Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Variable

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that we all had big expectations from the 100th episode. As usual, Lost did not let us down. There was action, a little comedy, lots o’ mystery, tragedy and some mighty powerful revelations.

In “The Variables,” we follow three story lines: Penny and Desmond, Daniel's life before the island and the island in 1977, all of which center around the story of Daniel Farraday. Daniel initially showed up on the island with questionable intent, but he has become a pivotal character in the Lost universe. I, for one, have long had a soft spot for Danny boy, from his tragic love for Charlotte to his all too familiar habit of writing in and referring to his journal.

One of last episode’s big cliffhangers was Scottish hottie Desmond’s fate after being shot by Benjamin “I’m going to kill your daughter but I'm a softie for kids” Linus. The show opens with Desmond being rushed into the hospital on a gurney while Penny and baby Charlie run alongside. The tears, they are aflowin’.

Later, as Penny sits in the waiting room, Eloise Hawking comes walking into the room. When this lady comes a calling, you know there’s going to be trouble. She tells Penny that it may be her son’s fault that Desmond was shot. Benjamin Linus is your son!? Penny exclaims. (I said the same thing in my head!) Oh heavens no, says Eloise, my son is Daniel Farraday. Cue the scary music.

Back on the island, circa 1977, we watch as Dharma folk emerge from the submarine. Who should poke out his head asking for a little help but our own Daniel Farraday. “Long time, no see” he says to a stunned Miles. Miles asks why he’s back and Daniel shows him the new recruit picture featuring the beloved Hurley, Kate and Jack. "Make haste! Take me to Jack!" Daniel exclaims.

Daniel bursts in on Jack, but first we are treated to a quick shot of Mr. Fox’s impeccable pecs. Mmmm. Why did you come back, Jack?! Yo mama. My mama what? Yo mama tole me to. Well, I’ve got news for you, you don’t belong here.

Now we flash forward, erm, backward to little Daniel playing a piano. Young(er) Eloise walks in and asks him if he knows what destiny means. No, I’m just a kid. Sheesh. Well, if one has a special gift, then it must be nurtured, she explains. She asks him how many beats on the metronome since he began playing. 864, he replies. (4 and 8? Hmm.) Math is your gift and it is my job to keep you on task, she tells him, and that means you’ll have to give up the piano. I can do both, I can make time, he says. If only you could.

Back on the island, Jack pays a visit to the Sawyer/Juliet abode while Miles and Farraday “run an errand” but Jack nearly gets the door shut in his face by Sawyer before Juliet steps in. I think we all know who wears the Dharma coveralls in that relationship. Sawyer explains that wormy security guy Phil has a tape of Sawyer and Kate taking Ben to the hostiles. Where’s Phil, Jack asks. Sawyer leads him to the closet where we find Phil, bound and gagged on the floor, looking a little less than pleased with his accommodations.

Meanwhile, Miles and Farraday sit in a Jeep outside the Orchid. When Dr. Chang drives up, Daniel follows him into the construction site. We hear Dr. Chang say “If you drill even one centimeter further, you risk releasing that energy. If that happened, then God help us all.”

Daniel puts on a hard hat and sneaks in to the tunnel where he sees a man being carried out on a stretcher. Would that be the fellow with the extremely unfortunate dental work? A worker says to Daniel “Did you hear that? Time travel. How stupid does that guy think we are?”

Daniel introduces himself and tries to convince Dr. Chang that he needs to evacuate the island because they are about to be rocked by an explosion with 30,000 times the power of what they’ve seen underground. When Dr. Chang is not convinced, Daniel resorts to telling him the truth: I’m from the future. Hey, it worked for Marty McFly. Sadly, Doc Chang is not as easily convinced as Doc Brown.

Daniel follows him out. To prove himself, he asks Chang to look at his equations, some of which won’t be discovered for 20 years. Miles sees what’s going down and comes over to say that Daniel had too many drugs on the sub. Daniel then drops the bomb: Miles is your son. I was secretly hoping that Miles would say it was true and we would have a tearful father-son moment, but Miles denies it. Dr. Chang hops into the robin egg VW van and puttputts off. Miles asks Daniel what he is doing and the response is typical Farraday/Hawking mysteriousness “You’ll see.”

We now visit Daniel at his graduation, where he throws about his long wavy locks and canoodles with the doomed Theresa. Eloise walks up and invites him (and only him) to lunch. Once seated at the Indian restaurant (Love me some Tandoori Chicken!), Daniel complains about the way she treated his girlfriend. She tells him he needs to be focusing on work, he doesn’t have time for relationships. The women in his life will only be terribly hurt. Is she trying to spare her son some of the pain of losing Theresa in the lab accident? As the discussion becomes more heated, he reveals that he has just received a 1.5 million pound grant from Charles Widmore. Before she leaves, she says she only came to congratulate him and gives him a gift. It’s the journal we see him looking in so often. The inscription says, “No matter what, remember that I will always love you.”

We return to Daniel’s living room. He’s clearly a shell of the man he used to be (or will become again on the island). He’s watching television news footage of the flight 815 airplane on the ocean floor. There’s a knock at the door and Charles Widmore enters the room. Daniel says he has a condition that affects his memory and he doesn’t recognize him. When Charles tells him his name, Daniel recognizes it from the research grant. As Charles sits down, he moves a Wired magazine with the subtitle “The Impossible Gets Real.” To which I say, INDEED.

Charles says he has come to offer him a new opportunity, but Daniel is distracted by the images of the plane crash. Then Charles comes clean: it’s a fake and I did it. He wants to send Daniel to the island, saying it will further his research and show him things he never dreamed of. More importantly, it will heal him. Charles says he wants to do this because Daniel is a man of tremendous gifts and it would be a shame to let them go to waste. Daniel remarks that he sounds like his mother. Charles says it is because they are old friends. Little did we know how good of friends they used to be, though.

Back in Sawyer’s cabin, Daniel is doing his best to convince Sawyer to show him where the hostiles are so he can find his mom. Jack is on board but Sawyer resists and Juliet seems to be on his side until he calls Kate Freckles. Nobody likes to hear their main squeeze call his old flame their pet name and Juliet is no exception. She turns to Kate and volunteers the code to the fence. With the code in hand, Jack, Kate and Daniel head off into the forest to find Eloise while the rest of the group plan to go back to the beach. As they are leaving, Sawyer grabs a tearful Juliet’s hand and says “Time to go.” So much in just three words. It is the end of their life together on the island and the beginning of an uncertain future that may or may not have the two of them together.

On their way, Daniel sees young Charlotte on a swing. As he approaches, she tells him she’s not allowed to have chocolate before dinner. Ah, the deliciousness of Lost, those were Charlotte’s dying words. He tells her that Dr. Chang will be coming and she and her mommy have to leave. He says “You cannot be here. You have to leave. I tried to avoid telling you this. I didn’t think I could change things, but maybe I can.”

Jack, Kate and Daniel encounter the very cranky and badly coiffed Stuart and some Dharma lackeys as they are getting guns from the Motor Pool. A firefight ensues, old west style, and Daniel is shot in the neck. Jack does the old "fuel canister explosion as diversion" so they can escape. As they drive off, Stuart yells out "Sound the alarm."

Back in his living room, Daniel stumbles in his attempt to play the piano. Eloise walks in and says she heard that he had been offered a job and that it is very important that he accept this opportunity. Now, we had some inclination that Daniel was a momma’s boy, but when he says he’ll do it only after she says it will make her proud, we know for sure.

Jack, Kate and Daniel drive up to the sound barrier and Kate disarms it as Jack treats Daniel’s neck wound. It's just a flesh wound. (Said with British accent.) Daniel says “I guess I’m lucky” Jack asks what luck had to do with it? He thought Daniel said whatever happened, happened? But Daniel squashes that, telling him that this is their present, any one of us can die. That right there is what we call foreshadowing.

As they collect water in a stream, we finally learn the reason Desmond had to punch in those numbers all those years. In four hours, the Dharma guys will drill into a massive pocket of energy and the result will be catastrophic. They will contain the energy in the Swan, otherwise known as “the hatch.” Decades later, when Desmond fails to press the button, it causes the plane to crash and thus the entire chain of events that led to them all being there now.

Here we finally get to the crux of the issue. All along Daniel thought that you can’t change the past. But he spent so much time focusing on the constants that he forgot the variable: PEOPLE. People can change their destiny. He thinks they can destroy the energy under the island by detonating a hydrogen bomb.

We return to the hospital, where Eloise is telling Penny that she’s not sure if Desmond will be okay, that it is the first time in a long time that she didn’t know what was going to happen. A nurse comes out and says that Desmond is in a recovery room and is asking for her. When she goes in, he says “I promised you, Penny, I’d never leave you again.” Now that is love, my friends.

As Eloise walks out of the hospital, Charles Widmore steps out of the shadows. Eloise tells him that Desmond is fine and he should go see his daugher. He says he can't go in because he sacrificed his relationship with her. Eloise cuts him off to say, “don’t talk about sacrifice, I had to send my son back to the island knowing full well that…” Whaaaat?? Charles says, “He’s my son, too.” She slaps him and gets into the cab. Well, hello. Now we know why Charles has been so interested in him all these years.

Daniel walks into the Other camp, guns ablazing, asking for Eloise. Richard plays it cool and says she isn’t there. Daniel asks about the bomb, but still Richard holds out. Daniel begins the time honored tradition of counting to three.

At the count of two, a shot rings out and blood shows up on Daniel’s chest.

Behind him we see Eloise with a rifle in her hands. As she rushes up, Daniel says, “You knew, you always knew, and yet you sent me here anyway.” She asks who he is. I’m your son, he says, and then he goes still.


Best Lines of the Show

Miles: (When Jack looks to him to explain Farraday’s presence.) Don’t look at me, I just carried his luggage.

Sawyer: (To Daniel) Welcome to the meeting, twitchy.

Hurley: You guys were in 1954, like Fonzie times?

Jack: Insane? We disappeared off a plane in midair and ended up in 1977, I’m getting kind of used to insane.

Let's Get Sussing!
  1. Had Eloise just returned from the island where she killed Daniel when she asks him about destiny?
  2. Is the name of the salvage boat, the Christianne One, significant?
  3. Why doesn't Daniel have either Eloise's or Charles' last name?
  4. Has Eloise traveled through time? Is that how she knows everything?
  5. Why is Daniel so troubled by the plane crash on the television?
  6. Is Daniel really dead?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

100th Episode!!!!

Congratulations, cast, crew, and creators of Lost! Reaching the 100th episode is a tremendous feat, and I've certainly enjoyed the past 99 hours spent on this journey.

Read more about tonight's episode here.


Friday, April 17, 2009

"Some Like It Hoth"

Are you kidding me? "Some Like It Hoth?" Best episode title of a television show, ever! I just had to go on record with this.
As I said a couple of weeks ago, Miles and Hurley are the Felix and Oscar of our generation. I'm staking claim on that one, as well as penning the screenplay to The Odd Couple--Part Deux. Lost is a show full of drama, mystery, and serious conspiracy theories, so it's nice to have an episode heavy with comedic moments. We all need to laugh and lighten up a bit. But it wasn't all funnies and happy dances, of course. Let's start with Miles' flashbacks, shall we?

Young Miles talks to dead people. He was adorable and frightened out of his gourd long before Haley Joel Osment and his sixth sense became part of our everyday vernacular.

Still adorable, but now with his gourd heavily pierced, Miles pays his ailing mother a visit, begging her to answer the difficult questions most young adults struggle with: "What is my purpose?" "Will I ever fall in love?" "What will I be when I grow up?" And, of course, "Why do dead people converse with me? Where's my dead dad's body?"(Heather likened Miles' studded, punk appearance to Rufio, King of All the Lost Boys, from the movie Hook. Heather is a genius.)

No longer goth, but clearly working toward being upwardly mobile (i.e. rich!), Miles puts his Ghost Whisperer abilities to use and scams a grieving Mr. Gray. "Yes, your son loved you--now pay up!" Apparently Miles in unable to communicate with the ashes of dead people, so he puts on a feeble game face and soothes Mr. Gray's worried soul. I'd like to say Miles did the right thing by telling Mr. Gray what he wanted to hear. But he demaded a larger payout for his lie. That's just all kinds of wrong, Miles. Greedy is thy middle name!

Showing little remorse, Miles leaves Mr. Gray and has a not-so-causal encounter with Naomi, whom we all know and love as the Parachute Pro. Miles is really digging Naomi's cheese, too. He agrees to a little testing of sorts, which he passes with flying colors. (Oh, Felix...poor, dead Felix...but hey, thanks for giving Miles the scoop on the staged wreckage of Oceanic 815! Was Widmore behind it, or was he merely interested in all those purchase orders?
When Naomi asks him to "Help us find a man," Miles is all, "Um, no." Naomi sings Miles a tune called "$1.6 Million, Baby" and he all but shouts back, "You are the pied piper and I will follow wherever you lead." Of course, Naomi is island bound, and now, so is Miles. With a fat wallet.

I enjoy a good fish taco as much as the next person, so I do not blame Miles' ire at being van-napped by Brawny Bram, who proceeds to toss out intel such as "Widmore is bad!" and "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" Miles' curiosity might not have been piqued, but mine certainly was! Bram explains to Miles that he is capable of revealing the answers Miles has been searching for--his ability to converse with dead people, the real deal behind what went down with his father, and maybe even who actually shot Kennedy. Miles isn't taking the bait, but tells Bram, "OK--I'll refuse the island vacation if you'll pay up--$3.2 million, baby."
Brawny Bram is not the pied piper...he has no tune for Miles to follow. Instead Miles is tossed aside, much like his fish taco. Before the van screeches away, Bram does a little cheer for Miles: Our team is gonna win! Bring it on, Bram! Bring it!

I was thisclose to preaching the "Love of money is the root of all evil" sermon to Miles, but he then paid another visit to Mr. Gray. And by "paid," I mean Miles returned Mr. Gray's money, but not before getting huffy and stomping all over Mr. Gray's heart: "You should have told him (Gray's son) you loved him while he was still living." Ouch!

And we now add Miles to the "Extreme Daddy Issues" club, whose membership is already comprised of Sawyer, Jack, Kate, Hurley, Ben, and Locke. I'm going to make them t-shirts.

Let's resume life on the island...

Wow, Tommy Lasorda is the new manager of the Dodgers! And Miles is so wrapped up in the news that he forgets to delete Sawyer & Kate's Rescue of Ben Shenanigans from the security video. Or maybe he was dumbfounded by Horace's hair?
There have been moments during the past four seasons of Lost when I've questioned the legitimacy of the Dharma Initiative, believing the whole enterprise to be a cult cloaked in the guise of science and research. Horace's little "Circle of Trust" speech confirms this for me. As soon as he finished barking out orders, reminding Miles of the Circle's "no questions asked" policy, I fully expected Horace to add, "Oh, and we'll practice trust falls and sing Kumbayah 'round the campfire later tonight." Miles, dude...if you're offered a refreshing glass of cherry Kool-Aid, run the other way!

The "no questions asked policy" includes delivery of a dead body to Dr. Chang. Oh, and Hurley comes along, toting coolers full of gourmet sandwiches. We know they're gourmet because Chef Hugo prepared them with a fancy-schmancy garlic mayonnaise. Too bad Alvarez missed out. I'm thinking he'd have preferred a ham and cheese sammy to a bullet in the head. Who wouldn't?


Roger "Workman" Linus discovers his boy, Ben, has gone missing, and Juliet's attempts at easing Roger's worried mind fail. When one is bereft on this island, the usual location for the drowning of the sorrows is the Dharma Playground. Where all insightful conversations take place. While drinking a Dharma beer, naturally. (Let me pause for a second and out the obvious anachronism. I'm showing my age here, but when I was a kid in the late 70's, our canned drinks had pull-tab openings. Many summers were spent at the lake with my mother warning, "Watch for drink tabs or you'll cut your feet!" Lost prop team--we'll forgive you this oversight. OK, I'm through.) Kate's concern for Ben immediately rouses Roger's suspicions. Of course.

Next, in the grand tradition that is the budding comedy routine between Miles and Hurley, we have some of my favorite moments of the night, during their jaunt to deliver Dead Alvarez to Dr. Chang: a fart reference, Hurley gushing, "You talk to dead people? I can, too!" and Albert Hammonds singing "It Never Rains In Southern California" on the 8-track. Awesome! (And don't think I didn't love hearing Captain & Tenille in this episode--because I did.)

Dr. Chang is none too pleased at Hurley's presence in the Circle of Trust and seals Hurley's silence with talk of Hydra Island's polar bear feces.

We then come to Why I Want To Marry Hurley, Part 1:

Hurley: Dude, that guy's a total douche!

Miles: That douche is my dad.

Oh, snap! Y'all can judge all you want, but Hurley calling Pierre a "douche" is just good programming.

A drunk Roger finds Jack pulling his slack in the Dharma Schoolhouse. Roger inquires of Jack, "Do you know Kate?" And Jack's all, "In the Biblical sense?" OK, not really, but Jack proceeds to psychoanalize Roger, assuring him that Kate is a down girl. For a brief moment, I felt a tug of sadness for Jack. No longer the island bigshoot, he's been reduced to taking orders from Sawyer, pushing a bucket of dirty mop water, and defending Kate's honor to the man who fathered Benjamin Linus. Oh, and he has neither Juliet nor Kate in his kissing corner. Jack needs some lovin'. Just throwing that out there. I'm also hoping for redemption for Jack before this season is over. When he eventually grows a pair (and he will, I'm sure of it) I hope his big heroic moment is worth the wait. And I hope he's not wearing that drab Dharma jumpsuit when it happens.

Hurley lets Dr. Chang ride shotgun as Miles chauffeurs them to the construction of the The Swan, also known as Season 2's Hatch. During the trip Hurley presses Dr. Chang for information, and we then learn of the 3 month old version of Miles. ("Small world!" exclaims Hurley.) We also learn that Chang loves him some country tunes, which clearly horrifies Miles, who at that moment was probably longing for his punk/Goth days.

The Numbers have been making appearances in this episode (more on that later), but we see them together for the first time, as 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42 are being stamped into the Hatch's lid. Oh, the numbers...will we ever learn their importance? On their jouney back to Dharma Village, Miles and Hurley have the conversation I refer to as Why I Want To Marry Hurley, Part 2:

Hurley is writing The Empire Strikes Back, making a few changes as a "favor" to George Lucas. Using his own story about his father's departure during his childhood, as well as Luke and Darth Vader's serious familial struggles, Hurley discusses the "Daddy Issue" situation between Miles and Dr. Chang. Hurley is brilliant. Especially for saying, "The Ewoks suck, dude." Yes, I am totally in love with Hurley.

Back in Dharmaville, Sawyer comes home from a hard day's work and wants nothing more than to unload on Juliet. In more ways than one, I'm certain. (Ahem.) But Jack is there, informing Juliet of Roger's suspicions of Kate. Way to kill the mood, Doc. Before Sawyer can get kick back and relax, Phil bounds up on LeFleur's porch, exclaiming, "I'm telling on you!" (Darn that Miles for not erasing the monitoring tape!) Clearly Phil has underestimated The Head of Security, and within seconds Phil is facedown on the floor. And do we love that Saywer and Juliet keep restraining rope in their Dharma domicile? We do.

Despite what his mother has previously told him, Miles gets a firsthand view of a father who not only adored him, but also lovingly read him kiddie polar bear tales. (While he's dressed in a Dharma onesie, coming soon to a Hot Topic near you, I'm certain.) We see Miles surly demeanor crumble when his father asks for help, stating, "Miles, I need you." Miles' choaked response, "You do?" was brilliantly played by Ken Leung. There's a lot more to the father/son dynamic between these two, but Miles now has a small bit of resolution to his daddy issues. Awwwww.

A team of scientists has arrived to the island from Ann Arbor and the very first thought I was was, "If we see the DeGroots I'll run circles around my house!" Alas, I stayed firmly ensconced in my warm bed. Until I saw him:
Now most of you were probably impressed at seeing our beloved Daniel Faraday once again, especially with his greeting to Miles: "Long time no see!" I, however, was ready to run circles around my house. Please love this moment with me, because it's a Very Big Deal...for the very first time ever, Daniel is not rocking the skinny tie. Amazing! Cue the end credits.

While watching this episode I was struck by the many references to the numbers--4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42:

*The time, 3:16, on the microwave in the apartment, in the opening scene. (16, of course, and 316 being the flight number on Ajira Airways, which brought the gang back to the island.)

*Horace tells Miles to retrieve a package from Grid 334.

*The mention of Miles' $1.6 million payout.

*The Sports Illustrated Cover of Tommy Lasorda--"After 23 years..."

*Security camera 4.

*The dead man, discovered by young Miles, in Apartment 4.

There are most likely more mentions of the numbers (please be sure to comment if you caught any!), and since this episode was so heavy with them, I have to believe they are coming into play once again. favorite moment in this episode actually did not occur during the show. Bear with me for a moment while my Science Fiction-loving self gets a little giddy on y'all. After Juliet lies to Roger about not knowing anything regarding Young Ben's disappearance, Roger storms out of the infirmary, shouting, "I'm getting security." Juliet turns to Kate and says, " we go." Immediately following her pronouncement, we cut to a commercial for the new Star Trek film, produced by Lost's own Damon Lindelof and directed by Lost's creator, J.J. Abrams. Well-played, y'all. You had me squeeing, most definitely. "Here we go," indeed.

Lingering episode questions for the sussing:

*How, why, and when did Daniel leave the island? And is it true that "whatever happened, happened" or is Daniel trying to change the timeline?

*What's this Bram the van-napper up to? Whom is he working for? What's all this team stuff he's going on about? Why didn't he offer to buy Miles a new fish taco?

*Was the "incident" the reason for Miles and his mother's departure from the island? Why did Lara and Pierre part on bad terms?

Let's discuss, please.

A sidenote from me--the last few days have been super crazy for me and my family. I cannot even being to tell you how busy we've been, hence the reason for the delay in getting this post up. Thanks for your patience. Forgive any mistakes I've made, too!

Michael Emerson on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Michael Emerson was a guest on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night!  In case you missed it, here is video of the interview:

Did anyone know he had a career as an illustrator before he became an actor?  And those drawings were creepy!  Awesome... but, creepy nonetheless.  

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Recap Coming Soon!

Did y'all love last night's episode? Oh my stars, we loved it. LOVED IT! And we have lots to say about it...however, due to life being a little hectic today, the recap will be up later than usual. So please come back tomorrow to suss with us. And thanks for being patient!

In the meantime...
If you have a free moment, head on over to Long Live Locke and show "e" some support. Our favorite Lost blogger has had a tough week. The Lost community is generally a supportive one, full of fun, interesting, and intelligent people who love to discuss this most fabulous show. "e" puts an extraordinary amount of thought and time into her weekly episode recaps, and some lame-o wannabe has outright plagarized her posts, as well as stolen from other well-known Lost bloggers. Not. Cool. At. All.

Finally, our very own Sawyer became a daddy a week ago! Josh Holloway & his wife welcomed their daughter on April 9. People has the story here.

See y'all later!!!

(Edited to add: The post will be up later than I originally expected. Please forgive me and my life, which is definted by the term hectic. Also, please know that the recap will feature a plethora of goodies, including the term "douche," a reference of the movie Hook, and my impassioned plea to includes a marriage proposal. Just sayin'.)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Dead Is Dead"

After watching what can only be described as one of the most-awesomest episodes ever, the realization hit me... I will be in some serious mourning when "Lost" is over.

In my opinion, "Dead Is Dead" just proves this show is one of the finest hours of television. This Ben-centric episode was not only my favorite of Season 5... but may just be my favorite episode of the entire show (well, so far). We were treated to seeing the (all too brief) return of Desmond and Penny, more of Widmore's time on the Island... and some mighty fine acting from Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn.

Dear Emmy Voters: It is high time the brilliant Michael Emerson gets the recognition he deserves. Thank you.

Oh, another way I know it's a good episode is when I receive text messages from Lula such as:
  • "So good. Loving it."
  • "This RULES! So good!"
  • "Dude, this is awesome!"

OK, time to get on with this recap. I want to start with Widmore. Charles was not too happy with He of the Heavily-lined Eyes for bringing Lil' Ben into their temple... Widmore didn't care that it was "just a boy" who was dying. But when Alpert said, "Jacob wanted it done... the Island chooses who the Island chooses, you know that", Widmore seemed to accept Lil' Ben would be one of them.

The next time we see Widmore, it's when Ben returns to their camp with the baby Alex. Widmore again shows no love towards kids when he orders Ben to kill Alex. Yeesh, what does this guy have against children?

Widmore's banishment from the Island was an interesting scene. We learn Widmore has been exiled for "breaking the rules" (leaving the Island regularly and having a daughter with an outsider). We know the daughter to be Penny... so this would mean Ellie/Eloise is not Penny's mother. Unless... Ellie/Eloise was also banished from the Island at some point prior to this, and is therefore considered to be an "outsider".

The last we see of Widmore in this episode is when he's received a phone call from Ben, who is at the marina in Los Angeles. Ben tells Widmore he's going back to the Island, but first he's going to kill Widmore's daughter.

Which leads me to Desmond and Penny! I was euphoric to see my favorite couple... yet anxious at the same time, afraid of what was going to happen...

Seriously, this scene was hard for me to watch...

I had to keep my hand over my mouth, lest my screams of "No! No! Nnnooooooo!!!!" wake up my sleeping children.

Before Ben can off Penny, Little Charlie appears:

Now, I do think Ben wouldn't have gone through with his plans to kill Penny. But he does hesitate, and we get to see that it was Des who beat the living daylights out of Ben.

So we've seen Ben refuse to kill Danielle and Baby Alex... and then he can't (or won't) kill Penny because of Little Charlie... who knew Badass Ben was a big ol' softie when it comes to moms and kids?

I'm going to touch base on what went down with Sun and Lapidus before moving onto the meat of the episode (i.e, Ben, Locke and Smokey).

What I found interesting about this whole scene was that Ben did not know Jack, Kate, Hurley, et al. were in the Dharma Initiative...

...but later he does remember he was healed by the Temple as a kid. Hmmm...

Lapidus is all, "peace out, crazy sauce... I'm not sticking around here with a murderer and a dead guy" and leaves to go back to the Hydra. When he gets there, Lapidus is told by a Red Shirt that Ilana and three others have found guns and have taken over. When Lapidus confronts Ilana (who is wrestling with the same crate we saw earlier in the episode), she asks him "What lies in the shadow of the statue?"

Marshallette-turned-bounty-hunter-chick say what?!

"What lies in the shadow of the statue?" has to be some sort of riddle/password. Unfortunately for Lapidus, he doesn't know the answer, so this earns him a rifle-butt to the head.

Ilana tells the other guy with her to "get everyone else, tell them it's time"... get who else? And "it's time" for what? There's more to Ilana than we first thought. Who is she really working for? What is in the crate?

One more thing about Ilana and her cronies... I think it's safe to guess these are the ones who were in the outrigger, chasing Locke, Sawyer, Juliet and the other time-trippers back in episode 4 ("The Little Prince).

Alright, it's time for the main course (also known as why Michael Emerson deserves an Emmy).

When Ben wakes to find none other than "I-used-to-be-dead" Locke staring him down, he is obviously surprised.

Locke calls Ben out on this, and Ben covers for his look of utter disbelief by saying "it's one thing to believe it John... it's another thing to see it". Then Ben admits the reason he was trying to make it over to the main island was to be judged by... "the monster".

Ben is a master spinner of tales... do we believe Ben knew Locke would come back?

The scene with Ben and Caesar on the beach, discussing Locke... I thought this was Ben, doing what he does best.  Lying, scheming... manipulating Caesar into doubting what Locke has told him about Ben...

Caesar tells Ben "I got your back" and shows he's packing heat (by means of a sawed-off shotgun).

Later, when Locke finds Ben in hopes to "talk about the elephant in the room"... the fact that it was Ben who killed Locke. Ben's explanation is that Locke had failed to convince the O6 to come back to the island, and that he had to stop Locke from killing himself because Locke had information that would have died with him. Once Ben had the critical info... "well, I just didn't have the time to talk you back into hanging yourself" ...oy, the eye roll Ben does before delivering this line is brilliant! Ben goes on to say he did what he did because it was "in the best interest of the island".

Locke's reply to this was one of the best lines of the episode: "I was just hoping for an apology."

I can honestly say that what happened next... I totally did not see coming! Locke and Ben are trying to take a canoe over to the main island when they are stopped by Caesar. Ben has already planted doubts about Locke in Caesar's mind... so Caesar goes to grab his gun, but...

BAM! Ben shoots Caesar then says to Locke: "Consider that your apology."

No one else has a problem with Ben and Locke taking the canoe... so they're on their merry way to the main island.

It's after they dock at the main island that Locke says he believes Ben is lying about being judged for coming back to the Island after he'd left (which was against the rules)... but rather Ben wants to be judged for killing his daughter.

Which brings us to Ben's judgement day. Ben does summon Smokey... but the monster doesn't show.  So Locke decides they have to go to it, and he knows just where to go.  Into the jungle they trek, finally ending up at the temple.

In the underground chamber Ben has fallen into, we see hieroglyphics all over the walls, including one very important mural:

Is this Anubis bowing down to Smokey?!

I had chills watching the rest of the episode unfold... Smokey rises out of a grate in front of Ben, swirling around him. Ben then sees memories of Alex... from taking her from Danielle, to Alex's death at the hands of Keamy.

Smokey then leaves, but reappears in the form of Alex. Ben apologizes to "Alex", finally admitting it was all his fault.  "Alex" doesn't disagree with this... then brings out her/its own inner-Ninja on Ben by pinning him to a column.  "Alex" tells Ben she/it knows Ben is planning on killing Locke again but he better think twice about doing so.  In fact, "Alex" wants Ben to promise he will follow Locke's orders, otherwise she/Smokey will destroy him. Ben swears he will follow Locke and "Alex" disappears.

The result of Ben's judgement: "It let me live."

For now, Ben... you live, for now. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

Sorry, I got carried away...

OK, everyone... what did you think of this episode? What questions did this episode leave you pondering?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

"Whatever Happened, Happened."

By the end of Episode 11, I realized I was mistaken in my recap from last week. When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong. Lost proves again and again that we, the viewers, are incorrect in our assumptions more often than correct. It's why we love the show--the unknowns, the surprises, the unbelivables, the brilliant acting, and the myriad of manners in which we attempt to suss out what the heck is going on here?

Last week I mused, "We now realize part of the reason why Ben is the way he is," in reference to Roger, Ben's no-count daddy. I retract that statement, with apologies to Roger, especially for stating, "He sucks and got what was coming to him in the purge." Dang, that was harsh of me.

The crux of 'Whatever Happened, Happened" is that we now know why Ben is the way he is. The irony of it is so delicious I can barely type these words without dancing around my living room. Ben essentially becomes the man we all love to hate...because of Jack. Jin. Sayid. Kate. Juliet. And Sawyer.

I could stop right there and say, "End of story," but what fun would that be? Especially when we get to see this woman again:
Jumping right into Kate's flashback here (because the opening scenes were boring--Jin rescues Ben Junior, Horace bores his people with a bunch of lame safety talk, and Kate meets Roger...yada-yada-yada...), I confess zero surprise at seeing our gal Cass on the other side of that door. In a manner of seconds the viewer learns (a) Kate's theme music is always provided by Patsy Cline, (b) the people in young Aaron's life are seriously in love with Perry Como's "Catch a Falling Star," and (c) what Saywer whispered to Kate before his heroic helicopter leap.

Cassidy then proves she has a clue, and also earns my respect by naming Kate's game before Kate herself even realizes the facade is falling. Witness:

*Cassidy instantly knows Kate is lying--about the money, about Aaron, and about Sawyer.

*She shamelessly calls Kate out, all but saying, "Girl, the jig is up." The Eagles sang it best, "You can't hide your lying eyes, and your smile is a thin disguise..." Now this should be Kate's theme song. Why has no one else been bold enough to wag a finger at Kate's numerous falsehoods? (With the exception of the U.S. Marshall, may he rest in peace.) Rock on, Cassidy.

Back in present, present as in 1977 of course, the Head of Security springs into action, dutifully checking the Dharma perimeter monitors, dismissing Kate, and dispatching Miles to place Jack, Kate and Hurley on house arrest. What a man, what a leader...yes, our Sawyer has become a productive member of society. Granted, it's Dharma's society, but still.

Juliet commences with her attempts at saving Ben's life, and we are treated to yet another gory surgery, Lost-style. (Remember the days of the Marshall and his protruding shrapnel? Boone's almost-amputation? Jack's appendectomy?)

Look at all that blood! Panicking, Juliet tells Saywer she needs a surgeon to assist her in the OR, which is code for, "Go get Jack!" Upon Saywer's summonsing of his services, Jack intones, "Dude, I'm a janitor now, so unless it's a stopped-up toilet, don't be asking me to get my hands dirty." Jack's actual response,"Then he dies," is so Ben-like in its delivery, I almost expected Dr. Shephard to bellow a hearty, "Bwahahahaha!" Or at least go all bug-eyed.

We viewers are then treated to what I hereby procclaim to be the best scenes of Season 5 thus far. Oscar and Felix's time-travel bantering was my favorite part of last night's episode of The Odd Couple.

OK, so it was really Hurley and Miles but seriously...they were The Odd Couple. And Hurley was the audience's proxy, voicing his (and ours!) confusion at all this time travel stuff. Is it similar to Back to the Future? (Did we love Hurley checking his hand to determine if he's in the beginning stages of a slow fade? We did.) Is Daniel Faraday with Doc Brown and the Delorean? And when will we hear the strains of "Johnny B. Goode," or "Earth Angel?"

When Hurley attempts to understand Miles' explanation of time travel, lamenting, "That was confusing," know that the writers of Lost just gave the audience one big wink. The conversation between these two could be a verbatim recap of what Lost fans have debated for the past couple of years. Thank you, writers and producers of Lost, for acknowledging a very confused fanbase. This was sheer brilliance:

Miles (after Hurley has asked why Adult Ben didn't recognize Flight 815er Sayid as the man who shot him as a child): "Huh...hadn't thought of that."

Hurley (arms smugly crossed): "Huh!"


Meanwhile Kate morphs into a pensive do-gooder, gently giving Jack a smackdown for his refusal to help save Young Ben. (Uh, Hippocratic Oath, anyone?) Jack, who minutes earlier was channeling evil Big Ben, now embraces his inner John Locke, telling Kate he's been getting in the island's way.

Kate: "I don't like the new you."

Jack: "You didn't like the old me, Kate."

You know The Good Shephard wanted to give Kate two snaps and a head shake, then twirl on his heals and sashay out of the room, leaving her looking like this:

Kate 8.0, the upgraded model, continues in her random acts of selflessness, donating her blood for Wee Ben's survival. This means Ben has Kate's blood in his veins. OK, that's just creepy, y'all. We also learn, via her conversation with Roger, that Ben's daddy is really just a meanie pants when he's drunk. Roger really does care for his son. Kate also denies having any children. Whoops, her true colors are showing again. (Y'all knew I was gonna go there.)

I also want to point out the oblique comment Roger makes regarding "LeFleur": "Bastard doesn't ask any questions he doesn't know the answers to." It's said in passing (regarding Sawyer's inquiry into the whereabouts of Roger's set of janitor keys), but I'm staking claims we were meant to notice Roger's little appraisal of Sawyer. For the record. Plus, I enjoy any appraisal of Sawyer. Sigh.

Juliet, looking like the Angel of Mercy, with the little halo-effect braids atop her head, tells Kate that Ben is going to die. Oh, but The Others can help him! The other Others, that is. (Yeah, Juliet used to be an Other. Then she rallied with the Oceanic 815ers. Now she's a Dharma Gal. So this makes Richard and his people the other Others. Got that? Good.)

Embroiling themselves in more island subterfuge, Kate and Juliet agree to get Ben to the Others. Kate, proving that she is not only a hero, but also well aware of Juliet's relationship with Sawyer, regards Juliet and the life she's built in Dharmaville over the past three years. Had she allowed Juliet to sneak off with her and Pale Ben, Kate knows "Sawyer would kill me!" Wow...has Kate found a clue about reality in just the two days since her return to the island?

Flash forward to the scene in the grocery store, of Kate losing Aaron. Kudos to Evangeline Lily! She did an amazing job conveying the feeling of despair a mother experiences when her child seems to disappear in a manner of seconds. (You mothers will agree with me--we've all been there.)

The sole purpose of this scene was to set up Kate's reasoning for returning to the island. I won't rehash the conversation between Kate and Claire's mother, Carole, because I'm certain we all ascertained weeks ago that Aaron was handed over to his grandmother before Kate boarded the flight to "Guam." Kate's farewell to little Aaron was heartbreaking, and I found myself actually feeling remorse for Miss Austen, for the very first time. This must have been the day Kate 8.0 was uploaded. Cough-cough.

Back on the island, at the Zap-To-It fence, Kate witnesses Sawyer on his trusty steed (or VW van, whatever), presumably galloping to halt her from absconding with the wounded Ben. When he refers to her as "Freckles," my heart dropped. I'm not trying to make Lost into a version of Days of Our Lives (as my brother-in-law refers to all the "relationship stuff" on the show), but I am wholeheartedly against any loving feelings between these two. They've lost that loving feeling. It's gone. Whoa-oh-oh-ohhhh.

Juliet has convinced Sawyer it is wrong to let a kid die, even if that kid would eventually grow into the Ben we all know and love/hate, and this is why Sawyer is there to help. Sawyer tells Kate, "I'm doing it for her." Her=Juliet. Me=Happy! The look on Kate's face when she realizes Sawyer really does love Juliet is utterly priceless. I almost felt badly for her. Almost. But not quite.

Back in Dharmaville, Juliet goes gangbusters on an April Fresh Jack. When he first stepped from that shower I had a Dallas flashback: "Dude, if this becomes a Bobby Ewing/it was all a dream scenario, I will shoot my television!"
Alas, it's not Bobby Ewing. Merely a gratuitous, almost-naked scene of Matthew Fox, for which I say "thank you" to Lost's powers-that-be. Yep.

For the second time today Jack is on the other end of a verbal smackdown, this one delivered by Juliet. Furious at Jack for being unwilling to help with Ben's surgery, Juliet tells Dr. Shephard that they (the left behinders) didn't need saving, and that he "better figure out why" he came back to the island. Are we all in agreement that Jack has relinquished every ounce of the leadership status he once maintained with this group of people? Here's to hoping that having Kate and Juliet up in his face will convince our doctor to grow a pair and get with the program. While keeping out of Sawyer's way. Ahem.

Back to The Saving Of Ben, 1977 Edition: After a bit of light conversation ("Dangit, I ain't fit to be your boyfriend or Clementine's daddy, but hey--in the past 3 years I've grown up, Kate!"), some gamey-looking Hostiles capture Kate, Sawyer, and a fading fast Ben. The Head of Security has no fear, however..."Take us to Richard!" he commands.

Richard saunters from the jungle, effectively answering the question we've pondered since season did Ben change sides, from being with the Dharma Initiative to being one with Jacob? The answer? Oh, Kate and Sawyer handed Ben over to Richard, that's how. Easy-peasy, all wrapped up nicely, no? Of course not.

Before Sawyer gives Ben to Richard, He Of The Heavily-lined Eyes states the conditions of Ben's tranfser:

1. "If I take him, he's not ever gonna be the same again." Check.

2. "He'll forget this ever happened." Good. Check.

3. "His innocence will be gone." Um...wait, what?

4. "He will always be one of us." Gotcha. Check.

I waited for either Sawyer or Kate to ask what Richard meant by Ben's "innocence" being gone. Did Richard have plans to leave Ben in a community shower and just wait for him to drop the soap? Ew. Clearly, Kate and Sawyer were not concerned...they were all, "Take the kid--peace out, homeslice!" And in that moment, I believe both Kate and Sawyer realize the enormity of the situation.

Let me break down the enormity for you:

*Sayid shoots Kiddie Ben.

*Jin brings wounded Kiddie Ben to Juliet.

*Juliet attempts to save Kiddie Ben.

*Jack refuses to assist Juliet in her efforts to save Kiddie Ben.

*Kate sides with Juliet, goes off on Jack, shares her own blood with Kiddie Ben, and becomes an ambulance driver (VW van, whatever). (She's quite the heroine.)

*Sawyer trudges through the jungle carrying Kiddie Ben, eventually handing the child over to He of the Heavily-lined Eyes.

*The equation is as follows:

Sayid+Jin+Juliet+Jack+Kate+Sawyer=Why Kiddie Ben Becomes Benjamin Linus, The Man, The Myth, and The Legend. Way to go, Oceanic 815 survivors (and Juliet)...good job!

Dismissing a random Other's warning about Ellie and Charles (!), Richard takes Ben to The Temple. I don't think they were going for a prayer service, either.

Thirty years later, Adult Ben wakes up in the Hydra Station, John Locke sitting by his bedside.

"Hello, Ben. Welcome to the land of the living."

Are you kidding me? Fantastic ending! Ben is in shock while Locke is as calm, confident, and smug as we've ever seen him. Man, I love me some John Locke. Man, I love this show.

Questions for sussing:

*What happens in The Temple to change Ben into the man we all love to hate?

*Do you believe Kate really returned to the island to look for Claire, as she told Carole? Or is this just my wishful thinking?

*What will Sayid be doing when we next see him?

*Where in the heck-ola are Bernard and Rose?

Oh much to discuss. And...GO!