Saturday, December 30, 2006

Lost - Moment 7


  • Juliet is noticeably absent from the Operating Room. She sure got out of there quick... is she off helping Kate and Sawyer, as hinted at in the previous Lost Moment?
  • There seems to be some existing tension between Juliet and Tom, much like there seemed to be tension between Juliet and Ben.
  • Jack continues to be pretty sweet and badass.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Lost - Moment 6

Wow - two good "Lost Moments" in a row! Maybe this spring season is going to be way more kickasserific than we thought!


  • Unlike some of the other "Lost Moments", this one is clearly from the first episode back after the break, still showing Jack in the Operating Room with Ben.
  • It doesn't look like Sawyer and Kate's escape is going to be as easy as some thought... and it doesn't look like they hijack the alleged submarine to get back to the mainland - at least not right away.
  • Juliet seems to be missing from the Operating Room. Could she be the one who knocks out Picket at the end to save Sawyer and Kate? Or could it be Alex? Either way, it looks like that'll be the key to Kate and Sawyer finding freedom, leaving Jack behind to hang out in a cage.

(Thanks to Dru for reminding me to update the Blog. You'll have to forgive me, as I'm still in a state of mourning after the Bengals debacle on Christmas Eve.)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Lost - Moment 5

Ummmm - this "Lost Moment" is actually insanely good!

  • Cindy and Jack reunite!
  • Jack apparently gets out of the Operating Room, but ends up in a cage like Sawyer and Kate - so clearly he doesn't escape with them.
  • Cindy seems totally cool with "The Others" - is she brainwashed into their hippie cult? Was she part of it all along, before Flight 815 crashed? Was she "a mole" on the outside?
  • Apparently The Others are "here to watch". Does this mean that their wacky science experiments are continuing? Or are they just all just watching our Survivors to see who proves themselves "worthy" of joining The Others' wacky cult? Or is she just literally referring to all those people there just to watch Jack, to make sure he doesn't escape?

I'm officially excited about the Lost spring season.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Marvin's Reindeer

Wow. Once again Ryan Parker proves to be the greatest (only?) Bengals singer-songwriter of the modern era. It's hilarious. It's topical. It's kinda sad.


Saturday, December 09, 2006

TV Mid-Term Report Cards

(Quick, hide them before your parents see them and ground you!)

Now that most TV shows are on their annual Winter Hiatus, it’s a good time to look back at the body of work that each show delivered during the fall. To be completely honest, I’ve been underwhelmed by most of the shows that I considered “must see” going into the fall. There have been a few noticeable standouts, but for the most part, I would say that the shows I watch were better last year than they have been so far this year. So let’s dish out the marks of each show that I hyped up back in September ( to see where I was right and where I led you astray…


Prison Break

Grade: B

What Brian Predicted: "While it may not achieve the same level of excitement as its first season, there is little doubt it will be an entertaining ride. Prison Break has become a modern-day “The Fugitive”, which isn’t a bad thing.”

What Happened: I was pretty much dead on with my prediction of this one. The season started by killing off a number of “main characters” from Season One, and in the process tightened up the storyline considerably. Unfortunately, we then fell into a pretty boring cross-country chase where the characters miraculously kept crossing paths in small-town America in their search for Westmoreland’s buried treasure. Luckily, the last few episodes of the season got Prison Break right back to where it needed to be and set the stage for a great second half of the season as Michael and Lincoln work to take down the President of the United States (“24” Season 5, anyone?). I’d also say this was the “most satifsying and surprising” of all the “fall finales”. Good work, Prison Break – keep it up!


Grade: A-

What Brian Predicted: "My chief concern for “Heroes” is how (if ever) these characters interact with each other… they’re scattered all over the world, speaking different languages, living unique lives. Will some “big bad” appear, forcing them to work together to defeat them? Will the show focus more around the people coming to grips with being “different”? I have no idea, but this show is different enough to keep me watching for the first few episodes.”

What Happened: Luckily, all my concerns were addressed all these concerns in the best way possible – getting the characters interacting in somewhat reasonable ways, giving us a “big bad” (in addition to some potential “smaller bads”), and keeping the focus on the drama in the heroes lives rather than being a small-screen version of the X-Men.

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If I had to give out a “Best New TV Show of 2006” Award (and I do, contractually), it would go to Heroes without question. A lot of people have called this show the “anti-Lost” because the storylines are quickly moving, action-packed, and the a good deal of the questions raised are answered in an episode or two instead of dragging out over the entire season. For the most part, the characters are varied and quite interesting – we care about them and are curious where they are going to end up. The storyline moves at a great clip, and I haven’t ever felt like an episode was a “filler”.

Having said that, this show isn’t perfect. A lot of the time, the dialogue can be pretty clunky, sounding more like cheesy lines from a comic book than a network drama. It’s also pretty interesting that the show involving “superheroes” has actually been very light on the action thus far. I’m looking forward to some straightforward “action” sequences (although “Homecoming” was pretty intense) where we get to see the heroes actually put their powers to the test. That could ratchet up my opinion of the show to the next level.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Grade: C-

What Brian Predicted: "It’s just a well-made show about a subject matter that isn’t overly interesting to me."

What Happened: It worries me that the rest of America agreed with me on this one, because I generally curse the masses who watch their “American Idol” and “CSI” – but it seems that my chief concern for this show was the same as theirs – the backstage world of Saturday Night Live and network TV just really isn’t that interesting.

It didn’t help that this show isn’t really funny, isn’t really exciting, and isn’t really dramatic – it just is. You can nitpick about the show’s faults, but in general it doesn’t do anything bad. It just doesn’t do anything good either. There’s no passion and no reason for the audience to connect with the show.

After three weeks, I quit watching. I’m shocked that NBC is standing by this show because I really don’t see its ratings ever improving. I’ve actually read reports that some of the actors on the show were hoping it would be cancelled, because they’re ready to move on as well. Look for this show to slowly fade away…



Grade: C+

What Brian Predicted: "To me, this is a fascinating storyline. In this day and age of being constantly connected to everyone in the world via TV, Internet, and Telephone, what would happen if we were suddenly all alone?"

What Happened: It turns out, it really isn’t that interesting. The overall storyline of the show is still plenty grippy – what’s going on? Are we under attack by aliens? A foreign country? Ourselves? – it’s just that the other storylines are pretty lame. Getting supplies from hospitals in other cities, powerlines falling in playgrounds, and restoring power to the hospital don’t really interest me. It also kinda bothers me that the characters on the show seem to have everything a bit too easy given that they are completely isolated from the rest of the country.

This show needed to be much more like “24” – instead, it feels more like a family drama with an action story looming in the background. I’m still curious to find out what actually happened… but not curious enough to actually tune into the show each week.


Grade: C+

What Brian Predicted: "I think I’m more excited for the third season of “Lost” than I was for either of the previous two, if that’s possible. Coming off a season finale that had more action than the entire first season, I feel like we’re at the edge of a number of huge reveals about the show that has been teasing us with mysteries from the start. The writers seem determined to “wrap up” the lingering storylines of the first two seasons in order to open up a set of brand new ones with the third.When the show returns in October, we’re looking at a six episode, self-contained story arc dealing with the capture of Kate, Jack, and Sawyer. We’ll finally get a glimpse of the Others’ camp, begin to learn about their experiences on the Island, and determine who the good guys and bad guys really are. Even better, two of the more dynamic characters from last season, HGI and Desmond, are back as series regulars. What more can you want?"

What Happened: The answer is: a lot more. Ironically, all the things I wanted to have happen (wrapping up lingering storylines from Seasons 1 and 2, learning the true nature of the Others, lots of Desmond action) didn’t. Instead, we got a lot of storylines I was somewhat indifferent about (Kate hooking up with Sawyer, Locke saving Eko from a polar bear, Paulo and Nikki action).

Before you grab your pitchforks and start hurling profanites at me, I should clarify that I hold “Lost” to higher standards than other shows. Although it got a C+, it’s still the number one show I watch on TV without fail. There’s no other show I would rather watch just because the show is so rich, well-made, and addicting. While I respect the writers and their storytelling decisions, I think we viewers would all be much happier if they would actually throw us a bone once in a while and give us an answer or two. They don’t even have to be big answers. Just something.

Why? Because we’re actually at a very interesting place as Lost-viewers. I think a lot of people have “jumped ship” this season, finally giving up on the show actually giving us any answers, unwilling to invest their time in the show without getting any payoff. Granted, this is probably weeding out the “casual viewers”, and we “die-hard viewers” could care less, it should be a concern of the show’s creators. After all, what good is a storyline if there’s no one there to see it?

As I said, I’m hopeful that the 16 nonstop episodes in the spring will make us forget about the more forgetful parts of Season Three: Part 1. Looking back, there was one great episode (“The Cost of Living”), two good episodes (“Every Man for Himself” and “I Do”), and three mediocre ones (“A Tale of Two Cities”, “The Glass Ballerina”, and “Further Instructions”). That sounds like a C+ to me.


Grade: Incomplete

What Brian Predicted: "The characters on this show are fantastic… even better, there are hints of a huge conspiracy lying just beneath the surface – which should develop as the season progresses. Why does the family speak French to each other and English to everyone else? Why do they only need a bodyguard for their son?I can’t wait to find out."

What Happened: I never found out.

In reality, there are a number of shows on this list that would probably should be “Incomplete” due to mid-season cancellation (“The Nine” and “Six Degrees”, I’m looking at you) – but I feel like “Kidnapped” was the only show that was killed before I got a chance to fairly judge it. What I saw, I liked – a lot. But just as the story was starting to gain traction, it was banished to Friday nights and then taken off the schedule altogether, leaving us to wonder where the show’s fascinating storylines were headed.

NBC – bad move in picking “Studio 60” as the show to “stick with”. This was your chance to have a kickass show in your lineup that the “Sunday Night Football” crowd would actually watch. “24” didn’t get good ratings until its third season either, and now it’s consistently in the Top 10. Frustrating.

The Nine

Grade: C

What Brian Predicted: "It sounds interesting enough, with each episode beginning with a flashback of another 10 minutes of the hostage situation – but here’s what I want to know – what is the point / storyline of the show in the present tense?It’s got a solid cast (Kim Raver – aka Audrey from “24”, Scott Wolf – aka Dreamy Boy from “Party of Five”) so I’m going to give it a try. Once I figure out what this show is actually about (is it just a regular drama about how a situation like this changes your life? Or is there something more to it?)"

What Happened: Unfortunately, my fears were correct. The “interesting” part of the show (the bank robbery / hostage situation) was relegated to the first ten minutes each week, and then we were left with typical TV-drama about unwanted pregnancies, love affairs, blah blah blah. The show hinted that there was something more intriguing lurking beneath the surface, but it would only touch on this mystery for a few moments each episode. What it needed was for this mystery to be far more integrated in the show – because this is what made the show different, unique, and interesting.ABC, here’s your lesson – it doesn’t matter how many great actors you have in a TV show. If the story is dull, no one is going to care (unless all the actors are hot and scantily clad, of course). This show has been pulled and the network promises it will be back as a “mid-season replacement”, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. Actors on the show are currently looking for other work, which isn’t a good sign.

Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County

Grade: B+

What Brian Predicted: "Although the new cast pales in comparison to the old cast (I can’t say that I really like any of them, although I do hate Cami with the burning passion of 1000 suns), the show is still beautifully shot and a great guilty pleasure to voyeuristically look into the lives of the rich kids of Laguna."

What Happened: You know what, those crazy kids kinda grew on me! While I can’t really say that I loved any of them, I was indifferent to most of them. Luckily, what this season had going for it was more teenage drama per episode than any of the previous seasons, so you didn’t really care that the characters were for the most part uninteresting and incapabale of expressing real feelings or logic.

The Kyndra / Jessica / Cameron storyline was fantastic, especially because Cameron ended up being a normal dude in the end and being like “I don’t need this drama” and walking away from both of them. Equally great was watching Rocky express her “love” for Alex way too quick and him responding with a quick break up, or the overall idiocrity of anything related to Tyler.

In the end, Laguna proved that it doesn’t matter if your “lead character” (Tessa) is as interesting as a piece of plywood, or if you don’t have a token “hot girl” (like Kristen / LC), as long as there is ridiculous teenage drama involving spoiled rich kids, it’ll be good!

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Top Chef

Grade: A

What Brian Predicted: "What sets this one apart is that the challenges are damn fun (create a gormet meal out of ingredients bought from a gas station, candy bar and snack food taste tests, etc.) It’s a breath of fresh air."

What Happened: The show continued to impress. This season, there have been more topical challenges (like the Thanksgiving-related), fun challenges (make a meal without using heat), and just flat out more interesting ones (make a meal for kids at fat camp that is less than 500 calories). One thing I’m noticing this season that sets this show apart from other reality shows is that the challenges are the stars of the show. There’s maybe two minutes of “confessionals” each week, then you jump into the Quickfire Challenge, immediately followed by the Elimination Challenge – as opposed to a show like Real World / Road Rules challenge where the drama between the characters is the star of the show.

It’s funny, but a sign of how much I like this show was the week after Thanksgiving, when I got back in town and had a ton of shows backed up on the DVR. First I watched “Heroes”, then I watched “Top Chef”. It’s that good.


My Name is Earl

Grade: A

What Brian Predicted: "Deep down inside, I have a fear that the show will start to feel stale since it’s pretty much the same story every week – but thus far they’ve done a great job in introducing new characters and having enough laugh-out loud moments to the show work.Now on Thursdays at 8:00, I kinda feel like “Earl” is the new “Friends” and “The Office” is the new “Seinfeld” – I can only hope NBC is smart enough to place “Scrubs” on Thursday nights this spring to complete a great comedic “Must See TV” night like the glory days of yore."

What Happened: It turns out my fears were all for naught. “My Name is Earl” wins the award for “Most Improved Show of 2006.” On more than one occasion this fall, I’ve found Earl to be funnier than “The Office”, even though my head was telling me that The Office has to be funnier by default because I like it better. But it was no use – laughs (much like my hips) don’t lie.

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Earl’s imrpovement can be directly linked to the storylines, which have been much more outrageous than last season, and a bit more racier (pretending to be God, stealing from a stoner, being addicted to gambling) – but I just feel like these are the much more natural things for Earl (who was a lowdown criminal) to be involved in. I’ve also loved the show incorporating some story arcs that last longer than an episode, like Joy’s criminal case (chock full of hilariously inappropriate deaf jokes) or their recent escapade to Mexico to retrieve Catalina.

I’m also happy to report that my dream came true, and Scrubs is sitting smack in the middle of NBC’s Thursday night comedy block. I’m even happier to report that ratings for all shows involved have been great for the past two weeks – keep up the good work, people!

The Office

Grade: A

What Brian Predicted: "The Office has created one of the best ensemble comedy casts in recent memory – and there really isn’t enough time in each episode to give them all enough screen time. I mean, we all love Jim, Pam, Dwight, and Michael – but even characters like Ryan, Stanley, and Kevin are hilarious, even though they sometimes get one or two lines a week."

What Happened: The Office added even MORE characters, kept our lovebirds apart for most of the season thus far, and yet still is as great as ever.

I had no idea how the cliffhanger from Season Two would be resolved, but I’m happy to report that in my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have thought up a better storyline and resolution. Somehow, it was logical, progressed the storyline, and yet ended up putting us right back where we were before the cliffhanger (with Jim and Pam working in the same office) without seeming like a total “reset”.

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It was pure genius to have the first part of the season simulataneously focus on Jim in the Stamford branch and everyone else in the Scranton branch. While it kept the core characters apart, the writers came up with enough ways for them to interact to keep fans happy, while allowing enough time to get to know new characters like Karen and Andy. Now that the branches have merged (again, smart) we have a true “love triangle” between Karen, Pam, and Jim; a new nemesis for Dwight in Andy; and a fresh batch of characters for Michael to be totally inappropriate to.

Once again, The Office is at its best when it’s heavy on inappropriate humor involving minorities, homosexuals, and criminals. Mix in some heavy doses of Pam and Jim giving hilarious looks to one another and the camera, and you have the best comedy on TV.

Grey’s Anatomy

Grade: B

What Brian Predicted: "Here’s hoping for more crazy medical situations that offer symbolism into the characters’ personal lives, hot doc-on-doc action, and a fantastic soundtrack. It might not be the meatiest show on TV, but it sure is fun."

What Happened: I can’t put my finger on this one. Grey’s seems to be using the same formula (described above) as last year, but a lot of the episodes have lacked the emotional punch of Season One. Instead of episodes leaving me with a smile on my face or a tear in my eye, most have left me just sitting there.

I feel like some of the storylines have been dragging on a bit too long (for God’s sake, just let Izzie come back full time! She’s learned her lesson!) and a few of the patients’ problems are bordering on bad-soap-opera (lady impreganted by two different guys, lady having an affair with a pair of siamese twins).

I’m hopeful that the show will pick things up (I’m smelling some hot doc-on-doc action between Addison and Alex), wrap up the “Derek has the shakes” storyline, and will be back to top form by the time sweeps rolls around – but thus far this season, it’s been good – not great.

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Six Degrees

Grade: C-

What Brian Predicted: "In what seems to have spun out of the flashbacks from “Lost”, where we see how interconnected we all are, even if we don’t realize it – “Six Degrees” takes this theme to the forefront, and spins an entire show out of it. It’s a great idea for a “feel good” show, but I fear it will become a standard TV romantic drama pretty quickly. Here’s hoping it can build interesting characters and themes to keep me interested."

What Happened: See: The Nine; under “Brian’s worst fears realized”. The show quickly dissolved into a standard TV-drama, not effectively using its “hook” of “we’re all connected”, losing focus and lacking much in the way of interesting storylines. Another show on mid-season “hiatus”, another show likely to never air another episode on ABC. Next!


The Amazing Race

Grade: C

What Brian Predicted: "The least trashy and exploitive of all reality shows, here’s hoping for another group of contestants that are likable, following in the footsteps of the Linz Family of two years ago and the Hippies of last season. While the star of the show for me might be seeing exotic locales, it’s always nice to have a team you can get behind."

What Happened: Honestly, due to the rigorous demands of Bengals Tailgating (drinking from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm), I’m usually in no condition to watch “Amazing Race” on Sunday nights. There are a ton backed up on DVR, and I’ve seen a number – which I’m happy to report seem as good as ever – but not enough to bump any other shows off my plate so that I can watch the rest.

You know exactly what you’re getting with “Amazing Race”, and that’s a good thing – because it’s a good show – but it’s the kind of show that you don’t need to watch every week or every season.

So there you have it. When the Fall started, I was planning on watching twelve and a half hours of TV a week. By the end of the fall, my TV watching schedule consisted of a mere five (Prison Break, Lost, My Name is Earl, The Office, Top Chef, and Grey’s Anatomy) – who says I watch too much TV? I just watch TV with a passion, that’s all. Granted, with the addition of “Scrubs” and “24” lurking right around the corner, that number will rise by an hour and a half, but if you follow my lead, you should still be well within the USDA Recommended Weekly Allowance of Television.

Lost - Moment 4

Well, finally an interesting "Lost Moment"!

Two questions:

  1. What is Claire doing in the water? Trying to kill herself? Under some sort of spell? Sucked out to sea by wicked undertow?
  2. Are my dreams coming true, that the writers may finally kill off Claire? Probably not - but a guy can dream!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Lost - "I Do" Analysis (Aged for One Month, So You Know It's Good!)

Hello again, it’s been too long.

How long has it been? Well, “I Do” aired on November 8th, almost a full month ago – so long ago, that I had forgotten a lot of the details of this episode and needed to re-watch it completely to spark my thoughts for this Blog Post. The good news is that for the past month, I also totally forgot that Paulo and Nikki even existed in the Lostiverse. But now I remember them all too well, along with all the wackiness that went down in the Season Three: Part One Finale, “I Do”.

So what happened?

Kate. Well, besides keeping with the writers’ central theme of Season Three thus far, we were once again treated to multiple scenes of Kate in various stages of nakedness. Both her flashback and the action on the Island featured her getting down and dirty with the current men in her life. However, we also got another snippet of Kate’s shady past – this time learning that (against all logic and reason), she actually married a Florida Cop named Kevin in her pre-Island life. Maybe it’s just me, but if you’re a fugitive, isn’t marrying a police officer a terrible, terrible idea? Was Kate hoping she would get caught or what? Wouldn’t you think at some point during their courtship, Kevin might have found some holes in Kate’s story about her past? Or was he blinded by her beauty, leaving logic at the door and marrying her anyways (a la Nick Lachey)?

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Either way, the central theme of the flashback was a recurring one with Kate – that of always running. Pre-Island, whenever Kate got close to someone, she had to run in order to keep her freedom. It contrasts nicely to on-Island Kate, who refuses to leave Sawyer, even though by doing so, she could escape her cell and potentially find freedom. Heck, it takes Jack screaming at her for a good minute at the episode’s ending before she would even leave him.

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To what do we attribute this newfound behavior of Kate? Is it a sign of Kate standing by her man (proving she is actually in love with Sawyer, and wasn’t just in it for dirty cage hookup action) - or just a sign of her finally being a team player, finding belonging with a group of people in Jack and Sawyer, and refusing to run away anymore?

I’m thinking a little of both.

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Geometry. This episode finally brought the long-promised “resolution” to the Kate-Sawyer-Jack love triangle (although in my opinion, this was already resolved during last season’s “What Kate Did”). The writers clearly wanted us to think that she has “chosen” Sawyer as her McDreamy and the two are madly in love – but should we buy it? The whole cage match action seemed a little bit forced to me. I suppose you could argue that the two of them bonded during their time in captivity together, but short of Sawyer gawking at Kate in various stages of undress and picking fights on her behalf, I didn’t see a lot of character development that would lead to the two of them to professing their love for each other.

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But at the end of the day, we’re back where we should have been mid-season two, so I’m okay with it. Smart money is on this “relationship” quickly dissolving because, let’s face it, love triangles make for more interesting TV than love lines do (Adam Corolla and Dr. Drew = boring!). The real reason we should care about Kate and Sawyer finally getting to know each other in the Biblical sense is because of what it did to the third point in the triangle, Jack Shephard.

Jack. Jack is crushed. Although you could argue that he finally decided to perform the surgery on Ben as part of a masterplan that would allow Kate and Sawyer to escape, I think it’s far more reasonable to think that he agreed to do the surgery because he quit. There was a look in his eyes when he saw those video screens – a look of defeat. Although he never really came out and said it, and definitely missed a number of opportunities to put the moves on Kate, seeing her with Sawyer – who you could argue is the anti-Jack isn’t just her picking another guy over him, it’s Kate choosing the anti-Jack. Jack quits – he’s ready to leave the Island.

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Didn’t he always want to get off the Island? Maybe a little – but look at the life he left behind. Dad just died (his fault). Wife left him (his fault). It wasn’t exactly all rainbows and puppy dogs. While he doesn’t have the same sort of compelling reason as a Rose / Bernard / Locke to stay on the Island, I think you could argue that he was happy there. He was a respected leader, he seemed destined to end up with the resident Island hottie, and was getting a great tan. On the Island he had something new to focus his energies on instead of tormenting himself about the mistakes he made in his pre-Island life.

But now, he’s got a whole new set of issues. Once again the woman in his life left him and he’s trapped in an underwater prison, unable to lead, help them, or work on getting off the Island – unless he agrees to do the surgery. Doing so gives him a purpose, and I’m not talking about saving Ben. Agreeing to the surgery gives him the opportunity to have some power again – and the chance to get off the Island. But more importantly, it gives him the chance to sacrifice himself for the sake of Kate and go out like a hero.

I know a lot of people have been wondering how in the world Jack is going to get out of this situation. It’s not hard to imagine how Kate and Sawyer are going to escape (the preview showed them running through the jungle, Sawyer with gun in tow, and we know there’s a submarine / underwater tunnel somewhere), but Jack? He’s in bad shape.

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Right now, he’s got Ben as his bargaining chip. The problem is, Jack has too much of a conscience to actually let Ben die. He’s not a killer. But as soon as he saves Ben, his bargaining chip is gone and he’s trapped. While I can’t see the Others flat out killing Jack, I could very easily see them keeping him captive or turning the tables and using him as a bargaining chip to get something from the Survivors. If you want to get crazy, I could even see Ben coming out of surgery and offering Jack that chance to get off the Island (he kept his promise to Michael, after all). Anyways, while I expect Kate and Sawyer to quickly be rejoining the other Survivors after one or two episodes this spring, I don’t see Jack getting back to the beach for quite some time.

Plan. From a storytelling standpoint, keeping Jack with the Others actually makes a lot of sense. Before Season Three started, I expected that after the first six episodes, we would have an idea of who the Others are and what their intentions were – but we’re still a long way from there, having only received hints and small nuggets of information about them. Keeping Jack with them gives the us, the viewers, eyes and ears inside the Others camp – where these answers can be revealed without needing a large “The Other 48 Days”-esque expository of their story.

For instance, one the most intriguing lines of “I Do” was the one Pickett uttered immediately after Ben went under surgery, as he was storming out of the operating room to find Sawyer: “Ben just put his life in the hands of ‘one of them’. Shephard was never even on Jacob’s list’.”

What “list” was Pickett talking about? If Tom had Jack, Kate, Sawyer (and Locke) surrounded during “The Hunting Party” last season, why didn’t he just kidnap them at that point? Why did Ben let himself get kidnapped? What was the Others’ plan in all this? In trying to answer these questions, I realized that I needed a timeline. Here’s the best I could come up with:

  • Day 1 – Oceanic Flight 815 crashes, Ben sends Ethan and Goodwin to spy on each camp.
  • Day 2 – The three strongest Tailers are “taken”. (Presumably to ensure the Others maintain strength in numbers over the new inhabitants).
  • Days 2-12 – Goodwin and Ethan gather information about each of the Survivors, reporting back to the other Others. It is decided which are “good ones” and the “bad ones” based on their reconnaissance and research done via computers / magic / telepathy.
  • Day 12 – Nine “good ones” from the Tail Section are “taken”. Curiously, no “good ones” from the Fuselage? (Are the Others unable to carry out kidnappings there due to Smokey being in the way? Were none of them “good”? Puzzling…)
  • Day 45 - Walt is kidnapped
  • Day 51 – The events of “The Hunting Party”. Kate is kidnapped by the Others and Jack, Locke, and Sawyer are warned to turn back.
  • Day 58 – Ben is captured.
  • Day 61 – Mrs. Klugh makes agreement with Michael to get Ben back and capture Jack, Kate, and Sawyer.
  • Day 64 – Ben is freed by Michael
  • Day 67 – Jack, Kate, and Sawyer are captured
  • Day 73 – The events of “I Do”, with Jack doing the surgery on Ben.

Trying to make sense of this sequence is tough. A lot of the events don’t seem to add up, and I’m tempted to chalk them up to storylines that were changed mid-season - such as the fact that Michael Emerson (Ben) was only supposed to be on the show for a few episodes, but was so great that they kept him around for the better part of the last year and expanded his role – but I’ll do my best to fit them into a logical sequence of events.

The real key to my theory is that Ben is not the leader of the Others, and is a man who was sent on a mission for the true leader of the Others (who I can only assume is “Jacob”).

If you start with that, you can piece together a storyline that almost makes sense. The standard protocol that exists among the Others is whenever someone new stumbles upon the Island, they try and blend in with them, learn as much as they can about them, and determine if they are “good” or “bad”. Why? Not important right now. They take the “good ones” as soon as they can, and later steal Walt away when they find out about his power (their affinity for children is still puzzling – but again, not important for this discussion). When any of the “bad” Survivors get “too close” to the Others’ territory on the Island, they are warned to stay away.

Everything up until this point (Day 51) makes pretty logical sense… everything up until Ben getting captured. What was the purpose of this? Perhaps the Others are worried about the Survivors finding and living in the Hatch and what they might have discovered within (full of weapons, communications equipment, and a big honkin’ magnet!). It is agreed upon that someone needs to go on a dangerous mission – to get “caught” by them in order to see what they actually know, even though it will likely mean lots of torture and possible death. Our boy Ben volunteers because he is promised that if he can complete his mission, they’ll bring Jack back to their camp where he can perform the surgery needed to save his life.

After one week, the Others send Michael back to release Ben and give him the list. The all-knowing Others realize that it’ll be hard to get Jack to actually perform the surgery on someone who is viewed as “the enemy”, so they wisely bring along Kate and Sawyer as bargaining chips. Knowing that Jack loves Kate and Kate loves Sawyer (see, the Others picked up that Kate choose Sawyer with the black horse during “What Kate Did” too!), they realize that by threatening Sawyer, they can affect Kate – and by affecting Kate they can affect Jack.

They’re smart.

Thus, Kate and Sawyer are doing menial tasks that potentially have no purpose other than keeping them busy while Juliet tries to break down Jack. Once Jack sees the X-Rays, it’s determined that there isn’t enough time to see the plan to fruition and the beating of torture begins, setting the whole Sawyer affecting Kate affecting Jack wheel in motion. Little do they know that Jack would go all “hero” on them and sacrifice himself for Kate and Sawyer.

Phew. Lots of holes in there, but that’s the best I can do.

Pickett. So why is Pickett in such a rage? Well, if it weren’t for Ben getting this arrangement with Jacob, they would have never kidnapped Jack, Kate, and Sawyer. If that never happened, Sayid, Sun, and Jin wouldn’t have sailed around the Island to meet up with them. If that never happened, the Others wouldn’t have tried to steal their boat, and Colleen would have never been shot or died. Not only is Pickett full of rage against Sawyer (who embodies the Survivors), but also for Ben – who is putting them all at risk by trusting these “bad ones” who weren’t on “Jacob’s List” (the original list of “good ones” from Day 12). Pickett’s all about following the rules and his leader – and all of this bending of the rules for Ben’s benefit eats him up inside.

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Jacob. With all this talk about Jacob, I think it’s time we give him a little analysis too. The name Jacob is Hebrew for “he who supplants or takes the place of another, by force or scheming.” In the Bible, Jacob was the “father of Israel”. If we apply this to the Island (“Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess” alert!), I’m picturing Jacob as someone who overthrew Alvar Hanso and the Dharma Initiative on the Island, and decided to form a cult-like utopia there instead. It would make sense, wouldn’t it? He “supplants” Hanso and becomes the “father” to all the Others on the Island.

So where is he? Why haven’t we seen him? I’m guessing the leader of the Others is hanging out at their headquarters, and after this episode it’s clear that “Alcatraz” is not the normal home base of the Others…

Breach. How? Well, during Alex’s compound breach this episode, Pickett asks “How the hell did she get over here?” – as if she should be “over there”, along with all of the other Others, Cindy, the “good ones”, etc. I’m guessing Alcatraz is only used for “dirty matters” of imprisonment, torture, and weekend getaways. From a storytelling perspective, it’s also tough to have the Others and the Survivors interact when they’re on totally separate Island – which is why I’m thinking we’ll be done with Alcatraz after an episode of two of the spring season.

But what are we to make of Alex’s impassioned cries to Kate and Sawyer about “whatever they say, don’t believe them – they’re going to kill your boyfriend just like they killed mine”? At first I was tempted to chalk it up to part of the Others’ tricks to get Kate to think they would actually kill Sawyer, but on second viewing it all seemed legit – and I like the idea of Alex being an emotional teenager who is rebelling against the Others’ (aka – “The Man’s”) way of life. It seems that her boyfriend rebelled a bit too hard and paid the ultimate price for it. Capitol Punishment is alive and well on the Island!

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The other interesting thing is that the last thing Ben asked before going under for surgery was if Alex asked about him. It seems pretty obvious that after Alex was taken from CFL, Ben had some influence as raising her, perhaps as an adoptive father of sorts. Given this connection, think back to how Ben got “captured” by CFL which allowed him to do his reconnaissance of the Survivors. I wonder if there was some bargaining between Ben and CFL to have her arrange this “capture” in exchange for information about / seeing Alex…

Eko. Switching gears a bit, back on the main Island, Eko was buried – and with his burial came some intriguing conversation between Sayid and Locke, where they have some candid conversation about “the monster” (Sayid knows that Locke has seen it, but doesn’t believe in it until he sees it with his own eyes). Locke also remarks “Eko died for a reason – I just don’t know what it is yet”, indicating that he hasn’t lost faith in the Island, Smokey, or his purpose there (amazingly). He then looks down at Eko’s staff and sees the following:

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Now I know a lot of people were perplexed by this because the verse “Lift up your eyes and look north” is NOT John 3:05. What they’re failing to realize is that there is all sorts of jumbled Biblical phrases and verses running into each other on Eko’s staff, and they’re not intended to be related.

The phrase “lift up your eyes and look north” is actually from Genesis 13:14…

The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.

Time for more Biblical analysis! So the SAT analogy here is Locke:Abram::Eko:Lot.

In the Bible, Abram and Lot were both highly spiritual men who decided to divide and conquer the lands of Isreael. Unfortunately, Lot headed down to Sodom and Gomorrah (sin city!). Eventually, Abram rescues Lot from this life of gambling and strippers and receives the favor of God.

That’s some pretty obvious symbolism there, don’t you think? Locke and Eko were both spiritual, but went about different ways of proving their faith to God (the Island). Locke quite literally saved Eko three episodes ago, not from a life of sin, but from a polar bear – but in the end the Island smited him for refusing to repent for his sins, leaving Locke as the only one left in the favor of the Island.

The fact that the staff said “John” right below the verse just served as another “sign” to Locke that the message was meant for him. In fact, I’m guessing Locke isn’t a Biblical scholar and all this meaning is lost on him. So what is his new purpose? Well, it’s quite literal – head north. I don’t believe there have ever been any maps of the Island that had a clear indication of North, South, East, and West – but I’m betting that “north” will lead him to the Flame Hatch, and with it, “Patchy” the mysterious one-eyed man from the video screen in the Pearl two episodes ago.

Numbers. One last thought: something I noticed this season is that the Numbers have been surprisingly absent this season. There have been countless opportunities for them to appear, but instead random, stupid, non-4815162342 have been used in their place. Is this something intentional, the writers signifying that the Numbers “died” with the Hatch, where they were so integral? Or is this a product of the “Lost Experience” finally explaining what the Numbers meant, giving the writers an “out” from the Numbers that had grown far more important to viewers of the show than they had ever intended? Either way, it’s something I thought I should bring up.

So there you have it, the last of my analysis of the mini-arc of Season Three. Looking back, I give it a C+. Perhaps my expectations were too high – but like a lot of you, I wasn’t blown away by these six episodes. There were some definite high points (“The Cost of Living” in particular), but I think we all expected a self-contained six episode storyline and that wasn’t really what we got. Instead, we got more of “Act One” of a three act play that might have ended with some action, but didn’t end with some resolution.

Having said that, the writers have planted enough seeds to have some great stories coming up in the spring (Desmond’s new “power”, Kate and Sawyer’s escape, Jack’s imprisonment with the Others, Locke finding Patchy). Here’s hoping that by the time I’m writing my review of Season Three as a whole, I’ll realize that these episodes were necessary for a later payoff, and weren’t just a product of a show losing steam.

Speaking of which, it’s time for me to get working on my mid-season report cards for the TV shows of the fall. Coming soon!

Lost Moves Past Your Bedtime!

(Looks like we're going to need to start taking naps on Wednesday evenings. Per Variety today - Lost is moving to 10:00 pm EST when it comes back in February!)

In February, ABC will move 'Lost' to Wednesdays at 10 to avoid direct competition with Fox's 'American Idol.'ABC is moving "Lost" out of the way of the "American Idol" juggernaut.

ABC on Tuesday unveiled a January sked that has the spooky Wednesday drama moving back an hour to 10 p.m. when it returns Feb. 7. Shift -- the third timeslot for the show in as many years -- ensures the skein won't have to battle the Fox behemoth.

A year ago, "Lost" scored boffo numbers at 9 p.m. during the fall but took a notable ratings hit once "Idol" returned in January. Skein has since held steady in the ratings, but ABC execs clearly don't want to risk further slippage.

Net's affils should be happy with the shift. With "Lost" at 10 p.m., ABC will likely deliver local stations their best new lead-in numbers for the slot in years.

In addition to shielding "Lost" from "Idol," ABC is also protecting it from rising CBS drama "Criminal Minds" and NBC's "Deal or No Deal," which moves into the 9 p.m. Wednesday slot next month.

As for what will compete against "Idol," ABC has decided that laughter -- and games -- are the best medicine. Net has slotted its laffer "Knights of Prosperity" Wednesdays at 9 p.m., directly against the "Idol" results show. It'll be paired at 9:30 with another new comedy, "In Case of Emergency."

Laffer hour is set to debut Jan. 3, a month before "Day Break" was set to end its run. ABC News programming will fill the 10 p.m. Wednesday slot in January before "Lost" returns.

"Day Break" will either be yanked after its Dec. 27 broadcast or moved to another night. No word on what will happen with the remaining five episodes of the skein, if ABC doesn't move the show to a new night.

ABC will round out its Wednesday lineup with new episodes of "George Lopez" and "According to Jim" from 8-9 p.m. Net will double-pump "Jim" for a few weeks starting Jan. 3, with "George" bowing Jan. 24 at 8 p.m.

Lost used to be on at 8:00 pm. Then 9:00 pm. Now 10:00 pm. I understand the move, but yikes, it's going to be hard to get any sort of "Instant Review" up immediately following episodes come the spring! Stupid American Idol, stop ruining TV!

(Footnote: the phrase "stupid American Idol" does not include Kelly Clarkson, who is awesome even though she has some past affiliation with the show.)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Lost - Moment 3

(Posted for the sake of consistency, since I posted the first two - but I agree with you all - these things are pretty worthless...)

The good news is I've taken your suggestions and finally gotten motivated to get the "I Do" and Season Three Part One analysis up! With TV shows finally going into their winter hiatus, it should be up within the week! Better late than never.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Lost - Moment 2

(Wow, it's been a crazy few months. I know you all probably don't care, and are probably thinking "enough about your blasted personal life, Brian - get talking about Lost!", but to put it in perspective, over the past month I've touched the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Mississippi. I've been in Maine, Louisiana, Wyoming, Washington, and Oregon. Why should you care? Well, it's my lame excuse for the serious lack of blogging lately. I promise to pick up the slack!)

With that, I give you the second "moment" of Lost that aired during "Day Break" last week. I'll be adding the third "moment" that aired tonight as soon as it's up on YouTube. Here's a curious thought - with the ratings that Day Break is getting, it's looking like it'll be cancelled in no time. Then what is ABC going to do? Go back to showing Lost reruns? Air more "news" type shows? And what will become of these "Lost Moments"? Will they air during whatever show is on Wednesdays at 9:00? So many questions...

For now, enjoy the clip. It makes me happy to hear that Hurley is actually questioning what happened to the Hatch implosion survivors, rather than just brushing it off like so many Lost mysteries. Ask questions people! It's the only way you get any answers!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lost - Moment 1

In case you didn't watch "Daybreak" last night (which actually was surprisingly decent, even though I vowed not to watch it after being inundated with commercials for it over the past month - we'll see if I actually stick with it or not), here was the "Lost Moment" they aired.

If you remember, these "mini clips" of upcoming episodes of Lost are airing during commercial breaks of Daybreak each week as a way to entice us to watch and appease the crazy Lost fans currently standing outside ABC with pitchforks and torches, protesting the "fall break".

Nothing really special here, but an extended look at the scene of Charlie tackling Desmond that we saw in the preview that aired after "I Do".


(PS - yes, this is not the full analysis of "I Do" that I promised. Unfortunately, it looks like that's still a week or two away. I just ran out of time this weekend. No time! There's never any time! I'm so excited, I'm so excited, I'm so... so... scared!)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"I Do" Instant Reactions

Brian's One Word Review: Representative.

This episode was really symbolic of how this entire six episode story arc felt for me. It started pretty slow - to the point that we were thirty-five minutes in before any of the "action" started, but the last five minutes were as exciting as anything that's happened on "Lost" in the past year.

In the end, I can't help but be a little disappointed. I mean, we've gotten hints about the nature and purpose of the Others, but I don't feel like we've gained the insight I was hoping for at this point in the season. Jack, Kate, and Sawyer are still "trapped" - although it seems at least Kate and Sawyer are on the brink of freedom. The rest of the Survivors don't seem any closer to saving them, or finding out what happened when the Hatch imploded. We've been hinted that Desmond has some super-power, and that Locke has found a new "mission" on the Island, but there really hasn't been much payout in any of those storylines either.

Points to Ponder:

  1. "Sheppard wasn't on Jacob's list". That probably makes Jacob the "he" that Ben cryptically referred to last season, as the overall leader of the Others - and probably a seriously bad dude.
  2. That also means that Jack isn't one of the "good ones" who were on the list of people to kidnap from the crash. He was brought to the Others' camp for no reason except to operate on Ben. If it wasn't for Ben's greed, Colleen would probably still be alive - thus the reason that Danny Pickett is so angry.
  3. I don't remember the exact wording, but when Ben inquired about Alex, Juliet said that they took Alex "back home" - possibly to the main Island. I'm betting wherever they "took her", that's where all the kidnapped kids from the Tail are going to be too!
  4. Jack is a badass. Like I said, he's quickly become the most interesting character on the show. He's taking no prisoners and isn't afraid to get his hands dirty anymore - and I like it.
  5. Sawyer is a badass... but with a heart of gold underneath his tough exterior! He hearts Kate and Kate hearts him!

But enough about me. Your turn for feedback, questions, etc. I'll get a full analysis up sometime this weekend.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Lost - "I Do" (Fall Finale!!!)

(This is it. The last episode of Lost until next year - February 7, 2007, to be exact. That’s a whopping ninety-one days without any sort of fix for our Lost addiction. So what does that mean? It means this better be good. They’ve pitched this six episode “mini-season” as a full story arc, so I’m expecting an episode of Season Finale proportions!)

Episode Title: “I Do”

Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: When you see a title like “I Do”; the first thing that logically comes to most people’s minds is weddings. I know we have the whole “Kate-Sawyer-Jack” love triangle on the Island, but I really don’t see that ending with marriage in any way this week, so I think we can rule out any wedding action on the Island. However, this is a Kate-centric episode, so it’s not out of the question that we might see some sort of Kate wedding flashback. Although she definitely seems single now (yes!), given her sketchy past on the run from the law, a prior marriage would fit her character – especially if it temporarily gave her some shelter and protection.

But if weddings are ruled out, where’s the connection of the episode title to the action that’s actually taking place on the Island? Well, I think you can point to two things:

  • Kate choosing Sawyer over Jack. (Jack: “Do you love him?”, Kate: “I do.”)
  • Jack making his decision regarding helping the Others. (Juliet: “Will you help us?”, Jack: “I will.” – okay so that’s not “I do”, but it’s an affirmative, so that’s close enough right?)

Anyone who has paid close attention to the preview for this episode saw the hot Kate on Sawyer clothes-stripping, baby-making action inside the cage. If that doesn’t signify her “choice”, I don’t know what does. The funny thing is? Kate really made this decision a long time ago… and I think the Others knew it.

Remember “What Kate Did” last season? In it, Kate symbolically “picked” Sawyer over Jack (read my ramblings here: ) , and there really hasn’t been any reason to think that she would have switched sides since then. Sure, Sawyer went a bit jerkface on her, but we all know that girls love bad boys. Deep down inside, he was still the one for her. The writers have tricked us into thinking that this “love triangle” still exists by isolating these three characters, but I really don’t think it’s existed for quite some time…

…and the Others know it. Why did they kidnap Jack, Kate, and Sawyer? Well, the obvious answer is that they needed Jack to perform a surgery. They needed Kate to talk Jack into doing it (because Jack still hearts her, even if she doesn’t heart him in return). They needed Sawyer to get Kate to convince Jack (because she hearts him, even if he doesn’t fully heart her in return). Thus, Sawyer becomes the punching bag. Putting his life in danger makes Kate do what the Others say, which in this case is to sweet talk Jack. It’s almost too easy (more on this later).

In the other potential title-deeper-meaning, we have Jack finally deciding if he sides with Juliet, sides with Ben, or sides with neither. There are all sorts of questions here about who is telling the truth, who to trust, and who are the “good guys” vs. the “bad guys”. If we’re truly looking at the conclusion of this mini-story arc, there are one of two logical conclusions: Jack sides with the Others, helps them out, and effectively betrays the rest of the Survivors (making the story arc “the turning of Jack”) or Jack goes against the Others, stages a breakout, and burns any friendly bridges he had with the Others (making the story arc “the beginning of the Others vs. the Survivors”).

I really have no inkling as to which was this storyline is going to go. I know we’ve been promised a shocking finale here, and what would be more shocking than Jack switching teams? However, he’s our resident hero, and him siding with the Others would seemingly go against everything he’s been doing for the previous five episodes (that being a complete jerk to them every chance he gets). Either way, I think it makes for a great setup for the spring season – and out of nowhere, Jack is quickly becoming one of the more intriguing characters on the show. Description: Jack makes a decision regarding Ben's offer; Kate feels helpless when it looks like Pickett is going to make good on his threat to kill Sawyer; Locke discovers a hidden message that may help unlock the island's secrets. Breakdown: It’s intriguing that the episode description words it “Ben’s offer” and not “Juliet’s offer”. I suppose they are somewhat one and the same – since the decision really comes down to performing the surgery on Ben or not performing the surgery on Ben – but there’s an added wrinkle. Even if Jack decides to perform the surgery, does he have a slip of the knife and take out Ben, his seeming arch-enemy for the past season? Or does he save him, hoping to earn favor with the mysterious Others that can be used for not only his, but the rest of the Survivors’ benefit? There’s a part of me that feels like this whole thing is a setup for Jack – that Ben doesn’t really have a tumor, and this is more of a test of Jack’s “goodness” (more on this later).

Meanwhile, it looks like the newly widowed Pickett has gotten the green light from Ben to take his frustrations out on Sawyer… or has he? This could just be a clever ruse by Ben to get Kate fearful that Sawyer’s life is truly in danger – which would make her more likely to try and convince Jack to do the surgery on Ben. Remember, Ben said something along the lines of “we’re not finished with (Sawyer) yet”. If Jack does perform the surgery, his usefulness would theoretically be gone, and then it might be open-season on Sawyer hunting.

Lastly, we have Locke discovering a hidden message that may “help unlock the Island’s secrets”. It sounds like an ABC commercial to me. Where does this message come from? Patchy via video monitor? Not likely, as it looked like he ended the transmission during last episode. Eko’s dying words? I don’t see that helping unlock any mystery. Is there something else inside the Pearl Hatch that we missed? Will they stumble across something on their journey back to the beach? Or – more likely - will they decide that it’s too dangerous to head back to the beach, and venture somewhere else on the Island, where they find this message?

I’m not sure. Frankly, I’m pretty excited to not have much idea what’s coming in this week’s episode, other than the intense preview and promise of greatness. It’s definitely not a predictable episode, which once again gives me that hope for greatness that I pray for each week!

Previously on Lost…

Speaking of greatness, the more I think about last week’s episode, the better I realize it was. Why? Think about how many fundamental questions about the very nature of the show that were raised, changed, or revealed last week. After watching last week’s episode, you were forced to go back and re-evaluate a large number of episodes over the past two seasons – and that’s saying something. It was exactly what this season needed – an important episode that gives the fanatics among us some new meat to chew on. If this week’s episode does the same, we’re going to have plenty to keep us busy over the next few months…

Eko. With Eko's death, we can consider his story "complete". Granted, there's always the chance he'll show up as a "vision" to Locke (which I think is actually a given), or in other characters' lashbacks (a la Libby - but I think it's less likely with Eko since he was in Africa most of the time... and a drug warlord. You don't usually run into them in coffee shops), but for all intents and purposes we can close the book on him and accurately review who he was.

In the end, the big shocker for me was that Eko was never a "changed man" in his pre-Island life. After his last flashback, I assumed that Yemi's death prompted him to turn his life around - to pick up Yemi's cross and live the life that he might have had, were it not for a fateful day as children where Eko picked up a gun and killed a man to save Yemi from doing so. But he didn't. After Yemi's death, Eko might have taken his position as a priest, but he was still the same Eko, dealing and stealing drugs and medicine for profit, standing up to anyone who challenged him, and not afraid to kill anyone who gets in his way. I don't doubt that Eko was a religious man all along, but he was a clearly survivor first. He didn't think twice about killing someone if it meant he would continue living.

However, something definitely changed when he crashed on the Island – he became more religious, feeling remorse for killing those two "innocent" Others that tried to abduct him the first night on the Island (thus the silent treatment for forty days). He became concerned with things like helping others on the Island get over their sins and did things like baptizing Aaron. Maybe he felt like he was given a second chance at life and was going to do some good this time around - but he wasn't full of agony and regret over the life he once lived... and that seems to have led to his demise. The closing shot of him walking with Yemi as kids summed it all up - that life was all that Eko ever wanted, and on his deathbed, he seems to have found the peace to return to that place and find peace.

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Which puts him in the same boat as Boone, Shannon, and Ana-Lucia. Each character found their peace, and then shortly thereafter died. The difference is that Boone, Shannon, and Ana-Lucia's death were each a direct result of the actions of another character on the Island. It wasn't the Island deciding that they had completed their journey and killing them, it was merely coincidence that each of them died (well, coincidence and storytelling heavy with symbolism). But Eko was different...

Smokey. Which brings us to Smokey, who we can now view in a totally different light. We always knew that Smokey was powerful, and assumed he was the one responsible for the death of the Pilot, grabbing Locke, etc. - but we've never seen this "personality" in him, taking form, showing logic, and seemingly passing judgment on Eko. So what the heck is this thing? It looks to be a living, breathing, morphing creature. I thought the Lost creators are on record saying that it's not Nanobots, but that's pretty much the only thing that makes sense at this point (if they intend to keep this rooted in science, as they claim). It would be easy to debate this aspect of Smokey for paragraphs and paragraphs, but there are far more interesting questions raised about him after this episode.

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For example, a more intriguing question revolves around the control of Smokey. Does Smokey have a brain? Is Smokey some experiment run amok? Is Smokey under the control of someone (like maybe the Others)? If I were a betting man, I'd say we're looking at a Frankenstein situation here where the Dharma Scientists somehow created Smokey for some specific purpose but lost control of him. Or perhaps they never intended to create him in the first place, he's just a product of some other experiment gone awry. Either way, I think Smokey is a product of science, and not some voodoo creature that has always resided on the Island - and if he's a product of science, I'm looking to Dharma as being his creator.

The most intriguing question is what is motivating Smokey's actions. Why did he spare Locke? Why did he spare Eko the first time he faced him? Why did he kill Eko this time? As crazy as it sounds, Smokey seems to have an agenda - he's not just some wild animal-esque killing machine that mangles anyone who enters his territory. Also, keep in mind that although the Others appear to be on Alcatraz right now, when Flight 815 crashed, they were living on the Main Island. If Smokey were just some crazy killing machine, this seems like a bad place to vacation, no matter how good of a deal they got on the timeshare. If the Others aren't afraid of Smokey, they must understand these motives, and be confident that they are safe from harm.

Think back to Eko's first encounter with Smokey last season. Smokey seemed to be sizing him up, coming face to face with him and "scanning him", picking up images from Eko's memory and learning about his past. Suddenly Eko is seeing visions of his dead brother Yemi, and being told to "repent". Is there a correlation there? If you follow the logic, it seems as though Smokey learned about Eko's past, gave him an opportunity to atone for his sins, and then, when Eko refused, tossed him around like a football on Thanksgiving.

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It's a little crazy, a little religious, and way, WAY out there - but it just seems to fit right in with the Others, doesn't it? All along, they've been very concerned with people being "good". They "saved" the Tailers that were "good" (whatever happened to them anyways?). Those left, including our Survivors, all have spotty pasts full of actions that could be considered "bad". Last week, Ben said he "wants Jack to want to save him", which makes it sound like he's more concerned with Jack finding his redemption (becoming a "good person" who "saves" his "enemy") than he is with getting his tumor removed.

What if Smokey is merely acting as the judge, jury, and executioner for the Others? Not a heartless one, but one that gives people a chance to right their wrongs before penalizing them. You know all those purgatory theories that were going around when the show started? Well even though our Survivors aren't actually dead and in a literal purgatory (as the show's creators have confirmed), but are instead in a pseudo-Island purgatory, where they are still being judged for their past sins and working on their redemption. If they succeed, and end up "good", they are welcomed into the Others' circle of trust, home of cheeseburgers, movies, and free tickets home. If they fail, Smokey kills them. It's harsh, but wacky religious cults always are!

I admit, this theory is WAY out there, but if you run some of our other unanswered questions through it, they give some pretty satisfactory answers. And, for a show that has always had a TON of good/bad, light/dark symbolism, wouldn't it be great that the biggest force on the show (Smokey, not Kate's hotness) was operating based on the same principles?

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We also have to assume (although if you think about it, we never REALLY saw this) that Smokey can take the form of different people and things - which brings up a whole new batch of questions...

Visions. So are we to assume that all the visions our Survivors have seen on the Island are attributed to Smokey? The Lost creators told us that we saw Smokey last season without knowing it, so I think this is the most logical assumption. Off the top of my head, here are the "visions" that people have had on the Island, and the result of having these visions:

  • Jack - His Dead Dad - Led Jack to water necessary for life, along with his father's coffin which helped bring closure with the symbolic "shattering of the coffin".
  • Kate and Sawyer - Black Horse (and a cherry tree) - Helped Kate realize she wasn't going crazy, and that she couldn't run away from her "dark side" or past, but needed instead to come to terms with it.
  • Locke - Dead Boone - Gave Locke a purpose on the Island (and in life), warned of Boone's impending death, put Locke on a path to save Eko from the polar bear.
  • Eko - Dead Yemi - Helped Eko (and Locke) find the Pearl Hatch, tried to get Eko to repent for his sins.
  • Boone - Shannon - Helped Boone get over his obsession with his sister.
  • Shannon and Sayid - Walt - Warned about the dangers of button-pushing.
  • Hurley - Dave - Tried to get Hurley to kill himself to "wake up" from the dream world he is allegedly in.
  • Charlie - Got Charlie punched in the face when he tried to save Aaron from a yet unknown danger.

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Is there a common thread there? Well, the three that don't quite fit with the rest are Charlie, Hurley, and Shannon and Sayid's visions. However, I think we have to throw each of these out the window anyways. Here's where it gets confusing, but I think there are multiple sources of the visions on the Island. For example, you could easily chalk Hurley's vision of Dave up to Hurley being crazy (in a non-like a fox way), since he was having visions of Dave pre-Island. You can probably chalk up Charlie's vision to numerous years of heavy drug use and church attendance. As for backwards-talking Walt? Heck, it's been documented that Walt had weird super powers - he probably had the ability to teleport himself or send visions of himself, or something weird anyways - so I'll eliminate that as well.

What we're left with are a number of visions that all resulted in something positive happening for the person having the vision. They all worked to help the person overcome some drama from their past and drop off some of the baggage they've been carrying around. Smokey might be responsible for two violent deaths on the Island, but he also might be legitimately trying to save people. Another fundamental theme of the show - redemption - ties in nicely here.

(Here's a question that I haven't had a chance to research, so I look to you, obsessive Lost Internet friends without jobs or families - have any of our Survivors had a "vision" without coming in close proximity with Smokey at some point prior? Jack, Kate, Charlie, Locke, and Eko all clearly did. It's a little fuzzy if Boone actually did, or if he was already in a drug trip due to Locke's peyote when he saw Smokey. But it could be that you need to encounter Smokey once for him to "scan you" and find out what you need saving from - before you start seeing the visions.)

Speaking of saving...

Ben. This week's episode seems all about the Benjamins (what). While there are a ton of questions surrounding the Others, who they are, and what they want – they all seem to be embodied in Ben. He’s their leader, he seemingly is the most deceptive of them all, and he seems to be the man with the master plan – which makes it all the more intriguing that he’s the one with the tumor (allegedly). Lots of stuff here…

First, why does Ben have a tumor at all? As many have asked, how could the Island have seemingly cured Locke’s paralysis and Rose’s cancer over the course of two months, but allowed Ben (a lifetime Island resident) to be near death due to a tumor. Something doesn’t add up.

For example, while Ben’s “God sent me a spinal surgeon from heaven” speech was nice, if he can truly come and go to the Island whenever he wants – why is this a big deal? As soon as he found out he had the cancer, he could have hopped on the slow boat back to civilization and gone to a real doctor, with state of the art facilities. It’s also in direct opposition to his “Even God can’t see this place” speech from last season. Fishy.

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But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume Ben truly does have a tumor that is aggressively growing. There are two possible explanations:

Remember what Isaac, the creepy Professor X looking guy in Australia told Rose and Bernard? Everyone responds differently to magnetic fields around the Earth. Just because one location heals one person, doesn’t mean it will heal everyone. Maybe, by unfortunate ironic luck, Ben is living on an Island that heals everyone else except for him. Bummer.

Perhaps the healing powers were tied to the unique magnetic properties of the Swan Hatch. Maybe due to their close proximity to the Hatch, Rose and Locke were healed – but due to Ben living far away from it (potentially even on another Island most of the time), it never affected him. If you’re looking for an explanation of why Ben allowed himself to get caught last season, this is it. Maybe it was a last ditch effort to try and soak in the effects of the magnetism by getting as close to it as possible – inside the Hatch.

But does Ben really have a tumor? While all signs indicate that he does (including his angry speech with Juliet last week, which seemed to be out of earshot of Jack), it wouldn’t be out of character for him to find out this is all just a ruse to try and see how willing Jack is to trust them.

Juliet. Speaking of trust, there was something very odd about Juliet’s video message to Jack last week. She told him that Ben is a liar, is dangerous, and that there is a faction of Others who want him gone (Yes! Rebel Dharmites! Finally!) – but here’s a question: if Ben is so close to dying from this spinal tumor, why do you need Jack to perform the surgery and then “accidentally” kill him? Why not just get Jack to refuse to perform the surgery and let Ben die naturally?

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If Ben truly has the tumor, the only thing I can think that would tie together the gaps in Ben’s story and the missing logic of Juliet’s story is this – Ben has the tumor, but it’s not progressing. The Island may not have prevented the cancer from coming, but it’s stopping the cancer from getting to a fatal state. Jack, used to “normal medical science” sees the X-Rays and assumes it is going to quickly grow to a fatal state. Little does he know that it isn’t getting any bigger – the Island is using its healing powers to keep it in check. Juliet truly is a Rebel Dharmite and wants Ben dead, so she’s telling Jack the truth. Ben is using this as a test to see if Jack is willing to help him (“the enemy”) out. The only question is, how far could Ben take this before knowing if Jack was on his side or not? Isn’t it an extremely dangerous position to put yourself in to determine the allegiance of someone?

If Ben is footloose and tumor-free, and the X-Rays are fake, this is all just a long con of Jack, put forth by BOTH Ben and Juliet to see which side Jack is really on. Perhaps they are curious if he would side with a “Rebel” (Juliet) or an “Other” (Ben). The problem is, if the Others didn’t want Jack because he was a surgeon, why did they want him? And Kate? And Sawyer? If Ben has the tumor, these answers all fall in line neatly. If Ben doesn’t, we’re no closer to having any answers than we were at the end of Season Two – and this six episode arc has gotten us nowhere.

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…and with that, I’m spent. For as crappy as this season started out, I’m legitimately pumped for this “Fall Finale”. The past two episodes have come strong and left me very satisfied (that’s what she said) – if this week’s episode is the same, I’ll look back fondly on this six-episode arc, and be giddy with excitement for the promise of seventeen nonstop episodes come February.

Questions? Comments? Hate-filled Diatribes? Leave them below!

(Footnote: per TV Guide, the decision for Eko to be killed was that of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, the actor who plays him. Apparently there were personal things going on in his life that made it hard for him to be in Hawaii, and the writers chose to accommodate his wishes to leave the show. So you can stop writing hate mail to the writers about “jumping the shark” and “killing Eko to make room for Paulo and Nikki”. It’s just a case of them putting someone’s real life ahead of a story. I think we should respect that.)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"The Cost of Living Reactions"

Brian's One Word Review: Holy _________!

Holy crap! Holy Eko! Holy Smokey! Holy religious symbolism! Holy Others-drama! This wasn't just the best episode of this season so far (even though the previews for next week's Fall Finale promise it will be the best episode of the year, it definitely has its work cut out for it now!), it's on the short list of the "All Time Great Episodes of Lost". Where to begin?
  1. Well, how about with the whole "Spoiler" thing I referenced in my preview post? Someone posted an interview from TV Guide that said a series regular was going to die in this episode. Once you realized it was an Eko-centric episode, he became the odds-on favorite to bite the big one. When I started thinking about it, it made no sense to me. They couldn't kill all the Tailers off, could they? In addition, Eko was just saved from the brink of death two weeks ago. If you were going to kill him off, why not let him die in the Hatch implosion or get eaten by a bad CGI Polar Bear? But after seeing this episode, I have no qualms with it whatsoever. His story came to a logical conclusion and served as an impetus to move the story forward. It wasn't some gimicky death for ratings or sheer "shock value". (But here's the sucky thing - if I didn't accidentally read that spoiler, I wouldn't have seen this coming in a million years. Kinda knowing it was coming took away some of the shock of the ending - this is why Spoilers are the devil!)
  2. The scene with Jack and Juliet? Absolutely fantastic. Talk about setting up a moral and ethical dilemma. Who to trust? I feel like Juliet is the obvious "good guy", and Ben is the obvious "bad guy", but wouldn't it be very Lost-like to have it be the other way around? Will Jack let his Hippocratic Oath get the best of him and save Ben? Or "slip" and end Ben's life? Excitement!
  3. Smokey. Boy, have we missed you. Not only did we get some of the best glimpses of Smokey ever, but we learned more of the nature of him - he's a Shape Shifter. Think about how the Lost producers told us we "saw the Smoke Monster last season but didn't realize it". It's likely that everything from Jack's dead dad to Kate's black horse to Locke's vision of Boone were all Smokey in disguise. But how is this all possible? For a show that's supposed to be "rooted in science", we now have a shape shifting cloud and a guy that can see the future. The sci-fi nerd alert is officially on.
  4. Eko. I loved Eko's "confesssion". It was flawed in its reasoning (he seemed to ruthlessly kill at least a few guys that he didn't need to), but it totally fit his character. For as much as we all loved Eko, he really wasn't a good guy. Even when he was acting as a priest, he never gave up his killer survival instinct. He didn't feel any guilt for what he did, he felt he did what he needed to do to survive, and he was okay with that. As he told the little boy, "Only God knows" how he'll be judged.
  5. Well, only God and the Smoke Monster (who may or may not be some sort of "Angel of Death"). Remember, Eko survived his first encounter with Smokey no problem. What changed between then and now? Whatever happened, Smokey is now pissed. Eko's dying words were: "You're next." Looks like the carefree days of exploring the Island and going off on random hikes are over! But why? Is this related to the Hatch Implosion?

I need some more time to digest. Full breakdown and analysis this weekend. Comment away!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Lost - "The Cost of Living"

(Whoa. I leave for four days and the Blog goes to hell. My Google Ads get disabled (it turns out you aren't allowed to ask people to click your ads - what is this, Communist Russia?) costing me $130, people start posting Spoilers in the comments section (remember, we voted to ban this action last season?), our pets heads are falling off... It's getting crazy. But now I'm back and intend to right this ship. No longer blinded by the prospect of becoming rich off the Blog, I'm back to my roots, doing it for the right reasons - to help keep my co-workers and friends from doing actual work at their jobs.)

Episode Title: "The Cost of Living"

Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: Finally! After spending two and a half seasons dealing with the mysteries of the Island, it looks like Lost is finally getting around to something far more interesting - economics! As the episode title hints, this episode seems to be dealing with the economic principle of the cost of living. A Cost of Living Index measures differences in the price of goods and services over time. Price indexes, such as the U.S. Consumer Price Index, are examples of these indexes. Price indexes measure the cost of purchasing a bundle of goods and services. In a nutshell, it tells you how expensive it is to buy basic necessities in a given area.

So what does this have to do with Lost? Absolutely nothing - I'm just doing my public service to make the world a smarter place. You'll thank me when you're on Jeopardy someday. But on to the deeper meaning...

What is the cost of living? What do we pay each day in order to remain living, breathing, and alive? You could argue that the cost of living is putting up with the pain and suffering that inevitably comes from time to time in life. From a religious perspective, one could argue that the cost of living is the risk that comes each day that you will commit some action to damn your soul. You could even argue that the cost of living is death. Whether we like it or not, everyone dies. The cost of living is that some day you're going to die. As Dave Matthews puts it, "Another year older - another year closer to being dead"). Wow! Most morbid paragraph on the Blog ever! How Halloween appropriate!

Which brings us to Eko.

The Cost of Living is an Eko-centric episode. Who has had a higher cost of living than Eko? Even Locke's "horrible past" pales in comparison. Think back. Eko was forced to murder a complete stranger to save his brother from the same act, he turns into a feared drug lord, and is eventually responsible for his brother's death. He's killed a lot of people, including those closest to him. That's a lot of baggage for someone to shoulder, even if they are built like a hoss. The cost living for Eko is this burden of his past - and it looks like he's coming to grips with it this week.

But he's not the only one. In a nutshell, Lost has always been about people with tortured pasts for one reason or another, and coming to grips with these burdens. Even now, we've got Jack wrestling with the decision of helping the Others in order to get off the Island (the cost of living - off the Island!) and the Others seemingly having an internal struggle (the cost of living on the island is a lack of free will?), without even re-hashing all that we've learned about Sun, Locke, and Sawyer this season. Everyone has plenty of issues, no question there. What worries me is that in the past, when you overcome your demons and find peace on Lost, you usually die (see: Boone, Ana-Lucia, Shannon).

The cost of living can be steep. But to take it to the extreme, the highest cost of living is one person sacrficing themself so that another can live. That puts the value of one life over the value of another. The cost of one person living can sometimes be the death of another (see: Bruce Willis at the end of Armageddon).

Heavy. Description: A delirious Eko wrestles with past demons; some of the castaways go to the Pearl station to find a computer they can use to locate Jack, Kate and Sawyer; Jack does not know who to trust when two of the Others are at odds with each other. Breakdown: When we last left Eko, he was seemingly still unconscious from his Polar Bear attack (I think we can safely chalk up his "talking" to Locke as a hallucination on Locke's part). The way the description is worded, his "wrestling with past demons" could happen regardless of if he wakes up or still unconscious. I'm curious to see if this struggle is going to be another trippy scene that's all inside Eko's head while he's still unconscious and dreaming, or if it's a product of him waking up and being "changed" by the Hatch implosion, a la Desmond. Only instead of seeing the future, Eko's seeing his demons from his past. Either way, I'm expecting a heavy dose of Yemi guilting Eko about his past.

Meanwhile, it looks like Locke decides a return trip to the Pearl Station is in order to help facilitate his journey for Jack, Kate and Sawyer. It’s about time that one of the Survivors started thinking logically, using the resources from a Hatch to their advantage! It’s still bothered me that there have been no repeat visits to the Staff, the Pearl, etc. other than the initial visits there. If it was me, and I was stranded on a mysterious Island with no idea what was going on all around me, you better believe I’d be tearing each Hatch apart, trying to find some clues.

Inside the Pearl, I’m assuming Locke encounters this freaky image:

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Who is this guy? Well, given that he has an eye patch, smart money is on the fact that he’s the same person who lost his glass eye inside the Arrow Hatch. It’s also likely that he was the one who was sitting at the desk inside the Pearl, burning cigarettes (whose butts were found by Locke and Eko last season).

Rather than being our first “Reject”, I’m more expecting him to become a “wild card” on the Island – the equivalent of someone like CFL, who doesn’t seem to have any true allegiances, but seems to have a fair deal of knowledge about the Island. Although mega-freaky, he doesn’t quite have the “savage look” that I would expect from the Rejects, and also seems to be all alone, which somewhat rules him out for being an Other. Look for him to provide the clues necessary to lead Locke to Jack, Kate, and Sawyer – and also be plenty freaky.

Lastly, it seems that we’re getting our first taste of some dissension among the Others, and Jack is right in the middle. Although it might be something as simple as Pickett and Ben arguing (over if Pickett can kill Sawyer or not), it would make more sense to have this be a fight between Juliet and Ben – over the tumor that Jack pointed out last episode. Juliet seemed a bit taken aback by Jack’s comment about the X-Rays showing a tumor, and the previews seem to indicate that the endangered spine was none other than Ben’s.

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Suddenly, the reasoning behind the kidnapping of Jack becomes quite clear. Ben needs spinal surgery. Jack is a spinal surgeon. It’s pretty simple really. Kate and Sawyer are brought along for the ride to help “coerce” Jack if needed.

So why the argument? I’m guessing that none of the other Others were aware of Ben’s tumor or the need for Jack. Something tells me that they were under the impression that Jack, Kate, and Sawyer were kidnapped for some higher purpose than just helping Ben survive. Suddenly, it seems that Ben is out for his own well being more so than that of the group. At least that’s my hope, in my dream world of Others and Rebel Dharmites.

Previously on Lost...

Brian's One Word Review of "Every Man for Himself": Intense.

I was really surprised to see how many people were not huge fans of last episode. Granted, I didn’t believe the “exploding heart” bit for a second, but it was still the most action packed episode of Lost so far this season. Between Sawyer getting his ass kicked by Ben (reminiscent of Ethan’s domination of Jack in Season One, anyone? Maybe these Others do have some sort of super strength after all…), getting stabbed in the heart (which to me was a pretty clear reference to the movie “The Rock”, not “Pulp Fiction”), Colleen dying, and the bunny seemingly being shaken to death, there were enough “edge of your seat” moments this episode to more than make up for the weak flashback and “exploding heart” storylines.

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Again, it wasn’t a five star episode, but I enjoyed it as much as any episode so far this season. So what happened?

Desmond. As predicted, he’s using his newfound clairvoyance to help protect his fellow Survivors from danger – in this case, saving Claire, Charlie, and Aaron from a lightning strike that could have seriously injured them – or at least ruined their shelter. So what’s the deal here?

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We didn’t really get any further information about how or why Desmond suddenly has this power, but it’s clear that it’s not strictly some sort of “mind meld” with Locke and Eko, but rather straightforward seeing into the future. Knowing exactly when and where the lightning bolt would strike was in no way tied to any knowledge that any of the Survivors would have. Needless to say, if Desmond somehow has control over this power, it would prove indispensable in any sort of “fight” against the Others, as well as predicting what is going to happen on upcoming episodes of Lost! Here’s hoping we continue to learn more about one of the most intriguing developments on Lost we’ve ever seen.

Purple Haze. As some commenters have astutely noted, one of the big lines of the episode was something of a throwaway line between Tom and Ben when Sawyer was waking up on the operating table, where Tom mentions somewhat frantically that “the sky went purple, we’ve lost communications, and Colleen is dying…”

Why is this so important? For one, it demonstrates that the Others have no idea what happened when Desmond blew up the Hatch any more than our Survivors do. The curious thing is that Ben’s capture and toying with Locke seemed to be for the purpose of getting them to stop pushing the button – why would he have done so if they were unaware of the consequences of such action? This also leads me to the question – if the Others don’t know what happened when the sky went purple, who will? Are we ever going to get a firm answer of the repercussions of this action, or are we going to have to piece it together as we go along, chalking up new occurrences on the Island as resulting from the Hatch implosion?

Also huge in this conversation is that the Others have lost their communication with the outside world. When the magnetic force “released”, it clearly knocked out whatever sort of communication equipment they were using – leaving them as stranded on the Island as the Survivors are. Will this possibly lead to the two sides working together? Not likely – the Others seem quite content to stay on the Island, which is the exact opposite of how our Survivors feel. What this might do, though, is give our Survivors a bit of an upper hand in some sort of “battle” between the two groups. With their communications down, maybe their ability to remotely monitor the Island is lessened as well.

Crappy Equipment. I also found it curious that the Others lacked functioning medical equipment. If they had Defibrillator Paddles, Colleen might have been able to be saved – but Juliet quietly admitted that they did not. These Others are definitely not as advanced as we initially gave them credit for – they might somehow be able to get ten copies of the same book for Book Club, but they can’t request updated, functioning medical equipment? Something seems a little off here – as if they don’t have as constant communication lines with the outside world as they would have us to believe. It’s almost as if they’re holding on to their life on the Island even after their supporters on the outside world have forgotten about them. Very intriguing.

Lame. Much less intriguing was the flashback this past episode, showing us that Sawyer was able to con people for some good. I suppose the flashback gave us a more well-rounded image of Sawyer as a person, but it really didn’t do much for me. Yes, it was nice to see Cassidy back, showing some continuity between Sawyer flashbacks. Yes, it was nice to know that Sawyer has a kid out there (allegedly), and has the heart to support this kid in his own way. But my main problem with the flashback, and something that seems to be happening more and more, is that the flashbacks seem to have little to no connection to what’s going on the Island at the time.

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I remember back to Season One, when a character on the Island would say or do something that would “launch” a flashback, where we would see something saying or doing something similar. That makes sense. The actions on the Island are “triggering” the character to have that flashback. Anymore, it seems very disconnected, as we have Sawyer in a cage, plotting his escape – then flashing back to him in a boxing ring – huh? It just doesn’t make much sense.

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One of my fears for a while has been that the flashbacks among our core group of characters would become stale with time. It’s slowly happening, but it’s not because the things happening in the flashbacks are uninteresting or lack a huge “twist”, a la Locke being in a wheelchair – but rather they are just starting to feel extraneous to the storyline on the Island. More than anything, this seems to be a product of lazy writing. Disappointing.

Paulo. Speaking of disappointment, I again have to mention what an absolutely horrible job the writers are doing introducing Paulo and Nikki – another episode with a throwaway scene featuring Paulo where we don’t learn his name or anything about him, but instead see a forced scene with an existing character, acting like they’ve known each other all along. This is getting to the point of awkwardness. You know how when you meet someone new, if you forget their name, you only have so much time to ask them what it is again before it becomes too awkward to do so since you’ve already been hanging out with them so much? I think we’re officially there with Paulo. Nikki, you’re not far behind.

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Alcatraz. Finally, the big shock at the end of the episode is that there’s more than one Island on Lost. If we’re to believe Ben, the Island that they’re currently on is used as a “prison” of sorts (thus the “Alcatraz” reference). After seeing this, some immediate questions come to mind:

  1. How have the Survivors, the Tailers, CFL, etc. NOT seen this until now? Is there some sort of “magic invisibility shield” around it? Did the Hatch exploding somehow make it visible, where it was cloaked in the past? Or are we to believe that no one has ever made it to the side of the main Island that it lies across from?
  2. Here’s a big question – was it even real? It’s almost a little too convenient, given that we saw the Others’ “main civilization” is on the main Island, and could be nothing more than some optical illusion designed to keep Sawyer from any escape plans. How? No idea – but something to keep in the back of your mind…
  3. Assuming that the Island is real, was the wire that Sayid found along the beach somehow running communications / power from the main Island out to Alcatraz? If so, wouldn’t he have seen Alcatraz out in the ocean when he was looking at where the wire was going? Or is this where the “cloaking” comes into play?
  4. Again assuming Alcatraz is legit, how do the Others get to and from the main Island? There was some mention of “the sub returning”, so it sounds as though they do have some means of sea transportation – but we’ve yet to see any proof of this.
  5. What is the purpose of this second Island? It isn’t mentioned at all in the “Numbers” Orientation video, but may have been referenced in the Pearl Orientation video, where they talk about performing your experiments and then returning to the ferry to take you back to the barracks. Is Alcatraz the true “living quarters” for the scientists, to protect them from the wacky experiments going on the main Island? If so, what are we to make of the fact that the Others were seemingly living on the main Island during the first scene of Season Three? Is that their “summer home”?

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Spoilers. Last but not least. Someone forgot the golden rule of “Lost and Gone Forever” – that is, we don’t post spoilers in the Comments Section, since they are the equivalent of fast-forwarding to the end of a movie before watching the middle, or searching for your Christmas presents around the house the week before Christmas – it just ruins the fun for everyone.

Because of this, and for the sake of all those who don’t actually read the Comments (which I hope is most people!), I’m going to refrain from commenting on the post in question (but have already kinda hinted at my thoughts already) – but will say this – I have a very hard time believing it to be true. From a storytelling perspective, it doesn’t make any sense to me, and I will be shocked to see it come to fruition.

Maybe I’ve already said too much.

So with that, I’m done for this week. I’ve got to say, I’m going into this week with little to no expectations about the quality of the episode, which should hopefully leave me pleasantly surprised. But honestly, we’ve only got two weeks of Lost left before the winter break, and it has definitely under-performed up until this point. It’s going to take a strong finish for Lost to build some momentum to carry us through the cold winter months – but here’s hoping.

PS – God bless those male Lost producers. Another week, another scene of hot Kate action!

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