Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Variable: Jimmy Kimmel Cameo!

A friend of mine just sent me this link. I don't know how I missed this in the episode! :)

Kate Chopin: Inspiration for Lost?

So a funny thing happened as I was responding to a comment this morning. Joshua asked what piece Daniel was playing on the piano. Having played it years ago (yes, I once aspired to be a concert pianist... then gave it all up for this lavish lifestyle I now lead... cough) I immediately knew it was Chopin. As I typed the response, I suddenly stopped mid-sentence and stared at the page. A weird eureka moment happened. I quickly finished (saying incorrectly that it was a nocturne) and then leapt out of my seat to run to a bookshelf.

See, yesterday a friend of mine who is an English prof was quizzing friends of his with some sort of literary background about his upcoming American lit course list. He was asking for suggestions for books he should put on the list. I suggested Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening”; even though Chopin has a tendency to overwrite in that way many 19th century authors do, I adored this story, and it was so far ahead of its time, with a woman going mad by the restrictions that society had put on her. At the time I immediately went out and got a book of her short stories and read those, too.

So when I typed “Chopin” for the second time in two days, my mind suddenly conflated the two. Something has been bugging me in the back of my head for months about Daniel’s last name, and his possible parentage (which I assumed in “Jughead” was Ellie and Chuck). And when I typed that word today, it suddenly hit me: Kate Chopin.

For, in one of her short stories, “A Point at Issue!,” she writes the story of a couple in 19th-century U.S. who become engaged. The woman, who is an early feminist, hates the conventions of marriage, the engagement announcements in the paper, the idea that marriage would be “the closing period of a woman’s intellectual existence,” agrees to the engagement on the basis that the marriage not be turned into a prison, but be a relationship of equals. Their relationship up to that point involves heady discussions of science and philosophy (her husband is a professor of mathematics), and as soon as they’re married, he remains in the U.S. while she moves to France to learn the language and become more cultured. While she is overseas, her husband visits often with the Beaton family, and becomes enamoured of their daughter, Kitty. In a letter to his new wife, he talks about her feminine wiles and how attractive he finds her. The wife flies into a rage, sending only one letter back to him, which is very cold. Distraught, he rushes across the ocean to see her. When he arrives, she’s flustered about something, but won’t say what. A note comes from a caller, which she waves off, and later when he is walking through the streets of Paris he sees his wife in a carriage with an attractive man, laughing and enjoying his company. He returns to their house, in a rage about what he will do to both of them, to find his wife and the man standing there and welcoming him in, unveiling a large portrait of her on the wall. She explains that she’d been upset it wasn’t finished for his arrival, and had agreed to a final sitting for the artist, who had been rushing to finish it for him. The husband is immensely relieved, and after they embrace he asks her why she hadn’t written to him. She admits she was jealous of his affections toward Kitty, and he laughs it off, thinking his wife “‘is only a woman, after all.’” The narrator points out in the final line of the story, “With man’s usual inconsistency, he had quite forgotten the episode of the portrait.”

The names of the married couple? Charles and Eleanor “Nellie” Faraday.

It’s a very subtle literary reference, and either a complete coincidence or one the writers have thrown in there, wondering if anyone has ever read this obscure short story. But it’s interesting to me that Dan’s parents’ names are Hawking and Widmore, yet his name is Faraday (maybe she was married to a Faraday but kept her maiden name? Or Faraday is her maiden name and then she married a Hawking?) And if there ever was a relationship between Ellie and Widmore, clearly it was one where, in the end, they lived separate lives. She seems angry when he suggests Daniel is his son, too, and slaps him. Earlier, she seems to find the news that his patron is Widmore.

But maybe there’s a reason Faraday was playing Chopin, and it’s a wink in the direction of this story. I do love, however, that the piece he’s playing is Chopin’s exquisite cantabile section of the “Fantaisie-Impromptu,” and that she stops him from playing it. On the one hand, she believes that allowing Dan to become a pianist is just mere fantasy. And on the other, Eloise believes that nothing in life is impromptu: it’s all been laid out there, and she must follow the path that destiny has laid out for her.

My post on DocArzt (also on Ellie) is now up here.

Also, I just discovered my upcoming season 5 book is now available for pre-order at Amazon! You can order it here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lost 5.14: The Variable

“I disappeared off a plane in mid-air and ended up in 1977. I’m gettin’ kinda used to insane.”

Destiny = Crap. Or does it?
My favourite theme of the show is free will versus destiny, and I’ve devoted thousands of words to it in my previous books and on this blog. Generally the religious types believe in destiny, and the scientific ones believe we all have a choice. But when it comes to time travel, Daniel, the scientific one, believes whatever happened, happened, and you can’t change the future, so he’s ended up in the destiny camp. Now he’s changed his mind, realizing that people aren’t part of a static equation, but instead are free-thinking individuals that are variables. And the moment he declares that... he fulfills the destiny that his mother set out for him, and realizes that maybe he was wrong. So... will he be wrong about changing the future? Will the Oceanics be able to change the course of history in the next couple of episodes?

“I’m from the future...”
I think I’m being a little thick about something here... but what are the notes that Daniel is consulting in his journal? He knows that Chang will go to the Orchid at a specific time. He knows he’ll run into him and talk to him. He keeps checking with the journal to make sure of all of this. When did he write those notes? Has he already time travelled to this spot and all of this has happened before, and he forgot? What am I missing here? I’m feeling pretty stupid about this one. I’m hoping this isn’t obvious and it’s just another one of the mysteries, in which case I’ll speculate that part of his earlier experimentation (of which Theresa was a casualty) was that he consciousness-traveled to the island, in much the same way Desmond did in “The Constant.” Possible? How else would he have known that Chang had a son named Miles when he hasn’t been on the island since the kid was born? Is it possible Eloise was writing the notes in the journal for him? She seems to know everything that’s going to happen before it does. How?

Happy 100th!
This was the 100th episode of Lost. Balloons! Yay! Cake! Yum! Death of a major character... boo. Sniffle. I'm sorry, I need to go into mourning now. I'm very sad.

• Miles to Dan: “Once you left for Ann Arbor I figured you’d become rich and had invented the DVD or something.”
• The Star Trek preview on the first commercial break. WOOT!!!
• Sawyer: “Phil, Jack. Jack, Phil.” Ha!
• “Welcome to the meeting, Twitchy.”
• “Your mother... is an Other.”
• “You guys were in 1954? Like... Fonzie times?”

Did You Notice?:
• After finishing watching the episode, go back and start over. Suddenly that scene of Daniel’s mother crying while she listens to him play the piano makes perfect sense. She took him off the artistic path he was clearly on, and put him on the mathematical one that would lead to his death... at her hand.
• At Dan’s graduation, he’s got on a thin black tie with a white shirt. He accomplished that signature look early on.
• Theresa, the woman that Daniel is with at his graduation, is the one who will be in a comatose state later, the one Desmond visits earlier this season.
• Eloise signs herself as “Mother” in the journal. How... warm.
• After handing Dan the gift, Eloise leaves the restaurant, to which my husband yelled, “Hey! You stuck him with the bill!” Hahaha!
• I never noticed it until now, but Sawyer’s uniform has a Dharma logo with a star in the middle of it. Interesting that in the episode, “The Long Con,” he declares himself the new sheriff in town. Now, he really IS the sheriff. Sorta.
• There was some sort of special magic going on in the caregiver’s house. Between her asking Dan why he’s so upset and Widmore knocking on the door, the caregiver seems to have gained 20 pounds, aged 20 years, changed her voice, and Dan’s hair has grown 3 inches and lost that slicked-back look it had. Bad continuity. Bad, BAD continuity.
• Widmore moves an issue of Wired magazine that proclaims, “The Impossible Gets Real!” This was the August 2003 issue. You can see the full cover here. More importantly, you can read it here. The articles that Dan was probably reading with a highlighter were Michio Kaku’s “A User’s Guide to Time Travel” and Brendan I. Koerner’s “8 Super Powers,” which touts, “Forget Science Fiction. Here’s the Science.” Interestingly, J.J. Abrams is the guest editor of this month’s issue of Wired.
• Now we see why Daniel was playing the memory card game with Charlotte when he first got to the island and his memory had been “improving,” but he was frustrated it wasn’t completely better. It also explains why that memory loss of his seems to have gotten better with time.
• Watch how Sawyer’s face changes when Jack begins to take charge. He just couldn’t follow Sawyer for long.
• Juliet says, “It’s over here for us, anyway” immediately after Sawyer refers to Kate as Freckles. The people in the room take it to mean their charade that they’re from 1977 is over, but she could just as easily mean the relationship between her and Sawyer. And honestly, I’ve actually really started to accept the relationship between Juliet and Sawyer, and the moment he called Kate “Freckles” was painful for me. Mitchell was amazing in that scene, flickering her eyelids with complete recognition, but trying desperately to hold it together.
• When Dan comes up to Charlotte, she says, “I’m not allowed to have chocolate before dinner.” Those were her last words to Daniel before she died.
• Daniel’s condition seems to have a few variables of its own. Eloise shows up and says she didn’t call ahead because he wouldn’t remember anyway, and yet he remembers his conversation with Widmore from a few days before.
• There’s definitely a lot of pain on Eloise’s face, knowing what she’s pushing him to do all of his life, but that doesn’t change the fact she is one cold, cold, COLD woman for doing it anyway.
• Dan says the incident will happen in 4 hours, and then the people on the island will push a button for the next 20 years. But the plane crash will happen 27 years from this point, so it’s more like 30 years.
• I don’t like being one of those ‘I told you so’ people but... oh hell, YES I DO! HA! I called Widmore as Dan’s dad waaaay back in “Jughead” (which earned me much derision from some readers on Docarzt’s site). I stood by it. Yay! So... that means that Desmond and Daniel are actually brothers-in-law.
• “You knew this was going to happen, and you sent me here anyway.” I was heartbroken at these words. I think Eloise officially trumps Cooper as the worst parent on the show. Oh, Daniel... :::sniffle:::

Hurley’s numbers:
Daniel says the metronome has counted 864 beats since he started. That’s 108 times 8, with 108 being the sum of Hurley’s numbers. When Dan is killed, they’re 4 hours away from “The incident.”

So Many Questions...
• A few people mentioned this on my blog last week, and I think they’re right: when the sub heads out shortly after the “new recruits” arrive, they’re told there won’t be another sub for months. So is that a continuity error that Dan arrives on a sub only a few days later?
• Could anyone else see the logo on Dan’s uniform when he first goes to see Jack? It looked like one we hadn’t seen.
• Dan tells Miles that he’s just making sure Chang will do what he’s supposed to do. Which is... what? Evacuate the island? Did Chang actually do that?
• At what point does Daniel film the video with Chang warning everyone about the Purge?
• So why DOES the news report of the 815 plane make Daniel so upset? Is it because he’s time traveled to a point where he’s already been there and knows the people, as some of us have speculated before? Is it because Eloise let slip at some point that Daniel would die on an island trying to prevent that crash, assuming that he would forget it the next day anyway?
• After the shootout, Radzinsky yells for someone to sound the alarm. Does he honestly think that no one in Dharmaville heard the friggin’ OK Corral – complete with EXPLOSION – that was going down only a few feet away?! How did Sawyer and Juliet not hear it?
• So here’s another question for my time travel experts. I now completely understand the notion that this is their present, and not their past, and that whatever happens to them now will not affect their selves in 2004, unless they can change outside events. BUT. What happens to them? IF they were to prevent the plane from crashing, then their lives from 3 years ago will go on as normal and people will live, etc. But what about their 3-year-older selves that are now sitting in 1977? It’s not like they magically disappear. Do they go on living a separate life from their other self? Is it possible Kate could end up with Jack and Other Kate would end up with Sawyer? ;)
• So, you spent 3 years separated from the man you loved, only to be reunited and have a child. That man had been through some seriously crazy shit, and now he was just shot by a crazy man, and now there’s a crazy lady standing in the waiting room who seems to know WAY too much about your husband. So, a nurse comes out and says, “don’t worry, this complete stranger will watch your kid and you can come with me,” and you say, “OK!!” Does anyone else think that when Penny returns to the waiting room, Charlie won’t be there? Widmore’s hanging around outside, Ben is god-knows-where, and Penny’s just left the kid. I don’t like what this feels like.
• Why doesn't Alpert recognize Daniel when he sees him? I know it was over 20 years ago that he met with him, but he was pretty significant, and they had a very long talk. He should have remembered him. Did the electromagnetic waves affect Alpert, too?

Next week: Jack appears to have eaten a person. (Okay, maybe it’s a bloody nose, but my first instinct was, “ZOMG, they’re going to turn into zombies!!”)

While You Wait for Lost...

Thanks to fb for the link!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm Back!

Hello my lovelies, and thank you for sticking around while my blog became completely boring and useless. :) As my most recent post on going to visit the site where The Prisoner was filmed seems to have degenerated into various awful puns left in the comments section, I can see my loyal readers are getting bored and itchy, so I thought I'd give you a new post. A pun-free one.

I returned before the weekend from the UK after 10 fun-filled days there... well, 5 fun-filled days, and then I had to work for 3, and then 2 days were taken up with travel. But oh well. And now, I pull out my pictures (oh NO, she's getting out the slide projector! I TOLD you we shouldn't have accepted her dinner invitation!) Sit down, sit down. I promise not to bore you for long.

As one of my readers posted as a recommended destination spot, I went to see Tintern Abbey (I think it was Scott, and I read the comment the night before going to see it and thought it was hilarious that he'd somehow read my itinerary and knew where I was going. Wait, is that hilarious? Or scary? Erm...) This place is extraordinary. I went to see Fountains Abbey when I was last there in 2003 and thought I'd never find a place that paralleled it. There's still something quite magical about Fountains: you pay at one place and then trek through a meadow and down a hill and as you emerge from the woods you see this amazing place hidden in a valley, whereas with Tintern it's right off the road. But still, I imagined what it must have looked like long ago before there was a tourist office planted outside it, selling stuffed dragons and mood rings. (Yes, I bought the stuffed dragon for my son, and the "magic ring" for my daughter, who proclaimed, "I've ALWAYS WANTED a magic ring!" She lost it about 5 minutes later.) I loved this place. They're currently doing restoration work on part of it, but I just can't get enough of the history of places like this. Good ol' Henry VIII. You deny him a divorce, he tears down the abbeys. The current monarch ain't that ballsy. Hm. It's places like this where I wonder when The Tudors will start showing Henry VIII for what he really was: a fat, bloated, awful, pig-headed, despicable man. But I guess Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is way cuter.

Next we went to White Castle, where you have to drive up this teeny-tiny road with hedges that are 6 feet high on either side of it and it winds and turns and at every corner you're waiting for someone to come flying around the corner and slam into you. Luckily we had another car in front of us, and while we crawled like a snail behind them we would watch as they'd turn a corner tentatively and then pull their car suddenly into a ditch while another car was bombing straight at them with no chance of stopping. Scary. Got to the castle, and it was nice (not as spectacular as the one we'd see later) but I saw this, and thought it looked like the hatch from season 2 or the well that John lowered himself into earlier this season. And then realized I need help.

The castle I DID fall in love with was Conwy, in the very north of Wales. This one was built in a mere 4 years by Edward I, who then only stayed there for 2 months once when he got stuck during Christmas. Nice. He was embroiled in a campaign against two brothers, one that died in battle and the other who was captured by Edward, who then ordered him hanged, drawn and quartered, disembowelled, and beheaded, with the head on a spike in the Tower of London next to his bro's. To all of my British readers: grade-school history must have been WAY cooler for you than it was for us. :)

Off to Shakespeare's birthplace. I made much fun of this in emails to friends, but the town has decided to milk everything for what it's worth in Stratford, with cafes and restaurants and bookstores and theatres all named after lines or titles of Shakespeare plays. This was one of my favourites (for its groan factor). Look closely: they make William's Shakes. UGH. Seeing his home was interesting, even if half of it had been renovated and they made you walk through this multi-million dollar complex where they said stuff like, "This reader you are looking at might very well have quite possibly belonged to Shakespeare. Maybe. Probably not." (I'm paraphrasing.) Someone found a ring in a farmer's field that had WS inscribed on it, so as you enter the animatronic area where you hear Patrick Stewart reading lines and watch Judi Dench do the "Out damned spot" speech, they zoom in on a mannequin hand wearing The Ring (which probably belonged to Winnifred Smith). Inside there's a school reader where someone has written "William Shakespeare" on one of the pages. If THAT's all it takes for people to go nuts, I'm going to take all those school readers I inherited from my Grandpa and scrawl Pierre Berton's name on them and put them up on eBay. Sheesh.

And then it was off to Blenheim Palace. I'm the English major, my husband is the history major, and has a particular interest in Churchill. Again, much is made of a small event: it touts itself as "CHURCHILL'S BIRTHPLACE" and you get there and find out his pregnant mother fell off a horse (or tripped over a rock while walking along on a hunting expedition, depending on the guide you talk to), immediately went into labour, and was rushed into the place to give birth to Winston in a room just off the foyer. He only came back a handful of times afterwards, but they had a big display of Churchill memorabilia that was pretty amazing. The palace itself is the current home of the Duke of Marlborough, and there was much history of the previous dukes (the first one was pretty awesome). I really enjoyed this one, until we got to the exhibit upstairs, where they had these animatronic people acting out major moments of the castle's life. It was quite amazing, the show, but the storyline was RIDICULOUS. Seriously, this is in ENGLAND, land of some of the world's greatest writers. You couldn't come up with a better storyline?! You go into the first room and they're talking about the first Duke, and his very outspoken wife, and it's a combination of moving dolls and film projected off one wall of actors playing the roles, and our narrator is Sally or Susan or something, who was the maid (or, in today's society, executive assistant) to the duchess, who was very headstrong and oversaw the construction of the castle. She gives us all the juicy bits as we walk through this room and the second room, where we find out about the duke's bed-hopping. Good stuff... until we move to another room where we see a later duke... and Sally pops up as the "ghost" of the original maid. Seriously? She visits the 4th duke, I think, and then the 7th, who was actually a pretty fascinating fellow who had dealings with Thomas Edison and installed the first phone lines in the area, etc. BUT, because we're dealing with Ghost Sally, at every turn she's like, 'Oh good gracious, what is THAT?" "Why THAT, my dear, is e-lec-tric-i-ty!" And we spent the first 3 minutes watching the duke bring her up to date on the world.

Hi, it's Nikki? From Canada? Um... could you just give me a more basic narrative where the actual dukes tell us something about their lives and we get rid of this ridiculous maid subplot? UGH.

But otherwise, I really enjoyed Blenheim.

And then it was to London where I had to work for the next 3 days. We stayed in this wicked hotel in Sloane Square (and then I had Morrissey's "Hairdresser on Fire" stuck in my head for 3 days... taking turns with Elvis Costello's "I Don't Want to Go to Chelsea"). I was working at the London Book Fair, trying to sell rights to our books and looking at new books that were upcoming. There was some good stuff, but then I saw this. So... after you shell out money on my Lost book this fall, make this your second TV companion. :) Wait, no. Your fourth, after the Gossip Girl and Mad Men companion guides I'm currently editing...

And then it was back home. By the way, I meant to post on this earlier and then, well, the trip got in the way, but while I was away the second season of In Treatment started on HBO in the US and HBO Canada here, and it's as brilliant as season 1 so far. I watched a lot of it on my trip and loved it. An entirely new cast of characters, a new doctor's office, same problems, guilt, anger, frustration, and outbursts. John Mahoney is one of the patients, and if you think of him as just the lovable but gruff dad on Frasier, think again. He's amazing in this. I hope you're watching!

Tomorrow: Back to Lost, with a real post on it, on time. Did anyone watch the clip show? I have it on my PVR but I'm sort of allergic to clip shows. Did we learn anything that we hadn't already known or figured out?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Be Seeing You!

So, today my husband and I are driving through Wales and I had him pull over so I could take a photo of this absolutely stunning scenery (thankfully, there was a little spot you could pull over into... otherwise we would have been creamed. There are no shoulders over here). As I stood outside taking photos (and had a weird showdown with a sheep, who stared at me and bleated, unsure of why I was taking photos of his family and their hill), my husband was inside the car, figuring out that the castle we were supposed to see today was too far off the map and we were never going to get there. So he was reading the guidebook and discovered a little town nearby he thought I might be interested in, and as soon as he said the name of it, I screamed.

It's the second-best place to Oahu for me. This one's for Corey R., CK, and anyone else who has seen the show (and you know who you are). Here was the sign as we entered the place:

Oh yeah, we are officially in The Village!! If you’re a fan of The Prisoner like I am, you can understand the excitement of it. This is the most bizarre place I’ve ever seen. Built as a weird seaside resort by this eccentric architect (who started it in the 20s and finished it in 1976), it contains architecture and paintings and sculptures from all over the world, all kinds of styles, and it’s hard to pin down exactly what it is. Which is probably why the company thought this was the perfect place to put Number 6.

Here’s the entryway as you come into the town:

You go down a pathway and come around a corner, and you can see the beach that Number 6 spends a lot of time on in the opening episodes trying to run away on (and being chased by Rover, the big white ball that smothers people to death):

Then you go under this arch. If you look closely, on the right is Number 6’s house (now it’s a gift shop devoted to all things The Prisoner… and it was closed when we got there!! Argh. Oh well… no tailored Number 6 jacket or messenger bag with “Be Seeing You!” written on the side of it, or Prisoner pens/buttons/erasers… yeah, I looked in the window. (They even had the PHONE that Number 2 uses!):

Then as you pass by Number 6’s house, this is what you see:

It’s the courtyard! That’s the fountain where we first see Rover come out and smoosh someone in the first episode. At the end of the courtyard you can see the balcony where Number 2 usually talks to the crowd, and where Number 6 campaigns for president. This is me running my own campaign:

Facing away from the pool, here is the ground and the little riser where they play the game of chess using people as the pieces:

Coming down the side of a hill, you get closer to the beach, where there’s an expensive hotel and restaurant. You can see the cafĂ© chairs where Number 6 plays chess (with a board) and talks with an elderly person in the Village:

Standing on the beach, here’s a stitched-together photo of The Village:

And finally, here is me standing on the beach. In the sand were various names of people who’d been there that day (and one clever person had carved a Dalek, which was hilarious… clearly a Prisoner fan!). So this is me joining the legions of people who came here to get a taste of the TV show, and… oh my god, what is that behind me? ACK! Nikki, run! By hook or by crook, get out of th-- :::smoosh:::

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lost 5:13 "Some Like It Hoth"

Wow. If Lost's casual fans were confused before, this episode must have sent them over the edge. Norse gods fighting for island supremacy, the revelation of the DI experiment to find out if a tauntaun can actually live in tropical conditions, Marilyn Monroe appearing on the island (with Sawyer and Jin in drag next to her???) AND Robert Palmer singing on the beach?

Yep, Darlton have officially lost it.

Nope, I have officially not seen it. But this is my fantasy version of the episode. :)

As mentioned in my post yesterday, I'm currently in England, and will be downloading it Thursday morning to watch and comment on some time on Thursday. But until then, the boards are officially open for you to comment. I hope it was a good one!! Two weeks 'til the next one. I can't believe this season is almost over. :::sniffle:::


Hey all! Spent the day at Tintern Abbey (which is breathtaking) and White Castle (which had a TWO-WAY road that was narrower than my driveway -- and I'm really, really not joking about that -- that we followed for 5 miles to get to it, and I think I left imprints of my fingers on the dashboard, like Steve Martin in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles) and now we're in Hay-on-Wye. It's pouring buckets, but it's lovely.

Anyway, we coughdownloadedcough the episode this morning and I've only watched it once, then went to dinner, and now I'm back. My husband's succinct response: "Entertaining, but insignificant." Mine was a litle more positive. I thought it was fun, and I thought there were lots of clues and numbers and such in the background, I turned off my email this morning so I wouldn't see spoilers, and when I went into blogger to edit my post and post this, it says there are 60 comments! You guys rock! (And you're worrying me that you don't need me at all!!) So here's my post, and I'm seriously crossing my fingers you guys didn't already catch every single word I'm about to say. I am now off to read comments!!!

Lost: 5.13 “Some Like It Hoth”

I see dead people... walking around like regular people...
OK. Miles. I have a few questions about how he does what he does. Miles needs to have some sort of contact with the body of the deceased. He needed to dig up Rousseau and Karl. He needed to be taken to Naomi’s body. He cannot communicate with a kid who’s been cremated and his ashes scattered. He needs to climb into the back of the van and unzip Alvarez before he can find out his horrific story about tooth fillings. So why, back in “Confirmed Dead,” was he able to go into a guy’s room and talk to him? The body wasn’t sitting in the bed. He wasn’t sitting over the guy’s grave. Is it because the guy was haunting the room? At first I thought, OK, maybe Grandma cremated him, but instead of scattering the ashes, she has them in an urn downstairs. But I’m thinking the ghost idea might be something. He really is haunting the room (he moves the dresser at one point to reveal the vent for Miles) so maybe the closeness of the ghost allows him to talk to him.

Order of Events
So as soon as I saw Miles dealing with the guy who wants to know if his son knew he loved him (another example, like Roger a couple of weeks ago, of a lousy father looking for absolution), I remembered the incident in “Confirmed Dead” with the grandson. But one thing I mentioned at the time was the fact that when Miles pulls up in front of Grandma’s house in the car, he’s listening to a news report saying the bodies of Flight 815 have been recovered at the bottom of the ocean, and he stares at the radio for a moment like he knows it’s not real. So does the grandma scene happen after Naomi has met with him? He goes to see Felix, he figures out that Felix had info about purchasing a plane and digging up bodies, and next thing he hears about a plane found with lots of bodies. Hm...

“How do you spell ‘bounty hunter’?”
Because I’m watching this episode only once before writing this, I took a few notes while writing them. One of them, written near the beginning of this episode, was, “Bounty hunter? As in Boba Fett?” Then a scene later when Hurley takes a major interest in Pierre being Miles’s dad, I wrote, “What was Hurley writing, Star Wars fanfic? Is the Darth Vader/Luke thing making him interested in Pierre/Miles?” Turns out, yep! Well, no on the fanfic thing. What the writers came up with was WAY funnier than what I did.

• Miles explaining to Radzinsky that he’s in the circle of trust, and Radzinsky cutting him off before he can get the sentence out of his mouth.
• “It’ll help with global warming. Which hasn’t happened yet, so... maybe we can prevent it.”
• Hurley’s reaction when Miles says maybe the smell is caused by his special garlic mayo. “Dude, that’s not possible. OK, maybe it is possible.”
• Hurley to Miles: “You’re just jealous my power’s better than yours.”
• Hurley wondering if Marvin Candle is a stage name.
• Jack doing the janitorial work he’s suited for. (Teehee!!)
• Hurley making small talk in the van and trying to get Pierre and Miles to be buds.
• The look former punk Miles gives Dad when he discovers he likes country music. Ha!
• Hurley’s grand Empire plan. Wicked.
• Sawyer: “Get some rope.”
• “Let’s face it. Ewoks suck, dude.”
• Daniel!!!!!!

Did You Notice?:
• I loved Sawyer’s little line where he’s trying to impress Kate by saying, “In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m head of security.” I do miss the swagger and arrogance that once accompanied it, though. Maybe the guy really HAS grown up a lot in the last 3 years. Too bad...
• If you were paying close attention, you would have noticed that Miles’s mom was the same woman we saw at the very beginning of the episode, rousing Pierre Chang from sleep and telling him to go check on the baby. So it was a bit of a “duh” moment when Miles announced Chang was his daddy later in the ep, but only for some viewers.
• When punk Miles goes to see his dying mother, there’s a portrait of two horses on the wall. One is brown, like Widmore’s, and the other is black, like Kate’s.
• Naomi is clearly wearing a wig. The actress has probably cut her hair short since filming and needed to wear it long again.
• Well, after seeing Roger and Kate in this episode, we can probably forget about that wonderful budding Kager ship.
• Naomi says that Felix was delivering documents of photos of empty open graves and a purchase order for an old plane. These would be the same documents that Tom showed Michael in “Meet Kevin Johnson.”
• The classroom where Jack is cleaning the boards appears to be the same one we saw in “The Man Behind the Curtain.”
• Oops: when Roger kicks the bucket across the classroom, Jack has only erased a panel and a half of the chalkboard, but when the camera goes back to him 2 seconds later, it’s completely erased.
• What he was erasing was the studies of the Ancient Egyptians. You can see the words “Writing on the words of God” written on the board, then some hieroglyphics below it much like the ones we saw in the Swan, and then the topic has been broken down into three subcategories: Old/Middle/Late Egyptians. The Late Egyptians were around from 1300-700BC, according to the board. Could this have been Alpert’s era? Or earlier?
• There’s a child’s picture of a butterfly on the classroom wall, just like there were butterflies in Hurley’s institution common room.
• I assumed when Miles and Hurley pulled up to the Swan station that he was at the Swan station (someone mentions that Radzinsky is there and we know that he built the model and has a vested interest in the station being built properly).
• Bram, the dude from Dexter who pulls Miles into the van and tells him to work for another group, is on the island with Ilana. In last week’s episode, he’s the one who holds the gun up to Frank as Ilana asks him what lies in the shadow of the statue.
• Somewhere inside there, Miles has a teeny tiny heart. He gives the man back his money (only to rip out his heart after doing it). He also gives back the grandmother’s money in “Confirmed Dead.”
• We’d figured out long ago (Because You Left) that Chang’s baby was probably Miles, so that wasn’t a huge surprise. But we’d also suggested that maybe Ben couldn’t go to 1977 because he couldn’t exist with his younger self. That’s now off the table, so there must be a more interesting reason why he can’t go back.
• There was a moment when Dan first stepped off the sub where I thought he was going to look at Miles and say, “And you are...?” Anyone else thinking that?

Hurley’s numbers:
The time on the microwave at the beginning of the episode is 3:16. (Also the Ajira flight number, obviously.) The first dead man Miles hears is in apartment 4. Sawyer tells Miles to destroy the tape from security monitor #4. When Kate shows up, Roger’s had 4 beers. Miles and Hurley were in Van #8. Naomi offers Miles $1.6 million. (And now we see why Miles asked Ben for $3.2 million... which is not only double 16, but 23 backwards, as I mentioned in my book.)

So Many Questions...
• So Miles clearly got his ability from the island, but how? Is it like Desmond, that he had some sort of involvement with the electromagnetic energy and can see dead people in the way Des can see the future? Is Miles’s mother dying of cancer because of her exposure to the radiation?
• Here’s a question I have for the folks who have seen the ep more than once (or who recognized the guy immediately) but have we seen that Russell Brand-looking dude named Alvarez before? Was he there on the big DI recruitment day?
• Miles says that the body is Alvarez, and his filling shot out of his mouth and into his brain (MAN, what a way to die. If your fillings could pull out of your mouth that way, I’d be dead within seconds of being on that island... dammit mom, you shouldn’t have given me that much candy as a kid!!) Is it because of the electromagnetic radiation? If he’s with Radzinsky, then he’s at the Swan, and maybe the guy was too close to whatever it was that Desmond blew up at the end of season 2. (Which we have suggested before in the comments is likely Jughead.)
• How did Tom get Widmore’s documents? Is he the guy who killed Felix?
• In season 4, Ben shows Locke a videotape of a man being beaten in an alleyway, and Widmore steps out of a car and looks up at the person filming. Is Felix the man who was being beaten? Is it possible BEN was the guy who bought the plane and opened the graves, and Widmore intercepted the documents? And Tom either got them back or got another set? Or did Tom get the documents, and Widmore killed him on the videotape because he'd screwed up?
• So who’s Bram? I don’t think he’s with Ben, and he’s definitely not with Widmore, as we all assumed after last week’s episode. I’m thinking there’s a third group, a “What Lies in the Shadow of the Statue” group. Who are they? Are the Shadow Seekers some sort of third splinter group? Are they the DI who survived? (They look a little young for that.) Are they the Others, just wanting to take their island back? Are they someone completely different?
• Where has Daniel been? He certainly looks a lot healthier and happier than we’ve seen him up to this point. Did he take a sub off the island and do any time traveling? Or visit his younger self? Or Eloise? Is it possible he’s starting to ignore his own advice, and believes you can change time? Could he have been trying to eff with things when he was off the island?

Next week: No new episode, but a clip show. But in two weeks... new episode!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehn, Goodbye!

Well, folks, I'm off to Merry Olde England. Land of castle ruins, My Bloody Valentine, and Penelope Widmore. I'll be travelling around London and Wales. Last time I was there I went through Scotland and adored it (did you hear that, Desmond? I'd be willing to MOVE) and I've never done Wales, so I'm excited. I will be gone from, well, today, until April 23.

The bad news, gentle readers, is I won't be getting a Lost blog up tomorrow night. This probably saddens me more than it does you. But never fear: I know people come here to discuss the show, and discuss it you can! I've got a post that will go live at 10pm EST (when the EST version of the ep has aired) and you can feel free to discuss. Meanwhile I'll be coughdownloadingcough the episode where I am, probably watching it while my husband bombs through tiny, tiny roads (seriously, my British readers, why are your roads so narrow?? once we were going to see one of the white horses and the tiny tiny road literally disappeared in front of us; the car practically dropped off a cliff and we were flying downhill like Hurley in that VW van... frakkin' terrifying) and then I'll write up something about it on Thursday. It will probably appear mid-afternoon your time, but it's the best I can do. And I don't think it'll be as thorough as I'm used to making it, because I'll probably only get to watch it once. Not sure I'll be able to do my DocArzt post this week, either. :::sob::: But what I'll do is update the post where y'all have been commenting and discussing it, so your comments will still be attached to that post. I won't look at them before I write it (I don't want the spoilers!) so I'll probably just be repeating everything you've all said anyway. :)

Next week's episode (April 22) is a clip show, so there won't be a post on that one, either. However, it might be a good one to watch, because I believe they're recapping the season. I'm not a big one for the recap shows, but this season has been such a rollercoaster ride (more than ever I have friends saying to me, "Oh my GOD I'm so confused... I have NO idea what's happening anymore) so I think it's time the show offers something like this.

I hope to blog on things I see or hear in England while I'm there; they'll be short blasts, but, I hope, fun. And I'll be checking in during the evenings.

And I'm leaving it to my regular readers who tend to be the first ones commenting on the Lost posts and the ones who come back several dozen times a day (you know who you are) to sort of moderate for me, if you don't mind. Thankfully, I have a pretty troll-free site (yay!) but if any come out of the woodwork, it's whack-a-troll time. I leave it in your capable hands. :)

Goodbye! I shall miss you! Enjoy tomorrow night's episode. And then let the Star Wars vs. Norse mythology arguments begin!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Buffster Procreates!

Yes, folks, after years of inane speculation by gossip rags over invisible baby bumps and "why haven't they yet?", news came out this morning that Sarah Michelle Gellar is pregnant with her first child with Freddie Prinze Jr.

And if it's a boy, maybe we can finally put all this Bangel and Spuffy stuff to rest when we hear which one she'll name the kid after.

I say they split the different and name the kid Joss. Regardless of gender.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Lost: 5.12 “Dead Is Dead”

“I’ll be seeing, you, boy.”

Memo to the writers of Lost:
You know that scene in this week’s episode where Ben is walking towards Penny and Desmond is suddenly behind him and Ben turns and shoots? And how awesome that probably looked on paper, imagining fans all worried about Desmond but concerned about what might happen to Penny? Yeah?

Do it again and I will personally come to Hawaii and burn down your set. THAT is a promise.

I have never had any reason to keep a defibrillator in our house until now. Holy frakkin’ frak.

OK, so aside from THAT scene (my heart STILL hasn’t slowed down from that), this episode was positively epic. Huge. The last 10 minutes, I was literally sitting on the edge of my couch, my hands tightly clasped over my mouth, my eyes like saucers. My husband glanced over at me at one point and started laughing. Hater.

I think I’ll only be able to BEGIN to touch on the things that happened in this episode, but here goes...

Those Crazy Egyptians
So in season 2, the countdown clock rolled over when it got to 0 and we saw Egyptian hieroglyphs, throwing fans into a tizzy. It took less than 24 hours before one of them figured it out by finding the particular grouping in a textbook of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. Then Ben went to summon Old Smokey in “The Shape of Things to Come” and he pushed open a door covered in them. Just before turning the wheel, there were more. In this episode, he steps back from the door and I could just hear the fans who have been translating the hieroglyphs either squealing with delight or moaning at all the work they had ahead of them. And then he dropped through the floor and landed in a room covered in them.

But the biggest moment was when he stood in front of the Egyptian drawing of Anubis, the jackal-headed Egyptian God of the Dead, summoning Smokey. I had suggested in an earlier post that perhaps that big statue is Anubis (but its ears are a little short to really be him) but here he is now. In one episode in season 3 (I think it’s “Left Behind”) Juliet rushes through the sonic fence and then Smokey hits it, and as he comes at it he looks like Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hell in Greek mythology. Now we see he’s connected to Anubis. Anubis was the god of mummification, and rather than being some harbinger of death, which he is not, he was the one who protected the dead. We were discussing last week on the boards the idea that the Others are very caught up in keeping their dead bodies (they ask for Paul’s body... Christian’s body disappears and then he’s walking around... they ask Locke to bring his father’s body to them... Locke is now back from the dead... Amy makes a comment that they need to bury the bodies deeply in the ground). Perhaps they’re bringing them here for Anubis to protect them... or bring them back from the dead. Anubis is often portrayed holding an ankh, which Paul is wearing and Amy takes (and Horace freaks out that she’s kept this token of his).

Ben: Good Guy, or Pure Evil?
I’ve maintained for some time that I think Widmore’s the bad guy, Ben is the good one (good being relative to what has been done to him to turn him into who he is). I believed he killed Locke only to get him to the island... I’d hoped that he killed him because suicide was a sin that wouldn’t enable him to get to the island, but unfortunately it looks like he kept him alive only to pump him for information. The scene where he grabs Alex as a baby made my husband say, “There is NO WAY there is anything good about Ben Linus” but if his orders had been to exterminate both of them, he saved the baby, knowing that Rousseau would have to go underground to stay alive and wouldn’t be able to keep a crying baby quiet, and he gave her the advice about walking the other way when she heard whispers. And just as he saved Alex from Widmore’s clutches, he comes to kill Penny, thinking it will make him feel better, but he hesitates when he sees the little boy. That makes him the good guy, right? Right? Anyone?

“He changed the rules.”
Maybe I’m off-base on this one, but I screamed when Ben and Widmore had their showdown on the dock (not least because I thought those two were electric on screen in “The Shape of Things to Come,” and I’ve been dying for another scene with Emerson and Dale). Ben appears to be in charge now (it’s post-Purge, seeing as Alex is about 8 and the Others are living in New Otherton) and while Charles is hissing that if the island wants Alex dead, she’ll be dead, Ben is countering that he simply broke the rules. Therefore, he believes Widmore is wrong, the island never wanted Alex dead, and rules are rules. You do not go off the island and start a family, you stay on the island.

Now fast-forward to “The Shape of Things to Come,” and Alex is dead. Ben’s first words are, “He changed the rules.” On the dock, he insisted that Widmore broke the rules. We’ve been trying to figure out ever since what Ben meant in that death scene. Could it have been a reference to this one? Maybe it’s showing us that in that scene, Ben is thinking, “How could this happen to me? It was WIDMORE who broke the rules, NOT me, so why is my daughter dead? How could the island really have wanted her dead, when I’ve followed the rules and he broke them?” But why say he CHANGED the rules, not broke the rules? I’m thinking he is really saying that the island didn’t want Alex dead, so Widmore simply sent a vigilante to the island to make it happen. He changed the rules in forcing a death and not letting the island decide who lives and who dies. Rather than Smokey bringing the judgement forth, Widmore did it, thereby changing the rules.

• Watching Ben lie about Locke to Caesar, when we KNOW for one of the first times that he’s totally lying. It’s awesome to watch him in action.
• Locke: “Well, Ben, I was hoping that you and I could talk about the elephant in the room.” Ben, flatly: “I assume that you’re referring to the fact that I killed you.” Locke: “Yeah.” HAHAHAHAHAHA!!
• Locke after Ben tells him Sun hit him with a paddle and someone else hurt his arm: “You just make friends wherever you go, don’t you?”
• Ben telling Sun to look outside, and the little casual wave that Locke gives her.
• Lapidus, after Locke says there’s a reason for his return: “As long as the dead guy says there’s a reason then I guess everything’s going to be just peachy.”
• Ben’s dramatic, “What’s about to come out of that jungle is something I can’t control,” followed by John emerging from the bushes. HA!
• Ben re: Smokey: “It’s not a train, John, it doesn’t run on a schedule.”
• Desmond beating the snot (literally) out of Ben. YEEEAAAHHHH!!!!
• Locke asking Ben if he’s all right after he falls through the floor, and Ben croaking, “Never better.”
• The emergence of Smokey and what it does to Ben. That scene was glorious.

Did You Notice?:
• Was anyone surprised that the man on the horse in the beginning was Widmore? The moment I saw him marching through the tents looking furious, I immediately assumed it was him. Man, they found a young actor who really looks like Alan Dale!
• Ben jerks awake and Locke is sitting there, as if Ben was dreaming of the first time he met Widmore.
• Locke is sitting by Ben’s bedside, just as Widmore was sitting by him when Ben was a child, and Widmore was sitting by Locke when he first returned from the island.
• Um... 23-year-old Ben is a dead ringer for Pee-Wee Herman. And I love you, Michael Emerson, but I really don’t buy you as 23. (Of course, I’m only going by Sayid saying that Ben was 12 in 1977, and Alex was born in 1988. But Ethan looks about 14, so he could be 25. I don’t buy him as 25, either.)
• This one’s for batcabbage: BKV!! WOOT!!!!
• I couldn’t make out most of the books on the bookshelf that Ben is standing in front of as Sun and Lapidus talk to Locke, but I could definitely see Roots there. Considering this episode was getting back to Ben’s and the island’s roots, it’s a very fitting book to have sitting there. (I think Uncle Tom’s Cabin was there, too. Maybe Alex was into African-American writers.)
• I was very sad when Lapidus left Sun and Co. I just don’t care that much about the other people who’d been on the plane, and I love Frank.
• I was FREAKING with anticipation at finally seeing how Ben was going to summon Smokey. And then... it was like he let the water out of a greasy sink or a plugged toilet. What the hell? Now the next time I’m plunging the toilet I’m going to be worried the damn smoke monster’s going to appear.
• As Ben is talking to Widmore and approaching Penny’s boat, he walks by another boat called “Savage.” Then when we cut back to Widmore, he passes a newsstand, and there’s a horse-riding magazine featured on the stand. Cut back to Ben, who walks by another boat called Stella Mare (or it could be Stellar Mare; there’s a rope between the words).
• Ben has always been related back to the movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” He says his name is Henry Gale (the name of Dorothy’s uncle). The episode of his first flashback is “The Man Behind the Curtain.” And in this episode, as he stands in the middle of Smokey, it’s like Dorothy being caught up in the cyclone and looking out of her window to see the images of people and things flying by.
• Just like Yemi turned on Eko, Alex turns on Ben. Smokey might have let Ben live, but he will live with the pain of knowing he killed Alex now.

Hurley’s numbers:
If Sayid was right, then Ben was 23 when he took Alex. The big metal crate that Ilana keeps trying to move has the number AA823 on the side of it.

So Many Questions...
• So what happened to switch the roles between Widmore and Alpert? In 1954, Alpert is the leader and Widmore his underling. Why is Widmore in charge now?
• Was Widmore ever a disciple of the island the way Ben and Locke are? He questions Alpert and even when Alpert says Jacob wanted it this way, he still looks sceptical and says, “Of course,” unconvincingly.
• Now that Locke is undead, does he know more than he’s letting on? I loved how he said to Ben, “Hm, that’s your house, isn’t it?” and when Ben said it’s Alex’s room, he said, “Well, I suppose you should get over there and check it out” in a matter of fact way, as if he knew all along it would be Sun.
• Ben acts like he didn’t know the survivors were in the DI, even though he would have gone back to the DI and would have seen them. Is he lying?
• What was Ben’s capacity in the DI after he went to the Others? We see him in a Dharma suit killing his father as if he’d never left the DI, and that’s in the Great Purge of ’92. But he grabs Alex in 1988. Were the Others raising her when he was in the DI? How was he switching back and forth between grubby Other and clean-shaven DI Workman without the DI catching on?
• I also found it a little disappointing that Widmore wasn’t ejected from the island, but left on a sub. So why can’t he find the island? It’s not like it moved or anything. How did Ben know how to turn the FDW? I assumed he’d heard someone else had done it. Maybe it’s passed down through legend or something.
• Ben tells Sun that “dead is dead” and you don’t get to come back from that, not even on the island. He says he’s never seen anything like this before. So what does he think Christian is? Has he seen Christian or has Christian only appeared to John?
• Again, does John know about the Temple because he’s undead? He didn’t know where it was or what it was before he left the island.
• Was Desmond hit by the bullet? WAS HE?!
• Desmond beats the hell out of Ben and then throws him in the water. How did Ben come out again? Did he just let himself sink and then slink out of the water somewhere else? I doubt Desmond would have let him go that easily, but then again, Desmond might have jumped on the boat and sailed away as quickly as he could at that point.
• What the hell is up with Ilana and her peeps? Have they gone through what Rousseau’s people did? What did Ilana mean by “What lies in the shadow of the statue?” Was it a riddle, like ‘what did one snowman say to the other snowman,’ or an legitimate question?
• What did she mean when she said it’s time, and they’re going now. Going where?

Next week: You know how we've been talking about the fact Miles' potential has been wasted? Well... looks like next week there will FINALLY be a purpose for a ghost whisperer on the island. Halle-frickin-lujah.

UPDATE: I just posted my DocArzt column here.

While You Wait for Lost...

I read this article last week and it was the best thing I read all week. It's one of the funniest things I've read in The Onion, and it's clearly written by someone who knows BSG inside and out. It's about Obama's post-BSG depression, where he admits to feeling like a cylon without a resurrection ship.

"Since the end of the series, Obama has reportedly brushed off key budgetary decisions, ignored his wife and children, and neglected his daily workouts, claiming that he no longer cares if he lets himself go 'just like Lee did before the rescue on New Caprica.'"

If you're a fan of BSG (and have also felt like your Friday nights have no meaning since the show ended) this article is for you.

You can read it here.

Monday, April 06, 2009

"When I Am Through With You..."

"...there won't be anything left."

If you're not watching Damages, you're making a big, big mistake. I have two words to describe it: Effing glorious.

There are a LOT of shows I watch that I don't blog regularly about. Damages is a show I've been watching from the beginning, but because my husband and I like to collect 4 or 5 episodes on the PVR and then watch them all at once, I tend to be behind, so I don't talk about it. But a couple of weeks ago I made an offhand remark about watching Damages, and was surprised to see so many people comment, "You watch Damages?!" and talk about their love of the show.

So it's time to get the rest of you on board. (No spoilers ahead, just me begging you to watch.)

If you love Lost, and the questions and mysteries each week, Damages makes that show look like one that revealed the butler did it in the first episode. There are so many twists and turns (in EACH episode) you never know who's good, who's bad, who's playing whom, and who's being played.

The show stars the inimitable Glenn Close, who first wowed us on The Shield in a brilliant turn in the fourth season, where this tough-as-nails woman showed up to run the Farm, and become yet another nemesis to Vic Mackie. Now she plays Patty Hewes, a vicious, ruthless attorney who has clawed her way to the top, and now that she's there she's going to hold her position by refusing to let anyone read her. In the first episodes of season 1, she convinces a young lawyer named Ellen to come on board, seemingly because in Ellen she saw someone the firm could really use. What Ellen didn't know is that Ellen's background was useful to the case, and Patty was about to manipulate things to get what she needed. Or was she?

Each season opens with the END of the season: The film is grainy, someone stumbles out of a room or a building, it's hard to tell what's happening, but whatever it is, it's completely unnerving. Then we go back 6 months to see how we got to this horrible point. As the season goes on, they keep showing you that final scene, only adding a few seconds at the beginning or the end of it to help you piece it together. But at the end of every ep, just when you THINK you know what happened, you're proven completely wrong.

The series rests on Patty, and she encapsulates what it's all about. One minute she's inviting an attorney into her office and telling them they can come to her, she'll be their BFF, and if they ever need anything, don't hesitate to let her know. The next time they walk into her office she'll stare at them with nothing but coldness, her eyes tiny slits, and hiss something so unbelievable at them they're instantly aware that Patty is their superior, not their chum, and don't you DARE forget it. And then a few minutes later she'll pop into their office, a huge smile on her face, and invite them over for dinner. Only Glenn Close could pull this one off so brilliantly.

Season 1 featured Ted Danson as Arthur Frobisher, the head of a corporation that was screwing its employees out of millions of dollars, and Patty took on a civil suit against him to try to turn his name to mud. Just as Patty had a Jekyll and Hyde persona, so did he (Danson is awesome in a way you can't even imagine in this season) and his lawyer, Ray Fisk (played by Juliet's evil husband, for the Lost fans), seems to be the worst of them all, until we discover his vulnerability.

The end of the season will make your head spin. First you think one person is behind things, then another, then another, then you flip back to the first, then away from them, and just as they've revealed everything and the show enters its denouement for the season, there's a sudden turn AGAIN in the final moments of the episode and you sit there going, "WHAT?!" Don't ever think it's over.

Oh, and that final "What?!" that you had at the end of the season? All the crazy discussions you might have with your friends about "oh my god can you believe it ended like that?" In season 2, they twist it AGAIN and just when you thought you had a handle on what really happened in season 1, you discover you were wrong. Again.

It's awesome. Season 2 features not only Close, but Oscar winners Marcia Gay Harden and William Hurt, and it's full of even MORE twists and turns. And if you're a fan of The Wire, Lester Freamon is on there this season, along with Commissioner Rawls. Darrell Hammond from SNL plays this crazy creepy hitman, and Seth Bullock from Deadwood is on there. You'd be hard-pressed to find a tighter cast on television right now.

From the opening credits, featuring a wicked loud song from The VLA, where they moan, "When I am through with you... there won't be anything left" (shockingly, I've read of fans who really hate the loud, abrasive opening, but I LOVE it... judge for yourself, and watch it here) to the end credits, which always come too soon, this show is one of the best on television.

Next Sunday is the season 2 finale. Don't watch it if you haven't tuned in yet. Go out and get season 1, and season 2 will be along shortly. I promise you, you won't be disappointed.

UPDATE: I just found out from my readers that it's the finale this Sunday ONLY in Canada. If you're in the U.S., you've already seen episode 13 (lucky bastards!!) Thanks to everyone for not posting spoilers, but after this Sunday, post anything you want on it below. :)

Friday, April 03, 2009

Whatever Happened, Happened... This One's For Hurley

So I'm about to post my extremely belated DocArzt post and in it I'm going to give a shout-out to three of my brilliant commentators on here who explained the idea of why the future can't be changed to someone like me, accustomed to the whole, "If I step on a cockroach in 1941 I'll completely change the future" approach to time travel. But I noticed some people still seem a little perplexed by the entire discussion between Hurley and Miles, and accept Hurley's position on it, so in case you haven't read through the many, many comments to pick these out, let me highlight the analogies and explanations by the ever-brilliant humanebean, Teebore, and Blam.

First, humanebean. I had misunderstood Miles' plea for Hurley to shoot him, thinking he was suggesting that he can't die no matter what you do to him. I said, does that mean he can't age, either? humanebean explained it succinctly:

Miles said that he COULD die - "all of us (could)". This "now" is occurring after the events we've seen in 2004/5. If he were to be shot and killed, it in no way would affect the later events, which were already an established part of the timeline, even though they are "in the future" from the time period we are witnessing (and they are living through) in the moment. Yes, it is a mind-bender, and I don't blame Hurley for having a hard time wrapping his mind around it.

Teebore took that and went much further with it, explaining it beautifully:
As I understand it, Miles (or any other time traveling Lostie)can absolutely be killed/hurt/aged while in 1977.

While the events of 2004 take place objectively, for Miles 2004 is his past and 1978 the future of his subjective timeline.

There are two flows of time, the objective one (in which time time flows chronologically in order...1970, then 80s, then 90s etc) and the subjective one (time as its experienced by an individual).

For you, me, Ben and most people, objective time and subjective time are the same. We experience events in the order that time flows.

But for the Losties, once Ben turned the wheel, their subjective timelines got thrown out of whack from the objective timeline.

So while Ben in 1978 won't die because he's alive in 2004, Miles in 1978 COULD die because he experiences time differently than young Ben.

All of that probably just muddies the waters. How 'bout this: think of it terms of narrative. Anything can happen to Miles, Hurley, etc. because we're watching those stories unfold. We don't know what the next chapter holds.

But for Ben in 1977, we know what happens in his story: he grows up, kills Dharma, leads the Others. The events happening to Ben in 1977 are like watching a flashback: we're seeing events that already happened to the characters, even if we (the audience) didn't know about them already.

When watch a Jack flashback in season one and we see him yelling at Christian pre-815 crash, we know he won't die in that flashback because we've watched him on the island after those events. But when we're watching the island narrative again, anything could happen to Jack.

So now the Losties find themselves inserted into other characters flashbacks. For them, it's the main narrative, but for characters like Ben, everything that's happening is like watching one of their flashbacks.

And then later last night, Blam created a simple analogy that also explains it, but in a different way:
I mean no offense to those of you who don't understand how the past of the travelers is still their personal past, even though it's now in The Future, capital F, since they've traveled to The Past, capital P, but it's entirely consistent, and their past, in The Future, is still in their future as well, if they live long enough and/or don't jump back to the moment they left in a later episode. If time is immutable, then they have always been back where they are, just never come across any records of it before they traveled there.

An analogy:

I'm walking down Central Avenue. We're all walking down it. Everybody does; it's the only street we know. And it's a one-way street. Each of us has a cookie and we're letting crumbs fall on the sidewalk as we mosey along.

Now some blocks down Central, as a group of us passes, oh, the post office, at 2004 Central Ave., we see the sky flash. While we're blinded, we stumble onto a side street that we never knew was there — or someone pulls us into an alleyway *** — and after doubling back around on the next street over we end up back on Central Avenue, but many blocks behind where we'd been walking when the sky flashed, say by the bank at 1973 Central. (*** This is the inexact part of the analogy, since there was instantaneous transportation through time on Lost; it's not like they experienced traveling through some side-door dimension.)

We've absolutely no idea how we ended up thirty blocks behind where we'd been, but we decide to make the best of it and start walking forward again. You idly wonder if the crumbs from your cookie will still be there when we get back up to the post office, and in fact why the cookie is even in your hand at 1973 because we didn't buy the cookies until the bakery at, like, 1984 Central Avenue. I reply that of course we have the cookies, and the crumbs will still be there. A couple members of our group, whom we never really liked anyway, but still any loss of human life is a tragedy, could get paralyzed by spiders at our current location and never move forward again, but they would still have been farther up on Central Ave. earlier in the day and the people from the bakery at 1984 would still remember them: Aw... That's a shame. Hey... Wait... What do you mean they died ten blocks ago? That's impossible! They were here!

The fact that Central Avenue only goes one way, and that we've all only ever walked down it in one direction, and that our senses have been blown by skipping back in the opposite direction, doesn't change the fact that we have still physically been farther down the street before we came back around to 1973, or now that we've walked a bit farther, to 1977 — when some of our friends, who had kept walking to the airport at 2007 Central after we disappeared, join us, equally bewildered at how they got here.

I probably laid that on thicker than necessary, so my apologies for taking up so much space, but if it helps just one person my job here is done.

So, is everything clear now? Awesome. :)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Lost 5.11: Whatever Happened, Happened

“The conversation already happened, but not for you and me. For you and me, it’s happening right now.”

WOW. You want answers?! This episode had answers!

Well, sort of. More like confirmations. I don’t think anything happened that some Lost fan didn’t predict in some sort of way. Except for Jack refusing to help Ben. THAT I didn’t see coming. But now we know what Sawyer said to Kate before he jumped, even though we’d figured that out already. However, this brings up a point I suggested in my season 4 book... why did Kate make a big deal about her favour for Sawyer to Jack in “Something Nice Back Home”? She says she’s doing something for Sawyer but won’t tell Jack what it is. Wouldn’t a simple, “Turns out he has a daughter, AND – wait til you hear this, this is REALLY weird – I actually knew her before we got on the plane, so I went to make sure his kid was OK and reconnected with an old friend, and now we hang out and the kids play. You can come on over and meet her if you’d like. How was your day?” But instead she’s all mysterious and weird and he freaks out and starts popping pills.

We know where Aaron went (also something we figured out) and why Kate returned to the island (again, we assumed that). But it was still cool to watch it happen.

Hurley versus Miles
The discussion/argument between Hurley and Miles pretty much mirrors the same discussions we’ve had about time travel on this blog and on DocArzt’s, with some of the same exasperated responses and some of the same verbal illustrations to explain what is meant by linear and circular time. Hurley and Miles come off as two fans in a forum discussing the show. (In fact, I think it was on my column last week on DocArzt’s blog where someone joked that maybe older Ben will look down and notice his hand disappearing... I laughed out loud when Hurley used the same analogy here!)

Miles describes time as being relative to oneself. For them, the years go 197? (whenever they were born) to 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977... For Ben they go forward, and the “past” they’re in right now is Ben’s present. Miles is convinced that whatever happened, happened, and you can’t change it. Hurley, the lover of comics and reader/watcher of several stories of going back in time to change the past, isn’t so convinced. Is Miles right, and if so, where did he get his information from? Is it possible that THIS is his real usefulness? (We were discussing this week on the blog how Miles doesn’t seem to have lived up to the immense potential he had as a ghost whisperer.)

“You Look Just Like Her”
There are a couple of lines from season 4 that I can’t stop thinking about. One of them was when the psychiatrist tells Juliet that Ben is obsessed with her because “you look just like her.” His mother? A girlfriend? Now I’m starting to be convinced that the person she looks just like... is herself. Roger stands in the room where Ben is struggling to breathe, and tells Kate that what a boy really needs is his mother. Cut to Juliet standing over him, looking concerned and leaning down to help him. According to Alpert, he’s going to forget everything that happened up to the point where the Others took him, but maybe Juliet mothers him in some way after this moment, and he’ll remember that and become obsessed with her years later.

“I Know Who You Are, Boy. WHAT You Are.”
The other line is one Charles Widmore delivers to Ben when Ben comes to visit him in the night and tells him that he’s going to kill Penny (Shape of Things to Come). I’ve always been unnerved by Widmore saying he knows WHAT he is, and he also says that they both know Widmore can’t kill Ben. In this episode, Alpert takes Ben to his camp and says Ben will never be the same. Then the one hostile says to Richard that Ellie and Charles will freak out if they find out, they being Eloise (presumably) and Charles Widmore, whom we saw as young soldiers in 1954. Is whatever Richard’s about to do going to render Ben immortal in some way? It’s going to deprive him of his innocence, whatever that means, and this act could be the reason Widmore refers to Ben as a “what” in this scene.

• Jack: “You’re telling us we’re under house arrest?” Miles: “No, you’re free to leave whenever you want. But I’ll shoot you in the leg.”
• Juliet letting Jack have it as he gets out of the shower.
• The scene of Kate saying goodbye to Aaron. It’s the most I’ve cried over a scene this season. What a heartbreaking scene to watch, especially if you’re a parent.
• Locke’s final line.

Did You Notice?:
• There didn’t appear to be a noticeable exit wound on Ben’s back. Maybe it went through his side and that’s why there’s no blood?
• Kate’s got her Patsy playing again. An interesting choice, since Kate’s got Sawyer’s picture in her mind, but Juliet’s got him. (not that Kate knows that yet...)
• Kate sings “Catch a Falling Star” to Aaron, which is the song that Christian always sang to Claire when she was a baby.
• After Sawyer and Miles took off with the janitor’s keys, leaving Horace and Phil behind in the cell room, Phil had a look on his face like something wasn’t right. I think he’ll be the one to eventually unravel Sawyer’s happy little fairy tale.
• For all his snark, Miles seems to fall into the role of being Sawyer’s underling pretty easily, and takes orders from him without ever talking back.
• There’s been much talk (more than I’d like) about the ships on the show right now, but this episode seemed to put Kate on her own... at least, on the surface it did. She confronts Jack and tells him she doesn’t like the new him, and he responds that she didn’t like the old him, either. The insinuation is that he always knew she had it for Sawyer, and not him. So when she asks Sawyer coyly why he came out to help her, we think he’ll profess his love to her, and even moreso when he calls her Freckles. But then he surprises us as much as Jack did, and says nope, he’s doing this for Juliet (whether or not he means it and isn’t just trying to convince himself that’s the case is something else entirely). It’s good to know once and for all that Kate came back to the island for Aaron and for Claire, and not for any of the boys. That said (and please don’t hate me, Jaters) I think from what Cassidy says to Kate – that Sawyer broke her heart and Aaron was there to fix it – that we know once and for all that her heart would have been with Sawyer if she truly had the choice. Cassidy would have gleaned that information from the conversations she’d had with Kate. And when Jack says that Kate didn’t like the old him, she doesn’t argue.
• We’ve seen so many horrible fathers on this show, and we haven’t really seen a flip side to most of them, but in Roger we finally see a father who knows he’s failed his son and is helpless to do anything about it. Suddenly Ben’s patricide seems worse than it originally seemed to us.
• I was GIDDY with excitement when the show flashed to the marina, and I realized this is the episode where we’d find out what happened with Kate no longer having Aaron.
• My son totally has that same brown sweater that Aaron is wearing.
• When Kate goes up to the guy to ask where the juice boxes are, he looks directly at her, and never do his eyes go down to look at Aaron. Then when she goes back to him to ask if he saw her son, he looks at her like she’s kinda crazy and says, “Your... son?” and as she runs away, he looks behind him as if to say to someone that she was nuts. Did anyone else think for a moment that Aaron was invisible in that scene or something? That grocery stock guy was very strange.
• Kate and Aaron are wearing the same clothes when they go to Cassidy’s, as if they hadn’t slept at all the night before.
• In the awesome smackdown scene between Juliet and Jack (did anyone else detect that maybe IF Sawyer has been pining for Kate, Juliet has been equally pining for Jack?) Jack says that he came back because he was supposed to, but doesn’t know any details. He sounds EXACTLY like Locke in this scene.
• I don’t mean to be unfair to Sun, but Kate looked far more broken up over leaving Aaron than Sun looked about leaving Ji Yeon.

Hurley’s numbers:
Kate loses Aaron while standing at the end of aisle 4.

So Many Questions...
• Where did Sayid go?
• The castaways spent three months combing nearly every square inch of that island. Why did they only ever find one VW van when it appears the DI camp had at least a half dozen of them?
• Why was the only doctor at the Looking-Glass station? Why does the DI only have one doctor?
• Is Kate really a universal donor? Why didn’t she give blood when Jack was draining his own arm into Boone’s?
• Is Miles right? If Hurley is the guy whose head was always buried in sci-fi comics, wouldn’t he have a better handle on time travel, or would he be following more of the Back to the Future model that sci-fi often follows, whereas Miles is following... a different one? (I’m loathe to say “scientific”...)
• Did Hurley just pwn Miles by suggesting that Ben doesn’t remember Sayid as the guy who shot him, or DOES Ben remember him as the guy who shot him? I know, I know... you’re going to say Alpert says Ben won’t have any recollection of Sayid doing any of this to him. But why, then, does Ben destroy Sayid after Sayid gets off the island, turning him into a ruthless killer? And, I guess, either way, Hurley didn’t win the argument because we now know why Ben doesn’t remember him (if you believe that).
• Is there any chance that Juliet is still on the side of the Others? Is it possible she was turned into one of them in much the same way Ben was at the end of this episode? She’s always known much more than she’s ever divulged, and now she’s turning Ben over to them.
• How fast does Aaron move? Kids move fast – I think every parent knows from experience – but she’s in the middle of the store and that Claire lookalike said she found him in the fruit section, which is always on the outer edge of the store. How did he get all the way over to the fruit section without her seeing him?
• Why doesn’t Kate tell Sawyer that she actually knew Cassidy ahead of time?
• When the Others come out of the woods, is one of them Bea Klugh? There’s a young woman in brown with long dreadlocked hair who comes at them as the guy says, “Do not move” who looks a lot like her.
• Why is Mrs. Littleton so hostile to Kate when she opens the door? The day before she welcomes Jack with open arms, but when Kate comes she hisses, “I know who you are.” Just because Jack was at her place ranting about “some person named Aaron” doesn’t mean Kate had anything to do with it. Even if he mentioned her name. *cough*
• Claire’s mom says to Kate, “Why didn’t you come to me in the first place?” and Kate answers that she needed Aaron. But wouldn’t the obvious answer be, “Because Claire told us all you were dead”?! She told Sun on the beach one day that her mother was dead, and Sun would have passed that on to Kate. So why would Kate have been looking for Claire’s mom if she assumed Claire was an orphan? She meets Mrs. Littleton for the first time at Christian’s funeral, and Aaron is 9 months old at that point, so she’s already very attached to him.
• When Kate leaves Aaron in the room, can we assume Mrs. Littleton is standing outside the door? Why would Kate leave him alone even if he’s just two doors down from her?
• What did Richard mean when he says Ben won’t be the same? That he’ll lose his innocence?
• Will ROSE AND BERNARD be inside that Temple? Sigh. I miss them.
• Richard takes Ben to the same spot where Rousseau lost her crew (now we see why we flashed back to that). Does the spot have the same effect on Ben as it did on them, or has it changed? Or did they fall into the smoke monster part of it, whereas Alpert takes him to the inside of the Temple? (If that is indeed what it is.)
• Does Smokey actually exist in 1977? They don’t seem to have had any run-ins with him back then.
• The end of the episode has Locke deliver his awesome line, “Welcome back to the land of the living.” But does the line mean more than that? Is it possible that by returning to the island, Ben has somehow undone what Richard did to him? If he was “undead” after what Richard did to him, has something changed?

Maybe next week we’ll find out: