Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Meet Kevin Johnson" Instant Reactions!

Brian's One Word Review: Filler.

When you think about it, this episode mostly served as filler - filling in the gaps in storyline that a lot of us had theorized, but had no confirmation for, over the course of this season and last. We learned that Tom is gay (in a totally unnecessary and weird scene), that Michael was indeed Ben's man on the boat (and how he communicated with Ben on the Island), and that Michael made it back to the real world before setting off on the Frieghter. Aside from the shocker ending, it was pretty much 95% flashback filler without any huge reveals.

So what is there to discuss?

  • For starters, who killed Karl and CFL (maybe) at the end of the episode? Weren't we promised a CFL flashback by the writers seasons ago? Will that now be told through an "Island flashback" or something? Or is CFL not really dead? Smart money is on Frank taking a group of Freightors to the Island (remember how he was on a "mission" last episode?), which ties into the scene of the Freightors taking target practice during the flashback. Frank likely had no idea what the mission was, but this means there are Freightors on the Island, and they're looking to kill some Others.
  • The Oceanic Six = Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Sun, and Aaron (at least per the episode preview at the end). I guess I'll allow this for now, mostly since I've been drinking all day.
  • The Island doesn't let you die until it wants you to die... does that mean that Tom and the other Others who died at the end of last season had already completed their "missions"?
  • The writers creatively sidestepped the whole "warp zone" subject matter by starting with Michael back in New York, but it clearly happened based on the timeline of this episode. That's the only way to allow Michael to return back to the "real world" two months after he disappeared (per his mom) since he left the Island roughly two months after the crash. Even still, the timeline is really tight - Michael was gone for two months... which means it was November 22 when he returned to NYC - then got on the boat and spent about a month there leading up to present Island time, which is about December 28. But it would still work enough that we just have to deal with Funky Space, not Funky Time.
  • Walt is not on the Island. The aging of Walt will NOT be an issue, as he should only appear in flashforwards from here on out.
  • Ben (and the Others) are really the good guys. My theory from the start stands! Widmore planted the Fake Crash Site, he's the one who will ruthlessly kill, and he's the one who wants to exploit the Island.

Okay - it might be a bit before my full analysis, but those are my initial thoughts. Back to basketball.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lost - "Meet Kevin Johnson"

Episode Title: Meet Kevin Johnson

Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: You know, if it wasn't for last week's reveal of Michael working on the Freighter under the alias of "Kevin Johnson", this episode title would have been a much tougher mystery to solve. We would have been debating about who this new character would be, if they were in a flashback or not, or if it was some code phrase between the Freighters a la "tell my sister I love her". But instead, it's thankfully a pretty easy one.

This week's episode offers the chance for the viewers, as well as Sayid and Desmond, to "meet" Kevin Johnson. We all knew Michael, but we have no idea what happened to him since he left the Island (way back in the Season Two finale!) or how he came to be known as "Kevin Johnson" and end up on the Freighter. Last week, I gave my quick theory about how this all could have happened, but I might as well expand upon it a bit here, since I think this will be the underlying story of the episode.

Since the Freightors, who seem to know an awful lot about Oceanic Flight 815, have no problem with "Kevin Johnson" working among them even as things on the ship get sabotaged, it seems impossible that they simply "ran into and picked up" Michael and Walt as they boated away from the Island at the conclusion of Season Two. However, since only about a month has passed since Michael and Walt left the Island until present day, it doesn't seem like enough time for Michael to return to the "real world", become persuaded to join the Freightors, and return to just offshore of the Island, especially when you consider that based on the Freightors' comments, they've been sitting in the same place for quite some time - long enough for people to start going crazy and killing themselves.

The only possible explanation for these two seemingly incongruous facts is that there is some sort of warp going on. Recall that Ben told Michael to sail towards bearing 325 exactly. I'm thinking that the Others have figured out that depending on where you "burst the bubble" around the Island, it can warp you to various places around the world. Sending Michael to bearing 325 warped him to somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, a lot closer to America than he was seconds earlier. It sounds outrageous, but it seems to tie a lot of things on the show together, and I can also totally picture it playing out in my mind. Michael and Walt enter some sort of storm… suddenly it clears up… and they're looking at the Statue of Liberty thinking "huh?"


It's a tad science fiction-y for my tastes, but we've had hints of this for quite some time. From the Others' ability to show up all over the world quite quickly to the Dharma Polar Bear showing up in Tunisia (an unfortunate accidental warp, or some intentional experiment?), Eko's drug plane ending up on the Island, and maybe even the Black Rock itself - there are things on the Island that indicate they came from far, far away and there are things from the Island that end up far, far away. Heck, we've even learned that the Others think that "only fools are enslaved by time and space" which seems to indicate to me they have figured out a way around time and space through these warps.

If you want to get really crazy, you could throw time into the mix - which provides an easy explanation for how Ben has so much knowledge about everyone and everything, and has the stacks of money to prove he's seen Back to the Future Part II… but I'm not to that point yet. Adding time travel into the mix of craziness that we already have on Lost would be too much - heads would start exploding around the concept, and it would give us a far too easy "cheat" to undo all the death and bad things that have happened thus far.

But - if we move forward with the possibility of a Warp Zone / Funky Space - then we've got a plausible explanation for Kevin Johnson's appearance on the Freighter.

Michael returns back to the real world, stricken with guilt over murdering two of his friends for the sake of saving Walt, when he is approached by Ben / Alpert / Tom with the chance for redemption - by joining the crew of the Freightors and sabotaging their mission, Michael can save the lives of all the rest of the Survivors (although, how would they know the plan of the Freightors unless there was some funky time going on? Damn - I really don't like Funky Time… let's just go with "Jacob is omniscient and told Ben so"). Michael finds the classified ad for a sweet gig as a Janitor on a Freighter, joins the crew under the name "Kevin Johnson" and the rest is history.

This scenario could keep the ever-aging Walt in the flashforwardy future where his older appearance would totally make sense (and out of the "present", where it doesn’t), and give Michael the chance for redemption that the writers have promised since he left. It has its issues (the timeline is still really tight, even with the Warp Zone), but I think it's still the most likely explanation for what Kevin Johnson has been up to since he retired from the NBA.


Episode Description: Sayid confronts Ben's spy on the freighter, and Ben urges daughter Alex to flee Locke's camp in order to survive an impending attack. Guest starring are Cynthia Watros as Libby, M.C. Gainey as Mr. Friendly/Tom, Mira Furlan as Danielle Rousseau, Tania Raymonde as Alex, Blake Bashoff as Karl, Marsha Thomason as Naomi Dorrit, Ken Leung as Miles Straume, Jeff Fahey as Frank Lapidus, Kevin Durand as Keamy, Anthony Azizi as Omar, Fisher Stevens as George Minkowski, Grant Bowler as Captain Gault, Jill Kuramoto as female anchor, Galyn Gorg as nurse, Starletta DuPois as mom, William P. Ogilivie as Gus, Francesco Simone as Arturo and James Locke as mechanic.

Guest Stars. Holy guest star madness. Libby and Tom are back! As I'm expecting the flashbacks to cover the time that Michael left the Island to present day, Tom's inclusion makes sense - since he was totally alive for the first few weeks after Michael left the Island. However, the inclusion of Libby (but not Ana-Lucia) is quite curious. You would think if we were flashing all the way back to Michael's murder of Ana-Lucia and Libby while rescuing Ben, both would be included. But if we're not, I can only come up with one explanation for how Libby shows up… as a freaky ghost Island Spirit - just like Charlie showed up to Hurley earlier this season. In fact, this might even provide a better explanation for why Michael would join the Freightors - sucks to redemption, maybe he's just doing it to stop being haunted by Libby!

I'm hoping the inclusion of Miles means that we'll get some progression on his storyline (and find out that he hasn't really been biting down on a grenade for two days), but since he's included in the same breath as Naomi, there's a chance he merely appears on the Freighter during a flashback, and we'll have to wait for his on-Island story until after the hiatus.

Lastly, the inclusion of the Newscaster who reported on the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 in "Confirmed Dead" (Jill Kuramoto) probably means we'll get to view that story from a different perspective - which I can only assume will be Michael's. Even though the timeline seems a bit off, if he's watching the news story at the same time as we saw Faraday, Frank, Miles, and Charlotte - it's entirely logical that he could end up on the Freighter with them, since there was clearly enough time to "recruit" each of them.

Episode Breakdown: Pretty straight-forward stuff, actually. Clearly Sayid is looking for answers (and maybe some revenge) against Michael for killing two people and selling out Kate, Jack, and Sawyer to the Others. It'll be interesting to see if Michael is open and honest, or if he talks cryptically leaving the audience wondering what really happened. Logically, there's no reason for Michael to hide the truth - but logically, there's no reason for Juliet to hide the truth either, yet she continues to do so. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

The second portion of the episode returns us to the Ben / CFL / Alex / Karl storyline which has been on the way back burner this season, but could actually be decent. Ben must not have faith in Michael, because he seems to think that danger is imminent, and he's looking out for his daughter's protection by sending her away (hopefully to the Temple to rejoin the other Others? Please?)

Not a lot to go on. Clearly, the chocolaty goodness of this episode is going to center around the Michael flashbacks (wow - that came across unintentionally racist), but I'm hopeful that we get some solid on-Island storyline progression as well.

Before we wrap up this week, I have to give some attention to the episode preview, which ominously promises us “SOMEONE. WILL. DIE. MWA HA HA HA HA!”

Death Watch. It's funny, but without that episode preview, I wouldn’t have even the slightest inkling of any real characters (non-background-Freightors) dying this episode. If you think about it, aside from Jin and Claire (whose deaths have been hinted at in flashforwards), there really aren’t a lot of major characters left to kill off – especially if you operate under the assumption that SOME of the non-Oceanic Six must survive to be in need of help (as Charlie pleaded to Hurley in his flashforward). I’m half tempted to chalk this up to an ABC Promo lie, just like last week’s promise of revealing “the last of the Oceanic Six” (which might have happened, but it certainly wasn’t clear). However, it’s worth putting out the current odds for death of the main characters on the show, even if the person who dies this week is someone like Keamy (PS – worst name ever).

The first thing we can do is rule out all the characters we’ve seen in flashforwards, which protects Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Sun, and Ben. That leaves us with the following top 5, ranked in order of likelihood of dying:

1. Jin - we know he dies (at least I think we do - others are in denial), so this might be the week we find out how… but I’m still leaning towards Jin sacrificing himself to help Sun get off the Island – and we still seem to be a ways off from anyone getting off the Island.


2. Claire – the other character who might die, based on Kate raising Aaron post-Island. The only real saving grace she has is her yet unrevealed connection to Jack, and the possible storylines associated with that – but otherwise she’s a waste, and I’d gladly have her kick the bucket without needing a whole episode centered around her to do so.

3. Michael – it’s a dark horse (again with the racist sounding comments!), but consider this – we heard of Minkowski… then he died the first episode we saw him. We heard of Regina… and then she died the first episode we saw her. Why not have this episode totally tie up the Michael storyline and feature his death? Not likely, but it would be hilarious given all the hype surrounding his return.

4. Sawyer – a member of Death Watch ever since he killed Anthony Cooper last season (providing closure to the biggest demon / mystery in his past), Sawyer’s best chance of survival is his integral role in the Jack / Kate love triangle… although you could argue that Juliet could easily replace him to keep the triangle alive.

5. Desmond – what would easily be the most heartbreaking death ever on a television series, I held my breath at the end of his episode earlier this season after he and Penny professed their love over the telephone… waiting for someone to walk in and kill Desmond on the spot. Thankfully, he was spared, and maybe those Lost writers have a soft spot after all and will give us the reunion of Penny and Desmond that we’ve all been praying for. The other good news is that Desmond provides a crucial link in explaining who the heck Charles Widmore is to the rest of the Survivors, now that they know he is behind the Freighter.

In the end, if it’s not Jin or Claire, I’m putting money on “the death” being a secondary character. But even then, Faraday, Frank, Charlotte, and Miles all seem to be safe since they all appear to have fascinatingly mysterious backstories that have yet to be fully explained. Yikes – Keamy, I was just kidding a few paragraphs ago – but it’s not looking good for you, buddy.

One last thing before I go – Thursday’s episode of Lost will be preceded by nine hours of drinking for Brian thanks to the NCAA tournament. Because of this, I’m not sure if there will actually be Instant Reactions right after the episode, if they’ll be there but be totally unintelligible gibberish, or if they’ll show up Friday morning. I shall do my best.

Happy Losting!

Monday, March 17, 2008

"Ji Yeon" Analysis!

Sorry guys – life is a little crazy right now with everything going on with the big move into the new house and the rapidly approaching wedding. I’m barely finding enough time to eat and sleep, let alone Blog. I apologize in advance for the brevity of this post, as well as the forthcoming “Meet Kevin Johnson” posts, which will probably also suffer big time. The good news is that the break in the season couldn’t have come at a better time for me, and I should be back stronger than ever for the end of the season run starting in late April. But enough about me, on to the analysis:

Answers. Since my Instant Reactions basically posed a number of questions, I thought the best way to analyze the episode would simply to be to attempt to provide answers to the relevant questions (why didn’t I think of this before?).

How did Jin die? There has been a ton of debate over whether Jin is dead or simply still on the Island (not returning with the Oceanic Six) – but for me, this is pretty much a no-brainer: Jin is dead.

It’s easy to argue the other side of the point, since Sun never comes out and actually says that he is dead, and we’ve seen the Oceanic Six (well, at least Jack) lie through their teeth about the fate of the other Survivors, but everything about “Ji Yeon” seemed to point to the opposite for me.

For starters, people have complained that they felt “tricked” by the episode since the Jin flashbacks were simply a plot device to make the audience think he was in the flashforwardy future. It’s a valid complaint, since not a lot of information was gained from the flashbacks, and it was a somewhat gimmicky way to setup the ending – but think about how much more pointless it would be if Jin was actually alive. Talk about a gimmick – that would mean the writers set us up to think Jin was alive, only to trick us into thinking Jin is dead, only to eventually reveal he was alive and well. This would basically render Sun’s flashforward pretty pointless as well, especially the emotional last scene.


And it’s this scene that really seals the deal for me. Sun is emotional, saying things like “the doctors said I was calling out for you” as if she was not thinking clearly due to the pain of labor… like if she was thinking clearly, she would have never called out for her dead husband. There are also little details like the inclusion of her eventual death on the tombstone (the right hand side lists Jin’s date of birth and death – November 27, 1974 through September 22, 2004, the left hand side lists Sun’s date of birth – March 20, 1980, leaving room for her date of death). If there was any hope of Sun returning to an alive Jin (like, on the Island), I don’t think she would have gone the route of preparing to join him in the same plot of land for all of eternity.


Finally, there’s the Joss Whedon Factor (a phrase I’m coining that basically means when a character has an ultra-happy closure or overly lovey-dovey scene that they are probably going to die shortly thereafter). The last on-Island scene of the episode was all of this and a bag of chips (is this phrase still valid?). Jin forgives Sun for cheating on him. Jin promises to do “anything” to protect the Sun and the baby. Jin makes Sun dinner (note to self: if the wife ever cheats on me, let her do the cooking for the next few years – it’s the least she can do!). It’s just like at the end of Desmond’s episode this season, I half expected someone to bust in and shoot Desmond on the spot – it was an overly “good” scene on a show that has shown that life (at least off the Island) actually sucks.

I know the first comment is going to be something like “I think Brian is wrong and Jin is still alive”, which is fine – like I said, you can argue it. But for me, it’s pretty clear that our boy Jin is going to die sometime over the next forty episodes.

Who are the Oceanic Six? I refuse to believe that Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Sun, and Aaron are the Oceanic Six. Instead, I’m going with the “ABC Promo Lied to Us” excuse – since the only reason we’re making this assumption is that the preview for “Ji Yeon” promised the last of the Oceanic Six would be revealed. We’ve had them lie to us in the past, so it’s not that far fetched. I’m holding out hope for another reveal (featuring some member of the media actually saying the names of the Oceanic Six), even though at present, I’m struggling to think of who the last member could actually be. Keep in mind, we need to have some of our Survivors on the Island, or else there would be no motivation for the Oceanic Six to “go back”, as we’ve seen hinted at through Jack and Hurley’s flashforwards. I wish it was just the Oceanic Five, or Five and a Half – that would sit better with me than including Aaron in the mix.

Who is the last body? It turns out we’re not supposed to care about the two people who Jack / Kate claimed died after the crash. Thanks to steve for pointing out the following excerpt from a recent interview with show mastergod, Damon Lindelof:

UGO: So the story for the Oceanic 6 is that they came from a group of 8 survivors. Are we going to find out the identity of the other 2 supposedly not so lucky survivors?

DAMON: Well, that is part of the fiction as concocted by the Oceanic 6. Many, many things that Jack said on the stand at Kate's trial were untrue, although he was under oath, like the Marshall dying in the crash for example. We want to be very clear on the idea that there were only ever the Oceanic 6. The identity of those other two people are not as important as people are making them out to be, it just makes it feel like a more believable fiction.

So maybe those two bodies didn’t actually come back with the rest of the Oceanic Six, and there’s no need to debate who joins Jin in the “dead body” section of the rescue vessel. Moving on…

Why did Regina kill herself? The Freighter is getting freakier and freakier. It’s about one ghost Walt appearance away from being a haunted house. People blowing their brains out, becoming “unstuck” in time, tying chains around themselves and jumping off boats? Not exactly a booze cruise. No wonder Faraday and Charlotte aren’t in any hurry to return! I’m thinking it has something to do with prolonged exposure to the Bubble around the Island – which is why our Survivors have been spared, since they quickly passed through it, rather than floating around the perimeter for days / weeks / months. I’m also thinking this could be the same “sickness” that CFL mentioned afflicted her crew, since it’s plausible that they also spent a good deal of time floating around the Bubble before actually crashing on the Island… that, or Ben is sending voodoo powers out to the Freightor crew causing them to kill themselves.


Why did Michael sabotage the Freighter? An assumption on my part, but it only seems logical. If Michael is working for Ben (another assumption, but pretty likely), it makes sense to stall the Freighter in a spot where it cannot actually get to the Island, but will cause the crew to go insane and kill themselves, making the Freightors less of a threat.


Where is Walt? I’m thinking Walt was never on the Freighter. While cleaning carpets yesterday (ah, the glamorous life of a Blogger), an idea popped into my head that might tie a lot of storylines together. What if the coordinates that Ben provided Michael lead him to a “warp”, a la Super Mario Bros. level 1-2? So he heads for bearing 325, hits the Bubble and suddenly BAM – he’s right off the coast of New York City? This would give him time to drop off Walt, THEN be contacted by Ben in the real world convincing him to join and sabotage the Freighter crew, and get on the Freighter before it leaves, making him less suspicious when stuff starts breaking on the boat and the communication room gets trashed. The timeline for all of this is tight (about a month), but it would make the most sense.

If you want to get really crazy, you could say that the warp not only moved Michael and Walt in space, but also in time (only fools are enslaved by time and space, anyone?) – padding the timeline a bit.

This “warp” theory also would explain the Dharma Polar Bear that ended up in Tunisia, and maybe explain how the Others are able to exploit their knowledge of these warps to amass massive funds through gambling on sports events (a la Back to the Future II), make quick trips around the world when required to videotape kids playing in a park (creepy Richard Alpert!) or recruit newbies to the Island… and provide a pretty obvious reason why the Freightors would want Ben (and his knowledge), but are willing to kill everyone else in order to take control of such a power.

Do the Freightors really believe Michael's name is Kevin Johnson? Based on the theory above, yes. If Michael gave his real name, they would know he was on Oceanic Flight 815. It’s an alias, like Jennifer Gardner.

Should we believe anything the Captain says? It’s tricky, because we’ve now been told to not trust Ben, and also to not trust the Captain. Basically, both are pointing at the other for being responsible for the Fake Oceanic 815 crash (and the accompanying 324 dead bodies). In my mind, it makes more sense to have Ben stage the crash, even though Widmore seems like the one who would have the resources to more easily do so. If you think about it, Ben is the one that wants to keep the Island secret at any cost. Staging the fake crash keeps people from accidentally stumbling upon the Island. Widmore, on the other hand, seems to want to use the Island for monetary gain. While it’s always possible that he needs to keep it secret for this gain (especially if he’s going to attain this gain through illegal means, like jumping around in time to gamble), it seems like it would be easier for him to find the Island, rescue the people, and claim the land as his own – rather than going through all the trouble to keep it secret. If Widmore’s intentions are to turn the Island into a cancer-curing ultra-exclusive spa, it’s even more of a no brainer – make the Island known and rescue the people. It’s called free advertising, people!


The Captain seems like a pretty ruthless guy, and maybe we shouldn’t trust him about a lot of things – but this might have been a nugget of truth buried in a nugget pile of lies.

Okay – that’s all for now. If I missed anything, let me know in the Comments and I’ll do my best to address.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

"Ji Yeon" Instant Reactions!

Brian's One Word Review: Questions.

Slow clap, Lost writers, slow clap.

Just when you thought we'd seen every variation of Flash (back, forward, on-Island, time travel, and Desmond-future-predicting), they bust out the never before seen, super tricky dual-flashback-flashforward for the same episode... and it worked beautifully.

Here we saw flashbacks of a young Jin, two months after he married Sun - rushing to deliver a stuffed panda to some Chinese Official on a mission from Sun's Father (Paik Industries) contrasted against the flashforwards of a post-Island Sun, giving birth to Ji Yeon, calling out for her husband Jin... who is actually dead.

So, this raises a few very big questions:

  1. How did Jin die? Smart money is on him dying in helping the Oceanic Six get off the Island, or saving Sun in some way. This also confirms his place as one of the two bodies that Kate mentioned they brought back with them. Did you notice the date of his death on the tombstone? September 22, 2004 - the date of the Oceanic Flight 815 crash - meaning their story is that he died in the crash.
  2. Who are the Oceanic Six? Does this really mean they are Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Sun, and Aaron? Weird.
  3. Who is the last body? If Jin is one of the two bodies, who is the other? Claire would seem like an easy choice - except it seems like her non-pregnant body would blow the cover on Aaron's existence if they're playing him off as Kate's legit child, wouldn't it? If so, that basically leaves Michael, Locke, Sawyer, or some minor character. Smart money from that bunch is on Sawyer, with the logic being that Sun brings Jin along (because she needs to bury him) and Kate brings Sawyer along (because she might love him).
  4. Why did they show Michael mid-way through this episode? Did you see him shortly after Regina jumped in the water? Totally blew the surprise... which actually wasn't much of a surprise to ANYONE at all!
  5. Why did Regina kill herself? I was puzzled by the upside-book-reading scene initially, but it makes sense now - she was slowly going crazy, and didn't even realize her book was upside-down. It's funny (in a really morbid sort of way) that Regina and Minkowski are the two Freightors we heard the most via radio through the first five episodes of the season, yet their combined face time is like 10 minutes of the show.
  6. Why did Michael sabatoge the Freighter? Why keep it so close to the Island? Is this his way of helping rescue our Survivors? Or Ben's plan to slowly pick off the Freightors one by one as they go insane and kill themselve?
  7. Where is Walt? Did Frank take him on his "errand" to get him off the boat? Or did he do this long ago?
  8. Do the Freightors really believe Michael's name is Kevin Johnson? If Michael really ran into the Freighter on his way off the Island, wouldn't they know him by name, since they know all the rest of our Survivors quite well? Why would they keep him aboard? Initially, I thought it was because Michael could provide them information on the Island - but if he's lying about who he is and working as a janitor, this doesn't seem to be the case.
  9. Should we believe anything the Captain says? The note says we shouldn't (just like Juliet's note to Jack about Ben last season) but everything he said matched up nicely with my predictions and analysis from thus far this season. I'm torn!
  10. Shouldn't it be pretty obvious to the Freightors who the traitor is? They pick up a random guy (I guess this is an assumption on my part) and all the sudden their boat is getting trashed? Are you telling me there aren't any racists on the boat who wouldn't immediately blame Michael... er "Kevin"... anyways?
  11. Why is Jack calmly eating cereal instead of drilling Charlotte and Faraday for information? Has he given up this easily and is now satisfied with their lack of answers? Where is the torturous Sayid when you need him?

Like I said, questions!

Okay - time to chatter. You know the drill.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lost - "Ji Yeon"

Warning – last week’s episode prediction ruined the episode for a lot of people (and by “a lot of people”, I mean me) because a number of my predictions kinda ended up happening. Here’s hoping I’m totally wrong this week and can enjoy the surprise of the Lost writers proving they are smarter than me, but if not – you have been forewarned.

PS - Remember the good ol’ days when I predicted a full-out war between Team Locke and Team Jack every single week, and every single week I was totally wrong? Ah, the good ol’ days…

Episode Title: “Ji Yeon”

Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: At first glance, this week’s episode title doesn’t seem to have anything “deep” about it. A quick Google search reveals that, aside from the numerous websites referencing this week’s episode of Lost (which do me no good), “Ji Yeon” pops up as the name of various Korean actors, models, professors, and businessmen (sometimes with the dash in the middle “Ji-Yeon”, and sometimes without).

However, when you factor in this week’s episode preview, you can start to put the pieces of the puzzle together that give us a good hint at what’s to come this week.

For starters, this week promises to reveal “the last of the Oceanic Six” – which is curious wording for sure. It doesn’t come out and say “the last MEMBER of the Oceanic Six”, but rather just says “the last”, which may mean we find out more than one member this week. It really all comes down to if we supposed to consider Aaron a member of the Oceanic Six or not. If we do, then there is only room for one more to join Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, and Aaron. If we do not, there is room for two more.

So clearly, we’re looking at a flashforward episode. Also clearly, based on the episode title, we’re looking at a Sun-Jin-centric episode… which means that some combination of Sun and Jin are going to be “the last of the Oceanic Six”. But what about the episode title? Let’s take a quick peek at the description, then circle back. I’ll see you in a few…

ABC Description: Juliet is forced to reveal some startling news to Jin when Sun threatens to move to Locke's camp. Meanwhile, Sayid and Desmond begin to get an idea of the freighter crew's mission when they meet the ship's Captain. Guest starring are Sam Anderson as Bernard, Jeremy Davies as Daniel Faraday, Rebecca Mader as Charlotte Lewis, Jeff Fahey as Frank Lapidus, Kevin Durand as Keamy, Marc Vann as doctor, Grant Bowler as Captain Gault, Lanny Joon as Dr. Bae, Simon Rhee as shopkeeper, Zoe Bell as Regina, Christine Kim as admitting nurse, Lynette Garces as another nurse, David Yew as Chinese security agent and George Kee Cheung as Chinese ambassador.

I missed you!

Notice something funny about the guest stars this episode? Assuming that “Ji Yeon” is a person’s name, why are there are no guest stars listed with that name? Unless the decidedly un-Koren-looking Marc Vann who we met two weeks ago (as “doctor”) is actually named Ji Yeon, they aren’t listed as a guest star – even though they are the titular character of the episode. On the other hand, we do have an “admitting nurse” and “another nurse”… with a flashforward featuring a currently pregnant Sun and Jin.

It seems pretty obvious that Ji Yeon is none other than the newest member of the Kwon family... Sun's baby!

Based on this baby bombshell, we can assume at the very least Sun gets off the Island, making her a member of the Oceanic Six. But what about Jin?

Well, in my Oceanic Six analysis earlier this season, I mentioned that Sun and Jin seemed to be a package deal – because without Sun, Jin would not be able to really communicate with any other characters on the show. However, last week seemed to prove that he would be perfectly capable of speaking coherent phrases to the rest of our Survivors (“Jack said they were friend”) – so maybe Jin has picked up enough English over the past three seasons to get by without Sun.


On the other hand, I’m not really a fan of Aaron being a member of the Oceanic Six – after all, he didn’t officially have a ticket on Oceanic Flight 815 – he was a stowaway in Claire’s belly. As I mentioned originally, when I hear “Oceanic Six”, I picture a phrase concocted by the media to describe six people who the world has become obsessed with. Six people who have been on the cover of magazines, on talk shows, and news programs around the world… and I don’t see the seemingly sheltered Aaron fitting into that mold.

Thus, I’m predicting that Sun and Jin comprise the last two members of the Oceanic Six – making the official list Sun, Jin, Jack, Kate, Sayid, and Hurley. When you look at the list, it’s pretty much comprised of all the “fan favorites” of the show, less Sawyer and Locke – who both seem to have decided to stay on the Island. If we are to assume that next season’s action is going to feature a large amount of “off Island” time featuring the quest of the Oceanic Six (or at least Jack) to try and get back to the Island, it makes perfect sense to have the “favorite” characters on the show comprise those Six, giving them maximum face time.

So does this mean that all the drama of this week’s episode (with Juliet warning Sun about needing to leave the Island in three weeks or die) is going to be wasted, since the audience will clearly know if she makes it off alive in the first flashforward, where Sun will be the size of a sun?

Not so fast my friend (second one of the season!)

Just because we gather that Sun and Jin make it off the Island, it’s not guaranteed to be all roses and umbilical cords. While we know that Others who conceive children on the Island die before the third trimester (which brings up an interesting timeline inconsistency – Sun has been pregnant for a maximum of three months, since she got knocked up on the Island when Jin regained the spring in his step – so why does she only have three weeks to live, per Juliet? Wouldn’t that only put her in the middle of her second trimester? Note: I don’t really know this much about babies, but learned this courtesy of the pregnant Desmond that sits next to me at work), I wonder if the Others have ever tested what happens when an Other conceives on the Island… but then gives birth off the Island, like Sun is going to do. Would there still be a chance that she suffers the same fate as the Other Woman, with baby Ji Yeon and Sun dying on the birthing table?


Talk about a surprise ending!

Do I think it’s likely? Not really, but I’m the same melancholy guy who wanted the series to end with Jack saying “We have to go back” to Kate even though it would be mega-depressing (but also mega-good!) – but it is curious that Aaron was listed as a guest star (as “child”), while we have no guest stars this week listed as “baby”. Did the writers learn from their mistakes in an effort to keep this secret? Or do you not credit little babies less than a year old? Or does Ji Yeon die before having a chance to appear on-screen? I think any are valid.

Even though there are probably no more deserving members of the Oceanic Six for a happy post-Island ending, based on the fact that we’ve seen Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sayid all living less than awesome lives in their flashforwards, I think Sun and Jin could be due for the same.

Episode Breakdown: …and we’re finally back to the Episode Breakdown. I feel like we already covered a bit of the first statement, where Juliet reveals to Jin that if Sun moves to Locke’s camp, she will die – but in fact, it’s more like “if she doesn’t get off the Island, she will die”. The question here becomes – what spurs the sudden desire to give up on rescue and attempt to join Team Island? The last we saw Sun, she was questioning Juliet for building a shelter since rescue was imminent. What changes between then and now? Could the true mission of the Freightors finally be exposed this week, revealing they have no intention of rescuing our Survivors?

Meanwhile, it looks like the action finally returns to the Freighter, where Sayid and Desmond get their long awaited introduction to the ship’s captain… who apparently is this guy:


Well this puts to rest our fears about the Freightors being evil – no one who likes dogs can be bad!

Here’s hoping the always smarter-than-the-average-Survivor Sayid and now-once-again-lucid Desmond use this time with Captain Gault to ask some of the obvious questions we’ve all had since the season began regarding who the Freightors are, their mission, how they found the Island, why they won’t just take them home, etc. If so, we could be due for some pretty good reveals this week.

It also looks like we’ll finally meet the much heard, seldom seen “Regina”, who has been conversing with numerous characters this season – who looks decidedly scarier and dogless:


Lastly, I should also mention that the show’s writers wanted this to be the last episode before the Lost Spring Break for Brian’s Wedding (I must admit it was very nice of the show to do this for me) due to it supposedly ending with a great cliffhanger… however, the network brass at ABC wanted to coordinate the re-launch of Lost with Ugly Betty and Grey’s Anatomy, so we have one more new episode next week before the five week break.

But if you ask me, the best place for this big cliffhanger to happen (unless it’s Sun dying in a flashforward) is the Freightor… with the inevitable reveal of Michael being on the boat. As if we didn’t already have enough evidence – how about the fact that there are no other new guest stars listed that don’t sound like flashforward Chinese / Korean characters? Luckily for us, Harold Perrineau (Michael) has actually been listed as a regular star since the season began – I suppose helping to conceal the episode that he returns in at the expense of totally telling the audience he’s coming for the past five weeks (it doesn’t make sense to me either).

Will we learn about Michael’s potential double-cross of Ben with the Freightors, how he made it to the boat, or what happened to Walt this week? Probably not. Will we learn if he truly is Ben’s “man on the boat” this week? Probably not. That’s the cliffhanger. Those are the questions that would have haunted our thoughts and dreams over five weeks if the writers had their way… luckily “the man” won out, and we’ll find out next week!

Hopefully I haven’t ruined the episode for you (or, much more importantly, me!) – but I do have the feeling we’re in store for a great episode.

Also, if you haven’t been playing “Lost March Madness”, you haven’t been combining two of my favorite things about March – Lost and the NCAA Tournament – it’s the best thing since Skyline Beer!

Watch out for the potential clash of John Locke and Jack Shepherd in the Sweet Sixteen! Or for Jacob to take on Ben in the Elite Eight!

Happy Lost-ing!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

"The Other Woman" Analysis!

I know I was a little hard on this episode in my Instant Reactions, but I’ve come to realize that there was nothing terribly “wrong” with this episode – it’s just that stacked against to the other mega-awesome episodes this season, there really wasn’t anything terribly “fantastic” about it either – besides the gratuitous scenes of Juliet in a bikini, of course.


Still, even the most mediocre of Lost episodes leaves us with much to ponder, so let’s get it at!

Harper. We were finally introduced to another Other this week, which is long overdue when you consider that aside from Richard Alpert, all the other Others we actually knew by name - Tom, Ethan, and Goodwin - are all dead.

On the other hand, the first question we should ask about Harper is – is she actually still alive? The way that she magically appeared in the jungle following a whisper-fest, and then just as quickly disappeared accompanied by the same whispers brings into question whether she was actually there in person, or was some Walt-like projection (both were wet!), or even could have been a manifestation of Smokey / Jacob designed to trick Juliet into doing the Island’s bidding.


Evidence seems to point to there being at least something a little “special” about her visit, aside from her Houdini-like appearance and disappearance. For one, she mentioned carrying a message from Ben… who has been Locked up (pun) for the past few days in the Barracks, seemingly without a way to communicate with the outside world. Secondly, she knew the intentions of Faraday and Charlotte, which Ben would not have known even if he did have a secret telephone to the Others’ Temple in his basement cell. Unless there are secret cameras and microphones all over the jungle, and Faraday and Charlotte happened to walk by one while discussing their game plan, there’s no way anyone outside of the two of them would know what they were doing. Factor in the somewhat cryptic message of “Ben is exactly where he wants to be”, and I’m leaning towards Harper’s appearance being a product of the Island Spirit.

Assuming that the Island Spirit is some all-knowing being about everyone and everything happening on the Island, it would make sense that it would choose to appear to Juliet (who had a gun, and theoretically the ability to stop Faraday and Charlotte – as opposed to the Others at the Temple, which might be quite far away). It would make sense that it would appear as Harper (a person familiar to Juliet – but more importantly, a person who Juliet somewhat fears, and somewhat owes a favor to for the whole “stealing her husband” deal).

Does this necessarily mean that Harper is dead? No – although most of the “projections” or “Island Spirit” appearances in the past have been dead people (Yemi, Ben’s Mom), we’ve also seen Walt, who was still very much alive at the time. In fact, I think we’re more than likely to see her again in future for the simple reason that we need other Others to care about. We might as well have one with a built-in conflict laden back story with Juliet to help make the future interactions all the more spicy.

As for the character of Harper herself, she appears to be the second confirmed survivor of Ben’s Dharma purge. If you look closely in the background of her office at the start of the episode, you’ll see that there is a certificate with her name presented by the Hanso Foundation. It also seems that having a therapist is a much more Dharma thing to do (crazy cult) than the true Island Originals, who are more crazy hippies. When you think about it, it does make sense that Ben would want to keep Harper around post-purge.

Dharma probably started requiring mandatory visits to a therapist in an effort to help deal with the change in life on the Island – but for Ben, keeping it around post-purge was a way for him to gain information about every member of the Island… information he could later use to his advantage. Based on this, Harper could be just as dangerous a person as Ben (she did seem pretty evil, even in this episode).

Of course, the bad news about this is that it means yet another “Other” we meet isn’t truly an Island original, so Harper will not bring us any closer to understanding things like why the Others don’t age, why they can’t have babies, or how they got to the Island in the first place. Richard Alpert, hurry back to Lost and get an episode of your own!

Widmore. “The Other Woman” also provided the first concrete evidence of Widmore’s connection to the Freightors… and that fresh VHS tapes are at a premium for Others.

While it’s always possible that Ben was totally lying about Widmore being the man behind the Freightors, from a story telling perspective, that wouldn’t make much sense. Last week’s episode seemed to set this week’s up – with Charles Widmore buying the Black Rock Journal, which would eventually lead him to the Island, through the Freightors. Unless the writers are going out of their way to introduce a red herring (which wouldn’t make a ton of sense, given that there are only 42 episodes of Lost left to wrap up all the storylines - and also, out of all the people in the world, why would Ben pick Widmore, someone who meant nothing to John Locke in the first place? Just a big coincidence?), I think that part of Ben’s story is accurate.


I also think Ben’s symbolism as to why Widmore poses such a threat is dead accurate… mostly because it’s the same explanation for the Freightors many of us have had since they arrived – they’re looking to exploit the Island’s unique properties for profit / power. Unfortunately, doing this will pretty much destroy the Others’ current way of life and intimate relationship with the Island, so it’s a threat worthy of doing everything in their power to prevent… even if that means killing innocent people (like Naomi).

The one part of his story that didn’t make sense was that Widmore captured an Other Spy, beat him up, and killed him. For me, Charles Widmore always struck me as more Gates than Godfather – someone who may be ruthless to competitors and a shrewd businessman, but not someone who would dirty their hands with something as violent as murder. It’s hard to argue with the tape, since it’s clear Widmore was at least a part of dealing with someone blindfolded and kidnapped, but this would mean that Ben was telling Locke the total truth, which can’t actually happen, can it?


I’m curious to see how much more of Widmore we see this season. My gut feeling is that we may get some more confirmation of his involvement with the Freightors this season, but that he will come to the forefront as the action shifts more to the post-Island life of the Oceanic Six. Even if he isn’t The Economist (although it would be much cleaner if he was), his presence would provide a great counter to Ben’s – giving our Survivors (and the audience) two opposing points of view of “right” or “wrong” concerning returning to the Island and picking sides in the battle for control of it – and keeping the Lost tradition of blurring the line between good and evil.

Tempest. Speaking of evil, it seems that the Tempest was designed to serve one purpose… to kill every person on the Island who wasn’t wearing a gas mask. The creepy thing is that this was clearly designed by the Dharma Initiative (since Ben used it against them – irony!). Why would Dharma equip the Island with such a thing? Since it was originally developed by Dharma, it was likely some form of defense – a last ditch effort they could employ in case of an attack by Others. Some warning would sound, every member of the Dharma Initiative would pull a gas mask out from under their bed / desk / chair, and calmly watch as all the Others dropped like flies around them.

However, since Ben continued to keep the Tempest functional post-purge, the purpose seems to have shifted towards protection from outsiders – something that Ben and the Others could use in case of an attack. But if this were the case, why didn’t Ben just use it right after the crash of Oceanic Flight 815? Wouldn’t that have saved the Others a lot of time and effort, ensured that no Others died at the hands of our Survivors, and ultimately kept the Island secret from the outside world? Furthermore, if Ben really did have the ability to set off the Tempest at any time, why fear the Freightors? Let them all come to the Island, unleash the fury, and continue to fill up the hole of dead purge bodies in the middle of the jungle – nothing to worry about. Lastly, we learned that Ben was keeping the Tempest secret from the other Others – note Goodwin lying about working in a “power station”. So how in the world did the Freightors know that it existed at all, let alone where on the Island it was located?


Therein lies my problem with the Tempest. While it does serve some purpose (explaining how the Dharma Purge was carried out), it doesn’t make sense in fitting with the rest of the ongoing storylines. The fact that it wasn’t included on the Blast Door Map, or mentioned in any earlier episodes, really makes it feel like nothing more than a plot device introduced for this single episode… and resolved this episode, meaning we’ll never hear about it again.

The List. On the other hand, it was nice to see “the list” get some long overdue attention again this episode. If you recall, these lists seem to have been created by Jacob – indicating which Survivors were “worthy” of becoming Others, and which were not. Apparently Zack and Emma were on the list (which makes sense given the Others’ penchant for freaky experiments on kids), but most of our Survivors – who admittedly have pretty sketchy pasts – were not.

The weird thing is how Juliet seems to have bought into the logic behind these lists during her conversation with Ben this episode. From everything we’ve seen, it seems pretty obvious that Ben is the true mastermind behind who was and wasn’t on these lists (although I’m sure he would claim that Jacob told him who to write down) – but if the all-powerful Jacob was really creating them, why would he need Goodwin and Ethan to gather intel on our Survivors before creating them? No, it seems as though the lists were simply a way for Ben to justify who he wanted to invite to his exclusive club, and who he didn’t.

Juliet’s lack of questioning about these lists makes it appear that she buys in to the whole concept of Jacob – something I find hard to believe given her character’s logical and questioning nature. Remember, when the plane crashed, she was the one having a book club with “outlawed books”, questioning if free will still existed on the Island. Suddenly, a month later she is calmly discussing the kidnapped children from Oceanic Flight 815 because they appeared on some list?

It doesn’t add up for me. Unless we missed a crucial scene in her flashbacks that shows her being brainwashed in Krazy Karl’s Rave Room, this scene felt out of place for her character. But it’s still nice to know the writers haven’t forgotten about Zack and Emma. Here’s hoping we get some resolution to what happened to them before the series runs out.

Ben. Based on the Island timeline, it took Ben exactly four days to go from being an inch away from being beaten to death as a captive of our Survivors, to living freely in the Barracks, acting as co-leader of Team Island. This guy is good. No wonder Harper (or Projected Image of Harper) told Juliet he was exactly where he wanted to be.

It’s a little bit strange that Ben chose to use the same phrase as Miles did when both were in captivity. For Miles, that place seemed to simply be where he could strike an outside bargain with Ben and profit on lying about him being alive… but for Ben, it was being in a place where he could work his way back into power – and maybe back into the good graces of the Island Spirit / Jacob – by helping Team Island defeat the Freightors.

I’m still not sure why the Island Spirit has stopped communicating with Locke (he hasn’t done anything wrong as far as I can tell since he seemed to become BFF with the Island during last season’s finale), but it’s looking like we’re going to have to rely on Ben to get the Team Island storyline jumpstarted beyond everyone hanging out at the Barracks. Please go visit the Temple and reunite with the Others!


“The Other Woman” also provided the background to some of the tension we’ve seen between Juliet and Ben in the past. Apparently Ben was smitten with Juliet because she looked just like “her" (most likely former flame Annie, but a lot of the Oedipus fans out there are saying Ben’s mom), but Juliet had eyes for Goodwin… which actually lead to him being killed (another terribly illogical plot point, by the way – how would Ben know that Ana-Lucia would accidentally kill Goodwin? Does this mean that Ethan also wronged Ben in some way and he knew that Ethan would die?)

In the end, supposedly this means that Jack is in big trouble after Ben takes care of the Freightors, since he’s currently smooching Juliet – but we all know that Jack makes it off the Island alive, so it must not be an immediate threat.


Boatman. Lastly, we come to everyone’s favorite topic of debate from the past episode – who is Ben’s man on the boat? Based on Ben asking Locke to sit down before hearing the identity, it means Ben’s Man must be someone that Locke knows (Michael, Walt) or someone who is supposedly dead that Locke knows (Anthony Cooper, Tom), or someone totally puzzling outrageous (Ben himself, Jacob).

While you could argue for either of the later two points, the first seems to be by far the most likely. A lot of people have been hoping for Walt to end up being Ben’s inside man just to offer some surprise to otherwise blatant signs pointing towards Michael… but I’m still not buying it. For me, the most logical (and actually genius) way to handle the dangling storylines of Michael and Walt is as follows:

Show Walt in flashforwards this season, where the actor’s aging works in favor of the storytelling, making him look precisely as old as he should – then involve him in the forthcoming “return to the Island” storyline in later seasons where we can get some answers about his “powers” and connection to the Island.

Have Michael be Ben’s Boatman, giving him the opportunity for redemption (by saving our Survivors from the Freightors) for his past crimes, and a way to easily arrive back on the Island. How do we get to this point?

Show a flashback where Patchy learns of the Freightors’ approach to the Island. Have Ben work out a deal with Michael where he sends him off the Island (and guarantees Walt’s safe return home) and offers him a chance to redeem himself by saving his friends by gathering information about the Freightors and funneling it to him. Send Michael on bearings to intersect with the Freighter.

Pretty easy right? Well, not quite.

There’s still this pesky issue – what happened to Walt? If Michael is on the boat, wouldn’t Walt also be on the boat? If the Freightors arranged to send Walt back to the real world, why would they allow Michael to stick around on the boat, rather than also sending him back to the real world?

One word – information.

Michael offers the Freightors information about the Island and the Others – everything he’s learned during his time there, and offers to help them reach the Island. This could open up a pretty interesting Alias-esque double cross where we aren’t sure if Michael is actually working for Ben, or actually working with the Freightors to take down Ben – but either way, his end mission could be to help our Survivors get off the Island, which he views as a way to partially redeem himself for killing Ana-Lucia and Libby.

It’s pretty neat and logical, but still offers some potential exciting twists and turns, which I like. The only part I don’t like is how obvious the writers have made Michael’s return to the viewers. Of course, there’s always the chance that I’m way off and Ben’s Boatman will turn out to be Vincent… which would also be awesome.

Okay – that’s all for this week. Get commenting!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

"The Other Woman" Instant Reactions!

Brian's One Word Review: Predictable.

Maybe I need to stop over-analyzing the episodes before they air, because it almost felt like I spoiled myself this episode (which makes me wonder how people can actually read spoilers and still enjoy the show) - not a lot of surprises, unfolded pretty much the way I thought it would, and left us with only a few revelations. Juliet was "the other woman", Widmore appeared only on video, and Ben once again tricked Locke into putting him in a position to influence others and take control of the situation.

But I think my biggest complaint about the episode was that it introduced an entirely new element - the Tempest and its poison gas to simply serve as a plot device to create drama for the episode... and then totally eliminated it by episode end. With all the dangling storylines currently on the show, I have to think the writers could have been more creative in coming up with a way to get Juliet / Jack / Kate to trust that the Freightors are the "good guys" using a pre-existing storyline instead of introducing a new one.

The few discussion points:

Gas. However, this did finally give us an explanation as to how Ben was able to wipe out all the Dharmites with gas - but raises the question as to why the gas was there in the first place. In true cult fashion, did the Dharmites determine if the Island came under siege, it would be better to kill everyone than risk the Island being overrun by outsiders? Or did they all sleep with gas masks under their pillows, making it more of a self-defense mechanism?

Harper. I found it a little odd that Harper magically appeared in the jungle right after Juliet heard whispers, and then mysteriously disappeared after hearing some other noise in the jungle. Was this really Harper, or was someone "projecting" an image of her to Juliet? Jack saw her as well, but we've already established that the images on the Island aren't necessarily visible to only one person. It makes me wonder if the whispers are somehow tied to this power of projection - and if some of the Others have mastered the art of using this power.

Widmore. Although we really should never trust Ben, this episode did seem to confirm that Widmore is behind the Freightors, making my hypothetical story about his involvement during "The Constant" analysis all the more likely. The question is - does this confirm that Widmore is "The Economist"?

Michael. Seriously? Does the viewing audience really need so many blatant hints that Michael is Ben's man on the boat? As much as I want it to be anyone besides Michael (for the sake of surprise), there is no other character on the show that would come as a shock to Locke upon their reveal. Coupled with the preview that tells us it's someone that we will never believe, a simple process of elimination leaves Michael and Walt as the two characters on the show who are unaccounted for in the current storylines (unless you count Alpert... who at this point was still on Cane, and not an option).

We'll delve into the logic behind this next week.

But aside from that, not a whole lot to say about this episode. I'm kinda disappointed, actually.

Inspire me with your comments!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Lost - "The Other Woman"

Episode Title: “The Other Woman”

Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: Upon first glance, this week’s episode title seems quite literal. After all, it’s a Juliet-centric outing, and she is in fact the Other woman – meaning she is a female, and she is an “Other”. In fact, she’s the only female Other among Team Rescue or Team Island. Given the Freightors reaction to learning that Juliet was not on Oceanic Flight 815, it would make sense that they might even refer to her as “the Other woman” (although, I’m not sure that the Freightors would call the non-Survivors “Others”, since they probably know precisely who they are).

On the other hand, the phrase “the other woman” carries another connotation that could easily apply to Juliet – that of someone who is the third wheel in a relationship. Again, this could easily apply to our girl Juliet (who, I have to say, has been looking hotter these past few episodes than ever!) in relation to her role in the love triangle along with Jack and Kate. Unfortunately, since Kate is currently with Team Island (although maybe on her way back to Team Rescue after getting the boot from Locke), it’s unlikely that we would have a Kate-Juliet catfight (drool) over our boy Jack this week, so that doesn’t really fit either.

So, the only possible explanation for the title in our current on-Island action would be if another Other woman appeared, perhaps coming back from the Temple (where Alpert and the other Others were headed when we last saw them) to deliver some sort of message / assist Ben / murder some Freightors. While I would excitedly welcome the return of some Others, in hopes that it would mean the return of Alpert or possibly the explanation of why they don’t age, given all the current action on the show, on multiple fronts, introducing another character and storyline might make our brains explode.

However, there is another, much easier explanation for the title. As you’ll see when we get to the ABC description below, this looks to be the first episode of the fourth season of Lost to be a traditional flashback of a main character on the show. Based on the guest stars, it’s looking like this flashback will take place on-Island, before Juliet met any of our Survivors (or maybe even before Oceanic Flight 815 crashed). In this timeframe, the second possibility becomes much more likely – that Juliet is “the other woman” in some sort of relationship.

Think about it – given the limited number of Others on the Island, it had to be pretty slim pickings when it came time to ask someone to Other Prom or to go to Other Makeout Point. Suddenly Ben brings semi-hottie Juliet to the Island and she’s like the hot foreign exchange student that shows up Senior Year. Remember, we did see that she was pretty hot and heavy with Goodwin during her flashback last season. But who’s to say that she didn’t do a little home-wrecking to get him in the sack? Or that Goodwin didn’t ditch his longstanding girlfriend / wife for Juliet once she arrived? Either way, this would create some good tension between Juliet and this “other woman”, and help lead to Juliet becoming something of an “outsider” among the Others – in addition to her radical thoughts about free will still existing on the Island.


I’m also reminded of some of the comments between Ben and Juliet last season – when people thought they might be dating, or used to be dating, or something along those lines. Maybe the introduction of Juliet to the Others’ community led to some home-wrecking that affected Ben directly? Did she “date” Ben before settling with Goodwin? Did she go lesbian and steal Annie away from Ben? Neither one seems likely – but it’s a thought…

ABC Description: Juliet receives an unwelcome visit from someone from her past and is given orders to track down Charlotte and Faraday in order to stop them from completing their mission -- by any means necessary. Meanwhile, Ben offers Locke an enticing deal. Guest starring are Jeremy Davies as Daniel Faraday, Rebecca Mader as Charlotte, Alan Dale as Charles Widmore, Andrea Roth as Harper, M.C. Gainey as Mr. Friendly/Tom and Brett Cullen as Goodwin.

Widmore. Let’s play a quick game – which guest star does not belong? Charlotte? No. Faraday? No. Widmore? No. Goodwin? No. WAIT A MINUTE, DID YOU SAY WIDMORE?!?!

This could be huge.


Assuming this really is an on-Island flashback featuring Juliet, and based on the list of guest stars – it pretty much has to be, unless we’ve got Others coming back from the dead, what in the world is Charles Widmore doing there? There are a few possibilities.

The first, least fun, and biggest tease of a guest star ever would be if Widmore was featured in a brief image inside Jacob’s cabin, a la Christian Shepherd in the Hurley-centric season premiere. Remember how people were freaking out about that and assuming it meant he was alive and on the Island? What if we’re getting all excited for this and it turns out to be nothing more than the same? It’s Jacob messing with our minds, I tell you!

But would the writers play the same card twice over the course of six episodes? Seems a little redundant to me, so I don’t think it’s likely.

The next option, which would totally throw out my analysis from last week, would be that Widmore is on friendly terms with the Others. He could be the funding that provides the wealth for Ben and Co. to carry out their wacky experiments, paying a visit to see how his investments are paying off. The only problem here is that we really haven’t seen any evidence of the Others continuing the goals of the Dharma Initiative – rather, they just seem focused on making babies and living a peaceful hippie existence.

On the other hand, if we follow the logic of my analysis last week (where Widmore is working to find the Island in an effort to exploit its unique properties and is the funding behind the Freightors), it seems quite likely that Ben would know of Widmore. After all, he had vast knowledge of each of the Freightors (the enemy), so if Widmore is the one behind the enemy, it would make logic that Ben would know even more about him. It doesn’t seem out of the question to have some scene where Ben is researching Widmore in the flashback, and he appears in a video or something along those lines.

It’s not that this scenario isn’t also without its holes (for one, in the flashforward future, Ben didn’t seem to know who “The Economist” was, since he was trying to use Sayid to lure him out of hiding – so that means there must be someone higher than Widmore behind everything) – but it just feels like the most likely, and would confirm my suspicions from last week that I’m greedily really rooting for, since I think it would make for a fantastic storyline.

Either way, the promise of a Charles Widmore appearance this episode should either help prove our prior theories about the role of Widmore in all this… or totally blow them out of the water…

The Rest. As for the other guest stars, once again it’s the ones that are missing that are just as interesting as the ones that are there. The omission of Miles means we probably won’t get any new insight to his mission or powers this week. The lack of Frank means we’re taking a break from the Freighter this week (and with him, Sayid and Desmond). Based on the preview, it looks like we’ll still have some Ben and Locke scenes, but the action looks to be primary focused on Juliet and Team Rescue, and their interactions with Faraday and Charlotte.

Episode Breakdown: Which brings us to the episode breakdown for the week. We actually get TWO sentences this week, instead of the normal brief single sentence we’ve received for most of this season!

First, Juliet receives an “unwelcome visit” from someone in her past to stop the Freightors. Where would this message come from? With Ben under Locke’s captivity, the only logical place for it to come from would be from some other Other… and if it’s “unwelcome”, my money is on this potential “other woman” who Juliet scorned long ago. This would provide a nice tie-in between the current action and the flashback action in the episode, and give Juliet a tough decision to make – trust someone who probably hates her, or risk the lives of everyone on the Island by siding with Jack.

Since this episode was filmed back before Cane was canned, I won’t get my hopes up for the reappearance of Alpert along with this “other woman”, but maybe this is the first step in the eventual reuniting of our Survivors with the Others, and a bounty of explanations about their purpose on the Island.

Mission. Based on the scenes in the episode preview, it looks like Juliet decides to trust the Others and stop the Freightors – since we see Juliet (seemingly) pointing a gun at Faraday and Charlotte, who were both wearing white radiation suits. This makes me wonder – where in the world are Charlotte and Faraday that they would need to wear these suits? The only place that would seem to require such protection would be the Swan Hatch… but that’s imploded – and wherever Chuck and Dan are seems to be very much unploded, with fully functioning computers.


As I said last week, it seems likely that the mission of the Freightors is to disable the electromagnetic shield around the Island and stabilize the hostiles (Others) before calling for the cavalry. Based on the suits, I’d say that they are working on the former. Perhaps they’ve found the electromagnetic core of the Island and they’re ready to key in some sequence to blow the Bubble apart (although, wasn’t the Swan Hatch acting as a “plug” for this force, making that the core?). Puzzling.

The second sentence may very well be a single scene or two in the episode. Again, based on the lack of Miles in this episode, I don’t think we’re going to make a ton of progress on the Team Island storyline, but it does look like Locke will finally cave and accept some of Ben’s “guidance” regarding what his next move should be in his defense of the Island. After a nice six episode run of Locke being the man in total control and charge of Team Island, it looks like he’s slowly giving up some of that power back to Ben. Oh Locke, when will you learn? He shot you like three days ago!

Okay, I think that wraps it up for this week. The mind-blowingness of this episode migh be directly tied to how the Charles Widmore appearance shakes down, but the Juliet-centricity guarantees at the very least we’ll get some more insight into her character and life among the Others – which is something I’ve been wanting for the past two seasons, so I think it’ll be a solid episode.

Happy Losting!

Monday, March 03, 2008

"The Constant" Analysis!

Home ownership is the enemy of the Blogger.

I’ll start out this week by apologizing for the delay in getting this post up. You see, last week I became a grownup and bought my first house – unaware that it would result in occupying every waking moment for the past three days to repaint the entire upstairs. The good news is that it gave me plenty of time to think about the beauty that was “The Constant” and come up with some good analysis... and kinda felt like Desmond in “Flashes Before Your Eyes”:


(except we weren't painting any rooms red - instead they were fancy sounding colors like "Gobi Desert" and "Mystic River")

The bad news is that I didn’t have any time to sit down and type it out (also, every muscle on my body hurts from all that painting). But now that I’m done and high on paint fumes, it’s about damn time to get to analyzing!

Time. One of the trickiest aspects of this week’s episode was time. Heck, it was even so tricky that it seems to have thrown Lostpedia’s logically airtight Timeline (at least up until now) into complete disarray. Here’s how I interpreted the passage of time this episode:

- Desmond, Sayid, and Frank left the Island at dusk.
- The helicopter flight to the Freighter took about 20 minutes to them.
- Desmond, Sayid, and Frank arrive at the Freighter in the middle of the day on December 24th.
- Sayid and Jack talk in real-time via satellite phone.

Since the Lostpedia timeline seems funky to me now (funky time!), I’m not sure if the helicopter left on December 22nd or 23rd – the only real evidence we have is Jack’s comment that they had been gone for “over a day now” which makes me think it’s the 22nd - but that’s not really important. The important thing is that this seems to confirm that a day was “lost” in traveling from the Island to the Freightor, but that it wasn’t noticeable to any of the people involved. Only the people on the Island had the perception of the journey taking longer than 20 minutes.


So what happened?

It seems like this confirms the “Time Bubble” theory we discussed a few weeks ago – where the day and time are the same on either side of the Bubble, but to pass through the Bubble puts you through some funky time. We’ve now seen a payload take much longer than it should to travel from the Freighter to the Island and a helicopter take much longer than it should to travel from the Island to the Freighter. Based on these two experiments, it’s not as though you go “back in time” coming to the Island or “forward in time” leaving the Island (otherwise one journey would actually be much quicker than expected) – it’s just takes you a really long time to make the journey.

This would seem to eliminate some of the earlier theories that the Island actually moves slower, or that Ben could use this time-shift to bet on the future and accumulate wealth (a la Back to the Future Part II).

This also helps explains why the jamming signal streaming out of the Looking Glass was so important – since we now see that although the “Bubble” may be creating a permanent thunderstorm around the Island, it doesn’t prevent a satellite phone signal from traveling through it, it just hides the Island visually. However, by adding the jamming signal to radio communication, it would hide the Island electromagnetically. But since it doesn’t seem like Ben started using the jamming signal until after the Hatch implosion, did that mean the Island was electromagnetically visible up until that point? Doesn’t that mean any schmuck with a boat and radar could have stumbled upon it? Or did the Swan Hatch’s slow release of electromagnetism somehow provide a similar jamming effect? Questions for another day…

But while we’re talking about time, there’s one other point that I found pretty shocking. Minkowski mentions that all the communications equipment on the Freighter was trashed two days ago – or December 22nd. Do you realize that according to the timeline, December 22nd was the day that Ben shot Locke in “The Man Behind the Curtain”? Doesn’t that seem like it was years ago? For as much as people have complained about Lost moving too slow, when you stop and look at the timeline, it’s actually moving ridiculously fast. Look at how much has happened in those two days!

It also goes to show that Ben’s man on the boat would have had plenty of time to feed Ben all the information about the Freightors before Ben was taken hostage by our Survivors… but not to warn him about Naomi’s satellite phone activity with our Survivors.

I’ll also say that it seems like the show’s writers are hitting us over the head with hints that this “man on the boat” is going to be Michael. From introducing Harold on the panel at Comic-Con this summer, to including him in the credits since the season began, to Minkowski’s comment this week of “you must have a friend on the boat”, it’s almost being too obvious – to the point where I’m hoping it’s not Michael, even though that would make the most logical sense.

Widmore. After “The Constant”, I’m ready to officially declare the Freightors are working for Charles Widmore. Why? Once again, one of Minkowski’s comments leads us down a very logical path that confirms our longtime suspicions. Upon meeting Desmond, Minkowski says “You’re Desmond?” and then explains about how he was the communications officer, blah blah blah, they would frequently get calls that he wasn’t supposed to answer, blah blah blah, and THEY WERE FROM HIS GIRLFRIEND, PENNY WIDMORE.

I haven’t seen many people talking about this – but it’s pretty huge. If the Freightors were sent by anyone EXCEPT Widmore, how would they know that Penny was Desmond’s girlfriend? After all, the two hadn't really dated for like eight years. Furthermore, why would anyone EXCEPT Widmore tell them not to answer the phone? Factor in the scene of Widmore buying the Black Rock Journal and the following story starts to develop (warning: lengthy Brian storytelling below – none of which may turn out to be remotely true):

Widmore, always the businessman and entrepreneur when it comes to “developing industries” (like the Economist!) somehow hears rumors among his stuff rich white guy circles about this “magical Island” that could have all sorts of special properties that would make it valuable to people (like curing cancer, for one). However, Alvar Hanso refuses to sell out where the Island is located, no matter what the price. Unfortunately, Alvar gets old and dies, taking the secret of the Island to his grave with him. Eventually, his descendents fall upon some hard times, and are forced to start selling off the estate… including the Black Rock Journal.


Although many entrepreneurs attempt to bid outrageous prices for this Journal, Widmore wins out – and with it, gets some hints as to the location of the Island. Widmore spends the next few years searching for the Island, knowing it must be in some sort of “Bermuda Triangle” space due to the Journal, but is unable to find it. He even sets up different “races around the world” that crisscross different sections of the ocean in hopes that some contestant will inadvertently stumble upon it (see: Henry Gale in his hot air balloon, Desmond Hume in his sailboat).

Three years ago it finally happens – a contestant in one of his races turns up missing, and using the last known coordinates of this contestant, they are able to narrow down the possible location of the Island. But here’s the super ironic part – that contestant happens to be the man Widmore hates the most – Desmond.

No, I don’t think that Desmond ending up on the Island was part of some scheme by Widmore to get rid of him. Instead, I think it’s just a cruel twist of fate for both Desmond and Widmore. Desmond ends up in the one place that Widmore wants to find, but can’t get off to get to the one thing that he wants – Penny Widmore.

Once Desmond goes missing, Penny starts to question his visit from eight years ago, and in talking to his friend Donovan, finds that Desmond also visited him years prior, talking about his experiences of crashing on an Island and other equally insane thoughts like time travel. As she mentioned on her phone call to Desmond this week, she knows about the Island and has been researching it… just like dear old dad.


So now you have two people, both with a huge amount of resources, searching for the Island for two very different reasons. Penny employs the snowy listening station and makes repeat phone calls to anyone who will listen in that area of the ocean, whereas Charles employs the Freightors, hand selecting each individual for their ability to not only find – but then establish safety on the Island for him to begin his moneymaking schemes… most likely through picking up where the Dharma research on the Island left off.

Why did Naomi have a picture of Desmond? Because if she found Desmond, she knew that she would find the Island. Why did Miles have a picture of Ben? Because Charles knew that Ben would have the answers he needed about the Island and the experiments there, since he was the last surviving Dharmite. Why send Faraday and Charlotte? Because they would be the ones to figure out the funkiness of the Island and start back up the experiments.

It’s pretty out there, but I absolutely love the father vs. daughter dynamic in the fight for the Island. I love that it makes the Desmond-Penny love story the central story for the entire series of Lost – something that could provide the way off of the Island for our Survivors, prove that nothing can keep true love apart, and provides some very plausible explanations a lot of the strange variables we’ve seen thus far regarding the “off Island” stuff. It also solidifies Desmond as the most important character on the show.


Desmond. In researching this episode, I went back and reviewed “Catch-22”, the Desmond-centric episode that aired last year during the “Control the Blog” weeks while I was gallivanting around Europe. One major thing from that episode suddenly had new meaning, something I’m sure I would have mentioned – but had no good explanation for last April – Brother Campbell had a picture on his desk of himself and Mrs. Hawking.


For those who don’t remember, “Catch-22” featured Desmond flashbacks pre-Penny – when he spent a short time in a religious order… before getting kicked out by Brother Campbell who told him “this is not where you are supposed to be.” On the other hand, “Flashes Before Your Eyes” featured Mrs. Hawking, who flat out told Desmond it was his fate to not marry Penny, end up on the Island, and push the button to save the world.

When you look at them, they’re really two different approaches to the same concept – Desmond’s fate was to end up on the Island. Knowing all we do now, it’s reasonable to think that both Mrs. Hawking and Brother Campbell are people who also became “unstuck in time” – or are in cahoots with someone who did. Much like Desmond was aware of his future in 1996 of this episode, these people are aware of Desmond’s future, and are working to ensure that he doesn’t mess it up and accidentally destroy the world. Campbell indirectly led him to Penny, who indirectly led him to the boat race, which indirectly brought him to the Swan Hatch – you know the rest.

Who are these people that act as “guides” for Desmond’s life? If you follow the possibilities of this week’s episode, they might be Dharmites who figured out how to control being “unstuck in time” and can now freely travel from any point in their life to another, keeping knowledge of the entire timeline of their existence. Or they could just be figments of Desmond’s imagination.

Once again this week, we were reminded of their central theme – you can’t change fate or the future – this time by a hippie looking Faraday in 1996. Unfortunately, this might mean one very important thing:

Desmond is going to die.

If you believe that Desmond’s fate was to implode the Swan Hatch to prevent the entire world from imploding, he’s done it. If you then say that his fate was to become unstuck in time to help lead to the rescue of our Survivors (TBD), he’s done it. However, it seems as though a nasty side effect of getting unstuck in time is that you die. One could argue that Desmond “cheated” death this week by calling Penny – but as we saw with his countless attempts to save Charlie, as Mrs. Hawking put it – “the universe has a way of course correcting itself”.

Now, this isn’t to say that it was actually Desmond’s “fate” to die after getting unstuck – that was an assumption on my part. And if I’ve proved nothing else over the years of writing this Blog, it’s that I’m a sappy sucker for a good romantic happy ending, so I’m really hoping I’m wrong… but if the logic is correct, and those who “cheat” death only do it temporarily before death catches up, it might spell bad news Brotha Desmond.

Faraday. On a happier note, I’ve backed off my “Daniel Faraday is evil” theory from my “Instant Reactions” (this is why it’s good to think about an episode for a few days before analyzing it). I hinted that Daniel Faraday might have just found his Constant (in Desmond), which would allow him to fully regain his memory and make him more dangerous... but that assumes that he started out dangerous, which I don’t really see.

The more I think about everything we’ve seen about Faraday, the more I think he’s in it for the scientific reasons, and nothing more. I remember the random comments he made in earlier episodes about “the light not scattering right” and the honest concern he had when the payload didn’t arrive on time – he’s actually the Freightor most likely to give up information, and the other Freightors have to keep reminding him of what to not say or do.

On the other hand, one has to question why he didn’t simply tell Desmond that he needed to find a Constant right away when talking to him on the Satellite Phone, rather than sending him to meet 1996 Faraday who tells him the same thing. Faraday might not be evil, but he’s definitely looking out for his own well-being. After all his experiments and studying of the Island, it seems that Faraday learned of the potential to become unstuck in time when traveling to or from the Island. Once he arrived, he seemed to confirm his worst suspicions through his experiments – that something very funky was going on with the electromagnetism on the Island.

When he hears about Desmond experiencing side effects similar to Minkowski, he realizes there is a risk that he will suffer the same fate – so he sends Desmond to meet 1996 Faraday, giving him the Constant he will need to prevent his brain from exploding.

So why couldn’t Faraday have simply been the Constant for Desmond, eliminating the trouble (and dramatic tension) from the episode in finding Penny? Because, as Faraday mentions, the Constant has to be something you care about. Desmond could care less about Faraday. On the other hand, it’s thanks to Desmond that Faraday discovered the proper settings for his wacky electromagnetic machine – making him very important to Faraday.


But what could possibly go wrong?

Mission. I think it’s all leading up to the Freightors’ master game plan. When Frank arrived back at the ship, the first thing they said to him was “why are you back?”, which means that they weren’t expecting them to return. So why are they still anchored off the shore, boring the crew to death (see: Brandon, Minkowski)? They’re waiting for Miles, Faraday, and Charlotte to complete their mission, at which time they will be joining them on the Island – not vice versa.


If this is the case, then the mission must have something to do with finding a way to allow the Freighter to safely reach the Island. It might also have something to do with the gas masks that were being carried along on the helicopter. If you add up everything, it’s looking like their mission is to secure Ben (and his knowledge of how to safely get a ship to the Island), kill everyone else on the Island, and make way for Widmore to start turning a profit on all the funkiness.

Ben was right – every living person on the Island is in big trouble.


This is what happens when you breathe in paint fumes for two straight days while thinking about Lost. The theories just keep getting wackier.

Okay, hurry up and discuss before I have to put up my episode preview for this week. Go go go!