Monday, February 27, 2006

Lost - "Maternity Leave"

Episode Title: “Maternity Leave”

Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: I suppose it would be wishful thinking to have the title refer to Claire dying – but that would be the ultimate “maternity leave”, leaving Aaron alone after his mother’s death. Nothing against Claire, she’s pretty cute and has a fun accent, but we’ve now got something like 20 main characters on the show, and I think some trimming would tighten the story up immensely. Plus, they’re on a mysterious and dangerous Island; you’d think deaths would be a pretty common occurrence, right?

Sadly, I’m guessing this title merely carries this dual-meaning:

Meaning 1: Flashback to when Claire was kidnapped in Season 1, finally showing us what happened to her (but I bet not showing us everything – I mean, this is Lost after all!). She took a “leave” from the group.

Meaning 2: Claire leaving Aaron to go hiking through the jungle in search of the places she sees in her memories.

This should serve as the first of what I hope is an upcoming trend on the show, giving us flashbacks that occur on the Island. Tell me you wouldn’t love to see a flashback of what Michael has been up to since he’s disappeared? Or Walt’s kidnapping? Or Locke when he first encountered the Monster?

At some point, we’re going to have a full understanding of the characters on the Island based on their pre-Island flashbacks, so if Lost is going to continue it’s flashback format, I think this is the only way to go!

TV Guide Description: A desperate Claire, along with Kate and Rousseau, attempts a return to the scene of her kidnapping where she believes she might find the cure for Baby Aaron's mysterious illness. Meanwhile, Jack and Locke must keep their prisoner a secret from the rest of the survivors.

TV Guide Breakdown: Show creators and Internet people in the know (not me… yet) have hinted that “big changes” were coming for Aaron this season. Is this what his mysterious illness is? Does Aaron have “the sickness” that CFL warned about? Is he turning evil, as forecasted by the psychic last season? Or is he merely ill due to malnutrition because he’s living on a freakin’ tropical island without getting any medical shots right after birth? I hope this is the start of something big, a place to begin explaining why children are so important on the Island, perhaps?

It also looks like new girl Libby finally has a role on the show! She’s serving as psychologist to Claire, helping her dig up repressed memories of her abduction prior to Aaron’s birth. It’s about time! Is it just me, or do these memories look an awful lot like Sydney’s, circa Alias Season 3?

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This really brings up the fundamental question of “Are the Others good or evil?” If good, they’re putting a needle in Claire to check the health of her and her baby. If they’re evil, they’re injecting pure concentrated devil juice into her. To be honest, if you look at how the whole Claire abduction storyline turned out last year, I’m leaning towards this being for Claire / Aaron’s own good. I mean, why would they kidnap her, do tests on her, and then just release her? If they wanted Aaron so badly, they would have kept her captive until he was born and then taken him. Perhaps this is merely an injection of Desmond’s 4815162342 juice to protect Aaron from the “sickness”? If so, his new mysterious illness might be the result of not getting a fresh injection for a while, leaving his susceptible to the sickness.

There has also been some chatter that this is a third Dharma Hatch:

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I don’t buy it. For one, there’s a very clear medical symbol (two snakes around a staff with wings) in the center of what appears to be the outside door of some sort of facility. Both the Swan and Arrow Hatch doors had no markings whatsoever on their outer doors (probably to help camouflage them?) My money is on this being a legitimate Dharma Medical Facility – one used by Dharma scientists when they get cuts, performing autopsies on experiments gone terribly, terribly wrong, and administering yearly Hanso flu shots. But… what are the odds this thing is abandoned when they enter? I’d guess pretty high.

It also seems very odd that the crew that goes on this mission would be Claire, Kate, and… CFL?! Hi, do we not remember CFL’s Claire and Aaron-napping past? And I don’t even think Kate and CFL have ever even been formerly introduced. If I was going to return to the scene of a violent crime, I wouldn’t pick a complete stranger who may or may not evil to accompany me. I’d also be taking some strapping boy along in case they encountered spiders or sports-trivia games. Be on the lookout for a CFL double-cross.

Lastly, it looks like Jack and Locke finally come to some agreement regarding Henry… that they are going to keep him secret from everyone else. This makes no sense to me. What harm could possibly come from everyone else knowing there was a strange man who might be a mysterious “Other” held captive in the Hatch? Keeping him secret just opens up the door for someone else to be in the Hatch on 4-8-15-16-23-42 entering duty and literally open up the door and let him escape down the road.

Previously on Lost…

We flashback to the magical time that was “Operation Desert Storm”, where Sayid learns the Iraqi government is responsible for the murder of his family in a neighboring town and learns the fine art of torture.

Meanwhile, back on the Island, CFL has captured a person she claims to be “An Other” named Henry Gale. Sayid isn’t so sure, so takes him back to the Hatch where he questions him about his past. After an involved “hot air balloon ride gone terribly wrong” tale, it seems that he’s telling the trust. But after doing his best Jack Bauer impression, Sayid finally gets him to trip up on the details of his supposed wife’s death. Unfortunately, buzz-kill Jack turns out to be a Democrat who has problems with “torturing people for information”, and interrupts the party before Sayid can get any more information. However, Henry gives Sayid this look, which pretty much confirms he is pure evil:

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Elsewhere, in what could either be a throwaway storyline or an absolutely huge one, Sawyer is tormented by a noisy frog. In looking for the frog, he stumbles upon Hurley doing his best Piggy impression. Sawyer blackmails him into helping find Kermit, and upon finding it, smashes it with his hand and gives it to Hurley.

In what should been a huge event, the 108 clock finally ran out, and we were treated to Egyptian hieroglyphics in the place of the numbers… and also learned that the 108 clock is really more like the 109 clock since Locke still had the opportunity to enter the numbers and reset it after the hieroglyphics appeared.

Fade to black. LOST.

Sawyer. What is it with Sawyer and animals? First the boar, now this? After his conning of everyone last week and getting all the guns, I’m beginning to wonder if Sawyer is really a bad guy, and that animals can sense evil. But did the frog smashing scene have greater significance than solidifying Sawyer’s place as a bad guy?

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joexray, apparently some sort of frogologist who reads the Blog (does that make me a blogologist?) points out:

“One thing that I noticed tonight is that the frog Sawyer and Hurley were holding is a Poison Arrow/Dart Frog. These frogs contain poison that can kill human beings by entering through cuts, the mouth or even permeating unbroken skin. The poison is like curare and affects the heart and may cause hallucinations. The skin is used as a poison for blowgun darts and arrows by some tribes of the rainforest of Colombia. Some species are considered to be among the deadliest animals in the world with enough poison per frog to kill 10 adults. The toxicity varies due to the "cicle-of-life" situation of each frog. These frogs eat insects. The vegetation that the insect eat actually influences the toxicity of the frogs sweat. Since nothing on this island is safe, I'm betting these frogs are very toxic.I'm sure it's no coincidence that they used a Poison Arrow Frog in this episode. The fact that Sawyer squished it in his hand is even more concerning. He, in essence squeezed venom into his hand, then handed it to Hurley.”

So are Sawyer and Hurley doomed? If they choose to follow this storyline through, they’re actually in luck – because they effects of the Poison Arrow Frog can be prevented or reversed with the tetrodotoxin from a puffer fish. I’m sure Jin could catch one of those and save them!

Ranch. Cue Wendy’s Ranch Tooth yelling “Raaaanch!”

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As predicted, Hurley’s lack of weight loss is not explained by his “invincibility” due to his Numbers curse, but rather due to a secret stash of Dharma foodstuffs from the Hatch. (Should we be suspicious that some of the food labels – like Crepes Au Chocolat – are written in French? CFL, you’re going on the Threat Down!)

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Jorge Garcia (Hurley) has actually lost 30 pounds since the show started, but adding this quick storyline is a nice touch of realism, since anyone who watches Survivor (read: Currin) knows that you lose a ton of weight in a week, let alone in a month of an Island. It also gives Hurley a secret he’s hiding on the Island, albeit a minor one compared to some others (Sawyer, Locke, Charlie).

Sides. This is two weeks in a row that Jack and Locke have had a heated confrontation. If they’re trying to build up the Locke vs. Jack battle, they’ve done a good job. In fact, at this point it seems absurd that Locke and Jack would work together on anything, making their co-hiding of Henry seem a stretch.

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How long before Locke changes the combination on the vault again? How long before Jack makes a speech about how Henry is innocent and they need to let him go? If the rest of our Survivors knew about Henry, it’s logical to think they would neatly fall behind Locke or Jack’s line of thinking and reasoning. However, the interesting thing is that I now see a third side forming – a “You’re Both Crazy, I’m Taking Action” side – led by Sayid and Ana-Lucia.

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Sayid and Ana-Lucia? Yes, the most unlikely of friends after Ana-Lucia’s accidental Shannonicide earlier this season. But both have basically made the same speech about taking action. “You people aren’t afraid enough” says Ana. “You’ve forgotten how dangerous they are” says Sayid. I think it would be easy to sway Sawyer (and his mega-valuable gun stash) to their side as well. “You and me, we ain’t done, Zeke” says Sawyer – plus he’s now been shot by Others twice!

Iraq. Here’s the curious thing about the whole Sayid flashback. No, not the fact that Kate’s unbiological dad appeared in it.

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It’s that the whole reason they needed Sayid was to pump information out of his friend. I assumed this was because he spoke their language. However, in the end, we found that the Shawshank Redemption Guard also spoke the language… so why did he need Sayid? Did he think the Iraqi would be more receptive to Sayid? Or is there something bigger going on here? He talked very cryptically by saying “You’ve learned how to torture someone. You’re going to need that skill down the road” or something along those lines. It really reminded me of Desmond’s “I’ll see you in another lifetime brother” line, as if he knew Sayid would end up on the Island and need to torture someone down the road.

Maybe I’m reading too much into this. (But not as much as people who think this guy is Tom Degroot / Zeke:

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Yes, he has a beard, but that’s it.)

Hieroglyphics. To those of you who didn’t tune in last week for the post One of Them post (fun!), based on what we saw when the 108 clock went Egyptian on us, it said the equivalent of “To Cause Death”.

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This brings us back to the question of “what would happen if you didn’t enter the numbers?” If you watch the episode, there’s an audible sound of something happening (wheels grinding?) right before Locke gets the Numbers in. But I don’t see how any of this would bring about death. Would it have shut the blast doors, trapping the person inside the Hatch – where they would eventually die? Does it have something to do with the super-magnetic core that seems to be inside the Hatch as well? Not sure. But I’m betting we find out before the season is over.

The other curious thing is that this “To Cause Death” warning is written in a language that hasn’t been used since 391 AD. Why put up such an important message in a format that almost no living person understands? Initially I thought “well maybe this place has been around since the beginning of time, and back then they understood it…” but if so, they wouldn’t be using our modern number system. So the two pieces are completely incongruous. Why?

Oz. Quickly, if you didn’t read the previous post – I’ll point out that Henry Gale is the name of Dorothy’s uncle in the Wizard of Oz. Henry Gale on the Island tells Sayid that he got there when his hot air balloon crashed… which is the same way the Wizard claims he got to Oz. What does this mean?

Initially, I was worried this was a subtle reference that everything happening on the Island might end up being “all a dream”, like in Wizard of Oz. However, after doing some research, I found that in the original Wizard of Oz book, Oz is a real place – where Dorothy and her family go and live forever. In the movie, it was made into “all a dream” because Hollywood bigwigs were worried no one would believe such a fantasy concept. Making it “all a dream” made the story more believable.

Ask anyone who’s played Super Mario Bros. 2 – the “all a dream” ending is the worst thing ever. Here’s hoping the writers know this, and threw it in just to trip us up, similar to the “maybe this song is from another time” comment two weeks back.

What Would Brian Do? This is a new section of the weekly post I’m starting due to my increasing frustrations with the story-telling style of the show. What am I referring to? Let’s review:

So far this season, we’ve been introduced to Desmond, only to have him run away and not be seen again for 12 episodes and counting. We were introduced to the Tailers, only to have them have minimal interaction with our original cast, and appear in throwaway two minute scenes tacked on to the end of episodes here and there. We now have Walt and Michael missing, and no one is even talking about them. Jack, Locke, and Sawyer encountered a large group of “Others” in the jungle who knew way more about them than they should have, and yet they didn’t attempt to talk to them or find them again, or even tell everyone else about the experience. There’s this mysterious Hatch that may hold the secrets to the Island, yet everyone spends their time hanging on the beach instead of tearing that thing apart looking for answers. Charlie and Eko encounter a crazy smoke monster and don’t talk about it with anyone. Sawyer steals all the guns and cons everyone on the Island one week, and the next week no one is treating him any differently.

HELLO!? Am I going crazy here? Does this not seem insane to anyone else? Why aren’t the characters talking to each other, sharing Island experiences and trying to get off of it? Why don’t events on the Island carry any resonance into future episodes? Why are the writers hell-bent on starting a storyline, then abandoning it for two months, then coming back to it? It’s terrible, terrible storytelling!

They say that no man is an Island. Ironically, on Lost (which takes place on an Island) not only is every character an Island, but each episode is a seeming Island.

But it’s easy to complain. This is where I tell you how I would make this show better, starting with this week. If I were in charge, these five things would happen during “Maternity Leave”:

5. Find stuff in the Dharma Medical Facility. I'm talking charts about each of the Survivors on the Island, pictures, dossiers, etc. Something to let them know (and the audience know) that they have been watching them along, and perhaps they were all hand selected and brought there for a specific reason.

4. Have Locke tell someone, anyone about what happened with the 108 Numbers turning hieroglyphic last episode. We can't let this be another one of those crazy things that happens and no one on the Island ever talks about it. Discuss it. Guess what it could be mean. Do something to let the audience know that you indeed saw the symbols and ponder what they might mean!

3. Continue to question Henry Gale. Don't just let him sit in the vault while Locke and Jack debate the ethics of keeping him there. Get details of his story, ask him if he's seen anything weird happen, look for him to slip up in his stories. Throw out information about the 108 Numbers, Desmond, Zeke, etc. to see what his reactions are. Keep a close eye on him at all times.

2. Show Sayid beginning to forgive Ana-Lucia and the two sharing a common bond in what needs to be done. Show them planning a strategy and commenting on how insane everyone else on the Island has been for merrily living their simple existence instead of questioning things, being afraid, and trying to get off the Island!

1. Kill Claire. I know, it sounds cruel, but think about it. Killing Claire would force someone else to raise Aaron. Who else? How about our resident couples on the Island, neither of whom have any major storylines going on. I'm talking about Sun / Jin or Rose / Bernard. Plus, we will all be left to wonder if the psychic's prediction about Aaron will come true - if he's raised by someone other than Claire, will he turn evil? I'd be very intrigued to see how this would play out.

How? Well, if we're to believe that The Zeke Others are really good guys (which I'm leaning towards), you'd need to either have one of The Misfit Others (Ethan / Henry) take her out (we've seen that Ethan had no problem killing our Survivors). With Ethan dead, the most likely candidate would be Henry. Since his escape seems eminent, he could easily crash the CFL/Kate/Claire party. CFL and Kate clearly have survivor skills. Claire does not. Sorry Charlie! (I'm using that both as a valid expression in our English language as well as expressing sorrow for the character Charlie who would be sad if she died. Hilarious.)

Tell me that wouldn't make for a fantastic episode?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"One of Them" Instant Discussion Points

1. "Henry Gale", the name given by the stranger in this episode, is the name of Dorothy's uncle in the Wizard of Oz. In that movie, the Wizard flew away in a hot air balloon.

2. Here is the Egyptian Hieroglyphics Alphabet:

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Here is what we saw when the timer hit zero:

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While studying hieroglyphics on the Internet, I came across this:

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3. We were totally lied to in the preview. They included a picture of a fake timer. That's pretty unbelievable, and reason enough to never trust another preview ever again. I guess TV can lie to us (but only once in a great while).

4. No new episode next week, even though it's still sweeps. Very odd.

5. Discuss.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Lost - "One of Them"

Episode Title: “One of Them”

Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: Inevitably in life, sides are always drawn. No matter who you are or what you do – in the end, sides will form. You’re either going to be one of us or one of them. Philosophical discussions about stereotypes aside, what does it mean to us?

On the Island, the episode title clearly refers to this curious fellow:

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Who is he? SAT-style multiple choice time!

a. A survivor of Flight 815 who somehow ended up on his own?
b. An ever-elusive “Other”?
c. Kelvin, the supposedly dead co-Hatch-dweller of Desmond?
d. A resident of another Hatch, not affiliated with any of the aforementioned parties?
e. None of the above.

See, it’s tricky because I threw in that “none of the above” answer. However, I’m leaning towards D. Why? One big clue. Remember the “timer” we saw in the preview, counting down to zero, causing gasps and little girl shrieks of joy from the Delta House viewing faithful (note: shrieks came from me, not any of the girls in attendance). Look closer:

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They’re different. They seem to be doing the same thing – but they’re not even close in appearance. So (unless it appears in some dream sequence, which would anger me more than anything in the world) there’s obviously some other timer on the Island. Where better than inside another Hatch? Although back in the day, I originally thought that each Hatch would have its own “experiment” going on (since the Orientation video listed all the different “focuses” of Dharma), it now seems as though at least two have the same “push the button” action going on.


A bigger question is why did this guy leave his Hatch? Assuming he’s anything like Desmond, he believes that he has to be there or else something terrible will happen. I can’t imagine that he would leave his post, unless he ran out of supplies?

In the end though, the important thing is that he doesn’t appear to be one of our Survivors. He’s not one of us, he’s one of them… and that’s the most dangerous thing someone can be at this point on the Island.

Fresh off the attempted Sun abduction (which remember, most still think was the work of an Other), any strangers to the Survivors are a potentially dangerous enemy. Let’s not forget that so far everyone they’ve met on the Island has either kidnapped them, murdered them, stole their children, or talked them into pressing a button every 108 minutes. Not a good track record.

But let’s not forget this is also a Sayid-centric ep, so I’m thinking the title also refers Sayid being “one of them”. Through his other flashbacks, we’ve seen that Sayid was a torturous Iraqi with a heart, a sucker for ladies with big brown eyes, and willing to do a little spying for the Great Satan of America if it means he can get closer to his one true love (not Shannon).

When we last left Sayid in his flashbacks, he was pretty much a good dude - so, I think we’re going to see Sayid thrown in with stereotypes of being a flag-burning Iraqi commie, “one of them” to Americans who don’t trust him no matter how much he helps them. There’s also a chance we see him as a traitor to his fellow Iraqi countrymen, since he’s helping the Americans spy rather than fighting them.

Look for the parallels between Sayid being persecuted for being an outsider or different in his flashbacks while the innocent stranger on the Island is being persecuted for being mysterious – likely ending with Sayid finding he can’t torture this person, because he feels his pain.

TV Guide Description: When Rousseau leads Sayid to a mysterious captive in the jungle, he becomes determined to find out if he is one of the "Others." Meanwhile, Sawyer discovers Hurley's potentially devastating breech of the survivors' trust and blackmails him into helping track an elusive island creature that won't leave Sawyer alone.

TV Guide Breakdown: Again, the real mystery for me is “how did this guy get captured”? If he were a true “Other”, he would have the catlike cunning to avoid the trap in the first place. But if he were a Hatcher like Desmond, what is he doing in the jungle where he would get trapped in the first place? Very confusing.

Hurley’s devastating breech of the survivors’ trust? The only thing I can think of is that he’s been hoarding food from the Hatch this whole time (thus explaining why he’s not losing weight). I can’t imagine any other situation that would involve Hurley losing the trust of the other Survivors. Sawyer likely stumbles upon Hurley’s food stash on the way to his own gun stash, then blackmails him into tracking that darn cat – er, boar – that’s been tormenting him for going on two seasons.

I agree, bringing the whole boar storyline back seems like an unnecessary rehash of last year’s storyline. I mean, didn’t we already resolve this when Sawyer let the boar go? Why is he suddenly being tormented again? I’m hoping for something different, but I fear this storyline will leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Overall, I’m more excited for this episode than last week’s. The promise of a new character on the Island, the return of CFL, and a potential new Hatch are enough to make it a worthwhile episode that will actually advance the storyline on the Island.

Previously on Lost…

Locke Box. As predicted, Locke claims he’s keeping the Heroin as pain medication. Riiiiiight. I’m telling you, he’s evil! (Although it was pretty funny when Jack asked why he didn’t break the Virgin Mary statues…)

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Vincent. Once again, Vincent seems to show up right before disaster strikes. This time, it’s before another freak rain storm and Charlie’s “Other” impersonation. Is this a coincidence? Does it represent how dogs can sense evil? Or could it be there is some sort of connection between Vincent and the seeming all-knowing Walt. Is Walt no longer appearing as a Ghost to warn about danger, but instead having Vincent go in his place? It might be a little too “Timmy in the Well” for Lost, but it’s better than Sully’s “Dog is God spelled backwards” theory…

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Script. Did you see what Hurley was reading by the campfire?

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Hello product placement! Guess what book is coming out on May 2nd?

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So what’s the deal? This book, actually written by Lost writers, is authored under the pen name “Gary Troup” (FYI – rearrange the letters to spell “PURGATORY”!!!!). Here’s his bio:

Bad Twin is the highly-anticipated new novel by acclaimed mystery writer Gary Troup. Bad Twin was delivered to Hyperion just days before Troup boarded Oceanic Flight 815, which was lost in flight from Sydney, Australia to Los Angeles in September 2004. He remains missing and is presumed dead.

Fun, huh?

The story in the book has nothing to do with the story on the Island, as it was “written” before the plane crashed. But I’d be willing to bet there’s some symbolism hidden in there that we can correlate to the Island. Needless to say, I’ll be buying it when it comes out and reading it. Stupid Lost Media Machine! I’m powerless in your grasp!

Kate. Did you catch the waitress in the diner in Sawyer’s flashback? That’s right, it was Kate’s mom. Again we see how the Survivor’s lives have all nearly criss-crossed (jump, jump) without their knowledge. Is there some master plan at work, or is this just an example of how we are all connected to one another without knowing it as we move through our day to day lives?

Love. Okay, so Sawyer turns out to return to his rebel roots. After thinking he was going soft by letting Kate cut his hair and altruistically going after Michael and Walt, he goes and totally turns on us. It definitely is a shake up to the balance of power on the Island, ripping it away from Jack / Locke, and making Sawyer king. Does this mean when Survivors start taking sides, it’ll be Jack or Locke or Sawyer? Or will Jack and Locke compete for Sawyer to join their side, knowing that it will give them all the power? At any rate, it doesn’t look like the army is going to be trained any time soon, not without any guns.

Here’s the part that I don’t get – Sawyer pretty much ruined any chance he had of hooking up with Kate. Con or no con, that’s a bad move on his part. She’s freakin’ hot!

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Radio. Sometimes I think the Lost writers throw things in an episode just because they want me to type pages upon pages of pages of analysis about them, only to read them and laugh at how I’m their puppet. Not this time. During the Sayid and Hurley scene with the radio, Hurley comments on how the song seemed to be “from another time”, which instantly made me think the whole “time warp” theory was back… except Hurley instantly followed his comment with “or not”, as if to brush the whole thing off as a joke. A joke from the writers to me. Very funny. Stop toying with my emotions!

Owls. Lastly, something else you could chalk up to “intentionally messing with the viewer” is the intentional shot of the book that Locke was pulling off the bookshelf in the Hatch when Sawyer came in.

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"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is the story of a man who is sentenced to death by hanging at the Owl Creek Bridge of the title. When he is hanged the rope breaks and the main character falls into the water, from which he begins a journey back to his home. During his journey, he starts to feel some strange physiological events that ultimately end with a searing pain in his neck. It turns out that the man never escaped; he imagined the entire thing during the time between being pushed off the bridge and the noose finally breaking his neck.

Are we to take this to mean that the whole Purgatory theory is alive and well, and that everyone on the Island is dead? Only imagining they are alive. JJ Abrams is on record saying this is not the case, but admits that it’s a good theory. I’d chalk this up to another Red Herring.

But fun nonetheless. That's all for this week.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Lost - "The Long Con"

Episode Title: “The Long Con”

Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: This is a Sawyer-centric episode, so “The Long Con” seems to be a fitting title. I’m sure this episode will involve some other scheme he was running back in the day, but the “long” part is intriguing. Granted, it could just be referring to a particular scheme that went on for a prolonged period of time (boring), but I’m thinking it’s more referring to some other aspect of Sawyer’s life, not tricking someone else, but rather himself.

Gibberish? Okay, let me rephrase – I’m thinking the episode will be about Sawyer lying to himself about who he is and the justification for his actions. Since his father murdered his mother and took his own life, he’s felt that he had the vindication – the right and authority – to do whatever it took to find the true Sawyer, the person responsible. He had the mindset that he could take whatever he wanted from the world because the same world took so much from him. But in reality, this is just him lying to himself about the nature of right and wrong.

Want more? How about the same theme of Sawyer’s flashback playing out on the Island, in a much more literal sense? “The Long Con” that’s been going on this whole time on the Island. Jack called Zeke out on having a spy two episodes back, “Ethan” – but based on Zeke’s reactions, Ethan wasn’t the spy he was thinking of. Libby you say? Well, given that she’s only been with our Survivors for the equivalent of eight Island days, I wouldn’t say that qualifies as a long con, but a short one.

So who is it? I’ll get there…

TV Guide Description: Survivors fear that "The Others" may have returned when Sun is injured during a failed kidnapping attempt. Meanwhile, Sawyer is an amused but highly interested bystander when tension escalates between Jack, Locke, Kate and Ana Lucia.

TV Guide Breakdown: The “failed kidnapping attempt” is somewhat disappointing. I would think that a true kidnapping of a pure, innocent Sun might be just what Jack needs to get his “army” rolling. However, judging from the previews and his confrontation with Locke, he’s still pretty fired up about the incident.

But the bigger question is - why Sun? Was she simply an easy target, since she was out in her garden away from anyone else? Or is there something more at play here. Goodwin said that The Others took the “good ones” and left those who weren’t so good. You could make a strong case that the only true “good ones” left in the Survivors are Sun and Claire. We’ve already seen Claire be kidnapped, so Sun seems to be the next logical choice. Or could it be that Sun is pregnant??? It’s entirely possible since she is all lovey-dovey with Jin again! The Others love the babies…

Tension escalating between Jack, Locke, Kate, Ana-Lucia isn’t surprising. You already have the tension between Jack and Kate (love lost), Jack and Locke (faith vs. science), Ana-Lucia and everyone (Shannon murderer), Jack and Ana-Lucia (sexual) and Kate and Ana-Lucia (hot!). Sawyer prefers to stay on the sidelines. He’s more than willing to help out, pick a fight, or make witty banter, but he’s no leader. His interest likely results from what is surely a debate between our core Island leaders over the guns / The Others. Sawyer will come down on whatever side wins, and will prove to be a tie-breaker – making him more important than he thinks… or wants.

Previously on Lost…

We learned more about Charlie’s troubled past and got a healthy does of religious symbolism. I was infinitely proud of calling the whole baptism theme in the title and the John the Baptist symbolism (did you catch the picture in the beginning when Hurley was coming down the steps?). But in the end, not a lot happened. Eko mysteriously marked trees that were his favorites, we saw images of Hurley as Jesus, Claire and Charlie’s mom as Virgin Mary / some other Biblical chica, and saw a flying dove interpolated with a crashing plane…

But what does it all mean? I’m thinking Charlie is going to end up being right – Aaron is in danger – but now that he’s viewed as a druggie, no one is going to believe him. It’s like The Boy Who Cried Wolf but without the wolf – “The Boy Who Cried Others”.

But perhaps the most important part of the episode for me was a scene at the very end…

My Locke Manifesto.

So here’s the thing – a funny thing happened during one of the last scenes of the last new episode, where Locke is showing locking up (pun intended, I’m hilarious) the Virgin Mary statues full of H. I thought to myself, “What the hell? Why wouldn’t he destroy them? This makes no sense.” But the more I thought about it, the more it began to make sense and I came to a realization. Although I had our “strips-to-change-the-subject” friend Libby (why aren’t all girls like that?!) pegged as the “Mole” in our group, she’s not. It’s John Locke. It’s been John Locke all along.

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Shocked? Like many, John Locke has long been my favorite character on the show. That’s the point. The writers have creatively (or accidentally) kept his shadiness just under the surface – so that in watching a typical episode, you wouldn’t catch it.

Furthermore, they’ve developed this great sympathy for his character through the flashbacks, which makes you even less likely to view him as “bad”. Think about it. Through most characters’ flashbacks, we see crimes they committed, people they murdered, and lives they’ve messed up. Locke’s flashbacks always leave us with a feeling of “Awww! Poor Locke! His dad / mom / boss / everyone in his life are the meanest ever! I love Locke!” This makes him an even more unlikely traitor.

But in doing some research, I went back and isolated his actions in each episode so far. Once you do this and look at them critically, his actions become glaringly obvious.

So this is it – my John Locke Manifesto. Why now? Because I’m thinking the big reveal is coming soon and I want you to be prepared. Let’s start at the beginning. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

The Plane Crash.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is some huge conspiracy on Locke’s part. He didn’t get onto Flight 815 with any malicious intent. He was just the perfect choice. Think about his life prior to the crash:

In flashbacks, we see an angry wheelchaired Locke shouting, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” We see his father telling him “Go away and don’t come back. You’re not wanted!” We see a broken man having imaginary relationships with telephone sex line operators, working at a box factory wishing he could be something else – do something more with his life. He had nothing going for him, and seemingly could do nothing about it. Then things changed.

His plane crashed. Locke could suddenly walk. Locke didn’t know why, but didn’t really question it.

After teaching Walt the history of backgammon, Locke asks Walt a very creepy question: "Do you want to know a secret?" In a later episode we find the secret is "a miracle happened."

At this point, Locke has already bought into the idea that the Island allows him to be something he’s not. However, as we see him attempting to hunt wild boar (and quickly getting knocked down), we see that he’s still not the man he wants to be. Which brings us to his encounter with “The Monster”.

The Monster.

Remember, we have no idea who or what this monster is. I think right now, knowing what we know from Eko’s episode, we’re assuming Locke encountered some version of the Smoke Monster – but we can’t be certain. I still don’t quite have this encountered figured out. Did he encounter the Smoke Monster? Did it show him something? Was Zeke / An Other there as well, who offered to spare his life if he worked with them? I’m not sure. But it’s really not that important for the argument. Here’s the thing:

When pressed about what he saw during his encounter with “The Monster”, Locke says, “I didn't see anything.” Obviously he saw SOMETHING. Is this the face of someone who sees nothing?

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So obviously, he is LYING. Why would he lie about seeing some crazy Smoke Monster in the jungle? Fast forward a few episodes (days) on the Island…

Let me set the scene: Night has fallen at the caves and Hurley is roused from his sleep when Locke returns to camp with some additional luggage he and Ethan found while out tracking game. Locke and Ethan “hunting” at night? Pretty odd, and not in a Brokeback Mountain sort of way. Not coming back with anything from the hunt? Also pretty odd since Locke was a pretty sweet hunter. Granted, we know that Locke was “hunting for boars” during the whole Hatch escapade and repeatedly coming back empty handed, but this is before any of that. Clearly Locke uses “hunting for boars” as his excuse the same way I use to always be “studying in the library” in college.

So what was he doing? It’s pretty clear that through some combination of Locke’s encounter with “The Monster” and his meetings with Ethan, he was changed. He somehow gained his “powers”, those being knowledge of survival skills, ability to handle and use weapons, etc. – because he lacked all of them right after the crash. How? You’ve got me. But the important thing is they didn’t come for free.

From this point on, Locke has been secretly working with some Others (be it the “Ethan Others” group, the “Zeke Others” group, some combination of the two, or a third party altogether. In Locke’s eyes, he has been chosen for a reason and needs to perform certain tasks for them, such as monitoring the Survivors, occasionally kidnapping people, etc. But he’s cool with it. After a lifetime spent of wishing he was important, and could make a difference – all the sudden he’s the Big Man on Island Campus.

Locke isn’t a bad guy – they have him convinced that he’s doing all of this for the greater good. Locke even believes it, telling Charlie, “have faith — this island will give you a great deal…if you are willing to give it something in return.” Clearly, Locke “has faith” and “gave something” to the Monster / The Others – his services as a liaison between the Others and the Survivors, a la Walt Cummings on 24.

The weird thing is, his abilities seemed to fade at a few points last season. Remember when he was having trouble walking when he and Boone found the plane? Well his inability to walk kept him from being the one in the plane when it fell from the tree. It’s almost as though the Island was protecting him from a certain doom, since it knows Locke is on its side. Locke protects the Island’s secrets and in return the Island protects Locke.

The only puzzling piece to this theory is the second time Locke encountered The Monster. Things were different, Locke was afraid, and it tried to take him. Why? Remember, it attacked as our fearless heroes worked their way through the jungle with TNT needed to blow open the Hatch. Clearly The Monster was trying to prevent this from happening. Yet even in this peril, Locke still knows that he’ll be fine. He implores Jack to let him go, saying “I’ll be okay”.

Later in that same episode, Jack says, "I don't believe in destiny." To which Locke replies, "Yes, you do, you just don't know it yet." Clearly, Locke knows the master plan, that they are all there for a reason, and someday Jack will too.

Locke’s Deceptions:

So what? So, ever since Locke turned, he’s been playing every single other person on the Island, lying to them and causing havoc right before our very eyes! Let’s check some examples:

Back in the beginning of Season One, there was a plan to triangulate a radio signal and try to send a distress signal. Remember, Sayid got hit on the head and the plan was ruined. Immediately afterwards, Sayid questions Locke on his whereabouts when he was attacked. Locke claims he was out hunting and points Sayid in Sawyer’s direction. This sets Sawyer up for an Iraqi-style beating and makes him the “bad guy”.

Cleverly, the writers finally reveal that it was indeed Locke – but not until so much later in the season, we’ve almost forgotten about it. Locke defends his actions by pointing out that the source of the distress call isn't really a place one would want to lead people. How does he know this unless he’s been there? Per CFL, the Black Rock is Others-central. Cahoots!

Then there was the attack on Claire. There was clearly a knife involved. Who has the most knives on the Island? One John Locke. It’s debatable if he had an accomplice role in the attack, or if he just helped Ethan. Once she eventually is kidnapped by Ethan, Locke did two very curious things. First, he sides with Sayid, saying they should not track him down – instead staying at the camp and building their defenses. Weird.

Later, once the search party leaves, Locke insists that Jack return to camp and look over Sayid, saying "You be the doctor, I'll be the hunter." Locke wants to follow Ethan - alone. He’s trying to ditch everyone else in the pursuit of Ethan so that the goals of The Others can be accomplished. After the search party is finally formed, right before they encounter Ethan, Locke wants to rest - but Jack insists they push on. It’s as if Locke knew they were getting too close… very similar to the scene two weeks ago!

Jack, Locke, and Sawyer are in pursuit of Michael when Jack and Locke argue about whether to turn back or keep searching – again, Locke wants to quit. Not ten seconds later, Zeke appears. Coincidence?

Locke’s Plan:

Last year, when I thought Locke was pure Kendall goodness, I thought his interactions with each character were to help them overcome their fears and weaknesses, in order to create a strong army to fight The Others. However, now that I look back, his interactions strike me far more sinister, as if he’s “winning everyone ever” so that they would never expect him of doing anything evil. But at the same time, he’s gaining knowledge about each of them, learning their strengths and weaknesses, and how to exploit them. Look at some examples:

Sayid - Locke makes peace with Sayid when the two could easily be enemies after the radio incident – he even counsels Boone not to make an enemy out of Sayid saying “we are going to need him on our side… later.” Sayid also admits that Locke is their best hope of surviving on the Island.

Sun – Remember when Sun was breaking down Jack Johnson style after she thought Jin was dead? Locke shows up, gives her the speech about “the only way to find something is to stop looking” and makes her feel better.

Claire - Locke made Claire a baby crib, knew it was her birthday when no one else did (how?!), and is now teaching her how to care for Aaron and keeping Charlie away.

Michael - Locke teaches Michael how to use a gun – combined with the bad directions being fed to Mike via the computer, this effectively gets Michael out of the picture, leading him to some sort of Others capture, keeping Walt safely wherever he is.

Sawyer - Locke reveals that he is aware of Sawyer's real name, James Ford. It’s interesting that no one else knew this, and the manifest reading took place over a month earlier. Locke knows too much…

Charlie - Charlie doesn't hesitate to say that Locke is the one man on the island that he would trust his life to. By taking possession of the Virgin Mary statues, Locke now controls the one thing that has power over Charlie.

Walt – Locke has taught Walt the nature of good and evil, how to throw a knife, given him support when Michael wouldn’t, and even covered up for him when Walt burned down the raft. That’s an awful lot of attention… but we’ve seen that Walt has some special powers, and is clearly worth stealing in The Others eyes – he was obviously prime target #1, so Locke kept him close and won him over.

Jack – For crying out loud, Locke convinced Jack to push the button, thus going against every scientifc fiber in Jack’s body. He plays on Jack’s weaknesses and turned him into a man of faith. The undisputed leader of the Island playing by his rules? That’s a pretty big win for Locke.

Remember the last line of Season One? It served as a sneak preview of Season Two, one we’re just now getting two. Jack says, "We're going to have a Locke problem."

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Okay, enough ranting. Hopefully I’ve made my point. I guess I could have forgone the previous Manifesto by typing a simple “LOCKE = BAD”, but where’s the fun in that?

Here’s the thing that’ll really blow your mind. Now that we’ve established that Locke is in cahoots with The Others (“the bad guys”), what is going to happen when there’s finally a battle between them and our Survivors (“the good guys”)?

If Lost wants to be the coolest TV show ever, I’m banking on the good guys turn out to be bad, and the bad guys turn out to be good.

Remember - all along we’ve been told that The Others were taking the people who were good and that there is no need to worry about them because they’re fine. The good guys (and we as an audience) are convinced that none of this is true. Why?

Again, judging by the flashbacks – almost every good guy has a tortured past full of lies, murder, and criminal acts. How is that good?

Is it so hard to believe that Locke and The Others actually do have the best interests of everyone on the Island in mind, but the good guys just can’t see the big picture?

Remember the Comic Book in the first episode? The writers said they picked that comic book for a reason, because it had a deeper meaning that related to the whole show. The basic storyline of the comic is that a group of superheroes (read: “good guys”) fight and kill this alien (read: someone different that they don’t understand, like The Others), only to learn in the end that the alien was actually there to help save the world, and was a good guy.

If I’m a writer for Lost, I make the last scene of the last episode end with Jack and Co. finally defeating The Others only to realize in horror that they just killed the good guys, effectively ruining any chance of getting off the Island / dooming themselves / bringing about the end of the world – choose your adventure!

Fade to black.


Okay, sorry for the Manifesto-heavy post. But at least it gave me something to write about after a fairly symbolism-weak episode followed by a repeat. Watch, this episode will reveal Locke to be good and Libby to be the traitor all along, meaning I spent the past four hours of my life for nothing. But if not, I expect your praise and adulation in the comments section.

I hate Pittsburgh.

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Friday, February 03, 2006

Not The Same

(, not the Ben Folds song)

To those of you who asked, the Doctor at the Mental Institution in "Numbers" is not Dr. Marvin Candle, the narrator of the Orientation Film. Here is your photo evidence:

Dr. Marvin Candle:
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Doctor at Mental Institution:
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Also - they were played by completely different actors, according to

Theory debunked.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Lost - "Numbers" Revisited

Sadly, Lost is a repeat this week - but that doesn't mean we can't look for deeper meaning! In this case, "Why would they choose to repeat a season one episode instead of a season two episode?" I'm thinking it's because they want to remind us of something that happened in "Numbers" that is going to relate to something that is coming up in future episodes.

Here are some theories, based on things you'll see in "Numbers" tonight:

1. The Numbers. 4 8 15 16 23 42. They're all over this episode, reminding us that they are cursed and bring bad things to those who use them. Now we have literally every Survivor entering them into the computer in the Hatch in shifts. Will this bring about bad fortune to all of them?

However, we haven't really seen these numbers show up in quite some time in flashbacks on the show - even though there have been plenty of opportunities to do so. While repeating this episode might be an attempt to bring them back to the forefront, it also makes me think of the comment from the show's creators about "I don't think we'll ever be able to answer what the Numbers are or what they mean." Maybe the show is trying to move away from them...

2. Love. In this episode, Hurley's mother is criticizing him for not going out and finding a girl - and we now have Hurley pursuing a relationship with Libby. Coincidence?

3. Crazy. We see Hurley enter a mental institution - where doctors and patients there seem to know him - and talk to Leonard about the Numbers. Did Hurley used to be in a mental institution? Is that how he knows Libby? Was she also in the institution, or was she just a psychologist working there? This has to be how Hurley knows Libby! Be on the lookout for Libby in the background when Hurley is in the hospital!

4. Wire. In Hurley's search for CFL in "Numbers", he again follows the strange wire that leads from somewhere in the ocean to her camp. What is this wire? Seemingly, CFL was getting the power for her bunker from this wire - so it must be connected to some sort of generator / power source / establishment under the water. There's either some sort of downed ship / submarine out there, or perhaps a Hatch that is located underwater?

Given that all the images we've seen of Ghost Walt have had him dripping wet, and he was kidnapped out at sea, I think it could be likely that he's being held captive at whatever this establishment is.

5. Black Rock. CFL mentions that there is a radio tower near the Black Rock which was broadcasting the Numbers - a broadcast she changed once "The Sickness" got to the rest of her crew. When we saw the Black Rock in "Exodus", I didn't see any sign of a radio tower - but perhaps we'll pay a visit to this location in a future episode?

6. CFL. Finally, we have CFL. We haven't seen her this season, but you know she's going to be back before we know it. This episode neatly reminds us of her whole story. This is also the episode where we learn she has moved away from her oringinal bunker (and blew it up). I'm betting she's now living somewhere around that radio tower and the Black Rock. I'm also betting she shows up again as part of the "build an army" storyline!

So there you have it. That should be reason enough to tune in for a repeat. And after tonight, we have three weeks of new episodes!

Feb. 8 - "The Long Con" (Sawyer-centric)
Feb. 15 - "One of Them" (Sayid-centric)
Feb. 22 - "Maternity Leave" (Claire-centric)

Plus it's sweeps, so you know they'll be good!