Friday, February 5, 2010

This Blog is Officially Retired

That's right, I'm done with this blog.

I've found that Wordpress blogs are much nicer; they provide nicer features and they block spam...Plus, it's easier for me to manage two Wordpress blogs rather than one Wordpress and one Blogger.

Two Wordpress blogs, you say? Why yes, Lost fans, I'm still blogging about our beloved show, but I'm doing it on a new blog:

I've already posted a few things there. And when my friend Mary creates the customized Lost header for it, it's going to look pretty sweet, if I do say so myself.

So if you're looking for a Lost discussion, pop on over there. I'd love to hear what you think about how season 6 kicked off.

If you want to follow my primary blog (even though it's been on my back-burner during the last two months), you can find that at:

Hope to hear from you over there...


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Season 5 in Review

Okay, now that Season 6 kicks off tonight...true to my typical procrastinating ways, I'm finally publishing my review of Season 5.

I had hoped to launch a new Lost blog for season 6. I even came up with a title and a theme, but alas, I ran out of time. Maybe it'll still happen...although, at the rate I'm going, it won't be until season 6 ends.

Anyway, let's review the highlights of a crazy fifth season, and revisit the lingering questions (there are so many to choose from...)

Starting with...

So Locke really was dead...

Okay, let me just toot my own horn for a moment. After "Dead is Dead," I wrote this:

Why didn't the Smoke Monster come when Ben summoned it? Or did it...

Is it possible that Locke might still be dead...but reanimated by the Smoke Monster? I know that sounds far out, but there were subtle hints...

Okay, so maybe I didn't stick with that theory for long. But I at least suspected it!

I was wrong about so many things this season (like Jack befriending little Ben back in the Dharma days and my whole Jack-Kate-Sawyer-Juliet "love rhombus" idea), I was glad I at least was on the right track once or twice.

Why, Why, Why?
Season 5 included a few characters that, in retrospect, seem out of place. But with so few episodes remaining, I have to think they're clues.

First of all, there was Jack's Grandpa Ray. I don't think they introduced him just so Jack could discover that Grandpa Ray has a pair of shoes that belonged to Jack's dad (Jack could have easily gotten some of his father's possessions from his mother). I think Jack's Grandpa Ray—and his eagerness to get away to some place where "they'll never find him"—might suggest that this attachment to the island is something in Jack's history, something in his lineage.

What about Oldham and his LSD? What was the point of that? This is one character that might be completely insignificant. It's almost like the writers used him as a tool to show how Sayid's story had come full circle, from torturer/killer to the torturee who is willing to let the Dharma-ites kill him...until little Ben tries to save him and he decides he really is a killer...

And then there's Annie, the character we didn't see in season 5. The writers said early on that Annie was an important figure in Ben's life...and in season 5, we saw a lot of little Ben...but no Annie. I still believe there's something more to her story (why else would they show Ben still carrying around the statue she made for him?). But will that be included in season 6? I'm betting that it doesn't make the final cut.

Eloise and Widmore
Okay, so they were once lovers. And Daniel is their kiddo. That's interesting, sure. But not nearly as interesting as the fact that they both showed up at the hospital in LA after Desmond got shot. These two former others, and former lovers, seem to care as much about Desmond as they do about anyone else.

Widmore's first question for Eloise wasn't whether or not Penny was okay. Instead, he asked, "How is he?" First of all, that means someone told him Desmond was shot. Second of all, it means he cared enough to fly across the pond to check on him.

I can draw only one conclusion from this: Desmond is extraordinarily special.

And I suppose I can draw one conjecture as well: I think Widmore plans to use Desmond to help him get back to the island.

Eloise and Widmore, Part Deux
At the end of Season 5, Eloise and Widmore were together in LA. Remember, Eloise had just been calculating "windows in time" for the island. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see the two of them trying to land in one of those windows themselves (after all, hasn't Widmore devoted his whole life to finding that island? And now Eloise, his former lover/baby's mother, has access to a Dharma station that can pinpoint the island's location?) C'mon...of course they're going to try to go back. Right?

Widmore and the Man in Black

After the Season 5 finale when we learned that Locke wasn't Locke, "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" contains some particularly interesting nuggets. The most interesting, in my opinion, is a quote from Widmore..."because there's a war coming, John. And if you're not on the island, the wrong side is going to win."

Think about that. I've tried to come up with any other explanation for that comment, but I can only conclude this: Without Locke's body, the Man in Black can't pretend to be Locke, and without pretending to be the man who is supposedly the new leader of the Others, he never gets escorted to Jacob by Richard. So if Locke's body doesn't return to the island, then the Man in Black's side can't win.

So, from this I can only conclude that Widmore has been knowingly or unknowingly serving the Man in Black's purposes.

Ben and Dead Locke?

Remember when Ben told Jill the butcher (another character who was a strange inclusion) to keep Locke's body safe? He said, without him, everything they've worked for would have been a waste...

Sure, at the time we thought that everyone who left needed to go back, and they needed to "recreate" the original flight as closely as possible. And Locke's body was going to be a "proxy" for Christian Shephard...but what if all that was gibberish? What if Locke's dead body needed to go back so the Man in Black could use it? What if that was Ben's intention all along?

I realize this almost sounds like Ben and Widmore are on the same side. But I don't think so. I think they could have similar objectives, and still be opposing each other at the same time.

A Widmore Contradiction?

From "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham":

LOCKE: The camera in the desert—that was yours?
LOCKE: How did you know I'd be there?
WIDMORE: Well, that's the exit. I was afraid Benjamin might fool you into leaving the Island, as he did with me. I was their leader.
LOCKE: The Others?
WIDMORE: They're not the "Others" to me. They're my people. We protected the Island peacefully for more than three decades. But then I was exiled... by him... just as you were.

Hold on, when Widmore was "exiled," he left on the sub. Doesn't Widmore offer contradictory ideas here? He says "I was afraid Ben might fool you into leaving the island, as he did with me." Does that mean, Ben fooled him into turning the wheel at some point? He then says "I was exiled...just as you were." But Locke left via the wheel, and showed up at "the exit." So would that be "the exit" for someone who is exiled? Or would they exit on the sub, like Widmore did? Is there more than one way to end up at "the exit"?

Or is Widmore just a liar? (Ding Ding Ding, I think we have a winner.)

Ben's Hit List for Sayid

Who were the people Sayid was killing? Were they really Widmore's people? (I don't think so, or else Abaddon would have been on that list originally.) Were they people who had left the island at some point? I don't know. I have no answers for this.

The Temple
I have no answers for this either. I just hope we see a lot of it in season 6.

The Mysterious Richard Alpert
So we learned that Jacob made him the way that he is...whatever that means.

I also did a little wikipedia research on the real-life Richard Alpert:

Richard Alpert in real life was an associate of Timothy Leary who later changed his name to Ram Dass. He wrote a bestselling book, Be Here Now, the core message of which, according to wikipedia, involves "the relationship between temporal consciousness and spiritual identity."

Also from wikipedia, when Ram Dass was asked to sum up his life's message, he said, "I help people as a way to work on myself, and I work on myself to help people..."

After learning more about Lost's Richard Alpert in season 5, it's a little more clear why the writers gave him that name. Don't you think?

Kate...and Jack
Those who've talked to me about Lost know that I believe Jack and Kate are both special. I think we've seen way too many flashbacks involving them, and I think that means there's more to their stories.

That being said, I'm eager to see how that plays out. I have theories, but they're way too complicated and long to include in this review of season 5.

Is Juliet dead?
I think so. Sad, but true.

Is Sayid dead?
I don't think so. Not yet.

Daniel and Charlotte?
Yep, dead and gone. For good.

Yes...I think so...maybe...

Free Will and the Man in Black's Long Con...
We know the Man in Black found his loophole in order to kill Jacob. To find that loophole he used a lot of deception, and free will.

First of all, when Locke fell down the well. Christian Shephard told him how to get off the island and what to do when he got off the island...but when John asked for help (he had a compound fracture in his unlucky legs, after all), Christian said, "Sorry, I can't do that, John." In other words, for his long con to work, he couldn't take any direct actions...instead, he had to convince others to act.

Similarly, he needed Ben to actually stab Jacob. It had to be Ben's decision. And ultimately, it was.

Ben's Long Con...?
Any chance Ben knew what the Man in Black was up to? After all, he's the one who insisted on bringing Locke's body the plan wouldn't have worked without him...

And he was the one who killed Locke (after he got the information he needed). And perhaps the most telling element of all, after killing Locke, Ben says to his dead, suspended body "I'm going to miss you, John. I really am." What a curious thing to say to someone you just killed...unless, of course, he felt he had no choice but to kill Locke. And why would he need to kill Locke? So his body could be used by the Man in Black...

But if this is true, what's in it for Ben? I don't know, and that's why I'm not sold on this theory.

"They're Coming..."
These were Jacob's last words...assuming he really died.

And Fake Locke didn't seem thrilled to hear them, either.

Having finally killed Jacob, you'd think Fake Locke would have been pretty pleased, but upon hearing these words, his face showed fury. And Jacob obviously wasn't referring to Ilana and the others from Ajira 316, because John already knew they were coming (Heck, he'd even talked to them and told Richard that they'd need to "take care of them" after he was done talking to Jacob). So Jacob must have been referring to someone else...and obviously, we can assume he meant our Losties who had been trapped in the 70's...but perhaps he could be referring to someone else entirely. Desmond? Widmore? Eloise?

Personally, I think he means Jack, Kate, and the others Jacob appeared to in the past.


Why didn't Sun flash back to the 70's with the rest of them? Was this just an unpredictable element (the result of not recreating the original event perfectly?), or was this part of Jacob's plan?

The Whispers...
When Ben was supposed to kill Rousseau and baby Alex, he didn't. And there were two potentially revealing pieces of dialogue in that scene. First, Rousseau accuses Ben of being the one who infected them (interesting). Later, Ben tells her that if she hears the whispers, to run the other way. Why?

I think we still have a lot to learn about the whispers... Maybe it has something to do with the dead people residing on the island...which is what Naomi told Miles when she was recruiting him in his flashback.

But I hope that gets sorted out in Season 6.

Little Ben and the Temple?
I have nothing to reveal here (no theories, either). Just a lot of curiosity.

Why was a young Ethan running around with the hostiles? Just because Ben was a bad influence on him? Or was there more to this?

For example, did Horace and Amy (or one of them) have ties to the Hostiles?

I still suspect that maybe Horace died willingly during the purge. (Remember how peaceful he looked sitting on the bench? And remember the effect the same gas had on Ben's father? Also remember that Ben went over to close Horace's eyes.) I wonder if Horace didn't decide that the Dharma Initiative was getting out of control, and maybe he arranged for Ethan's safety in exchange for allowing the purge...

We also know that Horace built the cabin. Why he really built it...well, that's still a little foggy.

"I remember your friends well...because I watched them all die..."
These were Richard's words to Sun. I don't think he's lying. But I don't think he's right, either.

My suspicion is that Richard wandered out to the Swan construction site during the gunfight at the end of season 5. And when Juliet detonated the core of the Jughead bomb, I'm betting that the Losties vanished in the explosion. Richard obviously believed they were killed, but we know better. (I hope.)

In fact, I'll be surprised if we don't see this play out in tonight's episodes.

Jacob's Fate?
Could Jacob really be dead? If he's mortal, then is the Man in Black also mortal?

Things I want to see in Season 6:

—More of Jack's history (especially details about whether his ancestors have been on the island before).
—More of Kate's history (especially details about whether or not she was on the island as a young girl).
—More of Hurley throwing hot pockets
—The Temple
—More Richard Alpert
—More banter between Miles and Hurley
—More skullduggery from Ben Linus
—Desmond Hume
—Sarcastic smart-mouthed Sawyer (as opposed to Jim "I'm content leading a normal life" LaFleur)

Feel free to share what you hope to see in Season 6. Or to mention things I left out of my review.

Here's to hoping Season 6 is the best season yet...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Benjamin Linus reads "Little Boy Blue"

This video is 3 months old, so I apologize if everyone has already seen it.

But I just saw it today and I thought it was amazing! (Would have been a little better without Jimmy Fallon, but still.) Michael Emerson is so talented...and, well, creepy.

The picture is jacked up in the beginning, but it clears up.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Surprises from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Warning: Spoilers abound!

I'm writing this as a lover of J.K. Rowling's series, so my response to the new movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will intentionally take for granted some of the most intriguing/entertaining elements of the film. Instead, as one familiar with the book, I'm looking at the aspects of the movie that surprised me—pleasantly in some cases and not-so-pleasantly in others.

Overall, I thought the movie was entertaining and I think they did as good of a job concluding it as they could given that the sixth book doesn't really resolve; instead it mostly attempts to set the stage for the final book.

So, in no particular order, here are my thoughts:

  • The Death Eaters are flying now? In the book, and I could be wrong, I thought they apparated. But in the movie, they flew in streaks of ominous black smoke (destroying bridges, buildings, and the Weasley's house in mid-flight). This was visually impressive, but if wizards and witches are capable of flying, then doesn't that sort of defeat the purpose of the broomsticks?

  • Dumbledore's fire-waving spell in Voldemort's cave was pretty freakin' sweet.But did anyone else wonder why the hundreds of inferi climbing out of the pond all looked exactly like Gollum? Wonder how the Lord of the Rings people felt about that...

  • In the book, Harry hides the potions book in the Room of Requirement because Snape is asking about it and he doesn't want to hand it over. In the movie, Hermione and Ginny (with Ron present) encourage Harry to get rid of it. Why make this change? I don't believe changes should be made just for the sake of changing something. Rowling's work is quite good, and the movie folks should only make changes that improve the plot. This one, in my opinion, did not.

  • Also, Ginny makes the moves in the movie. In the book, Harry kisses Ginny after Gryffindor wins the Quidditch Finals. Again, I don't understand the logic behind this decision. In this instance, the revision didn't detract from the moment, but it's still curious.

  • It was nice seeing a lot of Quidditch in this movie. I'm not a special effects aficionado, but I thought it looked pretty realistic. Odd, though, that they never showed Harry even attempting to go after the snitch. The focus, instead, was almost solely on Ron Weasley. And that's fine, I suppose, but in the books the game is almost always decided by one team securing the snitch. So again, it's a strange omission.

  • Paging Neville Longbottom... Has anyone seen Neville Longbottom? Oh that's right, he got that very brief cameo serving hors d'oeuvres at Slughorn's party. Still, it seems like they could have given him a bit more to do in this one. Now I wonder if he'll play any role at all in the conclusion of the series. In the book, he has a fairly important task before him. In the movies, who knows?

  • I was not expecting to laugh half as much as I did while watching this movie. At times, the exchanges between the characters were downright hilarious. Slughorn was a riot. And I especially loved the dialogue between Harry and Ron concerning the niceness of Ginny's and then Hermione's skin.

  • I loved all the instances when Dumbledore apparated with Harry on his arm. My favorite was the one when they were leaving Hogwarts:

    Harry: Wait, I didn't think it was possible to apparate within Hogwarts.
    Dumbledore: I guess you could say there are a few advantages to being me.

    That was classic.

  • Helena Bonham Carter is fantastic as Bellatrix Lestrange. Absolutely perfect. (Even if I did keep thinking she was Marla Singer with special powers.)

  • No Dumbledore funeral? C'mon. Why not show that? That would have been the perfect backdrop for Harry's statement to Hermione and Ron that he needs to finish what Dumbledore started, that he won't be returning to Hogwarts. If I remember correctly, that's exactly how Rowling wrote it. Again, why make the change? I think a Dumbledore funeral would have been a fitting way for the viewers to say goodbye to the beloved headmaster.

  • When I first read this book, I was so angry with Snape. Furious. And yet, I was baffled. I knew something didn't add up. Dumbledore trusted him. Why? I just couldn't understand it. The movie didn't do nearly as good of a job of establishing this tension. There were a couple passing attempts (Remus saying, "If Dumbledore trusts him then we need to trust him..." yada, yada, yada), but for the most part, the shady side of Snape was dominant. And without the "Is he really that despicable?" tension, Snape just becomes a run-of-the-mill bad guy. And that's unfortunate.

    Of course, they could have (and absolutely should have) done one thing to help maintain that tension. They could have done something to make us wonder if perhaps—just maybe—Dumbledore wanted Snape to kill him. And that brings me to the one major frustration I have with the cinematic portrayal of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:

  • The Dumbledore death scene. In the book, Harry is hidden under his invisibility cloak, and he is prepared to intervene on Dumbledore's behalf. And just before he can, Dumbledore casts a silent spell (unbeknownst to Draco Malfoy) that immobilizes Harry. And so Harry is forced to watch—held prisoner by Dumbledore's spell—as Snape kills his beloved mentor.

    Not only does this add to the tragedy, but it should make the reader (and Harry) question why Dumbledore did this. Harry could have disarmed Malfoy. Harry could have stood with Dumbledore as the Death Eaters climbed the stairs. Or...Dumbledore could have just apparated again. But no, he didn't. Why? It's almost as if Dumbledore was accepting his death... Hmmm.

    In the movie, Harry hides and does nothing. (Disclaimer: I know Snape found Harry hiding there just before he climbed the rest of the steps and killed Dumbledore, but if he immobilized Harry, I missed it. Instead, I thought he just told Harry to be quiet...and then he went up the stairs and killed Dumbledore.)

    This is the one change I view as a major miscalculation. Now Harry will have to wonder, "Could I have done something?" instead of wondering, "Why wouldn't Dumbledore let me help him?" To me, that's not nearly as unique or intriguing.

    But even that poor decision doesn't change the fact that this movie was well-done and very entertaining.

    It definitely built some momentum for the finale (although, apparently, the seventh book is being divided into 2 we'll see how that goes).

    If you haven't seen the movie, then I don't know why you read this. (Didn't you see my spoiler warning?) But if you saw it, I'd love to hear your thoughts on anything you found surprising (pleasantly or otherwise) or just plain entertaining.
  • Monday, May 18, 2009

    My Lost article for Books & Culture

    Over the weekend, I finished writing a review of Lost for Books & Culture, and it ended up being one of the most difficult pieces I've ever written.

    Originally, it was over 3,000 words, and I cut it down to less than 1,200 by the time I was done. My goal was to review the five seasons of Lost in a way that would make it appealing to those who don't watch the show (including BC's sophisticated demographic) and interesting for those of us who do watch it religiously. At the same time, I tried not to spoil anything significant for those potential newcomers—which is what made the writing process so difficult. I let the time travel cat out of the bag (a little bit) and I mentioned a few names, but other than that, the piece is pretty much spoiler-free.

    If you'd like to read it, here's the link:

    Not Too Late to Find Lost

    And you can check back later this week (maybe tomorrow) for a brief recap of the finale and then even later this week, I'll be recapping the highlights of the entire fifth season, and including the questions that we'll be pondering for the next nine months.

    More soon!

    Wednesday, May 13, 2009

    "The Incident": Finale Time!

    If you're coming here for my thoughts/summary, I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed.

    I know, I know. I write recaps for the last 13 episodes, and then slough off for the finale?

    I'm sorry. But I'm writing an article on Lost for Books and Culture. It should be posted next Monday (I'll link to it), so that is taking precedence right now.

    But next week, I'll write a summary to the episode, and if I'm feeling really ambitious, maybe a recap of the entire season. (I don't think I'll feel that ambitious.)

    In the meantime, my predictions for the finale, which starts in less than 5 minutes:

    1) Miles dies.

    2) Ellie betrays Jack.

    3) Hurley attempts something heroic.

    4) We see Ellie leave the island.

    5) We learn Kate's real reason for returning to the island, and it has something to do with Widmore and/or Ben—and nothing to do with Claire.

    *Bonus: We learn why Hurley's been hauling around a guitar case.

    Wednesday, May 6, 2009

    "Follow the Leader": Misery Loves Company

    What a perfect title for tonight's episode. As we watched three different groups of people (1) Richard and Ellie with Kate, Jack, and Sayid 2)Present day Richard with Locke, Ben, Sun, and Others and 3) Those still in Dharma-ville), the same question applied in all situations: Who exactly is in charge?

    In group 1, the potential leaders are: Widmore, Ellie, Richard...or Jack? Or is it Kate, since she is the one who refuses to follow the rest?

    In group 2, Locke seems to be in charge. But he still has so much to learn. And don't think Ben doesn't want to be the leader. And don't forget about Jacob.

    In group 3, Horace is in charge. But Radzinsky decides he shouldn't be. Pierre Chang gives an order, but again, Radzinsky opposes him. So who is the leader in Dharma Land?

    And the other theme: misery. Jack mentioned it. Sayid mentioned it. Sawyer's "good riddance" goodbye to the island hinted at the same idea.

    Kate was the oddball on both counts. She refused to "follow the leader," and she was quick to refute Jack's reference to the misery they've endured, saying "It was not all misery!"

    Jack's response: "Enough of it was."

    Let's recap.

    Season 5: Episode 15—"Follow the Leader":

    First of all, it looks like Daniel really did bite the big one. Except Jack is convinced that it can still be fixed. All they have to do is carry out the things written in Daniel's little black book.

    Ellie is on board. And Widmore surprisingly lets her set off with Jack and Kate on a trek to the hydrogen bomb. If Widmore wanted to stop her, he didn't. Could it be because of the things she was saying to him when we couldn't hear their conversation? Maybe she said, "That guy I just shot is the son we're going to have together..."

    Sayid's Back and You're Gonna Be in Trouble...

    I don't know who that Hostile guy was, the one beating up Jack and Kate. The one who was prepared to shoot Kate when she tried to leave. But hey, it doesn't matter, because Sayid comes out of the woods with his gun blazing. And whoever he was, he's a dead other now.

    Sayid stuck with Jack, swimming under the falls to the tunnels following Richard, Jack, and Ellie. Jack looked so happy to see him, since he obviously didn't expect Sayid to follow.

    And Sayid said, "If this works, it might just save us all. If it doesn't, it'll put us out of our misery." (There's that word again!)

    Widmore Rides Again:

    At the beginning of the episode, we saw Widmore riding into the Hostiles camp on a horse again. That's twice now. Probably meaningless, but I wonder...

    And did he ask Richard why the girl (Kate?) looked familiar to him? Sort of like when Ellie looked familiar to Daniel in the 50's?

    Now, I know this is going to sound outrageous, but I'm just putting it out there. Ignore it, if you want. But when it comes true, remember you saw it here first: What if Widmore is Kate's real dad? Just saying...

    John Locke is Back...and so is John Locke

    The present-day return of John Locke begins with a woman notifying Richard Alpert, who is so calmly putting together a model ship. (Note: Interesting that the Hostiles are now living on a beachfront camp. Not in Dharma-town. And not in the woods. On the beach, like our castaways had...) This woman says, "He's here." No name. Just "He." Clearly, they had all been waiting.

    But even though they'd been waiting for him, it wasn't long before Richard was unnerved by the new John Locke:

    Richard: "Where have you been?"
    Locke: "That's a long story. I'll explain on the way."
    Richard: "On the way where?"
    Locke: "It's going to be dark soon, and we have an errand we need to run together."

    Richard: "There's something different about you." (it was like Richard was trying to look through him...)
    Locke: "I have a purpose now."

    Hmmm, didn't he have a purpose before? Hasn't he always been doing the island's will? So what's different now? A more specific purpose? One revealed at the end of the episode when Locke said he was going to...

    Kill Jacob?

    I don't even know what to make of this comment. I love how baffled (frightened) Ben was. But... I don't even know where to begin. I'm not convinced Jacob is a real, living person, so I'm not sure how Locke plans to kill him. It could be a planned illusion, something to make the Others stop relying on "Jacob," so they can trust him (John Locke) and not a Jacob they don't know (more importantly, a Jacob whose wishes can be distorted by Ben or Richard, or whoever else is passing along the messages).

    But I really doubt we'll see John Locke killing Jacob, or even attempting to.

    That Guy Over There? Well, that's me, of course!

    It was very fun to see Locke tell Richard that time-flashing Locke had been shot, and then he told him the very things that we saw Richard tell him in whatever episode originally contained that scene. This was vintage LOST writing: show us a scene, make us think that Richard had all the answers...and then show us that scene again, two months later (in our time), and now we see that he got those answers from Locke, who is probably getting them from "the island." And now we know that Richard didn't know as much as we thought he did. Not at all.

    But before I get to that, enjoy this Ben/Locke exchange again:

    Ben: This must be quite the out-of-body experience.
    Locke: Something like that.
    Ben: What impeccable timing, John. How did you know?
    Locke: The island told me. Didn't the island use to tell you things?
    Ben: No, it didn't. And the island must not be telling you where Jacob is, or you wouldn't have to ask.
    Locke: You've never seen him.
    Ben: Excuse me?
    Locke: Jacob. You've never seen him, have you?

    (I don't think I got it down verbatim, but I'm looking forward to watching that scene again.)

    And then Richard returns (after time-flashing Locke flashed away) and he asked Locke if he wanted the bullet. Locke declines.

    Locke: How'd it go?
    Richard: You seemed pretty convinced; especially when I told you you had to die. Glad that didn't have to happen.
    Locke: Actually, Richard, it did.

    Oh, and then we had some priceless expressions from Ben and Richard. Speaking of Mr. Alpert, whom Ben described to Sun as "an advisor...and he's had that position for a long time"...

    Richard is so confused

    We got to see a lot of Richard, which was great. And we also got to see a lot of Richard being confused, which was kind of fun.

    For example, when he first saw Ben, he asked Locke, "What's he doing here?"

    I know he was surprised to learn that two Lockes would be on the island together for a short period of time...but I couldn't figure out just how surprising this was to him. Was he surprised it happened? Or surprised it could happen?

    There was this exchange, which Locke seemed to enjoy:

    Richard: John, you want to tell me where you've been the last three years?
    John: You really don't know?

    And then near the end of the episode, after Locke repeatedly insists on seeing Jacob (and eventually, taking everyone with him) in spite of Richard's suggestions to at least wait for a bit, we have this priceless exchange between Richard and Ben:

    Richard: I'm starting to think John Locke is going to be trouble.
    Ben: Why do you think I tried to kill him?

    The Boy Who Didn't Die and the Friends Who Did (or Will):

    There were so many good lines in this episode. Including:

    Sayid: I already changed something. I killed Benjamin Linus, and yet we're still here.

    Of course, Sayid then learns that Kate saved Ben, and when Sayid asks her why, Kate says, "Since when did killing kids and blowing up hydrogen bombs become okay?"

    My question for Kate: "Since when do you have such a strong objection to, well, everything? What is your motivation for all this? (Okay, that was two questions...but still. The writers are setting something up here. Okay, maybe they just had her object so that Sayid could have a cool reappearance, shooting down her would-be killer, and maybe they wanted to add some tension to Jack's plans to discharge a hydrogen bomb, or maybe they just wanted to get her on that sub with Sawyer and Juliet. But I think there's something more going on. Even if she isn't Widmore's daughter. :) )

    Getting back on point now: Sayid learned that little Ben didn't die. But Sun learned that Jin and the rest of her friends did. When Sun asked Richard if he remembered them, he said:

    "I remember them well. I remember them, because I watched them all die."

    Shortly after that, Sun makes the mistake of turning to Locke for consolation: "Do you think that's true? That they're all dead?"

    Locke, like the new Governor of Other Island, sidesteps this question with, "I don't think we came all this way for nothing." Even though we learn later that he doesn't give a rip about reuniting with the others.

    The Episode's Weirdest Quote (aka "Stating the Obvious")

    Richard: I'll have a tent prepared for you, and we'll leave first thing in the morning.
    John: I thought we could leave right now.
    Richard: Now?
    Locke: I'm eager.

    (Eager? You don't say.)

    Thankfully, some things—like Ben being Ben—will never change:

    Obviously, Ben doesn't like following Locke the leader, even though he'll tell Locke to his face that he's okay with it. But even as he claims to be okay with it, while also notifying Locke that Richard was questioning Locke's ability to lead (Ben will betray anyone's confidence if he thinks it will help him...), he clearly isn't. And so we get gems like this:

    Locke: Why don't you join us?
    Ben: Why? You afraid to leave me here alone with my former people? Afraid I'll stage a coup?
    Locke: I'm not afraid of anything you can do now.
    Ben: Oh, well in that case, I'd love to come.

    (Why did he really have Ben come along? To rub it in Ben's face that the island is telling him things?)

    Young Ellie is a better actress than Old Eloise:

    Yeah, I said it. I thought her delivery here was outstanding:

    Eloise: The man I shot. What did he need the bomb for?
    Jack: I don't think you'd believe me.
    Eloise: When I was 17 years old, I took a young man to the bomb. He proceeded to tell me that if we buried it underground, things would work out splendidly...and when I asked him how he could be so sure, he said he was from the future. And then he disappeared, right before my eyes. Ten minutes ago, I shot that man. In the back. But before he died, he said he was my son. Explain to me, and I swear I will believe you. [holds up Daniel's notebook] How is this my handwriting if I don't remember writing it?
    Jack: Because you haven't written it yet. I know this is hard to understand, but what you just did was an accident, and I think there's a way to take that back.

    Jack: He doesn't have to be dead. If we do what's written in that journal, none of this happened.
    Eloise to Kate: Does he know what he's talking about?
    Kate: He thinks he does.
    Eloise: Alright, I'll take you to the bomb. There's just one small issue, however. We secured it over 20 years ago and buried it underground. Since that time, it appears someone built a whole village over it.

    Wait, what did she just say?

    When Ellie said that line, I was thinking they would be wandering into Dharma-town to get to the bomb. And that's what Ellie suggested by commenting on how they shouldn't have any problems since they've been impersonating Dharma Personnel. BUT we see them get to the bomb, and it's by swimming under a waterfall into a long tunnel, which eventually opened into ancient tunnels reminiscent of Smokey's lair. And when I was watching that, I forgot about Ellie's words. Until now. So those tunnels, where Jughead is...that's all located underneath the Dharma village?


    Kate Runs:

    I've said enough (and alleged enough) about Kate for now. So just some quotes:

    Kate: I can't go any farther with you; not this time.

    Jack: You can't go back there. They'll kill you.
    Kate: And what are you trying to do?

    Jack: I'm not wrong. This is why we're here. This is our destiny.
    Kate: Do you know who you sound like? And he was crazy, too; you said so yourself.
    Jack: And maybe I was wrong.

    Kate says she's going back to the rest of their people, because "if I can't stop you, maybe they can." (This isn't like Kate. Since when does she ask for help? And does she really think Miles, Jin, Hurley, Sawyer, and Juliet are going to dissuade Jack? If anyone can, it's her. And yet she walks away. I don't get it.)

    I Wish I Didn't Know Radzinsky Would Eventually Commit Suicide...Because I'd Kind of Like to See Him Get Killed:

    Wow, Radzinsky!

    Somebody got too big for his britches. And fast!

    That's all I want to say about Mr. I'm-Going-to-Keep-Claiming-to-Be-in-Charge-Until-Someone-Stops-Me.

    Sawyer Will Get Even with Phil:

    Hitting Juliet. Not smart, Phil. Not smart.

    Oh yeah, and he called Hurley "the fat guy."

    I hope Hugo runs over Phil with a Dharma van. (That's Hurley's other superhero power, other than the obvious one: playing chess with dead people.)

    Horace Sides with Hostiles...or Will:
    I've said it before, and I'm more convinced now. Mark my words: when Horace dies during the Purge (looking so at peace on that bench), he will die willingly—only after helping the Hostiles purge an increasingly corrupt and dangerous Dharma Initiative. Maybe he'll decide Dharma needs to be purged, or maybe he'll do it to protect Ethan (and Amy?). But he's going to do it; watch for it.

    I'm No Sap, but Sawyer and Juliet Are Cute

    First, Juliet pleads with Radzinsky to stop beating Sawyer. And Sawyer stops her:

    Sawyer: "Juliet, don't. Whatever we tell 'em, they're not going to believe us. It's only going to get more people hurt."

    And then when Pierre Chang comes to announce that they're evacuating, and when Radzinsky pulls another Radzinsky (which means he threw a temper tantrum and said, "You can't tell me what to do!"), Sawyer speaks up again:

    Sawyer: Put us on the sub. He's right; it ain't safe. Put the women and children on the sub, and get 'em the hell out of here. And if you put me and Juliet on the sub with them, we'll tell you anything you want to know. You okay with that, sweetheart?
    Juliet: Absolutely.

    So instead of dying together—like Romeo and Juliet—Sawyer and Juliet have decided to save themselves and then, once they're safe, give up information that could jeopardize everyone else. Not exactly your script for a classic romance, but somehow it sort of worked here.

    Or it would have, if Kate hadn't climbed into their sub. Juliet and Sawyer were busy making plans for starting a new life. Maybe buying Microsoft. Betting on the Cowboys in the '78 Super Bowl. And then Kate climbed down that ladder, and Sawyer and Juliet were not the least bit happy about it. (Did you get the sense that maybe "the island isn't done with them yet"?)

    Oh right, and there was this exchange before Kate barged in:

    Juliet: I love you.
    Sawyer: I love you back.

    Hurley Makes Me Laugh:

    I love that Hurley, of all people, tried to stand his ground in a veritable battle of wits with the brilliant physicist, Dr. Pierre Chang. And as we would assume, Hurley doesn't fare well.

    When Pierre Chang finds Miles, Jin, and Hurley in the woods...

    Miles: Dr. Chang, what are you doing here?
    Dr. Chang: I could ask you the same question.
    Hurley: But we asked you first. (Round 1 to Hurley)

    Dr. Chang: What year were you born? What year?
    Hurley: Uh... 1931?
    Dr. Chang: You're 46?
    Hurley: Yeah. Yes, I am. (Round 2 to Pierre)

    Dr. Chang: So you fought in the Korean War?
    Hurley: There's no such thing. (I think this round goes to Pierre, but I'm confused. The Korean War was in the 50's, so is Hurley just unaware of it?)

    Dr. Chang: Who's the President of the United States?
    Hurley: All right, dude, we're from the future. Sorry. (And Pierre wins.)

    A Little Piece of Mind for Miles:

    First this:

    Dr. Chang: It's true then? You are my son?
    Miles: Yeah, it's true.

    And then Hurley and Miles saw Pierre Chang yelling at Miles' mom, and Miles realized he had no choice. It was the only way he could save her life (and Miles' life).

    Well, at least one character gets to resolve some of their daddy issues.

    Jack Might Want to Listen to Sayid:

    Sayid's always been the guy that everyone should listen to, and yet they don't. Here's the latest example:

    Sayid: Jack, I'm sure it's occurred to you that this woman's motivation in helping us detonate a hydrogen bomb is only to annihilate the DHARMA Initiative.
    Jack: Yes, but I still trust her.
    Sayid: Why?
    Jack: Because 30 years from now, she's the one who helps us get back to the island.
    Sayid: And that makes you trust her?
    Jack nods.

    (We'll see if Jack will ever remember that conversation and wish he hadn't been so trusting. If he's alive to reconsider, that is.)

    Summary (also known as: Where We Stand for Next Week's Finale):

    This was a great episode. Near the end of it, I almost felt like it was gearing up for the series finale. Not just a season finale. I know there are still a lot of questions, but it almost felt like it's about to end. But there's still plenty of time for new problems to arise. Speaking of new problems, just look at where our characters finished last episode:

    —Kate is on the sub with Sawyer and Juliet. It sure doesn't seem like they're just going to ride peacefully back to the ol' U.S. of A, now does it? Maybe before Kate got on board. But not now.

    —Radzinsky and his friends are set to break ground on the Swan. Leading to the Incident, maybe?

    —Locke and friends are marching over to see Jacob. Oh yeah, and then Locke is going to kill him. I can't see that playing out without any complications.

    —Jack is prepared to detonate a hydrogen bomb. 'Nuff said.

    —And who knows what kind of shenanigans we might see from Ellie, Widmore, Ben, Richard, Hurley, Miles, Sun, or Jin.

    It should be interesting.

    Wednesday, April 29, 2009

    Live-Blogging of "The Variable"

    Tonight I'm attempting to live-blog LOST for a few reasons:

    1) It'll be a challenge.
    2) So this week's post won't be so gi-normous.
    3) Because I have other writing projects to work on, and I can't afford to spend 5 hours putting this blog together after the episode ends tonight.

    So I'll jot thoughts as we go, post during the commercials, and then I'll add a list of questions after the episode ends.

    Now I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping Obama's live press conference doesn't cut into LOST time. Because after last week's stinker of a recap ("new
    perspective," my butt), I think we can expect big things this week. I guess you could say I have the audacity to hope for that.

    More to soon as Obama's done...

    So Desmond did get shot! And he's where? In a hospital?

    Uh-oh, wary of that mysterious Hawking woman!

    "I'm Eloise Hawking, and I believe it's my son's fault that your son has been shot."
    "Your son is Benjamin Linus?"
    "Heavens, no! My son is Daniel Faraday..." (Was that supposed to be surprising to us? To Penny?)

    Scene change back to Daniel climbing out of the sub.

    Miles: "What are you doing back here? Once you left for Ann Arbor, I figured you'd invent the DVD and get rich or something." Ha!

    Daniel goes to Jack and demands that Jack tell him how they got there.

    Jack: We were on a plane.
    Dan: Who told you to get on a plane?
    Jack: As a matter of fact, it was your mother.
    Dan: How'd she get you to come back? Did she tell you it was your destiny?
    Jack: Yeah, that's exactly what she said.
    Dan: I've got some bad news for you Jack. You don't belong here at all. She was wrong.

    Oh,'s good to have you back. You and your mysterious knowledge.

    [Commercial break]

    And now we have a kid playing the piano...Jack? Daniel? Desmond?

    Ah, it is Daniel! And his mom is talking to him about destiny.

    "Your gift, Daniel, is your mind. A mind that is meant for science, mathematics. And it's my job to keep you on your path. So unfortunately, there's no more time for distractions."

    Boy: I can do both; I can make time.
    Mom: If only you could.

    (Oh, the double meaning!)

    Back to 1977, where Jack tells Sawyer that Faraday is back.

    Juliet tells Sawyer to tell Jack about Phil...who is tied up in the closet.

    Sawyer: "Phil, Jack. Jack, Phil."

    Meanwhile, Daniel and Miles are at the Orchid station. And Daniel seems to know exactly what he's doing. Although he's busy flipping through his journal...and suddenly, Pierre Chang is saying the same lines, from the same scene we saw earlier this season (the first episode?). Only this time, we see Daniel approach Pierre and tell him to evacuate "every man, woman, and child" on the island.

    Pierre says the electromagnetic energy is contained, but Daniel says it's going to be unleashed elsewhere on the island, including the site for the Swan station where it's 30,000 times as strong (or something like that).

    Daniel: "The accident is going to be catastrophic!"
    Pierre: "That's absurd. What could possibly qualify you to make that kind of prediction?"
    Daniel: "I'm from the future."

    (I wonder how many times one of our LOST-ies will say that before someone believes them...)


    We come back to

    Pierre: Yes, you're from the future. You heard me talking about time travel, and now you've had your fun.
    Daniel tries to get Pierre Chang to look at his equations in his notebook.
    Miles comes over and tries to break them up. And then...

    Daniel: "Miles is your son."

    Pierre to Miles: "Is that true?"
    Miles: "No."

    Miles: "Are you out of your mind? What are you trying to do?"
    Daniel: "I'm just trying to make sure your father does what he's supposed to do."
    Miles: "And what's that?"
    Daniel: "You'll see."

    Scene change...

    Daniel with his girl, Theresa, and Mrs. Hawking.

    Mrs. Hawking: The women in your life will only be terribly hurt.

    Daniel got a 1.5 million dollar research grant from "some industrialist." Mrs. Hawking was very surprised when Daniel said Charles Widmore's name.

    Mommy Hawking gives Dan a congratulations gift (I'm guessing a journal?) and she says, "Good luck, Daniel. And I hope you know I mean that."

    Aha! It is a journal, with a nice little message from mommy.

    Scene Change back to an impromptu house meeting: Sawyer, Juliet, Hurley, Jack, Jin, Kate.

    They're talking about what to do. Sawyer says they have 2 options:

    1) Commandeer the sub...
    2) Go into the jungle and "start from square 1"

    They seem to be leaning toward option 2 when there's a knock at the door...and it's Daniel and Miles.

    Sawyer to Dan: "Welcome to the meeting, Twitchy."

    Sawyer to Miles: "Is he still crazy?"
    Miles: "It's on a whole new level."

    Daniel: What I have to do is of critical importance. Does anyone know where I can find the "hostiles"?
    Juliet: Why do you want to know that, Daniel?
    Daniel: Because one of them is my mother, and she's the only one who can get us back to where we're supposed to be (or something like that).

    (I guess I get why they think Dan's crazy, but hasn't he been right about, well, almost everything? His people skills aren't great, and he comes across as a little crazy...but I'm surprised they're so inclined to distrust him.)


    Okay, they just showed a preview for Wipeout, and I just thought about how great it would be to see Hurley doing that obstacle course...

    Okay, and we're back to Daniel crying (even though he doesn't know why) when the fake Oceanic 815 wreckage was discovered.

    And then Widmore shows up to visit him.

    Daniel: I'm sorry, sir. Did Caroline tell you that the condition affects my memory?
    Charles: Don't be embarrassed. We've never met. My name is Charles Widmore. (How many times have we seen him introduce himself to various people?)

    Widmore: "I came to offer you a new opportunity."
    Daniel: "It's this plane crash; I don't know why it's bothering me so much. It's so sad. They're dead."
    Widmore: Daniel, what if I told you, they're not dead. What if I told you the plane was an elaborate, and expensive, fake.
    Daniel: How would you know that?
    Widmore: Because I put it there! (Aha!)
    Daniel: Why would you tell me that?
    Widmore: Because come tomorrow, you won't remember I did.

    Widmore tells Dan about the island with "unique properties," and he says the island will heal him, heal his mind and his memory.

    Daniel: Why are you doing all this for me?
    Widmore: Because you're a man of tremendous gifts and it would be a shame to see them go to waste.
    Daniel: You sound like my mother.
    Widmore: That's because we're old friends. (Daniel looked confused.)

    Scene change back to 1977...

    Sawyer: You're telling me your mother is an other?

    Hurley: Whoa, you guys were in 1954? You mean, Fonzi times?

    Jack wants Kate to help take Daniel to the Others. Sawyer is opposed. Sawyer says to Kate, "Come with us, Freckles."

    Juliet's face...registered something. Jealousy? Anger? Shock? What?

    Juliet: The code for the fence is 1411417...You should take Daniel; it's over for us here, anyway.

    Wow, she totally emasculated Sawyer. And made the decision Sawyer couldn't.

    Sawyer: When you realize you made a terrible mistake, meet us at the beach, where we started.

    And then Daniel sees Charlotte on the swing set. (What's up with that swing set?)

    Daniel to Charlotte: Hopefully, really soon, Dr. Chang is going to ask a lot of people to get on the submarine and get on the island. When he does, you and your mommy are going to have to get on that submarine. If what I came to do doesn't work, you can't be here...I tried to avoid telling you this, I didn't think I could change things. But maybe I can.

    Jack and Kate are loading up their guns...and Dan says, "Do you have something for a beginner?"

    Radzinsky and friends confront them, with guns.

    Daniel: Listen to me, you really do not understand what's happening here. We're just going to leave, okay?

    Gunfire erupts.

    Dan gets hit. Jack covers Kate and Dan as they run to the Jeep. Jack's a bad dude. (Have we seen him firing a gun before?)

    They drive away amid the gunfire...

    Radzinsky: "Sound the alarm!"


    We see an older Daniel playing the piano, and Mrs. Hawking comes in. (Has Daniel forgotten how to play?...he stopped so abruptly.)

    Mrs. Hawking: I hear you've been offered a job.
    Daniel: How do you know that?
    Mrs. Hawking: It's my business to know...I came here to tell you it's very important that you say yes to Mr. Widmore, that you accept this job.

    Mrs. Hawking: This place he mentioned, this island. Did he tell you that it could make you better?

    Daniel: You really want me to go?
    Mrs. Hawking: Yes.
    Daniel: Will it make you proud of me?
    Mrs. Hawking: Yes, Daniel. It will. (this was kind of corny, I'm sorry...)
    Daniel: Then I'll do it.

    Scene change back to Jack, Kate, and Daniel riding out to the sonic fence... (the windshield either got blown completely out, or this is a continuity error)

    Daniel: You've got to understand, Jack, this is our present. We can't be so naive as to think that nothing can happen to us. Any one of us can die, Jack.

    Kate turns the fence off.

    Kate: You think he knows what he's doing?
    Jack: I sure hope so. There's no turning back now.

    Scene change back to Sawyer and Juliet.

    Sawyer: You can say I told you so.
    Juliet: Maybe after we get to the beach?
    Sawyer: Hey, you still got my back?
    Juliet: You still got mine? (Think she's thinking of Kate?)

    The siren sounds.
    Hurley: That's not good, right?

    Radzinsky: I just got shot by a physicist!
    Sawyer: Calm down so we can talk about this...

    Radzinsky finds Phil in the closet. Radzinsky makes Sawyer get down on the ground, at gunpoint.

    And back in the woods... Jack says, "You need a gun to go talk to your mother?"
    and Dan says, "You don't know my mother, Jack."

    Dan tells them about the event at the Swan work site, in 4 hours, that's about to set in motion the chain of events leading up to now.

    Dan says they can change it.

    Dan: I'd been spending so much time focusing on the constant, that I forgot about the variables. You know what those variables are?
    Jack: What?
    Dan: Us. We think, we reason, we have free will. We can change our destiny.

    Dan is going to try to destroy the Swan?

    Kate: And how do you plan to destroy all this energy?
    Dan: I'm going to detonate a hydrogen bomb.

    (Ah, well, I guess that explains why they think he's crazy...and it explains why he's looking for Ellie, since she's the one he told to bury the bomb...but can they really be variables? Can they change things?)


    Special shout-out to the anonymous person who just posted! I'm sorry you can't watch it right now, and I'm glad I was able to help out.

    And we're back, in the hospital with Penny and Mrs. Hawking.

    Eloise: Your son has become a casualty in a struggle that's bigger than us...
    Penny: What do you mean? Is he going to be okay?
    Eloise: For the first time, I don't know. I honestly don't know what's going to happen. (Or something like that.)

    But it looks like Desmond is going to be okay...but what is Hawking up to?

    WIdmore approaches her outside the hospital and asks, "Is he going to be alright?"
    Eloise, "Yes, he's fine."
    Charles: "Good." (Is he saying "good" because it's his son-in-law...or because Desmond is important?)

    Eloise: "Your daughter is in there. You could go in and say hi."
    Charles: "My daughter is one of the sacrifices I had to make..."
    Eloise: "Don't talk to me about sacrifices. I had to send my son back to that island..."
    Charles: "He's my son too, Eloise."
    Eloise slaps him...and walks away.

    So Faraday really is the "love child" (you were right, Todd) of Ellie and Charles.

    Back in the jungle, Daniel approaches the Others' camp, gun drawn. A Hostile/Other went for his gun, and Daniel fired into the ground to deter him.

    Daniel says, "I only want to speak to Eloise."
    Richard Alpert comes out, mug in hand, "She's not here right now..."

    Daniel: "Where's the bomb, Richard? I'm going to give you three seconds..."
    Daniel gets shot.
    Richard: "Why did you do that?"
    Eloise: He had a gun on you.
    Richard: He wasn't going to shoot, Eloise.

    Daniel: You knew. You knew all along. And you sent me here anyway.
    Eloise: Who are you?
    Daniel: I'm your son.

    Is Daniel dying? It doesn't look good...

    (Whoa, Eloise and Charles are Daniel's parents...AND they sent him back to the island knowing Eloise was going to shoot (and kill?) him! Crazy!)

    [End of Episode]

    I'll add the summary and the prevailing questions shortly...


    If this marks the end of Daniel Faraday, it was a great way to go out. Daniel, taking charge and carrying out his plan. And shot by his mother! What a great twist that was. I like Daniel, but if this is his end, I can live with that. This episode went a long way toward wrapping up his story (maybe all the way).

    And this episode adds a whole new layer to Mrs. Hawking's story. So she and Widmore were once lovers—Daniel's parents—but then Widmore must have moved on (maybe the off-island child Ben referred to?) because he's Penny's father. But Mrs. Hawking is so committed to making sure things turn out correctly...but why? Why send Daniel back to the island? Why does she care so much?

    And what about her telling Penny that, for the first time in a long time, she didn't know what would happen next? What's that all about?

    But hey, it's good to see Jack doing something again. Good to see him being good ol' Jack.


    1) Why did Mrs. Hawking go to visit Desmond (and Penny) in the hospital? She doesn't strike me as the kind of woman who does anything unless it's part of a plan. So what's her goal here? To get Desmond back to the island? And why would she say that it's her son's fault Desmond got shot? Why is it Daniel's fault that Ben shot Desmond?

    2) Is this the beginning of the end for Juliet and Sawyer? Or is that just what the writers want us to think? (Or am I the only one who thought we were supposed to think that?

    3) How closely are Eloise and Charles working together? Now that we know that they were once lovers, what does that say about Eloise allowing Benjamin Linus to board Ajira 316 with the rest of the group heading back to the island? From Widmore's perspective, that's quite a betrayal, isn't it?

    ...and that's all the questions I can come up with right now. I'm a little disappointed in myself. But maybe I'll add more later.

    Looking forward to next week...

    —Thanks for Reading

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009

    "I Hear Dead People"

    Obviously this episode's title, "Some Like it Hoth," refers to the planet Hoth, the snow and ice covered world that hosts the opening fight sequence in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

    Um, duh!

    Okay, maybe I only know that because I consulted wikipedia; I'm not a Star Wars fan. At all. But apparently, I'm a little more Star Wars-savvy than one Miles Straume.

    In fact, that might have been the most unrealistic element of this episode—when Miles is reading Hurley's version of The Empire Strikes Back, and he has to ask, "What is this?" You mean to tell me that he didn't even recognize Chewbacca's name? I mean, how could Miles be so completely oblivious? What, was he born on some isolated island in the south pacific, or something?

    Well, as a matter of fact...

    ...but we'll get to that in a bit.

    Season 5: Episode 13—“Some Like it Hoth”:

    LOST always makes me wish I had a DVR or Tivo. Usually because I'm transcribing as much dialogue as I can and the ability to rewind or pause would make my life considerably easier. But this week, my dilemma was even more significant. I'm almost ashamed to admit it, but I missed a couple minutes of the opening sequence. (*hangs head*) Barbie tells me I missed just a little bit of cute-kid Miles, but I did get to the living room in time to see little Miles making his dual discovery: a dead body and his ability to "hear" the dead man talking to him.

    Later in life, when Miles' mother is dying, Miles asks her to tell him about his abilities and his father. She says nothing about his abilities, but says Miles' daddy has been dead a long time.

    Miles: Where’s his body?
    Mother: Somewhere you could never go.

    Hmmm, could it be "the island"? Or some place even harder to reach? (If that's possible.)

    Confirming the suspicions of many, this episode goes on to reveal that Miles' papa is Pierre Chang. And near the end of the episode, we see him reading a children's book to 3-month-old Miles, but then his phone rang and he had to go pick up the team of scientists from the dock (more on that later). I think this scene was included to show us that Pierre did care about his young'un, but Dharma work kept getting in the way. A workaholic father? Maybe. Or maybe just one who is part of something so vitally important that the best way he can care for his wife and son is by continuing the Dharma mission, including his classified activities in the Orchid Station. As a result of that, maybe Mama Chang (Lara is her name) thinks Pierre didn't care about her and Miles.

    Maybe. Or maybe Pierre told her to leave the island for her own safety and the safety of their boy. (Her exact words were: "Your father...kicked us out when you were just a baby." Hmmm, "kicked us out"? I'd think a father who didn't care about his family would just leave. But kicking them out? Interesting word choice. Almost as if he were sending them away...wait for it...for their own good.)

    Maybe Pierre couldn't tell his wife the real reason (he does seem to take that "classified" stuff pretty seriously), and maybe she's bitter/resentful, completely unaware that he was protecting her and Miles. Or, maybe she's lying to Miles. Trying to protect him.

    After all, remember how Daniel Faraday told a young Charlotte she would die if she ever returned to the island? Maybe Pierre believed the same thing would happen to Miles. So Miles' mama concocted the whole "Your dad never cared about us...he's somewhere you can't go...he never cared...yada yada" story so Miles wouldn't go looking for his dad.

    Who knows, Pierre Chang might still be alive somewhere (or alive in some time). Unlike Roger Linus and Horace, we don't see a dead Pierre Chang following the Purge.

    But back to pre-island Miles...

    As we'd already seen in at least one past episode, Miles uses his special ability and his entrepreneurial instincts (otherwise known, in this case, as "greed") to launch a lucrative ghost-whispering business. Apparently he's taken out an ad that says he can talk to dead people any time or any place or anyhow, way, what, where, when, why, or something like that...(unless they've been cremated, but that detail was probably buried in the fine print.)

    After he meets with a new client, Mr. Gray, Naomi approaches him and takes him to a restaurant, but not to the dinner for which Miles was hoping. Instead, she presents him with a dead body and says it will be Miles' "audition."

    Miles is prepared to walk out, but then Naomi tosses him a wad of cash. Then, not surprisingly, Miles decides it's game on.

    Miles passes Naomi's test by revealing that the dead guy was a man named Felix who was trying to deliver "a bunch of papers, photos, pictures...of empty graves, a purchase order for an old airplane..." to a "guy named Wid...More."

    That information helped him pass her test, but I want to know whether or not Naomi already knew that information. I also want to know if he learned anything from Felix that he didn't share. Like, maybe, how the guy died?

    Oh, by the way, Naomi also said something to the effect of:

    "I’m leading an expedition to an island, and on that island is a man who’s going to be very difficult to find. This island has a number of deceased individuals residing on it, and since this man is responsible for their being deceased…they might have some things to say that will help us find him."

    I didn't get that quote down verbatim, but I know Naomi said that there are "deceased individuals residing on that island." Aside from the irony of "dead people residing..." this comment also piqued my interest because it begs this question: How does Naomi know these things? Maybe it's common knowledge that Ben has killed "a number of" people. But if Naomi is working for Widmore (we can assume this, right? After all, she was hired by Matthew Abaddon), I'm wondering if Widmore might have (or might have previously had) an on-island spy. Unless Ben killed people prior to Widmore's departure. Like, for instance, the Dharma Initiative. I just confused myself. Moving on...

    Sometime after his rendezvous with Naomi, Miles buys a fish taco...and promptly gets jumped by some guys in a van. The guy who does all the talking introduces himself as Bram. I didn't realize it until after the episode ended, but this is the same Bram we saw working with Ilana on Sidekick (Hydra) Island in the last episode. So this Bram guy eventually gets to the island via Ajira 316. Worth remembering, methinks.

    Bram tells Miles they had to do it this way because Miles' place is being watched, and then he tells Miles they're trying to convince him not to work for Widmore. Miles wants money, but Bram drives a hard bargain—offering our ghost-buster zilch. Bram does say, however, that if Miles will come with them, he'll learn why he has that gift and get details about his father. Oh yeah, and then he asks Miles if he knows "what lies in the shadow of the statue." Miles, of course, does not. Which, according to Bram, means he's "not ready to go to the island."

    (Timeout: We know Bram and Ilana are working together. And they're both privy to knowledge about what lies in the statue's shadow. But who are they working for? Ben? That's my main thought, but I know others are suggesting a third party. Maybe Mrs. Hawking. Maybe a reconstituted Dharma Initiative. And now, after typing that, I think I'm leaning toward a new DI. Widmore and Ben are rivals warring for the same thing—kids playing King of the Hill. Dharma is the group trying to build laboratories and polar bear cages on that hill. So while Widmore and Ben will be enemies, I'm beginning to think we're seeing a mutual enemy of theirs creeping back into the picture...but we'll see. Want evidence that Bram might have Dharma ties: well, he just told Miles he can reveal how Miles has his special abilities, plus details about his father. His daddy was a Dharma man—a higher-up, too. Maybe Dharma is somehow responsible for Miles' gifts. Seems plausible to me, anyway. Need more evidence to support the idea of a reconstituted Dharma Initiative? If you haven't seen it already, watch the Comic-Con video from last summer. I included it at the end of this post.)

    As we know, Miles does go to the island with Widmore's team. And then he ends up in 1977, working for the Dharma Initiative.

    In this episode, the first thing we see Miles doing in 1977 is talking to Sawyer LaFleur via walkie-talkie. Sawyer asks him to delete the tapes that show him and Kate ushering baby Ben out of the Dharma compound. Miles complies, but not without a few questions and a bit of attitude. (And as we learn later, Miles might not have done a good enough job of clearing those tapes.)

    Miles then lies to Horace to cover for Sawyer's absence, so Horace is forced to bring Miles into his "circle of trust." (Didn't this guy have any confidants prior to the arrival of Sawyer and Miles?) So Miles goes on a mission into Hostile territory—where Dharma is building the Swan. He takes something (which turns out to be a bodybag) and is given something (a dead body for the bag) to take back with him.

    In a delightful turn of events, Miles has to carpool with Hurley out to the Orchid Station (which is where Horace had instructed him to take the body). I loved the dialogue on the ride there. First, Hurley is writing in his journal and he asks Miles how to spell "bounty hunter." My first thought was that Hurley had obtained some sort of knowledge of Ilana, which I'm sure is what the writers wanted me to think. But no, Hurley is just writing an improved version of The Empire Strikes Back to save George Lucas the trouble. Ha.

    Meanwhile, Roger discovers that Ben is missing. And Juliet does a superb job of lying to him. And then she turns to Kate and, so matter-of-factly, says, " we go." Maybe I'm wrong, but it seemed like Kate was just a little bit disgusted by how easy it was for Juliet to lie to Roger. Or maybe it's because Juliet didn't seem the least bit bothered by Roger's concern for his missing son.

    Roger said he went to call security, but we never really saw much of a response to Ben's absence. You'd think the abduction of a dying kid would be the kind of thing that would bring everyone out of their little Dharma house...but I guess not. (If they don't care when one of their kids gets shot and then abducted, well, maybe they deserve to get purged. Yeah, I said it.)

    We don't see anyone concerned with Ben's absence until the very end when Phil brings a tape to Sawyer, one that reveals that Sawyer was the one responsible:
    Sawyer: I got a perfectly good explanation for what you saw on that tape.
    Phil: I sure as hell hope so.
    Sawyer: You talk to Horace yet?
    Phil: No. I thought that after three years of working together, I'd give you the benefit of the doubt—
    [Sawyer shuts the door to his house, then spins and knocks Phil out with one punch. Phil lands on the floor, unconscious.]
    Sawyer to Juliet: Get some rope. [Sighs]

    So Sawyer and Juliet are both jeopardizing their Dharma lifestyle to cover up their actions. I suppose they had no choice, but I am wondering what's to become of Phil. If he lives, I think he will have learned a valuable lesson: Sawyer really doesn't deserve the "benefit of the doubt."

    Kate finds Roger sitting on the swingset drinking Dharma Lite, and she sits down to have a brewski with him. But when she tries to tell him that she's sure Ben will be alright, Roger gets suspicious and accuses her of being involved—or at least guilty of being too interested in his boy. The scene culminates with Kate walking away and Roger yelling after her: "You want to help, Kate? Why don’t you just mind your own business?"

    And then, believe it or not, we finally see Jack fixing something! Then again, maybe he was just protecting Kate. Whatever his motive, Jack does his best to convince a concerned Roger that Kate "would never do anything to hurt Ben." Not only that, but Jack also goes to Sawyer's house so he can let the Head of Security know that Roger is suspicious of Kate. And then we got this very civil, respectful exchange:
    Jack: I had a talk with Roger. I don't think he's gonna say anything to anyone for now. I just wanted you to know.
    Sawyer: Yeah? Well... [sighs] thanks for filling me in, Doc.
    Jack: No problem.

    Wow, no sarcasm, no tension. That's nearly a first for Sawyer/Jack. It was nice. I think that scene, short as it was, says a lot about the new Jack. What it means for the coming episodes, I don't know. But I liked it.

    I'm wondering what prompted Jack to go talk to Roger in the first place. As Roger said, the room wasn't part of Jack's rounds. Maybe Kate let Jack know she blew it, tipped him off? Of course, Kate would know that Jack is always there to help her (unless, of course, she's asking him to save Ben's life again. That's where the "Good Doc" draws the line).

    Over at the Orchid station, Miles and Hurley show up bearing their dead guy and sandwiches, and Pierre Chang greets them by saying, "We're ready for him." (ready for the dead body?) This is especially interesting considering Pierre's words just a little while later when they're leaving the Orchid:

    Miles: What happened to the body?
    Dr. Chang: What body?

    Methinks we have some mysterious happenings at the Orchid. Which could also be why Pierre Chang was so quick to threaten Hurley with a job hauling polar bear poo. Interesting that Dr. Chang didn't threaten Miles with any consequences...I guess the inclusion into the "circle of trust" is both complete and instantaneous.

    After this scene, we see Hurley playing two new roles. First, he was the not-so-subtle family therapist. It's a tough job, though, considering the distant father doesn't know he is the father and the son is resistant, snarky, and in denial. So what we end up with is Hurley asking ridiculously pointed questions like, "That's your name, too. Right, Miles?" Followed by, "We should all... get together for a beer sometime. How awesome would that be?"

    Those lines are so great because Miles is hating every moment of it. But then the family therapy session comes to an abrupt halt when they arrive at the secret worksite for the Swan. Hurley sees them adding those oh-so-familiar serial numbers to the hatch door, and then he brings Miles up to speed on what happened/will happen in that hatch after their plane crash.

    And then it's time for Hurley to play new role number 2: specialist in Star Wars-style psychotherapy. I thought it was funny. And I suspect actual Star Wars fans probably enjoyed it even more than I:
    Miles: I never knew him. And I don't want to. It's not happening.
    Hurley: That was Luke's attitude, too.
    Miles: What?
    Hurley: In Empire, Luke found out Vader was his father, but instead of putting away his lightsaber and talking about it, he overreacted and got his hand cut off.
    Hurley: I mean, they worked it out eventually, but at what cost? Another Death Star was destroyed, Boba Fett got eaten by the Sarlacc, and we got the Ewoks. It all could've been avoided if they'd just, you know, communicated. And let's face it. The Ewoks sucked, dude.

    Other odds and ends:

    —Miles says his mother lined up behind him in the cafeteria on his third day there. That was his "first clue" that Pierre Chang is his father.

    —Pierre Chang refers to the Polar Bears and the Hydra Station, calling those activities "ridiculous experiments." Hmmmm. Not a fan of zoology, Dr. Chang?

    —Miles is able to see baby Miles, so they're co-existing on the island at the same time: 3-month-old Miles and roughly 31-year-old Miles.

    —The episode concludes with the arrival of scientists from Ann Arbor, which is where the DI headquarters are located. Oh yeah, and Daniel Faraday is part of that team...and he recognizes Miles.


    I enjoyed learning more about Miles Straume. And I liked seeing Jack doing something admirable; it's been too long. I also enjoyed seeing Sawyer hit Phil. I'm not sure that was admirable, but I enjoyed it. It was also good to get confirmation about Pierre Chang being Miles' father.

    But the most intriguing developments were these three:

    3) Daniel Faraday is back!

    2) Our time-travelers can co-exist in the same place with a younger version of themselves (which destroys the theories that Ben couldn't flash back to 1977 because a younger version of himself was already there...and subsequently destroys the theories that younger versions of Sun, Frank, and Locke might be on the island circa 1977...or maybe it doesn't debunk those theories, since Miles came to the island in 1974, but baby Miles wasn't born for another 2-3 years. So maybe we don't know for sure...but hey, we at least know that Miles' birth didn't make baby Miles or older Miles blink out of existence. Miles, as far as we know, hasn't had even as much as a nosebleed.)

    1) Bram, the Ajira 316 passenger, was working for someone (and against Widmore) prior to his island arrival, and he asks Miles that same question: "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" Whatever this means, I think it definitely sets the stage for what is to come (war, anyone?).

    New Characters (introduced or referenced):

    Lara Chang—Miles’ mother and Pierre’s wife.

    Trevor—the landlord who rents an apartment to Miles' mother, Lara.

    Mr. Vonner—dead guy in the beginning (Miles heard him calling for his wife, Kimberly, even though Kimberly died the year before).

    Alvarez—the Dharma worker who had a filling pulled through his brain while daydreaming about a woman named Andrea.

    Bram–not new, but suddenly his role is more pronounced. And he had a van full of lackeys in Miles' flashback.

    Mr. Gray—man who paid Miles to find out if his son, Russell, knew that he loved him.

    Glenn—the Dharma worker who read the serial number that needed to be printed on the hatch.

    Felix—dead guy who had been delivering something to Widmore.

    Evelyn—Lara Chang’s caretaker.

    Scientists from Ann Arbor—they arrive by sub, and Daniel Faraday is one of them. And considering their point of origin (from a city that houses such a vile university), I immediately knew these people could not be trusted.

    Character Development (in 10 words or less):

    Roger Linus: suspicious of Kate

    Jack Shephard: Protecting Kate, respectful to Sawyer—I like

    Sawyer and Juliet: Covering their tracks and watching their backs.

    Pierre Chang: Miles' daddy.

    Radzinsky: Still a jerk—annoying

    Naomi: Bringing her team together. Knowledgeable. Professional. Skilled. Scary.

    Top 10 Quotes:

    10) Miles (to Radzinsky): Horace sent me instead. [pause] I'm in the circle of trust.

    9) Pierre Chang: You say a word, Hurley…
    Hurley: Polar bear poop, got it!

    8) Bram: Do you know what lies in the shadow of the statue?
    Miles: No, I can’t say I do.
    Bram: Then you’re not ready to go to that island.

    7) Bram: You’re playing for the wrong team.
    Miles: Oh yeah, what team are you on?
    Bram: The one that’s going to win.

    6) Hurley: Maybe he’ll let you hold baby you, or you can change your own diaper.

    5) Hurley: That's how it works for me.
    Miles: Great. I'm happy for you.
    Hurley: You're just jealous my powers are better than yours.

    4) Horace on phone: Pierre, if it was caused by the electromagnetism, we need to know. (Note: I assume this is a reference to Alvarez, the Dharma worker who had a filling pulled out of his mouth and through his brain, killing him. It also implies that Horace might not be privy to all of Pierre Chang's "classified" info.)

    3) Hurley: That guy is a real douche.
    Miles: That douche is my dad.

    2) Daniel Faraday: Hey, Miles. Long time no see.

    1) Hurley: We can carpool. It will help with global warming, which hasn’t happened yet. So maybe we can prevent it.


    1)How does Naomi know that the island has dead people "residing" on it? Even if Widmore hired her (which it seems he did), how would he know? Is this a reference to the Purged DIs? When I heard this, I assumed "residing" meant walking around, interacting with living people (like Christian Shepherd, Yemi, Ben's mom...), but maybe "residing" just meant their bodies are still on the island. If it's the latter, this question is much less intriguing.

    2)So if Miles is the son of Pierre Chang, why is his last name "Straume"? His mom's maiden name? Or did he change it? Maybe it's irrelevant, but given the seemingly endless connections between characters and the significance of names on this show, I always prefer to assume there's an underlying reason. Your thoughts?

    3)Daniel Faraday? So many questions...

    4)Did Ilana come to the island knowing the question, "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" Or is her partnership with Bram a new development? Maybe Bram told her to ask people that question so he can tell who's on his side? I'm asking this only because my first reaction was that Bram and Ilana must have been in cahoots prior to the Ajira 316 crash. But it would be just like LOST to mislead us by showing Ilana asking the question first when in fact, chronologically, it's Bram who firsts asks that question. And Ilana could be more of a lackey than "Dead is Dead" may have suggested. I don't know, but I'm going to keep it in mind.

    5)Was Miles born on the island? We see him there as a three-month-old, but on a show that has focused so much on the infertility issues on that island, this omission could be quite relevant. In 1977, Ethan was born on the island. Alex was born on the island in 1988. In 2004, Aaron was born on the island. Those are the only on-island births we've seen. I suppose we can assume Miles was born on the island (or taken to the mainland for the operation), but are there any other possibilities here?

    6)Pierre Chang: Dead? Living in another time period? Working in Ann Arbor? If dead, was it due to the Purge? Something else?

    7)Maybe I'm looking too deeply, but why did they need to add serial numbers to the Hatch? That seems like something that would be added on a production line, not during the installation process. Once you're building it, what's the point of adding serial numbers to a part...unless they're planning to build more than one of these hatches...? Is that a stretch? Trying too hard? Yeah, maybe.

    Video from Comic-Con 2008:

    According to Lostpedia, this video was filmed in 1978 (Feel free to skip the first 50 seconds or so...and the end):

    If the right side is a little cropped off on your screen (as it is on mine) I apologize, but I don't know how to fix it.

    Thursday, April 9, 2009

    What Lies in the Shadow of the Statue?

    It’s amazing that an episode could be so good without any appearances by Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, Hurley, Juliet, Miles, Jin, or Daniel. But it was good. So good.

    In fact, my expectations for this week’s episode might have been at an all-time high. The previews were so titillating, first of all, and can a Ben-centric episode possibly be bad? But not only was it Ben-centric, it also focused on a lot of weighty Ben-Locke exchanges.

    I certainly wasn’t disappointed. This week answered quite a few questions, and it showed us new regions of the island. And Michael Emerson (Ben) and Terry O’Quinn (Locke) delivered outstanding performances—as they always do.

    So let’s recap…

    Season 5: Episode 12—“Dead is Dead”:

    I’ve decided that Ben might be the best villain ever. Why?

    Well, he’s diabolical—capable of conspiring with "I call everybody 'my friend'" Caesar one moment and shotgun-blasting him pointblank moments later (with such an expressionless face, too!)—and yet I just can’t help but like the guy. Most days, I’d say he’s my favorite character on the show. Completely unreliable, untrustworthy, and, well, evil. But likable. And that tension makes his character so perfect.

    In this episode, our diabolical conniver is off to summon Smokey so he can "be judged." One problem for Ben, Locke’s coming with him. Even worse, Locke suddenly knows things about the island Ben doesn’t…which is baffling for us (isn’t it?) and disturbing for Benjamin Linus.

    But let’s recap this episode in chronological order, which means we have some scenes to review long before Locke makes his first appearance.

    Leading off, Widmore was ticked. He confronted Richard about the decision to take Ben to the temple. Widmore says Richard should have let him die, but Richard says, "Jacob chooses who he chooses."

    About 6-8 years later (I’m guessing), we saw more of Widmore as the leader of the Others. Including the scene when Ben snatched Alex from Rousseau. Turns out he was supposed to "exterminate" Rousseau, but he didn't. And suddenly we’re seeing a new side of Benjamin Linus:

    Our evil villain is...(wait for it)...a sucker for babies!

    More accurately, Ben can’t kill the mother of a young child. He knows what it’s like to live his entire life without a mother, and diabolical as he might be, he just can’t do that to little kids (like Alex…and later, Charlie Hume).

    So instead of killing Rousseau, he only threatened to kill her—saying he would do it if she tried to follow. Oh, and he added this puzzling tidbit: “If you want your daughter to live, every time you hear whispers, you run the other way.”

    I feel like some of the dialogue in Season 5 has been what I’m calling “hole-filler.” (I'm okay with that. I desperately want these hole filled.) And I think this comment is a prime example. We know that Rousseau told Sayid that she’s heard the whispers, but she says she has never seen anyone… so maybe this dialogue is supposed to explain why.

    Also worth noting: Ethan accompanied Ben on this mission, and he seemed eager to help. He even offered to do it for him when Ben was hesitating just outside Rousseau’s camp. This confirmed that Ethan (assuming it’s the same one) was an Other at a young age. Though we still don’t know why or how he survived the Purge. Actually, this scene would have happened before the Ethan was an Other before the Purge? Wow, we'll come back to that...

    When Ben and Ethan showed up in camp carrying baby Alex, Widmore was not pleased (is he ever?). Ben was openly defiant, challenging Widmore in front of the camp. He gave Widmore a chance to kill the baby himself, but Widmore just huffed and puffed as he walked away.

    In the next scene (chronologically) we see Papa Ben pushing Alex on the swingset (how endearing) when Richard comes to tell him that the submarine is leaving. Richard says Ben doesn't need to see "him" off, but Ben believes he does (at this moment, has Ben assumed control of the Others? I think so...). The "him" in question just so happens to be a handcuffed Charles Widmore, and I think this scene provides the framework for the entire episode:
    Ben: Charles! I came to say good-bye.
    Widmore: [Chuckles] No, you didn't. You came to gloat.
    Ben: No, don't act as if I wanted this. You brought this on yourself.
    Widmore: Are you quite certain you want to do this, Benjamin?
    Ben: You left the Island regularly. You had a daughter with an outsider. You broke the rules, Charles.
    Widmore: And what makes you think you deserve to take what's mine?
    Ben: Because I won't be selfish. Because I'll sacrifice anything to protect this Island.
    Widmore: You wouldn't sacrifice Alex.
    Ben: You're the one who wanted her dead, Charles, not the Island.
    Widmore: I hope you're right, Benjamin, because if you aren't, and it is the Island that wants her dead, she'll be dead. And one day, you'll be standing where I'm standing now. You'll be the one being banished, and then you'll finally realize that you cannot fight the inevitable. I'll be seeing you, boy.

    So, chronologically, the next scene involves Ben and Widmore again, with Ben standing on a different dock. In this scene, Ben calls Widmore to tell him he's about to kill his daughter...

    And he tries. Well, kinda. Summarizing:

    Desmond (in strong Scottish accent): What are you doing here?
    Ben shoots Desmond's bag of groceries...and Desmond falls? (I didn't see any blood on Des)
    Ben to Penny: I don't like your daddy, so I'm going to kill you.
    Penny: But I don't even like him?
    Ben: He's a terrible man!
    Penny: I'm not arguing with you. Just don't hurt my baby?
    Ben: Baby?
    Charlie Hume: Mommy!
    Ben (gulps)
    Penny cries.
    Desmond tackles Ben and beats him good and bloody before tossing him into the water like a hunk of chum.
    (And scene!)

    And with that, we're caught up to the moment when Ben wakes up and finds a resurrected John Locke welcoming him back to "the land of the living."

    Ben claims he knew Locke would be alive (Locke doubts this), and Ben says he's off to the main island "to be judged." Locke seems to like the sound of that. And so he's coming too.

    Before they leave, there's the scene where Ben kills Caesar (my favorite scene this week). And there was that interesting exchange between Ben and the people moving a crate. I thought it was suspicious from the beginning (its inclusion was suspicious, anyway), and by the time the episode was over, I think that was confirmed.
    BEN: What's in the crate?
    Guy: Just some stuff we need to get moved.
    BEN: Need a hand?
    Guy: Oh, thanks. We got it.
    BEN: Okay. Have a great day.

    Okay, "have a great day"? Hmmm, do we think Ben knew what was in that crate?

    Anyway, Locke and Ben paddle over to Ben's "home, sweet home" and they find Frank and Sun in Ben's old house (which is quite disheveled, for some reason...?) Frank and Sun say they met a "crazy old man" named Christian, and he told them to wait for John Locke:
    Frank: But considering he's dead, we ain't holding our breath...
    Ben: Well, you might want to look outside.
    They look outside, and sure enough, there's Locke standing there nonchalantly, hands in pockets. Then he offers them a smile and a little wave. Ha. Priceless.)

    So Ben learns (or did he already know?) about their friends showing up in Dharmaville circa 1977. Frank decides to head back to Sidekick island. Sun stays with Locke and Ben.

    And then Ben goes to summon Smokey. He says this can only be done from his house. And when he goes into his secret passageway, this time we get to see more of it. He descends underground, sticks his hand in a puddle, turns something, the water drains, and then he leans down and says, "I'll be outside."

    When Ben goes outside, Sun is sitting on the porch and Locke is gone. Apparently he told Sun he had "something to do," but she didn't ask what. (This seems to really bother Ben.) While they're waiting for Smokey's arrival, Ben tells Sun he had no idea John would be resurrected by the island. (Do we believe Ben now?) And he says, "the fact that John Locke is walking around...scares the living hell out of me." (I believe this.)

    And then this great moment:
    Ben: You may want to go inside.
    Sun: Why?
    Ben: Because what's about to come out of that jungle is something I can't control.
    [Footsteps approach]
    Locke: Any luck?
    Ben: It hasn't shown up yet.
    Locke: Last time we didn't have to wait this long.
    Ben: It's not a train, John. It doesn't run on a schedule.
    Locke: Well, if it's not gonna come to us, then... I suppose we'll have to go to it.
    Ben: I only know how to summon it. I don’t know where it is.
    Locke: I do.
    (I have more to say about this in this week's Questions)

    So Ben is stuck following Locke through the jungle (and Ben admits he hates it). Locke takes him to the Temple's outer wall, but Locke tells him that they aren't going to the Temple...they're going underneath it. Sun, understandably, stays outside.

    Meanwhile, Frank made it back to sidekick island only to be greeted by a guy running over to him shouting something about "Ilana and three of the others" finding guns and saying "they're in charge now."

    Then Ilana confronts Frank—does the obligatory gun cock—and asks him, "What lies in the shadow of the statue?"

    Frank is understandably confused. And when his "I don't know what you're talking about—" is deemed unsatisfactory by Ilana, she knocks him out with her rifle butt. The scene ends with Ilana adding this: "Get everyone else. Tell them it's time. And tie him up. He's coming with us."

    Poor Frank.

    Underneath the Temple, Ben falls through the floor of the tunnel and lands in a larger opening below. Locke leaves to find something to get Ben out, and Ben wanders around looking at the hieroglyphs adorning every column (I saw Anubis...anyone else?).

    Then the smoke monster rises from holes in the floor and envelops Ben. Like Mr. Eko did (only much more pronounced this time, and with sound we can here), Ben sees scenes from his past—all relating to his relationship with Alex.

    (I admit, I got goosebumps as I watched this. Especially when Keamy killed Alex and Ben had to lower his head, unable to look anymore.)

    And then, a moment when LOST did the impossible (again): transforming Ben into a sympathetic character...

    Alex appears and calls Ben "Daddy." Ben is so genuinely moved, and "so, so sorry." And suddenly, Alex isn't his sweet, little girl anymore.

    She slams him into the wall, calls him a bastard, and says, "I know that you're already planning to kill John again, and I want you to know that if you so much as touch him, I will hunt you down and destroy you. You will listen to every word John Locke says, and you will follow his every order. Do you understand?"

    She makes him swear, and he does, that he will follow John Locke. (What choice does he have, really?)

    And then the episode ends with Ben wandering back to the opening where John Locke has a rope (where'd that come from?). And Ben, seeming dazed (nearly traumatized) but not necessarily relieved, tells John, "It let me live."

    And in that moment, I wondered if Ben might have been at least a little disappointed. Maybe.

    Now, instead of just questions, this episode answered at least two pressing questions:


    Q: Does Ben remember Sayid shooting him?
    A: No. After being taken to the temple, Ben asked Widmore “What happened?” And Charles tell him, “You were injured…”

    Q: How/Why did Charles Widmore leave the island?
    A: He was exiled. According to Ben, Charles “left the island regularly” and “had a daughter with an outsider.” And apparently, also in Ben’s words, Widmore “broke the rules.”
    (Note: I think there’s more to this still. Based on Widmore’s comments to Locke earlier this season about Ben tricking him, I suspect Ben played a role in his exile.)

    Character Developments:

    Widmore suddenly got a lot more evil (and, unfortunately for him, he doesn’t have any of Ben’s manipulative charm). First Widmore thought Richard should have killed Ben. Next he wanted Rousseau and Alex murdered. What a ruthless baby-killer. Maybe we can actually believe Ben when he says Widmore is a terrible man. (Although I’m wondering if maybe, just maybe, Widmore might be a coward. Ben gave him a chance to kill baby Alex, and he didn’t do it. If he really thought that’s what needed to be done, he should have done it. And he would have done it if that's what needed to be done...unless he's a coward. Then again, maybe I shouldn’t call someone who can’t kill a baby a “coward.” Maybe that just means, regardless of how evil and ruthless he is, he might still have an ounce of humanity in him.)

    Locke is seeping with smugness. He's Mr. I-Know-More-Than-You-Do to Ben's seething Mr. I-Wish-You-Had-Stayed-Dead. I don't love the smug Locke, but I admit, if I'd just been killed by a guy who held all the island secrets I desperately wanted, and I found myself resurrected with a new innate knowledge about island stuff—more knowledge, in fact, than the island guru who killed me, and my killer had to follow me to places on the island that he knew nothing about...I suppose, if there's ever a time and place for smugness, that would be it.

    This episode somehow showed us a Ben who was just as (if not more) evil, and yet also made him a more sympathetic character. Amazing.

    Notable Quotes:

    1) Widmore: What have you done, Richard?
    Richard: He was a boy, he was dying…
    Widmore: Then you should have let him die…
    Richard: Jacob wanted it done. The island chooses who the island chooses…you know that.

    2) Ben: Where am I?
    Widmore: You’re among friends…
    Ben: I don’t want to go back. I want to stay. I want to be one of you.
    Widmore: Just because you’re living with them, doesn’t mean you can’t be one of us.

    (Note: Wonder if any other Hostiles are living undercover with the DI.)

    3) Widmore: Every decision I’ve made has been about protecting this island.
    Ben: Is that what Jacob wants? …Then here she is (holds out baby), you do it.

    4) Rousseau: You’re the one who infected us, aren’t you? (Hmmm...)

    5)Locke: I assure you, Sun, I’m the same man I’ve always been. (I'm not sure I believe him)

    6) *My favorite scene/exchange this week:
    Caesar: I'm sorry, but I'm calling the shots here, and I say you are not taking anything. What you are going to do is to sit down and tell us how you know so much about this Island, my friend.
    Locke: You're in the habit of calling people "friend", but I don't think you mean it.
    Caesar: Step away from the boat.
    Locke: No. I'm not gonna step away from the boat. I'm gonna take it, and you're gonna let me, my friend.
    Caesar: You're not taking anything.
    [Caesar reaches into his bag for the sawed-off shotgun, but Ben points it at Caesar.]
    Ben: You looking for this?
    BOOM! (Caesar flies backward, and the other guys take a slight step back...)
    Ben: This gentleman and I are taking a boat. Does anyone else have a problem with that?
    Ben (tosses the shotgun to Locke): Consider that my apology.

    7) Locke: If all I had to do was die, Ben, they why did you stop me?
    Ben: You had critical information that would've died with you. And once you'd given it to me... well, I just didn't have time to talk you back into hanging yourself. So I took a shortcut. (Ha)

    8)Caesar: When you were out cold, he was watching over you. And he said you killed him.
    Ben: I killed him? Really? 'Cause he looks fine to me. [Chuckles] You know, I don't really remember him from the plane. Do you?
    Caesar: No, I don't.
    Ben: What if... he was already here, before we crashed? If he thinks I killed him, then he's insane. We may be dealing with a man who's dangerously deranged. Then the question is, what are we gonna do about it?
    Caesar: Don't worry, my friend. (shows the sawed off shotgun) I have your back.

    9) Locke: Was she [Sun] the one who hurt your arm? I noticed you were favoring it on the way over.
    Ben: No, someone else hurt my arm.
    Locke: You just make friends everywhere.

    10)Ben: The man was unarmed because I'd stolen his gun—the gun he was going to use to kill you. I couldn't let that happen.
    Locke: No sense in me dying twice, right?
    Ben: You're welcome.

    11)Lapidus: As long as the dead guy says there's a reason, well, then I guess everything's gonna be just peachy.

    12) Locke: If you go with him, you’ll never see your husband again. I’m all the help you need…
    Sun: Are you saying you know how to find Jin?
    Locke: I have some ideas. (smug, smug, smug)

    13)Ben: It's the wall around our Temple.
    Sun: What Temple?
    Ben: About a half mile from here. We built this wall to keep people like the two of you from ever seeing it.
    Locke: We're not going into your Temple, Ben. We're going under it.
    (Note the adjectives: for Ben it's "our" and for Locke it's "your" temple. And when Ben says "we" built it...I wonder who the "we" is. Looks a little too old for Ben, doesn't it?)

    14)Widmore: Your orders were to exterminate that woman.
    Ben: Why, she’s no threat to us? She’s insane. Besides, you didn’t tell me she had a child. What was I supposed to do?
    Widmore: Kill it.
    Ben: It’s not an “it,” it’s a child.

    15) Widmore: Every decision I’ve made has been about protecting this island.
    Ben: Is that what Jacob wants? Then here she is (holds out baby), you do it.

    16) Locke: I never pictured you leading your people from behind a desk. Just seems a little…corporate.

    17) Locke: I was thinking you and I could talk about the elephant in the room.
    Ben: I assume you’re referring to the fact that I killed you.

    Widmore: How did you get this number?
    Ben: Doesn't matter. What matters is I'm going back to the Island today.
    Widmore: The Island won't let you come back, trust me. I've spent almost 20 years trying to return.
    Ben: Well, Charles, where you failed, I'm going to succeed...

    19)Locke: Whose idea was it to move into these houses? It just doesn’t seem like something the island would want.
    Ben: You don’t have the first idea about what the island wants.

    20) Ben: Hello, Penelope. My name is Benjamin Linus. I'm sorry that you're caught up in the middle of this thing, but your father—
    Penny: My father and I have absolutely no relationship whatsoever, so whatever—
    Ben: Your father is a really terrible human being. He's responsible for the killing of my daughter. That's why I'm here.

    21)*Ben: Sun, I need you to do me a favor. If you ever get off this island, find Desmond Hume for me and tell him I was sorry.
    Sun: Sorry for what?
    Ben: He’ll know.

    *Three things about this quote:
    1) he addressed Sun, not Locke, probably because he knows Locke would never leave the island and Sun might. (?)
    2) Ben said, “tell him I was sorry.” He would have said “am” unless he believes he’ll be dead before Sun has a chance to tell Desmond.
    3) Ben didn’t apologize for killing Locke…but he wanted to apologize for planning to kill Penny? That's interesting.


    1) Ben mentioned the whispers to Rousseau, telling her to run the other way if she hears them? Why? Do they proceed the arrival of the Others? Or, I'm wondering, are the whispers people from another realm/dimension/time, and he fears what she might learn from them? So even though he let her live, he couldn't let her learn secrets of the island, too?

    2) How in the world did Ethan become an Other before the Purge? We know his daddy, Horace, died in Dharmatown during the Purge. So Horace remained with the DI. But did Amy abandon ship? Was Ethan kidnapped?

    3) Ilana and her three friends seem to be gearing up for "the war." But for which side? They seem to have brought a case full of they knew what they were getting into. My first guess: Widmore. But I wouldn't put it past Ben. After all, he made a point to note the crate they were moving. And then he took a drink of Ajira water and watched, almost as if he were supervising. And as Ben says, he always has a plan...

    4) Why didn't the Smoke Monster come when Ben summoned it? Or did it...

    5) Is it possible that Locke might still be dead...but reanimated by the Smoke Monster? I know that sounds far out, but there were subtle hints:
    i. When Ben summoned Smokey, Locke came out of the jungle.
    ii. Locke made a point to tell Sun he's the same man he always was...
    iii. Locke suddenly knows a lot more about the island, and he was conveniently absent when Smokey was playing the role of Alex. (Can Smokey only animate one body at a time?)
    iv. We have also seen the Smoke Monster do this with other people. When Yemi appeared to Eko, it's believed that it was the Smoke Monster speaking through him. (Maybe this is what's happening with Christian Shephard too?)
    v. Remember the title, "Dead is Dead." Ben says the island has done a lot of things, but he hasn't seen it bring people back from the dead. So is John the exception (as I think we were led to believe) or is he dead?

    6) When Lapidus refers to the man named Christian, did anyone else think Ben seemed to recognize that name? Or was I just hoping he would recognize the name? Maybe it was just a look of curiosity?

    7) Ben claims he didn't know about that some of the 815 survivors joined the Dharma Initiative in the 70's...but do we believe this?

    8) What does lie in the shadow of the statue? Is there a real answer? Is this a code so those "in on the mission" can identify one another? Can anyone think of a plausible (or creative) answer?