Hello my dear friends -
Some people undoubtedly recalled the 1959 Marilyn Monroe film Some Like it Hot when they heard the title of Lost's 99th episode. Others probably had Power Station's 1985 song stuck in their head for the rest of the day. (FEEEeeeeeel the heeeatttt! Burnin' you up -- ready or not!) However, nerds like me could only think of four words: The Empire Strikes Back. Growing up in the '80s with a brother five years my junior, I had no choice but to "play Star Wars" throughout my childhood. I mean, who else was going to be Princess Leia?
So when I hear "Hoth," I don't actually associate the word with the planet Hoth, which is where the Rebel Alliance built its Echo Base in Episode V; instead, I immediately think "Hoth Wampa," because we had a pretty sweet action figure of that thing (see pic to the right -- yeah, you're jealous). The Wampa was a Yeti-like monster who almost did away with Luke Skywalker at the beginning of Empire. That's why I figured this installment of Lost was going to pick up right where "Dead is Dead" left off, and that we'd be learning more about the Island's very own monster, Smokey.
Um, OK... so I was wrong. I never would've expected such direct shout-outs to the Star Wars saga in this episode, and by Hurley, no less. And Miles-centric flashbacks on top of that? Yahoo!
Let's kick things off with the first of those flashbacks, shall we?
(Since I know there are some new visitors to this site, here are two quick notes for those of you who've just joined us: 1) rolling over any of the graphics on this page will reveal a caption, and 2) I list out the songs I pull lyrics from for my headings in the comments section at the end of each post.)
THOSE WHO ARE DEAD
ARE NOT DEAD
THEY’RE JUST LIVING IN MY HEAD
The hour began with Lara—who's now most likely Pierre Chang’s ex-wife—considering an apartment to rent. From a check she wrote later in the scene, the year was revealed to be 1985; therefore, the newborn boy we saw in the season premiere must now be about eight years old. And guess what? It's Miles, just like everyone assumed it was after seeing this 2008 Comic-Con video.
The poor kid just wanted to get some freakin' Animal Crackers out of the vending machine, but nooooo. A dude who had keeled over in apartment #4 had to call out to him. We see that Miles doesn't like his ability to "hear the dead" in the slightest, and that this appears to be the first time his mom has learned of it.
But in the next flashback, which was probably at least ten years later, it's clear that Miles ended up fulling embracing his freakiness. Either that, or he was already preparing for his role in X-Men: The Last Stand. Anyway, he came home to visit his dying mother, and urged her to give him some answers about his childhood -- and particularly his father. At this point, I couldn't help but wonder if the Island was responsible not only for Miles' "gift," but also whatever illness befell his mom. I have a feeling we'll never find out, though.
Lara proceeded to tell Miles that his dad turned his back on the family when Miles was just a baby, that he had since died, and that his body was in a place that Miles must "never go." We all know how that worked out.
SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT
Next, we see Adult Miles in what's most likely 2004. He faked communing with a client's dead son in order to score some extra cash. Well, we learned that he was faking it later, but you get my point. What I thought was strange about this scene was that Miles said he needed a body in order to do his thing. Yet at the beginning of last season, we saw him find a hidden wad of cash in a room where there was definitely no dead person present (though he did have his dustbuster extraordinaire to assist him...). So I'm not sure why the writers had Miles make that point about needing a corpse... unless it will come into play later on.
Regardless, right after Miles was done scamming the guilt-ridden dad, Naomi (!!!) approached him with the promise of more business, and he followed her like an obedient puppy dog to... the back of a restaurant (?), where a most unorthodox interview went down. Miles had to tell Naomi as much as he could about Felix, who just so happened to be dead and lying in a body bag on a table where some unfortunate schmuck's chicken Marsala was probably prepared minutes later.
It turns out that Felix met his demise while en route to deliver papers about empty graves and an old airplane to none other than Charles Widmore. I'm sure some people are still debating this point, but I'm definitely convinced now that it was indeed Widmore who faked the Oceanic 815 wreckage, just like good ol' Zeke (sniff, I miss him!) explained to Michael in "Meet Kevin Johnson." [Note: I wrote most of this post before "The Story of the Oceanic Six" recap special aired. That recap confirmed that Widmore was behind the 815 wreckage.]
Naomi informed Miles that he'd passed her test, and offered him $1.6 million to travel to the Island, where he could put his skills to even better use. What was particularly interesting to me about their exchange was how Naomi worded her description of the Island: "This island has a number of deceased individuals... residing on it, and as this man [Ben] is the one responsible for their being deceased, we believe they can supply invaluable information as to his whereabouts."
At first I was just like, "Yeah, there are tons of dead people buried on the Island... all Miles would have to find is the Skeleton Pit to learn all he needed to know about Ben." But then I got hung up by how Naomi said that the deceased were "residing on" the Island. That made me think more along the lines of Zombie Dad... like the dead that Naomi was referring to were actually still functioning in some manner. But I wouldn't consider Ben to be the one responsible for Christian Shephard's death, so maybe I'm just reading too much into things... again. Of course, the eerie thing about all of this is that -- once on the Island -- Miles ended up having to "read" Naomi's body to ensure that the 815ers were telling the truth about how she died.
AND YOU SAY,
In perhaps the most unexpectedly funny scene of the night, in Miles' next flashback he gets swept into a van by hooded (again with the hoodies!), partially masked men, yet all he cares about is losing his tasty fish taco. Bram -- the same guy who ends up on Alcatraz and appears to be in cahoots with Ilana -- is in charge of the team in the van, and attempts to talk Miles out of going to the Island. But since Bram offers up absolutely no money, Miles is having none of his spiel, and summarily gets tossed back out onto the street.
There were two main things I took away from this flashback. The first was pretty obvious: Miles has assumed that Bram works for Ben. Why else would Bram want to dissuade him from going to the Island to catch Mr. Linus, right? So Miles asked Bram for $3.2 million in order to stay put -- double what Naomi offered him to board the Kahana. And because Miles thought Ben controlled Bram's Van o' Thugs, that's why he repeated his request for $3.2 million in "Eggtown" (in exchange for falsely reporting back to Keamy's team that Ben had been killed).
Now, Miles' thought process was a perfectly valid one -- you can't fault him for jumping to the conclusion that he did. Other reasons why it makes sense to believe that Ben is managing the likes of both Bram and Ilana (as they were definitely working together on Alcatraz when they captured Frank) include:
- They didn't stop Ben, Locke, Sun or Lapidus from leaving with the outriggers
- Ben and Ilana shared a quick but cryptic exchange about the mystery crate
- Ilana and Bram waited until it was fair to assume that Ben was safely over on the main Island before pulling out their guns and attempting to open the crate on Alcatraz
- It's kind of late in the series to introduce yet another group of people who want to control the Island
But then again... some of us watching the show (including myself) weren't quite as convinced as Miles was that Bram was a part of Ben's off-Island posse.
Which leads to the second thing I took away from the van scene: there may be a third party at work -- controlled by neither Widmore nor Ben. Actually, this isn't exactly the first time the idea of yet another mystery contingent has come up. In fact, in my "Ji Yeon" post in early Season Four I wrote: "I have a sneaking suspicion that there is a third party involved in the battle for the Island, and that this organization is playing Ben and Widmore against each other while advancing its own agenda in the process." At that point in time I thought that perhaps "the Economist" was heading up this other group. That still may be the case, but there are a few other interesting theories floating around about this group that deserve consideration.
But before I go any further, I have to name this possible third party that's aligned with neither Widmore nor Ben. Let's call it the SOTS group, for "Shadow of the Statue," since that seems to be what they like asking each other about. Right now, the only people we know are in this group are Bram, Ilana, the two other Ajira passengers helping them with the crate on Alcatraz, and the whoever else was in Bram's van.
Who could they possibly represent?
TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER
Here are the main theories floating around:
1) The New Dharma Initiative
This is the theory I'm subscribing to at the moment. I mentioned in my last post that at Comic-Con last year, the Dharma "recruiting centers" were most likely a hint that that the organization would reestablish itself (on the show). And when I heard all of Bram's sappy talk about how Miles could never "fill the empty hole inside" of him with money, the first thing I thought was, "those Dharma hippies are at it again!" Seriously, who says that sort of thing? Plus, Bram and Ilana have that big ol' crate they're working on opening... and we all know how much the old Dharma liked to drop supplies by the crate-load back in the day. Finally, Bram promised Miles information about his father... and Chang was of course a part of the original Dharma.
2) Friends of Richard
If anyone has the right to be pissed off about how things have turned out on the Island, it's Ageless Richard. He's like, "I'm sick of everyone ripping on my eyeliner, being jealous of my sweet outfits and time traveling all over the place! I need to bring in some reinforcements and wipe these idiots out once and for all." We know that Richard has left the Island before (to visit Locke throughout his life, to recruit Juliet, etc.), so who's to say that he hasn't been building an army to call in when he just couldn't stand dealing with those pesky humans anymore? Plus, who else would know "what lies in the shadow of the statue" besides the ageless guy who was probably one of the only people around when the statue was actually tall enough to have a shadow? (An offshoot of this theory is that the SOTS group is made up of other "original inhabitants" of the Island, like Richard.)
3) Team Hawking
Ellie's gone rogue! Think about it -- she was on the Island in 1954 and seemed to be one of the Hostiles, along with Richard and Widmore. She was still there in 1977 and apparently in some position of authority, as some of the Hostiles were worried because Richard didn't clear taking Little Ben to The Temple with either her or Charles. Somewhere along the way she gave birth to Faraday and left the Island (not sure in what order)... and now she's in an old (but still functioning) Dharma station, from which she helped Ben and the O5 return to the Island?!? She may just be the most mysterious character on this show behind Jacob. Perhaps she's assembled a team to recapture control of the Island for herself and show the men who's really boss? I consider this the least likely possibility, though; Eloise may be a somewhat solitary figure and not necessarily aligned with Ben or Widmore, but that doesn't mean she wants to rule the Island. However, stranger things have happened, and it's not like I would be disappointed if Hawking shoved her Grrl Power in everyone's faces... For the Win!
4) Other Randoms
Maybe The Economist is behind the SOTS crew? Or Jacob somehow organized a team of humans back on the mainland? Perhaps Abaddon didn't really die and he's behind this group? Let's see... what other names could we toss around? Annie? Waaalllt? Kate's stepfather? Cassidy? Claire's old boyfriend Thomas? I know... VINCENT is controlling the SOTS team!
Regardless of who is backing the SOTS group, I'm pretty certain about two things: 1) they're part of "the war that's coming to the Island" which Widmore warned Locke about, and 2) one of them will probably end up getting shot while chasing down the time travelers in the outriggers. So let's hope they don't take Frank out to sea with them...
OK, enough with the flashbacks. Time to return to 1977.
IT'S ALWAYS BEEN A MATTER OF TRUST
Sawyer and Kate made it to the outer limits of Dharmaville after leaving Little Ben with Richard somewhere in the middle of the jungle. Miles, who's at the Security HQ, helped them cover their tracks by erasing the videotape of Camera #4 (or so he thought). Shortly thereafter, Horace decided to bring Miles into the "circle of trust" (shout-out to Meet the Parents) as LaFleur was nowhere to be found. He gave Miles a package and instructed him to drive out to Hostile territory to meet Radzinsky... and then return with another package. So our suspicions have been confirmed: Radzinsky was freaked out about presumed-Hostile Sayid seeing his plans for The Swan because Dharma was being very naughty by building it in a forbidden area.
In addition to learning that Dharma is involved in some dubious activities outside the bounds of its truce-approved land, Miles discovered (once seeing that "the package" is a corpse) that workers are falling victim to really bizarre deaths at the construction site. A filling through the brain? I don't think that's how anyone would ever expect to meet his maker.
On that note, the first thing I thought when I saw Dead Alvarez with what looked to be a bullet through his skull (even though it wasn't) was that his was one of the skeletons Locke encountered in the Skeleton Pit. Remember, there was one that clearly looked to have a bullet hole above its eye socket? Many of us thought this was suspect back in Season Three; here's what I wrote about it in my "The Man Behind the Curtain" post: "One final comment about The Purge... all we saw were Dharma members being gassed. But how come one of the skulls in the Skeleton Pit had a gunshot wound in the forehead area?"
However, the holes don't appear to be in the same place... see for yourself:
So I'm not cooking up any weird theories about Alvarez being in the Skeleton Pit just yet.
However, it was supremely strange that Horace told Miles to take Dead Alvarez to Chang at The Orchid. That's not the first place you'd think of to bring a body, huh? Add to that Chang's response when Miles asked where the corpse was taken: "What body?"
What in the heck are Chang's people doing with anyone who dies at the work sites? Running experiments on them? Cremating them? Aren't friends and family members of the deceased getting suspicious? Something shady is going on!
The last errand Miles ran was to take Chang from The Orchid over to The Swan. There, we saw the infamous numbers (which showed up in a ton of other places in this episode, by the way) being branded onto the hatch's lid.
This scene raised two major questions in my mind:
1) Earlier in the episode we had already figured out that The Swan was being built on Hostile territory. But now that we actually saw what a huge construction site it was, I just don't know how we're expected to believe that Richard and crew somehow weren't aware of Dharma's intrusion onto their land? It's not like Radzinsky and two other guys were taking turns quietly digging a hole in the ground with a spoon or something. This was a major production. So all I can figure is that the Hostiles did in fact know what was going on, but let Dharma get away with it for a reason that will become clear in a later episode.
2) Are we going to get to see the first run of the Countdown Timer o' Doom? I really hope so. The prevailing theory is still that Jughead's buried somewhere around the construction site for The Swan, and that if Dharma goofs up and runs into it, they're going to have to build the timer to help control the extreme magnetic energy emanating from the site or else the world will end... or at the very least, planes will start crash-landing on the Island. (No, I don't know how any of that would technically/scientifically work, either, but I'm rolling with it.)
I'VE HAD A FEW
Despite Miles' protests, Hurley ended up joining him in the Dharma van and helped carry out Horace's orders. Hurley quickly discovered the dead body... and then learned (at the same time we did) that Miles knew that Pierre Chang is his father. I, for one, was seriously wondering if perhaps Miles would never become aware of this knowledge during his time spent with Dharma in the '70s. I'm glad the writers chose to fill him in... and particularly loved how he found out: "Third day we were here, I was in line at the cafeteria, and my mother got in line behind me. That was my first clue."
As soon as Hurley realized that Miles had no intention of spending time with his father, he became intent on convincing him what a mistake that would be. He shared how his dad ran off when he was only ten, and that he was happy he forgave him and ended up forging a tight bond with him in the three years after he returned from the Island. (As a side note, was this line ominous, or what: "...and although I may never see him again, I miss him." Hmm.)
Hurley warned Miles that he'd regret it for the rest of his life if he didn't attempt to make some connection with Daddy Chang before it was too late.
YOU NEVER WANTED TO LIVE THAT WAY
YOU NEVER WANTED TO HURT ME
WHY AM I RUNNING AWAY?
We have yet to see whether or not Miles will actually follow Hurley's advice... but I was so thankful that he at least got to see a few seconds of his father fawning over his three-month-old self. There's no shame in my game -- I definitely teared up at this scene. This was also the point in the episode where I realized that Miles has really grown on me. I couldn't stand his character during the first half of Season Four, so bravo to Ken Leung for pulling a Juliet/Elizabeth Mitchell on this unsuspecting viewer (I didn't like her until recently, either).
DON'T SETTLE DOWN
Elsewhere in Dharmaville, Ben's dad was getting wasted because his kid had disappeared and everyone else was like, "Hmm... no idea what happened. Sorry, bud." Well, except for Kate, who Roger was no longer googly-eyed over once she started acting all fishy (or fishbiscuity?) and saying things such as, "I just have a feeling he's gonna be OK."
Then Roger vented to Jack, who totally had the opportunity to squash Roger's suspicions...
JACK: I think, Roger, that, uh, that you've had a hell of a day, and that... it's given you a very good excuse to go out and get drunk. Maybe that's put some--some crazy ideas into your head.
STOP, JACK! STOP RIGHT THERE!!!
JACK CONTINUES (now all up in Roger's face): I know that woman--Kate. She's my friend, and she would never do anything to hurt your son.
Yeah, that didn't help the situation. Roger stormed off, probably even more convinced of a conspiracy than he was before.
And he wasn't the only Dharmite who smelled a rat. Phil discovered that Sawyer had something to do with Little Ben's disappearance, and marched up to his home to confront him. I don't know about you guys, but as soon as Sawyer asked if Phil had told anyone else about the videotape evidence, I knew Phil was getting a beat-down. And sure enough, it came. Nighty-night, Phil.
The 815ers have gotten themselves into quite a mess, huh?
OOHHHHH, WHAT A WOOKIE!
(If you don't care about Star Wars, you can skip down to the paragraph that begins, "OK, so back to Lost.")
I could've easily written an entire post about the parallels between the Star Wars saga and Lost... but in the interest of time I'm going to hold back. However, I must at least mention a few things on the subject. First off, my brother emailed me shortly after "Some Like it Hoth" ended and said, "Hurley got the timeline wrong. Luke didn’t get his hand cut off because of the “father” reveal. Luke got his hand cut off and then Vader revealed the truth to Luke as Luke was hanging on the pole thingy. Then Luke chose to fall and slid down the tube and was rescued by Leia and Lando in the Falcon."
So there, Hurley! Dude, how could you have messed that up?
Also, for the record... unlike Hurley, I liked the Ewoks. One of my most vivid memories is of my family standing in line for Return of the Jedi, and my brother and I each had our Ewok stuffed animals with us. He had Wicket, while I had the much lamer Princess Kneesaa. But dammit if I didn't love that thing when I was nine years old. And who can deny the awesomeness of the Ewok village playset?
Finally, I just have to mention one other Star Wars-related thought that has to do with the planet Hoth. Did anyone else have the Tauntaun action figures? The ones where the belly opened and you could stick Luke in there to defrost? Those were the best. And guess what? The uber-nerds over at ThinkGeek.com ran an April Fool's joke this year and claimed to have a Tauntaun sleeping blanket, so that dorks' kids could "slumber in the belly of the beast." Well, they had such an overwhelming response that they're now actually trying to work with Lucasfilm to bring the product to a toystore near you. I would totally buy one... and would sleep in it myself.
OK, so back to Lost. The two Star Wars connections that might carry some weight are:
1) Luke's "daddy issues"
There are too many Lost characters to list that can relate to Luke Skywalker's convoluted relationship with his father -- Miles is the latest in a long line. But is it a good idea for Miles to attempt to get closer to his father if he knows his fate (death by Purge) is sealed? Wouldn't that just make it all the harder to bear? There won't even be any Ewoks around to cheer him up...
2) Hurley "rewriting" The Empire Strikes Back
First off, I must bring to your attention this hilarious screencap my friend and fellow Lost blogger Karen was quick enough to capture right after "Hoth" aired. Seems that -- at least for a brief moment in space-time -- Hurley's script DID reach George Lucas. Click here to see for yourself.
But in all seriousness, was Hurley's attempt to change the future a hint to all of us that there's still the possibility that whatever happened might not continue to happen?
Especially since the one and only Daniel Faraday is...
BACK IN BLACK
I must admit that I did not expect Faraday to climb out of the sub. I totally thought that we were finally going to get to see Gerald or Karen DeGroot -- the founders of the Dharma Initiative -- in the flesh. But no, it was Daniel, and he seemed very confident and at peace with himself, didn't he? Maybe after spending some time in Ann Arbor he has reason to believe that there is a way he can save his beloved Charlotte?
Also, just to clear up some confusion I know is out there about the timeline... when we saw Daniel in a tan Dharma jumpsuit at the beginning of this season, that had to be at some point after he returned to the Island via the submarine in 1977. Because remember, Chang had left Baby Miles behind with Lara as he went to film one of the orientation videos and was then interrupted and called to The Orchid (where we saw Daniel). The presence of Baby Miles in that scene means that it couldn't have taken place before 1977.
So all I can figure is that Daniel left the Island shortly after the time traveling group came to rest in 1974. He spent three years with the head scientists of Dharma in Ann Arbor, and is now ready to put his skillz to work on the Island. And come on, if deep in his gut he truly believed that there was no way to change the future, why would he go through all of this trouble?
I'm thinking we're about to learn that Daniel might have been telling some white lies all along...
BEST LINES OF THE EPISODE
There were so many awesome exchanges between Miles and Hurley that my original draft of this section was about as long as the rest of this post. I think we all agree that this episode had several brilliant lines, so I've decided not to paste in half of the script below. Instead, here are "The Best of the Best Lines," if you will.
ROGER: I'm going to security.
[The door slams as Richard leaves.]
JULIET [to Kate]: Well... here we go.
HURLEY: That's how it works for me.
MILES: Great. I'm happy for you.
HURLEY: You're just jealous my powers are better than yours.
HURLEY: Dude, that guy's a total douche.
MILES: That douche is my dad.
MAN IN VAN: Miles, my name's Bram.
MILES: You owe me a fish taco.
MILES: My dad didn't leave when I was 10. I--I was a baby. I never knew him. And I don't want to. It's not happening.
HURLEY: That was Luke's attitude, too.
HURLEY: In Empire, Luke found out Vader was his father, but instead of putting away his lightsaber and talking about it, he overreacted and got his hand cut off. I mean, they worked it out eventually, but at what cost? Another Death Star was destroyed, Boba Fett got eaten by the Sarlacc, and we got the Ewoks. It all could've been avoided if they'd just, you know, communicated. And let's face it. The Ewoks sucked, dude.
... BEFORE YOU GO-GO
- A huge "thank you!" to Ryan at Zap2it, and to everyone else who joined our live chat on the 22nd. It was an absolute blast and reminded me why I love Lost so much. The transcript will remain here... just scroll down to the chat window and press "Replay" to read it.
- There are no new updates to pass along about "the Seanie B situation." I'm fine with everything for now as the videos that incorporated my (and others') copyrighted content are offline. Thanks again for all of your support.
- The next episode is the series' 100th! Did you see the pictures of the huge cake that the Food Network show Ace of Cakes created for the occasion? Pretty cool, eh?
Here's hoping that the 100th episode is one to remember...
Until next week,