Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lost - "The Economist"

Let me warn you before we start, this post is probably going to be a disappointment. Why? Well, let’s just say it might go down in history as the shortest episode preview post in modern Blog history. It’s not because it’s Valentine’s Day this week, or that I’m busy getting married / buying a house, or anything like that – it’s simply because there is very little to garner from any of the usual preview places this week (you’ll see what I mean shortly).

Are those crafty Lost writers on to me? Is this all part of a massive scheme to stop me from figuring out the great mysteries of Lost ahead of time? Or are they simply trying to put a stop to the hundreds of thousands of dollars I’m making off their creative juices this week? Stop putting the Blog out of business, damn you!

Okay, with that disclaimer out of the way, I’m sure you’re all very excited to read on, so let’s get down to our very brief business.

Episode Title: “The Economist”

Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: You’ve got me.

I did my usual due diligence in researching the title – seeing if it could describe any characters or situations on the show, checking Google for references to TV / music / movie / books, and asking strangers on the street what their ideas were – but it all just kept pointing back to the same two simple things.

The dictionary definition of an economist (which is an expert in the field of economics - the branch of social science that deals with the production and distribution and consumption of goods and services and their management).

The newspaper “The Economist” (which is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by "The Economist Newspaper Ltd" and edited in London. It has been in continuous publication since James Wilson established it in September 1843. As of summer 2007, its average circulation tops 1.2 million copies a week, about half of which are sold in North America. Consequently it is often seen as a transatlantic (as opposed to solely British) news source.)

Neither of those really screams out anything remotely related to this week’s Sayid-centric episode, do they?

So what are we left with? Well, first of all I guess we should discuss the panther-sized cat that ABC let out of the bag with this week’s episode preview, promising the viewer that “the next member of the Oceanic Six will be revealed.” Since the only way to truly “reveal” that someone is a member of the Oceanic Six is to show them off the Island, and since this week is a Sayid-centric affair, it’s pretty clear what we’re looking at this week…

Sayid Flashforwards!

This makes Sayid the fourth of six members of the ultra-exclusive Oceanic Six club, along with Hurley, Jack, and Kate. He probably knows the secret handshake and everything. I have to admit, this is one of the last characters I would have guessed to make it off the Island. Claire, Sun, and Jin seemed like overly obvious choices for the final three members… which I guess is why it couldn’t have been them. This is Lost we’re talking about, after all.

To me, Sayid just seemed like the kind of guy who would die a noble death helping others escape off the Island – and he’s always around guns and explosions and stuff like that due to his military expertise. But based on this most recent Sayid development, it’s looking more likely that Claire (and Aaron) stick around to fulfill their Season One Island prophecy (the next generation of Others?) and DO NOT become members of the “Oceanic Six”. I still refuse to budge on my Sun and Jin prediction though. If you think about it, Sun still absolutely has to make it off the Island or else she dies. That seems like a lock. On the other side, Jin has to go with Sun or else he will be incapable of communicating with anyone else on the show, rendering his character to someone who can do stuff and stand in the background, but never have another line of real dialogue (not good for storytelling purposes). They are a joint package, rounding out the Oceanic Six.

So, my newest predicted Oceanic Six stand as follows:

1. Jack
2. Kate
3. Hurley
4. Sayid
5. Sun
6. Jin

It’s a motley crew for sure (and quite International, which might explain how the “Oceanic Six” become such a worldwide phenomenon), but it is made up of a nice representation of the “core characters” from the original thirteen. It’s funny – when you say “Oceanic Six” it feels like that would leave a LOT of characters left behind – but there really aren’t too many left from the core group of Season One. In fact, the only ones remaining would be:

1. Claire
2. Sawyer
3. Locke

(…and maybe Michael / Walt. I’m still not sure how to handle or classify them, since their storyline is so up in the air right now. For all we know they have already gone back to the “real world”, changed their identities to cover up any connection to Oceanic Flight 815, and moved on with their lives – or become spies for Ben on the Freighter – or become Dharma Shark food.)

The bad news is that this also means that the characters most at risk of dying on the Island would be one of these three characters, or non-Oceanic characters like Juliet / Desmond / Alex / Karl / CFL. Since you have to assume that someone will have to die in this upcoming “battle for the Island”, I’d start worrying if you’re a fan of any of these characters. Actually, if I had to start a death watch now, Desmond and Sawyer would both (sadly) be at the top of the list.

But we digress. Back to the “The Economist”. Did I almost make you forget that I totally glossed over the episode title with all my Oceanic Six talk?

Based on my very boring and non-Lost sounding research above, here’s the only thing I can come up with: either this is one of those “throwaway” sort of titles, like “Enter 77” that will be mentioned in passing, relating to a very specific thing in the episode (maybe Sayid meets with an “Economist” in his flashforward?)… or it is being used in a very broad and general sense to describe the very rational Sayid.

Economists deal with the distribution and consumption of goods – and managing the process. Out of all the Survivors, Sayid seems the most level headed one, the one most capable of managing the process of working with the Freightors and getting as many people off the Island as possible given the situation. Although we don’t have any real consumer goods for Sayid to distribute, we do have some less tangible “goods” on the Island like “seats on the helicopter off the Island” (high demand, low supply), “killing Locke and capturing / killing Ben” (high demand, low supply), and “figuring out the secrets of the Island” (high demand, low supply). Perhaps Sayid is the one who organizes the barter of these three goods – agreeing to bring Ben to the Freightors in return for escape off the Island, who in turn will give up Island secrets to the Freightors in return for them not killing them, etc.

It’s probably the biggest stretch I’ve ever made in the history of deeper meaning guess, but that’s the best I can do. Moving on…

ABC Description: Locke's hostage may be the key to getting off the island, so Sayid and Kate go in search of their fellow castaway in an attempt to negotiate a peaceful deal. Guest starring are Ken Leung as Miles, Jeremy Davies as Daniel Faraday, Rebecca Mader as Charlotte, Jeff Fahey as Frank Lapidus, Mira Furlan as Danielle Rousseau, Marsha Thomason as Naomi, Armando Pucci as Italian man and Thekla Reuten as Elsa.

Episode Breakdown. Another week, another one sentence episode description – at least it’s a compound sentence with a comma this time!

Hostage. Surprisingly, this one sentence is pretty loaded. For example, Locke actually has two “hostages” that one could argue are the key to getting off the Island – Ben and Charlotte. On the one hand, I’m sure the other Freightors would want to make rescuing Charlotte a top priority before they do anything else – look at how their instinct upon crashing was to find each other. But on the other hand, they’ve already revealed that finding Ben is tied to their overall “mission” on the Island in the first place.

The second portion of the sentence sheds some light on the “mission” of the episode – sending Sayid and Kate (and Miles) to find Locke (who has told them he was going to the Barracks) to try and organize a peaceful deal. How do I know all of this? From two screen shots in the episode preview.

First, we see a gun-toting Sayid snooping around a very barren looking Barracks. Keep in mind that Sayid probably still has the map leading to the Barracks that he swiped from the Flame, so he’s a logical person to lead the team there.


Then, we see Miles having less than friendly banter with Hurley, which means that he must go along with Kate and Sayid, and the two groups actually do meet up.


But then what?

See, that’s the thing about this episode. Remember the pre-season “chill-inducing preview” that showed all sorts of awesome scenes for this season of Lost? Well, we pretty much burned through all of them last week – leaving us with not much left for this week. The other weird thing is that this week’s episode preview contained a whole lot of clips from earlier episodes – not this week.

Something about that makes me very excited for this week’s episode. Maybe the good folks at ABC decided that since they spoiled the “Oceanic Six” part of the episode, they might as well make the rest of it a surprise for us. The other thing that

Something tells me that a lot of stuff goes down this week. After all, we also have this picture of the helicopter actually taking off – which would seemingly indicate that the mission was not only a success – but that Sayid / Kate / Miles make it to the Barracks and back in one week! Now I know what the Lost writers were talking about when they said things were going to move fast this season. Remember seasons of yore when it would take three episodes for characters to go from the beach to the Barracks? No more!


I’m sure it’s not as simple as that. I’m sure that there will be some substantial roadblocks this week, and in the end Team Island (with Locke and Ben still very much a part of it) still acting independently towards their own goals, while Team Freightor slowly works towards accomplishing their mysterious mission, with Team Rescue somewhat caught in the middle, just wanting to get off the Island and let the other two teams fight. But still – there’s a large potential for a lot of storyline progression on-Island this week.

Flashes. We’ve already established that this week should feature Sayid Flashforwards, but what will those flashforwards entail? Well, a quick scan of the guest stars this week reveals the four Freightors (plus Naomi – which means she’s getting a guest star credit for laying on the ground and playing dead), CFL ( who is due for a better storyline than just standing around in the background and occasionally hitting Ben), and an “Italian Man” and “Elsa” (pictured below).



It’s clear that these two will be featured in Sayid’s future – which may mean he moves to Italy (he’s quite the world traveler, since he’s already been seen living in Iraq and Paris). Hey, one of them might even be an Economist! But the more interesting thing is the lack of one particular guest star – Nadia.

Nadia. Now is as good of time as any to mention the mystery of Nadia. We’ve seen her buying a house with Locke and being saved by a mugger thanks to Charlie – and we know that she was working as a lab technician in Los Angeles just before Flight 815 crashed. However, if you recall Season One’s “Solitary”, Sayid very clearly tells CFL that Nadia is dead because of him.

I would think that if Sayid really does make it back to the real world, one of the first things he would do is to find Nadia and pretend that he never hooked up with Shannon on the Island – but the lack of her inclusion in this episode may indicate that this isn’t the case. On the other hand, maybe he came back and was messed up Jack-style, which drove her away – so we could be in store for a flashforward that takes place a good deal of time after rescue from the Island.

I’m out. I feel like I cheated you out of a full preview post this week, so feel free to pose any outstanding questions you might have in the comments section or message board over the next two days and I’ll try to answer them to make it up to you.

Happy Losting!



Chris Bobb said...

That was more than fine Brian. You continue to rock our LOST worlds. Happy "buy stuff for your lady or else she'll be pissed at you" Day.

GeZuS said...

Even your "bad" blogs are still be the best around. Looking forward toward your "The Economist" analysis!

The Luker said...

Brian, I'm inclined to disagree with your comment about Jin being in the 6. I think that rather than have him be a guy standing around in the background, they will have him die in some heroic way after they solve his issues (if he even has any real issues anymore.) Another great blog. Thanks man.

Anonymous said...

when there's a helicopter starting in the preview, we sure know two passengers:
claire and aaron

charlie died for them, so my guess is desmonds prediction will come true as they always have.

Anonymous said...

What about the remaining "Others" on the Island? Where are they? How come there is no mention of their existence?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of "Others".....can anyone explain or theorize how after the purge, Ben still had vast resources on the mainland? Recruiting Juliet with Richard....finding, getting and transporting Locke's father (the real Sawyer) to the Island....etc?

Anonymous said...

Could "The Economist" possibly be Sayid's long lost love? I can't remember her name, but she had a pretty nice little house in California. I'd say an Economist's salary could pay for that. Just a theory. We shall see tomorrow. -Jimmylegs

Mr Other said...

How is it we know this is a Sayid episode? Nothing in the preview or episode description points to this. Am I missing something?

Katie Kat said...

Hey, I can't believe you came up with ANYTHING. I'm so fuzzy after last week's episode and all the "theories" floating around, that I didn't even know it was a Sayid-centric episode. I'm just sort of floating along with the experience now... so your insight is a nice bit of flotsam for me to cling to. Not that your blog is debris floating in the ocean or anything... :)

I am very afraid that what I've been dreading will come true though, and Sawyer will be the next to die. That bums me out because, quite honestly, he's so yummy that I don't even care if he has a decent storyline anymore. :)

Can't wait to watch!

hrimcealde said...

probably has nothing to do with anything, but I just finished watching an episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent about a guy who pretends to be an economist at the UN, but he's actually just stealing money from the people he's fooled. Who plays the economist? Michael Emerson, FTW.

I know that it's not related, but it sure is quite a funny coincidence!

I love your blogs! They give great perspective on the episodes, and help me to clarify things I didn't get or identify things I didn't catch. Keep up the good work!

Katie Kat said...

hrimcealde, That's awesome!


Are there any links between the people who do LOST and the people who do L&O, CI? (My brain is too fried to remember!)

Anonymous said...

If Michael and Walt make it "back" they would have to be considered part of the "Oceanic Six", whether they are "rescued" as part of the group or not. No?

That means either we have our six or Michael and/or Walt never see civilization again.

Brian Leonard said...

Isn't it possible that some Oceanic people make it off the Island and *aren't* part of the Oceanic Six? For instance...maybe one of them moves to NYC and changes his name because he wants to lay low? I just think it's possible. So I wouldn't give up on Michael & Walt, or even the other three, just yet. Besides, let's not forget that Jack and Hurley want to go back--and they probably will.

Brian, I thought that was a great preview!

But I have to agree with Mr. Other...how do we know it's Sayid-centric? At least as of yesterday, Lostpedia was still saying the central character was unknown, so how did you find out about this?

the Other Brian

Anonymous said...

Has any noticed in the caption of the title Lost with the island in the back ground the reflection is a city sky line

Anonymous said...

hey Annyom....yes. The LOST graphis does clearly show, in the reflection of the word "LOST" a cityscape of tall buildings. What gives?

Anonymous said...

Long time reader, first time poster... The Economist was also a book written by Xenophon. Havent read the book, but thought I would throw it out there, in case anyone has :).

Heather's Brain said...

are there any thoughts to the 6 leave with the THOUGHT that they are going to get rescue for those left behind and then when on the freightor are convinced that IF YOU ALL DON'T SHUT UP AND PRETEND YOU ARE THE ONLY SURVIVORS WE WILL KILL YOU happens?

Also, is it for sure Charlotte that is the hostage or for sure Ben? I ask because Ben ASKED to go along with Locke, Charlotte was captured and that was made clear by tieing the beacon to Vincent.

Not big points but your post was so good it was all i had left to say.

PLUS, congrats abou tthe wedding plans AGAIN. I can not wait for a post regarding all that!

Seenu said...

Regarding the cityscape in the title image, there has been some analysis on other blogs/sites, and it's almost conclusively the Los Angeles skyline. The conventional wisdom is that this reflects the flashforwards and a supposed "LA-centric" nature.

Hayley said...

I just love this site and think everyone is great who posts on it especially...you Brian. Thank you for all of the insight and then some

Katie Kat said...

I never really thought about the fact that maybe the term "Oceanic Six" is really just about those that came back and were public about it. Maybe when Michael (and Taller Ghost Walt?) got back to the mainland, they just didn't talk and went on their merry way.

Only, then Michael blabbed or something happened and he freaked out and killed himself and that's why Jack goes all suicidal and stuff...

Maybe Walt starts haunting him or something. Oh wait, Walt's not dead. OOOOOO, maybe Walt gets killed out in the ocean and that's why he's an Island spirit now and then Walk haunts Jack and then Michael kills himself, etc., ad nauseum...

I need a drink...

Katie Kat said...

(Clearly, I meant "Walt" in the last sentence, not Walk!)

Bartender, make it a double!

Rebecca said...

Richard took the Others to the temple. Don't know when they are coming back to the barracks.

Brian said...

anonymous - good question about Ben and his resources. It's clear that Dharma had plenty, but it does seem doubtful that he would somehow be able to absorb them after killing the majority of the Dharmites on the Island. Maybe after the killing, he was free to rummage through some files to find offshore (onshore?) bank account information, or maybe he built his resources from the ground up like most other cults.

mr other - no, you're not missing anything. I'm not sure where I picked up the centricity of the episodes (maybe Ain't It Cool News?), but I've known the order for the first few since before the season began. Is that spoilery? If so, I feel dirty now...

Anonymous said...

Is Kate part of the oceanic six, we have seem here in the future but it was a secret meet. Maybe she unofficially left the island??

Stef said...

I wouldn't put Desmond on death watch yet, because I still believe he's going to end up being key to the final resolution of the series as his love story with Penny plays out.

I do think Sawyer, gasp!, is on the list though, and probably at the top... as well as Locke, Jin, and just about any of the others. Even CFL - once we learn a little bit more about her, her story line will be resolved since she's now met Alex.

Anonymous said...

Do you think maybe its possible that the Lost writers are cheating with this Oceanic 6 business? After all, if Ben, or Desmond, or Juliet, etc..., make it off the island, then they won't be one of the six.

Katie Kat said...

Anonymous (above) that is a VERY good point. Only "survivors" would be considered part of the Oceanic 6. If "others" got off the island as well, they most likely would not even be noticed. But if they come back WITH the Oceanic 6, it would be hard not to notice them.

I would hesitate to EVER trust the LOST writers (in terms of letting us in on the storyline too much)! :)

I think one thing we keep forgetting is how many times we try to figure out some character or situation using what we already know, only to find out it's the product of something or someone we do not yet know. Ya know?

Brian Leonard said...

I think this "Oceanic 6" is kind of a red herring. First, it clearly cannot include any non-815 passengers who may make it off the island. Second, it may not be counting Aaron. Third, it may not count people who do make it off who are not part of that particular group of six. What we *do* seem to know is that these Oceanic 6 are sworn to secrecy about what really happened.

BTW, I think we also *do* know for sure that Kate is one of the Oceanic 6, because Jack talked about the golden passes they gave "us". I thought he was clearly including Kate in that "us".

the Other Brian

Sawyer's Optician said...

Heather's Brain said...
"are there any thoughts to the 6 leave with the THOUGHT that they are going to get rescue for those left behind and then when on the freightor are convinced that IF YOU ALL DON'T SHUT UP AND PRETEND YOU ARE THE ONLY SURVIVORS WE WILL KILL YOU happens?"

Excellent point. I thought something along those lines, when we saw Jack so messed in his flashforward. Also Hurley's conversation with hot ghost Charlie makes me think something like that is afoot.

Also, what is Richard Alpert up to? Could he be Ben's "man on the boat"?

My last point is about death watches. I don't like to think of them, mainly because they just make me nervous. My defense for Sawyer not getting offed, is he and Hurley are becoming BFFs and their interaction provides comic relief and recently some tenderness. We still need Sawyer --and not only for his dimples and nickname creating. ;-)
Of the original core characters, we have only lost 3. Shannon and Boone went in season 1 & 2, and Charlie at the end of season three. Michael and Walt are "gone" but not dead as far as we know. You can't count Eko (I loved him!) Anna, Libby, Nikki, Paolo, and Ardzt and Naomi were all pereferal as were the various others that have died.

Jana said...

I thought you all might appreciate this poem.

Mete said...

maybe I got a point here:
Hurley said "I wish I was on your team" to Jack. and then talked about returning to the island.
does that mean "Hey Jack I don't want to be here, I want to be on the island. Since all the people on the beach waiting for the rescue team stayed on the island except you sayid and kate who are on a rescue misson for charlotte" (in addition "I am glad Locke's band left me back cause they all got killed"??!)

Mete said...

Another thing:

There's a secret between oceanic 6, highly probable that they made a deal with the bad guys for a ticket out..

That reminds me Michael's deal with others..
I think that's a pattern; to get off the island you must betray..

we go further, what if it's the penalty for betrayal given by the island? (makes you get off it)
From this point Ben betrayed to his fellow dharmites, and he knows the time is coming for him to leave.. All efforts, tricks to not to leave, and he knew the island wants him off. maybe the cancer is given by the island to force him get off and search for surgical care.

Maybe I got ridiculously further in thoughts.

Pat Gaughan said...

WOW. I love it. And I'm still not sold that Kate is one of the Six. But, in the preview it looks like a lady when they show the 6, so maybe it is her after all. Not sure I'm sold on Sun/Jin.

Anonymous said...

Brian, nice theories, but the 6th survivor will be Sawyer. Remembe, Kate told the doctor "He is waiting" when they met at the airport at the end of last season, he had to know who "He" was. Who else would she be with?

singhy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.