Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lostaholics Anonymous: Sawyer

Hello and welcome to this week's Lostaholics Anonymous. First, a few housekeeping things. My book is now shipping from Amazon, and you can pick up a copy here. If you already have a copy, either from me or through Amazon, here is my first request to go and leave a positive review (if you liked it, of course!) on the Amazon site. It's a tough sell to put out a book on a show after the show is over, especially on a season that was as divisive as this one. More reviews (and more stars!) will certainly help it stand out! And you will have my undying gratitude. And it will end this gnawing worry in my stomach of, "OMG, what if they all HATE it?!"

Secondly, I've been meaning to mention this for WEEKS and I apologize for not saying anything until now, but for months people have been asking me if I'm planning on hosting another Lost rewatch now that the series is over. I don't actually have plans to do that -- I would love to, but it took a LOT of my time last year, and I didn't end up having much of a break at all between books, which left me pretty exhausted by the end of this past summer. (It had been book... rewatch... new season... book.) But, I wanted to point you in the direction of a really fantastic rewatch happening right now with our own Matt Roeser (he of the wicked Lost finale parties). Matt and his co-hort, Justin, were smart enough to bring in guest bloggers so they wouldn't fall behind, and this week they're up to "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues." Check it out here, and get involved in some pretty amazing Lost discussions.

OK! But now onto our favourite redneck. Now, many people would argue that Sawyer was never that important a character. I mean sure, he was some pretty awesome eye candy, but take him out of the mix, and does the show really change that much?

Well, anyone who says that clearly didn't experience the same terror I did at the beginning of season 3 when Pickett was holidng a gun to Sawyer's head and threatening to pull the trigger. I REALLY thought he was going to do it. And to suggest he's not important undermines the immense growth his character went through.

Buffy was a show about Buffy. And Angel was a show about Angel. And yet, they weren't the ones who underwent the most development over the runs of their shows. That honour fell to Willow and Wesley respectively. Wesley went from a bumbling slapstick punchline to one of the most extraordinarily realized characters I've ever seen on a TV show. Willow began as a shy bookworm and ended it as a confident goddess.

The thing about Lost is, many characters evolved -- think no further than Jack's journey from man of science to man of faith. But Sawyer was a special circumstance because he was so complex. Not even the audience knew what he was thinking, and that's a combination of great writing, of evolving a character because he was interesting to viewers, and great acting on the part of Josh Holloway.

When we first see Sawyer, he's an angry, belligerent man who separates himself from the group, setting himself apart as the "every man for himself" type who looks out for himself and no one else. This is not a team player. What we didn't know right away was that Sawyer was also broken -- his parents had died when he was young, he'd taken on the name and con game of the man who was responsible for their deaths, and he'd just killed a man in error in Sydney, having been used by a scumbag who just needed to get rid of someone who owed him a debt. He has a child by a woman he had fallen in love with during a long con, and he'd set up a trust fund for his daughter for when she comes of age. When we finally realize there's a lot more to Sawyer than meets the eye, he became a lot more than just a pretty face.

By the end of season 1 he was playing well with others, helping to build a raft to try to procure rescue. At the beginning of season 2, he was faced with a new group of people -- The Tailies -- and had begun to realize when he set himself apart from them as their enemy that it meant he was part of the other group. It didn't stop him from turning on all of them in The Long Con and declaring himself sheriff, but it wasn't long before he was part of the foursome that had been kidnapped by the Others, and when he was hauled off to the cages and forced to break rocks, he realized he had fallen in love with Kate. They slept together, but he soon figured out that Kate still had feelings for Jack. He returned to the camp where he joyously discovered Dharma beer, joked around with his buddies, realized that Hurley had missed him, and he slowly began to integrate himself into the group. When Locke showed himself and led Sawyer off to The Brig, he was finally face-to-face with the man he'd devoted his entire life to destroying.

And this was where Sawyer became James Ford. He killed Anthony Cooper and then fell to the floor, devastated to find out that that pain in his gut hadn't gone away. Killing Sawyer had done nothing to change the way he'd felt for most of his life. Suddenly, he was 8 years old again, and writing that vengeful letter. Cooper's death didn't bring them back to life, and vengeance hadn't paid off. James now returned to the group very angry and isolated. At the beginning of season 4, he believed he was about to be rescued, but he had a connection with John Locke now, and when all signs pointed to the freighter folk being imposters, Sawyer left Kate and Jack and joined the opposite side. And it was with Locke's group that he became more of a leader. He rushed into a burning building and grabbed Claire out of it. He found Aaron in the crook of a tree and saved him, then led the group back to the beach. And when he could actually taste freedom, he knew someone had to stay behind in order to get the helicopter to the freighter, and so he did something that no one else could bring themselves to do: He jumped.

Back on the island, he time-jumped back to 1974, began a relationship with Juliet, and suddenly found himself a real sheriff, with a real sheriff's badge (that was embroidered onto his Dharma jumpsuit), and people looked up to him as their leader who was there to protect them.

Three years later, he was happily in a relationship, content for possibly the first time in his life, when Kate and the others returned. And with them came the complex feelings he'd had before, the memories of what had gone on between him and Kate, the pain of losing her, the animosity with Jack, the jerk he'd been with Hurley, and the realization that Locke -- the only other person who knew about what he did to Cooper -- was dead. Soon he found himself unveiled as a Dharma imposter, on the run and wielding a gun, and beating the living crap out of Jack in the jungle. And then... Juliet was dead.

In the final season Sawyer was dealing with the grief of losing the woman he loved after all -- and the reality of realizing too late that she'd been the one he truly loved -- and he went AWOL, shunning Kate but aligning himself with the Man in Black. After Jack defeated the Man in Black and saved the island, Sawyer joined Kate and the others as they left the island on an airplane. After he died, his sideways world existence was a reflection of the one he'd lived in real life: he was a cop, people listened to him, he was there to serve and protect, but he still had his demons. While on the one hand he was on the good side of the law, on the other he was still searching for his Sawyer, determined to get the same vengeance he'd found on the island. Constantly torn in two directions, his life was as fragmented as his image in the mirror that he smashed at the precinct. But in his awakening moment, he was reunited with Juliet, and he found the peace, happiness, and love he'd been seeking. Sawyer no longer meant anything to him, and all he cared about was her.

As much as he seemed to stand apart from the other characters throughout the series, if the finale showed that everything came down to connection, then Sawyer's story was of great importance: When he separated himself from them all, living a solitary life, he couldn't get ahead. He only found peace and happiness when he connected with them and worked together as part of a team, or leading them.

Sawyer was a character who you loved despite everything he did: whether he was conning Kate or Jack or Sun, or mocking Hurley, or taking advantage of Shannon's agony when she was having an asthma attack, or undermining Jack, there was just something about him that made him charming enough to keep liking.

But he was also a character that divided fans, like Kate did. Many didn't like him, or thought he was all but useless in the show's final season. The adamant Skaters were furious that he didn't end up with Kate, while the Suliets were over the moon at what happened in the sideways world with him in the finale. So where do you stand? Do you think Sawyer was a worthy character on the show?

LA Tonight!

So once again I failed to post the Lostaholics Anonymous blog last night (I'm having a super-busy week with the hubby away) but it'll be up tonight. And since we've covered Jack and Kate, I figured we'd complete that triangle with Sawyer. So James Ford will be our topic tonight. And for some ungodly reason, I simply couldn't incite shipper wars last week. I almost considered posting anonymously, but decided against it. ;)

Until then, please enjoy Jim Parsons explaining the word "arachnid" on Sesame Street! (Thanks to Cynthia for the link.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Littlest Buffy Fan

I just had to post this. So cute!! This is a post that went up on a mommy/knitting blog last week. How adorable is that??

Maybe I can convince my publisher to release my Buffy book with a soft squishy cover for toddlers.

Friday, October 22, 2010

JOpinionated + The Trevor Project

I just wanted to pass on a link that is SO important to y'all... I was chatting with JOpinionated today and she pointed me toward an amazing incentive she's got going to help raise donations for The Trevor Project, which is a help line for LGBTQ youth. It's a tremendous organization (you can find out more about them here) and here's the sitch: if you send a donation of $10 to the Trevor Project, your name will be entered into a draw to win one of two gift baskets. One is an AMAZING gift basket loaded to the gills with Lost stuff, and the second is a more general TV one with DVDs and other special gifts donated from many shows, including Fringe, The Big Bang Theory, Mad Men, and many more. See the complete list (seriously, a shotglass signed by Damon Lindelof??) and get all of the information here.

I'm going to be donating a full set of autographed copies of Finding Lost to the Lost basket, but the real reason to go and donate $10 is to support such an incredible project. Thanks for doing this, Jo. You are a true gem of the blogosphere.

Lost Academic Conference!

So I was chatting on email with David Lavery this morning, and he said the new location for the Lost conference (formerly in Oahu, which proved far too expensive for people) will be one of two places: Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida (where this past Slayage was held in June) or in New Orleans. Since I haven't been to the latter (and because that one would be joining with the much larger PCA conference), I'm hoping it's there, but I'd be happy with either one of them. And hey, New Orleans is the perfect Lost location! After all, "The House of the Rising Sun" is in New Orleans. Bingo! ;)

There is currently a survey up taking votes, so please head on over there and put in your two cents!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lostaholics Anonymous: Kate

Hello and welcome to another week of Lostaholics Anonymous. This week we're going to talk about a character who has split audiences down the middle: Kate Austen.

Kate was the first character who got her own full flashback, season 1's third episode, Tabula Rasa. As a little girl, Kate hung around with her childhood sweetheart, Tommy. The two of them tried to steal a NKOTB lunchbox from a local convenience store, but were caught. Crisis was averted when Jacob purchased the box for her, and she and Tommy took it back to his house, where they filled it with their favourite childhood objects, including Tommy's toy airplane. They included a cassette tape of the two of them talking and imagining what they'll be like when they've grown up -- will they get married?

Kate's mother Diane was married to Sam, Kate's military father, but they broke up and Diane married Wayne, a louse who beat her. The show implied that he may have molested Kate in some way, or at least made inappropriate moves on her. When Kate discovered that Wayne was actually her father, she killed him, disgusted that he could actually be in her. She became a fugitive, and was chased to Australia, caught, and ended up in a plane to LA that never got there.

But what interests fans the most isn't what happened to Kate before the crash -- it's what happened after. Namely... Sawyer or Jack? Now, shipping is something I tend to beg people not to do here. You start a shipper war, it takes down the whole blog. So, for this one meeting, I'm going to let you battle it out. Just please... keep it nice. Don't be inflexible; listen to the other side and be polite.

So... in this corner, we have Kate and Sawyer. He's the bad boy who excites her, who she sleeps with and truly does care about, but who makes her feel guilty about what she's done. He reminds her of another bad boy, the one she killed, and just like she didn't want Wayne to be a part of her, she doesn't want to admit that she's actually attracted to a man who's killed someone before. But Sawyer loves her, and even though he plays games with her in the beginning, she's the one person who makes him stop lying to himself and everyone else.

In this corner, we have Kate and Jack. He's the doctor, the good guy that her parents would be proud of, but he also makes her feel guilty. Throughout season 1, on the one hand he tells her that whatever she did isn't his business, but then he wears a key around his neck that would open a briefcase that she wants, hinting that he has the power over her to open it or keep it closed. He does love her, and off the island they fall in love and become a couple. She excites him and makes him feel like a better person, but Kate also keeps secrets, and Jack can't stand secrets. Ultimately, on the show, Kate chose Jack while Sawyer chose Juliet. Do you agree with her decision? Do you care?

For me, the most important thing about Kate was her relationship to Aaron. In season 5 it was like we were introduced to a new Kate. Where she could never make up her mind between Sawyer and Jack, her love for Aaron was unwavering. She came alive with him, and laughed and loved unconditionally and was loved unconditionally in return. Jack and Sawyer always seemed to want something from her, but Aaron just wanted her to be his mommy.

And therein lay her dilemma, because she knew she couldn't be his mommy. So she left him and returned to the island, finding Claire and bringing her back. Along the way she reignited Sawyer's feelings for her momentarily, before the death of Juliet reminded Sawyer that he actually loved Juliet more. But that wasn't Kate's fault; she wasn't there for Sawyer, and she wasn't there for Jack. She was there for Aaron.

Kate has always been someone who has been used, makes decisions, and then has the people she love turn on her for those decisions. No one ever seems to agree with her, she tries to make decisions that will help others, but so often those decisions backfire and she ends up hurting people by accident. Kate has a lot of guilt and pain in her, but she soldiers on.

In the second half of the series, there was a LOT of Kate Hate. People loathed her, either because they didn't want to see her with either man, or they didn't think she contributed much to the show, or they were simply annoyed by her. But I always liked Kate. I liked that she didn't listen. I liked that she did things her way. I liked her tomboyishness and her independence. I liked her vulnerability. I liked that she put others before herself all the time.

For me, when Kate walked up to Jack after the concert in the finale and says, "I missed you so much," my heart breaks every time. We can imagine that Kate left that island and probably pined for Jack for the rest of her life, and to see him again must have filled her with so much joy. And yet it's Aaron who is the spark that causes her to remember... her connection to him is so strong. Who can watch the scene where she says, "Bye bye baby" without crying? I can't.

I loved Kate, and I miss her as much as any character. But what did you think about her?

And my Finding Lost: Season 6 book is finally available for order on Amazon; copies of this gigantic book started shipping last Sunday. I heard that it's taking entire trucks to bring one copy to people's houses!* Get your copy here!

*This might not actually be 100% true.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lostaholics -- Tune in Tomorrow

Hey all, I've been swamped with stuff (and, OK, admittedly addicted to this book I started on Monday and can't stop reading... if you get a chance, read Emma Donaghue's "Room." Absolutely fascinating). Anyway, tonight's Lostaholics Anonymous will be postponed until tomorrow night, but it's going to be on Kate. AND... for the only time possibly ever on this site, I'm going to allow you to sharpen your knives and argue full throttle for whatever ship you want. I know I'm probably asking for it, but I also think it could be totally fun. And then we'll get back to normal for the following week's discussion. It'll have to be something bland and not controversial to calm everyone down. Perhaps how the sand colour changed throughout the seasons. ;)

Anyway, see y'all tomorrow night!

Your Morning Laugh

This just cracked me up. Brilliant.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mad Men S4: Portrait of the Artist as a Middle-Aged Man

I was going to go with a different photo for this week's recap of the Mad Men S4 finale last night, “Tomorrowland”... a photo showing The Thing that happened. But I didn’t want to inadvertently spoil anyone, so if you haven’t yet seen the finale and don’t know what Thing I’m talking about, please stop reading now.

This season has been, in a word, extraordinary. We watched Don Draper unravel completely as Dick Whitman dogged him almost to the point of complete self-destruction. His wife was remarried, his children were confused and he was constantly worried about them, the new business wasn’t doing gangbusters like it was supposed to, he screwed the babysitter and the woman down the hall and some waitress in a diner and his secretary before she finally quit and then the psychology expert the company brought in... it was a mess. He walked through the halls in an alcoholic haze, he messed up board meetings, and the creative genius of only a few years earlier had devolved into a monkey that resembled Roger Sterling... without the zingers.

And in an episode I can only refer to as sublime, “The Suitcase,” Don finally hit rock bottom. He’d peaked in assholery, forcing Peggy to stay late in the office on her birthday and then chastising her for not telling him it was a special day, he literally had a lost weekend where he didn’t know where he’d been for a couple of days, and worst of all, Anna, the only person who really knew him for who he was, died. In this incredible hour, Don and Peggy stayed in his office all night while other characters moved in and out of the scene like a play -- not sleeping together, not playing superior and inferior, not playing the roles of Man and Woman -- and we saw a new Don emerge the next morning. He had a purpose, he was going to put his life back together, he was going to attempt to stop drinking, he was going to put an effort into his children and his company, and he was going to stop sleeping around.

And for a while, it worked. The no-drinking thing was stymied slightly when Sally accidentally poured rum all over his pancakes (in a hilarious scene where she mistook the rum bottle shaped like a little Jamaican woman for a bottle of Aunt Jemima), but he shrugged it off and dealt with it. He began focusing his romantic energy on Faye Miller, and rather than continue his Don Draper charade with her, he told her up front who he really was. It was a surprising moment, but you could tell he was simply weary of lying. Finally he opened up to someone. He wasn’t going to lie to her the way he’d lied to Betty for so long. Here was a woman who was strong, independent, who Peggy recently had said she was envious of because this woman seemed to stand out in the world of men, making her own way.

And then, one night when Don was working late, his secretary, Megan shyly poked her head in and offered to help him out. And before you knew it, they were having sex on his couch. Sigh. “Oh, Don, you bastard,” my husband and I both said, exasperated. But this secretary wasn’t like the other one. She didn’t expect anything from Don, and simply zipped up her dress and walked back out of the office. And the next day, it was business as usual. No looking for compliments, no shock when he acted like he was her secretary, just back to putting Mr. Draper’s phone calls through to his phone.

We’d first noticed her when Sally had come into the office and had a complete spazzy breakdown in the hallway, and Megan ran after her, caught her in her arms, and just held her, rubbing her back and reassuring her that it would be OK. Sally quietly said, “No, it won’t.” Sally has been a character who has worried me from the beginning of this season, making me want to reach into the television and just yoink her out of this universe and save her. First, I think the actress who plays her is one of the best casting choices of the series. She looks and talks EXACTLY like her mother, in that very specific, clipped way. I think the young actress has done a fantastic job of learning to mimic January Jones’ way of talking and holding herself. While Betty Draper has turned into Mommie Dearest, Sally seems to take the brunt of it. Gene isn’t really aware of it, and Bobby just remains quiet, like he either doesn’t notice or doesn’t want to. But Sally is old enough to understand that her mother resents her, but too young to begin to understand why, or how she should deal with such a thing. While Betty feels like Don tossed her away, she can’t stand the fact that he wants to spend time with her own tiny doppelganger. Sally used to be the little chubby-cheeked youngster who had the occasional tantrum and otherwise faded into the background, but this season she moved into the spotlight. From the first episode, when we saw how slim she suddenly was, to the scene at the home of Betty’s new in-laws where Sally spat out her dinner, I started to worry that they were setting her up for some future eating disorder. Then as Sally’s life began to unravel, I started worrying more... could she be suicidal in the future? Is there something more at stake here? She’s so delicate and already broken, and she’s only about 10. The current season is set in 1965, and the beauty of this show is that we know the history that will come after it. I remember thinking at the beginning of the season that the poor kid was born at such an unfortunate time – she’ll only be 12 during the Summer of Love, so she’ll miss out on that one, and by the time the punk movement really takes shape in about 1977, she’ll be in her early 20s, so she may be too old to truly appreciate it. Poor thing! Maybe she’ll just really be into David Bowie. (There’s hope for you yet, little one.) But I am worried that they’re setting her up for some sort of eating disorder during a time where it wouldn’t have been understood.

But back to Megan. Don looks on, agog at the fact that while Betty would have simply said in her flat voice, “Go to your room” and given Sally a kick on the way up the stairs, here is his secretary sitting on the floor, hugging his daughter. There was definitely something in her even then. (And I read something today saying that the Google searches on “Jessica ParĂ©,” the Canadian actress who plays her, have been huge today... as a Canadian I can tell you she really IS from Montreal, just like her character, and her first breakout role was starring in a film called “Stardom” about this girl who is obsessed with hockey and just wants to play with the boys until a modelling scout sees her and pushes her into the world of modelling, where she becomes a world-class supermodel and you watch all of the craziness that surrounds her. After that she was in a Canadian film called Lost and Delirious, based on the Susan Swan novel “The Wives of Bath,” about a girl who goes to college and discovers her female dormmates are sleeping together, and then Jessica starred a bunch of roles, mostly in Canadian films, but she was moving her way into American films and TV shows when Mad Men came along.)

But back to Mad Men. When Roger Sterling lost Lucky Strike (right after knocking up Joanie), Don went ballistic, and the company faced a major crisis where, for the first time, it really looked like they wouldn’t bounce back. Last week Don finally cracked and wrote an open letter to the New York Times, taking out a full page and basically saying he doesn’t sleep at night doing ads for tobacco companies anyway, so screw it, they’re no longer taking on tobacco, and anyone else can feel free to come their way. And so... the American Cancer Society did. Could it be the start of something bigger?

This week Betty finally becomes a full-on dragon, firing her maid/nanny Carla (with the patented Betty blindness: “Since when did you become their mother?” Um... from the moment I bloody well raised each one of them, maybe??), refusing to let Carla say goodbye to the children, and then telling Don he’ll have to take the kids on his trip without any help. Meanwhile, Peggy -- who also really came into her own this season as we saw her hanging with beatniks, showing tremendous restraint and confidence in the face of blatant sexism thrown at her every day from everyone from Don to her inferiors in creative to Joan, and connecting with Don on a new level that seemed to raise her up to almost his equal in his eyes -– has brought in the company’s first new client since the loss of Lucky Strike, and this good fortune could be the beginning of the upswing the company so badly needs. Pete has become less loathsome this season, and there was some political bandying this season with Don, but it always seemed necessary, like maybe Don deserved it and Pete wasn’t just being a dick. Joan watched her husband go off to war, had a fast and furious knee-wobbler with Roger in an alleyway that resulted in a pregnancy, and then went off to an abortion clinic, where it was never really obvious if she went through with it or not. This week we discover that she didn’t, and that instead she’s contacted her louse of a husband where he’s stationed in Vietnam and told him the baby is his (and he responds with regret that he won’t see her enormous breasts get that much bigger...)

But the season – and particularly this episode – belonged to Don. I figured with a season as amazing as this one has been, we would no doubt encounter something shocking... but I was NOT ready for this. When Don decides to take Megan with him to watch his kids while he’s in California, she jumps at the chance, and turns out to be pretty excellent with them. She teaches them French, keeps Sally calm, and when Sally accidentally spills a drink, Sally and Don both noticeably brace themselves for the onslaught of grief and guilt that will spew forth from the woman at the table... and instead Megan just laughs it off and begins dousing it with napkins.

While Don’s in California, he visits Anna’s home one last time and sees the signature he made on her wall when he’d been there a few months earlier. It brings back the last vestiges of the real Don Draper and the memory that around her, he could just be himself. And shortly after, in this scene in the restaurant, he realizes for the first time that he doesn’t have to be on pins and needles around Megan, that she just lets him be who he wants to be, doesn’t expect anything more out of him, and just might be the soothing force that Sally needs. While Betty ships Sally off to a psychiatrist, Megan talks to Sally, reassures her, teaches her, and doesn’t berate her.

But even all of this doesn’t brace us for what happens next. When Don wakes up early one morning upon returning to New York and asks Megan to marry him, handing her Anna’s engagement ring from the real Don Draper, I laughed and said to my husband, “It’s a fantasy sequence... someone’s having a dream.” But as the scene went on, I was thinking it was an AWFULLY long scene to be happening in a dream... someone’s supposed to jolt awake right about now, but instead, Megan’s calling her mom in Montreal. If this is Don’s dream, how would he understand enough French to put that in his dream? If it’s Megan’s, how would she know about Anna’s engagement ring? It can’t really be either one’s dream, which means....

WTF, Don, did you just ask your secretary to marry you???!!!!!

Words cannot express my bafflement in this moment. But after 24 hours of thought, I realize it’s pretty much in keeping with his character this season. Of course he did this. What Don needs is stability, and Megan has it in spades. She passes his phone calls through to him, she rushes into his office to make things better when a mistake has been made, she’s excellent with his children, she shows him respect, she doesn’t ask questions and just accepts him for who he is... she’s perfect.

And not perfect. For while everything might be rosy now, once they’re married she won’t be so willing to just sit back and let Don take the reins all the time. She’s going to want some answers, and won’t be so open to him sleeping around. She’ll resent that he plops the children on her lap while he takes off to a bar or away on a business trip. But maybe Don’s genuinely going to change. Is it possible that after this long personal journey of discovery this season, that Don will find a way to merge Don with Dick, and refuse to make the same mistakes that he did with Betty? Despite watching the scene where he calls Faye – a woman whom Peggy mistakenly thought had proven you can make it in a man’s world, but who in fact has been used by a man just like every other woman on the show – and thinking Don’s a complete ass, you have to admit that Faye, for as put-together as she was, not only felt awkward and strange around Sally, but she looked like Betty. Megan doesn’t. She’s an artist, with her feet firmly planted on the ground but with dreams of her own, and she’s a more interesting character than we’d originally been led to believe.

Could Megan actually help change Don?

Season 4 of Mad Men was my favourite season yet. I cannot WAIT for season 5.

And what were your thoughts?

Sesame Street Meets the Old Spice Guy

I LOVE the Old Spice commercials, and I love Sesame Street. Put them together and what do you get? Brilliance. Thanks to Gillian for this link!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fringe 3.04: Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?

I won't do my normal longer blog post on this week's Fringe episode, simply because I watched it too late to really talk about it much. But rather than point out things to notice (the glyph word was SHIFT; the Observer walked through the lobby as Walter went running up to Peter, Faux-Livia and Broyles when they were all talking and not listening to Walter), I want to talk about the episode overall.

Once again, this one was a home run. The shapeshifters have been made out to be baddies for a couple of seasons now, and we just see them as one more evil thing from the other side. But for the first time, they're shown as more than just robots. One man has assumed an identity for five years, taking on the role of a husband and father of a two-year-old, and now he has fallen in love with his "pretend" wife, and his now-seven year old means the world to him. So when Thomas Newton shows up and tells him he must change identities, he can't handle it, and risks his life to maintain that current identity. Similarly, the shifter who'd assumed the identity of the senator was so convincing in his role, taking on the memories and jolly personality of the man he was pretending to be, that he had become him, and his wife never noticed a change in him at all.

It was a great twist, and, as usually happens, I didn't know the title of the episode and was just going to check it later. As I sat on the couch watching it unfold, I wrote in my notes, "This episode is like Blade Runner -- think final Roy Batty speech, rooftop." So imagine my surprise and joy when I discovered the episode title referred to that scene exactly, considering "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" was the novel that Blade Runner was based on. I don't think I've ever felt as close to the writers on a show as I did in that moment.

This is a similar issue to the one explored in Battlestar Galactica throughout its run, looking at whether Cylons are robots, or entities with feelings. They believe in gods, they form connections, they love and are loved... what separates them from humans? In the case of the shapeshifters, they were originally working for the bad side, but they fell in love and got wrapped up in their new lives. Is there death any less real than the person they're portraying?

And as mentioned, this exploration originates in what's probably my favourite film scene of all time, when replicant Roy Batty, who is wounded, sits atop a rooftop with a dove in his hands, and his final words to Deckard exhibit such deep emotions that Deckard realizes -- too late -- that the replicants are not the unfeeling monsters he thought they were.

Friday, October 15, 2010

LOST: Jack Was All About Fun

This week's Lostaholics Anonymous featured a long discussion about Jack, and I realized I'd forgotten to post the above image to go with it, which was sent to me late last week by artist Richard Rische, designed by his friend Mike Steffler. Love it.

I mentioned that as much as I adored that character, he was always fun to poke fun at because he was just so damn serious. A friend of mine forwarded me this video last week asking if I'd seen it, and I said not only had I seen it, but I used to post it on a regular basis here because it killed me every time. And in light of our discussion, I thought hey, let's post it AGAIN!! This might be my all-time fave Lost fan video.

Josh on the Set of MI4

Pink Is the New Blog has posted some new pics of Josh Holloway on the set of Mission Impossible 4, where he will be co-starring with Tom Cruise. I love it when creators develop relationships with actors and writers through other projects. (It's like Terry O'Quinn being on Alias before Lost.)

OK, now go look at the pictures here and forget everything else you were supposed to do today. ;)

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Last Thursday I had the good fortune to head down to the CTV building in downtown Toronto and see Sheldon, Howard, and Raj live on stage... or their real-life personas, Jim Parsons, Simon Helberg, and Kunal Nayyar, the stars of The Big Bang Theory. (I'm sure everyone else has blogged on this already, and I actually started this blog last Thursday, and it's taken me THIS LONG to get around to finishing it!!) BBT is one of my favourite shows on television (the other day I was bemoaning the state of TV to someone, and said the only two network shows I adore are Fringe and The Big Bang Theory... although I'd probably add Modern Family to that). The three guys were at the CTV building talking to Canadian fans, and marveling at the massive audience that had turned up to the event, screaming and begging them to say (or sing) certain things. People had come from all over Ontario, some had lined up as early as 6 a.m. to get a prime spot.

The show began with Teddy and Ajay of Space, the cohosts of Innerspace (I appeared on the show with them to discuss the finale of Lost) who warmed up the audience for a couple of hours before. The guys had done an interview with Space that morning on a closed set, and Teddy and Ajay, in adorably matching sweaters, chatted up the audience and kept everyone pumped for the main event.

Then the Barenaked Ladies came out to sing the show's theme song, and it was so cool to see it done live. When they ended on, "And it all started with the big bang -- BANG!" the whole audience shouted the last word. (BNL stood on the stage like the in-house studio band for the entire show, with the drummer occasionally playing rimshots when the guys would make a joke, or Ed Robertson interjecting with his own joke every once in a while.)They continued playing background music while eTalk host Ben Mulroney introduced the three stars of the show, and the audience went nuts. (And then, as you can see, Jim Parsons looked right at me.... OK, probably not, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

So here were my favourite moments of the show:
• When host Ben Mulroney came out ahead of the actors, he was asked by his co-host if he could prove his geek cred (this guy was born into privilege, with a wealthy father who eventually became the Prime Minister of Canada...) and he somehow managed to do it. He said he believed there was a geek in all of us, which is why the Big Bang Theory is so popular, and he said that his wife had bought him a flux capacitor for his birthday once. When the co-host looked baffled and asked if that had something to do with time travel, he groaned, "UGH, it's only what made time travel POSSIBLE!! You know? Back to the Fu... you know what, you don't know ANYthing." HA!!
• The boys came out and Ben asked Simon (Howard) about the fact that he's a musician, and asked him if he'd ever consider giving up acting for music. To which Jim Parsons (Sheldon) answered, "He SHOULD!" (I wasn't sure if that was a diss on his acting or praise for his music, but it was funny either way!)
• When Ben asked a question that had been tweeted to the show -- How does Sheldon speak without taking a breath? -- Parsons couldn't answer right away, so Kunal (Raj) answered, "He has amazing abs."
• When asked where he keeps his Emmy in his home, Parsons responded, "When I'm not carrying it around at work making sure every single person has seen it, I keep it at home on a used piano."
• Simon had tweeted that he felt like he needed a Canadian interpreter to understand what the hell we were talking about, and when Ben asked if that was true, he said, "I actually haven't understood a single word you've said to me yet." HAHAHA!! Ah, getouttahere, ya hoser, eh?
• On the first commercial break, the pregnant woman behind me stood up and yelled, "Sheldon, will you sign my belly??!!"
• Ed Robertson, lead singer of the Barenaked Ladies, asked the audience on the same break to put their hands up if they thought the second half of the interview should be pants-off.
• And then someone behind me did a pitch-perfect, "HOOOWWWWAAAAAAD!" just like Howard's mom. I could NOT stop laughing. It was GENIUS. I'm not sure if he heard it, though.
• When Ben referred to Howard's clothes as little boys' clothes, Simon got huffy and said, "I will have you know I wear an extra-large... in boys' clothes." Then he explained that the purpose of Howard's clothing was to draw the eye downwards. HAHAHA!!! (He added that there are 3 women on set whose sole purpose was to dress Howard and get him into and out of those clothes. Much screaming from the females in the crowd.)
• Ben revealed that he owned a Toaster toaster (the Cylon toaster they have on the show) because he'd seen it on the show and immediately jumped on eBay to get one. Jim Parsons admitted he didn't know what the heck a Cylon was before they filmed that episode. (I'll admit my heart sank in disappointment to hear that.)
• "Bazinga" was a word that Jim Parsons came up with, along with one of the writers, when they were saying they had to come up with a word that Sheldon would use a lot.
• And then the best part of the show happened for me. On the next commercial break, a few people behind me began yelling, "SHELDON!! SING SOFT KITTY!" He couldn't hear them because Ben was talking to him. Kunal, on the other hand, was listening, and he nudged Jim when they yelled it a third time and told him what they were saying. Jim looked out and smiled at the audience. So they yelled it again. Nothing. So then there was some commotion and "pass it along" happening behind me until someone shouted, "One! Two! Three!" and the whole row sang, "Soft kitty, warm kitty" and then the entire audience went "Little ball of fur..." to which Jim Parsons turned, lifted the mike, and sang the rest of it with us, "Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr purr purr..." It was AWESOME.
• When everyone was talking about what an amazing ping-pong player Kunal is (Jim said he made dives for the ball that were just silly, that no one else would make... apparently Kaley is also an excellent player), Kunal said, "I'm Indian so I play all racquet sports." Jim replied, "Really? I didn't realize that was a trait of your people." It was like listening to Raj and Sheldon on the couch.
• The staircase, as most of us probably already assumed (I know I did because I noticed one brick was exactly the same every time) is actually one stair case just dressed up differently for each floor as they walk past it. Behind the elevator there's almost no room and it becomes this cramped space. So they said they nonchalantly walk around behind it and all run into each other and have their faces pressed against the wall. They said the wall is full of gum that people have been sticking there for 3 years, so not only are they crammed in with the other actors, but their cheeks are usually pressed into a piece of old chewed gum.

After the next commercial break, it seemed to be over, but they took a few group shots with the hosts (and as charming and lovely as the female host is, I was annoyed she stood front and centre in the pic... people weren't lined up at 6am to get a great shot of her... yeah, let's let Jim Parsons stand in the BACK):

Then they called them together so they could present them with a special gift from the show... Team Canada jerseys! Jim Parsons was particularly excited, and they're all big hockey fans (they were planning on heading to a Leafs game that night). At one point earlier in the show Kunal said, "Go Leafs Go?" and got big screams and Jim said, "Oh my GAWD, you'll do ANYTHING for applause!"

And then a man from the Foundation of Science and Research (or something... I should have probably written that one down) came up and awarded Chuck Lorre and the show's other writer honourary lifetime memberships to the foundation for their furthering of science in popular culture by making it cool through the show. Simon accepted the awards and responded, "We will travel anywhere in the world to accept other people's awards." Which got the following big laugh from the rest of the guys:

And that was that! The Barenaked Ladies performed the song again in its entirety this time (who knew there was a second verse?) and then they stuck around to continue playing while the guys left.

It was an awesome time, and simply made me love that show even more!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lostaholics Anonymous: Jack

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s instalment of Lostaholics Anonymous, the place where we Lost fans gather and continue to discuss our favourite aspects of our favourite show.

Before we begin with this week’s meeting I just wanted to mention that I’m continuing to take orders for Finding Lost: Season 6, and am now actually sending out the copies to people (Batcabbage will be the first person to hold a copy outside of North America, and the race is on to see who within North America will be the first to receive theirs!) If you’re interested, the cost is $28.95 CDN if you live in Canada, $28.95 US if you live in the U.S., and $29.95 U.S. for overseas (that’s surface mail, which will probably take 4-6 weeks to get there... if you want it via airmail, it’s $48.95, but I’d go with the surface option if I were you!) You can paypal me at my email account, or just drop me an email if you have any further questions. I’m sticking in 5 bookmarks with each order (one for each of your Finding Lost books) and signing and personalizing each copy.

Otherwise, you can go to Amazon and grab a copy here... and save some money!

OK! So back to the meeting... As mentioned last week, I’m going to start focusing on the characters, and this week we’re going to begin with Jack.

The entire series opened with Jack’s eye, and the moment he became aware of his surroundings, Jack was a hero, leaping up to run to the beach and save everyone he could. He resuscitated Rose, he calmed Claire, he yelled for Hurley and Claire to get out of the way, he called to John Locke and forced him to stand for the first time, he helped Boone busy himself as Boone recovered from the shock of the crash. And then, and only then, did he crawl into the woods to try to deal with his own huge wound on the side of his ribs.

By inadvertently establishing himself as the alpha male, Jack became the one that everyone looked up to, and he didn’t want to be leader, but once he realized that the survival of the people depended on it, he stepped up and accepted the responsibility. The first flashback we get is Jack’s (the first full-length one is Kate’s, but the first person we see on Oceanic Flight 815 is Jack), and the first person we see as a child is Jack. In the first season he had three full flashbacks (White Rabbit, All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues, and Do No Harm) and his flashbacks were featured in the pilot and finale episodes that season. Most of his background focused on the father who dogged him for not having what it took.

In season 1 Jack was mostly a hero, although he had his moments of annoyingness, which early on garnered him some loud detractors. While Jack was no doubt the reason most of the people were alive, he had this holier-than-thou attitude about him that could grate on viewers. (Much of it, unfortunately, can be chalked up to an inconsistency in the writing in the first season.) One week he was pleasant to Kate, and seemed charming and adorable; the next he was in her face, demanding to know her past and dangling the key in front of her and reminding her that it was around HIS neck and SHE couldn’t have it.

In season 2, Jack was defined as the nemesis of John Locke. Locke believed in the island, and had faith that there was a greater force at work. Jack believed no such thing. He argued with John until he was blue in the face, screaming that science was the only thing he believed in, and he wasn’t going to put any stock in faith in a higher power he couldn’t see. Much of his lack of faith stemmed back to his past, and in season 2 those flashbacks focused on those. We saw he’d miraculously saved a woman from being paralyzed, then married her, only to break up with her again when she couldn’t deal with his intensity. Jack was obsessive-compulsive, needing to fix things and doing whatever it took to achieve what he needed to... but in many ways, just as his father said, he simply didn’t have what it took, and was always frustrated.

In season 3, Jack was taken by the Others, and when he saw Kate with Sawyer, he told them to go, and he stayed behind. He seemed to become chummy with them, cozied up to Juliet, and bargained a way off the island... until Locke blew up the sub. Cue Jack vs. Locke, Round 2.

In season 4, Jack broke ties with half the group, taking the other half to the freighter folk, believing they were there to rescue him. He was wrong, but somehow he managed to get off the island with the people he was with, and through flashforwards we saw him make a happy life with Kate... until the guilt of leaving everyone behind finally caught up to him. Jack might have been an alcoholic obsessive person who could never stay in a healthy relationship, but he was a good person. He knew he’d left them behind, he knew that he might have been wrong, and rather than dismissing every single word John Locke had ever said to him... he focused on all of them. He remembered everything Locke told him, and those words began to eat away at him. He began to wonder if maybe the island really WAS a higher power, and that he should have listened to it.

And so... in season 5... he came back.

Zapped back into 1977, Jack at first was very Zen-like, allowing Sawyer to lead, and he to follow. I, like many of the viewers, went back and forth on Jack, but at the core I always wanted him to be happy. I was sad when he was, and with our sympathies and perspectives having been aligned with Jack from the very beginning, it was hard not to want the best for him, regardless of his attitude. (That said... when Pierre Chang said that Jack’s psych profile said he was suited for janitorial work, I thought I would pee myself laughing.) Oh Jack... we love you, but you are SO much fun to make fun of.

Returning to the island took faith, and great courage. Jack had finally believed John Locke was right, and when Daniel showed up and offered the idea of a bomb to reverse everything, Jack went with it. He finally had faith in something that was bigger than him, that didn’t make logical sense but which he believe in with all his heart anyway.

His bomb zapped them back to 2007, where they continued on, and throughout season 6 we see the culmination of Jack’s long journey from denial to faith. He sits with Richard Alpert in the hull of a ship and waits for a stick of dynamite to burn out, because he knows he’s too important to blow up. He helps Desmond because he knows Desmond is important. He drinks the water because he believes his purpose in life is to be the guardian of the Source of the island and all life. He gives up the guardianship because he will instead risk his life to save the island right away, and will die after killing the Man in Black. He’s become the very person John Locke always was, and he didn’t have a miracle to prompt his belief the way John Locke had.

The journey of Jack was an epic one, and one that lay at the core of Lost for all 6 seasons. The show opened with Jack’s eye opening, and closed with his eye closing. I’ve been brief in my rundown of Jack (if you want the REAL recap, check out Finding Lost: Season 6 for a very, very long analysis and summary of the character of Jack, his journey, and the history of his relationship with John Locke).

So now I turn it over to all of you... what did you like about Jack? What did you not like about Jack? What are some of your favourite Jack moments? They could be funny, or poignant, or sad.

There Really IS a God!

Because my prayers have been answered. From
In what is sure to be one of the hottest properties of the rapidly approaching pilot season, former Lost executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz are developing a fairy-tale-themed drama series. Oh, and they’re getting a little help from—stop me if you’ve heard of this guy—Damon Freakin’ Lindelof!

Oh, YES!!!!!!! Thank you thank you thank you thank you... You can read the full article here.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Fringe 3.03: The Plateau

I LOVED this episode. The mystery – how someone could possibly predict the outcome of a scenario that has so many variables in it – was fascinating, and unlike anything I’ve seen in a show before. From the moment he first put that pen on the post office box, I immediately knew this guy was putting in motion a Rube Goldberg machine of human events. Watching it happen again and again never got old. (And the actor playing Miles was quite brilliant, I thought.)

The actual plot reminded me a bit of Flowers for Algernon, a story of a man who has a low IQ and is put through various experiments that exponentially raise his IQ, making him aware of the hostility and cruelty of the world around him, and he longs to regress back to the moron he once was. (I use that word in the clinical sense.) It’s a heartbreaking story (and a book that was on Ben Linus’s shelf; it was one I meant to add to one of my Finding Lost books, and I have the sticky notes throughout my copy to prove it, but then realized there wasn’t a place for it in S4 and it didn’t fit in the other seasons, so that was that).

I won’t go into too much detail on it because I’m a little late in posting this, but the thing that stood out to me the most in this episode was right near the end, when Olivia explained to Madeleine that Miles was now working with a computer to detect patterns that were beyond human comprehension, followed by Walternate talking to Brandon about the fact that he’s still a scientist. In season 1, Broyles was explaining “The Pattern” to Olivia (The Pattern, to refresh memories, is the idea that each of the seemingly unrelated events that we’ve seen in each episode ARE, in fact, related in some way, and that when you put them together properly they will form a pattern of some kind, meaning we need to keep track of each fringe event and where it occurred to see if there’s a connection), and he said it was like a mad scientist was using the world as his lab to conduct experiments. When Walternate assures Brandon that he’s still a scientist, he adds, “I’ve just got a much bigger lab,” which made me wonder, could HE be the mad scientist Broyles is looking for in our world?

Of course, the key to the episode is that just as Miles hit a plateau in his medication and the experiment, the experiment on Olivia is beginning to backfire, and she’s beginning to see through it. How much longer before she regresses completely and remembers who she was?

• The way they played with things that are rare in the other world (I want to call it the sideways world!) Someone sees the pen the first time and says, “When’s the last time you saw one of these?” and I was expecting Olivia to say, “Uh… wow… a MINUTE ago??” It was interesting to realize they don’t have them anymore. I really like this weird steampunk feel of the other world – on the one hand they’re so advanced, but on the other they’re behind us (like when it comes to bicycles or the fact they still use airships).

Where’s Baldo?: OK, I THINK I saw the guy this time, but I could be wrong. When Olivia is at that third accident and she realizes it’s still going on, she turns around and looks up to the bridge, and the camera makes a quick cut to the bridge and pans along the people. The first person is a man in a fedora and suit, and I’m positive that it was the Observer. A moment later, when they show the people again, he’s gone, so it would make sense.

Glyph (before each commercial break, there's a glyph that appears, and it corresponds with a letter of the alphabet, spelling out a five-letter word): This week's glyphs spelled out BREACH, a rare occurrence of a six-letter word.

Did You Notice?:
• When they referred to the baddie as “Milo Stanfield” both my husband and I said, “Wait! Where have I heard that name?” and realized we were thinking Marlo Stanfield. Could there be a Wire fan on staff? Considering Bubs was on there a couple of weeks ago, and now a character has a name almost exactly like another character, it could be likely.
• Walternate suggests putting someone in a sensory deprivation tank, which is what they did to Olivia in the first episode of the series.

• Will the rest of the season be back and forth between the two worlds, or will it begin to merge so we’ll see half in one world, half in the other?

At Last... My Set Is Complete

So... look what arrived moments ago, just in time for the weekend!!

I'm all warm and fuzzy right now. ;)

Finding... The Contest Winner!

This tongue-in-cheek pic was sent to me yesterday, and I just had to post it as the final pic of the series... sent by reader David McCloughan, Jr., he showed me what SHOULD have come as a bonus in the complete Lost DVD set. I couldn't agree more!!

LOL!! Thanks, David!!

And now, without any further ado, the announcement of the winner of this contest: Man, you guys have made it SO tough! You've all made me giggle or laugh out loud or be astounded by the ingenuity you came up with... but it came down to two, and from there I had to choose one, and my choice is... Erin Pugh! For balancing books on her head while setting a timer, and making me laugh with those great looks on her face. Congrats, Erin! I do want to throw an honourable mention to LittleMo, though, who not only made me love her for that bath pic, but pulled some great yoga poses in her other ones. Thank you for brightening my day and this blog.

You guys are awesome. And I do welcome pics of you holding the season 6 book, because I know every single one of you will get a copy, right? RIGHT?? ;)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Lostaholics Anonymous: Week 3

As we enter week 3 of Lostaholics Anonymous, I have to say what a joy it is to reconnect with so many of you, and hear your familiar voices chattering again (okay, they’re cybervoices, but that’s all I’ve ever known, and in my head I’ve created voices for all of you… yourblindspot, for example, sounds like Daffy Duck). j/k

Last week we discussed the happy moments, and I found myself smiling as many of you recalled those moments and the happiness they brought you the first time around, or subsequent rewatches. We talked about “Tricia Tanaka Is Dead,” and how it seemed like an inconsequential episode at the time, but by the end of the series had taken on an entirely different resonance (and I thought that might make an interesting topic coming up; what episodes do you watch really differently now? But that’s a discussion for a later meeting). I loved so many of the moments you all came up with, and enjoyed the discussion that often there are sad moments and funny moments, but then favourite moments that fall in between – moments like that bittersweet, wonderful phone call between Desmond and Penny – one of my ALL-TIME fave moments of the entire series, but one which I couldn’t categorize as a funny one. A happy one, yes.

We laughed, we laughed some more… and now, I’m about to bring tears upon all of you. For this week we’ll discuss those sad moments. Now, as we all know (and as any fan of Joss Whedon’s work knows all too well) there can be joy and catharsis in our tears. While watching Charlie slowly drown is something that makes me cry every time, there is a beauty to the way that scene was put together. These scenes make us cry, and sometimes, depending on what else is going on in our lives at the time, we cry harder than we might have at another time, because these scenes simply provide the outlet for our pain.

So, I’ll introduce the topic. As someone mentioned in the comments last week, it’s tough to come up with really sad moments that don’t involve a death of some kind. So let’s start with the obvious one, the one that made all of us cry. I’ll show a longer version of the scene because it’s important to see how happy Charlie was the moment right before it all happened… and how that hope was drained seconds before his death by the sudden dire knowledge that the boat wasn’t Penny’s and that he had NOT bested fate:

Listen to the music in that scene; it’s the music that I think makes it SO glorious… you have the manic action music right before the grenade goes off, but as Charlie realizes his destiny, the music suddenly stops . . . in fact, all of the sound within the scene stops, and instead we get the piano music and the mournful violin. It’s that music that gets me every time. Charlie fulfills his one final role – warning Desmond that the boat isn’t Penny’s – and then he slowly, silently, dies. This is a scene that is so painful, and yet we watch it over and over again for the sheer beauty of it. It’s scenes like this that make you realize how important the music is, and, in this case, what a genius Michael Giacchino is (and what a shame it is that he’ll no longer do television… wah).

OK, and what would one drowning be without the other? Here we go:

Notice the recurrence of that same piano theme that Charlie died to. It’s not by accident – the creative team knew how deeply we associate that music to the drowning death of Charlie, and they evoke those same memories with it here. What I find interesting is that they removed the mournful violin, when in earlier seasons, that violin was the motif they used to indicate a Sun storyline (it has a distinctly Asian flare to it). But maybe they removed it so they could separate it from Charlie slightly.

I’ll never forget the way I sobbed when the camera cut to the sub slipping deeper and deeper into the waters. Or the pain when the last shot we get of them is their hands slipping away from each other. I remember my initial thought being, “You BASTARDS! You can’t even let them die together? Howl… howl… howl!!” (To quote a famous king.) But while their hands slip away from one another, we realize their souls are entwined. Their bodies are just the shells that once housed their spirits, and we know that where they ended up (i.e. the sideways world and beyond) they are together.

OK, another moment that made me cry. This is possibly my favourite scene of the entire series.

Oh Richard. My love for you is endless. Desmond who?? Many people (including me) railed about the fact that Nestor wasn’t nominated for an Emmy for this scene, but he was made a cast member, and couldn’t really be nominated for one episode out of all of them. But let’s look at the scene on its own. The addition of Hurley in the scene was risky at the beginning… it could have gone in an entirely comic direction, but it doesn’t. It’s just GORGEOUS and heartbreaking and beautiful and perfect. Love that transcends time and even spiritual boundaries. God, I LOVE this scene. Once again, the music makes it – Giacchino created a new musical motif for the Richard/Isabella love scenes, and what we hear in this scene is a variation on the one we saw at the beginning of the episode, when she first died. Everything from Richard closing his eyes, to the sudden realization on his face that she really IS there, to the peaceful and assured manner in which she talks to him, just breaks my heart. I can’t talk enough about how much I love this scene.

OK, so now the scenes that don’t involve a death of a loved one of some kind. This one breaks my heart every time I see it, and in fact, the last time I watched the episode I actually jumped ahead of it. This is a sad scene that is so incredibly painful for me that it doesn’t make me happy, nor is it cathartic. But is it perfectly acted and written? Yes.

(OK, for me the real difficulty begins at 3:20… sorry for the long preamble but this is the only cut of this scene I could find that didn’t have Kelly Clarkson singing over it.) I’ve probably said this before, but Aaron looks a LOT like my son (only my son is even cuter… says the completely unbiased mother). He has platinum blonde hair that’s the same length, he sleeps on his back the same way, and he’s 3 years old. (When the episode first aired he was obviously younger, but now he’s the same age.) As a mom, I think my biggest nightmare is losing my children in any way, and watching her say goodbye to him slays me. I have friends who have adopted children, and friends who ARE adopted children, and it doesn’t matter if you are a biological parent – if you raised a child as if you were his or her mother, you are his mother. In this scene Kate walks away from the little boy who changed her life entirely.

This is actually a great example of an episode that changes in retrospect, because we now can watch the scene of Kate talking to Claire’s mom and saying she’s going to find Claire and bring her back, and know that she did exactly that. So this is a little easier for me to watch now than it was before.

Now, I have plenty of other moments I could mention here, but I want to leave a bunch for you guys to talk about and not hog the mike here. ;) So I’ll leave you with my last one. In “LA X,” after Ben realizes that Locke is in fact the smoke monster on top of being the Man in Black, Smokey sits down and tells Ben what Locke’s final thought was – “I don’t understand.” He adds, “Isn’t that just about the saddest thing you ever heard?” And, as I say in my Finding Lost Season 6 book, YES. Yes it is. Every time I watch this scene I feel my throat catch when he says that, and I picture Locke with the cord around his neck, the life being choked out of him, and I think of how confused he was and what a horrible last thought that must have been.

Now, I’m cheating a bit because I found a video that actually splices together the scene of Locke dying with the scene of Smokey recounting it, and trust me, it makes it much, much sadder (whoever edited this is brilliant, despite the pixelated quality of the video he was working with). But check this out:

I’ve talked about this at length on here, but Locke deserved better than that. I’m always devastated to think that all of his searching and understanding that he discovered in his life came down to one confused moment, and then… death.

Now, as I look back through all of these moments, I actually see a pattern, one that brings me to my first real mention of the finale in our L.A. meetings. All of these sad moments were sparked by love. Kate leaves Aaron because she loves him so much she knows that he deserves his biological mother. Richard’s heartbreak stems from the fact that he loves Isabella with all his heart, and has lived the past 140 years with the sadness of having lost her. Jin dies holding Sun’s hands because of how much he loves her and can’t bear to be apart from her ever again. Charlie closes the door and dies so that Desmond might live, and so the prophecy that Claire and Aaron would safely leave the island could be borne out. His last desperate message is the one that ends up saving a lot of lives by warning them.

Locke stands alone. Smokey’s story isn’t told out of love, and when Locke died, he was on the verge of suicide because of the way he felt so defeated. But I think that despite his lone wolf persona, Locke had a great love of mankind, which is why he worked so hard to try to help out the greater good. He always believed he was helping everyone, and he left the island so the others could be saved, and when he was told that one condition of saving everyone was that he would have to die, he accepted it without hesitation.

Which brings us to the finale, which all came down to love and togetherness. All of these moments lose their bitterness in that final scene of the series, when we realize that Aaron and Kate and Claire would all be happy, that Charlie is alive again and has found his Claire, that Locke now “understands” and has found inner peace, and that Jin and Sun will always be together. So despite the fact that during the finale, I cried more than I did for all of the above scenes combined, it really was a happy ending, and one that satisfied me.

So, now I turn it over to you… bring on the sadness!!

For our next meeting, I was thinking about starting to break down the show by character, and then after that, by theme. How does that sound? So let’s start with a doozy next week, and begin with… Jack. ;)

Finding... Namaste...

And as if Morag's bath pic wasn't awesome enough, here are some pics she took when she got home from yoga class and was inspired by Erin's pictures. I'll pass along the captions she provided for me (and might I add, that is some FINE form, lady!). Oh, and don't forget: Lostaholics Anonymous meeting tonight!! Find me here at 9pm:

The answers are all in here!:

I need to take my time over this...

Perhaps they're up there?

Or a new perspective on season 3:

How about this way up:

It's no good... I'll have to go back to the beginning:


I'll just have to wait for Nikki's last book - please hurry up !!!

Finding Morag!

I've gotten cabbage heads, four toes, people balancing books on their heads, and strongmen, but this is the one you've all been waiting for... HARDCORE NUDITY!!!

Well, OK, not quite. But reader Morag (aka LittleMo) proves that even in the bath, she can't tear herself away from my Lost books!!! This demonstrates some careful suds arranging...

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Finding Bridget...

...or should I say... Juliet??

Finding PresPastor!

Since my books have gone AWOL, I'll announce the winner of the contest tomorrow, since I have about three more of these to post! (And if you have a pic you'd like to send me, send it on!)

From Andy, one of my readers here and on Facebook, comes a nifty collage (one that makes me all nostalgic and stuff...) This is from his email:

"Pres Pastor finds himself LOST not having good ole theological, philosophical and ethical discussions about the mysteries like the Numbers, the sideways verse, Christian Shepherd, the Smoke Monster, Desmond’s time traveling, the ageless Richard Alpert, Locke’s special gift, polar bears and whether Mr. Cluck’s Chicken Shack had a finger licking original recipe."

Finding Erin!

And today we have Erin!! I couldn't choose just one because they were SO funny... and she said she was doing it on a timer!! Erin, you are a goddess with the camera timer. I can't press the button and manage to get into the photo, much less balance all of that stuff on me! Bravo! In this series of pictures, Erin seems to have lost her Finding Lost books, and doesn't know where to find them (she's like Little Dharma Peep!) She tries to jog her memory through meditation (Namaste) and then a little Dharma beer, and suddenly, she remembers.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Grr... Argh...

SFX Magazine has a Joss Whedon special this month, and to celebrate, on their website they've presented 9 potential incarnations of the only monster that appeared in every episode of Buffy -- the Mutant Enemy guy. For example, at the end of Villains (which, in the article, they incorrectly identify as the episode Seeing Red), he could have looked like this:

LOL!! (Only Buffy fans will get that joke, and I won't spoil it for the rest of you who aren't up to season 6 yet.) Check out the full gallery of little "grr, argh" men here.

Finding Jean

I've fallen behind on these, but here's a great pic I got from Jean Schubert, one of our devoted readers and commenters! I love the inclusion of the beach (we have to go baaaack!!) And I'm really jealous of that gorgeous pedicure. ;)

If you have a picture you'd like to send, please send it by the end of the day today, and I'll be announcing the winner of the contest to win a free copy of the book tomorrow! (P.S. I'm hoping to have my box o' books today!)

Friday, October 01, 2010

Finding Nikki

OK, so it's only my thumb, but here is a picture of me holding... the very first copy of Finding Lost: Season 6!!

The printer FedEx'd two copies to my publisher's office and I happened to be there today, and I was still squeeing over it (so big! so beautiful! such a perfect cover!) when the marketing person saw it and said they'll need those two copies this weekend at a rights fair. Instant sadness. Ah well, I got to hold it. And... it was heavy. REALLY heavy. So the shipping costs will be higher. But then again, I guess The End needs some heft, right? ;)

It Gets Better

I read with horror and some tears yesterday a story about a freshman at Rutgers University who jumped off the George Washington bridge because of a hate crime that had been perpetuated against him. Two people (one of them the victim's roommate) secretly filmed the guy having sex with another man, and posted it online. Apparently they had filmed a second encounter and were ready to post that one, too, but their victim -- talented violinist Tyler Clementi -- was so distraught by what they'd done to him that he posted a simple message to his Facebook page -- "going to jump off the gw bridge sorry" -- and then committed suicide by following through.

The two pieces of shit who had posted the video have been arrested. I'm assuming (hoping) that they didn't intend for things to go as far as they did, and are probably as horrified as the rest of us to know the cause of their actions, but that doesn't bring back Clementi, nor dull the emotional pain they inflicted on him. I think it takes a special kind of callous to have done what they did. Clementi is not the first homosexual to commit suicide for being mocked by people who clearly lack any sort of self esteem and make their fun by hurting others, but in one of the articles I read yesterday, it mentioned an absolutely BRILLIANT project by Dan Savage. He's asked gay men and women to post videos on YouTube talking to younger gay men and women about times when they had been harassed for being gay, and to let them know three simple words: It gets better. I can't think of a better way to tackle such a devastating thing, and I applaud Dan Savage for coming up with this. Please help promote this site wherever you can. You can go here to the YouTube channel and watch some of the bravest and most inspirational testimonies you'll ever see.

Tyler Clementi, RIP.