Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The End


LOSTaways-

I started this blog almost 2.5 years ago as requests for my infamous "LOST re-cap" emails mounted, and I never thought I'd enjoy something as silly as a website named after a character (named after a dead philosopher) from a television show about a magical island in the South Pacific as much as I have this one. John Locke's Pants has been my humble attempt at shining a (sometimes dull) light on the mysteries that shroud the greatest show ever made by humans. I wanted to offer my friends (and their friends and co-workers) a place of LOST-refuge where they could come and have some of the larger themes and minute details distilled in a coherent, cohesive format. You be the judge if I've succeeded or not. Some weeks I wasn't too sure.

Personally, I have loved LOST for its commitment to extraordinary story-telling, insanely in-depth character development, and for the way it seamlessly incorporates theology, mythology, popular culture, classic literature, wit, humor, and slow-motion close-ups. Make no mistake about it: there has never been another television show like LOST. It is unique in countless ways.

Think back to the first time you sat down to watch an episode on ABC, or more likely, sat down on a friend's couch to watch his Chinese boot-leg copy of Season Two (as Katie the Dog #1 ran frantic and violent laps around your kitchen's island). Think of how far we've come as fans/viewers. Think of how far the characters we've come to know and love have traveled; how much they have changed. It's been a wild, memorable ride. No other show has garnered the type of rabid devotion (or eaten up more text message charges) that LOST has.

I'm sad to see it go, but loved watching it leave.

There is more than enough to say about what transpired Sunday night over the 2.5 hour series finale. I know I didn't write a review of the previous episode, "What They Died For", so I will be encapsulating some thoughts on that hour as well. It just didn't feel necessary to write a re-cap for an episode that was so obviously a filler/prelude to the big finish.

Let me begin with this: I thoroughly enjoyed the way LOST ended. "The End" was a fascinating extended episode, and in my mind, a wholly legitimate way to wrap up a remarkable show. How do you end something as complex and layered as LOST? How do you make some 15 million fans happy about watching the last episode of the show they've loved so much for so long? Answer: you can't. Answer: you stay true to what the show was really all about all along...the characters themselves.

If you have been confused or frustrated since Sunday night with how LOST wrapped up, consider this: all six seasons...some 120 hours of television...have been one long tale centered around one man named Jack Shepard (and the group of people he experienced the most important events of his life with). The writers/creators of LOST have been consistent since day one in saying to anyone who would listen that the series was always (to them) more about the characters involved than the mysteries and fantastical situations they find themselves in. (More on this point later)

I mention this at the beginning of my final blog-post because I know that there are some who are greatly disappointed in the lack of "answers" about questions ranging from "the numbers" to "DHARMA's origin" to the caskets we saw down in the island's source this past Sunday night when Jack and Desmond first un-corked, then re-corked, the light. We don't always get what we want, but sometimes, we get what we need. And what we needed was closure for the story about the people who have been the vehicle through which all of these other mysteries have come to us.

So let me get to some actual re-capping of the events that transpired, and then I'll conclude with some parting big-picture thoughts on the show as a whole. Since we now know that the off-island, alternate-reality story-line was an after-life setting, I'll focus for now on what happened on the island itself in present time.

I assume everyone is aware of the fact that the on-island happenings were occurring in 2007. The castaways crashed in September of 2004, spent three months or so on the island, and then 6 of them left on a helicopter, while the rest spiraled through time with the bright, white flashes.

So on the island it is 2007, and the submarine has just exploded underwater with Sawyer, Jack, and Hurley barely escaping. Sawyer blames himself for the sub catastrophe, but Jack reminds him that Flocke is the man to blame. As they set out to find Desmond, the young Jacob appears to Hurley and asks for the pouch of his ashes that Hugo had been carrying since Ilana blew up on the beach a few episodes before. Young Jacob takes his own ashes to a fire where he begins to burn up what remains of himself. He tells Hurley that when the ashes stop burning, he (Jacob) will be gone for good. He adds, "We're very close to the end."

The rest of the crew sits around the fire and listens to what Jacob has to say. Kate wants to know what her friends died for, and Jacob proceeds to relay all of the pertinent information. He made a mistake when he pushed his brother into "the source". He is responsible for the Man in Black's smokiness. Because the Man in Black found a way to kill him, Jacob needs a replacement. He chose these people because they were all flawed, all alone, all looking for something they could not find. Kate wasn't disqualified from being a candidate, Jacob had merely been considerate of the fact that she was a mother (to Aaron) for those three years she was off the island.

While Jacob is recounting the situation to the group, Sawyer speaks up and says that Jacob should have left them all alone because they were doing just fine. Jacob points out that this is not the case. Each of the people he called to be a candidate was hurting, alone, and flawed. He says that they needed the island just as much as the island now needed them (or one of them, at least). Jack told Hurley earlier this season that he had come back to the island because he felt broken and hoped "this place" could "fix" him. Now Jack realizes that this task, to be the new protector of the island, is his purpose in life. He willingly accepts, Jacob has him drink some water, and Jack Shepard becomes the new Jacob.

While this is going on, Ben, Miles, and Richard are in Othersville looking for C-4 to blow up the plane. Something interesting Ben says at this time is "I always thought I was calling the Smoke Monster, but it turns out he was the one calling me." He finally realizes that the Smoke Monster had been feeding off of Ben's anger toward his father and used him as a puppet since he was a little kid. Perhaps this is why Richard was almost scared when he met a young Ben Linus in the jungle and Ben told him he had seen his dead mother walking around the night before. Richard knew that only Smokey could do that, and that Smokey was bad. He probably figured that he could help the young boy since Smokey obviously had him in his sights. But Ben's jealousy and bitterness and obsession with being in control played right into Smokey's hands and Linus became a useful idiot for much of his life.

Widmore and his gal-pal Zoe show up and tell Ben that they need to hide from Flocke and that he has a plan to defeat him once and for all. Ben tells them to hide in his secret room and then promptly goes outside to tell Flocke where they are hiding. Zoe gets her throat sliced open and before he gets capped by Ben, Widmore lets Flocke know that Desmond is a fail-safe weapon here to blow up the island if necessary.

Ben and Flocke go to get Desmond from the well, but he is already long-gone, thanks to Rose and Bernard (aka the most boring characters known to mankind). But Flocke isn't phased and lets Ben (and us) know that the finale is going to include him using Desmond to "destroy the island."

...And so we move on to that series finale, and for the last time ever, break down what happened on LOST....

The opening scene in the alternate/heaven/purgatory reality included a conversation that Kate and Desmond had in his car. Desmond, you will recall, had been busy for a number of episodes now. After coming into contact with his constant, Penny, on the steps of a football stadium earlier this season, his mind's eyes had been open to the fact that this wasn't just some alternate reality...this was some stage of the after-life and he was dead. They all were dead. The conversation he had with Kate Sunday night makes much more sense looking back. When she asks him "Why am I here?" he says, "No one can tell you why you are here...not the church...but this place (i.e. the after-life)." He promises he will "show her" what is going on soon enough, but that his motivation is the desire to "move on" (to the next stage of the after-life).

So Desmond, someone for whom "the rules" don't apply, has been playing the role of Clarence the Angel in It's A Wonderful Life. He is the guide for everyone else, working to open their eyes to the reality of their situation. And he has recruited some people, including Hurley, who takes Sayid to the same hotel they had a shoot-out at last season and where Sayid took a tranquilizer dart to the lat. Charlie's in one of the rooms drinking himself into oblivion, and when Hurley can't convince him that playing at the show (where he'll see Claire and have his mind's eyes opened to the fact that they are dead) is the most important thing he'll ever do...Pace gets tranq'ed.

At the hospital, my girl Juliet makes her return to the show as the doctor for Sun and Jin's baby, and as she is taking a peek inside Sun's belly, both Sun and Jin have their consciousnesses opened to their current (deceased) state. When Sawyer comes in a little while later, Sun and Jin tell Detective Ford that they don't need his help/protection. That is because they know they're already dead and nothing can harm them anyway.

This is as good a place as any to comment on the lives our favorite characters were living in their post-death reality. Desmond worked for the father-in-law who never respected him in his real life, yet now loved him and trusted him more than any other employee. James Ford, con man extraordinaire, is a police detective for LAPD. Jack Shepard is still a divorcee and a doctor, but now has a son who he reconnects with (something he and his own father never did). Locke's beloved Helen is with him, but his relationship with his father is still painful (although now it was Locke's fault for turning Anthony Cooper into a vegetable). My point in pointing these things out is simply to highlight the interesting inner turmoil each of these characters had.

Sawyer always felt bad for being the con man he was, so in the after-life he made himself a cop with a heart of gold. His flaws (i.e. wanting to kill a man named Sawyer) were still there, but his fake life was on a better trajectory. I'll talk more about it later, but this ties in with what Christian Shepard told Jack at the end of the finale when the two of them were talking in the back of Eloise Hawking's church..."You guys made this place so you could find each other." So apparently, in the mind of LOST writers, the after-life includes the ability to create your own new reality where character flaws still exist, but where the person's consciousness is given some lee-way in arranging his/her job, family, etc. This sounds a lot like...purgatory.

People have been saying that the island is purgatory for 6 seasons, but they were wrong. The island wasn't purgatory...the people who spent time on the island ended up in purgatory. It might sound like a distinction without a difference, but I disagree. I'm not disappointed in the least with that choice on the part of the writers.

But let me for now stay on track with breaking down the parts of the episode before exploring it as a whole (and the series as a whole)....

I totally called Juliet being Jack's ex-wife in the after-life reality. It just made too much sense and they kept refraining from showing who his ex-wife was so I knew it would end up being someone we'd least expect. Jack and her were ex's of sorts on the island. He loved her for a while before the island moved and he and Kate escaped for three years (while Sawyer and Juliet made a life together). Jack is the spinal surgeon master, and after a season's worth of sales pitches to John Locke, he finally got the original Man of Faith to come and be healed with back surgery. It works, of course, and in a scene that was eerily reminiscent of Jack's healing of his first wife, Sarah, Locke wiggles his toes and suddenly has his mind's eyes opened to the fact that he is in the after-life. Jack caught a fleeting glimpse of his real life back on the island, but instead of embracing it as his other friends did, he leaves the hospital in disbelief and confusion.

Meanwhile, Hurley brings Sayid (and a passed out Charlie) to the parking lot outside of a bar where he begins to try and convince our favorite Iraqi that he is a good person and that a large part of the reason Sayid ended up doing some bad things was that he had too consistently believed other peoples' negative appraisal of him. Sayid seems touched by the fat guy's kind words, but remains unconvinced that he is a soul worth saving. Suddenly a girl gets thrown into the alley behind the bar and Sayid runs to her rescue. It is Shannon, and the two of them embrace as only island lovers can. We learn Boone was in on the set-up with Hurley and both of them seem genuinely happy to have helped their friend/sister wake up to their current posthumous reality.

Then there is the crew at the rock concert and benefit show for the museum. Eloise Widmore's disdain for Desmond Hume makes so much more sense now that we know they're all dead. She didn't want Desmond waking up the consciousness of her son and for Desmond to "take him from me" because she knew her son waking up would mean he would have to realize that he he was dead...and perhaps she didn't want that because she had killed her own son in their earthly lives and wasn't able to move on with her boy? Or she just couldn't help herself. She had lived her entire life trying to control her son and trying to control the destiny of people like Desmond and Jack so why stop now?

Charlies sees Claire, Claire has baby (with help of Kate) and everyone remembers everyone else in the green room.

When Sawyer and Juliet bump into each other, they talk about going for coffee. In case you forgot, or are normal, this was a reference to the last thing Juliet said to Sawyer in the imploded Swan hatch at the beginning of this season. She was trapped under all of the rubble after Jughead went off a the end of last season, and Sawyer went down to console her in her final minutes. She seemed to be mumbling about getting coffee with Sawyer and that the two of them could "go Dutch." She then came to her senses and said "I have something very important to tell you." I believe that in those final moments before she died, she saw the after-life and knew that everything was going to be okay eventually. This is why she told Sawyer (via Miles), "It worked." So now, when they meet in the after-life at the vending machine, those memories came flooding back and she says the same line about going for coffee and Sawyer remembers. He even calls her Blondie and kisses her, just like he did before she died in the Swan station's rubble.

After leaving the hospital, Jack finds Kate at the benefit concert and she now recognizes him although the Man of Science refuses to accept his current state. She tells him that he will understand everything if he'll come with her to the church.

I'm gonna stop here and run through some of the on-island happenings, and then wrap up with a discussion of what went on in the church and in the conversation Jack had with his also-dead dad.

On-island:

Jack, Hurley, Kate, and Sawyer are trying to figure out what to do by the river, as Sawyer and Jack have a brief convo about Jack's new job as the island's protector. Jack says that Desmond is the key to the battle they are engaged in with Flocke, and that they must protect the island at all costs or "it will be the end of us." I must quickly stop here and stress this point: EVERYTHING that has happened on the island that we've seen since the first day they crashed to Jack's closing his eye at the end of this finale is real. It was all real. Jacob, Flocke, DHARMA, the numbers. Everything. I can't say this enough. It all mattered. Jack needed to defeat Flocke. The island did need protecting. The relationships they formed meant something. The numbers had some mystical component to them. The whole kit-and-kaboodle was not for nothing.

This is important to keep in mind because as we analyze (for the last time, sadly) what it all meant on LOST, if you are under the impression after watching the series finale that they all died the first time they crashed on the island back in season one, then your perspective on how you feel about how things ended last Sunday night will be skewed.

So Flocke believes Widmore that Desmond Hume is the fail-safe. He finds Dez at the hut of Bernard and Rose and threatens to kill the lovebirds (and Vincent the Dog, presumably) if Hume won't come with him to the island's source. Desmond says he will and on their way to the well of souls (or whatever you want to call it), they bump into Jack and his merry band. Jack had just told Kate that his task was to save the island. He told Kate that the island "is all I have left" and is the one thing he hasn't ruined. His marriage? Bad. His relationship with his father? Not great. His career? Tanked because he was perpetually tanked and popping pills. This task given to him by the hands of fate (and Jacob) is his purpose in life and by now he's embraced and accepted that.

As this is taking place, Richard and Miles are paddling to Hydra island to blow up the plane. They find Lapidus floating in the wreckage of the submarine and after they bring him aboard he suggests that if the goal is to keep Flocke from escaping...they should just get to Hydra and have him fly them outta there. This is a huge relief to Miles and Richard, especially Richard, who has just found his first gray hair (a sign that Jacob's death meant a normal, mortal life for the dark eye-browed Spaniard).

Back on dry land, eventually Jack, Flocke and Desmond split off yet again and head to the heart of the island together. Jack is convinced that whatever it is Flocke wants to do will not work, and even helps Flocke lower Desmond down the waterfall. Flocke mocks Jack for being the "obvious choice"...but Jack fires back with "I wasn't forced into this position...I chose it." Free will vs. Determinism. A timeless debate. Flocke is someone who wants to tear others down and make them feel like everything is out of their control. But he does this merely because he wants people to listen to him. He wants his own way and has found that an effective strategy at getting people to side with him is to prey upon their weaker instincts; instincts to blame others for their problems.

Jack is confident that Flocke will fail and that Flocke's plan to use Desmond to destroy the island will in the end destroy Flocke. He acknowledges that Flocke is more powerful than he, but puts his trust in the belief that he is there for a purpose and that this purpose will triumph over the selfish desire to destroy Flocke has. Jack is confident that the good guys will win, but admits to Sawyer before going off with Flocke and Desmond that he's not sure how it will play out. Think about how far Jack has come. He was someone who HAD to know everything, had to be in control of everything. Here he is letting go and embracing the Man of Faith mindset his deceased friend John Locke tried to inspire in him for 4-plus seasons.

Right before Jack lowers Desmond into the island's Source, Dez tries to convince Jack that none of the events on the island matter. He says that he will be able to use the white light's power to transport himself (and possibly Jack and the others) to another place where everyone is happy and everything is better. This points to Desmond certainly being the unique man (with unique powers) that he is...but also to his limitations. His mortal self still hadn't figured out that the other place he saw when he got flashed by Widmore's electromagnetic machine a few weeks back was the after-life they'd all end up at eventually. The only way he'd have been able to take Jack and the others to that other place would have been to kill them all. So he needed to try and defeat Flocke. Jack needed to persevere. His time wasn't up. His purposes were not complete. His mortal life mattered and would have eternal consequences. Desmond doesn't see it yet, and Jack isn't totally sure what will happen, but Jack is proven right.

Desmond un-corks the island's power source and things go haywire. The island starts to fall apart at the seems, with pieces of it breaking off into the ocean. But the effect Desmond was going for (i.e. flashing to the alternate reality he saw) didn't happen for him. The effect Flocke was looking for (i.e. the island crumbling in on itself) began to happen, but something else occurred as well: Flocke LOST his powers...he became mortal again. Jack punched him in the face and blood flowed down Flocke's mouth. Both men were shocked, but it seems that the un-corking Desmond did also released Flocke from his gaseous state. Just as Jacob's death released Richard from his eternal life request/curse, I think that when the water drained from the pool Desmond found at the island's source, Flocke was no longer Smokey. That is why Jack could kill him. So in a sense, both Jack and Flocke were right: the island did begin to fall apart when Desmond pulled the plug on the holy water...but pulling the plug meant the end of Flocke's powers (and the beginning of Jack's ability to actually kill the beast).

Oh, and by the way, a lot of people were confused about the skeletons and caskets Desmond/Jack both saw down by the well...I'm guessing those were simply previous "Jacob's".

Flocke knocks Jack out and bolts for the coastline and his sailboat. At the same time, Hurley, Kate, Sawyer, and Ben are waiting to hear what came of the trip to the island's source when the earthquakes hit their part of the island as well. A tree falls on Ben and taking pity on him, the other three work to pull him from under the trunk. The clock is ticking for when Frank, Richard, and Miles will take off back to the real world, so as soon as Ben is free the four of them head for the same coastline and boat.

One interesting thing about the plane and the various attempts to blow it up...looks like Hurley was proven right in the end: the plane should not have been destroyed after all. Perhaps Ilana was blown to pieces as a warning sign from the island to stop following her lead. The spirit of Michael that appeared to Hurley earlier this season was shown to be right in his advice to keep the Ajira plane in-tact.

Jack catches up with Flocke and the two of them have a Matrix:Revolutions, duel to the death, moment on the side of a collapsing cliff. Flocke stabs Jack with his Bowie knife and just before he is about to "finish" him...Kate fires a rifle round into Flocke's abdomen. All of the flesh-wounds that Jack had been seeing on his body in the alternate-reality this season were memories/echoes of this day on the cliff.

Sawyer and Kate decide to make a break for the plane on Hydra island. Oh, and remember how in Season Three the Others had Kate and Sawyer in cages and moving rocks to build a runway on Hydra island...in light of what we've now seen, guess why that was???

Ben decides to "go down with the ship" as it were, and because Hurley the Huge is afraid of heights (just as much as rickety wooden ladders on the sides of cliffs are afraid of people like Hugo) he decides to stick around with Ben and Jack as well. Sawyer and Jack have their final parting handshake, and it seems as if Sawyer has now forgiven Jack for all troubled history between the two of them (including Jack getting Juliet killed last season). Kate and Jack share one last magical kiss and promise to see each other again soon. Jack heads back with his two comrades to the island's source. His plan is to go down the waterfall and figure out how to reverse whatever it is Desmond did. Not knowing if he'd survive, Jack passed on his Jacob-bestowed power to Hurley. We've known Hurley was special for a while, but I think the island (or Jacob) knew all along that the best man for the job of island protector would be the sweetest, nicest caretaker of the whole bunch. Hurley was always the one trying to lift people's spirits. Certainly he had demons of his own, but no one else cared for people like he did.

I loved the exchange between Ben and Hugo where Hurley asks Ben to help him...to be his #2. This is a great reference/homage to the 1960's cult television series "The Prisoner." It was re-made this past year by AMC, but the original was much better. Ben also tells Hurley that the first thing he can do to help someone is find a way to get Desmond off the island and back to his loved ones. Hurley doesn't understand how he could ever hope to accomplish that, but Ben reminds him that Hugo is the new Jacob and can make "the rules" now. Jacob always tried to keep people on the island and made the place so hard to find. Probably because of his messed up childhood and because he knew if his brother (Smokey) ever got off and in to the real world, things would go to heck. Now Hurley can change things.

Sawyer and Kate get over to Hydra, convince Claire to ditch the loony-tunes act (and thousand-yard stare) and join them on the flight home. Even though you knew they would make it off on time, it was still exciting to see at least some of our favorite characters get a chance to escape. Who knows what kind of lives they ending up living, but I'm sure they were grateful for each moment they had.

When Jack gets down the waterfall, he finds a zonked-out Dez laying in a pool of his own electromagnetic juice. He wakes the Scottish superman up and tells him to shimmy on back up the rope and go home to his wife and son. When Desmond asks Jack what will happen next, The Shepard responds with my favorite (and most telling) line of the entire series: "See you in another life, brotha'" That phrase we've heard countless times in the past 5 seasons now takes on such a different and completed meaning. Jack puts the plug back in the well and the waters of island-life begin to flow once more. He smiles with delight as it becomes apparent to him that all the things he has been doing since returning to the island were indeed meaningful. He has completed the task the island (fate) had for him.

Things close out on the island with Jack waking up outside of the island's source and staggering to his final resting place: the same spot he woke up at in the very first few seconds of LOST's pilot episode. The final shot is of Jack's eyes closing as the Ajira plane with his friends soars across the skyline. The circle is complete. I don't know how Jack got out of the cave, but either some magical event happened and he was transported outside of the cave (while still being alive), or he died in the cave and this was a symbolic walk through the jungle. Either way, it doesn't really matter to the bigger picture of what took place. Jack saved the day and came to his final resting place on the island. I would have to say that I lean towards Jack being alive when he stumbles through the jungle and Vincent coming to lay down next to him wasn't just a call-back to the pilot episode, but was also a reference to the fact that some animals have been shown to be able to sense when someone they are close to is about to die.


Final Thoughts/Theories/Conclusions:

-Getting back to the scene in (and around) the church...the alternate reality was of course a stage in the after-life of our characters. The church represented the place where many of them had come together before to make a journey back to the island. Now it was a stepping off point to the great unknown of the rest of the after-life. There were two conversations that told me most of what I needed to know to "figure out" LOST. The first was Ben and Hurley's outside of the church. Locke chatted with Ben for a brief moment and the two of them made amends. Then Hurley came outside where Ben and Hugo exchanged a few words about their time on the island. Hurley said, "You were a great #2," to which Ben replied, "You were a great #1." This means that Hurley and Ben lived on after Jack died in the jungle. This means that Jack really did die when we saw him die in the jungle. He didn't die in the initial Oceanic Flight 815 crash. He wasn't "already dead" like some people are theorizing. He died when we saw him die. And Kate, Richard, etc. all escaped and went on to live their lives back in the real world. Everything we saw in the alternate reality this season was, in human years, decades later.

-Which brings me to the other critically important conversation: the one between Christian and Jack. Christian confirmed Jack was dead and told his son that there is no "now" in the after-life. It is eternity. Christian also confirmed/affirmed that everything his son and his son's friends did in their lives mattered. It was all real. "This place" (the church and the alternate reality we witnessed) was created by Jack and the others in some sort of spiritual subconsciousness. They needed to FIND each other in the after-life before they could move on. And here we get to the crux of the entire show...and forgive me if you feel like I'm repeating myself...the show wasn't REALLY about smoke monsters and numbers and mysteries of DHARMA. It was about people. It was about these people. It was about Sayid and Boone and Charlie and all the rest. It was about their relationships and the profound impact each of them had on each other. Ultimately, it was about Jack Shepard. It was his story of redemption that drove the larger story of LOST. That is why his eye opening and closing were first and last shots fans of LOST saw.

-But a word about all the details and exciting mysteries and literature references...any good story-teller includes these things to keep the audience interested. All of those things were supplementary things to the larger story being told. I think of it this way: I am a Christian who believes in the God of the Old and New Testament. My life has meaning. The little things, as well as the big things, in my life has meaning. Not only to me, but to my God. But I also know that some things are more important than others. What I had for dinner last night (Chipotle) is not of equal importance to who I marry or how I treat my kids some day. But the books I read, the songs I hear, the way I talk to strangers who cut me off in traffic all is part of my story and therefore matters. Those "smaller" things help form and shape my character and, I believe, my eternal soul. So in LOST, everything took place for a reason. Jacob vs. Smokey the Monster was real. The need to protect the island was real. The numbers were real. Fate bringing all of these interesting and unique characters together was real. But all of those things were secondary to the bigger story of the overall lives of those characters and the relationships they formed with one another.

-Another word about the theology in LOST...as a Christian I am always disappointed to see when Christianity is equated with other faiths. This isn't because I think the people who follow other faiths are stupid...but more so because Christianity makes such distinct truth-claims that it is either true or it is pure rubbish. To say Christ is the same as every other religious leader/founder is to say he is nothing. I'm thinking specifically of the scene between Christian and Jack in the back of the church where all the symbols of all the major faiths were in the glass window behind them as they spoke. But I also realize that this is a television show about a magical island. I'm not looking for profound theological insights from Hollywood writers...which is why I enjoyed the finale so much. I'd rather have faith in a Higher Power positively represented, as I believe LOST did, then to see even fictitious characters on an ABC show embrace the empty secular-materialist worldview that people like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins embrace. The themes in LOST were unequivocally religious, and many of them Judeo-Christian. I like that. I like for people to contemplate ideas of sin, redemption, forgiveness, atonement, etc....even if it isn't (to my liking) perfect theology.

-The last thing I'll say in defense of how the show ended is best summed up in a quote from my all-time favorite writer, G.K. Chesterton:

The old fairy tale makes the hero a normal human boy; it is his adventures that are startling; they startle because he is normal. But in the modern psychological novel the hero is abnormal; the centre is not central. Hence the fiercest adventures fail to affect him adequately, and the book is monotonous. You can make a story out of a hero among dragons; but not out of a dragon among dragons. The fairy tale discusses what a sane man will do in a mad world. The sober realistic novel of to-day discusses what an essential lunatic will do in a dull world

What Chesterton is saying here applies directly to how I feel about the end of LOST. This show was so much fun because it placed finite, natural human beings in fantastical, spiritual, supernatural situations. I want to see what people who have the same type of problems we all have (jealousy, hurt from our childhood, guilt, etc.) do when put in to extraordinary situations. LOST provided that. It gets to the heart of the Man of Science-Man of Faith debate that raged on for 6 seasons of the show. How can mankind, especially in modern times where so much of the mystery of life has been stripped from it by technology and secularism, still believe that there are miraculous, supernatural elements to this world and in our lives?

-For MUCH more on the finale, read this by Doc Jensen.

-I've been writing this for a couple hours now and sick of my own thoughts, so if I've left out anything you have specific questions about, post them in the comments section or email me directly and I'll write more about them in the next week or so (before turning down the lights on John Locke's Pants for good).


It's been real, folks. Hope you enjoyed yourself. Stay classy.

-JLP's.




My first and last philosophy, that which I believe in with unbroken certainty, I learnt in the nursery. I generally learnt it from a nurse; that is, from the solemn and star-appointed priestess at once of democracy and tradition. The things I believed most then, the things I believe most now, are the things called fairy tales. They seem to me to be the entirely reasonable things. They are not fantasies: compared with them other things are fantastic. Compared with them religion and rationalism are both abnormal, though religion is abnormally right and rationalism abnormally wrong. Fairyland is nothing but the sunny country of common sense.

It is not earth that judges heaven, but heaven that judges earth; so for me at least it was not earth that
criticised elfland, but elfland that criticised the earth. I knew the magic beanstalk before I had tasted beans; I was sure of the Man in the Moon before I was certain of the moon. This was at one with all popular tradition. Modern minor poets are naturalists, and talk about the bush or the brook; but the singers of the old epics and fables were supernaturalists, and talked about the gods of brook and bush. That is what the moderns mean when they say that the ancients did not "appreciate Nature," because they said that Nature was divine. Old nurses do not tell children about the grass, but about the fairies that dance on the grass; and the old Greeks could not see the trees for the dryads.


-Orthodoxy

Monday, May 17, 2010

Somewhere, Beyond The Sea

LOSTaways-

Jacob is a momma's boy. The Man in Black is "special". Boar-hunting is a perennial past-time on the Island.

And this week's song?

When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that's the best

When I lay me down to die

Goin' up to the spirit in the sky

Goin' up to the spirit in the sky
That's where I'm gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest

Gonna go to the place that's the best

Prepare yourself you know it's a must

Gotta have a friend in Jesus
So you know that when you die

He's gonna recommend you To the spirit in the sky

Gonna recommend you
To the spirit in the sky
That's where you're gonna go when you die

When you die and they lay you to rest

You're gonna go to the place that's the best

Never been a sinner I never sinned
I got a friend in Jesus
So you know that when I die
He's gonna set me up with The spirit in the sky


No, I didn't just pick this tune because it was on the Soundtrack for Wayne's World 2.

Welcome to the 3rd-to-last blog ever on John Locke's Pants. It hurts to even say/type it, but it's true and we all need to start preparing ourselves to handle the cold-hard truth that the greatest show ever made by humans is drawing to a climatic end this month. Actually, as of the writing of this re-cap, we are less than one week away. Wow.

Now, I've already heard from some of my more cuter, brunette LOST-friends/readers that they did not care for this week's episode, Across the Sea. I respectfully disagree. Was it Richard-Alpert-Back-Story-Good? No. Few episodes are. I'll acknowledge that the child actors, who were necessary to tell this story, were less than stellar. Did it answer every question still burning in the hearts and minds of LOST fans everywhere? No. But we have been wondering who Jacob is for three seasons, and Flocke for more than one, and we were given some significant pieces of the puzzle to their mysteries.

Jacob and Flocke's mom was a Roman woman on a ship headed towards who-knows-where when it was "brought" the Island's shores "by accident". My guess is, like Jacob bringing the plane to the Island, the batty broad who became his mommy brought their real mother (the foxy Claudia) and her ship to our favorite tropical locale.

(Note: If you know of any God-fearing, conservative gals in their 20's who look like this chica to the left...and they are single...my email is rj@rjmoeller.com. Use it.)

There was, of course, much symbolism for the way in which the two twin boys came into the world. Jacob was born first (the opposite of the Jacob-and-Esau story from the Bible) and came down the hatch (LOST-pun intended) a calm baby. His brother did not get a name because Claudia didn't even know she had twins inside of her. He was the mistake. The Island's priestess (we'll be calling her Mother for the rest of this blog) wrapped baby Jacob in white swaddling and nameless brother (Smoke Monster) in black.

Oh, and then Mother bashed Claudia's skull in with a big rock.

The boys were her possessions. She needed them. She had hoped for one replacement, and now had two to choose from. She could raise them however she saw fit. She could play favorites, and more importantly, continue to play goddess of the island. She held all of the secrets and did everything she could to keep her fake-sons in the dark. She told them there was nothing else out there, which was more than enough to satisfy the contented Jacob...but for the Kid in Black, the future Smoke Monster, the answers Mother gave were not satisfying for his burning curiosity.

Eventually the boys started to grow up and Kid in Black asked more and more questions. It didn't help that he found a foreign game-board on the beach, a clear-cut sign that life exists somewhere else (perhaps across the sea). Kid in Black told Jacob that he "just knew" the rules of the board game, Senet. He addded, "One day you will have a game that you can make up all the rules for." Huh. You don't say.

Now is as good of a time as any to delve into a discussion of "the rules". We had the rules that existed between Ben and Widmore (i.e. "Don't kill my daughter and I won't kill your daughter") and that were broken when Widmore's boat-people stormed Othersville and capped Alex in the cranium. Widmore also allegedly broke a rule when he routinely left the Island and had a family (and a daughter named Penny) with a woman back in the real world. For that he was banished by Ben.

Then there were "the rules" alluded to during the discussion Jacob and Man in Black had on the beach at the beginning of the season finale episode "The Incident" last year (i.e. "We cannot kill one another directly.") During last week's episode, on the way to show the boys the magic cave they needed to protect (more on the cave upcoming), Mother said "I've made it so that you two can never hurt one another." This is obviously the genesis of the rules as we know them. It seems that whoever is the protector of the Island can set some of the terms by which other people must live. Perhaps there are limits to the rules themselves, but Mother was able to grant eternal life to her sons (see: When Kid in Black asked "What is death?", she said "Something you won't ever have to experience"), thereby protecting them from death at the hand of the other. She wanted to avoid the Cain and Abel tragedy of mankind's first family.

We've now confirmed that the little blonde boy we've seen running around the jungle this season is a younger Jacob, tormenting his twin brother (Flocke) with the constant reminder that there are rules. But what are these new rules that Jacob has set up? I used to think that they involved protection for his "candidates", but some of them, like Sun and Jin, did die. And indirectly because of Flocke, no less. So are these rules able to be broken? Are they completely arbitrary, beholden to the whims of the island's protector?

Moving right along...after the boys find the game, Jacob goes back and tells on his brother having a board game because he is a regular Honest Abe. Mother goes to confront Kid in Black, but ends up telling what I believe to be a lie: "I left that game for you to find on the beach." Maybe Mother did leave it, or maybe it really did wash up on the shore. I say she is lying because it would fit with her whole "I'm going to lie, cheat, steal, and bash people over the head with a rock to keep my island and its secrets safe" attitude. She needs to keep her boys from inquiring too much about the outside world, so lying about the game, in her mind, helps to defuse the young boy's curiosity.

She also tells her son that he is "special." This is the same thing Locke was told throughout his time on the island to keep him going as part of the Smoke Monster's plan. So it is interesting to see that the thing the Man in Black used to lure Locke in was the same thing that his mother had told him when he was a pre-smokey youngster. More than almost anything else, what I took away from this episode, in regards to the character development of Jacob and Flocke, is that Flocke is nothing more than an angry little kid who never really grew up.

Things come to a head for the three's company when the boys see that there are people in the island with them (and they love boar meat as much as the next jungle-dweller). Mother's plan of slowly indoctrinating her boys, which reminded me of Ben's plan to get Jack to want to perform surgery on his tumor-ridden spine in Season Three, was no longer an option. She knew if she was going to keep them from leaving her, and this duty to protect the island that weighed so heavily on her, she would have to cough up some good explanations for her deceptive parenting.

The boys are led, blindfolded, to a cave with a stream running in, and a glowing yellow light streaming out of it. She tells them that the reason they need to stay away from other people is that they are greedy and deadly and selfish and wicked. Her exact words, "They come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt and it always ends the same," are the ones used by Flocke last season during his conversation with Jacob on the beach as a new ship of potential candidates rolls in on the tide. So again, we hear in Flocke an echo of the teachings he learned from the mother he hated enough to eventually stab. He is a guilt-ridden Smoke Monster if I ever saw one.

Mother says that the thing that needs protecting on the Island is "The Source", a well-spring of "life, death, and re-birth." This reminded of the Star Trek movie The Search For Spock in which the crew of the Enterprise launch Spock's dead carcass to a planet that apparently is capable of re-generating life. Mother says that some the light in the cave of life is in each human being. She says that although humans cannot possess "the source", they try to find it and horde it for themselves. Tale as old as time. I know this explanation Mother gave her sons (and we viewers) as to hat "the source" is might not be all too satisfying, but I am the kind of person who doesn't need everything answered right away so I am content for now. I do like that the island has an unmistakably "spiritual" component to it. If they tried to make every answer a scientific one, I'd be furious. The fact that the writers did not get too specific as to what that spiritual power is does not bother me in the least. A television show doesn't need to try to answer life's deepest mysteries.

Mother tells the boys that one of them will succeed her, but then that begs the question, "Who came before you?" She told Kid in Black that she "came from my mother"...did she really have a mother that gave birth to her on the island? There are so many other questions I now have about the history of the island, but for a show that only will run six seasons, and is much more about the people/characters involved than all the mythological mysteries, I doubt we'll hear much more about the island's back-story. The fact is that even the protectors of the island are human beings, not mystical creatures. Flocke is slightly different, but that is because he (unwillingly) went into "the source" and came out separated from his mortal body and in the form of a black pillar of smoke.

Mother had told Jacob that to go into "the source" was a fate worse than death. I'm guessing she knew what the result would be. Man in Black found out. The hard way.

Okay, so the biggest thing that jumped out to me from this episode was this: after the boys are shown the source, their real mother, my girl Claudia, appears to Kid in Black (and only Kid in Black). Jacob can't see her. Why is this? When Mother told Kid in Black that he was "special", like Hurley heard from Ben when he could see the cabin and no one else could in Season Four, did she really mean it? More importantly: who is Claudia? Is it just her spirit stuck on the island like Michael is now? Or is it another competing force on the island? Is there someone above Mother that is REALLY controlling the show? Or did Mother have an arch-enemy on the island that was able to appear in spirit form?

Assuming that Claudia is really just Claudia...like Richard's wife was really just his wife when she spoke (via Hurley)...like, presumably, Michael is really just Michael...then Jacob and Flocke are not the only ones on the island who have a say in what happens on it. I guess we already kind of knew this, but I think it is now confirmed. I think part of the writers' intent with this episode was to show us that much of what we thought was so important was really just the long-standing feud between two bitter brothers who never asked for any of this responsibility.

Claudia takes her "special" son to see the rest of the island, and after seeing what the villagers are up to, Kid in Black packs his belongings, tries unsuccessfully to convince his bro-bro Jacob to join him, and takes off for his new life with "his people." The villagers represent what DHARMA did: outsiders...people with greedy, selfish interests....people who come and fight and kill and ruin things for those charge with protecting the island. Kid in Black is drawn to them because he wants more for his life than what his fake-Mother picked.

Before leaving for good, Mother tells him "No matter what you are told...you'll never be able to leave the island." This becomes the young man's obsession for the rest of time (and the rest of the show, as we've seen it for 5-plus seasons). Think about it: almost all of the events on the island during the last five seasons have been, in part, influenced, affected, or directed by Flocke's drive to leave the island. That is a HUGE piece of the puzzle in terms of motivation. It's been talked about before this week's episode, but again, we had solid confirmation and got to see the historical and emotional reasons why Flocke wants off the island so bad.

The next 30 years of his life, Man in Black works with his hands (and his head) to discover a way off the island. They dig and find another pocket of the source's incredible power/energy. They build a big donkey wheel to bend time. So at first he tried to be civil about leaving. He was going to peaceably leave with his new invention and go back to whatever it is he thought waited for him back in the real world. But then Mother found out...she knocked her estranged son out with (shocker!) a rock, and then proceeded to kill all of the villagers he was with and bury the hole they had dug. Now, throughout the entire show I've been wondering how it is that The Others were so super-humanly strong. They beat up people much bigger than themselves. They tread softly in the jungle. They were super-soldiers. Now Mother, this middle-age woman in bare feet and a burlap sack for a dress on knocked her son out, re-buried a massive hole in the ground, and then killed men and women and burned down their homes. Does that strike anyone else as fantastical in and of itself?

When Man in Black comes to, he goes on a rampage and murders his own mother. The last thing Mother says before she croaks is "I love you...thank you." Maybe being the island's protector isn't all that it is cracked up to be? Maybe the stress she was under from having murdered and lied and deceived for so long was to much to bear? Nothing excuses the actions we saw Mother take to "protect the island", because many of them were heinous, but it's not always easy being a leader (See: Jack). Maybe the only way island-protectors can leave their post is if they are killed...and she pushed the son she loved because she needed someone to kill her and knew that Jacob never would. Just throwing out some possible ideas. We might never even find out, but it's fun to speculate, no?

The end of the episode is Jacob burying his brother and mother in the caves...Adam and Eve...and we see that Jacob is also a hurting son with childhood issues. He is a perceptive guy who knew that the fake Mother he chose to stay with when his brother left still loved the prodigal son more. That hurt him, as well it should have. But he remained faithful. He was the Man of Faith vs. the Man in Black's Man of Science.

I had finals this past week so I am all typed-out for now...but there are 3.5 hours left of the show and I promise a big finish to the John Locke's Pants journey you've been on with me for 3 years. Tonight's new episode is entitled "What They Died For" and is a one-hour venture. Then we have the Series Finale this upcoming Sunday, May 23rd at 8pm. That will be 2.5 hours.


Random Thoughts/Theories:

-The water in The Temple that supposedly has healing powers is, I believe, some of the water from "the source". Remember the under-water cave that Jack, Sayid, Richard, and pregnant Eloise Hawking swam under to get the nuke from? I bet that was the tunnel we saw Man in Black get pushed down into by Jacob this past week. To explain why the water can turn dark and not work (as in the case of Sayid)...I think when Flocke was pushed by Jacob into "the source", it sullied the island's full effectiveness and gave Flocke a certain degree of power/control. The water was sometimes darker because the island was now darker with the presence of Smokey the Monster. It was a battle for the island between good and evil, and even the healing waters of the Temple were caught up in the cosmic struggle.

-If you want a fuller re-cap, with some crazy/bizarre cultural references that I didn't have the time to more adequately research myself, then please read Doc Jensen's re-cap here.



Namaste,

Flocke's Pants

Monday, May 3, 2010

Save The Last Recruit For Me

LOSTaways-

This week's song (slightly modified) is from that classic 90's one-hit wonder Joan Osbourne.

If Flocke had a name, what would it be
And would you call it to his face
If you were faced with him in all his glory
What would you ask if you had just one question

And yeah yeah Flocke is great yeah yeah Flocke is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

What if Flocke was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home

If Flocke had a face what would it look like
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that you would have to believe
In things like heaven and in Jacob and the saints and all the Others

What if Flocke was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
Just trying to make his way home
Like a holy rolling stone
Back up to Black Rock all alone
Just trying to make his way home
Nobody calling on the phone
Except for the pope maybe in rome

We had to suffer through a week-off from LOST, which I guess when compared to the prospect of permanently suffering from weeks off from LOST is not all that bad. Two Tuesdays ago we were treated to the The Last Recruit, a rollicking good time of double-backs, double-crosses, and intense close-ups of characters staring/glaring at each other. Let's call this last episode what it was: a set-up hour for bigger things to come. Some of you might be checking your watches/calenders and are aware of the fact that we only have three more one-hour weeks before the two-hour season finale on Sunday May 23rd and are wondering, "How are they going to wrap this thing up with so little time left?"

Let not your worried heart be troubled. They've taken us this far, it's been one heck of a ride, and they have 5 more hours of television to go before you can critique or praise the Season Six story-line till the DHARMA cows come home from The Flame station.

Off-island, Alternate-reality:

The cliff-hanger from three Tuesdays ago was Desmond steam-rolling a wheel-chaired Locke back with his high-performance motor vehicle in the parking lot of the high school John, Ben, and Arzt all teach at. I pontificated then that perhaps Desmond was simply trying to "awaken" in Locke a memory of their real lives (the ones we've watched unfold the previous 5 seasons). In the immortal words of John Locke to Mr. Ekko in the season two finale: "I was wrong..."

It's clear to me now that Desmond was trying to kill the man that the Smoke Monster would one day use to enact his plan for an island escape. Desmond knows more than we know he knows.

On the way to the hospital, Ben, of all people, is the man in the back of the ambulance who is watching the man he once murdered (in another life, brotha') slip into unconsciousness on the gurney before him. Locke utters the name of his beloved "Helen Norwood" as his next-of-kin and it suddenly dawned on me that we were about to see a Locke-Jack reunion in the operating room. Of course we knew which hospital Locke would be taken to before we saw it. Sure enough, by the end of the episode, there was Jack standing above the prostrated body of John Locke. The big question on my mind: Will Jack promise John that he will "dance at your wedding"?

When Locke was being wheeled into the emergency room, Sun's stretcher "just happened" to be cruising next to his and when she looked over and saw the bald wonder she began to excitedly repeat, "It's him...It's him." We know that the Sun could not be saying this because of anything that has happened since the new Oceanic 815 flight landed at LAX in the season six opener. It HAD to be her subconsciousness awakening and remembering the Locke (or perhaps, Flocke) of the island life she once lived (or will live). Now that she is aware of their past/future lives, perhaps she will get Jin-son on-board for whatever scheme Faraday is hatching to course-correct their Jughead-induced alternate reality? You know something like that is coming...

We also saw Kate and Sawyer play their flirty games in the police station, but there was nothing too interesting or earth-shattering that happened there. The biggest news to come from that scene was that they knew Sayid was the man responsible for the shooting deaths at Keamy's restaurant. The dynamic duo race off to Sayid brother's house and use the old "tripped up by the unsuspecting garden hose" routine to capture the fleeing Iraqi. I foresee some lively, sarcastic banter between those three goons in a cop car in our near future.

Desmond "bumps into" Claire at the office building her adoption agency is located in, and offers to bring her to a lawyer who can really help her with all the in's, all the out's, of her complicated situation. The lawyer turns out to be recently-imploded Ilana Verdansky, and as luck/fate would have it, Ms. Verdansky is looking for Claire because she is also the lawyer handling Christian Shepard's last will and testament and Claire's gonna get a piece of the family pie. Which is why Jack and son David are in the building as well. We were treated to an awkward family reunion, one interrupted by an urgent call for Dr. Jack to come operate on a further-wounded John Locke.

All-in-all, we didn't learn a whole lot from the off-island story-line this last episode. It was supplementary material, hopefully meant for a bigger purpose and pay-off.

On-island:

Flocke and Jack decide to have one of their infamous pow-wow's in the jungle, and I thought it interesting how Flocke sat down but Jack declined the offer and instead struck an investigative pose...as if he were crouching down to get a closer look at a plant or insect he'd never seen before but wanted to learn more about. He was studying Flocke. He even said something to the effect of, "The thing that bothers me is I have no idea what the hell you are."

Well, at one point, Jack, he played the part of your deceased father on the island. He led you to water in the caves in season one. He used Christian Shepard's form to influence you, Claire, and John Locke in his grand scheme to bolt from the island and, if Jacob is telling the truth, unleash hell-on-earth.

Flocke still maintains that John Locke was a "sucker" and that Jack is too if he thinks there is any real purpose for him ever being brought to the island. Flocke blames Jacob and encourages Jack (among others) to do the same. He paints himself as the one who has been trying to help the castaways the whole time. He tells Jack that it has to be "all of us" (the candidates and Flocke) that leave together. This is the same thing that Eloise Hawking told Jack and the Oceanic Six back in the real world when she was convincing them to get of Ajira Flight 316. The whole "live together, die alone" mantra has been a consistent theme of this show from the word "go". But is it true now? Was it ever true? Is Flocke luring all of them together so that he can more easily dispose of them (and everyone else)?

Flocke and Jack are heading back to the camp after their pow-wow when Claire emerges from the dense jungle hoping to re-unite with her bro-bro. Flocke leaves them to it, and Claire thanks Jack for being a part of Team Flocke with her now...Jack says he hasn't made up his mind, but Claire sinisterly says "The moment you let him talk to you, you were one of his." What's with the "don't even let him talk to you" recurring warnings? Dogan tells Sayid to not let Flocke talk to him before he stabs him. Smoke Monster tells Richard back in the 1860's to stab Jacob before he talks. Now Claire's saying that the moment Flocke talked, Jack was caught in his venus fly trap. She seemed happy to have someone else caught in the same trap she is already in. Claire doesn't seem totally comfortable with what's happened to her or in her relationship with Flocke.

Back at camp, Sawyer's hatching a scheme to shanghai Flocke's boat and pick Jack and the gang up at another locale on the coast. Then, if that all goes according to plan, they will sail to Hydra Island where they will have to shanghai Widmore's submarine (while he's distracted fighting Flocke). Easy, right?

Well actually it all did go according to plan...except for the fact that first Claire shows up and threatens to shoot people because they ditched her, and then Jack does a...well...jack-knife off the skiff and swims back to be with his one true Flocke. With all due respect to Claire, of course they tried to ditch her. She's insane. She walked away from her baby in the middle of the jungle one night in season four because the dead dad she hated in real life (Christian Shepard) appeared to her and told her "Let's roll to my cabin crib." Then she lived on the island in a disgusting yurt and when Kate came to rescue her, she tried to stab her a few episodes ago.

I wouldn't want her serving me queso dip at Chilis, let alone on a long submarine ride in a confined vessel underwater.

But the big shock came when Jack plugged his nose and jumped-ship on the way to Hydra. Sawyer told him to get off his boat because James is tired and wants to go home and doesn't have the patience for "destiny" or "purpose" any longer. Not that he ever really did, but as soon as Juliet took some DHARMA scaffolding in her thorax/abdomen, he was checked out. Jack, on the other hand, has increasingly become a Man of Faith and was ready to become "the last recruit." Now, if he really intends on joining up with Flocke, or if he is just doing this as some sort of grand diversionary tactic, that remains to be seen. But I like New Jack. I like that he has decided to finish what his "friend", the real John Locke, began back in season one. What drove John is what drives Jack: redemption.

Locke was broken when he came to the island, and even though the two never saw eye to eye on much of anything the past five seasons, I think Jack finally now sees that John Locke was not some nut, not some "sucker"...just a man who wanted to be made whole again.

Widmore sends Zoe to bring a message to Flocke: we can blow you up at a moment's notice. That gives me pause because wouldn't Widmore know that Flocke cannot be destroyed with conventional weapons (like knives and bullets)? If that is the case, if Widmore does in fact know that Flocke cannot be killed with the missiles he's sending, then is Widmore making a veiled threat to Flocke that he will kill all of these people with Flocke (which would imply that Flocke needs those people)? I'm a little confused here, so if you have thoughts/insights, feel free to reveal them in the Comments section below.

Flocke also sends Sayid to kill Desmond who is chilling in the well he was pushed in to. Desmond appeals to what humanity is left in Sayid and challenges him on what the Iraqi will say to his lady-love when she asks, "What did it take for you to bring me back to life?" Dropping the "I had to murder an innocent man in a well" bomb on your woman likely doesn't go over as well as you might think. Desmond, obviously, is still alive. We'll see him again very soon I imagine.

Things wrap up with Sawyer's gang reaching Hydra Island and Zoe and Widmore's gang emerging from the woods and telling them that "the deal is off" and for Widmore (who is one radio's call away) to open fire on Sawyer, Kate, Claire, Frank, Sun, and Jin. I was shocked by this, but shouldn't have been. Widmore is still a creep, even if he is there to destroy Flocke. I think what is emerging is the fact that even the "good" guys aren't as good as we think they are. I was completely under the impression that Widmore was, in fact, a changed man...but I shouldn't have been. He is a man who disposes of all the things/people he no longer needs. He is ruthless and heartless. Now, it seems, no one can be trusted...almost like the writers of LOST wanted us slightly confused as we head into the home stretch of the show's sixth and final season.

The last line of the episode is Flocke telling Jack, "You're with me now." We shall see.

Random Thoughts/Theories:

-The "drink the kool-aid" line that Sawyer delivers in regards to Claire's mental state is a reference to the Jonestown Massacre where a bunch of kooks drank cyanide-laced purple stuff to get closer to God. The name of the cult? The Peoples Temple.

-Ben called Locke a "believer" at the small funeral they had for him on the beach earlier this season. Flocke called Locke a "sucker." Who do you say that Locke is?

-Just like Sawyer jumped off the helicopter at the end of Season Four for the good of the group, Jack does the same this time around by jumping off the boat. That assumes that Jack jumping off and going back to "be with" Flocke will end up being a good thing, I suppose.

-For more thoughts/theories, read Doc Jensen's more in-depth column here.


There's really not much more to say about The Last Recruit. It was an interesting, somewhat exciting episode, but I think we're in for a real treat with this week's "The Candidate."

TTYL.

-John Locke's Pants

Friday, April 23, 2010

Great LOST interview


Wired magazine has done an excellent write-up on LOST, as well as an in-depth interview with the two main writers/creators of the best show made by humans. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse are definitely nerds, but smart, funny, and talented nerds.

Enjoy the article, and be on the lookout for a re-cap of "The Last Recruit" (hopefully) this weekend.

Monday, April 19, 2010

He Love Me (Me = Hugo)

LOSTaways-

Hurley does a Snow White impression, Desmond does a Baby Jessica impression, and Locke does a...well...Locke impression. Hurley's memory is awoken with a kiss. Desmond falls down a well. Locke gets violently injured, unexpectedly.

Quite a lot going on for a Hurley-centered episode, no?

Right off the bat, I must point out that another HUGE mystery was revealed this past week: the whispers in the jungle are the aimless souls of those who have perished on (or around) the island and "can't move on." So don't say we never get any secrets divulged. That is a big one in my book.

Also requiring immediate attention: Libby's back and she's battier than ever (Hey ya, Hey ya). Back in Season Two, in the episode where Hurley's imaginary friend (Dave) tempted him to eat and jump off a cliff, we saw a Mad-Lib Libby shaking and convulsing in the corner of the same mental hospital Hurley was in. Albeit her re-appearance came in the alternate-reality, off-island story, but Libby's return was another nice treat in an action-packed episode.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't briefly highlight the reference to another amazing book in this episode. My favorite fiction writer is Fyodor Dostoyevsky (I'm reading Poor Folk right now), and I was THRILLED to see Hurley uncover Notes From The Underground among Ilana's effects after she got "all blowed up." (More on what that book means to this episode and LOST on a bigger scale later.) I can't say it enough...there is NO SHOW in human history that goes to these lengths to include classic works of literature as well as profound moral and theological themes.

On to the episode, Everybody Love Hugo...

Off-island:

Hurley is honored at a dinner at the museum that Miles' dad (Pierre Chang) and Charlotte work at. He is portrayed as a generous man who has enjoyed great success and even better luck. He is the anti-Hurley that we know in many ways. But this new Hurley is still self-loathing and lonely. Hurley knows his own faults, finds ways to stay positive and live with them, but always seems unwilling to do something to change his situation. Things happen to Hurley...rarely does he cause them.

His mother sets him up on a date at Spanish Johnny's (not to be confused with the Spanish-speaking people who work at Johnnies Beef in Arlington Heights, IL) and instead he gets a rendezvous with Libby who is on a nut-house fajita field trip. She recognizes Hurley from somewhere, but Hurley the Hut has no recollection of the blonde bombshell. Like the Disney classic Snow White, Hurley's gonna need a smooch to wake his memory from its slumber. That kiss he gets a little later on the beach when he and Libby finally get that date on a blanket (one not soaked in Libby's flesh-wound blood).

But how did he get to the point of being willing to step outside his comfort zone, pay off a mental institute's director, and take Libby on a date? Short answer: Desmond Hume. Dez is playing the role that Eloise Hawking played in his own past life...namely, someone intervening in the lives of others in the service of the island. We don't yet fully know what Desmond off-the-island and in alternate-reality land knows (and when he knew it), but it seems like after his electromagnetic shock in the shack two weeks ago that he's becoming more fully aware of the existence of two time-lines for himself and all the other key players. That is why he asked for the Oceanic 815 passenger manifest list: he wants to hunt each person down and do what he can to arouse in them a self-awareness of their pre-Jughead lives.

All the stuff with Libby in this episode, while cool, was fairly self-explanatory so I won't be spending much time on what she had to say. She remembers her other life (which also included time in a loony-bin), she remembers Hurley and their relationship on an island, she remembers a plane crash, and she remembers that Hurley loves to eat copious amounts of unhealthy foods. Hurley doesnt...until they smooch, that is.

But the biggest, most shocking off-island moment clearly was the head-on collision between Desmond's car and Locke's unsuspecting body. I love how the moments leading up to that hit-Locke-and-run included Benjamin Linus confronting Desmond for leering at children outside of a school in the parking lot. But he wasn't pulling a Stranger Danger, he was peeping Locke's movements so he could line up his horse power just right and knock the Bald Wonder into next week.

So why did he do it? Locke survived the hit (which isn't surprising after living to see another day after an 8-story fall), so was Desmond's goal to wake Locke up to the other reality (in the same way Charlie woke Dez up by driving their car off the road into the ocean)? It seems that there are better ways to do that than hitting a man in a wheelchair. No, I think the more likely scenario involves the fact that Desmond is aware of both realities now and knows what Locke will turn in to...Flocke The Smokey One. I think Old Hume was trying to "off" alternate-reality Locke. (More on this in the Thoughts/Theories section below)

And questions surrounding the Locke-Hume relationship is a nice segue into the...

On-Island Story:

Hurley and Ilana share a moment on the beach when she stumbles upon Hugo talking to the grave of his beloved and deceased Libby. He wonders aloud, "Why haven't you (Libby) come to see me?" As we later find out, the voices and whispers are the souls of people who can't move on. So does this mean Libby did move on? Or is the Smoke Monster messing with Hurley and all of the people who appear are really Smokey himself? Didn't Flocke tell us he was a trapped soul (that couldn't move on)? Are the voices then good or bad?

Michael appears to Hurley on the beach after Ilana informs him of the plan to blow up the plane with Black Rock dynamite, and tells Hugo that people are listening to him now and if he lets people die by blowing up that plane it will be on his conscience. But I think Michael, assuming he is a trapped soul, might have ulterior motives for not wanting the plane to be destroyed. Perhaps his (and the other lost souls') fate is tied to Flocke's ability to escape. Perhaps if Flocke can get off the island, Michael and the whispering voices will be free? It doesn't even have to be that Michael is working with Flocke, but maybe they want the same goal: to get Flocke off the island and be freed from their spiritual shackles.

Either way, Michael's soliloquy has its intended effect and Hurley goes back to the beach-camp and begins his sales pitch against blowing up the plane. Ilana isn't buying it, and neither is Richard...but only one of those two explodes into a thousand little pieces of flesh and bones. Ilana does her best Dr. Arzt impression and the beach crew is left stupefied. How is it that the woman sent to protect them...the woman hand-picked by Jacob...the woman who seems to be on the side of "right"...that she has now been "called home" by the island? As Ben eventually put it, if that's how the island treats one of its guardians, what hope do the rest of them (and us) have?

First of all, Jacob himself wasn't above being killed. As in the case of the story of the life of Jesus Christ, sacrifice doesn't always make sense, and can be distressing to a leader's followers when he is killed or persecuted, but death isn't always the end of the tale. Especially on this island.

And if Jacob is fair game to be sacrificed, why not Ilana? To take the comparison in another, nerdier, direction, Obi-wan Kenobi in the first Star Wars trilogy sacrificed himself in the very first movie, only to play an integral part from beyond the grave throughout the second two installments. "If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you could ever imagine," is what Obi-wan told the man in black, Darth Vader.

Newly-inspired and emotionally re-charged Richard Alpert is undeterred by Ilana's implosion and recruits Ben and Miles to accompany him to the Black Rock for more firepower. Ilana was told by Jacob that Richard would know what to do, Richard was told by his wife (through Hurley, of all people) that he needed to stop Flocke from leaving the island, and so he wants to blow up the plane. Assuming that Richard's wife Isabella was a legit spirit and not Flocke, this then speaks to Michael's spirit appearing to Hurley and telling him to NOT blow up the plane to be an illegitimate piece of advice.

I believe so much of this will come down to figuring out which dead people who appear are good, and which are bad? If Isabella appearing was actually Flocke (who was nearby in the jungle while Hurley was translating Ghost-speak for Richard), then Michael's warning against blowing up the plane is the right one to listen to. But if Michael is a spirit trying to break free when Flocke leaves the island, then Isabella was right and was probably sent by Jacob.

Hurley "changes his mind" and rallies the troops (and garners Jack's full trust and support) to go with Richard, Ben, and Miles to the Black Rock. Only, Hugo's plan is to listen to Michael's warnings and blow up the slave ship. We don't need to get into the creative license the writers of LOST took with somehow getting Hurley The Ranch-on-a-lead Eater to beat everyone else in a foot-race to the Black Rock...the important thing is that he did get their first and did blow it up. It was a line-in-the-sand moment for everyone there. Hurley was drawing the line to say "The plan was wrong, I know what to do...kind of."

A disgusted Richard takes off again to Othersville with Ben and Miles and warns the rest of them to not get in their way. So once more we have another faction splitting off to further complicate the dynamics on the island. I love it! Richard knew Hurley was lying because Hugo couldn't tell Ricardus "what the island is" (see: bottle of win explanation Jacob gave Richard 150 years earlier).

After the three amigos march off to find more explosives, Sun asks Frank if they've made a mistake hitching their wagons to Hurley's rising star, to which Frank wisely responds "Probably." Meanwhile, Jack conveys to Hurley why he is following him now: the island (and life) has broken Jack's spirit and he's ready to be a follower. It doesn't come easy to him, but he's tried things his own way for so long (with "mixed" results), that he's ready to put his trust in other people for the first time in his life. Even if by doing this Jack ends up dead, I love the personal growth that Jack's character has gone through. He's become a Man of Faith, despite the inner desire to control everything. He's showing his friend Hurley that he cares about, and trusts, him. Jack hasn't raised the white flag...he's merely relinquishing his insistence upon always being in charge and always having to be in the front.

Hugo also has doubts about his own abilities and decision-making skills, and the scene between he and Jack, both sharing their fears and doubts, was a good one.

Over on the other side of the island, Flocke, Sawyer, and the rest are waiting for word from Sayid about his trip to the Hydra Island. Flocke is whittling something from a large stick, and when Sawyer asks him what he's making, he responds with the cryptic "When the time is right, it will tell me." Wow. That's a brain-buster of a philosophical statement. Flocke and Jacob each seem to have separate powers and abilities. They are the representatives of Good and Evil on the island...men on the front line in the spiritual battle between heaven and hell. But they each seem to also be lacking certain things (and certain pieces of information...about each other...about the island...etc.).

Flocke, like Locke, is unhappy with his own fate and actively seeks out ways to change his circumstances. The stick in this week's episode, to me, represented the fact that Flocke doesn't have all the answers, but is ready and willing to respond to his chance to leave the island when it presents himself. It's symbolic of how Flocke has operated...sitting back...watching...studying (like, for example, how long he let Richard sit in the hold of the ship)...and then making his decision and sticking with it. Sure, he's a smoke monster that has some power, but he is limited in his knowledge and understanding and ability on the island.

Sayid returns and calls Flocke aside to show him a tied-up Desmond (looking completely un-phased). He apologizes for Sayid imprisoning him, and the two of them go on a walk together to the infamous well (where the frozen donkey time machine wheel is housed). Along the way Flocke begins his typical sales-pitch to Desmond...he reminds Dez of how bad the island's been to him, likely hoping to recruit him in the same way he did Claire and Sayid. But the New Desmond, the one who has been through the electromagnetic torture in the wooden shack, is calm as a cucumber and ready with a response to Flocke's reminder of how bad the island's been to Hume: "I'm not special, brotha'...this island has it in for all of us."

And boom goes the Black Rock dynamite. That comment from Desmond irks Flocke. He realizes that Desmond is indeed special and completely unafraid of him. Flocke needs people to either be his lackeys, or to greatly fear him. But Desmond, for whatever reason, is unmoved by Flocke. He sticks it to Flocke even more when he says, "Ya, I know who you are...You're John Locke." Now of course this could mean many different things, but what I took away from it was that Desmond somehow now knows that there is nothing to fear and that Flocke is ultimately a largely powerless being, subject to the same hand of destiny we all are. It could also be a jab at Flocke for having had to kill so many people (primarily, John Locke) to accomplish the things he has thus far. Or it could be Desmond appealing to the humanity of the Smoke Monster who has said himself that he was once a normal man himself.

Whatever the deeper meaning of Desmond's comments may be, the result is the same: he gets shoved down the well. This happens in poetic contrast to what happens a few moments later back in the alternate-reality world of 2004 where Desmond plunks Other Locke with his sweet ride.

Oh, I almost forgot...as Dez and Flocke are walking to the well, the same boy from earlier this season (the one with blood on his hands) appears again in the jungle. Both men can see the boy, and Flocke appears both angry and scared by the child's cameo. The boy did appear to be a little older this time, but that could be a "Walt" situation where the actor playing him hit his growth spurt in the last six months...or it could be a purposeful reminder that island time is different than all other times...or I could have thought about it too much and it absolutely is the same kid.

Regardless, my theory in the past was that the boy was either a younger Jacob (perhaps from when he and the Man in Black were first placed on the island) or is Claire's baaaaaaby, Aaron. I'm gonna amend that theory and include Charlie, Dez and Penny's son, as a possible candidate for who the boy is.

So Flocke flips out, shoves Dez down the well, and returns to his camp to tell everyone that Desmond won't be bothering them anymore. But was Desmond really bothering anyone? No, but he was Widmore's "secret weapon", and even though Flocke doesn't fully understand why Desmond is special, he knows that he is. And that's enough to land you in a well.


Random Thoughts/Theories:

-Hurley takes the pouch of Jacob's ashes out of Ilana's backpack...is Hurley the new protector of the island? Did Ilana blow up so that Hurley could step up and take a leadership role? The Island moves in mysterious ways...

-Does Michael want Hurley to team up with Flocke because all those trapped island whispering spirits will also be released if Flocke is?

-Flocke threw Desmond down a well. Desmond, after waking up in the post-Hatch explosion world of early Season Three was walking around with nothing but Hurley's technicolor tie-dye t-shirt on, like Joseph of the Bible. Desmond also then had weird visions/dreams. Joseph of the Bible had strange visions/dreams, and because of that, and because he was "special", his brothers threw him down into a well. You do the math.

-Was John Locke the Black Smoke all along?

-He (Doc Jensen at EW's LOST blog) churns great commentary on each episode out every week, but sometimes he loses even me in his ramblings...all the same, here is his take on Everybody Loves Hugo.

-While I'm not too broken up about Ilana biting the big one, she has been an intriguing character to me. Even more so after Hurley went through her nap-sack and found a copy of a Dostoyevsky novel. In her back-story we saw Jacob visiting her in a Russian hospital and the two of them speaking Russian. Might she have some connection to Patchy The Un-Killable Russian from Season 3?

-Notes From The Underground is a short novel/story that Dostoyevsky wrote in part as a critique on the intellectual and moral thinking of his day. The main character is a self-obsessed man who has convinced himself that everything wrong in the world and in his life is someone else's fault...but at the same time is entirely self-loathing and sees no good or value to his own life. Dostoyevsky was a master at showing man's inner-conflicts surrounding questions of God, mankind's purpose, and the problem of evil. In Notes, themes relating to free will, determinism, and existentialism get fleshed out in powerful ways. Just like LOST. Now why Ilana had this book in her bag, and what it means about her character, I can't say...but I think the themes that Notes touches upon are what the writers of LOST want us to think about (and have used consistently throughout the 5-plus seasons of the show).

-Who caught the Willy Wonka song being sung over the "Next Week on LOST" promo that ran at the end of this week's episode? It's that creepy song that Willy sings on the boat in that tunnel in a scene that scarred me for life. In keeping with the tradition of including a LOST-related song (almost) every week now, here's "The Rowing Song":

There's no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going
There's no knowing where we're rowing
Or which way the river's flowing
Is it raining? Is it snowing?
Is a hurricane a-blowing?
Not a speck of light is showing
So the danger must be growing
Are the fires of Hell a-glowing?
Is the grisly reaper mowing?
Yes! The danger must be growing
For the rowers keep on rowing
And they're certainly not showing
Any signs that they are slowing!!!

I just got goosebumps copy-and-pasting this song from Wikipedia.


Alright, that's what you get, cause this is all I got.


Namaste,

JL's Pants

Friday, April 9, 2010

Now "What?", but "Hume?"

LOSTaways-


My little sister Mackenzie Marilyn Moeller (we just say "Kenzie") came up with the title of this week's blog before she even knew it would be a Desmond-centric episode. Guess how proud I was of her for that?

Yes, Penny's Beau made his triumphant return this last Tuesday night in one of the most brain-busting episodes we've seen in a while. "Happily Ever After" was a trippy trip through alternate-reality memory lane, where we learned that Dez DID IN FACT WORK FOR WIDMORE (as someone predicted at the beginning of this season), Charlie is still alive (and still a British brat), and Faraday's still sporting awkward clothes to match his awkward demeanor.

This week's LOST-related song?

Beyond the Sea, by Mr. Bobby Darin:

Somewhere beyond the sea
Somewhere waiting for me
My lover stands on golden sands
And watches the ships that go sailin

Somewhere beyond the sea
She's there watching for me
If I could fly like birds on high
Then straight to her arms
I'd go sailin'

It's far beyond the stars
It's near beyond the moon
I know beyond a doubt
My heart will lead me there soon

We'll meet beyond the shore
We'll kiss just as before
Happy we'll be beyond the sea
And never again I'll go sailin'

I know beyond a doubt
My heart will lead me there soon
We'll meet (I know we'll meet) beyond the shore
We'll kiss just as before
Happy we'll be beyond the sea
And never again I'll go sailin'

No more sailin'
So long sailin'
Bye bye sailin'...

Desmond loves Penelope. Penelope is the name of Odysseus' wife in Homer's The Iliad. That is a story, for those who don't know (and you should be ashamed of yourself if you are one of them), about a dude who is a long way from home and misses his wife and has to travel the seas to get back to her. That's why I picked this song.

Throughout the 4 seasons that we've gotten to know him, Desmond is the epitome of a tragic character. He's always been told (and felt himself) that he was special, but he doesn't know what that means or what to do about it. He loves a woman, but his inferiority complex won't let himself be loved. He good-natured trust of Kelvin when he rescued him after his ship-wreck leads to his being played for a sucker the whole time.

He just wants to be left alone to pursue his own desires, but cannot escape the determinist-like forces that his name-sake believed in.

But things seem to be slightly different this time around, in this alternate-reality we were given access to this week. Desmond, like all of the other characters in this alternate-universe, still certainly possesses many of his core characteristics, but the circumstances are changed and new choices are able to be made. When Dez saw "Not Penny's Boat" on Charlie's hand in the season three finale it was a foreboding warning of the danger that was on its way in the form of Charles Widmore's mercenary boat-men.

This time, "Not Penny's Boat", written on Charlie's hand on the sea floor in Los Angeles harbor, was an awakening....an answer...or at least a sign-post that will inevitably lead to answers and redemption. There was hope attached to this vision/flash that Desmond had. And there were people with answers for him...namely, Faraday.

Let's get into the episode itself, and to mix things up a bit, I'm gonna tackle the on-island hijinx first.

On-Island:

Dez wakes up in the Hydra Island's infirmary with a three-day roofie-induced hangover. Oh, and he also was shot a few days before all of this. Remember that Ben, in a fit of Linus Lunacy, went looking for Penny last season to settle the score with Widmore and ended up shooting Desmond in the wing (before getting pummeled by Hume and dumped into the water). So while he was in the hospital back in the real world in 2007, Widmore kidnapped him and transported him via submarine to the island.

A word about Widmore's return to the island...I think we will find out that Jacob visited Widmore off the island at some point in the past and told him how he could find the island. Because Ben was using the Looking Glass station to jam the frequency for the island, Widmore needed another way to find the island (and eventually did...see: Season Four). Perhaps Jacob didn't even like Charles back when he was on the island as a younger man, but I bet he sought him out now as a measure of last resort against Flocke.

When Desmond comes-to, and finds out where he is, he's less-than-cordial to Widmore for bringing him on this forced vacay. But Charles seems to know what exactly is at stake, and whatever it is, it is more important to him than anything. He acknowledges that he's had to sacrifice his daughter's love, knowing his grandson, and basically his entire life in service to the island. Ben has been his nemesis for a while, but now that Charles has figured out what Flocke is up to, he's dropped that obsession for a bigger cause. I foresee a great partnership between the two rivals (Widmore and Ben) in one of the next few episodes. They look at each other and one of them says, "Neither of us are happy to be here together...but let's let sleeping dogs lie, and kick some Black Smoke tail....deal?" And then they hug. Or something like that.

Jin asks Widmore what his plan is and why he brought Dez back, and tells him (and us) that all of our questions will be answered if we follow him outside to the Love Magnetic Shack he's constructed. Meanwhile, some dude who is testing out the giant electromagnetic field gets friend just to show the rest of us how dangerous the materials they are working with are. (And to make it even more dramatic when our favorite Scotsmen is un-phased by it all.) Widmore tells Desmond that he will be fine, but that they want to make sure that he will be fine, so they need to try something very dangerous on his person...oh, and then, if he survives, Widmore wants him to make a big sacrifice.

Tragic character? But "the rules" don't apply to Hume. He is zapped, has one of his flashes (more on that in the Off-Island recounting in a moment), survives, and wakes up in island-time only a few moments later. When he awakes back in the "It's My Magnet In a Box" room, Widmore tells him that he is vital to their mission. As Charles begins to explain the mission, Desmond, who at this point assumed a monk-like calmness and serenity to his demeanor, explains that he totally understands why Widmore brought him there and is on board for anything.

Phwaaa??? What did the guy see that we didn't? What does he understand that we don't? Is it really as simple as him seeing Penny and that was all he needed to know to be willing to help? Or was there more? Will we find out that in his flash more was revealed to him? Maybe he also saw the future, like before?

Widmore, happy as a clam with Demond's new acceptance of his role, sends him back with some of his Others to their base...only to be apprehended by a creepy Sayid lurking in the shadows. He tells the woman to "run", showing that he's still sort of a softie deep down, and then tells Desmond that Widmore's people are dangerous and that they must get out of there. Now here is the real brain-buster: Desmond goes along with Sayid. He says "of course".

See, this is why I think Desmond was shown more in his flash...either he was shown that he was supposed to go with Sayid to join up with Flocke if he wanted to see Penny and his son again...or he was shown that he must go kill Flocke and is willing to pretend to up for escaping with Sayid so that he can be brought to a personal meeting with the Smoke Monster. It might have seemed like a small part of the episode, but I think Desmond saying "yes" to going with Sayid will turn out to be a huge piece of the puzzle (or at least a step in the right direction to solving the puzzle).

Enough of the island story...For more on it, read Doc Jensen's column here.

Off-Island:

We find Desmond staring at his reflection in a pane of glass with the Oceanic Airways symbol on it. Very "Alice In Wonderland" of him (and the writers). I hear Derrek Zoolander looking into a puddle and asking himself, "Who am I?"

Well, in the case of Desmond, we soon find out who he is and what he's up to in alternate world. He's an employee of Widmore Corp. and seems to be some world-traveling secret agent company man. He's the "fixer". He's the deal-closer. He's the most trusted Widmore worker. A big turn around from real life where the guy couldn't get a break with Charles Widmore. (Or a drink of his MacCutcheson Whiskey...which he finally got.)

Desmond's mission is to retrieve the rocker Charlie Pace and escort him to his son's piano-meets-rock-band concert. His driver for this L.A. excursion is none other than Minkowski. You may remember him from such bloody-nosed hallucinations as "the last one he had before he died in Sayid's arms in the radio room of Widmore's boat back in Season Four". I smell a Dez and Minkowski spin-off where they cruise around L.A. in a limo investigating hard-nut-to-crack cases that all the other by-the-book cops can't solve.

Dez picks up a disgruntled and priggish Charlie Pace at the police station and after a couple of stiff drinks, and a "Woe is me... I saw a vision of Claire and wish I had died in the plane's john" rant from the Drive Shaft superstar, Dez gets him into the car and they set off for the Widmore's charity event. Now I know they say you shouldn't be texting while you drive, but where are all the PSA's warning against having a drunk, batty, and bizarre rockstar riding co-pilot with you when he's in the mood to die? Charlie snags the wheel and the car plunges into the L.A. bay. Desmond has a vision there, and then another one at the hospital in the MRI machine, of all the things he experienced in his real life with Penny. All of the ramblings from Charlie about seeing "truth" suddenly make much more sense. Desmond is intrigued, and when this guy gets a thought in his mind...its pretty hard for him to shake it.

But before he can contemplate what it all means, he has to first do his duty and go tell Mrs. Widmore (Eloise) that her event will be ruined. She doesn't seem to mind, but does flip out when Hume asks to see the guest list after hearing the name "Penny Milton" is on it. Hawking tells Dez that he's "not ready yet." This is the same broad who told Dez he couldn't marry Penny back in Season Three because he had to go save the island. It seems that Eloise and Widmore either have information that no one else does, or are just petty, meddling parent-types who have nothing better to do than busy-body themselves throughout space and time.

On his confused way back to the limo, Faraday approaches Dez and begins to explain his theory: He blew up a nuke in another life and now this life is not the one they were supposed to be living. Faraday also says that he saw the love of his life (CS Lewis) at the museum the other day and when he woke up the next morning, he drew equations that only a handful of physicists on the planet could draw. Then he informed Hume that Penny was his half-sister and that he could introduce the two of them.

And where was Penny? Running stairs like a sweaty doctor I once knew who had tried to save his future ex-wife and ran to assuage his guilt. Desmond shakes her hand and passes out. When he comes-to they make a Starbucks date and Dez returns to the limo with a smile on his face, love in his heart, and a plan formulated in his mind. He asks Minkowski to get the flight's manifest of all the other people on Oceanic 815. Why? "I need to show them something", Desmond explains.

Show us your flashes, Dezzy.

I've got more to say, so let's head to the...

Random Thoughts/Theories:

-If you wanted a review of the Jin/Sun alternate-reality story...sorry. I just don't care enough to go through it all.

-The box they put Dez in felt a lot like Jacob's cabin (that actually housed Smokey The Monster as we've now come to learn). He was even sitting in a chair, trapped in the wooden shack, like Smokey was. It also made me think of Ben saying that on the island there was a box...and in that box was whatever you wanted. Not sure how it all ties in yet, but welcome your theories.

-Was Widmore sending Desmond back to the alternate-reality on purpose, or was he just testing to see if he could survive another Hatch explosion? Does anyone other than Desmond know about the other dimension that the Castaways are living in back in 2004?

-Did you catch the painting on the wall in Widmore's office? It was of the scales of justice with a black rock on one side and a white one of the other. This got me to thinking...the ship was the black rock, and the airplane was white. They crashed on opposite sides of the island. Just saying....

-Did you catch the slight irony in the MRI technician telling Desmond to "not push the button" after all that time in his life dedicated to button-pushing?

-Penny is Desmond's "constant", so did something big happen when he saw her and we just don't know about it? Did it fix something that was broken (i.e. Desmond's mind), like when Desmond called her in Season Four?

-Penelope was Odysseus' wife in Homer's Illiad. I've written about the allusions to the Illiad in previous blog-posts, but I was reminded of it when Desmond said to Faraday that "Penny is more of an idea than anything else." She is his idea of love...of home...of safety...of rest. None of which Desmond seems to have in this alternate-reality.



I'm gonna try to add more thoughts on this episode before next Tuesday. The upcoming one is a Hurley-centric tale called "Everybody Loves Hugo", a call-back to the "Everybody Hates Hugo" Season Two episode.

Enjoy it.


Namaste,

John Locke's Pants