LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 12: “The Last Recruit”

22 04 2010

Hey everyone, thanks for swinging by the blog today!  Alright, so here’s my theory on last night’s episode.  I believe that how much you liked it is inversely related to how bad you want immediate answers.  If you’re patient, and OK with the writers telling the story at their pace, then you probably enjoyed the show.  If you’re dying for answers, and wish that most of the mysteries were already solved, then you probably thought that this episode dragged.  Personally, I enjoyed the show.  I feel like I’d be beating a dead horse if I said the flash-sideways stuff is still not overly compelling (whoops, too late!), but I’m thoroughly enjoying everything happening on-island.  And let’s face it, even if this episode wasn’t your favorite, it’s still miles ahead of what awaits us in June.  (That’s no new LOST, ever.)  So let’s get right to the breakdown of the episode, shall we?

The Last Recruit

Interestingly, this was never really addressed in the episode.  Couple that with the fact that the episode appeared to be multi-centric, and it’s hard to understand what the title was really all about.  I’m thinking that it referred to Jack, in that he was the last candidate to be recruited by Smokey.  If any of you have anything different, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

“You were trapped on this island before you even got here.”

Smokey tells Jack that he took the form of Christian

Perhaps the most fascinating part of the entire episode happened in the first ten minutes, when Jack and Flocke share a little one-on-one time.  First of all, Smokey admits that he has been posing as Christian Shephard since the LOSTies’ third day on the island.  This opens a world of thoughts about things that have happened throughout the series.  I guess the first thought is, is MIB lying?  Based upon how he qualified his answer, specifically about leading Jack to water, leads me to believe that he is not.  So then the question becomes, is every instance of Christian Smokey?  In alot of cases, that makes perfect sense.  It would mean that the Christian that appeared to Claire and convinced her to abandon her baby was Smokey.  It would also mean that the Christian that appeared to Locke and encouraged him to move the island and turn the donkey wheel was indeed Smokey, trying to get him off the island so that he would get himself killed.  But then you have to ask, what about the Christian that appeared to Hurley?  Was that Smokey as well?  Can Hurley not tell the difference between an apparition and Smokey?  If not, is there any guarantee that the Michael he saw two episodes ago was indeed Michael?  Wouldn’t it be easy (and fit into Smokey’s plans) for Smokey to appear as Michael and tell him to destroy all of the dynamite?  And then to make a beeline for Smokey’s camp?  Aside from that, what about the Christian that appeared to Jack off-island?  That couldn’t be Smokey too, could it?  Isn’t Smokey trapped on-island?  While this paints a fuller picture, it’s still not the whole story.

As much as that portion of the conversation opens up multiple lines of thought, the fun doesn’t stop there. Next, Smokey gives us a line that might be a throw-away…or perhaps not.  The way I see it, Smokey’s very cognizant of the timeline of the island.  This is probably due to the fact that he’s been there so long.  But regardless of why, he clearly knows almost everything that’s happened on the island.  It was this knowledge that allowed him to foresee that Locke was eventually going to become the “leader” of the Others, and would allow Smokey to get access to Jacob’s abode once he took over Locke’s form.  In fact, if you consider that Christian appeared to Locke just as he fell down the well that housed the donkey wheel, then you might even go so far as to think that Smokey has some measure of ability to travel through time.  Regardless, he knows what’s going on.  Why did I go through all of the trouble to mention this?  Well, what if Smokey was not being figurative with his “trapped” comment?  What if Jack was literally trapped on the island, even before he got there?  Perhaps, just perhaps, this is our first clue that Jack himself is one of the “Adam & Eve” bodies in the caves.  Something to think about…

Finally, Smokey tells Jack that Locke was nothing more than a “sucker”.  Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but the whole thing is starting to smack of reverse psychology to me.  Seriously, are the writers going to have the legacy of John Locke be reduced to a man so lost that he failed to commit suicide, only to be murdered minutes later, and then be ridiculed for his faith?  I’m not buying it.  But I am afraid that they’ll try to give his character some resolution by granting him the ability to walk, and following through with his wedding to Helen, in the sideways timeline.  I can imagine that some LOST viewers out there are hoping for this.  That somehow, if everyone has a happy ending in the sideways timeline, then it makes up for the pain and suffering in the main timeline.  I can tell you that for me, this would come off as a supreme cop-out.  Anything that happens in the sideways timeline, no matter how well explained, cannot supercede the main timeline in my eyes.  I truly hope that the writers don’t use it as an “out”.  Regardless, I’d put money on Locke becoming more than what he is now, in either the sideways timeline, the main timeline, or both.

“It’s him!  It’s him!”

Sideways Locke tells Ben his first name

The interesting thing I’m taking from the initial sideways scene is that it’s clear that consciousness can move from the main timeline to the sideways timeline with some encouragement.  Desmond did it with help from a little EM pulse.  Sun did it with a bump on the head.  Perhaps others have done so as well.  My question is twofold: first, if consciousness can travel from the main timeline to the alternate timeline, is it far-fetched to think that the reverse is possible?  I believe that we haven’t seen it yet, but would it be any surprise if we did as early as next episode?  The other part of my question is this: could someone, say Locke, have already made the trip to the sideways universe?  Perhaps the Locke in the sideways timeline actually has the consciousness of the Locke in the main timeline?  Maybe he’s been keeping the secret all this time because he is enjoying his new and improved life?  I hope I’m not too far in left field with some of these thoughts, but I get the impression that there’s a major reveal of some sort on the horizon, and Locke’s story, at least in the flash-sideways, is clearly not complete.

“Sayid ain’t invited.  He’s gone over to the dark side.”

Finally, some action!  While alot of you out there might see this episode as moving the pieces in place for the grand shakedown at the end of the series (and I think there’s some truth to that), what’s seems more relevant is that the characters are moving, and putting plans in place.  The LOSTies are stealing, scheming, and taking chances.  And as a result, we’re sucked back in to rooting for them and judging their motivations.  I think that’s what made this episode feel more than just a “moving pieces” episode for me.

Desmond is off his sideways rocker

While I’m not inclined to over-analyze the sideways timeline (as usual), I will take the bait on a couple of things happening over there.  I’ll start by discussing Desmond’s behavior.  Was it me, or did he come off as just a bit creepy in this episode?  Tracking Claire down, following her through the building, and practically forcing her to visit his lawyer…it all seemed just a bit shady.  Of course, compared to running Locke down with his car, I guess it’s not that much of a stretch.  The question though, is why?  Last week’s actions made some sort of sense when set against the backdrop of what we know, but this week?  Desmond just comes off as plumb crazy.

One other quick thing I want to mention: Desmond warns Claire to not do anything that might make her situation “irreversible”.  A curious choice of words, as they harken back to Locke’s words to Jack in the season premiere.

Sayid and Desmond discuss the price of a life

Desmond chats with Sayid at gunpoint

There’s an interesting theory floating around the internet regarding Desmond being the actual replacement for Jacob.  I hadn’t really given it much thought until this episode.  However, after looking at what Desmond’s doing in the alternate timeline, as well as his conversational abilities with Sayid in the main timeline, I’m starting to consider it more as a possibility.  In the scene at the well, Desmond asks all of the right questions to have Sayid, despite the fact that he’s a zombie, reflect upon the reasons why he’s doing what he’s doing.  Despite what Sayid says to Smokey later in the episode, it’s hard to come to any other conclusion than the idea that Sayid did not shoot and kill Desmond.

Strike one up for Mr. Giacchino

Most of the comments I make in this blog are with respect to the plot points and mysteries of the show.  On rare occasions, I’ll reference the level of acting and try to give credit to some of the more amazing performances.  One thing I don’t think I’ve ever done, is to comment on the score.  But I have to admit, especially in an episode like “The Last Recruit”, where showing characters moving from one location to the other is a large part of the on-screen action, the music really added to the overall enjoyment of the show.  It helped to create a measure of tension at the right moments, but also seemed to add weight to scenes that otherwise might seem somewhat rote in nature.  The score was particularly spot-on in this episode, so I thought I’d mention it specifically.

“You did this to me!”

I’m not sure just how much we’re supposed to read into Locke’s response to Sun’s written words above, but it struck me as interesting that he didn’t take any credit for Sun losing her voice, or more importantly, Sun’s consciousness migrating to the sideways timeline.  This would have been a perfect time to lead us in the direction that Smokey is responsible for the alternate timeline, and that what we’re seeing over there is a result of him granting everyone their wishes in return for helping him get off the island.  But no such luck.  Maybe the sideways timeline is something else entirely…

“I just shot an unarmed man…I needed a moment.”

Two big things caught my eye in the scene where Sayid claims to have done Smokey’s dirty work.  First, did you notice Sayid gazing up into the trees at the start of the scene?  It’s almost as if he was looking for a vine…perhaps one long enough to help Desmond out of the well?

The other thing that was fascinating was the disdain that Sayid seems to have for Smokey here.  He doesn’t outright confront him, but he clearly challenges him to check his work if he doesn’t think he completed it successfully.  It’ll be interesting to see if he takes that to the next level in subsequent episodes and perhaps challenges Smokey directly, especially if he didn’t kill Desmond, as most of us suspect.

“Get off my damn boat!”

Jack shares his faith, to Sawyer's displeasure

Not sure about the rest of you, but I really enjoyed the dialog here between Jack and Sawyer.  Both of these men have very strong convictions about where they’re headed, and they simply don’t mesh.  Sawyer is thoroughly finished with the island.  In fact, the only reason why he decided to go with Smokey in the first place was because he was promised a way off the rock.  Ever since he lost Juliet, he has no other objective except to find a way off.  So it’s not at all surprising that he wants nothing to do with Jack, and his talk that is infused with so much mysticism and blind faith.  After all, it was that same mentality that managed to convince everyone to attempt to detonate Jughead, and ultimately led to Juliet’s death.

Jack fully understands this, and even once again apologizes for his hand in Juliet’s death.  But he knows that no matter what he does to evade it or delay it, he’s got a task to perform.  And if trying to achieve that task puts a crimp in Smokey’s plans, well then, all the better.  Jack has come to grips with the idea that he’s got some sort of destiny to fulfill, and if it means jumping off the boat halfway to Hydra Island, so be it.  I just wonder whether or not he’s going to live through whatever the island has in store for him…

Sun and Jin get their reunion

Jin and Sun reunite

Although I hate to say it, it came off just a bit cheesy to me.  Especially so when Lapidus mentioned Sun getting her English back.  That was a “take you out of the moment” line for sure.  Of course, the reunion is short-lived, as Widmore backs out of his deal, and uses the opportunity to fire upon the Smoking Club on the other island.

Smokey gets Jack out of harm's way

But here’s the part I don’t understand.  I’ve been under the impression that Smokey can either get everyone together, get on a plane, and get off the island; OR, he can lead the candidiates to their death, even if he can’t carry out the task himself.  So why not leave Jack to be blown to bits by Widmore’s attack?  Why pull him out of the line of fire just to try to convince him to willingly follow him?  Perhaps I’m understanding the rules of the game incorrectly, but it definitely seemed odd that Smokey wouldn’t simply leave him to meet his fate on the shore.

Post-episode questions

1. Are the migrations of consciousness from the main timeline to the sideways timeline only a one-way street?  Is anyone going to go from the sideways timeline to the main timeline?

2. What is Desmond’s fate?  Did Sayid actually kill him?

3. Why did Widmore go back on his deal with Sawyer?  What’s his ultimate plan?

4. What does Smokey have in store for Jack?  Why did he save him instead of letting him die?

5. Can you believe that there’s no new LOST next week?  Can you wait 2 whole weeks for the next episode?

That’s all I have for this week, but I plan to have a few things to talk about next week, despite the fact that there’s no new episode.  I hope you come back by!


LOST Challenge of the Week: “The Last Recruit”

19 04 2010

Hey there everyone, thanks again for stopping by!  It’s hard for me to believe that there are only 5 episodes left before LOST is gone forever.  It seems as though there is still so much to answer, and so many things to learn.  But I do feel as though we’re in great hands with the writers, and that we’re going to see some amazing things before it’s all said and done.

Up next is the episode “The Last Recruit”.  Unfortunately, I have no idea who will be at the heart of this episode, or what it’s going to be about.  In reality, I don’t have a great challenge question this week.  So if any of you dare to comment on the episode before it airs, please feel free to touch on any topic that strikes your fancy.  But just so that I don’t break the streak, here’s my suggestion for a question that all of you can try to answer:

Who is ‘The Last Recruit’, and what is the significance of their decision?

By the way, a little tidbit of info for those of you that haven’t yet heard: LOST is taking a one-week hiatus after this week’s show.  On April 27th, ABC will air a re-run of “Ab Aeterno” as opposed to a new episode.  On May 4th, new episodes will return with the airing of “The Candidate”.  Two additional new episodes will air on May 11th and May 18th, and the 2-hour series finale will air 5 days later on Sunday, May 23rd.

Enjoy the episode everyone!

LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 11: “Everybody Loves Hugo”

15 04 2010

Hey everyone, thanks again for stopping by!  For those of you that read my blog consistently, I’m happy to say that I enjoyed this past episode much more than the previous one.  It had everything a LOST fan could hope for: a scene that came completely out of left field, a major reveal of a mystery that had been in question since all the way back in Season 1, and little clues that point to a bigger mystery that likely involves LOST’s endgame.  (It almost has to, doesn’t it?  I mean, there are only 5 episodes left!  Anything that’s still a mystery has to be a part of the endgame by default, right?)

In any event, I quite enjoyed the show, even some of the flash-sideways bits.  In fact, I have a pretty big theory about the flash-sideways that I’ve hinted on a few times, but that I’ll now put out there in plain sight for all of the world to laugh at.  So let’s get to it, shall we?  There’s much to discuss!

“Everybody Loves Hugo!”

How many of you recognized Dr. Chang’s voice right off the bat when the opening montage of Hurley came on screen?  I picked it up pretty quick, and also made an association of his dialog with that of the award presentation scene for Tony Stark in “Iron Man”.  I didn’t take the time to go through and see if it matched up, but it certainly reminded me of that.  Regardless, a fun little scene with what happened to Hurley in the sideways timeline.

One of the interesting things to think about from this opening scene is the appearance of Dr. Chang, semingly with both arms intact (you can see him clapping in the background several times).  What makes this so interesting is that Chang was at the site of “The Incident” at the Swan Station, which most of us had been assuming was the fork in the timelines.  But the thought is that the bomb never went off in the main timeline (which is how he survived to make the Dharma videos), but that the bomb DID go off in the sideways timeline, which caused the island’s demise.  If Jughead did indeed detonate in the sideways timeline, Chang would have been obliterated.  It begs the question: what really did happen at the Swan station, both in the main and sideways timelines?  I’m not holding my breath that we’ll get the answer for either, but I certainly had hoped that it would be explained sometime this season.

I guess the reason why I’m not too hopeful is because I’m not sure how relevant it is to the overall story at this point.  It seems as though much of the end of LOST can be told without going back of some of the minutia too much.  I guess it’s up to the writers to determine what they think is big enough to answer, and what isn’t.  In fact, I guess they’ve already made that decision, since the finale is already written and in the process of being filmed.  That’s something else interesting to think about, isn’t it?

“I’m here to stop you from gettin’ everyone killed!”

Michael appears to Hurley

Not sure about the rest of you, but I was happy to see Michael back one last time.  I really never liked the way the writers basically turned him into an evil guy, and then cast the whole Michael/Walt storyline aside like yesterday’s news.  Even Michael’s return and subsequent “redemption” seemed hollow, especially since he was never reunited with Walt, and the poor kid thinks his Dad is still alive somewhere on the island.  So any chance for Michael to get even the slimmest pieces of addition redemption is OK in my book.  I’ll touch on that a bit more later when I discuss his second appearance in the episode.

It’s Libby!

Libby catches up with Hurley in the flash-sideways

Great to see Libby back as well, as her time was cut way too short in the show too.  While we all know what she’s referring to in her conversation with Hurley in the restaurant, it’s interesting how the writers try to tie back her brief scene in the mental hospital from Hurley’s flashback in Season 2 to the flash-sideways in Season 6.  I would imagine that there are some folks out there that are trying to make some type of an association between the original flashbacks and the new flashsideways, but I’m hesitant to do so.  As much as I’m on record for not really liking the flash-sideways in a general sense, I think they completely lose their validity if somehow they are already mixed with the main timeline and our LOSTies’ past.  While reviewing some scenes again in the light of some answers will be fun (more on that later), I don’t think deciphering between real and alternate in the original flashbacks would be one of them.  It’d be too much like revisionist history.  What do you all think?

BTW, since “Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute” was so prominently displayed on the side of the van Libby left in, I decided to do a little anagram search on it…just to be sure.  Nothing worth mentioning came up.

“You have to trust me.  I’ve been training my whole life for this.”

Ilana underestimates the instability of her dynamite

Wow.  Did any of you see that coming?  I mean, in retrospect, sure, Ilana could be considered “expendable” in relation to the story that’s left to be told.  But that was shocking to see on screen.  Of course, immediately after she blew herself to bits, I was already thinking exactly what Ben later vocalized.  She was hand-picked by Jacob.  He specifically asked her to come back to the island and help him.  But he seemed to offer zero protection for her when she needed it.  In fact, that seems to be very much Jacob’s M.O.: ask for help, get it, and then discard with prejudice.  Not only did he leave Ilana to her demise, but Dogen, Lennon, and Bram (Ilana’s counterpart that was killed by Smokey in the Season 6 opener) were all followers of Jacob that he seemed to have no concern for as they stared into the face of death.  While I’m not suggesting that Jacob is at all evil, I’m not sure that I’d be the first to join his squad.  He clearly has a non-interference policy (othet than bringing people to the island), and he’s sticking to it regardless of who lives or dies.  Bram once said that he’s playing for the team that was “gonna win”.  That may very well still turn out to be true…but he surely won’t be around to see if he was right.

One interesting corollary of this scene is the subsequent invasion of Ilana’s stash, including Hurley finding a small bag.  While at first I thought that this might be Jacob’s remains, you can hear a sort of clanking noise as he inspects the contents, giving us the impression that it contains rocks or stones.  Perhaps they’re the white and black stones that Adam and Eve from the caves have on them?  I doubt that we’ve seen the last of that bag, that’s for sure…

“It was nice bumping into you.”

Desmond convinces Hurley to give Libby another shot

Ah yes, Desmond continues his alternate reality farewell tour in the sideways universe.  I’m actually enjoying the way this is playing out, even if the trigger for getting there still seems highly unbelievable to me.  In any event, I wanted to point out that I believe that Desmond is not flashing between the worlds as he did in the previous episode.  I still hold to the idea that the lack of a whoosh sound between the flashes in the previous episode speaks to him consciously making the transition.  The fact that there are now whoosh sounds in this episode tells me that he’s not going along for the ride in a conscious sense.  The Desmond in the alternate timeline is acting completely on his own, based solely on what he experienced in the last episode.  I could certainly be wrong (is there anyone out there that analyzes this show that hasn’t been wrong?), but that’s what I’m taking out of it.

“I’m protecting us.”

What's left of the Black Rock

Now this one wasn’t too far out in left field for me.  Hurley’s clearly in a different mindset now, and is welcoming the leadership position.  And as such, he’s taking action to make sure his wishes are carried out, even if they’re not what the group believes, and he has to do it himself.  Blowing up the Black Rock was a ballsy move, but it really was the only way he could slow down Richard’s headstrong ways.  If he’s angling to take control of the group, it was the best move he could make.

“I said ignore him!”

The boy getting a chuckle from Smokey's frustration

Happy to see the little antagonizing boy in the jungle again, although he appears to have grown up a bit.  Some of you may be thinking that it’s a different boy, seeing as how he now has dark hair as opposed to blond, and is definitely older, but my money is on the idea that it’s the same kid.  And I’ve got a really strange, off-the-wall theory as to who it is.  Many of you have guessed a young Jacob, or even a young Sawyer (at least originally).  But my guess is not either of them.  I’ll share it with you at the end of this post.  For now, note that the boy seems quite pleased that the Locke Monster is frustrated by his appearance.  Oh, and by the way, I’m sure that his appearance as Smokey takes Desmond out into the jungle is for exactly the same reason he showed up last time: to remind Smokey of what he can’t do…namely, kill Desmond.  Only this time, he doesn’t even have to vocalize it.  Smokey knows that it’s against the rules.

For reference, the boy's first appearance

“You can either come with me, or you can keep trying to blow stuff up.  Your call dude.”

A couple of interesting things happen in this scene.  First, Hurley flat-out lies about his contact with Jacob.  I guess it’s not completely uncommon if you stop to think about it, but I was taken aback by it.  I didn’t expect him to take such tactics, especially as he’s trying to take a leadership position.

Richard, not buying what Hurley's selling

The other thing to notice is that he’s not forcing anyone to do anything.  For someone that’s Jacob’s potential replacement, he’s certainly on the right track there.  It’s certainly more than what Jack’s currently doing…

Team Ilana (minus Ilana) splits up

So yeah, what’s the new name for these teams anyway?  I guess I could call Hurley’s group either Team Jacob or Team Hurley (now that he’s assumed the leadership position), and the other group Team Richard.  I don’t know, I’m not too good at coming up with clever names for these people, like “The Smoking Club”.  In any event, the team breaks up, with Richard, Ben, and Miles going for explosives that they think they can find at the Barracks.  Meanwhile, Hurley, Jack, Sun, and Lapidus all head for Smokey’s camp.  Frankly, I’d be concerned about the safety of both groups.  But I’m definitely interested in how the story develops for the both of them…

“Yeah, we’re the ones who can’t move on.”

Michael gives up the ghost on the secret of the whispers

So…after 5 years of the whispers, we’re given the answer as to what they are.  Although the mthod in which the answer was given was somewhat anti-climactic, it was still an awesome moment of revelation.  I’d venture to guess that the answer wasn’t overly surprising to any of you (maybe you wished that you had thought of that yourself…or maybe you did!), but to me, the answer was still highly satisfying.  And if nothing else, it gives us at least one reason to go back and re-watch all of those old episodes.  My first inclination is that we saw Walt in Season 2 right after the whispers, and he wasn’t dead, so I’m curious to go back and see how well everything fits together.  But the bottom line for me is that I’m thrilled that they answered this one.

One last thing to comment on with this scene: I’m also very happy with Michael’s last appearance.  In his final request, he wasn’t just asking for forgiveness from Libby, he was asking it of Hurley as well.  Hurley’s response leads me to believe that he has indeed forgiven Michael for what he did…giving that story at least some measure of closure.

“You like me because you’re delusional.”

Libby helps Hurley remember

Yeah, that’s a great way to get someone to like you Hurley…you should use that one again!  Libby kisses Hurley anyway, and he experiences the same flashes that Charlie, Desmond, and Libby had previously.  Not surprisingly, Desmond is looking on, but seems content enough with the outcome to drive off to his next destination after seeing their interaction.  The question I have after that is, why doesn’t Desmond recruit them for his cause?  Isn’t there some larger plan in play than just simply trying to get everyone from Flight 815 to experience the flash?  Of course, I’m still hung up on how good ol’ Des figured out that the flight was the commonality, but I won’t head down that path again.  I suppose it’s enough to know that he simply wants to trigger the effect.  That in itself seems to make for a successful interaction.

Smokey shows Desmond the well

Smokey and Desmond approach the well

A bunch of things to discuss here.  First, I think that Smokey is dead-on when he mentions that Widmore is in it for himself.  I know that in the past, I’ve pretty much dismissed anything that Smokey’s said out-of-hand.  I regret doing so, because I now believe that he’s at least got a nugget of truth in what he says.  He’s an accomplished liar, but unlike Ben, he seems to use it only when he has something he’s trying to achieve.  In this particular case with Desmond, he needs nothing from him, and has no fear of losing the upper hand, so he’s fully comfortable sharing information without a filter.

The other thing to discuss is the location itself.  Note that they’re nowhere near anything that looks like the Orchid station, or any remnant thereof.  Couple that with Smokey’s statement that this is not the only well, and you can conclude that this is not the well that leads to the frozen donkey wheel.  That was my first thought, but I’m convinced otherwise after some re-watches.  Smokey’s not trying to get him down to the donkey wheel, he’s just trying to remove him from the equation.

Of course, that leads to the third thing to notice, and that is that he didn’t kill Desmond straight up.  You might be asking why that is.  Of course, I gave you my answer earlier: the young boy made an appearance just to remind Smokey that he can’t kill Desmond, at least not directly.  I guess he figures that the next best thing is to chuck him into a well that he can’t get out of.  That would at least stop Widmore from using him the way he wants to.

Look what just showed up on your doorstep!

You have to admit, if you’re Smokey, and the series of events that come to pass at the end of the episode happens to you, you’ve got to feel like it’s your lucky day.  Not only is Widmore’s secret weapon dispatched with, but the three people you needed to get off the island…Jack, Hurley, and Sun…all come walking right up to your camp.  And if that’s not enough, the guy who flew the plane shows up along with them!  After years and years and years of waiting, absolutely everything is coming together in a way that even Smokey couldn’t have anticipated.  He’s got to feel as though his trip off the island is imminent.

Alternate Desmond runs down Locke

Locke in bad shape after Desmond's handiwork

I think the immediate association most people would have with this scene is that somehow alternate Desmond is aware of what’s happening back on the island, and that he’s looking for some type of revenge.  However, as I stated earlier, I don’t think that Desmond’s consciousness is making the trip anymore.  Instead, I think that alternate Desmond had a very specific task in mind: get Locke to have a near-death experience, so that he will see the flash, just like Charlie did when he alomst choked to death on Oceanic 815.

And really, there’s no better segue to my off-the-wall theory than the way the episode ends.  I’m sharing this with you even though it feels only slightly above fan fiction, for two reasons.  First, there are only 5 episodes left.  At some point I’m going to have to go out on a limb about who I think Jacob’s replacement is, despite not seeing any overt clues that point to anyone in particular.  Second, after some of the things we’ve seen this season, it’s hard to classify anything as too off-the-wall for what could happen to end the show.

So here it is: I think that alternate Locke is going to somehow transfer his consciousness from the alternate timeline to the main timeline, be reincarnated as the young boy that is tormenting Smokey, and eventually become Jacob’s replacement.  I know, I know, totally off the wall.  But here’s some backup evidence, for what it’s worth:

1. Locke’s coversation with Jack in the alternate timeline in the first episode of the season: Locke – “My condition is irreversible.”  Jack – “Nothing is irreversible.”

2. “Canton-Rainier” (which is an anagram of reincarnation) on the side of the van that Locke’s body was transported in last season.  You could argue that Locke was already “reincarnated” as Smokey, but that’s not exactly how I interpret reincarnation.  Reincarnation is typically thought of as the consciousness of an individual that dies coming back in another’s body or form.  Coming back as the young boy would qualify.

3. Walt’s dream of Locke on the island in his suit with everyone trying to kill him.  So far, no one’s tried to kill Locke’s form except Sayid, and Smokey posing as Locke is not wearing a suit.  This dream of Walt’s is yet to come.

4. The young boy is clearly pleased with Smokey’s misfortune.  Who would be more pleased with Smokey’s pain than the guy whose body he stole?

5. Locke’s story in the alternate timeline is still to be told.  We’ve clearly been left with a cliffhanger that entails Locke’s fate, and should get more information on it in next week’s episode, or in the episodes to come.  We’re not yet done with Locke.

6. No one is a better candidate to replace Jacob than Locke.  Despite what Hurley and Jack are trying to accomplish, they do not fit as Jacob’s successor.  Hurley certainly seems to be making that transition somewhat, but he still doesn’t seem to be ready.  If Locke came back as the Locke we knew, I don’t think that there would be any doubt that he could be the one.  In fact, the idea of Locke’s death may be the writers’ way of throwing us off the scent.  If Locke was alive, wouldn’t you think he would be the overwhelming choice to replace Jacob?  The only way to quell that is to kill him, and have Smokey scratch him off the list.

Anyway, that’s my wacky theory.  I’d love for all of you to pick it apart for me.  Oh, and for those of you that can actually see this happening, think about this: what if Ben was Locke’s new Richard?  How fun of a concept would that be?  Alright, enough of my crazy ranting, let’s wrap this up…

Post-episode questions

1. How the heck is Desmond going to be able to do what Widmore wants now that he’s in the well?

2. Who is Jacob’s replacement?  Does Hurley fit the bill?   With only 5 episodes left, it’s time to start putting together a theory…

3. What really happened at the Swan station during the Incident?  Will we ever find out?

4. Does the question of why or how the sideways timeline exists even matter anymore?  Is it all now about how it converges with the main timeline?

5. If the alternate timeline “won out” (was the timeline that remained and the main timeline got wiped out), would you feel at all cheated?  Would you like that better because it seems as though the characters are mostly getting what they want over there?

That’s all I’ve got for this week!  I really want to encourage all of you long-time readers that may be lurkers to come out of the shadows and post!  We only have 5 episodes left to chat about the show and then it’s gone forever.  I’d love nothing more than getting some serious theorizing going on in the comments as everything comes to a head and gets wrapped up.  I’d love to know what all of you think!

LOST Challenge of the Week: “Everybody Loves Hugo”

12 04 2010

Happy LOST week everyone!  Despite my mixed review for last week’s episode, I’m still as big a LOST fan as ever, and can’t wait for this week’s show.  In fact, I’m excited for the opportunity to get back into the swing of things and re-discover the LOST mojo that I seem to have misplaced last week.

As far as the challenge this week…well, they’re getting harder and harder to come up with as we get closer and closer to the end of the series.  TV Guide’s synopses are so vague that it’s nearly impossible to use them as any kind of teaser anymore.  But with Hurley, there’s always an angle.  For example, I could ask what Hurley might say to a certain special guest star that was responsible for a lot of Hurley’s personal pain on-island.  Or, I could ask whether or not he’ll meet a certain someone in the flash-sideways.  But instead, I’m going a different route:

What is Hurley’s relationship with the numbers in the sideways timeline, and what impact does that have on his luck?

Enjoy the episode this week!  Only 6 more until it’s all over!

LOST Event: Times Talks Live

9 04 2010

Hey everyone, for those of you that are true LOST geeks like myself, I thought I’d let you in on something happening on May 20th, right before the finale on the 23rd.  It’s from Fathom events, and it’s a discussion with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse (LOST’s showrunners) on the upcoming finale.  They’ll be interviewed by the New York Times, and will field fan questions that can be submitted.  Rumor has it that it will also include a sneak peek of the finale, and if I know Damon and Carlton, they’ll have a couple of surprises up their sleeves.  I imagine it’ll be similar to the Comic-Con experience, just in remote fashion.  I know that some of you wished that you could have attended the Comic-Con LOST panel, so I wanted to share this with you.  Tickets just went on sale today, so if you’re enough of a hard-core fan to go to something like this, I would guess that there will still be tickets available.

Information on the event can be found here: http://www.fathomevents.com/OriginalPrograms/event/TimesTalks_LOST.aspx

A list of theaters showing the event is located here: http://www.fathomevents.com/Upcoming/Locations/All/05/20/2010/OriginalPrograms/TimesTalks_LOST.aspx

I’ve already grabbed my tickets, and will obviously post regarding the event the following day.  I hope that those of you interested get your tickets in time!

LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 10: “Happily Ever After”

8 04 2010

Alright, I guess this is where I come across as a complete hypocrite.  Last week I wrote about how I thought that people with negative feedback about the show should mostly keep it to themselves.  After all, we’re in the final few hours…let’s enjoy it while we can!  Well, despite most of the positive reaction I’m seeing, I was only so-so on this episode.  The funny thing is, it’s not so much due to the episode’s execution, or acting, which was spot-on, as usual.  Instead, I was upset because the answers given are not what *I* wanted to see or hear.  (Yeah, I know, that’s hypocritical.)

Prior to writing this entry, I had actually thought about sugar-coating my analysis, because I didn’t want to come across as a “hater”.  But while I promise not to be cynical about what appeared on screen, I also won’t hold back my true thoughts on the episode, and why I think that the flash-sideways has turned into one big, unnecessary mess.  I’ll try to substantiate my stance, because I think that’s important.  But I think it’s only fair to give you my true thoughts, despite what I just wrote in the intro of last week’s post.  Read on if you dare…

Waking up on the island

Desmond is back on the island, and he is not pleased

I absolutely loved Desmond’s reaction to discovering he’s on the island, and the way Henry Ian Cusick pulled off the scene.  Although the episode’s title refers more to the end state of the episode, Desmond had to feel as though he had already found his happily ever after.  He spent years on the island pushing a button in isolation, but at long last had found Penny and was starting a family with her.  Is there any other way to react after being forcibly dragged back to a place that carried so many bitter memories?

“Are we ready?”

One of the things I constantly run into with the folks I talk to about LOST, is their desire to categorize Widmore.  “Which side is he on?” is a question I typically get.  To which I answer, “His own.”  Seriously.  I don’t think he’s playing for Team Jacob -or- the Smoking Club.  Widmore’s got his own agenda, and he’s pulling out all of the stops to make it happen.  If his actions at any point in time happen to line up with either side, I think it’s just the way things played out in that moment.  He’s out to harness the electromagnetic properties of the island, and I doubt that Jacob or Smokey really care about that at all.

“Penny, your son, everyone else…will be gone forever.”

I’d love to know exactly what Widmore means by this.  After all, we do have the alternate timeline, in which both Penny and Desmond do exist, and the future is open wide for them based upon the events of this episode.  Is he referring to the Penny and Desmond in this specific timeline?  Or does he mean that both timelines (and perhaps others) will be wiped out?  I ask, because one of the interesting things that seemed to come out of this episode (I can’t tell for certain if it’s by design), is that we’re made to care for both timelines equally now.  I’ll get into this more as we go, but the facts are that we spent almost a full episode in the sideways universe in this episode, and it seems as though the reason why everyone likes it so much is because they could finally relate to the characters.  Desmond, Penny, Charlie, Eloise, Daniel…even Widmore himself seem to be characters that we want to find themselves in the alternate timeline.

But it’s also a double-edged sword.  If we care just as much about the characters in the sideways timeline, then what does it matter if the main timeline characters die, or “cease to be”?  And if they don’t, then why the flash-sideways at all?  I supposed that in a nutshell, that’s the problem I’m having with the flash-sideways, and the way it played out in this episode.  But before I go on too much of a rant, let me continue with the analysis.

Desmond doesn’t just survive the electromagnetic event…

Desmond engulfed in the electromagnetic event

…he uses it to transport his consciousness to the alternate timeline.  So, let’s deal with the more obvious first.  Widmore knows that Desmond originally survived turning the failsafe key down in the Swan Station.  But he needs to know that this isn’t some kind of fluke.  Why?  Because he’s going to tap the power of one of the other remaining electromagnetic pockets (as evidenced by Jin’s Dharma map).  To what end, I’m not sure, but whatever it is, it won’t be a minor event.  Hopefully we’ll get a better idea of this as soon as next week.

But the thing I’m more interested in focusing on is Desmond’s flash into the sideways universe.  Note that there was no weird flash-sideways noise prior to us following him over there.  To me, this indicates that this is not to be taken the same way as all of the other flashes.  Desmond’s full consciousness has headed over there, and he’s going to return with a full memory of all of the events.  Looking back, this isn’t a huge surprise.  There have been numerous instances where characters in the main timeline have lost consciousness and have seemingly “woken up” in the alternate timeline.  Last episode with Sun losing her ability to speak English could almost be seen as her making the round trip and “forgetting” English due to her counterpart not ever having learned it.

But the piece that I struggle with the most is that Desmond’s flash to the alternate timeline seems incredibly convenient.  Why would previous flashes have everything to do with time, either backwards or forwards, whereas this time it sent him to the alternate timeline?  I guess one could argue that Desmond went to the alternate timeline in “Flashes Before Your Eyes”, but he knew Penny in that flash, and they lived together.  That doesn’t jive with the alternate timeline shown in this episode.  And while I’d love to just go along for the ride, I really can’t in this case.  If you’re going to break the laws of time and space, I think you’ve at least got to be consistent about it.  I know that Desmond is “special”, but that can’t be an escape clause for whatever plot point the writers want to drive home.  Sorry, but this trip is just too fantastic for me.  But hey, at least the effect itself was really cool.

Charlie has a death wish for a reason

I could write a bit about Desmond’s encounters with Minkowski and Widmore, especially the contrasts evident in his relationship with Widmore, but those are as straight forward and knock-you-over-the-head as can be.  Instead, I’ll write a bit about Charlie’s appearance in the episode.  First, let me say that I miss having Dominic Monaghan on the show.  I feel as though his acting talents were greatly underutilized in the show.  We got to see just how much acting chops he had in the last few episodes before Charlie’s demise, and I think he does another fantastic job in this episode as well.

Charlie gives Desmond the reason for his recent actions

Aside from that, Charlie’s character in the flash-sideways has some pretty amazing motivation.  From his discussion with Desmond in the bar, it wasn’t like that from the start.  But he had a near-death experience on the plane, and now is blindly committed to nothing else but having it again.  Taken on its own merit, this is a pretty cool concept.  I like the idea of trying to find your “true” purpose, perhaps in a timeline opposite your own.  This would be especially true if you could somehow link to this alternate timeline, as our characters do.  But really, are we supposed to care just as much about these characters as we do the ones in the main timeline?  If so, isn’t it too easy to care -less- for the characters in the main timeline?  To me, the integration of the two timelines has created additional confusion, not clarification.  I’d love to see Charlie somehow make it in this timeline.  I’d love to see him make things work with Claire.  But doesn’t that somehow make his heroism in the main timeline less dramatic?  If he can simply make things right in his life in the sideways universe, then how much do we really care that he’s dead in the main one?

Charlie and Desmond share a moment

Charlie messes with Desmond's mind

Another cool sequence here executed nearly flawlessly, as Desmond experiences the flash to the main timeline as a result of trying to save Charlie from drowning.  It’s funny; if this was done somewhere around Season 2 or 3, and was in the main timeline instead of the alternate timeline, I think I’d be raving about how incredible this episode was.  Again, the concept in and of itself is a fun one.  But here in Season 6, as an alternate to our main timeline, it just doesn’t carry the same weight.  The alternate characters’ “search” for the real timeline is devoid of tension because A) we already know that it exists and that it is the main timeline, and B) there’s no consequence for failure.  If they don’t find the timeline, so what?  Our original LOSTies are already all there.  Plus, nothing truly “bad” is happening to the majority of them in this timeline.

Speaking of which, you might think that the characters are “getting what they think they want”, as a sort of appeasement for what they really want in the main timeline.  Maybe they’re in some sort of “heaven”?  At least that’s what you might think if you look at Claire, Ben, Hurley, Sawyer, Desmond, and Faraday.  But what about Sayid?  He’s still a cold-blooded killer in both timelines.  What about Sun?  In the alternate timeline, she just got shot, and will likely lose her baby.  What about Jin?  He shot Sun in the alternate timeline.  It’s not all rainbows and butterflies in the flash-sideways either, which makes it even more difficult to explain.

More electromagnetic fields = more Desmond flashes

Desmond experiences additional flashes

Not surprisingly, Desmond gets a richer flashing experience when his brain is at the center of an electromagnetic field.  As a result, he gets clearer flashes of Penny, and comes to understand and feel just what Charlie told him about.  It seems as though true love is what is tearing at the fabric of reality in this timeline.  And it’s enough for Desmond to give up on his task of getting Charlie to the Widmore function, and instead begin to think about how he can track down Penny.

Eloise still knows more than she’s letting on

Eloise implores Desmond to stop looking

At first it seemed somewhat surprising that Eloise so quickly forgave Desmond for not getting Charlie to the party.  But I should have known better: she’s just trying to keep Desmond away from Penny, just like she did in the main timeline.  This time, however, it’s for a reason that’s unknown to the audience.  “It is, in fact, a violation.” is a great line.  Is this some grand fabrication of a world in which certain characters know what’s going on but are not allowed to tell?  It’s almost as if Eloise is playing the role of a referree in some fashion.  One thing to keep in mind is that Eloise was on the island prior to the Jughead detonation.  And she supposedly knew how important it was to allow Faraday to die prior to the bomb going off.  So it’s not too much of a jump to think that she knew exactly what the consequences were even before anything happened.  And thus, she could carry that knowledge into either timeline, because she knew it prior to the event that caused the fork.  But we still don’t know what that information is, or why Desmond isn’t yet ready to meet Penny.

“…and that’s when things got weird.”

As if Desmond hasn’t had enough reinforcement about what’s happening in this timeline, Daniel manages to steal a few minutes of his time to share with him all of his flashing experiences.  First he talks to him about his love at first sight experience with Charlotte.  Then he talks of his physicist drawings, and about his theoretical nuclear bomb situation.  Finally, he wraps it all up in a neat bow by giving us the tangible link to all 3 flashes: love.  I guess the question I’m left asking myself is, is this timeline completely devoid of love?  Is that what the great consequence is if Smokey gets off the island?  I’m not even sure if we’re supposed to make that connection.  Or perhaps, it’s only that way for those that managed to get to the island in the main timeline?  Honestly, there are just too many variables and abstractions to really make any sense out of it all.  And perhaps, that’s what the writers were shooting for.  While I was hoping for a measure of simplicity to explain everything as the final episodes aired, perhaps the writers are looking for more complexity so that we viewers can continue to go back and decipher certain scenes even as the series comes to an end.  I suppose time will tell.

Physical interaction with Penny forces a return to the main timeline

Penny and Desmond meet for the first time in the flash-sideways

Again, notice the lack of the typical “whoosh” sound as Desmond returns.  This is our clear signal that he’s been along for the ride, and understands everything that we just saw.  I’m led to believe that while his consciousness from the main timeline was there in the flash-sideways, he was merely along for the ride.  It wasn’t he that was making any decisions over there, it was still the alternate Desmond that was doing that.  Regardless, Desmond has now seen the light.  He understands what’s at stake, and is ready to do what he needs to do to keep the main timeline intact.

Sayid convinces an unknowing Desmond to go with him

What he doesn’t know, is that Sayid’s playing for the wrong team.  And unfortunately, he’s headed to meet up with the Smoking Club before Widmore can use him for the grand experiment he has in mind.  But I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of that situation…

Meanwhile, back in the flash-sideways…

Just to really hit you over the head with it, notice that we do indeed get the “whoosh” sound as we flash over to the alternate timeline one last time this episode.  Clearly, “our” Desmond is not privy to this last scene, which is fairly intriguing.  The alternate Desmond wants to get the remaining Oceanic 815 members together.  But why?  How could he possibly know that the common denominator was that flight?  Regardless, it should be interesting to see what comes of that in the weeks to come.  The flash-sideways finally has some definitive drama!

In all seriousness, I think what’s happened for me is that I wish that the flash-sideways wasn’t necessary for telling the story.  It now seems inexoribly tied to the main narrative, but doesn’t seem to provide any true consequence…either for those trying to escape it, or those in the main timeline trying to stop it from existing.  With all of the answers we crave from 5+ seasons of our main timeline, do we really need this much exposition on the alternate timeline?  Why is this so important that we’re spending time learning about it (in some very fantastic and unexplainable ways) instead of getting some answers that we’ve waited years for?  Maybe that will be explained that in the coming weeks.  But even with as neatly packaged a story as we had this week, it simply doesn’t have that “oomph” factor for me at this point in the series’ run.

One last thing I’d like to share: for any of you Locke fans that are still holding on to hope, I think that this episode at least allows for the opportunity for Locke to come back and be Jacob’s replacement.  After all, if Desmond can move from the main timeline to the alternate timeline, who’s to say that Locke can’t do the reverse?  And if that sounds too fantastic for you, just look at some of the things that happened in this episode.  NOTHING is too crazy or bold to happen in this show anymore.  Just something to keep in mind…

Post-episode questions:

1. What specifically does Widmore wnat Desmond to do?

2. Now that Desmond has travelled into the flash-sideways, can we call it “real”?

3. Why are some LOSTies extremely content in the flash-sideways, but others are shadows of their main timeline counterparts?

4. Can Desmond and Penny find true love in the flash-sideways?

5. Does Smokey have any specific plans for Desmond other than keeping him away from Widmore?

That’s it from me this week!  I hope you enjoyed the episode more than I did, and if you have some angle you saw that you think will help me enjoy it more, please share in the comments!

LOST Challenge of the Week: “Happily Ever After”

5 04 2010

Hey everyone, thanks for joining me again for another week of LOST fun!  I have to admit, it’s starting to creep up on me that we only have a scant few episodes of this show left.  I hate to dwell on the fact that there’s not much LOST left, as opposed to simply enjoying things week to week, but there just doesn’t seem to be much of anything out there that will fill the gap once LOST is gone.  Maybe that can be a secondary challenge for all of you out there: what will you watch to fill the void when LOST is gone?  For me, I think Fringe will be my best hope.  It doesn’t have the same attention to detail that LOST does, or the same high-caliber acting, but it does come pretty close.  And it does have some great over-arching mythology that you can ponder and make guesses on.  Somehow though, I don’t think they have the same long-term plan.  I guess only time will tell.

In any event, let’s get on to the challenge for the week!  TV Guide’s synopsis doesn’t offer much help, so let’s stick with the title.  I can’t imagine that things are going to be as straightforward as the title for our man Desmond.  So the question is, what fate is he to meet with?  Why the heck is he on the island?  In other words,

What great plan does Widmore have for Desmond, and how does it fit with the idea of a Happily Ever After?

Good luck with the challenge this week, and enjoy the episode!  There’s not much LOST left folks!