Sunday, April 25, 2010

"The Last Recruit" Analysis!

Somewhat ironically, we have a full two weeks to analyze “The Last Recruit”, since next week will be a repeat of “Ab Aeterno” before the final stretch of Lost EVER – and there really isn’t that much to analyze from “The Last Recruit”. Yes, a lot actually happened – but there wasn’t a lot of mystery to those actions. Still, we’ll do our best to make this a worthwhile post. Let’s do it!

Christian Shephard. Undoubtedly, the “big reveal” of the episode was SmokeLocke’s admission to Jack that he was the entity masquerading around as Christian Shephard ever since the show’s first season. Although some are questioning if SmokeLocke was telling the truth, I think we have to believe him. With only five hours of Lost remaining, I don’t feel like there is time for the writers to have characters lying about any of the “big mysteries” of the show. Now if SmokeLocke had told Jack about this at the start of this season… maybe – but even then, probably not.

Knowing this, let’s take a look back at some of the Christian Shephard actions from Lost’s earlier seasons (courtesy of Lostpedia):

The first appearance, and one that Jack referenced in this week’s episode, occurred during the first few episodes of Lost. Jack saw visions of his father, but chalked them up to being hallucinations brought on by lack of sleep and post-traumatic stress disorder… until Locke encouraged Jack to suspend his skeptic nature and follow the apparitions. Jack did, and ended up discovering the caves.

It wasn’t until three seasons later that we got more Christian Shephard action (which really does make it appear as though the writers originally intended his first appearance to be a hallucination, then realized they could use him for another purpose). When Hurley got separated from the group leaving the beach, he stumbled upon Jacob's cabin. Looking in the window, he saw Christian Shephard sitting in Jacob's rocking chair – apparently talking to someone else, although it now seems that it was just Anti-Jacob taking on multiple appearances?


Next we had Christian appear to Claire after she may or may not have died in the explosion at the Barracks. She finds him sitting, nonchalantly holding Aaron, recognizes him as “Dad”, and then follows him off in the middle of the night.

Later, when Locke returned to Jacob’s Cabin, he met Christian inside, who claimed to be speaking on Jacob's behalf. Claire was inside as well, acting all weird and telling Locke “it’s fine, I’m with him." Christian tells Locke that to save the Island, he has to move it (although he pulls the same move he did on Jack this week – when Locke starts to ask some real questions, he asks him to forget about them and focus on the one true question. For Locke, it was “how do I save the Island”. For Jack, it was about his father. Annoying.)

At the end of this Season Four, Christian appeared to Michael on the Freighter, telling him “you can go now” after the nitrogen ran out – just before the bomb exploded. This is one of the biggest example of inconsistencies in SmokeLocke’s explanation that he is Christian Shephard – since earlier this season he told Sawyer that he couldn’t travel in Smokey form across the water (which is the only logical way he could have gotten to the Freighter and back).

The other big hole in SmokeLocke’s explanation is when Christian appeared to Jack off the Island during the Oceanic Six days. Jack was working late, heard a smoke alarm going off (irony!) and found Christian sitting on a chair in the lobby. Jack chalked this up to hallucination, just like he did when he first saw his father in Season One – and maybe we’re supposed to do the same. Because there is no way that Christian could have appeared to Jack off-Island at this point in time.

Back on the Island, Christian appeared twice more. The first was in the pre-Orchid well, telling Locke that he had to turn the Frozen Donkey Wheel and die in his attempt to bring the Oceanic Six back to the Island. The second was to Sun and Frank at the Barracks, revealing that Jin was back in a 1977 photo from the Dharma Initiative and telling her that if she ever wanted to see Jin again, she should wait for John Locke.

So, aside from the two inconsistencies off-Island (with really only Michael’s being unable to be explained), this explanation holds up much better than the reveal about the Whispers last week. When you add it all up, his involvement with our Survivors does seem to be part of a “master plan”. He had to lead the Survivors of Oceanic 815 to water to keep them alive in order to have Locke turn the FDW (although it took him two attempts to get this right), in order for Locke to die off the Island and come back in order to trick Ben into killing Jacob as part of the Loophole. I’m pretty satisfied (that’s what she said) with this theory aside from two outstanding questions:

1. Jacob’s Cabin – it’s been established that there was a ring of ash surrounding Jacob’s Cabin that could keep Smokey out / trapped inside. The line appeared to be intact in all occasions when it was found in 2004, but was seen to be broken in 2007 when Ilana's group arrived at the cabin. Since we still don’t know the original purpose of Jacob’s Cabin, if Jacob ever used it, or if it was always a jail for Anti-Jacob, it’s possible that this is irrelevant – but if it was truly being used as a jail for Anti-Jacob, and if the circle of ash was intact in 2004, Anti-Jacob couldn’t have appeared as Christian in Season One. This makes me think that the ring of ash has been broken ever since our Survivors crashed on the Island – which makes sense, as Anti-Jacob has been clever enough to outsmart the ring of ash other times.

(I’m a fan of the theory that Anti-Jacob was successfully contained within the Cabin for a number of years during the “glory days” of the Others post-Dharma, pre-Ben-in-charge – but that Ben, in his efforts to pretend that he was communicating with Jacob to become the Leader of the Others, accidentally was helping Anti-Jacob and broke the circle of ash.)

2. Why did he bother “claiming” Claire? Once she died – if she died – it seems like it would have been another potential Candidate checked off his list… unless she is part of some greater master plan.

Redemption. Is redemption possible for Claire and Sayid? This episode featured two scenes that hinted that there still might be a chance for our two undead Survivors.

First, we had Sayid’s meeting with Desmond. Although we didn’t actually see the outcome of their meeting, there is absolutely no chance that Sayid actually shot Desmond. You don’t kill a beloved series regular without actually showing it… plus Desmond still hasn’t carried out his “mission” on the Island, which will involve exposure to high amounts of electromagnetism. But the important thing here was that Desmond was able to draw upon Sayid’s love for Nadia to get him to do the right thing. He made Sayid realize that even if siding with SmokeLocke is the only way to return to Nadia, if he does horrible things in the process, he won’t be able to be happy with Nadia because of the guilt of the actions he took to be with her. For the first time since he has come back from the dead, Sayid disobeyed the commands of SmokeLocke, meaning that he’s more than a mindless servant.

Second, we had Claire’s meeting with Kate (and the rest of the Survivors on the Elizabeth). Claire is understandably upset about everyone trying to leave her – again, but Kate’s little speech about reuniting her with Aaron makes her give up her gun and join the crew of the Elizabeth. Unlike Sayid, there’s a chance that she’s doing this as a way to spy on our Survivors / sabotage them / turn them over to SmokeLocke in the end. But for the sake of argument, let’s say that this offered a glimmer of hope that normal Claire is still hiding underneath all that crazy hair.

Then what?

Even if Sayid finds a way to shake out of the power SmokeLocke has over him and reclaim his soul, it seems as though the only way to achieve redemption will be in sacrificing himself for a greater cause. He’s a soulless murderer in Reality #1 – and Nadia is dead. He has no one and no thing to go back to, even if he were to save the world and get off the Island. Meanwhile, he’s reverted back to his old murdering ways in Reality #2 – and even told Nadia this episode that they can never see each other again before being captured by the police. Things aren’t looking much brighter there. Out of all the characters on Lost, Sayid is the one person who will never get a happy ending – at least not until he dies and is reunited with Nadia in the afterlife (maybe).


If I were making a Death Watch 2010 List (which I actually will be doing), Sayid would go to the top of the list. Still, his death can at least have a hint of happiness if Sayid heroically sacrifices himself in the process… and maybe if it’s good enough, he’ll be able to atone for at least some of his sins in the process.

(Aside: I don’t know that I ever really put these thoughts into words, but this week’s episode again confirmed that Sayid died, and was brought back to life by Anti-Jacob… at least according to him. It’s an interesting parallel between the powers of Jacob and Anti-Jacob that it seems as though Jacob had the power of healing over the living, whereas Anti-Jacob has the power of bringing the dead back to life. Even if the two characters aren’t pure good and evil, it offers nice symbolism of one having the power over “life” and one having the power over “death”… which really makes you wonder if the Flash Sideways are some unholy union of the two forces. But I digress…)

Claire is a whole different story. She’s got the potential for a happy ending in both Realities… and yet I can’t shake the feeling that the only reason SmokeLocke would have kept her around for so long is to kill one of the Candidates – namely, Kate. It seems far too easy to have Claire pretend to be working with the Survivors only to turn around and ruin their plans / kill them in the end. Having her suddenly realize that SmokeLocke has been manipulating her and start working for the “good guys” is just way too easy. For all intents and purposes, Claire should have died during the fourth season – and up until this point, her contribution to the overall Lost storyline is that she provided a reason for Kate to come back to the Island. Now that she has fulfilled that purpose to the storyline (and to SmokeLocke), the writers (and SmokeLocke) could easily kill her. Even if they let her live, the path to redemption looks pretty rough. There’s no way she can be reunited with Aaron without a lot of psychological help, and even then, she’ll be living with the knowledge of all the Others she murdered on the Island. Yet without being reunited with Aaron, she’d have no purpose in life.

In the end, I come down on the side that Claire is going to betray our Survivors. Her only hope for a happy ending lies in Reality #2.


Flash Sideways. Speaking of Reality #2, in my Instant Reactions, I noted that no characters had epiphanies this week… which is somewhat true. No one had the full-on, memories of the Island flashing before their eyes, eye-opening revelation that the world they were living in is a fake, kind of epiphany – at least not that we saw. But there were two hints that there might be a little intra-reality bleeding going on:

While in the ambulance, John Locke used the phrase “I was going to marry her” when talking about Helen Norwood. Some people point to this as an example of Reality #1 John Locke speaking through Reality #2 John Locke’s body. But that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Helen Norwood was dead and gone in Reality #1. Why would Locke be talking about marrying her? If his knowledge from Reality #1 was bleeding over, it would know that she was dead, actually hated him, and was never close to marrying him. I’m chalking this one up to Reality #2 Locke thinking that he was about to die, and was lamenting that he wouldn’t get to have the wedding that was forthcoming with Helen.

When being wheeled past Locke at the hospital, Sun said “No! No! It’s him! It’s him!” when she saw Locke. Seeing as though she didn’t know Locke in Reality #2, this one does seem to be an example of Sun’s memories from Reality #1 bleeding over into Reality #2. Based on her apparent fear of Locke, it’s her memories from “present day” in Reality #1 – since she would have no reason to be afraid of Locke before he died. He didn’t become scary until he became SmokeLocke. However, it doesn’t seem like Sun had a total epiphany, since she didn’t mention anything about it once she came out of surgery. Granted, maybe she just hasn’t had the chance to talk with Jin in detail, but if I woke up and realized that I was living in an imaginary world, I think that would be one of the first things out of my mouth.

Sun’s ability to “see through realities” while hanging between life and death is consistent with what happened with Juliet. She seemed to be jumping back and forth between realities as she was dying. The same thing could have been happening to Sun – but since she was saved, she was yanked back into Reality #2 without having a full epiphany of realizing that the world there was a fake.

I know a lot of people are thinking that Reality #2 must be the surviving reality (especially if the majority of our characters have any chance of a happy ending), but I think the fact that we are only seeing “one way bleeding” is more proof that this isn’t going to happen. If the two Realities were separate but equal (meaning that both were actually “real”), you would think that the bleeding would go both ways. You would think that the Survivors in Reality #1 would be having similar epiphanies where they realized that there was a Reality #2 out there where things were totally different… but they aren’t.

I might be totally wrong on this, but everything is telling me that Reality #2 is fake, wrong, and going to disappear before it’s all said and done. I stand by my analysis from last week – it provides a tragic ending which will make for great TV as our characters give up happy lives to save the world… and shows how much they have grown due to their experiences on the Island. They’re going to save the world… no matter how much it costs each of them personally in the process.

You and Me. Once again this week, there were references that once SmokeLocke talks to you, it’s too late. You’re already under his power. You’re “with him”. I don’t think we can take these statements quite literally – or else everyone would be hosed, since I believe SmokeLocke has now talked to every single character on the show. However, I think symbolically, these comments are meant to emphasize SmokeLocke’s ability to trick people into doing what he wants, like the devil tricking you into doing something by using fancy words, smoke, and mirrors (weird - those last two are pretty common themes this season, actually - Smokey and the mirrors in the Flash Sideways. Maybe it is all just a “deal with the devil”!)

However, at the end of the episode, SmokeLocke himself used the expression in quite a different way – telling Jack “it’s going to be okay. You’re with me now.” Some have theorized that this means that Jack died in the explosion and was claimed by SmokeLocke – but I think he meant it literally… like he was going to protect Jack now from the attacks from Widmore. Also, Jack is “with him” now because he has no other options. Jack doesn’t know that Desmond is on the main Island. We don’t know where Alpert, Ben, and Miles are right now. Jack doesn’t know if he trusts SmokeLocke or not, but you can bet that he’s going to stick around with him and gather more information.


This is all good news for the viewer, since the scene between SmokeLocke and Jack from this week’s episode was one of the best so far this season. After spending the better part of two seasons apart from each other, these two characters should be spending the majority of the final five hours of Lost with each other – which is quite the exciting prospect.

The Island. Finally, there’s the chance that this week’s episode marked the last time that Sawyer, Kate, Sun, Frank, and Claire will ever set foot on the Main Island. Now that they are on the Hydra Island, taken prisoner by Widmore, I don’t see any scenario where they would head back to the Main Island. If they somehow escape (which they most certainly will do, probably within the next two episodes), they would attempt to steal the Submarine or take Ajira 316 to get off the Island. They wouldn’t head back to the Main Island. Per Sawyer, “we’re done going back” (a nice reference to Jack’s “we have to go back!” speech to Kate from the end of Season Three).

But to take this thought one step further, doesn’t it seem like all the action is heading to the Hydra Island? Is it possible that the season will wrap up on the Hydra Island instead of the Main Island, as that is the home to Widmore, the Submarine, and Ajira 316? Or perhaps the next few episodes will feature the destruction of the Submarine and Ajira 316 forcing our Survivors to return to the Main Island for Plan B?

(It seems to me that this might be setting the stage for a group of our Survivors standing on Hydra Island, watching the Main Island sink to the bottom of the ocean after Desmond does his electromagnetic mojo in the finale. Sounds like a pretty awesome looking final shot for the series… assuming it isn’t ruined by terrible CGI.)

Anyways, although our Survivors may have escaped SmokeLocke for now, there is nothing stopping him from grabbing Jack and heading on an Outrigger out to Hydra Island, is there? Jack is wounded and could easily be thrown into the Outrigger as Locke and Sayid paddle out to the Hydra. This would accomplish his goal of having all the Candidates there together – he could take the battle to Widmore and do his best to carry out his master plan, leaving Desmond stuck in a well. The only wild card in play right now is Team Alpert, who I can envision showing up at the last moment and blowing up the Submarine / Ajira 316 just in time before SmokeLocke can carry out his plan.

Where Do We Go From Here? I didn’t think we would have this opportunity this season, but with a repeat next week, it looks like we’ll have time for a “Lost and Gone Forever Bye Week Spectacular”. At the suggestion of FOB Rob Patterson, I’ll try to come up with an overall “ending” for Lost, based on where we stand right now and what outstanding questions NEED to be answered. I’ll also be answering any questions that you guys pose in the Comments section below (queue the QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED promo from every Lost commercial this season), and maybe even do some overall episode and season rankings. Who knows. We’ll see what inspires me.

This is the calm before the storm.

Until next week!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"The Last Recruit" Instant Reactions!

Brian's One Word Review: Escalation.


Brian's Thirteen Second Video Review:

It's a little bit funny that after a somewhat slow, deliberate pace for the first two thirds of the season, the writers seem to have realized "oh crap, we don't have a lot of time left", resulting in the most eventful episode of the season thus far - and things are only going to pick up from here. Both on the Island and in the Flash Sideways, not a single scene was wasted, and each were totally critical to moving the story along... the episode on whole even felt a little "rushed", if that's possible.

So what happened?

Christian Shephard. Last week, we learned the secret of the Whispers. This week, we got our confirmation that Christian Shephard has been a manifestation of Anti-Jacob all along... which is what most people were predicting all along (note: along with the Whispers, this makes us 2/2 for correctly guessing the "big mysteries of Lost" - maybe we're all a lot smarter than we thought we were). Although the reveal of this mystery was a little anti-climactic (just like the Whispers) since it was one character flat out asking the question and getting an answer, rather than a more natural reveal - at least it felt logical. If I was Jack Shephard, this would probably be one of the first questions I would ask a walking undead version of John Locke. Good work, Jack.

I did a quick scan of Lostpedia on all the former appearances on Island of Christian Shephard to see how well this explanation holds up... and I have to say, it holds up pretty good.

Christian indeed was responsible for helping our Survivors live through the first few weeks on the Island by helping Jack find water. He was inside Jacob's Cabin, which we learned had actually been a "cage" for Anti-Jacob (although when Hurley stumbled upon it, it still seemed like there were two people in there). He was the one who told Locke to "move the Island" - which in turn resulted in all the time traveling escapades of our Survivors... which in turn resulted in the Others thinking that John Locke was some sort of "chosen one"... which in turn allowed Anti-Jacob to take his appearance when his dead body returned to the Island... which in turn allowed Anti-Jacob to get close enough to Jacob to convince Ben to murder him... thus completing his loophole. It's a pretty impressive scheme!

In fact, the only thing working against this explanation is Christian's appearance to Jack in the Hospital during his time off the Island. We've established that Anti-Jacob couldn't leave the Island, but as I theorized earlier, maybe he could appear as a ghost-like being Off-Island... but couldn't physically leave? Or maybe Jack was just going crazy and seeing things.

Jack. Speaking of Jack, this week was his turn to jump off a vessel leaving the Island in hopes of saving his friends (matching Sawyer jumping from the helicopter in the Season Four finale). It's pretty clear that he's going to the Jacob's only hope for a replacement - and the only one who has any intention of staying on the Island. He's definitely become the new Locke - someone with faith that he was called to the Island for a greater purpose - and had the most logical line of the episode when he theorized that if SmokeLocke wants them to leave the Island, that's probably the last thing they should do.

With one of Widmore's mysterious explosions (what are those things being fired from, anyways? A cannon? A drone?) taking out all the other random Others, it seems like it's just Jack and Locke left on the main Island - which hopefully opens the door for some more sweet one on one conversations between the two of them... because the three minutes of discussion between them at the start of this episode was fantastic.

PS - Does this mean we just saw Cindy, Zack, and Emma die as well?

Sun and Jin. I have to admit, I didn't see this coming at all. In fact, with a few minutes left in the episode, I wondered aloud "what's Jin doing all this time?" without putting it together that a reunion with Sun was imminent. The wife loved it. I found it to be a kiss of death. Silly Jin, didn't you learn from Desmond's mistakes? Don't ever promise that you'll never leave someone you love / go back to the Island, because it's a surefire way to ensure that both happen. Part of me was thinking that one of them was going to be shot at the end of the episode immediately after Jin uttered those words. The wife is holding out hope that the two will leave the Island and reunite with Ji-Yeaon (the "happy girl ending"). I think it's a guarantee that one of them is dying before the season is over (the "Joss Whedon ending").

Also, seriously? Sun can speak English again because she was reunited with Jin? If that is the end of the "Sun gets hit in the head and forgets English" storyline, it's definitely the worst storyline in the history of Lost. I'm not seeing any connection between it and the bleeding of realities - so I'm not holding out hope for a better explanation. Nikki and Paulo, congrats - you are no longer the biggest mistake the Lost writers ever made.

What else?
  • Desmond - No way Sayid killed him.
  • No epiphanies this week, even though it featured the long awaited reunion of Jack and Locke in the Flash Sideways... although Desmond continued to be kinda creepy. First hanging outside a high school, then pseudo-stalking pregnant ladies. It's a good thing he talks with a sweet accent and is easy on the eyes or he'd be in jail right now.
  • It looks like Team Sawyer is in a bad place right now. I think they're all going to be thankful that Jack jumped off the boat so that he can save them later... or Team Alpert.
  • Is next week a repeat? The episode preview sure made it seem that way.

Hmmm - I feel like there's more to say, but that's all that comes to mind right now. If I missed anything, let me know.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Lost - "The Last Recruit"

Episode Title: “The Last Recruit”

Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: One of the subtle storylines running through this season has been the concept of SmokeLocke “recruiting” people to his side. In fact, if it weren’t for the pop-up video version of the episodes that were aired during the first half of this season, the whole concept might have gone over my head as well. But at the end of “The Substitute”, where Sawyer agreed to go along with SmokeLocke’s plan to get off the Island, it noted that SmokeLocke had claimed his first “recruit”.

Over the course of the season, his numbers have steadily increased, forming the group of people we commonly refer to as “Team SmokeLocke” today. Some are with him voluntarily in hopes of gaining something from the endeavor (Sawyer), some might be “claimed by him” and have no other option (Sayid), some are there out of fear of the alternative (Cindy), and some are skeptics who don’t trust him, but are along for the ride as the best option available (Kate).

All told, here are the “recruits” that SmokeLocke has claimed thus far:

  • Sawyer
  • Jin
  • Sayid
  • Claire
  • Kate
  • Cindy
  • Zach
  • Emma
  • Roughly 15 unnamed Others (who will almost certainly all die before the series finale, right? They’re basically fodder)

So who is the “last recruit”? At the end of “Everybody Loves Hugo”, we saw Hurley, Sun, Frank, and Jack enter SmokeLocke’s camp. Does this make them “recruits”? Or does SmokeLocke still need to talk to them and convince them to “follow him” in some way before they become official recruits? If so, then it seems likely that there will be one holdout for the majority of the episode who finally is “recruited” in the end – the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place before SmokeLocke can take his recruits over to Hydra Island and the next stage of his plan.

(Note: conveniently, this is also where Jin is – who is a “recruit” of SmokeLocke even though he was kidnapped by Widmore. So once there, finally, for the first time, all our characters will be back together – aside from Alpert, Ben, and Miles, who annoyingly went off on their own last week.)

The deeper meaning of the episode title is made a little more difficult this week since we don’t know the centricity of the episode – or if there is one at all. But since logic would tell you that things seems to be building towards a showdown between SmokeLocke and Jack (Jack-ob?), he’ll be the last holdout… the final piece to fall into place for SmokeLocke’s master plan… his last recruit.

Guest Stars: Andrea Gabriel as Noor “Nadia” Abed Jaseem, Sheila Kelley as Zoe, Kimberley Joseph as Cindy, Dylan Minnette as David, Teresa Huang as surgeon, Skyler Stone as EMT #1, Todd Coolidge as EMT #2, Yvonne Midkiff as receptionist, Christopher Amitrano as Burditt, Kasim Saul as guard, Steve Boatright as Mike, Mickey Graue as Zack and Kiersten Havelock as Emma.

Guest Star Breakdown: If I had to guess a centricity for this week’s episode, it would be “The Hospital in the Flash Sideways”, as it seems as though that’s where all the action will be headed in that storyline. Last week ended with Locke being run over by Desmond, and we still have the dangling storyline of Sun being shot in the background. I would guess that this week features the continuation of all these storylines at the Hospital, which is why Nadia is a guest star (still tending to her husband there), along with a “surgeon” and a couple of EMTs.

The other guest stars pretty much fill out the ranks of the individuals left on the Island, regardless of what group they are in. On the one hand, we’ve got Zoe and Mike (members of Team Widmore with names). On the other, we’ve got Cindy, Zack, and Emma (members of Team SmokeLocke with names).

The only real intriguing guest star this week is the return of Jack’s Flash Sideways Son, David. Sure, it would make sense that he could be included in an episode that would feature his father working in the hospital – but could this be the episode that finally reveals his mother? Although none of the more popular candidates are listed as guest stars, could this be the week that features the return of Juliet, Ana-Lucia, or Mrs. Phil Dunphy? Or will David simply have a minor role waiting for his dad to get off work to take him to piano practice?

Here’s hoping the Lost writers are intentionally keeping us in the dark about the guest stars this week (and from here on out, for that matter!)

Episode Description: Alliances are forged and broken as the Locke and Jack camps merge.

Episode Breakdown: Not a lot to work with here. The episode description hints at some people flip-flopping as the debate which “side” to join in the big “battle for the Island”. What’s clear is that the two groups are finally together, and there will obviously be some “growing pains” as the two assimilate together. There’s also going to be a lot of distrust, questioning of motives, and debate about the “right decisions” to make. But really, I’m just hoping that this episode signals the end of SmokeLocke’s waiting. He’s finally got everyone he needs (besides Jin), let’s get this party started. Bring the battle to Widmore, start explaining the master plan, and let’s see how it all shakes down.

Wow – surprisingly short and sweet this week. I’m going to guess this is a trend down the stretch, as the show’s creators intentionally lock down (pun!) information to maximize the surprise and enjoyment of the final few episodes.

So I guess with that, it wraps things up for this week.

Happy Losting!!/group.php?gid=117661664917077&v=wall&ref=nf

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Everybody Loves Hugo" Analysis!

To kick things off this week, I’d like to address a question that my wife has gotten from a few people this week (strangely enough, none of my friends ever really ask me about the Blog – or read it):

The question is this:

“How does Brian feel about Lost ending? Is he happy? Sad? Worried that his life will lose all meaning and purpose?”

What might be surprising is that I’m actually really excited about Lost ending – because it’s going to finally offer the payoff that I’ve been waiting for since the summer of 2004 (yes, I watched Lost illegally before it originally aired – so I’ve been waiting longer than almost anyone in the world). I understand those who don’t want Lost to end, because when something is really good you want it to last forever - but you have to realize that unlike almost every other show on TV, Lost was never intended to last forever. In that way, it’s much more like a book than a TV show. A book has a beginning, a middle, and an end. You wouldn’t want the middle of a book to just keep getting longer and longer to prolong getting to the ending. You want the middle to be important and to matter to the story, but also to serve its purpose – which is to get you to the end and conclude the story.

On the other hand, most TV shows have the ability to live forever. They can reinvent themselves from season to season, or at least introduce and close a new storyline each season. Usually it’s the audience losing interest or the writers running out of ideas that result in a TV show ending. Lost isn’t like this. While it has had “sub-storylines” that were introduced and wrapped up most seasons – it’s really been one big storyline from the start.

It needs to end.

Back in Season Three, the fans and the writers both realized that an end point was necessary to ensure that the story didn’t end up spinning its wheels, wasting our time on trivial storylines that didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. At that point, by taking the unprecedented move of setting an end date for a series that was still immensely popular and profitable, Lost accepted that it wasn’t a normal TV show.

Will I miss the show? For sure. We’ll see how things wrap up, but it’s definitely a contender for my favorite television show of all time – and without a doubt it’s going to be the television show that I spend the most time with over the course of my life. I haven’t kept track, but doing some rough math I would estimate that I’ve spent over an entire month of my life watching and writing about this show, and that doesn’t even count all the time I spend thinking about, reading about it, or discussing it with others.

While it’ll be nice to have all that extra time back in my schedule, it also introduces the big question for the Blog – what the hell am I going to write about once Lost is over? People are hoping that some new show comes along that is worthy of in-depth analyzing, but you never know – even if one did come along, what if I don’t like it? Lost was the perfect storm of a show I loved that also required a lot of time, effort, and thought to fully appreciate. Who knows if that storm will come again? Do I just start writing about random things? Do I just write about TV, music, movies, politics, or whatever else inspires me? That I don’t know – but I’m more than open to suggestions… because at the end of the day, I like to write when it’s something I’m passionate about. On the other hand, writing about something that my heart isn’t totally into (like some of the Blog posts over the years) is torturous, and results in craptastic results.

But back to Lost – I’m pumped for the ending. I’m excited to see what the writers have in store for us, and I’m excited to go back and revisit old seasons with the newfound understanding of the big picture. I’m curious to see how well the old seasons hold up after you know the conclusion – what mysteries seem less interesting, what hints there were along the way, and whether or not all our time and effort that we’ve put into this show was worth it all along.

So there’s your answer. If there are any other burning questions, feel free to post them in the Comments and I’d be happy to address them.

On to this week’s episode!

Flash Sideways. I have to start with the part of the episode (and season) that has occupied my mind the most this week – the bane of my existence, the Flash Sideways. The way that Hurley’s epiphany played out was somewhat predictable – he recreated a moment from Reality #1 that held intense emotional connection to him – his picnic with Libby that never quite happened, complete with a little smooching. If you think about it, that seems to be the common theme that leads to these epiphanies: emotional moments in Reality #2 that mirror moments from Reality #1. It sounds like for Charlie and Faraday, it was more of a “love at first sight” thing – and maybe part of that has to do with the fact that both are actually dead in Reality #1. But for both Desmond and Hurley, it was the recreation of a moment that triggered the connection.

Which brings us to Desmond running over John Locke at the conclusion of the episode.

Based on the same logic that we applied to Charlie and Faraday, Locke should be in the same boat. He’s dead in Reality #1, but alive in Reality #2. If he were to experience a moment that had an intense emotional connection to him, he’d probably have his epiphany and see the truth. Since his relationship with Helen was pretty strained in Reality #1, his time with her didn’t trigger it the way it did for Charlie-Claire and Faraday-Charlotte, even if perhaps the two of them were truly in love in Reality #2.

Which raises the question – what was the most emotional moment for John Locke in Reality #1?

I would narrow it down to three events:

  1. Getting pushed out of the window by his father, breaking his back.
  2. Crashing on the Island and magically gaining the ability to walk.
  3. Encountering Smokey for the first time on the Island.

While it’s possible that Locke could gain his ability to walk in Reality #2 (thanks to Jack, perhaps) – or encounter a vision of a black pillar of smoke (from something burning) that would trigger Locke’s epiphany, both of those events would take at least another episode or two to occur. Whereas with option number one, it could have already happened, allowing the Flash Sideways storyline to keep zipping along.

Desmond running over Locke with his car accomplished the same thing as Locke’s father pushing him out of the window – it was an intense physical moment, one where his life hung in the balance, one where he was lying on the ground, bloodied and looking towards the sky for answers. Heck, if you look at a screen shot from the two events, they even look like mirror images of each other!



If this is the case, John Locke just had his epiphany.

It also gives us some new “rules” for these epiphanies – most notably that they don’t have to be events that occurred on the Island, so long as they occurred at some point in the life of the person in Reality #1. It would also establish that they can be “close” to the event from Reality #1 without being an exact replica, so long as the emotional connection is the same… which you think would make things a lot easier for the remaining Survivors in Reality #2 to experience them.

However, it also raises one very big question: now what?

Desmond said that he had “something to show” some of his fellow passengers of Oceanic 815 at the end of “Happily Ever After”. Well, he helped Hurley get into a position to “see the truth” – but upon seeing that Hurley had his epiphany, he didn’t recruit Hurley for some bigger mission or give him any further instructions. Instead, he just drove away. Hurley has no way of getting in contact with Desmond, and Desmond has no idea where Hurley will go or what he will do with this newfound enlightenment. Unless Desmond is suddenly magically “all-knowing”, or Hurley is going to use his deep pockets to track Desmond down, the chances of the two of them reuniting in the Flash Sideways seems pretty slim right now. It was as if seeing the truth was all that Desmond cared about. With that done, Hurley is checked off his list and he could move on to John Locke. With John Locke done, he can move on to Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, Sun, and Jin.

So assuming Desmond accomplishes his “mission” with each of these people, what is the end result? Each of our Survivors realize that the lives they are living in Reality #2 are fake and…

  • …attempt to get back to Reality #1? I don’t see how that would be possible. It’s not as though they could detonate another nuclear bomb or create some other cataclysmic event. There’s not enough time, and without the magic electromagnetic properties of the Island it would probably just kill them all.
  • …appreciate the second chance at life that Reality #2 offers them? They appreciate the sacrifices of their friends and learn from the lessons on the Island, and vow to live their lives to the fullest, truly living “happily ever after”? What about someone like Jack, who has a “fake son”? Does he love him less? What about the characters who died in Reality #1? They magically come back to life? Seems pretty cheap and after-school-special-y to me.
  • …the collective “waking up” of all the Survivors causes Reality #2 to vanish, whoosing them all back to Reality #1? But what would that even mean? Our Survivors in Reality #1 don’t seem to have any notion that Reality #2 exists – so were it to vanish, would they even know? Would they care? I don’t see how this would tie back to the main storyline at all, and would make all the time we’ve spent in the Flash Sideways this season a horrible waste of time.

So I’m stumped. I can’t come up with any logical way for things to conclude in Reality #2 without seeming like an enormous copout – which is why I keep coming back to my best theory from last week, where Reality #2 is all some elaborate hoax put on by Anti-Jacob to keep our Survivors out of his way while he attempts to carry out his mission. The problem with this theory is that as the weeks go on, it seems like Anti-Jacob isn’t as all-knowing and all-powerful as we once thought… at least not powerful enough to create an alternate reality and put our Survivors into a Reality #2 coma.

So instead of thinking about the big picture explanation, I’ve tried to go about this another way – to think about some of the individual little scenes that could give the conclusion of the Flash Sideways dramatic weight and emotional importance. I can picture things like:

  • Locke “sacrificing” himself in Reality #2 by accepting that he needs to return to Reality #1, even though that means he will die.
  • Juliet and Sawyer getting one more day of happiness in Reality #2 before Sawyer says goodbye to her for good.
  • Jack understanding that if he had the chance, he could have been a good father, then returning to Reality #1 where it will never be possible.

The common thread in all of them is a return to Reality #1 driven by our characters choosing to give up something better in Reality #2. I hate to go back to it, but this all starts to feel like my “deal with the devil” theory from earlier this season. Maybe that’s still the best option available.

The characters are given fantastic imaginary lives, and all they have to do in return is accept them and let Reality #1 go to hell. But since they have all grown as people over the past five seasons, they take the high road and sacrifice themselves to do the right thing – to give up their pseudo-perfect lives in Reality #2 for the sake of the greater good for the rest of the world of Reality #1. That seems very Losty to me, and would leave me satisfied (that’s what she said!) with the Flash Sideways… but I still can’t quite figure out how the story would get to that point. If someone else could figure it out for me, I’d greatly appreciate it - because I keep trying unsuccessfully.

Motivation. Similarly, the other thing I’ve been trying to figure out this week is the motivation behind the different characters on the Island. What’s their end game? The only character with a clear motivation right now is SmokeLocke. He wants to get all the Candidates together, go to the Hydra Island, get onboard Ajira 316, and leave the Island (allegedly – the whole flying Ajira 316 off the Island seems a little outlandish to me, but I digress). How about everyone else?

A lot of the characters have general motivation right now – like Team Alpert wanting to stop SmokeLocke by blowing up Ajira 316… but then what? Being trapped on the Island forever with a pissed off Smokey who could kill them all in an instant? Some characters clearly want to leave the Island – like Sawyer, Sun, and Jin – but the motivations of the rest seems less clear. Miles had a chance to leave the Island in Season Four, but stuck around. Jack had a terrible life off-Island. Would he really want to go back to it? I guess what I’m getting at is that even though our characters are approaching this big “battle for the Island”, I don’t know what they’re actually working towards achieving in the end. Restoring the order to the Island and staying there forever? Destroying the Island and leaving it for good? Saving the world, even if it means sacrificing themselves?


I know the writers are intentionally keeping the specifics of what SmokeLocke, Widmore, and Desmond are attempting to accomplish secret to allow for maximum surprise at the payoff, but I have to fault them here for not building up the motivations of all the other characters better. We’re moving towards a big battle between the key players on the Island, but without knowing what each individual Survivor is hoping to see in the outcome of that battle, it has taken a lot of the drama out of the individual Survivors actions and decisions on the Island. Hopefully that turns around this week with most of our characters finally getting together.

As for this week’s episode, the one character’s motivation that I’m most intrigued by is Michael… or Ghost Michael. He says that he’s come to stop Hurley from getting everyone killed. He then tells him that since people are listening to Hurley now, if everyone gets killed, it’s going to be Hurley’s fault. Really? Let’s analyze.

Whispers. I wish there was a tag for “saying something like Brick on the Middle – head down and whispering” – because that’s totally how I just said “whispers” in my head when I wrote that.

This week finally offered the big payoff to one of Lost’s longest mysteries – the mysterious whispers that we’ve heard on the Island:

HURLEY: Hey, you around? Michael? You're stuck on the Island aren't you?

MICHAEL: 'Cause of what I did.

HURLEY: And... there's others out here like you, aren't there? That's what the whispers are?

MICHAEL: Yeah. We're the ones who can't move on.

Was it heavy handed and anti-climactic? Absolutely.

Was it what we expected all along and what makes the most sense? Probably.

I’m fine with the answer. From what I’ve read, the purpose of the whispers actually changed over the seasons when the concept of the Others changed. Time for a history lesson!

Originally, the Others were going to be a more primal people on the Island (notice how they appeared in ragged clothes, barefoot the first few times that we saw glimpses of them on the Island). Although the writers later tried to cover this up with the lame “we’re wearing costumes” storyline (looking back, seriously?), the truth is that the changed their original concept for what the others would be.

It seems to me that originally, the Others were going to be more of a primitive “tribe” on the Island that worshipped the Island, were “one with the Island”, and were semi-spiritual and mystical. The whispers were going to be their mysterious semi-supernatural way to communicate amongst each other. Somewhere along the way, the writers decided it would be much more interesting to have the Others be normal people that were brought to the Island. So the concept of the whispers had to be changed along with them.

What’s curious is that even after the concept of the Others changed, the writers continued to use them much in the same way as they did at the start. The appearance of the Others continued to signal the arrival of Others all the way up to the start of this season, when our Survivors were grabbed by the Others outside the Temple. I might have changed that philosophy and hoped that people just forgot about the details surrounding the Others in the first season by the time they were revealed in the sixth season – but it’s not my show.

Back to Michael – whispers aside, his conversation with Hurley paints the picture of a “trapped soul” on the Island. Someone who “can’t move on” because of what they did. You’ll also remember that he said the following:

MICHAEL: And Hurley, if you ever do see Libby again, tell her I'm very sorry.

We can take this one of two ways:

  1. The “ones who can’t move on” are only the ones who did bad things on the Island, and it results in their souls being in a sort of “purgatory” on the Island to atone for their sins.
  2. The souls on the Island can’t interact with the other souls on the Island, and are leading a really, really lonely existence there rather than it being a soul Island party with random hookups and all night soul keggers.

Since the transcripts of the whispers often indicate a conversation between multiple people (even after the concept of the Others changed), I’m going to vote for Option #1. If you are a bad person and you die on or around the Island, your soul gets “stuck” there. If you’re a good person and you die on or around the Island, you’re free to go. (Note: but if you die off the Island, you’re free to visit the Island if you’d like. See: Isabella).

Of course, the other option is that the Island truly is a purgatory for any “lost souls”, and everyone who dies – regardless of where in the world - as a “bad person” is trapped there until they atone for their sins. This would literally make the Island purgatory – but a purgatory that also exists as a physical Island in the real world that you can visit. I don’t think the writers will go that far, although with some of the talk of Anti-Jacob being “evil incarnate” it’s not out of the question to start viewing things like Smokey as the conglomeration of all these evil, lost souls angrily roaming the Island – and wanting to be free.

The other thing that is curious is why Michael decides to step in and help Hurley now. If he’s been on the Island since the end of Season Four, why didn’t he step in and help out any of the people who have died on the Island since then? Or given them some “tips” to help them along the way? Was this just a case of giving the character of Michael a curtain call on the show, or are things at such a critical state that it’s imperative that he assist our Survivors to help prevent the world from ending? Or is he just trying to use this action as a good deed he can put on his resume to prove that he has atoned for his sins in hopes of being able to finally leave the Island?

I think we’re all hoping for Option 2 or 3, but something tells me that Option 1 is the most likely.

Ilana. “There she was - handpicked by Jacob, trained to come and protect you candidates, no sooner does she tell you who you are, then she blows up. The Island was done with her. Makes me wonder what's gonna happen when it's done with us.”

Ben’s comments this week remind us that even though we’re talking about Jacob and Anti-Jacob as the “god-like players” in this game, they’re really not. Remember my business / religion metaphor from earlier this season?

Mystical Island Power – governing body of all those on the Island, the creator of the rules. It’s the unseen, unexplainable force that keeps order. (If you want to go religious, he’s “God”)

Leader – Jacob, the CEO of the Island, in charge of the “big picture stuff”. Creates lists and messages that he sends to his employees (the Others) to keep things running smoothly. (If you want to go religious, he’s “Jesus”)

Security System – Anti-Jacob / SmokeLocke / Smokey. The “muscle” on the Island that exists to take out trouble makers and judge those on the Island to make sure they are “worthy”. (If you want to go religious, he’s “The Holy Spirit”)

Secretary – Richard Alpert. The connection between the Leader and the employees (the Others). He takes lists from one to the other and provides necessary information to both sides. The Leader uses a Secretary like Richard Alpert to accomplish the same goal. (If you want to go religious, he’s “The Pope”)

The Employees – The Others. People who were brought to the Island and deemed worthy, allowed to be let in on some Island secrets, given some sense of purpose and happiness in serving the Leader, and getting a sweet life in paradise in return. (If you want to go religious, they’re “Followers of the Religion”)

I think it still holds true – although maybe we should now add a footnote that says “all employees are pawns in the game, and are only as good as carrying out their role in the master plan”. If this is the case, then our remaining Survivors are still in store for “big things” and will have a major role to play in the remainder of the season. This gives me hope for characters like Miles, Frank, and Ben, who haven’t really done much this season aside from a key scene or two – but it also seems a little crazy to think that the moment that the Island is done with you, it kills you. Sure, that seems to have been the case with Ilana and Michael – but what about all the other people who died, many senselessly on the Island? Was the Island “done” with Libby when Michael shot her? No. Was the Island “done” with all the Others in the Temple that were slaughtered by Smokey? No.

Maybe we should look at this from the other perspective. The Island doesn’t kill you when it’s done with you (which would make it a malevolent force). Instead, it PROTECTS you while it still needs you (which would make it a benevolent force), but after that you’re on your own. You can accidentally get shot. You can get eaten by Smokey. You can toss around unstable dynamite and get blown up. That’s on you. Not the Island.

The Island is fundamentally good. But that doesn’t stop people from being bad, killing, or just being plain careless.

Wells. Aside from the whispers, the other big Island mythology reveal concerned the wells on the Island. For one, the well that eventually became the Orchid, that houses the FDW (Frozen Donkey Wheel, the thing Ben / Locke pushed to “move the Island”) deep within isn’t the only one. Per SmokeLocke:

LOCKE: They were looking for answers. A long time ago places like the one we're standing at right now made compass needles spin. And the people holding the compasses needed to know why, so they dug.


To me, this makes total sense, and I like the way it starts to give a logical explanation for something totally mysterious like the FDW. It makes you wonder if there are other FDW on the Island, or if the FDW well was the only one that they actually dug deep enough to reach the gooey magical core of the Island. It’s clear that this particular well doesn’t go so deep – since the preview for next week shows Desmond sitting in the bottom of it. So why did SmokeLocke throw Desmond down the well, if it effectively accomplishes the same thing as keeping him tied up to a tree, which is how he started the episode?

Thankfully, SmokeLocke told us just a few seconds later:

LOCKE: You're out here, middle of the jungle, with me, not a person on earth even knows you're here.

Keeping Desmond tied up in the Jungle, just a short distance away from Team SmokeLocke, increased the likelihood of him being found – especially since we already have seen that Team Widmore knows where that camp is (since they abducted Jin from it just two episodes ago). SmokeLocke thinks that throwing Desmond down the well is a way to keep him out of the picture… something he definitely wants because he doesn’t quite understand Desmond – and doesn’t like that he isn’t afraid.

But as I mentioned in my Instant Reactions, this is going to be more of an all-time backfire than betting a kiss on making a hockey goal from mid-ice, because Widmore is actually looking for these pockets of electromagnetic anomalies on the Island. He’s got a map and he’s got Jin, who made the map. It looked like there were only a handful of these pockets on the Island… so it’s only a matter of time before they find him once they start looking.

As for Widmore himself, SmokeLocke once again brought up the “most likely” explanation for his involvement with the Island – that he’s only interested in the power that the Island could bring him (and, in my mind, the monetary gain that goes along with it). Widmore’s been coming across like a “good guy” in the past few weeks – but this comment was a nice reminder that the most likely motivation for Widmore is probably still something less than 100% altruistic.

Jack-ob. Lastly, the episode dropped a pretty big hint that Jack is going to be the “next Jacob”, if there is going to be one. I know he’s probably been the front runner all along (heck, Jacob even took him to the Lighthouse and let him sit and stare at the ocean for a few hours to try and make him see how important he is), but a lot of people have been theorizing that maybe it’s going to be Hurley. But for me, this statement pretty much seals the deal:

JACK: Ever since Juliet died - ever since I got her killed - all I've wanted was to fix it. But I can't. I can't ever fix it. You've no idea how hard it is for me to sit back and listen to other people tell me what I should do...but I think maybe that's the point...maybe I'm supposed to let go.

In short, he’s realizing that he needs to let go of his past mistakes, stop trying to fix everything, and stop trying to make decisions for other people… kinda like Jacob, who was pretty adamant about letting people make their own decisions – right or wrong – in hopes of eventually proving that they are fundamentally good. Sure, he might give a little push here or there, but he’s a “hands off” kind of leader – and that’s exactly what Jack is becoming before our very eyes. If he can keep himself alive for the rest of the season, I think the job is his.

Phew. That was a good one. For the first time in a long time, I’m actually pretty happy with the way that Blog turned out. But you tell me. Am I crazytown? Right on? And what should I be doing with this silly little Blog after Lost ends?



(PS - what's the protocol there? Do I become a fan of my own group? Or is that kinda conceited?)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Everybody Loves Hugo" Instant Reactions!

Brian's One Word Review: Boom.

The episode started with a bang (I guess we can stop waiting for that Ilana-centric episode now), ended with a bang (that might send Locke right into the care of Jack Shephard), and dropped a minor "mythology reveal" bomb as if it was no big deal in the middle (so the whispers, all along, have had nothing to do with the Others?).

Boom goes the dynamite.

So what did we learn this week?

Ilana. As soon as Ilana started haphazardly throwing bottles of water on top of the dynamite in the bag, I said out loud "isn't that stuff supposed to be super unstable?" With that, my comment was instantly addressed with Ilana going all Arzt on us. Thankfully, Ben was there to put her death in perspective a few minutes later. Ilana completed her "mission". It turns out that it wasn't to protect our Survivors - but to reveal to them that they are Candidates. With that mission complete, the Island was done with her... and got rid of her. Pretty harsh, right?

The theme continued later in the episode with Michael, who told Hurley that he "can't move on" because of what he did. So... it sure does seem like it's not so much Jacob who is all-powerful, but the Island itself that is actually "controlling fate" and deciding who is living and dying - and to take it one step further, that is deciding whose souls can find peace and whose souls are trapped on the Island as punishment for their actions.

Are we sure the Island isn't purgatory?

The Whispers. The Whispers have been around since the beginning of Season One, and we finally got an explanation for what they are... in the most anti-climactic fashion ever. Hurley saying "hang on dudes, I know what these whispers are" and then revealing that they are the voices of those who have died on the Island. I suppose it makes sense if you look at them as being these voices from beyond the grave talking about what was happening to our Survivors on the Island, sometimes trying to warn them about danger, sometimes simply predicting what was about to happen. I suppose based on the dead character whispering, some could be positive, some could be negative, some could be indifferent about our Survivors.

Still - if you go back and review what the Whispers have actually said over the years, some still seem out of place:

More on that in the Analysis.

Based on Michael's comment, it seems like there are some who were able to "move on", and some who were not. Is this the Island passing judgment on who is good and bad? Or is it more of a literal sense of who was able to come to the Island and leave alive, vs. those who died on the Island (or in its vicinity like Michael)?

Libby. Another week, another dead character in Reality #1 that "sees the truth" in Reality #2. This week it was Libby - who didn't need a near-death experience to have her epiphany, but just see Hurley and experience "love at first sight". On the other hand, it took a kiss from Libby for Hurley to experience the same epiphany.

IT's a little strange how the experience that sparks this epiphany changes from character to character. It's not something as simple as love - or else Desmond probably wouldn't have plowed his car into Locke (man, that guy just can't catch a break!). The real question is how Desmond has such a deep understanding of what matters most to each member of Oceanic 815 that he can give them a little "push" in the right direction to experience enlightenment (Hmmmm - a "push" in the right direction, who does that remind me of?). Both on the Island and off the Island (in both realities), Desmond seems to know more than anyone else - SmokeLocke included. How he arrived at this state of total knowledge is beyond me... but I'm hoping for an explanation of that at some point in the future.

Desmond. As for On-Island Desmond, he took a trip with Locke to an ancient well (although it didn't seem to be the same well that houses the FDW based on the preview for next week). However, SmokeLocke did tell him that there were a number of wells like that on the Island - and that they were dug - by hand - by an ancient people on the Island who were trying to figure out why their compasses went crazy in those locations. (Note: since the first magnetic compasses were around in 221 BC, the people who dug those wells - and perhaps created the FDW - could be really, really, really old. Like older than Jesus)

Initially, I was thinking that Locke was actually taking Desmond to one of these locations to expose him to the electromagnetic core of the Island in hopes of "cancelling out" his powers, overloading him with energy, or something else super science-fictiony. However, it looks like he threw him down the well simply as a way to get rid of him - at least for now. Why not just kill him if he's a threat (and not a candidate)? Is it just to keep him away from Widmore?

The bad news for SmokeLocke is that Widmore is looking for the same place that he hid Desmond - pockets of weird electromagnetic matter on the Island (remember the map with Jin a few weeks ago?) SmokeLocke may have unknowingly put Desmond in a place where he will quickly be found - or exactly where Widmore wants him to be... which makes you wonder if Desmond's "enlightenment" means that he knew exactly what SmokeLocke would do - and that was exactly where he needed to be?

One more thing - it seemed like Desmond was "done" with Hurley after he saw that he had his epiphany. He didn't come up to him and say "now that you see this world is a fake, let's go save the real world!" or anything like that. So what's the purpose of each Survivor coming to this realization? What will they do with this knowledge? These are the questions that will be keeping me up at night this week.

What did I miss? Another appearance by Young Jacob (maybe - was it the same kid as the first time? His hair looked darker, but that may have been the lighting), another annoying separation of characters (although conveniently, all the Candidates - plus Frank, who Ilana originally said "may be one" - are now together), except of course, Jin - because we can't have the Sun and Jin reunion before the finale, right?

Where is all this heading? Well, we've got three groups on the Island right now. Team SmokeLocke with Candidates, Team Widmore, and Team Alpert. I honestly don't know who is right, who is wrong, or how any of this is going to play out - but obviously someone has to get shot by Juliet at some point, right? I also find it interesting that it's clear that there is some serious advancement happening in the Flash Sideways storyline... but I can't figure out the end point for those either.

Good work Lost writers. I honestly thought by the time we hit the midpoint of the season, we would have some pretty good guesses about how the show would wrap up. But with six episodes left, I still have no freaking clue.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Lost - "Everybody Loves Hugo"

Episode Title: “Everybody Loves Hugo”

Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: Earlier this season, we had “What Kate Does”, an episode title that paid homage to the Season Two episode “What Kate Did”. This week, the writers are back to similar hijinx with “Everybody Loves Hugo”, an obvious reference to the Season Two episode “Everybody Hates Hugo”.

For those who don’t remember the specifics of that episode (read: me, before I want back and read the Lostpedia entry on it), this was the episode where Hurley was put in charge of the food stash inside the Swan Hatch, and people were mad at him for not sharing it / keeping it secret. The flashbacks featured Hurley quitting his job at Mr. Cluck’s right before being revealed as the big lottery winner. The episode ended with Hurley throwing a big feast on the Island where everyone ate all the food from the Swan – and in fact, everyone did love Hugo at the end of the episode for it.

In the Flash Sideways of this season, it doesn’t seem like Hurley has much to worry about. He’s rich, he’s well-known, and seems to be a pretty nice guy (see: his conversation with Arzt on Oceanic 815, offering to hook Locke up with a job, telling Desmond where his bags would be). I’m sure in the Flash Sideways, “everybody loves Hugo”. Keeping in line with most the Flash Sideways for our previous characters, this appears to offer more ammunition to my latest theory that the Flash Sideways are Anti-Jacob’s attempts to trick our Survivors into thinking this happy life is the one they should be living, rather than having them interfering with the real action On-Island. Yet just like Desmond being well-liked by Widmore, but not having Penny, I think Anti-Jacob missed the same ingredient for Hurley’s “perfect” life… and that is love.

Granted, it’s not like Hurley has some profound, space-time-conquering love like Desmond that he’s missing out on. Over the course of the first five seasons, the closest thing Hurley ever had to a lady friend was Libby – and that relationship lasted exactly two weeks on the Island before Michael shot and killed her. The two never even really went on a date together. But it still seems like the title will be a little bit bittersweet. Everybody “loves” Hugo – but no one person is actually “in love” with him. Hurley needs a little lovin’ too!

What about on the Island? I’m guessing the episode title will take more of an ironic twist – but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First the Guest Stars!

Guest Stars: Henry Ian Cusick as Desmond, Harold Perrineau as Michael, Cynthia Watros as Libby, Francois Chau as Pierre Chang, Lillian Hurst as Carmen Reyes, Bruce Davison as Dr. Douglas Brooks, Kenton Duty as teenage boy, Samm Levine as clerk, Jesse Smith as waiter and Archie Ahuna as Tito.

Guest Star Breakdown: Speak of the devil… and by “the devil”, I mean the return of two more dead characters this week! Last week brought us the return of Charlie and Faraday in the Flash Sideways, both with knowledge that things weren’t “right” in that reality. This week brings us the return of Michael and Libby – although given that Hurley can see dead people on the Island, the odds are just as likely that the two characters appear in Reality #1 as Reality #2. Either way, their appearances should have some substance behind them. On the Island, they could help “guide” Hurley similar to his visions of Charlie in the mental institution. Off the Island, they could provide two more characters who know that the Flash Sideways aren’t “real”.


The important thing is – just like Charlie and Faraday to Desmond, both characters have a lot of history with Hurley. If it weren’t for Michael, Hurley and Libby might have had a nice little romance on the Island. So regardless of if the action takes place in Reality #1 or Reality #2, everything these two characters say and do should make an impact on Hurley.

On the other hand (pun intended), Pierre Chang’s could very easily be a throwaway guest appearance in the Flash Sideways. Based on Miles’ comments a few weeks back, he seems to be working at the museum in LA X along with Charlotte. Initially I was also thinking that he might be another example of a dead character speaking “the truth” Off-Island… when I realized that we really don’t know what happened to Pierre Chang in Reality #1. When we last saw him, he was fleeing the Incident, albeit one hand short. But what happened to him from there? Did he die in the Purge? Did he leave the Island? Miles’ mother claims that he had been dead for a long time in “Some Like It Hoth”, but if Pierre stayed on the Island, how would she know? Chang is an example of one of those dangling storylines I never thought about – and maybe isn’t all that important, but it would be nice to find out what happened to him after the Jughead. He’s one of the few characters within Dharma that we, as the audience, bonded with over the years. I think he’s deserving of a happy ending – or at least some ending.

Episode Description: Hurley agonizes over what the group should do next, and Locke is curious about the new arrival to his camp.

Episode Breakdown: We already established that “everybody loves Hugo” in the Flash Sideways – but I’m guessing his newfound leadership role on the Island is going to lead to some people hating him in Reality #1. Think about it – to resolve the situation with the food in the episode “Everybody Hates Hugo”, his solution was to give it to everyone, effectively removing himself from a position of power on the Island. Hurley’s not comfortable being the leader – he’d much rather be the follower, doing his own thing and being damn happy in doing it. But now that he is the only person who can communicate with Jacob on the Island, he’s been forced into a leadership role, and it’s one that he has slowly been growing into it. He’s slowly learning to stand up to other traditional leaders on the Island (Jack) and doing what he knows he must do, regardless of if it makes him popular or not.

So it’s not surprising that Hurley will be “agonizing over what the group should do next”, as I’m guessing the instructions that Jacob provides him are going to be unpopular ones amongst Team Jacob. When we last left Team Jacob, they were planning on traveling to Hydra Island to destroy the Ajira 316 plane in an effort to stop SmokeLocke’s plans for escape – so it would reason that Hurley’s decision this episode will revolve around this plan. My initial thought is that Jacob reveals to Hurley that someone will die in carrying out this mission (finally giving us the other side to Juliet shooting the back Outrigger storyline, perhaps?) and Hurley is debating whether or not to try and save that person or not – but it could be anything along those lines. Hurley’s going to need to decide if it’s more important to carry out the mission or keep his friends out of danger. Being a leader isn’t always easy.


Meanwhile, over at Team SmokeLocke, there’s a new member of his camp – Desmond. The curious thing is that the episode title says that Locke is “curious” about his arrival at camp… but didn’t he send Sayid to Hydra Island to retrieve Desmond? Shouldn’t this be totally expected? Maybe he’s surprised at how easily Desmond came along with Sayid – or maybe he was expecting Sayid to kill Desmond on the spot? It seems as though Desmond knows exactly what is going on – some have even gone so far as to say he seems “possessed”, so it will be curious to see how Desmond interacts with the other members of Team SmokeLocke. Will he be good ol’ normal Desmond, full of smiles and “brothas”? Will he reveal his plan to them? Will he tell them the secret to his enlightenment?

Lots of questions.

Here’s the reason why I’m excited for this week’s episode. I’ve made a bunch of comparisons between Season One and Season Six this year, and I’m going to continue doing it here. Remember back in Season One, how Hurley was the very last character to get a centric episode? Some characters got two flashbacks before Hurley got his first one – and once we finally got the Hurley backstory, it was huge because it introduced the Numbers to the Lost mythology. Remember my post a few weeks ago where I said Season One Numbers = Season Six Jacob?


I don’t think it’s coincidence that Hurley is the final Flash Sideways in Season Six, just like it was intentional that he was the final flashback in Season One. The real question is – will Flash Sideways Hurley encounter Jacob (or some Jacob-equivalent) in Reality #2? Something that will open his eyes and reveal to the audience the whole purpose behind the Flash Sideways? Or will that reveal simply be shown on the Island in one of his ghost whispering conversations with Jacob?

After this week, we may be saying goodbye to our Survivor-centric episodes in favor of “everyone-centric” episodes to wrap up the series… which means this might be the final character-centric episode of Lost ever. Here’s hoping the writers saved the best for last.

Happy Losting!