Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lost Episode 6.5: "Lighthouse"

This is going to be another slightly briefer post, as this time I had to pause mid-post to pick my mother-in-law up from the airport on a super-delayed flight. Apparently a millimeter of snow will cause that to happen here in Austin.

I think besides the first episode, this was my favorite episode this season. The flash-sideways was a little sappy, but on island we got lots of crazy new sci-fi elements, more island exploration, and, in Hurley's words, some "old-school" island quests. Also, as my wife noted, it really feels like the show is starting to come to an end with the information we're getting. And that's kinda sad. Anyway, lots of answers and of course a couple of more questions... let's take a look...

JACK'S APPENDIX: So we start in the flash-sideways with Jack in his apartment after his flight, and this time in the mirror he notices a scar from getting his appendix out. Remember in Season 4's episode "Something Nice Back Home" when Juliet operated on Jack in his tent on the beach? It looked like Jack was remembering that, too, for a moment, and even asks his mom about it and she says it happened as a child. He says "I guess I remember that." Which is kind of a weird thing to say if you're not having dual timeline fatigue. Curious.

JACK'S OFFSPRING: Next we meet yet another new character, with yet another biblical name: David. Jack's son. We quickly learn that even as a dad, Jack's got daddy issues. And we have another new mystery: Who is David's mom? Someone we know? Jack's old wife Sarah? His brief smooching affair partner Gabriela (the dying Italian dude's daughter?) Someone else we know? Surely not Bai Ling? It's probably someone we know who was NOT on the alternate Flight 815. Maybe Juliet? Ah, Lost. You promise us answers yet give us more questions. It's fine with me, though, the questions are more fun. Plus I need something for my poll. Anyway, David's a big fan of music (my guess is he was probably listening to the piece he was preparing to perform on his headphones) and oddly, he's reading Alice in Wonderland. Which is a reference to the episode "The White Rabbit", where Jack saw his father on the island for the first time. Of course, the book also features a looking glass, which comes up in the lighthouse scene later. And there's a rabbit statue on David's mom's doorstep.

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE TEMPLE: Miles and Hurley entertain themselves the way that the Others do... by playing Tic Tac Toe. I guess the others don't have board games? Or horseshoe technology? Or anything else to do at all? No wonder a bunch of them left to go live in the barracks and host book clubs. The game ends in a another tie (foreshadowing the larger game of Smokey vs. Jacob? I hope not) and Hurley heads toward the kitchen when he sees Jacob, who's doing something with the fountain. Why is the dude that plays Jacob so awesome? He hardly says anything but he's super sanguine and all, "hey. how's it going." Maybe that's why the actor is up for a Saturn award this year for best guest-starring role. Either way, I'm really digging the Hurley/Jacob scenes. They're a lot of fun. Jacob tells Hurley "Someone's coming to the island." I'm assuming this is the "They're coming" people that he was referring to in the Season 5 finale? Who's coming? The number Jacob was going to have Hurley put in the lighthouse was 108, which is the sum of all the hatch numbers added together. Does that mean everyone's alternate timeline selves are coming to the island? That would be weird and a little annoying in a Parent Trap kinda way to have a bunch of doubles on the island. Is it Desmond and Penny that are coming? More of Widmore's people? Anyway, someone's coming and we have no idea who it is.

CLAIRE GETS ALL 'MISERY' ON JUSTIN: Ok, let's talk about all the Claire scenes. They were creepy. Apparently, when everyone left she started out hanging with Christian Shephard (who MUST be on Smokey's side) but then was captured by the Others and 'tested'. She escaped and then Smokey and Christian have convinced her to set up crazy traps, wander around, wear a wig of straw and be a loon. Meanwhile, she built a baby out of creepy pelts and skulls, which was beyond the call of duty, even for a crazy person. Christian was probably even freaked out a little by that. Claire stitches Jin up then puts the axe to Justin for telling the truth, which I think we all saw coming but was still hard to watch.

"I JUST LIED TO A SAMURAI" Hurley tries to follow Jacob's orders without involving Jack, so he starts wandering around a hallway scooby-doo style looking for the secret escape tunnel. This was a really funny scene, and also informative. Apparently the castaways have had tons of power all along, all they had to say was that they were a candidate. This whole candidate thing is fine, but it does feel a little late in the game to be introducing a new rule like that, especially one that's apparently the point of the whole show. If candidates are so sacred, why did Ethan and Goodwin sneak into the Losties ranks and start killing people willy-nilly in Seasons one and two? How could Ethan get away with the whole "I'm going to kill someone everyday until you bring me Claire" if Jacob values candidates so much? I guess Ben told the Others to kill people without having Jacob's blessing, and we've seen that Ethan, even as a child, was pretty willing to get the killing started. Were they just a couple of bad seeds in the bunch? But, beyond that why would the Others fear the Losties once they learned the smoke monster had killed some of them? At that point, wouldn't they realize the Losties were NOT on the side of smokey and were brought there by Jacob and needed protection? And why would Richard go along with Ben's mismanagement for so long if he knew that Ben wasn't even talking to Jacob? I have so many questions about the Others and why they have acted the way they did. Don't even get me started on the fake beards and old timey outfits. Because I thought they were just costumes, but apparently that's how they dress in the temple. It's all so confusing.

CHRISTIAN'S WILL: Really the only interesting thing about the scene where Jack visits his mom is that it sets up that the Shephards now know about Claire Littleton, Jack's half-sister, which I'm sure will come into play in a bigger way in upcoming flash-sideway stories. Also we learned through Jack's mother that they already had the funeral for Christian, without the body. And it's hinted at by Jack's mom that Jack might have been an alcoholic at one time when she congratulates him on not drinking anything. Maybe that's what caused Jack's divorce?

HURLEY AND JACK START THEIR TREK: I love how easy it is to get Jack to go with you on an adventure. You just have to say, "You have what it takes." He would probably respond well to greeting cards or motivational cat posters. With what we learn later, it's obvious he's really going because he wants to see and perhaps confront Jacob, because he's interested to know how Jacob could know intimate details of his life. Could he have guessed it's because he watches people from his magic lighthouse peeper machine? Probably not.

KATE MAKES AN APPEARANCE: And is going to go look for Claire. Could Claire kill Kate? Seems drastic, but I guess anything's possible. Hurley urges Jack to leave Kate behind, and Jack invites her anyway because for some reason all episode long he's being a total jerk to Hurley. She turns Jack down and says "I hope you find what you're looking for" which is the kind of motivational greeting card talk that really gets Jack going.

CAVE SWEET CAVE: Hurley and Jack spot an asthma inhaler and realize they're outside their old cave. Is it me or is the geography of this island totally out the window these days? When it's all over and done with I want a complete, accurate map of the island in a cool Tolkien-like poster illustration so I can nerd out over the island's proportions and see if these treks make any sense geographically or not. Anyway, I loved how they went back in the cave and reminisced about their old skeleton buddies Adam and Eve. (Side note: Would you have slept in a cave with two skeletons in it? I would have totally buried those things.) I'm not sure what to think about the writers going ahead and pointing out what fans have been predicting for years–that the skeletons are really two people we know, who have traveled back in time. Now that they said it out loud, it seems like they won't explain the skeletons that way. Or maybe they're just trying to set it up clearly so everyone gets it? I dunno. I love when Hurley's around because it's like the fans are in the show and able to ask the things that we're all thinking. Jack also reminisces about smashing up his dad's coffin "because he wasn't in it." This made me wonder briefly if Jack's dad faked his death somehow in both timelines, but in season one Jack actually went to the morgue in Australia and identified the body, so who knows. I would really like the Christian Shephard/Smokey connection explained, though.

WHY DID JACK COME BACK: Once again Jack is asked why he came back to the island, this time by Hurley. Seems like his answer changes every time. I guess it's to embarrassing to say "Kate" so he says "because I was broken, and I thought it could fix me." This is a another Christian-esque thought. People come to Jesus when they're broken and have no more faith left in themselves. We know Jack's at that stage because last episode he confessed that he didn't even trust himself, which is an important realization to make before you can really reach out to God for help. This episode's really piling on the spiritual metaphors. Especially in Jacob's last speech to Hurley outside the lighthouse, which we'll get to in a bit...

THE LIGHTHOUSE: This was a pretty cool setting, and a really bizarre turn of events. Hurley tries to set the dial to 108, and we see that the dial is made up, yet again, of names and numbers of people we know. I'm sure later this week as more screengrabs are posted we can go back and see who's listed. One big one to note: Austen, as in Kate Austen, is number 51. Check it out:

Does that have anything to do with Area 51? Probably not, but if it does even I might give up on this show. (Not really. I would totally be up for that). Anyway, she is a possible candidate, or at the very least Jacob's been spying on her with his adjustable lighthouse peepers. Probably they need a better name than that. Lighthouse Looking Glass? Whatever the mirrors are, they're broken now, because Jack's a baby and he couldn't think of any other possible use for the most awesome invention he's ever seen. Maybe he could have gotten on the web through the glass and booked a ticket home? Or did he think maybe the Kwans would have wanted to look at their daughter, to check up on her? He finds one fool proof way to connect to the outside world, and then, Locke-style–he totally smashes it. Good one, Jack. Here's another screengrab with more dial-names on it, for your perusal:

THE RETURN OF JACOB'S FRIENDLY, KNOWING HALF-SMILE: Jacob reappears and makes the above compassionate but slightly over it face and Hurley scolds him for not showing up on time. Yet again we see some parallels between having a relationship with Jacob and having a relationship with God. Hurley is mad because Jacob knows what is going to happen but insists on letting free will be involved for Jack, and doesn't take advantage of his omniscience to make things easier on everyone. And Jacob, like God, is clearly more interested in relationships and what happens to the people involved than in the quest itself. I really liked the whole "some people you can hop in a taxi and tell them what you need them to do, and other people need to stare into the ocean for a while." I do think the reason Jack smashed the glass is because he was embarrassed and angry that Jacob had been watching him and had seen the way his dad mistreated him. Jack feels like his dad is right about him, that he doesn't have what it takes. So when Jacob says the very words that Jack longs to hear, trying to affirm him, to Jack it seems like he is mocking him or looking down on him. Man, this show is really headed for longevity with all the layers they're creating that are open to interpretation. Jacob also confesses here that he wanted Jack and Hurley away from the temple because it was about to get ugly there, Smoke Monster style, which I'm assuming we'll see next episode. I'm concerned because Miles is there. I hope Smokey doesn't get him. Sayid, I'm sure, will be collected since he's already been marked. It's interesting to note that Miles' last name, Straum, was on the cave wall last episode and was scratched out. What does that mean? Is Miles already dead?

THE PIANO AUDITION: Man, these scenes were well written but it was REALLY hard to cut from Jack smashing the lighthouse glass and all the info we were getting on the island to the off island scenes of some kid playing the piano. I like these scenes, and I liked seeing Dogen in this setting, but it's really quite a pace change they're trying to balance in these episodes. It feels like they're starting and ending a show at the same time. If they pull this off all the way through to the end of the series and pay it off in a great way, they've really done an amazing thing. I did like the "Welcome all candidates" sign at the entrance of the auditions.

"THAT'S NOT JOHN, THAT'S MY FRIEND, WHOSE NAME I WILL NOT GIVE YOU AT THIS TIME." The cliffhanger on this one was pretty decent. Jin realizes that Claire has gone completely overboard, so he lies to her (in order to protect Kate?) and tells her the Others have Aaron. Just as Jin finishes his lie, in walks Locke. Claire says, "That's not John, that's my friend. You know, the one I conveniently don't name." It's important to note that Jin doesn't know that Locke is evil. Like Sawyer, he's probably heard from his buddies that came back on the Anjira flight that Locke is dead. I hope they doesn't go the route of having Jin on Smokey's side and Sun on Jacob's side, but for some reason I don't really see that happening.

Sorry all that was a little more rambling than usual. What did I miss? Did you guys notice anything else?

Next week's episode is entitled "Sundown". The preview for next week was purposely vague (and unnecessarily snarky) and only showed a few quick flashes of what we'll see next week. Never fear, I watched them in slow motion and will break it down for you: Locke walks away from the temple. Sayid looks up at the camera from inside the temple. Claire comes into the temple courtyard with her hands up. A baseball drops to the ground inside the temple. (Oh no! Dogen's baseball!!!) We pan briefly through the jungle in what looks like another Smokey POV cam. Then Dogen pins Sayid to the ground. My prediction would be a Sayid-focused flash-sideways, but I really have no idea. Guess we'll find out in a week.

Just for the heck of it, here's a picture of Claire's creepy button-skull-fur baby. Looks kinda like Crow T. Robot. Enjoy:

A few LOST thoughts before tonight's episode

Hey guys, here's a few random theories I've heard since my last post, and I wanted to get them up here before tonight's episode...

NOT JACOB'S CAVE? Several people have suggested to me that the cave Smokey showed Sawyer was not really Jacob's cave, and I'm starting to come around to that. I can see Smokey lying to Sawyer in order to get his allegiance. The isolation of the cave itself also makes it seem more like an outcast's cave, like Smokey would be. Especially compared to Jacob's posh accommodations in the four-toed statue (a place I've heard referred to on podcasts as "Club Foot". Ha.) It also seems more like Smokey to scrawl in creepy handwriting all over the ceiling of the cave. Perhaps he's scratching people's names off the list as he kills them? And in that line of thinking, the name Burke (Juliet's last name) was also scratched out on the wall. And Jacob died before Juliet did, so he couldn't have scratched her name out. Also, the cave seems to go deep underground, and we know that that Smokey has been summoned through the ground by pulling a plug out of the puddle toilet under the Dharma barracks. Maybe this cave is Smokey's attempt to keep up with all the people Jacob is bringing to the island. Even the scales at the entrance could suggest the Smoke Monster, since we know people go to the smoke monster in order to be judged. Stuff to think about.

IS LOCKE STILL IN THERE? One theory I've heard that I really think makes a lot of sense: there's still some of Locke's spirit inside of Smokey, and he will start coming through more and more, eventually saving the day. We heard Smokey yell out Locke's catch phrase last episode ("Don't tell me what I can't do!"), is he going to start to take on more of Locke's characteristics? And if so, will we begin to see an internal struggle for Smokey as Locke starts thwarting his plans from the inside? It would be a great way to redeem Locke's story (especially now that he's dead and buried) and it would also seem like a good way to bring peace to the island. If the island constantly has a struggle between light and dark, but now a candidate for Jacob is in the same body as the Man in Black, maybe they will cancel each other out, or Locke will regain control completely and bring safety to the island as the first smoke monster/island guardian combo?

FLASH-SIDEWAYS TALK: There's definitely something suspicious about these flash-sideways. A couple options: This is what will happen after the end of the events in Season 6 on the island. We're basically seeing the happy ending for all our Losties now, and the timelines will somehow link up toward the finale of the season. OR, what if the flash-sideways are what happened the FIRST time? What if they're flash backs to the first flight 815, and at some point they will be reset and everyone will get on the Flight 815 that we all know about? Who knows. But I don't think they're throwaway stories with no real importance. Something's going on. Also, if you look at the above picture embiggened, you will see a photo pinned in Locke's cube of his dad Anthony Cooper wearing a beret.

Tonight's episode, "Lighthouse," is apparently Jack-focused.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

LOST episode 6.4: "The Substitute" more thoughts

Ok, after a full night's sleep (kinda) I'm ready to write some more about last night's important episode.

Let's start at the beginning:

LOCKE'S WHEELCHAIR TROUBLES: Is there anything more depressing than Locke repeatedly falling out of his wheelchair? Maybe Rose's cancer. Locke finds himself face down in the grass while the sprinklers come on, and who should run out to rescue him but Peg Bundy, I mean Helen. And we quickly learn that in this timeline, they're planning a wedding–one which they plan to invite Locke's dad to. Weird. I still maintain these Flash Sideways are a glimpse at what would have happened if the island was never involved in these people's lives, so maybe the evil dad Anthony Cooper wasn't even Locke's real dad, but someone hired by Smokey to play the part in order to get Locke to the island? Or in this timeline is Anthony Cooper just a real nice guy? And if that's the case, how did Locke get in a wheelchair? Also, we know in the other time line that Helen died in 2006 of a brain aneurysm. Is that still her fate in this timeline?

SMOKEY CAM: Man, the sound effects in the Smokey Cam were pretty crazy. Also cool was seeing the reflection of the monster in Sawyer's window. And what was up with that knife he picked up? Was that a knife we've seen before? Maybe his smoke hands just can't carry knives around with him so he had to set it down for a bit while he zoomed around the island, but it would be cool if it turns out to be a knife we've seen before.

LOCKE GETS FIRED, HURLEY IS NICE: I wish Hurley was my boss. Also, Hurley's tremendous luck apparently kicked in again when Locke's wheelchair ramp jammed right before scratching Hurley's hummer.

RICHARD IN A BAG: Smokey uses the knife to chop Richard out of a tree. Poor Richard. Smokey tells Richard he wants him to "come with him" and that he used Locke's body to get close to Jacob because Locke was a candidate. Surprisingly, Richard doesn't know what a candidate is. Locke tries to make Richard feel used by Jacob by saying he would never have kept Richard in the dark. This, again, is the same approach the serpent took in the Garden of Eden, promising us the same knowledge that God has, so we can be like God, and not a "slave" to Him. Even though it will obviously result in a machete to the throat Richard responds, "I'm not going anywhere with you", and is, yet again, awesome. Smokey is clearly going to kill Richard when the blond boy with bloody arms shows up. More on him in a minute.

ILANA AND BEN GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER: Ilana is crying and Ben walks into the statue to see her. She asks what happened to her friends, Ben says she wouldn't believe him, and Ilana says, somewhat cheesily: "Try me." My wife and I groaned at that line. Just kinda cliché, and also maybe because she delivered it like she was in a Revlon commercial. Ben lies and says that Locke killed Jacob, then threw him in the fire, and Ilana collects his ashes. I'm assuming these are the same kind of ashes they were using before to protect themselves from Smokey? Some kind of time loop thing? Ben asks why Locke took Richard into the jungle and Ilana says, "he's recruiting". Is this the beginning of the "war" that's been said to be coming since season 3?

SAWYER LIKES IGGY POP: And drinking in his underwear. I don't want Sawyer to go bad again, but I guess that's where the death of Juliet and his involvement with Smokey is taking him. I liked how unimpressed Sawyer was with Locke's ability to come back from the dead. Sawyer instantly knows that Locke is not Locke, because he's not scared like Locke was. Smokey says he can answer why Sawyer is "on this island". Which is, of course, because Jacob brought him there.

ILANA KNOWS ABOUT JIN: Ilana tells Sun that Jin is probably in the temple. I'm assuming Ilana knows all about everyone brought to the island because of Jacob's list. Clearly she knows more than Richard, because she also knew about the whole "candidate" thing when she suggested to Bram that Frank might be one. I'm interested in getting her back story just because we would learn more about Jacob that way, I'm guessing.

THE BLOND KID: Locke and Sawyer are walking through the jungle when they come across the mysterious blonde kid, who's apparently had time to dress his wounds. Sawyer can see him, too, unlike Richard. Maybe because Sawyer's a candidate? The kid seems to have the upper hand on Smokey, and I'm not sure why Smokey doesn't chase after him as the smoke monster. The boy says: "You know the rules. You can't kill him." Fake Locke latches onto one of real Locke's catch phrases by yelling "Don't tell me what I can't do!" If that kid is not Jacob reborn, then I'll be surprised, because he looked and acted just like Jacob.

RICHARD POPS OUT OF THE WOODS: And tells Sawyer that he doesn't know what he's dealing with: that Smokey won't tell him anything and that he's going to kill Sawyer and everyone Sawyer cares about. Yikes. Apparently this talk does convince Sawyer somewhat, because in the next scene he pulls a gun on Smokey and asks him "what are you?" He answers that he is "trapped". And says before that, he was a man just like Sawyer, and that he's felt joy, pain, anger, fear, betrayal, and what it feels like to lose someone you love. And then he says "You're so close, James. It would be such a shame to turn back now". Seems like Smokey keeps playing on everyone's sense of destiny or desire to know what's going on, with the real goal of supporting his own needs. I'm assuming Smokey getting off the island would be the worst thing imaginable, and that it would cause lots of damage to the outside world? This would explain what's at stake in this show, at least a little bit.

"HE'S STUCK THIS WAY" Ben and Ilana carry Locke's body across the beach and Ben asks if Smokey can still take other forms, and Ilana replies that he's now "Stuck this way". Weird that she knows that, and also possibly untrue, because we saw Smokey in the form of Ben's daughter Alex last season. He was in Locke then, yet still appeared as Alex. Unless Jacob dying stuck him into this form? It's really unclear, but more and more it sounds like some kind of cosmic board game is taking place and we currently don't have a copy of the rules that Ilana has access to. Then they reach what I assume is the burial ground that our Losties were using all along, with Mr. Eko's frame of a church standing in the background. I'm surprised they were able to trek all the way from the statue to the survivor's camp so quickly, I was under the impression they were far away from each other. Ben delivers Locke's eulogy, claiming Locke was a "believer" and that he was "sorry that he murdered him". Juxtaposed with this tribute to "believer" Locke is Flash-Sideways Locke's discussion with Helen where he claims he does NOT believe in miracles, but she disagrees and says
she's just been waiting for him to come around and then rips up Jack Shepard's business card.

THE CAVE: This season we're seeing a lot of new parts of the island and doing a lot more exploring than we've done in the last few seasons, and I'm pretty happy about that because the exploration parts of Season 1 and 2 were among my favorite moments of Lost. I was really sad to see that angle go when the story line shifted to the Oceanic Six's departure and return. So here we have an entirely new setting: Jacob's cave. Upon entering, Locke tosses a white stone into the ocean as an "inside joke". I guess even though they didn't have Steinbeck in whatever time this dude is from, they still had inside jokes. (Side note: since Smokey retained Locke's memories, wouldn't he have known about Steinbeck that way?) And here's where we get to the interesting part... the writing on the cave walls. Here's everyone's assigned numbers, thanks to Lost Easter Eggs.

As predicted, there were a bunch of other interesting names on the wall, too, although I will say that the set designer did a GREAT job of writing names that were unreadable. Either that or Jacob has poor penmanship. Click here to read a comprehensive list of names written on Jacob's cave. A few to note: Littleton is written there (which is probably Claire) and, interestingly, her name was scratched out. I'm assuming because she's technically dead. Also, I saw that Goodspeed was written down (as in Dharma's Horace Goodspeed), and I guess that's confirmation that Jacob even had a hand in bringing Dharma to the island, which I wasn't sure about before.

FLASH SIDEWAYS BEN LINUS: teaches European History. I would have guessed science, but I could see history. My guess is that Ben and Locke will become friends, and then Ben's cancer will kick in and Locke will recommend Jack Shephard for the surgery. And Jack will remove Ben's cancer yet again.

LOCKE'S THREE CHOICES: Smokey offers Sawyer three options: 1) Do nothing, and eventually get your name scratched from the wall when you die. 2.) Become Jacob's replacement and protect the island. "From what?" "From nothing, that's the big joke. It's just a damn island." (I think there's a little more to the island than that, obviously. I mean, there's a crazy wheel of time, at the very least.) And choice number 3.) We just go, get off this island, and never look back. Together. Sawyer chooses option 3 and I'm afraid that means it won't go very well with him in the long run. Even though he's probably the best hero on the show.

Next week's episode is called "Lighthouse". Here's what was in the preview: Locke looks at the camera. Scary Claire looks over her shoulder. Jack sits on a cliff, looking out at the ocean. A voice says, "Someone's coming to the island." Maybe Lennon or Ben? The voice was hard to recognize. Jack looks at his reflection in a puddle or a fountain. Jacob looks up at someone and smiles. Scary Claire walks through the jungle. Jin wakes up and looks startled. Jack yells "What does he want from me?", then there's another flash of Jacob's face, then Jack smashes what looks like a Lighthouse beacon with an ax. Weird. I guess there's a real lighthouse somewhere. And who's coming to the island? Anyway, next Hurley looks at the camera. Kate pulls a gun. And Locke smiles.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lost Episode 6.4: "The Substitute"

Hey guys, unfortunately I'm very ill with some kind of virus and I won't be able to stay up tonight to write my normal post. I'll try to do it in the next couple of days. But, here's a few questions or big issues and we can go ahead and get the discussion going in the comments section. Feel free to post whatever you noticed or thought was interesting.

That was a much better episode than last week, overall. Maybe because Kate didn't appear in it anywhere. LOTS of answers, or at least the beginning of answers.


• Smoke monster POV cam: Kinda cool.

• Smokey was about to kill Richard when he saw a little boy (covered in blood? I think? At least maybe the first time.) Is this a reborn Jacob? Aaron?

• Sawyer figuring out Locke was not Locke was a nice scene.

• Smokey spends the episode trying to recruit Sawyer to whatever his cause is.

• Smokey keeps talking about revealing all of the truth, unlike Jacob, who he claims hides the truth. This is a lot like the serpent in the Garden of Eden trying to get Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge so they can know things that only God knows.

• Ilana gathers some of Jacob's ashy remains into a bag that looked a lot like Bram's bag of ash. Is this some kind of time loop thing?

• Locke's funeral: Ben's speech was very nice. Frank's comment at the end was great.

• The first, creepy Temp Agent interviewer was also Hurley's psychic back in Season 2: check it out.

• A scared Richard is not as cool as a non-scared Richard. But still, when he's scared, it kind of freaks you out. I'm glad that he stayed loyal to Jacob (which I'm assuming was the right thing to do.)

• Smokey's older than Steinbeck but not older than books. And, he's not fully in control either, as he freaked out over seeing the child.

•Jacob's Ladder? Interesting that Jacob had a ladder to his cave.

• The scales were also interesting. Black and White stones just like the skeletal remains of "Adam and Eve" had in their hands back in season 1.

• Wow. How about that ceiling with all the names on it. "Jacob's into numbers." Although I didn't really like that line, it was really interesting to find out that the numbers correspond to people on Jacob's List: Sayid, The Kwans (or maybe just one of them), Hugo, Shepherd, Locke, and Sawyer. Weird that Kate's name was not on the wall, even though we saw a flashback of Jacob touching her in the Season 5 finale. The flashbacks jammed into this scene were very "Monk" and not my favorite part of the episode. But I would be interested in seeing a screengrab of that wall to read other names on there. This scene overall was a huge moment as far as cluing us in to what's going on in the show.

• Ben works at Locke's school? It will be interesting to learn about Flash Sideways Ben. The coffee bit was funny.

• Lots of "Candidate" talk. And apparently that means a candidate for replacing Jacob as guardian of the island. Thoughts? There was also some more "rules" talk...

• Why does Smokey want to get off the island?

Sorry, got to crash now. Thanks for reading, though! More later when I feel better...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

LOST Episode 6.03: "What Kate Does"

Aka "Why Kate Sucks".

...although despite all the Kate focus, it was still a pretty good episode. Not without flaws, but way better than any other show ABC tries desperately to convince us to watch during each Lost commercial break. (Like the promo for The Forgotten this week were they show they've cast Alex and Bernard in tonight's episode. Heads up, ABC: Nobody watches Lost for Alex and Bernard.) Now, let's get into the details.

First, on the island:

THE LENNON & DOGEN COMEDY HOUR: So, this episode starts abruptly with the flapping sounds of Lennon's bare feet running through the temple halls towards Dogen, who's sequestered himself away, deep in the temple, doing what he loves best—typing random letters onto an old typewriter with one finger. Maybe he's writing the Others' Christmas letter? I have to say, I like how Lost adds new characters every season but this time they're pushing it a bit. I'm sure in a few weeks I'll come around and I'll be posting how awesome both of these new characters are. (And they're way better than the duo of Justin and Aldo we meet later this episode, who made the Others seem like a lame, whiny fraternity. Anybody shocked they got killed?) Lennon and Dogen are surprised to find out Sayid's alive, maybe because they drowned him to him to death pretty thoroughly with a timer last week.

SAYID IS "INFECTED" AND "CLAIMED": Ok, so I guessed in my last post that whatever happened to Sayid is what happened to young Ben last season. But now I'm not as sure. Instead, it looks like we're finally getting insight into what the all the quarantine & infection talk was about in Season 2. I'm guessing it some kind of smoke monster infection...? Miles seemed to sense something was up, and was concerned that Sayid didn't glimpse anything in the afterlife. I'm assuming the other dead bodies he talks to tell him a little more. The writers also snuck in a joke about zombies, which was nice, because they've always joked that if ABC makes them do another season of Lost, it will be a zombie season. Which I personally would like to see.

SAWYER LEAVES: Sawyer escapes right off the bat, fearing a repeat of the slow, prolonged capture by the Others that we all endured at the beginning of Season 3. (Remember how many times Sawyer and Kate got put in and out of those polar bear cages? Felt like eternity.) He looks directly at Kate and says "don't come after me" but he might as well as said "I like pie" because she was going to follow him no matter what.

KATE FOLLOWS: So, in seconds she convinces the Others to let her go after Sawyer. At this point, I'm not sure why the Others care where Sawyer went (Jacob's list, I guess) or why they would want Kate to go after him. I can only assume they were glad to let her go after that "I can be very convincing" line. I was also confused as to why she couldn't give Sawyer a break. He's been trying to ditch her ever since she got back on the island, but whenever he turns around she's there pouting in his face. My wife and I figured out early on that Kate was hoping to find Claire, but I think she was also secretly hoping to score some Sawyer smooching on the side.

SAWYER BOUGHT A RING: So, in another attempt to clue Kate in and get her off his back, Sawyer says he was about to ask Juliet to marry him. He even bought a ring. Where did he get that thing? Is there a Zales Hatch on the island? Did he take the submarine into town one weekend to pick out a ring? This also begs the question: Did Sawyer and Juliet ever leave the island in the 70s on that sub? I'm assuming no, but I would have at least gone once to see Star Wars on its original opening night. Anyway, Sawyer cries, then chunks three months of Dharma wages into the bay. Next season, Zombie Juilet will rise out of the water with the ring on her finger and eat Kate's brain.

SAYID GETS TORTURED: Dogen goes all Sayid on Sayid with some ash, some jumper cables, and a scalding iron. I'm not sure what he expected to happen or how Sayid failed the test. Because if you did that to me, I would also scream and yell "please stop," and I haven't even been near the murky water fountain. Whatever Dogen was watching for, I'm assuming this is exactly what Rousseau was testing for way back in Season One when she also tortured Sayid with electric current (in the episode "Solitary.")

SPEAKING OF ROUSSEAU, OR TRAPS THAT AREN'T ROUSSEAU'S: Meanwhile, Kate, Jin and the Others Brothers argue on their way through the woods. Aldo makes some lame jokes and suddenly they see some traps hanging around them. Jin says they must be Rousseau's and Justin points out that she's been dead for a while (since 2004, technically.) He starts to say that this trap belongs to someone else, and I think we all know now that he means Claire. Which is pretty shocking, to say the least.

THE POISONED PILL: Dogen tries to get Jack to give Sayid a suspicious pill by appealing, wisely, to Jack's huge guilt complex. Because apparently the pill, in true Jacob fashion, only works if powered by free will and Jack must convince Sayid to take it. Dogen's manipulation of Jack made me wonder if Dogen and Ben ever hung out or if they liked each other. They're both Others, but It's hard to imagine them getting along. I'm pretty sure Ben would have cut someone else's hand besides his own to test the healing waters. Maybe Ben lead a separate Others faction that decided to live away from the temple in the modern day barracks and hold book clubs? Anyway, Jack talks to Sayid about the pill, then comes back in Dogen's room and they sit and chat for a bit. This time, instead of a typewriter or a bunch of Mr. Myagi plants, Dogen is playing with a baseball. I guess he's one of those prop comics? Or maybe he's a big baseball fan and was the one that Ben filmed the Boston Red Sox game for back in Season 3. Jack tries valiantly to get some answers for us about who the Others are by asking Dogen if he lived on the island all his life. Dogen says he was brought to the island, just like Jack. I'm guessing by Jacob? So, was everyone brought there? My guess is that Jacob and the Man in Black have both constantly been bringing people to the island in order to wage what ever battle they're waging. Which brings me to the next question:

ARE THE OTHERS GOOD OR BAD? I can't believe it's season 6 and I still don't know who the bad guys are. Remember in season 2 at the end when Ben claimed the Others were the good guys? That sounded creepy and like a cult or something but now we know they work with Jacob, and he seems pretty decent. So are they good? And what's up with all the killing and baby-grabbing they did in Seasons One and Two? Or the whole thing where they were trying to get Locke to kill his dad? I'm wondering now if Jacob has been away from them for a while and under Ben and Widmore's leadership the Others became more corrupt and evil? We know Ben wasn't talking to Jacob, and can probably assume he was manipulating the Others into doing whatever he wanted them to do instead. Maybe the Others were supposed to be good and that's why Jacob angrily said "What about you?" to Ben inside the four-toed statue. Jacob was angry because Ben, on a power trip, misled his people for years. But I guess we'll have to see.

"BECAUSE IT HAPPENED TO YOUR SISTER": So in anger, Jack swallows the pill and Dogen responds by Judo-Heimliching it out of his mouth. The Others are apparently so concerned about the infection that they were going to kill Sayid to stop it from spreading. They offer Jack some tea (which he finds hilarious) and then Dogen tells him that Sayid has been "claimed" by a darkness growing in him that's trying to reach his heart. And they know this because "it happened to your sister." This brings up a ton of questions. How did they know and why did they care that Claire was Jack's sister? Because of Christian Shepard being on the island? And is Christian a part of the smoke monster? (I'm assuming yes.) And how did Claire get "claimed?" Was she actually dead when that grenade launcher blew up her Dharma house in Season 4 during the freighter people's attack? I'm assuming maybe so, and then Smokey brought her back to life. I'm really interested to see more of Claire's story. And to find out if she really is evil or not. Evil Claire? Creepy. (Also, side note: Is Claire's face bigger this year? I think maybe so, but I'm not sure why. I'm certainly not one to talk, however, because those who've observed me over time witness that my massive head enlarges about 20% every year.)

So, now let's talk about the Kate-centric Flash Sideways. Here's what I noticed:

KATE MAKES A FRIEND. Kate finds the only mechanic in town who thinks it's humorous to be held at gunpoint by a murderer. Ah, murderers. (chuckle.)

KATE STOLE SHAMU: Kate steals Claire's bag which has the stuff in it she was going to leave for Aaron after giving him up for adoption. Including a stuffed killer whale. I know we've seen that whale before. Was it in Aaron's home when Kate was raising him? Or in Claire's creepy nursery that the Others made for her?

KATE GOES BACK FOR CLAIRE: And finds her, somehow. Then, also amazingly, Claire gets in the taxi with her, even though she knows Kate has a gun and will point it at pregnant ladies. Claire, you're dumb. You know what else you could do? Call a real taxi. That moment definitely felt HIGHLY CONVENIENT for the writers. But I wanted to see the characters hang out so I could learn more about this alternate reality, so I was okay with it.

ADOPTIVE PARENTS SUCK: Or at least that's what all TV and movies seem to want you to think. Thanks, America, for being PC about every topic in the world except adoption. Bigamy? Sure, you can't judge people. But adoptive parents? Worst kind of people imaginable. (For the record, it's also not PC to make a character discovering being adopted the punchline to a joke. Think about it. Very rude to adopted kids and adoptive parents. Still happens regularly on sitcoms. I'm talking to you Parks & Rec and 30 Rock.) Sorry, pet peeve. Anyway, a lady who was so into adoption that she found a way to adopt from Australia (which I'm pretty sure is not open for international adoption, but my wife can fact check me on that) decides not only to abandon her plans, but also to skip the call to the agency or to Claire to let them know. MAYBE if your husband died in a terrible accident I can see losing your sanity briefly in despair and not even picking up the phone. But you would surely find a way to handle that situation if your husband simply left you. You would make the call. Anyway, I was surprised by this because I really thought we were going to see Aaron get adopted and that his new parents would name him... JACOB. But that's another theory for another time. And it could maybe still happen.

CLAIRE GOES INTO LABOR: Also as I predicted last post, things are starting to happen that echo events we've already seen occur on the island in the original timeline. Kate was the one with Claire when Aaron was born on the island, and now we see Kate with Claire as the baby is almost born early in the alternate timeline. And who is there to help?

ETHAN GOODSPEED, M.D. Oh, creepy Ethan. Is there anything horrible your face can't insinuate? Even while being nice and sweet, Ethan manages to retain his "portrait of a serial killer" glow. One line of interest: "I don't want to poke you with needles if I don't have to." Remember my theory from my last post that THIS is the real timeline, and what happens on the island is the version that SHOULDN'T have happened? This line kind of implies that, I think. He'd rather do things this way then be the guy he had to be when he was brought to the island. Also, he's still known as Ethan Goodspeed (Horace's son) but in our regular timeline he was known as Ethan Rom. I'm assuming this version of Ethan never went to the island, and therefore didn't have to turn on his parents and participate in the destruction of the Dharma Initiative. Is there even a Dharma Initiative in this timeline? Or are the Goodspeeds just a happy family now? Maybe Ethan's dad Horace is just retired and on tour with Geronimo Jackson?

THE NURSE: Also of note, the Nurse was Kate's nanny Vernonica in the other timeline.

OFFICER RASMUSSEN, P.I. And even more noteworthy, they introduced a character named "Officer Rasmussen." Which is kinda goofy, although apparently a real name people have. Maybe she's a character from the other timeline, too? But I didn't recognize her. After the officer leaves, we have the single most unrealistic moment ever on the show Lost... a show that has featured time travel inducing frozen wheels and bi locating polar bears. I'm referring to the moment where Claire offers Kate her credit card. REALLY? Claire, c'mon. Kate accepts it ('cause she's klassy) then says she's innocent and that Claire should keep Aaron, which really isn't her business but it's Kate so she can say whatever she wants.

Whew. That's it from me. What did you guys notice? Here's what was in the preview for next week (mild spoilers):

Fake Locke says "Hello, James" to Sawyer, who's sitting in a Dharma house. Sawyer says "I thought you were dead." Locke responds "I am." Richard says something to Sun and Jin (who are together) that sounds like "Everyone you care about. All of them." Sawyer pulls a gun on Locke in the Jungle. Locke says in voiceover (I think it was him, anyway): "It would be such a shame to turn back now." Sawyer (I think) falls a long, long way off a rope ladder. Sawyer walks through the jungle and says "What is this place?" (Are they in the Dark Territory, perhaps? Or is he suffering from memory loss? I hope not.) The last shot is Locke saying to someone (looks like Richard's hair) "I promise I'll tell you everything." My prediction? He won't.

LA Xtras

Getting mentally prepared for Lost tonight? Here a list of some things I learned or additional thoughts I had since last week's post.

• Desmond was wearing a wedding ring. Is he married to Penny? Or someone else?
• Sun and Jin were NOT wearing wedding rings.
• Sun was referred to as "Ms. Paik" by the customs agent. Her maiden name.
• Jack received only ONE bottle of vodka, not TWO this time. (significant because he used the second bottle as an antiseptic on a crash victim in the original pilot episode. Guess he didn't need it this time.)
• Charlie was probably trying to commit suicide. That's why he swallowed a bunch of heroin and why he said "I was supposed to die".
• Apparently, the producers don't like to call this an "alternate reality". They claim this is because they feel it lessons the importance of this timeline, while they consider it just as valid as the other timeline. As I mentioned before, they prefer the term "flash sideways."

A RANDOM THEORY: Ok, so I have a theory about these "flash sideways". I think perhaps in the flash sideways we're seeing what was ALWAYS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. This is the real timeline. The one we've been watching for the past five years is the one that diverged from destiny's path when outside forces intervened (through people like Jacob,the Man in Black, Widmore and Ms. Hawking). That's why Ms. Hawking was trying so hard to get her son Daniel back to the island even though she knew she would accidentally kill him, because she was trying to correct their messed up reality and put it back to the way it was supposed to be. And Locke does have a purpose and a destiny, but the man in black corrupted it and took it away from him in the timeline we've been watching, so maybe he'll actually get to fulfill his destiny in this real timeline.

Confusing, I know. And maybe not right. But either way, because time is hard to course correct–because whatever happened, will still happen somehow–I think we'll see that things that happened on the island will still happen in similar ways in this "flash sideways" timeline. For instance, Locke got healed on the island. I think we'll see Jack heal him in this timeline. The US Marshall died on the island. I predict we'll see him die pursuing Kate in the flash sideways. Events will echo each other in these parallel timelines. The things that DON'T happen in similar ways will be highly significant, because they will be things that were purposely manipulated or adjusted in whichever one turns out to be the 'wrong' timeline. For instance, perhaps Hurley doesn't have the curse with the numbers in this timeline because that was all a ruse in order to get him to go to the island.

Eitherway, I suspect something is up with these "flash sideways" and the rug is waiting to be pulled out from underneath us by those clever Lost writers.


SAYID: Sayid is NOT possessed by Jacob. I've been thinking about it and it doesn't make sense. When the man in black possessed Locke, Locke's body was still in the coffin. Sayid's body comes back to life. And seeing a Sayid vs. Locke battle play out doesn't really pay off what the writers have been building toward in the series overall. I think that whatever just happened to Sayid is the same thing that happened to young Ben when Richard took him into the temple as a child. And the same result will come of it. Sayid will "lose his innocence" and never be the same again. If a realitively nice (albeit creepy) kid who makes chicken salad sandwiches for people turns into Benjamin Linus, what does a former torturer and assassin become? I think this is going to be used to explain what happened to Ben as a child. It's also somehow fitting that it happened to Sayid, since he's the one that shot Ben and created that monster in the first place. Also ironic that it was Ben's dad that shot Sayid in the same spot, only to be saved in the same way.

LOCKE AND RICHARD: Locke will take unconscious Richard to the temple and simply ask to be let in, claiming that Richard is hurt and needs the Others' help. The Others will let him in because the Losties will say they know Locke. If this is going to happen my guess is that it will happen at the end of tonight's episode, as the cliff hanger. (Only because I know this episode is focused on Kate, so I'm sure the majority of it will be her and Sawyer/Jack's story.)

That's it for now. More after tonight's episode...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

LOST Season Premiere: Episode 6.1 "LA X"

Wow. That was a good one, folks. Ready to get the LOST conversation going for one last season?

My wife and I agreed that was one of the best episodes yet. And I was glad that even though we started getting answers to our questions (somewhat) it didn't feel as checklist-y as last season's rushed question-answering dash through time. But now the main question is... what the heck's going on? Let's take a closer look.

JACK ON A PLANE: Well, we opened with Jack on a plane. A very familiar sight. And, for a second, Jack seemed to have his own Deja Vu moment as well. Things appear to have started over, but are now slightly different. How long before Jack or someone realizes it? It makes sense to start the story on the plane, because all the characters are gathered in one place and we can see how things are going to be different this season. And they sure found a cool way to show us how things are different in this timeline. Because not only did 815 NOT crash but also, hey guess what....

THE ISLAND IS UNDERWATER!!! Wha? This was a great scene, and even though it felt a little computer generated it was still super cool to see our favorite landmass now buried undersea. And quite shocking. Twists like this are why I love this show. I also noticed the shark swimming by the four-toed foot was none other than the official Dharma-stamped Dharma shark (nicknamed Ezra James Sharkington, according to the producers).

So, how did the island get underwater? And, what timeline are we viewing? I'm assuming the explosion of the bomb caused an alternate reality, and that the rest of this season we'll be flashing between this new reality and the one from before. More importantly... what will we call this reality? It's not a flashback. An Alternative Flash? Sounds a little like a bad 99x FM radio show. FlashAlt? Hmm. Too computer keyboard. I'm gonna stick with just a Flash. Hmm, just googled it and apparently the producers are calling them FlashSideways. Sounds doable. In this reality, did the explosion at the Incident cause the island to to sink to the bottom of the sea?

I was so excited about the underwater scene that I forgot to mention two small things that happened right before it:

JACK CUT HIS NECK: And I think he thought about crying about it for a second. That's one dude that always looks ready to get his cry on. How did he cut it? During the turbulence? That doesn't seem very likely. Maybe we've seen him get cut there in a past episode sometime before? Maybe having an alternate reality version of yourself is hard on the skin? Also, this is weird:

DESMOND'S ON THE PLANE?? Why is Desmond on the plane? Shouldn't he be in the hatch? But, if this version of the island is underwater, then I guess he can't be down there making the plane crash. Though, he did disappear strangely later in the episode. I will say I was surprised to see that Desmond didn't appear to be aware of what was going on, timeline wise. I always assumed if the writers went an alternate reality route that Desmond would be the only one aware of it because he's "special". Still, I bet the next Desmond-centric episode will be pretty informative.

KATE IN A TREE: So, after all that we go back to 2007 time in our more familiar timeline and see Kate up in a tree. It looked to me a lot like the tree that the pilot's dead body was in back in the very first episode. Why was Kate in a tree? All the other guys got to be sleeping comfy on the grass below but the flash throws her up in the air? Remember when she flashed onto the island from the Anjira plane and how she flash landed onto some sharp rocks? Maybe the island just doesn't like her. I'd have to agree. Anyway, she meets up with everyone else, who's right where we left them after "the Incident."

SAWYER BEATS UP JACK: And I don't blame him. Jack's whole plan was to blow up a bomb so he wouldn't have to meet Kate because she hurt his feelings. Jack is maybe lamer than Kate these days. I thought Sawyer deserved a few more swings at the ol' five o'clock shadow.

JACK, MEET KATE, AGAIN: Next we flash back to Flight 815 and Jack's headed back to the bathroom (yet again), and this time the US Marshall/Tommy Lee Jones-wannabe guy is standing there waiting on Kate to come out. I can't say I was thrilled to see that guy again. Kate comes out and bumps into Jack. Jack smiles like a dork. I'm guessing this must be the moment that Kate steals Jack's pen in order to plan her great escape later. Back at their seats, the U.S. Marshall takes away Kate's dangerous silverware but still lets her have the lasagna. I can only assume this leads to a great deleted scene on the Season 6 DVD where Kate has to eat a messy Italian dish with her face. (SIDE NOTE: Apparently in this alternate timeline there are still meals on flights. Ba-da-boom!) Sawyer walks by and sees Kate's handcuffs, smiles, and the Jack-Kate-Sawyer love triangle starts all over again. Except, with two timelines now I guess the writers have actually devised a way that Kate can end up with Jack in one timeline and Sawyer in another. Let's hope for a more definite answer to the whole Jater/Skater debate so that fans of the show in the future don't have to hear the terms Jater or Skater ever again.

LUCKY HURLEY: Right after the lasagna scene, we see good ol' Doc Arzt (who I am glad to see return) talking to Hurley about owning all the Chicken Shacks, and Hurley professes to Sawyer that he's the luckiest guy alive. I'm guessing then that the numbers are now not cursed. Or whatever happened to the island after the explosion in this timeline did not allow the numbers to happen. Or did Hurley even use the same numbers? I'm starting to see how this alternate reality can later answer questions for us in a backward way by showing us what could have happened. Or I'm really confused.

JULIET'S NOT GONE YET: Back in the future, by which I mean at the site of the exploded Swan hatch site in 2007 (this show is getting harder and harder to write about clearly), Kate starts looking for something in the rubble. Here I have to give my wife props, because she called it right away that Juliet was still alive. I disagreed and guessed that Kate was looking for a medical kit for Sayid among the hatch rubble, but I'm glad I was wrong. Finding Juliet was way more interesting. (Guess it's good I'm not a writer for Lost: "Here's a medical kit!" "Great, Sayid will be fine." "Let's fix him, then maybe go sit down somewhere? Or something.")

JACOB APPEARS TO HURLEY: This scene was cool. That's really all I have to say. I'm glad Jacob's back in some form, he's a really great character. He tells Hurley that he died about an hour ago and that he was "killed by an old friend". They're going to have to give us the name for the other guy soon, because they kept working around it this entire episode and they can't keep that going all season. Can they?

BOONE IS BACK: Meanwhile on Flight 815, Boone is back on the show, but without Shannon. Everybody okay with no Shannon? Yep, thought so. Also, Jin is back to being a jerk that doesn't want anyone to see the top of his wife's bosoms.

BEN STANDS IN SHOCK: Now we finally get back to Ben and Fake Locke (or Flocke) and Ben is standing in shock (rather awkwardly) over the burnt remains of Jacob. (Except I didn't really see any remains. Jacob must have been highly flammable.) Ben is suspicious that Jacob didn't fight back when he stabbed him. I can only assume Ben's realizing how similar his fight was to Darth Vader and Obi-Wan's brief fight in the original Star Wars movie and now he's thinking, "Oh crap, in this scenario, I'M DARTH VADER." Which is a sobering thought for anyone. Locke wants to talk to Richard, so he sends Ben out to fetch him. Richard, by this time, has had enough and finally loses his ancient s***, throwing Ben to the ground next to Locke's body. I love Richard.

DIGGING FOR JULIET: The gang continues to try to dig for Juliet. Sawyer strains mightily to lift giant metal beams in a struggle with time to rescue his lost love–and if you go back and watch it, Jack mildly bends at the waist a bit to see if he can help out a bit without overly exerting himself. Sawyer eventually gets under the rubble and finds Juliet and tells her, "We're all going to go home together" and of course Kate, listening from above, ruins the tender moment between the couple by yelling "Sawyer?" at the top of her lungs at the worst possible time. Then Hurley and Jin drive over with the Dharma van to pull off the beams and I wondered for the first time why the Dharma van flashed in time with everyone else. I guess it was the same as when the paddle boats flashed in time with Sawyer, Locke and Juliet back when they were jumping around in time in the early part of Season Five? Apparently the time flashes take into account the convenience of getting around the island quickly for the writers' sakes.

CHARLIE IS BACK BUT NOT THRILLED ABOUT IT: Jack gets called up to the bathroom again (he can't stay away) by Cindy the mysterious flight attendant and is asked to help them with Charlie, who's locked himself in the bathroom. Somehow Sayid–the middle eastern guy on a plane in 2004–is allowed to rush up to the front and kick in the door without getting tackled by a racial profiling group of nervous passengers and Charlie falls out, choking. Jack can't find his pen to perform some hasty surgery (thanks, Kate) and decides to just dislodge the item with his finger instead. Makes sense. Maybe I'd start with the finger, then progress to the pen, but what do I know? During the long search for a pen, I really expected Boone to pop in and offer Jack one since that was a joke from the pilot episode. (Again, good thing I don't write for the show.) Charlie revives and says "Am I alive?" which is kinda neat because that's what the actor Dominic Monaghan had written on his hand when he appeared at Lost's ComicCon panel last summer as a surprise guest, revealing that he was returning to the show this season. I did think it was interesting that Charlie said to Jack that he was supposed to die. Is there ANOTHER timeline that's the RIGHT one, where Charlie dies on the plane? I can't even go there. Just one alternate timeline please. Also, why does Charlie want to die? I've seen the show FlashForward. He should stay on Flight 815 as long as he can.

FAKE LOCKE GETS SMOKIN' Back at the Four-Toed Statue, Richard asks Ben what happened in the statue and Ben resorts to lying and being evil in his classic Ben way. The big guy Bram (who I really liked, sadly) is not having it, so he grabs Ben and takes him inside the statue, where Fake Locke reveals his true nature by releasing the smoke monster all over everyone. Bram tries to hide inside some magic ash but is prevented by some cartoon-like trickery from the Smoke Monster and is eventually killed. Weird. But cool. I guess we know for sure now that the ash around the cabin was keeping the bad guy trapped inside. We don't know how he got out, but I think that he somehow got out in Locke's body. The question is how long has Locke been carrying around the smoke monster guy inside of him? My guess is since the very first time he went in the cabin and heard "Help Me" way back in season three. That would explain how he survived Ben shooting him and why he stabbed Naomi in the back without a second's hesitation. I think at that point he was half Locke and half smoke monster but the Locke half didn't know it. Kind of like a possession that could trick Locke into doing things because he was in his mind all along. It was interesting to finally hear the smoke monster guy admit that he could hear what John Locke was thinking as he died. That could explain how the ghostly apparitions we've seen on the island so far have been able to know things about the people who's body's they've been using. (SIDE NOTE: I think in a way, this is somehow connected to Miles' power to hear the thoughts of dead people. Miles' power used to seem to be coming from nowhere plot-wise, so it's nice to see that the writers have known that communing with the dead is a key part of what happens on the island, at least in connection with the smoke monster.)

FAREWELL, JULIET, BUT FOR REAL THIS TIME, MAYBE: Back at the hatch, Juliet and Sawyer spend a last few moments together. I totally misheard one of Sawyer's lines during this part and was really confused. This is what I heard:

JULIET: (dying breaths) James, kiss me. SAWYER: But you're really bloody.

when in reality, as my wife pointed out (in a voice that seemed to imply that I ruined a moment) the lines were actually:

JULIET: (dying breaths) James, kiss me. SAWYER: You got it, blondie.

which I guess makes more sense but is maybe not as funny or memorable. Again, probably good I don't write the show. Juliet then said something really vague about going dutch and grabbing some coffee with Sawyer, then told him she had to tell him something important, then died. I would have cried fowl at this somewhat cheap cliffhanger if they hadn't resolved it soon thereafter with Miles getting the message for us, which was "It worked." So apparently for a moment as she was dying Juliet could somehow get a glimpse of the alternate reality. Does that mean when Sayid dies briefly later this episode that he sees his alternate reality as well? I think Juliet's somewhat random line about coffee will definitely come into play later this season. Maybe she and Sawyer will meet somehow near a coffee shop and get flirty in the alternate timeline?

LOCKE BACK IN THE WHEELCHAIR: We cut back to the plane to see everyone land at LAX in slow motion, and Locke climbs back into his wheelchair. Jack glances at him, and again I have to give my wife credit because she said "Jack's going to offer to fix Locke's back" and I was all, "No, he wouldn't do that" but sure enough it happened before the night was out. It could be cool to find out Jack was meant to heal Locke all this time, and not the island.

SAWYER BURIES JULIET: I liked how during this scene Sawyer called Kate "Kate" and not "Freckles". Kate was already trying to make a move (literally over Juliet's dead body), so it was good to see Sawyer draw a boundary or two and basically tell her to get lost. My guess is that's all over next episode, though.

CHRISTIAN SHEPHERD'S BODY IS MISSING: In LAX, Jack gets paged and learns that yet again Christian's body has gone missing. This is really cool and intriguing, and I have no idea what it means. It definitely seems like Christian is a really important part of understanding the mystery behind the island.

THE TEMPLE! So Hurley leads the Losties to the temple to save Sayid, and we finally get to see what's behind the wall. I was shocked to see so many new characters in there, but it was kind of cool. Also worth noting was that we heard the whispers for a few seconds before the Others started grabbing the Losties in the corridors. I think that whatever the Whispers are we now know for sure is directly related to the Others. But how do they do it? And why? Two new others finally open Hurley's guitar case. (I think these two new guys are named Lennon and Dogan, from what I can tell on Lostpedia. Lennon is the one with Lennon glasses. Dogon is the Asian one who tastes distasteful English on his tongue.) Dogon finds a really crappy 70s Ankh wall hanging in the guitar case, and is so angry at Jacob's crappy gift that he cracks it over his knee and finds one of Jacob's lists inside. I thought at first that it was the same list that they had back in Season Two (when the Others sent Michael to bring people to them in exchange for release from the island) but that list was Hurley, Sawyer, Jack and Kate. Jin and Sayid where not on that list. Guess this is a new list. There have been several mentions of lists on the show, read up on them here.

SUN SAYS NO ENGLISH: So, customs gives Jin a really hard time for carrying his mobster Father-in-Law's cash around, and Sun chooses not to intervene. Probably in order to make the escape that she failed to make at the Sydney airport. It's also possible that she doesn't speak English in this timeline, but I doubt it. It's much more interesting if she chooses to let Jin go to jail in order to get away from him.

SAYID'S BAPTISM: So Sayid gets taken to a spring inside the temple, which is dirty for some reason (I'm guessing because Jacob's dead.) Dogon tries to purify it with his blood, then they hold Sayid in until he can't breathe anymore. This is very similar to a Christian baptism, which is a symbolic representation of dying to yourself and then rising again, alive in Christ. (Except at most churches they let you up to breathe actual, non-symbolic air after being dunked. The better churches, anyway.) This is all pretty interesting. Jacob died first in a sacrificial manner (much like Jesus) and then appears to Hurley (much like Jesus appeared to his disciples after his death.) Afterwards, Sayid is baptized in what looks like a bloody pool and then is dragged out with his arms laid out on both sides like a cross before being brought to life again. Now that he's "reborn", is Sayid now one with Jacob? Will we get some good Sayid and evil Locke standoffs later this season?

KATE'S ESCAPE: Meanwhile, back in the Flash Sideways, Kate escapes from the Marshall, meets Sawyer in an elevator, fails to hide behind Hurley (which seems pretty easy to do) and is spotted by the Marshall yet again. She hijacks a taxi with Claire in it and takes off. It was nice to see Claire again. She's a regular this season so we should be seeing a lot more of her in the future.

THE OTHERS SHOOT A FIREWORK: Hurley tells Dogon and Lennon that Jacob is dead, and in response they freak out, fire a rather unimpressive firework, and start spreading ash all around "to keep him out".

WHO IS HIM? Then we cut back to fake Locke who tells Ben how he could hear Locke's thoughts, and how he used Locke because Locke was the only one who didn't want to leave the island. I'm guessing that means he was the only one he could convince that the island was good and to do what it said. Which he claims is ironic, because he's using him to get OFF the island and go home. So, that's crazy. The smoke monster wants to get off the island?

RICHARD IN CHAINS? Outside on the beach, Richard sees the firework and somehow knows that the ash has hit the fan, so to speak. Fake Locke bursts out from the foot, sees that Richard now knows who he really is and says "It's good to see you out of those chains". Richard says "You!" The mystery dude responds "Me." Then punches the crap out of Richard's neck. I thought the "chains" comment was interesting. This could mean that the last time they saw each other, Richard was literally in chains, maybe even as a slave on The Black Rock? But I think it might also be taken figuratively. Richard was in the service of Jacob who gave him immortality, so maybe Fake Locke is just saying that now that Jacob is dead, Richard is free from both his servitude and his immortality. I think that's probably what he meant. Sounds like something the devil would say after killing Jesus. Or causing the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. I'm not sure why Fake Locke carries Richard off on his shoulders, but I'm sure he's not up to anything good. Before he leaves, Fake Locke yells that he's "very ashamed of all of you". I'm confused by that. Is he still pretending to be Locke to all the people that followed him to the statue, and telling them he's ashamed? Or do they all recognize him now as someone from the past?

SAYID WAKES UP: The last scene of the night is Sayid waking up, which we've already discussed. Is he now Jacob? Did he see a glimpse of the alternate timeline like Juliet possibly did? Also interesting...why was Miles being all freaky for a second? Hurley noticed and asked him what was wrong. Did Miles sense that Sayid was coming back? Or is he hearing something else?

All in all it was an amazing episode. I'm not sure where it's all heading but here's a rough guess. I think that the bomb caused an alternate reality (obviously) but that something's bad about having two realities coexisting that's dangerous for life as we know it, and the direction of this season will be trying to end the alternate line and join it back in with the other to keep the galaxy from exploding. Or something like that. Kind of a similar take as Donnie Darko's alternate reality premise. Although I'm not sure which time line will turn out the be the correct or "right" one. Is the new one what should have happened all along? What are your thoughts on it all?

Next week's episode is entitled "What Kate Does" which is a twist on the season two episode title "What Kate Did". Whether it's what Kate "does" or Kate "did" I guarantee it will be done in a pout that displays her disdain for everyone around her.

Here's what I saw in the preview for next week's episode (MILD SPOILERS): Sayid, Jin & Hurley try to stop a fight breaking out in the temple (probably Jack vs. an Other, he was in a fightin' mood at the end of this week's episode.) Sawyer says he's leaving the Temple and tells Kate "Don't come after me." (Yeah, I'm sure she'll listen.) Frank & Sun walk through a graveyard with makeshift crosses on the hillside. (Will Jin and Sun find each other soon? They're in the same time zone now. Hopefully Frank and Sun won't fall in love first, creating another unwelcome love triangle.) Jack asks the Others "Who are you?" Kate says "You think they care about any of you?" And Jin gets sassy and says "What do you care about?" Then Kate says she's going after Sawyer. (It's not even the end of the preview and she's already going against Sawyer's wishes.) Anyway, should be good, despite the Kate-centric nature of it all. This is going to be a great last season of Lost.