Friday, April 30, 2010

The Gashlycrumb Losties

One of my favourite poems of all time is Edward Gorey's "Gashlycrumb Tinies" (I had a giant poster of it on my wall throughout university). It's morbid and awful and WONDERFUL, running through the alphabet describing children dying in various horrible ways. "A is for Amy who fell down the stairs, B is for Basil assaulted by bears." I can still recite the entire poem on the spot if required. And yet no one has ever required it. Sigh. More useless knowledge I have...

Anyway, someone has put together "The Gashlycrumb Losties," running the A to Z of people who have died on the show, and the reason they did it? Just so they could insert Zoe as Z. A person after my own heart!! My only negative thing to say about it: that I'm REALLY upset I didn't think of it first!! But mine wouldn't have been as brilliant.

M is for Minkowski, whose nose bled and bled.

N is for Nikki, interred, presumed dead.

Go read the entire poem here.

Nik Recommends Geektastic!

Hello everyone! The Toronto Public Library has been hosting a series of incentives all month long to "Keep Toronto Reading." A dear friend of mine and work colleague hosts an AMAZING book blog called the "Keepin' It Real Book Club" and she agreed to help out the initiative by hosting on her site a series of book reviews in under 3 minutes, where people who work in publishing or with books in some way recommend a book they think everyone should read.

I asked her a couple of weeks ago if she'd be open to me recommending Y: The Last Man. After hearing me talk about it endlessly in the office, she had read it, and excitedly said yes yes! So I kept meaning to do it, and kept forgetting with the mountain of other stuff I'm supposed to be working on (in theory). Last night it suddenly occurred to me I hadn't done it yet, and today was the last day. So I grabbed the BKV series, ready to hold up the volumes and talk excitedly about it... only to find that there was already a review of it on the site, and they were saying pretty much EXACTLY what I was going to say.

So, I switched over to a book that I found in Shakespeare and Co. in NY last October, started reading on the plane ride home, and LOVED and I have been meaning to post on it for months here. It's called Geektastic and it's a collection of YA short fiction about the world of geek- and nerddom, edited by Holly Black Cecil Castellucci. It's SO funny, and I loved it.

So head on over here and you can see me recommending this book to you!! (Once again I apologize for the super-quiet microphone. ARGH. I don't know what's wrong. I think I have to start shouting in these things. I'm going to do a video podcast for the finale of Lost, but since it'll probably be me screaming and crying and yelling, I don't think the volume will be much of a problem in that case...) ;) And also, be sure to scroll back and watch many of the other recommendations, many by people I know or have worked/am working with at the moment. (Evan Munday's is probably my fave of the bunch. The video is brill.) Be sure to leave comments to show you were over there! :) And definitely check out the book. It's SO much fun, and right up our alley.

And while I have your attention, I hope you can go over to my publisher's new TV blog, where they're highlighting all of the TV companion guides and authors of those companion guides on a regular basis. Since this fall we will be bringing out guides to Lost, Glee, Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and House, it seemed like a good time to finally have a site to showcase it all! So check it out when you can. It's called Books on TV (I had suggested "Books to Watch" which I still think is pretty damn catchy, but they went with the other title instead). It's a fun site that's updated regularly, and again it's done by the brilliant woman who does the Keepin' It Real Club!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lost 6.14: “WTF”

Wow, one week closer to the finale, guys. Sorry I didn’t get this post up last night. The craziest thing happened: I was just finishing watching Lost, wiping the tears of joy and laughter and sadness from my eyes, when there was a knock at the door, I opened it, and then just stood there in stunned silence as Bono gave me a small wave and said hello. And David Bowie was with him. Like... WHAT?! They both came in, I told them I was just finishing up watching Lost, and they both went, ‘Oh my GOD I thought it was a repeat tonight!!’ I said so did I until I tuned in and sure enough, it was a new one and it had been a screwup.

So anyway, that’s why I’m late with this post. A future post shall outline everything we chatted about. It was pretty epic.

Anyway, on to the observations!!

• Ben walking in on Richard Alpert applying eyeliner. That moment was gold. And the way Emerson delivered that line?? Awesome. “You have been denying the guyliner for years and I KNEW it wasn’t just your lustrous lashes. Dammit, Richard, you’re a bigger liar than I am.”
• Miles then interjecting, “And that is saying a LOT.”
• Zoe stepping into the electromagnetic cabin and NOT surviving the zap. Thank you, writers!! It was a glorious ending to that character, and you know, those final words of hers actually made me like her, surprisingly.
• Desmond clawing his way out of the well using nothing more than his fingernails and Scottish determination. And still looking awesome when he got to the top.
• Sayid is back!!! He is BACK!! When Hurley showed up and said he was talking to dead Nadia and then Sayid could actually SEE her, it was the perfect parallel scene to the one with Richard and Isabella. And just like that moment gave Richard something to live for, watching Sayid reel back and fall over and then look up and the old Sayid was there and the empty shell was gone??? Oh my god, TEARS!!!!
• OK, you’re all waiting for me to point this out so I will... when Nikki and Paulo showed up in the sideways world and he had syphilis and she had gone mad and then they both got in that big shoving match and pushed each other out of the 16th-storey window (Hurley number!) and landed in that dumpster filled with broken glass just before the peroxide truck backed up and covered them in alcoholey agony... ah, the screams. And then when the manure truck backed up and dumped it all over them, suffocating them in fertilizer? HAHAHAHAHA... almost better than the island death. (But a little confusing about why all of those trucks happened to converge on the same spot at the same time? But I’m willing to let that plot hole go.)
• Jack finally catching up to Christian and talking to him and working out the father/son issues. WOW. The Jears were epic, Christian finally became the sympathetic character we knew he was... and to FINALLY have that unbelievable explanation of why he’s on the island?? Wow, I totally did NOT see THAT one coming!! These writers are brilliant.
• The quiet scene of Sun telling Jin all about Ji Yeon. More tears... Oh, I love having them together again.
• The final Ben/Widmore showdown. I’ve been waiting for this moment since “The Shape of Things to Come” and it was PHENOMENAL. Oh my GOD... I will be devoting pages and pages of my final book to this meeting. LOVED it. I think the crux of the entire series was right there.

Did You Notice?
• That I got really drunk right before 9pm and passed out?
• That right in the middle of talking to Bono and David Bowie, I suddenly opened my eyes and it was like it was all... a dream or something? Weird.

You can read more about last night's episode (if you missed it!) and see some great stills from it by clicking here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lost: Madness and Clarity

One of my favourite writers of all time is Timothy Findley. I was crazy about CanLit (Canadian literature) when I was a student, and I was forever changed the first time I discovered Findley’s work through his masterpiece, The Wars. A gorgeous, gorgeous piece of writing about a boy’s experience as a soldier in the First World War and the mental toll it took on people, this book led me to the many, many other books Findley wrote. Findley was a lion of CanLit, a popular fave but also a critical and literary success. I’ll never forget the morning of June 22, 2002, when I grabbed the paper, unrolled it, and saw the giant picture of Findley on the front cover with his birth... and death... dates written across the top, and I leapt back as if the paper had electrocuted me. I’ve never had such a visceral reaction to a newspaper headline before, but I began crying. He’d died in France the day before after a fall, and I was devastated.

One of my favourite novels of Findley’s was 1993’s Headhunter, set in the very real mental hospital on Queen Street West in Toronto. That same year I was privileged enough to interview the man, who is affectionately known as “Tiff” (after his full initials, Timothy Irving Frederick Findley), when he had written a play, The Stillborn Lover, to be performed for the first time at the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario, where I was then living and going to school. I remember being so excited, and since I’d written numerous papers on his work, I’d read most of the interviews he’d conducted over the years, knew what questions he avoided (and was still determined to ask them anyway), and I knew his work inside and out. I was prepared.

I called him up, his partner Bill answered the phone, we chatted for a minute, and then he passed the phone over to Tiff. And what followed was an incredible hour-long phone call that went from interview to conversation. We talked about the play, about Headhunter, about his books (and there was one question I’d been trying to find an answer to for two years of paper-writing but he refused it in every interview I’d read, and when I asked it at the very end of the interview, he answered it without hesitation), and... about madness. It’s an ongoing theme in Findley’s writing: his main characters are mad, or the world around them is mad, or their family has gone mad. And he revealed that he’d had an aunt who suffered from a mental illness and he’d spent a lot of time around her, and where others would avoid her, he would talk with her endlessly. Through those conversations he discovered that this woman seemed to “see” things that no one else did... she had a sense of clarity about the world around her that cut through all the bullshit and just saw right to its core. She’d been one of the biggest influences on his writing, and he found he was often trying to work that sense of clarity through madness into many of his books based on the experiences he’d had with her.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because in the past week I’ve been thinking more about that long conversation I had with him and wondering if there could be a link with his ideas and Lost.

In the sideways world on Lost, the characters seem to need a jolt of some kind to see the original timeline, whether it’s being shot or kissed or holding hands or some burst of electromagnetism. But Libby didn’t need a jolt. Her madness gave her the clarity to see to the other world. There were no holding hands or kisses or getting slammed by a car or almost drowned... she just saw it, no jolt needed. I suggested on Chris Kelly’s site the other day that I wondered if Libby in the original timeline was in the mental institution because she could actually see the sideways world and thought she was completely mad. Is it possible someone from the original timeline had a sense of the other timeline?

Hurley has spent time in the mental institution but is really sensitive about it – we’ve seen many instances where he’s become incensed when someone has suggested he’s crazy – and he can speak to dead people. Just like Libby seeing the original timeline from the sideways world, he can see across the line of the dead. No one else can see them, just like no one else can see the sideways world except for Libby, suggesting that once again those who are mad have a clarity that allows them to see things other people simply can’t see.

Think of how many of the books that have been mentioned on the show and how many of them deal with madness... just about every character in Wonderland and the Looking-Glass worlds is entirely mad, and Lewis Carroll’s books are the most referenced ones on the show. If you look back through the show and think about every time a character mentions that someone else is crazy, usually immediately following that moment, the character who’s been called crazy has a moment of clarity. It’s definitely worth thinking about.

Oh, and to bring this all back around to me (which, those on my Facebook page will tell you, is definitely my modus operandi), after interviewing Findley I wrote that piece in the student newspaper at UWO, and the night it ran I went down to the premiere performance at the Grand Theatre. I went over to the press table to grab my packet (I was going to be writing a review for the next day’s paper) and the press woman got my name and said, “Oh! I have a message from you from Tiff.” Me = froze. “He said that of all of the stories on the show that he read today from all of the various papers, including the national newspaper, he wanted me to tell you that you were the only one who truly GOT it, and that he got that sense from you even when he spoke to you. He said he really loved your piece, and wanted me to tell you to keep up with the writing, and you will be successful at it someday.”

I barely remember that night’s performance, because all I could do was sit there in the audience in a blind haze, enveloped by the surreal notion that my favourite writer in the universe had just complimented MY writing. Wow. It was a moment I’ll never forget.

Official True Blood Season 3 Poster!

Love. Love love love love love.

The Lord is My... Shephard?

So, on the weekend I was at my dad’s and when we’re there, the kids and I usually go to church with him and his wife. We did the little thing where you bring the kids to the front of the church and the minister tells a little story (this one was about Jesus being a shepherd) and then the kids went downstairs, and as I resumed my seat in the pew further back, I was now alone with my thoughts and began thinking, “Shepherd. Shephard. It’s not a coincidence that his name is a misspelling of ‘shepherd’... he wasn’t able to actually herd them anywhere.” Then the minister said, “And now let’s do a familiar reading for most of us: Psalm 23.” “Hm,” I thought. “‘The 23rd Psalm’ was the Eko flashback. I wonder if we’ll see Eko again? I wish we could see Eko again. Oh, ahem... ‘he maketh me to lie down in green pastures...’ I remember when he said this one aloud with Charlie. I miss Charlie.”

And then the minister began her sermon, “My sermon today is called ‘Unlocking the Mysteries.’” Weird, I thought... there’s a book called Unlocking the Mysteries of Lost. Have I hit my head or something? Why is this entire service making me think of Lost?! She began talking about the origin of Hanukkah, which seemed like... strange timing... and Jesus and that he was fighting a political battle as much as anything else... and somewhere in there I zoned out and began thinking about who will replace Jacob. Will it be Jack? Or do the writers worry that’s too obvious and it’ll be someone else? Is John Locke really dead? “ was a fight of good versus evil, and he shone like a light in the darkness...” Whoa... it’s like the woman is talking about the island. Has Desmond been possessed by Jacob as some are suggesting? I don’t think so... wouldn’t that mean he’s dead? “... and he knew the only way to conquer evil was to unlock it in the first place.”

Un-locke it. The island has been un-Locked, because Locke’s dead. And in un-Locke-ing it, has it unleashed the darkness that was foretold to Richard?

OK, STOP IT, Nikki. You are in CHURCH. Cripes, if the final hymn is called “Something Nice Back Home” I think I’m going to have to excuse myself. I seriously need a new hobby.

The service ended, and my dad, who’d been sitting up in the choir, came down and said, “Maybe I’ve been talking to you too much in the past couple of days, but MAN that service seemed like it was all about Lost!”


Monday, April 26, 2010

Lost Haiku: The Last Recruit

Because some people just can't wait until Tuesday to get their haikus on. ;)

"John Locke was not a
believer, Jack. He was a
sucker." Like, OUCH, dude.

Did Sayid kill Des?
No no no no no no NO!
"Go check if you'd like."

Likely concussion,
bleeding and kinda gross, but...
I still love you, Des.

"Jin!" "Sun!" Me: "The fence!"
Run run run!! "I love you Jin!"
"And I love you--" ZZZZZT!!!

Why does she bug me???
Tina Fey she is not. More
like Sarah Palin.

I will admit, though,
When Sawyer called her Widmore's
"Number Two," I laughed.

And now, over to you guys. And NO NEW LOST EP TOMORROW, but tune in for some more detailed Lost analysis on the season so far, and the Globe and Mail chat is still happening on Wednesday!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Best LOST Pic Ever?

Here's something to waste an hour staring at this weekend (and yes, I've been staring at every inch of it for the past 30 minutes before posting it here!):

Thursday, April 22, 2010

For Those Lucky LA Lost Fans...

I just got the news that Michael Giacchino will be conducting an orchestral performance of the music of Lost at UCLA's Royce Hall on May 13. There will be performances (presumably spoken-word) by Nestor Carbonell, Jorge Garcia, and Michael Emerson as well... (WAAAAH... seriously, you have NO IDEA the pain with which I type these words, knowing I am NOWHERE NEAR L.A.) and that will be followed by (kill me now) a sneak preview of the second-to-last episode of Lost, which will air on May 18.

For you lucky bastards who live in the L.A. area, tickets for this extraordinary event will go on sale Friday, April 23. You can go here for the full information and to order tickets. And if you go... please think of me wanting to be there. (And if Desmond shows up, DO NOT TELL ME.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lost 6.13 "The Last Recruit"

“John Locke was not a believer, Jack. He was a sucker.”

“Whether you like it or not, you’re with him now.”

“Get off my damn boat.”

“Don’t worry, it’s going to be okay. You’re with me now.”

So, in a jokey haiku earlier today I suggested that the last recruit was going to be Jack. Who’d have thunk that haiku would have given me that moment of clarity?

As predicted last week, all of the storylines are coming together this week, with all of the SW stories merging into one (Hurley’s was the only one we didn’t see at all) and all of the island folk pretty much together. Richard/Ben/Miles were the only ones we didn’t see on the island this week. (Bummer, because seriously, aren’t they like a dream road trip trio?? I want to see a National Lampoon movie with these three in it...)

Another great episode that moved us closer and closer to that end, even if it was another bridge ep. Here’s hoping I didn’t miss too many things (as I mentioned earlier today, I’m not feeling well, so I did this rather quickly....)

• Hurley: “You can always bring people back from the Dark Side. Anakin?” Sawyer: “Who the hell’s Anakin?” HAHA!!
• Hurley: “Hey Claire. You look... great.”
• SW Sawyer to SW Kate: “It would never work, Sweetheart. I’m a cop, you’re a murderer...” LOL!!
• I loved the little Jack/Claire reunion, even if she’s nuts. I want to believe the old Claire is still in there somewhere...
• That scene between Desmond and Sayid in the well. Just heartbreaking. (And no, he totally didn’t shoot him. I don’t believe that for a second.)
• “... and that pilot who looks like he stepped off the set of a Burt Reynolds movie.” HAHAHA!!!!
• Sayid’s cold, dead-eyed response to Locke when he asks if he killed Desmond: “Of course I did. Go and check if you’d like.” :::shudder:::
• The look on Jack’s face when Claire tells him Christian was her father. “Uh... um-I-uh... wait, you... uh... WHAT?!”
• Sawyer and Jack disagreeing... will this be the last fight we see between the two of them? SADNESS.
• The Jin/Sun happy ending. In both worlds!!

• Christian in “White Rabbit” was actually Smokey. However, we don’t have an explanation for who Christian was in the hospital, since Smokey can’t travel off the island. Was it the same guy? What about the other dead people? Ilana said that Smokey can only look like one person at a time so was he able to also be Yemi, or was he only able to be Christian? What allows him to slough off one body for the other?

The Numbers:
The adoption agency and lawyer are on the 15th floor.

Did You Notice?:
• Jack is asking Hurley’s permission? WHAT?!
• I found Smokey’s rundown of Locke being nothing but a pathetic waste to be really sad... I don’t like the idea that he was completely misguided. I believed in his faith, even when he effed up. I wonder how tough it was for Terry O’Quinn to deliver that line.
• Jack defends John Locke? WHAT?!
• Sun recognizes Smokey in the SW... how did she recognize him? Was the gunshot a jolt? If it was, why didn’t she see the life she had with Jin in the other world, too?
• I love that Ben is actually helpful and tries to save Locke’s life in the SW, whereas he’s constantly trying to kill him in the original timeline.
• Sawyer starts destiny talk with Kate in the SW, and notice how she immediately figures him out (and why he lied) just like she figured out his real name wasn’t Sawyer in the original timeline. (If Kate was a wanted murderer by the FBI, wouldn’t they be holding her in something other than... a chair? Without handcuffs? Constantly turning their backs on her?)
• Miles points to Sayid on the TV and says “That’s our bad guy.” It made me think back to the episode where Kate comes in to see Sam Austen and Sayid – the army’s bad guy – is on that TV, too.
• Kate points out to Jack that Sayid’s different now. He says, “We’re all different now.” “No, Jack, he’s REALLY REALLY different now.”
• “That’s Widmore’s Number Two.” Prisoner reference!!
• Interesting that Zoe gives Smokey until nightfall to turn over Des, just as he gave everyone in the Temple until nightfall to get out.
• Smokey smashes the walkie... he definitely seems to have a thing against technology.
• As soon as Desmond showed up again, I thought, “Ack! What is he going to do to Claire to make HER see??” “I’m gonna throo ya doon some stee-ahs and help ya have a vishun!”
• Desmond to Claire: “It won’t cost you a cent. Trust me... it’ll be my pleasure.” Funny, that was the same pick-up line he used on me...
• I was convinced the lawyer would be Ana Lucia. Didn’t see Ilana coming. She did look rather, ahem, dynamite, though, didn’t she? Ha. Ha. I mean, she really... blew them away with her, erm, explosive beauty? OK. I’ll stop now.
• Interesting that Ilana had an American accent in the SW. That’s what happened if Jacob hadn’t recruited her at a young age and made her go to Eastern Europe to learn how to take care of the candidates for a full 12 minutes before being blowed up real good.
• Jack takes instruction... WHAT?!
• OK, when Sawyer was saying everyone was going to get in the boat, did anyone else suddenly flash in their heads to the outrigger and think, “ZOMG, Sawyer’s going to be shot by Juliet?!” No? Just me? Hm. I just KNOW we’re going to see that outrigger scene at some point... but I’m hoping Widmore’s peeps are in it and Zoe takes one between the eyes. (Seriously, WHY do I dislike her so much? She hasn’t annoyed me the same way Douche and Douchier did in season 3 but there’s just something about her that rubs me the wrong way.)
• That well is like 15 feet deep and Des went head-first... there’s no way he wouldn’t be suffering from a severe spinal injury.
• “I died... and he brought ME back.” Oh, Sayid, do you really want an empty zombified version of Nadia back??
• Sawyer’s Claire logic is unfair... Aaron is STILL her son, and just because she’s “drinkin’ Locke’s Kool-Aid” doesn’t mean she deserves to be abandoned on an island while other people raise her child... none of this was her doing. Disappointed in you, Sawyer...
• Claire’s logic is equally skewed. “He’s the only one that didn’t abandon me.” No, he’s just the one who drew you away from everyone else so they wouldn’t know where you’d gotten to, and completely brainwashed you into thinking it was totally awesome that Aaron was with them and not her, and then they were forced to leave without her because they couldn’t find her. Of course, Claire presumably doesn’t remember any of this; I’m thinking it’s part of Smokey’s mindwipe of her. I felt terrible as she stood by the tree and watched them abandon her... again. Poor Claire.
• As Kate appeals to Claire, you can hear the quiet Claire music that used to play when you’d see her with Aaron on the beach, usually with Charlie. “I never should have raised him. It should have been you.” Go Kate!!!
• I loved David saying to Jack, “I’m sad for YOU, Dad.” I’m already awaiting the Jears-o-meter on the Ack Attack for that one. ;)
• Did you get a load of the look on David’s face? “Whoa... Dad... I have an AUNT. And a SUPER-HOT aunt at that!!! Oh happy happy day!! This is the best reading of a will EVER.”
• I love Jack’s, “Sorry, we have to reschedule.” Um... I’m pregnant and here for only a couple of days from AUSTRALIA. When the hell are we rescheduling to???
• There was a bit of déjà vu when they were all on the boat... remember in “The Lie,” Frank was the one to go under the ship and get refreshments then, too.
• “You wanna take a leap of faith, Jack? Take it.” Eloise told Jack that he had to take a leap of faith to put the shoes on John Locke, and Locke referred to leaps of faith when he was pushing the button.
• Jack jumps off the boat just like Sawyer jumped off the helicopter.
• Jack: “The island is not done with us yet.” Sawyer: “Yeah, well I’m done with this island.” This is the exact exchange that we heard in “316” between Eloise and Desmond, with her telling Des the island isn’t done with him yet, and Des saying he’s done with the island (d’oh).
• Jack to David: “Hey, you okay waiting here for me for a bit while I perform THIRTEEN HOURS OF SURGERY??!!”
• Nikki’s dream line of the entire season: Oh, how I wish Jack had moseyed into that O.R. and said, “Not only am I gonna save this dude’s life, but I’m gonna make him f*cking WALK again. Because I AM A GOD!!!”
• OK, seriously, as much as I was happy to see the Jin/Sun reunion, I thought it was TOTALLY RUINED by those fences!! My husband yelled, “OMG the fence is still on!” and then they were running together and I was screaming, “NO! NO! Stop... wait... don’t” and half-expected both of them to collapse onto the ground frothing at the mouth and bleeding from every orifice. Cripes almighty. I wish Zoe had walked through the fence first just so we knew they were off.
• When the explosion hits the beach, did you see that thing that landed right in front of Jack’s face? It made me think of the episode of Fawlty Towers when Basil is mocking the woman with the hearing aid and leans in and says, “Is this a piece of your brain?!”

So Many Questions...
• What is the significance of the Western Pacific Adoption Agency? Is Paik running it??
• Seriously, how did Miles and Sawyer trace Sayid to that house?? First, he’s a foreigner visiting, and they wouldn’t have him in a database. Secondly, he had a MAJOR head-start on them, and would have gotten there and been long gone by the time they made it to the house. One of the least believable things I’ve seen on the show. Did Sayid stop for one last snow-cone at the 7-11 or something on the way back??
• WHO IS DAVID’S MOM?! Possibles that are left: Sarah again. Juliet. Kate’s twin sister she never knew about (Skaters and Jaters are both happy in the end!). Cassidy. Ana Lucia.
• Seriously, how did he recognize the bloated, upside-down, lacerated face of John Locke from the nice man in the wheelchair at the airport. Ah well...stranger things...
• Wasn’t the deal with Widmore that Sawyer was going to bring Locke over to him and deliver him to everyone?

Me tomorrow:
I’ve joined Facebook! Come and find me. I am here. :)

Tomorrow listen in to Marshall and Forbes on The Ocean 98.5 in Victoria, BC at 6 a.m. local time, 9 a.m. EST. Go here and click on the Listen Now button if you’re out of the listening area.

And tomorrow at noon I will once again be participating in the Globe and Mail Lost chat from noon to 1pm EST. Go here to ask questions and comment. See you there!

And finally, listen to KEX 1190 at 6:20 p.m. PST, 9:20 p.m. EST where I’ll be on the Mark & Dave show (and they’re big Lost fans so it’s always fun). Go here and click the Listen Now button:

Next week:
As I mentioned earlier today, there will not be a new episode next week and instead they’re repeating “Ab Aeterno.” But the Globe and Mail chat will still be on as we talk about the season up to this point and sum up everything.

While You Wait for Lost...

Actually, I don't have any funny stuff for you this week, sorry... but please scroll down and join in the Everybody Loves Hugo haiku while you wait. I just wanted to give you all the heads up on two things re: tonight's upcoming Lost post: first, where I usually get Lost at 7, I'm not getting it until 9 like the rest of you, and I usually watch it twice before posting, so watch for my post between 11 and 12 (and I know many of you will be in bed by then and I didn't want you sitting around waiting for it just in case). Secondly, I've been feeling sick today and getting worse as the day goes on, so I apologize if my post isn't up to snuff. I'm not sure how late I'll make it tonight, and I'll try my best.

Just a heads up that, as I mentioned in an earlier post, there won't be a new Lost episode next week. However, there will still be recap activity going on here, AND there will still be a Globe and Mail chat next Wednesday. We're going to use the opportunity to sum up the season so far and tie up some of the loose ends as we go into the final (sniff) episodes.

And just to add to your sadness, Damon tweeted the following yesterday: "I know this is getting increasingly sappy, but today will be my very last time on set. And yes, I'm wearing my Bantha Tracks T-Shirt."

And today he followed with "Yesterday was... there is no word. To watch the people who actually MAKE this show as they made it one last time... man, what a gift."


Lost Hiatus... We Were SO Close...

OK, it's one night only, but still... any break from Lost right now is seriously painful for fans. I just heard that next week's episode (April 27) has been bumped a week so it will air on May 4, then we'll have eps on May 11, May 18, and then the finale is May 23, meaning there are two episodes within that final week (I think the original plan had been to not have one on the 18th).

Honestly, I think this is a good thing. I'd rather have the penultimate episode and the finale right next to each other than have some cliffhanger right near the end and have to wait almost two weeks for it to resolve. So... let's rejoice, and we shall come together next Tuesday and talk about Glee or something. ;) Oh, who am I kidding... we'll have Lost hiatus haikus!! :)

You can read the full story here, at TVOvermind.

Lost Haiku: Everybody Loves Hugo

It's that time again... Lost haiku!

Philanthropist and
friend to all, he’s the dude who
everybody loves.

“Girls LOVE my Ugo.
I love you, son. Now you jus’
Go find a date!” SMACK.

You have to admit:
That dinosaur trophy was
pretty freakin’ cool.

“I’ve been trained. Badly.
I keep getting burned. Maybe
I’m not care-” KA-BLAM!!

Black Rock is destroyed.
Richard goes all wild-eyes and
runs like Kermit. Gaaaaaaaaaaah!!

In his spare time, Ben
poses as young girls online,
catching predators.

Oh my GOD, Desmond,
Did you just mow down John Locke?!
Um... I still love you.

Oh my GOD, Smokey,
Did you throw Des down a well?!
I do NOT love you.

Monday, April 19, 2010

"Sue Sylvester... Dance on Air"

My already immense girl crush on Jane Lynch just got bigger. This is GLORIOUS. I cannot WAIT for the upcoming Madonna episode!!!!

Slayage... Is Coming...

And no, I'm not talking about the inevitable death toll that looms on Lost (waaaah... oh PLEASE Darlton, SPARE THEM!) No, I'm talking about SC4, the upcoming Slayage academic conference on the Whedonverses (remember long ago when it was just about Buffy? No more...)! I haven't been this excited since, well, the last Slayage!

This is where academics from around the world descend on the historic town of St. Augustine, Florida, to talk about all things Whedon for three days. Can you even imagine anything more glorious? No. You can't. We've been discussing on this blog the possibility of doing a Buffy rewatch (or, in the case of the unanointed, a Buffy first-watch) with all of us discussing the show as we go, probably starting at some point in August, and if we do that, it would be a great boon for your analytical skills to attend this conference first.

The keynotes will be Janet ("Steve") Halfyard, author of Music, Sound, and Silence in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, delivering a paper entitled "Listening to Buffy: Music, Memory, Meaning, and Moping"; Lorna Jowett, author of Sex and the Slayer, on "Stuffing a Rabbit in It: Character, Narrative, and Time in the Whedonverses"; and Dale Koontz, author of Faith and Choice in the Works of Joss Whedon, whose paper is entitled, "Twelve Steps Forward, One Step Back: Redemption Through Recovery in the Works of Joss Whedon."

The draft of the program of presenters is now available here, and you'll see the wide array of topics and papers, some of which look absolutely divine.

But of course, what you'll REALLY be there to see is the banquet talk, which is where the name of the conference becomes a literal one. Oh yes, folks, for one night only, you can see a steel cage death match between Nikki "The Slayer" Stafford and Matthew "Silly, Silly British Man" Pateman!! In this corner, standing at 5'6" and boasting a black belt in AWESOMENESS, it's the author of Bite Me!! And in this corner, standing at 6'4" (wait, what?) and specializing in tea drinking and Man U hating, it's the author of The Aesthetics of Culture in Buffy the Vampire Slayer!!

We all know who's gonna win this one.

OK, maybe it won't quite be a steel cage death match. Possibly more like poking each other annoyingly. Or a re-enactment of the Harmony/Xander slap fight. But, you know, I think there will be roast beef. So... yay?

There's still time to register to come and listen. Seriously, this conference is SO much fun, I can't recommend it enough. Hope to see some of you there!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Darlton Live on Stage!

Ashlie sent this to me almost a month ago and I can't BELIEVE I keep forgetting to post this!!! Check it out: on Thursday, May 20th, at 8pm, Damon and Carlton are going to be interviewed live on stage by the New York Times, and this interview is going to be broadcast live to Cineplex Odeon theatres throughout North America. You can order tickets in advance here by choosing the theatre you want to go to (and for Toronto fans, I think I'm going to be going to the one at the Scotiabank theatre downtown... hope to see some of you there!)

UPDATE: Sorry to my American readers... apparently that link is only for us Canucks! Here's the link for American cities.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lost Tarot Cards

These are fantastic... they sent chills down my spine looking at some of them. Absolutely gorgeous. I wish they were real! I still remember how excited I was to find Alice in Wonderland Tarot cards (they still sit on my bedside table) and the Xena ones were always fun, too. But these... these are extraordinary. Click on the picture below for a larger version.

Go here to see more detailed versions. (Thanks to Popped Culture for the link!)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lost 6.12 "Everybody Loves Hugo"

“It takes a lot of guts to walk up to a stranger and tell him you know him from some bizarro alternate universe.”

Hugo-centric, Mr. Cluck’s, the return of Libby, the end of Ilana AND the Black Rock... and the answer to what those friggin’ whispers are. Not one of the episodes that had me floating in its epicness, but still awesome. I loved it.

So the BIG reveal of the episode was that the whispers are actually the ghosts of people who are stuck on the island and are unable to move on to Heaven because of something they did. Which means... THE ISLAND IS A PURGATORY. Not for those on the plane, but it’s a purgatory nonetheless. So big kudos to everyone who ever thought at any time that the purgatory idea was a good one, and yet those who argued the survivors aren’t actually in purgatory were correct, too. I’m sure a lot of fans will complain that they hate this explanation because it seemed so obvious and that we’d figured it out long ago, but... isn’t that why we’re doing all of this speculating? I was happy with that one. And it was interesting that Michael – perhaps the only person Hurley has ever hated on the island – is the one to appear to him, and when Hurley finds out that he’s basically doing time... for eternity... he actually feels sorry for the guy. I love you, Hurley.

Just as Daniel and Charlie knew the other world existed the moment they saw Charlotte and Claire respectively, and Desmond saw the other universe when he touched Penny’s hand, Hurley sees it when he locks lips with Libby. I posted something last night about how so much of Lost comes down to love, but I also believe that entwined with the notion of love is the idea of connection, as I said in that post. Connections are so vital to Lost – the connections people had before they go on the plane; connections to each other on the island that they created there; connections that they failed to actually make because they didn’t talk to one another; connections that were lost when the groups split up – and it’s when these four men have a real, definite connection to the other person that they’re able to break through.

• Pierre Chang is still a speaker, but he’s introducing philanthropists rather than trying to confuse viewers of Dharma videos.
• During the video presentation about Hugo, seeing the bizarrely-located Mr. Cluck’s restaurants next to the Himalayas and Pyramids made me laugh out loud. Haha!!
• In the screen still where Hugo is wearing the t-shirt that says "Humane" on it, Jorge Garcia is holding Nunu, his real-life dog and the star of his blog.
• The T-Rex statue. LOL!!
• “She will love you. And if she doesn’t... WE WILL FIND SOMEONE WHO DOES.” Smack! Hahaha!! Everyone talks about spinoffs they’d love to see... I’d just love to see the Hurley and Carmen show.
• Hurley talking to Libby at her grave again. We’ve seen this a couple of times and it’s always sad and lovely.
• LIBBY!!!!!
• OMGWTF ILANA BLEW UP??!! I couldn’t believe when this happened... it was as shocking (and less funny) as when it happened to Arzt. But why did she make the dumbass move of just tossing her bag on the ground? The women seemed to have healed from severe facial burns when she was in the hospital and now she does this? She just seemed smarter than that. I was surprised... but I’m hoping the final episode gives us the background of Jacob and that she’ll factor into that somehow. I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of her.
• Neal Schweiber from Freaks and Geeks works at Mr. Cluck’s now!!
• Ah. Desmond. How I love that you’re back and a regular on the show again.
• Desmond to Hugo: “That is a LOT of chicken.”
• “All women are a little bit crazy, bruthah.” Haha!
• “How do you break the ice with the smoke monster?”
• “Clearly she was well enough for a... fajita field trip.”
• I love when Alpert asks if anyone wants to join him so he can do something totally insane and counter-productive to what everyone else wants, and Ben is the first person to stand up and join him. Ha!
• The look on Jack’s face when he finally sees John Locke. I have been waiting for that moment ALL SEASON!!
• Ben Linus going all To Catch a Predator on Desmond. HIGH-larious!!!
• OMGWTF did Desmond just run over John Locke with a frickin’ CAR?!

• The whispers are the dead people whose ghosts are stuck on the island because of bad things they did.

The Numbers:
Desmond’s chicken is meal order 42. Ilana grabbed 4 sticks of dynamite.

Did You Notice?:
• Pierre Chang mentions the museum, and if you think back to “Recon,” Miles had mentioned to Sawyer that his father worked at the museum. So Chang is still his father in this reality... once again begging the question, why is Miles’ last name Straume?
• Speaking of which, now Miles, Charlotte, and Daniel are all connected to the museum. Will it actually play a role in anything in this sideways world? Will we have an episode where we actually see this museum? Will there be any ancient relics of anything like, oh, I don’t know, a Tawaret statue?
• During the video presentation, you could see the Mr. Cluck’s chicken mascot over and over again. This reminded me of the opening of this episode’s prequel, “Everybody Hates Hugo,” which opened with a dream sequence of English-speaking Jin standing next to a man in the chicken suit who said, “Have a cluckity cluck cluck day.”
• I was a little disappointed to not see Carmen puffed up like a peacock at the kudos her son was getting. In our universe she would have been standing on her chair cheering and yelling, “More applause for my ’Ugo!!”
• The blind date that Carmen is sending Hugo on is with Rosalita... in the other world, he was in Santa Rosa.
• Looks like in every reality, Senator Robert Kelly is going to be a doctor at Santa Rosa. Nice to see some consistencies over here.
• Again, Libby – someone who is dead in the other universe – can see through to the other side, just like Daniel and Charlie.
• Smokey is becoming more and more like Locke every day. His “oh, this old piece of wood? Why... I’m just a-gonna whittle this baby until it speaks to me and tells me if I need to make a spear or a tiny wooden ornament of an old lady in a rocking chair that I can put on my mantle” was something Locke would have said.
• Empty Sayid wears his hair quite distinctively pushed off to one side all of the time.
• Despite Jack having the fitting last name, Desmond seems to have become the shepherd for the other side, helping people see this timeline and realize they’re in the wrong one.
• With the end of the Black Rock, Crazy Arms Richard returns. I can understand why he’s upset, though... not only did he remove their greatest chance at getting rid of the plane, but the Black Rock was the last place where he physically saw Isabella, and it probably holds a lot of resonance for him.
• In the doctor’s office, he has the exact same picture of the island that we saw in “Everybody Hates Hugo.”
• In the rec room, there’s a chalkboard and on it someone has drawn an island with a shark in the water, and a turtle, fish, a giant alligator hovering over it, and what looks like the silhouette of a swan in the water (for the Swan station? Where Libby died, perhaps?) In the corner of the picture there is what appears to be a baby buggy with a butterfly floating out of it. Butterflies in mental hospitals seem to be a mainstay no matter what reality you’re in. Perhaps encouraging patients to see the metamorphosis they could undergo with treatment?
• One of the inmates was playing Connect Four, which Hugo played obsessively when he was at Santa Rosa.
• Oh no!! The great team of Miles and Hurley have been split up for good! Say it ain’t so...
• Jack says maybe he’s supposed to let go... this stems all the way back to the beginning of season 3 when he heard Christian’s voice over the intercom of the aquarium cage he was being held in and Christian was saying, “Let it go, Jack.” But interestingly, last season in the DI Jack seemed content to let other people run the show and tell him what to do, as if he was relieved to let someone else take over.
• So... if the whispers happen and the dead person appears (just like Michael standing nearby when they heard them) does that mean Harper, Goodwin’s wife who appeared to Juliet in the jungle in the rain right after the whispers... is dead? What terrible thing did she do to get stuck there? Is she the one who told Ben about the affair between Goodwin and Juliet that led to Goodwin’s death?
• In the sideways world, Hurley remembers the blanket. :::sniff:::
• I thought for a second that the well where Smokey takes Desmond was the one with the FDW, but it clearly wasn’t.
• Just before Smokey pushes Desmond down the well (deep breaths, Nikki, DEEP BREATHS) Desmond asks him what the point of being afraid is, and you see Smokey begin to open his mouth and then close it, as if he’s stumped.
• I do not believe that Desmond is dead. I am like Rose and her faith in Bernard. He is fine. He is fine. I heard water when Smokey dropped the torch. He’ll be just fine. I mean... you can high-dive into five inches of water without anything bad happening to you. Right? Am I right?!
• When Smokey returns to the camp and tells everyone that they don’t need to worry about Desmond anymore, you can hear the Locke motif in the music... something we haven’t heard used with Smokey yet, I don’t think. AGAIN a suggestion that he’s actually Locke again.
• Sun coming through the jungle and scanning every person in that camp for Jin’s face was heartbreaking...
• I think I said this a few episodes ago but I’ve noticed that Hurley is never called Hurley in the sideways world, and I wonder if we’ll ever find out what that nickname refers to in this world?

So Many Questions...
• Did anyone know what that Russian book was that Hurley picked up? I wrote down the lettering and tried it through a translator, and I think I wrote it down wrong because all but one word was a jumble, and the one that wasn’t was “law.” Could it have been the paperback Russian edition of the Book of Law? (Har.)
• Who was the other boy that Smokey saw in the jungle with Des? It’s interesting that both Sawyer and Desmond have also seen the boys with him. Could THAT one be the Man in Black when he was a kid, and the blonde one was Jacob? Or vice versa? Smokey tried to chase down the blonde one, but just waved this one off with a dismissive flick of his hand, which was interesting.
• How did Hurley know immediately that those were ashes in Ilana’s pouch? He seems to know whatever is in there is important, when it probably looked just like the sand to him.
• Does Desmond get it wrong when he says Smokey is John Locke... or is it not a coincidence that he’s seeming more and more like John? Could the John inside of him be coming through and controlling Smokey more than the evil that’s inside him?
• Richard, testing Hugo, tells him that a while ago Jacob told him what the island was, so ask him. So why didn’t Jack or ANYONE jump up and say, “Oh really?? Then WTF is this island??!!”
• Michael tells Hurley not to get himself killed in response to Hurley asking if there’s anything he can do for him. It seems like a formality for him to say that, but maybe there was something more to it: maybe he really DOES need Hurley and the gang to stay alive and if they can, they might help those ghosts trapped on the island to finally move on.
• So why did Desmond hit Locke with a car? On the rewatch I’ve noticed just how much Smokey seems like Locke, and now I’m wondering... is it possible that the Man in Black was able to switch places with alterna-universe Locke? Could it be that Locke is actually the man we see on the island, and Smokey is the one who looks like Locke in the sideways world? Was Desmond trying to eradicate Smokey? OR... is poor Locke doomed in every reality to bring people together based on his demise? Does Desmond think that somehow he will round up the troops he needs if he causes some major rift in things like this?

Me tomorrow:
I’ve joined Facebook! Come and find me. I am here. :)

Tomorrow listen in to Marshall and Forbes on The Ocean 98.5 in Victoria, BC at 6 a.m. local time, 9 a.m. EST. Go here and click on the Listen Now button if you’re out of the listening area.

And tomorrow at noon I will once again be participating in the Globe and Mail Lost chat from noon to 1pm EST. Go here to ask questions and comment. See you there!

And finally, listen to KEX 1190 at 6:20 p.m. PST, 9:20 p.m. EST where I’ll be on the Mark & Dave show (and they’re big Lost fans so it’s always fun). Go here and click the Listen Now button.

Next week: (Get a load of the creepy music from the Gene Wilder Charlie and the Chocolate Factory... did anyone else ever have nightmares from that movie?!)

Lost Haiku: Happily Ever After

Just look at him, smiling and waiting for the haiku fun we're going to have today. I'm hoping to beat the spontaneous outbreak of haikus on other posts by making this go live at noon, but I'm sure someone will beat me to it and already have posted something to be found elsewhere on the blog! I'll only offer a few this week, and I leave it up to you! There's so much to talk about with this one, so let's go to it!!

The embodiment
Of love in all its glory:
Thy name is Desmond.

Seems in any world
Daniel wears that pencil tie.
But... um... leather pants?!

Gigantic white hair.
Symbolic glistening broach.
Yep. It’s Eloise.

Zapped with many volts,
Desmond’s body glows. Is he...
Doctor Manhattan?!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lost: All You Need Is Love?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Lost is about love. How love motivates us, what we will do for love, and what happens when we don’t feel loved. From season 1 it’s been established this show is about connections – how we connect to those around us, even when we’re not aware of those connections (especially in season 1, think back to how many of the paths crossed before they got on the plane but didn’t know it) but attached to many of those connections is love. It’s how we truly connect.

In The Prisoner, that amazing cult TV show from the 1960s that Lost has been heavily influenced by, the final episode was an insane drug-addled trip through this underground tunnel, with the sounds of The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” pumping through the cave as various strange creatures danced about (seriously, you have to see it to believe it). And while I hope this is ALL this show borrows from The Prisoner finale, it’s interesting that even though Number 6 didn’t have many real connections, if any, that one of the things we take away from that series is “all you need is love.”

I talked about this last week in the Globe chat and one person engaged me extensively on it, saying he didn’t believe it would all come down to love because they’re motivated by much more than that, and it’s about free will vs. destiny. Absolutely... I agree that it will come down to those two things, which are also choice vs. fate. But why do we make those choices? Love.

Kate has come back to the island because of her love for Aaron. This love is one of the deepest in the series... she would do ANYTHING for that child, and she has come back to the one place on earth she desperately tried to leave, just to try to find the mother of the boy she loves more than anything. She killed her own (step)father because of her love of Diane, and believing she was doing the right thing. Her pain and her constant need to run stems from the hurt she got when Diane rejected her... when her mom didn’t return that love for her. Remember how painful it was for her to walk away from her husband, or the look on her face when Sawyer jumped from the helicopter, or the anger when Jeardy Jack stood at the airport screaming that they had to go back. She has loved all three men, and she has hurt them or has been hurt by them, and many of her decisions have been based on this love.

Sayid is a torturer, but he’s also a lover. He has spent so much of his life repenting for his sins as a torturer, and looking for Nadia. He loves Nadia so deeply, so completely, that when he lands on the island and believes that maybe she really is dead, he turns to Shannon, and gives her more love and passion than she’s ever received from someone in her life. The cold person he becomes when Ana Lucia shoots Shannon in front of him stems from the love he felt for Shannon. And that coldness returns when Nadia dies... Remember the look on his face when he came out of the press conference and Nadia was standing there? It’s one of my favourite moments of the series... the way he stares at her, and then blinks, hard, as if he can’t believe the love of his life is really standing before him. He’s only happy when he’s with her, and when she’s gone, he slowly dies inside. Now he’s just a shell.

Sawyer has been motivated by revenge, but it’s a revenge that stems from the love he has for his parents and the anger that people he cared about – and who loved him a lot – could have been taken from him in such a violent way. He wants to cut himself off from everyone, but it’s his love for Kate that makes him become part of the group on the island. He cares about his fellow survivors to the extent that he becomes head of security for Dharma because of his need to take care of them (and think of him running through New Otherton with Claire in his arms... another thing he’s done because of caring for another person). He falls in love with Juliet, and even if Kate is the soulmate he continued to pine for, he truly loved Juliet and is gutted when she’s gone.

Ben loves the mother he never knew, and eventually runs out into the woods to find an apparition of her. There seems to have been a love between he and Annie, the girl we saw in “The Man Behind the Curtain,” and he ultimately kills his father. Why? Because his father didn’t love him... Ben is ALSO motivated by love, but it’s a love that was denied to him. And he loves Alex deeply – we see in the sideways world that he has a connection to her still and gives up everything for her sake – and when she dies, it causes him to go off the deep end completely and lose control. Ben loves too.

Jack was denied the love he needed from his father, and even his mother has a tendency to be cold (think of her blaming Jack for his father going to Australia in the first place). He is motivated by a desire to fix things – it’s his thang – but he falls in love with Kate on the island, something he didn’t see coming. Off the island, they fall in love, and it’s when that love falls apart he becomes so obsessed with going back to the island to “fix things,” to make him and Kate NOT HAPPEN, because the pain of losing the love he had from her is worse than anything else he’s ever experienced. He drops a bomb because of his love for Kate.

Jin and Sun feel deeply in love off the island, and Jin gave up his own morals just to be with her, having to go and work for Paik. But when that begins to eat at him, and the love that she felt from Jin at one time seems to go away, she moves away from him. She not only falls in love with Jae Lee, but she plots to leave her husband... again, she’s motivated by love. The love that she lost, love for herself that she knows she should be treated better than this. And then, on the island... things change. Jin has always loved Sun, but now that they’re on the island, no longer under her father’s thumb, his love can truly shine. They’re closer than ever, she becomes pregnant, and she manages to get off the island, shattered because she thinks he’s gone. Everything she does after that – the coup against her father’s company, seeking out Widmore and Ben – is out of revenge for the love she lost when Jin died. And when she thinks he might be alive again... she returns. She loves him so much she will go back to that island to find him. And it’s her love for Ji Yeon that makes that decision a difficult one.

Hurley loves his ma more than anything. He won the lottery and thought he was cursed, but he believes that because the people he loves begin getting hurt, and despite him always walking through everything completely unscathed, he cannot stand seeing the ones he love getting hurt around him. That scene in “The Lie” when his ma sits next to him and asks him to tell her the truth, and he spills all, is one of the most heartrendingly beautiful scenes in the entire series. He loves her so much he trusts her to listen to him. He also loves his father – the one who abandoned him and only returned for the money – because he remembers the man he used to be, and is so caring and loving (like his ma) that he believes maybe his father really does love him and want a relationship with him. And maybe he’s right. Hurley fell in love with Libby, and loved Charlie as a friend, and is motivated to do things because of the loss he felt when he lost both of them.

Claire loved Charlie, and is gutted when she finds out he’s died (for a minute and a half at least... ahem) and her love for Aaron makes her almost serene on the island. Off the island she was going to give him up for adoption, but the moment he’s born the love in her eyes shows us she’s almost grateful for not having the opportunity to give him up. Now that we have the sad Crazytown Claire, her very madness stems from the immense love she has for her son, and despite the creepy shivers it sends down my spine every time I see it, that skeleton baby of hers was constructed to give her a physical connection to the baby she lost, and it’s an incredibly sad thing to behold. Once I get past the horror of it all.

Juliet loved Sawyer completely, and she also fell for Jack. We’ve seen the love she feels for her sister, Rachel, devoting her life’s work to making her sister’s cancer-ridden body fertile for a baby. When she’s offered the opportunity to go to the island, she at first says no, but her sister convinces her to go (it’s only six months after all, right?) But when Juliet realizes that the Others are not going to keep their word, she asks to go home. She loves her sister, she wants to meet her niece/nephew, and she can’t bear to be apart from them any longer. Ben offers her the choice: go home now, and watch your sister die rather than give birth, or I will cure her cancer and you have to stay here. To Juliet there’s no choice: she stays. She gives up her life to save her sister’s. Think back to that scene we saw the day the plane crashed, when Ben took Juliet to the Flame station to show her video footage of Rachel playing with Julian. Juliet’s voice chokes and shakes as she reaches out and touches the screen, longing to touch her sister and hold her nephew, but knowing they’re as far away from her as they seem on the screen. She has fallen in love with Goodwin, and risks everything (even danger) to keep that going. She’s found that connection on the island for now, but she would give it up to return to her family. One of the tragedies of Juliet is that she died on the island before she ever got to see that nephew of hers. Juliet’s life has been all about love, and her close-to-final words before she lets go of Sawyer’s hand are to tell him how much she loves him. And her final act? To set off a bomb because of how much she loves him... to make so he’ll never have to come to the island. She doesn’t hit that bomb for herself – she hits it for him.

Characters who are now gone were motivated by love: Eko sacrificed his soul for his little brother Yemi, a brother he never stopped loving despite everything. Ana Lucia’s anger and coldness stemmed from the fact that a man shot her in her pregnant belly and killed the child she loved so much. Boone was in love with Shannon, and that love was painful and difficult, but he couldn’t help himself.

And Rose and Bernard? Seriously. Cutest couple in love EVER. Rose could feel that Bernard was alive, and never mourned him, never wavered from her certainty that he was alive and well... and she was right.

Just a couple of weeks ago we realized Richard Alpert, the man who didn’t appear to have any ties and who was stoic and almost asexual, was actually deeply in love with his wife, and he killed a man accidentally in his desperation to save her. Because of the murder he was sent to the island, and he has quietly pined for her for over a century. When she appeared to him and he couldn’t hear her talking to him, but wanted to hear her so badly, it was absolutely heartbreaking. If he could have one wish, it would be to be with her forever.

John Locke has always stood apart from everyone. In “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham,” Kate tells him that his problem is that he’s never loved anyone. But she’s wrong. He loved Helen. And he wanted to BE loved... but his mother gave him up and his father had nothing to do with him. His foster mother treated him like a plague, and when he finally found his parents after many years, his mother was using him to make some money and his father was using him for a kidney. The moment they got what they wanted out of him, they tossed him aside like yesterday’s garbage. Locke is motivated by a need and desire for someone to love him, and he has so much love to give, but no one to give it to. So he channels his love into a “greater good” scenario where he thinks he’s doing something for everyone. And in the end, if no one else will love him, then maybe he’ll love himself. But he can’t even do that, because he believes he’s a failure and a loser. And that’s why Locke’s is the saddest story for me.

And then... there’s Desmond. That man who brought it all here in the first place. His “I love you, Penny” will always be one of the lines that sticks with me from this series. In my first Finding Lost book, I wrote, “People have killed, fought, and maimed in the name of love on this island, but no one has given up their life for it.” And then I asked what Lost will come down to, and asked, “Will love prevail?” In my episode guide for “The Constant,” in my season 4 book, I wrote, “Unlike so many of the other people who have been brought to this island, Desmond has hope, and that hope rests with Penny. The love story between these two is one for the ages... Desmond is not shattered like the rest of these survivors, and so far, he’s the closest to salvation.” In the season 4 finale episode guide, I wrote, “Desmond represents the notion that love is the key to survival.” And in my commentary on “The Incident” in my season 5 book, I wrote, “What will conquer evil? Desmond’s story always stands apart from that of the rest of the characters’ arcs and his is the story of love winning out over everything...” Back in “Live Together, Die Alone,” when we first got Desmond’s backstory, everything went haywire in the hatch and he ran to the bookshelf and pulled off Our Mutual Friend, and when he opened the book, out fell a key and a love letter from Penny. At that moment I wondered if love might be the key to the show... it’s certainly the key to Desmond’s story. Now he’s back on the island, and he’s the only one who can perhaps save everyone. The man who was willing to die for love might be the one to help everyone else find the love they’ve so desperately needed.

As I say at the end of my season 5 book, Lost is the show for the thinking viewer, so it almost sounds like sacrilege what I’m saying here, but we do so much for love. Love for our children, our spouses, our girlfriends/boyfriends, our friends, our family, our parents... love for ourselves. Even selfish motivations are done out of a self-love.

In the sideways world, three characters in “Happily Ever After” have a glimpse of the other world, and believe that maybe this isn’t real: Desmond, who realizes it after he meets Penny; Daniel, who has his vision right after the first time he sees Charlotte; and Charlie, who, in a heroin-induced haze, sees an image of Claire and knows he’s meant to be with her. All three of them experience a moment of the feeling of love they felt for someone else in the other world, and realize that this world isn’t real – the real world is the one that contains those women... with them.

So yes, this show is about time travel and physics and philosophy and history and political science and literature and religion and heady choices and good & evil... but it’s also about love. SO much of it about love. And I don’t know why, if it all came down to that, that an ending that suggested all we need is love would be a bad thing. I would embrace that ending, for it would bring the entire series full circle.

All you need is love...

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Last Week I Time Traveled...

With this week's phenomenal Desmond episode, I thought it might be time to talk about my own trip back in time that I took last Wednesday, March 31, when I traveled back to my alma mater to give a talk. I attended Huron University College (which was then Huron College), an affiliate college of the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. It was a small place, with small classrooms, and a higher entrance average required to get in (if I do say so myself!) Because I graduated only three years ago, I figured nothing much would have changed.


OK, because I graduated 14 years ago... I still somehow figured nothing much would have changed. This school has been around since the 1860s and was the founding school of the entire university. I mean, it's not like they were going to play around with things much, right?


First, the parking Nazi was gone. This guy would sit in the booth day after day and he knew all of us, but if I accidentally grabbed a different car that morning and forgot to switch my parking pass over, hell if he was going to let me in. I had to pay the exorbitant rates and that was THAT. Now? A totally new, friendly guy who laughed and joked with me on my way in. So that was nice!

The entranceway. I was told to walk in and ask for the prof I was with that day at the information desk. "Information desk?!" I asked incredulously. There was no information desk when I went there. IN MY DAY you walked in and wandered aimlessly until you eventually found the room you needed, and if you were late you were beaten with a stick. (See? Grandpa WAS making this stuff up... it's so easy!!) There were signs vaguely pointing you in general directions, but you pretty much needed a map to find your way around.

I was shown the library... the place where I spent hours and days and weeks of my life throughout those four years. The main reading room was completely untouched, thank goodness -- it had big rich dark wood bookshelves and partitions on the desk and you could not talk or eat and felt like you were being watched by the SS at all times... and I loved it. But then, outside of that room and off to the side, where there used to be the computer databases and (gulp) a couple of old card catalogues still sitting there, the WALL was gone and it had been built way out into this big high-tech reading area that was a little less stifling than the other one (i.e. people were talking quietly in here). It was big and bright with windows all over, and had been built off the side of this beautiful stone building, so the inside wall was actually the former exterior of the college. It was incredible.

Later, when I was on my own, I headed back into the stacks... my favourite place in the entire school. Down in the bowels of the library were the rows and rows of army green metal shelves holding thousands of books with their old paper smells, and fluorescent lights in the aisles, and ugly uncomfortable desks. Oh the days I spent here. On days where I didn't have classes I'd still drive across town and just sit in these stacks from morning til night working on papers and studying. As soon as I stepped into the room, the smell of the books was akin to Desmond getting hit with an electromagnetic wave... it just sent me back in time. And NOT A THING had been changed. Nothing. It was still gloriously old and creaky, and the floors were so rickety you thought you were going to fall through. I was with my best friend Sue (who also went to Huron but was in French lit where I took English lit) and as I wandered over to the periodical section I just saw those rows and rows of same-coloured bound journals, where I used to spend hours just standing in the aisles balancing the journal on one arm and my notes on the other because I didn't want to take the extra minute to just wander over to one of the desks. I walked down one of these aisles with my fingers caressing the binding on the books. I still have dreams where I'm in this place, so to actually be physically back there was very exciting.

What didn't change? The professors. I have no idea how they do it... is there something in the air of colleges or something? My professor who was bringing me back to the school was in his second year of teaching when I was in my first year of university. He was 30 or 31 at the time, and now, 14 years later, he looked EXACTLY THE SAME. How is that possible? He took me down to his office, and while there I ran into my Shakespeare professor... who looked EXACTLY THE SAME. Like, exactly. Same hair colour, same goatee. He knew that I wrote television books now, and looked slightly bemused about what I did after getting an English degree. I didn't really have time to get into a discussion about Lost being the Shakespearean comedy and tragedy all rolled into one of our generation... so I didn't. I just smiled.

But the biggest change? The students. Man, they are YOUNG. How did they get so young? They have laptops (in MY day, you wrote notes by hand until your fingers bled or seized up entirely) and the long rows in front of a blackboard have been replaced by an amphitheatre setting with raised desks.

I was there for two purposes: First, to support my author, Brian Francis, the author of Fruit (which was the runner-up in the Canada Reads competition last year). He was speaking at Huron as part of a series of students-turned-writers who talked about how they made that journey to authordom and then talked about their work. Secondly, Fruit was being taught in my prof's course on the Coming of Age Novel, and so Brian was there as the author talking about his novel, something that would have been mega-cool to me when I'd been a student. Before the class we wandered over to Weldon Library on main campus, sneaked up to the fifth floor and chuckled and giggled our way through the stacks, joking about how young everyone was and how we used to look out of the fifth floor windows down to the fourth floor and watched students picking their noses and sneaking food out of their backpacks. Brian kept doing this schtick where he was holding a fake glass of scotch and cigarette and slurring, "Guess what, kids? This is YOU in 15 years, so keep studying, ya little shits... because it's going to get you NOWHERE." Ah, good times, good times.

Then after the class I was actually part of the series as well, talking about how I went from being a student at Huron to the great epicness that is me. Or something like that. There was a good turnout (among them, Jenn and ashlie from this blog, two of my regulars!! How wonderful to finally put faces and voices to avatars!) and we chatted about the entirety of Lost, season 6 in particular, where we've been, where it's going to go... it was SO much fun I wish I could do these live talks every day leading up to the finale. The group was enthusiastic and had some fantastic questions.

And one of the first ones was from a woman who said she regularly visited my blog, and she said that recently she'd seen something saying that maybe Lost will come down to two four-letter words: Love and Hope. She asked me to speak on that. So, I did my long talk that I typically give to anyone who will listen, the one I've been yammering about in my books for years now, where I say that I think Lost really will come down to love. (I had this discussion during the Globe chat yesterday.) I think we're motivated by love, that all of the characters are motivated by love -- love for their children, for spouses, for lovers... for themselves. It's the driving force that will make us do crazy things. We sacrifice for love. The people on Lost are looking for love or have found love or have lost love, and all of those things drive them to do what they do. And hope works on many levels there -- hope from the fans that the series will work out satisfactorily in the end, but also this idea that Hope is the one thing that can conquer the chaos of Pandora's Box, which is essentially what the island is sitting on top of.

My professor, the one who'd brought me there in the first place, has never watched Lost. (I know SO many academics who don't watch it. When it's over my campaigns to get them to watch will ramp up significantly.) But he listened... and at lunch, he and Brian (also a non-viewer) were asking me to tell them what the hype was about. Why is it important? Why do people care? What is this show about? I've never actually summed up the show to people who hadn't watched it (my pat non-spoilery answer: WATCH IT) so it was a challenge, but I left enough out to encourage them to really give it a shot.

And then, after I'd returned home, the next day my prof emailed me to thank me for coming down there, but also to offer his thoughts on a show he'd never actually seen, and instead figured out simply by listening to every word I was saying at the podium. And maybe this is one of the most succinct summations of what I've been saying all along... written by someone who's never seen a single minute of the show! I'd love to hear your thoughts:

Clearly the four-letter word that is of such significance could be one of two words and it is not a choice that separates them. Rather,they are inter-dependent and are in fact based on us exercising free will in a world that may have meanings and arcs we can't change but still has situations where the individual human factor matters, matters entirely.

The words, of course, are "love" and "lost". Love sometimes seems impossible. Sometimes it seems there are forces like a man in black actively trying to deny our inclination towards love and connection. Sometimes it seems so hard to make those connections that a world where love rules seems "a sideways universe"--one that is somehow imaginable, desirable, but apart from what we call reality. But love can in fact determine reality and make the "sideways" real and make what was "real"
a mere wormhole of misdirection. We can't eliminate all that is threatening but we can mitigate those threats through our own actions.

Indeed, as we begin with an eye opening and a plane crash, we see that "possibility" is what governs existence. However, without focussing on finding the possibilities that bring us joy, that overcome evil, that connect us with others, then we truly will be Lost. Hate is not the opposite of love; "lost" is. And we don't leave a state of being "lost" to a state of being "found"; we leave a state of being Lost to a state of "finding". We just need to let our searches, even our scientific searches, be infused by love or what we find will not be what we want.

And the final is not an eye closing, it is again an eye opening. An eye opening to new possibility even if the possibilities no longer will come from J.J. Abrams et. al.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Lost 6.11 "Happily Ever After"

“This doesn’t matter – none of this matters. All that matters is that we felt it.”

“I’ve seen something real. I’ve seen the truth.”

“What if this… all this… what if this wasn’t supposed to be our life? What if we had some other life and for some reason, we changed things?”

Oh. My. Freakin. God. WHAT an episode that was… I had to go to a book launch tonight and it went an hour longer than it was supposed to, so I didn’t even start this episode until most of you had already watched it through once, so I apologize for how late this is, but MAN was that episode amazing!!!! Why? Well… DESMOND. But also, it was true wish fulfillment for me, seeing two characters I’ve longed to see for a while… and one of them actually made me leap off the couch, pen and notes flying, and jumping around the room and squealing. I WAS SO HAPPY.

“Ab Aeterno” made me cry sad tears and joyous ones, but this one just filled me with so much happiness… you know that scene at the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas where his heart grew three sizes? That’s how my chest felt at the end of this episode.

At the end of season 2, Desmond pulled out Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend and inside it a key fell out, as did a letter from Penny. I speculated then that maybe it will all come down to love. And once again, Desmond’s story is a beautiful, beautiful love story… a story that suggests that no matter how much pain we’re in, and no matter what we want to erase, that is not a choice we should be given no matter what. Will things be put back the way they were?

I do believe that love will be the reigning force in all of this: it’s what will make all of the characters do what they do, it’s what will save the world or end it… it’s what makes all of us do what we do.

And with all of the tie-ins to The Constant and Flashes Before Your Eyes, this episode was proof that the writers really DID know where they were going early on.

Lost writers, thank you thank you THANK YOU once again for another amazing episode. WOW, just when I thought maybe only the series finale will beat “Ab Aeterno” they present me with this stunner. I LOVE THIS SHOW!!!!!!!!!

• Desmond’s reaction to Widmore telling him he’s back on the island. That twitch in his cheek made ME afraid.
• Minkowski!! We last saw him bleeding to death of a nosebleed in “The Constant.” (Well, we also saw him in “Meet Kevin Johnson,” but chronology-wise “The Constant” was his last ep.)
• Did you notice how faithful Desmond was to me by NOT taking Minkowski up on his female companionship offer?
• On Widmore’s office wall, there’s a painting of a scale with a white rock and a black rock, just like in Smokey’s cave. There’s also a framed ship that looks like the Elizabeth, the ship that Desmond sailed to the island on.
• “You heard of a band called Drive Shaft?” EEEEE!
• CHAH-LIE!!!!!! Oh my GOD I was so happy to see him!!!!!
• When Charlie seems to describe Claire as the woman he’s meant to be with. Sigh… ♥
• Charlie putting his hand up and Desmond seeing the flash of Not Penny’s Boat. AAAHHH!!
• Daniel is sitting at the piano and oh my god it’s Daniel and WHY ARE YOU PANNING PAST HIM… ugh. It’s a stand-in, isn’t it?
• OH MY GOD OH MY GOD they’re showing the back of Daniel’s head again just as Eloise is walking Desmond away to give him the big “you’re not ready” speech and if the camera would just come around his one shoulder and… oh balls. He’s a stand-in, isn’t he?
• Crap, he’s about to drive away but OH MY GOD there’s Daniel’s reflection in the window!! Will they show him???
• “My name is Daniel. Widmore. We’ve got to talk.” AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!! Best return of a character YET!!!!!
• Daniel describing Charlotte. “It was like I already loved her.” ♥♥
• When Desmond wakes up after touching Penny’s hand. It was like “Flashes Before Your Eyes” all over again.
• That sweet lovely scene between Des and Penny after he’d fainted. ♥♥♥

• Many of us thought Desmond wasn’t actually on the plane in “LA X.” Wrong.

The Numbers:
The 815 flight landed at 10:42. The bags are on Carousel 4. When Desmond stopped the MRI you could see the numbers 15 and 46 (23 x 2).

This episode had a lot of echoes of previous episodes:
• Widmore tells Desmond the island isn’t done with him yet; something Eloise said to Desmond in “316” last season when they were in the Lamppost Station.
• Eloise tells Desmond, “What happened happened.”
• Daniel says, “It happened to you, too, didn’t it?” which are the first words Minkowski said to Desmond in The Constant.

Did You Notice?:
• Desmond + vulnerability + neediness = me unable to completely focus for the first few minutes.
• The bunny’s name is “Angstrom.” An angstrom is a unit of length used to measure wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation. And MAN was that rabbit puffed up… for a moment I thought it had a second head.
• As they stood over BBQ boy’s body and Widmore said, “Zoe, are we ready?” and they brought up Desmond, I yelled NO!! NO WE ARE NOT READY!!
• Did anyone else think when that round thing was glowing in front of Desmond it looked like the scene in “Becoming Part 2” of Buffy when Acathla was about to yank Angel into hell? Gah!!
• Was it just me or did Desmond appear to be making a move on Claire?
• In this reality, Widmore happily offers Des the McCutcheon… in the other, he said he wasn’t worth the alcohol.
• Every flash-sideways has the moment of looking in a mirror; in Desmond’s, he sees his reflection in the window of the police station.
• When Charlie leaves the police station, he and Desmond go drink in “JAX” bar. Heh.
• There’s a sign behind them that says “Exceptional Island Colors”
• Of all things, Charlie asks Desmond if he’s ever been in “consciousness-altering” love.
• In the other universe, Desmond really seems to be one of the people who believes in destiny, but here he says, “There’s always a choice, bruthah” as if he’s more on the side of free will.
• Charlie turns the car into the marina where Desmond was shot.
• For all the crapola CGI they’ve used on the show, the very real effect of the water rushing into the car as it went down was AWESOME.
• When Des couldn’t get Charlie’s seatbelt unbuckled, I thought, “OMG, in every reality Desmond is going to have to watch Charlie drown!”
• Oh hey, hiya, people standing up on that boat as the car went under. I really hate to bug you, because I’m sure you have more important things to do like fishing or standing there staring at seagulls or filming the car in the water so you could post it on YouTube but COULD YOU PLEASE COME OVER TO THE CURB AND FRIGGIN’ HELP ALREADY?!
• The nurse asks Desmond if he has any metal on him before doing the MRI, and that’s the same questions that guy was asking Widmore before they put Desmond in the chamber.
• Des looked like Hannibal Lecter in that chamber.
• Oh Jack… so helpful last week… so unhelpful this week. But still lookin’ hot. What IS IT about you? Those greying sideburns??
• Daniel’s playing the Fantaisie-Impromptu in C# Minor (which had better be important or else it looks like it’s the ONLY piece of classical music the writers know about).
• The sideways world, for Eloise, is the world of GIANT HAIR.
• Eloise knows Desmond the moment she sees him.
• Penny is doing the Tour de Stade that Jack and Desmond were both doing when they first met in “Man of Science, Man of Faith.”
• Besides Desmond, it's the two dead characters who can see that things aren't right in the sideways world.
• Zoe says that Desmond has changed in 20 minutes… 20 minutes is the same time Desmond said it would take for Charlie to decide to leave the bar and be in a 5-star hotel. So much can change in 20 minutes…
• Me to Sayid as he held a gun to Zoe: Shoot her!!! SHOOT HER!!!!
• So I did one of those Google Street Map searches on the corner of Sweetzer and Melrose, and there’s a little eatery called Dolce. Will that be where Desmond and Penny meet? Sweet!!

So Many Questions...
• Does Cusick have a new scar beside his right eyebrow, or is that a phony scar on Desmond from the Ben tussle?
• Why exactly is Widmore showing Jin all of this? Originally it seemed they just wanted him there so they could figure out where the EM pockets were on the island because Jin had made the maps. But now… why is he still there?
• Why did Widmore need to look at the charred remains of that guy?! Does he enjoy gore or something?
• What sacrifice is Desmond going to be asked to make?
• Is Eloise like Desmond? Can she see other worlds? Is she aware of what’s happening? In the original world, Desmond really did want Widmore’s approval more than anything. Now he’s got it… but he doesn’t have Penny. She points out that he got what he wanted, but he lost what he had (to quote Gavin Friday).
• Was… was Daniel wearing… leather pants?!
• Is it possible Daniel is the musician who programmed the Good Vibrations key sequence in the Looking-Glass station?
• So… if Daniel is Eloise and Charles’ son, and he was born before Penny, then it means Widmore had an affair with a woman and Penny was the result. Did Eloise take him back after it happened, or did things happen differently? Did he get Eloise pregnant first, then have another wife, then left her for Eloise?
• If Sayid has no emotions inside him, why didn’t he just shoot Zoe? (And I ask that for more than me just wanting him to.)
• “I just need to show them something.” AAHH!! So when Desmond became conscious again, do we assume that the consciousness of island Desmond has moved into that Desmond and he now retains all of the memories of the other one? Was the Desmond who’s had a child with Penny the one asking her out for coffee?

And tomorrow at noon I will once again be participating in the Globe and Mail Lost chat from noon to 1pm EST. Go here to ask questions and comment. See you there!

Next week on Lost: