Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Unanswered, Part 1

Some of you may have seen this video on YouTube or CollegeHumor. It's a funny, frustrated look at how many questions remain unanswered after the finale.

As I watched it I couldn't help but wonder how many of the questions mentioned really ARE unanswered - because if there's anything that can be said about LOST, it's that each viewer takes away her own interpretations. So here are mine! (There are 93 total, this post will address the first 30.)

1) Why did the monster kill the pilot? The real question is, why did the monster kill anyone? And we know the answer: the monster/Man in Black killed those who he knew would not help him in his cause. He scanned Locke and kept him alive to use him later on because he knew Locke would be easy to manipulate (or "amenable for coercion", as Eddie put it in season 3.) He scanned Mr. Eko and saw that he was rigid and unrepentant - buh-bye, Eko. So the pilot must have had too much self esteem to be useful.

2) What did Locke see when he first saw the smoke? I think he saw...the smoke. Sometimes it really is just that simple, even on LOST.

3) What's with the polar bear in Walt's comic? Well first, it was Hurley's comic book, which Walt later found (which explains why it was in Spanish.) Walt is special - on two occasions we saw that he attracted birds by thinking about them. This scene suggests that he did the same with the polar bear.

4) Where is Christian Shephard's body if it's not in the casket? I'm calling this one half unanswered. In "White Rabbit" when Jack finds Christian's coffin empty, the implication is that Christian has been resurrected and is walking around on the Island. It's a reference to Jesus' disciples finding his tomb empty. The imagery carries over into the final scenes of finale, where once again Jack finds the coffin empty. However, we now know that when Christian appeared to Jack and others on the Island, he was actually the smoke monster. It's likely that Christian's body fell out of the coffin during the plane crash and is somewhere on the Island. Whenever the smoke monster has appeared as someone else, it's either because 1) he has scanned a character's memory and found the images there, or 2) he has found the body on the Island and can appear as the deceased. So yes, this question is unanswered in the sense that we don't know exactly where Christians' body is. But we have enough puzzle pieces to guess what happened to it.

5) Why did the psychic say that Claire had to be on flight 815 and why did he insist that her son had to be raised by Claire? I'd qualify this one as answered, but open to interpretation. Interpretation 1: Either through his psychic abilities or Island outreach, Richard Malkin saw that Claire needed to crash land on the Island because she needed to be Aaron's mother. For a while I was convinced that Aaron was crucial to the Island in some way, but now I think it was the fact that he made Kate a mother that made him so important. It was Kate's adoption of Aaron that led her back to the Island to find Claire, and she killed the Man in Black. Interpretation 2: Malkin was a fake, just like he admitted to Mr. Eko, and he really did have an adoptive couple lined up in L.A. Presumably he would have been paid by them to pressure Claire into the adoption.

6) Why did the Others want Walt so badly? Well, because Walt is special. It was implied that they had a use for his gifts, although we never found out what that might be - since we never learned much about the Others' role on the Island, it's hard to guess. Ultimately this is a plot that went nowhere because David Malcolm Kelley was growing up too fast. (As Damon and Carlton said "We had to get that boy on a raft!")

7) Who sent Kate the letter about her mother being treated for cancer? This one's genuinely unanswered. My guess is an old friend who knew where she was, or maybe her stepfather. 

8) How does Walt know about the hatch, and why does he warn Locke not to open it? Again, Walt is special. (Is there something wrong with me that I actually think that's a good enough explanation for all the Walt stuff?) He warns Locke not to open it because it makes the hatch seem more mysterious and scary. The writers knew how to keep us watching. Or another more convoluted theory - Walt is being manipulated by the Man in Black, and he knows that warning Locke away from the hatch will push him into getting it open. All part of MiB's seduction of Locke.

9) Why does the smoke monster make mechanical sounds? Because that's the sound you make when your soul is ripped from your body in the cave of light and turned into a column of smoke. Duh.

10) How was Walt able to apparate before Shannon? W.I.S.

11) How did Walt communicate with Michael using the Swan station? He didn't. It was Ben, manipulating Michael into coming for Walt, so that Michael could be used as a tool to bring Jack (spinal surgeon extraordinaire) back to the barracks.

12) What is the deal with Kate and that horse? The horse makes sense on a symbolic level, representing Kate herself. Sawyer sees it too, so it's not just in her head. I seem to remember an interview with Damon and Carlton where they said that the horse is a manifestation of the smoke monster, but I'll have to find it to confirm that.

13) Why are Dharma supplies still being dropped on the Island after the purge, and by who? Even though the D.I. was wiped out on the Island, the organization still exists in some form off Island. Presumably they are aware that someone is still in the hatch and that the work they are doing there is crucial, so they keep sending food.

14) What triggered the lockdown, and why on earth did someone design it so during the lockdown black lights go on? The first part was definitely answered: the lockdowns are triggered by the food drops, so that the people in the hatch couldn't see who was sending them food. And the second part is obvious: it was the 70s, everyone had black lights.

15) What happened to the original Henry Gale? It's implied that Ben killed him and stole his identity.

16) What happened to the original timeline Libby between the mental hospital and getting on the tail section of Flight 815? Well, we know she met Desmond and gave him her boat so he could race around the world, although it's not clear whether that was before or after the mental hospital. I'm OK with not knowing every detail of Libby's backstory - in fact, I could have done without knowing every detail about some of the lead characters too, like Jack's tattoo saga.

17) Who built the four-toed statue? Egyptians who came to the Island. This is one of those references that indicates the Island's epic history, and that it's been inhabited by many different peoples. We only got one chapter of the story.

18) Why does only one specific bearing get you off the Island? Again, there's no clear answer to this one, especially if you want a detailed scientific explanation, but we've been given lots of hints. Some of what we know:
1. The Island is always moving, and its movements can be predicted through mathematical formulas
2. Traveling to and from the Island without using a bearing causes time shifts within the traveler (à la Desmond in "The Constant")
3. The time shifting may be caused by electromagnetic abnormalities, which also occasionally allow the Island to be detected by the outside world
4. Daniel explains that when the Island was skipping through time in season 5, the time shifts also caused the bearing to change. There is some speculation that in season 6 the new bearing was 108, the sum of all the numbers. to sum up, the specific bearing is necessary to get through the electromagnetism unscathed, and the bearing changes when the Island shifts through space and/or time. Simple, right?

19) What are the hieroglyphics on the Swan countdown timer about? The timer was created by the Dharma Initiative, so the question is what was their motivation for putting the hieroglyphs there? Perhaps they were aware of the Egyptian history on the Island (the statue, the Temple) and wanted to incorporate that into the design. Or maybe it was just another mind game, intended to scare the hatch occupants into continuing to press the button (and keeping fans watching, too. I think a lot of the mystery from the early seasons was there just to keep us interested and speculating from one episode to the next - and I don't consider that a criticism. It's what made LOST so dang fun.) In any case, Damon Lindelof stated during a Comic Con panel in 2006 that the intended translation of the hieroglyphs is "underworld," but he further noted that they are open to interpretation.

20) Why does Tom feel a need to wear a fake beard? The Others want to be seen by the survivors as backwards and primitive. Again, it's all a mind game.

21) Who was Libby's previous husband who gave her a boat to give to Desmond? He was named David and he died. Do we really need more info than that?

22) Who were the skeletons in the polar bear cave and where did the toy truck come from? The polar bear apparently had an appetite for human flesh, and especially liked little boys who played with trucks.

23) How did Locke and Eko escape the hatch explosion? I've got a few more questions of my own along this vein: How did any of the survivors escape the plane crash? How could Locke suddenly walk after the crash? How did Sawyer overcome septic shock with oral antibiotics? How was Rose's cancer cured? The only explanation is that some force on the Island heals and saves lives. Fate is likely at work as well.

24) Why couldn't Locke talk after the hatch explosion? Just like we don't know how exactly Locke was healed, we don't know what caused him to go mute after the implosion. But there is some pretty awesome symbolism behind this narrative choice.

Locke's experience references the Biblical story of the priest Zechariah. Zechariah was told in a vision that his wife would give birth to a son who would lay the path for the Messiah. He laughs at this, because his wife Elizabeth is too old to conceive. Because of his unbelief he's struck mute and is told that he won't be able to speak until the prophecy is fulfilled. Sure enough, Elizabeth becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son. There was pressure to name him after his father, since that was the custom at the time, but Elizabeth insisted that he be named John. When Zechariah wrote on a tablet, "His name is John" he was suddenly able to speak again. The son was John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus who later baptized him.

Like Zechariah, Locke was struck mute when he refused to believe. In Locke's case he didn't believe anything would happen when the timer ran out, and he quickly realized he was wrong.
Locke also has a vision, where he is told to save Mr. Eko. As soon as Locke saves him from the polar bear, his power of speech returns. Mr. Eko is a prophet figure, much like John the Baptist, and he baptized both Claire and Aaron.

25) Why did the monster kill Mr. Eko and why didn't he just do it the first time they met?
This goes back to #1. The first time, the monster scanned Eko and spotted weaknesses in his story that he planned to exploit. Smokey appears as Yemi and tells Eko to repent. When Eko refuses to submit, the monster knows that he's worthless to him - Eko is too confident to be manipulated.

26) What did Mr. Eko mean when he said "You're next" when he died? He meant that the smoke monster was coming after Locke. And he was right. I haven't tried this myself, but Lostpedia reports that if you turn up the volume during Eko's last words, you can hear him saying "I saw the devil."

27) How disgusting was it when Hurley was eating from that tub of ranch dressing? Pretty disgusting, although in my opinion the peanut butter was much, much worse.

28) Why did Yemi's body disappear? The unknown whereabouts of Yemi's final resting place is an echo of Christian Shephard, whose appearance was also used by the smoke monster for his own purposes. And as with Christian, the actual location of Yemi's body isn't as important as the mind game involved: finding Yemi's body gone was a tactic used by Smokey to manipulate Eko. Yemi's "resurrection" is another reference to Christ: all four Gospels say that Jesus' tomb was sealed with a large boulder, and when the disciples went to the tomb "the stone was rolled away" and Jesus' body was gone. Eko moves several large stones away from the cockpit entrance before discovering that Yemi's body is no longer inside.

29) Why does Danny say Jack wasn't on Jacob's list when in fact his name was clearly written in the cave? Ben was never in contact with Jacob: the lists he made were entirely his own. He told the Others they were Jacob's in order to get them to do what he wanted. Another possibility: Ben was being directed by the smoke monster.

30) Why can't women on the Island have babies and what does this have to do with anything? My personal favorite theory is that it was the detonation of Jughead that caused the infertility. We saw Ethan born on the Island in the 1970s, so it wasn't a problem at that point. And there's a nice circular logic to Juliet causing the problem and then being the one who was brought to the Island to fix it.

Agree? Disagree? Hate my guts? Let me know what you think of my answers - and stay tuned for Part 2!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

LOST: The Conference

I'm sold. All I had to hear was "LOST," "conference," "Hawaii," and "January 2011."

Who's with me?

Monday, May 24, 2010

6:17 The End

Nobody does it alone, Jack. You needed all of them, and they needed you. To remember. And to let go.

Today I'm going against my usual practice of doing a lot of rewatching, discussing and reading before coming to my own conclusions. I want to write about how I experienced the finale without too much outside input.

I loved it. On an emotional level it was nearly perfect. The return of so many characters, the resolution of the flashsideways storyline, and the final scene with Jack closing his eyes in the bamboo forest - it could not have been any better.

In terms of Island mythology I think it fell a bit short. The demise of MiB was anticlimactic for me, as was Desmond's descent into the cave. If they had to choose between mythology and character relationships though, I'm glad they went with character in the end.

The last scenes were so emotional that it was difficult to process all the new information I was getting. Looking back, Jack's conversation with his father is the key (and in the interest of full disclosure, I just cried my eyes out again rewatching this scene. No mascara today.)

Jack: I don't understand. You died.
Christian: Yeah. Yes, I did.
Jack: Then how are you here right now?
Christian: How are you here?
Jack: [realizing] I died too.
Christian: It's OK. It's OK son.
Jack: Are you real?
Christian: [laughing] I sure hope so. Yeah, I'm real. You're real. Everything that's ever happened to you is real. All those people in the church, they're all real too.
Jack: They're all...they're all dead?
Christian: Everyone dies sometime kiddo. Some of them before you, some long after you.
Jack: But why are they all here now?
Christian: Well there is no "now" here.
Jack: Where are we dad?
Christian: This is a place that you all made together so that you could find one another. The most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people. That's why all of you are here. Nobody does it alone, Jack. You needed all of them, and they needed you.
Jack: For what?
Christian: To remember. And to let go.
Jack: Kate - she said we were leaving.
Christian: Not leaving, no. Moving on.
Jack: Where are we going?
Christian: Let's go find out.

So it's what we all thought from the very beginning of season one: they're all dead. But not in the way we thought back then. They didn't all die in the crash of Oceanic 815. They died later, and reunited in the flashsideways world. I think a lot of people felt let down that the sideways wasn't "real", but I didn't. The sideways has always felt unreal to me - even though things are better for most of the characters, it never felt quite right. It makes so much more sense as a psychological construct, a place they created where they were safe from the influence of the Island, where they didn't have to remember what they suffered there. Enough like their real lives to be convincing, and happy enough that they aren't motivated to search for something else - until Charlie comes along, and then Desmond. (By the way, if you like the idea of a world like ours where the dead wait to move on, you should read The Brief History of the Dead. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that the Lost writers have read it.)

A crucial line I missed the first time: "There is no 'now' here." The sideways exists independently of time. Each of the characters died at a different point in their lives, some of them long after the time we've been shown on the Island, but they are all reuniting in the same place, at the same moment. When Kate said to Jack "I've missed you SO much," I got the impression she had been living for a long time after saying goodbye to him. And it's likely that Hurley and Ben spent a very long time protecting the Island after everyone else was gone.

So why wasn't everyone at the church? Where was Mr. Eko? Walt? Michael? Eloise? Daniel? Christian said that for those who were there, the Island was the most important thing that ever happened to them. I think those who were missing 1) weren't ready to move on yet (like Ben, and I think Eloise), or 2) were somewhere else with people who were more influential in their lives than anyone they met on the Island. We've heard before about "those who can't move on" - maybe some of them are still whispering on the Island. Ultimately everyone in the group at the church was intimately connected to Jack, so on some level maybe they were all there for him as much as for themselves. And I guess a third (very likely) option is that there were practical matters that prevented some actors from being there (like Malcolm David Kelley, who's 18 years old now. Tall Waaaalt!) My one gripe about the church crowd was the reuniting of Shannon and Sayid. What about Nadia? I never liked them together. It reminded me of the ending of Titanic [spoiler alert!] where she's reunited in heaven with a guy she had a fling with on a boat and not her husband of 60+ years. Ugh! But I understand the need to bring the original characters full circle.

I appreciated the open-endedness of the church scene, and the fact that it wasn't pinned down to any one belief system. As long as you buy into the idea of life after death, it's believable. And even if you don't, it can be viewed psychologically and symbolically. They've shut the door on the past and they're starting a new journey - the way they were seated in the chapel resembles the way they were seated on Flight 815.

I like Jimmy Kimmel's suggestion that the show was ultimately about Jack's journey, his test in life. I think he's right, but I don't think that's the whole story. The final episode was told from Jack's point of view, in a mirror image of the first one, but overall the story was just as much about Kate, Locke, Hurley, Sayid, and everyone else as it was about Jack. They each came to their own realizations of what had happened and where they were, and they all needed each other.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Jacob and MiB Get Some Counseling

If anyone needs talk therapy, it's these two.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

6:16 What They Died For

And then there were four.
Remember this list? It's the one Ms. Klugh gave to Michael all the way back in season 2. The same people Ben had him bring in exchange for Walt are now the only surviving candidates to replace Jacob. Coincidence or fate?

In many ways this episode reminded me of the early seasons. The pace was slow enough to let us really feel each scene and enjoy the character interactions. I've missed that lately.

Flashsideways Connections

-Once again Jack looks in the mirror and sees a bleeding cut on his neck. They're officially going to make us wait until the end to find out what that's all about. Will we see Jack get a cut on his neck in his inevitable confrontation with the Man in Black? (If so I hope it's not as serious as what poor Zoe got.)

-Something else they're making us wait for - the identity of David's oh-so-mysterious mother. I'm still betting on Juliet.

-The sideways world just wouldn't be complete without Ben getting a thorough beating. It makes so much sense that his view through the looking glass would be accomplished by Desmond kicking the crap out of him. And speaking of looking glasses, Ben finally gets his "mirror moment" as he stands alone in the nurse's office.

-Rousseau insists that Ben come over for dinner "Even if we have to kidnap you!" Ba-dum-ching! Danielle looks great, proving once and for all that the Fountain of Youth is NOT on the Island - it's in L.A. And was it just me or were there some sparks flying between Rousseau and Ben? (Spinoff idea: the love story of two antisocial psychopaths, sharing coq au vin in an alternate world.) Seriously though, the scene where Ben realizes how much he means to Alex was wonderful, and such a contrast to what we see happen to Ben on the Island.

-Locke explains what led him back to Jack's office and Jack replies "I think you're mistaking coincidence for fate," which is very similar to what Eko said to Locke ("What Kate Did", season 2) and Locke said to Desmond ("The Cost of Living," season 3): "Don't mistake coincidence for fate."


-For me, this has been THE question since the beginning: Why these particular people? And I loved Jacob's answer. They were chosen because they have very little to lose. Jacob is taking a different tack than his mother. Instead of selecting innocents who are untainted by the world and have their whole lives ahead of them, he chose people who had few connections to the outside world and whose lives can only get better. It's interesting that in the sideways world their lives are better and they all have more attachments: Locke has Helen, Ben has his dad and students, Sun and Jin are happy and having a baby, Jack has David, Claire is keeping her baby, Kate is apparently innocent. Are their lives better because Jacob didn't interfere? Or did Jacob not interfere because their lives are better?

-Ben explains that behind his secret closet is "where I was told I could summon the monster. That was before I realized it was the one summoning me." I think this is pretty good evidence that Ben has been working for the Man in Black (not Jacob) all along. That would certainly explain why Jacob has never visited or spoken to him. And speaking of coincidence v. fate, it's mighty convenient that Ben encounters Alex's grave just before his run-in with Widmore: he got a nice little reminder about who killed his daughter.

-Widmore reveals that he came back to the Island because Jacob invited him, and that Jacob changed his mind about his quest for the Island. After years of Widmore being so power-hungry that he cares for nothing as much as possessing the Island, one visit from Jacob changes everything. And Widmore mentioning this fact to Ben seals his fate - between jealousy that Jacob never visited him and his resolve to avenge Alex's death, there was no way he was going to let Charles live after that.

-We learn that Desmond is "a measure of last resort," a "fail-safe," which conjures up images of Desmond turning the key that fateful day in the Swan hatch. The Man in Black thinks he can use Desmond to destroy the Island, but I suspect we'll see Desmond get sent into the light only to emerge as the one person who can defeat MiB. They're playing by Jacob's rules now and my guess is MiB isn't aware of all of the implications of that yet.

-Jacob clarifies that creating the smoke monster was a mistake, and that it's the reason he brought the candidates to the Island. Pretty much what we already thought, but it's nice to have things spelled out for us once or twice a season. Also, it's now clear that the goal is not just to replace Jacob and begin a new cycle: it's to end the cycle by killing the Man in Black.

-Jack is Jacob's replacement - and after all his struggles against fate, his refusal to believe, he made the choice. "I'll do it. This is why I'm here. This is what I'm supposed to do." With his "Here am I, send me" moment, Jack has come full circle as a man of faith. I love the juxtaposition of what looks to be a final showdown between Jack and Locke, and Jack and Locke working together to heal him in the sideways world. It's the kind of symmetry we used to see all the time in season 1 flashbacks.


-We still don't know what is up with young Jacob. Why did he appear to Hurley, only to become adult Jacob a few minutes later? And why does burning his ashes mean he won't appear again? I laughed when YJ demanded that Hurley give him the ashes "because they're mine!" Because yep, they really were his.

-Relatedly - how can they all see Jacob now when only Hurley could see him before?

-How could Ben kill Widmore? Wasn't that against "the rules"?

-Did Richard get killed by the smoke monster?

Moments of Pure Awesomeness

Locke: You don't need to see this.
Ben: I want to see this.
(and later...)
Ben: Did you say there are some other people to kill?
Three cheers! Creepy Benry is back!

-Jacob passing the torch to Jack was brilliant (although I wonder about the fact that he used water instead of wine) and all the more poignant with the images from "Across the Sea" still fresh in my mind. Fire and water. "Now you're like me." The writers are so masterful with their Christian imagery.

-Jack's reaction to Sawyer's remorse for detonating the bomb. I like this Jack. 

-Jack stitching Kate's shoulder on the beach brought me right back to season 1 when Kate does the same for Jack. I did giggle though when Jack says he has to stitch it or it will get infected...and then pulls out a rusty needle and some raggedy twine. I'm sure that's nice and sterile, doctor!

-Desmond as the all-knowing gatherer is all kinds of awesome. Desmond's 11!

-Widmore tells Ben "As usual, I'm three steps ahead of you"...and then Ben proves him wrong with 3 shots to the chest.

-I watched late so I could skip the commercials but managed to catch this fan created promo (the one that won the contest sponsored by Kia.) Pretty cool stuff.

Not So Awesome

-The finale is on Sunday. On one hand I don't want to wait that long, and on the other hand I don't want it to be over. The end is near. I don't want to think about it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

6:15 Across the Sea

"Every question I answer will simply lead to another question."
This episode was packed with explanations and answers, and also raised about a thousand new questions that will likely never get answered. We should be used to this by now. I'm going to focus on the positive: we have an origin story! Like a lot of the mysteries on LOST, we've waited so long for this that it's easy to be let down when we learn the specifics. Overall though, I thought the writers did justice to the story and I found most of the explanations satisfying.

"Mihi nomen est Claudia"
In ancient Rome, Claudia was a vestal virgin (priestesses of Vesta, goddess of the hearth; the most well-known vestal virgin from Roman mythology is Rhea Sylvia, mother of the twins Romulus and Remus , the founders of Rome - in the story they are taken from their mother as infants and raised by a she-wolf.) It means "lame."

"I only picked one name."
We've seen several women announce their baby's name after giving birth, a very Biblical practice. Those who speculated early on about Jacob and Esau weren't too far from the mark - Jacob and the Man in Black are twins who were jealous of their mother's attention and became nemeses. And after all the speculation, we're going to have to keep on calling him the Man in Black. After this episode, the possibility that they're holding out on his name for a big surprise is a very small one. I think he just doesn't have a name. And I wonder if not having a name provided an open window - a gap in his identity - that allowed him to become the Smoke Monster. Like John Locke, who was searching for acceptance and a purpose in life. In any case, finding out he has no name is better than finding out his name is Kevin or Steve.

"Do you want to play or don't you, Jacob?"
I think it's significant that Jacob is presented with a choice - sort of. He chooses to play with his brother, but without understanding what the game really is. Later on Mother tells him "You don't really have a choice." No wonder he values free will so much in his dealings with the future candidates: he wants them to be able to freely choose to protect the Island because he never got that choice.

"You're special"
Mother keeps Jacob and his brother separated from the other people on the Island so they will remain pure and innocent. You'd think the candidates should have those same qualities too, right? So why are Sawyer and Sayid candidates? They are the exact opposite of pure and innocent. If the Island's protector really does have to be good, innocent, and untainted, there is only one choice out of the candidates - Hurley. Or maybe Jacob isn't actually looking for someone to take his place - maybe he's looking for someone to stop the cycle and end the game once and for all.

"There is nowhere else. The Island is all there is."
Mother is lying to Jacob and his brother to keep them sheltered on the Island so they can replace her as its protector, but there might be some truth to what she's saying too. If the Island is the source of the ultimate good and evil, maybe it really is "all there is." The Losties have been told that if the smoke monster escapes, everyone they know will "cease to exist" - in a sense, maybe the whole world is dependent on the balance of good and evil on the Island.

"What's dead?" "Something you will never have to worry about."
Again, Mother is lying to Jacob's brother - but unintentionally this time. She believes he will become the next protector of the Island and be immortal. And in a sense, she's right; he lives on as the smoke monster, with at least part of himself intact. It's interesting that the Brother was able to see his dead mother, but Jacob was not. Is this an indication that he is "special"...or was Claudia really the smoke monster, reaching out to the Brother early on and turning him against Mother? I'm reminded of another young boy who saw his deceased mother and decided to leave his people as a result - Benjamin Linus.

"The game came from Mother"
...and not just the game the boys found on the beach: the whole game. She's the one who set Jacob up as the Island's protector, and who made it so that they couldn't kill each other (although several beat-downs and a drowning make me doubt her power in that area.) I'm guessing she also made (or at least passed down) the rules that prevented Ben and Widmore from killing each other, and that determined the qualifications of candidates. When Alex is killed and Ben says "He changed the rules" I thought he was talking about Widmore, but now I think he must have been referring to Jacob. Like his brother said, "One day you can make up your own game and everyone else will have to follow your rules."

"They come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt, and it always ends the same." 
Interesting that the Man in Black believes this just as his mother did, but Jacob rejects this line of thinking. In many ways, young Jacob seems like a mama's boy, willing to blindly accept whatever she tells him, but over the years he develops his own ideas. I'm sad we won't get to see more of how that happens.

"This is the reason we're here...if the light goes out here, it goes out everywhere." 
I know this part was a bit over the top/fantasy novel for some, and I'd count myself in with them. We're far from the "scientific explanation for everything" show we thought we were getting back in the early seasons. It is key to the mythology however, and the urgency of the need to find a new protector: they're not just preventing evil from leaving the Island, they're also protecting the light from being found and used (or put out) by anyone else. It's the Ring, the Force, the Dark Tower. It explains a lot about the two opposing forces that have been at play on the Island from the very beginning - it's not just Jacob v. MiB, it's light v. dark - literally. When Locke says, "I've looked into the eye of this Island, and what I saw was beautiful" (in the show's 5th episode!) it finally makes sense.

"Now you and I are the same"
The wine Mother serves Jacob is the same wine Jacob later gives Richard when he grants him immortality, the one the Man in Black smashes. Was the wine itself what transferred power, or is her whispered incantation the equivalent of Jacob's touch? Mother begging him to "take the cup and drink" has overtones of Christ's sacrifice - one of many allusions to Jacob as Jesus (healing, granting immortality, watching from above.) The way Mother thanks the Man in Black for killing her reminded me of Jacob's own death and explains a bit why he didn't seem that bothered about getting murdered.

"They're a means to an end."
The Man in Black is using the Losties the same way he used "his people" in this episode - as a way to get off the Island. They really are pawns in a game they don't understand. I loved the reveal that the Man in Black was responsible for installing the donkey wheel - and the dagger he throws against the well and later uses to kill Mother is the same one Dogen ends up giving to Sayid. The Man in Black's driving force is the quest for knowledge - knowledge that will let him leave the Island. Original sin, anyone? Which is a nice segue to...

"Our very own Adam and Eve"
The writers have said all along that the scene with Adam and Eve (from the 6th episode of season 1!) would prove that they knew the end game from the start. The Island's Adam and Eve is actually Mother and Kevin/Steve. I loved this reveal, although I thought the flashback montage was unnecessary. And one detail they omitted: in that scene, Jack says that the decomposition of the bodies and clothing indicates that they have been there for "40 or 50 years." Yeah... give or take 2000. To me that makes it pretty obvious that the writers did not know from the beginning who those bodies were going to be. But maybe the real lesson here is that Jack is not an anthropologist.

So many answers, but so many more questions...
-How did Mother get to the Island? I don't quite believe her when she says she got there "by accident." Whose place did she take? I realize this is one of those questions that can never have a truly satisfying answer, because there is always someone else before, always another (wo)man behind the curtain. This is why her character wasn't given a name - she's iconic, representing all the previous protectors of the Island. As Mark Lisanti put it, "archetypes don't get real names, sillypants!"

-Where did the Others come from? Not the shipwrecked people Claudia came with (who all got killed off), but the people we came to know as Jacob's followers. And how did Jacob become their leader?

-How did Mother wipe out an entire village of people and fill in a well single-handedly?

-Did Jacob create the smoke monster by throwing his brother into the light? Or was it already there, waiting to be unleashed?

-Now that we know that the boy in the jungle is a young Jacob - why? We've seen Jacob appear since he died, but always in his adult form. Is he just trying to spook his brother? Or is he being reborn in some way, rising from the ashes like a phoenix?

-And the big one (for me - I was really disappointed this didn't get addressed): why can't the Man in Black leave the Island? What are the actual rules governing his ability to go? And what exactly would be so terrible about him leaving? It's been hinted around so much, I was hoping for some clarity on this one. Maybe it's yet to come.

-The Man in Black clearly thinks he knows the rules about how he can leave the Island, but I suspect Jacob has changed the rules in ways MiB isn't yet aware of. I won't be surprised if we get near the end and Jacob responds to one of MiB's moves by saying, "You can't do that." And I'm willing to bet it has something to do with the young Jacob we keep seeing in the jungle.

-When MiB was thrown into the light, something terrible was born (or unleashed.) I wonder what would happen if Desmond (the variable, who can somehow withstand huge doses of electromagnetism) went into the light? If throwing the MiB in resulted in evil incarnate escaping, will a good soul like Desmond's result in releasing the ultimate good - the one thing that can destroy Smokey?

And one last gripe...
-With only a few hours of the series left, I can't believe they dedicated a whole episode to Jacob and the MiB. As Jimmy Kimmel put it, that would be like making the third to last episode of Seinfeld entirely about the Soup Nazi. There is so much to wrap up in the sideways world, and a lot still going on in present time on the Island. I loved the episode on its own, but I think it would have been much more effective earlier in the season. Who knows though, maybe after seeing how things conclude I'll change my mind.

Monday, May 10, 2010

6:14 The Candidate

I waited to blog about this one until I could stop crying. Big mistake. It took way too long. Also, my son Sawyer's birthday was last week, so that kept me busy for a few days. Better late than never, so here we go!

Flashsideways Connections

-Jack tells post-surgery Locke "you're a candidate" - which was true on the Island as well.

-Jack offers Claire an Apollo bar from the same hospital vending machine where Jacob offered one to Jack. The signs really are pointing towards Jack being the new Jacob.

-The mirror moment was between Claire and Jack as they looked at the music box she inherited from Christian. The box reminded me of Rousseau's music box in season 1, and the song "Catch a Falling Star" is the song Claire remembered her father singing to her when she was little.

-In the original timeline Locke was healed after a plane crash; in the sideways, he was paralyzed after one.

-Locke doesn't want to be healed because he felt guilty about causing his father's injuries. I wonder if we'll ever find out the rest of the story on Anthony Cooper. We know that Sawyer's mother was conned and his father killed her and himself, just like in the original timeline. But at some point, Anthony Cooper must have changed and become the man Locke says he loves more than life itself.

-Locke talks in his sleep and says "Push the button" (recalling his faith in the button during season 2) and "I wish you had believed me" (what he writes to Jack in his suicide note in season 5). It seems that Desmond did his job in helping him to see "through the looking glass." Funny that for Hurley, a picnic with Libby did it, but Locke had to be run down by a car. Different strokes I guess.


-It's official - many of the main characters aren't going to make it to the end alive. I think we all expected that, but I was still shocked that 3 (4 if you include Lapidus) were wiped out in one fell swoop.

-Smokey is a liar liar with his pants on fire. Not much of a shock, but it is becoming clearer that despite all the misdirection to the contrary, there really is a good side and a bad side. 

-The four characters who survived the sub sinking - Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sawyer - are the same ones who were on the list Michael was given by Ms. Klugh back in season 2. They have been important to the Island for a very long time.

-Jack speculates that the Man in Black can't kill the candidates directly, but he can construe situations where they are likely to kill each other. I don't know if he's right, but it makes a lot of sense to me. If he's right, then Sawyer is responsible for Sayid, Jin and Sun's death. If he's wrong, the bomb would have gone off even if Sawyer hadn't pulled those wires.


-Sayid tells Jack "It's going to be you." How does he know this? And is he right?

-What happened to Sayid at the well with Desmond? Because from that point on, he seems to be himself again. Was it simply the fact that he refused to do what the smoke monster told him to?

-We keep hearing it reiterated that Kate is not a candidate, that her name has been crossed out, and thus she is expendable. So why does she keep surviving all these harrowing situations? It can't be an accident that she is still alive. (I was worried for a minute when she got shot, but when I realized it was in her shoulder I relaxed. People always survive shoulder injuries on Lost.)

-What is the smoke monster's ultimate goal? He keeps saying he wants to go "home" - but where is that? And what does that entail? I love Ryan McGee's theory that "home" might actually be another location on the Island. 

Moments of Pure Awesomeness

-I loved loved LOVED the conversation between Jack and Locke where Jack is trying to convince him to let go. Flashsideways Jack is so much more self-aware than we've seen him be in the past. It's like something in the sideways world is allowing the characters to grow and develop in ways they were unable to before - they're "unstuck" somehow.

-Jin and Sun's final scene was so well done (I have just one minor quibble with it below). I agree with the complaints that it was a bit too Titanic - but hey, I liked Titanic! The scene that really started the waterworks for me was on the beach when Hurley, Kate and Jack break down. Just heart-wrenching.

Not So Awesome

-When Kate was trying to reach those keys through the cage bars, how come Sawyer didn't try to get them? His arms are much longer.

-During Sun and Jin's big moment they were speaking English to each other, even though they were the only ones there, which makes no sense at all. I can see wanting to avoid subtitles in such an emotionally charged scene, but it was just so obviously not true to life - in an emotionally charged moment you'd be much more likely to speak in your native tongue. Not a big deal, but it took me out of the moment.

We only have 3 episodes left! What are your thoughts about the direction things are taking? Any predictions you'd like to share? The next episode (tomorrow!) looks like it's going to reveal a lot of Island mythology - I can't wait!