Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Lost - "Enter 77"

Episode Title: “Enter 77”

Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: Remember two weeks ago when I over-hyped the episode “Stranger in a Strange Land” and was left feeling pretty disappointed? And then last week I intentionally under-hyped “Tricia Tanaka is Dead” and was left feeling very satisfied by the episode? Based on that, in order to maximize my enjoyment of this week’s episode, “Enter 77”, the logical thing to do would be to lower my expectations and not go in with any hopes of grand reveals and shocking twists, right?

Wrong. This is the episode I’ve had circled on my Lost calendar (if I actually had a Lost calendar… or any calendar for that matter) since before the second half of this season started. More than the Desmond “flashback”, more than the return of Cindy, this episode is the one that I was giddy with excitement about.


Well, remember that Lost cover spread in Entertainment Weekly a few weeks back, before the spring season began? In it, Carlton Cuse said "the connection between the Others and Dharma gets revealed in episode 11. We will be visiting another Dharma station soon. But the map becomes less important, because when they visit this new station, they'll be getting some new information that helps them understand where the Dharma people lived and where their stations are."

Finally! Although we’ve gotten hints about the connection between our current Others and the Dharma Initiative (mostly through Juliet’s “that was a long time ago” comment), we still don’t know if our Others are former Dharma Scientists, the offspring and decedents of the original pre-Dharma inhabitants of the Island, or just a group of hippie cult members who bought up the Island for cheap after Dharma had left it, giving up on their goal of changing the Numbers of the Valenzetti Equation. Why do we even care about this?

Because understanding who the Others are will be a huge insight into their motives, their goals, and their purpose on the Island. Learning their true nature (something I personally have been waiting patiently for going on ten episodes to find out) could potentially change everything. Should our Survivors be fearful of them, or should they join forces with them? Do they really hold the key to escaping the Island, or are they as much victims as our Survivors? How much about the Island do they really know (read: Smokey, Funky Time)?

While I know it’s foolish to think we’re actually going to get answers to all these questions, if we can get some idea of who these Others really are, it becomes much easier to hypothesize about the answers without just blindly guessing.


What else? Well, we’ve also been told that Sayid is going to be the character who finally starts asking the questions that we, as fans, have been wanting to know and dying for someone to ask. Remember how frustrated we were with the quality and quantity of questions that Jack, Kate, and Sawyer posed to the Others? Well Sayid is the one who would ask the right questions (“What is the Smoke Monster?” rather than “Where is Juliet?”).

Since this is a Sayid-centric show, it seems logical to think that he’ll be the central focus of this show – and if he’s as logical and level-headed as the writers have led us to believe, he’ll be pounding Patchy with his unique blend of torture interrogation, like only he (and Jack Bauer) can. Besides finding the connection between the Others and Dharma, who knows what sort of information this questioning could reveal?

Very exciting.

Again, I hate to over-hype this episode, but if you absolutely hated the last two episodes for their lack of progression of the huge underlying mysteries of the show, I think this is going to be the episode for you. If your faith in Lost is waning, this is the episode to either restore your faith or lose you forever. Because with as much potential as this episode holds to be one of those “fundamental shifts in the understanding of the Island” episodes (like Season Two’s “Orientation”), if it doesn’t deliver – I don’t know what episode other upcoming episode will.

But what about “Enter 77”? After all, this is the “Deeper Meaning” portion of the Blog and I haven’t even referenced it yet. Why?

Because I think it’s way too simple.

Looking at this episode title two weeks ago, I had no clue. Any research on the Number 77 yielded some minor results about the numerological meaning of 77 (which actually is “wise counsel, body as temple, mystical powers in action, purity in mind, body and spirit, Master Mystic, loving detachment, holy emptiness, turning away from the masses and towards Spirit, Presence, conscious union with God, mystical marriage, electricity of Awakening, universal intelligence.”), but aside from some stretched relations to the Buddhist beliefs of Dharma, it wasn’t a lot to go on.

Then thankfully, the preview for this week’s episode enlightened me. For those who forget it, watch it again:

If you listen closely, at the end of the preview, when Locke is at the computer taking “action whose consequences no one can see coming”, Dr. Marvin Candle’s voice-over clearly says “Manual Override achieved. For Mainland Communication, enter 38…”

“Enter 38”, eh? Who wants to bet that “Enter 77” is another possible command that the computer?

The way that the preview words Locke’s actions, it leads one to think he’s going to do something that has serious consequences for all of our Survivors (yes, I know you can never trust ABC Promos – but the voiceover guy’s voice sounds so important… I’m helpless in its power!). Since we hear that “38” is communication with the mainland – something that would hugely affect all of our Survivors in a very positive way due to its implication of rescue – I’m going to go in the exact opposite direction.

That’s right, I’m thinking that this episode once again shifts John Locke’s motives to that of a man who is blinded by his desire to understand and remain on the Island at all costs. You know, the same kind of person who would knock out someone trying to triangulate a radio signal (Sayid), indirectly cause the death of someone due to a blind focus on getting inside a Hatch (Boone), or break a computer, even if it means it could be the end of the world. Remember at the end of Season One, Jack says “if we get inside that Hatch, we’re going to have a Locke problem.” I think that problem is finally coming to fruition.

So what is “77” going to be? It really could be anything – from disabling the communications with the mainland to sending out a distress signal that could be picked up by the wrong people (Others, Savages, Smokey). I’m really not sure where the storyline is headed at this point, but I have to think that Locke’s actions on the computer are going to be a major part of why it heads in that direction. I think we’re going to see that Locke has the opportunity to potentially save everyone “38”, but instead chooses “77” – and that the consequences of this choice are so monumental that the choice of this simplistic episode title is more powerful than any other this season.

(See what I mean about over-hyping the episode? If “77” simply starts a chess game, expect a one-word review of this episode that is an expletive…)

Episode Description: Locke, Sayid and Kate investigate a strange structure and its mysterious inhabitant. Meanwhile, Sawyer competes in a ping-pong competition to get back his belongings. Guest starring are Mira Furlan as Danielle Rousseau, Rodrigo Santoro as Paulo, Kiele Sanchez as Nikki, April Grace as Ms. Klugh, Andrew Divoff as Mikhail Bakunin, Francois Chau as Dr. Marvin Candle, Shaun Toub as Sami, Anne Bedian as Amira, Taiarii Marshall as waiter and Eyad Elbitar as Arabic man.

Episode Breakdown: The first non-Lost Moment episode of the spring season! We’re finally in the dark about an episode before it airs, with only our wits to save us!

First off, you’ll notice I began including the “guest starring” portion of the episode description. Why? Well, last week, it gave clued me in on who this “Tricia Tanaka” actually was, and this week it’s even juicier. Since it’s on ABC’s official website, I don’t really consider it a spoiler – although it does give some very intriguing clues about who might be showing up in the episode. Reading through the list of gues stars, some are clearly more exciting than others. Of course I’m talking about Nikki and Paulo! Yes! I cannot get enough of those still nameless characters and their crazy hijinx!

Ah, jokes are funny. But seriously…

Klugh. How about Ms. Klugh? Remember her? Until the start of this season, she seemed to be one of the more “higher ups” of the Others, leading the interrogation of Micahel during “Three Minutes”, threatening Walt to send him back to “the room”, but then only appearing briefly in “Live Together, Die Alone” before being noticeably absent for the first nine episodes of this season. Given that we were on Alcatraz, crawling with all sorts of Others, it seemed odd that she never showed her face.

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So what brings her around now? The curious thing is that this episode seems to focus on Kate, Sayid, Locke, and CFL infiltrating Patchy’s Farm, with a side of Sawyer-Hurley-Charlie comedy on the beach for good measure. I’m not getting the impression that we’ll see Jack, Juliet, Ben, Tom, or any of the other Others (yep – still fun to say) this week. If anything, I would expect Ms. Klugh to show up back at the Others “Main Camp”.

Since Patchy seems to be a bit of a loner, the only thing I can think of is that she appears in an end-of-episode twist, a la CFL last week. If that is the case, it must mean that Kate and Co. end up getting information that puts them on the path to the Others, and they encounter her along the way… and if they are this successful, that means they must get quite a bit of information out of Patchy.

Patchy. So who is this guy? Well, apparently his real name is Mikhail Bakunin – but the question is, will we continue to call him Patchy post-episode, a la CFL, or will he begin going by his real name, a la “Ben”? Early returns say “Patchy” is here to stay because both his first and last name seem quite difficult to spell.

We got our first glimpse of Patchy during “The Cost of Living”, as a creepy face in one of the monitors who quickly turned off the camera once he realized he was being watched – it was quite creepy. Even creepier, remember that the Tailers found a stray glass eye in the Arrow Hatch, and since Patchy is the first and only one-eyed man we’ve seen on the Island, logic would tell you that it belongs to him. Back to the question at hand – who is this guy? (And is this Friend of the Blog Heather's back in the picture?)

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Well, from the brief glimpse we got of Patchy on the Pearl video screen, it was clear that he was wearing a Dharma Jump Suit – although I don’t believe you could decipher which “specific logo” was in the midle of the Dharma Logo. Luckily, by the process of elimination, we can rule all the hatches except one. If you recall, there were six hatches visible on the Blast Door Map from Season Two’s “Lockdown”:

  • The Swan – Desmond’s Hatch, now imploded.
  • The Staff – The Medical Hatch, now abandoned.
  • The Hydra – Jack’s Former Prison on Alcatraz, now abandoned.
  • The Pearl – Home of the video monitor showing Patchy, recently abandoned.
  • The Arrow – Former Hideout of the Tailers, containing a glass eye, abandoned.

That leaves the Flame as the only remaining Hatch – and the only logical residence for Patchy.

Yes, it’s pretty funny that I (along with a lot of people on the Internet) still refer to each of the Dharma stations as “Hatches”, even though the Swan Station is really the only one that has had a “hatch” – the rest have all had doors, like normal buildings. But this brings up an interesting point. All the rest of the “Stations” are very much “cave-like” – they’re enclosed, dark, isolated quarters. Based on what we’ve seen from Patchy’s current residence, it’s more like an outside farm.

Something doesn’t add up.

Dharma Farma. We’ve theorized that the Swan Station received their supplies via Periodic Ration Drops, occurring during lockdowns of their quarters. However, based on the fact that Patchy seems to be playing Old MacDonald, it would reason that he’s getting his food from working the land. Why the disconnect? Doesn’t it seem like having cows and other animals roaming around would make them easy prey for the numerous predators on the Island, such as Polar Bears, Smokey, or the most dangerous predator of all - Man?

Everything about Patchy seems to indicate that he’s some sort of loner, living on his own, not receiving any sort of assistance from the outside world, as the Swan Station did. However, we have seen that he is wearing a Dharma Jump Suit. Could he be some former Dharmite who has since “quit” his duty and is now on his own? Or is he more of a scavenger who simply picked up some “free clothes” off of a Dharma Employee who had died? It’s not likely – since it seems that he has a computer – with the same sort of Dr. Marvin Candle message outlining his mission – as the other stations – so is the Flame Hatch really just a farm?

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Or could it be that the farm is merely a cover for a secret hidden underneath? Remember back to the quote from Cuse about “the map becomes less important, because when they visit this new station, they'll be getting some new information that helps them understand where the Dharma people lived and where their stations are”? That would seem to indicate that the Flame Station holds a great deal of information about all the other stations… and perhaps maps leading to each.

My gut feeling is actually that the Flame Station has some sort of underground tunnel system that would lead to each of the other main stations (aside from maybe the Swan – which seemed to be isolated for purposes of their experiment). This would effectively eliminate the need for the map from the Blast Door (because our Survivors could just walk from station to station), lead them to Jack and the Others (since it’s likely some path of the tunnel system would eventually lead them there), bring about a run-in with Ms. Klugh (who is also using the tunnels to travel around the Island), and even make the naming convention of the station logical (flame = torch to be able to navigate the tunnels).

The only question remains – what is the purpose of this station? If the Swan performed psychological / magnetic experiments, the Staff performed medical experiments, the Hydra performed animal experiments, the Pearl performed observatory experiments, and the Arrow performed archery experiments (I kid), what is the function of the Flame?

Chess. Well, another clue may be in the visual we saw on the screen of the computer during the preview – a game of chess. Instantly my mind raced to “War Games”, the Matthew Broderick classic where a game of tic-tac-toe prevents World War III. But the other thing I thought of is how isolated a game of chess vs. a computer could be. It’s a classic game that would never really get old, keeps the mind sharp, and could potentially last hours – the perfect sort of game for someone who is totally isolated and bored out of their mind on the Dharma Farma.

It would make sense to me if life at this station was also one of solitude. If they were tasked with guarding the entrance to the underground tunnels – but otherwise living a simple life on a far outpost of the underground web of tunnels.

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Ping Pong. Speaking of games, I almost forgot about the second sentence of the episode description! Sawyer competing in a game of ping pong to get his stuff back? Really? The same kickass Sawyer that we’ve learned is unable to show love and will steal from anyone, even an asthmatic needing medicine? This guy is going to compete in a friendly game of table tennis instead of just beating people up in order to retrieve his things? Man, that one night with Kate must have really changed him – because this seems pretty out of character.

However, it will probably offer the “comedic scenes” of the episode to break up the sheer intensity that is sure to take place during the majority of the scenes involving Sayid, Kate, Locke, CFL, and Patchy.

So there you have it – this definitely wasn’t my best Blog ever, but I was in a bit of a rush tonight, so it’ll have to do. I really am excited for this episode, and fully expect tons of fresh material to analyze and theorize about come Thursday morning. Hopefully it lives up to expectations. If not, you have no one to blame but yourself… and by “yourself”, I mean “me” for over-hyping it.

Happy Losting!


SinkingDeeper said...

Can't wait either!

Chris B. said...

(In computer voice) "The only way to win is...not to playyy" What a great 80's movie.

Andrew said...

you've got me all sorts of excited for this episode.

one thing i haven't seen you address is the references to ben as alex's father. do you think he and CFL have a romantic history? or is he an adoptive father?

hobbes said...

I don't play a lot of Chess myself (although the musical is Great). But enter seven seven might be a chess move that achieves the manual override. As you were saying Brian it could be the first part of Dr. Marvin Candle’s instructions; the second part being to enter three, eight. Although, (and I am most likely wrong on this, I haven't really thought it through) don't the titles usually point to the character of the flashback (Glass Ballerina for Sun, Trisha Tanaka for Hurley, Not in Portland for Juliette). Maybe it (Enter 77) simply has to do with Sayid.

It looks like after Patchy gets his butt kicked by the rescue force (where's CFL in the previews btw, does she turn Kate down) he seems to want to die. Is it to protect something or to end his misery? We have seen in the previews this station explode maybe 77 is a self distruct. Man, for a guy of faith Locke's on a roll.

As for the purpose of this station I really hope is isn't where Juliette got the fixin's for the burger she "made" for Jack. maybe it's Flame broiled? (ok ok, or not;)

Just out of curiosity. Does anyone know what happened to the glass eye after it was found? Who has it now?

Not to add to the hype, but after, I think we'll all be rushing back here to find out "what the ?"

Brian said...

andrew - in regards to CFL, Alex, and Ben, I stand by my original thoughts on the matter. CFL is Alex's birth mother. Alex's birth father is "Robert", who CFL allegedly killed.

After the Others kidnapped Alex, Ben stepped up as the adoptive father, and since Alex was so young when she was taken, she had no reason to believe otherwise.

It's pretty much like the storyline in the movie "Elf".

With some people thinking that CFL is a former-Other, that could drastically change this theory - but I still haven't seen enough evidence to convince me any of it. I think the much better storyline is Alex finding out her true identity and going to New York to meet her true father... I mean, having the internal struggle of siding with the Others or with her Crazy Mom.

gg said...

You mentioned that playing table tennis to get his stuff back seems out of character for Sawyer. But some seasons ago I seem to remember him playing a game of poker with Jack and losing a bunch of his stuff. I know this isn’t quite the same, but after losing he did give Jack what he had one.
Just a thought. Like you said it seems unimportant to the main story line – just a little break from the real meat of the episode.

annie said...

no, brian... great blog, as always!

i can't wait for some badass sayid action!

Patrick said...

So now that Dave popped your House cherry, how was it? I didn't see it myself (playing geras of war), but I hope you at least see House isn't a Cox ripoff. Cox is a funny asshole who in the end cares. House is an asshole. But he entertains (me at least) with his assholedness (like my new word?).

Winston said...

O man, I can't wait. I hope we're not disappointed. I love good episodes!

Great Blog Brian, can't wait for the one word review, even if it is an expletive.

Brian said...

Patrick - Yes, thanks to Dave Matthews guest starring on "House", I finally broke down and watched it last night for the first time ever.

My initial reaction is "I cannot believe that Hugh Laurie has won numerous awards for playing Dr. House." Seriously - he has one emotion (being a jerk) in every scene he is in (at least last night). There is absolutely no range or depth to his character. Sure, they added the "but he's addicted to drugs" storyline as a way to add try and make him "deep", but he's still a terribly shallow, one-bit character.

Other than that, the show was somewhat entertaining - I lauged a few times, and learned a little bit of medical knowledge (which may or may not be accurate, or course) - but I'm really surprised this show gets the high ratings that it does - it's a very technical medical show with complex terminology flying by so fast that I would think the average American would be unable to follow it.

So in summary, after only seeing one episode and surely making huge assumptions based on it (that may or may not be accurate), I've concluded that Dr. Cox on "Scrubs" is the funnier, deeper character - and I still think Dr. House is a bit of a rip off of him - but that "House" can still be an entertaining television show.

Will I watch it again? Probably not. But I'll also no longer mercilessly mock it - just Hugh Laurie :)

Stef said...

To add to the movie references -- your idea that Patchy may be stationed alone to guard the other stations immediately called to mind Indiana Jones, and that poor ancient knight who had guarded the holy grail for 1000 years. I bet he wished he had a computer to play chess with!

IMDB was reporting that Naveen Andrews and Dominic Monaghan are frustrated at their lack of screen time so far this season. I join you in being really excited for this episode -- cuz whiny actors notwithstanding, I've really been missing Sayid's perspective and insights. I hope he shakes things up a whole lot tonight!

And I think House is an acquired taste - give it a few more episodes, and he just might win you over. Deep down under all that abrasiveness, he's an obsessively-driven scientist who can only relate to people through their medical maladies. Is there a heart of gold? I don't think so, but it's not quite coal either.

Jason said...

Anyone know a site or blog that does similar dissection of Heroes? It might not be as deep as Lost but it would be nice to have a central place to check for information and translations.

hobbes said...

House is an arrogant, pompous, conceited twit. A-holes in general try to bully and dominate over others to hide behind their own short comings. To afraid to whip it and measure it so they try and keep those around them, under them.

There are enough people like this in the real world. IMHO I don't really need to watch it on TV as well. Being strong in character lifts the people around not diminishs them.

Seventoes said...

Im kind of a fan of the 'CFL was "marked" like Juliet and left' theory. Not much to back it up, but not much against it either ;)

joe d. said...

I'm with ya, Brian. I am super excited about tonight's episode and have been since reading the same article you referenced in the blog. I, however, did not let myself get really excited about Stranger in a Strange Land. I just had a feeling that it would be a bit disappointing.

Excellent Blog!!

Anonymous said...

lOVE THIS blog!!!

Greg said...

My one word instant reaction: Finally!

joe d. said...

I just watched an actually quite revealing promo for next week's episode. It was right there on lost.abc.com. Anyway, it got me to thinking. Mainly about "the list". Now, I'm very curious after letting it marinate for a couple of minutes while I was in my office.

In the season three opening sequence, Ben sends Goodwin and Ethan off to the tail section and fuselage respectively in order to make a "list". He gave them three days to do so.

What did making the list mean? Were they to simply make a list with every survivor's name? Then, the list is given to someone in charge of gathering personal information on each survivor, so they could find out if they were "good" or not? OR were they to make their own judgements and decide for themselves who was good and who wasn't? It would make much, much more sense to just write the names down because I think that it would take much longer than three days to sift through 46 people and decide which ones were good.

Whichever of the two is correct, I realized a hole in the story.

In "Maternity Leave" last season, Tom is talking to Ethan while Claire is waiting in the nursery. This was roughly two weeks after the plane crash, I think. It was definitely longer than three days AC. Anyway, Tom says something like, "You were supposed to make the list and then bring her back. Damnit, Ethan." This doesn't make sense to me. Two weeks and Ethan still hadn't made the list? A list was made because remember Ben telling Locke that he was one of the good ones? I think that Ethan made a list because he had been instructed to bring Claire to them. I'm just a bit confused I guess. Was Ethan told to make an additional list for some reason?

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