Sunday, February 25, 2007

S3Ep9 - Stranger in a Strange Land (Jack's seventh flashback)

Hello my dear friends -

GOOD GOD, THIS EPISODE WAS AWFUL?!?!?

Where are your white socks and your camera, loser?I'm really tempted to just holler "That was crap!" and call it a day for this write-up. I was extremely disappointed by "Stranger in a Strange Land"... I think it might have been one of the worst episodes of the series. First off, this was Jack's SEVENTH flashback - SEVENTH?!! And that's not even counting the mini-flashback in the Season One finale where they showed what everyone was doing in the airport before boarding Flight 815. The worst part is that I am sure there has to be at least one more Jack!back, because we know that he was not on "Jacob's list," meaning that he is not "good," and so we still do not know what he did in his past that was so awful (although hooking up with Bai Ling may be considered unforgivable by many). I hope in the meantime, however, they start evening up the score with flashbacks for the other characters a bit more.

Secondly, this flashback told us literally nothing except that Jack may have an STD. Really, think about it - we already knew that Jack had tattoos, and since the robotic "Sheriff" Other woman at the end recited what Jack's tattoo said, why did we even need to be subjected to Bai Ling? I would have preferred a flashback for Alex, Zeke, or hell, even The Sheriff instead.

Small rodents live in my hair, you can pluck them out with these chopsticks!I had read a long time ago that they were going to try to respond to "fan demand for sex scenes for Jack." Well, they failed miserably, because on top of the fact that Jack is much better as The Mad Doctor than as Cheesy Over-Aged Backpacker Looking For a Good Time, there weren't really even any sex scenes anyway. And all you need to do is pick up any Us Weekly and look on the back page's "Fashion Police" section to see Bai Ling all scantily-clad in some horrible outfit, so it's not like we were getting anything new with her, either. I demand an hour of my life back for having to deal with witnessing her scary hair (what WAS that thing on her head?), listening to her broken English and cringing at her non-existent acting skills.

Yep, this episode was a failure all around. By and large, people across all message boards are mad and disappointed as well. Perhaps if the previews hadn't raised our expectations so much about the "three major questions" getting answered, there wouldn't be the level of Hate that there is on the boards and across the fan base right now.


WANTED: ANSWERS

You all know that I get annoyed by people who are always whining about how they "want answers." I continue to contend that you should not be watching this show if you demand instant gratification. However, I do get mad when the "ABC Promo Monkeys," as they are so fondly referred to on the boards, say "Next Wednesday...The answers to three of Lost's biggest mysteries are finally revealed..." and then they serve up crap like "Stranger in a Strange Land." Here are the three questions that we can only assume they answered (this is the general consensus on the boards):

Q1) What does Jack's tattoo mean?
A1) We now know the answer, but this was definitely NOT one of the BIGGEST mysteries?!?!?

Q2) Where are the kids, Cindy, and the other people who were taken from the Tailies?
A2) They are still safe on the island (though we can't be sure if the other adults who were taken were there as we don't know what they looked like in the first place).

Yeah, in this episode we did SEE the two kids and Cindy for the first time after they'd been taken, but we already knew they were safe as Ana Lucia had asked Goodwin about this in Season Two:

ANA: What about the kids? Did you kill them, too?
GOODWIN: Children are fine. They're better off now.

Note that Goodwin's line is very similar to Karl's "We give them a better life" from this latest episode.

Q3) Where do The Others live?
A3) On Craphole Island

... but once again, WE ALREADY KNEW THAT from the Season Three premiere when they showed them all running out of the book club meeting and panned back to show their location!?! And Zeke had already told them before that "This is OUR island, we are LETTING you live on it" and then forewarned them not to "cross the line." They should know that their fans have better memories than they are giving us credit for...

In a weird way, however, the fact that this episode was poop is kind of good news for ME, at least, because now I don't have to spend 4 days straight having a nervous breakdown trying to finish this write-up like I did last week. Perhaps The Powers That Be were trying to ensure that fans' heads didn't explode by not following up Desmond's awesome episode with another great one.

Nah, I actually think they just needed a filler storyline and wanted a reason to hang out in Thailand for a bit.


THE LAND OF SMILES... OR BEAT-DOWNS?

And speaking of Thailand, that was another thing that made me mad about this episode... me, and I'm sure the Tourism Authority of Thailand?!?! What's up with making my Thai peeps look all crazy? I spent a month backpacking in the southern Thai islands many years ago, and granted, the only kind of tattoo I got was of the henna variety (it was of a crazy gecko scaling my ankle, in case you're curious), so perhaps that's why no one came and beat the crap out of me afterward. At least they showed a Jack as a tourist loser attempting to fly a kite - that was realistic.

OK, so you get the point - I am bitter about the episode. I will attempt to stop complaining. Here are the things worth noting for the future...


POT, MEET KETTLE


ZEKE: What kind of people do you think we are, Jack?
JACK: Oh, I don't know, Tom -- the kind of people that would take a pregnant woman -- that would hang Charlie from a tree -- would grab our people out of the jungle -- would kidnap children. That's the kind of people I think you are.
ZEKE [tapping the glass]: You see this glass house you're living in, Jack? How about I get you some stones?


Don't make me get my beard and whip you with it!Most people on the boards took Zeke's comment to be a shortening of the phrase "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." Zeke obviously thinks that either Jack himself or the Lostaways in general are pretty horrible people, and resents Jack's accusations. The following two posts from the boards illustrate both sides of the story:

The Lostaways' defense:
"The Losties have done as much "harm," for lack of a better word, as The Others, the difference being the Losties were forced into the situation and are surviving in a strange place -- The Others are at home on the island and could have acted with open arms and support to the Losties. The Others had the upper hand, but chose to initiate contact with lies and abductions -- actions that can't be interpreted in any other manner but hostile."

The Others' defense:
"Well - they murdered Ethan and Goodwin and Colleen, and tortured their frickin' leader! So in the Others' eyes, the Losties have certainly done their share of bad..."

What was odd to me about that early scene with Zeke and Jack was that Zeke seemed truly stunned that Jack would ever think that they would kill him.


CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT

Another thing that was strange to me was how both Zeke and Alex were troubled by the fact that Jack sacrificed himself for Kate and Sawyer.


ZEKE: Let me ask you something. You risk your neck to cut them loose, and they run away and don't ever look back...
JACK: Thanks for the sandwich.

... later...

Do not mess with me, for I am the Mad Doctor!ALEX: Ben -- why'd you save his life? All this time -- after all he did to you and your people, you should hate him. But you still fixed him up, even after your friends got away. Why?
JACK: You're his daughter.
ALEX: Answer the question.


I found these two scenes interesting because all I can guess is that Jack is not acting like they assumed he would. From what we know of The Others, they are definitely doing experiments, and we now have proof after the Clockwork Orange Rave Room that some of these experiments are performed on humans. They probably thought they had human behavior all figured out. They obviously brought Kate to the island as leverage to use against Jack, and Sawyer was there as leverage to use against Kate. I believe they are now puzzled that Jack is making decisions that they couldn't have called themselves.



SOMEONE *PLEASE* SHOOT THE SHERIFF!

I will hypnotize you with my monotonous speech.Ugh, first we have Freaky Second-Hand Store Lady in Desmond's flashback last week, and now we have another new Creepy Lady - The Sheriff. The main thing noted about her on the boards was how awful her voice was. She barely had any inflection at all, and quite frankly, I kept wondering if she was really a man because her voice had an oddly deep quality to it.

Anyway, she apparently is the head of Law & Order: Craphole Island Unit, and was heading up a little investigation You can't handle the truth!into Juliet's recent behavior.
I love that Jack wouldn't give her what she wanted:

ISABEL: That true, Jack? Did Juliet ask you to kill Ben? [he doesn't respond] The question's simple. Did Juliet ask you to kill Ben?
JACK [smiling]: No. No, I was lying. I would have done anything to get my friends out. And turning you people against each other was my best chance of creating chaos.
ISABEL: Why are you lying for her, Jack?
JACK: I'd like to go back to my cage now.

You could kill me in a matter of seconds, but hey everyone, keep doing what I say!The Sheriff was none too pleased later when Benry saved Juliet from execution at the last minute. Everyone on the boards took this to mean that despite all of their "rules" and their apparent "judicial system," Benry really does have the ultimate say-so. I hope we don't need to see The Sheriff again any time soon, I don't sleep well as it is.




THE HUMAN ZOO


I feel like they missed a really good opportunity to have freaked us all out during the scene when all of those random people were staring at Jack in the cage. But instead, it fell flat with yet another dose of stilted dialogue that cut off before providing any real insight:

Come one, come all, to see the Side-Show Circus Freak![Back on the island, Jack wakes up startled in his cage. The camera reveals about a dozen people standing outside the cage.]
JACK [frustrated]: What?!!!
CINDY [approaching]: Hey, Jack.
JACK: Do I -- do I know you? 815, you were the stewardess.
CINDY: Cindy.
JACK: What are you doing here -- with them? I thought you were taken -- you were -- you were captured.
Look at the nice man in the cage!CINDY: They're not, um -- it's not that simple.
JACK: What are they doing here, right now? What are you doing here?!!
CINDY: We're here to watch, Jack.
JACK: Watch what?
[The little girl, Emma, from the tail section approaches.]
CINDY: What is it, sweetheart?
[Emma whispers in her ear and waits with a big smile.]

CINDY: She wants to know how Ana-Lucia's doing.
JACK: Are you serious?
CINDY: What?
JACK [angry]: If you've got something to watch, Cindy, go watch it!! Go!!


How lame was it that Cindy was all, "Hey, Jack!"? I will tell you: VERY LAME!

Here are the two main revelations we can gather from this scene:

1) Cindy either may have been one of The Others from the beginning, or she is now brainwashed, and "watching" the experiments may be part of the overall initiation...

and

2) Cindy truly did not know what happened to Ana Lucia.

Overall, everyone was frustrated that Jack just told her to go away rather than trying to get more information out of her.



THE SCARLET ASTERISK-THINGY

Yum, let's go eat now! Juliet's "branding" was definitely a major event in the episode. When The Sheriff read the note from Benry indicating that Juliet's life should be spared, but that she should instead "be marked," Alex, Zeke and The Sheriff all physically recoiled. Many on the boards therefore assumed that to The Others, being marked was worse than death. So what is the significance of the mark - both in its design and in what it signals to the rest of The Others?

Regarding its design, I felt like people were really grasping at straws on this subject. Yes, I will totally admit that I do see the resemblance to the Scientology cross, and while the guy who played Ethan IS Tom Cruise's cousin in real life, and while show creator J.J. Abrams DID direct Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible III, I don't think Mr. Couch-Jumper's influence has pervaded the show just yet.

Other people thought that the mark resembled a symbol often used for the North Star, and then convinced themselves that it fit with the Jesus Stick inscription: "Lift up your eyes and look north."

Frankly, I don't think it is meant to be any existing symbol that we would recognize. However, I do think the signficance of "marking" someone is an idea they took from a few different religions and famous stories. Alex said that their rules were essentially "an eye for an eye," a phrase which comes from the Exodus chapter of the Bible, as does the title of this episode, "Stranger in a Strange Land." Here are thoughts from people who seem familiar with the subject:

- "In the Bible (Genesis 4), Cain kills Abel (Juliet killed Pickett) and God marked Cain so nobody would take vengeance on him and kill him. Hmmm, maybe the mark is a mark of protection... interesting."

- "I certainly think this may be a Cain and Abel reference. Here is some insight on the topic from answers.com: "God “set a mark upon Cain” to protect him in his wanderings. The “mark of Cain” now refers to an individual's or humankind's sinful nature."

- "Yesterday was Ash Wednesday if you are Catholic, and I was watching this episode with my cross of ashes on my forehead, thinking what the priest said as he put them on: "Turn away from sin." So this can all be a coincidence, or this mark on Juliet is similar to the mark on Cain."

- "I studied Theology pretty extensively and that is the reason why traditionally Christians never got tattoos, and why during the early 20th century bikers were so feared. To mark your body was a grievous sin."

One last post brought up a point having nothing to do with religion: "Juliet getting a mark paralleled Jack's tattoos as a basis for being an outcast-leader, thus propelling their relationship and co-dependence."

I think we are going to have to wait (surprise!) to understand the meaning behind the branding, but I do think that it is strange that it was put on her lower back. If it was meant to be shameful (like The Scarlet Letter), why wouldn't it have been somewhere a tad more noticeable? Some people are convinced that the mark is a sign for Smokey to kill Juliet, which I think is way out there.

Here is one idea that I do think is on the money, however: "You know that we will be seeing this mark on someone before the season is over. And since it is in a fairly concealable location, it will be on someone "surprising". "Gasp! Why does (insert character here) have the Others mark!?!?!"



HE WALKS AMONGST US, BUT HE IS NOT ONE OF US


5 is NOT one of the numbers, how will they explain THAT one?The only other thing I liked in this episode, besides Juliet getting the mark, was the meaning of Jack's tattoo - I think it is a cool saying. That's not what his tattoo really means, however, but I will cover that in a minute.

So obviously "He walks amongst us, but he is not one of us" first and foremost signifies a leader. Someone who is obviously like everyone else at face value, but who has that special something that makes him or her stand apart. We've been witnessing Jack's "reluctant heroism" ever since the series' pilot, so it's not like the meaning of the tattoo was any big shocker.

As one fan put it, "I think it absolutely applies to his situation now with The Others. But I also feel it probably fits for the rest of his life as well. I doubt Jack has ever really just been one of the gang. He graduated top of his class (med school) and did it a year faster than anyone else. He's been busy trying to be a good man rather than just being one. His push for something better in himself could never let him be content being him. It's hard to be at one with other people when you're not even one with yourself."

What worried me was Jack's comment at the end:

ISABEL: "He walks amongst us, but he is not one of us." Your tattoos -- that's what they say.
JACK: That's what they say. That's not what they mean.

Uh, I don't get it. Is he trying to say that he wants to be one of The Others? Is he trying to deny that he's a leader? Does anyone have any other ideas?

Exhibit A in Why I Didn't Listen to Iron MaidenThe tattoo's meaning dove-tailed nicely with the title of the episode. As mentioned above, 'Stranger in a Strange Land" is a phrase mentioned in the Bible, but it also could be taken much more literally - Jack was an outsider in Thailand, he is an outsider amongst The Others, and overall - the island is quite a strange place for any of them to be. There is also a sci-fi novel of the same name by Robert A. Heinlein which revolves around a human raised on Mars being returned to Earth. And just to be EXTRA thorough, according to TV.com, "the episode title could also be an allusion to the song of the same name by Iron Maiden, about an Arctic explorer who dies and is found a century later by another team of explorers."

And to those of you wondering why the tattoo was in Chinese even though they were in Thailand, I offer you this wisdom from tattoo.com: "Thailand has a large Chinese population. Life in Thailand is saturated with superstition. People are convinced that benevolent and sinister powers direct their destinies and a lot of time is dedicated to appealing to these powers for help and kindness. In Thailand the sacred and profane are completely intertwined and interdependent. For more than 300 years, Thai men have visited with tattoo arjan (master), listened to the teachings and received tattoos in an effort to understand their destiny and exercise some control over it."

And, as I mentioned above... sorry folks, but Jack's tattoo's meaning was purely made up and created by the writers. Matthew Fox has those tattoos in real life, and they have said all along that they were going to work them into the show. Way back in Season One, Kate asked about his tattoos and Jack acted all skittish. Its actual translation is: "Eagles high up, cleaving the space" - a verse taken from a famous poem called Ch'ang-sha by former Chinese Chairman Mao Tse-tung (yeah, you remember him from history class back in the day!). According to TV.com, "The poem itself has a much deeper meaning as we can see in the end of the second stanza when the poet asks: "Who masters fate's rise and descent?" - which might have influenced the writers' translation." Yes, that sure sounds like a poem that a Free Willer would like!

And remember, we still don't know how/why he got the big number five or the other tattoos. All I ask is that Bai Ling doesn't turn up again as the tattoo artist for those!

That brings up the issue of the timeline - when in Jack's life did this flashback take place? My guess is that it was after Sarah left him, but before his dad took off for Australia. However, it could've also been before he met Sarah.



THE LOVE BOAT

Now's your chance, throw Benry overboard, fools!I almost hurt myself pulling at my hair and face when the horribly sappy final scene aired. What was UP with that "gazing at the stars" montage and all of the Karl/Alex and Jack/Juliet longing glances? Not to mention the awfully cheesy music. The better not ever pull that type of crap again.

Some people were able to ignore the sugary sweetness and focus on the boat. I thought it was the same boat used to kidnap Walt, but most people on the boards think that what they were using to cross back over to Craphole Island was a much bigger vessel. I'm not sure if it matters one way or the other, but thought I should mention it.

The bigger question at the end of the episode was, "Is Jack right in trusting Juliet?" Remember that even Benry forewarned him, "Juliet doesn't care about you, Jack. It doesn't matter what she's done. No matter what you think -- she's one of us." In my opinion, Jack doesn't really have much choice BUT to attempt to form an alliance with Juliet. She clearly has a different agenda than the rest of The Others', and Jack is smart to try to leverage that to his benefit. If he actually falls for her, then yes, he is an idiot. I like Kate more than I like Juliet, and as you all know, that is really saying something.



BEST LINES OF THE EPISODE


SAWYER [singing]: Show me the way to go home/I'm tired and I want to go to bed/I had a little drink about an hour ago/And it went straight to my head.
KATE: Stop.
(This folk song, "Show Me the Way to Go Home," is sung by the three shark-hunters in Jaws while waiting out the night on their small boat)




KATE: Turn the boat around, Sawyer. I mean it.
SAWYER: Have you lost your mind? We just got away.
KATE: Just do it.
SAWYER: You give me one good reason to turn around!
KATE: Because we can't leave Jack behind!
SAWYER [pausing and staring at her]: Yes we can, Freckles, because that's what he asked us to do. You think about it -- if we go back there -- what do you think Captain Bunny Killer's going to do if he catches us?



Don't take relationship advice from this man![Cut to Sawyer approaching Karl. Karl quickly wipes his eyes. Sawyer punches Karl in the arm.]
KARL: Ow!! What the hell was that for?!
SAWYER: So you'd cowboy up. Crying in the jungle -- I thought you people were supposed to be tough.
KARL [shoving Sawyer]: I am tough.
SAWYER: Sure you are, Bobby. [Karl looks puzzled] Bobby, the Brady Bunch?
KARL: What the hell's the Brady Bunch?


BENRY: The cavalry has arrived, at last.
JACK: I'd be more impressed with you people if you had a good surgeon.
BENRY: We had an excellent surgeon, Jack. His name was Ethan.




WORST LINES OF THE EPISODE

ACHARA: There are things that happen here that you could never understand.
JACK: Like your gift?
ACHARA: Yes, like my gift. [they kiss and roll off the bed, laughing] Are you having fun with me, Jack?
JACK: Oh, yeah.
ACHARA: Then stop ask questions. Let's have fun.




JULIET: Why did you help me?
JACK: He told you he was going to let you go home. He told me the same thing. We're going to make sure he keeps his word.
JULIET: And how are we going to do that?
JACK: Together.



WISE WORDS FROM THE BOARDS

- I won't say it was worthless b/c I love the show, but did we really need to devote an entire episode to Jack's tattoos? What's next? Two episodes on Kate's freckles? Why does she have freckles if neither of her parents have freckles?!? PLEASE no more filler episodes!
- As someone who's seen every single episode of the show so far, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that was the worst one. So what we learn from Jack's tattoo is that he's a reluctant leader? Sorry, folks, that's not learning. That's repeating. That aspect of Jack's character has been firmly established since the first season. Maybe since the first friggin episode.
- Jack's tattoos mean: "Party of Five"
- I think it is similar to the scar Ben will have from the surgery. No one believed Jack when he said he'd lied about Juliet asking him to kill Ben. Remember Alex said "an eye for an eye?" I think putting the mark on her spine and simulating an incision and stitches would be a gruesome reminder of what she planned.
- How is Juliet's mark going to affect anything? I don't see any of them going around in belly shirts. Is someone really going to see it? And more importantly... what does the mark mean for her. Three strikes and you are out?
- And when you "mark" someone isn't the point of it to be visible so that everyone can see it? I would have liked it to have been on her cheek or forehead!
- Anyone think the ending, where Karl and Alex are looking at the stars was a little bit... An American Tail?
- That was some Fivel Goes West shit at the end.
- I almost expected to hear "Somewhere Out There" during the looking-at-the-stars montage at the end.
- Hmm, we should have expected a terrible episode the second they cast Bai Ling. ICK.
- I had to avert my eyes. Avert my EYES! From Matthew Fox in a sexual scene. It's just not right.
- Bai Ling is Skankness on Two Sticks. I didn't want to look at her on screen too long for fear of catching an STD in my eyeballs.
- Serious meta this episode, with Jack screaming, "If you have something else to watch, go watch it!"
- Also I hate how these people act in ways that I can't imagine normal people thrown in the same (admittedly absurd) situation would act. Sawyer's just escaped a completely psycho situation and he's whistling and singing while he rows the boat? They have an Other in their possession and they just don't keep firing the questions at him? WHAT experiments? HOW do the Others plan to make the world better? Kate wants to go back and get Jack even though she knows she's outnumbered - instead of getting back to their island and assembling a posse? Where the hell is Sayid to be the BRAIN of the operation here? Also, if they're going to have an Asian subplot, why cast Bai Ling, the worst living actress on the planet, instead one of the zillions of Asian actresses out there who CAN act?
- The sheriff was played by Diana Scarwid who played Joan Crawford's daughter in "Mommie Dearest"... I wonder how Juliet was marked? I hope it wasn't with a wire hanger.


UPCOMING EPISODES

2/28/07 - Tricia Tanaka is Dead

3/7/2007 - Enter 77

3/14/07 - Par Avion

I've seen a few extra clips of "Tricia Tanaka is Dead," and I can confirm that Sayid actually speaks in this one, yay! The good news is that it really CAN'T be worse than last week's show, right?

Enjoy,
- e

Thursday, February 15, 2007

S3Ep8 - Flashes Before Your Eyes (Desmond's second "flashback")

Well, helllooooooo, Desmond!  You clean up well, brotha!Hello my dear friends -

Several of you have written me with various expressions of awe and wonder regarding "Flashes Before Your Eyes." I will second those who loved the episode - anything trippy like that I am going to enjoy. Plus, I love me some Desmond, so I was bound to like whatever was on the screen that revolved around him.

But I must forewarn you before you start reading this write-up... if you think that I can possibly explain with any level of certainty WHAT THE HELL happened in this episode, you might as well stop reading now. I am just as confused as everyone else. While I am always stressed out when creating these write-ups because of the time pressure, I have never been outright INTIMIDATED to write one like I am now. As I'm sure you can imagine, there are literally thousands of different takes on this episode, and because I, unlike Desmond, AM enslaved by time and space, I need to just stop reading different fan theories or I'm never going to get this thing posted. That being said, I have scoured the boards and pulled together the main theories, and doing that did help me to at least understand what MIGHT have been going on. I'm left with the belief that we need at least one more Desmond flashback to be clear as to what actually transpired. If you have another idea as to what happened or have heard of another credible theory that I missed, by all means, please leave a comment at the end of the post.


THAT. JUST. HAPPENED!

Hands down, the biggest debate raging on the boards is whether or not Desmond's "flashback" was real or a dream. I hesitated putting this topic upfront in the write-up because it is so massive, but basically everything else in the episode hinges off of your interpretation of what Desmond's "flashback" actually was (and from here on out I'm still going to call it a flashback even though it might not have been, and I'm dropping the quotation marks!).

Here is something to consider as we dissect the episode: Entertainment Weekly asked Damon Lindelof, one of the executive producers, to give them a ten-word hint about Desmond's episode (before it aired), and his answer was: "Riddle me this — When is a flashback not a flashback?"

Hmmmm, very enlightening... NOT (yes, I liked Wayne's World, deal with it)! All we clearly know from that lame hint is that this was not a "normal" flashback - meaning that it not was purely a memory of something that had happened in the character's past as it actually happened.

Another hint from the producers was in the recent cover story in EW that I linked to in the last write-up: ...they would be employing a flashback technique "in a way we never have before and never will again."

On to the arguments of what exactly it was that we watched for the majority of the episode...


DREAM ONNNNN, DREAM ONNNNN!

The people taking the "dream" stance believe that everything that happened in the flashback was just bits of Desmond's memories all jumbled together. They essentially disconnect the flashback from Desmond's new ability to see flashes of the future. In their argument, the flashback was just a dream, the future visions are the result of him turning the key and getting zapped, and that's that.

Here is the supporting evidence from the dream-teamers:

- Since Lost has never had a flashback that was just a dream before, this fits with the producers statement above.

- Desmond specifically alludes to it being a dream (Ms. Hawking = thrift shop woman):
DESMOND: This isn't really happening, is it?
MS. HAWKING: Sorry?
DESMOND: I've had a concussion. You're my subconscious.
MS. HAWKING [amused]: Am I?

I need a drink after looking at that painting, brotha!- This flashback incorporates tons of "memories" from the island: the polar bear in Widmore's painting (and the buddha and the Namaste from the DHARMA video (written backwards at the top of the painting)), the 1:08 on the digital clock, the sound of the countdown beep eminating from the microwave, the "delivery for 815," "Make Your Own Kind of Music" being played at the pub, and even Charlie!

- If Charlie really had had that encounter with Desmond in the past, he would've recognized him the first time he saw Desmond on the island.

- Ms. Hawking stated: "You may not like your path, Desmond, but pushing that button is the only truly great thing that you will ever do." Therefore this MUST just be a dream because we all know that Desmond rocks, right?

- At the end of the episode, when telling Charlie what happened to him after he turned the key, Desmond did not say "I went back in time," he said: "When I turned that key my life flashed before my eyes. And then I was back in the jungle and still on this bloody island. But those flashes, Charlie -- those flashes -- they didn't stop." The dream-teamers interpret that to mean that Desmond knows he didn't really time travel, he just had a wacky dream that mixed his past and his present together, and now he's seeing flashes from the future.


WE'RE OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD...


More evidence that it was all a dream... As has been mentioned in the past, there have been several nods to The Wizard of Oz throughout the series. This episode gave us one of the most obvious - the guy in the red shoes getting killed by the collapsing building. If you remember Dorothy's experience in Oz, it was compiled of people she already knew from her life - the farm hands were the Cowardly Lion, The Scarecrow and the Tin Man, the Witch was the mean Mrs. Gulch, and so on. So the dream-teamers interpreted Desmond's "flashback" to be just a jumbled memory of his past mixed with his current situation on the island. The fact that he can now see clips of the future was something that resulted from his turning of the key, but the "flashback" was neither an actual memory nor the result of time travel, it was a trippy dream mixing in memories of the island, similar to Dorothy's.




REALITY BITES

The people who believe Desmond's flashback was real are split into at least three different sub-factions: 1) those who think Desmond actually did time travel, 2) those who think that Desmond did not necessarily time travel, but that he has REALIZED after turning the key that he is living a span of his life over and over again (or in other words, he is in a time loop), and 3) those who think that there are multiple parallel universes and by turning the key, Desmond had or still has the power to go in and out of them.



SORRY Y'ALL, DES AIN'T NO MARTY MCFLY

Don't make me play I hate to do this, but I'm just going to shut down the "time travel" faction here and now. The reason being is that time travel in its purest sense is when someone goes back (or forward) in time and then there may actually be physically two of them - like when the young Marty McFly (aka Calvin Klein) saw his older self and vice versa in the Back to the Future movies. Or like in The Time Traveler's Wife . Or like in lots of other books and movies about time travel. There were clearly NOT two Desmonds. So he did not time travel in the strictest sense of the term. Plus, he didn't have a time machine like a DeLorean or a phone booth a la Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, so isn't it OBVIOUS that there was no time travel??!?! Desmond, it's your DENSITY to turn the key!Yes, I realize that I'm acting like I'm an expert on this. Why I'm acting like I know what I'm talking about here shall remain one of e's many mysteries...

Also, on a much more somber level, the producers said in an interview during Season One that there wasn't going to be any time travel. Granted, they also said that there wouldn't be anything on the show that couldn't be scientifically explained (hellloooo, Smokey tossing Eko all around and killing him...??), so who knows how much we can trust that past statement.

Dudes, WE know how the series ends!
"THOSE WHO CANNOT REMEMBER THE PAST ARE CONDEMNED TO REPEAT IT"

On to the time-loopers... As you know, I have been a proponent of the Time Loop Theory for quite a while, having stated as recently as the last write-up that I thought the skeletons found in the caves in Season One are actually Jack's and Kate's. For many, this episode seemed to narrow the time loop evidence down to only Desmond. I still think that a time loop could be affecting everyone - but I think that Desmond may be the only one that REALIZES it at this point.

The evidence the time-loopers draw from is fairly simple... Desmond is not time traveling because there is only one of him, but when he turned the key and saw not only flashes of his past but also of the future, he realized that he was living part of his life (if not all of it) over and over again. The easiest explanation is that Desmond has only gone through ONE brief time loop, and it happened when he turned the key. It can be illustrated as follows - credit to Sledgeweb for the helpful drawing:


How ya like THEM apples?


What the drawing above shows is that Desmond's loop was only that short matter of days in which he had the chance to propose to Penelope. If the key-turning was what enabled him to go into the loop, then he most likely has only gone through the loop once. While he was disappointed to be back on the island after he woke up from that hatch implosion, it wasn't like he was completely exasperated (as he most likely would be if he had gone through the loop 100 times already). Also, in the flashback, it seemed like he was just realizing what was going on. Whereas, if he had gone through the loop several times, like Bill Murray did in Groundhog Day, it would be old hat.

Finally, when he wakes up from the hatch implosion, he says:
"Please, let me go back. Let me go back one more time. I'll do it right. I'll do it right this time. I'm sorry, Penny. I'll change it. I'll change it."

If he had gone through several time loops, he would KNOW he was going to go back again. In his pleading speech above, he says "let me go back one more time," which to me seems like something he would only say after it just dawned on him what had happened (that he just went backwards in time, that he COULD have changed things... which is what he was just realizing when he got hit in the bar and switched back to the present).

Additionally, consider the double-meaning of what Ms. Hawking says when Desmond enters the jewelry store:

MS. HAWKING: Never done this before have you?
[Camera reveals Desmond in a second hand shop.]
DESMOND: Is it that obvious?
MS. HAWKING: I can always tell the first-timers.

So what does this all mean for his future flashes? This is why some people think that he must have gone through several loops because he has supposedly "seen" Charlie die two times. Which is a good point! However, for the future flashes, I'm not sure if Desmond has to have actually experienced the events, or if he is just "seeing what could happen." His exact words were: "When I saw the lightning hit the roof, you were electrocuted. And when you heard Claire was in the water you -- you drowned trying to save her." It's fairly vague... so I'm not sure if he was his present self and simply saw two different flashes of the future where Charlie died, or if he actually lived through those two scenarios and is now "remembering them from the future." I hope at this point all of you are pausing and realizing how hard it is for me to attempt to explain all of these crazy-ass theories and scenarios?!!?




ONLY EXTREME NERDS NEED APPLY: THE MPU THEORY

Should I choose Brad Pitt or Chris Martin?This is where we separate the proverbial men from the boys. The Multiple Parallel Universe Theory - or, The MPU Theory from now on. I think this theory can be best illustrated by one of my top five favorite movies, Sliding Doors. You most likely didn't see it, even though it is Gwyneth Paltrow's finest work, in my humble opinion. The premise of the movie is this... in one scenario, Gwyneth misses the subway train she was trying to catch. In another, she manages to squeeze into the train car. Two parallel lives of hers unfold, showing how differently her life turned out in each because of that one small difference. It can also be called the "What If?" theory. What if you went to another college? What if you took that other job offer? What if you didn't marry who you married? What if you never frickin' started watching Lost? THEN YOU WOULDN'T HAVE A HEADACHE RIGHT NOW, that's for damn sure!

The interesting thing in Sliding Doors (spoiler ahead, so skip this paragraph if you want to rent it - highly recommended...) is that even though Gwyneth's lives took drastically different paths, some major things ended up the same, and the overall point of the movie was definitely one of "whatever is meant to be, will be." This is right up there with the "destiny/fate" argument made by Locke throughout the series. Shout-out to CM for seeing this with me in the theater way back in the day!

I highly suggest you read The MPU Theory in its entirety so you can see exactly how it relates to Lost. As well as to just be amazed by the author's attention to detail and thoroughness. I actually do not agree with some of the finer points of the theory, but overall, I do think it could be very possible that what is going on in the show is that there are several parallel universes and that the island exists in a "nexus" of sorts - where some of the timelines may intersect when the key is turned. Desmond jumped out of his current "life timeline" and into another one, and in that one, he did keep the ring despite Ms. Hawking's warning (at least for a little bit). We don't know what happened after he got hit in the bar, but The MPU Theory would have you believe that he eventually woke up in the bar and then perhaps went and asked Penny to forgive him, and now that Desmond is living happily ever after. A very similar, prominent theory is the Black Hole Theory, which you can read here (scroll down a little bit until you see the "Do Black Holes Explain it All?" heading). And yet another similar theory is that the island is on a ley line. Take your pick!

Sorry that this is kind of a hodge-podge, but below is additional evidence to support either the Time Loop Theory, The MPU Theory, or both:

- Time Loop: Some of Desmond's responses to Jack when they first met in the stadium now eerily make more sense:
JACK: What do you know about sprains, anyway?
DESMOND: I was almost a doctor once.



DESMOND: You must have done something worthy of this self-flagellation.
JACK: I told her -- I made her a promise I couldn't keep -- I told her I'd fix her and I couldn't. I failed.
DESMOND: Right. Just one thing -- what if you did fix her?
JACK: I didn't.
DESMOND: But what if you did?
JACK: You don't know what you're talking about, man.
DESMOND: I don't? Why not?


I'm bitter I'm stuck in a time loop as a scary old lady!- Time loop: The brooch the jewelry store woman was wearing was the Ouroboros - a snake devouring itself. Some interpret this symbol to mean "the vicious cycle." I like to associate it with another one of my favorite movies, The Neverending Story. Awwwww, yeah - Atreyu, Bastian and Falkor - rock on wit' yo' bad selves! To me, this is a hint that things are happening in a loop.

- Time Loop: Consider the deeper meaning of Penny's words to Desmond near the end of the episode:
DESMOND: It's all happening too soon -- you moving in. You're painting rooms; you're changing things. I don't even like red. Why would you leave your flat, your expensive flat...

PENELOPE [slapping Desmond's face]: Don't do that. Don't you pretend you don't care. And don't you dare rewrite history.

Story = Awesome.  Special effects?  Ah, not so good


- MPU: This one is going to be hard to explain because it is so strange. But I tested it out a few times (with four other witnesses)... and... a few full minutes after Desmond wakes up in his apartment with the paint splashed all over him, you can faintly but clearly hear Charlie yell "Get him off of me!" Now, what does that prove? It could be an audio-editing mistake (highly unlikely with this show which is KNOWN for embedding backwards and hidden audio clips). But some people think that it is proof that Desmond fell into a parallel universe where time is moving at a different pace. So, stay with me here... Desmond turned the key and was transported back to his apartment, about 7 years prior. However, back on the island, a few days had passed, and Charlie is now tussling with Desmond in the sand and screams out the cry for help. Since present-day Desmond is now jumping between universes at different points in time, he hears Charlie faintly and then is pulled fully into the past (which is why he doesn't hear anything like that again during the flashback). I know I didn't explain that one that well, but Charlie's voice is definitely there. If you still have the episode, it is a little bit past when Penny gets on the floor with Desmond, chiding him about needing to be more careful (it is not immediately after Desmond wakes up, that's why it's weird).

- MPU: Desmond has said "See you in another life, brotha!" twice now. Once to Locke before he went to turn the key, and once to Jack in the stadium. Some fans think that he literally meant "ANOTHER life" - as in, another parallel life.

- Both: When we first see Ms. Hawking in the second-hand shop, many fans noticed that she is surrounded by tons of different clocks, and they are all pointing to different times.

- Both: When Desmond first sees his professor friend, the professor is talking a student and he says: "Your thesis is a bit neat. The wild card part which is unpredictability -- run the same test 10 times -- you'll 10 different outcomes. It's what makes life so wonderfully..." then he gets cut off. But they didn't just randomly have him say that for nothing!

- Both: Desmond's flashback took place at least 6 or 7 years BEFORE the plane crashed on the island. He still has to join the Royal Scots (the office he passed in the episode), go to jail, train for the race, go on the race, and then spend three years pushing the button before the Lostaways find him. That is why Charlie wouldn't have necessarily remembered Desmond from their brief encounter (debunking the Dream theory). As a side note, I would guess that this would then have to be BEFORE DriveShaft became famous. Which is why I got a kick out of Charlie's "And this is why we don't do drugs!" line when he thought Desmond was insane.

- Both: Desmond uses the exact same wording as Ms. Hawking did when talking to Charlie:

MS. HAWKING: Because it wouldn't matter. Had I warned him about the scaffolding tomorrow he'd be hit by a taxi. If I warned him about the taxi, he'd fall in the shower and break his neck. The universe, unfortunately, has a way of course correcting. That man was supposed to die. That was his path just as it's your path to go to the island. You don't do it because you choose to, Desmond. You do it because you're supposed to.

Back on the island, Desmond says to Charlie: "I've tried, brother. I've tried twice to save you, but the universe has a way of course correcting and -- and I can't stop it forever. I'm sorry. I'm sorry because no matter what I try to do you're going to die, Charlie."

- Both: Here is what the producers stated about this episode: "It'll either blow people's minds or chase them away for good." Now, let's be realistic - If Desmond's flashback was all a dream, it might make a lot of people mad, but that certainly wasn't going to blow anyone's mind. However, a time loop or an MPU would have the power to do either. I think the producers wanted people to know that the show is now going in a fundamentally different direction, and they just threw the stake down with this episode.

OK, now that I have covered the main theories about what Desmond's flashback actually was, we can move into some of the smaller questions raised and observations made during this episode.


SHE WAS ACTUALLY AN OTHER!

We will, we will HAUNT YOU! The jewelry store woman... she was freaky, no? This is not the first time that actress has played a creepy role - she was the maid in The Others. Her name on Lost is "Ms. Hawking," which many people think is a shout-out to Stephen Hawking (whose book was showcased briefly on the show last week when Aldo was reading "A Brief History of Time").

The people who believe Desmond's flashback was a dream deem Ms. Hawking to be inconsequential, because to them, none of it was real in the first place. But for those who think that Desmond's flashback actually happened, it is actually harder to explain who she is (not to mention her behavior) than it is to explain the MPU Theory! Everyone else in Desmond's flashback acted "normal," however, Ms. Hawking actually acknowledged what was happening to Desmond - that he was living part of his life over again. She knew what was SUPPOSED to happen, and was very upset when he tried to change things. And by the way, if you assume that what Desmond experienced actually happened, then she must be a real person and not some figment of his imagination (as in, "his subconscious") because she actually bought chestnuts from the vendor. Thanks to JB for pointing that out... I had been convinced she was like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense until I saw another character besides Desmond interact with her. There are many theories on who she is, but I must admit that none of them are really moving me. The two main guesses as to who she is are:

Yes, I bring the creepy.- She may just simply be someone who has also experienced what Desmond is now experiencing (time-jumping), so she is confused and worried that things are not going according to the usual plan... Remember her "I can always spot a first-timer" line. She may have no other significance in the show than that. When she says "And if you don't do those things... every single one of US is dead," she may literally mean everyone in the world, because she believes that keeping the electromagnetic force contained on the island is actually "saving the world." She may also mean that all fellow time-jumpers will die, because they will somehow be caught in between universes.


- She may be an Other or someone working for DHARMA who has a vested interest in ensuring that Desmond ends up on the island pressing the button. I think this is the most likely scenario, because how else would she know so much about Desmond's life? If she was just a fellow time-jumper, she wouldn't know all of the details about his relationship with Penny, the boat race, or the island. In this scenario, when she states that "every single one of US will die," she may mean everyone, but she may also mean just the people on the island, or just a certain sub-set of people. The way she emphasized "US" seemed too blatant to me. She could've just said "Everyone in the world will die!" which would've been more dramatic, but she specifically chose to say "every single one of US will die," so I think there's something to that.

One last point I wanted to bring up before moving on from Freaky Lady is that I was confused by why she was so upset that Desmond was doing something different this time around. It kind of goes against her whole "the universe will eventually course correct" speech, now doesn't it? If she really believed that all outcomes are pre-determined, why did she make such a fuss when Desmond kept the ring? She should've been confident that he would end up screwing it up somehow (which he did, but that's beside the point). It makes me think that she was just bluffing, and that she knows that free will does exist and that people can change their paths if they know they're being given the chance to do so. She did the whole "guy with red shoes dying" bit just for dramatic effect, to really scare the crap out of Desmond. But in the end, it was like she was trying too hard to prove a point that technically she shouldn't have to prove.

Which leads us to the second-most hotly debated topic on the boards...


IS THE HOBBIT REALLY HEADED FOR THE GREAT BIG SHIRE IN THE SKY?


I have to admit that I thought I was awesome about mid-way through the episode. After the guy with the red shoes was squashed and Ms. Hawking gave her "course correct" speech, I paused the Tivo and said arrogantly to my friends, "So do you get what this means?!?!?"

Silence.

"Do you get what this means IN THIS SHOW?!?!?!"

More silence.

"It means that Claire is totally going to die - Desmond keeps trying to save her!"

Ooohs and aaaahhhhs. Oh e, you are so smart. I was thinking to myself, 'it's like I write this show sometimes.' Well, color me fooled at the end when Des did the ol' switcheroo and told Charlie that it had been him he'd been trying to save all along. How great was that?

I am not kidding when I said that this was the second-hottest topic on the boards. I pasted in some of the comments in the last section of this write-up so you could get a flavor for the sentiment out there. There are definitely some Hobbit-haters, that much I'll say. Then there are the romantic people who think that Charlie can't die because of his blooming relationship with Claire and his buddy-ness with Hurley.

No worries, the elves will save me.I do not think Charlie is going to die, but it's not because I am a delusional LOTR fan, or kidding myself about his role on the island or in the show. I think he won't die because if he dies now, that that will be the equivalent of the producers saying "That's it, we are showing you our cards - there IS NO FREE WILL FOR OUR CHARACTERS. EVERYTHING IS PRE-DETERMINED." I think this episode was meant to fool us, just as Ms. Hawking was trying to fool Desmond, into believing that fate cannot be altered. This has always been one of the main themes of the show - you've got your Jack and the Free-Willers, and you've got your Locke and the Destiny & Faters. If Charlie does die, it will not be until the series finale. But seriously, who would write a show where the main message is, "You are not in control of anything in your life"? I have to believe that they want to show to go out on a more positive note than that. So I think something will happen to prove that Desmond is not doomed to a life of misery, and therefore I definitely do not think that Charlie will die.


I BET YOU MISSED *ALL* OF THIS...

As usual, there were a ton of little things in the show that were cool simply because they were clever, or because they were possible hints. As they don't fit into any neat category, I will just start listing them all out:

- The book from Sawyer's stash:

I personally think that Laughter in the Dark is just a red herring, and doesn't really mean anything for the show. Except that perhaps the producers are Police fans and are excited about the reunion tour?

As one fan so astutely put it, these lyrics sum up the book (this happens to be my favorite Police song, too - bonus!):
It's no use
He sees her
He starts to shake, he starts to cough
Just like the old man in that
Famous book by Nabokov

Now at least I know what book Sting was talking about! How useful.


- Charlie's middle name

You all nobody!

Here is what is written about Hieronymus Bosch, who seems to be the only famous Hieronymus: (latinized; also Jeroen Bosch or his real name Jeroen van Aken) (c. 1450 – August, 1516) A prolific Dutch painter of the 15th and 16th centuries. Many of his works depict sin and human moral failings. Bosch used images of demons, half-human animals and machines to evoke fear and confusion to portray the evil of man. The works contain complex, highly original, imaginative, and dense use of symbolic figures and iconography, some of which was obscure even in his own time. He is said to have been an inspiration for the surrealist movement in the 20th century.

A similar sounding term is "Heuronymous machines," which appear in an Indian text called Jantar Mantar. It alludes to these machines as self-hypnotic devices that can raise the mental powers of a human being by many orders of magnitude.

Alas, some people on the boards looked at Charlie's middle name a completely different way (and probably the way it was MEANT to be interpreted!):
"Can't help but notice the word heroin in Hieronymus, maybe a scramble for "Heroin's Yum?"



- Special Tunes

I *loved* these catches!

Sing it, Sarah!1) The song playing on the radio when Desmond is dressing is "Building a Mystery" by Sarah McLachlan. Tell me about it, sista! I have not confirmed this, but one person on the boards said the part of the song that's playing is: "Oh you're a beautiful... a beautiful f-cked up man." True dat! Also, note that this song came out in 1997, which meshes with my theory that this flashback was 7 years before the plan crash.

2) The song Charlie is singing on the sidewalk is "Wonderwall" by Oasis. Many people have always joked that DriveShaft was modeled after Oasis (two screwed up British brothers, etc.). However, the hilarious part, in light of Desmond's speech to Charlie at the end of the episode, is that Charlie was singing the part of the song that goes, "And maybeeeee, you're gonna be the one that saves meeeee......" I LOVE IT! As a side note, this Oasis album was released in 1995, and since it wasn't on the radio but rather performed as a cover, that also fits with the timeline mentioned above.

3) The song in the bar, "Make Your Own Kind of Music," was of course the Hatch Theme in the opener to Season Two. There is a lot of contention that this song was chosen to illustrate that people do have control over their destiny and can choose to do whatever they want to do.


- Drink up, boys!

OF COURSE the whiskey that Charlie, Hurley and Desmond so enjoyed had to be symbolic for something... It was "MacCutcheon's" whiskey, and in real life, MacCutcheon was an amateur chess player that beat the current world champion in 1885 by... using a new opening move. I think that ties into the theme of the episode quite nicely! How do they FIND this stuff?


- More connections

Remember way back when, to Claire's first freakadelic flashback? When we met her mean boyfriend who ended up leaving her after she became pregnant? Remember his paintings? How did one end up in Widmore's office?

Can you hear my brain exploding?

Since, once again, this flashback most likely happened seven years before the plane crash, and Claire's flashback was just months before the crash, the only explanations are:

1) It was a production error
2) Claire's boyfriend was making knock-off paintings
3) Widmore ended up selling or giving away the painting, or perhaps he died and it was an inheritance? The last we saw of Widmore was before Desmond went on the sailing race, which was about 4 years before the crash, so who knows, he could have died and was possibly related to Claire or her boyfriend, so they collected the painting afterward.


- Blink and you'll miss it...

Big props to the viewers who caught the ever-so-suspicious array of logos surrounding the soccer field during the televised match Desmond and his friend were watching at the pub. Even HD viewers could barely make them all out, but my boy humpy was able to grab a pretty clean shot. Just trust me that the following logos are or were somewhere around the soccer field: Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack (where Hurley worked), The Hanso Foundation, Bubbies (diapers that DriveShaft made the commercial for), Kronos (don't know what this is, but Chronos is the God of Time), Oceanic Airlines, and of course, Apollo Candy Bars. I've gotten past the point of caring whether this sort of "easter egg" even means anything, I'm just content with thinking that it is cool and that the creators are clever.


Desmond cries: It's football, not soccer!


- I am... from... The Future!

Shade: Kelvin's Blood RedAnother great catch by the HD peeps:Desmond's paint can seemed to be "Future" brand paint? I have never seen that at Home Depot, what gives?



- Enough with the paintings

Above I covered the fact that the painting in Widmore's office was the same one as in Claire's boyfriend's studio. Other people pointed out that the painting in Desmond's apartment also bore a striking resemblance in style to the polar bear painting in Widmore's office. The apartment painting seemed to have hatch-counter-like hieroglyphics in it, too. People assumed that perhaps as they were so similar, that they were both painted by Penny (which could be an explanation as to why they were at both Desmond's place and her dad's). But we do not have confirmation that they are by the same artist, it just seems like stylistically they are extremely similar. And to throw more confusion into the mix, they also look similar to the infamous hatch mural. I figured it out! There's just one dude that they hired to create all paintings that appear on the show!



WHAT'S IN A NAME?


When Desmond David Hume was first introduced on the show, I mentioned that his namesake, the philosopher David Hume, was known for his musings on how free will and fate are entirely intertwined, and how you can't have one without the other. Just wanted to remind you all of that!


SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

In continuing with one of the major themes of the series, Fate vs. Free Will, I now think that the writers are setting Desmond up on the "Fate" side of things. However, he is still very different from Locke in that Desmond is resigned to the fact that he just can't do anything about anything. Whereas Locke is interested in understanding what the universe has in store for him, and then pursuing that with gusto, no matter if it is even something as simple as, say, pushing a button. Now that Locke's brief lack of faith resulted in the disaster that was the hatch imploding, you can bet that he is going to come back full-force on the Fate Train. However, Desmond just seems hopeless about his lot in life. They may be doing this to give credence to the notion that Desmond is supposedly "a coward." The interesting thing is that Desmond is still obviously trying to be proven wrong about how "you can't change it"... because why else would he still be trying to save Charlie?

This leads to something else I've mentioned during Season 2... there is a theory out there that this whole series is actually about Desmond. Kind of like how you learn that the Star Wars series was actually all about Anakin Skywalker much later, when you had originally thought it was about Luke. Follow me? Some people compare the plight of Desmond to that of Odysseus in Homer's The Odyssey... going through trials and tribulations (many taking place on a boat, and on islands, and with monsters...) all just to get back to his love... Penelope. Some have gone even further to speculate that the skeletons in the cave are NOT those of Jack and Kate, but of Desmond and Penelope - who finally are together forever. Morbid? Yes. But very much still possible. Let's not forget that we know from the Season Two finale that she IS trying to find him.

While we're on the subject... WHY is she trying to find him? If you piece together this latest flashback with his first, you know that Desmond does join the Royal Scots, gets kicked out and thrown in jail, wrote to Penny that entire time, but she never knew it because her evil father (Widmore) intercepted the letters. He then decided to enter Widmore's sailing contest to "win back his honor," was given his sailboat by Libby, and during his training, Penny tracked him down at the stadium (right before he first met Jack). He told Penny he would be entering the race and that he would return in a year. Also, at that point, Penny was engaged to someone else. After that, somewhere between three to four years passed between the race itself and Desmond's time on the island before the Lostaways arrived. When we saw the flash of Penny being woken up by a call from the dudes in the arctic who detected the electromagnetic anomaly, we can only assume that it is the present day (at that point, late November, 2004). So why has she been tracking him this whole time?

The guess is that Desmond, during one of his time jumps, somehow got a note to her about what was going on, and gave her direction as to what she should be looking for. That is why I think there has to be at least one more Desmond flashback, to piece that part together. However, if she is Widmore's daughter, she probably already knows that her dad is evil, and could've figured things out on her own. But I prefer the "he left her a note from beyond" theory!


I ADMIT IT, I AM EASILY FOOLED

I need to send a huge shout-out to JB, my brother, and my dad for helping me think through the massive amount of information I had to process in creating this write-up. My family was all together this past weekend, and we re-watched Lost and then talked about everything that possibly could've been going on. My mind would've surely exploded had it not been for their help. I also have to admit to being freaked out by a pretty lame trick. For quite a while now, the clock on my parents' stove has been stuck at 2:17 (long story). All of the other clocks in the house are right, so it really doesn't matter. But there I sat Sunday morning, just beginning to piece together this write-up, and as I gazed out across the kitchen, my eyes fell on the stove clock. It was now 1:08. I'm sure my eyes must have widened, and I know for a fact that my blood definitely ran cold for about 2 seconds. I turned to my brother in the next room, "Did you change the clock?!?!?!" Unfortunately for him, ee is the worst liar EVER. He started laughing, "Uh... no. But I think Dad did."

Ha, ha, very funny. You had me for a few seconds. It actually bothered me that it remained on 1:08 though (and will until someone changes it again). What can I say... I think it is OBVIOUS that this show gets to me...


BEST LINES OF THE EPISODE

[Charlie and Hurley follow Desmond into the jungle to meet with Sayid and Locke.]
CHARLIE: What happened?
LOCKE: Eko is dead.
SAYID: We found his body in the jungle -- buried him yesterday.
CHARLIE: How did he die?
LOCKE: The island killed him.



[Back on the London street.]
DESMOND: You're Charlie.
CHARLIE: Yeah, name's on the sign. [referring to a homemade sign at his feet]
[We see flashes from the island: Inman in his environmental suit; Desmond holding the key; Inman dead with blood on Desmond's hand; Desmond running; the timer with hieroglyphs displayed; "system failure" displayed on the monitor; the execute button; the computer crashing to the ground.]
DESMOND [slightly crazed]: Who -- they -- they. It -- it was in the hatch. I remember seeing you. There was a -- there was a computer. There was a button. We -- we were on an island.
CHARLIE: We are on an island, mate. This is England.
DESMOND [a little more crazed]: No, it was real, man. I remember.
CHARLIE: Hey, alright. [to the crowd] This is why we don't do drugs.





HURLEY: Hey, do you know any songs about drinking and fighting and girls with one leg?
CHARLIE: Well, girls with [Desmond joins in] one leg and a heart of gold!!



[Charlie helps Desmond over to a tree near his tent.]
DESMOND: You're a good man, Charlie. Listen, I'm sorry I tried to strangle you, alright?




WISE WORDS FROM THE BOARDS


- This episode was old school Lost. Meaning, it rocked!
- But this whole situation was just pretty darn weird, even for Lost. It's like The Butterfly Effect, but with better actors.
- Holy crap, it is like Final Destination mixed with Groundhog Day mixed with the Truman Show!
- Hands down the best episode of this season. It left me with the same sort of chills that I felt during the best of the previous seasons. Loved the little touches throughout Desmond's flashback that connected him to the island, the microwave sound, the boat, the painting with the bear and man... Totally amazing episode.
- Well, that was a nice little mindf-ck of an episode. So was that in his head or did the magnetic discharge really get him unstuck in time a la Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse 5?
- I think Claire's bangs are a metaphor. Like she can't see what's in front of her. You know, 'cause of her bangs.
- Hobbit is going to die? Seriously? Without me having to offer my first born as payment?
- Now that Desmond has delivered the sweet, sweet news of Charlie's impending doom, I am more in love that Scottish loser than ever!
- Who gave Claire the bangs she was rockin'? Especially since Kate the hairstylist was on her way to back to the island.
- On the whole, what a brilliant, brilliant way to play with their form, as well as giving us a nice love story for Valentine's Day.
- ...and a mighty cheer erupted across the land, the moment Desmond uttered that final line!
- Guess Charlie was supposed to die back in Season One? And now the series is correcting itself?
- That was an especially wonderful episode, and I laughed aloud when Desmond said Charlie's gonna die based on the enormous cheer I imagined crossing the nation's living rooms.
- Hey Desmond! So does Kate end up with Sawyer or Jack? (Sorry. I couldn't resist.)
- Desmond should be cloned and distributed to women everywhere.
- And potentially dead Charlie is a gift from the gods. Just shut him up for good. His voice is the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. I don't know if the dead Charlie news was better than the fact that Kate wasn't on this one at all.
- Do you think Charlie will die when Sawyer finds out that Charlie raided his stash?
- Benry, Fionnuala Flanagan and Clancy Brown are all going to try TOGETHER to kill me in my dreams tonight. This show has the freaking SCARIEST people on it!! I want to HIDE! So. Much. Evil.
- Sounds like reincarnation, living the life over and over until they get it right.
- If things ran concurrently, no two paths would cross. But if the the island were a place where these timelines intertwined or wrapped or touched or whatever... you'd see shadows of other lives. You might hear whispers from other timelines.
- Did Dezzy leave a McFly-to-Dr. Brown letter for Penny back in the day? Is that how she knew to look for him? If that's the case, I know how Charlie will die. LIBYANS!
- What if you'd met a different girl, or moved somewhere else, or turned left instead of right? In my original theory, somewhere out there in the spaghetti strands of time, there's a universe where "exactly" each one of those things happened. So what if the island represented a type of nexus for these timelines, drawn there and bent around the strange magnetic fields HANSO came to study?
- I really like the free will vs. fate theme, assuming that's what's going on here. Unless they end up going with fate, of course. Because fate is bullshit. At least one person upthread pondered why Des would go through the motions of fulfilling his "fate" rather than taking a shot at changing things with Penny. I think it goes to the ultimate reconciliation of fate and free will, which Desmond has realized. Of course we have free will. But ultimately, we are who we are, and the choices we make are consistent with our nature, regardless of circumstance. So in the end, "fate" is what we make it. But since "we" are always "us" the decisions we make and actions we take will always result in the "fated" outcome. We can't escape ourselves. No matter how many chances we have.
- Time is limited to the relativity of the finite. The infinite does not experience time linearly, and thus, is exposed to all time at once. The infinite has no beginning and no end, so if Desmond were able to escape the linear time-space continuum, he would experience the infinite. In that space, he would experience all time together as one, since Desmond himself would have no end and no beginning while being within the infinite. Whether or not this is what Desmond experienced is still up for debate. This notion of a finite being touching the infinite was very well expressed in "12 Monkeys", in which Bruce Willis' character starts to experience things from different times at the same point and time in space after enduring time-travel. Characters from his past and future all collide in what he perceives to be the present. The result of this (in 12 Monkeys) is insanity, as the finite brain cannot handle the multiple dimensions of time as represented by the infinite.
- New theories have emerged relatively recently that actually take what would have been considered "extraordinary" science fiction in the past and is now being taken seriously. Multiple universes for example. Also, the idea of there being three dimensions is being questioned in favored of 11 dimensions. Then, of course, Universal String Theory has been all the rage in recent years. Basically, Lost seems to be taking cutting edge scientific theories that are legitimate and putting its own spin on it - but there's enough real credence to support what TPTB have asserted if they choose to go that route.
- The LOST Companion Book is going to be 28,000 pages long. Read it all, and you will automatically earn a PH.D in philosophy. And physics.




UPCOMING EPISODES


2/21/07 - Stranger in a Strange Land - They are promising three huge answers in this episode - do you believe them? The U.S. preview, and the very different Canadian preview

2/28/07 - Tricia Tanaka is Dead

3/7/2007 - Enter 77

3/14/07 - Par Avion

There you have it, folks! Oh, my head!

- e

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

S3Ep7 - Not in Portland (Juliet's first flashback)

Benry looks like he had more than just spinal surgery...Hello my dear friends -

Lost has finally returned, and not a moment too soon. I have found myself fairly depressed as of late, and while I could blame it on the minus-40-degrees-with-wind-chill weather we've been having in the Windy City, or of course on The Man, I actually think that the lack of a weekly escape to Craphole Island and Falcatraz has made this winter seem more dire than usual.

Unfortunately, "Not in Portland" did not live up to my high hopes for the series' return. You may be surprised to hear this, as nearly everyone I talked to really liked the episode. I can't put my finger on why I was disappointed, but I think it was some combination of: Sawyer's cheesy one-liners in the face of danger, Pickett's ability to resume chasing Sawyer and Kate after having just been slammed into the fish biscuit machine head-first and seemingly electrocuted, Ben's totally lame and unbelievable awakening during his surgery, and the very predictable "hit-by-a-bus-per-Juliet's-wish" death of Juliet's ex-husband, that made me feel only so-so about the winter premiere. But at least I didn't hate it. There was enough in there to keep me from spiraling in to an all-out funk for the next week... namely, the continuation of Jack's Mad Doctorness, the growing likability of Zeke (I will NEVER call him Tom!), the techno-house-rave-Clockwork-Orange room, Pickett's demise (finally!) and the fact that I know they are returning to the OTHER Lostaways next episode.


There was a small bit of what I term "mass chaos" at my place Wednesday night when I realized that the episode was NOT BEING RECORDED on Tivo. I had been watching the pre-show episode (which was being recorded), and then when some friends arrived, I stayed upstairs chatting until about 8:15. When I realized that the ever-important red light wasn't on the Tivo box, I frantically started yelling at my husband to figure out what was going on. Luckily since the channel had not been changed, we were able to rewind to nearly the beginning of the episode. We missed the first minute, so when I originally watched it, I did NOT see Ethan coming out of Rachel's room, nor did I realize they were in some sort of dingy hospital.

That being said, I have since watched the beginning again and have read the transcript so I am fully up to speed. Additionally, I have come across several things that the nerdy super-fans on the boards have drawn attention to which I *never* would have figured out on my own. So without further ado...



MIAMI VICE


While there definitely was a lot to take in and analyze from Juliet's flashbacks, the most important "reveal" was that, like most of the Lostaways, she also wanted off of the island, and may never have even gone there willingly in the first place (that part was left unclear). At the end of the episode, she stated that she had been on the island 3 years, 2 months, and 28 days. People on the boards have calculated the time she arrived at the island to be eerily around September 11, 2001. The date of the crash was September 22, 2004, as confirmed by Locke and Desmond in the Season 2 finale. The day that Benry showed Jack the Red Sox video was November 29, 2004 (Benry stated this). We are not exactly sure how much time has passed (days or weeks?) since that point, but it is almost definitely now early-to-mid December, 2004, so if you count backward from there... you can see how September of 2001 becomes a likely target for Juliet's arrival. Now don't worry, I highly doubt the writers would do something so stupid as to try to link Juliet's arrival on the island to 9/11, but since I do think the timeline of events - events on the island vs. events off of the island - is key to the entire series (as covered later), I did want to point this out.


You just won a one-way ticket to Craphole Island!So how did Juliet get to the island in the first place? Apparently Mittelos Bioscience (more on THEM in a minute) had been tracking her unorthodox fertility research (impregnating a male mouse, for example) for quite a while, and was willing to take any means necessary (hello, Bus of Death) to get her working for them. Juliet's ability to get her sister pregnant (who was unable to have kids previously because of chemotherapy, one can only assume) was apparently the final confirmation of Juliet's desirable skill set that they needed , and they quite literally cleared the way for her to join them. Only they were "not quite in Portland" as they previously stated...


Did Juliet willingly go to the island at first, or was she kidnapped, or was she threatened (they could've easily used her sister and unborn baby for leverage), or was she scared into accepting their offer (after all, they just killed her ex-husband)?


MORE WIDMORE

This reminds me to renew my subscription to Glass Patterns Quarterly!
Something I certainly didn't notice the first time around was that the pregnancy test (now seen on the show three times on the show - in this episode, in "I Do" by Kate and in "The Glass Ballerina" by Sun) was the product of Widmore Corporation, whose products have also shown up elsewhere on the island (the real Henry Gale's balloon had the Widmore logo on it). And let's not forget that Desmond's dear Penelope's last name is Widmore, making her father the man most likely at the helm of Widmore Corporation. It was Penelope's father's "race around the world" that led Desmond to the island in the first place. Come on, you can't keep all this straight?!?!?

In this same picture above, you can see the magazine "Glass Patterns Quarterly" peeking out from under the papers. Some people think this may have something to do with the crazy patterns showing up in the brainwash video. I can see the connection between glass patterns and the video, but I don't know what Rachel would have to do with it... unless that magazine was somehow Juliet's (which is possible).

A nice, peaceful bedtime story.One other small detail that I appreciated was the copy of "Carrie" by Stephen King on Rachel's nightstand. Remember Juliet saying it was her favorite book in the Others' book club scene during the season premiere?


AND THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT... THE ISLAND

Although it was a little too obvious and in-your-face for my taste, Juliet's flashbacks served to highlight the 180 she has done on the island in terms of taking charge and attempting to kick ass. When initially turning down Mittelos' offer of employment, she muttered, "I'm not a leader, I'm a mess." A few seconds later the scene switched back to island time, with Juliet charging down the hall, determined to find where Sawyer and Kate had run off to.



Lame-ass vs. Bad-ass



REMEMBER TO LOOK BOTH WAYS...

I was surprised that a lot of people I spoke with, as well as people on the boards, did not see the bus scene coming. As I figured that Mittelos had to somehow be evil and connected to DHARMA, and as soon as the exchange below took place, I knew Mr. Burke was going to meet the big ol' Busdriver in the Sky:

JULIET: I can't.
ALPERT: Why can't you?
JULIET: My ex-husband wouldn't let me. I...
ALPERT: He wouldn't want you to have this opportunity?
JULIET [upset]: No, he doesn't want me to have anything. He would never give the okay. It's...
ALPERT: Maybe we could reach out to him on your behalf?
JULIET: Don't bother.
ALPERT: There must be something that he would respond to.
JULIET: If he were hit by a bus. How about that? That would work. [she gets tears in her eyes, then is embarrassed] How totally inappropriate.
ALPERT: No, no, no.
JULIET: No, I, uh -- I'm sorry, but I've wasted your time.


Perhaps the funniest part of the bus scene itself was the conversation that Edmund was having on his cell phone before he saw Juliet:

EDMUND: Because you're insufferable. And you're mean. Well, you asked me for the truth, Mom.

But did you catch THIS?!?! If you did, then I am impressed. Because this pic below was not even grabbed from a still frame of the show, it was actually from a fan who saw this episode being filmed. Notice anything about the side of that bus?

And I thought the CTA drivers were bad!
That's right, it's the infamous Apollo candy bar found in the Hatch and enjoyed by Kate and Hurley during season 2.

I will take this chocolate over Sawyer or Jack any damn day.
To see how the bus looked in the actual show, click here.


ANAGRAMS, ANAGRAMS... EVERYWHERE, ANAGRAMS

No one figured out an anagram for Bioscience, dammit.There have been a few instances in the show where fans have figured out anagrams based on a character's name, or something else. One example was "Ethan Rom," which is an anagram for "Other Man." The latest and greatest is "Mittelos," which is an anagram for "Lost Time." As you will soon see, there are at least two other allusions to "time" in the episode, not to mention in the series, which I believe is all leading up to The Big Explanation (aka: The Series Finale).

I would be remiss if I didn't also point out that Mittelos is very similar to the last name of Thomas Mittlewerk. Who in the heck is THAT, you may be saying? Well, Thomas Mittlewerk was a character in "The Lost Experience" from this past summer - the interactive, virtual game that the producers set up for the ultra-most nerdy fans (surpassing my level of nerdiness). Supposedly Thomas overthrew Alvar Hanso for a period of time and took control of DHARMA, did some horrible things, and then escaped after the authorities came for him. You can read the details here, but it may confuse you even more!


SOME GUARD YOU ARE, ALDO

Here is the second reference to time...


What in the hell is this book about?
...Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time." Some completely nerdalicious fan contributed this little observation to Lostpedia.com: "He appeared to be highlighting information from Chapter 7, 'Black Holes Ain't So Black.' It deals with the nature of black holes and offers details about the event horizon."

Um... so I looked up "event horizon" (no, not the movie starring Laurence Fishburne), and the definition is: "a general term for a boundary in spacetime, defined with respect to an observer, beyond which events cannot affect the observer. Light emitted beyond the horizon can never reach the observer, and anything that passes through the horizon from the observer's side is never seen again."

Great, now I have to look up spacetime: "In physics, spacetime is a mathematical model that combines space and time into a single construct called the space-time continuum. Spacetime is usually interpreted as a four-dimensional object with space being three-dimensional and time playing the role of the 4th dimension."

Alright, peeps, you're on your own from here!




SERIOUSLY, WHO *THINKS* OF THESE THINGS?!?!?!

But I saved the best for last.

This third reference to time will blow your mind?!?!?!? (Audio necessary - be patient. About half-way through you'll get the point, it just keeps repeating)




THAT WAS SOME GROMKY SHOOM, MY DROOGIES



Hey, how come I can't have those goggles instead?'A Clockwork Orange' is one of the very few movies that has actually made me sick to my stomach, and I had shoved the film and all of its disturbing images way back into the 'don't go there!" corner of my mind. But the bad memories came rushing back after seeing lovable loser Karl strapped to the chair, goggles on, staring at the screen with the crazy techno music blasting out his eardrums. How freaky was that scene? I loved it because I totally did not expect it. It also scared me that Sawyer and Kate also seemed mesmerized by the film for a bit.At least there were no pokey things in his eyes...

Here is one recap of the images and here is another.

One thing I noticed right away was the phrase "God loves you as he loved Jacob," plastered over several images on the screen. The first thing that came to my mind was when Pickett muttered in the previous episode that "Shepherd wasn't even on Jacob's list," which made several people assume that someone named Jacob was actually controlling The Others. The writers have stated that many of the character names on the show were chosen for a reason, so of course everyone is going crazy with theories about Jacob. I am not going to do justice to explaining the Biblical signficance of the name Jacob, but suffice it to say that he had 12 sons (one named... Benjamin). People think that Jacob may be the real leader of The Others and the name may signify the obsession with children, fertility, etc. For an absolutely thorough and quite insane take on all of the Biblical allusions surrounding the name "Jacob," check out this Entertainment Weekly article (scroll down the the sub-title "Names"). They've also got Desmond pinned as "Joseph" (as in, Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat) and Bernard as a mole for the Others.


Other things I thought of related to the name Jacob were: That freaky Tim Robbins' movie, Jacob's Ladder, and the little ditty 'John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith.' Somehow I don't think either of those apply here.


A few more items to ponder regarding that techno-rave-torture room:
- Was this "the room" that Ms. Klugh threatened Walt with in "Three Minutes" when he started telling Michael too much?
WALT: They're not who they say they are. They're pretending.
MS. KLUGH: Walt! You want me to put you in the room again?

It definitely sends a shiver down my spine to think of poor Walt being subjected to that!

- What exactly is being achieved by subjecting people to that room?
Now that we know that Karl is Alex's boyfriend and that he may indeed have been trying to help Sawyer escape early on from the cage (even I had thought that was a set-up before), perhaps The Room is his punishment? It certainly sounds like it could be a punishment in Ms. Klugh's statement above (though we're not sure she's talking about the same room).

Or perhaps, The Room is more of an indoctrination to The Others' society. The images were not violent, the sayings were rather religious or philosophical, but I'm not sure what the blaring techno music, the goggles or the IV have to do with anything - perhaps it's a "break you down to build you up" type of approach.

- This was the first extremely clear linkage of DHARMA to The Others
To this point, there has been no clear evidence that DHARMA and The Others are one in the same, we just know that at this point in time, The Others have at the very least taken over some of the original DHARMA Initiative hatches and stations. Per Juliet's vague response to Jack's question in the season premiere, it seems as if they are not necessarily one in the same:

JACK: Is this one of their stations -- the Dharma Initiative?
JULIET: They called it the Hydra.
JACK: So you people are just whatever's leftover of them.
JULIET: Well, that was a long time ago. It doesn't matter who we were. It only matters who we are.

However, in The Room, there were flashes on the screen of both Alvar Hanso (CEO and Founder of The Hanso Foundation, financiers of DHARMA) and Gerald Degroot (co-founder of DHARMA), both from the Swan Orientation film - created by DHARMA. So either The Room was originally used by DHARMA and The Others thought it was a pretty cool torture device and took it on as their own and just kept the original video being used, or The Others may indeed be part of DHARMA.



SO CLOSE... YET SO FAR

Somebody FINALLY ASKED AN INTELLIGENT QUESTION?!?!?!

JACK: So, if you really can get off the island why didn't you just take him to a facility? Why all this?
ZEKE: Because ever since the sky turned purple...
[We see blood spurt up from Benry, and Jack takes a step back. The heart monitor starts beeping.]

D'AH?!!? It was not meant to be for us to know the answer right now. However, that didn't stop people from speculating... The most common theory is that when Desmond turned the failsafe key, something happened to the electromagnetic properties of the island and The Others either no longer know how to or physically cannot leave the island. However, they came for Jack BEFORE Desmond turned the key, so that theory doesn't make any sense. So then everyone on the boards got all confused, saying that perhaps they were taking Jack, Sawyer and Kate just to take away the strongest leaders of the Lostaways, but when they could no longer get Benry off the island they then decided to use Jack for the surgery. Which would be fine... except for the fact that in episode 5 of this season, Benry stated: "Two days after I found out I had a fatal tumor on my spine, a spinal surgeon fell out of the sky." Which means that Ben has known about his condition for nearly 2.5 months... so once again, if they could've gotten off the island before "the sky turned purple," why didn't they?

So all of that leads me to my own theory (and if you can't depend on yourself, really, who can you depend on?), which is that Desmond's recent turn of the failsafe key, which caused the sonic boom, the sky to flash colors and all that other weird stuff to happen, was NOT THE FIRST TIME it had occured. Obviously Desmond had never turned the key before, and he had been on the island three years. His Hatch partner, Kelvin, also seems to have never turned the key before (he made a drunken speech to Desmond about how he "couldn't do it"), but perhaps Radzinski (Kelvin's previous Hatch partner), or someone before him HAD turned the key? Since Locke destroyed the computer and the Doomsday Counter, we don't know if the timer and computer would have reset after the key was turned... perhaps they would've and everything would've gone back to normal and they would've resumed needing to press the button. Until we really know what exactly turning the key DID, it's hard to say whether it is possible that it could've been turned before or not.


THE MAD DOCTOR PULLS THROUGH

I LOVED this pic! Credit: Justin Stephens, EWSo the Mad Doctor did indeed complete the surgery and now is dangling in the most precarious of positions. Sawyer and Kate have left the island and he made Kate promise not to come back for him (uh, yeah, making her "promise" is really going to work). He has exposed Juliet for what she really is, but yet he has also most likely p!ssed off Benry, Zeke, and all of the other Others (although Benry and Zeke didn't really seem too mad, did they? Curious). Either way, we know from the previews that Jack isn't getting off Falcatraz any time soon. Will Benry ever actually let him free and send him home? WIll he be punished for the trick he pulled? Will he decide to say "Awww, what the hell!" and join The Others? And most importantly, will he continue to be as awesomely p!ssed off as he was these past two episodes?


THE GEEKS HAVE FAILED US MISERABLY

After watching the scene between Juliet and Benry in the operating room from behind the glass (just as Jack and Zeke has to watch it), I thought FOR SURE that someone who can read lips would have the whole damn thing transcribed online by the time I got upstairs. Alas, a week later and still no one was able to figure out what Benry was saying when they showed his lips moving. So we are left to speculate on our own. Juliet tells Jack that Benry promised to let her leave if she let him live and helped Jack in the process. If Juliet has been on the island for over three years, the only reason I can figure that she would actually BELIEVE Benry, is because she has seen him let others go before her. She must be certain that he actually has the ability to send people back to the real world and that she cannot get off the island without his help specifically. Do I think that Benry said something else to her? Yes, I do. I'm almost certain that he must have mentioned something about her sister and her niece (more on how I know the baby ended up being a girl in a minute) as a threat. But that remains merely speculation. Let's also not forget that even though we had already sense some sort of tension before this point, Zeke pointed out to Jack that "they've got history." I had always assumed before that there was some sort of previous romance between Juliet and Benry, so it will be interesting to see what exactly their "history" is.


*ENOUGH* WITH THE SLING-SHOT! ENOUGH.

Oh yeah, I just remembered another reason why I didn't like the episode. Scrappy shows up again with her slingshot and somehow fends off three guys with GUNS?!?! Um, no. That was lame. Also, her boyfriend Karl is NOT cute. And on top of all that, Benry is her "dad" (meaning, he at least raised her on the island). I can't wait for Rousseau (where the hell is SHE, by the way?!?!) to find THAT out and go berzerker.



GOOD RIDDANCE, PICKETT


Probably the highlight of the entire episode for me was when Pickett was killed. Yes, I'm sure that's an awful thing to say, but I really was OVER his inexplicable grudge against Sawyer and all of the "revenge beatings." It was of course also key that Juliet was the one who saved Sawyer and did the actual killing. Her actions on the beach, combined with the fact that we now know that she also wants off the island, will make her a little more trust-able in future episodes. The interesting thing to me is that she has turned out to be very much like the Mad Doctor - she's kind of not really on anyone's "side," she's just out for her own interests.



ABOVE AND BEYOND

Do you remember in school how you could do things for "extra credit?" And all of the people who really NEEDED the extra credit wouldn't take the teacher up on his or her offer, but all of the already-all-A's students would, so that they could get A+'s? I'm now realizing that the masterminds behind Lost are like those overzealous overacheivers - it's not good enough to just write the show - they have to do things like The Lost Experience... they have to do things like run ads in well-known newspapers and magazines, fronting as The Hanso Foundation... they have to do things like create full-blown web sites for any company ever mentioned in the show. And they couldn't create merely normal web sites where any Tom, Dick or Sally could clilck around and read pages and garner hints and clues about what's going on. No, they had to make aspects of those web sites password-protected - to make fans really EARN the clues.

That is what has happened with Mittelos Bioscience's web site. While I expected a site to be set up for this company, as others had been set up for The Hanso Foundation, Apollo Candy Bars, Oceanic Airlines, and so on. This time, the mega-fans figured out that if you went to the Current Projects section, typed in jburke and the username and rachel as the password, you could enter a special part of the site. What you would then see is this map below of not one, not two but THREE islands, and what is happening on each. Innnnnnteresting......

Craphole Island, Falcatraz and... ???
But wait, it gets better. Then as you are looking at the island map, "New message" flashes on the screen, and you are then taking to a new email from Rachel. It mentions that she knows that it is "impossible" for Juliet to reply to emails, but that she hoped her messages had been getting through. It also contained a link to this video of her daughter (the one she had just become pregnant with in "Not in Portland"), but embedded in the video was a rogue video from some shadowy character. It's quite bizarre, I suggest you watch it for yourself - it is creeptastic. I cannot really make out what the mystery voice is saying, but I'm pretty sure it's something like "Widmore, Mittelos, DHARMA - they're all the same thing" and that Juliet's life was in danger.

A huge, huge shout-out to LI for passing along the board thread with these links!




IT TAKES A LOT TO CHANGE MY MIND

Last year, I proposed a "time loop/time warp" theory, and now I am even more convinced that it could be valid. I'm stickin' to it, dammit! I'm already pressed for time in getting this post up, so I'm not going to reiterate everything I've said previously about this theory. Instead, I will summarize quickly: I believe that time does not move on the island as it does elsewhere. I think that the characters on the island are either: 1) in some sort of time loop, where they are replaying a period of time over and over again, and vaguely remembering their past experiences to the point where they may alter their actions on the island with each go around, OR, 2) I think that the island goes "in and out" of time - which is why you have a collection of old Army tools, a four-toed statue, a slave ship, Sayid picking up big band music on the radio and so forth on the island.

In the EW article I linked to below, the creators state that in "Not in Portland" there is a hidden anagram that gives a clue about the two skeletons that Jack and Kate found in the caves in Season 1. They state that those skeletons were specifically put in Season 1 so that when the series ends, they could always point back to that scene as proof that they have had a plan all along. Well, my belief is that the anagram is Mittelos = Lost Time... And that as I said previously, the skeletons are those of two of the Lostaways (my vote is Jack and Kate). Remember that one of the skeletons had a bag of black and white stones in it. Well, Jack took the bag, so now HE has the stones, so if there are some wacky time hijinx going on, he could've taken the stones from his own skeleton and now he has them so they will be on him when he dies in the future and is laid to rest in the cave... for Future Jack to take from himself, and so on and so on and so on. Does your brain hurt yet? The reason why I am more convinced about this theory after this latest episode comes down to all of the references to time... from the anagram, to the "A Brief History of Time" appearance, to the "Only fools are constrained by time and space" backwards recording. Let's not forget Sawyer reading "A Wrinkle in Time" back in the day!!!

PROVE TO ME THAT I AM WRONG!




GREAT ARTICLE

Click here for the cover story in last week's Entertainment Weekly.




SOME ANSWERED, SOME NOT

Click here for a Q&A with the show's creators, where they outline if and when they will answer certain questions.




BEST LINES OF THE EPISODE

ALDO [into a walkie-talkie]: Danny, I need Ben.
PICKETT: Why?
ALDO: Listen, I've got Alex here. She's got Austen and Ford with her.
[Suddenly, Sawyer knocks Aldo to the ground.]
PICKETT: Whatever she says, don't believe it. Hold them right there. I'm on my way.
[Alex smashes the walkie-talkie, and Sawyer covers Aldo with a rifle.]
SAWYER: Don't get mad at me just because you were dumb enough to fall for the old Wookiee prisoner gag.


Now was that really necessary???[Back in the operating room, Jack works on Ben's spine while Zeke stands by looking green.]
JACK: You okay?
ZEKE: Yeah, I just don't like blood too much.
JACK [holding a chunk of tissue in the air]: Well, then you probably won't want to be looking at that. [he tosses it in a tray]


JACK [exiting, to Juliet]: If you touch him, if you try...
JULIET: I won't.
JACK: You've got three minutes.
[Jack moves to the observation window and watches Juliet sit next to Ben. We see Ben talking, but can't hear what he's saying. Zeke joins Jack at the window.]
ZEKE: I'm Tom, by the way.





WISE WORDS FROM THE BOARDS

- I'm definitely having nightmares about Ben talking with a hole open in his back during spinal surgery. That was absolutely creepalicious. Ewww. Not to mention the whole Surgery 101 lesson we got, and the shot of the tumor.
- Poor Alex. Rousseau is gonna take some people out y'all. There is nothing that will keep her off of Falcatraz.
- Ethan and his droopy face always creep me out.
- I know that these Dharma people are crazy mo-fo's, but seriously, who approaches a person at a morgue to recruit for a job? And why the hell would you take the job?
- I am not down with Green shirt getting right back up after Sawyer beat his brains into that wall. He looked like he had an epileptic fit for crying out loud. Now this reminds me of something with Ethan seeming to have some kind of super-strength. Ringing bells for anyone else?
- Loved Jack the whole way through, but if he had one question to ask her, and felt he was owed it--there are plenty of other more important things to find out than what Ben said to Juliet to make her help him with the surgery.
- Clearly the Clockwork Orange scene indicates how they Other-fy the Others. So I'm interested to see how that plays out when we hopefully see some of the missing characters (Cindy, I'm looking at you).
- I kinda got the sense that Alex/Karl were the younger version of Kate/Sawyer.
- I'm so glad Pickett is dead, I hated his one-dimensional Sawyer-beating ass.
- I despise Jack with the passion of a thousand burning suns, but that last scene of him with Kate as she told him the story over the walkie was somewhat touching. Nicely done by Fox and Lilly (mostly Lilly).
- Tom was actually very disturbingly likeable. There were a few moments there when I forgot that he was one of the “bad guys.”
- The podcast has apparently confirmed that, contrary to popular belief, Mittelos is indeed not an anagram for Mole Tits.... we can only hope they were lying about this.





UPCOMING EPISODES

2/14/07 - Flashes Before Your Eyes - The Original Preview , Another version , The Canadian preview

2/21/07 - Stranger in a Strange Land

2/28/07 - Tricia Tanaka is Dead

3/7/2007 - Enter 77

3/14/07 - Par Avion


Titles of episodes past this date are not yet known, but rest assured there will still be 15 more episodes back to back. I consider whose flashback it is to be a spoiler, so I didn't include that information.

So there you have it, folks! I liked the episode MORE after finding all of the things I missed through the boards. I have high hopes for this week's episode, as the creators have said that it will "employ a flashback technique never used before and that will never be used again." Hmmm....

Enjoy,
- e