Friday, April 24, 2009

Something to hold you over until next week

Man, I missed LOST this week. Here's a little tide-me-over blog from EW's Doc Jensen. Stellar as always. Enjoy.

Oh, and I included this pic, which has NOTHING to do with the article I have linked above, because it is the stupidest thing I've ever seen in my natural born live.

Apologize right this instant, parties responsible for this!

Friday, April 17, 2009

I Love The Way They're Hothing To You


Star Wars. Black-van kidnappings. Hurley's special garlic mayo. What else would one want or need in an episode of LOST? I know it wasn't the show's best effort to-date, but there were some pretty interesting things revealed and we finally got to learn more about Miles and if nothing else I just love seeing those Dharma putzes in their natural habitat. We've heard so much about them and I've wondered/daydreamed so often about them so it's nice to finally observe how they do what they do. I think of it like watching Animal Planet.

But we're not here to quibble over whether or not this week's episode was better than you might have expected it to be. After last week's Dead is Dead, Some Like it Hoth never had a chance in winning us fully over.

Let's dissect the title first. For those of you like me who watch Turner Classic Movie channel, you already know that this is an allusion to the 1959 Jack Lemmon-Tony Curtis-Marilyn Monroe comedy Some Like It Hot. Briefly, the film is about two guys who witness a murder they weren't supposed to see and then spend the rest of the film trying to avoid the not-so-understanding mob boss who wants them dead. The duo disguises themselves and keep lies going the whole time to multiple sets of people. Think: Hurley and Miles getting knee-deep in a Dharma death they never wanted any part of. It's a pretty famous film and has been ranked in many lists as the best comedy of all time. Obviously those list-makers have not seen Monkey Trouble. Classic.

More important to me is the other cultural reference in the title of this episode. "Hoth" is the ice planet that Luke Skywalker and the Rebel forces have their secret base on in the second Star Wars film, 1980's Empire Strikes Back. I'll spare the normal among you the nerdy details, but just know that this show from the start has been clavical-deep in Star Wars references and allusions. Hurley trying to re-write what I consider to be legitimately one of the best movies ever made by humans was very funny to those of us who care about such things. The scene Hugo had written in his Dharma notebook was from early in the movie when Han Solo and Chewbecca shoot down some spy drones that Darth Vader has sent to spy on the planet Hoth. In the real movie, Han Solo shoots the drone. In Hurley's version, Chewey shoots it down. Perhaps one of those "modifications" he told Miles about?

Sticking with the Star Wars thing for one more point, Han Solo is a character who initially does everything he does solely for money. But eventually we learn that he is a smuggler with a heart of gold. His side-kick is Chewbecca, the giant, furry, Wookie-animal-thing. Miles seems to be playing the part of Han in this episode with all the million-dollar demands, but like Hurley (Chewey) points out, Miles really wants to care and wants people to care about him. He's a big softie, just like Han turned out to be.

Alright, on to the meat-and-potatoes of the episode...

We open with Baby Miles and his mom (Lara) moving in to a new apartment that happens to have a comatose dude on the floor a few doors down. And on the microwave in the apartment the time is 3:16. Oh, and not to rub one of my predictions coming true again, but if you check back to my re-cap of the first episode of this season five, you'll find that I predicted Dr. Chang's baby that we saw then would turn out to be Miles. Just like Charlotte, Miles had spent time on the island before his Freighter entrance last season.

Miles "hears" the dead guy, Mr. Vonner, and lets himself in to apartment #4. His mom and the landlord are understandably freaked out, and so were most of us. We never really learn why it is Miles has this talent. I'm guessing it has something to do with his time on the island as a baby/child, and we will for sure learn more about it soon. Or maybe his dad, Dr. Chang, was "special" and passed it on to his abandoned son.

Anyway, later we see an older Miles coming back to the same apartment with his best Rufio (from Hook) impression happening. His mom has cancer now and Miles hasn't been to see her in a while. This is his chance to make amends and get some answers from the mom he knows he likely has hurt both by his absence and lack of style. Cool piercings, bra.

His mom has no definite answers to speak of regarding Miles' past. I mean she tells him that his dad is dead, that he didn't want anything to do with Miles and her, but I don't buy it. I was definitely getting a "I can't tell you more and it's better you think your dad is dead because if you go looking for that island only pain and suffering and time travel will follow" vibe from Mama Miles. Maybe I'm wrong. His dad did seem like a total knob-job on the island, but we also saw Dr. Chang lovingly holding Baby Miles as Regular Miles leered with tears in his eyes from the shadows. My official prediction is that Miles will end up talking to his dad like Hurley suggested and will tell Dr. Chang about the "Purge" that is to come and that will lead Dr. Chang to get his wife and Baby Miles off the island...getting the idea?

Moving along, Miles later in life is now a paid ghost-talker and has been paid a lot of money by a Mr. Howard Gray to commune with Gray's dead son and ask the poor kid if he knew that his pops loved him. In a very Han Solo-like fashion, Miles cons the guy for some bigger bucks and walks off with a heavy conscience under that condescending, smug veneer.

As Miles is leaving Gray's somber pad, he is met at his car by our girl Naomi Dorrit, the chick who parachuted on to the island in Season Three with a copy of Catch-22 and pic of Dez and Penny in-tow. Naomi was recruited by Matthew Abbadon who works for Widmore, and she hired all of the people for the Freighter. She wants Miles to talk to dead people on the island when they get there, because there are so many dead people on that island who have either been killed by Ben or will at least know where he is. How cool is that? What an interesting addition to the story of the Freighter folks.

And it speaks some to the mythology of the island. We know that there are spirits and whispers and what not on the island. That they can be communicated with or "tapped in to" adds another layer to the narrative's cake. And I guess they are confirming that Ben has certainly killed many more people than we even know about.

The way Naomi tests Miles is by having him commune with some not-living guy named Felix. We've never seen or heard of this guy before. What he had on his person when he was killed was the information about empty graves and purchase orders for a giant plane. He was bringing them to Charles Widmore we're told. But whether he was bringing them to Widmore because they were the reciepts of Widmore's doings, or because Felix had gathered intel on Ben (or some other group) who was responsible for the fake Oceanic Flight 815 wreckage. Man, is this interesting or what?!?! I want to know more, and I want to know now! Regardless, Naomi likes what she sees from Miles and offers him $1.6 millon to join the team and Miles readily accepts.

Speaking of wanting to know more...the next time we see Miles off-island he is abducted by what appears to be the same black van Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell used in Old School during their pledge week. The leader of the pack in the van is Bram, the guy from the second island crash in the future. Last we saw him, he and Ilana had taken control of the Hydra Island and were asking people "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" Welll, Bram's back at it again and asks Miles the same thing and says because Miles can't answer that, he isn't ready to go to the island. Bram says that Widmore is the wrong wagon to hitch one's star to. He warns Miles against going on the Freighter, and says that if Miles comes with "them" instead, he'll learn everything he ever wanted to know about his powers, his dad, and life in general I suppose.

Miles, playing the tough guy, says he doesn't care, wants more money, and eventually gets escorted from the premises of the van. Bram claims that Miles is on the losing team and drives off. We heard Widmore talk of a winning team when he was at Locke's bedside earlier this season. He said to Locke then that if John wasn't on the island, that the wrong team would win.

Back in '77 Miles gets a call from Sawyer who is returning with Kate from handing Ben over to the Others. Sawyer wants security tapes erased to cover his tracks, but Miles gets distracted and never finishes the task. That distraction is Horace who has an errand for Miles: enter the "circle of trust" and go out to the forbidden part of the jungle and pick up a "package"...dead body, package...whatever. Of course that moron Radzinsky is involved and we learn that the original hatch, The Swan station, is being built on a part of the island where Dharma has agreed they wouldn't go.

This does explain why Radzinsky was so mad that Sayid, who he thought was an Other, had seen the plans for the Swan. But it doesn't explain why that tool gets so hot-and-bothered every time another human speaks. Get over yourself. He's the kid who rats on you in class cause you are playing Drug Wars on your TI-83. I will give him credit though for being fully devoted to Dharma and the Swan station.

So Miles is shuttling and talking to the dead body of a man whose filling in his tooth exploded through the back of his skull due to the electromagnetic forces at work around The Swan. Hurley joins in with his stupid sandwiches and gross facial hair. Han (Miles) and Chewey (Hurley) run the dead body out to Dr. Chang at the Orchid who mysteriously takes the dead guy in to this station and then re-appears and demands to be taken to the Swan. Where did that body go? What weird time-traveling experiments will he be doing on that dead worker's body?

I thought it was nice how Hurley tried to help Miles and his dad re-connect, but all of that spoke for itself and so I won't really be commenting on it. What was clear is that Miles is hurting and wants to re-connect.

Hurley did see "his hatch" being built and the numbers being put on the door to it. He has that look in his eye like he'll do something crazy to try and stop the hatch from being there when Oceanic 815 is flying from Sydney to LA.

Back in Dharmaville, Ben's dad Roger plays the drunken fool and starts suspecting Kate (aka the dumbest girl in the world who has literally the worst instincts imaginable) because she runs her mouth and gives her tell-tale glances. One cool thing was that while Jack was cleaning the class-room and talking to an angry, non-sober, Roger Linus, he is "erasing" some stuff written on the chalkboard about Ancient Egypt. Hieroglyphics, anyone? Erasing the past. Etc. Think about it. Blog about it.

That nerd Phil later confronts Sawyer with the security tape Miles never erased and Sawyer pulls a Season Three and earlier Sawyer move and puches his lights out and asks for rope. It's like Sawyer and Juliet have accepted the fact finally that their Dharma world is about to be changed forever. It was Sawyer saying, "I'm all-in" in terms of being on his friends' side. With that single punch he effectively crossed that line in the sand and joined back up with Jack, Kate, Hurley, etc. I love it.

The finaly note-worthy event was of course Faraday's creepy return on the submarine from Ann Arbor. University of Michigan is where Dharma began. Faraday's been gone for some time according to Sawyer's comments a few episodes back.


- So now we potentially have Team Widmore, Team Ben, Team Locke, and possibly Team Bram/Ilana. Bram and Ilana are obviously not Widmore's people like I postulated before. (Or are they?...They aren't.) They are either Ben's people, and possibly they don't even know it yet which is why they didn't recognize Ben...or maybe they do know him and are all just acting (see: Ben telling them to "have a nice day" in Dead is Dead and he and Ilana and Bram all look at each other kind of funny)...but that might have been because the trigger for this new team to join up are questions like "What lies in the shadow of the statue?", and they were expecting Ben to bring that up when he approached them on the beach. Another alternative "Team" theory, one that my friend JEH helped me with, is that Richard is his own team and has been all along and that Bram and Ilana are Team Alpert. He seems to be playing all these different groups off each other and when he gets in a bind he plays the "Jacob told me to do it" card, which may in fact be legit, but seems fishy to me.

- Bram told Miles in that van that until he knew the answer to that statue riddle he wasn't ready to go. Ben used to tell Locke that until he did certain things he wasn't ready to know. And long ago Widmore (and Alpert now that I think about it) told a young Ben Linus that we was not yet ready to be "one of them". Is everyone in this show a bottle of wine that hasn't yet properly matured?

- I think Daniel joined Dharma with Sawyer, Miles, and Juliet three years earlier (the events we was in the episode LaFleur) and showed that he knew some juicy things about the island and moved up the ranks and was sent back to headquarters (or volunteered to go there) in Ann Arbor. When he gets off the submarine he is wearing the same black Dharma jumpsuit that those working on the Swan Station were. He must have some role in the harnessing of the energy that the Swan is built around. I don't think he's in charge of anything, but I believe that he is using the knowledge he has in the island's properties to gain a spot in Dharma, perhaps get back to the mainland for a while (where maybe he helps build that Lamp Post station his mom knew about and had claimed a "very smart man" built), all in order to find a way to save Charlotte.

- Remember that Faraday told Desmond that he was special, that "the rules" don't apply to him. I'm not sure if I've written this before, and perhaps it is fairly obvious, but this has to stem from Desmond's turning of the key in the Season Two finale. (Think: "I luv ya, Penny") When he woke up in the jungle (nakey) in Season Three he had his special flashy thingy powers. His dreams were magical (and he wore a technicolor t-shirt at the time pants). I believe that was the point where the rules no longer applied to Dez. So the original hatch our survivors found has much more importance than we might have guessed. Maybe the nuclear bomb Jughead isn't really buried there, or maybe it is, but the important thing is that Desmond is important and so is our first Dharma station love, The Swan.

- Desmond is coming back to the island to put an end to Ben chasing his family and Widmore being his father-in-law. Or maybe Widmore will find Penny and Dez now and because of what Ben tried to do, he will be able to convince his daughter and son-in-law to join "his team" and head back to the island. I still want to believe that they will end up being the island's Adam and Eve bones that Jack later finds in Season One in the caves.

- I've been putting this off for a while, but let me tell you a little about the very cool and interesting movie that ties in with LOST. It is Frank Capra's 1937 LOST Horizon, a film about a hidden magical city named Shangri-la somewhere in the snow-capped Tibetan highlands. The story goes that a British diplomat and his brother have been sent to China to make sure that 90 British citizens escape out of the country as a domestic revolution occurs. Robert Conway is the main character and he is a man of incredible intellect and talents. After seeing to it that all the rest are evacuated from the city, Conway, his brother, a scientist, and con-man, and terminally ill woman all get on to a plane together and as they fly to what they think is safety, they realize that the pilot is an impostor, sent to kidnap them and bring them to what they later find out is the city Shangri-la. The plan "accidentally" crashes in the mountains and the pilot is killed in the crash. Terrified that they might die, Conway starts devising a plan for them to survive and even attempts to go for help.

Well it is just then that they discover they're not alone in the mountains and a group of Others-like people emerge and take the entire group back to their paradise land, which is located in a near-by valley tucked away between giant mountains. Even though it is snowing all around them, as soon as they enter this valley it becomes the Garden of Eden. Without getting too bogged down in the details, they discover that the people living there are an enlightened bunch with many of the modern amenities from back home in the West. Some of the men in the group develop crushes on some of the cuter women living in Shangri-la. The terminally-ill woman from the plane discovers that she is cured.

Conway talks to the head guru dude and learns that he and his friends were brought there on purpose because the guru is getting old and wants a wise replacement. Conway initially turns him down and he and his brother (and his brother's new dancing partner Margo) make a break for it to head back to the Real World. But as they get further away from Shangri-la, Margo starts to rapidly age and eventually dies an old woman in the mountains. Conway's brother is distraught and jumps to his death off a cliff. Conway goes on, finds a search party looking for him, and sets sail back to England aboard a Freighter. He has amnesia at first and isn't sure where he's even been the whole time. But soon he does remember and he jumps ship and heads back to Shangri-la to take over as the rightful, benevolent ruler.

So...LOST, huh? Lot in there for you to chew on.

Hope you enjoyed this week's re-cap. Sadly the show is on a two-week break. There is special thing next Wed night, but it isn't new material. Lame. FDR's legs lame.

Take care and stay out of the Temple.

John Locke's Pants

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dead = Dead


What did I tell you? Last night's episode was to television watching what Barack Obama is to blowing through your children's inheritance: very good. Dead is Dead was so good that it made the prospect of dying more attractive. I have never been holistically judged in the cellar of a decrepit temple on a magical island by a pillar of black smoke that emerged from what looked like a waffle fry of stone...but that's about as close as one can get to that experience without having to live through it themselves. The acting, the writing, the directing, and the mood lighting in which Dan Hase and I watched the episode were all phenomenal. LOST has raised the bar yet again.

There's so much to say about this episode so let's just jump right in, shall we?

Working backwards in time, we find the Others camp in the jungle and a Heath Ledger-like figure riding on horseback towards the encampment. Turns out the handsome British-sounding bloke is Charles Widmore (wow did that guy get ugly with age) and he is none too happy with my boy Richard Alpert for taking Baby Ben into the bowels of the Temple. The 'tude Widmore gives Richard seems to dissipate with the mention of Jacob, but Charles seems still underwhelmed by the prospect of bringing in a new kid on the island block.

This seems to me to be because, as we will see later in both Widmore and Ben's attitudes, leaders on the island fear competition. Richard said to Charles "The island picks who it picks" and so it wasn't just that Alpert was saving some dorky kid from the Dharma and Greg Initiative, he was saving (and then grooming) the future leader. Widmore, by the end of this episode, might have moved neck-and-neck with, or ahead of, Ben as the front-runner for Bad Dude of the Year and Series.

But Charles eventually goes in and talks to Baby Ben who remembers other things, just not how he was shot. This was what Alpert had said would happen should he take and save Ben last week. Hence, he would not remember Sayid as the man who shot him later in life when our favorite Iraqi crashed on Oceanic 815. And along those lines, before I forget, it occurred to me recently that the whole "brain-washing thing when the Others save/kidnap you" is likely the explanation for why the stewardess and children from the tail section in Season Two were seemingly fine with living with the Others when Jack (who was in one of the polar bear cages) saw her and the two kids in Season Three.

Maybe I'm alone here, but I've always wanted to know why Cindy (the stewardess) and those kids who had been kidnapped by the Others would suddenly be cool with 'illing on the island with their captors. Maybe some who are "chosen" or taken go through the same type of process Ben did in the Temple and subsequently can't remember exactly why they are even with the Others and end up embracing the lifestyle of dressing up like 17th century hobos from the Count of Monte Cristo, living in tents, and intense encounters with supernatural forces beyond their control. I'm in, if you're reading this Others.

Back to the tent convo between Baby Ben and Widmore, Charles tells the
boy that despite his protests he will be going back to live among the Dharma people, but that the kid will always be "one of them." There's a lot of "one of us", "one of them" talk in this show. Actually those are two names of two different episodes. One of Them was when we first got to meet Benry Linus-Gale way back in Season Two and it turned out he really was "one of them." The One of Us episode was from Season Three and was a Juliet tale. It turned out (eventually) that she was one of the castaways, if only in the fact that she desperately wanted to get the heck off that island.

Moving right along in chronological order, we find Ben (with a Trump-bad hair cut) and a young, spry Ethan on the beach about to carry out Widmore's order to off Rousseau. Widmore has told them it is for the safety of the island. Ben is determined to kill the nutty French skirt and when Ethan offers to do it he gets mad. But when Ben gets in the tent he can neither end Danielle's life nor leave without taking the baby. So Ben warns Rousseau to never come after Alex or she will be killed, and in fact, if she ever hears "whispers" she is to run the other way. Ben returns to the Others camp and makes his case to an angry Widmore as to why they should leave Rousseau alone ("she's crazy") and why they should not kill the baby.

Now this two-part scene has a lot going on in it. First off, Ben is shown to have something of a softer side, and at the very least is more of a complicated fellow than we've been led to believe. At least earlier in his life he had something of a conscience. He did not want to kill Danielle and could not kill her child. Ethan, who was obviously much younger than he at the time, was willing to kill Rousseau for him which means Ethan knew his elder friend was a softie at heart. This brings to mind the fact that Ben was, later in life, so mean to Locke who could not kill his own father. Ben was the same way at one time. Maybe Widmore was testing Ben like Ben would later test Locke?

Second thing from this part of the episode that emerges is that Widmore's relationship with Jacob or the "powers" of the island seemed to be strained. First there was Alpert knowing about Ben's selection as an Other while he (and presumably Ellie) did not. Then there was when Widmore told Ben to go kill Rousseau, but didn't tell Ben about the baby, and when Ben came back to the tents and asked if Widmore had suggested they kill the two on the beach because of his own desires or because Jacob had told them he didn't really give a good answer. Then again, he did warn Ben that if the island wanted the two French ladies dead, it would happen. And it did.

Third thing, Ben actually and really did care about Alex from the beginning. I'll take more about this when I get to Smokey's Moral Trial in the Temple, but I thought they did a good job getting the audience to see that Ben had been (and could be) a nice guy who loved this girl. I know he stole her from her mom, but one reason for doing this really could have been that he thought Rousseau was nuts...which is a fair assessment. So he could have been acting out of kindness to the baby. But, one could also presume that Ben did this as one of his first "con's", knowing that if he returned to the camp and showed the rest of the Others that their fearless leader Widmore would not kill the child to carry out Jacob's alleged orders that the group would think at the very least that Widmore isn't in-tune with Jacob like he claims to be, and also that Ben might really be the great leader they want/need.

A huge character flaw of Ben's is obviously his compulsive lying. He does it so much and to so many people that we have to take what he says and does with a grain of salt at all times. For example, the next part of the story took us to the day Widmore was banished and before he is put on to the submarine Ben comes to say goodbye. Widmore accuses him of gloating but Ben appears to be sincere that he did not want things to end as they did. Charles, he says, is being removed from the island for "breaking the rules." Again with the rules. Apparently there were rules about leaving the island and having a second family back in the real world, because that's what Charles had been doing. This is how Penny and his corporation back in England enter the picture.

What does this tell us about the island that it isn't good enough to hold the attention of its leader? He's submarine-setting around the globe when he's got a fun, creepy island of mystery to oversee and carouse on. This is a common theme throughout human history: people are never settled with even the greatest of things. In the Old Testament, weeks after being delivered from 400 years of bondage and seeing the Red Sea parted in front of them, the Hebrew people built golden images to worship because Moses had, in their demented opinion, taken too long conversing with Yahweh on the mountain. King David, having all he could want in the world at his finger tips, took another man's wife and then had the man killed to cover things up. The list goes on (and doesn't just include OT Bible stories). From what we know as of right now, Widmore was corrupted by the power he had, and even though he might have been truly acting in what he thought was the best interest of the "island", he eventually LOST his way.

Ben would do the same eventually, and Widmore predicted it. It almost seemed like on that dock before Widmore got in to the sub he was warning Ben that not only was his own eventual corruption a was an inevitably. What implications does this have for Locke I wonder?

The afore mentioned Dan Hase pointed out that the line "you had a daughter with an outsider" Ben delivers to Widmore before he's banished is akin to the often-repeated mandate of the nation of Israel to remove from the midst the foreign wives Hebrew men had taken. For those who don't know, the Old Testament is the story of God's chosen people, the descendants of Abraham, who after being brought out of Egypt were to be a holy nation, set apart from their pagan neighbors. Without getting in to all the examples and starting some historical/theological debate, it was a common theme for God to tell the people through his Prophets that the nation was suffering because they had brought "outsiders" in their midst that did not believe in Him. I mention this mostly because I know the writers of LOST put many interesting themes in their story-lines that have been borrowed from many great books, including the Good one.

Next in the time-line is Ben's visit to Desmond and Penny's boat. One quick thing, as Ben first walks down the dock, the name of the boat in the background is "Savage". I'd like to think its a shout-out to conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage, but I'm guessing it's a reference to the kind of person Ben can be. (And is about to try and be.) Ben shoots Dez in the shoulder blade, and with how good of a shooter and fighter we know Ben to be, it was apparent Ben didn't want to kill Desmond. He did however want to kill Penny, yet couldn't pull the trigger, especially after seeing little Charlie. Again, the fact that Ben would go this far to hurt Widmore's daughter I think shows how much he cared about his own daughter.
But regardless, Dez form-fit tackles Ben to the ground and unleashes a Scottish fury not seen since Braveheart. Ben is tossed in to the ocean and that's the last we are allowed to see of what happens in the confrontation. Now later Ben tells Sun to let Desmond know he is sorry should she ever get off the island. Could it be that he just meant he was sorry for even trying to kill the dude's wife...or will we later find out that Ben went through with it before he got on the Aijira 316 flight? My money is on Penny being alive and well...for now.

Now finally we arrive at Present Island Time. Locke welcomes Ben to the "land of the living" again and picks up right away on the blatant shock-and-awe Ben has at seeing his thought-to-be-departed protege. Ben says he knew that Locke would come back to life, which we later find out is of course poppycock. Locke seems to be wiser than ever and is done falling for any of Ben's old tricks. Ben was telling the truth that he was there to be judged, but it's hard to tell whether or not that is his TRUE or REAL purpose in coming back.

I mean the guy is still conniving and playing people off of each other. He tells Caesar that Locke is bad, but then steals Caesar's gun and shoots Caesar. He tells Locke he's only there to be judged but then seems to trying to avoid that the whole time. We're even left at the end of the episode wondering whether or not Ben will bite the humble-pie flavored bullet and tell Locke that the island wants Ben to follow Locke's lead from now on.

Regardless, they return to Othersville and find Sun/Frank in Ben's old house, even waiting in Alex's old room. Frank wants to bail and heads back to the Hydra Island. Sun, taking Christian Shepard's advice, follows the newly-risen John Locke and Ben to the Temple. First though, Ben goes in to his secret room, the one where he stored passports and currency that he would use to leave the island (like Widmore had before him), and summons Smokey. Smokey doesn't show, but Locke seems to know right where the trio ought to head. Again, something has changed in Locke since pulling a Lazarus. Even Ben can tell and comments on it. Locke finally gets a chance to really show Ben how he had felt the past two seasons (and really, the past 40+ years of his life), not knowing what is going on and trusting in people (like Ben) who keep letting you down (and trying to end your life).

Smokey also seems to want Ben to come to him. Other times Smokey judged people, like Mr Eko, out in the open, but Ben needs to come to Smokey's lair for his pronouncement. Ben is visibly and understandably terrified of what is about to happen as they approach the Temple.

Ben explains that there was a wall built to keep people out and that the actual Temple is some distance beyond that wall. But Locke knows Smokey isn't above ground, he's under it in the same hole that the French male scientists went down in to and came out "infected" (according to Rousseau). Ben, before going in the hole to test his fate, admits that Locke was right that Ben was there to be judged because he let Widmore's commandos shoot her in the head. In a way, you could say he was also being judged for ever having taken the girl from her mom. (More on this below in Thoughts/Theories.)

Ben and Locke enter the hole and Ben soon falls to another level even deeper in the recesses of the Temple. It appears, from the look on his face, that Ben either never knew about this place or knew about it but had never seen it. The hieroglyphics around the room were very cool. The ones back on the door in Ben's secret room in his house translate to "grief" and "summon." The ones in the Frozen Donkey Wheel that both Ben and Locke have turned stand for "resurrection", and those were also seen on the Temple wall before the pair entered it. Last night, some of the new symbols we saw included what appeared to be a portrait of Smokey facing the Egyptian god Anubis, the god of the afterlife.

Smokey then emerges from the Waffle-fry Stone grate at the base of that picture and surrounds Ben. He is shown a highlight/lowlight reel of his experiences with Alex, including her murder that he could have prevented. The Monster specifically shows Ben the part where he said he never really cared about Alex and that she meant nothing to him. Ouch. Zing. Alex then appears, but she was for sure just the Monster manifesting itself in the personhood of someone Ben was sure to get the message from. That message? STOP TRYING TO KILL LOCKE YOU PUTZ!!!

And here we have it irrefutably confirmed that Ben really did want to kill Locke all along and planned on trying to kill him (and his pants) again. Smokey as Alex makes Ben promise that he will both stop trying to kill JL, but will also now follow him faithfully. If Ben doesn't, Smokey vows to hunt Ben down and finish the job. Ben agrees and we're left with an emotionally-jarred Ben staring at an inquisitive Locke.

The last thing from this episode confirmed my prior prediction that Ilana is working for Widmore. When Frank gets back to the Hydra island he finds out that a few of the passengers have guns and appear to be some sort of sleeper terrorist cell that had been told to ask "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" to discover who else has been secretly sent by Charles. They have some giant case they are protecting and preparing to bring with them to the main island...maybe a nuke to finish the job that Jughead couldn't do? More on Ilana next week as more information comes to light.

Lets get to some...


- Ready to have your mind blown....Rousseau was supposed to have been killed by Ben. Widmore was right. Even her lover Robert, after being in the presence of Smokey down in the basement of the Temple, emerged ready to kill the mother of his child. I think that when those French chaps went down the hole they were shown things and came out convinced that Danielle was supposed to die. Widmore later found this out and sent Ben/Ethan to finish the job. It didn't happen, Ben showed "weakness" (as far as the island is concerned) by not killing her and by taking the baby girl, and in the end fate (Smokey) had its way with both Parisian women.

-Locke and Desmond are the two people so far who have defied the way things usually work in the world of LOST. Desmond's time-line doesn't play by the same rules that everyone else's does. Locke can come back to life, even shocking the shocking Ben Linus. What implications does this have? Will Desmond be brought back to the island as the person to follow after Locke's done leading the group? Or is Desmond the rightful leader the island has REALLY been looking for all along? Maybe Locke's a stop-gap or temporary measure.

-The Temple and its wall in this episode has more allusions to the temple and city wall in the holy city of Jerusalem in the Old Testament. The temple was meant only for the people of Israel, with only certain holy men among the holy people allowed in to the inner sanctums. The wall of Jerusalem was destroyed and it was Nehemiah who helped get it rebuilt. Just thought it there were some interesting connections here, so if you have more ideas, please post them for all to read.

- Ben's house, where he found Frank and Sun, was in the same exact condition it had been the last time we saw anyone in it (near the end of last season when Alex was shot in the head). Yet the rest of the Othersville is messed up pretty good. Maybe it was Smokey's attack on the commandos that ruined things and now no one's been back to the town. But things just feel more ominous than that. Where are Benard and Rose and the rest of the beach-dwellers who we last saw running from the flaming arrow attack in 1954? Could they be linked to why the town is decimated? Or are they placing rocks in the sand to spell out HELP?

-Our Mutual Friend got another shout-out this week. That was the name of the Charles Dickens book that Desmond said he would make the last book he ever read before he died back in Season Two. It's also the name of his boat that he and Penny and Charlie live/float on. The writers of LOST said they got the idea to include this book from reading an article by another famous author (can't remember who...and it doesn't matter) who said he wanted to read that book before he died. The story might not have a ton to do with LOST story-lines, but in it a man forsakes his inheritance, conceals his identity and sets out to find out if the woman he was engaged to marry would like him for him...not because he's tough like Dirty Harry or makes her laugh just like Jim Carrey (he's like the Cable Guy). Some other books are shown in the episode on the book shelves of Ben's discheveled home, and those include: Flowers For Algernon, Roots, Uncle Tom's Cabin

- When Ben and Sun are talking outside of Ben's house they hear a noise in the bushes and Ben says "What's about to come out of that jungle...I have no control over" and what comes out isn't the Monster but Locke. Two things: One, this is showing that Ben's control/power over Locke is no more. Locke says a few key lines to back that idea up. Second, Ben and the Others have never had any control over the Monster. But then how does that sonic fence play in to this and how does it keep Smokey out? Especially if what Alpert said ("That fence might keep other things out, but not us") is accurate.

-When Ben summoned Smokey he unplugged some drain and water went down in to a hole. Then he speaks in to the hole, "I'll be outside." This shows some sort of personal relationship he must have with Smokey. Or it's just interesting, compelling writing for the audience's sake. Also important here is the fact that the house Ben lived in (and called Smokey from) was built before he even came to the island with his dad when he was a little kid so that, and that fact there is a sonic fence, means Dharma people must have known about Smokey and even built one of the homes over the room where Monster is summoned from.

Okay, I've written a lot here already so I will end things now. Next week's episode is called "Some Like It Hoth" and while I'm guessing Hoth will end up being the name of some character, its also the name of the frozen wonderland planet the rebel base is located on in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

Good luck and God's speed.

-John Locke's Pants

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Whatever Happened, Happened to Vincent?


Remember that dog? That beautiful golden lab. The animal who was basically the first thing we saw in the very first scene of LOST back in season one's pilot episode? What's his deal? Where is he? What's he thinking about right now? I believe the last time we saw Vincent was the night of the flaming arrow attack in "The Lie" earlier this year. But I promise you that dog is special and we've yet to see the last of his furry face.

Random start to that blog, I know, but as I was starting to type another title to this entry tonight I for some reason thought of Vincent and figured now was as good a time as any to show him a little Locke's Pants love. Read that link on his name above. Some interesting info about VTD (Vincent the Dog).

More importantly, we have an episode, entitled Whatever Happened, Happened, to re-hash. "Whatever happened, happened" comes from what Faraday said regarding the ability of our time-travelers to affect anything in the past. You kind of feel like the writers of LOST are sending us a signal to clear up the confusion about whether or not things can in fact be changed. So between what we already know from examples like Desmond being unable to prevent Charlie's ultimate demise, and now this episode, it seems to me that we are stuck with the history we've been given thus far. There are still many components of that history that we have yet to see. Hence, one more season to come.

I know the conversations between Hurley and Miles offer more complicated insight to the time-traveling story-line and we'll discuss that a little more in the Thoughts/Theories section at the end.

But for the episode at hand, I have to point out that I have been saying that Sawyer told Kate to go find his daughter Clementine since last season's finale when jumped out of the helicopter pre-island disappearing. Check the blog, suckers.

Of course Cassidy has some understandable resentment towards James Ford/Sawyer for the way in which he both ditched her when they were conning together, and never tried to see his daughter after finding out she had been born. But was it just me or were the discussions between Cassidy and Kate a little aggressive and awkward? There seemed to be a lot of girlish hostility going on there. Even later when they had become friends and Kate came to her in tears Cassidy was a cold customer. Although, she did almost sound like a guy with her spot-on analysis of Kate's attempt to fill the void in her life by taking Aaron as her own.

Frankly, I'm getting a little bored with Kate, and the equally boring Cassidy didn't spice things up enough for my liking. Maybe had there been some Dharma or Widmore connection there I'd have taken the narrative's bait and cared at all what was going on in the Kate flashes this week. As a token to Kate lovers out there, I will say that there was distinct hint or whiff of LOST-style mystery when Kate misplaced Aaron in the grocery store and that creepy Claire look-alike was at the check-out counter with the blonde little boy.

Eventually Kate checks in to the same hotel as Claire's mom, otherwise known as the worst actress of this or any generation, and fills her in on what happened to her daughter. Kate also gives what seems a genuine reason for going back: to find Claire! Last week, in 1977 time, Kate had told Sawyer that she came back for one reason, and one reason only...and then Baby Ben's flaming VW bus-o-death came careening by. It was set up to appear as if Kate was going to say that she had come back to "make time" with Sawyer, but now it seems that she was going to say that she had come back to find the blonde babe who is likely in Jacob's cabin calling for her "baaaaaaby" right now. Or Claire might be necking in LOST heaven with Charlie if she is dead.

Back in 1977....Jin wakes up for Sayid's scissor-kick to find the Iraqi long gone and an adolescent Ben with a flesh wound. He takes the kid back and Juliet starts to work on him. Eventually it becomes clear that only Jack, our beloved island operation guru, can save the child. But that child is Ben. Jack, for more than one reason, says no to helping save Ben's life. Juliet is pissed and Kate is annoyed. Kate and Sawyer take Ben to The Others at Juliet's suggestion and Richard agrees to take and save the boy, but warns that Ben will never be the same...that he will lost his innocence...and that he will always be "one of us." Sawyer and Kate agree, knowing full well that they've just participated in making Ben the monster he will someday be. The same monster who locks the two of them in cages at one point. Richard walks off and ominously enters what appears to be The Temple.

That was a quick re-cap, so let me unpack a few things. Jack is the New Locke, or at least is talking like the Old one. He tells Juliet in the literally steamy bathroom scene that he has returned from the island, "beause I was supposed to." Wow. Very un-Jack of you. Not very Man of Science-like if you ask me. Something has changed in Jack. I know it seemed that he was being cold and callous to not save Ben, but this existential dilemma the castaways find themselves in, in regards to saving their enemy's life, is not an easy one. Jack it seems has now accepted his fate, but like Locke, is now searching for what that destiny might be.

Juliet told him that they didn't need to be saved, but how was poor Jack to know? He had been hounded by the likes of Locke and Ben to come back to the island, being told that it was HIS fault that everything had gone wrong. And so now he has humbled himself, given in to what seems to be the island's unavoidable calls to come back, and his reward is that he has to hear from Sawyer's new gal-pal about how little they needed his help. Rough. I like the new Jack. He was right when he reminded Kate that she, and many others, didn't like the Old Jack. Maybe he has finally let go of so much of the emotional baggage that had held him back from being a great leader and man in previous seasons. Or...maybe he's just a knob-job now and I'm dead wrong about all of this.

Another interesting thing was when Richard agreed to take Ben and gave Kate and Sawyer his spiel about Ben "forever changing" should he be healed by them, and one of the nameless Others says to Richard that "Ellie and Charles" won't like the decision to heal Ben. First of all, that is cool that we're getting some allusions to Ellie (who I still think is Eloise Hawking) and Charles (of Widmore fame) and can't wait till we see them both again. The last time we saw them was in the episode Jughead and it was 1954. The question I have is this: Was Charles always really the leader or was this Ellie character at one point in charge? Were they an item? If Ellie is Eloise, is Faraday's father Charles Widmore? And if he is his father, does Faraday know that? And for that matter, where the heck is Faraday?

Second point about what was said in the encounter with The Others was Richard's under-the-breath comment that he did not answer to either Ellie or Charles. Jacob, anyone? Remember that shadow that has looked like Christian Shepard every time we've seen him? Or maybe Richard answers to Smokey the Monster. But it is I believe a key piece to the puzzle to know that although Alpert is with the Others, appeared to be leading them back in 1954, speaks on their behalf to Horace a few episodes ago regarding "the truce", he also appears to be his own man, beholden to no one. Maybe he's been there MUCH longer than we may even now suppose?

Richard walking in to the Temple with Baby Ben in his arms was a chilling end to the scene.

And then we were left hanging for next week's episode, which will be called "Dead is Dead" by the way, with a classic Ben-Locke staredown in the Hydra Station 30+ years in the future. Locke sees the utter shock on Ben's face and simply says: "Welcome back to the land of the living." Wow. Lot going on there. Ben looked legitimately shocked which means he really thought he had killed Locke back in L.A. I had speculated that perhaps Ben killed Locke on purpose because Ben had known that that was the way things were supposed to play out, but Ben doesn't have a "Hey big guy...sorry about the murder thing, but you know how Jacob can be" look on his face, he has a "Rat-farts, I really put myself in a jam this time...this guy isn't supposed to be breathing" mug on his bug-eyed face. The commercials for next week look fairly intense and seem to offer the promise of tying up some loose ends with what all Ben has been doing since leaving the island.


-There is some huge tie-in's between the time travel theories presented in this week's episode and the story of the comic book that Richard presented, among other items, to a young John Locke in last season's Cabin Fever episode. That comic book was called Mystery Tales and one of the stories in it was called "March has 32 Days" and is about a man who tries to go back and re-live a day to change a fatal mistake he made. Read more at the links I have here. Very interesting why Richard (and the writers of LOST) would pick such an item.

-Hurley brings up the Back to the Future reference we've all used about 100 times by now in our LOST viewing and exegesis. Kind of predictable, but here's more on that from LOSTpedia: "Hurley looks at his hand, waiting to see if he disappears, like in Back to the Future. In the movie, Marty McFly's hand starts to disappear as he was being erased from existence because he had interfered with his parents' past, preventing his mother from falling in love with his father. Seconds after this reference is made, Sawyer comes in in a rush calling Jack "Doc", the same thing McFly used to do in the movies when looking for Doc Brown."

-This episode contained the theme of what is known as the "Cassandra Complex" in Greek mythology. It is the curse of knowing the future (or past) and being unable to change it.

-I'm not afraid to admit that I am a huge Patsy Cline fan. Most of you likely don't even know who she is. The legendary country singer tragically died in, what do you know it, a plane crash in 1963. Her songs are played in every single Kate-centric episode. This week featured the tune, "She's Got You", in which Patsy laments the fact that all she has left from her previous boyfriend is the memories left behind from a broken relationship, while the new girl has the real thing to share her life with. There's more than a couple analogies in those lyrics to the Sawyer-Kate-Cassidy-Juliet love quadrilateral.

-We've seen Ben later in life when The Purge happens and he kills his own father. But will that now happen in a different way? We know things can't be changed in the grand scheme, but like Charlie avoiding some of fate's earlier attempts on his life, will Ben's being given to the Others now lead to an alternative Purge happening?

-Locke and Ben together in a scene, even a brief one like in this week's episode, is what gets me out of bed in the morning.

That's all for this week people. I'm telling you that "Dead is Dead" will knock your socks off and I'm saving some thoughts on that movie I've been promising to tell you more about for my re-cap next week. Enjoy the episode Wednesday and stay out of the deep end.


Locke's Trousers