read my ramblings here: http://lost-and-gone-forever.blogspot.com/2006/01/lost-hunting-party-plus-what-kate-did.html ) , and there really hasn’t been any reason to think that she would have switched sides since then. Sure, Sawyer went a bit jerkface on her, but we all know that girls love bad boys. Deep down inside, he was still the one for her. The writers have tricked us into thinking that this “love triangle” still exists by isolating these three characters, but I really don’t think it’s existed for quite some time…
…and the Others know it. Why did they kidnap Jack, Kate, and Sawyer? Well, the obvious answer is that they needed Jack to perform a surgery. They needed Kate to talk Jack into doing it (because Jack still hearts her, even if she doesn’t heart him in return). They needed Sawyer to get Kate to convince Jack (because she hearts him, even if he doesn’t fully heart her in return). Thus, Sawyer becomes the punching bag. Putting his life in danger makes Kate do what the Others say, which in this case is to sweet talk Jack. It’s almost too easy (more on this later).
In the other potential title-deeper-meaning, we have Jack finally deciding if he sides with Juliet, sides with Ben, or sides with neither. There are all sorts of questions here about who is telling the truth, who to trust, and who are the “good guys” vs. the “bad guys”. If we’re truly looking at the conclusion of this mini-story arc, there are one of two logical conclusions: Jack sides with the Others, helps them out, and effectively betrays the rest of the Survivors (making the story arc “the turning of Jack”) or Jack goes against the Others, stages a breakout, and burns any friendly bridges he had with the Others (making the story arc “the beginning of the Others vs. the Survivors”).
I really have no inkling as to which was this storyline is going to go. I know we’ve been promised a shocking finale here, and what would be more shocking than Jack switching teams? However, he’s our resident hero, and him siding with the Others would seemingly go against everything he’s been doing for the previous five episodes (that being a complete jerk to them every chance he gets). Either way, I think it makes for a great setup for the spring season – and out of nowhere, Jack is quickly becoming one of the more intriguing characters on the show.
TV.com Description: Jack makes a decision regarding Ben's offer; Kate feels helpless when it looks like Pickett is going to make good on his threat to kill Sawyer; Locke discovers a hidden message that may help unlock the island's secrets.
TV.com Breakdown: It’s intriguing that the episode description words it “Ben’s offer” and not “Juliet’s offer”. I suppose they are somewhat one and the same – since the decision really comes down to performing the surgery on Ben or not performing the surgery on Ben – but there’s an added wrinkle. Even if Jack decides to perform the surgery, does he have a slip of the knife and take out Ben, his seeming arch-enemy for the past season? Or does he save him, hoping to earn favor with the mysterious Others that can be used for not only his, but the rest of the Survivors’ benefit? There’s a part of me that feels like this whole thing is a setup for Jack – that Ben doesn’t really have a tumor, and this is more of a test of Jack’s “goodness” (more on this later).
Meanwhile, it looks like the newly widowed Pickett has gotten the green light from Ben to take his frustrations out on Sawyer… or has he? This could just be a clever ruse by Ben to get Kate fearful that Sawyer’s life is truly in danger – which would make her more likely to try and convince Jack to do the surgery on Ben. Remember, Ben said something along the lines of “we’re not finished with (Sawyer) yet”. If Jack does perform the surgery, his usefulness would theoretically be gone, and then it might be open-season on Sawyer hunting.
Lastly, we have Locke discovering a hidden message that may “help unlock the Island’s secrets”. It sounds like an ABC commercial to me. Where does this message come from? Patchy via video monitor? Not likely, as it looked like he ended the transmission during last episode. Eko’s dying words? I don’t see that helping unlock any mystery. Is there something else inside the Pearl Hatch that we missed? Will they stumble across something on their journey back to the beach? Or – more likely - will they decide that it’s too dangerous to head back to the beach, and venture somewhere else on the Island, where they find this message?
I’m not sure. Frankly, I’m pretty excited to not have much idea what’s coming in this week’s episode, other than the intense preview and promise of greatness. It’s definitely not a predictable episode, which once again gives me that hope for greatness that I pray for each week!
Previously on Lost…
Speaking of greatness, the more I think about last week’s episode, the better I realize it was. Why? Think about how many fundamental questions about the very nature of the show that were raised, changed, or revealed last week. After watching last week’s episode, you were forced to go back and re-evaluate a large number of episodes over the past two seasons – and that’s saying something. It was exactly what this season needed – an important episode that gives the fanatics among us some new meat to chew on. If this week’s episode does the same, we’re going to have plenty to keep us busy over the next few months…
Eko. With Eko's death, we can consider his story "complete". Granted, there's always the chance he'll show up as a "vision" to Locke (which I think is actually a given), or in other characters' lashbacks (a la Libby - but I think it's less likely with Eko since he was in Africa most of the time... and a drug warlord. You don't usually run into them in coffee shops), but for all intents and purposes we can close the book on him and accurately review who he was.
In the end, the big shocker for me was that Eko was never a "changed man" in his pre-Island life. After his last flashback, I assumed that Yemi's death prompted him to turn his life around - to pick up Yemi's cross and live the life that he might have had, were it not for a fateful day as children where Eko picked up a gun and killed a man to save Yemi from doing so. But he didn't. After Yemi's death, Eko might have taken his position as a priest, but he was still the same Eko, dealing and stealing drugs and medicine for profit, standing up to anyone who challenged him, and not afraid to kill anyone who gets in his way. I don't doubt that Eko was a religious man all along, but he was a clearly survivor first. He didn't think twice about killing someone if it meant he would continue living.
However, something definitely changed when he crashed on the Island – he became more religious, feeling remorse for killing those two "innocent" Others that tried to abduct him the first night on the Island (thus the silent treatment for forty days). He became concerned with things like helping others on the Island get over their sins and did things like baptizing Aaron. Maybe he felt like he was given a second chance at life and was going to do some good this time around - but he wasn't full of agony and regret over the life he once lived... and that seems to have led to his demise. The closing shot of him walking with Yemi as kids summed it all up - that life was all that Eko ever wanted, and on his deathbed, he seems to have found the peace to return to that place and find peace.
Which puts him in the same boat as Boone, Shannon, and Ana-Lucia. Each character found their peace, and then shortly thereafter died. The difference is that Boone, Shannon, and Ana-Lucia's death were each a direct result of the actions of another character on the Island. It wasn't the Island deciding that they had completed their journey and killing them, it was merely coincidence that each of them died (well, coincidence and storytelling heavy with symbolism). But Eko was different...
Smokey. Which brings us to Smokey, who we can now view in a totally different light. We always knew that Smokey was powerful, and assumed he was the one responsible for the death of the Pilot, grabbing Locke, etc. - but we've never seen this "personality" in him, taking form, showing logic, and seemingly passing judgment on Eko. So what the heck is this thing? It looks to be a living, breathing, morphing creature. I thought the Lost creators are on record saying that it's not Nanobots, but that's pretty much the only thing that makes sense at this point (if they intend to keep this rooted in science, as they claim). It would be easy to debate this aspect of Smokey for paragraphs and paragraphs, but there are far more interesting questions raised about him after this episode.
For example, a more intriguing question revolves around the control of Smokey. Does Smokey have a brain? Is Smokey some experiment run amok? Is Smokey under the control of someone (like maybe the Others)? If I were a betting man, I'd say we're looking at a Frankenstein situation here where the Dharma Scientists somehow created Smokey for some specific purpose but lost control of him. Or perhaps they never intended to create him in the first place, he's just a product of some other experiment gone awry. Either way, I think Smokey is a product of science, and not some voodoo creature that has always resided on the Island - and if he's a product of science, I'm looking to Dharma as being his creator.
The most intriguing question is what is motivating Smokey's actions. Why did he spare Locke? Why did he spare Eko the first time he faced him? Why did he kill Eko this time? As crazy as it sounds, Smokey seems to have an agenda - he's not just some wild animal-esque killing machine that mangles anyone who enters his territory. Also, keep in mind that although the Others appear to be on Alcatraz right now, when Flight 815 crashed, they were living on the Main Island. If Smokey were just some crazy killing machine, this seems like a bad place to vacation, no matter how good of a deal they got on the timeshare. If the Others aren't afraid of Smokey, they must understand these motives, and be confident that they are safe from harm.
Think back to Eko's first encounter with Smokey last season. Smokey seemed to be sizing him up, coming face to face with him and "scanning him", picking up images from Eko's memory and learning about his past. Suddenly Eko is seeing visions of his dead brother Yemi, and being told to "repent". Is there a correlation there? If you follow the logic, it seems as though Smokey learned about Eko's past, gave him an opportunity to atone for his sins, and then, when Eko refused, tossed him around like a football on Thanksgiving.
It's a little crazy, a little religious, and way, WAY out there - but it just seems to fit right in with the Others, doesn't it? All along, they've been very concerned with people being "good". They "saved" the Tailers that were "good" (whatever happened to them anyways?). Those left, including our Survivors, all have spotty pasts full of actions that could be considered "bad". Last week, Ben said he "wants Jack to want to save him", which makes it sound like he's more concerned with Jack finding his redemption (becoming a "good person" who "saves" his "enemy") than he is with getting his tumor removed.
What if Smokey is merely acting as the judge, jury, and executioner for the Others? Not a heartless one, but one that gives people a chance to right their wrongs before penalizing them. You know all those purgatory theories that were going around when the show started? Well even though our Survivors aren't actually dead and in a literal purgatory (as the show's creators have confirmed), but are instead in a pseudo-Island purgatory, where they are still being judged for their past sins and working on their redemption. If they succeed, and end up "good", they are welcomed into the Others' circle of trust, home of cheeseburgers, movies, and free tickets home. If they fail, Smokey kills them. It's harsh, but wacky religious cults always are!
I admit, this theory is WAY out there, but if you run some of our other unanswered questions through it, they give some pretty satisfactory answers. And, for a show that has always had a TON of good/bad, light/dark symbolism, wouldn't it be great that the biggest force on the show (Smokey, not Kate's hotness) was operating based on the same principles?
We also have to assume (although if you think about it, we never REALLY saw this) that Smokey can take the form of different people and things - which brings up a whole new batch of questions...
Visions. So are we to assume that all the visions our Survivors have seen on the Island are attributed to Smokey? The Lost creators told us that we saw Smokey last season without knowing it, so I think this is the most logical assumption. Off the top of my head, here are the "visions" that people have had on the Island, and the result of having these visions:
- Jack - His Dead Dad - Led Jack to water necessary for life, along with his father's coffin which helped bring closure with the symbolic "shattering of the coffin".
- Kate and Sawyer - Black Horse (and a cherry tree) - Helped Kate realize she wasn't going crazy, and that she couldn't run away from her "dark side" or past, but needed instead to come to terms with it.
- Locke - Dead Boone - Gave Locke a purpose on the Island (and in life), warned of Boone's impending death, put Locke on a path to save Eko from the polar bear.
- Eko - Dead Yemi - Helped Eko (and Locke) find the Pearl Hatch, tried to get Eko to repent for his sins.
- Boone - Shannon - Helped Boone get over his obsession with his sister.
- Shannon and Sayid - Walt - Warned about the dangers of button-pushing.
- Hurley - Dave - Tried to get Hurley to kill himself to "wake up" from the dream world he is allegedly in.
- Charlie - Got Charlie punched in the face when he tried to save Aaron from a yet unknown danger.
Is there a common thread there? Well, the three that don't quite fit with the rest are Charlie, Hurley, and Shannon and Sayid's visions. However, I think we have to throw each of these out the window anyways. Here's where it gets confusing, but I think there are multiple sources of the visions on the Island. For example, you could easily chalk Hurley's vision of Dave up to Hurley being crazy (in a non-like a fox way), since he was having visions of Dave pre-Island. You can probably chalk up Charlie's vision to numerous years of heavy drug use and church attendance. As for backwards-talking Walt? Heck, it's been documented that Walt had weird super powers - he probably had the ability to teleport himself or send visions of himself, or something weird anyways - so I'll eliminate that as well.
What we're left with are a number of visions that all resulted in something positive happening for the person having the vision. They all worked to help the person overcome some drama from their past and drop off some of the baggage they've been carrying around. Smokey might be responsible for two violent deaths on the Island, but he also might be legitimately trying to save people. Another fundamental theme of the show - redemption - ties in nicely here.
(Here's a question that I haven't had a chance to research, so I look to you, obsessive Lost Internet friends without jobs or families - have any of our Survivors had a "vision" without coming in close proximity with Smokey at some point prior? Jack, Kate, Charlie, Locke, and Eko all clearly did. It's a little fuzzy if Boone actually did, or if he was already in a drug trip due to Locke's peyote when he saw Smokey. But it could be that you need to encounter Smokey once for him to "scan you" and find out what you need saving from - before you start seeing the visions.)
Speaking of saving...
Ben. This week's episode seems all about the Benjamins (what). While there are a ton of questions surrounding the Others, who they are, and what they want – they all seem to be embodied in Ben. He’s their leader, he seemingly is the most deceptive of them all, and he seems to be the man with the master plan – which makes it all the more intriguing that he’s the one with the tumor (allegedly). Lots of stuff here…
First, why does Ben have a tumor at all? As many have asked, how could the Island have seemingly cured Locke’s paralysis and Rose’s cancer over the course of two months, but allowed Ben (a lifetime Island resident) to be near death due to a tumor. Something doesn’t add up.
For example, while Ben’s “God sent me a spinal surgeon from heaven” speech was nice, if he can truly come and go to the Island whenever he wants – why is this a big deal? As soon as he found out he had the cancer, he could have hopped on the slow boat back to civilization and gone to a real doctor, with state of the art facilities. It’s also in direct opposition to his “Even God can’t see this place” speech from last season. Fishy.
But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume Ben truly does have a tumor that is aggressively growing. There are two possible explanations:
Remember what Isaac, the creepy Professor X looking guy in Australia told Rose and Bernard? Everyone responds differently to magnetic fields around the Earth. Just because one location heals one person, doesn’t mean it will heal everyone. Maybe, by unfortunate ironic luck, Ben is living on an Island that heals everyone else except for him. Bummer.
Perhaps the healing powers were tied to the unique magnetic properties of the Swan Hatch. Maybe due to their close proximity to the Hatch, Rose and Locke were healed – but due to Ben living far away from it (potentially even on another Island most of the time), it never affected him. If you’re looking for an explanation of why Ben allowed himself to get caught last season, this is it. Maybe it was a last ditch effort to try and soak in the effects of the magnetism by getting as close to it as possible – inside the Hatch.
But does Ben really have a tumor? While all signs indicate that he does (including his angry speech with Juliet last week, which seemed to be out of earshot of Jack), it wouldn’t be out of character for him to find out this is all just a ruse to try and see how willing Jack is to trust them.
Juliet. Speaking of trust, there was something very odd about Juliet’s video message to Jack last week. She told him that Ben is a liar, is dangerous, and that there is a faction of Others who want him gone (Yes! Rebel Dharmites! Finally!) – but here’s a question: if Ben is so close to dying from this spinal tumor, why do you need Jack to perform the surgery and then “accidentally” kill him? Why not just get Jack to refuse to perform the surgery and let Ben die naturally?
If Ben truly has the tumor, the only thing I can think that would tie together the gaps in Ben’s story and the missing logic of Juliet’s story is this – Ben has the tumor, but it’s not progressing. The Island may not have prevented the cancer from coming, but it’s stopping the cancer from getting to a fatal state. Jack, used to “normal medical science” sees the X-Rays and assumes it is going to quickly grow to a fatal state. Little does he know that it isn’t getting any bigger – the Island is using its healing powers to keep it in check. Juliet truly is a Rebel Dharmite and wants Ben dead, so she’s telling Jack the truth. Ben is using this as a test to see if Jack is willing to help him (“the enemy”) out. The only question is, how far could Ben take this before knowing if Jack was on his side or not? Isn’t it an extremely dangerous position to put yourself in to determine the allegiance of someone?
If Ben is footloose and tumor-free, and the X-Rays are fake, this is all just a long con of Jack, put forth by BOTH Ben and Juliet to see which side Jack is really on. Perhaps they are curious if he would side with a “Rebel” (Juliet) or an “Other” (Ben). The problem is, if the Others didn’t want Jack because he was a surgeon, why did they want him? And Kate? And Sawyer? If Ben has the tumor, these answers all fall in line neatly. If Ben doesn’t, we’re no closer to having any answers than we were at the end of Season Two – and this six episode arc has gotten us nowhere.
…and with that, I’m spent. For as crappy as this season started out, I’m legitimately pumped for this “Fall Finale”. The past two episodes have come strong and left me very satisfied (that’s what she said) – if this week’s episode is the same, I’ll look back fondly on this six-episode arc, and be giddy with excitement for the promise of seventeen nonstop episodes come February.
Questions? Comments? Hate-filled Diatribes? Leave them below!
(Footnote: per TV Guide, the decision for Eko to be killed was that of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, the actor who plays him. Apparently there were personal things going on in his life that made it hard for him to be in Hawaii, and the writers chose to accommodate his wishes to leave the show. So you can stop writing hate mail to the writers about “jumping the shark” and “killing Eko to make room for Paulo and Nikki”. It’s just a case of them putting someone’s real life ahead of a story. I think we should respect that.)
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Holy crap! Holy Eko! Holy Smokey! Holy religious symbolism! Holy Others-drama! This wasn't just the best episode of this season so far (even though the previews for next week's Fall Finale promise it will be the best episode of the year, it definitely has its work cut out for it now!), it's on the short list of the "All Time Great Episodes of Lost". Where to begin?
- Well, how about with the whole "Spoiler" thing I referenced in my preview post? Someone posted an interview from TV Guide that said a series regular was going to die in this episode. Once you realized it was an Eko-centric episode, he became the odds-on favorite to bite the big one. When I started thinking about it, it made no sense to me. They couldn't kill all the Tailers off, could they? In addition, Eko was just saved from the brink of death two weeks ago. If you were going to kill him off, why not let him die in the Hatch implosion or get eaten by a bad CGI Polar Bear? But after seeing this episode, I have no qualms with it whatsoever. His story came to a logical conclusion and served as an impetus to move the story forward. It wasn't some gimicky death for ratings or sheer "shock value". (But here's the sucky thing - if I didn't accidentally read that spoiler, I wouldn't have seen this coming in a million years. Kinda knowing it was coming took away some of the shock of the ending - this is why Spoilers are the devil!)
- The scene with Jack and Juliet? Absolutely fantastic. Talk about setting up a moral and ethical dilemma. Who to trust? I feel like Juliet is the obvious "good guy", and Ben is the obvious "bad guy", but wouldn't it be very Lost-like to have it be the other way around? Will Jack let his Hippocratic Oath get the best of him and save Ben? Or "slip" and end Ben's life? Excitement!
- Smokey. Boy, have we missed you. Not only did we get some of the best glimpses of Smokey ever, but we learned more of the nature of him - he's a Shape Shifter. Think about how the Lost producers told us we "saw the Smoke Monster last season but didn't realize it". It's likely that everything from Jack's dead dad to Kate's black horse to Locke's vision of Boone were all Smokey in disguise. But how is this all possible? For a show that's supposed to be "rooted in science", we now have a shape shifting cloud and a guy that can see the future. The sci-fi nerd alert is officially on.
- Eko. I loved Eko's "confesssion". It was flawed in its reasoning (he seemed to ruthlessly kill at least a few guys that he didn't need to), but it totally fit his character. For as much as we all loved Eko, he really wasn't a good guy. Even when he was acting as a priest, he never gave up his killer survival instinct. He didn't feel any guilt for what he did, he felt he did what he needed to do to survive, and he was okay with that. As he told the little boy, "Only God knows" how he'll be judged.
- Well, only God and the Smoke Monster (who may or may not be some sort of "Angel of Death"). Remember, Eko survived his first encounter with Smokey no problem. What changed between then and now? Whatever happened, Smokey is now pissed. Eko's dying words were: "You're next." Looks like the carefree days of exploring the Island and going off on random hikes are over! But why? Is this related to the Hatch Implosion?
I need some more time to digest. Full breakdown and analysis this weekend. Comment away!