Thursday, February 28, 2008
Truth be told, I'm having trouble putting into words how I feel immediately following that episode, but I know it was like a work of art. It was puzzling yet revealing, action packed yet quietly beautiful, and almost had me tearing up at the end. Easily the best episode thus far this season, it might just be one of the best episodes of Lost of all time. I loved this episode.
So where to begin with the stream-of-thought writing?
Penny. It's all slowly beginning to make sense - everything from Season Two's snowy finale to Penny appearing on the monitor in the Looking Glass at the close of Season Three. Factoring in last season's "Flashes Before Your Eyes", which should now be viewed as an extended "mind trip" like this episode, as a result of the exposure to high levels of electromagnetism - Desmond visited both Penny and Donovan prior to crashing on the Island, and provided them with enough information to find him. Clearly there are some holes to the story yet to be filled, but it seems that Penny began searching for him (knowing he was on an Island in the the Pacific), attempting to contact anyone who would listen for three years once he disappeared (which was the signal the Freighter kept picking up - and why when Charlie turned off the Looking Glass, she suddenly appeared)... and finally succeeded on Christmas Eve thanks to Sayid being like MacGyver. She was Desmond's constant - saving his life and preventing him from a mental breakdown. It was pretty much the most romantic episode of Lost ever.
Faraday. Likewise, through Desmond's mind trip, he gave Faraday the constant that he was looking for in order to regain his memory. Suddenly, everything about Faraday is starting to make sense as well. Last week's card memory game was a sign that he truly did lose his short term memory thanks to the electromagnetic exposure from his experiments back in the day - but the only question is, has he visited the Island before? This might explain why he knows so much about how this all works, and why he was crying when he saw the downed Oceanic Flight 815 earlier this season.
If you want to take it a step further, maybe he's not so innocent after all. Perhaps he wasn't looking out for Desmond's best interests by telling him to visit him in 1996 - but for his own. By sending Desmond to visit him, it created an anchor for him - something he would know in 1996 and something he would know in 2004... which is going to lead to Daniel Faraday becoming a much more intelligent (and dangerous) character on the show.
Time. So where does this lead us regarding funky time? Well, as Sayid mentioned - they left at dusk, and arrived on the Freighter in the middle of the day - which would coincide with the present time on the Island. Since Jack and Sayid, and Penny and Desmond were able to communicate together - the date and time must be consistent on the Island, on the Freighter, and in the Real World... but time is LOST traveling to and from the Island, when you pass through the Bubble.
Let the record show that the bearing Frank followed was 305... the bearing that Ben gave Michael was 325... did Ben intentionally send Michael in the wrong direction? Or is there some degree of standard deviation in the path through the Bubble?
Black Rock. With everything else going on, the fact that Charles Widmore just bought the Black Rock journal almost seems secondary... but it seems like yet another clue that he is either behind the Freightors, or picking up where Hanso left off with the Dharma Initiative and the Island. Who wants to bet that the reason the Freightors were told not to answer the calls they were getting from Penny was because Charles knew exactly why she was calling and what they might find? I'm thinking we're going to have Penny on Team Rescue and Widmore on either Team Island or Team Freightor - father vs. daughter!
Desmond. After the heartfelt telephone reunion with Penny, I was almost certain someone was going to bust into the room and kill Desmond. It's the Joss Whedon fan in me - when a character finds true happiness on TV, they die shortly thereafter. Keep Desmond at the top of your death watch list... even though this episode reminded us that he is currently the most important character on this show. However, we now have a reasonable explanation for his "Flashes" last season (mini mind trips), an explanation of what happened when the Swan Hatch imploded (lots of electromagnetism), and at least some closure to the Desmond / Penny storyline (he and Penny got to share their love via telephone). I'm afraid.
I'm sure there is so much more to talk about, but I need to digest for a bit. Full analysis sometime, if you guys don't cover it all in the Comments section for me!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: Buckle up, loyal viewers – this is going to get really complicated really fast.
This week’s Desmond-centric outing is curiously titled “the constant”, which should immediately give you nightmares of high school math and physics. For those who were sleeping through those classes in their youth, here’s a brief refresher (don’t worry, I didn’t actually remember most of this stuff either – that’s why God created Wikipedia, so that we can simply copy and paste large quantities of information into our Blogs to come across as being far smarter than we actually are):
Constants are real numbers or numerical values which are significantly interesting in some way. The term "constant" is used both for mathematical constants and for physical constants, but with quite different meanings. A mathematical constant is a quantity, usually a real number or a complex number, that arises naturally in mathematics and does not change. Unlike some physical constants, mathematical constants are defined independently of any physical measurement. A physical constant is a physical quantity that is generally believed to be both universal in nature and constant in time. It can be contrasted with a mathematical constant, which is a fixed numerical value but does not directly involve any physical measurement.
Basically, things like Pi, the speed of light, the Golden Ratio, gravity, etc. – things that don’t change no matter how you use them in some type of equation, and probably things you had to memorize back in school.
Initially, I thought this might be some reference to the “funky” properties of the Island (be it time or space). I became especially intrigued when I stumbled across this article from John D. Barrow in 2002:
"[An] important lesson we learn from the way that pure numbers like α define the world is what it really means for worlds to be different. The pure number we call the fine structure constant and denote by α is a combination of the electron charge, e, the speed of light, c, and Planck's constant, h. At first we might be tempted to think that a world in which the speed of light was slower would be a different world. But this would be a mistake. If c, h, and e were all changed so that the values they have in metric (or any other) units were different when we looked them up in our tables of physical constants, but the value of α remained the same, this new world would be observationally indistinguishable from our world. The only thing that counts in the definition of worlds are the values of the dimensionless constants of Nature. If all masses were doubled in value you cannot tell because all the pure numbers defined by the ratios of any pair of masses are unchanged."
I won’t pretend to understand all that, but the portions underlined above sure sound an awful lot like the nerd-science way of explaining that there could be funky time and space on the Island. “The Constant” could simply refer to some factor in the equation that explains all this (representing the Bubble). Heck, maybe it’s the equation that Daniel Faraday is writing on the chalkboard in the preview for the episode:
So is it as simple as that? Unfortunately not. When I first saw this episode title, and found that it was a Desmond-centric outing, I was immediately reminded of his Season Three trip-tastic episode “Flashes Before Your Eyes”, where he maybe went back in time, perhaps had a hallucinogenic out of body experience, or might have accidentally altered the future (let the record show that in my analysis of that episode, I came down on the side of “it was all a dream”).
But for the sake of argument, if you think about it, Desmond was the only one who had knowledge about the “past”, the “present”, and the “future” during that episode. He was reliving life events where he already had prior knowledge of what would happen, attempted to change fate, and ended up back on the Island where he started. With all the variables of space and time around him in the episode, he was the one constant – the one who was seemingly unaffected by the jump in time and space, retaining the same life experiences that he had prior to turning the Swan Hatch Failsafe Key, even though he was interacting with events that happened before he even knew what a Swan Hatch was.
I think Desmond is “The Constant”.
Whatever funky time or space is happening on the Island, Desmond somehow became immune to it through the Hatch Implosion – perhaps his proximity to the magnetic blast put his body on the same “wavelength” as the funky properties of the Island, which somehow gave him the ability to see the future and relive the past.
If this is the case, when Desmond, Sayid, and Frank break the Bubble in their journey to the Freighter, there may be some unintended side effects for Sayid and Frank, but not Desmond. Maybe they’ll instantly age two years, maybe they’ll forget the past, maybe they’ll all warp to somewhere courtesy of a “funky time” wormhole, leaving Desmond alone in the ocean.
Of course, there’s also the much, much, much simpler explanation for the episode title. If you look up the dictionary definition of the word “constant”, you receive the following three possibilities:
1. Marked by firm steadfast resolution or
2. Invariable, uniform
3. Continually occurring or recurring
Looking at the first and second definitions, one could get all sappy and say that “the Constant” in this episode is something like Desmond’s love for Penny and desire to return to her no matter what the cost. A little late for Valentine’s Day, but still a sweet thought (and much simpler than all this mathematical mumbo-jumbo).
The third option on the other hand, opens up an even more intriguing possibility – that Desmond is stuck in some sort of time loop, continually living the events that led him to the Island, his attempts to escape the Island, and the fate he encounters each time… death. Listen closely to the end of the episode preview, featuring Desmond saying “Tell me, am I going to die?” as he throws Faraday into a blackboard:
This would tie in nicely to the themes of fate (and attempting to change it) that Desmond found during “Flashes Before Your Eyes”.
Heck, maybe it’s a combination of all of the above – that’s the great thing about Lost and their episode titles after all, creating complex, multi-layered titles that probably less than 5% of the viewing audience ever even knows, let alone analyzes. We are the few, the proud, the obsessive.
ABC Description: Sayid and Desmond hit a bit of turbulence on the way to the freighter, which causes Desmond to experience some unexpected side effects. Guest starring are Jeremy Davies as Daniel Faraday, Rebecca Mader as Charlotte, Jeff Fahey as Frank Lapidus, Alan Dale as Charles Widmore, Sonya Walger as Penelope "Penny" Widmore, Graham McTavish as sergeant, Darren Keefe as Billy, Edward Conery as auctioneer, Marc Vann as doctor, Fisher Stevens as George Minkowski, Kevin Durand as Keamy and Anthony Azizi as Omar.
Episode Breakdown: The episode breakdown seems to confirm at least part of the deeper meaning guess above… ironically in a sort of backward sort of way. It seems that Desmond is the one who experiences the side effects of breaking the Bubble – not Sayid and Frank as I would have expected if Desmond really did have some type of wavelength-meld with the Island during the Hatch Implosion. But maybe it’s a situation where since everyone else is affected, Desmond is the one that looks like he’s crazy – when in reality it’s everyone else who actually is, and Desmond is totally normal.
The fact that “turbulence” is referenced makes sense given the episode preview also seemed to feature the helicopter flying directly into a storm. It seems as though there are these storm clouds encircling the Island, since it would seem to match up with Naomi’s story that when she was flying her helicopter, “the clouds suddenly parted and (she) saw land”. If there is only one way in and out of the Island and its Bubble, I’m guessing it’s where this parting of the clouds is.
Since I’m guessing this episode is going to feature the same type of puzzling “what the hell is going on?” flashes that we saw during “Flashes Before Your Eyes”, I’m not sure if we classify it as a flashback, a flashforward, or something else altogether – but depending on which it ends up being, the guest star list could get very interesting.
Widmores. It looks like both Charles and Penny Widmore show up this week. Since Penny seemed to confirm that she was not on “Not Penny’s Boat” (it’s not just a clever name), smart money is on her and daddy appearing in the flashes of the episode. However, let’s keep in mind that for weeks we’ve been saying that one of the most likely candidates to finance this potentially anti-Dharma expedition of the Freightors would be Charles Widmore, which would explain why Naomi had a picture of Desmond, the previously hinted at Widmore-Hanso relationship / friction, and provide enough wealth and power to make faking a plane crash at the bottom of the ocean possible…
If Charles Widmore ends up being on the Freighter, I think we can start assuming he’s the mastermind behind the antagonists, perhaps even being “The Economist” referenced two weeks back… but that’s a big if.
Freighter. If you’ve noticed, I’ve been writing this preview under the assumption that although the helicopter hits turbulence, it actually makes it to the Freighter, and doesn’t crash into the ocean, killing Sayid, Desmond, and Frank. While it’s easy to figure this out since we’ve seen Sayid in the flashforwardy future, there are a number of additional clues that back it up in the description and preview.
First, this scene of Sayid seems to feature an unhelicopterish railing, the kind that would make sense on some type of ship.
Second, in the preview clip there is a scene of two men breaking down a door. At first viewing, I thought it might be Others coming back to rescue Ben from his Locke-down, but if you look closely you’ll see that the door is different than the one in the basement of the Barracks (featuring a printed sign on the back and a light switch next to the door).
A quick Google Image search of the guest stars of the episode reveals that the two men breaking down the door are none other than the “Keamy” and “Omar” characters listed – which makes me think they are Freightors, and the scene takes place somewhere on the ship. But why would they be breaking down the door? Perhaps the ever-clever Sayid worked his way to some communications room and barricaded himself in?
Lastly, it looks like we will finally get the long-awaited debut of the mysterious Minkowski!
Minkowski. First things first – Minkowski is NOT Michael. It was a popular theory early in the season, but it turns out the character is actually played by that one jerk guy from the movie “Hackers”, Fisher Stevens:
I guess I’m making assumptions about the size of the ship and the amount of crew onboard, but it seems likely that “Ben’s man on the boat” has to be Keamy, Omar, Minkowski, or Regina (a character suspiciously absent from the episode description), unless only Minkowski and Regina are just really big fans of answering the satellite phone when it rings. Minkowski still seems the most likely candidate, with his recent inability to answer the phone being tied to being discovered as a mole on the Freighter… which might mean Sayid and Desmond are walking into a trap set by the now uber-suspicious Freightors.
Also curiously absent from the episode description? Miles. I’m guessing that after last week’s Team Island focus, this week will focus on Team Helicopter and Team Rescue (since Charlotte is listed). Isn’t it refreshing to have three fantastic storylines going on at once, compared to last season’s sometimes painful split stories in the early episodes? Lost is hitting on all cylinders, and I’m beyond excited for this episode.
…and with that, I think that’s all for this week. Be prepared for a Brian Episode Review featuring words like “brain-in-a-blender”, “mind-explosion”, “Desmond-tastic”, or “jigga-what” on Thursday night, because I have a feeling this is going to be an episode we’ll need to discuss.
Until then, happy Lost-ing!
Monday, February 25, 2008
Cards. I’m not sure where all the debate came from concerning Faraday, Charlotte, and their game of cards. It seemed pretty blatantly obvious to me that Faraday was struggling to remember the three cards (after a given period of time), and was visibly frustrated when he couldn’t recall them – despite Charlotte’s encouragement that he was getting “better”.
I saw nothing in this scene that would indicate that Faraday was predicting the cards that he had never actually seen. Why would Charlotte make him wait a certain amount of time before doing this? Why would Faraday be upset about only being able to predict two of three cards? Wouldn’t that be pretty fantastical, not something to be disappointed about? It doesn’t add up.
So, assuming that Faraday is struggling to remember something as simple as three playing cards, there are two scenarios that could be at play:
- Since arriving on the Island, Faraday is losing his memory.
- Faraday has always had a bad memory.
In my initial reactions, I went with the former, getting caught up in the “Island has magical powers and affects people differently” train of thought. After all, arriving on the Island gave Locke the ability to walk, gave Jin the ability to make babies, and cured Rose’s cancer. What if these were all “good people”, so the Island “cured them”, whereas the Freightors are “bad people” and the Island is instead taking away their talents. For Faraday, his biggest talent is most certainly his brain, so it makes sense his memory would start to slip.
But I forgot one important point – during Faraday’s flashback earlier this season, he’s seen crying when viewing the footage of Oceanic Flight 815. When asked about why he is crying, he responds that he doesn’t know. This could mean that Faraday had prior knowledge of the staged crash, or was even involved in the creation of the hoax during his work with the Freightors. Deep down inside, he thought about the dead people (who were those dead people anyways?), the trickery, and his hand in it all… and he wept, but couldn’t remember why.
Or, even if you don’t want to go conspiracy theory with it, at the very least this scene seems to hint at a history of short term memory loss for Daniel. This seems to be confirmed by Charlotte’s interaction (it seemed as though the two had performed these tests in the past), as well as the way that Frank almost treated Dan like a child when giving him his satellite phone. Perhaps, Faraday agreed to travel to the Island and perform his experiments out of hope that the Island would help cure this short term memory loss issue. Naomi called him a “head case”, but based on everything we’ve seen so far, he’s looking more like some type of “idiot savant” – a genius when it comes to complex physics stuff, but not as smart as the average person when it comes to simple things. Based on this, he would be the most likely candidate for the Survivors to target if they are attempting to get the truth out of the Freightors, since he would seemingly be the easiest to trick… but would he even remember enough to tell them?
Lies. Back when Lost started, I always envisioned the show ending with our Survivors finding a way off the Island and “defeating” the Others only to learn that it was actually a terrible mistake and they were actually the “bad guys”, making the Others the “good guys”. As time has gone on, this theory has seemed to come more and more true – but this week took it to a whole new level.
It was a bit shocking and appalling to watch Jack’s calm confidence in telling blatant lies to a courtroom after being sworn under oath to tell the truth. He seemed to show no remorse for the act afterwards, and seemed to delight in tricking everyone when meeting with Kate. It also became clear that this wasn’t the first, and most certainly wouldn’t be the last, time that he told these same lies.
So to recap the post-Island lives of the Oceanic Four thus far, we have…
Jack – seems to be enjoying the fame and notoriety of post-Island life, willing to lie to stick to a story… and is making sure that the others Oceanic Six do the same - but eventually becomes “sick of lying”, tries to kill himself, and is an absolute train wreck.
Kate – seems solely focused on raising Aaron and leading a quiet post-Island life, with no desire to return to the Island or ever leave California.
Hurley – so haunted by images of the Island that he takes solace in returning to a mental institution.
Sayid – becomes an assassin for Ben, helplessly following his orders to atone for some terrible situation in the past where he thought with his heart instead of his head and working to protect “his friends”.
Aaron - maybe not an official member of the Oceanic Six, but his real mom is probably dead, his fake mom is a murderous criminal, he looks kinda funny, and has creepy robot pictures on his bedroom wall.
Not exactly a cheery future. Is getting off the Island really worth lying about the fate of over twenty other individuals to the rest of the world? Did Jack really sell out for fame and fortune in exchange for keeping the Island secret no matter the cost? Or is there something more at play here, where my original theory is wrong and Jack truly is lying for the greater good of the rest of the Survivors?
I cannot wait for the next Jack flashforward to fill in the gaps in his post-Island life in particular. He seemed to go from the “leader” in the web of lies to being the one most torn up about leaving the Island in the first place, willing to do anything to “go back”. What happened?
Time. More importantly, when did it happen? According to Lostpedia (which is basically gospel when it comes to the Lost timeline in my book), this week’s flashforward takes place between November 3, 2006, and November 1, 2007, because Aaron was born on November 2, 2004. The credits credit him as a 2-year-old boy. It can also be assumed it took place before Jack goes crazy and grows a beard, so really between November 4, 2006, and about March 2007, taking into consideration the time it took Jack to grow the beard.
Since there must have been some time post-rescue, pre-trial for Kate to become famous, buy a sweet house, and hire a nanny for Aaron, that would seem to put their rescue anytime in 2005 or early 2006. Right now, on-Island time just passed Christmas 2004 (where were the trees, Lost Grinches?) – so that means the rescue could be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months away. Based on the passage of time during episodes so far (generally two to three days each episode), with 44 episodes of Lost left, it seems logical that the rescue must happen in the next few months. Even if they save the departure from the Island for the series finale, that would put us right around April 2005.
(Note: this assumes that there isn’t any “funky time”, and our Survivors don’t leave the Island in January 2005 and suddenly end up in January 2007 outside the Island’s protective time Bubble… but it’s looking like we’ll finally get some firm answers on this front during this week’s Desmond-centric outing!)
Outside of that, I think everything has been covered in the always excellent comments section, so I think that’s all I have to add.
Worst analysis ever! I told you this was an easy episode!
Friday, February 22, 2008
Hello friends, the Reverend here. With Oscar season upon us, Brian asked me if I could come up with a little something-something for his worldwide Blog that would inform/educate the commenters about the upcoming awards show. Since I owed Brian a favor, I told him that I would do an Oscar preview filled with predictions, fun pictures, and a fun little bonus section at the end.* Have I seen a lot of these movies? Yes. Have I seen all of these movies? No. But who cares! So here ya go, "The Reverend's 33rd Annual Oscar Preview!"
*Note: Actually Brian owed me a favor for putting me in a TBD category for his upcoming wedding nuptials for what seemed like 13 years. I hope he enjoys the set of coffee mugs that I am getting him. And I am spelling his name wrong on them too! Bryan and Kait in 2008!
Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood), Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men), Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), Jason Reitman (Juno), and Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)
Who should win: Toss up between P.T. Anderson and Joel and Ethan Coen
Who will win: P.T. Anderson/Joel and Ethan Coen
I know, you all hate me already. This is the first category and I already copped out by not picking a winner. But here's the thing, there SHOULD be ties allowed in the Oscars. Here me out now. There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men both are amazing, outstanding, incredible, *superlative, superlative, superlative* movies (foreshadowing!!!) and their directors deserve the recognition. Also, both Anderson and the Coen brothers have their fair share of disappointment (but nothing like Scorsese's constant snubs). Anderson got shafted in 2000 for not even being nominated for Magnolia (won by American Beauty) and the Coen brothers got the stiff end in 1997 for Fargo (won by The English Patient which will go down as one of the worst Oscar winning films in history). So I feel that the Academy owes both Anderson and the brothers Coen an apology and a gold statue. It's unfortunate for first time nominees Gilroy, Reitman, and Schnabel that they have to be in the same categories as aforementioned 3 geniuses but such is life. Bonus note: Thankfully, Sean Penn will NOT be able to give an anti-George Bush/Iraq War/Republican speech. My check is in the mail Academy…excellent job!
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Cate Blanchett (I'm Not There), Ruby Dee (American Gangster), Saoirse Ronan (Atonement), Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone), and Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)
Who should win: Tilda Swinton
Who will win: Cate Blanchett
If you thought Swinton was a witch (literally and figuratively) in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, well then you haven't seen anything until you see Michael Clayton! Swinton is ruthless, cut-throat, and devious as all hell in this movie. She scares the hell out of me and makes me even more scared of females with power than I already am (I'm looking at you Hillary Clinton!). But alas, Swinton will not win. Dee (the oldest nominee), Ronan (the youngest nominee), and Ryan (the uber-hottest nominee) are all fine and dandy in their roles but the Academy will give the award to Blanchett for her portrayal of Bob Dylan. It's a known fact that the Academy rewards actors/actresses that go outside their comfort zones and take on roles that are in the realm of mental retardation, homosexuality, evil dictators, ugly people, etc (I'm looking at you Forrest Gump, Capote, Last King of Scotland, North Country, etc) so Blanchett's portrayal of a man will obvious score big points for her. Blanchett is a great actress and it shows with 5 past Oscar nominations to her credit. She will add this hardware to her mantle (do celebrities even have mantles?) to sit along side with her Oscar win from The Aviator.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson's War), Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild), and Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton)
Who should win: Javier Bardem
Who will win: Javier Bardem
I'll confess something. I do not understand the difference between "Lead Actor" and "Supporting Actor." Are there certain rules that have to be met to be considered the lead? Do you have to have a certain amount of lines? The same goes with the Emmy's. These need to be explained better. But I digress, it's been wonderful career for Holbrook, Casey Affleck is finally stepping out of his big brother's shadow, Hoffman is one of the greatest actors of this generation, and Wilkinson is lost in hoopla over George Clooney and Tilda Swinton. But it's Bardem who played the best character and has left audiences everywhere thankful that they have not stolen some of his precious drug money. Bardem had this award locked up once people saw his hitman character's hair, expressionless face, and limp in the preview for No Country for Old Men. Bardem's character will haunt your dreams after you see this movie. His monotoned voice will send chills down your body. This movie will also jump start his career (although some will argue that he has been here since Before Night Falls in which he earned a nomination in 2000).
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth: The Golden Age), Julie Christie (Away from Her), Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose), Laura Linney (The Savages), and Ellen Page (Juno)
Who should win: Ellen Page
Who will win: Laura Linney
I'll admit right now that I've never seen either of Blanchett's Elizabeth films. I also have never heard of Christie and Cotillard's films. So to be fair, I went to the Internet to do some research on the movies. Yes friends, the Internet can be used for things other than Facebooking, MySpacing, and adult entertaining. According to most sites/critics, Blanchett's performance in her first Elizabeth role (1998) was much better than her second go around. Christie's portrayal of a woman suffering from Alzheimer's is considered the best work of her career (even better than her 1965's Darling in which she won a best actress Oscar at the ripe old age of 24). Cotillard's portrayal of singer/legend Edith Paif will put her on the map of "stars to come" but the general public just does not flock to see foreign biopics (except for Evita). So it comes down to the young star Ellen Page and the incredibly talented Laura Linney. Page showed that she was a talented actress in 2005's Hard Candy but she has become a superstar thanks to Juno. Her candid dialogue, her whimsical humor, and her "she's the girl next door/I totally want to be best friends with her" quality should win her the Oscar. However, Linney's role as Wendy Savage impressed the voters more. Linney has had an amazing career and her tag-team effort with Philip Seymour Hoffman will land her the Oscar. Throughout this movie, you feel as if Linney could be your own sister. You know, the one you bicker with, laugh with, and cry with. Hoffman is outstanding in his role but Linney steals the show. Do to the fact that this storyline (siblings going home to care for their ailing father) might hit close to home with a lot of baby boomers in the Academy, Linney most likely will win. Page's time will come (hopefully in the near future) but for right now, Linney is the one to beat.
Best Actor in a Leading Role
George Clooney (Michael Clayton), Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will be Blood), Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street), Tommy Lee Jones (In the Valley of Elah), and Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)
Who should win: Daniel Day-Lewis
Who will win: Daniel Day-Lewis
Every year when the nominees are announced; there is obviously hoopla over who got snubbed and who got lucky. When I saw the nominees for the Best Actor I immediately did a double take. Actually, I did a double take and said, "What the *beep?*" Don't get me wrong, Tommy Lee Jones is one of my favorite actors of all time, but he did not deserve a best picture nod. The same goes with Viggo Mortensen and his role of a ruthless mobster. In fact, I think Mortensen has officially been typecasted as "that guy who can play a hitman/mobster/guy who cares a sword or gun." Mortensen was overrated in History of Violence and the same goes with Eastern Promises. I also just don't get the Academy's infatuation/lovefest with Johnny Depp. In fact, I might be the only person in the world to think that the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is one of the biggest jokes in movie history. Depp's early career in Edward Scissorhands, What's Eating Gilbert's Grape, and Blow are all movies that he rightfully should have been nominated. Since Blow, Depp's work has steadily gone downhill and is only surviving because teenage girls flock to see if he happens to take his shirt off. The fact that the Academy did not include Ryan Gosling (Lars and the Real Girl) and Denzel Washington (American Gangster) really ticked me off the most. Maybe the Academy feels that Gosling will eventually win an award and maybe they are tired of Denzel. Regardless, both deserved nominations. So that leaves the list down to a battle of two men. George Clooney has once again shown that he can play pretty much any role. Throughout this movie, I kept thinking to myself, "Are we sure this is NOT a John Grisham book?" From now on, anytime I read a Grisham book, I am going to picture Clooney as the main character. But alas, this award will go to Daniel Day-Lewis who in my mind is the GREATEST actor of the past 15 years and also the most UNDERRATED actor of the past 15 years (if this is even possible). DDL is so good that he retired for 5 years until he was begged by Martin Scorsese to come back and be in his film, Gangs of New York. DDL has one Oscar already but should have two more. He lost out in 1994 (In the Name of the Father) to Tom Hanks in Philadelphia and in 2003 (Gangs) to Adrien Brody's The Pianist which will go down as one of the biggest jokes in Oscar history. Daniel Day-Lewis' portrayal of oil tycoon/maniac Daniel Plainview left audiences scared, confused (me), and thirsty for milkshakes. Lewis has the one locked up and rightfully so.
Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men, and There Will be Blood
Who should win: Juno
Who will win: No Country for Old Men
And now for the granddaddy of them all! They save the best of last for the awards show and I of course will do the same. Every so often, very special years come around to where we are clueless to who will win Best Picture because there is more than one movie that rightfully deserves the title. 2008 will go down as one of the closest races in Oscar history. I am confident in saying that 2008 will join 1990 (best year ever), 1991, 1994, 1995 (second best year ever), and 1997 as the cream of the crop for Best Picture nominations. Please note that I was born in 1982 so, like Jesus, everything before I was born was not really that important. The only downfall to this year's race is that American Gangster was not in place of Atonement. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching Keira Knightley as much as the next guy, but it did not deserve to be in the Best Picture category. Another problem is that Michael Clayton absolutely has no chance at winning which is unfortunate because it's a good movie that in any other year would probably be the front runner. So it's down to Juno, NCFOM, and TWBB. Since the people who know and love me know that I'm an obsessive gambler, I will set odds of each picture winning. I would say that NCFOM is about a 34% favorite, Juno at 33%, and TWBB at 32%, Clayton at 1%, and Atonement at 0%. I personally would love to see Juno win because comedies never get any recognition by the Academy. Last year Little Miss Sunshine was the little engine that could…err…couldn't and I think this year Juno can win against all odds (cue Phil Collins). The dialogue in Juno is fantastic and it reminds me so much of Kevin Smith movies (who someday will rightfully be rewarded with an Oscar). The actors/actresses were perfectly cast and I cannot even fathom anyone else in those respective roles. Every year, I watch the winner of Best Picture (either before or after the ceremony) and see if I say, "That was the best movie I've seen in a long time." After I saw Juno I immediately wanted to hide under my seat to see if I could sneak into the next showing but since I was running low on Jujyfruits, I decided against it. I came out of There Will be Blood excited because it was a fantastic movie, but it was a little too weird (this coming from the guy that loved Vanilla Sky). It was everything I was told to be prepared for; good writing, good acting, and good directing. However, there is just something missing that I cannot put my finger on. Like I said above, Daniel Day-Lewis is the greatest actor of the past 15 years and he definitely carries this movie but no one else really sticks out. And it is because of that point that I feel that No Country for Old Men will take home the statue because of its ensemble. Tommy Lee Jones' narration, Javier Bardem's menacing character, Josh Brolin's breakout performance (although he WAS in The Goonies!!! and the Coen Brothers again blowing my mind with their storytelling abilities, camera angles, and screenshots all point to this movie winning it all. I will not be angry if Juno doesn't win nor if There Will be Blood wins because they both deserve it. I am looking forward to the ceremony not because I want to see what everyone is wearing, but I want to see if Jack Nicholson is drunk again.
Eight movies you need to see in 2008 or Brian will revoke your commenting privileges
Why 8? Because I said so!
1.) The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (May 16). The first "big kid" book I ever read was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and I was immediately transfixed. I read all of the Narnia books in a matter of weeks. Allow C.S. Lewis to take you on an adventure to a magical land and forget about life for awhile!
2.) The Dark Knight (July 18). Christian Bale reprises his role as Batman and faces off against the Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger. After this film, Bale will be considered the best actor to play the caped crusader, topping Michael Keaton.
3.) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (May 22). First off, can you all believe Harrison Ford is 65 years old!!! He looks fantastic! If I look like him at 65 (If I even make it to 65) I think my wife will be very happy. Anyway, it's been almost 20 years since we last saw Indy and if you aren't excited about that, well then you have no sense of adventure.
4.) Quantum of Solace (November 7). Daniel Craig is back as the blond haired, blue eyed James Bond. Before I saw Casino Royale, I thought Craig was a terrible choice to portray 007. However, he impressed me immensely and will do so again as he is back seeking to avenge the death of his first and only true love, Vesper.
5.) The Time Traveler's Wife (late November). The book has been mentioned on this blog before and I will reiterate what has been said before, READ THIS BOOK! It's fantastic and finally will be made into a movie. It doesn't hurt that the beautiful Rachel McAdams plays the lead, Clare Abshire.
6.) Burn after Reading (September 26). Joel and Ethan Coen are back and possibly better than ever??? They bring with them an all-star cast that includes George Clooney (dreamy), Brad Pitt (dreamier), and John Malkovich (uhh...bald?). This movie is about two average men who have the unfortunate luck of coming across some highly classified CIA material and are forced to go on the run (sounds like "Chuck"). I always enjoy CIA movies because they make me thankful that I'll never be shot in the head by the government…I hope.
7.) Choke (August 28). Sam Rockwell is currently one of my favorite actors, ever since I saw Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (again…CIA!). Rockwell is the lead character who goes around faking that he is choking, gets saved by a Good Samaritan, and then cons his way into their lives/money. The film did wonderfully at Sundance and look for this to be a darkhorse in next year's Oscar race.
8.) Forgetting Sarah Marshall (May 30). Looks like I'll be at the movie theater 3 weekends in a row come May. Judd Apatow continues his hot streak by releasing a romantic comedy featuring the underrated Jason Segel who has just been dumped by his drop dead gorgeous girlfriend Kristen Bell and now must pick up the pieces and move on. Hilarity ensues as it always does with Apatow movies.
Well that's all for me. Thanks for the time and please, feel free to comment. I can take the criticism…sort of. And since this is a LOST blog first and foremost, I will let you know that my picks for the "Oceanic 6" are Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Sun, and Sayid. And Juliet is the one in the coffin. Until next time, Reverend Scott…OUT!
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Even without my episode preview, I have to think that 75% of the viewing audience saw the "surprise ending" coming a mile away. From the start of the episode they started dropping hints about Kate and Aaron, and by the time the ending rolled around it was pretty obvious that the final scene of the episode would be Kate saying his name.
Having said that, it was a pretty nice repreive from the past two weeks and their mind-blending finales that left our collective heads spinning... and continuing in the pedal-to-the-floor mentality of this season, we still had a TON of developments.
Miles. Quite simply, he's in it for the money. He's working for a rich and powerful company who is hell-bent on finding Ben (and most likely the secrets he has about the Island), but Miles could care less about Ben, the Island, or the secrets. It makes you wonder what alterior motives the other Freightors have...
Faraday. One of the most puzzling scenes of the episode involved the game of Memory between Faraday and Charlotte. So - Faraday is losing his memory ever since he's been on the Island? He's clearly some weirdly genius science guy - but he can't remember three cards? Is this the funky electromagnetism wrecking havoc? Why isn't anyone else affected by this?
Most importantly, WHY IS HE SHOWING UP IN DESMOND'S FLASHBACK/FORWARD as we saw in the episode preview for next week?! I have a sneaking suspicion we're going to have another trippy "what the hell is going on" episode with Desmond next week where we have no idea if it's a flashback, a flashforward, time traveling, or an alternate future (actually, we can now firmly scratch that last concept out - thankfully - check out this article: http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20179125,00.html )
Four Years. Speaking of timeing, Kate's mom confirmed that it had been four years between the crash and the trial. Since you have to assume the trial would have happened immediately after the return of the Oceanic Six, that puts their return around September 2008. Since Jack is still all normal and clean-cut at this time, that probably puts the crazy bearded Jack flashforward at least a year later... something tells me that when Lost wraps up in 2010, the show is going to be in 2010 as well - meaning it kept up with the passage of time throughout its existence, making it (unbelievably) taking place is "present day" for a span of six years.
This also puts Aaron at about five years old during the Season Three finale scene - making him old enough to be aware that his mom was gone... explaining Kate's "he'll be wondering where I am" comment. Hooray for no Sawyer / Hurley / Ben marriage!
Aaron. So do we now count Aaron as a member of the Oceanic Six? After all, the previews for this episode sorta promised that the next member would be revealed... but I think most of us thought he wouldn't count since he wasn't born when Flight 815 crashed. If Kate's trying to protect his identity by passing him off as her own (which is up for debate), she would probably tell people he was conceived on the Island - making him a non-member of the Oceanic Crew. But if he is included, that means we've only got one slot left.
Claire. And it isn't for Claire. I don't know how or why, but Claire clearly heads for the big outback in the sky before the rescue of the Oceanic Six... and however it happened, it seems like Jack was somewhat responsible (or could have prevented it) based on how afraid he was to see Aaron. You'd also assume at this point, he knows that Claire was his pseudo-sister, and Aaron is his pseudo-nephew, which probably makes the pain all the worse.
Island. There were two HUGE bombshells during Jack's testimony, with the first being the admission that the Oceanic Six were stranded on a desert Island. However, since Jack is clearly unable to return to the Island, I'm guessing Lost Island hasn't become a tourist attraction yet - but how? I'm guessing that the Oceanic Six were taken to some "fake Island" in the general area before they were rescued, and it came complete with fake makeshift shelters and signs that they had "lived" there for a few months... all part of the massive plot to keep the Island secret.
Oceanic Eight. Last but certainly not least, did you catch Jack mention that "only eight of us survived the crash", but "two died in the water"? Why mention this? Wouldn't it be a lot cleaner to just say "only six of us survived the crash"? This might have just been a detail to make the story more plausible (and it's clear that the Oceanic Six have all practiced this story extensively!), but it might also mean that the Oceanic Six come back with two bodies - perhaps casualties of their escape, perhaps bodies that they felt needed a proper burial or return to their families... but it confirms that even though six of our Survivors make it back to the "real world", it's not as though all the rest are just hanging out on the Island... at least two more are going to die.
Phew. I might not even need an analysis after all that.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: Before we start this week, here’s a scary thought – we’re past the halfway point of the current run of new episodes of Lost. The schedule for the remainder of the strike interrupted season has finally been revealed, and it’s looking like we get new Lost episodes for the next four weeks, ending on March 13 (coincidentally, my birthday). Then, we get six new episodes starting on April 24 (I’m still working out how I’m going to Blog from my honeymoon, but I’ll figure something out).
Also – it looks like Lost is going to get bumped back to 10:00 pm in April, to allow room for Grey’s Anatomy to return at 9:00. Sad – I was really enjoying the 9:00 Lost hour, since it allowed plenty of time for Instant Reactions and got me to bed at a decent hour. But the good news is that we get 13 total episodes of Lost this season, instead of the mere 8 that were completed pre-strike… and the Lost writers have confirmed that this season’s storyline is going to end the same place it was always planned, they just have to get there faster than originally intended. For me, this was always the biggest concern. Clearly, they had a well thought out plan for how seasons four, five, and six should go – and I would have hated to see those storylines altered because of a strike.
With that administrative stuff out of the way, let’s get back to this week’s Kate-centric episode “Eggtown”.
A quick Google search reveals 44,300 results… all of them referring to this episode of Lost, none of them providing any insight of any other use of “Eggtown” on the Internet. Not a good start.
Changing the search to “Egg Town” reveals a few Easter-related websites, along with some notes about Winlock, WA (named Egg Town because there is apparently a giant egg statue by their railroad tracks). While there is always a chance that this is where Kate spends some time in her flashforward (it’s only 75 miles from Portland, another Lost city in the Pacific Northwest!), it seems to be a stretch.
So what is Eggtown?
Since I’m forced to make an educated guess (between last week and this week, it’s getting tougher and tougher), I’d say that Eggtown is none other than the Others’ Barracks. I don’t want to get too fifth grade sex ed on you, but we all know that Ben was obsessed about Others having babies the same way that you and I are obsessed about Lost. As the female egg is a critical component in the process of creating a baby (gross!), you could see where a nickname like Eggtown might spring up to describe a little town where there is such a strong focus on pregnancy. Simple enough – but there’s more.
There was a scene from last week’s episode that I intentionally left out of my “The Economist” analysis, because I thought it was more relevant to bring up this week – the touching scene between Sawyer and Kate inside an Eggtown house (where they discuss how long they can “play house”). It was subtle, especially with the way Sayid hinted at a prisoner exchange, but the fact that Kate didn’t return with Sayid may indicate that after a brief flirtation with Jack (and Team Rescue), she’s decided to put in some quality time with Sawyer (and Team Island).
Which brings us to a very important point – and one that might further the “Eggtown” deeper meaning: Kate might be pregnant.
The audience shouldn’t forget that it seemed like even after their horizontal cage action (actually, they seemed more vertical), Kate and Sawyer seemed to be hooking up fairly regularly back at the Beach – and I didn’t see a lot of Dharma Birth Control lying around. It’s entirely possible that Kate has a small, sarcastic name creating baby growing inside her, and that the “Eggtown” name means something a little bit more to her in particular.
Note that I said “possible” – as you see in the episode breakdown below, there’s an entirely different way this episode might play out…
ABC Description: Kate's need to get information out of the hostage may jeopardize her standing with Locke -- as well as with Sawyer. Guest starring are Ken Leung as Miles, Jeremy Davies as Daniel Faraday, Rebecca Mader as Charlotte, Shawn Doyle as Duncan Forrester, Susan Gibney as Melissa Dunbrook, Traber Burns as judge, Fred Q. Collins as bailiff, Beth Broderick as Diane Jansen, Tania Kahale as nanny and William Blanchette as child.
Episode Breakdown: Can I just say again how much I love the lack of reveals from the ABC descriptions this season? Do you remember a few seasons ago when the on-Island action was slow and yet we’d still get a paragraph describing how Hurley and Sawyer were going to play ping pong? Nowadays the story is flying by at breakneck pace, yet we still are only given a few words about what’s actually happening. I love the surprise.
Having said that, let me try to over-analyze this episode so that I can attempt to ruin any surprise for you.
Our one sentence this week confirms that the action will remain solely focused on Team Island, where Kate remained after last week’s trip with Sayid and Miles. However, once again there is the question of which “hostage” the description is referring to – Locke now has both Ben and Miles stashed away in different parts of the Barracks, and both would seem to be good candidates to have a wealth of information that Kate would care about.
On the one hand, Ben seems to be the man with the plan, the one who knows exactly who the Freightors are, what they want, and if they hold the key to Kate finding a way off the Island.
On the other hand, Miles would be able to fill Kate in on the “real world” perspective of the crash, why they are looking for Ben, and what’s happened on her favorite soaps over the past three months.
So you have to ask yourself, how could getting information out of either person jeopardize her standing with Locke and Sawyer? Wouldn’t both Locke and Sawyer want to gain the same information as well? The only logic I can apply here is that Kate had ample time to get information out of Miles over the past two episodes, since she spent pretty much two straight days with him, which makes Ben the more likely candidate for Kate to interrogate.
The only way I could see her need to interrogate Ben as causing unrest among Locke and Sawyer would be if she had to go behind their backs in order to talk to him – maybe breaking into his “jail cell” in the Barracks, maybe accidentally letting him out, or maybe intentionally letting him out in exchange for information.
Why would she do any of this? I have no idea – but that’s the only thing I can come up with.
So we get one lousy sentence and one lousy analysis of a sentence? This episode preview is a pretty big letdown so far – but luckily there is some very interesting stuff in the guest star list!
Helicopter. Scanning through the list of guest stars, the first thing that should jump out at you is who is NOT there. No Frank. Miles, Faraday, and Charlotte are all listed – but Frank is conspicuously absent this week. And no Frank means no Desmond and no Sayid. Before you start freaking out thinking that the helicopter crashed while trying to leave the Island, I should mention that next week’s episode is a Desmond-centric affair, so it’s clear that they at least survive another week. But the lack of their inclusion in this episode means one of three things:
Frank didn’t follow the same bearing out of the Island as he did coming into the Island (against Faraday’s warning), and they’re currently flying around in circles, bouncing around the electromagnetic Bubble surrounding the Island, lost in time for a bit.
This week’s episode takes place during the same timeframe from when Sayid left the Barracks and when he and Desmond left on the helicopter, bringing us up to speed on what happened with Kate / Miles after he left.
The writers decided to build suspense this week and focus heavily on the helicopter ride / arrival at the Freighter next week, much like we had some “split storylines” last season between Alcatraz and the Main Island.
The first option is the most exotic, the second is the most “Lost-style” way to do it, and the third is the most logical, so take your pick – but don’t get your hopes up on finding out too much more about the Funky Time / Funky Space / Bubble / Freightor’s True Intentions for at least another week.
Diane. The other name in the guest star list that should sound familiar to you is Diane Jansen, better known as “Kate’s Mom”. Since this week’s episode is clearly a flashforward (more on that later), we should remind ourselves of where we last left ol’ Diane… and it was on her death bed.
If you recall, the most recent (timeline-wise) of Kate’s flashbacks showed Kate in the hospital, visiting her mother who was seemingly dying of cancer. Diane then screamed, forcing Kate to run away – which eventually led to the death of Kate’s boy-toy Tom.
For me, this makes is pretty puzzling that Diane appears in this episode. However, since this episode clearly takes place right after the arrival of the Oceanic Six back in the “real world” (as evidenced by the trail of Kate for her pre-crash crimes), I guess it’s possible that Diane hung on for a few more months and lived to see her daughter return from the Island and stand trial.
(Note: fans of the “alternate reality” theories will likely point out that this is a future where Kate’s mom didn’t have cancer at all, but I don’t buy it.)
For me, a far more intriguing twist would feature Ben offering to cure the cancer from Kate’s mother, just like he did for Juliet, in return for something. Could we have back-to-back weeks where it is revealed that one of the Oceanic Six is in cahoots with Ben? It would offer a plausible explanation for who the “he” is that Kate referenced during her meeting with Jack during the Season Three finale. In fact, you could even take this theory as far as using it to explain how Kate was able to avoid lengthy jail time for her numerous crimes – perhaps she received both “prizes” from Ben (or Dharma / Hanso / Widmore) in exchange for keeping the Island secret or performing some other equally important act.
Child. That brings us to the end of the guest list, to by far the most interesting guest star of the week – one that opens up a world of possibilities for where Kate’s storyline is headed – the generically named “Child”.
Of course my immediate thought was “this is Kate and Sawyer’s love child! Kate was pregnant after all, escaped the Island, delivered the baby, and is living happily ever after!” But that thought bothered me for two reasons.
First, that would mean that every main female character on the show (from Season One) would have been pregnant or dead at some point in the show – which seems a little unlikely, and a little too repetitious for a show as smart as Lost.
Second, why would they name him / her “Child”? If it really was Kate’s jail-baby, wouldn’t they simply list the child’s name? That would actually keep it much more of a secret than listing “Child”, since “James” (the most logical name for Kate and Sawyer’s hypothetical baby) could be anyone in the flashforward.
Then I had an even crazier idea – what if the naming of the character of “Child” was meant to keep the surprise, and the character is actually someone we already know – like Aaron?
Remember how “important” Aaron was supposed to be back during the first season of Lost? The Psychic (who may or may not have been a fraud) was adamant that Claire be the one to raise him, the Others (and CFL) seemed to be obsessed with him, and even the show’s producers hinted that Aaron would be a very important character to the show.
Ever since then, he’s pretty much been an annoying crying baby in the background, providing a prop for Claire and Charlie scenes over the past two seasons. His importance was seemingly dismissed as being mistaken for Walt’s importance to the Others, and could have easily simply been tied to the Others’ obsession with making babies since they were unable to do so.
But what if Aaron really is important? It’s a little “Terminatory”, but what if Aaron really is some critical future piece to the battle for the Island between the Others and the Freightors? What if Jacob knew his importance and arranged for our Oceanic Six to find a way off the Island for the sole purpose of Aaron being taken with them, so that he could grow up, come back to the Island, and return it to the Others? After all, the biblical Aaron is the great-great-grandson of Jacob – who’s to say that Aaron isn’t somehow tied to the Hanso family through his deadbeat dad who ran away before he was born?
Even if you don’t want to go down that path, it’s also logical to see a scenario where Claire dies (and Brian rejoices!), and Kate is left as the most logical person to raise baby Aaron. Heck, maybe Claire and Jack realize that they are siblings, and Jack realizes that he has some duty to raise this baby – making sure it secures a seat (or lap) onboard the vessel that carries the Oceanic Six off the Island. Then he slips into crazy-town and begins dabbling in the drugs again, forcing Kate to step in and raise the child.
Any of these scenarios are extremely likely in my mind. The best part is, they would all accomplish two things – get rid of the storyless and annoying character of Claire on Lost (and probably save Sawyer / Desmond from “Death Watch” for a few weeks!), save us from the “Kate is pregnant with Sawyer’s baby” storyline (which I liked the first time I saw it – when it was called “Sun is pregnant with Jin’s baby”), and provide a simple explanation for who the “he” was that Kate referenced during her airport meeting with Jack last season!
So, in the end, it seems as though the “Eggtown” title might be trying to intentionally mislead us into thinking that Kate is pregnant – when in reality she is far from it, but is revealed to be an adoptive mother in her flashforward this week.
Pretty sneaky, Lost.
Monday, February 18, 2008
But not this week.
There were a few moments that were had such potentially huge implications on both the episode and the series that I wanted to make sure I got them in my head just right before I started writing. So, with two viewings of “The Economist” under my belt, I think I’m as ready as I’m ever going to be to start analyzing.
Let’s do it.
Jacob. But before we get to the really heady stuff, just like last week let’s start off with the relatively easy topic of Jacob again – more specifically, with his cabin. Locke’s inability to find the cabin seems to indicate that it really isn’t some physical object that just anyone can stumble upon. Ironically, this fits perfectly with what Ben told us from the very start. To paraphrase:
“No one speaks to Jacob but me.”
“No one knows where Jacob is but me.”
“Jacob is not someone that you visit, Jacob summons you.”
However, we’ve since seen that Jacob actually talked to Locke as well, but maybe he’s still not too keen on unannounced visitors, especially when they are with a handful of other “less worthy” individuals, as Locke was this week. I still think that Locke is Jacob’s “chosen one”, the one that will “help him” – but that he wasn’t willing to reveal himself to a group of people… especially when someone in that group happens to be a Freightor.
But – the big thing that this showed was that the circle of volcanic ash around the cabin from last season’s “The Man Behind the Curtain” really isn’t acting as a prison for Jacob like we all assumed. It now appears that Jacob is able to pick up his cabin and leave the circle when necessary – which means that Ben probably doesn’t really have any power over Jacob at all.
The other weird thing is that everything we’ve seen over the last season and a half seemed to indicate that Ben had fallen out of favor with the Island – everything from him having the tumor on his spine (when Others allegedly don’t get sick) to Jacob speaking to Locke in the cabin rather than to Ben. However, as we saw this episode, Future Ben (we should probably call him “Present Ben”, but that would make everything on Island be “Past Ben” and that’s just too confusing) is still 100% fighting for the Island – which would seem that he’s on the same side as Jacob in the end. After all, they both want the same thing – to destroy the Freightors and protect the Island.
Maybe Jacob saw this battle coming and knew that it would be a multi-front battle. He’s using Locke to fight the enemy on the Island, and Ben to fight the enemy off the Island. Or maybe Jacob and Ben kiss and makeup sometime over the course of the next season – but it’s looking like in the flashforwardy future, Ben and the Island are still partners in the same battle.
Ben. That brings us to the crazy revelation at the end of this episode – Benjamin Linus is alive and well in the future… and totally off the Island. Actually, this shouldn’t have come as that big of a surprise given the super-revealing details of the secret room inside his house. Clearly, the fact that Ben has large sums of currency from across the world, a host of different passports, and a full collection of super-boring wardrobe indicates that Richard Alpert isn’t the only one who has been making trips off the Island over the years.
As we mentioned last week, this gives a much more literal meaning to Ben’s quote from last season of “most of the people you see? I brought them here”… and probably confirms that the picture Miles had of Ben was snapped during on of his off-Island recruiting missions. So it makes sense that if things get really crazy on the Island, and the Freightors start to win the battle, that Ben would leave the Island in an effort to take them out at the source, back in the real world.
But there are still a few points that don’t make sense. First and foremost, why didn’t Ben leave the Island to have his spinal surgery performed by some neutral surgeon, rather than having Jack do it and just hope that he didn’t kill him on the operating table? My previous best explanation for why Ben was so adamant about using Jack was that he refused to leave the Island – but we now see that this isn’t the case. Was this an example of Ben simply needing Jack to perform the surgery as a way to prove he still had a strong connection to the Island / Jacob, and it would “take care of him” without needing real world intervention? Or was it simply a plot device to move the third season along?
The other, much more difficult question concerns the huge stash of money found in Ben’s secret desk. Clearly, this money had to come from somewhere. While we’ve already established the wealth and power of Hanso / Dharma – it also seems logical that all ties to these groups would have been severed when Ben went all purgey on the Dharmites.
There are a few somewhat logical explanations for the money still flowing, with the easiest being that it was included in the periodic ration drops that apparently were paid for well-in-advance and are being carried about by some independent Dharma third party. The other would be that Ben, during his recruiting missions, sucked in some investors – possibly promising them access to the magic power of the Island, living forever, etc. The third (which I’ll do my best to disprove shortly) is that due to the Funky Time on the Island, Ben was able to gamble on sporting events that he already knew the outcome.
The important thing here is that Ben seemed to have kept all of this secret from the majority of the Others. He needed to keep up the image that the Island would provide everything that you needed, that there was no need to ever leave, or even that there was no possible way to leave the Island (at least after the Hatch Implosion). It all feeds back to the central theme of Ben controlling the lives and being the puppeteer for everyone on the Island… our Survivors included.
Sayid. Before we start discussing Sayid, keep this in mind – he’s probably the smartest, most level-headed and logical of any of our Survivors. Even though he’s seen killing people in the flashforward and working for Ben, there is no way Sayid would be doing any of this unless there was an extremely good reason for it. After all, he said that the day he even believed Ben would be the day he sells his soul. But we see that he is not only believing Ben – but working for him, and risking his life for him.
The other weird thing is that Sayid seems to be the only member of the Oceanic Six who is engaged in these Alias-esque spy-assassination games. Jack, Kate, and Hurley may have their own post-Island issues going on, but it doesn’t seem like anyone is attempting to kill them – and they aren’t attempting to kill anyone else. So what happened with Sayid?
If you go back and read the conversation between Ben and Sayid at the conclusion of “The Economist”, it gives a few hints:
Ben: “These people don't deserve our sympathies. Need I remind you what they did the last time you fought with your heart instead of your gun?”Sayid: “You used it to recruit me to kill him for you.” Ben: “Do you want to protect your friends or not, Sayid? I have another name for you.”Sayid: “But they know I'm after them.” Ben: “Good.”
First, it looks like there was some event that drove Sayid to begin working for Ben. Given the absence of Nadia in this episode, smart money would be on Sayid returning as a member of the Oceanic Six, reuniting with his former lady-friend, and having her killed by Freightors (fun twist – it’s actually Ben that kills her, but he convinces Sayid it was the Freightors as a way to get him to work for him!).
Second, Ben mentions that Sayid is doing all this killing in an effort to protect his friends. Sayid’s “friends” could either be referring to the other members of the Oceanic Six (who again, seem somewhat oblivious to any potential danger), or to the Survivors left behind on the Island. This would again tie in to the theory that our Oceanic Six left everyone behind on the Island in the middle of a bad situation, and Sayid is working with Ben to try and eliminate the enemy in the real world to indirectly help the Survivors fight off the Freightors on-Island.
Lastly, it seems as though Ben has a list (again with the lists – man, the Others are just like my future wife!), this time containing the names of everyone associated with “The Economist”. Sayid is working through the list to eliminate people and gain information about the Economist – who seems to be the head of the group that poses such a danger to the Island and “every living person on it”. Sayid had previously been working covertly – but now his cover is blown. Why is this a good thing?
Much like Hurley in this week’s episode, the key to any good trap is bait. Now that the Economist knows the true intentions of Sayid, there’s a chance he’ll start sending his own henchmen after him – which could help Ben track down the Economist through these henchmen. Sure, it’s probably putting Sayid’s life in much greater danger – but for Ben, that’s a small price to pay for a chance to eliminate the Economist.
The Economist. I suppose with all this talk about the Economist, we should probably analyze who this person really is. There were only a few clues throughout the episode – but we’ll see what information can be garnered from them.
First, Elsa carries around an oversized, Zack-Morris-Cell-Phone-style pager, which indicates that the Economist is more of an old-fashioned person. If you wanted to get really crazy, you could say that he “hates technology”, which would put him in the same category as Jacob. What if the Economist is Jacob, and this whole Jacob vs. Ben battle for the Island is what spilled over into the real world? Not likely – let’s just call the Economist a traditionalist for now.
Second, Elsa said her employer specialized in “emerging markets”. You could see how the potential applications of all the crazy properties of the Island might make it a very lucrative place for someone who was interested in “emerging markets” – which would help our earlier argument that the Freightors are working for some rival company of Dharma / Hanso (perhaps Widmore?)
Lastly, we see that he has a bracelet fetish (at least for his ladies), since both Elsa and Naomi were seen sporting basically the same jewelry. Although we haven’t seen it on any of the Freightors, that probably makes sense since Frank mentioned that they weren’t in the same class as Naomi – and probably were hired specifically for this Island task, rather than being card-carrying members of the Economist’s team.
Minkowski. Speaking of the Economist’s team, the Minkowski character is still a puzzle to me. Remember, Minkowski was the person that Jack and Kate talked to on the satellite phone last season and at the beginning of this season. He was also the one that told Faraday to take him off speaker phone, but later was “unable to come to the phone.” Now, we’ve got Frank telling Faraday that if Minkowski picks up the phone, to hang up. Looking at all these details, there’s definitely some mixed signals.
If Minkowski was Ben’s mole (and a traitor), why would he care if he was on speakerphone? If Minkowski is a trustworthy member of the Freightors, why wouldn’t Frank want Faraday to talk to him? And where was he when he couldn’t come to the phone? Something tells me that Minkowski is currently on his way to the Island, is a volatile person (even Frank is afraid of him), and someone to be avoided.
Funky Time. I saved the most complex for last. When I first watched this episode, it seemed pretty clear that there was some “funky time” on the Island. After all, there have been plenty of clues in the past that seemed to point to something being a little “off” in the way time moves on the Island, and the show’s creators have gone out of their way to drop quotes that made you question the concept of time on Lost. We finally seemed to get some confirmation of the “funky time” with Faraday’s stopwatch test with the payload… or did we?
Let’s review some of the “evidence” of funky time over the years (courtesy of Lostpedia):
- Ana-Lucia tells Goodwin: "This knife's probably 20 years old. You don't see these anymore, yet here it is, on this island. Weird, huh?"
- Referring to a source of a radio transmission that consists of a Big Band recording from the 1940's, Sayid says, "It could be coming from anywhere." Hurley responds, "Or any time.”
- Jack looked for a clock to announce the time of death for Colleen, but he couldn't find one.
- Dr. Alpert showed Juliet a scan that according to her seems to be the womb lining of a 70 year old but is in fact a 20 year old.
- The message “Only fools are enslaved by time and space” was playing in the Rave Room.
- Desmond relives events that have happened in his past in his "Déjà vu" after being knocked out, and has a number of issues with time continuity until he is knocked out again.
- Richard Alpert tells Juliet, "You're gonna be amazed at how time flies once you're there", referring to the Island.
- Richard Alpert doesn't seem to age. Ben asks him if he even remembers what a birthday is.
- Damon Lindelof said “It’s interesting that you should ask about time because… you know… you’re making a basic assumption that they’ve been there, y’know, as long as they think they’ve been there.”
- The payload arrived at Daniel's position 31 minutes after Regina said it reached the target. Daniel confirmed this by comparing the time on the clock inside the rocket with the time clock he had on the island.
All this seems to point that there is something weird going on with the time, most likely that time on the Island moves slower than it does in the rest of the world. Pretty straight forward right? Not so fast, my friend (I miss you College Gameday).
Although there are a number of verbal clues and “suggestions” about the funky time above, the closest thing we have to something factual is Faraday’s payload experiment. On the other hand, we’ve got a few very concrete statements and events that seem to confirm that the Island is in sync with the rest of the world.
First, Ben told Jack what happened off-the-island during the given timeline: "Your flight crashed on September 22nd, 2004. Today is November 29th. That means you've been on our island for 69 days. Yes, we do have contact with the outside world, Jack. That's how we know that during those 69 days your fellow Americans re-elected George W. Bush; Christopher Reeve has passed away; the Boston Red Sox won the World Series."
The key there is that Ben refers to “today” as a date that corresponds with a date on the outside world. Later, we see Juliet give the exact length of her stay on the island: 3 years, 2 months and 28 days – which again seems to correspond with the date of the outside world seen by Alpert’s newspaper when visiting Juliet’s sister.
But lastly, and most importantly, we have this – Desmond’s printout of the system failure from the Hatch, which brought Oceanic Flight 815 to the Island in the first place… dated September 22, 2004 at 4:16 – the same date and time of the crash for the rest of the world.
If time on the Island were really moving slower, those dates would not match up.
But aside from all the potential red herrings listed above, how do you explain the payload time difference? The most logical explanation seems to be what I will call the “Bubble Theory”.
(Note: since magnetism and electricity were always the last chapters in my science books growing up, I don’t think we ever got them over the course of my entire education – so I really have no idea what I’m talking about or if any of this is possible)
I’m picturing the Island as sitting inside some sort of giant electromagnetic bubble. There’s only one safe way in or out of this bubble. If you attempt to enter or exit anywhere other than this one opening, you bounce off it, have your electric systems go wacky, or burst into flames (just kidding on the last one). If the payload didn’t hit the opening in the bubble, it would continue bouncing around inside the electromagnetic field until eventually it found a way through – it’s during this bouncing where the time is “lost” compared to the Island or the rest of the world (where time is still continuing as normal).
This would match up nicely with a lot of evidence over the years – Ben telling Michael he has to follow bearing 325 to get off the Island, Faraday warning Frank to leave the Island the exact same way that they came in, and even the old time radio station that Hurley and Sayid heard on the beach. Once the radio signal found its way inside the bubble, it would just keep bouncing around forever, unless it found a way out the same way it came in.
An intriguing variation of this theory would be if there were a number of ways to come into the Island, but you simply had to exit the same way that you came in, or else you suffer some sort of weird side effect of the electromagnetic field. If this were true, although Frank is going to be totally fine leaving the Island, Sayid and Desmond might be in trouble since they probably arrived on a different bearing.
You could even take it a step further and try to use the Bubble Theory to explain the “funky space” that we’ve seen – if you can somehow break through the Bubble in a place other than the designated hole, it acts as a sort of worm hole, sending you to another place in the world (see: Dharma polar bear in Africa, Africa plane on Island).
This also means that the apparent eternal life of the Others isn’t tied to “funky time” on Island at all… which actually should have been apparent to me a long time ago. After all, Ben (and the Dharmites) have lived there for many years and aged – if it was something intrinsic to the funky time of the Island that caused the Others to look so ageless, one would assume it would have had the same effect on Ben. We’ve also seen both Ben (who ages) and Alpert (who doesn’t age) leave the Island on various missions, so clearly it isn’t tied to never leaving the Island either. It seems as though Alpert’s lack of aging is tied to some other mystery altogether – or just a fun byproduct of being “one with the Island” or BFF with Jacob.
So after all that information overload, where do we stand? Surprisingly, not far from where we started before the episode. We learned that the “battle for the Island” spills over into the real world, that the “funky time” might be nothing more than time lost passing through the electromagnetic field to get to or from the Island, that Ben is seemingly always going to be two steps ahead of everyone else on or off the Island, and that Sayid becomes an Iraqi James Bond with the smoothest looking hair you’ve ever seen once he gets off the Island. It all seemed pretty overwhelming and puzzling upon first viewing, but now I’m feeling okay with “The Economist”.
Bring on next week!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Before we get to the Instant Reactions for this week, I need your help. You see, my friend Kevin (or "KFly", as he is known in most circles) recently got engaged (copycat). He entered some sort of contest to win free photography for his wedding (which is surprisingly quite expensive - trust me, I know)... and made the final three.
Now it's up to an Internet based vote. You can vote as many times as you would like, and I'd encourage about 10 times before proceeding on to read the Instant Reactions so that you don't feel like you are stealing.
Just visit: http://www.comfortphotography.blogspot.com/ and vote for "The Calendar" starring Randi and Kevin. You can even read their sappy love story below if you scroll down.
Why should you do this?
1. Because I asked you. Very politely.
2. Because he is competing against a Steelers fan, making it a case of good vs. evil.
3. Because KFly is actually in my wedding, and if he wins this, I won't have to get him a present.
Thank you for your help.
Now back to your regularly scheduled Blog Post...
Brian's Two Word Review: Information Overload
I feel like there is so much to take in from this week's episode, I hardly know where to begin. I'll just start rattling off thoughts and see how much I can remember:
1. Funky Time - I love that after last week's episode, I was sure that funky time on the Island wasn't likely - and that funky space was probably the effect of the electromagnetic properties... and then this episode immediately proves me wrong. In fact, it almost proved that time moves slower on the Island than it does in the rest of the world. The implications? Jack said he's been on the Island for 100 days. For the rest of the world, it's probably been more like 200 (I'll do the more precise math for my analysis). This also helps explain why the Island was such a great place for all these wacky experiments to save the world - because you have more time to do so!
(Update: actually, the more I think about this - the more I question this seemingly obvious explanation. Keep in mind that Faraday was able to communicate in real-time with the Freightor. You would think there would be a lag if time was moving differently...)
2. Sayid - so Sayid gets off the Island and becomes an assassin for Team Ben? Who saw that one coming? It's looking like this upcoming "war" between the Freightors (who apparently all wear stylish jewelry from "R.G.") and the Others doesn't just stick to the Island - but spills over into the rest of the world in some grand globe-trotting battle royale for control of the Island. The plot just got a lot thicker.
3. Ben - first, we see that he clearly has been traveling off the Island (in secret), probably explaining where the photo that Miles had actually came from (off the Island - the much cleaner answer, if you remember from my analysis!). Then, we learn that he actually did leave the Island (perhaps as a way to take the fight to the Freightors in an effort to defeat them?). A lot of people are going to say this proves that Ben wasn't in the coffin - but for me, this proves more than anything that he WAS in the coffin. Why? What if Ben was the leader of the "Oceanic Six", who were working to fight the Freightors / reclaim the Island / save the world? His death (a staged suicide by the Freightors?) could signify the battle is lost - leading Jack to attempt to take up the leadership role in the battle, after years of denying it. "We have to go back Kate."
4. Helicopter. Is this really Lost? Are we really having plotlines speed along this fast these days? Desmond and Sayid on a helicopter heading for the Freighter one episode after finding the helicopter?! Remember in the good ol' days when it would take our Survivors twelve episodes to build a raft, only to have it burn down, then ten more to finally have the raft leave... only to have it blown up by Others? Well, those days are clearly behind us. I was watching with disbelief thinking "we're actually going to see the Freighter / Ben's mole / our Survivors in the outside world in a matter of weeks!" Giddy!
5. The Economist. Yep, just as a predicted, a throwaway reference in the episode with no deeper meaning at all... besides the fact that "The Economist" is probably the "big bad" for the remainder of the series of Lost! From this day forth, we'll use this name for the boss of the Freightors and Abbadon - until we learn more about this mysterious character.
Okay - that's all I can handle for now. If this is any indication of how great Lost is going to be this season, it's going to be the best ever. I need to let it sink in for a bit. Full analysis this weekend!