Friday, February 29, 2008

Lost 4.05: The Constant
I LOOOOOOOVED this episode. Loved it. At every commercial break, I felt like Daniel Faraday, rushing online to look up names, try to put things together, checking old notes on Hawking, going, "Okay... no, I got it... okay if I just go here... oh, I love it... um..."
Last week's episode was more about old-fashioned storytelling and big gasp moments, but this week's was doing what Lost does best.
And it doesn't hurt that it's about Desmond. SWOON...

Let's discuss. I have a feeling Matthew, Brian, and my other resident physics experts will have a LOT to say. :)

Want to understand what’s going on in this week’s episode of Lost? Should have paid more attention in Physics class.

Previously on Lost...
To really get into the mood for this week’s episode, you must think back to the season 3 episode, “Flashes Before Your Eyes.” In this episode, we see what happened to Desmond when he woke up after the hatch imploded/exploded. He goes back to the time where he was about to ask Penny to marry him, and thinks he’s been given a second chance with her, that the island never happened, and now he can be with her. He runs into a strange woman when buying the ring, named Mrs. Hawking, who tells him that he must let fate run its course, and if he tries to change the past or the future, there will be a “course correction” that will happen to change things back. That episode led many fans (including myself) to read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, a book on Ben’s nightstand and a favorite of one of the Others, where Hawking discusses black holes and time travel. I’d recommend it to anyone trying to understand that episode, or the this one. (I wrote a brief summary of the book in Finding Lost — Season Three: The Unofficial Guide, pp 67-72.) I won’t pretend to know a lot about time travel and parallel universes and wormholes, but some of the readers on my blog know a lot about it, and we’ve spent the last week chatting about various possibilities. I was thrilled to see some of them seem to come true this week.

Episode Recap:
Mindblowing episode. This is the reason the hardcore fans love Lost. When Sayid, Frank, and Desmond are flying to the boat in the helicopter, Desmond suddenly finds himself in the Army in 1996. Just as he begins convincing himself the helicopter ride was a nightmare, his consciousness moves back to himself in 2004 . . . but that self no longer has any memory of anything that’s happened after 1996. Throughout the episode, Desmond tries to reconcile his two worlds and find a way to make his time travel stop, and his answer lies in finding a constant, something that is part of both worlds and means a lot to him: Penny.

• Faraday in 1996 . . . he’s almost as unhinged as he is now.
• Daniel putting on a radiation vest and Desmond saying, “So what do you put on your head?” (That suddenly explains a lot.)
• Daniel saying, “I’d be careful crossing the street if I were you!”
• The phone call at the end, and Desmond finally making contact. I was so scared that he was going to suddenly die, I was holding my breath.

Biggest “GASP!” Moments:
• Dan saying that their perception of time on the island is not necessarily the same as to those on the helicopter.
• Desmond not recognizing Sayid.
• Daniel telling Desmond to go and find him in 1996!
• The Black Rock journal.
• Penny and Desmond FINALLY making contact!
• Daniel’s mysterious journal entry. I guess now he and Desmond need to be reunited.

Hurley’s Numbers:
Desmond is travelling 8 hears back in time. Dan’s machine has to be set at 2.342. The Black Rock painting is auction lot 2342; the bidding opens at £150,000. Penny’s new address is 423 Cheyne Walk. The numbers in Penny’s phone number add up to 46, which is 23 x 2.

Did You Notice?:
• Frank’s “cheat sheet” says he has to go North bearing 305. Michael was told by Ben that he had to bear 325. I’m still convinced that he’s going to be Ben’s man on the boat.
• Sayid leans forward to chat with Desmond about what Charlie said (that it wasn’t Penny’s boat) and he’s talking to him as if Frank can’t hear, but Frank is also wearing the headphones, and can hear everything they’re saying.
• There seemed to be an inconsistency with what happens to Desmond when he moves from one time to another. In the army sequence, he’s standing and saying he’s not supposed to be here when his consciousness moves back. When he returns to his consciousness in the stairwell and the auction house bathroom, he’s unconscious on the floor.
• Daniel in 1996 says he’s going to “unstick” Eloise in time. That’s a reference to Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, where the protagonist is “unstuck in time,” bouncing around to various moments in his life.
• At this year’s Comic-Con, Damon and Carlton showed another of the hatch orientation videos for the Orchid Station, and in the video Marvin Candle (going by yet another alias) is holding a rabbit with a 15 painted on it. Partway through filming something shoots by him, and he looks up to see the same rabbit sitting on a shelf above him. He cries, “Don’t let them see each other” and runs to the side of the room, as if it’s the same rabbit, one in the present and one time-travelling from another era. In this episode, it appears only Desmond’s consciousness is time travelling, but the rabbit was doing it physically.
• The painting at the auction is of the Black Rock. We already knew it was a slave ship, and that the Hansos had something to do with it (in the online ARG, The Lost Experience, it’s established that Magnus Hanso owned the ship; in the screen cap of the season 2 blast door map, we can see a spot pinpointed where Magnus Hanso is buried on the island). Now we know it had left Portsmouth, England, for Siam, and was lost at sea.
• As Widmore leaves the room with Desmond, you can hear the auctioneer say the next lot is a collection of Charles Dickens books, which is interesting since Desmond has read every book except one, which he’s saving for when he’s about to die. Also, Portsmouth, England (where the Black Rock departed from) is Dickens’ birthplace.
• On the calendar where you see the days marked off with X’s, there are no X’s over the dates October 20, 21, 22, or 23. The Boston Red Sox won the American League Championship Series on October 20, and went on from there to win the World Series. Could that have caused some seismic reaction in the world that made four days go missing on the calendar?
• Penny’s address and phone number were clues in the Find 815 online alternate reality game.
• At the end of the episode, after his consciousness moves back to 2004 and he’s talking to Penny on the phone, we see him in 1996 walking away from her apartment, rather than going comatose, which would suggest the zipping back and forth has come to an end because he’s found his constant. However, there’s a smile on his face, as if he actually has a “memory” of what is happening in the future.

So Many Questions...
• Does this mean Desmond’s starting fresh and won’t have any memory of his time in the hatch or any of the people on the island?
• Why is Desmond’s consciousness in 1996? In other words, why, by moving between the two time periods, does he have no memory of the future? In Hawking’s book, he says there are three arrows of time, and the psychological arrow is the direction in which we remember the past, but not the future. It’s in conjunction with the other two arrows, thermodynamic (entropy increases with time) and cosmological (the direction in which the universe is expanding, not contracting). If one arrow turns, it can turn others. I wondered in my book if, because Desmond had tried to go back in time to change his life, thus decreasing the entropy and turning his thermodynamic arrow, could he have turned his psychological one and that’s why he can remember snippets of the future? But in this case, things seem to have turned back, and now he can no longer remember that future. Interesting that in “Flashes Before Your Eyes” he could remember his time on the island when he went back in time, but this time around he can’t. Could it have something to do with the electromagnetic surge he was feeling during the implosion/explosion?
• What is in the sky that caused him to suddenly jump time, and why does Desmond’s exposure to the electromagnetic surge make him prone to it? Is there a wormhole surrounding the island, as I’ve suggested before, or one section of the bubble surrounding the island that is a wormhole, and the helicopter slipped through it?
• Why doesn’t Frank know why Desmond is freaking out? Charlotte and Dan both know about it, and on the boat everyone seems aware of it.
• George Minkowski tells Desmond that he was getting calls from Penny on his console and he was under strict instructions not to answer it. Why?
• George says to Desmond at one point, “You look a lot older now, huh?” Could this be the explanation for Walt? Maybe the Others exposed Walt to some radiation on the island, and then when he and Michael tried to leave on the boat, he began having the same experiences that Desmond is having. But . . . does that explain why he looks older to us? Hmm....
• Who opened the door to the sick bay. Could it have been . . . Michael?!
• How did Desmond know Mr. Widmore would be at the auction house? Why did he give Penny’s address to Desmond? He despises him.
• If it’s December 24 on the boat, does that make it December 25 on the island? The current timeline suggested the previous episodes were happening on Christmas Eve, so that would make it Christmas on the island. The episode moment I want to see: Jack drawing Locke’s name in the Island Secret Santa.
• So... if Desmond met Daniel in 1996, wouldn’t 2004 Daniel have a memory of it? Or could that be explained away by Daniel’s apparent memory problems? In last week’s episode, it appeared that Charlotte had shown Daniel three cards, turned them over, and then he could only remember two of them. Is he suffering from memory loss?

Next week: The action returns to the island, and Charlotte and Daniel appear to be risking their lives to reconfigure a computer. They also appear to be in the Orchid Station.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Random Stuff for a Tuesday
Lots of little things have been passing by my blog and not making it on because I've been spending all my time talking about Lost. So let's talk about some other things, shall we?

But first, LOST. (Oh stop it, this is my thing.) My pal Jeremy blogged last week on a series of Lost maps that are incredible. A fan named yung23 has studied screen caps of various maps on the show, and then put together any scenes of shoreline that he's seen, and by doing that has created a bunch of maps -- flat and three-dimensional -- that he believes are accurate depictions of the island. You can read all about how he put it together in a long thread he's posted here.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that I'm posting this for a regular reader, "cartographer." I would presume by his screen name that he might have some insight into the maps. :)

You've probably all seen this by now, but in case you haven't, Sarah Silverman was on Jimmy Kimmel, who's been joking at the end of his show that he's run out of time again, and is going to have to bump Matt Damon. So she put together a song about how she's f&#%ing Matt Damon, and Damon participated. It's hysterical:

If that doesn't work, the link is here.

So earlier this week, Jimmy Kimmel ran his response video, where he's f&#%ing Ben Affleck. But he took it to a new level, with an all-star cast singing a "We Are the World" song about it. Watch for a certain cast member of Lost singing (YES, I know, it all comes back to Lost). I just wish this one hadn't been bleeped.

And that link is here.

The TV Addict has posted on the Parent's Television Council's damnation of Dexter. If you've read my Buffy books, you know of my hatred for the PTC. They went against Buffy for using religious iconography to fight the vampires, without realizing that Joss was suggesting that something like a cross actually had power AGAINST evil. These people don't think. Ever. Seriously, if Dexter were broadcast at 4 in the afternoon, I'd have an issue with it. But if, as the TV Addict says, your little kids are up at 10, you are the one with the problem, not CBS.

This is Star Wars, as recapped by a 3-year-old. She talks a lot like my daughter (and is the same age) so I think that's why I laughed so hard when I saw it.

And finally, finally, another Mitchell and Webb, making fun of game shows that make absolutely no sense. That's Numberwang!!

This post has been brought to you by YouTube.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Goodbye to My Favourite TV Character

In life, a titan on the corners.

In death, an unknown body in a bag with the wrong tag.

Rest in peace.

Lost Sneak Peek (no spoilers here)
A few people have asked if it's OK to talk about the sneak preview of this week's Lost that's currently being shown on the ABC site. There are two scenes from this week's upcoming episode, one on the beach, and one... not. Both of them are "whoa" moments.

I won't talk about them right here, because some people would consider them spoilers. I'm a serious spoilerphobe, but in the sense that if a week ago someone said, "Okay, in this week's episode Kate's on trial and JACK shows up and starts talking about how she was a hero" I would consider that a spoiler. But if ABC had been showing the scene in advance and I was able to watch it, I don't consider it so much a spoiler because no one spoiled it for me; I was able to see it for myself.

So if you want to talk about it, go here to watch the two previews, click on the square with Sneak Peek and Sneak Peek 2, and then I'm opening up the comments board below to discuss. If you don't want to see them or hear about them, please don't look at the comments.

But one thing before you comment: PLEASE only talk about these previews. I don't want any talk about anything outside them that you might have heard. I go into each episode unspoiled, and if spoilers start to fly on these boards, I'll just delete this post. I'd love to chat about it in advance (hell, Lost fans will talk about anything, so considering we've got about 4 minutes in clips to discuss, I'm sure we could go on for weeks speculating!) but I don't want to be spoiled for anything else. Thanks!
Breaking News: The Oscars this Year Didn't Suck!
I love the Oscars. Not the telecast, I hate that. And the overblown "What are you wearing?" red carpet stuff? I could do without that. And generally I disagree with the people who get the statues.

So what's left to love? Those little moments. And... the competition. Every year for many years I hosted an Oscar party with my best friend S., and we'd come up with elaborate menus, spend two days making the food, invite up to 35 people over, and everyone would drop $5 into a pot on their way in and then compete to see who'd take it home. I used to go see three or four movies a week, and when the Oscars came, I would pride myself on having seen every single film in the best picture, direction, writing, and acting categories. Now, I'm lucky if I've seen one film in each category. My biggest rival was Jeremy, and every year he'd show up just to have his ass kicked by me. (Okay, he might have gotten a higher score than me once or twice, but don't tell him I admitted that.) Having a pot worth up to $175 made those film editing categories suspenseful and exciting.

This year, I watched the Oscars alone. Even my husband sat upstairs working on our taxes. What films had I seen in the big categories mentioned above? Juno. And as of Saturday, Gone Baby Gone (and if you have small kids, I don't recommend it. I was traumatized by this film, and it's the last time my husband's allowed to go the DVD rental store alone.)

And sitting on the couch, watching it, I have to say it's one of the best telecasts I've seen. Apparently when the writers have only had 10 days to work on that terrible banter, they write funnier stuff. And when the nominees have been thinking for so long that there wouldn't be a ceremony, they're just happy to be there, and thanking their agents and lawyers come second to just turning in a great speech.

But I think I have a new favourite Oscar moment. With no ballot in front of me, and barely caring about any of the movies, when John Travolta walked out to list off the nominees for Best Original Song, I sat up, held my hands together and whispered, "Once Once Once Once." And when he said, "Glen Hansard," I shrieked. The looks on the faces of Hansard and Marketa Irglova were priceless, and then Hansard got up to give the humblest speech of the night, shocked that they were even allowed up on the stage (he later joked that he felt like the plumber at a flower show). Marketa leaned in to say something, and the orchestra immediately began playing. She turned and walked away just as the orchestra stopped suddenly, and then they restarted. Jon Stewart joked, "Wow, that guy is SO arrogant," but after the commercial, Stewart walked this immensely shy woman back out onto the stage and she gave a heartfelt, impassioned speech:
"Hi everyone. I just want to thank you so much. This is such a big deal, not only for us, but for all other independent musicians and artists that spend most of their time struggling, and this, the fact that we're standing here tonight, the fact that we're able to hold this, it's just to prove no matter how far out your dreams are, it's possible. And, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream and don't give up. And this song was written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are. And so thank you so much, who helped us along the way. Thank you."

There was a lot of love for this little film in the audience. Colin Farrell, in introducing the two before they performed the song, could barely contain his excitement about their performance. As Travolta listed off the nominees, there was a roar from the audience as he announced "Once." When Hansard and Irglova got up to go the stage, the camera zoomed in on Laura Linney, who was almost in tears with happiness. Phillip Seymour Hoffman had his arms above his head clapping (maybe they watched the film together?) Even Jon Stewart mentioned how fantastic the film was.

I reviewed the movie on my blog after seeing it in the summer (short version of review: possibly the best music movie ever). I talked about it again when I went to see Hansard and Irglova live. I can't remember the last time I felt such an emotional attachment to a film, and I'm certainly not the only one. What an amazing Oscar moment (their performance was great, too).

Other fave moments:
  • Tilda Swinton's loopy and hilarious speech about George Clooney, saying he wore his nipple-endowed Batman suit under his clothes in Michael Clayton, and hung upside down when he slept. (Her dress was definitely... unique. It's like she thought, "Hmm... might be cold, might be warm; I'd better dress for both.")
  • Waiting for one of the presenters to take a nosedive after Miley Cyrus, Colin Farrell, and John Travolta all slipped on the same patch of floor right next to the podium (leading Farrell to say, "Someone should do something about that"... they didn't).
  • Marion Cotillard being a surprise upset. Since I wasn't married to any of the performances, it was just cool to see someone completely shocked to win, and act like it. Her speech was giddy and wonderful.
  • Daniel Day Lewis bowing to be knighted.
  • Javier Bardem mentioning his haircut in No Country for Old Men.
  • Jon Stewart saying Away from Her is about a woman forgetting her husband. "Or, as Hillary Clinton refers to it, the feel-good movie of the year!"
  • Forest Whitaker. The guy just walks on stage and the 'classy' meter shoots way up.
  • Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill's onstage banter. They're in front of a gajillion people and they were joking around as if sitting in their basement.
Low points:
  • I love Tom Hanks, don't get me wrong, but does he always have to be so damn cocky? Whenever he, George Clooney, or Julia Roberts take the stage, all you can hear resonating around them is, "DAMN, I'm good." Meanwhile, Hilary Swank has also won two Oscars, but she certainly doesn't act like it. If I were Tom, I'd be a little pissed that they showed my Philadelphia speech from 14 years ago, because in that time, his face has become so puffy you can barely see his eyes.
  • Speaking of which, hey, Renee Zellweger! OPEN YOUR EYES!!!!
  • John Travolta's hair. If you had to wear a wig, would you choose one that's THAT awful???
  • Those damn songs from Enchanted. While I was thrilled to see Kristin Chenoweth singing one of them, that last song made me want to vomit. WHO the HELL voted these terrible things in??? "Falling Slowly" was on a whole other plane. I loved Amy Adams in Junebug, but I couldn't stand her on stage in these songs.
  • I think it's amazing that the honorary lifetime achievement Oscar went to someone who was 98, and he actually showed up, but come on, couldn't you cap his yak time at around 5 minutes or so? He seemed to go on for an eternity.
  • The Coens' non-speeches. Apparently these guys are wordsmiths strictly in the written sense.
  • Katharine Heigl. Did anyone else think she was going to cry? She looked TERRIFIED.
  • Steve Carell not doing a sketch with Jon Stewart. Cripes, what does it take to get these two back together??

Friday, February 22, 2008

Lost 4.04: Eggtown
Was that a bombshell or was that a bombshell? While there wasn't much to the stuff going on on the actual island, the flashforward made for some intrigue about what is going to happen in the eventual rescue. Will Claire be sacrificed? Will she die and Kate rescues her son?

And, uh, who thinks they'll start having nightmares about Locke? Sheesh almighty.

I love this season!

Lies and the lying Oceanic Six liars who tell them . . .

Previously on Lost...
Last week’s episode saw Daniel Faraday conducting an experiment that resulted in a 31-minute time discrepancy between what the clocks on and off the island said. Here’s a suggestion I made on my blog: Maybe there’s a bubble surrounding the island, being held there through electromagnetic energy. When Desmond reads the printout and says his electromagnetic surge was on September 22, it would indicate that time is actually moving at the same pace, since that’s also the date off the island. But what if the actual bubble is a black hole, and if you get stuck in it, time moves differently. Last season there were several references to “A Brief History of Time,” and in that book Hawking talks about black holes and how time moves differently in them (he also suggests that if a person fell into one they’d be ripped into spaghetti, but let’s not get into specifics). What if by passing through the bubble, you can age more quickly while in there, so you have to move through it as quickly as possible? Notice that Faraday tells Frank at the end that he has to go back exactly the way they’d come. Maybe he found the hole that allows them to pass through the bubble quickly, and he needs Frank to follow that exact same path or risk getting stuck in there? It could certainly help them deal with the fact that Walt is 12, but Malcolm David Kelley is almost 16 — the writers could trap him in the black hole and he’ll age three years in a matter of minutes.

Another possibility is that there are wormholes in that bubble, allowing people to pass into a different time, into the future and into the past. In that case, the flashbacks, flashforwards, and present time on the island could all be happening at the same time. On with this week’s episode.

Episode Recap:
Great episode! While Locke turns into a madman, Kate takes Miles to Ben, where Miles insists that he knows who Ben really is, and asks Ben for a ransom of $3.2 million so that he’ll tell the people on the freighter that Ben is dead. Kate and Sawyer play house for a bit, Locke trumps Sayid as the most sadistic torturer on the island, and Juliet and Jack find out that the helicopter didn’t actually make it back to the freighter. Three years later, we see Kate on trial for her pre-crash crimes, and discover one blond-headed secret she brought back with her when she was rescued. (And no, it ain’t Sawyer.)

• Seeing everyone hang out in Otherville as if they’re in the real world.
• Hurley: “You just totally Scooby-Doo’d me, didn’t you?”
• Hurley watching Xanadu. Ha! (I’m sure there’s some deeper meaning to Kubla Khan and Coleridge or just the stupid movie and the Greek muses, but I’ll leave that to you guys to hash out.)
• Wine in a box.
• Sawyer referring to Locke as Montezuma when he hears the toilet flush.

Biggest “GASP!” Moments:
• Jack’s many, many, manymanymany lies, beginning with Daniel and Charlotte being there to rescue all of them.
• Locke saying if he were a dictator he’d just shoot Kate. Gah!
• Kate’s got a SON?!
• Jack showing up at Kate’s trial… and telling more lies. That the marshal had died in the crash… that only 8 people survived the crash… that Kate had assumed the role Jack really had in the crash…
• Regina not knowing about the helicopter. Uh oh…
• Locke reaching a whole new level of torture technique. Holy Gestapo, Batman! Horrific… (interesting that we now have something connecting Locke and Mikhail)

Yes. Aaron.
The big bombshell at the end of the episode was that Kate’s “son” is in fact Aaron. Is Aaron one of the Oceanic Six? He wasn’t technically on the flight to begin with, and Jack mentions in court that eight people survived the plane crash, and six of those people lived. Aaron wouldn’t have been one of those people if he’d been born on the island, so I’m thinking there may still be two other people who will be revealed. Jack doesn’t want to see Aaron because he’s a reminder of their deceit, presumably. Aaron calls Kate “Mommy,” so I would assume Claire is not one of the Oceanic Six, and Kate has raised him as her own. What happened to Claire? Did Kate and Jack sacrifice her somehow? Or did she die and Kate agreed to take care of Aaron for her? Was Aaron’s existence publicized when the survivors made it back to the real world? The lawyer talks about him like some well-kept secret, which would have been difficult considering the publicity surrounding the rescue. One thing is for sure: Now we know who Kate meant when she said at the end of season three, “He’ll be wondering where I am.”

Hurley’s Numbers:
Miles asks Ben for $3.2 million, and Ben asks why not 3.3, or 3.4. I SO wanted Miles to say, “Uh… because 3.2 could be turned around to 23, which is one of Hurley’s numbers?”

Did You Notice?:
• The episode opened on Locke’s eye; in previous seasons this always signalled the episode and flashback would be about him, but not this time.
• Locke sleeps in Ben’s hospital bed.
• The book that Locke chooses for Ben is Philip K. Dick’s sci-fi novel VALIS. This is a thinly veiled autobiographical work about Dick’s philosophical and religious beliefs, where Dick narrates, but creates a main character named Horselover Fat, who is also Dick, to add some objectivity to the situation. The two argue throughout the book in a Socratic way about their Gnostic belief systems. VALIS stands for Vast Active Living Intelligence System. From Wikipedia:
VALIS has been described as one node of an artificial satellite network originating from the star Sirius in the Canis Major constellation. According to Dick, the Earth satellite used “pink laser beams” to transfer information and project holograms on Earth and to facilitate communication between an extraterrestrial species and humanity. Dick claimed that VALIS used “disinhibiting stimuli” to communicate, using symbols to trigger recollection of intrinsic knowledge through the loss of amnesia, achieving gnosis. Drawing directly from Platonism and Gnosticism, Dick wrote in his Exegesis: “We appear to be memory coils (DNA carriers capable of experience) in a computer-like thinking system which, although we have correctly recorded and stored thousands of years of experiential information, and each of us possesses somewhat different deposits from all the other life forms, there is a malfunction – a failure – of memory retrieval.”
• When Locke gives Ben the book, Ben says he’s already read it, to which Locke responds, “You might catch something you missed the second time around.” This seems like a comment on the viewers who watch the episodes over and over again, catching new details every time.
• The scene where Ben and Locke face off mirrors the same scene in season 2 when Benry was locked up in the Armory. And just as he did then when he walked out and smashed all the dishes all over the place, Locke falls for it AGAIN and lets Ben know that he’s won this round, and has gotten to him. Locke, Locke, Locke… when will you learn??
• This is the first conversation between Jin and Sun we’ve seen all season. Interesting that last season so many fans were up in arms for the first three episodes because we didn’t get to see enough of the other characters, and this season we’re seeing even less of the others, yet no one is complaining. Looks like the writers finally found the right balance.
• Emilie de Ravin looks like she’s wearing a wig.
• The backgammon is back, but it’s so different now. In season one, when Locke was playing it with Walt, he seemed like a generally good guy. Now he’s… not.
• Everyone seems to be referring to Hurley as Hugo these days.
• Kate’s listening to Patsy again.
• Kate was never able to resolve her issues with her mother by remembering her in flashback, and finally resolves them in the flashforward, which is a first.
• I was hoping that Sawyer didn’t want Kate to be pregnant because he was scared she’d die. Now I realize it was a more selfish reason.

So Many Questions…
• Eggtown?
• Did you notice the way Miles was sitting in the boathouse when Kate came down to see him? He was all hunched over in the chair. Could he have been communicating with the ghosts of the island? I’m convinced that Miles has been talking to them since he got there… he’s possibly talked to Dharma victims from the Purge, other survivors who didn’t make it, Nikki and Paulo (no wonder he’s raving like a lunatic; wouldn’t YOU be if you had the Undynamic Duo in your head?) Could he have been talking to the dead on the flats when Jack and Co. first came upon him?
• Why has Jack maintained that Kate was the real hero in the crash? Was it out of love? Was it to deflect attention from himself? He’s clearly been doing it since the rescue (she mentions that she’s heard him say it over and over).
• Why would Sawyer immediately tell Locke about Kate’s plan? Is he trying to stop her before Locke does more damage to her?
• Miles tells Ben not to treat him like one of them, and says he knows who he is and what he can do. Who is he? What can he do? Miles talks to him with a lot of hostility. Does it have anything to do with Miles being a ghost whisperer? Are the dead telling him things that Ben has done?
• What the heck were Charlotte and Dan doing with the cards? How was Dan able to know what those cards were? Why is he so frustrated that he’s not making “progress”?
• So what happened to the helicopter? Did they not follow the same path?
• In case I forgot to mention it… AARON??!!

Next week: Looks like things don’t go so well for Sayid and Desmond.

UPDATE: Lostpedia is posting that the definition of an "eggtown" is the following:
Egg-town is a pejorative term that refers to the days of bartering, during the Great Depression. A traveling salesman would have to barter his candy or tobacco or shoelaces for different commodities. A poor exchange would be for eggs, a relatively common item that is also highly perishable. Nobody wants to trade for eggs from a traveling salesman because they have their own, so the salesman who accepted an egg in exchange was forced to accept a bad deal. Salesmen would use the term like "If I were you I would stay away from Bogart. That's an egg-town." Of course, the lack of trust among salesman was also high, and it was likely that one salesman would lie to another about the quality of a town's customers to keep them for himself. Invariably, the second salesman ventures into Bogart only to find it is truly an egg-town. He is either persuaded to not visit a town that has good customers or is tricked into visiting a town that can only offer eggs. The term "egg-town" represents a deal with undesirable outcomes in either case.

UPDATE 2: Bill Ervolino's got a great rundown of the episode over on his blog, including pointing out the conversation Claire had had with the psychic way back in "Raised by Another," where he told her that that baby could absolutely NOT be raised by anyone other than her. Hmm...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lost: One Hour and Counting...
So... I've got on good authority that tonight's episode is a helluva doozy. I'm not sure who the flashforward is, but I've heard it's this person (highlight the white area below to see):

Kate. And if it is, I'm hoping we actually see who "he" is that she was referring to, who would be waiting for her. Someone mentioned in the comments that "he" could be her child, and I thought that was an amazing theory. I can't WAIT for tonight's ep.

Happy watching, and check in here when it's all over. I'm gonna try for a new Wizard posting record tonight, but depending on the ep, I might not be able to post it that quickly. Last week I'd finished writing by 12... let's see how quickly I can do it this time.

Until then, check out this AWESOME interview with Darlton, at Entertainment Weekly. They don't reveal any specifics, but they DO say what will be answered this season, including (use that highlighter again:

Who the Oceanic 6 are (by episode 7); whether or not the flashforwards are the actual future or a possible future; who is in the coffin!; more explanation as to why Christian was sitting in Jacob's cabin; what 2 possible explanations there are for why the plane is at the bottom of the trench; what extras are considered canon; where they get the names for people (and yes, Abbadon was totally taken from Wikipedia); and more.

It's great, and not so much spoilery as intriguing. Read it here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Breathe, Nik... BREATHE
So... remember when I was talking about the PaleyFest08, which was going to feature a cast reunion of Buffy, and I joked that even if they got a few of them out, there's no way Sarah would be there???


I was wrong.

Check out the list of the confirmed Buffy peeps who will be at this live reunion... on stage.

Amber Benson, "Tara Maclay"
Nicholas Brendon, "Xander Harris"
Charisma Carpenter, "Cordelia Chase"
Emma Caulfield, "Anya"
Eliza Dushku, "Faith"
Sarah Michelle Gellar, "Buffy Summers"
Seth Green, "Oz"
Alyson Hannigan, "Willow Rosenberg"
James Marsters, "Spike"
Michelle Trachtenberg, "Dawn Summers"
Joss Whedon, Creator

The only two stars who haven't confirmed are Boreanaz and Anthony Stewart Head. Not sure why Head won't be there, since the guy still does cons (and there's still hope he might change his mind) but it's probably a scheduling conflict of some kind, and here's hoping that might change. David is saying it's a scheduling conflict for him... BUT, due to pressure, he's decided to either be beamed in via satellite, or film a message ahead of time to be played on stage.

Oh, and THEN... they've added freakin' FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS to the lineup, so THAT cast will be appearing the night before.

I read both of these things and went NUTS. Like, decided to strap infant to self, jump on plane, and just GO. I clicked on the "Buy Tickets" button.

But it's sold out.

Could someone maybe mail me a box of hankies? I'm gonna need 'em. Wah.

Monday, February 18, 2008

In Treatment
It's been on for 2 weeks now, but I've only just gotten around to watching some of the episodes of HBO's ambitious new series, In Treatment, and I think it's fantastic, so I wanted to mention it. Why is it ambitious? It's running for 43 weeknights in a row, half an hour a night. That's over nine weeks straight, with no repeats, telling the story of a man who's falling apart while having to keep it together while listening to other people whose lives are falling apart? Confused?

The always amazing Gabriel Byrne stars as a psychiatrist named Paul who's visited by the same patients week after week. On Monday he sees Laura (Melissa George, best known to me as evil Lauren from Alias), a woman who's actually in love with him and has him playing a part in her most erotic fantasies. On Tuesday it's Alex (Blair Underwood), a Navy pilot who bombed a village, killing several innocent children, but feels no remorse for it. Wednesday is Sophie (Mia Wasikowska), a gymnast and Olympic hopeful who's been in an accident and is ordered to see a psychiatrist by her insurance company, who thinks she's suicidal. Thursday is Amy (Embeth Davitz) and Jake (Josh Charles), a couple who have been through numerous fertility treatments, and now that she's finally pregnant, she wants an abortion.

Friday, not surprisingly, Paul goes to see his OWN psychiatrist, Gina (played by the inimitable Dianne Wiest), to vent about his patients and his own failing marriage to Kate (Michelle Forbes, Cain from Battlestar). He and Gina have their own troubled past, so there's a power situation present in each of their sessions, and it's fascinating to watch him reacting to Gina's probing questions with the same hostility that his patients give him, yet all the while he's complaining about how hostile they are to him. Each episode is only half an hour long, and the stories these characters tell draw you in to their worlds, and what we think we're about to see is never what we get. In the second week, one of the appointments is unexpectedly cut short, and the rest of the episode is between Paul and Kate, who have a fight of epic proportions. Forbes and Byrne are so terrific in this scene that the last time I remember being this blown away by marital dischord on television was that massive blowout between Carmela and Tony that they have in his TV room.

This show is amazing, and I'm completely hooked. In Canada, the series airs on The Movie Network Monday to Friday at 8:30pm ET, and 9:30 CT on Movie Central, and then the 5 episodes of the week are repeated on the weekends. If you get On Demand, they might be all there, because I definitely recommend watching it from the beginning. You won't be disappointed.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Lost 4.03: The Economist... Continued
The discussion continues on the latest episode of Lost. One of the more intriguing questions was raised by Matthew, asking why the heck Miles is SO damn angry. We've seen a brief flashback of him and he's pretty laid-back, if a little sleazy, but when he comes to the island he's all wild-eyed and out for blood. Why is he so hellbent on finding Ben? Matthew wonders if maybe he had a relative or a friend who was killed in the Purge, which is a very interesting theory. Pete has posted suggesting that maybe Marvin Candle is Miles's father, which is a great idea.

I, too, was wondering about why Miles is SO angry when he's on the island, yet in the flashback he seems pretty lowkey. And I wonder if his power to speak to the dead is heightened on the island? If he really can communicate with the dead, and his dustbuster device is just for show, then maybe when he landed on the island he was lying on the flats for a lot longer than we think, and in that time he was communicating with all the many, many ghosts on the island, who were telling him that Ben killed all of them. That would get him pretty worked up. I believe he was sent there because he's the only one who can communicate with those who have died, and that THEY are the ones with the real information.

Then again, maybe he had just communicated with Nikki and Paulo. That would be enough to make anyone completely insane.

Friday, February 15, 2008

4.03 The Economist: More Thoughts
So I've slept on it and thought about it some more. My column for last night's episode is now up here, and there has been much discussion of the episode on my boards here.

So one of the main points of debate is what the heck was going on with the time inconsistency. On the one hand, there's a time lapse between the rocket being launched and "reaching" the beacon, and actually reaching the beacon. A time lapse of 31 minutes. Yet, as Brian pointed out in the comments, if time is moving differently off the island than on, shouldn't there be a lag time in the radio transmissions? How are they doing that in real time? Hell, even on CNN when someone is reporting from overseas, the anchor will say, "Do they think there will be an insurgence?" Pause. Pause. Reporter blinks. Pause. Reporter touches earpiece, nods. "Yes, they do." So if 31 minutes is passing between the outside world doing something and the island doing something, how are they talking from both "worlds" so easily?

Another question: What does the 31 minutes mean? In the outside world, no time at all seemed to pass. But on the island, 31 minutes went by. I speculated that maybe to the outside world, the survivors have been gone for years, not 100 days, but by this experiment, wouldn't it be the other way around? Wouldn't it be more like a day has passed, rather than 100 days? I'm confused... I'll need a physics major (or even better, someone who's read a lot of time travel sci-fi) to explain what the experiment really meant. On the one hand, as I mention in my column, it could explain why Walt has aged so much by being off the island, but on the other hand, as Saza mentioned, when Desmond looks at the readout of when the electromagnetic occurrence happened, it was September 22, which was the date both on and off the island. So is time really moving differently?

One thing could be this mysterious bubble surrounding the island. I'm wondering, after spending 3 hours between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. with an infant who wouldn't sleep and so I sat in the dark thinking about all of this while he cooed and giggled... could the time warp be in the shield surrounding the island? What if on the island it's December 24, and off the island it's December 24, but when you try to leave the island you can actually get stuck in the bubble and inside that particular barrier, which is a wormhole of some kind, time passes differently? Hawking talks a lot about black holes in his book and how time would pass differently if you were in one of them, but he also suggests that you'd be ripped limb from limb and turned into "spaghetti" if you were to fall in one. But what if Walt, on attempting to leave, got stuck in one, and therefore aged more rapidly for a short period before coming back out, and was suddenly a few years older? What if the plane was momentarily stuck in it? What if the helicopter was? It would be like living on the outside on September 22, then getting stuck in the wormhole and 3 months pass in the blink of an eye, then coming back through it and you're back in September 22 again. Could this be an explanation for what's happening in the flashforwards? Are they really 3 years in the future or do they just think they are? Notice how Dan tells Frank to make sure he follows exactly the same trajectory on his way out as on his way in. Maybe they'd discovered a hole (or when they entered they MADE a hole) and Dan wants to make sure Frank doesn't fall into the wormhole, but actually passes through safely?

Okay, my head's starting to hurt, and that paragraph is making less and less sense the more I type, so I'll stop.

Paticus suggested in the comments that maybe in the season 3 finale, when Kate says to Jack, "He'll be wondering where I am" that she could have meant Ben! I love that idea. What if, on the island, Ben has figured out all of their deepest desires and thoughts, just as the audience has, and now he's using them all against them for his own purposes. He's got Sayid in his clutches, and makes a comment that he hopes Sayid doesn't start following his heart instead of his head, because he knows what happened the last time he did that. Could he be talking about something that happened on the island? Or could he mean Nadia? Maybe Sayid gets off the island, finds Nadia, and makes a fatal error and she dies, and now he's completely dead inside and just doing Ben's bidding. Or maybe Nadia's in some sort of trouble, care of Ben, and he's forcing him to do his bidding so Nadia DOESN'T die. Hmm...

That's all for now. I'll have more again later. :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lost 4.03 The Economist
Whew! That one made my brain hurt! Loved it, and I'm just beginning to watch it again, but the posting board is open below to begin discussion.

Thanks to those who helped me out with the closed captioning! You guys rock.

Four of the Oceanic Six down, two to go.

Previously on Lost...
Last week’s episode generated a lot of discussion on one point: Who is Ben’s man on the boat? Here are some possible suspects:
• Michael. We saw him leave in the boat with Walt approximately a month before the current events. Like Desmond, he probably got turned around, and Ben talked him into working for him to continue to try to get away. Maybe Walt is with him, or maybe he got Walt to safety but came back. He’s proven himself worthy to Ben in the past (killing two survivors, freeing Ben, and walking four other survivors into the clutches of the Others), and since we see in the future that Sayid is working for Ben, it’s not too off-the-wall to think Michael could as well.
• Mikhail. He was already in the water at the end of season 3, and he could have gone over to the boat. It’s not clear if the guy’s alive or dead. However, I don’t think he’s had time to get over there, find out information, and transmit it back to Ben. Besides, Ben already knew about Naomi, presumably from the information from his “man” on the boat.
• Charlotte. She was wearing a bullet-proof vest, and he shot her in the chest rather than aiming for her head. It would be just like Ben to shoot someone to throw the others off the scent, and to say “man” on the boat when he really means a woman.
• Walt. He could be on the boat and astrally projecting the answers back to Ben. He’s had enough time to be over there, but it’s not clear in this case what’s happened to Michael.
• Richard Alpert. He came and went from the island all the time in the service of Ben. He seemed to be losing faith in Ben at the end of season 3, but he’s usually been loyal to him, and could have been moving back and forth between the boat and the island. Unfortunately, Nestor Carbonell, the actor who plays him, went off to star on Cane, and CBS refused to let him continue to work on Lost. The show hasn’t had any more episode orders, but it also hasn’t yet been cancelled, which probably holds Carbonell to that show. At the very least, he wasn’t able to appear on Lost for the first 8 episodes.

Episode Recap:
On the island, Sayid goes off to retrieve Charlotte after Frank promises him a spot on the helicopter if he does so. When he, Kate, and Miles get to the Others’ compound, they’re ambushed, and he trades the others to Locke for Charlotte. In the flashforward, we see Sayid, the fourth member of the Oceanic Six, is a hitman and conman who has turned into a more menacing version of Sawyer, taking out a series of people. When he’s wounded in the line of duty, he limps back to the man who’s been ordering him to kill people who pose a threat to Sayid’s friends... and it’s none other than Ben.

I’ve been waiting three full seasons for one of the characters to finally broach the fact that life on the island is preferable to going home. I was so relieved to hear Sawyer voice what fans have been saying from the beginning: Why does Kate want to go home, when home is a prison sentence? Why does Sawyer want to leave, when he’s completely alone and has no one in the real world? Now that Sawyer’s killed the man he’s spent his life hunting, it seems he’s had some clarity, and realizes there’s nothing left for him.

• Miles: “In case you zoned out while you were tweezing your goatee...” This guy is a rude ass, and I love it.
• Jack after Kate says now he knows what it’s like to be left behind: “Does that mean I should wait twenty minutes and go anyway?”
• Jeremy Davies. I think this guy is amazing, and I love just watching him in every episode, with his jitteriness and nervous fidgeting. What a great actor.
• “What’s with the swing set, did these people have daycare?”
• Hurley: “Oh. Awesome. The ship sent us another Sawyer.”

Biggest “GASP!” Moments:
• Sayid shooting the Italian man on the golf course! He was a torturer in the past, tried to work through it in season 1 and wanted to change, and now he’s right back where he started, it seems. No torture, just killing.
• The rocket registering a time of 31 minutes longer than the clock on the beacon. Whoa. This brings us back once again to that whole idea that there’s a time warp, or that time is moving differently on the island, or that everything is happening at once. So is it really December 24th off the island, or does it seem to the outside world that it’s been a lot longer that they’ve been missing? Notice how Jack says, “I can’t believe it’s been 100 days since I’ve seen a game” and the rocket test happens immediately after, as if to signal it hasn’t been 100 days, but much, much longer. This might be the way they can explain Walt’s rapid aging process off the island, if they decide to bring him back into the storyline.
• Et tu, Hurley??
• Sayid and Desmond actually leaving on a helicopter? Did anyone else get a serious rush watching that scene?
• BEN. Off the island.

Hurley’s Numbers:
The second clock that Dan looks at has a time of 03:16:23. He says the times are 31 minutes off (15 + 16).

Did You Notice?:
• Sayid is playing golf in the Seychelles, which is a group of islands off the coast of Africa. In season 2, after Eko’s brother’s small plane landed on the island, some fans speculated that maybe the island is off the coast of Africa, since that plane wouldn’t have had enough fuel to have gotten to the Pacific. These islands were where some fans speculated the castaways really are.
• Frank says if Sayid brings Charlotte back safe, he will take him off the island. That, of course, could mean plopping him in the ocean. He chooses his words as carefully as Ben does.
• Elsa was the name of the lioness made famous by the book and film, Born Free, by Joy Adamson. Interesting, since Sayid is now “free,” but also in captivity.
• When Sayid finds Hurley locked in the closet, Hurley’s eyes dart around and he pauses before saying, “They left me,” as if he’s not completely on board with what he’s doing.
• Ben has the Holy Qu’ran on his bookshelf. I’m sure on further viewings I’ll figure out what the other books are (beside it is a book about religion).
• When Sayid looks at one of Ben’s fake passports, the name on it is Dean Moriarty. Moriarty is the main character in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, based on his friend Neal Cassidy. Moriarty is the one who convinces Sal, the book’s narrator, to follow him around on various adventures, much like Ben convinces others to follow him for better or for worse. (Also, Moriarty has some daddy issues.)
• Ben tells Sayid it’s no use having friends you can’t trust, foreshadowing what happens to Sayid with Elsa. Sayid then says the day he begins trusting Ben is the day he’s sold his soul, foreshadowing who his boss will eventually be.
• Locke brings iced tea to Sayid. The last time Sayid was offered iced tea, it was from Mikhail, who was conning Sayid the way Locke just tricked him.
• Sayid shoots Elsa the same way Shannon was shot by Ana Lucia, which could be one of the reasons why her death affects him so much.

So Many Questions...
• Naomi’s bracelet: “N, I will always be with you. R.G.” Who is R.G.? Is it someone significant? Is it Regina? Is it the person holding this group together?
• When Sayid tells the man on the golf course who he is, the man becomes unnerved. Is it because he knows Sayid is here to kill him, or does he know something about what happened on the island? Or both?
• What is the significance of the volcanic ash that surrounds the spot where Jacob’s cabin should be? Fans speculated last season that it was either keeping Jacob in, or keeping others out.
• Why does Frank tell Dan to hang up the phone if Minkowski returns? Where is Minkowski? Why would he have to hang up if he came? Is Minkowski not there for the same reasons as the rest of them?
• What was with that little room hidden behind Ben’s bookshelf? What does he do in there? Why did he have so many suits? Money from other countries? Passports? Has he been coming and going from the island as well?
• What list is Sayid referring to? Why are these people trying to hurt Sayid’s friends? By “friends,” is Ben referring to the Oceanic Six, or the people left behind?
• Why is Elsa wearing a bracelet that’s the same as Naomi’s? Did Sayid keep it from Naomi and give it to Elsa, or was Elsa already wearing it when they met? Do people who are part of a certain organization wear this bracelet?
• Why do Daniel and Charlotte decide to stay on the island? Have they been given a mission that’s being kept a secret from Frank?
• Is Ben a veterinarian, or is he just using the O.R. of an animal shelter as a meeting place with Sayid? Does Ben have surgical experience?
• More importantly, why is Sayid working for Ben? Why are these people on the list? Who made the list? Is it another list by Jacob? Is the island still playing a big part in the lives of the Oceanic Six, even after they’ve left? Are the others in Ben’s hold, too, or is he just lording over Sayid?

Next week: Locke declares a dictatorship, and Kate and Sawyer look like they’re going to play house.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Season 4 of Lost will Have 13 Episodes!
Carlton Cuse has officially announced that he and Damon Lindelof will be busting their asses to get 5 more episodes done, which will bring the number of episodes this season of Lost to 13. He says what this will do is allow them to end the season the way they'd originally planned, but just in a more condensed version. As he put it, "It's a little bit like driving cross country to Boston. If the goal is to get there two days earlier, we will have to take more interstates and fewer rural byways."

Jon Lachonis at BuddyTV is worried this means we'll lose the remaining three episodes. "With Cuse proclaiming that the season 4 story will end as originally prescribed, I think we have to then assume that they have no intention of making up the lost (pun intended) episodes in the future," he writes. "Selfishly, I don't want to be shorted three episodes of my favorite TV show."

However, USA Today is reporting that the remaining 3 episodes will be rolled into future seasons. Whether Cuse actually said that to them, or whether they're simply assuming it is unclear, since they don't have him quoted as saying it. Since Variety is also reporting that if season 4 is shortened the remaining eps will move to future seasons, I'm leaning to believing both of them.

In other news: Pushing Daisies and Dirty Sexy Money have both received 13 episode pick-ups for the fall, which is awesome news. ABC was the first network out of the gate to announce all of their shows that will be continuing. I'm hoping NBC is next...

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Decline of American Civilization
Um... I'm sitting here on the couch just answering emails now that the kids are asleep, and it's 8:17 and I feel like I want to take a fork and stab myself in the eye repeatedly, because I put on American Gladiators, which I've never watched, just to have the TV on in the background. It is the most ridiculous crap you've ever seen (oh my god, Hulk Hogan just said "Testify, girl." Seriously.) The ONLY way to watch this show is ironically. "Normal" people compete against the "gladiators," which include a bunch of pinhead men (see pic at right) and over-steroided women who probably stopped menstruating a decade ago. There's one woman on here named Hellga (and Hogan says it like HELL-ga) who just looks overweight.

PLEASE end that writer's strike, because with this show, television has officially gone to pot.
Writers Strike Calls Timeout...
Well, it’s pretty much a done deal. The writers were asking for 0.4% of the Internet profits, and now they’ll get 0.36% up to 100,000 downloads of a TV show (50,000 of a feature film) and 0.7% thereafter. Not bad... not great, either, but they’ve made their point, and I’m so glad they did. They ground Hollywood to a complete standstill. Actors couldn’t do that. But the writers certainly can. (It’s interesting that Hollywood immediately gave in to the Directors Guild demands, as if they knew how important these people were. Yet, before you can DIRECT a script, it must be WRITTEN.)

So where does put our new shows? As I posted a couple of days ago, many shows are rushing back to work on Wednesday if the vote goes through tomorrow, and we could see as many as 10 episodes more of The Office, and six more of Lost (the season called for 8 more, so maybe with some urging from fans they’ll give in to the full season). Notably absent seem to be all the new shows: Chuck, Dirty Sexy Money, Pushing Daisies... all of these shows have been tabled until fall. And what happens then? Are we to believe they’ll really give them all second seasons? Not likely.

The one that worries me the most is Friday Night Lights. This past Friday’s episode wasn’t great, and when that little Imagine logo popped up at the end, I dropped my head into my hands. I cannot fathom leaving the beloved people of Dillon, Texas with Smash’s football future unknown, Jason’s parenthood future unknown, Riggins’ future with or without Lyla unknown, Landry’s NON-future with Tyra and wonderful future with Jean unknown.... and I cannot bear to think the last I’ll see of Coach Taylor is him all bruised and broken suffering from a hangover. Peter Berg – the man who brought the book to the TV screen – had a guest appearance playing a former boyfriend of Tami’s, and I thought this subplot was stupid. Eric and Tami don’t play games, and to see him downing shots and eventually beating the crap out of the guy with the giant cowboy hat was simply ridiculous. Season 1 showed these two as the most together couple on television, but season 2 has sort of marred that. While I love the season, I didn’t love Tami finally getting out one night with her friends and coming home to Eric snarling at her that she needs to focus on the family more... when she’s been tied to the newborn baby 24 hours a day since it had been born. And I certainly don’t love him not having the confidence in his relationship with Tami to simply laugh off the yahoo in the big hat and walk away.

Could it really end like that?? Please, NBC, PLEASE... say it ain’t so.

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Rumor Mill: The Strike Has Ended!!!
Word has it the writer's strike will end this weekend, with the guild meeting tomorrow to look at the proposed contract, largely rumored to be something happy for both sides. No news on what deal they eventually settled on, or confirmation that the rumors are true, but the networks seem to be pretty confident, since they've all announced what shows will be coming back, how many, and when. Michael Ausiello at TV Guide has posted the complete list of shows here (thanks for the link, fb!) but I'll pull the ones usually discussed here, along with my comments in red:

Bionic Woman
No new episodes expected. Ever.

Big Love
Expected to go into production on Season 3 in March. Airdate info is TBD.
I cannot WAIT. Great thing about HBO? They're not stuck in regular network seasons.

No new episodes until fall.
I'm so sad about this one... I love Mr. Bartowski and Friends.

Dirty Sexy Money
No new episodes planned until fall; three remaining pre-strike episodes will undergo some tweaking and kick off fall run.
Wah... just when I was getting into it. I wonder if this will kill the show?

Friday Night Lights
No new episodes expected for this season. Future TBD.
Excuse me for a moment.... I need to go off into a corner and SOB.

Gossip Girl
Expected to shoot up to 9 new episodes to air in April/May/June.
Wow, do they film an episode per day?? They'll pretty much finish their season.

What are they determining? Whether the show is still any good?

Six pre-strike episodes remain. Six additional episodes could air this season.
Oh please please please please....

The Office and 30 Rock
Expected to shoot 5 to 10 new episodes to air in April/May.
Come on TEN. Let's see TEN! I vote for TEN!!

Pushing Daisies
No new episodes until fall.
Must return to my sobbing corner... WAAAAAHHHH....

Ugly Betty
Expected to shoot 4 or 5 new episodes to air in April/May.
This is good news, and they'll have a fuller season than most shows, too, I suspect.
Who's Ben's Man on the Boat?
So last night Ben said he has a man on the boat. One person commented here after reading my column and suggested it's Richard Alpert, which would be great. He comes and goes as Ben pleases, and has remained loyal to him until very recently. However, I'd heard in the fall that because the actor who plays him, Nestor Carbonell, was starring on Cane, he was unable to also appear on Lost, because CBS wouldn't let him jump networks. I'm not sure if Cane is still on or if it got cancelled (it's not clear with the writer's strike what's still here and what isn't... except for Journeyman, which I TOTALLY got into and was really upset they'd cancelled that and not stupid Bionic Woman), but even if it were cancelled, Carbonell would have been working on the show in the fall, when they were filming these episodes of Lost. Also, we last saw Richard in the woods only the day before, so I don't think he could have gotten any inside information to Ben in time. So I doubt it's him.

A couple of people just posted and suggested Michael. Could it be? I LOVE that theory... the last we saw of him, he was leaving on a boat that Ben had given him. What terrible thing befell him that put him back in the service of Ben, now as a spy on the boat? I mean, he proved himself worthy by integrating back into the Losties, killing two of them, letting Ben go, and then leading four of them over to the Others, so he's certainly capable of this. But how could he be there unnoticed?

Could it be George Minkowski? The guy's been on the phone, yet we've never seen him. The voice is that of Fisher Stevens, he of dubious 80s films fame (best known as being engaged to Michelle Pfeiffer for a while before they broke up), so we'll definitely see him. I found it REALLY strange that just as the mission is going down on the island, George is suddenly unavailable. What's that all about? No wonder Miles looked ticked.

Could it be Mikhail? Did the crazy one-eyed Russian let off the grenade and then continue swimming out to the boat? We saw him wearing a scuba mask, and the next time we saw one was in the box Jack was unpacking. I think it's unlikely... in the timeline, Charlie died only a few hours ago, so I don't think he could have gotten there. And besides, the producers are saying he's finally, really, truly dead. (Don't trust them.)

Or it could be someone we haven't seen yet. Who do you think it is?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Lost: "Confirmed Dead"
Wow, another nailbiter. This show is freakin' brilliant. I had my laptop with me and was jotting notes the entire time, and LOVED it. A couple of moments made me laugh out loud, and I gasped aloud more than once. Here we go...

We meet the “rescuers”... and find out who they’re really here for.

Previously on Lost...
Before I move on to this week’s episode, it turns out last week’s was FULL of Easter eggs that took fans several days to find. Here’s a list of my favorites:
• Abaddon might sound like “abandon,” as I pointed out, but it’s also a Hebrew word meaning “place of destruction,” or underworld. In Revelations, Abaddon is the Angel of the Abyss. Some fans are speculating he’s the smoke monster; when he leaves the room where he unnerves Hurley, there’s a weird shadow left behind him on the door.
• In Jacob’s cabin, the man sitting in the rocking chair was none other than Christian Shephard!
• The eye that appears in the window is up for debate. The general consensus was that it was Locke, but I think this week’s episode debunked that.
• When Hurley crashes his Camaro, you can see Randy (his boss from the Mr. Cluck’s and Locke’s boss at the box company) filming the crash off to the side of the scene.
• Hurley crashes into the Bonneville of Death, that weird car (that could just be a red herring) that Kate crashed into when she had Tom in her car; that hit Michael when he was crossing the street; that hit Locke when he was running through the parking lot of the store after spotting his mother.
• There could be a tie to the North Pole: When Hurley and Jack are playing HORSE, Hurley says, “That’s H-O.” Hurley sees Charlie standing next to the Ho Ho’s. (Think Santa.) H and O are the 8th and 15th letters in the alphabet. This links to polar bears; the guys at the end of season 2 in the blizzard; Desmond saying that they’re stuck in a “snow globe”; Desmond asking for the punchline to the code joke “What did one snowman say to the other snowman?”

Episode Recap:
Through flashbacks, we’re introduced to the four new characters who have been sent to “rescue” the survivors: Daniel Faraday, Miles Straume (ghostbuster... when he hooked up his dustbuster device I looked at my husband and said, “Who the hell is he? Dan Aykroyd??”), Charlotte Lewis (archaeologist), and Frank Lapidus (pilot). On the island, Charlotte is held hostage by Locke and Company, who are on their way to Jacob’s cabin on Walt’s orders, and the other three are with Kate and Jack, who appear to have abandoned the rest of the flock. Through the flashbacks of these characters and Naomi, we discover they’re not exactly there to rescue anyone, but instead are there to find Ben.

• Watching Dan’s landing from his point of view. You can feel his panic as he’s free-falling through the air, looks up at his parachute, looks down to see himself about to hit the trees... it was amazing.
• The looks on everyone’s faces when Locke says he’s getting his orders from Walt. They all look like they’re thinking, “Oh crap... I should have gone with Jack.”
• Locke tells Sawyer that Walt gave him orders to stop Naomi, and Sawyer says, “What, you didn’t ask any follow-up questions?” Ha!
• Ben’s reaction to Karl calling him Mr. Linus: “Karl, now if you’re gonna sleep with my daughter, I insist you call me Ben.”
• Jack telling Miles that they have friends with guns in the jungle, and Sayid and Juliet suddenly appearing.
• Sawyer: “Who are we to argue with Taller Ghost Walt?”

Biggest “GASP!” Moments:
• Locke announcing that if he’d had a kidney, the bullet would have killed him. Does this mean his whole destiny theory is correct? That he was meant to lose the kidney to Anthony Cooper so that he could later live? Did Cooper actually save his life?
• A polar bear in the desert? With a Dharma collar???
• Ben shooting Charlotte! That’s two people in just over 24 hours.
• Miles saying they’re here for Benjamin Linus!
• Locke asking what the smoke monster is... and discovering nothing. (That’s more of an anti-gasp moment, but it was fun anyway.)
• Ben knowing Charlotte’s life story before announcing he has a man on their boat... wha??

Hurley’s Numbers:
When you see the two ROVs underwater, the second one has a fuel reading of 64 (8 x 8); there are 4 team members in the helicopter; when Miles enters the grandson’s room, there’s a 15 on a football poster on the wall; when he puts his ghostbuster device on the table, there’s a coupon stuck to the board on the wall saying something is $15.00; if you add up the numbers in the Oceanic hotline, the sum is 48; the helicopter has the number NB42M on the side of it;

Did You Notice?:
• Zoe Bell is listed in the credits, but I couldn’t tell where she was in the episode. She was Lucy Lawless’s stunt double on Xena: Warrior Princess, and was Uma Thurman’s stunt double in Kill Bill. Perhaps she’s a stunt double in this show, too? Or could she have been Virginia, the woman on the phone who talks to Miles at the end? Virginia had a New Zealander accent, like Bell.
• If you played the Find815 alternate reality game, you would have picked up several references to the game in this episode. Among them: the salvage boat is called the Christiane I, which is the name of the boat in the game; the wreckage is found on the Sunda Trench, which is where Sam is told Sonya has been found; and the room where Miles does his ghostbusting looks exactly like Sam’s bedroom.
• Jeremy Davies’ character is named Daniel Faraday. One of the names the villain in Stephen King’s The Stand uses is “Russell Faraday.” Apparently the character on Lost was originally named Russell, but by the time they started filming they changed it to Daniel.
• Vincent’s gone with Locke’s group. That can only mean something terrible is going to happen to them.
• Locke predicts the end of the rain, a throwback to season 1. I love when they make us remember things that happened three years ago.
• Locke looks at Hurley with shock when he mentions the cabin, which means it wasn’t his eye last week looking out or he’d have known Hurley was there.
• Sawyer calls Locke Colonel Kurtz, which is probably the most apt nickname he’s ever given someone. Not only is Locke bald, but he appears to be deranged, and is now leading others down his dark path with him.
• Miles appears to have landed on the flats where Inman died.
• When Miles does his exorcism, the woman at the house is named Mrs. Gardner. In 1941, a skeleton was found on Gardner Island, and many believe it to have been the remains of Amelia Earhart. It’s widely assumed that the Adam and Eve skeletons of season 1 are based on Amelia Earhart and her male companion.
• It seems Sawyer’s gone with Locke’s group not because of his faith in John Locke, but in Hurley. When Locke insists that Sawyer not kill Ben, Sawyer looks at Hurley, who quietly shakes his head, and only then does Sawyer walk away.
• When we first see Frank’s flashback, he’s dropping a toy plane into an aquarium and it lands upside-down. It looks like he’s been doing this for a while, always with the same result, as if he knows the plane found on the ocean floor – right-side up – is a fake.
• All of the four crew members have some affiliation with the crash, ranging from major to minor: Frank was supposed to be the pilot of the plane, and calls Oceanic to say the body in the wreckage is not the actual pilot’s; Charlotte doesn’t believe the plane crashed, either, and uncovers a polar bear wearing a Dharma collar and seems to know the significance of it; Dan watches news of the fake crash on television and is inexplicably moved and upset by it; Miles simply hears the news on the radio of the crash site being found and turns the radio off.
• Frank is from Eleuthera in The Bahamas; eleuthera is derived from the Greek word for “free.”
• Naomi’s mission was to get them in, get them out, and prevent anyone from being killed. Looks like the mission’s already a failure.
• Charlotte is from Essex, England, and Dan is from Essex, Massachusetts.
• Charlotte Staples Lewis is clearly named after Clive Staples Lewis, a.k.a. C.S. Lewis, author of the Narnia series. That series of books is about stepping from one world into the next, as if the universe is a series of parallel realities. One of the favorite fan theories is that all of the action in the flashbacks, flashforwards, and island is happening at the same time, in parallel universes.
• Looking for Hurley’s numbers, I ended up finding the number 29 twice. At the beginning the second rover changes his coordinates to 137. If you subtract 108 from that number (the sum of Hurley’s numbers), it comes out to 29. Also, on the helicopter you see the letters N, B, M. Assign numbers based on their position in the alphabet (14, 2, 13) and they add up to 29.
• Lostpedia says this episode happens on December 24, 2004, which means we’ll soon be on Christmas. One can only imagine what will happen on that day.

So Many Questions...
• So why was Dan so upset when he watches the news?
• Did the magnetic anomaly bring the helicopter down?
• Why did they have scuba masks on board?
• How does Miles’ machine help him talk to ghosts?
• How did the polar bear end up in the desert, with a Dharma collar on it?
• Was that one of Mikhail’s cows that Frank comes face-to-face with?
• If Frank was able to set the plane down okay, why is he so beat up?
• Note the way Abaddon says to Naomi, “There were no survivors of Oceanic 815,” as if to say, “You will make sure there were no survivors of Oceanic 815.” Is it part of their mission to make that statement a reality?
• Why couldn’t George Minkowski come to the phone?
• Is Ben telling the truth when he says he doesn’t know what the smoke monster is?
• How the hell did Ben know all of that stuff about Charlotte? Who does he have on the boat?? This is the place where I’d usually ask if he’s telling the truth, but if he was looking to make believers out of us, listing off Charlotte’s entire life story pretty much did it for me.

Where to Look:
If you’re looking for more Easter eggs, I think there are a few scenes that will be full of them. They’ll just need more time, and a LOT more screencaps:
• The ocean floor at the beginning where the two rovers are searching.
• The bedroom of the grandson.
• The place where Frank is watching the television.

Next week: We discover another member of the Oceanic Six.
The Dance Party of Newfoundland
So last night, for practically the first time since my son was born 4 months ago, I went out. And of course, it had to be the night that Toronto got 30 centimetres of snow dumped on it, with the snow swirling around at night and traffic slowing to a crawl. (Oh, and before I go on, can I just say: GET WINTER TIRES!!! Seriously... I have them, and ended up stuck behind a bunch of dunces who think all-seasons somehow do the trick while they're fishtailing and slipping and sliding all over the place, and I had to do about 20km/h the whole way downtown because these people have inefficient wheels. I wish they were mandatory in Ontario like they are in Quebec. What's the point of me having them if I'm just going to get stuck behind an army of people who don't??) But ANYWAY...

So why did I decide to brave the elements, you might ask? My brother had bought tickets for me to see a sketch comedy show by a troupe called The Dance Party of Newfoundland. His wife is from NL, and they'd seen the troupe before (and know a couple of them) and he really wanted me to go.

It was totally worth the aggravating drivers and possible death. It was one of the funniest things I've seen.

The show is held at the Diesel Playhouse in Toronto (go here to find out about tickets) and is on a very limited run until Saturday, but I urge you to go out. It's in a cabaret setting in a tiny room at the top of the playhouse, and the intimate setting gets you really close to the players to see every facial expression and, in some cases, them trying their damnedest not to break out in laughter themselves. The audience were screaming at points, as sketches ranged from a nervous artistic director of the Come-By-Chance local theatre (pronounced cumbychance) urging you to come and "see the mijic" (this was one of my favourite sketches; I had tears running down my face at one point); or a stand-up comedian who has played for a total of 800 people in his 40-year career (he'll tell a joke and then spend the next minute explaining the punchline to you); or the funeral service of 50 Cent, where a sombre minister lists off his achievements, gang wars, album cover wars, and song titles, all with a straight face; or a Tarantino fan who gets kidnapped by a bunch of Guy Ritchie fans and they battle it out. The humour is laugh-out-loud hilarious, and unique. One sketch had a Newfoundlander bringing his British cousin to the bar to meet his friends, and I still can't think of the punchline without giggling out loud.

Check out an article about them in NOW magazine here. The guys are all immensely talented, though the standout is Steve Cochrane, who should be starring in indie comedy films. He's an excellent actor, which raises his sketches from mere comedy to true hilarity. There's no reason, in a land that has produced Mike Myers and Jim Carrey, that this guy shouldn't be a massive star.

Go see them. It'll cost ya $20, which is nothing. Tickets are still available.

Update: You can watch some of their sketches here.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Here's an Idea...
I know a few people were frustrated last Friday when they had to wait until 1pm to see my review and spark discussion on here. For anyone who's new to the blog, last season it aired at 7pm in Canada, and I would have my complete analysis of it here by the time it had finished airing in the U.S. Last Friday I felt like everyone else was beating me to the punch, even though I'd finished writing mine the night before.

So how about this: Following the episode, I'll simply post a response to it here saying whether I loved it or didn't, but won't go into any detail, and we can begin our discussion. Then the next day the post will go up when we're in mid-discussion, and maybe it'll give us something more to talk about. I've talked to the editor at Wizard and he's going to try to get it up earlier next Friday as well.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Lost: The Beginning of the End, Revisited
So Lost fans have had a whole three days to digest the episode... which means we've pretty much dissected every single second of the episode, have done all the research, and are ready for the challenges of the next one.

If you haven't been reading the comments on my posts below, I thought I'd highlight some of the awesome catches of some of my readers, or the links that some of them have posted to other sites with revelations.

First, I asked a seemingly innocent question: "Did anyone catch what Hurley says after telling Jack that he wouldn't look good with a beard? Does he say, "S.H.O.? I'd say sho? Like Saint Joe?" and Kathy posted that he says, "That's H.O." because they were playing horse. That then spawned an entire discussion about the significance of H.O. Saza pointed out that it's the 8th and 15th letters of the alphabet, and reminded us that Hurley sees Charlie standing next to the Ho Ho's. Then downthehatch posted: "I am starting to think the Ho Ho Ho is a big clue. We keep getting hints of them being in the arctic somewhere...polar bears, penny's people, "snow globe", the snowman joke and now Hurley drawing an eskimo and an igloo. The North pole has an magnetic anomoly. So is the Ho ho ho a hint of Santa, who lives at the north pole? It's also Dec 24 as I pointed out. I am not sure what it means or if it's all red herrings, but I feel it's might mean something."

There certainly does feel like there's some significance to Hurley drawing the igloo, to seeing the guys in the blizzard at the end of season 2, to Desmond asking, "what did one snowman say to the other snowman," etc. Christemple went into even greater detail in his comment:

Don't dismiss this absurd subject so quickly. Ho Hos figured prominently in last nights episode, it was where Charlie was standing in the store when Hurley freaked out, AND the letters "HO" appear briefly in the background when Hurley flips out at Matthew Abaddon. While chocolate cake may have nothing to do with the secrets of Lost, the element the letters 'Ho' represent may!
Originally dubbed "Element X" by Jacques Soret and Marc Delafonatine, who discovered it, Holmium (chemical symbal HO) is said to possess "the highest magnetic moment (10.6µB) of any naturally-occurring element and possesses other unusual magnetic properties."
Did the light bulbs just go off? Of course this is not common knowledge enough to be something meant to be revealed, rather this clue was injected with the idea that the brainier members of our community (like KeepingAwake, who tipped me off to this) would disseminate it for the rest of us numb-skulls. What does it mean? Speculate away.
So far, including the addition made by the nimble brained Theory 156 below, we have:
Charlie stands by the Ho Hos when Hurley sees him in the store. (KeepingAwake)
The chemical symbol for Holmium in the background at the sanitarium (KeepingAwake)
Jack ending his game of 'Horse' at 'Ho' (Theory 156)
As pointed out below, H is the 8th letter in the alphabet and - you guessed it - O is 15! HO=815! (Trevor)
HOLM is Greek for island. HOLMIUM is the Latin word for Stockholm, based on the Greek for Island. (KeepingAwake)
I got this from DocArzt's website. It sounds more logical.

Whew! I think some of my brain just came out of my ear. And when it comes to Lost, I LOVE that feeling. :)

Abaddon. As many people have now told me, Abaddon is a Hebrew word meaning "Place of destructrion." From Wikipedia:

Abaddon (Hebrew אבדון Avaddon, meaning "destruction"). In Biblical poetry (Job 26:6; Proverbs 15:11), it comes to mean "place of destruction", or the realm of the dead, and is associated with Sheol. Abaddon is also one of the compartments of Gehenna.[1] By extension, it can mean an underworld abode of lost souls, or hell.
In Revelation 9:11, it is personified as Abaddon, "Angel of the Abyss",[1] rendered in Greek as Apollyon; and he is described as king of the locusts which rose at the sounding of the fifth trumpet. In like manner, in Rev. vi. 8, Hades is personified following after death to conquer the fourth part of the earth.

Someone mentioned in my comments that there's a shadow left behind when Abbadon leaves, which has sparked some discussion that he might be the smoke monster:

Of course, it could just be the light in the hallway outside... ;) Note also the chess game that sits on the table between him and Hurley, suggesting this is a game, they're all pawns, and they're all being moved around the board by some higher power.

When flipping through screen caps I also noticed this, which I'd missed when watching the show:

Check out the chalkboard in the background, with the shark, the palm tree, and the boat. All things we've already seen, or will any of these things be involved in the future rescue?

Few things have generated more discussion than the scene with Jacob's cabin. Check out the screencap of the window, which looks like an evil face. The rips in the curtains look like mirror images of each other, like a J and a backwards J (or an L). Hmm... J and L are mirror images of each other... like Jack and Locke. Or Jacob and Locke.

The painting of the dog was sitting on the floor in the corner of the cabin in "The Man Behind the Curtain" and here it is on the wall, seen very prominently by Hurley. Is it important? Or was it just an innocuous detail in TMBTC, and when fans jumped all over it the writers began giggling and decided to put it on the wall? I'm thinking it's important... few details on Lost are there for no reason.

Someone posted a comment that they were disappointed that we didn't see an eye on the flashforward. I don't think we saw an eye on Jack's, either, so it would suggest the flashforwards won't have them, but instead, check out how beautifully Hurley's eye is framed by the broken glass in this shot. It's foreshadowing the much creepier eye we'll see right after, but it's still a gorgeous shot.

And speaking of that eye, here it is again. Several people think it could be Locke, while others say they don't see the resemblance. I looked at it, and if you look at the arch of the eyebrow, it looks REALLY similar to Locke's. But another option could be Mikhail. When I first saw it in the episode, I immediately thought of Mikhail, but I haven't seen anyone speculate that. Someone posted a comment last week that on the DVDs, the producers say that Mikhail really did die in the grenade blast, but I'm not so sure about that. Notice we don't see the guy's right eye, and Mikhail has rather narrow eyes, and a similar eyebrow arch. And his nose seems to cast the same kind of shadow that the eye above does... and the deep bag he has under his left eye would cause that curving underneath, but the puffiness isn't there (that could be explained by the fact the eye is so wide, and we almost never see Mikhail with his eyes wide open). It's probably a stretch, but then again, we've been discussing the significance of Ho-Ho's, so I don't feel very silly bringing it up. :)

So what have I missed?