Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lost: 4.09 “Of Mice and Sawyer”
TEASE: Sawyer may not be one of the Oceanic Six, but he’s getting off the island… with or without his clothes!

Episode Recap:
Whew!! Possibly the most exciting episode of the series, and the most revealing. In a flashforward, we see what will happen to Sawyer and the other castaways who were left behind. No, they don't die, but in the final moments of the rescue, the reason that only six people made it on the plane is . . . aw, you don’t need me to tell you this. You all saw the episode.

-Sawyer’s naked butt as he emerged from the ocean. OH YEAH!!
-Hurley’s caustic remark that finally silences Sawyer. Best. Line. Ever.

Biggest “GASP!” Moments:
-Paulo and Nikki were ALIENS?!
-The Oceanic Six were NOT the only ones to actually make it off the island!
-Ben is Sawyer’s REAL FATHER!!

Hurley’s Numbers:
The price of Sawyer’s house is $199,065 (42 x 8 – 16 ÷ 4 x 108 + 15 x 23). Kate knocks on the door 4 times.

Did You Notice?:
-Sawyer reading my first Finding Lost book on the beach! How metafilmic, considering it’s about the group of them as fictional characters.
-When Sawyer goes to secretly visit with Jack, you can see the Buffy episode, “Once More, With Feeling” playing on Jack’s television, but he’s muted it. Man doesn’t know good musicals when he hears them, apparently.
-When Stephen Hawking travels through the air on the island in his magical wheelchair, you can see Walt hiding underneath it.
-Sawyer’s house in the real world has a white picket fence and he’s keeping rabbits in the backyard. Looks like he took that Steinbeck novel a little too seriously.
-In the scene where we finally find out why Desmond had to push that button for three years (thank goodness, I thought they’d NEVER explain that!), you can see a polar bear behind the station working on the plumbing. (Is it just me, or did the show become really surreal this week?)

So Many Questions...
-So does this mean Ben killed Sawyer’s mother?
-When will Locke learn? He spent almost a full day drywalling that section of the house in Otherville just to hide the secret documents from Ben, and the moment Ben comes in and says, “Locke, I believe you know where some papers are. If you don’t tell me, I think they’re all gonna laugh at you” Locke points to the wall and says, “Yeah, I put them there. Do you want me to rip it all apart to give it to you?” Sheesh, Locke. What’s happened to you?
-So if Sawyer sees Daniel Faraday in his house in 2007, but it’s actually Daniel from 2001 time traveling, and 1996 Desmond is chained to him as his constant, does this mean… um… actually, what does this mean?
-Could magical wheelchair Hawking be Jacob, or a manifestation of Smokey?

Next week: Deleted scenes from this season’s episodes!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Today's Lost Humour
I've been surfing around on College Humour this afternoon, and there's a ton of Lost stuff there (thanks for the link, Cynthia!) First, there's finally a medication for all those poor souls who just can't keep up with the increasingly complicated discussions on Lost. You can see the commercial for Losticil here.

While you're there, check out this hilarious opening credit sequence. This is how Lost would have opened if it had originally aired in 1986, I would presume. (A warning: you'll have the theme song in your head long after you've watched it, and you might have a sudden yearning to watch MacGyver or The A-Team.)

And finally, here's Lost as a silent film, for all those Jack/Sawyer shippers.

Monday, March 17, 2008

SO... Who Is the Last Member of the Oceanic Six?
I've wavered on this one for the past few episodes, and now that the 7th episode has aired -- and Damon and Carlton had said we'd know all 7 of them by the time the ep was finished -- it's still unclear who the Oceanic Six are. Someone posted to say that the list had been confirmed by producers on another site, but when I went to check it out, it appeared to just be speculation from a "source," and not the actual producers.

Five of them are clear: Kate, Jack, Hurley, Sayid, and Sun. But who is the sixth? Here is a list of possible candidates, and my thoughts on each one.

This one is the resounding frontrunner right now. I've been reluctant to accept him as the sixth member, as have a lot of fans. Other fans are rolling their eyes right now and saying, "Why the hell couldn't he be? It's as obvious as the letters you are typing right now..." He was shown in a flashforward; he was definitely on the island; it just stands to reason that he's one of the Six. I was a holdout on this theory, and after "Ji Yeon" aired, a couple of posters came closer to convincing me than I had been previously, namely Eric, who said that if the term "Oceanic Six" is a media construct, they would have given that name to the six people who were rescued from the island, whether or not they were on the plane.

But here's why I'm resisting this option: the events in "Eggtown" would suggest otherwise. First, in the scene with Kate and her lawyer, when the lawyer suggests they bring Aaron to the stand, and "tell people what you did" (i.e. presumably rescuing Aaron and keeping her as her own son), she goes ballistic, saying no no no, don't bring my son into this. But if he were one of the Oceanic Six, wouldn't his face have been splashed all over the papers, and the great feat of heroism would be obvious already? I've put forward that idea already, and one reader posted a comment, saying that if the rescue happened 2 years earlier, he would have been a baby when it happened. Now that he's 2 and a half, presumably, since Jack goes nuts in April 2007 and in the Kate flashforward he's still holding it together (the kid looks 4, but we'll chalk that one up to poor casting), he looks different, and Kate wants to keep his face out of the papers. Fair enough, but the actual reason why the lawyer wants him there -- to let the jury know what Kate did -- seems moot if the story would have been made public to explain why she came back with a kid.

But more importantly, as I've said on the comments board, the math simply doesn't add up. Here is Jack's false statement on the witness stand:

JACK: Only eight of us survived the crash. We landed in the water. I was hurt, pretty badly. In fact, if it weren't for her, I would have never made it to the shore. She took care of me. She took care of all of us. She--she gave us first aid, water, found food, made shelter. She tried to save the other two, but they didn't--

And then he's cut off. Eight survived the crash. Then another one was born. One assumes a survivor is Claire, and she has the baby on the island. Now we're up to nine. "The other two" didn't survive, by the sounds of what he's saying. Now we're down to seven. And the rescuees total... six. What happened to the other one? Did the writers not think that one through? Doesn't seem possible, considering how careful they are with EVERYTHING these days. A quick look at the plane's manifest would show that Aaron wasn't on the plane, so he can't be counted among the 8 people who Jack claims survived the crash.

SO... the only way Kate's adamant refusal to put Aaron in the spotlight and Jack's math make sense is if there are six survivors OTHER than Aaron, and they smuggled him on board the helicopter and kept him hidden from the media and prying public. If he is one of the Six, then Jack's statement on the stand would have been obviously false for a jury.

Because Michael was revealed to be alive and well (one assumes, though there's some speculation that he's actually a grown-up Walt), some have suggested he's automatically the sixth, because he was revealed in the episode. That's a bit of a stretch, considering by episode 7 we've also seen every other person on the island still alive, so couldn't it be any of them? This is in keeping with the theory that Michael's the guy in the coffin, and the reason why Jack's so distraught in 2007, etc. However, if he IS the guy in the coffin, and was one of the Oceanic Six, then his death wouldn't have been some footnote at the back of the paper, it would have been HUGE news. One of the Oceanic Six hanged himself? That's big.

Of course, if Michael isn't actually the guy in the coffin, then he very well could be the sixth member. But we haven't seen him in a flashforward in that case, and the same could be said for every other survivor on the island right now.

We've seen Ben's passports and money; we know he's getting off the island somehow, and we've seen him in Sayid's flashforward. He could have gotten the files on every person on board that plane to find out which person was a loner with no family, then had a passport made to make himself that person, and boom, he's one of the Six. But Ben is just too mysterious to me, and if he really did have anything to do with that crash, why would he want his mug splashed on the front of every newspaper in the world? The fact he's hidden away in a dark room when Sayid comes to see him at the end of "The Economist," and he's made Sayid his hitman, makes me think Ben will stay behind the scenes, and not put himself out there for the world to see.

Some have speculated that Jin actually DID get rescued with the others and made it back, only to die naturally or at the hands of Paik. But if that were the case, his tombstone would have had a date on it after the rescue, and instead it's posted as the date of the crash, so I don't think this one's even a question: He's not one of the Six.

Did I miss anyone? I think these are the biggies right now. Maybe Darlton were wrong when they said we'd know by episode 7, and there's still someone else to be seen in the future on another episode. But if we have seen all of them, then I'm betting the sixth really is Aaron, and the writers screwed up on "Eggtown." I'd be shocked that they screwed up, so I'm not committing to it yet, but it makes the most sense of any of them.

Doesn't mean I have to like it.

So who do you think is the sixth?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Lost 4.07: Ji Yeon
Wow. Way to make me cry, Lost writers. While this episode seemed to lack in a lot of things going on (many ongoing threads were sort of thrown by the wayside) it made up for it with that scene between Sayid and Desmond and the captain, and the big twist at the end. I really liked this one.

Those old flashforwards ain’t what they used to be...

Previously on Lost...
On my blog, last week’s episode seemed to generate more chatter about who would be revealed on the boat this week than anything that had happened in “The Other Woman.” So let’s go straight to “Ji Yeon.”

Episode Recap:
Okay, maybe it’s because I just had a baby in September (‘One day after the third anniversary of the Oceanic crash,’ says Her Nerdliness), but the end of this episode had me weeping. On the freighter, Desmond and Sayid wander around and meet the captain, and when they’re finally given their quarters, they are introduced to the janitor, who is – Shock! Gasp! Ohmigod! – Michael. Meanwhile, in the island, Sun no longer trusts Daniel and Charlotte after last week’s weirdness, so she wants to defect to Locke’s side of the camp. The flash shows Sun off the island (one of the Oceanic Six) and her husband, Jin, apparently rushing to her side to give her a giant panda. But when the end finally comes, we realize, for the first time, we were watching one flashforward (Sun’s) and one flashback (Jin’s). He wasn’t there. It was only Sun who made it off the island. Sniffle.

Clues that Jin’s flash was in the past:
• Sun makes a big deal about them not removing her ring at the hospital.
• Jin’s giant cellphone.
• When Jin tries to buy the second panda, the storekeeper offers him a dragon, saying in the Year of the Dragon it’s good luck. The Year of the Dragon was 2001, and the next one isn’t until 2012.
• Bernard explains what karma is to Jin, that if you do something bad, something bad happens to you.
• Sun telling Jin that she thought she’d lost him, and him saying she’ll never lose him.

• Jin telling Jack that Sawyer has been helping him with his English, but Sun is better.
• The look on Desmond’s face when the captain tells him that Widmore is behind the freighter.
• Hurley seeing Ji Yeon and saying, “She’s awesome.”
• That ending.

Biggest “GASP!” Moments:
• Sun and Jin BOTH made it off the island!! YAY! So they are the fifth and sixth members of the Oceanic Six.
• Juliet telling Jin that Sun had an affair. My jaw almost hit my lap. On the one hand, she achieved her goal at keeping Sun close by, but on the other hand, at what cost? She risked their marriage, and the child potentially being brought up by a single parent. Way to get Sun’s trust there, Juliet.
• Wait... Jin’s is a flashBACK?
• Hurley showing up at Sun’s door.
• Jin didn’t make it off the island. He’s not one of the Oceanic Six. And... he died the day of the crash, according to his tombstone.

Biggest Non-GASP Moment:
Michael is on the boat.

Hurley’s Numbers:
The license plate on the taxi that drives away with Jin’s first panda is 2369. (First number is 23 and the second is 23 times 3.)

Did You Notice?:
• Regina is reading Jules Verne’s Survivors of the Chancellor. This is a book about a ship lost at sea, written in the form of a diary by one of the people on board. Throughout the book people die or commit suicide by jumping off the ship, and the ones who don’t die are cannibalized by the others. Perhaps the book gave Regina the idea?
• In the first flashforward, when Sun is packing a suitcase, that episode of Exposé that featured Nikki is on the television (it’s at the scene just before the Cobra shoots her, and it’s being dubbed in Korean).
• “Panda diplomacy,” something that’s no longer practiced, was where China would give a panda to another country as a show of friendship, because of the extreme rarity of the animals. This is probably why it’s important to Paik to give a panda, and not another animal.
• One of my complaints about this show in the early seasons was, what exactly do those people talk about around the campfire? Clearly it’s not THEIR LIVES, or they’d actually know a little bit about each other. Bernard finally opening up to Jin and telling him about Rose’s cancer was a moment where one character actually tells something personal to another. It almost never happens on this show.
• The freighter is the “Kahana,” meaning it’s a Hawaiian ship.
• Zoe Bell (Regina) actually made that jump off the ship. Acting isn’t her first profession: she’s a stuntwoman, most notably for Lucy Lawless on Xena.
• Both Regina and Captain Gault are Australian.
• The blood spatter on the wall of the quarters looked like the one Radzinsky left in the Swan station.
• One side effect of getting pregnant on the island appears to be losing all the baby weight only days after having the child. (A nitpick I have with the majority of television births; that and the fact the doctor says, “Oh, it’s time to push!” and she pushes for about 20 seconds and out comes baby, rather than the more traditional hour or more for a first child. Ahem.)
• I think if we were to put the flashforwards into a timeline, Sun’s happens first, and Kate’s comes around the same time or shortly after, followed by Hurley’s, where he ends up in an institution, and then after Jack seems so together in Kate’s and Hurley’s, he loses it and his happens last.

So Many Questions...
• What the heck was going on between Keamy and Frank at the beginning? Frank looks squirrelly when Keamy asks him if he’s ready, and says he’ll be up later. For what?
• Can Desmond remember anything since 1996? There’s no indication in here of whether or not he remembers anyone from the island yet. At one point Sayid mentions being in Locke’s camp and Ben saying there was a spy on the boat. Desmond doesn’t say, “Who is Ben?” or “Who is Locke?” so either Sayid’s been filling him in, or he remembers.
• What’s the problem they had in the kitchen? (Oh, and if all there were to eat were lima beans, I’d starve.)
• Any Korean translators out there who could tell me what Ji Yeon means?
• Who was banging the pipes on the freighter?
• What’s up with that doctor on the ship? Is he really a doctor? He totally creeps me out. When they’re walking to their new “quarters” Sayid says the ship isn’t moving, and the doc says, “Well, if you say so.” What did that mean? Is it moving? Is that some reference to time travel?
• What made Regina jump from the freighter all of a sudden?
• Where did Frank take the helicopter? Did his “errand” have anything to do with what Keamy wanted to discuss with him at the beginning of the episode?
• The captain says that it’s the close proximity to the island that’s making people go batty. What on the island could be causing madness on the ship? How long has the ship been there? You don’t develop cabin fever by being on a boat for a week.
• I’ve seen fan speculation that maybe the wreckage of Flight 815 that had been found was the actual plane and everyone really did die, and what we’re seeing on the island is their lives in Heaven or Purgatory or Hell (despite Darlton shooting down the Purgatory idea), but finally, the captain puts all that to rest and reveals that yes indeedy, that wreckage was entirely staged. So... who staged it? To paraphrase the captain, who would go to such lengths?
• “And that... is just one of the many reasons why we want Benjamin Linus.” What did HE have to do with the wreckage? Could he have staged it? How?
• So... is Michael Ben’s man on the boat? Or does he just happen to be on the boat? Is he faking them out by pretending to be Kevin Johnson, or does he actually believe that to be true? Did he go nuts after killing two people, shooting himself in the arm, and then selling out his friends? Or did he feel so guilty that he’s back for restitution?
• When Hurley asks Sun if the others are coming (presumably meaning the rest of the Six) and she says no, he says, “Good.” Why? Are the others the ones putting the pressure on them to keep quiet and he’d rather not be around them?
• So... was Jin killed off because Daniel Dae Kim was busted with a DUI? (The curse continues...)
• Why didn’t the rest of the Six come to see Sun?
• The date on the tombstone was September 22, 2004, the date of the plane crash. Is Jin’s body really buried there, or is it a memorial stone? Jack lies on the witness stand in Kate’s flashforward that eight people survived the crash, but only six made it off the island. Perhaps Jin is one of the eight, and they brought his body back? Or could he actually still be alive, on the island, and Sun left to save the baby? Or are Sun and Jin faking his death to keep him safe from Paik? I’d like to believe Jin is alive.
• Damon and Carlton said we’d know all of the Six by the end of the seventh episode. This is the seventh, which means Aaron must be one of the Six. I still think that seems wrong; he wasn’t on the manifest. So if Jack is saying that only 8 survived the plane crash, and 6 of them made it back, wouldn’t people assume that Claire was one of the 8, then she had Aaron, died, and then two other people died to bring the number down to 6? It seems like wonky math to me.

Next week: As the voiceover said, “Someone . . . will . . . die.”

UPDATES: So it's been established by Damon Lindelof that Desmond got all his current memories back after talking with Juliet (and I'd read that interview, too... my bad). So the question is, would he have even known Michael? Correct me if I'm wrong, because I could totally be wrong, but he's not around when Desmond shows up at the beginning of the season, he's with the tailies. Then when Des comes back at the end of the season, Michael's on his way to the other side of the island. So was Desmond's look of non-recognition genuine, or did he meet him and I'm just not remembering it?

Secondly: A few people have put forth that Michael is actually the sixth member of the Oceanic Six. But just because we've seen him doesn't mean he's one of the Six. Couldn't the same be said for any of the people we've actually seen on the island? I believe the Six can only be known for sure because they've been seen in flashforwards, and the producers said we'll have seen all six in flashforwards by this episode, and since we haven't seen Michael, presumably, then we haven't seen all six.

Now, I'm still of the mind that he's the guy in the coffin in Jack's flashforward, and if you'll recall, in the obituary the guy in the coffin went by another name. In this episode we saw that Michael was using a pseudonym, so perhaps he still is later. And if he'd actually been one of the Oceanic Six, then his death would have been front-page news, not some small obit near the back of the paper. He probably gets off the island, but I'd suggest he's not one of the six. But that's just my theory at this point.

UPDATE #2: My husband just watched it, and he suggested that maybe the tombstone had been erected BEFORE Sun actually returned! I'd never thought of that, but if the announcement had gone out that Jin and Sun were dead, someone could have erected tombstones for both of them and then Sun's death date was taken off once it was clear that she was alive. That's another possibility of why it had the plane's crash date on it.

UPDATE #3: Sorry, guys, I went away for the weekend and got there to discover no Internet... gah! Anyway, while I was away from the computer for a couple of days, I was thinking about what someone had posted, that maybe Regina was upset because her lover was Naomi, and that she was the R.G. on the bracelet. Then I was thinking, is there any possibility it's the captain? His last name is Gault, and they don't mention his first name, which might have been intentional... oops, and now that I just began reading through the comments I haven't yet seen, I saw that Barry brought up the same thing!

Also, I put in my column that the captain and Regina are both Australians, when Regina is clearly a New Zealander. Oops... sorry, I hope I didn't tick off any Kiwis. As a Canadian, I shouldn't have made that egregious error...

UPDATE #4: I'm just going through the comments now, and someone has stated Ji Yeon was the last episode before the break. I just wanted to clarify that next week's episode, "Meet Kevin Johnson" is a new one, and IT is the last one before the break.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Stuff for a Wednesday
Ah, more of that stuff I don't have time to post on properly because I'm too busy nattering about The Wire or Lost.

So first, as usual, some Wire and Lost. For those of you (that would be me and one other lurker on the blog, presumably) who watch The Wire, Entertainment Weekly has listed their 15 favourite moments. Not all of them would be my 15, but some of these are great, especially in how prescient they are (like the chess game). Now I have to go back and watch all of it again to see how much of the ending was evident in the beginning. If you haven't been swayed yet by my constant posting on how awesome this is (seriously, WHY NOT??!!), the first 4 seasons are available on DVD, and the entire fifth season of The Wire is currently (and will be for the next six months) available on The Movie Network OnDemand. WATCH NOW.

For Lost, something a little more upbeat than the usual fare. The Kirk and Skylar Show is something I just discovered, and it's hilarious. This is a father-and-son team who do reenactments of episodes of Lost by using the action figures (the son is a precocious 7-year-old). It's pretty hilarious stuff, especially when they're dealing with a bikinied Sun in the flashbacks. Check it out; I guarantee you'll laugh out loud.

In Treatment continues to be fabulous. Here's a piece in Salon on it, where the writer asks if she's the only one who's obsessed with it. No, I would make two of us. :) Just when I decide which story intrigues me the most, something happens in another one and I suddenly love that one more. All episodes of In Treatment (which is a 43-episode series) are available on The Movie Network OnDemand, so those who have the service can catch up on the series at their own convenience, so if you haven't started watching, start now (new episodes will continue to air each night of the week at 8:30 p.m.).

And I've got some amazing news (FINALLY) on Friday Night Lights. It's not a definite go, but things are lookin' pretty positive for our favourite football show that's not about football. According to several news reports, NBC is very close to signing a deal with DirectTV to do a deal where they'd both air the show in different ways, thus spreading the costs over the two networks and ensuring a third season. Come on, DirectTV!!! Thanks to John for directing me to one of the stories.

Oh, and, um, back to Lost! A week late (I've been meaning to post this forever), here are some answers about The Constant, care of Damon himself. And reader Danielle sent this hilarious link to me, called Lost Madness, where you can try to eliminate Lost characters the same way teams disappear in the NCAA championships. (They refuse to allow you to eliminate Nikki and Paulo together, but presumably whoever makes it to the next round will be instantly squashed.)

Mitch, I love you. Take my advice: GO TO ANOTHER NETWORK!

Paleyfest, you're killin' me. Here are some of the panels, along with the confirmed guestage. Not only do I heart Chuck, but check out the moderator!!!! ARGH.

March 15 Saturday 7:00 pm
Pushing Daisies
In Person:
Kristin Chenoweth, "Olive Snook"
Bruce Cohen, Exec. Prod.
Anna Friel, "Chuck"
Bryan Fuller, Creator/Exec. Prod.
Ellen Greene, "Vivian Charles"
Dan Jinks, Exec. Prod.
Swoosie Kurtz, "Lily Charles"
Chi McBride, “Emerson Cod”
Peter Ocko, Coexec. Prod.
Lee Pace, "Ned"

In Person:
Adam Baldwin, "John Casey"
Chris Fedak, Cocreator/Exec. Prod.
Joshua Gomez, "Morgan Grimes"
Scott Krinsky, "Jeff"
Sarah Lancaster, "Ellie Bartowski"
Mark Christopher Lawrence, "Big Mike"
Zachary Levi, "Chuck Bartowski"
Julia Ling, "Anna"
McG, Exec. Prod.
Ryan McPartlin, "Captain Awesome"
Vik Sahay, "Lester"
Josh Schwartz, Cocreator/Exec. Prod.
Yvonne Strahovski, "Sarah Walker"
Damon Lindelof (exec. prod., Lost) will moderate this evening's discussion.

March 19 Wednesday 7:00 pm
Friday Night Lights
In Person:
Connie Britton, "Tami Taylor"
Kyle Chandler, "Eric Taylor"
Zach Gilford, "Matt Saracen"
Jason Katims, Exec. Prod.
Adrianne Palicki, "Tyra Collette"
Jesse Plemons, "Landry Clarke"
Scott Porter, "Jason Street"
Jeffrey Reiner, Exec. Prod.
Aimee Teegarden, "Julie Taylor"

March 22 Saturday 7:00 pm
Gossip Girl
In Person:
Penn Badgley, "Dan Humphrey"
Chace Crawford, "Nate Archibald"
Amy Kaufman, Prod.
Bob Levy, Exec. Prod.
Blake Lively, "Serena van der Woodsen"
Leighton Meester, "Blair Waldorf"
Taylor Momsen, "Jenny Humphrey"
Kelly Rutherford, "Lily van der Woodsen"
Stephanie Savage, Cocreator/Exec. Prod.
Josh Schwartz, Cocreator/Exec. Prod.
Matthew Settle, "Rufus Humphrey"
Jessica Szhor, "Vanessa Abrams"
Ed Westwick, "Chuck Bass"
Cecily von Ziegesar, Author, Gossip Girl books

March 25 Tuesday 7:00 pm
Dirty Sexy Money
In Person:
Samaire Armstrong, "Juliet Darling"
William Baldwin, "Patrick Darling"
Greg Berlanti, Exec. Prod.
Jill Clayburgh, "Letitia Darling"
Glenn Fitzgerald, "Brian Darling"
Seth Gabel, "Jeremy Darling"
Matthew Gross, Exec. Prod.
Peter Krause, "Nick George"
Zoe McLellan, "Lisa George"
Josh Reims, Exec. Prod.
Donald Sutherland, "Tripp Darling"
Blair Underwood, "Simon Elder"
Craig Wright, Exec. Prod.
Natalie Zea, "Karen Darling"

And this one really, really, really hurts:
March 20 Thursday 7:00 pm
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Reunion
In Person:
Amber Benson, "Tara Maclay"
Nicholas Brendon, "Xander Harris"
Charisma Carpenter, "Cordelia Chase"
Emma Caulfield, "Anya"
Eliza Dushku, "Faith"
Sarah Michelle Gellar, "Buffy Summers"
Seth Green, "Oz"
David Greenwalt, Exec. Prod.
Alyson Hannigan, "Willow Rosenberg"
James Marsters, "Spike"
Marti Noxon, Executive Producer
Michelle Trachtenberg, "Dawn Summers"
Joss Whedon, Creator

Kill me now.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Smartest Show on Television™ Comes to an End
Last night marked the end of The Wire. Most of you come here to see me talking about Lost, but regular readers know I am deeply in love with HBO's fascinating look at the Baltimore drug scene, and all of the levels of bureaucracy surrounding it. This show was groundbreaking in many ways.

And after watching the finale, I can tell you that this show is as close to perfect as a television series can be. Lost has had its missteps (Nikki and Paulo, parts of season 2, parts of season 3), Buffy and Angel each had a bad season, Alias had more than one... but The Wire is near-perfect from beginning to end. It never let me down, and refused to take the easy way out on any of the storylines. Unlike many viewers now, I've been watching this show right from the beginning, so the ending has been five years in the making for me.

And what an ending. My favourite character, Omar Little, died a few episodes ago, not in a hail of bullets, not by Marlo, not by the police, but by a freakin' kid. Randy, the young entrepreneur of season 4, shows up in one single scene this season, broken and disillusioned. His appearance is so fleeting, but it casts a shadow over the entire series. Randy had potential, a LOT of potential. He was smart, sweet, and loyal, and he knew right from wrong. When he went to the police with some information, Herc -- the sonofabitch to end sonofabitches -- kinda, you know, TOLD, and now Randy has the rep of a snitch. He's angry at the police, his innocence is gone, and he probably won't live to see his twenties.

Dukie was the real innocent of the show, however, and we see him again this season, joining up with an older man looking for scrap metal to take down to the scales. Michael was the one who actually turned to the corners by the end of season 4, and by the end of season 5, he's a full-fledged gangster. Marlo and his people ended up in jail, with the exception of Snoop (and when she was told to take out Michael, he was on to her, and took her out before she could do the deed, in one of the most strangely touching scenes of the year). McNulty fashioned a lie that got out of hand, and paid the price for it. Bubbles FINALLY stayed off the drugs, and watching him come to terms with who he is and who he used to be has been one of the highlights of the season.

The season had its share of amazing moments, and many of them came last week. Michael shoots Snoop, and then realizes he's a target, so he takes Bug and Dukie and goes to his aunt's to drop off Bug, and leaves Dukie with the scrap metal guy. As Dukie walked away with his dirty t-shirt and small backpack, paused for a moment in the alleyway, and then realized it's all he had and continued on to sit next to the bonfire, it was a sad, sad moment. I thought it was the last we were going to see him, until the finale, where his story took an even worse turn. He returns to school, patiently waiting outside to see Prez, and when his old teacher comes out, Prez takes one look at his matted hair and dirty clothes and knows he's on the streets. Dukie tells him he wants to get his GED and asks for some money, and Prez knows before he even gives it that Dukie's going to use that money for other things.

McNulty gets outed by Kima, and in the finale he's told exactly what he's going to do -- he'll keep his job until they can fire him quietly, but he won't be allowed to do any police work. McNulty does the right thing, and just "retires," along with Freamon. His wake at the pub was a nice moment, but it was a little odd that no one actually said, "Hey, why are you guys retiring?" When Kima showed up at the end to 'fess up, McNulty blinked once, and then said, "Well, if you thought you had to do it, then you had to do it." It was one of the very, very few insincere lines in the series, I thought. The brass all think McNulty was doing it for the money, but it was to bring down Marlo. In other words, he had to create a crime in order to do the police work that he was actually being paid to do. And Kima, knowing his intentions, ended what he was doing, almost brought down the department, and destroyed Jimmy's career. And all he has to say is, "Well, if you thought you had to..."? I just didn't buy it.

It was the only insincere moment in a 90-minute ending, though. Marlo is told that he needs to retire as well, but just like McNulty breathed police work, Marlo is a gangster. It's what he does, it's who he is, and upon his release, the first thing he does is go right back to the corner and just stand there, doing what he does best. But he's powerless to do anything, or he'll be brought down. So a new army is building, and they just need the $10 million to buy the corners from Marlo. They kill Cheese (thank cripes), they collect the money, and then Michael shows up just in time to take it off their hands, along with a little quip. And in that moment, it was clear: Michael is the new Omar. He's the perfect successor.

In fact,the end of the series -- handled beautifully with a montage of scenes to let you know what the future holds -- illustrated that the next generation is on its way, and things will pretty much continue on as they have been. That one cop whose name I always forget (he helps Freamon with the wire tap this season) goes to a judge the way McNulty used to do in the first season, trying to do an endrun around the department. The final, sad scene we see with Dukie is him shooting up in an alleyway, just like Bubbles used to do. Carcetti becomes the governor, and after we see the way he coldly covers up everything in this episode, we realize it's NOT a new day in Baltimore, as he'd suggested, just the same day, different head honcho. Marlo will be succeeded, the police will continue to try to bring down the corners, the higher levels of government will prevent that from happening, the media will continue to miss all the big stories, and nobody wins.

The only people who show us a modicum of hope in this show are the ones who go out on a limb and do things for themselves. Bubbles gets himself off the corners, and the scene of him walking upstairs to have dinner with his sister's family -- a seemingly innocuous moment, but HUGE if you know the show -- is a triumph of epic proportions for him. McNulty does the right thing and returns the kidnapped homeless man to Baltimore. Michael figures out a way to be on the corners but not being a henchman for the drug dealers.

The Wire is an extraordinary piece of television, and now that it's over, there's only one thing left for me to do: break out season 1 and start watching all over again.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Lost 4.06: The Other Woman
Another great episode! These writers are on a roll... it wasn't quite last week's episode, but I don't envy this one coming on the heels of that one, which is probably in my top 5 episodes ever.

We surpassed 100 comments on my main post last week! Coupled with my followup on Faraday, there were over 125 comments on that episode alone. I'm not sure Juliet will garner the same amount of chatter, but I look forward to discussing it with all of you.

“What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun! And she is MINE, all MINE.”

Previously on Lost...
Last week’s episode was a doozy; my initial post on it alone garnered over 100 comments on my blog. The physics fans were out in full force, and discussions of time travel dominated. The biggest question involved Faraday, easily my new favorite character. He’s written in his journal that Desmond would be his constant if anything went wrong. Des visited him in the past and gave him his coordinates for time traveling consciousness, so how often has Daniel time traveled since then? He has memory problems, are they a “side effect” of his travels? When we first see him, he’s in a home of some sort, with a female caretaker, watching the news of the Oceanic going down. He’s crying, and when she asks him why, he says he doesn’t know. Could he have a residual memory of the future Oceanic survivors that is in his subconscious in 2004? Has he traveled beyond that year? That episode definitely ranks among my faves.

Episode Recap:
I enjoyed this week’s episode, though it wasn’t nearly as good as the one last week. “The Other Woman” featured a flashback (it was rather nice to see one of those again, though I loved how they set it up to look like a flashforward) of Juliet. Faraday and Charlotte head off to the Tempest station (one we haven’t yet seen) and Juliet is visited by one of the missing Others, telling her to follow them and kill them. Through Juliet’s flashback and the present-day events on the island, Ben comes off as more nefarious than before, and we finally see the link between Desmond’s backstory and the people on the island. Overall, an interesting episode, but because the backstory was so close to the one we’d seen in “One of Us,” I didn’t come away knowing much more about Juliet than the fact she was having a secret affair with Goodwin, and that Ben is crazy for her. (“Crazy” being the operative word.)

• TOM!! My favorite Other is back, if only for a brief moment.
• Jack: “You people had therapists?” Juliet: “It’s very stressful being an Other, Jack.”
• Ben asking if the rabbit had a number on it. Ha!
• Hurley beating Sawyer at horseshoes. “Son of a bitch!”

Biggest “GASP!” Moments:
• That’s not a flashforward we’re watching, it’s a flashback.
• Harper appearing in the jungle. Gah!
• Ben sending Goodwin to the tail section of the island was actually meant to be a death sentence for him.
• Charles Widmore is the guy who owns the freighter!!
• Ben: “You’re MINE!!”

Hurley’s Numbers:
The combination on the lock behind Ben’s picture is 36-15-28. One of Hurley’s numbers is 15, and 36 minus 28 is 8. On the computer where Daniel is typing, it keeps repeating the same warning: “CROSS FEED ASS/16 OVERPRESSURE ALERT!”

Did You Notice?:
• The writers drew a parallel between Juliet saying to Ben that she’ll only be on the island for six months and doesn’t need such an elaborate house, and Sun saying they’re about to be rescued and asking why Juliet is building such a strong shelter.
• The psychiatrist’s name is Harper Stanhope. I think her name is foreshadowing the Orchid Station that I talked about in last week’s column (the station whose orientation video was shown at Comic-Con and appears to involve teleportation). The Stanhopea is a genus of the orchid family, and appears to be an upside-down orchid. The flower blooms for such a brief period (three days at the most) that it has developed a way to spread its pollen to avoid extinction. The flowers usually die on the second day, which is interesting… on the island, the pregnant women die in their second trimesters.
• The new station is called the Tempest, no doubt after Shakespeare’s play (my favorite one, incidentally). The play is about a magician, Prospero, who is alone in an island with his daughter, Miranda, a result of his brother putting them there. They were saved by an island spirit named Ariel, who is a servant to a witch, whose son is the deformed island native, Caliban. When a storm created by Prospero causes a shipwreck, the island gains new inhabitants, mainly Alonso and his son Ferdinand. Prospero sees a possible mate for his daughter in Ferdinand, but makes him his servant so he can earn her hand. Meanwhile, Alonso thinks his son is dead, and Prospero keeps the truth from him until the end, while Caliban conspires with the other shipwreck survivors to bring down the magician. The play is full of magic, mystery, and daddy issues . . . in other words, the perfect Shakespearean counterpart to Lost. Could Ben be a more Machiavellian Prospero? Or is he Caliban?
• Goodwin mentions that a woman named Henrietta died that morning. She has the female version of the name Ben uses as his alias, Henry.
• Claire tells Locke that she might be a less intimidating person to talk to the freighter folk… perhaps foreshadowing why Aaron will be left motherless.
• The material in the flashbacks happens concurrently with many of the same events in “One of Us,” but it fills in some of the gaps for us. Juliet comes to Ben’s house in a rage in that episode days before the plane crash because she’s just found out he has a tumor, and she’s begging him to let her leave the island. Now it’s clearer that not only did she want to see her sister, but she was becoming increasingly worried that something could happen to Goodwin, and she was being stalked by Ben. Then he shows her proof that her sister is alive and well and has a son, and Juliet is eternally grateful. Here we see her going to his house for a dinner party (for two) shortly afterwards, and she’s kind to him.
• Ben and Juliet talk about Zack and Emma – these are the two children who were in the tail section and Ana Lucia vowed to protect them, but they were taken in the beginning; we saw them again last season standing outside Jack’s cage with Cindy, the stewardess.
• Yet another Red Sox reference. If this really IS the same tape that he showed Jack, it means the video was recorded in the last month, since he showed Jack that tape a month before the events here.
• The symbol for the Tempest station is strange, and not as obvious as the others. I’m assuming we’re supposed to look in the white part and see a wave (?) If you look at the black sections instead, it looks like a sperm with a giant apostrophe over it (ooh… did I just become the perfect test subject for some Rorschach psychiatrists?)
• The title of this episode seemed to apply not only to Juliet being the other woman in the relationship between Harper and Goodwin, but Jack and Kate.
• Locke used to be one of my favorite characters, but now he’s a tool.

So Many Questions...
• Where has Harper been all this time? Will we see any of the remaining Others who vacated Otherville when Juliet was left behind?
• Juliet asks Harper how Ben could possibly know what Faraday and Charlotte are up to if he’s being held prisoner, and Harper says, “Ben is exactly where he wants to be.” What does this mean? Is it possible that Ben has figured out how to astrally project himself in some way similar to Walt? Or has he also figured out how to move his consciousness around like Desmond did in the previous episode? Could he have time traveled and created more than one of himself? (Yes, I’ve been thinking far too much about last week’s episode, and watched that Orchid video one too many times.)
• Now that we know the freighter folk were sent by Widmore, does that mean the map that Faraday is holding could have been from the Black Rock journal that we saw Widmore buy in the previous episode? It looked old-fashioned (actually, it kind of looked like a map of Middle Earth) and there were plenty of “unknown” sections marked on it. On the south end of the island there’s a distinct spot circled, which could be the survivors’ camp, and in the middle there’s something sketched out, which may be the Black Rock itself. The only words I could make out on it were the arrow at the top, pointing to the mountains, marked, “Possible Path Through Northern Mountains.”
• Daniel looks surprised when Kate tells him Locke has Miles, but he was right there when Sayid took off with Miles and traded him for Charlotte, and Frank said he never liked Miles anyway. Did Daniel forget this happened?
• In the flashback where Juliet is showing Ben the microscope, she says the white blood cells are dropping in women who have conceived on the island, “…which makes me wonder…” and then she doesn’t finish her sentence. What was her theory?
• Is Ben telling the complete truth about Widmore? Ben is as sneaky as it gets, especially when it comes to Locke.
• So… the revelation of the man on the boat is something that would make Locke need to sit down. Who the frak is it?? (I repeat: Michael.)
• If Charlotte and Daniel were really trying to save everyone on the island, why not just TELL people that, rather than act like they’re going to do them all in and get them all in a tizzy?
• Why is Ben so obsessed with Juliet? When she asks why he would let Goodwin walk into the lion’s den, he replies like some sort of stalker, telling her in an impassioned way, “Why? You’re asking me why? After everything I did to get you here, after everything I did to KEEP you here, how could you possibly not understand? That you’re MINE.” What is UP with that? He makes it sound like he was hunting her down for reasons other than her being a fertility doctor. I thought the Zack and Emma thing was a little curious being thrown in here… was it there because of Ben’s response, that they’re children, and children forget? Could Juliet have forgotten something from when she was a child? Is it possible that she’s the Annie we saw Ben fall in love with as a child?
• Or, could Juliet remind him of his mother, and when he said children forget, he was being sarcastic, because he’s never forgotten her, and she’s the biggest loss of his life? This could tie in to the fact that all of the mothers on the island end up dead and their children are never born. Could there be a connection? Is Ben actually behind that, too?

Next week: It’s a race to get Sun off the island, and the preview says we’ll see the last of the Oceanic Six, and a face we never thought we’d see again. If the “last” of the Oceanic Six is one person, then it would seem Aaron IS being counted as one of them, which is ridiculous, since he wasn’t one of the Oceanic passengers on the manifest when the plane went down.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Constant: Daniel
I've been raving for the last few episodes about Jeremy Davies' brilliant turn as Daniel Faraday, the mad scientist who has been sent to the island for reasons not yet fully clear. In "The Constant," Davies upped that performance to award-worthy, and made me even more intrigued about this guy. Forget flashforwards concerning the Oceanic Six... I want to get some more flashbacks of this guy!

So what's going on with him? We see in this episode that he used to do his research at Oxford University. He specialized in time travel and anomalies in time-space, and was constantly doing experiments involving electromagnetic flashes. He tells Desmond that he would conduct these experiments up to 20 times a day, protecting his body with a lead vest, but, as Desmond points out, not his head. Now that Desmond is experiencing time flashes in his consciousness, the first question Daniel asks Jack is whether or not he's encountered an electromagnetic surge of some kind.

Has Daniel experienced what Desmond is going through, as a result of not putting something on his head during these experiments? He's written in his journal in the past that should anything go wrong, Desmond is going to be his constant. So... has it already happened? Has he already been to the future in his consciousness?

But what about his memory? If he's already been to the future, shouldn't he have had a memory of all of this happening before? In "The Economist," Desmond comes walking up over a hill and Daniel doesn't seem to show any recognition, despite Desmond being crucial to his experiments in 1996.

But in "Eggtown," we see Daniel and Charlotte playing a card game where she's showing him cards, then turning them over, and he can only remember two out of three of them. Daniel is suffering from some sort of memory loss, which must make his research (and daily life) so frustrating for him. Was the memory loss caused by his exposure to radiation? Or was it caused by him becoming unstuck in time?

All of this brings us back to the first time we see him, in "Confirmed Dead," where he is sitting on the couch watching news of the crash of Oceanic Flight 815. A woman (who was later revealed by producers as his "caretaker") finds him crying, and asks him what's wrong, and he says, "I don't know." Could he have some residual memory of being in the future and knowing these people who are now "confirmed dead"? Is it possible that Daniel is a time traveller who forgets his travels as soon as they happen? What if he's already been to the future, but doesn't remember doing it? Some part of his unconscious could remember it, and that's why he's so upset on the couch.

We have a GREAT discussion going on in the comments here, so check it out if you want to find more insight into the episode. My next post will be pulling my favourite theories from those.