Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lost 4.13/14: “There’s No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3”

“Lie to them, Jack. If you do it half as well as you lie to yourself, they’ll believe you.”

Man... I can’t be the only one who always feels completely exhausted after watching an episode of Lost. It’s going to take a few days to digest that TON of information that just got dumped on us, but I only have a couple of hours to write this. I’m hoping to update this post often at the end of it, so check in regularly after I’m able to think things through and write out more observations below.

You have to hand it to Darlton: These guys know how to pull off a finale!! This one didn’t pack quite the punch of the season 3 finale, but it certainly brought the season to a close by taking a bunch of storylines and pulling them together here. FINALLY we have a lot of answers that will allow us to begin to solve the mysteries.

Yeah, you’re right. I’m totally kidding.

Jeremy Bentham
And after last season’s finale, where the obit CLEARLY read Jo___ __antham, and I said in my post that it’s too bad it wasn’t Jeremy Bentham, because that would have opened up so much more... the writers changed it to Bentham. Apparently the writers of the obit couldn’t get the name right, and we shall chalk it up to a major typo in the newspaper. Ahem. Jeremy Bentham was a 18th and 19th century philosopher who developed the ideas of utilitarianism, or the greatest good for the greatest number of people. He was one of the first advocates for animal rights. He boiled down the separation of good and evil to two major things: pleasure and pain. That which brings us the most pleasure and the least pain is good; the most pain and the least pleasure is evil.

When I think Jeremy Bentham, however, I only remember vaguely the stuff about utilitarianism from my poli sci classes... what I remember him for is his concept of the panopticon. The panopticon was a prison that Bentham designed and developed, where the prisoners would be under constant watch by the guards, but were unaware of being watched. It’s a concept Orwell used in 1984 to suggest all of us are being watched by someone but don’t know when they’re tuning in. The structure of the prison was circular, with the cells being on the wall, and the guard tower in the centre, where the guards could watch without being seen. Food is dispatched to the prisoners automatically, without the staff having to do it, and the prisoners aren’t allowed to move around much beyond their cells. Presumably, the use of the name “Jeremy Bentham” comes back to the idea of a circular prison (the island) where everyone is being watched, but they don’t know when or by whom. Food drops onto the island, and every move is monitored.

RIP Michael & Jin...
See, with Charlie, I watched him die. I was in tears. But this time, I sat there with my hands over my mouth, in shock, but wondering if maybe – just maybe – Jin somehow got away. I know the chances are slim, but... I’m an optimist. It’s probably safe to say Michael died, since Christian gave him the okay to die and the guy was in the centre of the boat, unable to escape. But it’s a little hard to mourn him after what he did while he was on the island, and being away from him for so long in the meantime. I always felt bad for Michael; he got the bum rap no matter what he did, and then ultimately made some terrible choices in the name of finding his son. He was used by the island as a pawn and then tossed aside, and for that, I’m sad. But Jin’s death – if that’s what it was – seemed a little mechanical. As in, why did he stay behind in the first place? He should have been up there with Desmond, not sitting below staring at the plans. The man’s about to become a father, and Desmond is the guy with the bomb defusing experience, but Des is the guy to run up top? (Don’t get me wrong, I’d be pulling my hair out now if Des had stayed behind, but you know what I’m saying.)

Things That Make You Go “...AND?!
Jack: “It’s okay, we’re alive.” Of course, now we’re WAY worse off than we were before, because we’re in the middle of an ocean with no water and no food and the island is gone and we’ll probably all die and this baby hasn’t been fed in 24 hours, but we’re alive.

The Guy in the Casket
So... Locke is the guy in the casket. Or is it Locke? He’s clearly going by the name Jeremy Bentham, but the strange thing is, the Oceanic Five Who Can Talk are all referring to him as Jeremy, and not Locke. Why would they use his pseudonym? Is it someone or something who looks like Locke? What is his relation to Abbadon? Is there one? Walt tells Hurley that Jeremy Bentham came to see him, and wants to know why everyone is lying. But it was Locke who TOLD them to lie. So does that suggest Bentham and Locke are two different people?

• Desmond explaining all the ways they could go boom.
• Sayid heading off Keamy at the pass. WOO! Go Sayid!!
• The argument between Locke and Jack at the Orchid. There’s something about watching these two go at it... it’s one of the things I loved about season 2, and it was great to see it again.
• Rose telling “Shorty” that she’s going to keep an eye on him
• “If you mean time travelling bunnies, then yes.”
• Sawyer calling Frank “Kenny Rogers.”
• Yunjin Kim’s performance when Sun sees the freighter blow up. Stunning.
• Hurley’s response when Jack denies that Locke moved the island: “Oh really? Cause... one minute it was there and the next it was gone... so... unless we like overlooked it, dude? That’s exactly what he did. But... if you’ve got another explanation man, I’d love to hear it.
• Penny and Desmond kissing.

Biggest “GASP!” Moments:
• The elevator suddenly going back up, and what comes back down. CREEPY.
• Ben stabbing Keamy to death.
• The helicopter taking off with Jin jumping up and down below it.
• The island suddenly disappearing.
• Desmond not breathing when everyone pulls him out of the water. Okay, writers? We need to talk. Do NOT do that to me again. I could barely breathe.
• Penny on the boat! But... um... does this mean Desmond’s story is essentially over? His was the romantic sidestory. I really hope with Widmore being the enemy that Desmond doesn’t become a character who only pops up a couple of times next season or something.

Hurley’s Numbers:
The rabbit has a 15 on it. When Frank notices the fuel is dropping, it’s at 4. When Sayid asks the man in the car what time it is, he says 8:15 just before Sayid shoots him.

Did You Notice?:
• Imagine how long it must have taken to recreate that opening scene again, getting the puddles just right, Kate’s makeup, Jack’s bad beard...
• Kate says she’s spent 3 years trying to forget what happened, which puts this scene at the end of 2007.
• Kate and Sayid were going along with the Others to get Ben back because they’d been promised a way off the island... interesting they did that, since they’ve NEVER been lied to before.
• The only thing scarier than a psycho Marine is a primal Other... or a former torturer for the Iraqi Republican Guard.
• Malcolm David Kelley has really grown up! I’ve been saying for a couple of years that there’s no way they can continue to show Walt, but now the flashforward allows for that. I was sort of hoping for a little more than what we got, but here’s hoping we see more of him. They can’t just leave Walt’s “specialness” dangling without answering what the hell it’s all about.
• Despite being wrong about the computer button needing to be pushed, the freighter folk, the purpose of the rescue mission, and just about everything else, Mr. High and Mighty (a.k.a. Jack) STILL cannot admit it. Argh.
• Speaking of Scully, when the hell will he admit that maybe, JUST maybe, some of the weirdnesses of the island can’t be explained away? After witnessing smoke monsters and people magically healing, he doesn’t believe in miracles?
• Apparently the raft is running on solar power, since it’s making it to and from the boat repeatedly without refuelling.
• The Orchid station is... deep. It’s like they’re descending into hell. If you haven’t read The Third Policeman – that book Desmond was reading in season 2 – check it out, because a place they have to descend to using elevators plays a big part in it.
• Did anyone else think it was strange that Ben just happened to have the orientation video for the Orchid sitting right there so he could keep Locke busy? That seemed a little convenient for the plot.
• That was not the orientation film we’d already seen on YouTube.
• I’ll have to leave it to the physics experts to describe the Casimir Effect, but you can read about it here.
• Despite Ben often oozing pure evil, there’s something about him that makes me think there’s a heart in there. Even if it’s small and black, there’s a heart. Locke jumps on Keamy after Ben stabs him, and tells Ben that he’s just killed everyone on the boat, to which Ben replies, “So.” His coldness comes across as just that, but I think he’s been broken by Alex’s death.
• Jack takes over even on the helicopter. Shut UP, Jack.
• Hurley’s playing chess with dead people... the entire series is an elaborate chess game.
• Christian appeared to Michael right before the freighter blew up, to tell him he could go now. Apparently the island needed him to come up with the liquid nitrogen idea... presumably to get Sun safely off the freighter. She (or Ji Yeon) must be pretty important. Also, it would suggest Christian is the mouthpiece of the island, since he delivers the message from the island.
• Many of the people who make it back are spurned on because they lost their loved ones due to Widmore’s design: Ben lost Alex; Sun lost Jin; Hurley lost Charlie; Sayid lost Nadia.
• On Sun’s business card, the P in Paik looks like a tidal wave.
• Did anyone else think that Juliet sitting there drinking seemed strange... how did she know the boat had blown up and it wasn’t just something on it? The scene felt forced, like they needed to give Mitchell some lines and this was the way to do it.
• Ben puts on the Dharka he’s wearing at the beginning of “The Shape of Things to Come,” and since, when he lands in Tunisia he’s breathing out polar ice, it would seem he time travels right to that spot immediately after moving the island (note the tear in his jacket happens there, too). Considering he’s sobbing and upset and distraught over Alex, he certainly pulls it together in time to overpower those two Bedouins pretty quickly.
• When Ben was in the snow cave, there were hieroglyphics all over the rocks.
• When Ben moved the turnstile, it made the same noise as when the Swan hatch imploded/exploded. The sky turned purple again (“The sky was so purple there were people running everywhere... trying to run from my destruction, you know I didn’t even care.” Great. Now I have that song in my head. “They say two thousand zero zero party over, oops, out of time...” Okay. Enough.) and that deafening sound caused everyone to cover their ears.
• After the helicopter crash, we see Jack floating in the water and waking up, just like after the initial plane crash, we first see Jack waking up.
• In Kate’s dream, the person on the phone was speaking backwards... I can’t wait until fans decipher what it was he was saying.
• John Tenniel’s drawing of the White Rabbit in the Alice books is on Aaron’s bedroom door.
• Jack bristles when Kate says that Aaron surviving that fall is a miracle. There’s something more to that statement other than making Jack feel all superior and sciency... Aaron has survived a LOT of stuff so far and seems completely fine.
• The fishing boat suddenly appearing is like the end of season 1, complete with the little search light.
• Jack has AWESOME musical taste. The Pixies’ “Gouge Away” is one of my favourite songs. Last season he was listening to Nirvana’s Scentless Apprentice on the way to Hoffs-Drawler, and now it’s Gouge Away. Wicked. I heard years ago that this song was about the Old Testament (specifically Samson and Delilah, because Black Francis mentions cutting one’s locks and pulling down the pillars). There’s a line, “sleeping on your belly” which indicates a snake, possibly Locke.
• Locke has become Ben, not only taking over the Others, but travelling off the island under pseudonyms.

So Many Questions...
• What the hell are those crackers made of? They’re 15 years old, yet Hurley and Sawyer both think they’re pretty good. I have opened packages of crackers in my cupboards that probably taste like cardboard, and they’re only a month old. (Yeah... I’m no good with crackers.)
• Why does the orientation video begin to rewind? Is the actual video going back in time? (Was it just me, or did Locke look sped up as he was trying to get it to stop?)
• So, shipper lovers, who do you predict in season 5: Juliet and Sawyer, or Juliet and Dan?
• What DOES Miles mean when he asks Charlotte about coming back to the island? Or when she says she’s looking for where she was born? Was she born on the island? Who is she? Could she be the Eve in the caves?
• Was there a relationship between Dan and Charlotte? (Or maybe there will be in the future, and he knows about it but she doesn’t, and that’s why he always looks at her with such tenderness?)
• Why could Dan see the boat from the island, but they can’t see it from the helicopter? Where is the storm that’s around it that Sayid and Des and crew had to fly through previously?
• What did Sawyer tell Kate right before he jumped out of the helicopter? I’m assuming he told her about his daughter... if so, how long will it take for her to put together that Clementine is the daughter of her friend Cassidy?
• “Checkmate, Mr. Eko.” Again we come back to the earlier question... are the “dead” people really dead or not? Is it possible we’ll ever see Eko again? (I would LOVE to see him again.) That said, Sayid not seeing Eko sitting there would point to him not actually being there. Unless Hurley is the key to the whole thing...
• What does Sun mean when she says “we’re not the only ones who left the island”... is she referring to those who died? Ben? Locke?
• Is Ben’s apology to Locke a sincere one?
• What exactly is that room underneath the Orchid? Jacob’s Fortress of Solitude?
• When the island disappeared, the people on the raft near the island (i.e. Dan and Co.) disappeared, too. Did they go to the same place as the island? How can Desmond be Daniel’s constant if they’re now separated?

Season 5? Bring it ON!
The season 3 ender established flashforwards as the big thing for season 4, but this one had a lot of nods to what we can expect in season 5. (Then again, a four-toed statue was shown in the season 2 finale and... hello? Writers? ANYTHING?!)

• Charlotte staying on the island and continuing her quest to find her birthplace.
• Ben moving the island. Duh.
• Locke taking over as the leader of the Others.
• Sun confronting Widmore.
• The time between 2004 and 2007, with the Bentham meetings.

UPDATE #1: And presumably, the new ARG has begun. This commercial appeared at the end of the U.S. broadcast of the episode.

UPDATE #2: The voice on the phone in Kate’s dream says “The island needs you. You have to go back before it’s too late.” DocArzt has an audio clip here, where you can listen to it played forward (as I suspected, it was reversed in the dream). When I heard it in the episode, I thought maybe it was Locke’s voice, but now listening to it, it’s definitely not him. I’ve listened to it repeatedly and can’t figure out who it could be. Is it a character we’ve already seen or just one of the production crew saying it to throw us off? It’s not deep enough for Christian. I even thought Sawyer, but by the end of the clip it’s not him. The person it sounds most like is the doctor from the freighter, but I don’t think it’s him. Any thoughts?

UPDATE #3: Okay, here's a doozy. Good Morning America this morning aired the two alternate endings for last night's episode, filmed to try to avoid spoilerage. Here they are. Let's just say I fainted at both of them (I'm feeling better now).

UPDATE #4: Eek. Harold Perrineau is NOT happy about Michael's exit from the show. His biggest disappointment stems from the fact there was no happy reunion between Michael and Walt, which he'd been looking forward to:

Perrineau: Listen, if I'm being really candid, there are all these questions about how they respond to black people on the show. Sayid gets to meet Nadia again, and Desmond and Penny hook up again, but a little black boy and his father hooking up, that wasn't interesting? Instead, Walt just winds up being another fatherless child. It plays into a really big, weird stereotype and, being a black person myself, that wasn't so interesting.

He also worries that Michael's return was only meant to satisfy in a Nikki and Paulo kind of way: "I felt like it was sort of pandering to some fans who wanted to see Michael punished because he betrayed people."
You can read the entire interview here.

UPDATE #5: My hope is renewed!!!!!! The always awesome Sledgeweb has a great screencap of the freighter moments before it went kaboom, and there is NO Jin standing on the deck:

Now, I'm not naive. If they really did blow up a freighter for the show, they'd have to be insane to actually have stuntpeople standing on the boat. But in the blind hope that they thought about that and would have added Jin in digitally if they wanted us to think he was really dead, I shall continue to keep my hope burning that he is alive!!

UPDATE #6: DocArzt has posted an audio clip of what Sawyer says to Kate on the helicopter. It's hard to make out, but it sounds like he's saying, "If you go to Albuquerque, could you find her... Thompson." Listen for yourself and see what you can make out.

Reminder: Big TV Night Tonight!

Actually, this is rather embarrassing... I know I'm supposed to remember something important for tonight, but I just can't think of it. I wrapped a string around my finger and everything. Let's see... CSI is on, but it's a repeat, so that can't be it. Oh, and I don't watch CSI. Definitely not it. Um... So You Think You Can Dance? The premiere was pretty entertaining last week, once you get past the dumbasses who can't actually dance. But I don't think that's it, either. A&E Biography is on Pee-Wee Herman. That's bound to be entertaining. But PVRable? Probably not.

Hold on, where did THAT photo come from? Mmmmm... let's just look at that, shall we? That reminds me: tonight at 8, ABC is re-airing the previous episode of Lost (There's No Place Like Home, Part 1) with some added footage of the Oceanic Six press conference that was cut to accomodate Grey's Lobotomy.

Oh, and speaking of Lost, I was quoted in a piece from the Cleveland Plain Dealer on the show.

And now back to staring at the Desmond pic while I try to remember what else is on tonight...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Michael Emerson Interview

A new interview with Michael Emerson has gone up at Cheap Pop. Check out the little preview that was posted before it where Emerson talks about his favourite mustache (a fave topic of the Web site). Emerson discusses the acting process on the show, and how many different storylines are being filmed at once, causing most of the actors not to see each other as regularly as they'd like. There aren't really any spoilers -- he's very vague about the finale tomorrow night (tomorrow night!!!!!!!) So it's a safe one to check out.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In Fall TV, You Are Either In... Or You Are Out

The networks have finally made their decisions and rolled out the new schedules for fall 2008. There are plenty of new shows (a couple of which I've already discussed), plenty of returning shows, and as usual, the inevitable cancellations to make way for said shows. However, the writer's strike has caused fewer cancellations than normal, simply because the networks didn't get as many pilots as usual, and most of the new fall 2007 shows weren't given a chance. So this year we add a new category: The second chance one.

Aliens in America. I LOVED this show... I didn't write about it nearly as much as I should have, but it never failed to make me howl out loud at least once an episode. This show had that daring, very uncomfortable political incorrectness where a character would make a racial slur (often unbeknownst to them) in the vein of Archie Bunker, and yet somehow the show made it funny. There was plenty of teenage self-discovery, for better or for worse, and Justin's voiceover always had that perfect sarcasm that added humour to every scene. Recently there was an episode where Justin was assigned to read Madame Bovary, and he intends to read the Cliff's Notes until one parent protests by saying it contains too much sexual content... whereupon Justin reads the entire book (and concludes it TOTALLY lived up to its billing). After he reads it, he begins drawing pictures of naked women, an obvious metaphor for something else. When his mother discovers his notepad full of the pictures, she shows the father, who confronts Justin. He says it's okay if sometimes you feel like going to your room and doing something like this, and Justin confesses that he's been doing it for a long time, and begins tossing one notebook after another on the bed. His father (Luke from Gilmore Girls), runs bewildered back to his wife, and says, "He's been drawing so much I'm surprised he's still able to hold a pen!" I was howling with laughter. The show was so wonderful and clever, but I don't know a soul besides myself who actually watched it. I'm really sad to see this one go. Then again, it was axed by Dawn Ostroff, who brought down the axe on Veronica Mars and Everwood, so... not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. She should go work for Fox. They'd LOVE her.

Moonlight: Not sad to see this one go. However, I've heard that maybe the Sci-Fi Channel will pick it up, because the show does have its diehard fans. Maybe the execs could go away and come up with an original idea and not hand us Forever Angel next time. I didn't last beyond episode 3 on this one.

Shark (never saw this one)

Scrubs: Ok, not really... NBC cancelled it, ABC picked it up.

Back to You: While this one wasn't one I actually watched, I envisioned it as that can't-lose comedy that would pull in the millions of viewers who loved Frasier and Everybody Loves Raymond. I was shocked to see it go. But then again, it's Fox. If there were ever a place where a show goes to die, it's there.

New Amsterdam: This had a lot of promise. I PVR'd every episode and then started watching, imagining a marathon. I lasted a few minutes into the second episode and was bored. Did anyone else continue? I'm interested in hearing from others who stuck it out, even if the show is now over.

Second Chances:
Several new series showed promise in fall 2007, but weren't given a fighting chance, simply because the writer's strike came along, pushed them off the schedule, and then they were never able to claw their way back on, simply because some reality show or other had squatted in their time slot in the meantime. But thankfully, the best ones are being given a second chance, even though they didn't return after the strike.

Dirty Sexy Money: This show was great -- an adult version of Gossip Girl. I loved the intrigue, the sleaze, and the soap operyness of it all. That said, here's hoping they have a recap to remind us all what happened.

Pushing Daisies: I love love love this show. I've never used the word "sublime" to discuss a television show before (though I probably should more often... it's a great word), but I did when it came to this one. The colours, the oddities, the breaking into song, the 1950s dresses... this show was kooky as hell, and amazing. And few people can make me laugh like Chi McBride does.

Chuck: How much do I love Chuck?? No recap needed for this one; I remember everything on it. He's adorable, the theme music rocks (great, I'm thinking of it now, and it'll be in my head for the next two days), the stories are really funny, and the ensemble cast is great. I can't wait for its return.

Returning Shows:
If they aren't listed in the cancellation section, or didn't have their series finale, they'll be back. I won't waste your time by listing off a bunch of shows that are coming back that are just obvious. Oh wait... I'll mention one... FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS! WOOT WOOT! Okay, I'll mention two of them: Heroes premieres on September 22, with a one-hour recap followed by a two-hour premiere. YEAH!

New Shows:
There are a ton of new shows starting up, as usual, so I won't go into detail on all of them here, but just some of the ones that caught my eye.


90210: A remake of the early 1990s classic, this new show on the CW brings us back to that posh zip code in California. It's on the CW, which means it had Dawn Ostroff standing over it with her hand wavering over the CANCEL button, but it has a lot of potential. That said, I'm pretty hooked on Gossip Girl right now (if 90210 is about the very wealthy, Gossip Girl is about the disgustingly wealthy), and the CW will have two warring "rich kids" shows on their network. Is that network big enough for both? Time will tell... That said, it will have Kelly and Donna on it! Kelly will be a guidance counsellor, and Donna Martin graduates to the owner of a posh Bev Hills store. It's sorta like Degrassi: The Next Generation in that sense.

My Own Worst Enemy: Christian Slater stars in this Jekyll and Hyde type of show, where he's a family man in his one life and a covert operative in his other. We've seen it before, but here's hoping it's good. I do love me some good Christian Slater.

Sit Down, Shut Up: This will be a midseason start, so more likely January 2009. It's a show that uses live action backdrops with animated characters laid over them, and it's by Mitch "Arrested Development" Hurwitz. This is certainly the season where our most beloved creators return. The show is about a bunch of teachers at a high school and their relationships with one another. The voices include Will Arnett, Henry Winkler, Jason Bateman (here's keeping my fingers crossed for Michael Cera, David Cross, and Tony Hale to be added), Cheri Oteri and Will Forte. (Fox)

The Office Spin-off: Still unnamed, still unconfirmed which character will move to this one. In fact, latest word has it the show WON'T actually feature anyone from The Office, and they'll be casting someone new to helm it. So, um... how does that make it a spinoff? Well, they did it with Laverne and Shirley and Mork & Mindy (they show up once on Happy Days and boom, they're a spinoff) so they'll probably have the character show up in the first episode of The Office and then they'll start their show a half-hour later.

Life on Mars: This is a remake of the BBC version of the show. The BBC one was good, but didn't hold my interest beyond the first season. The remake is done by David E. Kelly. No offense to Ally McBeal fans, but this guy has never done it for me. So I'm mentioning it, but I don't intend to watch it.

The Goode Family: The new animated series by Mike Judge will be on ABC as a midseason replacement... I LOVE LOVE LOVE King of the Hill, so I'm excited about this.

In fact, there's surprisingly little that interests me this fall. I'm glad they'll be giving some of the great 2007 shows a second kick at the can, because those are the ones I'll be watching.

Friday, May 23, 2008

HBO's Recount

Every time I see the letters H, B, and O associated with a television series or a film, I get giddy. And I heart Kevin Spacey in a big, big way. So when I heard about HBO's new film, Recount, starring Kevin Spacey, well, there were no words.

The film is a re-enactment of that interminable month following the Bush/Gore presidential campaign in 2000, when the numbers were too close to call, where the Gore camp wanted a recount of the ballots following Bush's questionable win. I remember a lot of this happening on the news at the time, and watching it brought back a lot of memories (including the stunned, wow, was that really 8 years ago???) Kevin Spacey stars as Ron Klain, who is Gore's elections manager, and who spurs on the recount. John Hurt is Warren Christopher, the former Democrat Secretary of State who advised the Democrat camp on how to conduct themselves during the process. The amazing Tom Wilkinson stars as former Secretary of State James Baker, who is advising (and pretty much running) the Republican side of things. Laura Dern puts in a brilliant turn as Katherine Harris, who was the Florida Secretary of State, and unfortunately, the decision-maker in the process. As soon as she appeared on screen with her fake smile and WAY too much makeup, my husband and I were laughing out loud. I totally remembered this woman during the whole debacle, appearing on television every night in a "Hey, look at me! I'm on the TV!" kind of way. She couldn't have cared less about democratic process, and just wanted to make sure her makeup took on just the right glow on camera.

Throughout the show, you'll feel your blood boil as you watch Harris do what she wants and the Republicans stand in the way at every turn of the recount process, arguing against it, as if they knew a legitimate count of the ballots would have them lose. One asks the obvious question: Wouldn't they want to have a genuine win?? But this is George W. Bush, people... the guy who made shit up just so he could send troops into a country and devastate it. He's the sort of guy who skipped ethics class so he could go golfing instead.

I was amused and thrilled and surprised and delighted to see that Danny Strong was the screenwriter on this one -- yes, Buffy fans, THAT Danny Strong, the little guy who played Jonathan on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Looks like he's come down out of that clock tower and done got himself a REAL job!!

That said, as far as HBO films go, I expected a little more than what this film offered. One thing I found endlessly irritating were the constant subtitles running across the screen, as if the viewers were all from Florida or something and couldn't follow a simple plot. In the dialogue, someone says they have only 8 days left, and that at this point Gore is only 300 ballots behind or something. In the very next cut, as we go to the Republican side of the action, along the bottom of the screen it says, "8 Days Left... Gore Trailing by 300." Thanks. The subtitles pretty much stated the obvious (like someone introducing Secretary James Baker, and when we see him it says "Secretary James Baker," like we were expecting the Pillsbury Dough Boy). That said, I'm sure it was some producer or distributor who insisted on it, and not the screenwriter. At least, I hope it wasn't. But I do recommend the film to get a better handle on what really happened during those tumultuous days.

Recount airs this Sunday, May 25, at 9pm, in the U.S. on HBO and in Canada on The Movie Network and Movie Central.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Lost Book!

So while some TV viewers are watching the season finale of Grey's Anatomy, I still want to talk about Lost.

A lot of people have emailed to ask me if I'll be writing a season 4 Lost guide. Yes, I will, but not for this fall, unfortunately. Next fall (as in 2009) I intend to bring out a combined season 4/5 volume, since maternity leave gives me very little opportunity to write anything beyond this blog.

However, I'm pleased to announce there WILL be an awesome Lost book out this fall. The book is called Lost Ate My Life: The Inside Story of a Fandom Like No Other, and as the editor of the book, I've had the pleasure of reading it already, and I can't recommend it enough. The book is written by two Lost "insiders" -- one is Jon Lachonis, otherwise known as DocArzt, who runs one of the best Lost blogs around (if not THE best). The other author is Amy J. Johnston, also known as "hijinx" on The Fuselage boards, and she runs Lost Editor Bryan Burk's official website, and is one of a small handful of people who has the trust of the show producers.

Darlton are very careful about the publicity of their show. Worried about impending spoilers, they have entrusted only a very, very few people to see advance screeners of each episode: Michael Ausiello of TV Guide, Doc Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly, and Kristen at E!... DocArzt and hijinx are two others who get advance copies of each show, even if they don't actually watch them ahead of time. So when I say these are insider fans, I mean it.

The book is the inside story of both Lost, and the fandom surrounding the series. We read how the world of The Fuselage grew to what it's become today; how the producers began sticking in certain Easter eggs for the fans after finding out what they were searching for; how Lost came up with ingenious marketing ideas never before seen. There's a chapter on the original script of the pilot episode that was never filmed, and how the actual Pilot episode came to pass. There are some laugh-out-loud moments throughout the book, including one as Bryan Burk talks about how difficult dressing the set has become when fans are scouring every book on the bookshelf and using them as clues.

I'm used to seeing raw drafts of manuscripts, and was pleasantly surprised at how solid the writing was from the outset. You'll enjoy the conversational tone of it, and how they invite you in to the inside world of Lost Labs, so you watch the whole thing unfold.

The foreword of the book will be written by former executive producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach, and the book contains interviews with a lot of the key people on the show. I devoured the manuscript, and then sent it back to the two authors full of suggestions for additions, and I'll be getting round two from them in a couple of weeks. As they furiously rewrite the book, I'm sure I'm not their favourite person currently, but hopefully when the editing is back in my corner, the love will fill the room once again. :)

I can't wait for y'all to read this book: Lost Ate My Life is due out in stores in November. Click on the link at the left to pre-order. And maybe I'll be able to lure the authors on here for a Q&A with all of you... stay tuned!

Lost: The Man on the Plane

A few people have emailed me or posted comments to my post on There's No Place Like Home, Part 1, asking about the man on the plane who Decker nods at. When she first walks back to the Oceanic Six, she looks to her left, smiles and gives a little nod. I remember pausing the scene several times when it first aired, but I couldn't see anyone. A few people have reassured me that there is definitely a bald man sitting in the seat.

Here is the clip from YouTube. Pause it at exactly 1:18, and you'll see a bald head. You can tell it's Aaron's... it's too far in the foreground to be someone sitting that far back.

Keep watching, and then pause again at 1:39. He's small, but this is the point where you see the man in the chair. I can only make out the pair of legs, but no face or head. As someone said in a comment, it's reminiscent of Jacob in the chair in "The Man Behind the Curtain." Can anyone with HD make out this person? Who could it be? It's not Christian, or Jack would be going nuts. Ben? Abbadon?

In other news, here is a brief interview I did with the New York Post on Lost. :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Welcome to the World!

This is totally unlike me, and not my usual blogging style, but I just can't help myself anymore. 'Tis the season for families to become bigger... I've had a TON of friends give birth in the last few weeks, and one of my closest friends just had a baby a couple of days ago and I'm giddy with excitement right now. My tiny, tiny baby is now an 8-month-old crawler, and I'm already missing how eensy he once was. I'm sure every once in a while I get that look in my eye, and my husband has that other look in his eye that says, "I know what you are thinking, and you can take that thought, turn it around, and march it off a short pier."

So, welcome to the following bouncing babies, in order of appearance... I hope to hold each of you in the very near future: Jack; Fischer; Beck; Marlo; Ally! (Those last three have all been born in the last week!) Hey, maybe we can all hook up and try to bombard the Lost casting offices to cast all of our children as Aaron at different ages (whew, there we go... my post is now relevant to my blog).

Fall TV Preview: Fringe

A few months ago, someone who is on the inside track at Bad Robot emailed me with the subject line, "Your next TV obsession" and gave me the heads-up on Fringe. This new series, which has been picked up by FOX (gods help us) to run in the fall, is produced by none other than JJ Abrams and his peeps, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (both of whom wrote for Alias and also wrote The Transformers, Legend of Zorro, Mission: Impossible III, and Star Trek), and Jeff Pinkner (Alias and Lost). (One of the writers is JR Orci -- yes, another Orci -- who wrote for all 5 seasons of Alias and Vanished and my beloved Journeyman.) The show will star Joshua Jackson, the unsung tour de force acting talent of Dawson's Creek; Lance Reddick (who I know as Cedric Daniels of The Wire, and the rest of you know as Matthew Abaddon of Lost... which is wicked, because if JJ's at the helm of both shows, it means Reddick is free to move back and forth and reprise his role on Lost); John Noble of 24; Kirk Acevedo (Alvarez from Oz); and Anna Torv.

In the super creepy trailer of the pilot episode, we see a plane about to crash, and on board is a rock star huddled in the bathroom about to shoot heroin, a doctor having one too many drinks, a woman handcuffed to a marshall a guy sitting in a seat who madly injects something into himself that causes his body to liquefy, and soon everyone else on the plane liquefies as well. When the FBI finds the plane, it's rather oozy, and they have no idea what's happened. (Mental note: hold off on the snacking until halfway through the pilot episode...)

The premise of the show is that this is just one of many crimes involving weird science, and week after week we watch an FBI agent trying to solve the crimes with the help of a genius and a mad scientist (who also happen to be estranged father and son, from what I gather). It has the premise of a week-to-week CSI-type show, but this is JJ, so there will be some overriding mystery and some ancient force will have started the scientific anomalies and they'll all be connected and we'll be piecing it all together. In other words... yay! I predict a four-toed statue in episode 3.

The trailer (dare I say it) is even more awesome than Dollhouse's.

Wow... Abrams and Whedon, both back with new shows. I'm giddy with excitement!! Let the games begin!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fall TV Preview: Dollhouse

Y'all know my hatred of FOX. Come preview time, when it's time to roll out the new shows and pilots, FOX is always the impressive one. They have all the coolest genre shows, all the potential, and take some of the biggest risks. Come November, most of those shows have been cancelled, barely able to have made a dent in our schedule, and replaced by reality television.

Yet every fall, I'm back in front of my TV watching FOX shows like I just don't know how to learn my lesson. This fall is the most exciting one since that of 2002, when Firefly premiered.

And we all know how THAT ended up.

This year, Joss Whedon is back with Dollhouse, a show I've been talking about here, but not nearly as much as I should be. I've been reading bits and pieces on it for months, including casting, rumours, and what's been going on with the show, but last week FOX finally rolled out the goods on its shows, and Dollhouse has an official trailer.

Dollhouse stars Eliza Dushku, who became our beloved Faith in the hands of Whedon, as Echo, one of five "dolls" who live in the dollhouse, run by a ruthless woman played by Olivia Williams (Bruce Willis's wife in The Sixth Sense). These dolls can be hired out to play any part you want, and when they come back to the dollhouse, their memories are wiped clean, and they become fresh clean slates, ready for the next job. They live contented lives, unaware of the things they do when they're under the spell of the dollhouse's CEO.

Problem is, Echo's starting to remember some things. And that ain't good.

The show also stars Tahmoh Penikett (Helo on BSG) and Amy Acker (WOOO!!!! Fred/Illyria on Angel) and honestly, the premise could be, "A man sits on a street corner and reads chemistry textbooks aloud. Nothing else happens" and if it were helmed by Joss Whedon, I'd be there. But this show sounds amazing, and the trailer's pretty awesome, too. Check it out:

Dollhouse is going to be a mid-season show, beginning in January, and Fox announced that it and the other big show, Fringe (see my next post), will be running at nearly the full hour, the same length as HBO shows (instead of 15 minutes of commercials per hour, these shows will get about five).

The Office Finale: Goodbye, Toby

Last night's season finale of The Office came far too soon. Since the Writer's Strike, the episodes have actually been a little hit and miss (and definitely far more awkward-feeling than ever before) but there's always a great moment or two in every one. This week's hour-long episode had a lot of the usual -- Michael making an ass of himself, Meredith playing Solitaire in the background of every scene she's in, Pam and Jim flirting. Amy Ryan (of one of my all-time favourite shows, The Wire) guest-starred as the woman replacing Toby. Yes, Michael's long-time nemesis is leaving, simply because he embarrassed himself by touching Pam's knee for a little too long before suddenly announcing he was moving to Costa Rica and running out of the room. Now he's too humiliated to say he'd just been humiliated, so he's actually going along with it. Michael is overjoyed, but he can't take the extreme pleasure in this departure that he'd like to, simply because he has the hots for the HR replacement, and doesn't want her to know he loathed Toby.

The best part of the episode was when Dwight told the new HR gal that Kevin was actually a special hire, and that he was mentally challenged. Kevin never acted differently throughout the episode, yet you could see why someone would think he WAS slow, and my husband and I were shrieking with laughter. At times, it felt very wrong, but then Kevin would have a button in with his change for the chips and I was in stitches all over again.

The only thing that I didn't like about the episode was Pam's reaction to Jim not proposing. It seemed a little strange... she couldn't have possibly wanted him to propose to her moments after Andy's over-the-top insano proposal to Angela, and it should have been pretty clear to her why he wouldn't do that. But that's OK... here's hoping that wasn't a little signal that things will go haywire in the Jam camp, now that their love will be long-distance.

What were your favourite moments?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Evil Dead: The Musical
My brother took me to see Evil Dead: The Musical in Toronto the other night as a birthday present. It's silly and campy, full of hammy actors and bad puns, but it's SO much fun I would recommend it to anyone for a fun night out. It's currently playing at the Diesel Playhouse in Toronto, and has been extended a second time until June 14th, so get your tickets quickly.

The play follows the same premise of the movie: Ash, a guy who works at the local S-Mart, goes up to an empty cabin in the woods with his girlfriend, his best friend, a woman his best friend just picked up, and his sister. The cabin is owned by a professor who has been attempting to translate the Book of the Dead, and the kids break in to spend a weekend there, but the prof had managed to raise the zombies, who fight them and turn them into zombies one by one. My favourite character is the sister, turned into a zombie early on and chained in the basement, who continually pops up through a trapdoor just to taunt Ash. She was hilarious. Jake was another funny one; the actor was great, though he was better when he was delivering lines. When he had to react to another line, he was completely hammy and overacting like he was in a silent movie. But then again, this is a play about horny zombies, so his acting style was rather fitting.

If you go and want to have some REAL fun, sit in the first couple of rows, also known as The Splatter Zone, and you will get seriously wet. Near the very end of the play, the actors just go crazy with the blood, aiming it directly at the patrons, who are cowering beneath their tiny plastic parkas that have been supplied by the staff. You will be warned repeatedly in case you sat there accidentally... but that didn't stop one woman from scowling the entire time, and eventually standing up in anger and shaking herself off. (Learn how to listen, lady... they only had a loud announcement at the beginning AND there's a sign out front AND someone comes around to warn you AND they give you the parkas and give you another warning AND they offer to re-seat you if you don't want to be there...) After the show, I popped into the washroom, where a bunch of women were madly scrubbing fake blood off their arms. It was pretty funny.

Go check it out. It's definitely a fun night out.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Lost: 4.12 “There’s No Place Like Home, Part 1”
Before I go any further, some of you may have heard that a scene-by-scene spoiler of the final two-hour episode on May 29th is already circulating the Internet. I’m disappointed it managed to get out again, but please note this is a spoiler-free blog. I don’t want to know anything, nor do most of my readers, so please please don’t spoil us. Thank you!!

Previously on Lost:
There was a lot of discussion last week about “Cabin Fever” – Is Abaddon a grown-up version of Walt who is time travelling? Is Richard Alpert really Locke’s father? Did Hurley really say Mallomars? – and you can check out the posts on that episode here, here and here. Be sure to check out the comments.

This week’s episode showed the Oceanic Six becoming the Oceanic Six. Four years ago I imagined this to be the series finale – the rescue, the press conference, the reunion with the families. But by the looks of it, this is only the beginning. I imagine the next two seasons will show what happened after Jack began to lose it, and his manic hunt for the island. We’ll probably see a lot more of the Ben/Locke/Widmore stuff and the secrets of the island will be revealed. In the present, Sayid’s trying to rescue the survivors, Jack’s trying to fix things, Juliet’s been given a few throwaway lines, Jin and Sun are gobsmacked to see Michael again, Ben and company are heading to the Orchid where they’ve been beaten to the punch by Keamy and friends, and Frank is promising a helicopter rescue. There is so much going on, I cannot WAIT for the next episode.

This week we knew in advance the group was going to end up at a new station. My seven-month-old son wore his new Lost shirt in anticipation of the show, and he had his ideas of where the station would be. He was wrong, but I’m thinking after a day of being carried around by Sawyer, maybe Aaron could use this station (the poor kid could also use something to eat!) By the way, seeing as we’ll be watching Aaron get older, I missed the boat on getting my son onto the show when he was the perfect Aaron age during the writer’s strike. Now I see I have a second opportunity. I’ll be working on getting the casting people to fall in love with him and want him on their show. :)

“There Are Two People Responsible for His Death”
I think, despite all our hope to the contrary, that Jin really is dead. In this episode, Sun looks shell-shocked when she’s on the cargo plane, and I don’t think it’s because she just left Jin behind. First, she tells Paik that there are two people responsible for his death, with Paik being one of them. That, of course, leads us to wonder... who is the other one? Jack? Ben? Keamy? Michael? Secondly, the fact that Michael, Desmond, and Jin walk into a room of C-4 explosives and send Sun away is NOT good. (Am I a bad person for immediately thinking, “Uh... explosives... DESMOND, GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE!!”) Will Jin stay behind and be blown up? Or are we just being led by the writers to think these things, when in fact he’s alive? I’m still holding on to a tiny possibility that he’s alive but left behind, but her anger and sorrow when she confronts her father seemed to suggest Jin is no longer alive.

The Reunion
When I saw Hurley’s ma, I grinned from ear to ear, and then that smile was totally wiped off my face when I saw Paik. I loved that Sun wouldn’t even look at him, and he knows it. Any power he once had over his daughter appears to be gone, and there’s a moment where you can tell by the look in his eye that he knows it. Sun has come back a very different person. I LOVED the look on Sayid’s face when he sees Nadia. And the last we saw of Jack’s mother, she was yelling at him that his father’s downfall was totally his fault. It was nice to see a happy reunion there. It must have been so hard for her to lose both men in her life, and she’s probably replayed that final night with her son over and over in her head. Now she gets a chance to change the ending. Poor Kate... vindictive Diane just wouldn’t be there. I really hate that woman.

The Press Conference
(Did anyone think, “Hey, it looks like they’re at a sci-fi con! Only.... better dressed.”) This scene is interesting, because Decker first confirms that their plane had gone down near the Sunda Trench (which was in the Find815 game), which is not true. Are they in cahoots with Widmore? Secondly, when the Korean reporter asks Sun if Jin had died on the island, Jack looks at her anxiously. Why is it so important that she say no? Do they have a story involving three other people who died, and it’s important that one of those people can’t be Jin? (Before you correct my math, Kate would have been pregnant according to their story, so she and Aaron would both just count as one, meaning there would be three people besides the five.) Also, wouldn’t any prenatal ultrasounds show that if Jin didn’t make it to the island, then Sun was impregnated by someone else? I’ve had prenatal ultrasounds, and they can determine conception pretty much to the day. Clearly the reporters are smelling something fishy, especially with the pointed questions at Kate regarding her being pregnant with Aaron. Why didn’t the police report mention she was pregnant? I don’t care who you are, if you are a size 2, you are SHOWING at six months (take a look at Angelina Jolie pictures right now). And if Kate ever goes to a doctor to have a physical, the doc will probably figure out she’s never given birth. How will they get past the little hiccups like these?

• Sawyer calling Miles “Genghis.”
• Sawyer momentarily silencing Jack by reminding him that things are playing out exactly as Locke said they would. Take THAT, Jack.
• After Jack heads off into the jungle, Sawyer following him while muttering, “You don’t get to die alone.” HAHAHA!!
• Ben to cracker-eating Hurley: “You know those are fifteen years old.”
• “Jesus Christ is not a weapon.”
• Hurley’s parents putting on a theme party in bad taste.
• Ben “admitting” he wasn’t entirely truthful. Ha!

Biggest “GASP!” Moments:
• Sun buying a controlling interest in Paik’s company. GO SUN!!
• Claire’s mother is ALIVE!!!!

Hurley’s Numbers:
Jack says there were only 8 people left by the time they got to the island. The Coast Guard plane is number 1717 (1+7=8). Hurley's crackers were 15 years old.

Did You Notice?:
• Michelle Forbes rocks. I was so happy to see Cain at the beginning of this episode.
• The plane lands in Honolulu, according to Decker, so for the first time Hawaii gets to play itself on this show.
• I’ve never noticed how many of the survivors are only children... Sun, Kate, Jack, and Hurley have no siblings. (Same with Sawyer, Jin, Claire, Locke, Ben, Walt... Boone and Shannon are only step-siblings.)
• Clearly The Orchid is a need-to-know station, because Juliet had no idea what it was.
• Sawyer calls the Others camp “New Otherton,” which is the first time it’s called that on the show (it’s what the crew has been calling it on set).
• Kate lied about Aaron’s age (the younger they say he is, the less pregnant she would have been before the crash). She says he’s five weeks, when in fact he’s a little over two months.
• Decker says they were found on day 108, and by the Lostpedia timeline, we’re currently on day 97.
• Just before Sayid kisses Nadia, he blinks, as if to check if he’s dreaming. What a tiny but perfect gesture.
• When Sun ascends the staircase, it’s the same camera angle as when she ascended to ask her father for money to pay off Jin’s mother. But now she’s in a completely different power position.
• Mr Tron and Ladytron were apparently rehired (remember the bundle of money they accepted in “Tricia Tanaka Is Dead” to leave the place?)
• Mrs. Reyes has moved her own personal Jesus from the centre of the table to her dresser... or maybe she has two of them.
• Jack wasn’t at Hurley’s birthday party.
• The co-pilot at the beginning of the episode kisses a rabbit’s foot for good luck, and later Hurley’s dad hands him keys with a rabbit’s foot on them.
• Several times throughout this episode, someone looks at Aaron’s face and he’s a picture of serenity, and they seem to calm down after doing so.
• Clearly Jack and company won’t be seeing Christian before they leave the island.
• The Flame station had also been rigged with C-4 explosives, just like the freighter.

So Many Questions...
• Where were the Oceanic Six coming from at the very beginning? They’re all in very nice clothes, and have had time to coordinate their story. Were they coming directly from the island, or did Oceanic stop somewhere first to clothe them and allow them to sit and chat alone? (This is the mom in me, but all I could think of was how weird it must be for Aaron to finally wear clothes.)
• What has happened that makes Jack want to lie?
• Are the five survivors the ones who have come up with the lie, or is Oceanic blackmailing them somehow? Is Oceanic telling them to use the elaborate lie for some reason?
• The plane they’re on at the beginning is a Hawaiian Coast Guard plane.
• How does Daniel know about the secondary protocol?
• Daniel flips through his journal and finds a page where he’s written about The Orchid Station, and says we have to get off this island right now. It seems to only ring a bell with him, and he needs to flip through his book to confirm his suspicion (we’ve talked here before about his apparent memory loss). I think it’s pretty clear that The Orchid is a time travelling station, so did Dan somehow end up there at some point? Has he been to the island before? Another thing: he’d written earlier that if anything happens to him, Desmond will be his constant. Shouldn’t he be staying a little closer to Des?
• I thought Hurley had decided he could make his own luck in “Tricia Tanaka,” and the catharsis he has with the whole VW van barrelling down the mountain scene was him proving to himself that he’s not cursed. So why is he so freaked out by the numbers still? I could see him getting upset when all of the numbers are on his odometer, but why does he tell the reporter that he doesn’t want his $150 million? Didn’t he decide that money was NOT the curse after all? Will we see the numbers one more time, and they’ll send Hurley over the edge again, erasing any progress he may have made?
• Notice that Ben doesn’t answer Locke directly when he asks who he’s communicating with. So who was it, Richard? Richard and company are in the jungle nabbing Kate and Miles... did Ben tell them to do it? Or is he communicating with someone else?
• Paik is yelling at two men who seem to be talking about someone stealing money from the company (they mention the person did it through 5 different banks). This is probably just a scene set up to show loud, blustery Paik, but you never know if it might be relevant later on. It would be pretty funny if it were Ben or someone time travelling and siphoning Paik’s accounts.
• How much money did Oceanic pay out? I was under the impression that Paik’s empire was huge, but if Sun was able to buy a controlling interest, did Oceanic pay them all $100 million or something?? Or is Paik’s company smaller than I thought?
• Did anyone else hear gunshots as Hurley was walking up to his house?
• Who really put the odometer to those numbers? Something tells me Hurley’s being manipulated to end up back at the institution. Could Widmore be involved? Did Charlie reset them?
• Who rigged the ship with the C-4 explosives?
• What is Ben’s plan?

Next week: No episode next week, but please tune in: I have a Lost announcement to make.

In two weeks: Ben’s given himself up, Sayid and Kate are with the Others, Jack and Sawyer are with Lapidus, Locke’s about to go into the Orchid station, Sun’s standing on the freighter deck, and Michael, Desmond, and Jin have to defuse the explosives. Should be an exciting week!!! (No preview on stupid CTV. Argh.)

UPDATE #1: Oops, a reader confirmed that the writers seem to have forgotten about Hurley's brother Diego. So did I. Also, a few people speculated that Paik's people are actually talking about Sun buying up shares through five different banks, which makes perfect sense to me.

UPDATE #2: Here is the ABC preview for the finale, for all those poor Canucks like me who were denied by stupid CTV:

UPDATE #3: I was just watching the episode again, and during Hurley's birthday party, you can see a Geronimo Jackson album on the DJ's table. HA! You have to look really carefully. It's on a tilt beside him, and you can only see the band's name on the album cover when he lowers his arm.
Mystery Tales Comic
Thanks so much to Joshua for sending me the link with the following closeup of the comic book that Alpert laid in front of Locke last week:

An issue of this comic went up for sale on eBay immediately after the episode aired, and while bidding started at 99 cents, it now is up to almost $200. Go see a bigger picture of it here.

As suspected, the horrified man is looking out of an airplane window (under the window you can see an airline logo) and he's seeing a mysterious city, with one version of it floating above another. As we all know, Darlton loves to stick in red herrings, so they're probably just helping out the dude selling the comic on eBay right now, but since Locke's been asked to move the island, this image of one version of the city above the other is interesting. It also speaks to the idea that Ben and John are two versions of the same life, with some diverging paths.

Also, we only see four fingers of the guy's hand... could this be pointing to the four-toed statue??? (Yes, I'm being sarcastic now...)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Gossip Girl: Past the Verge of Awesome
Don't hate me for loving this show. Some readers have asked me if this show is really THAT good. The simple answer is yes. This week's Gossip Girl was my favourite one so far.

When I was a teenager, I watched 90210 and loved it. Sometimes just to laugh at it, but usually it was just a hell of a lot of fun. That show followed the lives of the rich. Gossip Girl follows the lives of the filthy, stinking, disgustingly rich. (No one will be working part-time at the Peach Pit on this show.) But at this stage of the game, they've stopped playing up the money these people have, and instead we're looking at them as people with crazy problems.

I'm not a teenager anymore. Usually I'm happy about that, but sometimes I look in the mirror and think, "Old." But then I watch Gossip Girl and I think oh yeah, I still love shows like this, whoo! This week's episode, however, reminded me why I'm the "more mature demographic" watching this show, for two reasons. The first, I'm deeply in love with Rufus, and think he's the hottest guy on the show. (For the non-viewers, he's a dad. A seriously hot dad.) The second reason is this week's episode featured a segment where VH-1 was filming a special, "Whatever Happened To" episode retrospective of bands of the 90s. Lincoln Hawk, Rufus's band, was one of them, and Lisa Loeb was another. Bands of the 90s are now considered oldies. That's it, I'm old.


(Has anyone else done the math and wondered how Rufus could have been in a band in the early 90s and dating Serena's mom, but now has a kid who's 17, yet wasn't with the mother, um, 16 years ago??)

This episode also showed us the real reason why Serena left, and for anyone worried about the murder element (I loved it) the reason was far less salacious than one would think, and more believable that a teenager would have done something like this. But it featured my favourite line. As Chuck, Nate, and B sit around telling Serena that they've done bad things, too, they go around one by one and say what they've done. When it comes to Chuck, he just looks at them all and says, "I'm Chuck Bass." HA! Best line of the season.

Next week is the season finale. I miss this show already!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Lost: Cabin Fever... More Thoughts
I'm back... as many of you know, I was in dial-up hell at my parents' place until Friday afternoon, and I posted my review of Cabin Fever, checked in a couple of times, but let you guys do the talking. Then I got home, ready to jump on with my handy dandy high-speed... and there was NO signal. Turns out Bell had sent someone out to our house to "install high speed" (said the work order I found stuffed in our mailbox hours after I'd called Bell and sat there for 30 minutes while the technician could find nothing wrong with my line) where we already HAD high speed. But, as Bell does, they just played around with the phone lines a bit and screwed up a line that had previously been working just fine, thank you very much. (Weird thing: The phone lines are in the backyard, and we have a locked fence they'd have to go through to get to it. How did they get there??) Anyway, they said the issue would be resolved in 48 hours, and by 56 hours we called them back, and they said don't worry, we have a technician coming around tomorrow to your house to check it from the inside at 5. From the inside? And you didn't think to call us to set up this appointment?

I'd switch to Rogers, but I think they're the seventh level of Hell. Bell's only the fifth.

Anyway, the guy fixed us and we're back online as of today. Why couldn't they have done this on the Meet Kevin Johnson episode, where I didn't have much to say? I have had a chance to watch the episode again, and I have a LOT to talk about, but you guys have been covering many of my thoughts brilliantly in the comments section. So, I wanted to talk about a couple of things and post some theories and just extend our discussion of this amazing episode. I can't stop thinking about it.

First of all, let's talk about Emily. There's been some discussion about Locke's mother having the same name as Ben's, and as I said in the comments section of my post on Cabin Fever, when the episode opened and the mother was yelling at her daughter Emily, I thought it was Ben's mother. Here's a pic of the actress playing John's mom, and you can see an incredible resemblance between her and Swoozie Kurtz, the actress who played Locke's mom in Deus Ex Machina. (Yay, casting! Great job...)Locke's granny is a real piece of work, attempting to light a cigarette near her preemie grandson in an incubator while asking how they can set up the adoption papers, and we see early on that Emily is a selfish brat, something that doesn't change even in her later years.

But I can't help but keep thinking of the fact that her name is the same as Ben's mother, and in this episode, where we go right back to Locke's childhood, we see his early years were similar to Ben's, too. What is the meaning of that? Do I think they're the same women? No, but what if John and Ben are representative of two paths a life could take? Each one is what the other could have been had he chosen a different path. That said, their paths have been quite similar so far:

Both have mothers named Emily. Both Emilys have red hair.
Both boys are born prematurely.
As John is being wheeled away from his mother, she yells for them to call him John; as Ben's mother dies, her last words are to call him Ben. (Interesting that both mothers are insistent on naming their boys something, like it was predestined and meant to be.)
Neither one is raised by his mother.
There is a link to the island surrounding both their births; Horace Goodspeed shows up moments after Ben is born... Richard Alpert comes to see John a couple of weeks after Locke is born.
Ben is raised by a nasty father; Locke by a nasty foster parent.
Both are visited by Richard Alpert early in their lives.
Ben comes to the island through his father (and when his father is given the job of "Work Man," it's obvious Horace wasn't convincing Roger to come, but just wanted Ben there and needed to convince Roger to make that happen) where Locke comes there through a plane crash after earlier attempts to get him to the island a little less bumpily fall through.
Horace is a huge influence on Ben; John is visited by Horace and directed to Jacob's cabin through him.
Ben follows an image of his mother into the jungle and meets Richard Alpert; Locke chases his mother through a parking lot, which leads him to Cooper, and ultimately the island.
Both men blame their fathers for destroying their lives.
Both men kill their fathers.
Both believe the island has spoken to them and that the island is something bigger than just a physical place.
Both have uttered the phrase, "Don't tell me what I can't do!"
Both have been in wheelchairs.
Both survived something that could have killed them.
Both have heard Jacob's voice and seen him.
Both have been "chosen" by the island.

What does it all mean? There's a lot of talk that Christian is the original Adam of the island... could Locke and Ben be the Cain and Abel?

One thing I thought the moment I watched the scene of Locke in high school: they certainly found a young actor who looks a LOT like a younger Kevin Tighe, the actor who plays Locke's father, Anthony Cooper. I have a picture of a young Tighe when he was a heartthrob (for reals) in his Emergency days in my first Finding Lost book, so the moment I saw the actor I couldn't believe the resemblance. Here's a pic of Tighe (he's the guy on the top) in those days... there's definitely a resemblance. Of course, this episode raised the question of whether or not Alpert might have been the baby's father. Either way, I think Granny Locke knew who Alpert was, and there was no love lost between them. (Was anyone else reminded of Mamma Petrelli on Heroes?? That's totally who I thought of when they showed Emily's mom. It made me wonder if the Others and the DI have generations of people who have been leading up to this moment.)

Another theory running around these days is who Abaddon is. I watched the scene with him again today and I was struck by a line I somehow completely missed both times I watched it on Thursday (the first time my daughter ran in, and I thought Lost was probably inappropriate for a 3-year-old so I paused it to take her to bed; the second time my stepmum walked in and I didn't want to spoil the show for her) but Abaddon asks Locke if he believes in miracles, and when Locke says no, Abaddon says one happened to him. What could he be talking about? Many fans are speculating that Abaddon is actually a grown-up Walt who is time travelling. While I love that idea -- just think, the miracle could be him getting off the island or something happening to Walt that we don't know about yet -- I don't see any resemblance between the two at all. Reddick has darker skin; longer, gaunt facial features, and Kelley has a wider face and wider nose. It just isn't believable to me on a physical level. On a plot-level, that would be pretty cool. It's interesting to note, as some other people have already, that as Abaddon is wheeling Locke down the hall, he calls him "Mr. Locke" the whole time, just like Walt always did. Also, it's an awesome idea that somehow Walt grows up and then comes up with the idea to time travel back to help some of the people get off the island. It makes Abaddon's enigmatic line to Hurley, "Are they still alive?" even more mysterious.

A few other things that interested me in the comments or on other boards in the last day or so:

• Someone in my comments suggested Keamy is wearing a heart rate monitor that would blow up the island should he die. Interesting. I thought it was a direct bomb trigger, but I like this idea more.
• Another reminded us of that note that Sayid and Desmond got a few episodes ago that said, “Don’t trust the captain.” Yet Sayid’s jumped into a boat and is heading off, helped by the captain. Should he have done that, or is he falling for something?
• (I was just scrolling through the comments and saw that KeepingAwake did a list of some similarities between Ben and Locke, and I somehow missed it… great minds think alike!!)
• A few of you have pointed out that Aleister Crowley wrote The Book of the Law and Richard’s Book of Laws could be a reference to that. In The Book of the Law, it’s about Crowley’s wife Rose, who invokes the Egyptian god Horus. Since we’ve got a Rose on the island, and Horace was one of the Others, it’s an interesting connection. But despite having similar titles, it’s not the same title. I think it might be an ancient text that belongs to the original tribe on the island… the one that built the big statue that we will apparently NEVER find out about. Sheesh.
• A couple of people asked about the Dharma logo on the front of the booklet that Keamy was reading. As I watched the episode, I thought, “Hmm, Dharma logo. Looks like the Orchid.” And then, didn’t actually write that down. Type, Nik, TYPE. Anyway, it’s the logo for the Orchid station, which would suggest it IS the time travelling place we all think it is. Keamy says all the people on the island could escape to one place, so it would stand to reason that’s the place he thinks they’re headed to.
• The comic book that Richard shows to Locke is a real comic, and not one made for the show. I saw on one posting board, someone said it’s in the comics price guide at $115. I wonder if any fan has posted images from it yet?

What else am I missing?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Lost: 4.11 “Cabin Fever”

Previously on Lost:
Last week’s story-driven episode caused a bunch of questions and sparked discussions and disagreements on the boards, mainly for a few things. The timing of the baseball game was one of them. Some are insisting it was the August 2006 series, as I suggested in my column, but a screencap shows that there’s a reference to that game as being a year earlier, so this would put the series at August 2007. Which means… that date we’ve all been clinging to that was on the top of the obituary that Jack was looking at in “Through the Looking Glass” – April 5, 2007 – was just a date that happened to be on the paper the props department used in the scene. Damn you, props department! That breakdown clearly happens after the flashforward of “Something Nice Back Home,” so it must be in 2008 or 2009. However, by suggesting the “Something Nice Back Home” stuff was 2007, it makes the casting of Aaron more plausible. As I’d said last week, that kid looks like he’s almost 3, and that would make him almost 3, so it works for me on that level.

Someone raised a point in the comments later in the week when the discussion had died down, and I wanted to raise it here: We’re all assuming that Hurley is referring to Aaron when he reads, “You’re not supposed to raise him” on the piece of paper. Hurley actually says, “Does he mean Aaron?” and Aaron is a focal point of the episode, so everything is pointing to him. But isn’t that usually what the Lost writers do when they’re trying to fool us? Could it mean something else? What if it meant, you’re not supposed to raise Christian from the dead? Hmm… (the poster also pointed out that Jack appears to be laid out like a corpse at the beginning of the episode, wrapped in a white “shroud” like he’s in a coffin.

Someone wondered if the name of the Santa Rosa Health Centre could be any reference to Rose on the island.

Another poster suggested that maybe Jack had a right to be worried and wanting to stay awake during the surgery, since Juliet, despite everything, is still one of the Others, and Bernard and Rose kinda want to stay on that island, so could there have been an ulterior motive at work that we didn’t see?

My favourite observation: When Sawyer and Miles and Claire were walking in the jungle at the beginning, Sawyer called him “Donger,” as in Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles. HA! That is officially my new favourite Sawyer nickname.

But now, on to this week…

“Destiny, John, is a fickle bitch.”

Have you ever played with one of those really irritating toys where you have a series of squares, each with part of a picture on it, and you have to slide the pieces around inside a frame, with only one free square to move them all into? There’s that moment where you think, “The person who invented this game should be strung up,” and then suddenly, a piece clicks into place, and you can actually see the end coming. If you can just line up the puzzle pieces, you will have the solution. This episode had that “click” feeling, where I thought, “Okay, we’re finally being given a puzzle piece to add back in that puzzle we’ve been working on for a few years, and it just might help us fill out that top corner that’s just been sitting there stagnant for a year.”

Just when you thought we were done with flashbacks of the survivors, we get another one. And whoa, was it a doozy. For the most part, it told us what we already knew about Locke – he was in a foster home, his mother was a tool, he was a loser, he loved backgammon, and he had given up on ever walking again. But throw in a little Richard Alpert, Matthew Abaddon, and a Walkabout, and you have a whole series of “ga-WHA??” moments.

Oh, and have I mentioned that I love this show? Because I LOOOOOVE this show. I can’t believe how good this season is.

“He Was Always a Special Boy…”
So what to make of John’s flashback? The never-aging Richard shows up at the nursery to see preemie John, then keeps track of him until he’s an older child. He arrives at the house claiming to be a recruiting agent for a special school, and lays out on the table a baseball mitt, a book that appears to be a Bible but is called the Book of Laws, a vial of sand, a compass, a comic called Mystery Tales, and an old knife. He tells John to show him which things belong to him. John chooses the sand and the compass, both which seem to prophesy his future on the island. I thought the last choice was pretty much up in the air – it could be the knife, because that’s what John shows up with when he arrives on the island. The comic book is called Mystery Tales, and there’s a horrified man on the cover with “Hidden Land!” written above him, staring at a weird city, so that would also fit with the future, and the Book of Laws could very well be a Locke thing. You can tell by Alpert’s face that he wanted John to choose the Book of Laws. When Alpert attempts to get him again, with his Mittelos Bioscience pamphlet that lured in Juliet, Locke uses his now-legendary phrase, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” and there goes that option. Finally, Abaddon shows up and convinces Locke to look into a Walkabout, saying the next time he sees him, Locke will owe him one.

Widmore mentioned in “The Shape of Things to Come” that the island is his, and one wonders if he’s been there right from the beginning (could he be Magnus Hanso?), which means, like Richard, he hasn’t aged. Where does Abaddon come in, then? He’s working with the same motives as Alpert in this episode – getting Locke to go to the island. Abaddon also rounded up the freighter people to go to the island, and seemed to be working under the orders of Widmore. So far, John has taken out one of Abaddon’s people (Naomi) and he’s harbouring Ben, the guy Widmore rounded up the people to nab. Is it possible Abaddon was not working with Widmore, but against him? Widmore asked him to round up the people, and he did so, but with an ulterior motive? Hmm…

John Locke’s Progress:
I knew the moment the guy in Jacob’s cabin started speaking that it was Christian. He simply says he’s “Christian,” no last name required. (Now I’ll have to re-read Pilgrim’s Progress… I thought it was rather painful the first time.) So this brings us back to all those questions from a couple of weeks ago… is he dead, is he immortal, is he a ghost, etc. But more interestingly, what do we make of Claire? She seemed SO unlike herself, not worrying about Aaron, making faces we’ve never seen, calmly saying, “I’m with him” like he’s not the scoundrel who abandoned her for most of her childhood. Is she dead, too? He and Claire share a “look,” as if Locke asked exactly the right question. So… his mission is to MOVE the island? Didn’t see that coming. I’m assuming this is why Widmore can no longer find the island.

• This was definitely Hurley’s week. My first laugh out loud was when Hurley, Locke, and Ben were arguing about the whereabouts of the cabin, and Ben says he was just following Hurley. Hurley: “Oh, this is just awesome.”
• Locke saying the Dharma Initiative spent all day making the ranch dressing that Hurley likes. HA!
• Hurley: “Guys? Cabin.”
• Hurley: “Yeah, I’m cool with you going in alone, too.”
• Hurley and Ben sharing the chocolate bar. I was in stitches… for me, the funniest moment of the season.
• Ben’s impatient “Well?!” when Locke calmly says that Jacob told them what to do, but doesn’t elaborate.

Biggest “GASP!” Moments:
• Richard Alpert standing outside the nursery!!! (I shouted, “YES!” when they showed him.)
• The doctor being alive on the boat! This goes back to the whole Faraday experiment on the island, where the payload took a lot longer to arrive. Then, we saw a seemingly 5-minute helicopter ride take forever and a day to get back to the freighter. In this episode, the corpse of the doctor washes up on the shore of the beach BEFORE he is actually killed. Whoa. That’s a guy in dire need of a constant. So, I’m assuming we’re to believe the doctor was just killed, the body floated to the time-warp wormhole and whoosh, he was sent back in time to the shore. Do you agree?
• John’s childhood drawing of a guy being eaten by the smoke monster.
• Abaddon telling John to go on the Walkabout. I was so excited by this reference back to episode 1.4, I was giddy.
• Claire and Christian just hanging out in the cabin.

Hurley’s Numbers:
Emily says she’s 5 months pregnant, almost six… so that could very well mean that John was born at 23 weeks.

Did You Notice?:
• The opening of this episode, in another time, in a place we don’t recognize, with some music being started, was reminiscent of the openings of seasons 2 and 3. The lyrics of Buddy Holly’s “Everyday” seem to explain the series itself, and how each episode is getting us nearer to the end: “Everyday, is a-gettin’ closer/ Goin’ faster than a roller coaster.”
• Emily was hit by a car running from her mother, just as Locke was bumped by a car running after Emily many years later.
• The island really IS saving Michael’s ass (even if it’s not preventing him from feeling some SERIOUS pain). It jammed the freakin’ gun.
• We get a close-up of Locke’s eye, but it happens after the flashback, not before it. It’s right before the Horace Groundhog Day-type dream sequence.
• At the end of the dream sequence, Horace says, “Godspeed.” His surname is Goodspeed.
• The casting people actually put a real newborn baby in that incubator. On most other shows, they’d stick a 17-pound six-month-old in there and call it a newborn.
• Behind Richard, there appears to be a poster with the word CHOICE on it.
• Ben tells Hurley he should have known better than to shoot Locke and leave him for dead, as if he knows the island won’t let John die.
• When John steps out of the locker he’s been locked in, there’s a Geronimo Jackson poster on the inside of the door.
• John’s teacher (or guidance counsellor) tells him he’s destined to be a scientist, yet John has spent his time on the island arguing for faith over science.
• I was a little disappointed that Desmond didn’t accompany Sayid back to the island… it seemed like Sayid’s the sole superhero and Desmond is just sitting back and saying, “Dude, I made it off that island and I AIN’T going back.” But on further thought, it shows what a hopeless romantic he is. He’s just missed Penny for so long, he’s not going to screw it up now.
• “You’ll understand soon enough that there are consequences to being chosen.” I thought Ben was really interesting in this episode. He tends to react to what’s going on around him rather than act, but once and for all he seems to have accepted that he’s no longer Jacob’s man on the island, and that John is the real apostle. I mentioned in my season 3 Lost book that I thought this season would have Ben finally conceding to that – the look on his face when Locke shows up to knife Naomi in the back seemed to suggest right there that he was looking into the face of the man who had taken his place. He says in this episode that losing Alex was his destiny (again showing an affinity to Locke), even though when it happened, he certainly didn’t act like that was destined. But he really seemed different this episode, stepping back to let Locke take the spotlight instead. Is it because he’s really accepted Locke as the go-to guy, or does he suspect something dangerous is about to happen and he’d rather Locke be standing front and centre? Or, has Alex’s death just taken the fight out of him momentarily? Michael Emerson was his usual brilliant self in this episode, and when he watches longingly as John walks up to the cabin, I actually felt sorry for the guy.
• The name of the rehab centre where Locke is recuperating is “The Delerue Rehabilitation Centre.” The only “Delerue” I could find of any note was a French film composer, and his only link with where Locke would be is that he died in Glendale, California. I’m sure there’s a more important link.
• When Abaddon puts Locke at the top of the stairs, we get a reverse scene from the season 3 episode “Further Instructions.” In that episode, I suggested that the scene looked like Jacob’s ladder from the bible, with Locke lying at the bottom of a set of stairs. In this case, Locke is at the top of the stairs, not the bottom. If the suggestion is that same image, that puts Locke in the position of God, interestingly enough.
• When Frank’s package dropped on the island, it crushed Claire’s tent (you can see Aaron’s crib beside it). Ominous?
• Is it possible the plane was brought down because Locke was on it? Is he the key to everything?

So Many Questions...
• Wait… Emily was six months pregnant? Okay, I’ll accept that Sun isn’t showing the tiniest bit of pregnancy because of all the people who emailed me last season to boast how they were 4 months pregnant and not showing. But 6 months and not showing, while you’re that tiny? I don’t buy it for an instant. Not even with those generous poodle skirts.
• So, did Horace really build the cabin for some afternoon delights? Seems like a strange place to become possessed by Jacob and the strong island spirits.
• Here’s where I need the closed captioning… did anyone catch what Hurley said when Locke tried to wake him up? I’m sure it was funny… it sounded like “Not on Mars,” but it could have been “Apollo Bars” for all I can make out.
• The nurse tells Emily that John has bounced back from everything that’s hit him, and no matter what, he beats it and keeps on ticking. Could the island forces have been keeping him safe right from the beginning, the way they’re helping Michael right now?
• Did Emily’s mother know Richard Alpert? She certainly sputters like she knows who he is.
• What is the Book of Laws? Is it an ancient bible of the Others? There was a Book of Laws in the Plymouth Colony in 1636, so perhaps this is something that new colonies establish for themselves. (Unless Alpert was holding the actual Plymouth Colony book… wouldn’t surprise me, somehow.)
• When Omar heads into the ship to meet Keamy in the armoury, as per Gault’s instructions, his satellite phone begins beeping. This seems like more than just a random happening. Does it have anything to do with the phone that Frank later throws onto the beach, but the time warp is giving Omar a heads up of something?
• What is the connection between Abaddon and the Others? He seems to be working with Alpert.
• What was Frank’s intention with the sat phone package? I think Jack might have been wrong… they’re not supposed to follow them, but to stay the hell away from them. That phone gives them the whereabouts of Keamy’s people at all times.
• Does Ben really believe that the island wants him to die and wants to save Locke, or does he just want to avoid going into the cabin? He survived his spinal surgery okay, all things considered, and I’m thinking if the island wants to get rid of you, it’ll get rid of you.

Next week: The Oceanic Six become… the Oceanic Six.

Just a note that I’m in transit tomorrow, and probably not home until 4, so I’ll leave the discussion to you guys. (I might be able to sneak on here in the morning, but the connection is s…l…o…w.)

UPDATE #1: I got back home today around 5, finally away from my dad’s dial-up, only to try to log on to the Internet and my modem is not working (the DSL line is not coming into the house). So now... I’m back on dial-up! Argh... I think the Dharma Initiative is effing with my ability to post. But anyway...

As countless people have posted, Hurley says, “Mallomars” when Locke tries to wake him up. A lot of people are wondering if Richard Alpert is actually Locke’s father. Someone else posted saying it’s interesting that Emily is the name of John’s mom and Ben’s mom. The interesting thing is, until Emily said, “Please call the baby John!” I actually thought it was a Ben flashback! I thought we were being treated to an alternative birth that would suggest Ben’s original flashback was a lie, that it was what he wanted us to think his past was, and this was the real one. So it’s interesting that others are making that connection now. Someone else (or maybe it was the same person) thought maybe it’s the same Emily, but since they’ve used different actresses to portray her, I would think it is two different ones. But you never know....

I was watching the first scene again, and someone mentioned that the doctor that delivers the baby sort of looks like Christian. I noticed the doctor wheeling her down the hall sort of looks like the guidance counsellor who talks to John later. Could it be the same guy?

I think one of the best posts so far is wondering if maybe this isn’t a flashback, but Richard Alpert time-travelling to change the course of events. I really like that idea, how about you?

UPDATE #2: Click here for some more Cabin Fever thoughts.