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Updated: 2018-03-06T08:52:58.336-08:00


Bigmouth's Big List of LOST Answers...


Recently, an amusing video of 100 questions supposedly left unanswered by LOST has been making the rounds online.  Much of the dissatisfaction with the show seems to revolve around its purported lack of answers.  But I maintain that LOST offered more explanations than detractors give it credit, so I decided to put my money where my big mouth is.  As suspected, most of the video's mysteries had fairly straightforward solutions, whether express or implied.  In my view, only a handful of the queries therein were left deliberately ambiguous in the sense there is no one interpretation that's clearly more plausible than the alternatives.  And even in that handful of cases, plenty of reasonable  speculations come to mind.  Here's the video by College Humor, followed by my answers.Why did the monster kill the pilot?Instinct.  The Monster was originally an automated security system, and visitors to the Island are a threat, particularly when they pop unexpectedly out of cockpit windows.What did Locke see when he first saw the smoke?This was left ambiguous, like the contents of Marcellus Wallace's briefcase in Pulp Fiction.  But my interpretation is that the Man in Black showed Locke light from the Source.  What's with the polar bear in Walt's comic?Walt had a special connection to the Island.  This connection gave him certain powers, including a limited ability to manifest his mind's eye.  When Walt read a textbook about  birds, he attracted a cuckoo in the vicinity.  When Walt saw a polar bear in the comic, he attracted one of the bears DHARMA brought to the Island.Where is Christian Shepard's body if it's not in the casket?Somewhere under the Temple, where the Man in Black took it to enhance the illusion he was Christian resurrected.Why did the psychic say that Claire had to fly on Oceanic Flight 815 and why did he insist that her son had to be raised by Claire?The psychic was a fraud, as he later confessed to Eko.  Richard Malkin's scam was to scare pregnant women like Claire into keeping their babies long enough for him to arrange an adoption for pay.  The part about Oceanic 815 was to create a false sense of urgency in case Claire had second thoughts.Why did the Others want Walt so badly?As stated previously, Walt had a special connection to the Island, which gave him certain powers.  Who sent Kate the letter telling her about her mother being treated for cancer in the hospital?Kate's childhood sweetheart, Tom Brennan, who worked in the same hospital.How does Walt know about the hatch and why does he warn Locke not to open it?One of Walt's special abilities is to see flashes of the future like Desmond.  That's also why Walt had prescient dreams of Locke on the Island surrounded by people who wanted to hurt him.  Walt didn't realize he was actually seeing the Man in Black in Locke's form.Why does the smoke monster make mechanical sounds?It's a Bad Robot.How is Walt able to apparate before Shannon?One of Walt's powers is the ability to project ghostly visions of himself from afar.  Ms. Klugh alluded to this when she asked Michael whether Walt had ever appeared anywhere he wasn't supposed to be.How did Michael communicate with Walt using the Swan computer?Damon and Carlton have suggested that Walt was able to interface mentally with the Swan computer.  But we later learned the Others had the Swan under observation from the Pearl the whole time, so it's possible that Ben forced Walt to communicate via the Pearl computer.What was the deal with Kate and that horse?Coincidence, or perhaps some variation of Walt's ability to attract animals.  We later learned there were horses on the Island well before Oceanic 815 crashed.  Why are supplies still being dropped on the Island after the Purge and by whom?The Swan was still active after the Purge, necessitating continued supply drops.  The LOST Experience mentions that Alvar Hanso contracted with someone to make such [...]

Thoughts on The End...


BIGMOUTH: My immediate reaction is that "The End" gets a perfect 10 on the Sickness Scale for one of the great fictional endings of all time.  The real test of any book, film, or television show is whether you can't stop thinking about it after it's over.  I went to bed marveling at "The End," and woke up with the same thought on my mind.  It was beautiful, moving, and mysterious, much like the endings to the film versions of Solaris, both of which also rank among my all-time favorites.  In fact, the parallels were so striking that I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to learn the writers of LOST were inspired by these precedents.Warning: Major Solaris SpoilersI've often mentioned the influence on LOST of Stanislaw Lem's classic novel about a sentient planet that manifests the memories of scientists studying it.  The book spawned two equally classic film adaptations, one by Andrei Tarkovsky, and another by Stephen Soderbergh, both of which end brilliantly.  In Tarkovsky's original, the final scene is between the protagonist, Kelvin, and his domineering father.  The encounter seems to take place at their family home, implying that Kelvin has returned to Earth.  At the very end, however, the camera pulls back to reveal the home is actually on an island in the middle of the Solarian sea.  Soderbergh's remake also appears to end on Earth.  In a voice-over, Kelvin describes how he escaped the space station, returned home, and resumed his old life.  He's standing in the kitchen of his apartment when he cuts his finger.  Kelvin starts to clean the wound, but watches in surprise as it mysteriously heals by itself.  Things get even weirder when his wife Rheya, who committed suicide years ago, walks into the room.  Kelvin asks in wonder whether they're alive or dead.  To which Rheya replies, "we don't have to think like that anymore."  The implication is Kelvin never left and they're actually in a virtual afterlife created by planet Solaris.I don't mean to suggest our Losties died in the crash of Oceanic 815, or that they never left the Island -- the last scenes confirmed quite the opposite.  But Jack's strange conversation with his father, and the way he died watching Ajira 316 depart, both echo these ambiguous endings to Solaris.  I'll expand on this in the full recap, but my initial take is that there is only one universe -- i.e, the Crash reality.  What we've been calling the Mirror "reality" is actually an afterlife created by the Island from their memories where they can work out their emotional issues before "moving on" to heaven.  Yes, they're dead.  Thanks to the Island, however, they "don't have to think like that anymore."Update May 28, 2010: I promised above to expand upon why I thought this ending was so remarkable.  To do so requires that I eat some crow.  When the first clips of the Mirror reality aired at Comic-Con, Damon and Carlton asked us to trust them.  Around the time of "Happily Ever After," however, I decided they had lost my trust.  The Mirror timeline made no logical sense if Jughead was its cause, and the prospect of them cheating death via transfer of their memories to the Mirror struck me as a total copout.  Many of you chided me for doubting that the writers had one last twist up their sleeves.  I dismissed such speculations for lack of evidence.  I was wrong, and like Jack, I wish I had believed.  Them and you.The brilliance of the ending was that it made me see the Mirror reality in a whole new light.  Until that last 15 minutes, I was sure the Mirror would render the sacrifices of the Crash reality painless at best and pointless at worst.  The prospect made me doubt whether I would re-watch the series when it was over.  Think about that for a moment. Someone who has blogged about LOST for the last six years had doubts about re-watching.  To my pleasant surpris[...]

Thoughts on What They Died For...


BIGMOUTH: I enjoyed "What They Died For," which gets a 8/10 on the Sickness Scale (3 for characterization, 5 for mythology).  This was one of the few times all season when they managed to recapture the urgency of Season 4, my favorite of the show.  This was particularly true in the Mirror reality, where crazy Desmond drove the action.  I really like Brian Gajus's suggestion that the Mirror storyline will climax at Daniel Widmore's concert where, as MikeNY hilariously puts it, there will be a "a mass enlightenment/Kumbaya moment."  In the Crash reality we received another mythological update via Jacob's fireside chat.  As I and many others surmised, Jack chose to assume the role of the Island guardian.The main thing I didn't like was Zoe's pointless demise.  Again, why introduce a character at all if you're not going to pay her off?  Widmore could easily have spoken the expository dialogue Zoe delivered about the Island's magnetic anomalies.  At the very least, I would have liked to see her revealed as the daughter of Radzinsky -- her bespectacled intensity screamed such a link. I don't mean a whole Zoe-centric.  All it would have taken was Zoe's giving her last name to the Man in Black.  Indeed, I've often wondered if the latter was trying to sink the Island by pushing Stuart Radzinsky mentally.  It would have been very cool if the Man in Black had replied: "Radzinsky, eh?  I knew your father well..."I want to see this.  Okay, let's talk a little mythology, starting with Ben's murder of Charles Widmore.  Many wonder how this was possible given their bedroom confrontation in "The Shape of Things to Come," where Ben said he couldn't kill Widmore.  My take is that Widmore and Linas were both Candidates, and the rules say Candidates can't kill each other.  But con men like Ben are adept at satisfying the letter of rules at the expense of their spirit.  When Miles reminded him of Alex's murder, Ben hatched a plan to exploit a loophole in the Rules.  He allowed the Man in Black to claim him, which meant he was no longer technically a Candidate.  Once that happened, Ben was free to kill Widmore.The big question is whether Ben's commitment to the Man in Black will be as short-lived as his allegiance to Ilana.  Ben seemed to accept the Man in Black's offer of the Island after he leaves.  But later in the episode, the Man in Black makes it clear that his plan is to destroy the Island.  Maybe Ben's thirst to kill will be enough to sustain his turn back to the dark side.  I suspect, however, that Mr. Linas still has a few tricks left up his sleeve.  Look for that walkie-talkie he gave to Miles to figure in some final betrayal of the Man in Black.  Indeed, the success of Ben's budding Mirror romance with Danielle Rouseau may depend on it.  Things would sour quickly if she remembered the awful things he did on the Island.I'll tell you what they died for.  Let's also talk a bit about Jacob's campfire tale.  After "Across the Sea," I think we have to take what he says at face value.  That episode established by dialogue and example that Jacob is terminally incapable of lying.  There will always be some question whether Mother was reliable.  I maintain she instinctively knew the truth about the Island the way the Man in Black instinctively knew the rules of Senet, though I can see both sides of the argument.  Where Jacob and the Man in Black are concerned, however, I think it's clear the former speaks the truth about what the latter is and the horrible things that will happen if he escapes, information that didn't come from Mother.  This doesn't, of course, mean Jacob's speech to his flock was clear.  Jacob says he chose them because their lives were miserable and they needed the Island as much as it needed them.  What wasn't clear to me was whether he us[...]

Thoughts on Across the Sea...


BIGMOUTH: I previously analogized my attitudes toward Season 6 to the five stages of grief.  But an even better metaphor would be Jack Shephard's transformation from a man of science into one of faith where the Island is concerned.  After smashing the Mirror in recent posts, I spent a while looking out at the ocean, and am now finally ready to let the fuse on the dynamite burn.  The Jack metaphor is fitting because I think whether you loved or hated "Across the Sea" has a lot to do with whether you identify with his conversion.  Indeed, there are two equally valid ways of viewing this episode, depending on whether you watch it from the perspective of science or faith.The man of science is cynical about the seemingly simplistic mythological revelations therein.  Like the Man in Black, who was himself a scientist, he's convinced that Mother was crazy and the Island is just a big magnetic rock.   The man of faith, by contrast, sees the simplicity of these answers as a virtue.  Like Jacob, who trusted Mother even after her lies were revealed, he believes that the Island's mysterious power can't be reduced to purely physical terms.  As I say, both interpretations are valid.  This duality, which I believe was fully intended, is part of what makes the episode so brilliant.  Hats off to writers Damon and Carlton, whose effort earns a 9/10 on the Sickness Scale.In terms of the little things, I loved how Claudia and Mother started out the episode conversing in Latin.  The shift to English was also timed perfectly.  Props to Wayne Allen Sallee for touting the the Island's Rome-Carthage-Tunisia axis.  Props as well to Dr. Todd Hostager who predicted a connection to Romulus and Remus, the twin brothers who founded Rome.  Like their Vestal Virgin mother, the woman who bore Jacob and the Man in Black was named Claudia.  I even enjoyed the revelation of Adam and Eve's identity.  It didn't pay off Damon's promise that the reveal would confirm they had this planned all along, but it still worked well as retroactive continuity.My main complaint was the occasionally stilted dialogue, which I forgave because the episode was obviously allegory.  Specifically, the story of Mother and the Man in Black was a metaphor for the Gnostic myth of Sophia and Demiurge.  In Gnostic mythos, God is living energy -- pure spiritual light -- a tiny spark of which burns inside each of us.  Occasionally, this divine light produces avatars of human form, one of whom was Jesus.  Another was Sophia, an expression of the divine feminine.  Sophia became estranged from God and tried to cure her loneliness by creating a son.  But something went terribly wrong, and she gave birth to Demiurge, a being of pure evil with many names, including Satan and Samuel. Neither Mother nor the Man in Black was ever named.  But you can bet if they had been, those names would be Sophia and Samuel.  Indeed, the original casting call for "The Incident" referred to the Man in Black expressly as Samuel.  And Jacob all but called him Satan in "Ab Aeterno" by describing him as the personification of malevolence, evil, and darkness.  Beyond that, Mother's description of the "warmest, brightest light you've ever seen or felt" a little bit of which "is inside every man," clearly evokes the Gnostic notion of the divine spark of living energy inside all human beings.  With these strong mythological parallels in mind, let's examine the episode, starting with the following picture:My friend MB complained that the show did a poor job of casting Claudia.  And looking at that picture, it does seem that her boys, with their blue eyes and light complexion, more closely resemble Mother.  But what if that's precisely the point?  What if Jacob and the Man in Black were actually children of the Island?  Back in Se[...]

Thoughts on The Candidate...


BIGMOUTH: Elizabeth Kubler Ross famously hypothesized that people react to tragedy in a series of stages.  First there's denial, then anger, followed by bargaining, depression, and lastly acceptance.  Over the course of this season, and the past few weeks in particular, I've experienced these stages in response to the depressing realization that LOST generally, and the Mirror storyline specifically, probably won't end the way I'd hoped.  This process has been unpleasant and very public -- I apologize to you all everybody for the negativity.  But I've finally accepted that characters in the Crash reality will transcend death through memory transfer to their Mirror-reality counterparts.  And I'm okay with that.  Really.My acceptance reflects a dawning realization that such an ending flows naturally from the notion that the Island is a keystone for both Crash and Mirror realities.  As you all everybody know, my defining analogy for Season 6 has been The Dark Tower series by Stephen King.  The Island is like the Tower, which anchors all realities in the King multiverse.  The Candidates are like the beams supporting the Tower -- the Island draws on them for its magic.  A great example was the ash around the Temple, which depended upon Dogen to repel Smokey.  Sayid's killing him was like shutting off the power to the sonic fence around the Barracks.  That's why the Man in Black needs the Candidates to die.Still, one question has always nagged me: how can the Island be the foundation of the Mirror reality when it lies broken on the bottom of the sea?  Only recently did it occur to me that this is precisely the problem.  The whole reason why the Mirror reality seems so wrong is that the Island should exist but doesn't.  The key to making things right, therefore, is to raise the Island.  I don't mean literally in some kind of Raise the Titanic! scenario, though that would be cool if there were more time left on the show.  Instead, we're seeing them raise the Island metaphorically by having Mirror characters recover their Crash memories and identities, bringing a little Island magic with them in the process.Before closing, let me say a few words about "The Candidate," which scored an 8 on the Sickness Scale (4 for mythology, 4 for character).  First, Jin and Sun's deaths still moved me despite my confidence they will be resurrected in the Mirror reality.  With due respect to Desmond and Penny, the Kwons have always been my favorite love story on LOST.  Part of what I like is that their their dialogue is usually in Korean, but therein lies one quibble with "The Candidate."  Did Jin and Sun's last words to each other have to be in English?  I'm sure it was setup for a scene in the Mirror reality where both miraculously speak English.  Still, compared to Sun's tearful speech in Korean at Jin's grave in "Ji Yeon," it felt kind of weak.Speaking of death, I was pleased to see the Man in Black unmasked as pure evil.  I've frankly been surprised by fan resistance to this possibility.  Many seem determined to see his behavior as morally equivalent with Jacob's.  While the latter certainly has blood on his hands, he's never done anything remotely this malevolent.  Indeed, the Man in Black's fiendish plan to have the Candidates kill each other reminded me of the scene in The Dark Knight (2008) when the Joker traps two groups on separate ferries that are rigged to explode, claiming that both boats will detonate at midnight unless one group destroys the other first.  I'm sure the Man in Black has his reasons, but it's hard to sympathize very much.Finally, I was briefly thrown by Locke's refusal of Jack's offer to perform spinal surgery.  But then I remembered a point raised by you all everybody during our recent debates about "happy endin[...]

Thoughts on The Last Recruit...


BIGMOUTH: Unfortunately, my recaps will be abbreviated for the next few weeks due to work obligations.  Thanks to you all everybody for your understanding!I give "The Last Recruit" a 6 on the Sickness Scale (3 for mythology, 3 for character).  This was probably my least favorite episode of the season thus far -- even worse than "What Kate Did," in my opinion.  The purpose of the episode was obviously to position the characters and set up the storylines for the last few episodes of the series.  But with so little time left, and many mysteries still left to be answered, an episode with no mythological revelations of note was a luxury LOST just can't afford.  I can't help thinking that the awkward pacing of this season is a function of the Mirror reality, which has sucked away time from what many, myself included, really wanted: a satisfying end to this story and these characters whom we've come to know and love the past six years.Speaking of the Mirror reality, nothing in this episode changed my view that it exists to give our characters happy endings.  In my recap of "The Package," I predicted that Mirror Sun would survive her gunshot wound, but the baby would not.  It turns out I was only half right -- silly me for thinking that the baby would have anything but a happy ending.  As I also suspected, our characters seem to be converging on St. Sebastian's Hospital, where they will presumably recover their memories of the Crash reality en masse.  And that brings me to one last spoiler-free speculation for your consideration:  Sawyer was the one Juliet shot in the outrigger canoe.  In an upcoming episode, we will see him shot in both realities simultaneously.  He will be taken to St. Sebastian's, where he will meet Juliet and remember their love.The two will make plans to go for coffee and live happily ever after... LOST.  That's all from this end -- sorry again for the abbreviated recaps this week and last.  I'll try to make it up to you all everybody after the next episode in two weeks. * * * WAYNE: I give this 7 on the Sickness Scale, 4 for character and 3 for mythology.One of my favorite Far Side cartoons by Gary Larson shows Satan gesturing his pitchfork at a regular schlub. who has to choose between two doors. One reads "Damned If You Do," the other "Damned If You Don't." That's how I see LOST right now, with the two realities. We've seen great scenes in Mirror reality (Keamy and the Kwons, this week it was Ford and Austen), and in Crash reality (Hurley and Isabella is the instance that shines the most).  But by dividing up these events, much of the excitement from past seasons are gone.  I'm still enjoying the show, and the Island scenes are for the most part compelling, although my judgment may be clouded because we aren't seeing a bunch of shiny, happy people in the Man in Black's camp. We're seeing the unshaven and the scruffy, sweat-stained group that have been our personal Constants since September 22, 2004 of our Meta-reality. Constants With A Consciousness. In the Mirror reality, it is becoming apparent that each character that suffers a near death experiences recalls a near-duplicate moment in the Crash reality. Sun reacts to the Man in Black as she is wheeled into St. Sebastian's alongside the injured John Locke, just as Desmond recalled Crash Charlie's "Not Penny's Boat" admonition after finding himself underwater and staring at Mirror-Charlie, who was making no effort to leave the sinking car. (Mirror Charlie also presumably did not think about Claire, until he was busy choking on his heroin stash.) In the case of Hurley and Libby kissing, I lean towards the soul-mate angle as being bogus and would rather see the two recalling a similar beach and how Libby was killed by Michael soon after she shared that other first kiss with Hurley.I can a[...]

Thoughts on Everybody Loves Hugo...


BIGMOUTH: Unfortunately, my recaps will be abbreviated for the next few weeks due to work obligations.  Thanks to you all everybody for your understanding!"Everybody Loves Hugo" gets an 8 on the Sickness Scale (4 for character, 4 for mythology).  While I dislike the general direction of the show -- i.e., happy endings in the Mirror universe -- it was hard to hate Hurley and Libby finally getting their first date.  The Mirror reality is really a reset for the writers, too, allowing them to remedy past mistakes, like the way they killed off Libby so unceremoniously in Season 3.  I also buy her as Hurley's catalyst for consciousness transfer -- and vice versa.  Love and death are two forces that have been proven to transcend spacetime on LOST.  Still... no happy endings!  Okay, maybe for Hurley and Libby, and Penny and Desmond, but nobody else, please.The Whispers are ghosts.  Here, I have to toot my own horn just a bit because I called this at the start of Season 2 in my post Chorus of the Dead.  The inspiration was Dr. Manhattan's transformation in Watchmen.  But I've always maintained that LOST is the ghost story like Turn of the Screw, the book that hid the Swan orientation film.  Some have expressed disappointment at this revelation.  And I'd be lying if I denied that my own speculations had grown since then to include more exotic possibilities like inter-dimensional bleed-through.  Still, if I was able to peg the Whispers' significance way back when, it's a sign the writers weren't simply making these elements up as they went along.Kablammo!  There were two explosions of note, one that surprised me and another that didn't.  Hurley's dynamiting of the Black Rock was a thrilling shock and fitting end to the Black Rock's tale.  Unfortunately, I saw Ilana's explosive demise coming a mile away.  It was just too reminiscent of Arzt.  Like SKID among others, my question was why immortal Richard didn't carry the dynamite.  More generally, it was another clumsy exit for an intriguing character we hardly knew.  Ilana and Dogen were the poster children for this problem in Season 6, but there have been many others, including Libby, as I mentioned above.  It's a shame the writers finally did right by Libby just to make the very same mistake with Ilana.Shade tippin'.  In the spirit of SKID's necktie watch, I've begun tracking Desmond's shade tippin'.  For those unfamiliar, shade tippin' is a film and television phenomenon where characters peer coolly over their sunglasses.  David Caruso of CSI: Miami is the paradigmatic shade tipper, but Henry Ian Cusick certainly distinguished himself this episode with ubiquitous shade tipping of his own.  A good example was when he gazed approvingly from afar at Hurley and Libby during their date on the beach.  Des reminded me of Mr. Roarke from Fantasy Island, reuniting two star-crossed lovers across space and time.  All that was missing was the late great Herve Villechaize in white suit yelling "da plane, da plane!"Hit and run.  Another instance of shade tippin' occurred just before Desmond ran over poor Locke in the Mirror reality.  I can see at least two potential reasons why Des did so, neither of which is mutually exclusive.  The most obvious motive was to give Locke a near-death experience to show him the Crash reality, thereby jogging his memory thereof.  It's also possible Des somehow sensed that Locke will end up at Saint Sebastian's Hospital, where Jack will operate upon him and restore his ability to walk.  Indeed, I wouldn't surprised if Sun gets rushed to St. Sebastian's for her gunshot wound.  Perhaps Charlie and Claire will go there, too, for follow up treatment, and they will all recognize each other...[...]

Thoughts on Happily Ever After...


BIGMOUTH: Before I get to my recap of "Happily Ever After," I've got a fun little LOST mystery for you all everybody.  Where else have we met the enigmatic airline pilot who appears in the background of Desmond and Claire's encounter at Mirror-LAX?Hint: he's someone we all know extremely well...Give up?  It's our own koreambear!  Now that he's famous, The K-Bear has asked me to communicate a few simple rules for fan encounters.  First, he's happy to sign autographs as long as he's not eating or with his family.  Under no circumstances, however, should you make eye contact, as that enrages him.  Also, he's available to make private appearances for a fee, which is non-negotiable and non-refundable.  Finally, if you want to get him a gift, he likes a nice spicy kimchi.  I'll be acting as The K-Bear's agent for the time being, so contact me for information about appearances, how to keep your eyes averted, and what brands of kimchi he prefers.As for the episode, I'm admittedly torn.  I enjoyed the Mirror reunion of Desmond, Eloise, Penny, and Daniel.  I was also intrigued by Desmond's ability to flash sideways into that reality.  But I had some problems ranging from the nitpicky (couldn't Des have hit the brakes when Charlie grabbed the wheel?) to more substantial concerns about the logic and direction of the show.  I fear we may look back on this episode as the point when the mythology of LOST veered off the tracks.  So "Happily Ever After" actually gets two sickness scores superimposed like Schrodinger's Cat.  If I'm right, the episode is a 7 (5 for character, 2 for mythology).  If I'm wrong, as I hope I am, the mythological component boosts that score to a 9.It is, in fact, a violation! Team Darlton promised that the conversation would change after this episode, and so it has.  But I can't shake the sense we're being misdirected big time.  Like many of you, my initial interpretation of the confrontation between Desmond and Eloise was that she must be some kind of inter-dimensional cop charged with preventing Desmond from making contact with our Losties in the Mirror universe.  Upon rewatching, however, I got a completely different vibe.  Eloise seemed more worried that Desmond might discover an embarrassing Widmore family secret (i.e., Penny's illegitimate birth) with his prying. When she said his conduct was a "violation," she meant of propriety and their privacy.You're not ready, Desmond!The scene obviously paralleled their encounter in "Flashes Before Your Eyes."  But watch the latter again and you notice some important differences.  Ms. Hawking displayed unambiguous knowledge not just of Desmond's future, but that of Mr. Red Shoes, too.  By contrast, Mirror Eloise never clearly established her awareness of what Desmond was supposed to do.  As I mentioned, everything she said can be read as an admonishment for him to mind his own damn business.  It's always tempting to attribute greater power to Eloise than she actually possesses.  After "Flashes Before Your Eyes," I figured she must see the future, too.  Now, of course, it seems her foreknowledge was limited to the information in Daniel's journal.I think I already did.  Speaking of Dan the Man, his comments seemed to confirm that the bomb's detonation was responsible for creating the Mirror reality.  But therein lies another major concern because I fear the show is about to lapse into paradox.  Logically, if the timeline splits in 1977 because of the bomb, the two branches should differ only after the split.  They should share a common past in which the survivors of Oceanic 815 traveled back in time from the future of the Crash reality to cause the Incident in both branches.&nbs[...]

Fringe: Whoah!


Just a quick heads up to you all everybody that I've posted a blog about the new episode of Fringe over on I Hate My DVR. Stop by and let me know what you think!

Thoughts on The Package...


BIGMOUTH: First things first, because I have to get this off my chest.  What was ABC thinking with that "V THEY RETURN" countdown clock, which was emblazoned onscreen like a scarlet letter for much of the show?  It was so obnoxiously obtrusive that I assured my friend it would definitely disappear after the teaser.  (Note to self: never bet against the greed of network executives.)  But like some ghoul in a late-night horror movie (not to mention Mikhail) the countdown clock refused to die.  Every time I thought it was gone for good, it reappeared to distract me.  Even more unforgivably, the graphic obscured some subtitles, as well as Sun's written response to Jack.Boo-urns!I was so annoyed that I actually considered boycotting V, a show I can frankly take or leave.  I may yet delete my recording and download the torrent just to spite ABC.  I appreciate the need for unconventional advertising in the age of DVRs.  I have no problem with watermarking or product placement, as long as it's subtle.  As I say, however, the V countdown clock was anything but.  It raised the specter of permanent ad space in the corner of the screen.  And before you say it won't happen, consider those annoying tickers that now crawl ceaselessly across the bottom of cable news shows and television sports.  If you share my annoyance, be sure to let ABC know./RANT.  As for the episode itself, I thought "The Package" was solid and gave it an 8/10 on the Sickness Scale (4 for character, 4 for mythology).  I have a soft spot for Kwon-centrics.  Daniel Dae Kim and Yunjin Kim have always done a great job of making me believe that Jin and Sun really love each other.  The former's Korean has improved noticeably over the course of the show, and the latter looked as sexy as ever unbuttoning for her jagiya.  My main complaint was with Sun's aphasia, which seemed like a silly plot twist straight out of 24.  Some of you suggested this was actually a sign the two realities are bleeding together.  Maybe, but I fully expected a mountain lion to appear and terrorize Sun.A mountain lion menaces Kim Bauer on 24Do you know who I am?  One important revelation this week was that Charles Widmore and the Man in Black had never met before in any form.  Indeed, Charles admitted that everything he knew about the Monster was "a combination of myth, ghost stories, and jungle noises in the night."  So much for my theory that the Man in Black made Widmore the same offer of Island leadership that he did to Ben.  But I'm still not completely convinced that Charles is a good guy, mainly because of Bram's insistence that Miles was "playing for the wrong team" by working for Widmore.  From a continuity perspective, it would make more sense if Charles turned out to be selfishly motivated, and a reluctant servant of Jacob's plan.That island's mine, Benjamin. It always was. It will be again. Everyone we know and love would simply cease to be.  Equally important was Widmore's confirmation that the world would end if "that thing" ever got off the Island.  His comments generally echoed Jacob's warning about the spread of evil.  But Widmore went further, implying their whole reality would be wiped from existence.  His words may have been hyperbole, but they fit my belief the Island is a keystone for both Crash and Mirror realities, much like the Dark Tower anchors the many worlds in Stephen King's fictional multiverse.  It reminded me of when Pimli Prentiss imagines holding an egg that contains a billion universes, including his own, and realizes he would "cease to exist" if the egg broke.  Some people just aren't meant to be together.  For [...]

Thoughts on Ab Aeterno...


BIGMOUTH: It remains one of the defining images of the show: a ship sitting intact in the middle of the jungle.  For six seasons, we've wondered how it got there, and what happened to its crew.  In "Ab Aeterno," we finally got the answers.  And while they weren't perhaps as creative as some fan speculations I've read over the years, the episode itself was satisfying and well worth the wait thanks to the outstanding work of Gregg Nations, Nestor Carbonell, and Titus Welliver.  I knew the script was in good hands when the priest defied cliche by refusing poor Ricardo's plea for absolution prior to his execution.  The wine, bottle, and cork, moreover, were brilliant metaphors on par with anything I've seen on Mad Men or The Wire.  But even the best writing means little without great actors, and Nations had the benefit of two consummate pros in Carbonell and Welliver.  Richard's scenes with his wife, especially his final goodbye to her ghost, were heartbreaking.  And Welliver was pitch perfect as the Man in Black, exuding all the menace and charm you would expect from the Devil.  His performance was particularly impressive given that he was following in the footsteps of Terry O'Quinn, who's no slouch himself at playing the villain.The Devil betrayed me. He took my body. My humanity.All things considered, this was my favorite episode of the season thus far, scoring a 9/10 on the Sickness Scale (5 for character, 4 for mythology).  Really, the only thing that kept "Ab Aeterno" from a perfect 10 was the scene where a tidal wave swept the Black Rock inland, smashing the Statue of Taweret.  I get that the Black Rock's miraculous survival was meant to parallel the crash of Oceanic 815.  Still, I had a hard time buying that the ship would survive a collision with the Statue intact.  And the point-of-view shot of the ship approaching the Statute was cheesy and confusing.  I would have preferred a wide shot of the Black Rock buffeted by an enormous wave, something The Perfect Storm (2000) used effectively to depict the awesome power of nature.Uh oh...Even more fundamentally, the wave seemed like a missed opportunity to do something cooler.  Per my suggestion in As the Donkey Wheel Turns, I would have liked to see the Island materialize beneath the Black Rock.  I also think dynamite from the ship's hold would have made a more impressive cause of the Statue's demolition.  I had guessed this explosion would result in the demise of the Man in Black's Titus Welliver incarnation.  That didn't happen, but I certainly hope we get to see how Jacob took his "body" and "humanity," maybe in a flashback showing his imprisonment in the Cabin.  Unfortunately, given the leisurely pace of this season, I fear time is running short for such stories. Still, these are minor quibbles with what was, as I say, an excellent episode.Will you help me, Ilana? Now that we know Jacob's request was for Ilana to protect the last six Candidates, the question becomes what will happen if they fail?  I think we got a hint in "Sundown" when Dogen's death seemed to cause the ash, which had previously kept Smokey at bay, to lose its potency.  Like the Dark Tower, the Island is a place where magic and science co-exist. The ash was the mystical counterpart to the sonic fence technology, and just as the latter needs electricity to run, the former drew upon Dogen for its strength.  Killing him was like shutting off the power.  I suspect the Candidates are similarly the source of whatever Island magic keeps the Man in Black imprisoned.  Without them, it really will become "just an island," and the Devil will be free to depart.I can see[...]

Thoughts on Recon...


BIGMOUTH: Maybe because of the boars, I've always considered pork the perfect food accompaniment for LOST.  I actually fried up some bacon as a snack before watching Recon, so maybe this is the swine talking.  But I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the episode, which scored an 8 out of 10 on my Sickness Scale (4 for character, 4 for mythology).  In fact, Sawyer's flash sideways may be my favorite of them all so far. A wonderful, magical animal...I was hooked from the teaser, which led us to believe Sawyer was back to his conning ways, but then revealed that he's a police in the Mirror reality.  I loved Jodi Lyn O'Keefe, who was one of my favorite things about Prison Break (2005).  I didn't get the sense her character will play much of a role in the Mirror timeline, but her cameo was welcome nevertheless.  I was also ecstatic to see Sawyer and Miles partnered again as cops.  I've commented before on my appreciation for Josh Holloway and Ken Leung as actors.  You might expect their similarly sardonic deliveries to be overkill.  As we saw last season, however, they actually pair well together.  Someone should really cast them in a buddy comedy.Starsky and Hutch?I'm exactly like Indiana Jones.  But the real treat for me was the return of Charlotte, and not just because she looked great as Sawyer's blind date.  Her line about "Indiana Jones" set my whackadoo wheel spinning because it points to a possible Mirror-reality storyline that I've mentioned previously.  I suspect that Charlotte, like Keamy's crew, works for Widmore in both timelines.  I further suspect that, in both realities, she was present on the Island as a child and has been haunted by the memory ever since.  Widmore is using her (and possibly Dr. Chang) to help him find the sunken Island.  It wouldn't surprise me if she'd returned from an archaeological dig in Tunisia just prior to her date.  You can't miss the bear...Here's where things get a little whackadoo.  When Charlotte found the Sawyer file in James's drawer, my first take was that she simply made a mistake.  Upon rewatching, however, I got the distinct impression that Charlotte was looking for something.  Maybe it was just innocent snooping, the way some folks poke around the medicine cabinet at a party.  Still, if Charlotte was on the Island when she was younger, so presumably was Widmore.  Maybe he knows all about the Candidates and sent Charlotte to find out what she could about James.  Perhaps the title "Recon" is ironic in the sense that James was himself the target of a reconnaissance mission in the Mirror timeline.Who's Anthony Cooper?  The Sawyer file suggests another intriguing route the Mirror reality may take.  It looks like Anthony Cooper conned Sawyer's parents in both realities.  And while James didn't adopt the "Sawyer" moniker or become a con man himself in the Mirror universe, his obsession with finding Cooper still took him to Australia.  (More on that in a moment.)  I'm guessing that Cooper is Locke's father just like in the Crash reality.  In the Mirror universe, however, Cooper renounced his life of crime and never conned his son out of a kidney.  Sawyer will track Cooper through Locke, culminating in a confrontation that mirrors their deadly encounter in The Brig.  This time, however, Sawyer will spare the reformed Cooper's life.Good touch, bad touch.  As I say, Sawyer's fate was always apparently to follow his obsession with Cooper to Australian-- and to return on Oceanic 815.  Indeed, I was struck by how closely James's Mirror self resembled his Crash reality counterpart[...]

Thoughts on Dr. Linus...


BIGMOUTH: Well, well, well.  I was beginning to think the Redemption Song would never play for Benjamin Linus.  And truth be told, I'm still not completely sold on his change of heart.  As moving as it was to see him sacrifice his coup to save Alex from Principal Dickless in the Mirror reality, Ben has claimed to be one of the good guys too many times to take anything he says at face value.  Just last season, it looked like he was finally working for Team Jacob to bring the Oceanic 6 back to the Island.  The murders of Jeremy Bentham and Jacob, both at Ben's hands, shattered that illusion.Don't believe his lies...?And yet, this episode offered some intriguing new context for Ben's troubled relationship with Jacob.  I was struck by the revelation that the latter hoped right up until his death that he was wrong about the former.  Similarly striking was the literary reference to The Chosen by Chaim Potok, which cast fresh light on Jacob's silent treatment of Ben.  The Chosen also provided an interesting parallel to Jack's conversion to a committed man of faith.  Ultimately, Dr. Linus registered an 8/10 on my Sickness Scale (4 for mythology, 4 for character).  Some minor inconsistencies kept it from reaching the level of The Substitute, but I'm a sucker for a solid Ben-centric, which this definitely was.No, he cared.  Let's start with Miles's comment that Jacob cared very much about being stabbed to death.  I've previously suggested that Jacob wanted to be killed as part of his long con of the Man in Black.  But it's now clear that the former would have preferred not to die, even if he was prepared for the prospect.  (Note that this doesn't invalidate the Obi-Wan Kenobi analogy -- the elder Jedi didn't go to the Death Star planning to sacrifice himself.)  In that regard, Jacob's "pushes" during the Season 5 Finale may not have been about bringing people to the Island, as the Man in Black claimed.  I suspect these specific pushes were actually Jacob's contingency plan for dying.What about you?Indeed, everyone Jacob touched seems well positioned to advance his goals posthumously.  Hurley is already serving as his mouthpiece.  Sawyer and Sayid will betray the Man in Black at some pivotal point.  Kate will convince Claire to reconsider her allegiance to her "friend."  Jin and Sun may have done their part by conceiving Ji-Yeon, whose marriage with Aaron will end the conflict between light and dark for good.  Jack will  serve as Jacob's proxy in the final showdown with the Man in Black.  Even Locke has role to play in death.  As we've discussed, there's still a spark of the original left in his copy.  I think Jacob wanted to trap the Man in Black in Locke's form precisely for that reason.Before moving on, I'd like to highlight one of the minor inconsistencies that I alluded to above.  I was troubled that Miles was able to read Jacob's ashes without any difficulty.  Last season, in Some Like It Hoth, Miles expressed strong reservation when asked to read the mind of someone whose body had been cremated and his ashes scattered.  As Miles put it: "For what I do, it's much better if there's a body."  And while he reluctantly agreed to perform the reading, it seemed clear he was lying for the money, which he ultimately returned.  Maybe Miles can read ashes that haven't been scattered, but it would make more sense if Hurley were the one who revealed that Ben murdered Jacob.  The Chosen.  There's always a risk of reading too deeply into the show's literary references.  Still, it's not hard to spot the LOS[...]

What's in a Name?


Question for you all everybody.  What should we be calling the two realities depicted on the show?  I've been using the "LA X reality" and the "Season 1-5 reality" to distinguish them, but both names are frankly awkward.  "LA X" feels like it should have a hyphen, and "Season 1-5" is both cumbersome and a bit misleading because it implies that Season 6 is a separate reality. 

So what are the alternatives?  I'm not a fan of the obvious "Alt" reality because Team Darlton have been adamant that the flashes sideways are not to an alternate reality.  I suppose we could call it the "Sideways" reality, though the wine country connotations are overwhelming.  Another one I prefer is the "X" reality, which has a nice Marvel comics connection.  In a nod to Star Trek, there's also the "Mirror" universe.

Renaming the "Season 1-5" reality strikes me as even tougher.  We could refer to it as the "Island" reality, though that's a little misleading because we know the Island exists both universes.  Another possibility is the "Season 6" reality, though that, too, misleadingly implies a third separate reality.  I have to admit I'm stumped.  So what do you all everybody think?

Thoughts on Sundown...


BIGMOUTH: I rate Sundown a 7/10 on the Sickness Scale (4 for mythology and 3 for character).  For me, the episode served mainly as a referendum on the flash sideways storytelling device, and the results unfortunately were mixed.  In terms of the negative, Sundown helped crystallize what I find frustrating about these flashes.  But on the positive side, it offered a glimpse of where I think the LA X storyline is headed, and it's a direction I could see myself enjoying.  Let's start with the constructive criticism.  I was obviously disappointed that Dogen departed after only a handful of episodes.  But even more frustrating than his untimely demise was the failure to give him a flashback, which would have shown how he came to the Island.  Instead, Dogen had to tell us how he lost his son, how Jacob visited and offered to save the boy if Dogen came to the Island -- all of which was infinitely less instructive or satisfying.  Forget what Sanada's outstanding performance deserved, I think the audience needed a Dogen-centric episode before he died.  But that presumably was impossible because it would break the flash-sideways formula.  RIP DogenIt didn't help that Sayid's story in the LA X reality failed to move me for the most part.  His initial scenes with Nadia and her children were forced, and the whole love triangle with his brother Omer seemed trite.  Things picked up a bit with the (re)appearance of Omar and Keamy, who were part of the mercenary team Widmore sent to the Island in Season 4.  In the LA X reality, Keamy was a menacing loan shark, and I enjoyed his showdown with Sayid.  Frying an egg has rarely seemed so ominous, and it was perversely satisfying to see Keamy plead for his life.  While we're on the subject, give credit where credit's due: LOST does a nice job of shooting fight sequences."The debt's forgiven. Alright?"Ultimately, however, the flash sideways told us nothing we didn't already know about Sayid as a character.  His flashbacks and flash forwards have already made it clear he's a killer, albeit a remorseful one.  Maybe the point was to show that the murder in his heart had nothing to do with the Island or Jacob's pushes -- Sayid was simply a victim of fate.  Still, none of this shed any light on his apparent conversion to the dark side.  Of course, it's hard to fault him for siding against Dogen and the Others, who he believes twice tried to have him killed. By that same token, I wonder what would have happened if Sayid had actually followed Dogen's directions and stabbed the Man in Black before he spoke."Now why'd you go and do that?"On that note, what do you all everybody make of the Man in Black's offer to make Sayid's wishes come true?  At first, I figured Smokey might conjure up Nadia's ghost like he did with Emily Linas.  But a comment by Lostmio got my whackadoo wheel spinning.  She suggests that Jacob's deal was actually to save Dogen's son in the LA X reality, the existence of which depends on Dogen's coming to the Island.  I suspect the Man in Black will make a similar offer to Sayid, but with a twist.  Sayid will be told he can trade places with his LA X twin, allowing him to see Nadia again. What the Man in Black won't mention is that the LA X reality's survival actually hinges on Sayid's staying on the Island.Apparently, the "Rules" don't forbid Jacob and the Man in Black from misrepresenting or omitting key information.  We saw this last week when Jacob used a noble lie to get Hurley and Jacob away from the Temple before Smokey's rampa[...]

Thoughts on Lighthouse...


BIGMOUTH:  I give Lighthouse an 8/10 on the Sickness Scale (4 for mythology and 4 for character).  The episode offered some tantalizing new information but was ultimately kind of a tease.  The Mirror further illuminated Jacob's mysterious plan to save us all.  Claire reappeared in her new and far more interesting incarnation as crazy "Clairesseau."  In the LA X reality, we glimpsed what Jack's domestic life looks like minus the Island's influence.  We met David, the son he never had, and saw Jack's mother Margo once again.  All these Shephard family ties made the episode feel like a reunion party of sorts.  The problem was they forgot to invite the clan's most compelling member: Christian."You just don't have what it takes."White Rabbit Redux.  The many allusions to White Rabbit just made Christian's absence all the more glaring.  Jacob told Hurley to reassure Jack that he "has what it takes" -- the opposite of what Christian told Jack as a child.  Hurley and Jack revisited the Caves, which Zombie Christian showed Jack shortly after the crash.  White Rabbit ranks among the best episodes of the show due in large part to John Terry, whose performance as Christian was simply riveting.  I hope he hasn't been retired for good now that the Smoke Monster is "locked" in Locke's form.  I would have welcomed one more glimpse of Christian through the Lighthouse Mirror.At 108 degrees, the Mirror shows the temple where Jin and Sun married.Mirror, Mirror.  That actually brings me to what I loved about the episode.  The Mirror was an elegant metaphor for the connection between Jacob, his Candidates, and the Island.  On a very obvious level, it resembled the Eye of Horus with its many arms reaching out like rays from the sun to touch the figures in Jacob's Tapestry.  Jacob used the Mirror to keep watch over his Candidates, utilizing the information gained from this surveillance to "push" them when his plan required it.  His reassurance to Jack was a perfect example of this modus operandi.  Jacob no doubt knew everything we've learned from the characters' flashbacks by gazing in to the Mirror.Ka Is a Wheel.  The Lighthouse also further reinforced the Dark Tower parallel that I've previously noted.  The Mirror was like the Wizard's Rainbow, a collection of crystal balls that show visions of other times and places.  The Wheel of Candidates evoked the concept of "Ka," which translates roughly to destiny crossed with karma.  King describes Ka as a wheel whose inevitable turning can only be disrupted by death and betrayal.  Frank Duckett summarized the concept well when he whispered to Sawyer that "it'll come back around."  Ka's calling card is the number 19, which recurs throughout in the King multiverse.  Same with the six LOST Numbers -- they're the fingerprints of fate.More specifically, the Numbers represent the Ka of the names associated with them.  As I mentioned last week, these Candidates are a "ka-tet" bound by the Numbers, just like the characters in the Dark Tower are the Ka-Tet of 19.  In that regard, I was wrong to suggest that the Numbers are significant simply because of their connection to the Valenzetti Equation.  They are indeed its core factors, but they're also Hurley's winning lottery combination, the stamp on the Swan Hatch, the code for the Swan computer, the jerseys at the airport, the mileage on Hurley's Camaro, degrees on the Candidate Wheel, etc.  The Numbers are all of these things and none.  They are Ka.Y[...]

Thoughts on The Substitute...


BIGMOUTH:  The Substitute confused me at first.  Why flash sideways to Locke's life in the LA X reality when the episode was seemingly about Sawyer?  Then it hit me: those shots from the Lockeness Monster's point of view were more than just cool camera work.  This was actually the first Smokey-centric episode of the show, and the Monster's tale is closely intertwined with Locke's, a point I'll revisit below.And what an episode it was!  Easily a 9/10 (five for mythological advancement, and four for character development, especially Smokey) on the Sickness Scale.  Terry O'Quinn clearly relishes the role of villain, which comes as no surprise to anyone who remembers his menacing performance in The Stepfather (1987) an otherwise forgettable film.  And make no mistake, the Man in Black is a villain like Randall Flagg, another man in black who embodies evil in Stephen King's fictional multiverse.  I was reminded of how Flagg raised an army of darkness in The Stand as Smokey went about "recruiting" Richard and Sawyer with the promise to answers all their questions.Flagg is reincarnated as "Russell Faraday" on a tropical island following a nuclear blastBut just how much of the Man in Black's story should we believe?   In a recent interview with NPR, Damon discussed so-called "Johnny Explainer" characters who "come strolling out of the jungle and tell you what the hell is going on."  He confessed that "what we love is when Johnny the Explainer is completely unreliable."  I've expressed skepticism in the past about the misleading answers offered by Eloise Hawking and Daniel Faraday, among others.  After the Man in Black's offer to explain everything, however, I suspect that Damon was mainly referring to Johnny Locke.  So, let's take a stab at separating truth from lies in the Man in Black's various claims.What kid?  The Man in Black was clearly lying when he denied knowing what Sawyer meant... or was he?  The former kept yelling "Don't tell me what I can't do!" which we know is 100% Locke because it's part of his persona in the LA X reality, where the Island isn't a factor.  Did the real John Locke momentarily reassert himself?  Smokey has his memories, and I'm hoping there's some spark of the latter still left in his double.  Ilana said that Smokey is stuck in Locke's form -- maybe he must redeposit this "spark" in the corpse before changing appearance.  I foresee a final battle between Jack and the Man in Black, where Locke briefly reemerges and describes what it's like to have Smokey devour your soul.And while we're discussing the kid, the casting is just too perfect for him to be anyone but Jacob, in my view.  But was his appearance a dream vision like bloody Boone, or an astral projection like wet Walt?  The kid first appears covered in blood while Smokey is talking with Richard, who doesn't see him, suggesting he's a figment of the Monster's guilty conscience.  Later, however, he reappears to Smokey minus the blood, and this time Sawyer sees him, too.  It reminded me of when Shannon and Sayid both see Walt whispering in the jungle.  I think Jacob, like Walt, was projecting himself through time and space.  His warning about the "rules" recalled Ben's bedroom confrontation with Widmore in Season 4.  "You know the rules.  You can't kill him."I was a man.  The Man in Black claims he was once a (human?) man who lived, loved, and lost like any other.  His wistful comments, and the way he licked the whiskey from his fingers as if tasting it for the first t[...]

Still More Season 6 Spoiler Speculations (SPOILERS)...


As promised, I've created another post for spoiler discussions.  Feel free to post spoilers about Season 6 here, but please limit your discussion of them to this post, and this post only.  Thanks!

Thoughts on What Kate Does...


BIGMOUTH: I rate this episode 7/10 -- four points for character development, particularly Dogen, and three for mythological advancement, which was less than I'd hoped after the bonanza of LA X.  Ultimately, I'm left with same nagging question I have after almost every Kate-centric episode: why is what Kate does always so lame?  Seeing the LA X reality's parallels to Season 1 reminded me yet again of my dissatisfaction with her backstory.  Remember those early episodes when Kate was a mysterious bank-robbing badass, who tracked game like a pro and dropped men twice her size with a few swift kicks?  The narrative possibilities were endless.  I wondered at the time if Kate was a secret agent like Sydney Bristow of Alias, on the run from her evil former employers.  When we finally learned that what Kate did was murder her biological father for insurance money, it just seemed so... mundane.  I've never forgiven the writers for passing up the chance to make her character more fun and exotic.  Besides, it's not like things have improved much for Kate since Season 1.  She seems locked in a permanent orbit between Jack and Sawyer, with baby Aaron as a small moon.  Beyond narrative stagnation, this also means Evangeline Lily gets paired with pros like Matthew Fox and Josh Holloway in many scenes.  Evie is beautiful to behold, and a fine actress when she tries, but you can tell her heart just isn't in it anymore.  Lily's withdrawal is especially stark in comparison to Holloway, who has blossomed into one of the best actors on the show.  I suspect Sawyer will be visiting some very dark places in coming episodes, and I'm confident Josh can pull it off with aplomb.Still, the real star of this season so far is clearly Dogen.  The role of Temple Master seems pivotal, and LOST could not have cast a better actor than Hiroyuki Sanada, who reminds me (and everyone else) of Toshiro Mifune.  I've been a fan of Sanada ever since he played Capt. Kaneda in Sunshine (2007) Danny Boyle's entertaining, if flawed, science-fiction film.  The man exudes a quiet dignity and authority that's just perfect for Dogen.  The only minus I can see is that his elegantly accented English underscores how fake Jin sounds when he speaks.  (Wasn't Daniel Dae Kim raised by Asian parents who spoke proper broken English?!)  Sanada's the real deal.In addition to being a great character, Dogen is well positioned to offer answers to many burning questions.  He's already shown us how little Ben was healed in the Temple, which apparently had nothing to do with Smokey.  (Or did it?  I'll return to that possibility shortly.)  He's also begun explaining the "sickness" that Rousseau first mentioned in Season 1, though the explanation has been a tad drawn out.  (Note to Dr. Jack: when someone tells you a patient is "infected," your first question should be "with what?")  But just who is Dogen, and when did he come to the Island?  What was that test he gave Sayid, and why does he think Claire is infected, too?  Who is Dogen and when did he arrive?  I spotted a few potential clues to Dogen's identity and time of arrival.  The first is the small whistle-like object around his neck.  Initially, I wondered if it was a dog whistle for calling -- or controlling -- Cerberus.  (Did Smokey respond to Locke's wooden dog whistle in Season 1?)  It also occurred to me the thing might be a ship's captains whistle from the Black Rock.  But that's inc[...]

A Comment on Comments....


Thanks to you all everybody for bearing with me while we experiment with a new comments system.  As promised, I'm creating a separate post for feedback.  I have to be honest, unless the opposition is vehement, I'm inclined to stick with the new system.  I love how it eliminates spam, allows for greater customization, and lets me reply directly to comments.  The native Blogger system seems positively crippled by comparison.

In addition to general feedback, I'd like to know your feelings on a few issues:

1) In what order would you prefer comments listed by default?  It's currently set to display the most recent comments at the top so you don't have to scroll to the end of the comments section to see them.  This was very tedious on Blogger when there are hundreds of comments on multiple pages.  (Note: I'm merely asking what the default should be.  You can always sort the comments how you want using the menu underneath the comment box.)

2) Would you prefer that comments be paginated?  Initially, I turned pagination off.  But I know hundreds of comments can take a long time to load with slower connections.  I've set it now so a new page starts every 100 comments.  Should the number of comments per page be higher?  Lower?

3) Is anyone still having trouble with log-in prompts every time they post?  Please note that you must supply a valid email address even if posting as a guest.

PS: Happy Super Bowl Sunday to you all everybody.  Go Saints!

Thoughts on LA X...


BIGMOUTH: And so the end begins in earnest... The Season 6 premier lived up to my anticipation, answering some major questions, and raising a few new ones to take their place. It confirmed that the Man in Black is now the Smoke Monster in John Locke's form, and that the circle of ash around the Cabin fenced out Smokey. But does this mean Jacob was its ghostly occupant, or could that still have been the Man in Black? We also learned that Juliet detonated the bomb, resulting in two realities superimposed. But in which reality did the bomb explode, the one seen in Season 1-5 or its alternative where the Island sinks? And why, for that matter, bother depicting this facacta LA X reality at all?The Man in Black is now Smokey in Locke's form. As Austin Powers might say, that's not John Locke, it's a Man in Black, baby!  Most reached this conclusion after the Season 5 finale, but it remained unclear whether the Man in Black was actually the Smoke Monster as well.  Does anyone still seriously dispute they're now one and the same after the events of LA X?  The scene where fake Locke disappeared, followed by Smokey's appearance, seemed pretty unambiguous.  Any lingering doubts I had were erased by fake Locke's line "I'm sorry you had to see me like that," and his heartbreaking claim that the real Locke's pathetic dying thought was "I don't understand."The ash circle kept Smokey out of the Cabin.  I'm sorry to see Bram go, but confess loving the way Smokey thrashed his crew like a scene from the red tapestry.  My favorite part about the fight in the Foot was when Bram poured a circle of ash (collected from the Cabin?) around himself, briefly stopping Smokey in its tracks.  In the best LOST fashion, we were shown the answer to something we'd long suspected: the ash circle kept Smokey out of the Cabin like the sonic fence around the Barracks.  This conclusion was further strengthened when the Others poured a similar circle of ash around the Temple.  Speaking of which, can't Smokey just go under the circle and attack the Temple from below?Who asked Locke to "help me"?  If Jacob's people use the ash as protection, and Ilana's crew expected to find him at the Cabin, the obvious answer is Jacob.  Maybe his ghost traveled back in time and required protection from Smokey.  But there are some major problems with this scenario.  For one thing, we've met Jacob's ghost, and it didn't seem particularly scared of Smokey.  We've also seen Jacob physically transcend time and space when he was alive.  What would the deceased Jacob need to do in the past that he couldn't have done as well, or better, while still in corporeal form?  If he needed Locke's help in 2004, for example, Jacob could easily have asked in person.My gut still tells me it was the Man in Black imprisoned in the Cabin.  As I noted in Cabin Fever Relapse, he hasn't appeared as Titus Welliver since his talk on the beach with Jacob.  And the ghost therein more closely resembles Welliver than Pelligrino.  It also makes more sense to me that the Man in Black would request Locke's help, given his importance to the loophole.  But there are problems with this speculation, too, now that Smokey and the Man in Black are synonymous.  There was no sign of Smokey when Locke first visited the Cabin (though an ash circle was on the chair) and the Monster seems to move freely about the Island.  Why didn't the Man in Black ask John for help when they[...]



As Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth would say, good news (you all) everybody!  First, I'm pleased to announce a new feature for Season 6 on EyeMSick: our own Wayne Allen Sallee will be joining me in reviewing each episode.  As many of you know, Wayne is an accomplished author and one of the most prolific commenters on this blog.  The inclusion of his articulate commentary can only improve the quality of my recaps. 

Second, I've seen the Season 6 premier on-line and am happy to report it's amazing!  The copy I watched was a bad bootleg, but even the blurry picture and inaudible dialogue couldn't obscure the wicked awesomeness of this episode.  If you've resisted temptation thus far, I recommend that you wait one more day.  There are some shocking images that are best appreciated in broadcast quality.  But if you were weak like me, we're discussing the episode over on the spoiler thread.

As always, you're welcome to post anonymously, but please identify yourself somehow, so I can distinguish between anonymous posters. Thanks! 

Caprica and Human Target: In the Shadow of BSG


Just a quick heads up to you all everybody that I've posted my reviews of Caprica and Human Target over on I Hate My DVR. Stop by and let me know what you think!

Ben Remembers Everything...


I'm an active viewer, which means I talk back to the television when especially pleased or annoyed.  I recall howling in protest during Whatever Happened, Happened, when Richard said that little Ben would "forget this ever happened" after being taken to the Temple.  I groaned again when Ben's memory loss was seemingly confirmed in Dead Is Dead.  At the time, I chided Darlton for the opportunity squandered.  Recently, however, I realized that my charges of a copout may have been premature.  What if one twist of Season 6 is that big Ben actually remembers everything that happened to him as a kid?Richard's line aside, it does seem like the show has been building naturally to this revelation.  There are a number of signs that Ben's shooting was the defining event of his life.  After Namaste, when Juliet performed surgery on Ben as a child, I suggested the painting of the blond woman that hung in Ben's house as an adult was actually of her.  There's some dispute on this point, but the woman in the painting could be holding a (very) large field mouse, which was the subject of Juliet's fertility research. And as Capcom has noted, the two women share the same mysterious Mona Lisa smile. Then there's Kate's creepy breakfast with big Ben in A Tale of Two Cities.  Recall that he clothes her in a sundress and treats her to a pleasant meal on the beach.  When Kate demands to know why, Ben replies: "I did all those things so that you'd have something nice to hold onto.  Because, Kate, the next two weeks are going to be very unpleasant."  Back in Season 2, I remember thinking that Ben must be fixated on Kate because of her resemblance to Annie.  But that scene makes even more sense if Ben remembers how Kate saved his life -- and risked her own -- by taking him to the Others.Similarly, Ben's exchange with Sayid in He's Our You makes chilling sense if Ben remembers being shot.  When he accuses Sayid of wanting to kill, Sayid angrily asks why Ben would think such a thing.  The latter replies: "Because, Sayid... to put it simply, you're capable of things that most other men aren't.  Every choice you've made in your life, whether it was to murder or to torture, it hasn't really been a choice at all, has it?  It's in your nature.  It's what you are. You're a killer, Sayid."  Ben can be so sure because he knows from personal experience that Sayid will shoot a child in cold blood.So why did Ben recruit Sayid as an assassin if he knew it would harden the Iraqi's heart against him?  And why generally go through the charade of having little Ben forget the shooting if he actually remembers?  The answer to both questions has to do with the loophole.  Ben was never supposed to become leader of the Others.  The Man in Black starts him on this track by orchestrating a chance meeting with Richard in the jungle.  Another step is the shooting, which brings Ben to the Temple.  Years later, Ben will use Penny to justify Charles Widmore's exile, completing his ascension.Somewhere along the line, Ben recovers his memory, perhaps with a little dream inspiration by the Man in Black.  He begins learning as much as he can about the '77ers from sources like Oldham's report and Faraday's journal.  He recruits Juliet, whom he remembers saving his life.  And when Oceanic 815 crashes, Ben is ready with a plan to [...]

Jacob Brought DHARMA to the Island...


Back in Season 3, I speculated that Jacob was Alvar Hanso's alias.  Now that we've met both men, this speculation strikes me as less plausible.  (But far from impossible -- Alvar from The Lost Experience could simply be a decoy)  I'm nevertheless convinced that Jacob brought the DHARMA Initiative to the Island.  In this post, I review the evidence that supports my claim.Obviously, the clearest indication is the Man in Black's literal accusation that Jacob brings people to the Island.  The former is referring specifically to the Black Rock when he says: "You brought them here."  But I take the Man in Black to mean that Jacob is always the one who brings people to the Island, including DHARMA.  Earlier in their exchange, the Man in Black asks Jacob: "How did they find the Island?"  More than a century later, Ms. Hawking will state that the Lamp Post "is how they found the Island."  She means DHARMA, not the Black Rock, but her comment reads eerily like a reply to the Man in Black's query.  How much you want to bet that the "clever fellow" who designed the Lamp Post pendulum was somehow inspired by Jacob?Besides the aforementioned dialogue, the strongest evidence of Jacob's hand in DHARMA is probably the sonar fence around the Barracks.  There's no question in my mind that the fence was specifically designed to stop Smokey.  As Richard reminds Horace, it doesn't keep out the Others.  And many less advanced technologies -- e.g., a simple electric fence -- would be just as effective against the Island's wildlife at a fraction of the cost.  I'm guessing Jacob told DHARMA how to neutralize Smokey.Of course, as lostmio reminds us, we never actually see Smokey during DHARMA times.  I myself have wondered if the Incident released Smokey from imprisonment in the Temple or underground like Charlie cracking the wasp nest back in Season 1.  If that's right, though, why does the sonar fence predate the actual threat to DHARMA?  Here again, Jacob's assistance seems key.  His foreknowledge of the threat led DHARMA to build the fence preemptively.The final piece of evidence I offer for your consideration is admittedly somewhat speculative.  Still, the statement in the Room 23 film that "God loves you as He loved Jacob" strikes me as more than merely a biblical reference.  I suppose it's open to question whether DHARMA or the Others created the film.  After witnessing Oldham's trippy interrogation methods, however, mind control movies seem right up DHARMA's alley.  And that raises one more point meriting clarification.  Just because Jacob brings people to the Island doesn't mean they're good.  I'm sure that the Man in Black speaks truthfully when he says many of these invitees fight, destroy, and corrupt.  Some of Jacob's maneuvers are about getting the right pieces (e.g., the Jughead and the Swan) in place for lynch-pin events like the Incident and crash of Oceanic 815.  The U.S. military and DHARMA were simply convenient means to these ends.So there you have it: the case for Jacob's involvement in bringing DHARMA to the Island.  What do you all everybody think?  As always, you're welcome to post anonymously, but please identify yourself somehow, so I can distinguish between anonymous posters. Thanks![...]