Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Episode 5.14 "The Variable"

So, let's start with this. Daniel's mom shot Daniel and killed him. Oh, man. I hate to see Twitchy go. But I had a bad feeling when they basically started answering every remaining question we had about him. That's a sure sign in Lost that you're on the way out.

Ok, I think the best way to talk about this episode is to view it in terms of the shocking ending. With that in mind let's look at some details.

DANIEL CAN'T PLAY PIANO: So, we first see young Daniel's mom crying as she watches him play piano. I assume she's thinking one day I'm going to shoot that kid in the back. I'm guessing she's wondering what would happen if she would just encourage him to stick to piano and become a famous musician. I find it curious that she didn't even seem to be trying to avoid the future. I would be training him to catch bullets or give him a note that says what time and date to duck. But, instead, she's basically making sure that it happens, no matter what. She's forcing him to learn all the science he can so he can one day go to the island to die. Why? The only possible answer I can think of is that Jack and Kate will use the knowledge he gave them in his long speech to try and go through with Daniel's plan. And whatever happens as a result of this is something that Ellie wants to happen. Also, in one of the worst delivered lines in the show's history, young Daniel says "I can make time". Yes, we get it. Time.

DANIEL TELLS CHANG EVERYTHING: Including that Miles is his son. I guess at some point Chang believes Daniel and sends his wife and kid away. Daniel also tells Chang that the accident will happen at the swan station in four hours. I guess we've got four hours left until... the incident. Which Daniel just referred to as... the accident.

"...OR GOD HELP US ALL" This is a common line in Lost. It's almost as overused as "I've got a bad feeling about this" is in Star Wars. Chang says it referring to the Orchid's electromagnetic leak. And Ms. Hawking also said it in the "Previously on Lost" part of the show this episode, when it was flashing back to Ben asking what would happen if they couldn't get all of the Oceanic Six to go back to the island. Weird that she would say "God help us all" in response to that question, but then a couple days later be totally okay that he couldn't get everybody back. Is it because she already took matters into her own hands, like I suggested last post? She's definitely good at making sure the future that she knows is supposed to happen is going to happen. Is there any other meaning to the repeated "...or God help us all"? A subtle hint that they're in the Garden of Eden? Probably not. But it does seem deliberate.

DANIEL'S GRADUATION: Man, it wouldn't be Lost: Season 5 without some crazy hair. Daniel's rocking it like a Czech bass player from the Hair Metal 80s. More important, however, is that Daniel's mom gives him a gift of...his journal. But, is it empty or is it his notebook from the future? Because I really feel like the notebook he's been carrying around is from the future. It has to be, right? We see him in this very episode use the journal to learn the exact time that Chang will show up at the Orchid. And later, he claims (to young Charlotte) to know that Chang believes him and will start evacuating people from the island. So, if Daniel dies, how does he get this future Notebook? I always assumed an older Daniel would travel back in time after a while and give the notebook to a younger Daniel. But now that's he's dead, I dunno. Maybe Kate and Jack end up giving it to a young Daniel somehow? Hmm. Here I will admit, time travel is confusing. Also possible is that this is not the same notebook. It does have a leather strap around it, which I do not remember seeing before.

WIDMORE PLANTED THE PLANE: So I guess I was wrong (in last episode's post) about it being Ben who planted the plane. So, if Felix the dead body was actually the one who helped Widmore arrange the plane, and if he was also the one in the video of Widmore beating someone up, I'm guessing Widmore killed him to keep his cover up silent.

THE ISLAND WILL HEAL DANIEL: At least that's what everybody tells him. After Widmore and Ellie both told Daniel the island would heal him, why didn't he ask to bring Theresa with him? We know she's still alive and in a coma. I guess he wasn't allowed near her after experimenting on her, but still, would have been nice if he would have tried.

ANOTHER DANIEL AT THE PIANO SCENE: And this time he's trying to remember the song he used to play. Daniel's mom comes in again and tells him to go to the island, so he can fulfill his destiny of getting shot by her the back. Again, I have to think that for her to tell him to go would mean that something good comes of his death. This definitely has biblical parallels, what with God sending his own son to die for the benefit of everyone else. But at least Jesus knew what was going to happen. Although, he did say as he died, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me." Not unlike Daniel's last words to his mom. Hmm. Heavy.

SAWYER AND JULIET GET CAPTURED: And Juliet's still mad about the "Freckles" comment. If you're Juliet's boyfriend, I don't recommend you call your ex by a cute nickname in front of her. She will totally boil your bunny. Geez, did Glen Close really boil a bunny in Fatal Attraction? Ridiculous. Weirdest plot point ever. So, Radzinsky and Phil combine their ugly powers to trap the remaining cool, attractive people at gunpoint. Will Jin, Hurley, or Miles save them next episode? Maybe Hurley will crash another van through the wall?

DANIEL'S LONG SPEECH: So, we learn that Daniel's plan is to blow up the Jughead bomb and keep the incident from ever happening. Wouldn't that kill everyone on the island, including his mother? Preventing him from being born? Or was he planning to tell his mom to leave the island like he told Charlotte? I don't really like this plan. I don't want the show to end where nothing in it that happened ever happened. But I don't think it will end that way now, solely because we have another season left and they can't have a surprising conclusion to the show a year from now after already telling us what would happen. We also learn in this speech that the Incident causes Dharma to seal up the energy with concrete and create the Hatch's button to releases the energy, keeping the danger at bay... a theory you might have read here on my blog a while back. Except that a lot of what surrounds that theory is now wrong. But, the button being a regulation device: True.

WIDMORE IS DANIEL'S DAD: First of all, my friends and my wife were right. I thought for sure that Widmore was just Daniel's sponsor, but not also his dad. Hmm. Why is it so important for Daniel to go to the island for Widmore and for Ellie? Hopefully we'll learn more next episode. Also, this means Daniel is Penny's half-brother, and Desmond's brother-in-law. (Half Brother-in-Law?) Ms. Hawking gets mad because Widmore says that his relationship with Penny is one of sacrifice, and she feels like she's made more of a sacrifice than him. Which I guess she has. Does this comment from Widmore mean Widmore's good and trying to protect Penny somehow by pretending to be mean to her and Desmond? Because he generally seems to care about Desmond's fate now. I don't think so, I think Widmore's bad. Neck-snapping bad. But there is more to the story. On the second viewing I noticed Ellie says "I had to send my son back to the island knowing full well..." when Widmore interrupts her.

IS DANIEL DEAD? So, I guess there's a chance Daniel doesn't die and that Jack sews him up, but I think his story line is basically over. Plus he got a bullet through the heart. And he told his whole plan to Jack and Kate, another thing you should not do on Lost if you want to live. So goes the greatest character of season 4. And a lot of Season 5. Farewell, Daniel Faraday. I guess we'll never know why your last name wasn't Hawking or Widmore. Or even Chang, for that matter.

PREVIEW FOR NEXT WEEK'S EPISODE: (SPOILERS, BEWARE) Here's what I saw in the preview for next week's episode, which is posted above. Jack has a bloody nose and says "If we do everything that's written in that journal, our plane never crashes," as someone flips through the journal. I'm assuming that Richard and Ellie capture Jack and Kate (hence the bloody nose) and Jack wants to try to escape and steal the journal from them to learn how to blow up the Jughead bomb somehow? Next, we see an overhead shot of a beach with tents on it. An Others camp? Or, the beach in present time with the Flight 316ers? We see Locke walking on the beech with two people I've never seen before, one of them is carrying a rifle. Are the two people part of Bram and Ilana's group of Others? Sun looks longingly at her wedding ring. I'm assuming she'd also look longingly at a picture of her daughter she left behind, but she forgot to bring one. Radzinsky punches Sawyer while Juliet screams and Phil smiles in the background. Jack says "None of this will have ever happened." Some Dharma folks are walking down the pier to the submarine, and we hear Chang say "We need to evacuate the island". So I guess he does listen to Daniel. Are these the main people that are saved because of Faraday's return? Sawyer and Juliet are handcuffed and walking with a bunch of other Dharma folks. Juliet says "I love you." And Sawyer says something I can't understand. Either "I love you back" or "I won't be back" or "I already knew that", which would be rather Han Solo of him. Sayid and Ellie stand next to each other near a pond that Jack dives into. Jack swims underwater and then up into a temple with a fire lit in it. Sun looks at Locke. Locke says "If there's a way to save our people, I'll find it." I assume he's referring to the 70s Losties. Sayid and Jack walk explore the temple together. It looks like Ellie and Richard are with them. Also, something huge is covered in a tarp. Jughead? And the temple is lit by weird purple lights. Jack says "This is our chance to change things". Miles and Jin pull out their guns in the jungle. Sayid aims back at them. Kate says "If you're wrong, everyone dies." The next episode is entitled "Follow the Leader." And, the rumor is that it is an episode centered on... Richard Alpert. Awesome? Yes. Then there is one remaining episode... the two hour season finale. Exciting times.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Could Bram and Ilana work for...

Thinking a little more about who Bram and Ilana work for today (notice the new poll)...

One theory I heard on The Transmission podcast is that they might work for the newly reformed Dharma Initiative. Seems plausible. Last year's Comic Con featured a live Dharma booth where you could try out to join the ranks of Dharma, who were starting up again under the moniker "Octagon Global Recruiting". So we know the writers have hinted towards Dharma coming back into the picture. It would also explain Bram's hippy-like speech to Miles. Check out the Octagon TV ad from last year here.

But, another theory out there is that Bram and Ilana are part of a third faction of the Others. Taking this another step further, who is that third faction? Could it be led by Ellie? Or, as we know her later... Eloise Hawking?

I think this is a great theory, and here's why: We know that two episodes ago an Other said to Richard, "What about Charles and Ellie?" Which implied they were both leaders. But were the Others split at that point? Maybe Widmore was a little more aggressive and ruthless in his leadership and Ellie a little more spiritual? And they split the Others into two groups. Maybe Ellie was even banned from the island by Ben, like Widmore. But then, off the island, she discovered Dharma's Lamp post station. It would explain how Ilana and Bram would know what flight to get on, and that they needed to bring Sayid. When Ben failed to bring back all of the Oceanic Six in time Ms. Hawking said, "This will have to do." But was that because she was just going to finish the job herself? Sending a Claire lookalike to grab Aaron at the grocery store? And sending Ilana off to trap Sayid? I think this is very likely.

So if that is the case, and there is a war coming (as Widmore told Locke), then it could turn about to be a war with several sides involved. Maybe it will be Ben vs. Widmore vs. New Dharma vs. Ellie's group vs. Locke/Richard/Jacob? With the Losties trapped in the middle? Interesting.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Episode 5.13 "Some Like it Hoth"

Ok, I don't have a ton of time tonight so I'm going to try to keep this brief. I liked this episode a lot, Miles is a great character and seeing him paired with Hurley was a lot of fun, yet again. Here's what I noticed this episode.

FOLLOW THE WHITE RABBIT: A small thing, but I thought it was cool that Young Miles followed a white rabbit to get in the dead guy's apartment. Or, at least, the key to the apartment was stashed under a white rabbit.

THE BODY IN THE BODY BAG: I'm assuming the dead guy Miles talked to in the Dharma van to was a Dharma guy who was working on the future site of the Hatch, and he hit a patch of Electomagnetic-ness buried there. I'm assuming it's the hatch because we see it in ditch form later this episode, and because Radzinsky was the supervisor there, and we know he's the Swan hatch's designer.

MILES' MOM & DAD: So we learned that Miles stayed on the island in the 70s because he saw his parents. But why does Miles' mom leave the island? Is it just because she splits with lame Pierre? Is it the constant blaring country music? My wife had the theory that she leaves because older Miles will later get up the nerve to talk to his parents and try to tell them about the upcoming purge and convince them to leave the island. His mom will believe him and go and Miles' Dad will decide to stay because he either doesn't believe Miles or because he somehow thinks he can change the future. I like that theory. We do know at some point Pierre learns about his fate before it happens, according to this video released at ComicCon last year where Daniel Faraday films Pierre making a statement to be shown to people in the future. Check out the link and read the transcript of the video, if you don't know what I'm talking about. Even if you've seen it before, it's pretty interesting after watching this episode.

MILES' LAST NAME: Ok, some people on the internet have been asking why Miles' last name isn't Chang, but that seems obvious to me. His parents split and she reverted back to her maiden name, Straum. MYSTERY SOLVED! I'm magic.

KATE IS DUMB: We already knew it, but geez. She should have just stuck to the motor pool and kept quiet. But instead she blabs to Roger Linus. Then Jack's attempt to "cover" for her is equally inane. "She's my friend! She would never do that!" Good comeback, Jack.

HURLEY IS WRITING THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: ...apparently in order to improve it. I thought this was a nice touch, but any true fan of Star Wars knows that Empire is not something that can be improved upon. I did like Hurley and Miles' conversation about how they can both talk to dead people. I think Hurley is really talking to the smoke monster, however.

NAOMI IS BACK: It was cool to see Naomi again, even if she had on a crazy wig. The most interesting thing about her return was the conversation Miles had with the dead body (Felix) she showed him. Apparently, this dead guy Felix had something to do with the faking of flight 815's wreckage. It's good to know all the bodies used were already dead and buried, I guess. So, someone paid Felix to help them collect dead bodies and to purchase an old airplane. My first thought was that it was Widmore, and then Widmore killed him so that he wouldn't talk. And that could be true. But it's also possible that Ben faked the plane crash so that no one would come looking for the survivors and find the island. Right now I'm leaning towards Ben having faked the plane, mostly because I think Felix looks a lot like the Other that Widmore was seen beating violently in Ben's video from season 4. Click here to read about the video I'm talking about. See what you think. I made a helpful image, below. Same person? I think so.

HURLEY SEES THE NUMBERS STAMPED ONTO THE HATCH: Um, I'm not a big fan of all these Lost "prequel" feeling moments, but I guess it was kinda cool to see the numbers being stamped on the hatch. But... they're just the SERIAL NUMBER? Why would a one-off hatch need a serial number? Were they about to go into production with these things on other magical islands somewhere else? I doubt it. And why would the serial number also happen to be the world-saving numbers that are entered into the hatch's machine later? I hope this is not the last we learn about the numbers. Producer Damon Lindleof has gone on record saying that we may never fully get an explanation of what the numbers mean. In an interview online, he said that if you explain too much of something mystical on a show like Lost, it loses its impact. He cited George Lucas's lame explanation of the Force through "midi-chlorians" as a valid example. I get where he's coming from. Sometimes answers that are too thorough are lame. But I would also like it if the writers came up with GOOD answers. That would also be acceptable.

BRAM SEEMS LIKE A NICE GUY: So, Miles is abducted by Bram, Ilana's buddy from "What lies in the shadow of the statue" fame. This was probably my favorite scene from this episode. It turns out I like Lost better when it raises questions, not when it gives me answers. Weird. Anyway... who are these people? I could still argue they're working for Ben, especially since they tell Miles he's on the wrong side. But, we've never heard this statue talk before from Ben's people and it keeps coming up from these new guys. Maybe they're some kind of third cult or new threat? They're offering Miles answers instead of money, which is also weird. And they're even talking about his purpose, saying that coming with them will help fill the void that's inside of him. Sounds like they're a little more spiritual than Ben. Bram's speech kind of reminded me of Locke. Could they be Others that are loyal to Locke, but he doesn't know it yet? Or are they somehow Richard's people, people who never age because they've seen what lies in the shadow of the statue?

3.2 MILLION DOLLARS: Now we know why Miles asked Ben for 3.2 million dollars back in Season 4's episode Eggtown (which was written by the same author as tonight's episode). He started by asking Bram for that amount this episode because it's double what he's making from Widmore, which is 1.6 million dollars. So I guess he assumes Bram's people work for Ben.

DANIEL'S BACK: Oh man. I'm really glad to see Daniel again, and he's back to his weird-line-delivery self. I'm guessing this means the next episode is going to be Daniel-centric? Awesome.

PREVIEW FOR NEXT EPISODE: First, we learned that next week is going to be a recap/filler episode, apparently focusing on the Oceanic Six. My guess is that they're going to run the Season 4 special feature that was a full length conspiracy theory video supposedly created in the "real world" about the Oceanic 6 and the faking of Flight 815. Which is pretty interesting, actually, if you haven't seen it. But also kind of slow. Next, they showed a preview for episode 5.14, which is going to be called "The Variable" (is that the opposite to a "Constant"?) Here's a rundown of that preview: The announcer says "Sides will be chosen." Juliet and Sawyer look at Kate. They hold hands. Sawyer says "This is our home. Come with us, Freckles." Jin and Hurley walk together through the barracks. They stop as they see Radzinsky and some buddies walking angrily, carrying guns. Sawyer puts up his hands inside his house. Someone's pointing a gun in the background. The announcer says "Some...will run for cover" (in a voice that's a little too tough sounding to go with those words) and then we see Jack and Kate (of course) hiding behind some bushes. Cut to Radzinsky yelling: "There they are". Cut to Daniel holding up his hands. Jack pulls a gun on someone. The announcer says "Some... will stay and fight." (Seriously, who writes the announcer voice over for these things?) Cut to Kate driving a Dharma van that gets its windows shot out. Jack fires his gun. Something explodes. Daniel looks up into the sky and says "Any one of us could die." Is that a hint from ABC, trying to get us to watch? I think so. It is Lost's 100th episode, after all. There are only three more episodes left this year, folks. The season finale will be another 2 hour one, though, which is nice.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Dead is Dead" - More thoughts

Having had a little time to think about the episode (and listen to a few podcasts on the way to work), here's a few more thoughts on last week's episode.

CAESAR:The more I think about it, the more it seems like Ben shot Caesar because he had to cover his trail. Panicking about Locke's surprise return and the upcoming judgment by the smoke monster, we see Ben try to poison Caesar's thoughts against Locke. But then, Locke demands that Ben go with him to the main island and Caesar interrupts their trek. At this point, Caesar is looking out for Ben. But Ben knows that Caesar might bring up what Ben said earlier about Locke being suspicious. If so, Locke would know that Ben was trying to start a plot to kill him, yet again. So Ben had to shoot Caesar to cover his trail.

NICE SHOES: I noticed Locke lacing up his shoes on the dock this episode, but honestly didn't think much about it, except that it was weird that they chose to show it. A caller on the Jay and Jack podcast pointed out that the shoes actually belonged to Christian Shepard, however, which I had forgotten. Was there something symbolic about Locke taking off his shoes on the journey to the main island, like it was a sign of reverence? Or was this scene just meant to be a subtle reference to how Locke is now taking Christian Shepard's place as the smoke monster's spokesperson? And, to that point:

IS LOCKE THE SMOKE MONSTER? Several fans have pointed out that Locke disappeared right before the smoke monster appeared to Ben, then reappeared right afterward. Is Dead really Dead? And is Locke now really an apparition like Christian? I don't think so, I think Locke is back for reals, but it is an interesting question.

ILANA AND HER CREW: Again, the more I think about what Ilana's crew are up to, the more I think that they're working for Ben. His chat with them on the beach could have just been Ben checking up on their progress, whatever it is they're doing. And, how else would Ilana know where to find Sayid after his argument with Ben after that scene on the docks? How would she know which flight to get on to return to the island? If she is working for Ben, it means that Ben ironically forced Sayid to come back to the island, only to have Sayid shoot his younger self. If she's not working for Ben, I don't think she's working for Widmore, because she could have just killed Ben while he was lying on the cot, unconscious. Maybe she's working for a third faction of the Others. Perhaps one run by the mysterious Economist? From the episode... The Economist?

ONE CRAZY BEN THEORY: So, this episode we got further into Ben's psyche. He spared Alex and Danielle, instead of killing them. He spared Penelope when he learned she was a mother. He's definitely got mother issues. Remember, all his life he's been told by his dad that he killed his mother during childbirth. His dad has openly blamed Ben for his own mother's death. I think that's definitely got something to do with why he spared Penelope and Danielle. And maybe why the Others were into gathering all the children from the Losties. Ben wanted to spare the kids, but kill the adults. So, maybe the Others aren't the ones who are obsessed with kids... it's just Ben. Trying to redeem himself from the guilt he feels for "causing" his mother's death. BUT-here's where my theory gets crazy. Could his traumatic birth experience later cause Ben to go a little psycho/serial killer, and instead of saving mothers and babies he starts somehow secretly killing the mothers right before or during childbirth? I don't know, I'm know FBI Profiler, but it seems like there could be a link. The child birth problem hadn't started yet when Ethan was born. Maybe it started sometime after Ben returned to the camp, all evil and what not? Or sometime after his theft of Alex? Maybe he created the illusion that babies died on the island to tout Alex as a miracle baby, so no one would hurt her (since those loyal to Widmore may have wanted her dead, like Widmore did orginally?) Or maybe he created the problem he was pretending to solve, thereby giving himself a "mission" to rally the Others around? Just a thought. But probably one way too over the top.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


So, I'm sure you guys don't go back and read my old posts to see if there are new comments like I do. But doing so, I just saw that there was a new comment on this post about Rose and Bernard, and was surprised to discover that Lost Mindgrapes just got its very first shout out on another site. At least, the first site that isn't someone I know. The site? Of course.

It's a humorous article and features a you tube clip on backgammon in Lost. Check it out here. My only complaint is the opening line: "Sometimes the comments are far better than the post." But,I will concede, because in this case the statement is accurate.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Episode 5.12 "Dead is Dead" thoughts

Wow. Is it me or does Lost feel like a completely different show each episode? In a good way, I mean. I think it's because each episode focuses on a different character. Maybe if you watched all the Ben-centric episodes in a row they would feel like they all had a cohesive tone. Same for all the Locke episodes, Jack, etc. Which is kinda neat. Luckily, this was a Ben episode, and that’s always a good thing. Ok, here goes. Brace yourself, it’s a long one. A lot freaking happened this episode.

CHARLES WIDMORE RIDES A HORSE, LIKES TO CAMP: This was a great opening scene. Apparently the producers have gotten a new actor to play middle-aged Charles Widmore (around 20 years older than than the young Widmore we met in the episode Jughead.) He rides up to Richard in an old-looking Others camp. This is interesting, because it means that at one point the Others lived like this until pasty nerd Ben took over as leader and suggested they move into the nice air conditioned yellow houses and eat hamburgers. I guess at that point they switched from wearing those 70s Tatooine outfits to wearing normal clothes that they found in Dharma closets. It's interesting that Ben decided to have them wear their traditional Others garb when they attacked the Losties in Seasons 1 & 2. I guess they were a bit tougher looking that way. Also, I like how Richard has lived through eternity and worn so many clothes in his life that he's finally decided he’s going to stick with one purple long sleeve shirt he got at Nordstrom’s.

CHARLES WIDMORE IS MAD ABOUT YOUNG BEN: But Richard says: “Jacob wanted it done.” And “The island chooses who the island chooses.” I guess we kind of already knew this, but it looks like Jacob and the Island are one and the same. And, from the beginning of their relationship, Ben has been a threat to Widmore’s leadership, just by existing and being favored by Jacob. Widmore tells Ben that he will go back and live with the Dharma folks, but still be an Other. An undercover Other.

BEN WAKES UP SHOCKED: And, for the record, Ben TOTALLY had no idea that Locke would come back to life. That’s my vote, anyway. First, Ben looks really shocked and quickly lies to keep Locke from smothering him with a pillow. Then, later in the episode, Ben’s guilt is made even more clear when he tells Sun that in the history of the island “dead is dead” and no one has ever come back. That means he knew. Anyway, Ben tells Locke he’s there to be judged by the thing that his people “don’t have a name for”. Really? They never gave it a name or thought to say, “the smoke thingee?” Or “that thing that kills us sometimes”? Weird. Maybe it’s like how Jewish people are never supposed to say the name of the Lord out loud, as a sign of reverence. Or maybe the Others aren't very creative.

BEN ON THE BEACH: So, somehow Locke and Ben get from this tense conversation about murder to a pleasant stroll on the beach. Seems like they’d have to iron a few things out first, but whatever. Ben walks by Ilana “Boots” Newbie and Some Burly New Guy and asks what's in their silver crate. "Just something we're trying to get moved," she says. Hmm. What’s in there? I don’t know. More on these weirdos in a bit, when we get to their other strange scene...

BEN, MEET CEASAR: Ben meets Ceasar and starts to poison him against Locke, I guess as a back-up way to kill Locke again if he needs it. Really, Ben? You shot Locke and left him for dead in a pit of bodies, and he came back. Then, you strangled him to death, had a funeral and embalmed him, and he came back. You’re still going to try to kill him? Really? Also, don’t forget that John was a miracle baby. He was born three months early (!) after his mom got hit by a mysterious car. I bet we later find out that Ben was somehow driving the car back in 1956. Either way, Ben seems to be back to his old Locke-killing hi jinks here.

BEN STEALS DANIELLE’S BABY: But Ben was supposed to just go and kill her as an assignment from Widmore. My guess is that Widmore thought that Ben didn’t have it in him and was trying to discredit Ben in front of the other Others. I’m sure there’s been talk in the Others camp about how Jacob saved Ben’s life for a reason, and Widmore’s been fighting for control ever since. I think once Ben sees the baby he sees it as a way to disobey Widmore in front of the Others and get away with it. I think he's already planning in his mind to use the baby to challenge Widmore openly. Ben is certainly a schemer. But I do think he starts to care for Alex after a while.

AH, A YOUNG MOP-HEADED ETHAN: Young Ethan is at Ben’s side outside of Danielle’s tent and asks several times if Ben wants him to kill the lady for him. Creepy Ethan. I guess Ethan’s presence means he’s already defected from the Dharma Initiative. But when does this scene take place? Danielle arrived on the island in 1988, 7 months pregnant. And the baby looks a couple of months old in this scene so I would say this is in 1989 sometime. The purge occurred in 1992, according to Lostpedia, so I’m assuming Ben recruited Ethan while he was still living among the Dharma folks. Ben did say in the episode Through the Looking Glass that he wasn’t the only one to defect from Dharma to the Others.

OK, LOCKE RULES AGAIN: It was nice to see Locke back in form. I like how he continually questioned Ben’s leadership style. He asks him why he led the Others from a corporate looking office. And why he leaves the Others' camps for the yellow Dharma houses. And he certainly implies that Ben hasn't always put the Island before his own interests. He also is back to being the Locke that has a purpose, that cares about people’s safety and even has his old sense of humor back. All it took was dying. Again.

BEN SHOOTS CAESAR: I’m not sure why. Seems there were other ways to go about it. But Caesar did claim to be the new leader of the group. And he did ask to learn all about the island. Maybe Ben just didn’t like him? Or just wanted to prove to Locke that he was being loyal? I dunno. But it was shocking. I was sure there was more to come from Caesar. But I guess not. Turns out he was just inquisitive.

LOCKE HAS SOME IDEAS: Locke tells Sun if he wants to see Jin again, she’ll have to stay with him. And he has some ideas how to accomplish that. I wonder what those ideas are? How much does Locke know now that he’s Super Locke?

HOW TO SUMMON THE MONSTER: Apparently, you flush a toilet. Behind a secret closet. Did the Dharma folks know about this hidden door/water closet combo? Weird.

WIDMORE IS BANISHED: So, I guess it wasn’t spinning the frozen wheel that causes Widmore to leave the island. He's escorted off in a submarine. Ben accuses Widmore of breaking the rules by leaving the island regularly and having a daughter with an outsider. (Which most likely means that Ellie the Other is NOT Penny’s mom.) Maybe on top of those offenses was the current state of his hair. Ben says he’ll sacrifice anything to save the island and Widmore counters by saying he didn’t sacrifice Alex. Ben says the island didn’t want that. And that appears to be true, because of Ben’s later confrontation with angry dead Alex in the temple basement. Widmore’s last line before getting in the sub is “I’ll be seeing you”, which has got to be a subtle reference to the classic British sci fi show The Prisoner, a show from which Lost borrows heavily. In The Prisoner, all the characters lived on an island, and those people that were part of the island’s inner circle always said “Be seeing you” to each other. On a side note, that show also ruled.

SUN DOESN’T ASK: Um, Locke is Sun’s only hope to find Jin, and when he walks off into the woods to “do something” she doesn’t ask what it is? At least that’s what she tells Ben. Maybe she thought he was going to the bathroom…? But what did Locke do? Again, how much does Locke know now? How does he know about the temple? He says “I just know.” I think maybe he knows about the hole in the ground because he was almost pulled into a hole in the ground back in season 1. If you remember, even then, he wanted to go in the hole and Jack wouldn’t let him. Was that hole near this temple? Or maybe Locke’s just got super island powers now.

THE TEMPLE: We learned a little more about it this episode. Ben says that the part that we’ve seen is a wall around the temple. The temple is a half mile away and the wall was to keep people from ever seeing it. So Ben’s people built the wall? I guess they know about hieroglyphics. Can Ben read them?

DESMOND VS. BEN VS. PENNY: So, Ben shoots Desmond, then almost kills Penny. But the sight of young Charlie stops him. I have to think we’re meant to assume that young Charlie reminds him of Alex. When he sees Penny’s little Charlie it was just like that moment when he walked into Danielle’s tent set on murder then saw the baby and changed his mind. A few seconds of delay on Ben’s part equals several minutes of Desmond’s fist on his face and a broken arm. Yay for Desmond.

WHAT LIES IN THE SHADOW OF THE STATUE??? Ok, then there’s the scene that was totally weird. Frank washes up on shore and meets up with some guy wearing a red shirt (which probably means he’ll die later, see this link if you’re not up on your Star Trek references.) Red shirt guy tells Frank that Ilana and her buddies have found some guns and have taken charge. Oddly, as Frank walks up to them, they appear to be fastening sticks to their mysterious silver trunk in order to carry it (much like the way you would carry the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament, or in the Raiders of the Lost Ark.) Frank asks them what’s going on, and they reply, like anyone would when caught fastening bamboo to a silver casket: “What lies in the shadow of the statue?” This appears to be some kind of code phrase so they can know who’s on their side or who’s not. Frank has no idea what they're saying, so he's knocked unconscious. Then Ilana says “Get everyone else, tell them it’s time. Tie him up, he’s coming with us.”. Wha? There are more of their people? Where are they going? I think the fact that the phrase includes the words “the statue” means that these folks are probably Others. Right? Maybe? Which would mean that Ilana’s story to Sayid about being a bounty hunter was just a story. The question now is… are they Others that are loyal to Widmore or are they working for Ben? Maybe they’re bringing the “war” to the island that Widmore was talking about to Locke? Or, did Ben actually know them when he was talking to them earlier in the episode on the beach? I thought so, when I re watched it. They at least know who he is. But it looked almost like they were pretending not to know each other. Ben and Ilana even smiled a little bit after their conversation. Check this pic:

I dunno. It's too early to say exactly, but obviously something is up.

THE JUDGEMENT: Ok, so for all the build up about Ben getting judged, the actual judging was a little crazy. Ben falls into a deeper hole and explores a large room. I couldn’t tell what was in the room exactly. A dark hole on one wall seemed to contain a sarcophagus but it was hard to see. I’m sure we’ll have a lot of easter eggs on this one. Ben stares at a drawing on the wall of what looks like our old Egyptian buddy Horus interacting with a smoke monster. Then the monster comes out of its vent in a cool, creepy way and wraps around Ben. I have to say, I’m not a big fan of the flashbacks projected on the wall of smoke. It’s the closest Lost ever comes to a Family Ties style “clips show”. It just feels a little hokey/field of dreamsy. The smoke monster leaves, then angry dead Alex shows up and I was sure for a moment that Ben was a goner. But instead, the monster threatens Ben and makes Ben promise he’ll follow Locke’s every word. Crazy. Ben says the Monster let him live, but he doesn’t look too happy about it. Because now he has to live under someone else’s leadership and that’s kind of a fate worse than death for Ben, I think. Also, on a side note, does this mean the smoke monster’s been judging people all along? I guess so, or maybe sometimes it’s also just protecting the island or whatever’s in the temple? Is the statue located near the temple? And, does something super important lie in the statue’s shadow? The fountain of youth? The tree of life? A picture of Hurley’s buddy from Mr. Cluck’s Chicken Shack? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

THE PREVIEW OF NEXT WEEK’S EPISODE (MILD SPOILERS): So, next week appears to be a Miles-centric episode. And I’m glad about that, I’ve always thought he was interesting and it has taken a long time to get to his story. I’m excited that we’ll learn more about his powers and why he came to the island. Here’s what we saw in the clip: Hurley finds a body in the back of Miles's Dharma van. He asks Miles to admit that he can talk to dead people. Juliet opens a medicine cabinet. Kate looks displeased at someone from a distance. Jack is at a chalkboard with the word “Egyptian” on it twice. Hurley asks “Are you on some kind of secret mission?” Miles approaches a body on a table. Miles walks with Marvin Candle/Pierre Chang who says “Your instructions were to come alone”. Next to the Dharma van, Hurley says to Chang: “I won’t tell anybody about the body”. Miles asks a dead body “Ok, so what really happened.” Chang pushes open a gate covered in vines. Sawyer punches Jack in the face. Hard. Miles is driving the van. Someone runs out in front of him. It’s stupid Radzinsky. Cut to black. There are 5 episodes left this season. The next one is called “Some like it Hoth”. Does that imply anything to you? I hope I don’t have to tell you that Hoth was the ice planet of the Star Wars universe. Is the title a hint that the island will somehow relocate itself to a cold climate? Polar bears, anyone?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Episode 5.11: "Whatever happened, happened"

OK, to me, this episode means we've had two relative dud episodes in a row. I say "relative" because even when it's a little iffy, Lost is still way better than watching Gray's Anatomy or Desperate Housewives or any other show that does not feature time travel and monsters made of smoke. But to me, Season 5 started out awesome – like Season One awesome – and now halfway through, Season 5 is starting to feel a lot like the beginning of Season 3. You know, back when there was a lot of sitting around in cages or the porches of the Barracks eating sandwiches and wasting time with plots that weren't central to the island's mythology. But, I'm sure it'll turn around in the next episode, especially since that appears to be Ben-focused and not Kate-focused. But more on that later. For now, let's get into the details of tonight's episode:

JIN SAVES YOUNG BEN: I'm not sure why Jin does this, or why anybody is so eager to help Ben out this episode. Also, it's unclear whether or not Jin is lying when he tells them which way Sayid escaped to.

ROGER CHECKS KATE OUT: So, Ben's dad flirts with Kate, which was kind of funny. The term "wench" is thrown around, but surprisingly not referring to Kate. Roger doesn't seem to realize that his keys are missing yet, even though it's his van that's smashed into the side of the house. Hmm. I guess Kate's half-hearted smiles are too distracting. Kate should be nice to Roger, though, because he's one of the few options she has left on the island, now that Sawyer and Jack are off the table.

KATE VISITS CASSIDY: It was nice to see Sawyer's former love interest again, although her scenes were some of my least favorite of the episode because they just didn't ring true. First, she tells Kate that Sawyer jumped from the helicopter because he couldn't imagine living a normal life with Kate off the island. He couldn't commit. That sounded preposterous to me, but Sawyer later confirmed it was true when Kate asked him about it. Writing-wise, that logic seems a little off, but even more unbelievable is when Cassidy later says that Kate needed to take baby Aaron because Sawyer broke her heart. Um, what? How did Sawyer do that? Kate had her chance to live with Sawyer in a yellow Dharma house back in Season 3 and she ditched him to go back to the beach. And also, she DID need to save Aaron, because Claire freaking disappeared. What else should she have done? Left him there?

KATE IS DUMB, THOUGH: Why did Kate walk over to see Sawyer in the observation room? She's a terrible undercover Dharma Lostie. Sawyer was quick on his feet to come up with an excuse for her being there, but as they left, it really looked like Dharma Phil was onto them, furrowing his giant eyebrows. My guess is that he's going to tell Horace that he saw Jack meet up with Sawyer the night before the flaming van attack.

HURLEY AND MILES ARE JUST AS CONFUSED AS WE ARE: I liked Hurley and Miles's open discussion of time travel, even though it felt a little bit like the writers were trying hard to clear a few points up for us. I kept expecting Miles to pull out a white dry erase board and start drawing diagrams, UPS commercial-style. I also thought for a minute that Miles was going to get shot by Hurley, but only because Miles is so deadpan it was hard to tell he was kidding when he asked Hurley to shoot him. Death by deadpan. Not a good way to go. Anyway, at the end of their debate, Hurley brings up a good question and one we've talked about before on this blog: Wouldn't Ben have recognized Sayid as the guy who shot him as a kid? My first thought was, yeah, Ben remembered Sayid, that's why he shot Sayid a nasty look back in the episode "One of Them" after they first met, and why Ben later tricked Sayid into becoming his hitman. Maybe Ben even had Sayid's girlfriend Nadia killed as revenge. However, I think what happened at the end of tonight's episode with Richard makes that theory irrelevant. Because Richard claims that after he heals Ben, Ben will "forget this ever happened". Hmm. If that's why Ben doesn't remember Sayid, it's kind of lamely convenient for the writers. Like how C3-P0 conveniently had his memory erased by Bail Organa at the end of Episode III, so George Lucas wouldn't have to explain why C3-P0 can't remember that Darth Vader invented him. Nerd Alert!

JACK REFUSES TO HELP BEN: Jack is a real jerk lately. Although, I didn't blame him at first, Ben is not super nice or anything. He says he doesn't feel like saving Ben twice, but we soon found out the real reason Jack doesn't help young Ben. He's still mad at Kate for leaving with Sawyer after he helped Ben the first time. This is another example of the recent confusing character motivation by the writers. Dudes, I don't care about this relational drama stuff. Get back to the time traveling bunnies. Or, when in doubt, WRITE ABOUT THE MONSTER ON THE ISLAND. But spare us Jack's hurt feelings. C'mon. "You didn't like the old me, Kate," says Jack. Well, that's true. I'm glad you finally realized it, Jack. But maybe if you didn't always sound like you were out of breath every time you spoke, whine constantly and make bad decisions you would get more girlfriends, buddy.

THE CREEPY CLAIRE IMPERSONATOR: I have to say I was amazed that for a minute it appeared the writers actually went with my 'Kate loses Aaron in a store' angle. If you remember, on my old poll "Where is Aaron?", one option was "Kate lost him in the mall while shopping at Wet Seal." So I was kinda close. Kate checks her phone for one second and then Aaron is gone. She finds him with the grossest Claire clone I've ever seen. Kind of like a Spitting Image puppet version of Claire. Whoever she was, that lady was clearly headed for the door with Aaron. I'm going to have to guess this was one of Widmore's people, dressing in a Claire wig and trying to get Aaron because he's "special". Maybe somehow Widmore knew that Ben wanted Aaron on the island and wanted to find out why.

SAWYER HELPS KATE: But he makes it clear that he's doing it for Juliet, which I thought was classy. Sawyer is certainly taking over the hero role on the show lately. He even admits that he's grown up a lot in the last few years, which is nice, but once again I'd like to remind the writers that I'm watching Lost because I don't like shows like Gray's Anatomy and can we please get back to some sci-fi Awesomeness and explosions and stuff? Please?

JULIET DOES NOT RESPECT JACK'S PRIVATE TIME: Juliet's so angry she bursts in on Jack in the shower, in yet another whiny relationship scene. She yells at him and accuses him of coming back for himself, adding that she and Sawyer didn't even need saving. To Jack's defense, he did think that he left his friends stranded on an island with a monster on it, and Locke did come to him claiming that "horrible things happened" because Jack left. So, I think Jack was only right to assume he was coming back to save everybody. Also, Juliet and Sawyer can't keep saying that their happy life was interrupted in Dharmaville. I mean, they know that all of the Dharma folks are going to die in the Purge, so they can't stay there forever. And if they didn't want to see Jack and Kate again, all they had to do is take a sub to Tahiti and live out the rest of their days in the Seventies. In Tahiti. So I don't feel too sorry for them.

KATE GOES TO CLAIRE'S MOM: Ok, so if you're Kate and you JUST lost Aaron in the grocery store... why would you leave him two doors down in a hotel room by himself while you talk to Claire's mom? I mean, maybe Kate just sucks at being a mom. She also sucks at defending her actions to Carole Littleton. Why didn't Kate just tell her that people were trying to kill them on the island and that she HAD to lie to protect the lives of people on the island, including Claire? Kate also claims Claire is still alive, and that she's going back to the island to find her. So, I'm not sure how Kate is so sure that Claire's alive, but at least now we know that's Kate's reason for going back. Although, so far on the island Kate's been doing more time pouting in Sawyer's direction than looking for Claire in the woods. Also, THIS is what Kate can't tell Jack? "Never ask me that question again," she even says. Um, it's an easy answer. He's with his grandma.

RICHARD'S GOING TO DO WHAT TO BEN, EXACTLY? So, Richard comes out of the woods and says he can help Ben, but that Ben will forget this ever happened and his "innocence will be gone". Um, what? What are you taking this boy off in the woods to do, exactly, Richard? Since Sawyer and Kate were there for the well-being of young Ben, they might have asked for a few more details after that cryptic statement. As Richard's walking away, some Other guy with an oddly deep voice tells Richard that "Charles and Elly" will be upset. I'm assuming this refers to Charles Widmore and young Eloise Hawking, who are now possibly a couple and leading the Others. Richard responds by saying he doesn't answer to either of them. So what is Richard's role exactly? Curious. Richard takes Ben into the temple (that has a Land of the Lost style door in it) and somehow makes Ben evil.

WHATEVER HAPPENED, HAPPENED: So, one thing that is interesting about this episode: Jack decides not to save Ben's life a second time and doesn't intervene. "I'm always trying to fix things, but maybe I've just been getting in the way," Jack says. But in stepping aside this time, he forces Kate and Sawyer to look elsewhere for help, which in the end causes Ben to "lose his innocence" and become evil. If Jack had helped young Ben, then maybe Ben and his Dad would have patched things up (they both seemed headed that way by the end of the episode, before Richard came along). Ben would have had to confess to helping Sayid, and he would have to come to terms with life in the Dharma Initiative, maybe putting his fascination with the Others behind him as his relationship with his Dad improved. But this didn't happen. What did happen – and what ALWAYS has happened, apparently – is that Jack refused to help him and so Richard stepped in, corrupting young Ben further and pushing him past the point of no return. We know that young Ben rejoins Dharma after this (because he's much older when he pulls the gas canister out on his Dad) but I'm betting that when he returns from his time in the temple that he'll claim not to remember anything, but be full of evil plans of revenge.

LOCKE GETS ONE LINE THIS EPISODE: But it's a good one: "Welcome back to the land of the living". I have to say Ben looked surprised, so I'm guessing he didn't expect Locke to come back to life. I hope that's the case. I like to think Ben was just being evil when he choked Locke. For some reason.

PREVIEW FOR NEXT WEEK: Ok, the preview for the next episode looked very promising. First, it's a Ben episode, which is a step in the right direction. We see Ben on his cot, defensively telling Locke that he came back to the island to be judged. Huh? By the smoke monster? Or by the Others? For now, I'm going to guess that Ben's lying. The whole judgment thing is pretty much the perfect way to keep Locke from punching him in the face, so I think he's just stalling and making stuff up. But who knows, maybe he did come back for judgment. He also claims to have "broken the rules", so hopefully we'll learn more about what the heck that means. Next, we see him on the beach holding a water bottle, which I'm guessing could be the same water bottle that Juliet found in the outriggers back in the episode "The Little Prince". So maybe we'll learn who was manning the outrigger that shot at the Losties in that episode. My guess is Ilana and Ceasar were in the boat, shooting with his new gun he found in the Dharma station. Next, there's a brief shot in the preview that shows Ben on a dock with a gun pointed at someone, yelling "Not another word!" So, I guess we'll learn if it was Penny and Desmond he attacked on the docks and how he got so beat up before Flight 316 took off, which is nice. There's also some shots of Ben walking through what looks like the temple and a brief moment where we see Ben talking to Danielle, so I'm guessing that this is taking place sometime before the Losties got on the island, maybe back before The Purge happened and he's still an Other-in-training or something. Will we see Ben take Danielle's Baby? There's a brief shot of Ilana hitting someone (not with a boot this time) and then the final shot is Ben in front of the jungle (looks like the same place that Sun and Frank were on the dock) and Ben says: "What's about to come out of the jungle is something I can't control." Awesome. I predict a great episode. Because there's already guaranteed monsters, temples, jungles, and hitting. And because Ben is not caught in a love quadrangle. There are six episodes left this season. The next episode is called "Dead is Dead." Ben better not get killed.

Random Updates

OLDHAM EASTER EGG: Last episode, when Sayid finished off his last Ben-appointed victim in Russia, he was in a building that was labeled "Oldham Pharmaceuticals" over the door in Russian letters. Oldham, of course, being Dharma's truth serum wielding torturer. Not sure what that means. I guess that Oldham or his relatives are still around in the 2000s and now operating a business? Will we learn more about Oldham, or is this just a fun thing hidden in the spot for nerds like me to find?

THE M.NIGHT MISTAKE: Also, there's a story on Lostpedia today that M. Night Shyamalan is going to direct the series finale of Lost next year, but I HOPE that this is only an April Fool's Day prank. Because they should definitely let series regular Jack Bender direct the finale. M. Night hasn't directed a piece of film since Unbreakable. If it's true, however, then I guess we can expect a shocking twist ending... like water kills the Others, or that the island is really a commune of hippies hidden away in Central Park.

WHERE ARE ROSE AND BERNARD POLL RESULTS: Looks like most people think Rose and Bernard are too boring to care about. For the record, my answer to the poll was "On the beach playing Backgammon". I think maybe Rose and Bernie got left behind in time and will end up being the "adam and eve" skeletons found in the cave in Season One holding white and black stones (backgammon pieces). Maybe that will be the last shot of the series, the two of them in the cave playing backgammon, forgotten by everyone. Except me. Tonight's episode is "Whatever happened, happened."