Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"The Package" Instant Reactions

True story - I was without Internet until about 8:45 pm EST tonight... and was going to have to do this via Blackberry tonight, which would have been absolutely terrible. Then magically, the Internet came back just in time - thank you Jacob.

Brian's One Word Review: Annoying.

Pick your least favorite part of this week's episode. The candidates are:

  1. The super annoying "V" logo and countdown clock in the corner of the screen for 75% of the episode.
  2. Sun losing her ability to speak English, in the most pointless and annoying plot twist since Terri Bauer's amnesia in the first Season of 24. Generally, you do things like this to stretch out a storyline when you have no other ideas. Really Lost? You have 8 episodes left and a laundry list of unresolved storylines. I'm disappointed.
  3. The fact that the episode plodded along and once again felt like a "setup" episode, making it the third or fourth such episode this season. That's a hell of a lot of setup. Here's hoping it all pays off.

On the other hand, it was great to finally see Desmond again - even if it was only for a few seconds at the end of the episode... and most everyone was predicting that it was Desmond behind Widmore's locked door of the submarine since he HAD to return to the show at some point... and like I said, time was running out.

So what did we learn this week?

Widmore. So... Widmore is a good guy? He told Jin that if SmokeLocke leaves the Island, we all cease to exist. That is considerably different than "going to hell", which I interpreted to mean "bad things happen in the world". Ceasing to exist conjures up theories about SmokeLocke ripping apart the space-time continuum by leaving the Island or making all realities merge into one another and explode. It also gives us yet another parallel to the plot of "Dogma". Kevin Smith, we're about 8 episodes away from you suing the Lost writers for copyright infringement.

Of course, that is if we are to believe Widmore. He has a spotty track record, but he gave a pretty heartfelt speech to Jin about loving Penny - so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt this week. Perhaps Widmore will end up being on Team Jacob after all - even though that would put him on the same side as Ben, which I never thought would happen.

Desmond. Why did Widmore need to bring Desmond back to the Island? I'm guessing it's related to the fact that Zoe (Widmore's Science-y Girl) is looking for pockets of electromagnetic matter on the Island. We've always been told that Desmond is special - and now I'm guessing that he's going to be the one that either can match power with SmokeLocke... or sink the Island. Either way, it's going to be tied to Desmond's implosion of the Swan Station and his close encounter with the unique electromagnetic properties of the Island.

I am seriously worried about Desmond and Penny getting a happy ending at this point.

Flash Sideways. Meanwhile, in the Flash Sideways, we confirmed that Sun and Jin were not married (as predicted after "LA X"), that Sun's father knew that Jin was having relations with her - and ordered a hit on Jin (which makes you wonder if he would have done the same in Reality #1, had Oceanic 815 safely landed in LAX), and that sometimes the universe just wants some people to have only one eye (sorry Patchy)... and we kept our streak alive with each character looking into a mirror during their Flash Sideways.

I have to assume this is all building to something (like maybe the characters from Reality #1 will eventually "jump" to their consciousness in Reality #2 at these mirror moments?) - but just like the Kate and Sawyer Flash Sideways storyline, this week ended with a bit of a cliffhanger, so we'll definitely have to revisit this one at some point in the future.

Go Dayton Flyers! Finally, the biggest news of the evening is that the Dayton Flyers continued their quest for an NIT championship by hanging on to defeat Ole Miss. The Championship game is Thursday night at 7:00 pm. Come on Flyers! I want a new banner hanging in UD Arena!

Okay, that's all I got. Do I really need to do an analysis of this episode? You guys better post some good questions - because right now, this definitely feels like a super straightforward setup episode without a lot to dissect.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Lost - "The Package"

This might be the shortest Blog of all-time thanks to the good folks at Time Warner Cable.

Conveniently, my internet has been periodically dropping for 6-8 hours at a time for the past few days. It's honestly a Christmas Miracle that I was able to get my "Ab Aeterno" Analysis up during one of the "up times" over the weekend. So now that my Internet is finally back up (for who knows how long), I'm finally able to grab the press release for "The Package" and start thinking about it.

Here we go, quick and dirty...

Episode Title: “The Package”

Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: As is the tradition this season, the "package" will refer to two things - the "package" that Jin has to deliver in the Flash Sideways (which will either be the watch he had in his bag, the money, or both), and the "package" that Charles Widmore has brought back to the Island in the locked room of his submarine… and I'm betting that "package" is Desmond. Both storylines will involve delivering this package to an awaiting party - which makes me fear what is about to happen to Desmond on the Island, why Widmore brought him there, and who might be wanting him. We know that "The Island" isn't done with him - but does that mean Richard, SmokeLocke, or some other entity on the Island?

Guest Stars: Alan Dale as Charles Widmore, Kevin Durand as Keamy, Anthony Azizi as Omar, Andrew Divoff as Mikhail Bakunin, Sheila Kelley as Zoe, Fred Koehler as Seamus, Chad Donella as desk clerk, Natalie Garcia Fryman as Ms. Kendall, and Larry Joshua as Burditt.

Guest Star Breakdown: We're going to see the other side of the Sayid Flash Sideways, so it's logical to include Keamy, Omar, and the rest of the guest stars from his episode. We've also got Charles Widmore which means we'll see a little more of his storyline. The only new guest star that jumps out is good ol' Patchy - "Mikhail Bakunin" (now you see why we call him Patchy?)… but I'm guessing he shows up in a non-critical Flash Sideways manner in the episode, since the last time we saw him he was blowing himself up outside The Looking Glass.

Episode Description: Sun and Jin desperately continue their search for one another, and Locke confronts his enemy.

Episode Breakdown: When we last saw Sun, she was sitting around the campfire on the beach with Jack, Ilana, Ben, Alpert, and Frank. When we last saw Jin, he was following SmokeLocke into the Jungle, after Sawyer had promised him that he wouldn't leave the Island without Sun. It seems to me that an interaction between Sun and Jin would likely coincide with a meeting of Team Jacob and Team SmokeLocke, but it feels a little too soon for that big confrontation, doesn't it? With Jin still nursing an injured ankle, I have a hard time believing he would go trekking off into the Jungle to find Sun - so I'm going to guess that it's Sun that leaves to find Jin… probably as a result of being tricked / convinced by SmokeLocke. Sun and Jin represent one of the few chances any of our characters have for a truly happy ending, so I would be surprised if anything tragic happened to prevent that from coming true - but this is Lost we're talking about, and based on my latest theory (see below), I'm gearing up for the most depressing finale of all time.

The Sun and Jin reunion is all well and good - but it's the second half of the episode preview that has me excited for this week. Locke (SmokeLocke) confronts his enemy! This means we'll get confirmation about who his enemy actually is! Is it Charles Widmore? Ilana? Desmond? This is a fairly big reveal, since it may help us understand which side Team Widmore is on in this "battle for the Island" and if SmokeLocke truly has anyone to fear or if there is anyone who can stop him, seeing as how he's been pretty invincible thus far this season.

That's it - I'm posting it before the Internet drops again. Here's hoping it's back for Instant Reactions tomorrow night or I might be posting them from my Blackberry. Hello terrible formatting and misspelled words galore.

Tuesday Night Viewing Schedule:

7:00 pm (ESPN2) - Dayton Flyers vs. Ole Miss
9:00 pm (ABC) - Lost

Happy Losting!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Ab Aeterno" Analysis!

The fundamental theme of Lost, from the very start, has been redemption. The series opened with a group of strangers – all of whom had pretty troubled / tragic pasts, ending up on an Island where they had a chance to start fresh. In the third hour of the series, “Tabula Rasa”, Jack told Kate that their past lives were no longer important… and that they “all died” when their plane crashed. This week, we saw Jacob tell Richard that he brings people to the Island to prove to Anti-Jacob that people can be good – and that once they arrive on the Island, their past doesn’t matter.

In effect, Lost Island offers the chance to put your past behind you and start over – to find out if you have the inner-strength to let your past go, if you could do better the second time around. That’s what Jacob is hoping for – that in this scenario people will choose good over evil. On the other hand, Anti-Jacob has hundreds of years of evidence to backup his argument – that regardless of the fresh start, even if people are given a new start, they’ll still corrupt, kill, and end up evil.

In the comments for this week’s episode, I found a lot of people complaining that the Lost storyline we’ve been following for the past five seasons has been reduced to a battle between two god-like creatures – one of whom is “pure evil”, and that nothing in the first five seasons really matters. But they’re kinda missing the point. Lost has always been about redemption. The introduction of Jacob and Anti-Jacob has simply introduced physical manifestations for the “good” and “evil” we’ve always been talking about. Rather than our Survivors choosing to make good or bad decisions in their personal lives, they are now choosing to follow a good or bad entity.

Lost is still about what it has always been about – what happens to a group of flawed individuals who are given the chance to redeem themselves. Only now instead of just worrying about the personal outcome for each Survivor, their actions and decisions just might save or destroy the world.

Now that’s what you call “raising the stakes”.

In The Beginning. During my Instant Reactions, I jotted down a few examples of one of my long-standing theories about Lost – that although JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof claim they had the first five or six seasons of Lost planned from the start, they still wrote the first season in a way that they could wrap a shortened version of the same story up in one year, just in case the show was unsuccessful and not renewed for a second season.

What I did this week was go through an episode by episode review of Season One to find parallels between the first season of Lost and the last season of Lost – and I was pretty surprised to see how many there were. Why did I do this? I think a lot of us have built up a lot of questions and “Lost baggage” over the past five seasons, where the writers have created such a mountain of unanswered questions that we obsess over some of the more minor ones instead of seeing the “big picture” stuff we should really be caring about. By looking at Season One, I’m hoping we have a better understanding of Season Six – and if we’re really lucky, maybe it’ll even help us predict where this final season of Lost is headed.

Queue the Lost flashback whoosh…

In the first episode of Lost, Shannon translated CFL’s message being broadcast from the radio tower to “I'm alone now, on the island alone. Please someone come. The others are dead. It killed them. It killed them all." We now know that she is crazy – that she was far from “alone” on the Island, and that there were a ton of Others living on the Island (that she was well aware of, since they stole Alex from her), and that she actually killed her team – but it’s easy to see how the writers could have changed the story to have something similar to Alpert’s first On-Island experience. CFL and Crew crash on the Island. “It” (Smokey) kills them all, and leaves her alone.

In the third episode of Lost, Locke encountered Smokey in the Jungle – and seemingly was never the same again. Would it have been so far fetched to have it revealed that the “real Locke” was actually killed and everything we saw with Locke from that point forward was actually SmokeLocke?


In the next few episodes, we would see Locke mysteriously knowing a lot more about the Island than he should and setting up the other Survivors like chess pieces. He is instrumental in helping Jack find the caves, which leads to a split between the Survivors into two groups:

  • The Cave Group: Jack, Locke, Hurley, Sun, and Jin (along with some dead characters)
  • The Beach Group: Kate, Sawyer, Sayid (along with some dead characters)

Look familiar? It’s nearly the same two groups that we have today!

It’s also not hard to see how the “whispers” from Season One could have become “being claimed” in Season Six. In Season One, we had CFL and Sayid hearing the whispers. Now we’ve got Crazy Claire and Sayid as the potentially “claimed”.

Characters aside, there’s one other big thing that jumped out at me in reviewing Season One: Rousseau points out that the Numbers “brought her to the Island”, and rationalizes that they were also responsible for bringing Hurley (and the rest of the Oceanic 815 Survivors) there as well. Let’s see, some mysterious magical thing “bringing people to the Island”? Sounds a hell of a lot like Jacob, doesn’t it? In fact, you could almost trace the decline of the appearance of the Numbers on Lost with the rise of Jacob storylines. Like I said before, the physical manifestation of something more nebulous!

So if the Numbers became Jacob, what about Anti-Jacob?

Let’s think about the Hatch. Remember how Walt, who knew nothing about the Hatch, begged our Survivors not to open it? Knowing everything we know about Desmond and the Swan Station now, does that make any sense? No. But what if there was something evil inside – something “pure evil” that was being contained by a Hatch, instead of black ash? Then it would make perfect sense. Anti-Jacob is leading Locke on a mission to open the Hatch to release the evil.

By the end of the first season, everything was building towards a battle / debate between Jack and Locke about opening that Hatch. Jack was even making promises about killing Locke. We’ve seen that same tension bubble up on numerous occasions over the years, so it would make sense that we’re going to see it happen one final time as we speed towards the series finale.

In short – in the first season, we had two opposing forces on the Island dividing up our Survivors in a battle between possibly releasing evil into the world… unless our view of “good” and “evil” is being incorrectly skewed by what we’re being told by a number of characters known for lying to reach their own goals.

Sound familiar?

While the previous four seasons have definitely enhanced the storyline, our understanding of the characters (and the Island), added fantastic new characters and sub-storylines, and infinitely raised the stakes of the actions our Survivors take on the Island, in the end I think it all boils down to the same thing – our Survivors dividing up into two groups, each believing their side is “right” and then seeing how it all plays out when they make the decision to open the Hatch / blow up the Island / pop the cork (that sounds dirty).


Of course the only problem with this is that from the start, I have been calling for the finale of Lost to pull the rug out from under us and reveal that what we thought was “good” is actually “bad” and vice versa. For that to be the case in this final season, it would mean that Anti-Jacob is actually the good guy and Jacob is actually the bad guy… and I have a really hard time justifying that logic. But in the end, it’s gotta come down to Locke on one side and Jack on the other, with a big decision at hand… and potentially the fate of the world at stake.

Okay, that was a fun exercise. But wasn’t there a Lost episode this week that needs analyzing?

Jacob. I have to admit, I thought long and hard about exactly who or what Jacob is after this week’s episode – and I still have no idea. Here’s what doesn’t add up – it seems like he was on the Island as a child (based on the bloody Young Jacob that SmokeLocke saw earlier this season) – but then aged until the point that we see in his appearance today. So he must have gained this eternal life at some point after arriving on the Island. Could it be that he had a similar experience to Richard Alpert and met some mysterious being on the Island who gave him this “gift”? But then what happened to this original Jacob on the Island? Were Jacob and Anti-Jacob part of their own “loophole” scheme after they arrived on the Island, with each then assuming the roles of two former god-like beings on the Island? He told Alpert that he couldn’t forgive his sins or bring his wife back from the dead – but he did have the ability to grant everlasting life. He’s not God – but he has the power to make people live forever. What does that make him? Where does his power come from? Where did it originally come from?

But what if Jacob doesn’t really have all the power that we think he does? What if he just knows how to “work the system” of the Island’s unique powers and abilities to make it appear as though he’s responsible for these magical acts? He tells Anti-Jacob that he is the one who “brings” the people to the Island… when really it’s just coincidence and bad luck that brings the people to the Island. We saw NOTHING to indicate that he had any hand in bringing the Black Rock to the Island. We know that it was DESMOND who caused Oceanic 815 to crash on the Island, not anything that Jacob did. For that matter, if Jacob was the one responsible for bringing everyone to the Island, why did he bring the US Military to the Island, only to later have his followers kill them? Why did he bring Dharma to the Island, only to later have his followers kill them in the Purge? Or, as we saw in this episode, why bring the Black Rock to the Island only to have Smokey immediately kill all the people onboard, aside from Richard, who Smokey spared only to try and kill Jacob? How do any of these actions help him prove humanity’s worth to Anti-Jacob?

They don’t. At all.


If you think about, the only supporting evidence we have to Jacob’s claims that he “brings people to the Island” (as he told Alpert this week) is that he touched our Survivors before they arrived on the Island. But we already established that it was Desmond that truly brought them to the Island.

(The opposing argument here is that Jacob brought Dharma to the Island to build the Swan Hatch and Desmond to the Island to not push the button, which means he really was responsible for Oceanic 815 crashing – but that still doesn’t explain why he would bring people to the Island only to have them slaughtered upon arriving).

Similarly, this episode made it appear as though Jacob “granted” Alpert’s wish to live forever by touching him – but what if he really just sent Richard to take a dip in a magical Fountain of Youth pool that’s on the Island, and that’s what makes you stop aging?

I guess what I’m getting at is that we don’t have any proof about Jacob’s abilities – at least not yet. He might just be a guy using the magic of the Island (which includes a lighthouse that lets you see anything in the world and a FDW that might let you travel through time) to appear bigger and better than he really is. If I had both of those abilities, you better believe I would be able to make myself seem like “god” as well… also I would be really good at playing the stock market.

Anti-Jacob. Then there’s Anti-Jacob, with just as many mysteries surrounding him. We saw this week that he had the ability to quickly kill anyone who arrived on the Island – aside from Alpert, who he scanned, and then saw a chance to use in an effort to kill Jacob – so why didn’t he wipe out EVERYONE who came to the Island right from the start? It’s not as though Dharma had those Smokey-repelling pylons built from the start. He could have killed them – as well as all of our Survivors – as soon as they arrived on the Island. But he didn’t. Why?

Again, you could argue that it was all part of some huge, really complicated master plan – that Dharma was needed so that Ben would be on the Island, so that Anti-Jacob could eventually use him as part his loophole plan to take out Jacob – but if Anti-Jacob really was aware of the list of Candidates in his cave, why didn’t he at least kill them when they arrived on the Island? Maybe I’m missing some subtle influence that a character like Sun / Jin / Hurley had in the loophole plan, but it seems like he really just needed to keep Jack and Locke alive to reach the same result.

I think this is where the “Touch of Jacob” comes into play. Rather than the “Touch of Jacob” bringing the people to the Island, I think it protects them from Smokey once they arrive there. This would also explain why SmokeLocke is going through all the hassle of manipulating characters like Sawyer rather than smashing them to a pulp. I guess in a perfect world, Jacob should have gone around and touched EVERYONE before they arrived on the Island to protect them once they got there – but apparently even he doesn’t have that kind of time on his hands.

Earlier we established that Jacob must have been a child at some point who gained all these mysterious powers – but Anti-Jacob’s past is even more mysterious. Unlike Jacob, he’s actually told us a little bit about his past… but that doesn’t make understanding it any easier. Here are his claims:

  • He was once a man.
  • He knows joy, anger, fear, and betrayal.
  • He knows what it is to lose someone you love.
  • He had a crazy mother that gave him issues he’s still trying to overcome.
  • He had his body and humanity taken by “the devil” (Jacob).
  • He is trapped on the Island, and just wants to go home.

The majority of his claims seem reasonable enough, and paint the picture of both Jacob and Anti-Jacob being on the Island together as normal people, living normal lives – but then at some point things changed and he became the yin to Jacob’s yang. Based on my previous “Jacob doesn’t really have magical powers” theory, Anti-Jacob probably blames Jacob for losing his body and becoming Smokey – but it probably wasn’t actually caused by Jacob touching him or snapping his fingers.

Instead, I’m envisioning some scenario where Anti-Jacob dies or is dying (maybe at the hand of Jacob) – and has his spirit claimed by Smokey – basically “becoming Smokey”. He’s alive, and he now lives forever like Jacob – but unlike Jacob, he’s trapped on the Island. Maybe living forever seemed like a good idea at the time (just like it did for Alpert), but now he wants to “go home”, which might simply mean to die, or become human again so that he can die. Perhaps leaving the Island doesn’t release evil to the world, but changes him back to a mere mortal, where he could finally die.

This would go a long way in achieving my preferred ending for Lost – where our impression of good and evil are turned on their heads… but it would take away the established drama and importance of this final season with our Survivors trying to save the world.

In the end, I’ll just say this – Anti-Jacob is clearly a “bad guy”. We don’t know if Jacob is really responsible for bringing people to the Island or not – but we do know that once they get there, Smokey has killed a lot of them… and that’s not good. However, is he really pure evil, or is this just a product of a very angry being that has been trapped on the Island for hundreds of years? If he was once a man, I don’t know that he could really be “pure evil”, unless the act of becoming Smokey was the equivalent of selling your soul to the devil – and at the same time becoming one with him.

The Cork. For the sake of analysis, let’s assume that everything is at face value. Jacob is good. Anti-Jacob is bad (“malevolence, evil, darkness”). The Island is the force that keeps this bad stuff in one place – to keep it from spreading to the rest of the world. It’s the cork in the bottle.


The interesting thing about Jacob’s analogy is that it doesn’t seem to be accurate. Based on the conversation between Jacob and Anti-Jacob it’s actually Jacob – or his replacement if he dies – that is keeping Anti-Jacob on the Island, which is why if Anti-Jacob can kill them all, he’ll be free to leave.

This means that it’s really not a big deal that the Island is at the bottom of the ocean in the Flash Sideways. All that matters is if the Candidates are alive or not. If they are alive, Anti-Jacob is trapped on the Island. If they are dead, all sorts of bad stuff could be spreading all over the world.

Here’s a thought – we’ve talked about our characters making a “deal with the devil”, represented by what we are seeing in the Flash Sideways – having their consciousness transferred to an alternate reality to continue living “happily ever after” even if things end super depressing on the Island in the first reality. I don’t really have the science or logic behind how this could happen, but I could totally picture an ending to Lost that features the last Candidate (and I’m picturing Jack) locking himself in some airtight place on the Island and intentionally sinking it as a way to forever trap Anti-Jacob on the Island and prevent anyone else from ever coming to the Island to help him escape through another loophole. Imagine how sad that final scene would be! Jack making the ultimate sacrifice of living forever, trapped under the sea with Anti-Jacob, in an effort to save all his friends… and the world.

Actually, that might be too depressing, even for me.

Richard Alpert. Finally, we should probably touch on the man of the hour – Richard Alpert. It’s somewhat fitting that after being told “the only way to return to God’s grace is through penance” – but he didn’t have enough time left in his life pre-Island to give enough penance… only to end up on the Island where he has spent hundreds of years in “hell”, doing what he thinks is serving some greater purpose against forces of evil. Sounds like plenty of penance to me. I think Alpert has one job left, and once that job is complete, he’ll get his happy ending – which is being able to die and join Isabella wherever she is (heaven?)… Alpert has to stop SmokeLocke from leaving the Island.

When I first started this Blog, I had a theory in my head that Richard might be the only person capable of “killing” SmokeLocke. Why? Because Anti-Jacob actually touched Alpert first and made a deal with him. It took Ben, a follower of Jacob, to kill him. It would make sense that Alpert, who was initially, temporarily, a follower of Anti-Jacob, could kill him. But then I realized that this would mean one of our Survivors would then have to become the new “pure evil”, and I don’t see that happening, even to someone like Sayid who seems to have lost his soul.


Let’s go back to my super depressing ending. SmokeLocke and Jack sitting in some airtight room at the bottom of the ocean, forced to hang out with each other for all eternity. I hope one of them brings cards.

So where does Richard come into play? Although he didn’t know anything about the Candidates or the loophole, he probably does know pretty much every square inch of the Island. After all, he’s been there longer than anyone else outside of Jacob and Anti-Jacob. I’m guessing Richard is about to take our Survivors to some new location of the Island that’ll be their home base for the final “Battle for the Island”.

We’ve got three potential “teams” on the Island right now (Team Jacob, Team SmokeLocke, and Team Widmore) – although Widmore might actually be on one of the two other teams. The goal of Team SmokeLocke is easy. Kill the Candidates, get off the Island. But what is the goal of Team Jacob? Killing SmokeLocke? Maybe. Trapping him on the Island for good? More likely.

Okay – I think that’s enough crazy for this week.

Until Tuesday, Go Dayton Flyers!



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Ab Aeterno" Instant Reactions!

Brian's One Word Review: Hell-o.

Wow. Ladies and gentlemen, we officially have our "purpose" for the season... and the series.

  • The "Man in Black" is the devil / pure evil.
  • The Island is a cork, keeping him trapped on the Island.
  • If he is able to kill Jacob, along with all Jacob's replacements, he'll be free.
  • If he gets free, it'll be hell on earth.

Oh hell yeah.

Richard Alpert. Wow - what a tragic existence for poor Richard. I was pretty surprised at how in-depth the Richard backstory was this episode. I was expecting it to "start" with his arrival on the Island, but instead we got his full life story, with a good half of the episode dealing with his life before ending up as a slave on the Black Rock (and Magnus Hanso). Initially, I was thinking "come on, get to the good Island stuff!", but in the end, seeing all of his backstory definitely made the episode far more powerful, moving, and fleshed out Richard's character more than I was expecting. His suicide attempt a few weeks back makes a whole lot more sense now. He's basically been in hell for the past hundred and fifty years.

Hell. Multiple times this episode, characters referred to the Island as hell - and that the people there are "dead"... but before you get all crazy with your purgatory theories (again), understand that it's all symbolic. The Island is "hell" because "the devil" is there. I've officially decided that there will never be a name for Anti-Jacob, because he is simply "pure evil". It doesn't have a name. Does this remind anyone else of the final season of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"?

The interesting thing is that evil still exists in the outside world. It's not as though by keeping Anti-Jacob trapped on the Island, the world is free from evil. It still exists. But I guess this is part of the whole "balance" theme of Lost. God leaves people to their own devices. He wants them to figure things out for themselves without his heavy-handed intervention. On the other hand, the devil would gladly interfere, which would easily tip the scales in his favor. So somehow, God trapped the devil on this Island, and put a "guard" on the Island to be keep him there... Jacob.

So, Jacob isn't God - although he certainly acts like it with his "why do I have to get involved, people should be good on their own" attitude. However, his actions in this episode were full of religious symbolism. Baptizing Richard by dunking his head under water three times until he decided he wanted to live, having "communion" with him by sharing wine, and giving him eternal life in return for serving him.

Yet even though Jacob obviously has some powers (like granting people eternal life), he's like the Genie in Aladdin. There are rules. He can't bring people back from the dead. He can't make people fall in love with you. No wishing for more wishes. Okay, maybe just the first one... and he can't absolve you for your sins. It was interesting to see how angry Jacob was back in the day, compared to his current calm, mellow self.

In the end, if nothing else, this episode confirmed for me that Anti-Jacob is "bad" and Jacob is "good". It's easy to point out all the bad things that have happened as a result of Jacob's influence in the lives of our Survivors - but fundamentally, he's just trying to keep evil on the Island and prove the devil is wrong... and that people are fundamentally good. He's not perfect (again, he's not God), so there have definitely been some negative consequences of his involvement in people's lives - but on the whole, he's trying to keep the world from going to hell.

Loophole Number One. Anti-Jacob tries to get Alpert to stab Jacob (before he can say anything and "trick him", just like Dogen told Sayid about killing SmokeLocke!), but it fails. People have long debated about why Ben was able to kill Jacob so easily - but maybe anyone could have done it. It's just a matter of getting to Jacob and stabbing him. He clearly knew that he was mortal (telling Anti-Jacob that even if he succeeded in killing him, there would be a replacement for him), and we found out two weeks ago that he didn't want to die.

On the other hand, Anti-Jacob seems like a far trickier entity to destroy. How do you kill the devil? How do you destroy evil? Apparently Isabella thinks that Alpert has the ability to do it - but what makes him different?

Isabella. Isabella was never on the Island. The image that appeared to Richard inside the Black Rock was obviously a manifestation of Smokey (who earlier "scanned" Richard in hopes of using him to kill Jacob). But her appearance later, with translations from Hurley, was a little puzzling. Sure, it was convenient to wrap up Alpert's story - but up until this point, we've been able to explain almost all of the "dead people appearances" on the Island as being manifestations of Smokey / Anti-Jacob. This one was different. Can Hurley really see any dead "spirit", regardless of when and where they died, as long as they come to the Island? Or was she really just Jacob taking her form before talking to Hurley to help Richard overcome his crisis of faith?

Parallels. Finally, did you notice all the parallels and callbacks to previous episodes in "Ab Aeterno"? First, there's the way that Richard "accidentally" killed the doctor and how Desmond "accidentally" killed Kelvin? And the end result of both was being "stuck" on the Island. Or how about the parallels between Jacob's speech to Alpert about not letting the evil escape the Island with CFL's lines in SEASON ONE about "I had to kill them - can you imagine what would have happened if they would have left the Island?" There were the callbacks to SmokeLocke's "it's nice to see you out of those chains" from earlier this season.

Lots of good stuff.

So where do we go from here?

Clearly, Richard is the key. Jacob may have told Ilana who the 6 Candidates were (Jack, Sun, Hurley, Sawyer, TBD, TBD) and to get them to the Temple - but it sounds like his instructions end there. From there, it's up to Richard. He's overcome his crisis of faith and may finally realize what his purpose is. He's no longer the intermediary between Jacob and the people he brings to the Island. Now he's the guy to kill the devil and save the world... or at least help our Survivors to do so.

Phew. Lots of words. I feel like we're due for another "overarching storyline of Lost" post for my analysis this week. I also would like to compare the similarities between Season One and Season Six, in terms of how you can see how the writers could have wrapped up the show in one season if the ratings were low. There's a lot there:

Sayid heard the whispers in Season One, as if he was going to turn evil like CFL's crew... now he's Claimed.

Claire was crazy about someone stealing her baby in Season One... now she's Crazy Claire.

Locke was drastically changed after a Smokey encounter in Season One, and we thought maybe he was taken over by Smokey... and now he's literally a manifestation of Smokey.

There's a lot more where that came from. It wouldn't have been as "full of a story", but I really do think the key to understanding the final few episodes of Lost is to look back to the midpoint of Season One and see how the writers could have wrapped it up at that time.

At that time, we were building towards a big showdown between Jack and Locke. I have to think we're building to the same thing now.

Wow. That's way too much writing for an Instant Reactions.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lost - "Ab Aeterno"

So it just dawned on me that I’m spending tomorrow night cheering on my Dayton Flyers in the NIT tournament… and the game isn’t until 9:00 pm. So unless I do this Blog post right now, it’ll never get done and the 73% of you who voted “If Brian stopped doing his episode preview posts, I would kill myself” would be really upset. I can’t live with all those deaths on my conscience, so here you go. For the first time ever, a Blog double-header day!

Remind me why my wife hasn’t left me yet?

Episode Title: “Ab Aeterno”

Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: Good thing I took Latin in high school! Just kidding, I wasn’t that big of a nerd. But good thing Wikipedia exists! What does “ab aeterno” mean?

Translation = “from the eternal”

Notes = Literally, "from the everlasting" or "from eternity". Thus, "from time immemorial", "since the beginning of time" or "from an infinitely remote time in the past". In theology, often indicates something, such as the universe, that was created outside of time.

Holy crap.

I suppose this episode title shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, this week is a RICHARD ALPERT CENTRIC EPISODE. For years we’ve operated under the assumption that he doesn’t age – and now we seemingly know that the reason is because it was a “gift” from Jacob.

The surprising thing about the episode title is how “past-centric” it seems to be. It’s “since the beginning of time”, not “until the end of time”. Why is that important? Based on everything we know (including Alpert’s own comments a few weeks ago), he arrived on the Island on the Black Rock. Which means Alpert wasn’t always on the Island in the past – he arrived there just like our Survivors. However, based on the gift he received from Jacob, he might be stuck there for the rest of time.

So what’s the deeper meaning? Get ready for giddy excitement – because if the Lost writers translated “Ab Aeterno” correctly – the title isn’t referring to Richard Alpert. It’s referring to the Island / Jacob / something eternal. Even cooler? There’s a chance it might be referring to the very last note about the definition – “something that was created outside of time”… like the Island existing at the crossroads of multiple realities where the normal rules of time and space do not apply! Could this be the episode where we finally get an explanation of the “unique electromagnetic properties” of the Island? Or understand WHAT the Island actually is, how it exists, and why it’s so important? Or did the writers just mistranslate the Latin title?

Here’s hoping. This episode could be huge.

Guest Stars: Mark Pellegrino as Jacob, Titus Welliver as man in black, Mirelly Taylor as Isabella, Steven Elder as Jonas Whitfield, Juan Carlos Cantu as Father Suarez, Jose Yenque as doctor, Izzy Diaz as Ignacio, Davo Coria as servant, Santiago Montone as prisoner and Sonya Masinovsky as Russian nurse.

Guest Star Breakdown: Welcome back Anti-Jacob / “Man in Black”. It would be pretty awesome if the episode featured a scene with Jacob walking by “Man in Black” and said “Good morning Larry” just so that we’d all have an official name to call the guy (also, it would be hilarious if his name was something as common and non-Biblical as Larry).

Seeing as this is a RICHARD ALPERT CENTRIC EPISODE, most of the guest stars make sense. I’m expecting a scene between Jacob and Larry both attempting to recruit Alpert to their own side (to tie in with SmokeLocke’s earlier comment about wanting “what he’s always wanted - for you to come with me.”) – but we all know who’s going to win that battle (sorry Larry).

The rest of the guest stars make sense as characters that would be on the Black Rock. Speaking of which, this is probably a good time to review the history of the Black Rock. Here are ten fun facts:

  1. It set sail from England in 1845 on a trading mission to Siam (Thailand).
  2. It was a mining ship, but some of its cargo included slaves.
  3. It is currently assumed that Jacob “brought” the Black Rock to the Island, per Anti-Jacob.
  4. It is mysteriously located really far inland on the Island.
  5. It is full of highly sensitive dynamite, even though dynamite wasn’t invented until after 1845.
  6. It is assumed that Alpert came to the Island on the Black Rock, but hadn’t visited it since.
  7. The Black Rock was captained by Magnus Hanso (the great grandfather of Alvar Hanso, the financier behind the Dharma Initiative).
  8. Charles Widmore purchased the Ledger (Journal) from the Black Rock at an auction.
  9. Sawyer killed Anthony Cooper inside the Black Rock.
  10. The fake Oceanic 815 crash was discovered by a vessel searching for the Black Rock wreckage.

Although most of the names of characters on the ship have a “Spanish flair” to them (Isabella, Father Suarez, Ignacio), keep in mind that the Black Rock allegedly set sail from England – weird… but not out of the question that the ship would have a semi-international crew, perhaps making multiple stops on its way to the far east. Here’s “Isabella”. She’s pretty hot. Maybe she’ll be Alpert’s lady lover back in the day!


In fact, the only guest star name that sticks out is actually the last one – normally reserved for some throwaway background character. This week, it’s “Russian Nurse”. Russia is nowhere close to the path that the Black Rock would have taken to get from England to Siam – so where does she fit in?

I’m reminded that when Jacob visited Ilana during last season’s finale, she was currently beat to hell and recouping in a Russian Hospital. Could this week also feature some Ilana backstory? If we’re learning the “history” of the followers of Jacob, it would make sense that we see both how Richard Alpert came to become a follower as well as Ilana. Maybe we’ll find out WHY Ilana was in the hospital and what information Jacob provided her. She seems to know a lot, and I didn’t see a TV in her Russian hospital room, so maybe Jacob just hung out with her for a few weeks and told her everything he knew – again, as a safeguard in case he died. From a storytelling perspective, it would be pretty cool to see the contrast between Alpert (on the Island but knowing nothing) and Ilana (off the Island but knowing everything) as two sides of being a “follower” to Jacob.

Whoa. This really might be the best episode ever.

Episode Description: Richard Alpert faces a difficult choice.

Episode Breakdown: The super descriptive Episode Descriptions continue! When we last saw Alpert, he was standing awkwardly to the side while our Oceanic Survivors had a slow motion hug-fest on the Beach. It didn’t really seem like there were any major life-altering decisions to be made at the time… and part of me thinks that this episode is going to be a little different than the other episodes from this season.

I don’t think we’re going to be seeing any Flash Sideways. I think we’re going to be back to good old fashioned Flashbacks – and I think there’s probably enough story there to occupy the majority of the episode. This makes me wonder if the episode description might refer to something that occurs in those Flashbacks – like Alpert deciding if he’s going to follow Jacob or Larry when he first arrived and was “chosen”?

If not, it could literally be anything. Even though he doesn’t seem to know a lot about what’s going on with the Island, Alpert still knows a heck of a lot more than our Survivors do, and could face any number of difficult choices about what to tell them (in terms of revealing Island secrets or suggesting a next plan of action), although it sure did seem like he was satisfied with just following Jack around for a while to see where his plans got him.

Either way, this episode should be pretty damn awesome. In fact, it’s so good that it can’t be contained within a single hour – so this week’s episode will actually be SIX MINUTES longer than a typical episode of Lost. For those of you in Eastern Standard Time (also known as “God’s Time”), it’s going to be on from 9:00 pm – 10:06 pm. Those in other time zones, do the appropriate math.

Six extra minutes of Losty goodness!

Happy Losting, indeed!


"Recon" Analysis

It’s the greatest two days of the year.

The Thursday and Friday of the NCAA Tournament are like Christmas and Lost Season Premiere Day rolled into one. It’s a tradition for me and my friends to take off work and drink for 12 hours each day while watching the games.

Why do you care?

It’s now Sunday afternoon, I haven’t started my “Recon” analysis, and I’ve got another 10 hours of basketball staring me down. Long story short, it all adds up to an especially short and crappy “Recon” analysis this week. The good news is – and I almost wonder if the Lost writers did this intentionally since they knew I had a busy week – there’s not a ton to analyze this week. Like I said in my “Instant Reactions”, this episode was an appetizer. It’s a totally necessary episode, but more of a setup episode than anything else. There were a few hints about some bigger reveals, and some natural character interactions and progressions – but other than that, it was a fairly straightforward episode.

Let’s do it.

James Ford. The Flash Sideways in “Recon” was pretty enjoyable. It was still the same old Sawyer we know and love… except in this reality his name isn’t Sawyer – it’s James Ford… and he’s not using his wit and lovemaking abilities to con people – but to be a cop. It was great to see Miles included as his partner, as he’s perhaps the only male character who can stand toe-to-toe with Sawyer and call him out – a nice reminder of the relationship that the two developed during their three years together on the Island working for Dharma. It’s a good reminder for all of us that although Sawyer has appeared in more episodes with characters like Kate and Jack, he actually knows characters like Miles, Juliet, and Jin more than anyone else on the show, as he’s spent more than three times as much time with them from 1974 to 1977. I’m a little worried about the way the writers had Sawyer linger when looking at the Polar Bear cages with Kate’s discarded dress inside. He belongs with Juliet! Not Kate!

Speaking of the Juliet, a lot of people were anticipating she would have an appearance in this episode, to show the other side of the “going dutch for coffee” conversation she had with Sawyer just before dying. Since we didn’t see it, does that mean that it was just a Juliet-Sawyer Fan Club dream that we all were hoping would happen, but won’t?

Not necessarily. Although I was predicting that these silly Flash Sideways would somehow intersect with the main On-Island storyline on Lost by now, since they haven’t, I think we have to open ourselves up to the possibility that they are going to stick around for the entire season. While there doesn’t seem to be enough time to feature a second Flash Sideways dedicated to a single character, there are enough loose ends in each of their storylines that we might see the final two or three episodes of this season featuring a “royal sampler” of Flash Sideways that feature multiple characters interacting.

If you think about it, we’ve got some established connections between Sawyer à Kate à Claire à Jack à Locke à Sawyer (though Anthony Cooper) and à Ben. We’ve also got some connections between Sayid à Jin à Sun. It’s not out of the question to think that the writers could “tie up” all the Off-Island storylines through one episode featuring each of these character connections.

The point is – if we are going to see the Flash Sideways continue throughout the whole season, there’s a chance that the “happy endings” for our characters aren’t going to happen on the Island, but off the Island. If they get a chance to jump consciousness from one reality to another, their happy ending might be the final scene of the Flash Sideways – not the final scene of the character on the Island… and for Sawyer, that happy ending would almost certainly involve Juliet.

While I’m thinking about it, let’s keep in mind that Juliet told Sawyer (and Miles) two things in the season premiere:

JULIET: “It didn't work, we're still on the island.”

JULIET: “I have to tell you something, it's really really important.”

(through MILES): “It worked.”

So she changed her opinion of what happened when the Jughead detonated over the course of a few minutes… which means that she was seemingly jumping back and forth from one reality to the other during those final minutes of life. For me, this gives us two possible explanations for how our characters could “choose” to jump realities in the end:

  1. By dying. Which would give Lost a little taste of the Purgatory Theory that was so popular in its early days. When you die, you jump to the other reality. But I still think this cheapens the deaths of all the characters on the show over the first five seasons, so I’m not a huge fan of it (see: Charlie).
  2. By being exposed to the super electromagnetic core of the Island. I could see this being the “pseudo scientific” explanation for how a character could chose to jump from one reality to the other – by getting too close to the “unique electromagnetic properties of the Island” and perhaps exploding something while there. Juliet just happened to suffer fatal wounds as a result of this – which is why she died while she was slipping from one reality to the other. But if there was a safer way to do this, maybe you come out okay on the other side.

Well, that all sounds like a lot of gibberish. How many brain cells did I kill on Thursday and Friday? Let’s get back on task…

What did we actually learn from the Flash Sideways? Much like Ben’s last week, not a whole lot. James Ford used the code word “LaFleur”, but instead of it being one of those “reality bleeding moments of confusion” like we saw with Jack, he probably came up with the name the same way he did on the fly to use to trick Dharma in 1977. It’s a name he’s used before. He likes it. It sounds pretty. It means “the flower”. Sawyer is sensitive like that. Similarly, James Ford’s brutal childhood past is the same as Sawyer’s – two dead parents as the result of a con by Anthony Cooper. Although this time, instead of becoming the man he hated (a con), he went the opposite route and is working to bring down cons (as a cop).


The interesting thing about this change is that for the first time in these Flash Sideways, we see where a lack of involvement from Jacob could have had a direct change on the outcome of the events. Without Jacob showing up at the funeral for Sawyer’s parents, he wasn’t there to give Sawyer a pen – which Sawyer would use to write his angry / cute letter to Sawyer:

"Dear Mr. Sawyer, You don't know who I am but I know who you are and I know what you done. You had sex with my mother and then you stole my dad's money all away. So he got angry and he killed my mother and then he killed himself, too. All I know is your name. But one of these days I'm going to find you and I'm going to give you this letter so you'll remember what you done to me. You killed my parents, Mr. Sawyer."

It’s a bit of a stretch, since it’s pretty likely that Sawyer would find someone else with a pen or write the same letter later – and also, we see that James Ford still wants to kill Sawyer, even though he’s a cop. But this is where I thought we were going with the Flash Sideways at the beginning of the season – seeing what would happen without Jacob’s involvement, on an earlier iteration of “Jacob’s Loop”, so I have to throw it out there. It doesn’t seem likely that this is the case, but this without knowing where the writers are going with the Flash Sideways, this is still what I would have done.

Yikes – this is way too much Flash Sideways talk. Remember when I said I wasn’t going to analyze them until we understood more about them? I’m a total liar.

Back to the Island.

Deals. There were a lot of promises made in “Recon”… and in an episode that centered around conning people, you have to wonder how many of these are going to hold up. Let’s review:

Sawyer promises Jin that he won’t leave the Island without Sun… kinda like Kate promised Sun that they wouldn’t leave the Freigher without Jin – and we all see how that worked out.

SmokeLocke promises everyone that he’ll answer all their questions… just not right now. Pretty convenient (both for SmokeLocke and the Lost writers, who can defer their answers to the show’s mysteries for another week this way).

SmokeLocke promises Zach and Emma that he’ll keep them safe… even though he just murdered like 20 of their fellow Others.

SmokeLocke promises Kate that he’ll keep her safe after apologizing for Crazy Claire’s outburst… even though he is the one responsible for it thanks to lying about Aaron for all these years.


Sawyer’s promise aside, it’s the ones made by SmokeLocke that I find interesting. Is he really going to protect all these people and answer all their questions, even though Alpert has told us that he won’t rest until he kills every living thing on the Island? Does he really think he’s going to use Ajira 316 to leave the Island, when it’s in shambles? Or is he just slowly manipulating everyone into a false sense of security and trust of him, only to murder them all once he uses them for all they are worth?

I won’t get into the big debate about good and evil here, but wouldn’t it be just like the devil to seemingly tell you the “truth”, carry out bad acts, but do it with a grin, comforting you all along? Likewise, isn’t it just like God to not explain everything to you, make you rely on faith and do the right thing even when the devil is tempting you?

Even though SmokeLocke is coming across in a very positive light right now, making promises to characters and sounding like he cares about them – I wouldn’t believe a word he said. He’ll keep his promises, as long as those promises continue to aid him in reaching his end goal of “going home”.

Widmore. Speaking of not believing a word that someone says, let’s talk about Charles Widmore. He claims to have not killed the surviving members of Ajira 316 who were still on Hydra Island, but can – or should – we believe him? This isn’t the first time he claimed innocence about killing a bunch of people from a plane crash (see: Fake Oceanic 815), only to later admit to the truth. Why would this time be any different?

The easiest reason to pin the big pile of dead bodies on Widmore is that there aren’t many other good candidates. In fact, I think that list begins and ends with SmokeLocke. Who else is left? We know what all our Survivors (with the exception of Alpert) have been up to ever since Ajira 316 crashed on the Island… and Alpert doesn’t really seem like the mass murdering type – both from a physical and moral perspective.

What about SmokeLocke? It’s possible that he turned into Smokey, dashed over to Hydra Island, killed the remaining Ajira 316ers, and then came back to the main Island to play dumb about it all. But that wouldn’t explain why there was the path of bodies being dragged away from the plane. Smokey doesn’t need to drag people around – he would pick them up and move them, without leading a thick trail on the ground. On the other hand, I also didn’t see a single gunshot wound on any of the bodies… or any real blood on their clothing. How in the world could Widmore’s Crew have killed so many without shooting them? Sneaking up behind ALL OF THEM and breaking their necks? Conversely, Smokey could turn into a giant smoke hand, crush their internal organs, and then throw them in a big pile fairly easily, leaving no blood stains on their clothing.


Hmmmm – it’s a toss-up. I guess the hard physical evidence tips a little more towards SmokeLocke killing everyone this time… at least for now. But let’s not forget, three years ago Widmore sent a crew to the Island with the instructions to kill everyone and bring Benjamin Linus to him – and although he’s bringing a different looking crew to the Island this time (and coming along for the ride himself), it’s likely that his intentions are still the same. Taking the Island by force didn’t work last time – maybe this time he’s looking to use a little more finesse… or bring along a secret weapon or two.

Desmond. The more I think about it, the more certain I am that Desmond is behind the locked door of Widmore’s submarine. Again, the last time we saw Widmore off the Island, he was standing outside the hospital where Desmond was being treated for the gunshot wound from Ben. It seems easy enough that after hearing about Ajira 316 from Eloise Hawking, Widmore grabbed Desmond, rounded up a submarine and crew (oh, the things that money and power afford you), and headed for the Island. Why does he need Desmond? No idea – aside from Hawking’s assertion that “the Island isn’t done with Desmond”, and that everyone Lost fan in the world has been begging for Desmond’s return to the show all season long. Desmond is special – and that could mean anything from “he’s the one who has the magic power to kill SmokeLocke” to “he’s the one who can go back in time and change the current events”.

No good theories here – but with the season halfway completed, if Desmond is ever going to come back to the Island, the time is now.

Aaron. Finally, we need to touch on the unexpected story that SmokeLocke told Kate this episode:

LOCKE: "You referred to me as a dead man. I am not a dead man. I know what you're feeling, Kate. I know what you're going through."

KATE: "And how do you know that?"

LOCKE: "Because... my mother was crazy. Long time ago, before I... looked like this... I had a mother, just like everyone. She was a very disturbed woman. And, as a result of that, I had some growing pains. Problems that I'm still trying to work my way through. Problems that could have been avoided had things been different."

KATE: "Why are you telling me this?"

LOCKE: "Because now Aaron has a crazy mother too."

For me, this strengthens two fundamental points about SmokeLocke that we need to keep in mind:

  1. He’s a person. Not that he was a person – but that he IS a person. Maybe he can turn into Smokey, shapeshift, and can no longer be killed by bullets or knives – but he’s a person. He had a mother, knows what it’s like to love, and knows what it’s like to feel the pain of loss.
  2. He’s alive. He said he’s not a “dead man”. Earlier in the episode, he also said it’s “kill or be killed, and I don’t want to be killed”. Which means that he can be killed (if only we could figure out how), and he’s more like Alpert (never aging) than some “god”.

I semi-joked in the Instant Reactions about this opening the door for Aaron to grow up, go back in time, and “become” Anti-Jacob, with the whole purpose of the loophole and his comments about “going home” boiling down to changing the past to save his mother or somehow overcome his “mommy issues” (PS – nice to finally see someone on Lost have mommy issues instead of every other character with their multiple daddy issues).

In all honesty, I think that’s a little far fetched. People like it because it draws Aaron back into the fold and makes everything about him in Season One far more important – but it doesn’t explain the vision of Young Jacob, the hatred towards Jacob, or why Anti-Jacob (as Smokey) didn’t act sooner to “save Claire”, if that’s all that it was about.

Instead, here’s what I’m thinking. SmokeLocke told Kate these things as a warning to learn from his mistakes. If you want to get all mythological about it, perhaps it’s a warning to not let Aaron become the new Anti-Jacob on the Island. If you want to keep it simpler, it’s more about Kate ensuring that she remains involved in Aaron’s life when (or if) they get off the Island, to prevent him from suffering the same psychological scars.

SmokeLocke is responsible for making Claire so crazy – for giving her something to obsess about that he knew wasn’t true to turn her into a soldier in his army, and maybe he feels a little guilty about that. Giving Kate this little piece of parenting advice might be his way of clearing his conscience and making things up to Aaron.

Okay – that’s all I’ve got this week. Again, my apologies for the crappy Blog this week – other priorities got in the way.

Until tomorrow night!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Recon" Instant Reactions!

Brian's One Word Review: Appetizer.

For those who don't watch the episode previews for the following week's episode that air immediately after the current week's episode - you missed out. Because next week just might be the most anticipated episode of Lost of all time.


There was nothing wrong with "Recon". It was a nice little episode - but compared with the impending awesomeness of next week, it definitely feels like a bit of an appetizer before the meaty main course of Island mythology goodness just one week away.

But we're not here to get jacked up for next week. We're here to discuss this week. So what happened?

In many ways, this episode felt like a setup episode. It progressed the storyline in a very necessary way - but didn't have any shocking twists or major action. Instead, we learned the following:

Widmore. Okay - so maybe that submarine was bigger than the CGI originally let on last week. Widmore's on Hydra Island with a full crew, Smokey-repelling pylons, and something (or someone) locked away on his submarine. Of course, everyone is going to bank on Desmond being locked behind Door #1 - and with only 10 episodes of Lost left, I've got to admit it makes the most sense. Although, given that Widmore located and traveled to the Island over the course of one week, it' snot totally out of the question that Desmond could do the same at some point in the future... it's just not likely. He promised Penny he would never go back to the Island. All the people who may have had the power to convince him to change his mind are back on the Island. The only logical way to get Desmond back to the Island is to bring him against his will, which is exactly what Widmore could have done.


What about Widmore himself? The fact that he's setting up the pylons and making deals with Sawyer to "kill SmokeLocke", it certainly casts some doubt that he's working on Team SmokeLocke. Instead, it is looking more and more like he's on a team of his own - Team Widmore, who is there to kill everyone and claim the Island for themselves. So we've got...

Team Jacob - wants to protect the Island from... something.
Team SmokeLocke - wants to leave the Island.
Team Widmore - wants to claim the Island as his own.

The other interesting thing is that Widmore made a comment about "how little Sawyer knew". It's totally possible that our views of Widmore are being skewed by the fact that everything we know about him has come from Ben (who hates him) or SmokeLocke (who seemingly is an enemy as well). Then again, he originally told people that Ben sunk the fake Oceanic 815, and we later found out that he was actually the one responsible.

I'm going to defer to the fundamental rule of television - don't trust old, rich, white guys. In my mind, Widmore will always be Caleb Nichol from the OC - and he was bad news.

SmokeLocke. A few weeks ago, we learned that Anti-Jacob used to be a man - a man who loved and lost. This week, we learned that he had a crazy mother, who is somehow responsible for making him the way that he is... and he's still trying to overcome the damage she caused hundreds of years ago. Yikes.

For those hoping for a "big loop" theory on Lost, you'll want to start wondering if somehow Aaron becomes Anti-Jacob. Both have crazy mothers, it would explain why Aaron was so important in Season One, and it's a pretty logical explanation for why the writers have waited so long to reveal the name of Anti-Jacob. He's Aaron.

For this to be the case, there would have to be some really weird time travel stuff going on - so I'm not sold on it. But the writers definitely dropped some hints that they want us to be thinking about this possibility.

In other news, it's a little creepy how comforting SmokeLocke is to all the people who are following him. He's making promises left and right, generally trying to keep the peace, and seems forthcoming with information (at least on the surface). The writers are doing a good job of taking him from "evil incarnate" to a shade of gray where I'm wondering if maybe he's not all bad - but is really just a guy who's been stuck on the Island for a really long time, and wants to go home.

If you take nothing else away from this episode, take away the awesomeness of SmokeLocke throwing Claire off Kate and slapping her. That's something that most viewers of Lost have wanted to do for years now - and it was quite cathartic to see a character carry out our aggressions towards Claire's annoyances for us.

Sawyer. Oh yeah, this was a Sawyer episode, wasn't it? I loved the initial Flash Sideways, which was a direct play on one of Sawyer's original cons - only this time, the tables were turned and he actually was a cop. It was great to see Miles and Sawyer (who formerly worked security in Dharma together) as buddy cops. But after that, there wasn't a whole lot to the Off-Island action. Sawyer made a minor change (or deal with the devil) to choose good over evil after the death of his parents, but otherwise he's the same tortured soul.

On the Island, Sawyer's conversation with Kate revealed that he's not on Team Jacob, Team SmokeLocke, or Team Widmore... he's on Team Sawyer - and he's only concerned with getting himself (and Kate, and probably their other friends) off the Island. He doesn't care who wins or loses, or who ends up with the Island - as long as he ends up off of it.

Here's where it would be really nice if we figured out what the big danger of the season is, and why it's important for our Survivors to actually save the Island instead of leaving it... it would make these decisions carry a lot more meaning. Get on it, Lost writers!

There was one other interesting tidbit - Miles' father, Pierre Chang, works at a museum in Reality #2. Given that he was right next to the Swan Station when the Incident occurred, it's impossible to think that he got off the Island before the Jughead went off - which means we can definitely put to rest the notion that the Jughead somehow caused this Alternate Reality... which means people can stop coming up with ridiculous explanations for how that event in 1977 changed the lives of our Survivors so drastically (like the butterfly effect). This Alternate Reality has ALWAYS existed, and is in no way related to the Incident... at least in my mind.

Aside from that, there were a lot of scenes where characters should have done a lot more talking to each other (Kate to Sayid, Kate to SmokeLocke, Sawyer to SmokeLocke, Sawyer to Widmore) - hey, didn't the writers say that this season was going to feel a lot like Season One? They were right!

Like I said, an appetizer this week. But don't fill up on bread, because next week looks to be a Lost fanboy's wet dream.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lost - "Recon"

The debate rages on. Based on the early returns, the majority of people like my Episode Preview posts. We’ll see how the final results shake down next week, at which point I’ll decide if I’ll:

a. Continue doing them as always. Majority rules! This is a democracy!

b. Take a break from doing them and see what happens. Who cares what the majority thinks? (This is also known as the “Democratic Health Care Bill” option. Zing! Political humor!)

c. Bank on the fact that by the time the final few episodes roll around, they’ll be so devoid of any real information that it won’t matter either way. Let’s be honest, this is the most likely outcome.

You’ll see what I mean below…

Episode Title: “Recon”

Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: The word “recon” can mean a number of different things. Let’s check out the disambiguation on Wikipedia:

Recon may refer to:

  • Re-Con, a UK hardcore producer and alias of Mike Di Scala
  • Reconnaissance, a military term for gathering information
  • Genetic recombination units
  • Recon, the short film starring Peter Gabriel, by director Breck Eisner
  • Ghost Recon, a computer game
  • Halo 3: ODST (formerly Halo 3: Recon), a standalone expansion for Halo 3
  • Recon (role-playing game), a role playing game
  • Recon (clothing), the clothing brand of graffiti artist Stash
  • RECON, the River, Estuary and Coastal Observing Network
  • Recon the Montreal Security Conference
  • A unit in the Nintendo Wars series of strategy games
  • Recon.com, a social networking website for (predominantly fetish-oriented) gay men

The most obvious choice here is “Reconnaissance, a military term for gathering information” (sorry ladies, it’s not going to be the last one). When we last saw Sawyer, he was joining SmokeLocke in his mission to get off the Island with an emphatic “hell yes”. But compared to someone like Sayid or Claire, his reasons for joining SmokeLocke are purely pragmatic. He is done with the Island and wants to leave, even if it means joining up with SmokeLocke to do so. Let’s also keep in mind that although Sawyer knows that SmokeLocke is the walking undead – and definitely different than the Locke he used to know – he doesn’t know that he is “evil incarnate” (allegedly). Once Sawyer begins to interact with other characters and learn more, he could very easily switch sides, even if it means losing his chance to leave the Island. Given the choice between being a hero and saving his friends vs. giving up on them and leaving the Island, I have to think Sawyer will choose the first option.

Think about how far his character has grown since the first season. He’s gone from the “bad guy” of the group to becoming the head of security for Dharma, who had settled in to a nice little normal life with Juliet – conditioning his hair and picking up flowers on his way home from work. It’s a complete 180 for the guy, showing that given the right situation, he could be a law-following sweetheart instead of a hardened Con Man. Had things in his past been different, who knows how different Sawyer’s life could have been.


The point is, Sawyer isn’t totally “claimed” by SmokeLocke like Sayid. He’s not crazy like Claire. He’s a good guy who’s pissed off at the world because his girlfriend died. In my mind, he hasn’t really chosen his side in the final battle because he doesn’t know the players or the consequences yet. This makes him a perfect candidate for SmokeLocke to use for reconnaissance of Team Jacob.

Sawyer could easily stroll onto the beach and be greeted with welcome arms from Team Jacob. They would simply think that he had to storm off and formally mourn Juliet, but was now back in the fold. Secretly, Sawyer could gather information about how much Team Jacob knew and what their next plans were, and then relay that information back to SmokeLocke in return for leaving the Island.

The only problem is, why would SmokeLocke need Sawyer to do this? He could become Smokey, sneakily manifest himself behind a bush on the beach (just like he did with Ben last week), and listen to everything for himself. It’s gotta be more than simply gathering information. There must be some physical task that SmokeLocke needs Sawyer to complete… that may or may not involve Team Jacob at all. Maybe he needs Sawyer to retrieve something from somewhere that is protected by some mystical Island “rule”, keeping SmokeLocke out. Maybe he needs him to secretly sabotage Team Jacob’s efforts. It’s really hard to speculate exactly what sort of recon mission SmokeLocke would send Sawyer on since we don’t know the intentions of either party right now. We know that SmokeLocke is heading to the Hydra Station – but why? On the other hand, Team Jacob doesn’t seem to have any plan other than hanging out at the Beach, where the water is at their back for protection. They need a plan, and fast.

I have to think that we’re within a week or two of finding out these answers. The audience needs to learn what Anti-Jacob is trying to do, and what the repercussions are. The audience needs to learn how Team Jacob can stop him – or attempt to stop him, to build up the intensity of the storyline and give us a timeline to be working against. From a storytelling perspective, we’re getting pretty close to the midpoint of the season, when the story arc hits its apex and then tips – at which point the story begins quickly hurtling towards its eventual conclusion. Figuring out where we’re heading is not only the first step in understanding what SmokeLocke needs Sawyer for, but also for figuring out where the entire season and series are heading.

One more thing – since in my mind Sawyer isn’t totally committed to SmokeLocke at this point, there’s a chance he’ll revert back to his old ways… pretending to assist SmokeLocke initially, all the while actually setting up a “long con” where he turns on him in the end and saves the day (which I totally think is going to happen). If this is the case, the episode title could also be viewed as “Re-Con”, as in, to con again. Like I said, Sawyer has become a vastly different person during his time on the Island. But it might be time for him to return to his old ways – to “con again”, or “recon” SmokeLocke in an effort to save the world.

Guest Stars: Alan Dale as Charles Widmore, Rebecca Mader as Charlotte Lewis, Kimberley Joseph as Cindy, Neil Hopkins as Liam Pace, Sheila Kelley as Zoe, Jodi Lyn O'Keefe as Ava, Fred Koehler as Seamus, Allen Cole as duty sergeant, Mickey Graue as Zack, Kiersten Havelock as Emma, Christopher Johnson as police officer and Michael Green as lawyer.

Guest Star Breakdown: Thankfully, it looks like we’re due for another round of Widmore this week – which will hopefully be longer than the 30 seconds he was onscreen last week… and will hopefully reveal how and why he returned to the Island (for my analysis of this subject, please refer to the “Dr. Linus” Analysis in the next post). Then we’ve got the expected guest stars from Team SmokeLocke (Cindy, Zack, and Emma), some new characters that could either be featured in the Sideways Flash or as members of the group of Others currently following SmokeLocke (Zoe, Ava, and Seamus), and the characters that are almost certainly featured in Sawyer’s Flash Sideways – “duty sergeant”, “police officer”, and “lawyer”.

Which leaves us with the two most surprising guest stars – Charlotte Lewis and Liam Pace.

For those who don’t remember, Liam Pace was Charlie’s older brother and co-founding member of Driveshaft. He’s the one who got Charlie hooked on drugs, tore the band apart, and is currently living in Sydney with his wife and daughter in Reality #1. He doesn’t seem to have a place in a Sawyer-centric episode, and was never on the Island, so it’s safe money that he will appear in a cute cameo in the Flash Sideways action this week… but probably have no major relevance.


Charlotte Lewis is the anthropologist who grew up on the Island and later returned to it with the Freighter. She died during the time flashes of last season, with her death inspiring Faraday to try to find a way to change the past, which lead to the “Incident”. Since she died on the Island, it’s possible that SmokeLocke could “claim” her body… but it would be good and ripe by now. Remember, we don’t really know exactly when she died – only that is was between the time when the Four Toed Statue was built and when the well was built – either way, it was a long time ago. If she was claimed by SmokeLocke, she would have been walking around the Island as his undead warrior for the entire time that our Survivors were in 1977 and for everything that has happened since Oceanic 815 crashed on the Island in 2004… without being seen or interacting with any of our characters.

Possible – but not likely. I’m guessing we’ll find that Charlotte is happily living Off-Island in Reality #2, just like Alex and Ben – which won’t really give us any new clues about the nature of Reality #2, since she would have left pre-Incident anyways, at the request of creepy Faraday in 1977.

In the end, there are three familiar guest stars – but Widmore is the only one worth getting excited about.

Episode Description: Locke tasks Sawyer with a mission.

Episode Breakdown: What kind of mission? Perhaps a “reconnaissance mission”? This might be the most generic episode description yet, although I hold out hope that the episode description for the series finale says something like “The story of Lost is concluded” to really take the prize.

Not much to go on here, and we’ve already covered it in this post. Sawyer is going to do something for SmokeLocke… and he may or may not be secretly working against SmokeLocke in the process.

It’s been a few weeks since we last saw Sawyer, so we’re due for a heavy dose of him this week. Here’s hoping he continues to doubt SmokeLocke, ask questions about what’s going on, and make witty one liners about everyone he encounters.

Other than that, I think that’s all I’ve got for this week. See, I told you it was going to be "Option C" in the end...

Happy Losting!