Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Lost - "Greatest Hits"

Episode Title: “Greatest Hits”


Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: …and so, we finally arrive at the Charlie-centric episode originally scheduled to air as the sixteenth episode of the season. Back then, it was titled “The Truth About Lying”, and probably was going to center on Charlie’s reveal to Sun about his involvement in her kidnapping. Instead, the Charlie flashbacks got pushed back to the second to last episode of season and the “reveal” about Sun was tacked onto the Paulo and Nikki-centric “Expose” (remember them? Wow, haven’t thought about them for the past two months!). But the question becomes, why the scheduling change?

The obvious answer is that by pushing the episode back towards the end of the season, it would keep the suspense up about whether or not Charlie lives or dies. Ever since we learned of Desmond’s “flashes”, the audience has had him on deathwatch in each episode. However, it’s not that simple. Unless there were some serious re-writes of storylines in order to push this one back, there was never any risk of Charlie dying in “The Truth About Dying”. If Charlie were to die in the sixteenth episode, how could he have been around for Desmond’s “Catch-22” episode the following week? Wouldn’t that episode have lost a lot of its moral dilemma and suspense if Charlie were already dead? I think so.

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So it seems that although the centricity of the sixteenth episode got changed, the major plot surrounding Charlie remained the same. If Charlie is going to die, he was always going to die late in the season. Moving back his centric episode merely gives the writers an opportunity to toy with the audience even further, as we all know that characters seem to die in their flashback episodes. It probably also brought a higher degree of importance and poignancy to the Charlie flashback scenes, which is quite welcome in my book (I’ve always said Charlie’s flashbacks have been the weakest of any character on the show), but I wonder if the flashback itself had to change with the scheduling change to make it more “relevant” to the show – or if they kept it the same. While that runs the risk that the flashbacks might seem out of place, with as fantastic as the second half of this season has been, I have nothing but faith that the decision was made by the Lost writers, not some ABC network suit, and this episode will be nothing short of great.

Which brings us to “Greatest Hits”. Although it’s a pretty common phrase, I kept the tradition of Googling it before I started writing this post. Not surprisingly, the search revealed little to nothing relevant to Lost, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the number one search result was Journey’s Greatest Hits. Don’t stop believin’! It looks like we’re on our own for this one.

The “Greatest Hits” of an artist are usually put out when they are past their prime, looking to claim one last paycheck by profiting off a reissue of classic songs they produced years ago, rather than their new, less popular songs. It usually signifies the end of the creative career of an artist or band (there are exceptions of course – like U2), but provides fans one last chance to relive the best of their catalogue in one convenient place.

Being a Charlie-centric episode, it’s pretty obvious to see the parallels to Driveshaft – his once world-famous band that fell apart Oasis-style. In Charlie’s previous flashbacks, we’ve seen him try to reconcile with his brother to get the band back together, sell-out with cheesy diaper commercials, and even buckle down and get a sales job. Attempting to produce a Driveshaft Greatest Hits CD seems like it would fit in nicely with that timeline.

But from a deeper level, a lot of people fear that we’re not only talking about reminiscing about the good old days in terms of Driveshaft music… but also with characters on the show. The writers have been hinting that there are going to be some deaths coming up before the season ends, so this episode could serve as “one last hurrah” with the whole gang together. While I don’t think we’ll be subject to a sappy musical montage of scenes from over the years, be on the lookout for a lot of “moments” between characters that will remind us of the good times… such as this one from the preview between Charlie and Claire.

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Enjoy them while you can, because I’m thinking some seriously bad times are right around the corner.


Episode Description: While Jack devises a plan to do away with “The Others” once and for all, Sayid uncovers a flaw in “The Others’” system that could lead to everyone’s rescue. But it requires Charlie to take on a dangerous task that may make Desmond’s premonition come true. Guest starring are Tania Raymonde as Alex, Blake Bashoff as Karl, Nestor Carbonell as Richard Alpert, Mira Furlan as Rousseau, Brian Goodman as Pryce, Marsha Thomason as Naomi, Neil Hopkins as Liam, Joshua Hancock as Roderick, John Henry Canavan as Simon Pace, Jeremy Shada as young Charlie, Zack Shada as young Liam, L. Scott Caldwell as Rose, Sam Anderson as Bernard, Andrea Gabriel as Nadia, Lana Parrilla as Greta and Tracy Middendorf as Bonnie.


Episode Breakdown: In keeping with the “Greatest Hits” motif of the episode, we’ll start with the guest stars – which read like a roster of every minor character on the show that has gone missing over the past few weeks. Not only do we have the return of Krazy Karl, but also Alex, CFL, Rose, Bernard, and… Nadia? At first I thought it must just be a coincidence – but nope, the actress is the same Nadia from Sayid (and Locke’s) past! For those who don’t remember, here’s a brief refresher of her story…

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Nadia was Sayid’s childhood friend, who ended up being held prisoner in Iraq where Sayid was the “interrogator”. However, Sayid couldn’t bring himself to torture his old friend (plus, she was kinda hot), and instead helped her escape. He has been unable to find her ever since, though not for lack of trying. If you remember, the whole reason that Sayid went undercover with the CIA (ratting out his friends, leading them kill themselves) was in exchange for a reveal of the location of Nadia. We also saw Nadia in Locke’s flashback, buying a house in LA – but the weird thing is that Sayid told CFL that Nadia was dead when she asked about the picture of her that Sayid carried in Season One.

Now do you remember? All this brings up the following quite interesting question – does Nadia appear in Charlie’s flashback, or as a “vision” to Sayid on the Island?

On the one hand, the quick and easy answer is that she appears in Charlie’s flashback. We’ve already seen her show up in Locke’s (who could have foreseen that connection? Is Charlie any less strange?), and have seen other characters popup in numerous character flashbacks (Sawyer, Kate’s Mom, Jack’s Dad), so it could just be another case of the Lost writers reminding us that we’re all connected to each other, and it’s a small world after all (without the annoying song and animatronics).

On the other hand, there is the far more intriguing (and troubling) possibility that she is some type of vision that Sayid has on the Island – in the same vein as Jack seeing his dad or Eko seeing his brother (Smokey?). With all the talk about characters dying on the show in the next two weeks, this worries me – because having a sort of “reconciliation” with a ghost Nadia might just give Sayid the “release” of his emotional baggage that makes a character prime for dying. As valuable a character as Sayid is, the resolution of the Nadia storyline is really the only dangling mystery from his past. Killing him would put our characters at a distinct disadvantage against the Others (losing their most “battle-tested” and “strategic” Survivor, as well as the most technologically-savvy), making their odds for success even less – just the kind of underdog story that makes for great TV and movies.

So is Sayid a goner? It’s hard to say. While he’s one of my favorite characters on the show, that just means his death would be all that more powerful and moving to the audience. As much as it pains me, I would definitely include him as one of the most likely Survivors to bite the bullet before the season end (full death-watch list coming up next week…) Sayid fans out there, be praying for Nadia to appear in the background of Charlie’s flashback. If we see that, I think we can consider him safe, at least for now!

As for the other returning characters, it’s clear to see some obvious ways that each would fit into the storyline. The preview showed Sayid teaching Rose and Bernard how to fire a gun. Remember Jack and Ana-Lucia’s brief conversation from last season about needing to “start an army”? Well, after sitting on the shelf for over a year, it looks like it will finally be coming true. If our Survivors are banding together for one big battle, it makes sense for Rose and Bernard to make their first appearances of the season – as you would think we would actually see all the Survivors working towards a common goal for perhaps the first time in the series’ history. On the other hand, if we’re counting on Rose and Bernard to be shooting guns and taking out Others, I’m not sure how much of a chance our Survivors have.

Luckily, the preview also showed Sayid tackling someone that I can only assume was Krazy Karl, warning our Survivors that “they’re coming”. This could be a huge gain for our Survivors. If Karl and Alex show up to provide them with detailed information about the Others’ planned attack, it would allow our Survivors to better plan and go on the offensive, rather than sitting and waiting. If you think about it, Krazy Karl and Alex switching sides makes perfect sense. We’ve seen Alex’s clear distaste for Ben, the rules of the Others, and their treatment of her boy-toy Karl. Heck, she’s already helped Sawyer and Kate escape from Alcatraz. Likewise, we’ve seen Ben attempting to keep Alex and Karl apart, and we all know what happens when you try and keep young lovers apart (see: Romeo and Juliet, Corey and Topanga) – it just adds to their rebellious energy and hatred of their society. Here’s a crazy thought – what if that ridiculous scene with Sawyer and Karl from earlier this season where he taught him about girls will actually have a payoff! Maybe it taught Karl that he could trust our Survivors, prompting him to warn them about the upcoming attack!

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Lastly, there’s the wild card – CFL. I’m on record saying that CFL will show up mid-battle, TNT in hand, and help deliver our Survivors from danger at the hands of the Others. Conveniently, with Alex on our Survivors’ side, this means she’s also helping her daughter – setting the stage for a tearful reunion! However, there’s still that hint of distrust about CFL and her motives. Her appear, then disappear nature doesn’t necessarily mean that she’ll be the great ally that I’m anticipating. In fact, maybe seeing Alex will cause her to lose all focus, and squander her opportunity to deliver a severe blow to the Others.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. With all this talk about big battles, deaths, and Boy Meets World, you’d think this was the Season Finale. One has to assume that the majority of the battles, deaths, and shocking twists take place next week, not this week – and that this week will merely set the stage, bringing us to the brink of the climactic finale.

So what will happen this week?

While Jack devises a plan to do away with “The Others” once and for all, Sayid uncovers a flaw in “The Others’” system that could lead to everyone’s rescue. But it requires Charlie to take on a dangerous task that may make Desmond’s premonition come true.

Jack’s plan seems pretty simple. As we’ve seen in the commercials, they’re going to wait for the Others to come to steal their pregnant women (just Sun?), then blow them up (with TNT from the Black Rock, one assumes). The problem is I still don’t trust Jack 100%. His line last week about knowing the Others plan, but not knowing how to deal with it didn’t sit right with me. If you find out that a group of other people are in danger, wouldn’t you tell them right away and come to a group decision about how to prevent and deal with the danger? Instead, Jack seemed to decide that he was the only one who could arrive at a logical decision, and left everyone in the dark on the matter until they called him out on it. In my eyes, this almost sounds like a lame cover-story for Jack’s true intentions. I don’t have any hard evidence, so I’m not ready to call Jack out as a mole among the Survivors – but it wouldn’t surprise me at this point.

Meanwhile, Sayid discovers a flaw in the Others’ system that could lead to everyone’s rescue. What is this “system” that they are talking about? Given that Sayid is the most technical Survivor, you’d have to think it has something to do with communications – either figuring out a way to make Naomi’s iPhone work through bypassing the electromagnetic “block” of the Island, or finding a way to use the Others’ existing communications channels with the mainland for their own purposes, to send an S.O.S. call.

The only problem is, I don’t see how either of these fit in with the current story, because you would think that either would require Sayid to go on some sort of mission – to the remains of the Flame, to another Dharma Station, to the Radio Tower transmitting CFL’s signal – somewhere other than the Beach. Yet we see that he is on the Beach training Rose and Bernard how to handle weapons in the clip in the preview. Very puzzling... but also another reason to put Sayid on death watch. Going on a mission means going away from the safety of the Beach, putting yourself in danger of stumbling into one of CFL’s traps or Smokey’s Fist. Factoring in that Nadia appears in this episode, you could almost piece together a storyline with Sayid traveling through the jungle on a mission to make communications with the outside world, only to discover a vision of Nadia – talking cryptically, looking for him to repent for his past sins… and then going crazy on him, just like Eko. Uh-oh.

Lastly, we arrive at the heart of the episode – the fate of Charlie Pace. It seems that whatever the key to Sayid’s discovery is, it requires Charlie’s help. I honestly cannot come up with any sort of task that would require Charlie’s help any more than any other Survivor, aside from guitar playing and drug taking, but I hope there is something, other than Sayid telling Charlie “you’re the only one who can do it” without any rationalization to back it up. Given the strength of the writing lately, I have fate – I just can’t figure it out myself at this point.

The weird thing about Charlie and his death sentence is that after seeing Charlie hesitant to do anything that may put his life in danger for a few episodes, we saw him embrace a crazy van ride with Hurley in “Tricia Tanaka is Dead”, which seemed to symbolize him facing (and overcoming) Desmond’s forecast of doom. However, in "Catch-22", he seemed to revert to his old ways, hesitant to partake in any sort of mission that seemed overly dangerous. Therefore, I find it hard to believe that even if Sayid tries to convince him, that Charlie would go on some dangerous mission, even if it meant saving everyone else. As a character, Charlie just doesn’t strike me as that altruistic… unless Sayid can somehow spin it as doing it for Claire.

So will Charlie end up going on this mission? Of course. It only seems logical that the main action of this episode will center around Charlie once again tempting fate, even when Desmond warns him that his actions will result in death. Expect yourself to be on the edge of your seat as the writers constantly tease Charlie’s demise around every corner. But will he die?

Well, ever since we learned about Desmond seeing Charlie’s death, I’ve said yes. After working so hard to keep the deaths of previous main characters a secret, I thought it would be brilliantly ironic to have the next main character death be told to you weeks before it would happen. It’s almost like reverse psychology – with the audience thinking “they can’t kill him, because they said they would kill him”, a show known for twists and turns delivers a perfectly straightforward storyline. The surprise is that there is no surprise. Charlie dies.

Two scenes from the preview further strengthen my opinion. The first is of Charlie kissing Claire – either kissing her goodbye as he leaves on his mission, or kissing her as a sign that their relationship has finally rekindled – finding romance is a sure-fire way to end up dead on most TV shows, since it leaves another character deeply affected by your loss. Look at the difference between the deaths of Boone, Shannon, or Libby (all loved by other characters) vs. Ana-Lucia or Eko (no strong relationships with other characters). You felt the emotional resonance of the deaths of the first group, because the characters mourned them, sought revenge, or were changed because of it. The second group? Not so much. Getting Charlie back with Claire ensures that she’ll become a much more interesting character once he dies than she is today.

The second sign? This strange picture of Charlie’s Driveshaft ring sitting on cloth (a crib?):

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To me, this just feels like a kind of “memento” left behind. Either for Aaron to remember his adoptive father, for Claire to remember Charlie, or as a sort of funeral item, it just feels like something that signifies remembering Charlie once he is gone.

Now if I were writing this episode, I would have Charlie live… only to kill him in the season finale. I like the cruel twist of having Charlie survive his flashback episode where everyone is expecting him to die, only to have him die in the opening scene of battle the following week. What can I say, I have an evil side.



That’s all for this week. Looking back, this is a pretty weak episode preview – but I find myself going into this episode as clueless as I have been for any episode this season. After last week’s mind-blower, I really have no idea what to expect… which is pretty exciting.

Happy Losting!

Shower me with praise and adoration on the Message Board Comments Section!

...or use the regular comments section below, where it’s all business with no polite niceties.

24 comments:

Renee said...

Charlie's ring looks like it's on the blanket Sawyer gave Claire for Aaron.
I think this episode is going to be a tear-jerker. Charlie is going to go out as a hero.
I hope it's not the end of Sayid, maybe Nadia became a groupie of DriveShaft and followed them on tour?! It could happen!

Renee said...

Oh yeah....what about the bloody hand?

Anonymous said...

I had an idea about why Ben would be keeping Karl away from Alex. It's real simple, "fathers" don't like their daughters dating. It would hold double danger for Ben, if either of the kids wasn't proper.

Just a normal look at the wacky othrers for a change.

Andrew said...

nice Boy Meets World allusion.

Anonymous said...

What do we predict about Locke this episode? Does he return NOW or next week? I'd guess we'll see John Locke's rise next week!!

Liza said...

To further expand on the idea form anon. 10:06 - Ben doesn't want Alex to be with Karl because he doesn't want her to get pregnant!

smacky said...

I'm probably in a small group, but I don't want Charlie to die. When I first heard about Lost, hearing Dom being on it is what made me check it out in the first place (and not the Party of Five guy). His death just leaves Claire even more useless. Yeah, she has a kid. Yeah, she's Jack's sister (and maybe someday the Others will let them know that). Beyond that, so what? Let her keep Charlie!

Stef said...

Rose and Bernard! And yep, I think Charlie's numbered days are down to just one.

Wouldn't it be really tragic for Alex to die in the finale? Just as CFL is finally getting the chance to connect.... her long-lost daughter dies. Wow, that would be something.

joe d. said...

One thing...You mentioned that about you didn't think Charlie didn't seem like the kind of man to volunteer for a dangerous mission...something that would be risking his life? He's done it before...Remember way back in season 1 when Jack was trapped during the collapse of the cave? Charlie volunteered to go in after him.

Prediction:
Charlie will volunteer for some dangerous mission again this week....only he will live through it....and then die next week.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I’m relatively new to this site, so I’m not sure what has been said about this before.

Sayid still has another connection doesn’t he? The CIA dude that got Sayid on the torture-track in the first place was the same dude that Desmond supposedly followed out of the hatch and killed against the rocks. Remember that the dude kept Desmond believing that the island had poison gases and that is why CIA dude would wear the suit out. And how DID this dude get to island? Was he another post Darmite recruit? (by the way, I’ve always liked the actor who plays CIA dude. He was in Highlander wasn’t he)

As for Sayid breaking the system, seems like as long as they got the phone outside the island’s magnetic powers, it would work. This could mean having Charlie swimming/boating out far enough to do so. Maybe Desmond warns Charlie that he cannot be on the beach and that is why Charlie accepts Sayid’s boating mission.

Rose and hubby are very expendable, but their lack of camera time during this season seems odd. We have no attachment to them. Who cares if they die?

If they do kill Sayid, I will be totally bummed. He and Eko are/were my 2 favorites.

Elina said...

Hey guys,

I read Brian´s posts for a long time, and I love them. ;) But I have one question, because I don´t get it. Why you call Danielle CFL?
Is it because that´s shorter?

(sorry for my bad english but i hope you can understand me nevertheless)^^

joe d. said...

CFL= Crazy French Lady

Elina said...

ah thanks ;)

Adam said...

I know you said you'll post a death list later, but here's my list of the top three goners...

1. Charlie. I agree with your analysis. We've been told he's going to die... he probably will tonight.

2. Sawyer. One of the most popular characters on the show, he no longer has a mission in life after killing the real Sawyer. Plus, with him out of the way, the Jack and Kate lovefest can continue.

3. Sayid. As much as I hate to say it, you may be right. He may join Shannon soon as a result of his trip into the jungle.

I don't think we'll find out about Locke until the season finale. But I doubt he's dead.

eric matthews said...

ta-PANGA!

I agree that Charlie will survive this one, and maybe several more, because it's a method for the writers to tell Desmond's "future flashes" story in a tangible way. Or it has been. Maybe Charlie dies, and then someone else gets saved by Desmond? Or maybe Desmond has to save multiple people at the same time, including Charlie...

joe d. said...

I said this a couple of weeks ago and I stand by it....I feel like John Locke is really the only character that is safe from death this season. There is NO WAY that Locke can be killed right now. He is the only one of our survivors that is actively seaking out the secrets of the island. It is through him that we the audience will learn these secrets. Also, Ben was the only one that could see and communicate with this Jacob.....Now Locke has seen him also. Apparently this Jacob is a very powerful being. Jacob will save Locke from dying of the gunshot wound.

There is something going on that I don't yet understand but am trying to. When Jacob started thrashing about and making the house shake the other night, he broke the lantern that Ben had lit....A fire was also started in the house. When Ben came out of the house, he had the unbroken lantern and they made a point of showing him hanging it back on the door....Also, the house was no longer on fire....What was up with that?? There is some sort of alternate time thing going on there.

Any ideas?

Gregory said...

If we need to suffer through some deaths on the island, I am lobbying strongly for Rose and Bernard. They've been gone all season, which IMHO was preferred to when they were in psuedo-focus in season two. Now, it is time for them to be gone for good.

RutkowskiLives said...

NOT A SPOILER, JUST MY IDEAS:

The most shocking death that they could have on the show to me would be Hurley. I've never heard that possibility mentioned, which makes it all the more likely to me. I would not at all be surprised to see Jack or Kate go down either, since they are major players but based on the number of flashbacks don't appear to have much more to tell.

Renee said...

I'm afraid for Hurley and Sun. They are both wearing red shirts this episode (from the preview).

Brian said...

renee - no idea about the bloody hand. If Rose and Bernard are packing heat, it could literally belong to anyone on the Island.

joe d. - good point about Charlie from Season One. I guess I just don't see that same altruism out of Season Three Charlie.

anonymous - While Kelvin Inman remains an open connection / storyline with Sayid - I think it's more likely for that storyline to get resolved through other Dharma flashbacks / Desmond, rather than Sayid.

elina - Rousseau is CFL and Mikhail is Patchy because they are easier to write, and easier for the casual viewer to identify. For much of the first season, Rousseau's name was barely mentioned, so a lot of people didn't catch it - but if I said "CFL", they knew exactly who I was talking about. Same with Patchy. It's simple but effective.

Elina said...

Ah okay that makes sense. I like the nicknames CFL and Patchy. :D So keep writing your posts Brian. I´m a big fan of you. :)

greetings from Germany...

Anonymous said...

i bet Jack is not concealing anything. The lack of depth Brian identified in Jack's behavior since returning from Otherville is simply related to possibly a tad weak or spotty writting. Jack is honorable and loyal to his friends and will attempt to lead them to a victory, as he indicates he will do. I'm not especially psyched on this episode as compared to last week or NEXT week's finale!

The Dharma Shark said...

I`m coming for ya Charlie !!!

amber said...

when will the Rewind start??