Wednesday, May 13, 2009


All right, since we’re just going to open with the last scene from last week, we’re going to keep talking about it, especially in light of the fact that they’re not pulling that Little-Ben-is-dead garbage again (and really, again, that just totally took the sails out of the ending of what would otherwise have been such an immaculate episode). What exactly was Faraday’s motivation for walking into an armed camp of Hostiles with a gun and no backup? (I’m going to not count Jack & Kate, given that they might as well not have been there, in terms of backing him up). I mean, he displayed a complete cluelessness at the Motor Pool, just brandishing that gun and causing the whole shoot-out. Yeah, he’s a beginner. But that’s the strategy he cooked up in Ann Arbor? Timing things that well, arriving at that key moment, knowing when Chang would come to the Orchid, give him the evac order then . . . Stick up the Hostiles and demand his mother and Jughead at gunpoint? The most brilliant character on the show? No, sir. That does not compute. So many deaths have been handled so well, either as a result of the end of a character’s journey (Michael, Charlie, Ana [as shocking as that was]) or accident that didn’t betray their character (every flashback in 2.6 was geared toward running Shannon out into that rainy jungle right toward Ana-Lucia and the marshal’s gun; or Boone, in-character following an alpha male's lead from first appearance to last, they just sent the pup out for a pen/pin at first and upgraded to the CB on the plane), with Eko being the only aberration due to the fact that the actor ejected himself from the story to apparently do nothing. But what about the whole bit with Daniel’s mother gearing him toward destiny made him think that walking in and pointing a gun was the way to go? Did he not think he’d get any mileage out of being the only guy besides Alpert to not age? Might not just walking into a camp of people with whom he has no quarrel and simply asking for the bomb and madre sans gun have been a more rational and logical approach for a scientist who’s just been winged in his first freaking gunfight? It just seems like the writers went, Nope it’s Faraday’s episode, he lit Jack’s fire back up, gettim outta there. An abomination to Einstein, nothing simple or elegant or genius about that at all.

I do love that bringing Zealot Jack back in, though. Preach yer purpose, boy!

And yeah, the only thing I knew going into this season was that Cuse was saying it was more adventure-driven. And it seems that these boys equate that with more horses and subterranean caverns and torches and bloody faces. Which is fine with me.

I like the inevitable THIRTY YEARS LATER title answering Charles’s question about where they come from.

Segueing into Richard rocking the ship in the bottle. The Black Rock, no doubt. Which I’m sure will finally make a more significant appearance whenever we get to his –centric. Ben couldn’t quite squeeze the exposition out of his delivery of “long long time” to Sun. AW!!!!! But Richard saw Jack, Kate, and Hurley die in ’77! Great trick, because of course they can get out of it if they want, but can you imagine if they offed those people and just went on to the next season? That would be the greatest Purge of all.

That guy on the horse who knocked hell out of Jack looks familiar, probably from another show.

JUGHEAD will be a lot crazier on the next rewatch, knowing what neither Daniel nor 17-yr old Ellie know at the time.

I love how Jack can just listen to Ellie’s story and answer the handwriting question with the lead-in to what amounts to, “Hey, let’s detonate an H-bomb like yer boy from the future woulda wanted.” His “I think that there’s a way to take it all back,” wraps Ellie up into the same kind of acolyte that Locke nets in Sun at episode’s end (which DOES have a bit of elegance).

Jughead ‘neath New Otherton?!?!??! That sounds so cool until your mind catches up and realizes that of course there’s no danger of him detonating THERE . . .

The Sawyer torture stuff was a shame to watch. They’ve really got us thinking that he and Juliet are doomed.

Great cut to Hurley raiding the pantry, as ever. But Chang out-thinking Hurley in like three steps was perfect. Didn’t even get the look on Jin’s face at there being no such as the Korean War the first time. And father and son get their EMPIRE moment. (have you ever noticed that everyone calls EPISODE V only EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and always drops the THE? I think about these things while driving) Then Chang hoping Faraday knows what he’s doing cutting to dude’s dead face.

And speaking of his parents arguing over his body, how old is Faraday? Or, was. But he’s either 27 and already hanging out in Ellie’s belly while she’s swimming toward nukes or there’s a baby Daniel hanging out somewhere. Or he’s younger than 27, which I just don’t think that he could possibly be. But remember, he started jumping at the end of Season Four right around New Year’s 2005. So, you know, three yrs older last episode, but all of Season Four he has to be only 27. And he seems older. I forget when he was teaching at Oxford with Des, ’98? Only 21? There needs to be a baby Daniel somewhere. Maybe that's what they were muttering about when the camera cut away, her being with child.

Then we tie up that scene with Locke and Richard in this season’s premiere. Ethan’s the one who shot him. At this point in time back in 5.01, over with the Sawyer/Juliet/Charlotte/Miles crew, Faraday is dropping “We’re either in the past. Or in the future,” on Sawyer and then they find the Swan and have the whole debate about going back to the beach before Daniel tells them that you cannot change anything. “If we try to do anything, we will fail. Every time. Whatever happened, happened.” Did not realize that that title got dropped in the premiere. Interesting that that entire exchange happens the night before the finale. Or part of it. Man, and some people think they don’t plan this show out.

But back to the future past. Sawyer sells out Kate for sub amnesty. Of course, him giving away the Hostiles’ location at this point, for all we know, causes a great deal of mess. For not killing Little Ben, Sayid’s bullet sure traveled quite a ways.

I love how the first thing Kate does after the shot is check her own chest. From her expression, you’d think that she’s worried about Jack and it’s not like she’s feeling anything, but her first thought is, O fuck the writers killed me too and I didn’t even get a last round of flashbacks not setting it up to heartbreaking perfection.

The first shot after the next break is of that dude what poleaxed Jack who Sayid just killed. Nobody on this show, except maybe Hurley, can break things down to a more rudimentary form than our resident Iraqi. He gets caught up over the break with all of Jack’s crazy and comes back with, “So you’re telling me you’re going to erase the last three years of our lives.” Dry!

And Jack has officially become Locke.

Sawyer and Juliet’s walk down the pier (the Pala dock? I forgot about it. Was that the same one where Ben saw Charles off? We first saw it back in 2.23, the hoods over the prisoners' heads) was a whole little procession of fakeout. First, with the talk about Microsoft and the ’78 Cowboys and the good life, you’re sure that he’s about to get executed on the spot. Then that nice little exchange with Juliet ending with “ladies first” and taken with Hurley’s lead-in confidence in his strategy, it looks like it’s time for adventure and escape, possibly ripping off the DHARMA coveralls mid-swan dive* through a hail of bullets into the water!

But the tempo shifts. The turn. “Good riddance.”

Perfect writing and delivery. All these years on this Island haven’t changed ol Jimmy James Sawyer too much after all, dude was completely channeling Season One. Very dark, given Alpert’s death prophecy at episode’s beginning. Talking about those freckles.

Naveen Andrews puts a lot into just Sayid’s stance. Thinking of the way he takes that torch, just now.

And man, Locke. Locke Locke Locke. We seem to have arrived at Composite Locke, a synthesis of all that has come before. Able to dispense poignant parables applicable to virtually any given situation on a moment’s notice. A man of the jungle, hunter and survivor, killer of boars and those who follow him too closely. A man of faith convinced that His Moment, the event that will truly define him as a man of greatness that has been promised him his entire life, is almost at hand. A clueless motherfucker who will push whatever button or enter whatever code or blow up whatever sub or station that Miles’s dad or the Island tells him to in an attempt to validate his own existence. And then we’ve got the post-death factor to deal with, which we really can’t anticipate but only watch play out. But man, from his actions, he’s not looking like any Creature of the Island to me, this is the same guy who had to trick Sawyer into killing their own daddy (only literal in one sense) and then stormed into Ben’s tent demanding ALL of the answers and naïve enough to think that he was going to get them with two episodes left to go in Season Three. Yeah, dude. Go kill Jacob. I bet that’s going to work out just the way you envision it. Oh wait, you haven’t thought past plunging one of your knives in, have you?

All right, I kind of skipped ahead from the speech to the last scene of the episode. Wanted to point out, too, that it looks like the guy who’s tending a fire right as Locke and Richard and Ben walk back into camp after their errand, you can’t quite get a screencap on his face, but the guy LOOKS like he might be the same dude who was about to shoot Kate that Sayid killed 30 years ago. That would be such a cool little thing to drop in, if it were the case. Dead is not dead.

(and what about the fucking Faraday video from Comic-Con?!? The Orchid certainly came back around last finale right on cue, but at this point . . .)

Have been typing with episode in slo-mo so as not to pass me by, and I am here to tell you that Holloway and Mitchell are nailing the total love and affection vibe on the frame-by-frame. It’s amazing, totally and utterly convincing. Like, I hope those actors' significant others don't do the slo-mo thing. But this whole scene is just a monster compression of LAFLEUR, Kate’s good intentions bring her right back into the fold to mess it up yet again! Oh, now there is the suspicion and worry on Juliet’s face. “Hey,” never meant so much.

I was thinking that Sawyer & Juliet were out, I mean that was an Island goodbye if ever I’ve seen one with the “Good riddance,” it was almost like the Island stopped moving and Jacob told everybody Sawyer had left the building, now go about your business. But Kate showing up there at the end out of nowhere really boogers things up, on so many levels. Was sure she’d find her way back to the caves to R.I.P. it up with Jack but she’s got a long way to go from a submerged sub. And Phil was climbing up, but not leaving, surely. Sawyer’s going to have to kill him, wherever that gruesome twosome winds up. How sick would it be, though, if they were just gone?

But yeah, this last slice, these last three scenes (which I’ve of course hit totally out of order) really set the finale up, the sub diving to some killer Giacchino channeling Jules Verne, followed by the long-awaited reappearance of Jughead and his convergence with the committed madness that is Jack Workman, and finally, again, that strident theme in A from the pilot, must be the end of the season, because it’s time for a pilgrimmage.

So much has to go down. And yet, so much can’t go down.

The village can’t get nuked. Or can it? Are we out of the zone of Whatever Happened, Happened? Or are Jack and Sayid and Ellie and Richard going to use Jughead to cause the Incident? When Richard told Sun that he saw Kate die at the top of the episode, was he just thinking of Jack and Hurley and kind of freaked out by her question, shrugging off the mention of Kate by name? Or is she getting off that sub and making it back for her date with Density**? Have we really seen the last of the Humes? There’s certainly enough crazy shit on the table to dodge –centrics for this finale, as they did last year (well, it was O6-centric, I guess you could say, but that’s pretty much splitting hairs, at that point), but are we going to need our go-to guy Jack to guide us out of this one? Or something crazy like an Alpert or Widmore series of flashbacks to add, mm-hm, a fourth level of crazy to these proceedings? And just what the hell was Hurley doing with Charlie’s guitar back on Flight 316? And didn’t a musician program the code to the jammer in the Looking Glass? And didn’t you all think after Faraday was playing piano last week that it was going to wind up being him? And, and, and if he’s just going to show up and be a ghost cameraman for Pierre Chang, then what was the point of killing him like that? And wait, if Chang is yelling at Laura to keep baby Miles down in the video that Faraday shot, and yet already ushered them to evacuation, is that like proof that things CAN change? But Faraday’s already there in the presumably unchanged situation, was that an un-316 past? Is it possible that that last question even makes rational sense? Shouldn't I go to bed because I have a long day of being a daddy tomorrow before the Sickness erupts tomorrow night? And how stoned is that Dave Navarro-looking extra walking past Ben at the end, there? Everybody loves Hugo.

I am a mess, Island Faithful. And do not want it to be over.
But I bow to you, as always.

*oh yes, I went all the way there in that little space of time and even had time to realize but be powerless to do anything about the fact that I was going to wake up the entire fucking house starting with my parents snoring inches away from me and my only real concern was should I smash this bottle of wine in my hand if that’s the kind of dive that he does, will have to do, into the water when he goes back to save her and knowing that I was doomed, would have to.

**too, oh yes

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


*and sorry to be That Guy, but there’s been all this hullabaloo about this being LOST’s 100th episode and that’s just not true. Hundredth hour of television (minus commercials), sure. But, you know, I've been counting the episodes. It's up at the top. I guess they’re counting every double-sized finale as two episodes, and that’s just silly. It’s true that the first and fourth finales were two parts, but these both aired as part I one week and part II (double-sized) the next week and they’re trying to say that those part IIs were actually two episodes and that’s just not the case. An episode is what airs that night (sole exception being this season premiere which, clearly and inexplicably, aired the first two episodes back to back, just so we could have two skip weeks this time out). It drives me insane that they break the third season finale up into two parts on the DVD and even go so far as adding credits that weren’t in the aired episode over the back half of it! But enough of that. Circle them wagons!

How perfect was this title? All this time, I’ve been maintaining that the inevitable Faraday-centric will inherit the mantle of Desmond’s simply ridiculous episodes and then they found a way to tie it back in, I truly believe that it was improvisation, THE CONSTANT was not titled with this follow-up in mind, it just evolved naturally, organically, by listening to the story, the writers every bit as enraptured as the rest of us by what’s getting unearthed, week by week.

Thought it was Ben sneaking up on Penny there in the hard foreground of the hospital waiting room. That kid, Charlie, really kind of looks like the offspring of those two actors.

The THIRTY YEARS EARLIER titles are getting a bit superfluous (and I really wish they were in all capital letters actually). They were cool at first, reminiscent of Y THE LAST MAN and all, but at this point it’s almost insulting. Anyone who can’t follow and doesn’t realize that Faraday is getting off the sub thirty years before his mum and Penny are having that conversation is just going to have to hang out there in the void of ignorance.

Love how Faraday is just a force of nature from the get-go, whirling dervishing around the Island. But was it like five in the morning when he hit the dock? The sun rose awful fast in between there and Jack’s place. That actually seems like a weird hole, because it was definitely eight or nine at the latest, one would think, when Miles spied on his dad reading to his younger self with all that delight and pride at the end of last episode, then it was straight to the docks from there, then, seemed like, straight to Jack’s place. And now it’s morning. Wha’happen to all that night? Oooh, big season finale flashback to all the insane shit that went on during that jump, just you wait.

Seriously, though, that seems like quite a breach at this point, for a show that had a guy keeping track of the fucking guns in the first season.

What research was Faraday doing at DHARMA HQ in Ann Arbor?

Jack has certainly been passive since 316, absent or acted upon.

Faraday shows Miles the new CLASS OF ’77 pic and gives that as the reason that he’s here. But then he clearly shows up with the agenda to stop the Incident (WHICH IS APPARENTLY SIX FUCKING HOURS AWAY!!!!) and, furthermore, seems to know little details, like when Chang is due to pull up at the Orchid. That in his journal or something? What Island gospel is Faraday privy to, back in ’77, with only what he brought with him to the Island (or has found in the meantime, there or on the mainland)?

I sure liked that piano piece that Lil’ Faraday was playing. Didn’t care for the actor so much. Just too precious. From the first line, “Didn’t you like it?” but especially that “I can make time.” Too much. Maybe it’s the writing, but the kid certainly did not sell it. And I am ready to buy, waving the $ at the screen every week, you know!

“Faraday’s back,” was my first guess for episode title.

Okay, Jack tells Sawyer it’s six in the morning. That still leaves hours and hours.

Loved Jack’s reintroduction to Phil. Very Blue Velvet.

That “Right on time” line when Chang drives up. How does Faraday know?

And then, yeah, all of a sudden we’re realizing that this is the first scene of the season. Hardcore! Wonderful, have been wondering and wondering how that’s going to click back in and Faraday knocks it out before the first post-title commercial break of his –centric! Thank you, suh. However, on the rewatch, when you’re not just high-fiving the imaginary Writers’ Room astral projecting around your living room, it seems almost contrived. Like there’s no in-scene motivation for Faraday to do what he does, except to create maximum insanity at the top of the season before picking up the plot here in episode 14. I guess you could say that he wants to sneak up and ascertain the situation with that corpse first, but as much as he’s been getting in people’s faces already, seems weird to just let Chang bump into him, apologize, hit his mark for the Season Five opening scene, then, as soon as that’s over, take a deep breath and rush after Chang to crank the plot donkey wheel forward. It just could have been done more elegantly, I think.

Because of course the following interaction is wonderful. I love how Faraday knows the exact energy coefficient (30,000) between the Swan to the Orchid. Then he cuts through to “Miles is your son.” Classic. And of course sounds like deranged lunatic, even before he drops “coincidence.”

What is Chang supposed to do? Boot his wife and infant off the Island? Ha, just realized that Faraday definitely isn’t dead (see below) because he’s still got to tell Chang about the 43rd President of the United States (can barely even type THAT phrase out, never mind the ruined 23rd letter) and film him and then get frustrated, all this BEFORE Miles and Laura have to go (and, really, this is seeming like a bit much to choreograph). Oh, Comic-Con. It’s almost all right that all the other media has swooped in on you, if it’s going to cause this kind of ruckus, here.

Sawyer’s Square One stance is perfectly in-character. Hurley once again stays just a beat ahead of the fans with the “wishy-washy.”

So, Faraday’s mission is also to get in touch with Mum Ellie, who will know (in 1977, mind) how to “get us back to where we belong.”? This from the guy who was correcting whens and wheres earlier, so that’s either a terrible gaffe from Kitsis/Horowitz or there’s somewhere IN 1977 that they all need to be that they need help to find. Right? Am I missing something? Because on firstwatch (and, honestly, second) I just corrected for him, when for where, but this is FARADAY, his last line of dialogue leading us into the titles/16 seconds of Abrams dissonance for the season premiere (again, after that killer opening sequence ending up ‘neath the Orchid) was setting Sawyer straight on “when” and “where”. So. In addition to that new recruit shot of Hurley and crew bringing him back (unless that was just horse-feed he was shoveling Miles’s way), he’s here to make Chang do what he’s supposed to AND get in touch with his young Mum who apparently has the group’s marching orders toward Season Six AND, no, actually “detonate a hydrogen bomb”?

Daniel should have brought Jack Bauer along, that would really about be the only way to see things through at this point, given the time constraints.

And who could imagine that Widmore would show up as soon as that scene ended way back in CONFIRMED DEAD? I like Daniel getting folded into the Island’s healing circle. And Widmore does take credit for the faked crash! Answer without more questions! Write it down, that this happened! Alan Dale’s best bit of acting in this entire role is that grin when Faraday says that he sounds like Ellie and Widmore says that that’s because they’re old friends. That’s character breaking through this insane plot juggernaut, wresting control of the spotlight for just a moment. Before . . . jagged . . . glass chimes . . . waves . . . another . . . flashback (too, how cool is it that what we get next really is a chronological flashback in terms of years but not personal timelines?)

Sawyer calling Faraday “Twitchy” and “H.G. Wells” should be acknowledged.

I like how Juliet just throws Kate the code. Get outta here.

Oh, and Jack’s janitorial keyring comes into play!

Good scene with young Charlotte. This kid sells it. Great bit about the chocolate. Even though Faraday’s opening “I won’t tell,” just smells, you know, wrooong. Solid cutaway, though, when Faraday drops the crazy talk on the poor little girl.

Shootout at the Motor Pool!

Maybe it was Faraday and Radzinsky both getting tagged within about a second of each other. Or the mandatory DHARMA baguas on those fuels tanks that just had to go explodo. Or the windshield in Kate’s hair. Or certainly the way Radzinsky looked during “Sound the alarm!” But it was certainly my favorite scene of the evening. Didn’t need Daniel, later, to tell us that anything can happen. We know.

Almost seems weird to have Jack just be the Doc, fix Faraday up at the pylons. But then that entire Faraday speech is a bit forced. “Anyone of us can die”? Well, of course! Seemed a bit geared toward the layman. But then, of course, the way they cut it, Jack looking to Kate in her coveralls in the following shot, just had me on edge for the entire rest of the episode, every time they showed her, expected a bullet to tear through her skull. So, nice work, I guess.

Pulling a gun on people and telling them to drop to their knees appears to be Radzinsky’s go-to maneuver. It looks very, very grim for Sawyer and Juliet, but I can only hope that since it seems that way now, surely they’ll make it through to the end of the season. Juliet, don’t go over to V! Saaaaaaaawyeeeeeerrrr!

All right, if not the shootout, then that last bit in the woods with Faraday and Jack and Kate is my favorite. It would have been nice to actually get some scenes with insight into what convinced Faraday to toss aside all concerns of time travel’s perpetual nemesis, the Paradox, and just jump right in and try to unmake the entire chain of events that allows him to unmake it in the first place. But hey, it was only his first flashback. “I’m gonna detonate a hydrogen bomb.” Man, this got so distended in my recall, I woke up sure that the finest line of the episode was, “I’m ‘onna drop a hydrogen bomb on it!” exactly the way I would have delivered it.

Of course, now we get into predetermination and causalism (or causality, if you’re not the religious type), are these machinations the very thing that cause the Incident? Just like Sayid’s un-killshot combined with Jack’s “Whatevah!” seems to lead to Other Ben?

(and aaaargh!!!! Passed on THE UNUSUALS after the first fifteen minutes of the pilot, but this last commercial break apparently has Michael Dawson/Kevin Johnson off-Island but still dealing with multiple 42s, at a cash register, multiple street signs at an intersection, too much!)

Then back to Ellie and Penny in the lobby. Ellie doesn’t know what’s going to happen next for the first time in a long time. Has she had access to that same fount of information that Daniel’s been surfing on? This random stranger nurse will watch your son, Pen? I hope THAT turns out well.

Desmond and Penny, safe. That’s not lasting, no chance.

Widmore’s “Good” re: Desmond’s condition is like the plot twist of the night. And he earns a slap from Ellie for confirming what we’ve suspected for weeks. Saucy!

Faraday seems to have this thing about not realizing that he’s holding a gun and wandering into trouble. If he would have made just a little effort to conceal it, he might have prevented that awesome shootout back at the Motor Pool, God forbid.

Then. Does he get himself killed by Mum? I’m still a bit jaded after Master Assassin Jarrah’s killshot turned out to be nothing (“help….me”), so the first time through definitely didn’t think that this was the end for Dan. But it was his –centric. And in that very last shot (no pun intended), the final beat of the episode, he kind of seems to give that last exhale. That would be a twisted way to go. But he’s still got to film Chang and beam the footage to Summer 2008. Stew’s almost got me convinced that he expired, but between the pluck and perseverance of Little Ben (I mean, really, to have him survive the exact same circumstance from Sayid just four cliffhangers ago and then to go ahead and have Faraday’s mom take him out from behind just seems wrong) and that Comic-Con tape, I think Faraday is still numbered amongst the living who walk the Island.

At least until he drops ol Jughead on the Swan to stir up an Incident of some kind.

Eyes wide open, begging for it not to be over.