Thursday, May 29, 2008

Official "There's No Place Like Home, Parts Two and Three" Instant Reactions!

Brian's One Word Hyphenated Review: Near-perfection.

That my friends, was one of the greatest two hours of Lost ever. Perhaps the "twist" at the end wasn't as mind-blowing as last season (it wasn't - maybe nothing else you see for the rest of your life will be), but minute for minute, that was a nearly perfect two hours of Lost. Throughout the episodes, I kept thinking to myself how I couldn't come up with any way to improve the storylines from what Damon and Carlton presented (besides for the turning of the dial to "move the Island" - a little weird... and I'd be tempted to put Penny on the Island - but I digress).

Easily the most action packed episode we've ever had, this felt more like an intense action movie than the normal deliberate, thinking-man's pace of a typical Lost episode. Yet it still delivered on all promises laid out from the end of last season all the way through this season.

The highlights:

Charlotte. So she's been to the Island before... and was born there. Is she the love child of hippie Others pre-Ben that could actually leave the Island? Was she a scientist there that accidentally traveled in space and time off the Island and has since been trying to get back? And what happened to Faraday when the Island disappeared? He was somewhere in between the helicopter and the Island - did he get sucked in with it (there were water ripples around afterwards), or is he lost and gone forever?

Locke. After spending the whole episode feeling cocky about calling Ben being in the coffin at the end for the past year, the episode "twist" revealed the coffin dweller to be none other than John Locke. Food for thought - if John Locke has always been seen as a sort of "savior" or "prophet" to the Island... does this mean that he dies but is "reborn" three days later when the Oceanic Six return to the Island? Talk about fulfilling prophecies and proving you are truly a miracle!

Ben. He lives! The past season has seemingly been leading us down the path of a Benjamin Linus death, but I have to admit I was pretty happy to see Ben survive through the finale. It seems as though he will serve as the "leader" in getting everyone grouped back together and back to the Island next season (Sayid seems to be doing some of the work for him already by gathering up Hurley). But how? He mentions that he has "some ideas", which doesn't sound too concrete. And why does the Island require EVERYONE to come back together?

Michael. He dies! But props to Hurley for lying to Walt about his dad still being alive. It's the stand-up thing to do. Walt did mention getting a visit from Jeremy Bentham (Locke) prior to his death, which seems to set the stage for next season to feature the return of Walt, as one of the Survivors required to make the return trip to the Island.

Jin. He dies! Or does he? I was holding out hope that he might have survived the explosion and be floating in the water - but with the Island disappearing, he would have had nowhere to go to find salvation. Sadly, I think he's gone. RIP Jinny.

Sun. Her visit with Widmore was quite intriguing. Is Widmore or Jack the other person that she blames for the death of Jin? If she blames Jack, could she responsible for "setting up" Locke - allowing Widmore to kill him and stage it as a suicide? Much to ponder here - but there is definitely more to Sun than meets the eye.

Desmond. I cannot believe we got a Desmond and Penny reunion! I was seriously freaking out after the helicopter took off from the Freighter right before the explosion because it was almost as if the camera was intentionally not showing him for the next two minutes - but luckily, he survived and made it back to Penny. True love does exist! However, given Ben's comments about "everyone" needing to return to the Island - does that include Desmond, who vowed to "never set foot on the Island again" and to "never leave Penny's side again"? Me thinks so!

Island. Another big question is - with the Island "moved" (which should have protected it), and all the Freightors dead (which is why the Island needed to be moved in the first place - which brings up the question of why Ben went through with the move at all after they were all dead), what is this terrible force that is ruining the Island that forces Locke to come begging for the other Survivors to return? Perhaps Ben was right when he said "moving the Island was dangerous" - did it move back so far back in the past that the Others must fight with the hieroglyphic-making cavemen natives of the Island who first discovered its awesome power? Or way into the future where they are battling robots and aliens? Maybe this is how we're going to finally get our reveal about the "history of the Island"... by living through it!

Okay - I need bed for now. But I'll get some analysis up soon. For now, discuss!

Also - did you catch the commerical for Octogon Global Recruiting? Is this the new Lost ARG? Or just an advertisement for Comic-Con in July?

Lost - "There's No Place Like Home, Part One" New Footage Analysis!

Say hello to the first (and probably only) pseudo-live Blogging of an episode!

Since I don't have to really pay full attention to "There's No Place Like Home, Part One" (having already seen it three times), I figured I could just drop some mini-analysis on the "new scenes". No idea how many there will be, but here's what we've got so far...

Oceanic Eight. Apparently, here are the other three "survivors" of the initial crash of Oceanic Flight 815!

1. Boone - who "suffered internal injuries"
2. Libby - who "didn't make it through the first week"
3. Charlie - who "drowned a few weeks before we were able to leave"

The question is - why these three? Well, Boone and Charlie make some sense. Their deaths were natural enough that they could be explained by the plane crash if the bodies were somehow ever discovered (Charlie's in particular could theoretically float to the surface someday, I suppose). Boone died of internal injuries from the Beechcraft Plane crash - close enough to the Oceanic 815 crash, right? Charlie drowned - also easily explained.

But what about Libby? She was shot - which wouldn't be explained by the crash of the plane. However, I'm thinking that Hurley pressured the others to include her so that he could give her a proper goodbye back in the real world at some type of burial. It's the only reason to include her rather than Ana-Lucia, Shannon, or Arzt.

Sayid. When questioned about returning to Iraq, Sayid responds with "there is nothing for me in Iraq"... which makes the Nadia scene right after a lot more powerful! He had given up hope on ever reuniting with her, but suddenly there she was. Is it any wonder the two are married mere months later?

Christian Shephard. This one confuses me. Ever since "White Rabbit" in Season One, he logical explanation for Christian Shephard's body not being in the coffin was simply that Oceanic wouldn't let him take it on the plane since Jack didn't fill out the right paperwork. Instead, they just sent the empty coffin so that he could at least have a funeral. This would mean his body was still somewhere in Australia all this time.

However, during the questioning about his father, Jack says "even though the body is... I'd like to put him to rest", which makes it sound like the body was somehow lost in the crash and not just retained in Australia?

Does this mean the Christian Ghost walking around the Island is actually some reincarnation of the original body?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Lost... and Gone Forever Bye Week Spectacular!

Everyone can relax, I’m alive and well and back to the Blog!

Allow me to explain my absence: once a year, I attempt to make the world a better place by spending four days molding the youth of America in my self image (read: teaching the importance of critical thinking and how all of life’s lessons can be learned from old episodes of “Saved by the Bell”) at the Hugh O’ Brian Youth Leader Conference ( I recommend you all support some type of altruistic organization, it makes you feel a lot better about all the time you waste watching and thinking about TV.

Public service announcements aside, the downside of this is that it’s four straight days of being awake and keeping no good punk kids in line for 18 hours a day, along with four straight days of getting less than 6 hours of sleep each night. Behold my dedication to Lost! I actually woke up at 5:30 am to watch “There’s No Place Like Home, Part 1” on a laptop computer Friday morning, giving up one of those precious six hours of sleep. However, I wasn’t about to give up another hour to Blog – sorry guys.

But now that I’ve returned home and recovered, I’m ready to tackle all things Lost. We’re actually in a pretty unique situation – with a “bye week” between Parts 1 and 2 and 3 of the Season Finale. Unique situations call for unique Blogs, so I present to you the first (and possibly only) “Lost and Gone Forever Bye Week Spectacular!” It’s a combination Instant Reactions, Episode Analysis, and Episode Preview, along with an official Death Watch thrown in for good measure. Basically, it’s all things Lost you need to know for the conclusion of Season Four next week.

Let’s do it.

Brian’s One Word Review of “There’s No Place Like Home, Part 1”: Setup.

I was actually pretty surprised when I returned home this week by the total lack of analysis and chatter about this episode on the various Internet sites. But when you look at this episode, it makes a lot of sense – this episode basically just put all the pieces of the puzzle in place for next week’s episodes, without leaving the viewers with any huge mysteries, dangling questions, or puzzling scenes. The episode progressed pretty logically, largely as we expected, without revealing any of the “big mysteries”.

So was the episode a disappointment? Absolutely not. Although you could tell that there was a sense of “rush” to getting all the players in place for the finale (go back and watch how quickly we jumped from scene to scene without any unnecessary dialogue or lingering shots), the slow motion ending with each of the characters heading to their fate while the emotional score blared sent chills down my spine.

This is it. We’re at the top of the hill on this rollercoaster of a season, about to tip over the apex and plunge towards what promises to be an absolutely action packed / storyline changing finale. It’s the most exciting time of the season.

Oceanic Six. This episode wasted little time in giving us the scene many have waited for since Lost began – the return of Survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 to the real world. Unfortunately, there are now much bigger questions for us to worry about – namely, how exactly did the Oceanic Six get off the Island?


Just before the cargo plane lands, Jack runs through the “gameplan” with the other Oceanic Six, saying “we all know the story, if we get any questions we don’t want to answer or can’t answer, don’t answer – they’ll think we’re just in shock.” What struck me about this comment was the way Jack mentioned how they all “knew the story”, as if they had been told precisely what to say, and had gone over it time and time again leading up to their return to the “real world”.

This means that although the “rescue” of the Oceanic Six is right around the corner, after they leave the Island, they must spend some significant time with their rescuers to argue about and finally accept and learn this “story” that they are required to keep in order to return to the world. I have to think that most of the Oceanic Six would put up quite an argument to lying about what really happened (particularly Sun, forced to lie about the true nature of her husband’s death).

So the big question is – who gave them this story, and why do our Oceanic Six agree to go along with it?

Given the current state of storylines on the Island, the only logical person to “mastermind” this story seems to be Charles Widmore. Ben has his hands full dealing with Keamy and protecting the Island, and it’s looking like the rescue will take place from Widmore’s Freighter… and outside of those two, no other characters seem capable of weaving and orchestrating such a complex lie.

I can’t see Widmore “buying out” such characters as Hurley and Sayid, so he must somehow strong-arm the Oceanic Six into keeping to the story… or he must be holding something over their heads. But what?

Let’s keep in mind how I’ve been picturing the Oceanic Six leaving the Island – they get off the Island just Locke moves the Island, and it basically “disappears” with both the Freightors and remaining Survivors potentially in the middle of a “war” for control of the Island.

I suppose it’s logical to think that Widmore promises to not kill any of the Survivors in return for the Oceanic Six lying about the Island (all part of his master plan to keep the Island secret and eventually find it and take it over) – but if the Island really “disappears”, I wouldn’t think Widmore would have a way to contact them to give such orders… and this still wouldn’t explain why Widmore wouldn’t just kill the Oceanic Six in the first place, rather than go through all this trouble. It seems like that would keep the Island even more secret.

Enough rambling – in summary, I can’t figure out why the Oceanic Six would agree to lie about what happened after the crash because I can’t figure out why Widmore would allow them to escape the Island in the first place.

Is it possible that Widmore isn’t involved, that the Oceanic Six simply have Frank fly them to safety without any intervention from some larger sinister organization? I don’t think so, for one big reason.

Manukangga. During the Oceanic Six press conference, the following photo was displayed, claiming to show how the Oceanic Six were rescued:


…and this photo is one big lie.

At first, you could argue that perhaps the Oceanic Six take the Zodiac Raft from the Freighter and motor off to Sumba Island where they find rescue… except the Zodiac Raft is white, not black – and Sayid and Jack are wearing different outfits than they were donning this week. I have a hard time believing either make time for a change of clothes between now and the rescue.

But this story does help shed some light about what happens to the Oceanic Six.

According to Karen Decker (Oceanic Six Rep), on Day 103 a typhoon washed a fishing boat onshore the abandoned Island the Oceanic Six had allegedly been living on since the crash (a nice real-world nod to Typhoon Nanmadol, which actually hit the Philippines in December 2004!) But it wasn’t until Day 108 that the Oceanic Six arrived in Manukangga – their first contact with the outside world after escaping the Island. Based on Lostpedia’s timeline, the on-Island events of “There’s No Place Like Home, Part 1” took place on Day 100 after the crash.

Assuming that the Oceanic Six leave the Island in the next day (which seems likely), that leaves one week of “lost time”(Mittelos!) between when the Oceanic Six escape and when they are returned to the world – and what happens during this week will explain exactly why the Oceanic Six are agreeing to lie about the truth.

Escape. But while the big question of “why” remains a mystery to me, the question of “how” is becoming more and more clear. Although I applaud the writers for splitting the Oceanic Six into three different storylines, all taking place far away from each other, which really raises the question of “how in the world are they all going to meet up and become the Oceanic Six?!?”, I think we have enough clues to piece it together.

Sun and Aaron are already in place, currently on the Freighter, which seems to be the logical meeting place for the Oceanic Six. So they simply sit tight for the next few hours. The other members have a lot more ahead of them.

Jack is on his way to the Orchid, on a mission to rescue Hurley. It’s logical to think that while Locke is busy “moving the Island” and Ben is battling the Freightors, Jack would be able to reunite with Hurley and move back towards the helicopter.

Kate and Sayid, seemingly “captured” by the Others, are probably also headed towards the Orchid. I’m guessing that Ben’s mirror flashing this week was sending signals to Alpert and the Others, calling for the cavalry to help him in defeating the Freightors (more on this later).

But in the end, it looks like Jack, Hurley, Kate, and Sayid return to the helicopter (along with Sawyer, but he “chooses to stay” – either due to space or weight restrictions – thanks Hurley), which whisks them away to the Freighter… and that’s where it gets interesting.

Jin. After Ji Yeon, there was debate about if Jin was really dead, or if it was all part of the web of lies that the Oceanic Six were keeping up… but after this week, I think it’s pretty clear. Jin is dead.

I suppose Jin backers out there (Jin-goists?) will continue to argue that it’s still possible that Jin is alive, for me – having Sun stand up to her father and say that two people are responsible for Jin’s death… and he is one of them puts the nail in Jin’s coffin. The confrontation wasn’t about keeping up face or putting on a show for snooping media – it was pure anger towards her father, who she holds partially responsible for her husband’s death.

Factor in Sun’s comment to Jack on the cargo plane of “we are in shock”, and “ it seems to me that she is a wife in mourning, being forced to lie about the truth of her husband’s death.

Since Jin is already on the Freighter, his forthcoming death has one obvious cause – the huge stockpile of explosives on the Freighter.

Freighter. After Michael fixes the engines on the Freighter, they find that they are still unable to travel to the Island to rescue the Survivors because “something is broadcasting from the boat” and jamming their signals… which appears to be the C4 planted on the ship. This would explain Keamy’s funky armband / heart monitor device from last week. He wasn’t using the device to blow up the Island in case he was killed on his mission – but rather, he’s using it to ensure that if he dies, everyone on the Freighter dies, stranding everyone on the Island.

Even though Captain Gault didn’t understand it at the time, this is why Keamy flashed the device to him and said “I wouldn’t do that if I were you” when confronted with a gun before boarding the helicopter. If Keamy were to die, the whole boat would have gone up in flames.

Of course, this brings up a huge tragic irony to the situation – if Ben (and our Survivors) are successful in defending themselves and the Island, and take out Keamy – it will result in the Freighter blowing up. Talk about a catch-22. Even worse is that those on the Freighter wouldn’t even know when it was coming, since they aren’t exactly being kept up to speed about what is going on on the Island.


The more I think about it, the more I think the Freighter blows up before the season ends. Why else would the initial boatload of Survivors include four background characters that are totally expendable?


The only missing piece of the puzzle is how the Oceanic Six escape this explosion… and who else escapes with them.

Desmond. If we’re talking about people surviving the Freighter explosion, my thoughts immediately turn to the most endangered character on Lost – Desmond Hume. Ever since the feel-good ending to “The Constant”, Desmond has been at the top of the Death Watch List – even though it would probably be the most tragic and emotional death in the history of television. With the discovery of the C4 on the Freighter, it isn’t looking good for our boy Desmond.


But the more I think about it, the more I see the storyline going in another direction – one that keeps Desmond alive and an integral part of the forthcoming seasons.

His comment last week of “I’m never set foot on that Island again” got me thinking – wouldn’t it be ironic if Desmond, who has spent three years attempting to get off the Island, is suddenly thrown in the same boat as Jack and the Oceanic Six in the flashforwardy future – that being he changes his tune and now wants to return to the Island, but can’t find it? But what could possibly make Desmond want to return to the Island?

Penelope Widmore.

Again, I’m thinking back to the ending scene between Widmore and Ben in “The Shape of Things to Come” – where Ben vows to kill Penny, and comments that “the hunt is on” for the Island. It got me thinking… if Ben wanted to kill Penny – wouldn’t he have already done it? Given his resources and previously established ability to find people, I would think that getting to Penny would be quite simple. Heck, he even was able to break into Widmore’s bedroom in the middle of the night with ease. So why hasn’t he killed Penny yet?

Simple – because she’s on the Island… that neither Widmore nor Ben can currently locate.


Think about that for a second – how ridiculously awesome would it be for Penny and Desmond’s places to be swapped for the final two seasons – with Penny lost and Desmond doing everything he can to find her? Since Ben and Widmore’s conversation in the flashforward future showed that Penny was still alive, I have to hold on to the hope that Desmond is also alive as well. It seems outlandish, but unless the writers plan on wrapping up the Penny / Desmond storyline or being heartless bastards and killing one (or both) of them, rule number #1 of the Ross-Rachel principle of television romances dictates that you have to keep the characters apart until the very end.

I’ve got a hunch that Penny is currently on her way to rendezvous with Desmond on the Freighter… but on her way pass a little too close to the Island’s funky electromagnetic bubble, causing her to get spun around and end up on the Island. At least that’s my hope – because it would ensure Desmond’s safety for the foreseeable future. More on this in the “There’s No Place Like Home, Parts 2 and 3” episode preview!

But first, let’s wrap up Part 1…

Time. There are a couple of weird timing issues that came up with this episode. First, we confirmed that Sayid was able to travel to the Island (and Faraday was able to travel back to the Freighter) in “real time” – with nothing funky happening because they followed the proper bearing. But since this is possible, it makes you wonder, what would happen if Faraday left the Island after Doc Ray washed up on shore dead, followed the right bearing, and got back to the Freighter when Doc Ray was still alive? What if Faraday had picked up Doc Ray’s body and taken it back to the ship to show it to the still alive Doc Ray? Would that even be possible? Would that cause some tear in the space-time continuum and bring about the end of the world? Blasted Doc Ray continues to confuse me…

Back in the real world, at the beginning of the eulogy for Christian Shephard, Jack mentions he wrote it 10 months ago in Sydney airport. This puts the funeral taking place in roughly late July 2005 (since Oceanic Flight 815 took off on September 22, 2004). But if the Oceanic Six were discovered 108 days after the crash – this means that nearly six months have passed between Jack arriving back in the real world and holding the funeral. I guess it’s possible – but just seems weird to me.

Orchid. Lastly, we come to the Orchid. Before we get analyzing, it’s worth noting that we actually already analyzed this – last summer, right after Comic-Con. Here’s what I originally said:

Narrated by Edgar Halowax (i.e. Marvin Candle / Mark Wickmund), we learn that “The Orchid” station is used for animal testing. However, due to the highly volatile, potentially dangerous nature of the tests, those who work there lie to their family and colleagues, who think the tests surround botany. There are some weird scenes with everyone freaking out over a numbered rabbit (just like Ben’s), and then the video cuts out.

Why do I think it’s just for fun? Well, we’ve seen no mention of the Orchid before, and it wasn’t on the Blast Door Map. There’s also an air of humor throughout the video, like it’s an outtake from a real Orientation Video. But the one interesting thing mentioned is a “Casimir Effect”. I had no idea what this was, but after doing some research, found something quite interesting:

In physics, the Casimir effect or Casimir-Polder force is a physical force exerted between separate objects, which is due to neither charge, gravity, nor the exchange of particles, but instead is due to resonance of all-pervasive energy fields in the intervening space between the objects. This is sometimes described in terms of virtual particles interacting with the objects, due to the mathematical form of one possible way of calculating the strength of the effect. Since the strength of the force falls off rapidly with distance it is only measurable when the distance between the objects is extremely small. On a submicron scale, this force becomes so strong that it becomes the dominant force between uncharged conductors. Indeed at separations of 10 nm — about a hundred times the typical size of an atom — the Casimir effect produces the equivalent of 1 atmosphere of pressure (101.3 kPa). The van der Waals force between a pair of neutral atoms is a similar effect. In modern theoretical physics, the Casimir effect plays an important role in the chiral bag model of the nucleon; and in applied physics, it is becoming increasingly important in the development of the ever-smaller, miniaturised components of emerging micro- and nano-technologies.

A similar analysis can be used to explain Hawking radiation that causes the slow "evaporation" of black holes (although this is generally visualized as the escape of one particle from a virtual particle-antiparticle pair, the other particle having been captured by the black hole).

What does all that medical mumbo-jumbo mean? Well, it just might be an explanation for what Smokey is (explained by pseudo-science!) – which might mean that this Orchid station is responsible for Smokey’s creation (an experiment gone terribly, terribly wrong – just like we all hoped!), and it would help explain why at least some of the Others (Juliet) don’t really know what Smokey is – since the experiments from the Orchid were kept secret.

In the end, I come down on the side of parody for the video. But with Lost, even parodies can contain little hints of things to come.

So for all those who think I secretly work for Lost / have spoilers / am omniscient, this should be all the proof you need that I am often totally wrong.

Since this video first surfaced, we’ve seen Ben suddenly appear in the middle of the desert wearing a parka with the name “Hallowax” on it, we’ve got all sorts of characters arriving at the Orchid, and it seems to be the key to “moving the Island”. In this new light, two different portions of the video immediately catch my attention:

1. The appearance of a duplicate #15 rabbit in the Orchid, which was likely sent through space and time on an experiment – just like the polar bear and Ben in Tunisia! But note how Hallowax freaks out that both of the #15 rabbits are in the same room. Maybe I wasn’t so far off in thinking that dead Doc Ray interacting with alive Doc Ray would cause serious problems.

2. The conversation between Hallowax and his assistant.

- When did you set the shift?
- Negative twenty.
- How long?
- Nine minutes.

I have no idea what that means, but hearing “shift” of various degrees makes me think that “moving the Island” could either mean shifting it to somewhere else in time and space or shifting the electromagnetic “window” that allows one to access the Island off bearing 305.

The other interesting point about the Orchid I didn’t think about until Hurley brought it up? If they move the Island, it moves Keamy and the Freightors along with the Island – meaning it doesn’t solve the problem of the current invaders as much as preventing anyone else from joining them. Ben also notes that moving the Island is “dangerous and unpredictable”, which hints that the Others haven’t quite yet mastered time and space. This would explain Ben needing to verify the year when he warps to Tunisia, and why the Others hadn’t used this ability for a thousand other purposes over the past few seasons.


Ben. Finally, a quick note about Ben. Even though we know that he is alive and well in the future based on flashforwards, my heart still stopped when Keamy pointed the gun to his head. All the prior scenes were all setup for a Ben death – from his dialogue with Locke about always having a plan to the slow motion walk montage with powerful music – that is how you kill a character on a TV show!

…which is why I think next episode will reveal that Ben indeed is the person in the coffin in the far future. A few things need to happen between now and then (like Ben getting his fancy ass-kicking stick back from Locke – since he had it in 2005 Tunisia), and although we’ll still probably see plenty of Benjamin Linus over the next few seasons, I think the stage is set for his character’s eventual death in the era of the “Through the Looking Glass” flashforwards.

On to this week!

Episode Title: “There’s No Place Like Home, Parts 2 and 3”

Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: Remember last week when I said I should have saved some of my episode title analysis for this week? Well, I didn’t – so I’ve got nothing new now. As before, I think the irony is going to be the Survivors starting to consider the Island to be “home” by the end of the season rather than the “real world” they have been trying to return to for the past four seasons.

Episode Description: The face-off between the survivors and the freighter people continues, and the Oceanic Six find themselves closer to rescue. Guest starring are Jeremy Davies as Daniel Faraday, Ken Leung as Miles Straume, Rebecca Mader as Charlotte Lewis, Jeff Fahey as Frank Lapidus, L. Scott Caldwell as Rose, Malcolm David Kelley as Walt, Nestor Carbonell as Richard Alpert, John Terry as Christian Shephard, Sonya Walger as Penelope "Penny" Widmore, Alan Dale as Charles Widmore, Kevin Durand as Keamy, Francois Chau as Dr. Marvin Candle, Anthony Azizi as Omar, Alex Petrovitch as Henrik and Starletta DuPois as Michael's mom.

Episode Breakdown: Much like the deeper meaning, the episode description is nearly identical to last week’s! Apparently the Oceanic Six are going to be rescued and there will be some type of face-off between our Survivors, the Others, and the Freightors. How shocking!

Thankfully, once again the guest stars offer a wealth of information for analyzing. Aside from the normal cast of Freightors, there are four major characters guest starring this week that should pique your interest...

Christian. Okay, so since we’ve seen Christian in two of the past three weeks of Lost, his inclusion isn’t that surprising – until you start to think about how he could fit into the on-Island events. Keep in mind that the last two places we’ve seen him were appearing to Jack in the future (as a ghost / Island Spirit), and appearing to Locke as the BFF of Jacob, alongside maybe-dead Claire inside Jacob’s Cabin.

At this point, a return visit to the Cabin seems unlikely, but that’s not to say that Christian will appear to Locke to “guide him” in his mission to move the Island inside the Orchid. On the other hand, I think it’s more likely that Christian’s appearance takes place in a Jack flashforward. Going off the assumption that we are going to learn who is in last season’s coffin before the season ends (which we were promised by Damon and Carlton, I believe), the flashforwards must move well past what happened immediately after the Oceanic Six returned to the real world. If we flash forward all the way up to when Jack visited the funeral parlor, at that point, he’s in full-fledged crazy mode – and likely totally haunted by the images of his dead father, just like Hurley was haunted by dead Charlie.

This brings up two interesting possibilities:

1. We could see a scene of Jack talking with Ghost Christian in the hospital that takes place immediately before last season’s scene where Jack asks the Chief of Surgery to “get my father down here”, which would neatly tie up the explanation of why Jack would make such a comment.

2. If we are going to flashforward all the way up to the events from “Through the Looking Glass”, could it be that we “catch up” to the storyline introduced to us in the flashforwards, leaving the remaining seasons to move forward in time on the quest to find the Island? If you remember, I toyed with this notion at the end of last season – where the Island action from this point forward would take place in the form of flashbacks, with the off-Island action becoming what the audience views as “present day”. It would serve as another pretty dramatic shift in the show’s storytelling style, but I think it would work beautifully.

Walt. As for Walt, my initial thought was that his appearance would be quite similar to his single scene in last season’s finale – serving as an image of the “Island Spirit”, working to once again guide Locke on his mission inside the Orchid. The problem is that Malcolm David Kelley is yet another year older, and would probably be nearly unrecognizable as Walt were he to appear on the Island. On the other hand, this real-life aging would serve the writers perfectly if they were writing a flashforward scene that takes place a few years after the Oceanic Six returned to the world… which is precisely what I think they’ll do.

Another guest star listed for the episode is Michael’s Mom, which makes sense given that Walt was living with her when we last saw him. Does their inclusion mean that Michael also makes it off the Island, and we’re going to be treated to a heartfelt reunion of the happy family?


No way. In fact, I think it’s the complete opposite. I’m guessing that Michael dies on the Freighter… a heroic death that somehow saves some of the Oceanic Six. His dying words are to have the Survivors tell Walt that he died redeeming himself for his past sins, saving his memory in his son’s eyes. A visit from Sun / Hurley / Jack to pass on the story seems likely to me – and an awesome way to bring some closure to the Michael / Walt storyline, while opening the door for Walt to be involved in the mission to return to the Island.

Widmores. Last, but certainly not least, we have the return of the potentially most important non-regular characters on all of Lost – Penelope and Charles Widmore. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I think both these characters will play major roles in the finale. On the one hand, we’ve got Charles Widmore, who assembled the Freightors and sent them on their mission in the first place – and also the most likely creator of the massive lies about the Oceanic Six. On the other hand, we’ve got Penny Widmore, who has been relentlessly searching for Desmond for the past two seasons – and seems to finally have a track on him after “The Constant” earlier this season. Both are searching for the Island and its Survivors – but for two very different reasons.

Again, I’m hopeful that this season will end with Penny accidentally ending up on the Island during her search for Desmond – which would easily explain her appearance this episode. On the other hand, I find it hard to believe that Charles would actually dirty his hands by physically showing up on the Freighter. Instead, I think after the Freighter explodes, he has to come in and “clean up” the mess that the Oceanic Six present. Although we don’t know for sure that Widmore was behind the fake Oceanic 815 wreckage, you have to think that six people who were allegedly dead suddenly showing up and talking about some magical Island would be quite problematic for his goal of keeping the Island and its powers secret.

I’m guessing he swoops in after the fact, picks up the Oceanic Six, and puts a plan in motion that involves a fake Island, a fishing boat, and some carefully constructed photos to corroborate the story. This would set the stage for some heavy Widmore involvement in Seasons Five (and Six?) which I think we would all welcome with open arms.

Death Watch. Okay, before we go, it’s time for our annual “Pre-Season Finale Death Watch”. I’ve referenced most of these in the above five thousand words, but here it is in a nice and neat list!


Jin – Sun has twice referenced his tragic death, and he totally set himself up to die by forgiving Sun for cheating on him and fulfilling his promise to get her off the Island. Guys – the moral of the story is, never forgive your wife or fulfill any promises you make them!

Michael – his story of redemption ends on the Freighter, where he gets the chance to give his own life to save the lives of some of his fellow Survivors. He’s already made it back to the real world once… he won’t make it back twice.

Marked for Death:

Ben – although his time traveling escapades could easily spinoff into a whole other series involving he and Sayid fighting crime, having him around makes it too easy for the Oceanic Six to make it back to the Island and learn all the secrets. Instead, look for him to be the person inside the coffin, who dies after leaving only mysterious hints to the Oceanic Six about the secrets of the Island.

Keamy – as much as I love his badass character, and would be intrigued by the prospect of Keamy and the Commandos waging total war on the Island while the Oceanic Six attempt to return to it, I don’t see the Freighter exploding without Keamy dying… and I definitely see the Freighter exploding.

Surprise Death That Would Lead to Riots on the Internet and Death Threats to Damon / Carlton:

Desmond – he’s not a member of the Oceanic Six, but that’s only because he was never on Oceanic 815. He promised to never go back to the Island, and is currently on a boat chock full of explosives. It’s a dangerous situation, but I refuse to believe the Desmond-Penny love story will end before the final season of Lost... at which time it will end happily and prove to us all that true love is possible.

Other than that, I think the rest of the major characters are quite safe. Keep in mind that we need to have a fair number of Survivors left on the Island to provide some additional motive for the Oceanic Six to return to “rescue” them. We have yet to get the backstories on Faraday, Frank, Charlotte, or Miles – so they seem safe. We’ve had Kate make reference to Sawyer choosing to stay on the Island in a very alive sense. Locke is destined to be the new leader of the Others, and Juliet is set to serve as the new “leader” of the remaining Survivors since she has the most knowledge about the Island of any of them. There really aren’t many major characters left – and aren’t the four deaths above quite enough for one episode? I think so.

So there you have it, everything inside my brain about Lost to prep you for the Season Finale. Needless to say, I think the episode will be fairly mind-blowing, but not quite in the game-changing way that last season ended. Our hearts can only take such a twist once every so many years!

Now everyone avoid the Internet for the next week to avoid any potential spoilers from the soulless creatures that lurk in the dark corners of the Internet!

Remember, this is the schedule for Thursday, May 29th:

8:00 – “There’s No Place Like Home, Part 1” (featuring new scenes!)
9:00 – “There’s No Place Like Home, Part 2”
10:00 – “There’s No Place Like Home, Part 3”
11:00 – Freakout on the Blog
12:00 – Slide into depression upon realizing the next episode of Lost is seven months away

Happy Losting!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lost - "There's No Place Like Home, Part 1"

Episode Title: "There's No Place Like Home, Part 1"

Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: Well this one should come as no surprise. After a brief flirtation with "Alice in Wonderland" references over the past season, Lost comes back to it's most referenced work of literature for the Season Four Finale - "The Wizard of Oz". Based on the episode preview, it's pretty clear where the literal part of the title comes from:

It looks like we're finally going to see the moment when the Oceanic Six arrive "home" - back to the real world, away from the Island. But as this season finale is a three-parter (each with the same title), here's how I see it breaking down: the "flashes" for the next three episodes will surround the action of the Oceanic Six immediately after they arrive home - probably starting with them stepping out of the plane as featured in the episode preview above. However, the action on the Island for the next three episodes will build up to reveal the truth about how the actually, physically got off the Island. I have to assume that it won't be until the very final moments of Season Four that we understand what happened when the Oceanic Six left the Island - meaning that the flashforwards for the next three episodes will be chock-full of confusion and mystery as the Oceanic Six reference that event / keep up their lies / act strangely.

As for the Losty twist in the title? I should probably save this for next week, since I'm going to have nothing to write, as the episode title is the exact same - but what the heck. If you recall during "Something Nice Back Home", Jack found that his perfect dream world back home quickly started to fall apart - much like we've seen for other members of the Oceanic Six. I think the irony of the title will come to mean that although they currently view the Island as this foreign place that they are trying to escape from, once they do escape, they will look longingly back at their Island days and consider it "home" - thus, "there's no place like home" will come to mean there is no place like the Island. Irony!

In regards to the obvious movie reference, for the young readers out there who have never seen the Judy Garland classic "The Wizard of Oz", the phrase comes into play at the end of the film - where Dorothy is saying goodbye (after #41ing) to her friends, she taps her heels together and repeats "there's no place like home". She then magically wakes up back in Kansas where her family tells her that it was all a dream... well, all of her family except for her uncle Henry Gale, who believes her story. The parallels here are pretty strong. If the Oceanic Six were to tell anyone about the truth about the Island (Oz), they would probably laugh and tell them it was all a dream - well, everyone except for Henry Gale (the fake name that Benjamin Linus used during Season Two!), who would know that it was all too real.

The one other thing I'll mention is that most of the prior Lost-Wizard of Oz references have been closer to the novel than the film. However, the line "there's no place like home" is only mentioned once in the beginning of the novel, where Dorothy tells the Scarecrow that she would rather live in Kansas than Oz because "there is no place like home." Of course, you could pull the same deeper meaning from the line, but it's a lot more subtle than in the film.

Episode Description: The face-off between the survivors and the freighter people begins. Guest starring are L. Scott Caldwell as Rose, Nestor Carbonell as Richard Alpert, Jeremy Davies as Daniel Faraday, Ken Leung as Miles Straume, Rebecca Mader as Charlotte Lewis, Jeff Fahey as Frank Lapidus, Kevin Durand as Keamy, Anthony Azizi as Omar, Andrea Gabriel as Noor "Nadia" Abed Jaseem, Byron Chung as Mr. Paik, June Kyoko Lu as Mrs. Paik, Lillian Hurst as Carmen Reyes, Cheech Marin as David Reyes, Veronica Hamel as Margo Shephard, Michelle Forbes as Karen Decker, Susan Duerden as Carole Littleton and Noah Craft as Hendricks.

Episode Breakdown: Wow. What is this, a Lost Reunion Show? Check out the jam-packed guest star listing! The cross-pollination of the different character's family and friends boggles the mind! Some make a lot of sense. From Sayid's past, we've got Nadia (his lover). From Sun's past, we've got Mr. Paik and Mrs. Paik (her parents). From Hurley's past, we've got Carmen and David Reyes (his parents). From Jack's past, we've got Margo Shephard (his mom). Others are far more intriguing...

Aaron. The inclusion of Carole Littleton might bring into question a lot of the previous assumptions that we had made related to the Aaron. For starters, when we last left her, she was in a coma.


I’m assuming she came out of it over the past three months (of Island time). But why would Claire's mother / Aaron's grandmother show up unless she knew that the baby Kate was carrying along was actually her grandson? And if she knows that Aaron is her grandson, why doesn't she take Aaron with her, rather than leaving him with Kate? And if the world knows that Kate isn't Aaron's mother, why is she able to continually refer to him as "her son". Was an above-the-table, legal adoption completed to transfer ownership of Aaron from the Littleton family to Kate? Or is she lying to everyone about who Aaron really is, making Carole's inclusion in the episode simply to provide a dramatic scene, as Kate lies to her face and she doesn't realize that she is standing mere feet away from her grandson? Or, did she figure out the relationship between Jack and Claire during all the media coverage that likely accompanied the crash of Oceanic Flight 815, and is there to welcome her half-son back to the world?

Like I said, a lot of questions.

Based on the story that Kate told on the witness stand of her trial, there were only six Survivors of the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 (actually two others - but they died on the way to the beach... which didn't sound like enough time to birth a baby). However, the flight manifest would have indicated that Aaron didn't exist when the plane left Australia, so the only way to explain his existence would be that he must have been born between the time of the crash and present day... which meant that Kate was pregnant when she was boarded the plane. Since she was walking on the plane with a coat over her hands (to cover her handcuffs), it would be unlikely that anyone would have gotten a close enough look to verify if she looked pregnant or not. The story could work... and help explain the "sympathy" vote for Kate on her trial. She's not only a hero - but a new mommy!

So why is Carole there?

In today's news channel, information overload society - if there was anything that would link Claire to Jack, I think that the news would have found it (probably Fox News)... perhaps connecting birth certificates somewhere? But that raises the question if Christian Shephard would have even been listed on the birth certificate as the father of the baby in the first place. Another issue - Jack knows that he and Aaron are related, based on his "you're not even related to him!" comment to Kate a few weeks back. So we have to ask ourselves - with three hours of Season Four left (before Jack theoretically leaves the Island), is there enough time for him to figure out that he and Claire are related before he leaves?

Although Locke interacted with Claire and Christian this week, at no point was their relationship revealed. Claire merely said "I'm with him." Miles saw Claire leave with Christian, so he could have heard her comment of "Dad?" when she first woke up, but he would have no idea about Jack's connection to Christian. So I don't think it's likely that either of them would be able to piece the story together for Jack. Rather, I think the only way that Jack would find out the truth would be for him to stumble upon Claire and Christian together, and have a conversation develop where one called Christian "Dad" in front of the other. Since Christian is all disappeary and Claire might be a ghost, the likelihood of this happening seems small. Although Jack stumbling upon the Cabin would be a fantastic twist on his journey to follow the Freightor's helicopter, he probably wouldn't be traveling alone - and it's unlikely that the Cabin would appear to a whole group of Survivors.

So where does this leave us? I think that Jack leaves the Island without any knowledge of his relationship to Claire. When he arrives back in the real world, he learns the truth and is suddenly freaked out by Aaron and his relationship because of what happened on the Island (leaving Claire behind?). This would explain his uneasiness with meeting up with Aaron after Claire's trial. I'm thinking Carole Littleton is there to welcome home her step-half-son (or something like that), but is sadly unaware that her grandchild has come home as well. It should make for some good awkward situations between Jack / Kate / Aaron / Carole when they find out the truth. Expect a lot of panicked / freaked out looks between Kate and Jack!

Boy that was a tangent! Moving on...

Alpert. The rest of the guest stars are pretty much standard (aside from Michelle Forbes – who we all know as Lynn from the second season of “24”!)…


with the exception of Alpert. Although he was pretty involved in last week’s episode – it was all in a flashback role. His inclusion this week (which appears to be all flashforwards) hopefully indicates that we’re due for a reunion of Alpert and the Others with our Survivors on the Island! Again, with a mere three episodes left for this season, I think a visit to “The Temple” might be unrealistic (unless that’s where you have to go to “move the Island”) – but a rendezvous with Ben, Locke, and Hurley seems very likely… especially if Locke and Ben are looking for allies in helping to defend the Island.

Storyline. Other than the guest stars, this week’s episode description gives us almost nothing to go on in predicting what will happen this week. “The face-off between the survivors and the freighter people begins.” That could mean almost anything. But the curious thing is that it looks like most of our Survivors could almost avoid the whole “face-off” by staying exactly where they are. The Freightors are heading for “The Secondary Protocol” Dharma Warp Station (I assume). Based on my theory last week that the battle between Keamy and Ben will go down in this station (resulting in the gash to Ben’s arm and him teleporting to safety in Tunisia), it’s safe to assume this is where Ben, Locke, and Hurley are heading as well. But all the rest of our Survivors are either headed towards, or hanging out on the Beach.

If it weren’t for Jack’s interpretation of Frank’s iPhone (“I think they want us to follow them”), our Survivors could calmly board Sayid’s Zodiac Boat and make trips back and forth to the Freightor until everyone was safe and sound off the Island. Instead, odds are that Jack and Co. follow the homing beacon of the helicopter and end up right in the middle of this “face-off”.

…and that’s about all I’ve got for this week.

Administrative note: the Instant Reactions are going to be delayed this week, but I’ve setup a post for them on the Message Board in the interim. I’ll be off making the world a better place by molding the youth of America in my self-image through the weekend, so it might not be until early next week that you get some analysis. The good news is that next week is sans-Lost, so we’ll have plenty of time to digest, analyze, and prepare for the two hour season finale on May 29.

Until then, happy Losting!

Preview Comments:

Instant Reaction Comments:

(Be good and stay out of the Instant Reactions until post-episode!)


Sunday, May 11, 2008

"Cabin Fever" Analysis!

The good news is – this episode got a lot “easier” upon second viewing. After watching the episode live, I knew that it felt pretty big, but I wasn’t quite able to wrap my head around it and understand the implications. But given a few days to digest, one repeat viewing, and an hour of cutting grass to work through some storylines in my head, I’m feeling pretty good about the analysis. Let’s get down to business.

Emily. A lot in the Comments section have been wondering if perhaps Ben’s mother Emily is the same person as Locke’s mother Emily – which would make Ben and Locke brothers / half-brothers. Granted, it is quite the coincidence to have both mothers share the same first name, but there’s one very big reason why this couldn’t work (aside from the fact that the two look totally different) - Emily Linus died shortly after giving birth to Ben in the 1960’s, and Emily Locke was still around to help con John Locke into giving up a kidney somewhere in the 1980’s / 1990’s.

If you want to go conspiracy theory with the mothers, have it be that the future “leaders” of the Others have all been born by women named Emily (hey, Claire’s real life name is Emily de Ravin!). Moving on…

Hurley. Although he probably didn’t realize it, Hurley did eventually lead Locke and Ben to the Cabin. It’s funny, but it wasn’t until Hurley stopped focusing on finding it / feeling the pressure of needing to find it that he was actually able to. Perhaps the whole point of Locke’s vision of Goodspeed and retrieval of the map was only to provide a prop for Hurley to think that he really was no longer needed – and maybe you can only find the Cabin when you aren’t really looking for it, or something along those lines. Or maybe the Cabin actually finds you.

The bigger question remains “why Hurley?” In the episode, they discussed that he saw the Cabin, and that makes him special. Hurley’s theory was that he and Locke were the craziest on the Island… which might not be too far from the truth. Out of all the characters on the Island, the two most wanting to believe in some greater power have definitely been Locke and Hurley. Remember back during Season One when Hurley went crazy to find CFL to prove that the curse of the Numbers was real? Along with Locke, Hurley wanted to believe that there was something bigger at play – that the Numbers were real, and that the Island was special. This makes Hurley a good candidate to be “accepted” by the Island, and perhaps become an Other someday. Maybe Hurley’s destiny is to help the Oceanic Six return to the Island where he can finally find his peace (since he clearly isn’t finding it in the flashforward future).

Through the Island showing Hurley the Cabin, it helps prove to him that there is something special about it – and that might be enough for him to inspire the other members of the Oceanic Six to return once they realize how much life sucks back in the real world.

Or maybe he was just brought along to provide hilarious comic relief in an otherwise super-tense Cabin scene. Either way.

Unkillable. Back during “Meet Kevin Johnson”, it was easy to dismiss Tom’s claim that Michael was unable to kill himself until the Island let him. After all, we had countless characters die on the Island (including Others) that one would think the Island would protect to help form the army required to defend against the Freightors. Plus, it was only one gun jamming – which may have been tinkered with by Tom in the first place (I think there’s a gay joke in there somewhere, but I’ll keep it PC).

However, this week really seemed to prove that Michael cannot be killed. Keamy attempted to fire three shots into his head, and not a single one worked… even though the gun was working properly before (for killing Alex) and after (when Captain Gault) fired it. But this protective Island shield isn’t limited to just Michael.


Ben commented to Hurley that he “should have realized at the time it (shooting Locke) was pointless, but I wasn’t thinking clearly.” Not only does this suggest that Locke shares the same invincibility – but that others in the past have as well (thus, Ben’s knowledge about it). It’s clear to see why Locke would have this shield – but why Michael? It seems as though he has accomplished his mission – effectively sabotaging the Freighter and providing information to Ben about all the Freightors. Is the Island keeping him alive until he can get his redemption by saving our Survivors? Are his engineering / mechanical skills still required? And how are the writers going to explain this using science? More importantly, is anyone else on the Island protected the same way?

Keamy. Speaking of giving Ben information about the Freightors, did you notice how upset Keamy got when he found out Benjamin Linus knew who he was? This struck me as odd. Why would his anonymity be so important? Is he afraid Ben (or the Island) will “come after him”? Or that he will use the information to find a weakness?

The other question is – why is Keamy so hell-bent on getting Linus? Sure, he was sent on a mission, and I’m sure there is money involved – but it’s almost as though there is some sort of personal vendetta involved. I’m thinking that Keamy has some connection to Linus in the past (like Ben killed his father or something), which would explain the blind rage with which he’s attacking. Gault said that they were simply on an extraction mission – but Keamy is out for blood.

The electronics he was strapping to his beefcake body this episode look like they are tied to his heartbeat (note the chest strap) with a control on the arm. When Captain Gault threatened to shoot him, Keamy showed the device and said “I don’t think you want to do that Captain”. I’m guessing that if Keamy were to be shot and his heartbeat would stop – the device would send a signal to blow up the nearby explosives that were being loaded into the helicopter. In true action movie style, Keamy has created a situation where he has the power to set off the explosives – but if he is killed, they’ll go off anyways… making it very tricky to attack him. One way or another, he’s going to get his revenge on Ben, even if it means he dies in the process.


Secondary Protocol. So where is Keamy headed? As we saw this episode, the Freightors had both a Primary and Secondary Protocol. The Primary Protocol was the mission we saw Keamy and Co. attempt over the past few weeks – attacking the Island commando style, taking prisoners, and kicking ass. But as we saw, that didn’t quite achieve the intended result thanks to Ben and his friend Smokey the Friendly Smoke. According to Keamy, “if Ben knows that we are going to torch the Island, there’s only one place he could go.” And based on the file that Keamy retrieved, it looks like we’re heading to yet another Dharma Station.


Conveniently, the logo of this Dharma Station matches the one Ben was sporting on his jacket when he suddenly appeared in the Tunisian Desert, sporting a wicked gash in

So here’s what I’m thinking.

This Dharma Station is the one that controls the Funky Space / Time element on the Island (an invention by Dharma? Or something that existed on the Island pre-Dharma that they just came up with a sweet logo for? I’ll get to this later!). Knowing that death and destruction on the Island are eminent, Ben wisely heads there to avoid it. Before this season is up, there will be a battle between Ben and Keamy at this station, where Ben gets wounded – but then ends up “jumping” to Tunisia before Keamy can finish the job.

How do the Freightors know so much about all the Dharma Stations and the powers of the Island?

Widmore. So here’s the theory I never got to post while I was away honeymooning. Widmore didn’t even appear in this episode, but it’s necessary to see where my head’s at to understand some of the analysis to come. During “The Shape of Things to Come” there was a super-important meeting between Benjamin Linus and Charles Widmore that hinted at their relationship. Here’s a brief reminder of that conversation courtesy of Lostpedia:

Ben inquires as to when Widmore started sleeping with a bottle of scotch by the bed. Widmore replies, "When the nightmares started." Charles asks Ben if he has come to kill him. Ben says "we both know I can't do that." He instead accuses Widmore of changing the rules and killing his daughter. The two argue about who bears responsibility for Alex's death. The debate concludes with Ben vowing to kill Widmore's daughter, Penelope, so that he will know the same pain Ben knows. Widmore claims to know "what" Ben is, saying everything Ben has he took from Widmore. Ben says Charles will wish he hadn't "changed the rules." Widmore counters that Ben will never find Penny, and that he wants "his" Island back. Ben tells Charles he will never find the Island, and that the hunt is on.

There have been a number of questions about the relationship between Ben and the Dharma Initiative ever since the Purge – such as, why did the Dharma Periodic Ration Drops continue after Ben murdered most of the Dharma people? Where does Ben receive his funding / information / connections on the outside world? I think the answer is Charles Widmore.

More story time!

We have seen that there was some type of relationship between Widmore Industries and the Hanso Foundation – but I’m thinking it was a tenuous relationship at best. Hanso represented the “altruistic” side of the partnership, whereas Widmore represented the “business” side. Both combined to help fund and found the Dharma Initiative on the Island way back when – with Hanso looking to use the Island to make the world a better place (and prevent the end of the world), and Widmore looking to use the Island’s powers for financial gain / power / worldwide domination.

Before the Purge (which may have been orchestrated by Widmore – this week, Ben confirmed that the Purge wasn’t his idea), Ben and the Others entered into a partnership of sorts with Widmore – who promised to continue providing the funding necessary for Ben’s experiments, kidnapping of people, and the Periodic Ration Drops. In return, Ben promised to give Widmore the some of the Island Benefits – living forever, space / time travel, etc. which could be used for significant financial gain. They may have even entered into some contract with Jacob / the Island Spirit, who set the rule that they would not be able to kill each other – thus taking total control of the Island. It’s like a system of checks and balances!

But crafty Ben quickly began working on ways to get Widmore out of the picture as well, to return the Island to how it used to be pre-Dharma, a place where he would have total control. He did things like using the Looking Glass as a jamming station, preventing any vessels from finding the Island unless he wanted them to find it. Widmore realizes what is happening, gets pissed, and sends the Freighter to get Ben and take back control of the Island. This puts the two in a chess match of sorts – where both sides need each other (Ben’s knowledge of the Island for Widmore’s funding) are fighting for the Island for different reasons.

But it gets even better.

If my theory about Ben “jumping” from the Dharma Station at the end of this season is correct, I think that it will coincide with Locke “moving the Island” – meaning that neither Ben nor Widmore know where the Island is anymore. When Ben says “the hunt is on”, he means it literally – as both men are now searching for the Island, and the first one to find it will determine which direction the future of the Island goes (peaceful magic paradise vs. beachside condos).

Let’s ratchet it up one more notch.

Benjamin Linus dies (he’s the one in the coffin from last season’s finale!), leaving no one “fighting” for Team Island – only Team Widmore, who will find the Island in a matter of time. The Island, not wanting to see its splendor ruined, needs help… and begins calling out to the only other people on Earth who know about it… the Oceanic Six. It sends images and visions, calling for them to return to the Island to help fight Widmore and his evil corporate plans.

That would be pretty cool, right?

Usually when I work through a long, thought-out theory like that it takes approximately one episode for the writers to totally disprove it. But for now, I’m rolling with it.

Abaddon. The whole reason I brought it up in the first place is all because of our friend Scary McFreakyson, Matthew Abaddon. Up until now, it was assumed that he was working for Widmore, seen assembling the team of Frank, Miles, Charlotte, and Faraday that were sent to the Island and asking Hurley if “they were alive” post-Oceanic Six rescue. But this week, we saw him working with Locke, helping inspire him to go on the walkabout which would eventually lead him to the Island. Since this seemed to fall in line with Alpert’s attempts earlier in the episode, suddenly people began wondering if he was actually a member of Team Island, rather than Team Widmore.

I don’t think so. Rather, I think there are two possible explanations for his actions:

1. His interaction with Locke occurred during the brief period of time when Widmore and Ben were working together, and both were working for the same common goal.

2. It demonstrated Widmore attempting to get in good with “future management” on the Island, to help the aims of Team Widmore once Locke ascends to the role of “Leader of the Others”.

Based on Abaddon’s message, I’m leaning towards the second option…

“When you’re ready, you’ll listen to what I’m saying. And then when you and me run into each other again, you’ll owe me one.”

Alpert. Man was it good to see Richard Alpert again. This episode got me thinking, “if Cane hadn’t been cancelled, what in the world were the writers going to do with this episode? Would it have been pushed to next season? Would they have introduced another Other to attempt to recruit the young John Locke? I can’t imagine any other character having the same impact as Alpert this episode.

This episode confirmed one of two things.

1. Richard Alpert is non-aging.
2. Richard Alpert is aging, but has the ability to time travel.

Personally, I’d prefer the former, since I like to think that those in true communion with the Island live forever – and the ability to freely time travel is often used as a cheap plot device giving characters ways out of tough situations far too easily.

Tests. As the much smarter Stef pointed out in the Instant Reactions, the test that Alpert administered to Locke was quite similar to the Tibetan test to find the next Dali Lama after the current one dies. The gist of the test is that a number of objects are presented to a youth, including some that belonged to the former Lama. If the boy picks out the right objects, it shows that he is the reincarnation of the Lama. Man, with all these connections to Tibetan Buddhism, I bet the Others are totally boycotting this summer’s Olympic Games!

The objects presented to Locke were as follows:

Baseball mitt.

Book of Laws:


Vial of rough sand:


Comic Book entitled “Mystery Tales”:






As for which objects belonged to the former Other Leader (Jacob?), Alpert appears pleased when Locke chooses the sand and compass, but becomes angry when he selects the knife (I’m guessing the “book of laws” was the correct third object – with the comic book and baseball mitt being youth-friendly objects to try and entice Locke). Although Alpert states that Locke isn’t “quite ready”, it doesn’t mean that he isn’t the “chosen one” – just that he isn’t mature enough to start leading the Others. The selection of the knife seems to signify that Locke is still angry, violent – not the hippie benevolent leader the Others are looking for… yet.

(This also ties in nicely with the next attempt to recruit Locke, where he shows he still isn’t ready by wanting to be an athlete and superhero, rather than the calm, scientific mathlete the Others are looking for.)

But in the end, it’s pretty clear that Locke was always going to be the chosen one – it was only a matter of time (per Goodspeed, “Jacob has been waiting for you a real long time”). Locke is finally ready to fulfill his destiny, and his conversations with Ben hint that Benjamin Linus is ready to accept this fate as well.

I was told a lot of things too. That I was chosen, that I was special. I ended up with a tumor on my spine and my daughter’s blood all over on my hands… those things had to happen to me. That was my destiny. But you’ll understand soon enough that there are consequences to being chosen. Because destiny is a fickle bitch. The Island wanted me to get sick. It wanted you to get well. My time is over. It’s yours now.

I’m guessing that being Leader of the Others isn’t all tea parties with Jacob and unlimited money and passports – but that there are tough decisions that need to be made not limited to, but including killing people, giving up your former identity, being a puppet for the Island Spirit, and sacrificing anything for the sake of the Island.

Cabin. But what of the Cabin this episode? Why were Christian and Claire inside, rather than Jacob? My initial thought is that perhaps the manifestation of the Island Spirit is different for each generation of Chief Other. For Ben, it was Jacob. For Locke, it’s Christian. Or perhaps Locke is not yet ready for a true face-to-face meeting with Jacob, and Christian is acting as an intermediary. Or perhaps they still haven't cast the actor to play Jacob, since he won't appear more frequently until next season.

And what about Claire? Did this episode confirm that she is truly dead? It seems pretty obvious now, which makes me almost want to run in the other direction and think that she’s actually alive but in a trippy state similar to when Ethan abducted her a few seasons back. The key lies with Aaron. Christian claims that he is “where he is supposed to be… and that’s not here.”

For me, this indicates that although Aaron is destined to be important to the Island (maybe even the Future Leader of the Others), with the battle coming and the possibility of “torching”, he needs to be taken off the Island – at least for now – to ensure his safety. Being protected by Sawyer, on his way to the beach, it’s clear that he’s well on his way to being one of the Oceanic Six – but this would also explain why Jack was told he isn’t supposed to raise Aaron. The Island might have sent him away temporarily, but it wants Aaron back after the danger subsides.

Okay – this has been ridiculously long, so let me wrap it up as quickly as possible…

Ray. I still have no idea about the Freighter Doctor Ray. In this episode, Omar received the morse code message that was sent on December 27th. Based on the Lostpedia Timeline, this episode took place on December 29th. So Ray was killed on December 29th, but washed up on the Island two days in the past – even if his body went through a weird bearing to the Island (that sent him back in time), it still wouldn't explain the wound since it was actually healed on December 27th in the first place. You win on this one, Lost Writers.


Desmond. Desmond claims he is never setting foot on the Island again. Can this be true? Does this confirm that he “escapes” the Island and returns to Penny? Or that his death is imminent? I worry about the fate of Desmond and Penny more than any other characters on the show.

Moving. How is Locke going to "move the Island"? Smart money is on changing the weird electromagnetic properties somehow to change the bearing required to find it. How do you do that? I’m not sure – but I will bet it involves the same Funky Space / Time Dharma Station that sends Ben to Tunisia.

Phew. I’m beat. Let me know what I missed!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

"Cabin Fever" Instant Reactions!

Brian's Numeric Review: 75%

That's about the best review I can muster without resorting to expletives. This episode had a number of huge, mind-blowing reveals, but only gave away about 75% of each, leaving out just enough out to leave me completely and utterly confused. What do I mean?

1. We learned that John Locke has been "chosen" by the Island since his birth - but we didn't learn why.

2. We saw Richard Alpert (!) administer really weird tests to a five year old John Locke that the episode made no effort to explain, yet it was clear there were mountains of symbolism and hidden meaning in each of the objects presented to him.

3. We learned that there is something really weird going on with Claire - but are no closer to learning if she's still alive or dead.

4. We learned that Christian Shephard isn't Jacob, but is BFFs enough with him to speak for Jacob - but we didn't learn why the dead Christian Shephard is appearing so much on the Island in the first place.

5. Thankfully, we learned that the Horace Goodspeed encounter turned out to be a dream - really the best possible situation to keep Lost from turning into Ghost Island... and that he was stuck in some sort of time loop on the Island, as if his spirit was a prisoner on the Island.

6. We learned that Abaddon planted the seed in John Locke's head to go on the Walkabout in the first place... which is odd considering that Abaddon seems to be working for Widmore - not Ben / Team Island, based on his appearance in earlier episodes. Plus, his comment of "and the next time you see me, you owe me one" really makes it seem like he's bound to pop up on the Island to crown Locke the new leader of the Others, doesn't it? Even though we saw in Hurley's flashforward that he doesn't have any idea of what's going on with the Island anymore? Confusion.

7. We learned that the key to saving the Island is to "move it", even though I haven't the slightest notion of what that actually means.

8. We didn't learn why Hurley was needed to come along for the journey to the Cabin, but that Locke needed him enough to trick him into thinking that he wanted to go.

9. We saw the Freighter Doctor alive and well - but after Omar received the message that the Doctor's body washed up on the Island, he slit his throat, throwing us into such a complicated time loop that I'm going to need my full whiteboard at work tomorrrow to figure it out... and that's not even getting to the cut on his face.

10. Finally, from next week's episode preview, we learned that somehow, with all this madness going on, all these storylines are going to result in the rescue of the Oceanic Six starting with next week's episode. How they're going to pull that off is beyond me.

Like I said, there were a ton of reveals about what is going on that hint at some of the biggest mysteries ever on Lost... but we only received a partial view of each (75% by my estimation) - not enough to make it easy to figure everything out - but enough to get our minds started down the path.

I'm sure to have many more rambling thoughts over the next few days here:

...and then will get to the full episode analysis as soon as my brain allows.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Lost - "Cabin Fever"

I've got a fever… and the only cure is... more cabin.

Episode Title: Cabin Fever

Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: Well this one seems quite obvious, doesn't it?

After teasing us with the uber-exciting prospect of a return visit to Jacob's Cabin two weeks ago, last week left us considerably cabin-less - but it looks like we're getting the payoff this week… big time. Clearly the episode title is directly referring to Locke, Ben, and Hurley's journey to visit Jacob's Cabin, so that portion of the episode title is fairly straightforward. But what exactly is "cabin fever"? I'll defer to the good people at Wikipedia!

Cabin fever is a slang term for a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a party is isolated and/or shut in, alone or together, for an extended period. Symptoms include restlessness, irritability, forgetfulness, and excessive sleeping.

The origin of the term is unknown, but may originate from the United States during the time when settlers would be snowed into their log cabins in winter and would had to wait for the spring thaw in order to travel to town. The phrase may also be associated with ocean-crossing sailing ships in which passengers had to endure weeks and months of slow travel while living in cabins below deck, or group of people on a deserted island or on a long space voyage.

If you think about it, based on this definition you could argue that literally every person on the show could be suffering from a type of "cabin fever".

First there are the Freightors, who have such a bad case of "cabin fever" that they're literally killing themselves. They seem to have been sitting just offshore of the Island for quite some time, isolated from the rest of the world thanks to Michael trashing their communications, potentially suffering some weird side effects from the Magnetic Bubble around the Island that could be accelerating the issue.

Then we've got our Survivors on the Beach. They too have been somewhat isolated from the rest of the world since they crashed on the Island, stuck on a wacky Island with mysterious Others, Smoke Monsters, and Island Visions. Although most seem to be handling it pretty well, we've seen a few of them "snap" from time to time, and the stress seems to be building on Jack, who is becoming obsessed with "saving everyone" no matter what the cost.

Even the Others themselves seem to be growing discontent and restless with their isolated state on the Island, losing faith in Ben as their leader and returning to their roots (perhaps) in their journey to the Temple.

But let's be honest - this episode title is clearly referring to the search for Jacob's Cabin. This search might get "heated" with arguments between Locke and Ben, or even approach a "fever pitch" of intensity and excitement as Locke and Co. draw closer to the Cabin. They're the characters with the biggest case of "Cabin Fever" this week.

On the other hand, I'd argue that we, as viewers have an even bigger case of Cabin Fever. If I were to make a list of the top questions I wanted answers to on the show, Jacob and his Cabin would be near the top of the list (right below "What is Smokey" and "Why aren't there more scenes of Kate in a men's button down shirt and underwear") - and I think most of you are the same way. Ever since we got our first glimpse of Jacob and the Cabin last season, it's been a huge mystery - full of possibilities ranging from the mundane (all a hoax put on by Ben) to the not-really-pseudo-science supernatural (Jacob is the manifestation of the Island Spirit, is all knowing, all powerful, and used to be a pirate). We're all dying to know more, and I for one am giddy with excitement about this week's episode. I'll probably overhype it to a level that no episode could possibly live up to - but I'll just chalk it up to me coming down with a nasty case of Cabin Fever.

Episode Description: Locke is enlightened as to the whereabouts of Jacob's cabin, and life aboard the freighter becomes perilous. Guest starring are Jeff Fahey as Frank Lapidus, Lance Reddick as Matthew Abaddon, Marc Vann as doctor, Kevin Durand as Keamy, Anthony Azizi as Omar, Grant Bowler as Captain Gault, John Terry as Christian Shephard, Holland Roden as Emily, Rebecca Tilney as Emily's mother, Amanda Carlin as ER nurse, Patrick Torres as ER doctor, Doug Hutchison as Horace Goodspeed, Nestor Carbonell as Richard Alpert, Matthew Pedersen as physical therapist, Mandy June Turpin as Florence, Sarah Duval as Melissa, Charles Henry Wyson as John Locke (age 5), Phil Abrams as Gellert and Caleb Steinmeyer as John Locke (age 16).

Episode Breakdown: There are so many gasp-worthy items in that description, I hardly know where to begin. Let's start with the guest stars…

Alpert. Thank you, Writer's Strike. We all complained about it at the time, but if it wasn’t for the writer's strike, Nestor Carbonell's short lived series "Cane" might not have gotten cancelled, and CBS (the worst network on TV) probably wouldn't have allowed Nestor to jump over to ABC for a guest spot on Lost. But thankfully, the writers striked (stroke?), I was able to get married without the distraction of Lost, and we get the ageless Richard Alpert back. So in a way, the strike was a blessing in disguise.

If you recall, Richard is really the only honest-to-goodness pre-Dharma Other we've met on the Island (since he's the only one we saw before the Purge, you could argue that Tom, Pickett, etc. were all recruits by Ben after he took over) – which explains why although we’ve gotten numerous Ben and Juliet flashbacks, we still have no idea who these Island Original “Others” are, what their purpose on the Island is, or if they really do not age. For many viewers (like me), Richard Alpert has been the key to getting answers to these questions, so I couldn’t be happier for his return.


When we last left Alpert, he was leading the Others to the Temple at Ben’s request. Although I tempted to hope that this week finally gives us a glimpse at this “temple”, with all the other non-Other guest stars listed in “Cabin Fever”, it seems unlikely that the story will progress that far this week… but I’m still holding out hope for a temple visit in the three part season finale. But we digress. A lot has happened since we last saw Alpert, which forces us to re-evaluate his character.

For one, the Season Three Lost DVDs came out, which confirmed that Alpert is a leader of the Others, responsible for selecting a leader. The commentary for “The Man from Tallahassee” compared him to the Panchen Lama (the guy who picks the Dali Lama – for more, study up on Tibetan Buddhism). This gives a whole new understanding to Alpert’s encounter with a childhood Ben outside the Dharma Barracks during “The Man Behind The Curtain”. Did Alpert know that Ben would become the future leader of the Others? Was the Purge a test for Ben to prove his worth before he could become leader? Was there some prophecy that foretold of a non-Island boy coming to lead the Others?

It’s unclear, but the important thing is that with this knowledge, you could argue that through his actions last season, he was “grooming” John Locke to become the next leader of the Others. Alpert was told Locke the truth about Ben trying to expose him as being weak for not being able to kill Anthony Cooper and even provided him with an “out” of the situation by revealing Cooper’s relationship with Sawyer. Likewise, Alpert openly questioned Ben’s methods of leadership (focusing on pregnancy) and showed concern when Locke “had an accident” after his trip with Ben to see Jacob the first time. His return this episode might mean we are one step closer to Locke becoming the leader of the Others (more on this later).

As for his non-aging for the past thirty years, we now have a few options to help explain it. For one, we’ve gotten a pretty good indication of funky time and space on the Island through Ben’s transport to Tunisia. It’s reasonable to think that Alpert could simply be hopping back and forth through time on the Island to be at critical junctures, but is aging quite normally. On the other hand, we’ve got this week’s episode preview featuring an apologetic Horace Goodspeed mentioning he’s been dead for 12 years. Unless TV shows and movies have lied to me in the past, dead people don’t age – they keep the appearance they had when they died. This could mean that Alpert died years ago, but has appeared to Ben, Locke, and the Others as a ghost / Island Spirit that doesn’t age.

However, I’m really pulling for this theory to be wrong. Although last week I hypothesized that Claire could already be dead (and be walking around and interacting with people like the also dead Christian Shephard), the more I think about it, the more “cheap” and “sci-fi” it seems. I would much prefer for Claire to be alive, Christian to be a manifestation of the Island Spirit, and Alpert to be living forever thanks to his communion with the Island and its “rules”. Yes, that’s right - somehow I can accept manifestations of Island Spirits and people living forever much better than I can accept ghosts that interact with people. I can’t explain it either.

Goodspeed. However, that wouldn’t explain Horace Goodspeed. For those who don’t remember, we’ve seen Horace before – he was the man who was driving by when Ben was born, recruited his father to come work on the Island, and died in the Purge of the Dharma Initiative (note: based on his comment in the episode preview, the Purge must have taken place in 1992 –which sorta conflicts with the timeline established by other events on the show – but we won’t get caught up with that).


So how do we explain Horace’s guest appearance this episode? The easy answer would be that he’s a manifestation of the Island. Locke seeing Horace (someone he doesn’t know) really isn’t any different than Hurley seeing Christian earlier this season – the manifestations don’t seem to be necessarily related to a figure from each character’s past. But what would be the purpose of his appearance? To warn Locke about Ben’s treachery in the past? To enlighten Locke of the higher goals of the Dharma Initiative? Neither seem like a good reason – but they’re the best I can come up with. Maybe he’s just there to torment Benjamin Linus for his past sins. I’m just really hoping it’s not that he’s a ghost leading Locke to the Ghost Town where all the former members of Dharma are happily living.

Jacob. Although there are a thousand questions about Jacob inside my head, the biggest one for right now is “why Hurley?” I can understand that the Cabin isn’t so much a physical place, and moves around the Island from time to time. I can understand that Jacob can appear as other people, seem to be talking to other dead people, and is an all-knowing and all-powerful being. But what I can’t understand is Hurley’s connection to all this. Why did Hurley see the Cabin in the first place? Why is he needed to find the Cabin again?

Did Hurley just accidentally stumble upon the Cabin earlier this season? Is the last person to visit the Cabin required to find it again? Is Hurley not really needed, but has “seen too much” and must be taken care of? Or did Hurley suddenly make Jacob’s list as a “chosen one”?

There are so many questions about Jacob, without even getting into his nature. Is he a ghost? Is he the manifestation of the Island? Was he an original Island inhabitant who has been dead for years? Is he really as wise and powerful as Ben claims? If so, why can’t he take care of the Freightors himself? If the Cabin really does move around, then why is there a map for it? And if there’s a map for it, why is Hurley needed?


Sorry guys – there’s so many questions and I don’t have a good answer for any of them. We really don’t seem any closer to knowing Jacob now than we did after his first appearance during “The Man Behind the Curtain”, so I’ll leave it up to you and this episode to figure out.

Freightors. But enough about potential ghost spirits – there are plenty of other non-Sixth Sense-y mysteries surrounding this episode. This episode preview seemed to show a scene between Michael and Keamy on the Freighter… but Keamy has been on the Island for the past two episodes. Does this episode start out with a flashback to “three days ago” to fill us in with what happened on the Freighter since we last left it? Is time really so funky that Keamy is arguing with Michael two days in Freighter time after he murdered Alex in Island time? Or did last week’s episode hint that Frank was taking Keamy and the remaining Freightors back to the ship, where their confrontation with Michael will occur in “real-time”?


You’ll also notice that the creeptastic Abaddon is scheduled to appear this week – how he fits in is even more of a mystery. It didn’t seem as though he was on the Freighter, and this week’s flashbacks clearly deal with the childhood of John Locke (more on this coming up!). So what’s the timeframe we’re looking at here?

Well, I don’t really see Keamy leaving the Island until he gets Benjamin Linus – he strikes me as a man on a mission, who doesn’t retreat due to the minor setback of a few casualties of his team, so I’m betting the episode starts with brief Freighter flashback to bring us up to speed on what we missed. This could feature a conversation between the Captain and Abaddon happening (discussing what to do with Michael now that he has been revealed to be a Survivor of Oceanic 815? Or just talking about their weekend plans). I also think that this might be a result of our current strike-shortened season, where we have writers cramming the story in as tight as possible even if it means a mini-flashback such as this. Given a few more episodes this season, I’m sure we would have had another episode before now that featured a Freightor flashback to help bridge the gap between the stories. It’s all leading up to the eventual collision of the Freighter Survivors (Sayid), Team Island (Hurley), Team Rescue (Kate, Sun, and Jack), and Team Walking Through the Jungle (Aaron) who must meet up to become “The Oceanic Six” and get rescued before the season ends.

Locke. As for this week’s flashbacks, it’s pretty obvious by the guest stars that we’re looking at a John Locke version of “It’s a Wonderful Life”. The “Emily” listed as a guest star would likely be Locke’s mother – but instead of being played by Swoosie Kurtz (as in previous episodes), it’s the younger, hotter Holland Roden.


The inclusion of an ER Nurse and Doctor hint that we might witness the birth of John Locke this week, which explains the difference in actresses. I mean, Swoosie is a great actress and I, but I don’t really think she could pull off playing a 15 year old. In addition, the guest stars indicate we’ll have scenes featuring John Locke at age 5 and 16 – but why?

What could we possibly learn about John Locke at such an early age that will add to our understanding with him or tie in with the current Island storyline? We’ve already seen what a truly crappy pre-Island life Locke had – people taking advantage of him at every turn, longing to belong, confined to a wheelchair. Will these vignettes of his youth feature him getting bullied around and picked on in school? His mom cursing him the moment he was born?

I don’t think so.

Rather, I think this is a very big week for John Locke. The week he finds the “greater purpose” he’s been hunting for since he arrived on this Island.

Let’s add up the pieces. Although his mom was certifiably crazy, she claimed that Locke was “immaculately conceived”. Both Ben and Alpert have hinted at Locke’s importance on the Island. From his first encounter with Smokey, Locke seems to have been on a spiritual journey with the Island. Although he’s had a few stumbles and crises of faith along the way, here he is, about to make a second journey to Jacob for the purpose of defending the Island from invaders.

I think now is the time for John Locke to come into his own, to become the leader of the Others, to start learning the secrets of the Island, and to step up to protect it.

As for the flashbacks this week? What if John Locke really was destined to end up on this Island? What if the flashbacks features scenes where he almost got hit by a car as a kid, or avoided a falling piano that make us question if it was just dumb luck or truly fate that got him this far. Or perhaps we’ll even see random acts of strangers help guide him along the way – strangers who we later see on the Island as non-aging Others at the Temple with Alpert? That would be pretty mind-blowing, right?

That’s my hope for this week. Evidence of Locke’s greater purpose, setting the wheels in motion to bring all parties together in the huge finale, some reveals about the nature of Jacob and the Others, and gratuitous scenes of Kate in a bikini. Is that so much to ask? The episode description (which we actually didn’t even discuss) states “Locke is enlightened as to the whereabouts of Jacob's cabin, and life aboard the freighter becomes perilous”.

Like I said, I’m totally over-hyping this episode… which means no matter how great it is, we’ll all be disappointed now – but that’s my bad. I can’t help but think this episode is going to be absolutely huge.