Believe You Have What It Takes

February 24, 2010
Jack, you drive me crazy! Maybe it’s easy as viewers of the show to see things more clearly, but sometimes you don’t even try. You become impatient and demand immediate answers and then jump to conclusions.
Couldn’t you, at the very least, turn the damn mirror so the coordinates point at some different numbers/names first, especially to 108 degrees? As most everyone knows by now, 108 is the sum of the mysterious numbers…4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42. Didn’t you want to find out who is trying to come to the island? I mean, my guess is that it’s Desmond (or Aaron), but it would have been nice to get just a bit more information, don’t you think?!
Okay, can anyone tell me why I’m yelling at a fictional character in a blog? Perhaps it’s because as much as I hate to admit what many people tell me; I am a lot like Jack Shephard. As you can read from my frustration in this blog, I am impatient and anxious to get answers. Also, I have traditionally always tried to “fix” everything instead of just allowing things to unfold as they are supposed to.
Unlike Jack, I don’t behave those ways because I’m afraid of failing. The flash-sideways had a pretty clear message to me. Jack lived his entire life trying to make sure that he didn’t fail his father. He never wanted to let him down and that carried over into every other relationship he has had in his life and he puts the burden on himself to make things right, when they seemingly go wrong.
Seeing him as a father in the flash-sideways and hearing him communicating with his son David is everything we’re hoping for his character. When he said, “I will always love you. You can never fail. I just want to be part of your life”, I almost felt a conclusion to his storyline. It felt like an awakening and like he redeemed himself. Coincidentally, in the process, he didn’t fail his own son because he was there for him.
I like this flash-sideways version of Jack. He was patient with his mom while looking for his dad’s Will and he seemed to be in a pretty good place emotionally, especially considering his father’s recent death.
On the flipside, I have to say that I’m not in love with the flash-sideways version of Locke. We have known him to be a man of faith. Sure, he struggles with his faith, but he wants so badly to believe in miracles and I admired that about him. While acceptance of the cross he was given to bear (being paralyzed) can have its benefits, it was just as sad to hear him “give up” as it was to see him try to kill himself in Season 5 (before Ben finished him off).
I am very much looking forward to how these timelines will reconcile with one another. We can’t just watch this timeline without any emotional investment for the characters, but why are we seeing it? Some people have said that we might be seeing the actual end of the series and that the characters will somehow travel back in time and find a way to sink the island, thus changing history from a completely separate point and that’s why things are the way they are in the flash-sideways. I can kind of buy that, but there’s not much time left (pun intended) for these things to occur.
It’s not just Locke and Jack either. Claire’s flash sideways character seems pretty much the same in terms of how she behaves, but Kate is a little different because instead of being selfish and running, she actually returned to the airport to help Claire and even stayed with her in the hospital. She seems like a more nurturing and selfless character who actually might be innocent. A big character difference is Hurley’s flash-sideways persona. We’re used to seeing him feel cursed and now he’s Mr. Lucky.
Maybe it’s what I always tell people. In every situation, it’s always about perspective and the ability to see things from different perspectives can truly enrich your life. It seems that this flash-sideways, where we see how life would have been if Flight 815 never crashed, has provided this much needed perspective for all of our characters.
Some episode observations…
– The appendix scar. I can understand how life’s circumstances could have changed for the characters, but how does a medical need like an appendix removal change so drastically? We know Juliet removed Jack’s appendix in Season 4 when he is a full grown adult, so how is it that Jack had his taken out when he was 7 or 8 years old in the flash-sideways? Is there a medical reason that can bring this on due to some sort of trauma Jack may have experienced in the flash-sideways that he didn’t experience in the other timeline? Anyone?
– The Others all seem to understand what it means to be a “candidate”, so why can’t they explain things to them. Dogen seems to show appreciation toward Jack for staying so why not trust him and share some information. BTW – a great list of the numbers/names from the cave and in the lighthouse can be found here: The number 108 refers to someone names “Wallace” who is crossed off, but like I mentioned earlier, it is also a sum of THE NUMBERS.
– Hurley has embraced his gift of communicating with the dead and hasn’t lost a bit of his charm in the process. His conversation with Jack about why they came back was very revealing and mirrored what Jacob told him at the end of the episode. Jack came back because he felt broken and feels he was stupid enough to think that this place (the island) could fix him. He lost some of the faith that guided his return and needs more time to come around and see the “light” (yes, pun intended again). As Jacob said, some people believe a complete stranger in a taxi while others need to stare at the ocean for a while.
– Claire’s…um…condition is a strange one indeed. She mentioned that her father (Christian Shephard) and her friend (unLocke) told her that The Others took Aaron, but it is probably safe to assume that unChristian and unLocke were one on the same, but now we’ll only see unLocke. They’re really starting to lose me here and need to clarify who Smokey has appeared as pretty soon. It doesn’t look good for the folks in the temple right now with Claire, Jin, and unLocke heading their way through a secret entrance that is probably not secured with ash.
– The Adam and Eve skeletons FINALLY made a return appearance and were referred to in the pop-up episode as well. They even mentioned the black and white stones that Kate and Jack found on them in the pop-up episode. I hope that Hurley’s “explanation” doesn’t end there because I personally want to know who they are. The predominant theory is still that they are Rose and Bernard and Hurley’s theory of someone going back in time and dying there would help that make sense.
– Speaking of black and white stones, the dark versus light theme is also making a comeback, but we still don’t know for certain who is light and who is dark. It seems pretty obvious to me that those who believe that Smokey may be on the side of “good” might be reaching a bit too much, but I still can’t completely dismiss it. Just another reason that this show is so damn entertaining.
– What did we see in the lighthouse mirror? I believe we saw Sun’s home when the dial turned pass #42. It looked like the backdrop where Jin and Sun got married. That would indicate to me that it’s Sun (not Jin) that matches #42, but we still can’t be sure. I’m not sure if we saw anything else.
One other note of interest…I listened to last week’s audio podcast and anyone who read into Claire’s sonogram date of 10/22/2004 as being significant can stop thinking too hard. They said that it was just an unfortunate prop error and it should have read 9/22/2004.
Personal note…I will NOT be watching next week’s episode live due to a concert I’m attending, so please don’t expect a blog post immediately following the episode.
Next week’s episode is called “Sundown”, which would seem to indicate that it’s a Jin/Sun episode. It’s kind of interesting that this season is mirroring Season One in terms of character-centric episodes. The pilot was a mix of characters and was followed by flashback episodes for Kate, Locke, Jack, and Sun. This season has been exactly the same with the flash-sideways. The episode after Sun’s was a Charlie episode in Season One, so the mirrored sequence will end soon…or will it?

I Guess I Better Put Some Pants On

February 17, 2010

“Hell yes!” This was a great episode and things are really starting to pick up and add up.

Let’s start off island in timeline-X first…here’s what we know:

– Locke and Helen are getting married.
– Locke is on positive terms with his dad (inferring this based on Helen’s comment about getting her parents and his dad to help them elope).
– Locke blew off a conference to attempt to go on a Walkabout.
– Hurley still owns the box company that Locke got fired from and his luck extends to his Hummer not getting dented by Locke’s wheelchair ramp.
– Randy Nations (Locke’s ex-boss) is a huge douche!
– The supervisor at Hurley’s temp agency is Rose Nadler.
– Rose still has terminal cancer in this timeline, but is still accepting of her fate and is a realist.
– Locke is much less of a believer in this timeline and Rose convinces him to accept the life he’s been given.
– Locke’s alarm clock sounds an awful lot like the Swan Station alarm when it’s almost at 0.
– Helen is wearing a “Peace/Karma” t-shirt.
– Locke tells Helen he doesn’t believe in miracles.
– Helen only wants Locke, not a miracle, and tears up Jack’s business card.
– Ben Linus teaches European History and John Locke is now a substitute physical education and biology teacher.

Meanwhile, back on the island…

It was pretty neat to see things from Smokey’s point of view for a change and the dialogue between pseudo-Locke and James Ford was outstanding. It’s late, so instead of getting all deep and stuff, I’m going to bullet point these events as well:

– MIB wants Alpert to join him and explains that he looks like Locke because Locke was a “candidate”.
– MIB seems surprised to learn that Alpert has been following Jacob’s instructions without knowing why.
– Alpert turns down MIB’s offer and a young blond-haired boy appears in the distance that MIB can see, but Alpert cannot. He then vanishes.
– Ilana collects Jacob’s ashes from inside the statue and explains to Ben that MIB is “recruiting”.
– Ford recognizes that MIB isn’t Locke right away and doesn’t seem fazed. I guess he’s been through so much that nothing fazes him now.
– Ilana tells Sun that Jin is most likely at the temple. Too bad he’s actually with claimed/infected, yet still somehow sexy, Claire.
– This blond kid tells MIB that, “You know the rules. You can’t kill him.” Who is “him” now?
– MIB tells the kid in true Locke fashion, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do.”
– This is NOT a fact – I’m really thinking that the kid is an older-Aaron that can appear in places he’s not like Walt used to do. I also think that Jacob is Aaron’s father. I’m thinking that they just haven’t showed how Claire was “touched” by Jacob off-island yet. More on Claire Littleton later.
– Alpert tried to warn Ford, but with no luck.
– Ford lies to MIB about talking to Alpert and MIB ignores Ford’s question about the kid, by saying, “What kid?”
– Of Mice and Men was a little AFTER MIB’s time. I cracked up at that subtle comment.
– Ilana says that MIB is stuck looking like Locke now. This must only apply to AFTER Jacob was killed. Otherwise, he could not have appeared as Alex to Ben.
– Ben, Frank Lapidus, Sun, and Ilana bury Locke and Ben delivers a “heartfelt” eulogy, “Locke was…a believer. He was a man of faith. He was a much better man than I will ever be and I’m very sorry that I murdered him.”
– Lapidus delivers the line of the night, “This is the weirdest damn funeral I’ve ever been to.”
– Ford and MIB “climb” down a cliff to a cave that MIB claims to be Jacob’s.
– MIB takes a white rock off a scale so that it tips in the black rock’s favor and proceeds to toss the white rock into the ocean. This was very symbolic of light and dark once again (backgammon, stones found in Adam and Eve skeletons, etc.).
– MIB shows Ford a bunch of names written on the cave wall. Most are crossed out, but the ones that aren’t include: 4-Locke, 8-Reyes, 15-Ford, 16-Jarrah, 23-Shephard, and 42-Kwon.
– We don’t know if Kwon is Sun or Jin.
– MIB crosses out Locke’s name and taking one of these six “candidates” off the list could potentially be the “loophole” he was speaking of that he needed to kill Jacob.
– Littleton is one of the names crossed out and I’m guessing it’s crossed out because she is infected, which means that Jarrah will soon be crossed out as well.
– Thanks to my friend (CK), other names crossed out include Troupe, Jones, and Mattingly.
– Troupe is probably Gary Troupe, the author of Bad Twin and the one who was sucked into the plane’s engine in the pilot episode.
– Jones and Mattingly are unknown as far as I’m aware. (see more names in the comments below)
– Interesting to note that we know Jacob touched Kate as a child, but her name was not on the wall from what we could see.
– MIB explained to Ford that Jacob manipulated you and pulled your strings like a puppet in order to convince you to make choices that were never really choices at all.
– Ford’s three choices were Do Nothing, Accept the Job (as the new Jacob to “protect” the island), or Just Go (and get off the island).
– Ford decides on the third choice, which basically puts him in cahoots with MIB.

I’m not sure what all the “rules” are, but if Locke is dead, Jarrah is infected, and Ford is with MIB now, that only leaves Kwon, Shephard, and Reyes as the other potential “candidates”.

Here’s a question for everyone…where the heck is Desmond?

Next week…the 108th episode of LOST: “Lighthouse”

This Is Your Chance To Redeem Yourself

February 10, 2010

The Sickness…it’s been talked about since the Season One pilot episode. Shannon translated the transmission from Danielle Rousseau as, “I’m alone now. On the island alone. Please, someone come. The others, they’re dead. It killed them. It killed them all.” We saw the “Quarantine” sign on the inside of the hatch door. We saw Desmond injecting himself with some kind of drug to “protect himself” from getting sick and Charlie found the drugs in the hatch and gave them to Claire for her and Aaron to take. When Danielle saw Jin in one of the time travel jumps he made, she explained to him that, “It took them, one after the other. I had no choice. They were already lost.” She was explaining why she killed the other members of the French team.

These are just a few of the times that “the sickness” has been mentioned and now it seems as though Sayid and Claire have been “infected”. Or maybe a better word is “claimed”. As we’ve seen, those people who are sick, don’t behave as they normally do, but perhaps that only happens once the “darkness” grows and reaches the heart because Sayid seems pretty normal right now. I wouldn’t say the same thing about Claire.

Claire looks like Rousseau and it seems pretty obvious that the traps they encountered in the jungle have been set by her. We last saw her sneak off into the jungle with Christian Shepherd, who was potentially Smokey at the time, and then we saw her with “Christian” in Jacob’s cabin. How did she become infected? Well, she was pregnant on the island and was injected with all sorts of things that may have been the cause. I suspect we’ll get more and more answers as each week goes by.

Bottom line…you can shoot the Jacob is in Sayid’s body theory out the window, which I never really bought into. Who “claimed” him is the real question, but I think it’s pretty safe to assume it’s not a good thing to be claimed.

Kudos to Jack for taking a risk and trying to swallow the pill that Dogen gave him, which turned out to be poison. I’m getting a bit tired of all the games that “The Others” play. Jacob clearly sent the Oceanic folks to them for a reason so trust them and give them the information they need already. It’s seriously getting very old. Try working together and communicating…maybe good things will actually come about as a result.

Why try to manipulate Jack by telling him that everything is his fault and that “this is your chance to redeem yourself”? I think he did just that by NOT giving the pill to Sayid. He asked to Dogen, “I don’t even trust myself. How can I trust you?” By not giving the pill to Sayid and “testing” it on himself, he proved something to “The Others”. He proved that he’s loyal to his friends and is willing to sacrifice himself if necessary.

It’s also more than obvious that “The Others” need to protect the Oceanic folks at the temple, so again, let’s share some goddamn information already! I think they will start to do that in this next episode because of how Jack handled the “pill” situation.

Moving on…love how they bought back the “Other” who fell for the Wookie prisoner gag in Season Three. It was only a couple of lines before, that he called Kate “princess” like Han Solo called Leia in Star Wars. I always love how they tie this stuff in.

On island Kate lived up to my expectations in this episode. I’m still not a big fan of her character, but love Evangeline Lilly. Off-island Kate in timeline-X was a different story, but I’ll save that for a bit later. Kate following James Ford was so predictable and so annoying, but I completely forgive it because of the truly outstanding acting performance by Josh Halloway. I feel like we’ve watched this actor and his character grow leaps and bounds over the six seasons and it is a privilege to watch. We get that he was truly in love, that he feels guilty about Juliet’s death, and that he just wants to be alone. Now I’m looking forward to what happens next with his character and it’ll be interesting to see what happens when he encounters pseudo-Locke next week.

Jin now knows for sure that the Ajira flight landed somewhere and it’s likely that he can find a way to reunite with Sun. His query to Kate, “Who do you care about?” was a great question. If we believe her true intentions are to reunite Aaron and Claire then stop running after Jack and/or James Ford and just clearly tell everyone what your intentions are. All this “romantic” tension makes me sick to my stomach. She doesn’t deserve either one of these guys and I certainly don’t believe she’ll ever end up with James Ford.

One more island comment…I really enjoyed the brief conversation that our “I See/Speak To Dead People” friends, Miles and Hurley, had with Sayid. “Are you a zombie” was a truly classic line.

Okay, the off-island Timeline-X story highlight with Kate and Claire was seeing Doctor Ethan Rom in the hospital. The best line was when he said, “I don’t want to stick you with any needles if I don’t have to.” After knowing what he did to Claire on the island in the original timeline, it just made me laugh. The thing is, his life in timeline-X seems completely different and probably is that way because he never went to the island because it’s underwater. So many other things have changed, not just the fact that Flight 815 never crashed.

I’m glad that Kate went back for and helped Claire, even though I found the storyline to be a bit forced. I’m left wondering if the psychic who put Claire on the plane still though it was going to crash so that she’d be forced to raise Aaron on her own. In timeline-X, Mrs. Baskin, the potential adoptive mother, really does exist, but decides to not go through with the adoption. Perhaps the psychic saw that happening instead of the plane crash in this timeline. Either way, Aaron has to be important. I say this knowing full well that we all thought Walt was important too and he’s nowhere to be seen, but Aaron is different. Wouldn’t it be crazy if he turned out to be Jacob’s son or something? I mean, we know who the supposed daddy was, but she claimed to the “father” that she didn’t know how she got pregnant when he confronted her about it. I’m just stretching here, but I can’t help thinking that he’s still going to play a big role somehow.

Last thing…I wonder if Kate really believes she is innocent in timeline-X. Anything is possible.

Next week…”The Substitute”

LOST and the Dual Timelines (Nothing Is Irreversible)

February 3, 2010
As excited and anxious as I was to view the premiere episode of the final season, I also had quite a bit of trepidation because I didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment. Now that I’ve seen “LA X”, I understand why I was concerned. Don’t get me wrong. I thought it was solid, but it was extremely confusing…even for me. I say that because I consider myself to be quite a student of the LOST universe and I had a tough time keeping up with the twists and multitude of new information.

Let’s start with the most obvious twist…the dual timelines. Everyone had different theories as to what would happen as a result of detonating the hydrogen bomb. Most people said that they would either change the future and land safely in Los Angeles or that they would time travel to present island-time. However, I don’t recall anyone theorizing that they would show two different timelines. Not sure how I feel about this quite yet.

On to number two…we can finally say without a doubt that Jacob’s Nemesis is in fact the smoke monster and has appeared as many other “characters” throughout the first five seasons of the show. I (and many others) started to think that the smoke monster could take on the appearance of dead people ever since Mr. Eko’s brother Yemi appeared to him back in season three. You’ll remember that it was only seconds later that Mr. Eko was thrashed to death by the smoke monster. Fans immediately started speculating that perhaps the smoke monster had also appeared as Christian Shephard and subsequently as Ben’s mother, and even as Alex (to Ben).

It wasn’t until the season five finale when we met Jacob’s Nemesis (in 1845 – the year of the Black Rock) that we started to realize that perhaps he had taken on the form of John Locke as well. There was the scene where Ben called the smoke monster from Dharmaville and was waiting for it to come, but Locke appeared instead. Then there was the scene where Ben and Locke were crawling through the tunnels under the outer area of the temple…Ben fell through the ground and Locke supposedly went to get rope. Locke (who isn’t really Locke) appeared to Ben as Smokey and then as Ben’s daughter, Alex, in order to threaten Ben and scare him/manipulate him into doing whatever he wanted him to do, which ultimately was to kill Jacob. For some reason, he could not kill Jacob himself, but Ben was his loophole.

The fake Locke (Jacob’s Nemesis) has been manipulating the characters ever since they arrived on the island and even revealed how he “looked inside” Locke when he first arrived to discover what kind of person he truly was. He is the ultimate con man and has displayed little to no faith in humanity. The real battle between good and evil has just begun and I believe it’s up to our LOST heroes to band together and prove that humanity and free will is something worth fighting for.

That’s not going to be easy. Our characters have learned a great deal about themselves over five seasons and most have redeemed themselves in some way or another, but with Juliet’s death you can see some people slipping back into their old mindsets. Not that I can blame Sawyer for being upset, but he spent 20 years trying to avenge the death of his parents and, in the long run, killing the real Sawyer did not make him feel any better. Blaming Jack and hating him for everything that happened could be his downfall. It’ll be interesting to see how this unfolds.

I love Hurley taking charge and it’s pretty obvious that the temple will play a major role in this finale season. I think we can assume that the note in the Ankh from the guitar case was a list of names that Jacob put on a list and the names included Jack, Hugo, Kate, Sayid, Miles, James (Sawyer) Ford, and Jin (maybe others).

Juliet’s final important words as spoken by Miles after she was dead were, “It worked.” What worked? I think we can assume the “reset”, but how are the people living the island timeline supposed to know and/or believe that?

The ash we briefly saw surrounding Jacob’s cabin in Season 3, in the Season 5 finale, and now again in the premiere is definitely something useful against the “Nemesis”. I wish someone would give him a name so he’s easier to identify, but Nemesis will have to do for now. Anyway, the fact that “The Others” outlined the temple with ash to protect them was a good move after the way Smokey killed Bram and the others in Tawaret’s foot.

Sayid is dead. Wait…he’s not dead. The water in the temple’s “healing pool” wasn’t clear anymore so I don’t think that saved him. Who knows? This one was a severe mind fuck for me, but I’m glad he’s alive.

Great to see Cindy Chandler (the Oceanic stewardess) and Zach and Emma (the kids from the tail section) alive and well, but why can’t the Mr. Myagi looking dude and the other “Others” fill us in on what the heck is going on? It should be pretty damn obvious that Hurley and crew are “good” based on the message that Hurley delivered. That was the most frustrating thing about tonight for me. Share information people!

What did the Nemesis mean when he said he wanted to go home? Is his home the temple or is it off the island? And why did he have to kick Richard Alpert’s ass after saying it was nice to see him out of his chains? I need answers.

Notes from Onboard Oceanic Flight 815 and in LAX

For the most part, the characters seem to have retained their same back stories, but there are some slight and BIG differences too:

– Charlie trying to kill himself was a twist, but loved it when he said, “I was supposed to die.”
– Hurley is apparently the “luckiest guy in the world.” That’s actually a HUGE discrepancy from what he believed before.
– Shannon wasn’t on board, but Boone was. Interesting.
– Jack didn’t joke with Cindy that she was breaking FDA regulations when she handed him the additional alcohol. It could have still happened and was just edited differently. What’s the deal with Jack’s neck bleeding?
– Desmond being on the plane was the biggest on plane WTF moment for me.
– Love the way they inserted Arzt and Neil Frogurt into the action and how they used Greg Grunberg’s voice for the original character he played in the pilot back in 1994 (Captain Seth Norris), who was eaten by the monster.
– Claire must have been on the flight because there she was in the cab that Kate commandeered after escaping. You’d think the Marshall would have gotten smart by now. I wonder if Claire is pregnant. She must be, but why would the psychic still have sent her on the plane if it was NOT going to crash.
– Jin is in trouble (with the money) and back to his pre-crash douche-bag ways with Sun.
– No sign of Michael and Walt though it’d be tough to show Walt now since he’s 17 years old in real life. No Mr. Eko, Libby or Ana Lucia either.
– Locke is still crippled and Christian Shephard is still dead, so that didn’t change.

The conversation between Locke and Jack in the lost “baggage” area was surreal. As “pathetic” as Locke’s life has been portrayed and said to be by the “Nemesis”, he still displayed the gentle qualities of the spiritual man we all grew to love back in Season One.

Assuming they keep both timelines going for a while, it’d be cool to see if Jack “fixes” Locke’s paralysis. After all, “nothing is irreversible.”

Next week: “What Kate Does”