Thursday, May 24, 2007

>: 69 THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

TSOL! I’ve just invented a new curse word. Every time you feel the island, and the minds behind it, whoever they are on whatever level of fiction you prefer, realigning your imagination and turning your synapses into tentacles of dangling octopi and making you see everything from the pilot forward in a new or slightly different light, or maybe if Sawyer just said something perfect, you say Tsol. It’s a homonym for soul. The T is silent.

I swear, though, the first thing I thought, and it was because of Jack's beard, was FLASH-FORWARD (or, alternate pilot, I mean parallel dimensions now folks, why not? Everything just felt so wrong from that first scene. Ha, like it wasn't supposed to happen, I guess).

Okay, wait. Linerally. By scene. That’s the only way.

Open on diluted whiskey. Jack is his father’s son. Flying Oceanic. In hindsight, it’s such an obvious flash-forward. We’ve mapped out his life pretty well and there’s certainly no period like this that we’ve seen, that of Bearded Maniac. I was looking for him to really kill himself on the bridge, that this would be called “The Death of Jack Shephard”, which would have been so balls-out, but no, of course he had somebody to save.

And hitting those waves, the flashback, in hindsight now, a really cool idea is occurring to me…what if we’re done with pre-island flashbacks? What if it wasn’t a flash-forward, but just the present, and the Island was the flashback and for the next 48 installments, we get post-rescue shots flashing back to the inevitable rescue? (which certainly might not be a result of the final call to Bukowski on Naomi’s phone)

Hey, over the Giacchino credit, Ben is writing in his diary. That would be one hell of an ancillary product, The Diary of Benjamin Linus. Not that any of it would be true.

Great shot, everybody watching those two plumes of black smoke. They keep figuring out new ways to get that shot.

Bitch doesn’t think it would be “appropriate” to give Jack “Hero” Shephard a ride home? Hope she thinks of him while she’s working the gas and brake pedals, at least.

Richard’s taking everyone to the Temple? Huh, one sight we didn’t get this time.

So great for the walking music to be that strident cello that Giacchino first wrote for Sawyer, Shannon, Boone, Sayid, and Kate to go use the radio and first hear Rousseau’s transmission back in #2.

Nice touch how Sawyer is shedding his affected personality now that he’s accomplished his life's mission, calling her Kate now.

Waiting for Naomi’s satellite phone light to turn green reminds me the Omni from that great old Voyagers show, back when I was five. Gene Ha put those guys in a panel of Top 10. I digress.

Charlie busting out You All Everybody in falsetto again (mirroring the pilot) is pretty sad.

“Dr. Shephard, the hero. Twice over.” That reads well as a flashback if you’re counting him saving his wife-to-be, but surely the first hit is getting them off the island and second is pulling the woman and kid from the flaming wreckage.

Mikhail: I thought you two were on assignment in Canada.
is kind of shocking thing to say.

But Ben’s “This Island is under assault by forces stronger than anything it’s had to deal with in many, many years and we are meant to protect it, Mikhail.” is a lot better. (ha, my Microsoft Word insisted that “island” was misspelled—it’s learned that it needs to me capitalized)

Was that a sandalwood grip on the pistol Locke found in the pit? Roland abides.

(and a jovial middle finger to President Hayes for spoiling me that Walt was coming back—at least he and Michael didn’t show up in the last five minutes, that would have been a damn shame)

That Nirvana tune (the only one co-written by the rhythm section, incidentally) seems to place the “flashback” in ’93, but then Jack takes out his cell phone and blows that away. Better shot of the clipping this time. It says a man died and looks like it opens with the phrase “The body of J_____” then perfectly wrinkled away from us. Which gives us Locke or Sawyer. I’m thinking it’s got to be Locke. Neither one would have any family coming to see them and I can see Jack’s “Neither” to the question “Friend or family?” applying to both (maybe more of a stretch for Sawyer—Sawyer admitting to Jack that he was his best friend last season finale was one of the best beats of that sick sick episode), but if they all got rescued, it makes more sense that no one would show up at Locke’s funeral, the guy who tried to keep them on the island. And look at the way Jack caresses the coffin. Like he finally realizes that Locke was right, which is the arc of the entire flash-forward. Yeah, thinking it’s got to be Locke. Ben works as well, but I’m pretty sure that’s a J in the newspaper clipping.

“Hoffs/Drawlar” Funeral Parlor is an anagram for “flash-forward”.

Danielle telling Jack that she’s not leaving the island, there’s no place for her out there, is a bit sicker the second time around.

Jack trying to get a refill is the first of two bits about his father. Both can be explained away due to Bearded Maniac awesomeness, but they are sure interesting. He claims that the second prescription is written by his father, then when the chick picks up the phone to call, Jack says that his dad’s out of town right now. Not dead. Could be a lie.

Speaking of, I believe everything Ben tells Jack, about Naomi being one of the bad guys. Of course, he says that if Jack uses the phone, every person on the island, including Jack’s people, will be killed, which we know doesn’t come true.

Making Good Vibrations be the code is classic.

As are Rousseau’s first words to her daughter in 16 years. “Will you help me tie him up?”

How cool for Hurley to FINALLY use that VW Bus. I figured it would come in handy some time. Sounded like the monster, ol Cerberus, right before it broke through the foliage. So glad all those people made it. Everything gets so weighty on a season finale, anyone can go. I almost figured Hurley to be toast, trying so hard to help. Sayid breaking that dude’s neck with his legs was incredible. But nothing tops Sawyer shooting Tom in the heart and then dropping “That’s for taking the kid of the raft.” Tsol! “You and me ain’t done, Zeke.” finally comes around the mountain, 34 episodes later.

And the second time Christian Shephard pops up. Jack tells Rob Hamill (Chief of Surgery and an obvious reference to myself and Luke Skywalker) to get his dad in there and see who’s drunker. I mean, you can say those are the words of painkiller-addled Bearded Maniac, but seems odd if Pop really died years ago. Certainly worth a look of pity, I guess.

Charlie dials up Good Vibrations…and then gets confronted with a button! Oh, if only they could stop pushing buttons on this show. Nice recurrence. Pen finally makes a present-tense third season appearance and confirms, no surprise, that Naomi’s not with her. Wonder where Naomi got the picture of her and Des, then.

The only reason in the world for Charlie to lock HIMSELF up in that room instead of just shutting the door behind him was because Desmond told him he was going to die, like Claire wouldn't get rescued if his heart was still beating. I mean, even if they couldn’t have sealed the room from the outside, they had time to put on diving gear and flee. Nice bit, him writing on his palm, flipping the H(F)ATE on his finger-bandages from the very beginning. Has the island been trying to kill him all this time to keep him from stopping the jamming and getting everyone rescued?

Jack’s “We’ll celebrate when we’re home.” to Kate is beyond irony.

And Ben’s “Making that call is the beginning of the end.” is just the truth.

Cue Giacchino’s Parting Words for the last seconds on-island this season. Beautiful.

Into a great juxtaposition, Jack’s messy sink with a Guinness bottle in it followed by a shot of his floor with an empty bottle of booze, some painkillers, an Oceanic ticket and lots and lots of maps and navigational tools. He’s trying so hard to get back there. I love that idea.

Needs to see Kate “out at the airport. You know where.” That sounds like an interesting story. She looked so airbrushed. I guess that’s Kate with makeup, a phenomenon we haven’t yet discovered. Her “Why would I go to the funeral?” combined with "He'll be wondering where I am." is a good argument for Locke over Sawyer as the deceased.

And “We’ve got to go back!” followed by an Oceanic flight taking off. What an incredible ending. The two references to a bridge (Jack on the 6th Street Bridge and Charlie’s last unfinished song composed while tied up “all finished except it needs a bridge”) kind of hearken to our story entering a bridge of sorts, the entire fourth season maybe, before the big chorus to finish. Of course, I’m fascinated and just ravenous to see what happens next, but we’re going to have the longest wait yet. Really wonder if we’ve entered the zone of flashbacks to the island while catching up with everyone post-rescue or if this was a one-time affair.

Appropriately enough, this was my 48th post, same number of initial survivors, which of course only lasted a couple of episodes and keeps dropping all the time.

Hell of a 92 days, people. Should only take us another year to make it 16 more days so we can finally find out if anything is going to happen. If anybody's even left on-island at the 108-day mark.

What I liked so much about this episode is that it throws a couple of massive givens right out the window. One thing we never expected is that they would all just get rescued mid-series and then have to deal with the consequences and repercussions of that through the back half. Just a genius move, as is Jack bereft of purpose without being able to live together.

Namaste, Island Faithful. I bow to you.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

>: 68 GREATEST HITS

Looked like a pretty huge opening, all those characters trekking, but it turned out to be a pretty shallow set piece, manufactured to make us drop the initial jaw. I dunno, but there are so many dynamics in that group of people, it all felt just a bit wasted. Speaking of wasted, that charge they blew was ridiculous. A bit much to blow up that tree just to demonstrate as dramatically as possible that there was still, in fact, dynamite in the Black Rock? Mightn’t that wire have come in handy a bit later in the episode? I want what happens on the island to decimate me, not to feel like the writers are contriving things to do same.

Did like, though, the Charlie flashback mechanism. I couldn’t see at first how we were supposed to care about a pre-fame arc for Charlie’s flashback at this point, but good trick, the jumping around. Could not handle Naomi quoting Ricky Gervais’s lame catchphrase from the show-within-the-show in Extras.

So great, Sayid knowing where the Looking Glass is, off that cable from freaking Episode 9, back when it was a mark of genius to juxtapose the tortured torturer with a sudden round of island golf. Talk about a clue with a long shelf-life. Any minute now, Adam & Eve.

Nice of Charlie to recap his greatest hits right in line with where the flashbacks go. If he’d thought of them all at once, that really would have counterbalanced the episode.

The Looking Glass insignia is rocking the white rabbit. And nice touch, the bug running across the blueprints. They must have spent weeks training that little guy.

Rose & Bernard! It’s been more than 23 episodes since we’ve seen you. More fodder for the cannon?

Karl showing up did pump me up, Sayid sprinting down the beach to tackle him. And that was a great way to start the episode, had no idea at the beginning who it was or if it was a flashback or what. Great overacting, too, the scene is done, everything’s conveyed, then he has to ram home, “They’re coming NOW!”

The blood on Alex’s hands when she takes the gun back. Get it? I guess he might stumble up to save the day, but it looks like we might just leave Locke lying on those skeletons for the rest of ’07.

“The Christmas Liam gave me the ring”, huh? Funny little hobbit, 'e is.

Seemed like that performance of Wonderwall with the rain was when Desmond came out of Widmore Corp, but it must have been some other time. And Charlie saved Nadia! Very cool. They even managed to squeeze the words “lost” and “hero” into 4 seconds.

Man, Bernard has no idea what he’s getting into. That whole conversation between Jack and Sayid made me nervous. So final. Sayid, Jin, and Bernard left behind.

I got a little choked up, Charlie hugging Hurley goodbye and not wanting to end badly with him.

Nice of the dickheads at ABC to show scenes from the finale in the commercial for Thursday night’s longform commercial. Kind of preaching to the choir, if someone’s already tuned in to ABC Wednesday night between 9 and 10, odds are pretty rock-solid that they’ll be back next week and that advertising is moot.

Kate’s “Here we go again” is a nice mirror of Jack’s “Here we are again” to Sayid on the way to Ana and Libby’s funeral at the end of last season’s penultimate episode.

What could be the significance of that DS ring left behind in Aaron’s crib? It certainly got quite a lingering shot for an insignificant heirloom. Or IS it? Whoa!

Didn’t Charlie already introduce himself to Claire? Pretty sure that had to happen back in Episode 2 or 3. Maybe he just walked up with the blanket and they cut away. I dunno, for that to be his best memory, I’m not feeling as crushed as I need to by the love story and all.

Really thought Desmond was about to up and jump in, though. That would’ve been a good trick. But it was one anyway. We’re more than conditioned by now to expect that Charlie’s going down. Not only Desmond’s flashes, but it’s Charlie’s flashback episode, tailored to his best freaking moments. Totally bought it, too, that shot of his shoe drifting up. Held my breath right along with him. But instead a surface! And girls in the Looking Glass! Is it significant that the two occupants we see are female? Is Brian K. Vaughan’s influence at last being felt? What, if anything, does this have to do with fertility? Does Ben know that those chicks are there?

I don’t think for a second that Charlie’s getting away. Desmond’s flash will come true, it just didn’t slice into the architecture of this episode the way we expected it to. I certainly enjoyed the ride, but it was just a bit of a comedown after the hypercompression of last week’s Ben flashback. More of a set-up, I guess. So we’ve got Price + 10 hitting the camp at nightfall, three shooters ready to blow the dynamite, Jack & Danielle leading the crew to the radio tower (which I don’t think I’ve ever seen except for an orientation video online last summer), Locke gutshot atop Dharma skeletons, Desmond floating unconscious (not unlike his situation at this time last year. “Boat!”) (that was a hell of a cliffhanger), and Charlie getting ready to charm his way out of being taken prisoner by a gang of subaquatic Alices.

Should be a rocking two hours next week.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

>: 67 THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN

Wowdamnhell. Was looking for a Ben flashback for maybe the finale, didn't dream we'd get it here until the Previously, the fact that they didn’t show any backstory whatsoever for anyone else . And another good trick, I was sure that was Ben being born but they pulled yet another This Isn’t the Island, Silly. Wonder if Ben was born in Maine or Oregon. Given the Stephen King love, I’m gonna go with the former.

That first conversation between Ben and Richard is much huger the second time around. Ben looking at the statue Annie gave him. And saying to Richard “You remember birthdays, don’t you?” Crazy. Because Richard looked maybe five, at most ten, years younger in that scene when Ben was a kid. Is the island slowing down the aging process? Only for natives, maybe? Another huge question dropping out of nowhere. Nice pickup on Ben’s recorder, too. I was wondering how he hadn’t already missed it.

Got to love this episode’s message of patience. Why does Jacob talk to Ben if he’s lying about being born on the island? Seems like there’s a gap in his flashback, a time he proved how special he was, a la Locke.

Killer Dharma Initiative sights! Namaste! Can’t believe Ben’s not really a native. And the sub and village were originally DI. Wild. Great to see Marvin Candle again, as always. And huge to see Roger get assigned as Work Man. Roger = Skeletor. That sure lends Hurley’s VW episode added depth. From the outset, doesn’t look like Roger is going to appreciate island life.

And now Locke’s a badass all of a sudden. I love the lack of logic, Ben says they have to wait, Locke beats the hell out of Mikhail, and they’re off. Alex gives Locke a gun. Did Ben get it away from him at Jacob’s place? Nice flip on Ben/Mikhail mirroring Jack/Sawyer’s dialogue, subbing Locke for Juliet, the enemy in their camp. One of Them always depends on what side of the fence you're standing.

Olivia saying the volcano eruption was a long time ago is interesting. Will it stay dormant forever? Ben’s got a white rabbit. Classic. The King 8 bunny from 3.4 and I’m just remembering that was the title of the first Jack episode (1.5). This show is nothing if not a massive network of rabbit holes.

Locke stuffing his face with fruit and grinning at Ben on the way out of camp was my first hint that he might be next on the Sudden Departure front. Too confident.

Kid Ben speaks! We wait until his third flashback scene and still only get one word. This Annie thing is an interesting set-up. I’m sure it’s significant that we didn’t get any adult interaction immediately preceding the Purge. And his mom appears. I’m positive that the answer to what the deal is with all the ghosts on this island is a fairly massive slipknot with regard to the Big Answer.

What was with that circle of ash around Jacob’s place? Something to do with Cerberus? That shot blew my mind, Locke reaching down to pick it up and holding his light toward his hand. That’s an exact quote of the last shot in the American version of the Twin Peaks pilot directed by none other than David Lynch, when Dr. Jacobi finds the heart locket that James and Donna have just buried. Same exact shot. Brilliant.

And then the palaver of the survivors. Huge stuff, Jack is not only hip to Juliet’s triple(?)-agent status, he’s got a plan. “We’ve got a lot of catching up to do.” is an understatement. Of course, we don’t get another second of the main camp for the rest of the episode. Of course, we get plenty.

Kid Ben heads into the jungle and encounters the same whispers and cicada noises that are still going on at Day 1 of the 815 goodness. Was sure we were about to get a serious Cerberus reveal. Instead we get Richard, much older than he should be. Does he remember birthdays? What gives? Ben is going to have to be patient. So say we all. This slowed aging thing is the wrinkle I've been waiting for if they're ever going to bring post-pubescent Walt back to the island, maybe four years older than he was when he left eight weeks ago, island-time.

The Jacob scene is of course a classic. Great Emperor with No Clothes bit with Ben. There HAD to be someone in that chair. And you can see a dude for like three frames, he kind of looks like Richard’s profile by way of Kris Kristofferson. So, he’s psychic and telekinetic? He made it look like that lantern fell and burst into flames and then Ben came out with it intact a minute later. Why does he need John’s help? Does Ben have him in thrall? Is that what the circle is? I’ve always wanted Ben to control or actually be Cerberus after Locke’s sweat lodge vision. We will see. Someday.

And as they’re walking back, I’m sure that Locke is doomed. He’s seen too much and Ben’s telling the truth. Two strikes.

And cut to older Ben, still with the Annie doll, but no sign of her. We know his dad is doomed. There’s Three Dog Night playing Shambala. When Roger turns the bus off, we know it won’t kick on again until Hurley and Charlie almost die in it years later. Ben checks his watch at 4:00:15. Hardcore, the way he took Roger out. Cue Skeletor. So, the Hostiles took out the entire DI camp except for Ben and took over the village and sub. Wonder how he got to be leader, what makes HIM special? No sign of Young Tom.

And Ben shoots Locke. Saw it coming, but it was still crazy. What was going on in Ben’s head when Locke told him what Jacob said? Locke is gut-shot, maybe he has a chance. Certainly not a good one, but seems like the episode would’ve ended with a second definitive shot to the head if they wanted to leave no doubt about his fate. It doesn’t look good, though. My LOCKE/EKO ’08 button is just about moot.

The lost.cubit.net site is fried. Way too many people trying to connect.

That last sentence sums this whole experience up nicely.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

>: 66 THE BRIG

Can't believe it's another Locke episode. But, it is cool to catch up on where he's been. And exactly what happened after 60 ended.

Nice little bit, Sawyer telling Kate to Scram. I enjoy seeing them together, hope this happiness isn't as short-lived as it feels like.

Totally makes sense that no one trusts Jack. Sayid is the first man I'd bring in. Creepy imagery from Naomi about the wreck of Oceanic 815. Did she say off the coast of Bali? Isn't that at a 90-degree angle from where they ought to be? Seems like a fake crash site, for sure.

It was obvious that Locke was bringing Sawyer to Cooper. And I've thought Cooper was the original Sawyer since the 1st season. But the execution (ha, no pun intended) was perfect.

Sayid jury-rigging the satellite phone...shades of 1st season.

Funniest thing was Rousseau just showing up at the Black Rock for dynamite. Don't know if it's related to a plan to spring Alex, but it would be hilarious if they never followed up on it. Just business as usual for her.

Interesting for Richard Halpert to have that conversation with Locke. What's his angle on cluing Locke in to Ben's tactics. What are the "more important reasons" that the other Others are here for. Is the fertility angle not such a big deal after all? That's a French police report on Sawyer that Halpert busts out in the red file.

Cooper's theory of the island as Hell makes perfect sense from his point of view. Nice doubling up with Naomi's report of the crash. TOM Sawyer? Crazy detail, after all this time.

"Don't tell me what I can't do, John." That Ben's a funny guy. The box is a metaphor? For what?

Sawyer taking that letter out of his pocket was amazing. Gave me chills. "Read it."

Wonder what Jack & Juliet's secret is.

If Locke's not going back undercover, where's he taking Cooper's body? Interesting dynamic, him giving up Juliet. I love the answer "Not anymore." to the question of is it true about Locke being a cripple. Like the island has caused it never to be true in the first place, resounding backwards through time.

Can't believe there are only 3 to go.

(and 48 after that)