Friday, May 30, 2008

4:13 There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 and 3

Last night's Lost was so full of action and twists and turns...I don't even know where to begin. I gasped, screamed, and yelled "Oh no!" so many times that Eric very sweetly told me to shut up. Now that's good TV!

First things first: they moved the Island! Something I noticed while Ben was in the cold room with the Wheel of Time (that's what I'm calling it, anyway!*) - the sound effects that were used sounded just like the ones in the Swan Hatch before it exploded. The same eerie humming that signified massive amounts of electromagnetism. The soundtrack music was the same too. And then when Ben finishes turning the wheel, the blinding light that results is the same that we saw in the finale of season 2. So, could the Island have been moved at that point too? There wasn't anyone offshore at that time to observe it, so theoretically none of the Losties would have been able to tell it had moved - they would have been moved right along with it. Maybe that could explain though how Desmond and Eko woke up far apart in different places on the Island, but completely unscathed.

We saw in "The Shape of Things to Come" that right after he turns the wheel, Ben ends up in the middle of the Sahara Desert. Remember that polar bear skeleton that Charlotte found in the Sahara? It had a Dharma Initiative collar next to it. I think the DI was using the polar bears as test subjects to turn the wheel, and that's how one (maybe several) ended up in the Sahara. At least they wouldn't mind the cold in the time chamber. The wheel spokes had holes in their ends - maybe for hitching up to polar bears?

*A bit of useless trivia about the wheel - for every season finale, the writers come up with a code word/phrase for the big reveal or cliffhanger of that season so they can refer to that scene in front of anyone without giving the secret away. Season 1 was "The Bagel" (Walt taken from the raft by The Others), season 2 was "The Challah" (Penny's men detecting the electromagnetic anomaly and reporting it to her), season 3 was "The Rattlesnake in the Mailbox" (finding out that Jack and Kate are off Island in the future) and this one was "Frozen Donkey Wheel". Damon and Carlton talked about this in the podcast a few weeks ago - who would have guessed that "Frozen Donkey Wheel" meant exactly what it said?

The big question though, is where is the Island now? Or when? One clue might be the Orchid Station orientation video that Locke watches. The writers had serious time issues this season (condensing 16 episodes into 13) and they took a big chunk of time for us to see that video, so it must be important. Right before the tape starts going haywire, Dr. Edward Halliwax says that when the rabbit is sent a few milliseconds in the future it will "seem to disappear" for a brief moment. Maybe that's what happened to the Island too - in being sent into the future it seems to disappear. And if it was being sent much farther than a few milliseconds (it could be months or years) it could seem to disappear for much longer.

Speaking of Locke...I was shocked, SHOCKED that he was the one in the coffin. I was sure it was going to be Ben, especially since the alias he was using was Jeremy BENtham. Turns out if I had paid more attention in philosophy class in 10th grade I might have clued in to who it was; Jeremy Bentham was a philosopher in the late 1700/early 1800s. (Also named for philosophers: Danielle Rousseau, Desmond Hume, Richard Alpert (AKA Ram Dass), and John Locke himself.) Jeremy Bentham was heavily influenced by Locke's work, and was also a rationalist. Here's an excerpt from

Bentham is primarily known today for his moral philosophy, especially his principle of utilitarianism which evaluates actions based upon their consequences, in particular the overall happiness created for everyone affected by the action. He maintained that putting this principle into consistent practice would provide justification for social, political, and legal institutions. Although Bentham's influence was minor during his life, his impact was greater in later years as his ideas were carried on by followers such as John Stuart Mill, John Austin, and other consequentialists.

Bentham is also known for designing the Panopticon, a prison design in which an observer can see all the prisoners, but the prisoners don't know they're being watched. The pyschological effect of the design is the "sentiment of an invisible omniscience"; the idea is that the feeling that they are constantly under scrutiny will lead to better behavior and reform. Here's a sketch:

Maybe the name Jeremy Bentham represents Locke's new role and how he sees himself as the new leader of The Others. That group definitely has a history of people watching (the many surveillance cameras, the black smoke, the whispers). I like the way we were shown Locke in the coffin, but have no idea how he got there - it's the same storytelling device the writers used last season when they showed us Jack and Kate off the Island with no explanation of how they were rescued. I bet a lot of season 5 will be about Locke as a leader on the Island and what "bad things" happen to prompt him to seek out the ones who left.

There were a lot of deaths last night (speaking of which, I recently saw Matthew Fox on Jimmy Kimmel, and he commented that the show has become a lot more violent since it was moved to the 10:00 time slot. So it's not just my imagination.) Three of the originals: Michael, Jin, and Locke - although technically we didn't actually see any of them die. The only person we saw die (twice!) was Keamy - holy moley, I was glad to see that guy gone. He was scary. Almost as scary as Ben. (Did anyone else get total chills when Locke told Ben "You just killed everyone on the boat!" and Ben said "So?" The guy is pure evil. But man, he's fun to watch!) Michael's death has me perplexed - why did Christian Shepard, who Michael had never seen before, appear to him? "You can go now" - does that mean "You can die?" or "Let me teleport you along with the Island"? We never actually see him get hit by the blast. Add to that the fact that Walt thinks Michael is still on the Island - and since Walt has been visited by Jeremy Bentham/Locke, you'd think he would have been clued in about his dad's passing. Curiouser and curiouser.

As for Jin, I think there is a good chance he's still alive. That was a pretty big explosion - but if people can survive a plane crash, a gunshot to the stomach, a helicopter crash, or a harpoon to the chest, why not a huge pile of C4 detonating? That would be a pretty good twist for season 6 too: Sun goes back to the Island and - surprise! Your husband didn't actually explode! (And hopefully you didn't start dating again.)

I think my favorite scene was the reunion between Desmond and Penny. Their story is one of the best arcs on the show. (On a side note, I really wish they didn't have to tell us in the opening credits who the guest stars are going to be. I saw Sonya Walger credited and instantly knew Penny was going to show up at some point - talk about ruining the surprise. But apparently it's in the actors' contracts or something so the writers/producers don't have a choice about who shows up in the credits.) The scene in "The Constant" when they speak to each other on the phone has the high honor of being the first scene in a television show ever to make me cry. If none of the other characters end up happy, I hope Penny and Desmond do. I almost wish this could be the end of their story - but it can't, since Ben's mission in life now is to kill Penny. Way to wreck the honeymoon, Ben.

Lots of creepiness last night too - Hurley playing chess with Mr. Eko sent shivers down my spine. Kate's dream about Claire was chilling, although I was glad to see Kate showing some remorse about taking Aaron away from his mother. And when Ben startles Jack in the funeral home I just about peed my pants - I mean, Ben is creepy even when he's sitting there eating an Apollo Bar; appearing in the corner of a closed funeral parlor dressed all in black pushes him way over the edge of the creepy scale.

A few of my favorite moments: finding out Charlotte was born on the Island (did her parents know Ben?), Sawyer jumping out of the helicopter and sacrificing himself for the rest of the group (when did he become so noble?), Sun confronting Mr. Widmore in London, and Sayid playing the spy/assassin role again (they are both so badass in the future).

A few things I don't really get: The Island let Michael die (if he did) once the freighter was about to blow up because that was the mission he was supposed to accomplish. But why did the freighter need to be destroyed? They moved the Island, so there's no way Widmore could have come back to find it (the reason they wanted to get rid of the freighter in the first place). Also, Keamy's "dead man trigger" - how in the world was it sending a radio signal to the freighter from so far underground in the Orchid Station? And when he died, why couldn't Ben and Locke just pick up the device quickly and put it on one of their arms? I'm not very knowledgeable about dead man triggers (a little, but not very) but I was surprised they didn't even try that.

Predictions for next season: On Island, we'll see Locke's rule as the new leader of The Others and how that eventually leads to his death. Hopefully we'll find out more about how the Island moved, and where it is now. We'll see the gathering of the Oceanic Six and how they are each persuaded that they have to go back to the Island. As far as how they'll get back...I'm kind of hoping next season will end with another plane crash.

What are your thoughts? Questions? Rants?

Eight long months to go until the next new Lost. I need a new hobby.


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