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Weekly Lost Chronicles: Dr. Linus

March 10, 2010 Comments off

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The bad man has arrived at the island.

What a great character study on Ben Linus last night! A European history teacher in his flash sideways, Ben’s dealings with the zombie-ish Principle Reynolds left him with an inner conflict. John Locke, a substitute teacher in the flash sideways, innocently planted the idea that Ben should become school principal. Ben cared about his students, Reynolds cared about his bottom line. Ben was given golden information about Reynolds having a little go ’round with the school nurse, on school grounds, by one of his students (Alex Rousseau, of all kids!!!). When Ben went to blackmail Reynolds using emails hacked with the assistance from a lab teacher, Reynolds showed he could stoop one lower. He was more than willing to block Alex Rousseau’s admission to Yale to save his own job. Faced with the choice of a promotion or his student’s education, Ben chose Alex over his own gain. It was an amazing juxtaposition to the Ben Linus who sacrificed Alex, his daughter on the island, to Martin Keamy’s bullet. Ben has been put in the position to “kill” Alex twice during the course of the series. He allowed it to happen once, he didn’t allow it here.

Ben on the island was a slightly different story. He’s very much in a weakened state, no authority, no longer able to fast talk his way out of issues or  bend things his way. On the island Ben was forced to make a choice. Fake Locke freed Ben from digging his own grave (literally and metaphorically), and gave him a chance to get off the island. Ilana, who was planning to put Ben in that very grave for killing Jacob, gave him a second chance. Ben chose Ilana, essentially choosing Team Jacob. At least for now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a character or two switching sides before long.

So far everyone on Team Jacob was a better person in their flash sideways. Everyone on Team Fake Locke, not so much.

Jack’s switch from a man of science to a man of faith continued last night as well. The “ageless” Richard Alpert took both Jack and Hurley to Black Rock, looking to die. Jacob had touched Richard, as he had with the Oceanic survivors, giving him a gift. Richard could not die on his own, he needed Jack to light the long dynamite fuse. Jack knew…definitely more than just believed…that Jacob would not let either of them die, lit the fuse, and sat talking to Richard. It was almost as if Jacob himself stopped the fuse from burning up to the stick. That was also the same unstable dynamite that killed the science teacher during the first season. He couldn’t even shake the sticks and they still blew up in his hand. Richard slammed one down on the barrel, yet nothing happened. Jacob isn’t letting Richard die, either.

Richard said a couple of interesting things last night. He told Jack that he devoted his life, “longer than you can possibly imagine,” in service of Jacob. I don’t think we’re talking tens of years, or even hundreds at this rate. I think it becomes more of “how far back in time does Richard Alpert really go?” He called the gift of Jacob touching someone a curse. Jacob had touched each of the Oceanic survivors, essentially giving them a gift as well.

We could theorize that each has been given a different gift. Was Jack’s gift was one of faith, Ben’s was one of decency (debatable, but given that character’s direction…)? Hurley is still up in the air, we haven’t seen his flash sideways yet to determine his path. Jacob’s role in the lives of these characters has been enormous, his death has truly put the island in state of total flux. Watching Richard break down over the fact that he’ll never know his true purpose on the island was intense to see. I’m looking forward to his flash sideways, or possibly back story.

The bad man being Charles Widmore isn’t that much of a surprise, although the final quick view from the submarine’s periscope was on Ben. I don’t think that’s a coincidence, as Widmore has Ben as a marked man. We could also theorize that Jacob’s death has allowed Widmore onto the island. And Widmore didn’t look like he was on some underwater day cruise, either.

Coming next week: Recon

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Weekly Lost Chronicles: Sundown

March 3, 2010 Comments off

Man in Black/Fake Locke has a new recruit.

For such a violent episode (being a Sayid one, no shock there), it had some heartbreaking moments. In the flash sideways, Sayid was a translating contracts for an oil company, not the hit man that Ben Linus turned him into. Nadia had married Sayid’s brother, Omar. Apparently never hit by the car during Sayid’s encounter with Jacob, she lived a normal life with two children in a suburban house. Well…maybe not quite normal. Omar was a store owner, opening up a second shop using money borrowed from loan sharks. Omar’s problem wasn’t in repaying the loan, but the lifetime interest on what was borrowed (call it what it is, protection money). Omar came to Sayid, knowing he was an Iraqi torturer, looking to have him get these guys off his back. Knowing Sayid wouldn’t just get up and go, Omar pulled his ace:  the lifetime payments would drain their life savings, that it would affect Nadia. Sneak! Knife twister! However, it worked, only after Omar found himself in the hospital at the hands of the hitmen. Sayid paid his visit and one of them wound up being <drum roll please> Martin Keamy! Everyone’s favorite snake, the same guy who shot Ben Linus’ daughter in the head. A mean looking set of poached eggs and an award winning smile couldn’t save his life this time, Sayid taking care of Keamy, along with everyone else in the room. How interesting was it to see a non-English speaking Jin tied and mouth taped in a room just off to that kitchen?

Particularly heartbreaking was the reason Sayid didn’t answer Nadia’s letters, nor sought her hand in marriage. Spending 12 years trying to clean his hands of the sins he committed, one of them being Nadia’s torturer, he felt he wasn’t deserving of her. He had pushed her to his brother, possibly to keep her close to him. A woman he’ll forever want, but never have.

Sayid’s character is complex. On one hand he insists that he’s a good man, but when he had the chance to let Keamy go, especially after Keamy forgave the rest of the debt, Sayid still shot him. When Keamy said, “You can let me go,” Sayid insisted, “I can’t.” A huge statement, coming from a place far deeper than someone who couldn’t allow one man to live. Sayid has the good in him, proven by the love he still has for Nadia, as well as the love he has for Nadia’s children. Still, his nature is dark, something Dogen was very much correct on.

The island turned into Sayid’s violent playground. Sayid got his answers as to why Dogen tortured him. Dogen confused me here. He told Sayid that the torture tactics were a dark and light measuring scale, and that Sayid’s was off the chart dark. Why he still gave Sayid the chance to prove there’s good in him, sending Sayid to kill Fake Locke, will remain a mystery. Dogen called Fake Locke “evil incarnate,” he had to have known Fake Locke’s tactics, yet still sent Sayid on a mission to kill him. Sayid’s failed attempt at killing Fake Locke changed everything. Fake Locke showed another clear side of Sayid, a man who can be easily tempted, even by a someone who clearly isn’t what he appears to be.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Sayid’s transition from light to dark was extremely smooth, and how thrilling an ending was it? Sayid coming back to warn everyone to leave at sundown or they all die. Sayid killing both Dogen and Lennon (I liked Lennon, too!), Lennon telling Sayid, “You let it in.” Smoke Monster wrecking havoc throughout the temple. Fake Locke’s army slowly being assembled, some by Trojan Horse mentality. Even Ben Linus made an appearance, although he now knows trouble is either on the way, or already there.

And the island dynamic came into play as well. This arbitrary set of rules that everyone had in place are breaking down with each death. The ash that kept the Smoke Monster away no longer applies after Dogen was killed. That Fake Locke/Man in Black could kill Jacob only after he inhabited John Locke’s body. When Jacob died, Jacob’s rules went out the window. It’s almost as if the island has this “if you cross this line, game over” ideaology. Which I’m sure is supporting anyone’s theory that we’re watching the human version of a board game play out, even though that still seems too obvious. If that is the case, then someone’s cheating.

Coming Next Week: Dr. Linus

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Weekly Lost Chronicles: Lighthouse

February 24, 2010 Comments off

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The Jack time line in the flash sideways, like John Locke’s, shows a significant (intentional) continuity error. When the series started, Jack wasn’t a father and eventually divorced his wife, Sarah. In this new time line, Jack has visitation of his son, David, who bears a great resemblance to Jack but a slight resemblance to Kate as well…even though the only son they knew was Aaron, Claire’s child that Kate took off of the island. The separation stayed, but boy here appears to be a new character as of this new time frame. More curious is Jack’s scar from having his appendix removed, something his mother remembered, but Jack guesses he did as well. Jack guided Juliet through the surgery when he had his appendix removed on the island. In the flash sideways, how could he have gone through his life, up to that point, without even noticing the scar? Unless he was “branded” in some alternate time line as well. Read a little further…

A common theme with Jack’s character is his inability to maintain a relationship. He couldn’t maintain one with his first wife, he couldn’t maintain one with Kate. He couldn’t maintain one with John Locke, as much as Locke tried, nor Sawyer (not that Sawyer was any great help in that department, either). In this episode it was his son who he had the rough relationship with. David didn’t want Jack at the recital because he didn’t want his father see him fail. Yet, Jack was the one determined to not make the same mistakes his own father made with him. Jack’s father had told him that he “didn’t have what it takes,” something he carried around with him his entire life, and never wanted his own son to feel that way. It’s another common theme that runs through this series, how the words spoken to them, or even spoken themselves, as well as their actions, has brought them to where they are now physically and emotionally, regardless of the time line.

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Weekly Lost Chronicles: The Substitute

February 16, 2010 Comments off

In typical Lost fashion, this episode got us a little somewhere–and mostly nowhere–at the same time.

The John Locke character has always been the most intriguing of the bunch, but watching him in the flash sideways moments has been a bit of a trip. When Oceanic 815 crashed, the island had cured him of his paralysis. He had gone from a man without much hope to a man of pure faith. In the flash sideways, he was the man who insisted to not be told what he couldn’t do–until Locke became victim of the recession and lost his job. After being turned down for the site manager’s position at a construction agency, he was told by a woman battling terminal cancer to concentrate on what he could do. His inability to call Jack for the free consult shows he’s clearly afraid of being told what he couldn’t do.

The kick still comes from watching these characters intersect had the plane not crashed. Hurley became owner of the company that Locke gets fired from. Ben Linus was a European history teacher (how appropriate!) at the same school where Locke eventually teaches. Rose works for the temp agency that Hurley also owns. As a side note,  Randy Nations, the guy who fired Locke, worked as a boss for Mr. Clucks during the time Hurley had worked there . . .well . . . in the flashback.

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Weekly Lost Chronicles: What Kate Does

February 10, 2010 Comments off

One step forward, two steps sideways. This show doesn’t get any easier, and providing a recap seems pointless, not to mention robotic. There seemed to be bits and pieces put together, as a whole things seemed to have been left in a slight holding pattern.

The theme of the Oceanic passengers intersecting regardless of “the incident” continued with this episode. The parallels are fascinating to watch unfold in the alternate reality. Kate is still assisting Claire with the birth of Aaron, and, at least for the moment, the doctors are handling this one as opposed to Kate doing it on the island herself. In the episode’s biggest “out of nowhere” moment, Ethan made an appearance to check up on Claire, except this time as Dr. Goodspeed. I can’t say I saw that one coming, but the randomness was pure gold. And in the episode’s most priceless moment, Ethan tells Claire how he “didn’t want to stick you with needles if I don’t have to.” Really! This coming from the man who seemed needle happy when he and the Others kidnapped Claire because of her pregnancy (not to mention the shock of seeing him in a uniform as opposed to a mess in the jungle. The bond that Kate and Claire had on the island seems as though it would have taken place anyway.

Kate on the island has been a different story. The triangle between her, Sawyer, and Jack appears to be coming to a head. Just before Kate left to find Sawyer, Jack seemed to lean in ever so slightly for a kiss, which she rejected by walking away. The most heartfelt of the three episodes so far was the moment on the dock between her and Sawyer. Sawyer telling Kate that he was going to ask Juliette to marry him, then throwing the engagement ring into the ocean, was the exclamation point to his line, “Some people were meant to be alone.” We saw Sawyer alone by choice early in the series, as that was all he knew. His happiness was with Juliette. With Juliette gone, that was Sawyer’s one shot at having anybody in his life. Yours truly turned into a bit of mush during the moment he threw the ring away. How Kate manages to bring Sawyer back is anyone’s guess, as Lennon stated that they needed him back. It’s been a running theme since “Live Together, Die Alone” in that everyone needed to be with the other to avoid something bad happening. Sawyer with no love lost toward Jack or anyone else, becomes the wild card now. In his mind he has nobody to live for, most likely prepared to die alone and take everyone with him should he refuse to return to the temple

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Weekly Lost Chronicles: LA X

February 3, 2010 2 comments

That’s how you start your final season. You tangle up more than you untangle. And you already have a hell of a lot of untangling to do in the first place.

A genius first episode with a brand new narrative. The first three seasons relied heavily on flashbacks, the last two relied on flash forwards. Season six appears to be using an alternate reality as it’s way of finishing this story, with Oceanic 815 safely flying over the island and landing in Los Angeles. This also means Lost now has a ton of explaining to do.

So let’s get this straight: In the “present” (which has become extremely relative anymore), Juliette was able to set off the hydrogen bomb, stopping the pocket of energy from yanking Oceanic 815 from the sky. We saw the debris from the hatch that was found in season one, leaving one to conclude that they’re now flying alongside of their alternate reality. Unfortunately for Juliette fans, she wound up succumbing to her injuries before Sawyer was able to pull her out of the wreckage (but not before whispering to Saywer that there had been something important she needed to say). At the same time, Hurley was getting instructions from a deceased Jacob to bring an unconscious Sayid to the temple as a means of saving him. Just as Sawyer was finished with Juliette’s grave, he had Miles communicate with Juliette, in which she had told him, “It worked.” Upon getting to the temple, we see a batch of hippie “others” who wind up drowning Sayid as opposed to saving him. Unlike the Others from earlier seasons, this batch of Others is more intent on protecting the crew as opposed to holding them captive or worse. It wouldn’t be Lost without the final shock: a dead Sayid rising again, asking what had happened to him.

Still following me? It gets worse.

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Weekly Lost Chronicles: How Will It End?

January 25, 2010 Comments off

One week left before the series finale and I’ll admit it, I’m a bit nervous going in. A lot of us Losties have put a ton of time into analyzing the science, numerology, the symbolism, and all of the tiny nuances attached to this show (to those of you who caught the Dharma symbol on the shark fin, or the voice telling Juliette to hit the hydrogen bomb before the screen flashed to white, God bless you). Here’s a scary thought: Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof have already said they expect two different reactions to the ending, one short term and one long term.

Oh no. A flashback to the last four minutes and fifty seconds of The Sopranos, anyone? Although, after my initial anger subsided it did turn out to be a genius ending.

On the other hand, both also promised no short cuts (a snow globe style ending like St. Elsewhere, or Dallas explaining one of its seasons as an extended dream come to mind) along with a sense of finality. No room for re-opening the story or some movie adaptation, at least with this same group of characters. In my mind, this eliminates most of the chances for a happy resolution.

So how does it all end? Let the speculation begin!

The survivors break the loop and Oceanic Flight 815 arrives at LAX as it was supposed to: This is my idea of the short term reaction. It allows Cuse and Lindelof the freedom to tie what they deem necessary, leave anything there’s no way to explain away as an open file, and life goes on for everyone who was on board. This would make the most sense, but would also be the least desirable end to this show. It’s the easiest, yet cheapest way out. I doubt this happens. Please don’t let this happen.

Jack and Locke go further back in time to wrestle control of the island from Ben Linus and/or Charles Widmore: This goes one of two ways.  Jack, Locke, and the rest of the Oceanic survivors go so far back in time that they become responsible for Creation. The second theory is the survivors go far back enough in time to detonate jughead prior to the Dharma Initiative truly establishing themselves on the island, sacrificing everyone, the island, as well, to destroy Ben and Charles Widmore. Each of these would require the producers to resolve a lot more before concluding the series.

The Valenzetti Equation (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42): Desmond insisted the six number sequence that needed to be pushed every 108 minutes was to save the world (that same sequence adds to 108), and when that sequence wasn’t entered had said, “You’ve killed us all.” They were the same numbers that caused Hurley his bad luck, and showed up on his Camaro’s odometer. The same numbers showed up on the Swan Site and all over Danielle Rousseau’s papers. They were everywhere for those who looked hard enough. All of the numbers interrelate and, when added up to 108, become significant in the Buddhist and Hindu world (108 sins of mankind). If one theory is that the Oceanic Six ultimately become responsible for Creation, it’s possible that when the sequence isn’t pushed, with Jack and company already having become a different set of variables,  mankind is ultimately punished for it’s future sins.

Assuming that Rose and Bernard have become the equivalent to Adam and Eve, living in their Garden of Eden, and not hitting that sequence is the original sin.

Head hurt yet? Let’s continue…

It’s all been a board game, either backgammon or chess, and the players have been the pieces: Anyone remember Locke and Walt playing Backgammon in season one? The chess references with Hurley and Mr. Eko? Ben referring to his daughter as a pawn just before she was killed by Martin Keamy. Each game involves darkness and light, moving forward and backwards, capturing, removing, even sacrificing pieces. The players could be a combination of players between Jack, Locke, Ben, and Charles. Each have been responsible for deaths, sacrifices, and calculated moves looking numerous steps ahead.It’s somewhat of a cheap way out, but there’s enough sense to not discount the theory entirely. Arriving to that scene would be the great trick and, if it’s done right, might actually be rewarding.

It simply switches to black at some climactic moment: Good lord, no . . .