Monday, May 24, 2010

Lingering thoughts and questions...

The day after and I still am totally rocked by that episode. It did leave a lot of "facts" unexplained, but I think answering everything in any kind of detail would basically end up like a lot of exposition and would end up mainly like: "because the island is weird".

My main remaining nagging questions have to do with Ms Hawking and with Smokey.

I think that Ms Hawking in the sideways did not want to let go, even though she knew she was dead, was because in the real world she had raised her son to do "what he was supposed to do", ie go to the island and get killed by her. What mom could ever really get over that? So no wonder she hung on to that place. I also think that, in the real world, she knew a lot about what was going on because Daniel told her: I think she must have met him during the time he was working for Dharma. I think Daniel is the one who built that pendulum station she was in when the losties went back to the island. BUT: the Ms Hawking who Desmond met when he flashed into his own past after blowing up the hatch, how come she was so enlightened and seemed to know exactly what he was up to? Was it because she had knowledge from Daniel about Desmond? I'd love more about the whole Daniel-Desmond-Ms Hawking connection.

And Smokey: what was he exactly? Was he the evil "corked" into the island somehow let loose when Jacob threw his brother into the glowy cave? Why/how did he turn into the monster then? AND: was Mother also a smoke monster? Is that how she killed all the villagers and filled in the well they built? Is that how she knew it was a fate "worse than death" if you went into the light? Was her "original" body one of the skeletons Desmond saw when he climbed down into the cave?

Also: what happened to Christian Shephard and Yemi's bodies? Why did those bodies disappear?  As for the whole pregnancy danger thing: I think it was the "incident" in the 70s that somehow changed things. Because Ethan was carried to term on the island. In one of the Darlton interviews, they said something like: "We haven't spelled it out, but it seems children were born on the island in the 70s and then something happened. What could have happened???" I think they alluded to Jughead exploding/Dharma drilling into that pocket of energy.

I still wonder about the vaccine that they made such a big deal about in the early seasons. Was it to protect from radiation/energy damage from the incident? It seemed very important for Claire and Aaron to get vaccinated back in the day.

Why couldn't Widmore and Ben kill each other? I've wondered about that for a long time. Maybe it was because they had not fulfilled their destinies? They both had roles to play in Jacob's endgame: Widmore had to bring Desmond to the island and play his part there and Ben also had a part to play there. It was just not their time to go, so they could not kill each other just like Michael could not kill himself.

I think we got real explanations for the characters and what the island is: the island is sitting on top of some energy/metaphysical phenomenon that could be called hell, malevolence or whatever: just like Jacob told Alpert on the beach. Whatever that energy is, it gives the island strange powers.

When Jacob's brother turned into Smokey, Jacob didn't just have to guard the island, he also had to guard Smokey and that made his job a lot harder. The island wasn't good or evil, it is just strange and people who tried to use it for their own purposes (MiB, Dharma) ended up mostly causing trouble. Living there was fine, as Rose and Bernard's destiny shows: they were happy just to BE there.

In the end, Smokey's assertion that people are all selfish and corrupt was proved wrong: the losties saved the glowy light AND defeated Smokey because they worked together and because they loved each other and trusted each other. I would have loved to have seen some kind of scene of forgiveness/redemption with Jacob and his brother, but I guess it was really not part of the losties story.

Screencaps thanks to Lost-Media

Thank you.

Oh wow. What a way to go out. I cried so many times I lost count. When Jin and Sun remembered each other as they watched the ultrasound I was bawling. And then every time they all connected and remembered...

I still could not figure out what the sideways world was until the very end when Christian laid it all out: "How are you here?""I died too." Oh man.

Matthew Fox killed me over and over again in this episode. His confidence when he confronted Smokey, his fight with him on the cliffs, then the choice to go back and picking Hurley as his successor... And wow, his entire final walk back to the bamboo... Awesome stuff.  Everyone absolutely brought it.

I loved Sawyer and Juliet, Charlie and Claire, Kate and Jack even. I loved Frank alive in the ocean. I loved Jack's dad just being there in his white tennis shoes. I loved Ben's look of gratitude when Hurley asked him to stay (he's the new Alpert!). I loved Ben having that damn walkietalkie in his pocket all the time when he hooked up with Smokey. I loved the look of worry and disbelief on Smokey's face when Jack said he'd kill him. I loved the look on Smokey's face when Jack punched him and he was bleeding. I even almost loved the damn cork stuck in the bottom of the island, holding hell-fire red-light at bay so that the good goldy-light could shine through. I loved that Rose and Bernard were allowed to live and stay alive on the island and live out their days with Vincent (because that's what I'm thinking happened).

And I think everyone online is on to something with that the sideways was a place for them all to "let go". And I don't think they all died close in time to each other: the whole wonky-time with the alt makes more sense this way. I know several places where people were trying to work out timelines for the alt and it would never jive: of course not, because it was all outside time and space. The only real-world reality this season was the island.

I wonder what setting off the bomb did. Did it somehow create the sideways, or would that place have existed anyway because of the losties connections? Was the purpose of setting off Jughead to throw the losties back into the regular timeline after being stuck in the 70s? They needed to get back to the present to help defeat Smokey.

I found this episode hugely satisfying. I still have a million questions, but this was emotionally satisfying in a way I had not totally expected. As for Ben's fate, I think he just was not ready to let go of Alex and Rousseau yet. And I really wonder how Hurley ran the island!  I really need more time to process all this, but it was a beautiful, crazy episode. Awesome TV. I will miss this show but I will now enjoy watching all the old seasons again!

I'm sure the DVD and the post-finale interviews will have lots of tidbits about unanswered questions. Like what was up with Ms Hawking seeing Desmond in his timetravel-flashbacks when he wanted to change the past (Faraday told her somehow?) and who built the big pendulum thingie (Faraday going to the mainland in the 70s?) and who put the cork in the island? and WHAT THE HECK was the smoke monster??? And how did Jacob's brother turn into that when he went into the glowy cave?

But the show really DID wrap up the character storylines. And they stayed totally true to their mantra: "dead is dead".

"I died too." Beautiful. Well done. Now we can obsess over the details endlessly!

Screencaps thanks to Lost-Media.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

42 unanswered questions... answered?

Almost 2 years ago, I posted a list of 42 unanswered questions. I thought now might be a good time to re-visit that list!

42 Unanswered Questions
  1. What is the Smoke Monster? - Answer: it's Jacob's brother, turned into Smokey when he entered "the source", aka the glowy cave. Remaining question: was Mother who raised Jacob and his twin ALSO a Smokey? How else did she kill a whole village and fill in a well by herself?
  2. Why can't women who conceive on the island carry the baby to term? Answer: This has not been explicitly spelled out, but it would seem that setting off Jughead and/or the explosion at The Swan-site is what caused the problem.
  3. How come the island is so hard to find? Answer: Because it can be moved in space and time and is somehow "cloaked" from the outside world. Exactly how this works is still uncertain.
  4. Why was it impossible for Desmond to sail off the island but seemingly so easy for the freighter to find its way there? Answer: the freighter knew what course to set. It seems there are "windows" that can be entered to access the island and the freighter found one.
  5. What is Widmore's deal with the island? Answer: He was once the leader of the Others, was banished and tried to return for a loooong time. Was finally called back to the island by Jacob, only to end up being shot by Ben.
  6. Is Daniel Faraday time-traveling somehow? Answer: He was, when all the losties time-skipped. Not sure about any other time travel he might have done.
  7. How did the polar bear end up in Tunisia? Answer: It probably turned the donkey wheel.
  8. How come Richard Alpert doesn't seem to age? Answer: Jacob granted his wish. Alpert didn't want to go to hell because of his "sins" so he didn't want to die.
  9. How exactly does "the island" prevent people from dying a la Michael? Answer: none yet. Jacob won't let them maybe?
  10. How did the Others get Juliet to the island? The submarine? Seems a long ride from Portland. Answer: It was probably the sub since that's how Widmore got there too.
  11. Who is Abbadon? Answer: He worked for Widmore and his mission was to get people where they needed to go. (So why was he telling John Locke about walkabouts once upon a time? Was he working for Widmore or Jacob then?)
  12. Who is Jacob? Answer: See Across the Sea. ;) Human, immortal, island guardian against his will (pretty much). Ultimate creator of The Others. Enemy and brother of Smokey/The Man in Black.
  13. How come Jacob's cabin is seemingly hard to find? Answer: not sure. Why was the cabin moving? If it was built by the Dharma-guy Goodspeed, then why was it inhabited by Jacob... or was it???
  14. What are Walt's special powers and why did the Others say they got "more than they bargained for" with him? Answer: Stop asking about Walt! He's too tall now!
  15. Who are Adam and Eve? Answer: Mother, aka Jacob's foster mother, and Jacob's twin brother.
  16. What is the Temple? A real temple or a hatch or what? Answer: It's a real temple with a healing pool and guarded by The Others. Then cleaned out by Smokey.
  17. How did Yemi's plane get to the island? Answer: Because he flew into a "window" to the island I'm guessing.
  18. How did the Black Rock get to the island? Answer: Thrown up into the jungle by a giant wave in a crazy storm.
  19. Is Dr Marvin Candle (or whatever his real name is) still alive? Answer: Nope. Except in the Sideways universe of course.
  20. Who/what made the food drop we saw in "Lockdown"? Answer: no idea.
  21. What was the sickness that killed Danielle's crew? Same as what happened to the people on the freighter? Then why didn't Danielle get it? Answer: Danielle's crew was "infected" by Smokey and turned "evil". It is different than what happened on the freighter, since those people were getting the time-travel nose-bleeds.
  22. Why was Juliet branded? What purpose did that serve? Just to make Jack pity her? Answer: who knows.
  23. How exactly does the island make people sick when it seemingly cures some? IE how come Ben and Jack got sick? Answer: not sure. Jacob giveth and he taketh away?
  24. What is the story with the four toed statue? Answer: It's Taweret. It was smashed by the Black Rock and the storm. Jacob lived in a hovel in the remaining foot.
  25. What is the meaning of the whispers? Answer: They are dead people, trapped on the island and unable to move on. (Which is starting to totally remind me of Odysseus visiting Hades...)
  26. What happened to Claire? Answer: She was infected by Smokey and turned a little insane and got really bad hair. But still managed to properly pluck her eyebrows.
  27. How can Miles talk to dead people? Answer: He just can. Ok?
  28. Who built the donkey wheel under the Orchid? Answer: Jacob's brother and the people who lived on the island back then basically thought it all up and then someone else ended up building it after Mother tried to stop construction.
  29. What was the vaccine for that Desmond kept injecting himself with? Did it really help protect him from something or was it just a ruse of some kind? Answer: no idea.
  30. What happened to Kelvin's body? Answer: no idea.
  31. How come Dharma people seemed to be present at both Locke's and Ben's births? (Alpert in Locke's case and Goodspeed in Ben's.) Answer: Luck/fate/coincidence (in Ben's case) and manipulation (by Smokey in Locke's case).
  32. What happened to Annie? Answer: She left the island when it was evacuated in connection with the Swan Hatch debacle.
  33. Was Charlotte born on the island? Answer: Yes.
  34. What's the origin of Alpert's people, aka The Hostiles? Answer: They're Jacob's band of helpers. And after the wiped out Dharma, they absorbed some of the people from that organization too.
  35. How and why did Walt appear on the island, both to Shannon and Locke? Answer: Because he's special?
  36. Why did the monster kill Eko? (Other than the fact that the actor wanted off the show...) Answer: He wasn't a candidate and he pissed off the monster... I think.
  37. What was behind Charlie's weird visions of Aaron in danger from "Fire + Water"? Answer: No idea. Premonitions?
  38. What happened to Christian and Yemi's bodies? Answer: no idea. Did Smokey take them?
  39. Was the psychic who sent Claire off on the 815 flight a real psychic or a fraud? Answer: I think he was real.
  40. What did Ben do to call up the Smoke Monster? Answer: Pull the plug in a dirty pool in an ancient tunnel under his house.
  41. Who is Ms Hawking who turned up in Desmond's time-travel flashbacks? Answer: She is Daniel Faraday's mother, an ex-leader of the Others who now seems creepily aware of all time-line options wherever she is.
  42. What's up with the Hurley Bird? Answer: I really don't care and don't know.
So you know what?  They have answered A LOT of questions by now. No, not all of them have been answered in minute detail, but many have some form of answers. I'm surprised their batting average is this good!

Map it out

Yes, it's Thursday night and approximately 72 hours until the Lost finale. You'd think it would be possible just to wait and let the answers come when the final episode airs, but nooooo.


JACOB: Do you remember that bamboo field you woke up in when you first got here?
JACK: Yeah.
JACOB: Beyond that field, across the ridge, is the heart of the island. That’s where the light is... That’s where he’s trying to go. And that’s what you have to protect.
JACK: Past the bamboo? There’s nothing out there.
JACOB: Yes, there is, Jack. And now you’ll be able to get there...
This was one of the most intriguing exchanges in an episode chock-full of  intriguing exchanges. Jack was that close to the heart of the island, aka the glowy cave, when he first woke up after the plane crash. The glowy cave was right there somewhere, except he was unable to find it, yet. Just like with the lighthouse.

HURLEY: It's right there. It's a lighthouse.
JACK: I don't understand. How is it that we've never seen it before?
HURLEY: Guess we weren't lookin for it.

So I went and looked at some fan-made maps of the island and found lots of detailed work. This is probably my favourite: updated with Season 6 locations. And isn't it interesting that in that one area of the island where the losties originally crashed, there is just a barrel-full of awesome locations: the beach where the fuselage crashed, the first and second beach camps, the caves, the Swan hatch (with Desmond inside), the cabin, the crash-site of the cockpit where we saw the monster kill someone for the first time... it's all right there in a small section of the south-west corner of the island. Coincidence or fate? (Bwah!) And this is also where Jack woke up in the bamboo and where the glowy cave of ultimate light and stuff happens to be located.

The glowy cave HAS to be close by the caves, and the caves have to be close by where Mother's camp was. In Across the Sea, Jacob carries both Mother and his brother and lays them to rest in the caves. Was Mother's camp IN the caves? Maybe.

Will Jack meet his father, not as a Smokey-apparition but as a "real ghost" when he heads back to where it all began? In the old mobisode "So it begins" we saw Christian Shephard send Vincent off to wake up Jack: was that Smokey sending Vincent off or was it actually a different entity, aka "ghost Christian"? We still haven't seen Jack's dad this season: not dead OR alive OR undead... I'm betting he makes an appearance in the finale because this show is going full circle: back to the bamboo, back to the source and maybe also back to Jack's daddy issues. Can. not. wait.

Screencaps thanks to Lost-Media and Lostpedia.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My favourite Lost scene ever?

At least it's on my Top 10 list.

 It's Jacob and Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley.

What does go through Jack's mind after he drinks the water? He looks as though he's suddenly... enlightened. I can NOT wait for Sunday.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"Now you're like me."

"Now you're like me."

Oh man, how I loved this episode and how I LOVED that scene and that line. Mark Pellegrino and Matthew Fox f-ing brought it. I usually think Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson provide the best moments in any episode they're in, but tonight they had to give it up for Jack and Jacob.
Yes I cried. Because dammit if this show isn't totally messing with our heads now. Giving us answers, giving us lines spoken previously by others to now be spoken by the remaining players... Kate saying Charlie's line "Terrific" really got to me for some reason, even though it wasn't even an important moment. "Don't mistake coincidence for fate." "What if all this is happening for a reason." And add in Jack's bleeding neck-wound and we're all in the maelstrom of time again.


Ben with Alex and Danielle was a beautiful moment. I wonder how much Ben remembered of his other life in the alt-verse... He seemed somehow changed there, almost as though he remembered having raised Alex before.

Jack standing up and taking the job and then drinking from the cup... man oh man... Matthew Fox totally brought it. Jack's arc from S1 to now is just blowing my mind. And to me, this whole episode absolutely played like a part 2 to Across the Sea: we saw the end of Jacob's story and heard him say "Now you're like me" (seriously, that moment took my breath away). I loved last week's episode and I loved this week's and f-ing LOVE how this show pushes us to the brink like this when it's on its A-game. Anyone who had reservations about Across the Sea should at least be somewhat placated now: it was NOT a stand-alone episode that had no connection to the fate of the losties. It was part 1 of what we saw tonight and I thought it was powerful, played like that.




The look on Jacob's face as Jack drank from the cup was so moving. Sadness, relief, empathy... Man, I need to watch this ep again just because of the scene with them in the river.
 

More thoughts:

The scene with Jacob when he explained why he picked them was very moving. I really love Pellegrino's way of portraying Jacob. There's no fake emotion there, no pretending to really care that he's dragged them to the island, no sugarcoating. You're all flawed, and you needed this place and I'm not even going to apologize for it. Harsh, but I like that. He isn't pissing around. He's not some goody-goody. He has a purpose and a mission and he needed someone to take his place. He's playing for keeps and has been from the start.

I also liked that the crossing out of names didn't really carry any magic meaning. It just meant he figured they didn't want the job (or were dead). I think now that the reason Sun didn't flash off the plane with everyone else to the 70s is because she was NOT the candidate: Jin was.

Seeing Ana-Lucia was awesome, and Hurley recognizing her was even better! Desmond is seriously freaking me out now: he's so zen it's unnatural. And how will remembering their "alternate" universe help in any way? Will it help the losties on the island?

I sure hope Richard is alive or that we at least get to see him dead. Don't kill the pretty already!

I was glad to see Zoe bite it but shocked that Widmore died already. So Desmond's the fail-safe and can presumably kill Smokey if the candidates should fail to do so. And Desmond turned the fail-safe in the hatch which made it explode... Smokey says he wants to destroy the island: as in put the C-4 into the glowy cave? Have Desmond put it in there maybe? 

This was a hugely emotionally satisfying episode. My only complaint being that Richard's fate is still up in the air. Don't play with us like that at this point! If he's dead then show him to us dead. I had a bad feeling as soon as Richard stepped out of that door though... I'm thinking the monster just couldn't stand the sight of his hotness.

Sunday's show will be devastating I think. They squeezed me good today, but I think Sunday will just be hell. NTTAWWT!


Screencaps thanks to Lost-Media.

Monday, May 17, 2010

So I figured out why Widmore brought Desmond

Yes I did. I woke up this morning, and obviously my brain has been working in overdrive with Lost-related info, because when I woke up I had this lightbulb moment: "THAT'S why he brought Desmond!".

  • Desmond is not killed by electromagnetism.
  • Widmore is looking for electromagnetic anomalies on the island using a Dharma-map (that's why they kidnapped Jin).
  • We've now seen the weird light-cave that is the "heart" of the island and which turned Jacob's twin into Smokey.
Widmore needs Desmond to go into that cave and DO something. Not sure what. What can he do? Does he want to harness the light? Tap it? What? Could Desmond somehow liberate Smokey if he went in there?

Also interesting is a quote from Pellegrino, aka Jacob, that was in TV-Guide:
TVGuide.com: Why can Jacob leave the island, as he's done to visit his candidates, but the Man in Black cannot?
Pellegrino: This is a question that I've wondered about myself actually. I don't think the answer is directly provided in any episode, but it could be the fact that I'm a guardian of sorts and therefore have a certain power to exit when I want to. He can leave as long as it's directly for a certain purpose. After I threw the Man in Black in the pit, he's chained there. He's become incorporeal, and he's in something worse than hell.
Chained? Is that why we hear a mechanical, "chain-rattling" sound when Smokey moves? And could someone break the chain? "Nice to see you out of those chains" is what Smokey told Alpert after all...

Yes, my brain is imploding. Why do you ask?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Haters to the left!

What an uproar. I can't believe the amount of "OMGWTFBBQ???!! I hate this show now and I wasted my life watching it and now I will rage bitterly against it on the internet until my keyboard breaks" kind of posts I've seen online since Across the Sea aired.

Seriously. What is going on? I LOVED the episode. Touching, well-acted, poignant story, lots of reveals, yes some cheesiness with the light but hey - we'd seen that before when Ben turned the donkey wheel... So why the rage? Not enough answers? Not enough f/x? Not enough naming of characters? Not enough Latin? Not enough about Smokey? Not enough midichlorians? What?

Of course it didn't contain all the answers. It wasn't the finale. Of course some things will never be answered. Of course it was frustrating and exhilarating at the same time: this is LOST we're talking about after all. Didn't your (murdering, people-hating, yet oddly lovable and tragic) mother tell you that every answer leads to more questions?

I'm starting to think that the reason people are so mad is because we ARE getting answers but they're not the answers people had worked out in their own minds. I've seen the disappointment before. Locke seemed like he was an all-knowing superhero in S1, yet turned out to be a paraplegic box-company minion. Alpert seemed like he was an Egyptian exile (don't hate on Nestor because of his ravishing eyelashes!), and then turns out to have been some poor farmer sold into slavery. Jacob seemed like he was an omnipotent god or alien, and then turns out to have been a momma's boy with anger issues.

This is Lost. This is the show we've been watching from Day 1. This is a show that usually does NOT give you the answer you expected, and if it does, it just leads to another question you did NOT expect.

Over the years I've seen so many theories on what the island is and who Jacob is and what is the ultimate secret at the heart of the show. It's a wormhole, a space ship, hell, Eden, purgatory, gods, aliens, angels, demons, devils, genies... Has there ever been a TV-show that's created so much debate and theory-making and philosophy-spouting across the world? I love the show for it's intricacies and it's layers and it's answers and questions and for its multi-shaded characters, for its humour and heart. It has flaws, major flaws (the main one imo being how it treats female characters), but it is the most original and audacious show I've seen on TV in a long time. Maybe forever. And now as it's winding down we get the writers' answers to all those questions we've been pondering and making up theories about for 6 seasons: and you know what, I HOPE everybody else's theories were all wrong. I hope the writers do something else.

I like this take from Dan Fierman at GQ. He has issues with the latest episode, but he isn't writing the show off yet and he analyzes the outrage like this:

But more than that, Lost itself has been treated by the internet, by fans, by... US like a car that can be stripped for parts and put together however we liked. The groundbreaking criticism that came out of Lost wasn't from theorizers or recappers or TV critics, but from guys like DocArzt and Doc Jensen, who took the show apart every single week and reassembled it into something different, something to fit their peculiar intellectual whim. When all is said and done, it's this—not the return of Sci Fi or serialized storytelling—that is the great legacy of the show. One week we see an allegory for faith, the next a meditation on science gone haywire, the next on broken men and how they come back from the brink. But NONE of those interpretations were strictly textual, they were a secondary Lost game, the ultimate Easter Egg of the show. But at some point, that secondary "Lost game" became the primary "Lost game". And when that happened, the narrative slipped out of the control of the creators. We have all built the ending of this show in our minds to be what we want it to be, and therefore there is no way it could have been satisfying.
To those who want more answers I say: The show isn't even over! Keep watching.

To those who don't like the answers the creators of the show are providing, then maybe you should stop watching and write your own fan-fic ending. For 6 seasons the writers of Lost have kept me hooked. After reading and writing so many theories about what it all means and what it all is, I want to see THEIR ending and THEIR answers.

Screencaps thanks to Lostpedia and DarkUfo.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Vozzek69's take

As usual, Vozzek69 has an interesting take on the latest episode.
On the island, the likelihood of something happening has always seemed directly related to faith. Rose believed Bernard was alive. Eko believed he'd find his brother's plane. Hurley believed that 20+ year old Dharma van would start... and so it did, as ridiculously impossible as that scenario should've been. Even Locke's suicide note contained a very important phrase "I wish you had believed me."

So could the very act of believing in something make it true? And more specifically, could the firm belief in a set of rules actually bring those rules into existence? Jacob's brother even alludes to this, over a game of senet: "One day you can make up your own game, and then everyone will have to follow your rules." Is this what we've been seeing all these years? A game being played that's nothing more than a byproduct of Jacob's own design, with the MIB fighting for two thousand years to find a loophole in his rulebook? No wonder he's so pissed.
This basically goes back to Jacob's tapestry: May the gods grant you in all things your heart's desire. Do wishes come true on the island? Is that the secret "mechanism" operating on Lost?

Another interesting thought, which also crossed my mind when watching the episode, was that Mother actually PLANNED to have the boys share the guardian duties. She herself, I think, was both Guardian and Monster. When she ended up with twins, she was in a way in trouble because as she told them, only one of them would get the job of guarding the light. So, in the end, when her "special" son betrayed her she ended up splitting the duties between the boys: Jacob became the protector, while the other son became the monster. I know we didn't see Mother as the monster in the episode, but too many things point to this being the case. If you guard the light, eventually you might just wonder what it's like inside the light and you'll end up becoming the monster. But Mother wanted to spare Jacob that, and he was spared. At the price of his brother.

As Vozzek puts it:
The ceremonial chanting and sharing of wine seemed largely symbolic to me. It was as if mother needed to convince Jacob that once he did this, his path was forever bound to the island. Jacob's still gullible at this point. He drinks up, and he believes her. Whether or not this truly does etch his destiny in stone remains to be seen, but this is where mother does something really, really slick: she recruits both Jacob and his brother to guard the island.

Jacob is 100% right. His brother was always first choice. But what he doesn't know: mother is shrewd enough to recognize that as 'good' as he is, Jacob can't guard the island alone. Jacob's honesty and commitment needs to be tempered by his brother's willingness to lie, be deceitful, and do anything needed to get the job done. Alone, each of them is only half a candidate. But together, they make an ideal guardian for the island's shores.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Questions.

"Every question I answer will simply lead to another question."

Yep, Damon and Carlton are definitely trying to tell us something!

And wow. What an episode. If you want to bring in a psycho-mother who can also appear oddly sympathetic after you just watched her bash a woman's head in, call Allison Janney!

So MiB was special and Jacob wasn't. Because he could see dead people? And because he knew things without learning them (like the rules of the game, and that he would be able to leave the island)? While Jacob's only specialness was that he couldn't lie.

What the heck is the light, that is also inside all people and can also give rise to the smoke monster?  And how did Mother know what happens if you go into the light? Because she did it? Or watched someone else do it? Was she a smoke monster as well as the pre-Jacob guardian? Is that how she wiped out the people's village? How did she do that if she was NOT smokey?

It's probably important that even though she could have, Mother did NOT kill MiB. Because she really loved him or because she couldn't? Who knows. She didn't. She got him out of the well, filled in the well and killed all the people (she HAS to have been Smokey... or something...) and then went home, transferred her powers to Jacob and was thankful when MiB killed her. She let him live knowing he'd kill her?

Did Mother wish for a woman to wash ashore and provide "heirs"? Was she surprised that twins were born? Is that what screwed up her plans? Or was it her plan for there to be two? Did she foresee what Jacob would do to his brother? I mean, she must have known he wouldn't be happy if she was killed...

She told Jacob that they were the same after he drank from the cup. Obviously she set the ground rules for the game between MiB and Jacob: she made it so they couldn't hurt each other. Did she also lay down other rules that they only discovered later as they tried to kill each other? And what the hell was SHE?

I guess my basic question is this: was the monster created at the moment when Jacob sent his brother's body into the light, or did it exist previously? And will the conclusion of the show involve reuniting the monster with the light somehow?  If we go by what Smokey has told characters on the show this season, then I guess he was created that day. So Jacob basically brought Smokey to life. Still makes me wonder how Mother wiped out all the people... maybe she just had some other mad psycho-mother-guardian skills?


Interesting point: when MiB killed Mother, he used the knife Dogen gave to Sayid to kill Smokey with. And she did not speak to him before he stabbed her. Is that why he could kill her? Or because she had passed her powers to Jacob?  I loved the intercut scenes from S1 too: Locke, Kate, Jack. But back then, Jack said the bodies were only 40-50 years old or something... based on the deterioration of the clothes. 

LOVED the acting in this episode. Stellar. Janney, Welliver and Pellegrino (as well as the kids who played the younger versions) just totally brought it. I felt heartbroken for both Jacob and MiB AND Mother. None of them came off as wholly good or wholly evil, just all flawed. Though I guess in the end, MiB inherited Mother's world-view while Jacob remained convinced that people could be good.

Interesting that even though it was MiB who killed Mother, and Jacob then sent his brother into the light to a fate worse than death, in the end it seems MiB was the one carrying out the guardian-mission according to Mother's rules. Jacob kept trying to bring people to the island while Smokey tried to kill them and get rid of them (while also trying to gather allies to help him leave).

So many more questions! How did Jacob travel off the island? How did he realize what Smokey was? HOW did Mother make MiB and Jacob immortal? Just by wishing it? WHAT is the light???

Where is that light now? I'm guessing we'll see it again?

Screencaps thanks to Lostpedia.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Lost Council of Nerds

After reading that GQ article yesterday, I discovered GQ's own Lost-recap guys who seem to blog every week and man, they are frikking hilarious. And they think like me!

All the Asians are dead. Kate isn't.
And from there, I found another article about Lost and how the show was shaped and has been a work in progress through the years. This one is from Wired. This subject of how the makers of the show MADE the show and how they thought and how things came together and what was pre-planned and what was made up as they went along is absolutely fascinating to me. I know already what I want for Christmas this year: the complete set of Lost DVDs with commentary!

Friday, May 07, 2010

How Lost was made

Thanks to a poster at The Fuselage, I found my way to this great interview from GQ with some of the people behind Fringe and Lost where Damon and Carlton talk a lot about the early days of Lost and how they shaped the show's universe while trying not to freak out the network. Very interesting read!

Lindelof: Not to make this about Lost, but when we introduced Ben Linus in the middle of Season 2—I can't imagine the show without that.
Cuse: We were struggling, because we didn't have any force of antagonism. It wasn't the tenth iteration of a cop show, or a law show, or a medical show—and that was a real struggle, at the beginning of the show, to figure out every week, "What is the force of antagonism?"
Abrams: That's why I think your instinct, so early on, to bring the Others in sooner…
Lindelof: That was always the issue—when are we going to bring them in?
Cuse: And then once we'd brought in Benjamin Linus and established him as the leader of the Others, it kinda helped kick things into a higher gear. Because we were kind of out of the natural-disaster-of-the-week zone at that point. It's funny, because the networks always make you write out synopses of possible stories, and try to get you to pitch things out, and it's a completely ridiculous and ludicrous exercise. The only way to basically find a show is to make it. And hopefully, somewhere during the first season of the show, you start to figure out what the show is. But it's a process of trial and error. You do certain things and they work, you do certain things and they don't work. You have to treat the show organically, and the show will sort of tell you what's working and not working, and eventually you'll figure out, "Okay, this is what we need to make an episode." So now we have a paradigm for Lost episodes. We kind of know what the elements are that it takes to put together the cocktail that is a Lost episode.
Lindelof: It's like saying to a pregnant woman, "So you're having a girl—would you like to sign her up for soccer, or ballet?" And you go, "I don't know, all things being equal, ballet sounds great, I like ballet"—but you haven't had the baby yet. Until you get to know your kid, you can't really make any plans whatsoever. It's a farce. But you do it every time. My favorite story is that those guys who do 24 had to basically do this same exercise. Because 24 is a premise that everybody thought would never work in a million years, myself included. Like, how do you do a real-time show? And the pilot promises—someone is threatening to assassinate this presidential candidate, David Palmer, and Jack Bauer, Keifer Sutherland, has to stop the assassination, and the plan that they pitched the network was, in episode 24, he stops the assassination. And then they got into the writing of it, and they realized, "Because it's a real-time show, we have to move up our entire timetable." So he stops Palmer from being assassinated in episode 5 or 6. And then they had to wing it! They were only a quarter of the way through. That's why the Others thing is so interesting. Because the first day that Bryan and JJ and myself, and a couple other guys—Jeff Pinkner and [Lost co-executive producer] Jesse Alexander were there too—were talking about Lost, JJ pitched the Hatch. He said, "They find a hatch." We talked about the Others. We talked about Rousseau. We talked about all that, in the very first meeting. It's like you're a football coach, and you have these plays, but you don't know when to run the play. You're basically like, "Okay, when is the right time? When should they find the hatch? When do we need to bring the Others in? And how do we bring them in?" So the compromise was, Ethan starts farting around with Claire, and you realize he wasn't on the plane. Where did he come from? But that's all you get in Season 1. It isn't until the end of Season 2, or midway through Season 2, that you start to see the faces of these indigenous people.
Burk: I remember Damon doing that outline of what some of the episodes would be. And I remember the word "submarine" was on there. And I was like, "A submarine's gonna show up?" And it did—it just didn't happen in the first season or 2. But there were just these crazy ideas that would pop in.
Lindelof: And it's hubris to save it, too. Sometimes. Because you're like, "Let's hold that back." Like right now, David Goyer's talking about FlashForward, and he's saying, "Everybody sees six months into the future, so in our season finale, in May, they're gonna catch up with this vision that they saw." And I was like, "You might not want to be promising that, before you get into the show!" Because you might change your mind. Don't tell people what you're going to do-- because wouldn't it be interesting if, in episode eight, suddenly you decided to compress the time scheme and then figure out where you're going to go from there?
GQ: You're saying their finale might be too late to play that card, or too soon?
Lindelof: Well, who's to say they're going to get to May? I mean, y'know—that's the hubris, right there. It's like that show The Nine. It was all these hostages in a bank crisis. And they promised that at the end of the season, they would reveal the mystery of the crisis. It got cancelled after thirteen episodes! Good, they took their time—but it doesn't matter. We had a rare opportunity-- we were in the sweet spot. We were writing the seventh episode of Lost when the show premiered. And that was when we were engaged in our most intensive creative battle with the network. It was about how weird the show could be. Because Claire went and saw a psychic, and the psychic said, y'know, "Get on this plane," and the implication was that the psychic knew the plane was going to crash. And that was also the episode where we introduced Ethan. So they started freaking out. And then the show premiered, and we were able to kind of cram it down their throats.
Burk: I was on the dub stage doing—what was Sayeed's first episode, episode six?
Lindelof: Eight. "Solitary." Seven and eight, we were doing them at the same time.
Burk: I was on the mixing stage, finishing that. And as scripted, at the end of the episode, Sayeed is walking through the jungle, and he starts hearing whispers. And it's now seven o'clock, I'm an hour over, I gotta finish the mix. And I get a call from the network. "Under no circumstances do we want to hear the whispers."
Lindelof: And you've got Naveen Andrews onscreen going like this [looks around, terrified]
Burk: …for no reason! And I said "Guys, there's going to be wind, there's going to be other things, but here's the thing—if you don't hear the whispers, there's going to be an actor just looking around and acting crazy for no reason." But that was it. They were very nervous about how far we were going to push anything that seemed like science fiction.
GQ: It's funny, because stuff like the whispers in the jungle seems so bush-league now compared to what's happened since.
Burk: Sure.
Cuse: You have to take your territory inch by inch.
Burk: And in defense of the network, there had been a plethora of science fiction shows before that, that all failed, for a variety of reasons. So they were obviously nervous about what we were going to turn this into.
Abrams: And we were going to kill Jack, in the pilot. And they said "Don't kill Jack." So they have given us some good notes.
 I love reading about how they worked the show out. I know many people think they've just been making it up as they go along, but I do think they had a game plan from the start. HOW you tell the story you want to tell may change depending on the actors you hire to play the characters (Desmond, Alpert and Ben worked out so well that their additions probably shaped the story differently) and what ideas catch on. But the fact that things like the sub, the hatch and the whispers were in the story right from S1 makes me think TPTB have always known WHAT story they're telling. Some heated (and bitter!) discussions about this right now at The Fuselage for example.



There's more behind-the-scenes goodness here, where we find out some inner workings of the writer's room and how a show is shaped not just by one person or one writing session.
a good example of how the writers room works in a series such as "lost"...is the creation of the story that eventually became [the] emmy-nominated episode "walkabout."

...an episode which is rightfully hailed as a turning point in the series and a signature moment of "lost."

however, like all episodes of this - and almost any television show - that story was "broken" in the writers room. it was discussed, conceived and divided into acts and scenes in an environment where a group of writers sat together, shared their best ideas and thoughts, and collectively filtered out the chaff to come up with the best possible version of that story...

the original conception of the final revelation of "walkabout" was that, after placing all of his hopes and dreams on a genuine australian walkabout vacation, john locke was crestfallen to find that his "genuine" aboriginal experience was indeed a tourist trap - a cheap and watered-down experience devoid of spiritual meaning.

in this version of the episode - which never got farther than the dry-erase board in the writers room - the final scene of the flashback would have been a profoundly disgusted locke, miserably sitting in the walkabout bus surrounded by screaming children... his life devoid of the meaning he has hoped to find.

this conclusion would have completely worked within the conceptual framework we had laid out for locke during the pilot phase of the show - that he was a profoundly unhappy office drone whose dreams of a grandiose destiny were continually dashed by cruel reality but given a new lease on the island. in our plan for the series, locke was always intended to be a man driven to faithful zealotry by a belief that the plane crash was predestined, and this formulation of his story would have served that theme well.

notice, however, that this version of the story does not include what many consider to be the "big twist" of the episode - the revelation of locke as wheelchair bound and healed by the island.

that's because it didn't exist until damon pitched it in the room as an idea to further push locke's misery into a physical reality that would play on film.

and there was strenuous opposition to this idea. some of the writers and producers of the show felt that it pushed us into too mystical a terrain - that it robbed "lost" of a crucial human dimension that was necessary to maintain an illusion of reality given all the fantastical things we had already established.

...other possibilities were discussed and entertained. we cut the guts out of the story to see if the wheelchair idea - and several other alternatives - held water.

it was ultimately decided that a wheelchair-bound locke was the way to go, and the show is better for it.

that's what the writers room does. it forces every idea, good and bad, to stand up to scrutiny and either live or die on its own merit.

after that, it's up to the writer to make those ideas come to life: and there is a big difference between a good story break that is well-executed by a writer and one that isn't.

It's more organic and more of a collaboration, which really is a cool thing imo. The idea that you could work out a show in detail seasons in advance is BULLSHIT. No one knows how long their show will last. Lost's writers finally did get their end-date which freed them up to set a better pace for the story and work out the mythology in peace. Lost is a flawed show, but imo it is the best and most original show I've seen on TV for a long time. Kudos to the powers behind it for making this weird and wonderful creation such a hit and slipping in all that wonderful weirdness under the noses of TV-company execs who would have balked at any and all time-skipping and alt-verses if they had known of them in advance!

Screencaps thanks to Lostpedia and Lost-Media.

A great recap of The Candidate

Gatesy over at Doc Arzt's site has a great recap of this week's episode and his thoughts mirror mine pretty much exactly.

I know lots of people had trouble with the fact that Jin did not leave Sun to die, saying he should have gone to raise Ji Yeon. Neither Sun nor Jin mention Ji Yeon in their final scene together, but imo, the option is there and obvious to both of them but remains unspoken. They have just spoken of her before they go on the sub so they both know he could go to try to get to her... but his choice makes absolute sense for the character. Like Gatesy puts it:

At the time I thought Jin would leave, have to leave, Sun for Ji Yeon’s sake. And at first I couldn’t make sense of it – why leave her as an orphan? But as I’ve pondered it I now think it is the right decision. Consider Desmond’s words to Sayid….
DESMOND: So, what will you tell her?
SAYID: What do you mean?
DESMOND: This woman–when she asks you what you did to be with her again…what will you tell her?
What would Jin tell Ji Yeon? Could he ever tell her what he had to leave behind to be with her? And let’s remember Ji Yeon doesn’t know Jin and Jin doesn’t know Ji Yeon. It sucks to make her an orphan but it sucks to leave Sun to die alone. That is the point. Love is stronger than death. Death is not the worst thing for either them. Being apart is. And I like to imagine that Ji Yeon’s parentless childhood will prepare her for a Superman/Luke Skywalker/Harry Potter style heroic story that we will never see. Death is not the end but the beginning of another adventure, as Dumbledore would say.
Jin and Sun’s personal stories had taken a back seat since season 4. Their story was no longer of two individuals seeking redemption and reconciliation – that had been achieved. The story was of their marriage, their union, their devotion to each other. For them to die together after being apart for so long is a happy ending of sorts. They would have chosen to die in old age, surrounded by children and grandchildren but that was taken away from them. So they chose to die together. Die together or live alone….? The hardest choice to make.

Screencap thanks to Doc Arzt.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

OMFG

OMFG.

Lapidus, Sayid and Jin and Sun, all offed in the same episode. And yet I still thought the episode kicked ass. Maybe because we finally, finally know what the deal is, and so do the losties. Smokey doesn't want to help them, he wants to kill them. He has lied to them and tricked them and used them and manipulated them every single step of the way. He doesn't make deals, he doesn't bargain. I'm glad that all of that is obvious now: no more bullshitting around with the losties now. They have to fight him to have any chance of living or saving the world or whatever.


I cried when Sun and Jin died, and yes, Jin should have gone to raise his daughter but can you really blame him for staying with Sun? He just got reunited with her 5 minutes ago for crissakes! Damn you writers! And I actually appreciated Sayid's death in a way because he went out as a non-zombie, saving the others from Smokey after doing his bidding since being resurrected. This means that everyone, even "infected" people have a choice: they don't have to follow Smokey. Claire won't follow him blindly for much longer either I think.


And seeing Sawyer saved by Jack, and the two of them ALMOST having a moment this ep? Priceless. Of course, Sawyer then had to go and blow it by going all commando with the bomb, but I couldn't really blame him for that either. Losing Juliet and getting stuck with Kate again would piss anyone off, right? The con-man got played and played good. That's going to piss him off even more once he comes to I think. Maybe I will finally get my wish then: Sawyer and Jack uniting to fight a common enemy rather than wasting time fighting each other.

And when Hurley lost it on the beach, I lost it too. Miles, Alpert and Ben better show up SOON with some weapons and help these guys out. I need those guys to at least make it for a few more eps.

Jack trusting (or turning into?) Locke after doubting him and fighting him all that time is a very good twist to the story imo. I always thought that if those two had worked together instead of being at loggerheads all that time on the island, things would have worked out a heck of a lot better. Seeing their interaction in the alt-verse was both creepy and sweet: "I wish you had believed me". Dammit. Again with the chain-yanking! This episode yanked my emotions so much I was actually literally at the edge of my seat tonight.

And when Jack stood there crying in the water at the end, I expected his dead dad to appear before him. Of course he didn't, but I am betting we are going to see Christian Shepherd on the island again before long.

So very, very good to see Bernard again! Did it seem to anyone else that Bernard acted somewhat "Hawking-esque"? Like he knew what the deal is with the alt-verse? The fact that they were all on that flight seems to be starting to weird out the losties in the alt now, and I do think that's a good thing. Maybe they need Hawking to debrief them?

So if we now know Smokey's plan, what the hell is Widmore's plan? Killing Smokey? Replacing Smokey or Jacob? Hopefully at least Jack et al will help Desmond get out of the well now.

I was bummed that we didn't get to see Bernard and Rose on the island, though at this point I am almost certain that they are Adam and Eve from the cave. Just hoping to get to see them, and Vincent!, one last time.

Dammit, this show is picking up the pace now. I was wondering when people would start dying and tonight I got my answer.


Screencaps thanks to Lost-Media and Doc Arzt