Wednesday, March 25, 2009


And we’re back on Ajira Flight 316. Have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of that fuselage. I was hoping to get a Lapidus-centric this week and it looked like I was going to get my wish. That guy can land anything! So, 316 didn’t as much crash as get masterfully guided in by old Frank. And crushing, that’s the runway, I think, that Sawyer and Kate were clearing all of those rocks off of during 3.2-3.6. Did Ben have them do that because he knew that he would be arriving via that location in three years?

(A quick point about the years: I feel like the “present”, the day that 316 took off, has to be at the earliest January 2008. The reason for this is that we know that the O6 got rescued on 1/07/05 [Day 108, counting 9/22/04 as Day 1]. Then they did the whole three years later bit, right? But the DHARMA business is definitely taking place in ’77, when Sawyer and them first showed up it was ’74 and then he said that it was ’77 at the north beach, even though the titles tell us that’s THIRTY YEARS EARLIER from the 316 crash. I’m just sayin’)

At any rate, then it looked like it was going to be another alternate pilot, this time starring the 316 crew instead of the Tailenders (and this reminds me of something that the top of THIS PLACE IS DEATH put me in mind of, with the Frenchies showing up and talking loud: how many times has this happened on this Island, some crew showing up? At LEAST 108, one comes to suspect . . .). Surprising to see Sun didn’t catch the flash. Does this have something to do with Ji Yeon? The Island doesn’t want to take her away from her kid? Doesn’t want its boy Ben back either. As soon as Lapidus launched into his beach orientation, we realize that Sun is the woman that he stole the canoe with (as Lydia told Locke a couple of weeks back). And I thought it was for love! Those Ben/Sun/Frank scenes are great, just knowing that Ben is going to wind up in traction one way or another.

And then right back to the end of LAFLEUR. Sawyer wastes no time springing his latest con into action. I really did almost spit out my wine when Jin said Radzinsky’s name, definitely sputtered but just barely held it together. Was not expecting that. Great to see R. building the model of the Swan’s geodesic dome, but that begs the question: what was he doing with that blast door map if he freaking built the hatch in the first place? You know? That map very much seemed like the work of a Robinson Crusoe-type coming to grips with the Island, piecing the lay of the land together slowly, bit by bit, trip by trip whenever he could snatch a 45-minute hike in between button-pushing. Radzinsky is the last person I would have thought to be architect of the Swan for that reason. Was Kelvin/Brother Justin telling Desmond the truth? Was that stain on the roof of the Swan really this guy?

Jin’s Korean mafia strongarm tactics did not get too rusty during the break, seems.

And that look on Sayid’s face when Jin pulled the gun on him, hilarious.

That orientation was wild. Juliet deliberately juking the manifest, leaving Kate out just to mess with her? Not cool, not cool. And Phil calling out Jack’s name, summoning him over to Dr. Marvin Candle himself! I wish I could send like two seconds of that back to 2006 and give myself an aneurysm. Wait, maybe that’s what happened. Will happen, aaah!

Phil is clearly going to be trouble.

So, Christian pops back up to show Sun the way back. Looked like Claire lurking in the shadows there when they were in the orientation room, over Sun’s shoulder. And the new recruits pictures don’t quite line up, there’s this bald guy third from the right in the picture who is clearly not standing there when we jump back to ’77 to get the picture actually taken. A production error? A few seasons back, you’d think so, but that’s such a basic mistake to make at this point. On the other hand, what could the explanation possibly be? It’s the smoke monster, making itself appear as people who really weren’t there in old pictures? Just a curiosity. Speaking of smoke, was that black smoke that came out of the cabin with Christian indicative of a connection between the two? Are all these ghosts black smoke made solid, as I’ve suspected for quite some time? Can’t wait to see what Sun and Frank have to do to go back.

And what a scene with Jack and Sawyer. Masterfully written way to express the serious change in dynamic between the two. Sawyer was totally cool with him until Jack started barking and then would not stand for it, had to throw down the critique of where Jack’s leadership got them. ARE all their people killed? It’s really just Bernard and Rose and the anonymous chorus missing now, yah? Vincent, I guess. I don’t think that I’m forgetting anyone else. Oh, that really hot chick who walked by in 1.21. Those are the people who Jin mentioned he was searching for last episode, right? In Grid 133? I presume. (and just kidding about that chick)

Oh, speaking of that conversation, Ethan! That was unreal. So much was going on with Sawyer, it didn’t even occur to me to wonder who the baby was. Or, for that matter, to remain disturbed at how baby-centric this has gotten, just accepting it as a matter of course now. Juliet delivered Ethan (and Horace delivered Ben and Kate delivered Aaron, if you’re keeping score). Wild. The look on her face when she found out. It makes his little cameo at the top of 3.7 even crazier.

But yeah, Sawyer and Jack. One of my favorite things about Sawyer has always been his voracious appetite for books, not something you’d expect from that archetype and it really fleshed him out early on, that curiosity. Loved that bit about Churchill. He started out by offering Jack a beer and sent the sucker packing.

And Kate’s cabin is next door! That’s a couple rungs up the ladder from Awkward. Ol’ Holloway has got the Aching Yearn face down pat.

But you know something heavy is coming to get us to those four letters. Poor Sayid’s back behind bars. It wasn’t until now that I realized how much imprisonment has been a part of this show (owing in some degree to Lindelof’s fondness for THE PRISONER, no doubt). The entire cast is trapped on the Island to start things off, of course. First actual tying up takes place in, wait for it, 1.08 when Sawyer gets tied to the tree and tortured for Shannon’s asthma medication, holding out for that first kiss from Kate. Next episode, Sayid walks off and pays for it, gets shackled by Rousseau. Then of course the Others start in, taking Claire after they’ve already snagged a good chunk of the Tailenders (though we didn’t know that at the time), and shutting down the first season by stealing Walt. That button sure enslaved old John Locke for the better part of Season Two. And the Artist Formerly Known as Henry Gale had his memorable stint in the armory (put there by Sayid, no less, interpolate that shit over tonight’s last scene and see how freaky it looks). Jack, Kate, and Sawyer’s time in the cages to open Season Three. Locke locked Miles up for a minute there and the Freighter folk threw Sayid and Desmond in with poor doomed Minkowski. And, of course, the heavy, it seems like Jacob might be trapped inside that circle of ash. Even though his cabin moves.

And there are probably half a dozen other examples, those are just off the top of my head. All of that to say, being held against your will has been a predominant theme on this show since the start and it’s a very interesting tweak to the tradition to have, of all people, Young Ben bring Sayid a sandwich while he’s behind bars.

Of course. The $108,000 question that this begs is: Does that mean Ben has known how this goes down ALL THIS TIME?!?!? Does he remember Jack and Kate and Sawyer and Hurley and Sayid and Jin and even Miles from his childhood in New Otherton? He’s GOT to, right? He’s too old not to remember their faces. The only possible way they could get away with him not knowing is if he didn’t have any personal interaction with any of them whatsoever, but he makes his 1977 debut squinting his eyes at the caged A-rab (did you see that? The very last beat of the episode. That kid is beyond perfect, he’s got that same reptilian thing going on that Emerson does). But that’s a fairly mindblowing revelation. Ben has in all likelihood been aware of the way that the principal ’77 component of Season Five plays out since Sayid first saw him caught in Rousseau’s trap (did he ever make a crack in the armory about “no peanut butter sandwiches”? Or am I just thinking about that Stephen King one?). I really almost can’t wrap my mind around it all.

But what’s to come?

We still need to see what Kate did with Aaron, how Sayid got arrested, how Hurley wound up with that guitar, and what happened to Faraday. And if Miles is actually Son of Chang.

And now a Ben-centric seems even more crucial. Rewatched 3.20 this weekend (twice, the commentary with Emerson/Lindelof/Cuse is golden) and the jump between his last childhood scene and the Purge is certainly missing a crucial chunk of narrative. Will Annie, the girl o’his dreams, make an appearance? And the Humes!

Papa Shephard. Richard Alpert. Charles Widmore. Not yet. Perhaps soon.

And Jughead waits, bleeding radioactive waste into his shallow grave, as disinterested as ever.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Two reasons why I enjoyed this particular installment more than anyone else:

1) Hadn’t had a chance to watch last week’s FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS in HD until literally while this episode was airing and when Street, the man who switched me (and, really Stew as well)(giving proper respect to Jimmy McNulty on both our parts, of course, but Street was the impetus in both cases) off Jack to Jameson, started banging his wheelchair up against Herc, his sidekick, over the asking price for the house they were flipping, no it wasn’t then, it was when Herc replied by banging HIS chair up against Street’s, that I had to lean over and make the unfortunate involuntary proclamation to Catherine “Cripple Fight!” even though I hate it when people quote Cartman, but I didn’t do the voice just said the words and really, they had just self-deprecatingly referred to themselves as same minutes prior and it was so true and I couldn’t help myself.

2) My feet were cold and right before she went to sleep I asked Catherine if she knew where a random pair of socks was, so that I wouldn’t open my sock drawer within a couple feet of sleeping Bundled Perfection. She did in fact know, and no arguing over her dead ex-husband followed.

And then initially couldn’t believe how extensive the PREVIOUSLY was (especially since the actual voice-over happened right before the DVR recording kicked in this week, hateful)(but far preferable, of course, to the alternative, shaving the last four seconds off the end, instead) and even after it appeared to be over, we still got Sawyer’s rope-in-the-ground scene with Juliet before it kicked in new with Miles saying “What’s that?” and apparently if Locke hadn’t finally gotten it together with Christian at that exact moment, we would have gotten answers of a much more Biblical nature, or slant that into Egyptian, because that four-toed statue looked like a crowned Anubis from behind, King Dog, but this being a Sawyer episode, that kind of fits, especially with the four toes bit (Huzzah, Stew, and how weird IS that?, because him stepping on whatever that was in the pilot, he was totally on deathwatch for me this season, I just felt like hell not drinking to his health that night of all nights, but then just No, Three Years Later, no problem)(but, too, I just want to get in here because I don't think I will later, that necklace of Paul's, the ankh, Egyptian symbol of death and I think eternal life? Gaiman's Death has one too and I had an ankh pipe that my own Paul and I broke in outside Liberty Lunch probably thirteen years ago now right before a Tripl3FastAction show maybe the night that Catherine moved to town, but too much memoir, but an ankh, people! Eternal life.) and what drove me crazy and almost dialed me out was after that statue and reaction shot, we go BACK to Locke downstairs from 5.5, we know at this point, everyone intelligent enough to still be watching the show at this point does not need shots of Locke from three weeks ago pushing the wheel to understand that the on-Island status quo for the season is about to solidify, really, everyone should realize that we’re heading to Halcyon DHARMA 70s just from Jin’s appearance at the end of that episode.

But what happens after Sawyer’s “as long as it takes” ultimatum is one for the books.

Three years later, we get yet another Desmond Mama Cass moment, only the hands spooling this pre-vinyl situation are none other than a fully ambulatory Herc’s! And the chick brought brownies. Ingested more than 45 minutes ago, from the initial vibe in Adrian’s observation room. And was she rocking a Geronimo Jackson tee?

Then Jimmy walks in.

Just unreal at this point. I hadn’t thought about it, but if I had made a wishlist of guest-star grabs to crank up this season, then Jimmy (I think he’s Jerry, here? They’re not even dressing it up, would scoop up Don Draper if there was enough room in this crowded crowded sphere for his thunder) looks like would top the list, or you know Lynch himself or Cooper, but there has to be an upper limit to what we can handle and we’re kissing it as is,

So but the combination of Herc and Jimmy dealing with this Horace Godspeed situation is just about too much but as soon as they said the name I rewound it, which I just hate to do, break up the flow the first time, but I knew it was important, and the name was LaFleur and I didn’t realize until they were on his porch but before he actually said a word that it had to be Sawyer.

Quite a bit before the opening title.

And you’ve got to love Jim LaFleur calling Miles Enos as soon as he’s in riding shotgun. On the surface, the latter is basically unchanged over the course of ’71-’74, seems. Horace has had a drunken dynamite tantrum.

Everyone should have it right in the front of their brain right now that Horace is the guy who brought lil’ Benjamin Linus into the world on the side of the road, not to mention the dude who recruited he and Roger “Workman” into the situation before sitting on the bench with the ungrateful tyke, who had just initiated a Purge on the entire outfit.

But he, Horace, has somehow managed to get Michelle Dessler from 24 knocked up in the meantime. The scattershot pointillism presentation of narrative has almost never worked better for me than this episode. Being pretty certain before the first minute aired that Sawyer & Juliet were going to wind up In Luff and that the Oceanic 3 of 6 were almost certainly going to be delivered into their bedroom to wreck it right before the lightning crack of Four Letters, as well as the insanity of Horace playing a large supporting role, and coming across as such a douche during his we-don’t-have-to-give-up-Paul’s-body speech to Amy/Michelle if only because we know how badly he fails at the birth of his (if-it-really-is-his) child three years later.

And that mirrored conversation between him and Sawyer, “How’s the head?” “Hurts”, wonderful.

Sawyer, though, is of course the star. Obviously. Could not handle his right-before-the-commercial elation when Juliet told him that she’d delivered the baby and that son and mum were fine.

That conversation with Richard, the way that entire encounter was framed, brilliant. The thing that freaked me out the most as Sawyer and Juliet were looking out the window at him was Which Richard was it? Was it the Time Traveler who advises Locke in the premiere and was hip to present and future events? Or was it present-tense Richard?

Which is why this is the finest show of all, that I was actually wondering which Richard that was as he stood there, stark still in the flood lights, waiting.

When Jin and Sawyer were talking during the birth, I so wanted Jin to almost break the character that we know and just launch into this rapid-fire English line of questioning, freak everybody out.

And then the flower. LaFleur is French for that, Faithful.
That doomed domestic shot, Sawyer coming home to home-cooking. I want to taste a bottle of Swan Merlot so much. He and Juliet played their interaction to pitch-perfection. Weird that we got two FF-relationships (fast-forward, not the imaginauts) this one and the final realization of Desmond/Penny, all of a sudden these people are in a very different emotional place and you’re almost tempted to believe Sawyer when he tells Horace that three years is absolutely enough time. But it’s only because he’s such a good con man.

Then. Finally. That last scene. I assumed that Jin was just going to drive them straight to Sawyer’s bedroom but he had the decency to call first. The “I gotta go” was sold to perfection. And then great shot of the blue vehicle amidst all that Island glory.

But then the direction, the shots of that last The Moment fell just a little flat for me (as well as when he had the audacity to put the shot of Girl Charlotte in slow-motion, it was just like Really???!??, was totally on board with that spinning shot climaxed by Faraday returning to the season-opening record simile, that was profound, brilliant almost, but then almost dispelled by the slo-mo Charlotte wave) not of course the acting, Jack’s face laying eyes on Sawyer for the first time in three years was amazing and that was the shot of Sawyer we needed, but the way that zoom shot of Kate walking out was staged, just felt TOO staged, should have been framed differently, made me miss Bender or Williams (it must be said, though, how insane it is that they dropped those writers and directors on 6 and 7 and then flattened it with these people in 8), but of course the acting carried it through and 1974 on the Island has never seemed more interesting.

To say nothing of 1975. And take the first scene of the season. At the time, the viewer still clinging to rationality assumes that Faraday has got his hands on a time machine or harnessed the Orchid but, you know, journeyed to this zone, the most important timeframe of the DI, but no, EVERYBODY’S HERE. At least Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Juliet, Hurley, Miles, Horace, Dr. Chang, Herc, Jimmy.

And Jin searched Grid 133 for “our people.” Is that Rose/Bernard and the other 815 chorus? One would think.

Going forward, with trust in our hearts, the mind wants to backflip into electromagnetic overload. There are so many ways that we can fill up this season, that we know about right now, not even allowing for whatever insanity is coming.

A Kate episode, pre- and post-316, seems pretty important to the narrative going forward, all of a sudden.

We still haven’t seen Sun or Sayid since the second crash, and there’s his whole arrest with Lydia to explain.

Ben and the Humes. The presence of Rousseau’s map on the HYDRA station makes it appear that Locke, Ben, Cesar, Lydia and the rest of 316 are crashed in 1/08. Ha!!!!! I honestly didn’t know what I was typing. But yeah, that ends THAT debate, when they are. Can you imagine if we got a killer Cesar-centric at this point? That would take cajones on everyone’s part.

And it’s really interesting how Faraday just faded away as this one went on, guess we never saw him after the record-spinning line, come to think of it. The Faraday-centric episode of this season will reach back and try to crush the fine Desmond-centrics that we’ve come to know and love.

And then you know, the wish list, Richard Alpert. Charles Widmore. Christian Shephard.

Anything is possible.

(the title: I wanted it to be Sawyer & Juliet early on, when I saw where we were at last heading, just because ever since they gave her that name, I thought that that would be fun. Changed it to LaFleur & Juliet, then Jim LaFleur & Juliet, then remembered my friend from MAD MEN and thought we had to have Jimmy LaFleur & Juliet.)

So, for the third week in a row, almost but not quite. Always a percentage, though.