Sunday, February 24, 2008

Season 4, Episode 4: "Eggtown"

Rarely do I get too "deep" in this here blog, but the title of this week's show ("Eggtown") was too strange not to investigate just a little bit. And in perusing some of the sites that I steal from to formulate these recaps, I came across a very intriguing analysis of the title's meaning. In short, "eggs" could refer to a number of fairly straightforward aspects of the episode - from the last two eggs that Locke cooks for Ben, or Locke's reference to the "easter eggs" we love to find in each episode ("you might catch something you missed the next time around"), or even to Kate's "pregnancy" - but the most interesting analogy could be the most obvious: what comes first, the chicken or the egg? This "cause and effect" visual is unbelievably appropriate for a show like Lost, and for most of this season we have been seeing only the "effects" (read: flash forwards) of what has happened in the past (Island rescue). In other words, we are maddeningly kept in the dark as to what caused Oceanic 6 to make it off the Island, or what caused Sayid to start working for Ben, or what caused a Polar Bear to end up in a desert in Tunisia, or...I think you get the point. Obviously, this type of storytelling has been prevalent for the whole series, but it has really come to a head here in season 4. It can be a frustrating game to play, but at the same time I think the hole between future and present is shrinking, and soon we will learn more and more about the chickens that created these eggs. Or not. After all, Locke did kill one out back for dinner....

(to read more on this topic, check out Luhks excellent recap here)

And now on to the actual episode. I knew that we were in for a good one when it started with ole' eyeball opening shot. This is a picture that has shown itself throughout the series...and it usually precedes rather "revealing" episodes (I was gonna say "eye opening" but just couldn't bring myself to do it). It was no different in the case. Some things we learned:

Ben still owns Locke.

Just as Locke was getting comfy in Ben's Other house and feeling pretty good about the little dictatorship he's got going on with this group, Ben totally F's with his mind like it's nothing. Great scene between the two was like old times. But Ben's right on this one, Locke seems "more Lost than ever" at this point in the season. No one has told him what to do in a while now, and it's starting to show. We'll have to see what ends up happening here, but we know for a fact that at least Hurley and Ben get out of his grasp. And in another nod to Locke's transformation from "hey I can walk now; this place is great" guy to "THIS IS NOT A DEMOCRACY" asshole was summed up nicely with the brief backgammon game that he and Sawyer started. If you remember, back in Season 1 Locke taught Walt about backgammon, and played with the white pieces. Now in his game with Sawyer, he's turned to the black side... (Cue evil laughter...)

Miles is in it for the cash.

As expected, Miles doesn't really give a shit about his Freighter team, or about all the mysterious Island hullabaloo, but he does give a shit about money. He found Ben (with help from Kate and Sawyer), and now it's payday. But why 3.2 million? As Ben states, "why not 3.3, or 3.4?" Ahhh, but how soon we forget about Miles' uncanny ability to read between the lines. Miles struck a cord during that meeting with Ben and his abilities may not be limited to the dead. Ben almost seemed to stop in his tracks once he realized that Miles may have been able to "sense" that 3.2 million may be exactly what Ben is worth...

There were 8 original survivors.

We once again see "pre-breakdown" Jack looking dapper in a flash forward at Kate's trial and has no problem lying under oath about what happened to the eventual Oceanic 6. We can deduce that the 6 survivors spend quite a bit of time conjuring up their story, and it makes sense that they made Kate the hero of the tale. I mean, Sawyer was right, Kate's a fugitive in the real world...why would she want to leave? But she did, so why not make it a little easier for her to get off by making her save a few folks in the process. But in terms of their story, we learn that there were originally 8 survivors, but that only 6 eventually made if off? So who are the other two? And why make your story more complicated by adding them in? Maybe just so that it sounds a little bit more realistic? I guess having two people die from injuries after a plane crash is very plausible. Ok. But then, who are the other two? My guess is that they will turn out to be Shannon and Boone. I mean, I know plenty of other folks died (the entire tail section, Dr. Artz, ect), but Shannon and Boone make a nice little package, being quasi-family and all. I'm sure we'll find out eventually, but I definitely thought it was interesting that they added such detail to a story that is completely false. I wonder if that will come to haunt them in the end. After all, we eventually see how sick Jack becomes of living all the lies.

Daniel Faraday is ... special.

The scene where Daniel and Charlotte were playing "guess this card" was more interesting than it originally seemed. Some folks are chalking Daniel's failure of being able to go three for three on the cards as another one of the Islands mind-fucks. Meaning, that in some way, the cards actually changed from what they were after they were put face down. I mean, Faraday's a genius physicist, so he should be able to remember three cards, right? Well maybe not. We recently learned that in the first scene of the first episode this year, where Daniel is seen inexplicably crying as he watched the flight 815 rescue footage, that the woman in the scene with him is his caretaker, and not his wife or significant other (we learned this by watching the "enhanced" repeat version of the show - these versions run at 8p every Thursday and show the previous week's show with pop up factoids). Add that to the fact that Daniel has so far continually showed us that he's...a little off. Something is going on with him. The best guess so far is that he suffers from some sort of short term memory loss. Think about it, he couldn't remember why he was crying at the TV, he couldn't remember a simple three card Monty set up, and he regularly just seems out of it. But then why bring a "head case" (Naomi's words) onto such a mission? Could it be that only he knows something crucial about the Island, but can't remember exactly what?

Kate's a baby mamma!

Well then. In true Lost shocker form, we learn that Kate's "baby" is in fact Aaron (Claire's son...I hate to have to spell this out, but I got an alarming amount of questions as to who Aaron was). I have no answers to this development, and we are clearly stuck again with an effect that currently has no cause. But I think we can assume that Claire dies. How she dies, I have no idea. But let's not also forget that Aaron was basically deemed to be the "world's evilest baby" by that psychic that Claire saw in Australia. Again, not sure what's happening there, but it's important to remember. And while we're on the topic of Aaron, do we deem him to be one of the "Oceanic 6"? At first I said no, but the more I think about it, I can be convinced that he is. I mean, regardless of Kate's lie about the situation, the baby was born on the Island, and has now been rescued. I guess whether or not baby Aaron was indeed a "life" yet during the crash is a question that only an abortion clinic bomber can answer, but I think that until we hear otherwise, it's plausible that Aaron is our 5th survivor. He was rescued off the Island, after all.

Man, I think that's all I got this week. I thoroughly enjoyed "Eggtown" though, and hope that the rest of the season continues to be as strong as the start. And in what better way to end the post about "Eggtown" than to have a few Easter eggs:

Books, books, books...they are everywhere in Lost. Of particular interest this week though was what Sawyer was reading: "The Invention of Morel." A brief summary of the plot:

"A fugitive hides on a deserted island somewhere in Polynesia. Tourists arrive, and his fear of being discovered becomes a mixed emotion when he falls in love with one of them. He wants to tell her his feelings, but an anomalous phenomenon keeps them apart."


Remember this dude outside of the courtroom in the Flash Forward? Well, no one could understand what he yelled at Kate until someone played it backwards. What he said: "we hate you!" Why would anyone hate a hero??

I really wanted to find a picture of the "Breakfast Grenade" that Locke fed Miles but couldn't. There were no easter eggs or mysteries there (although I suppose you could argue that the grenade is yet another homage to an egg), I just thought that it was a wildly imaginative way to torture someone. Kudos to Locke for that one...Sayid has apparently taught you well.

See you next week....

Monday, February 18, 2008

Season 4, Episode 3: "The Economist"

And the hits just keep on coming...quite literally this time. In another strong episode, we learn quite a bit about Sayid's future "Head Hunting" career, but are still left with a number of burning questions heading into the episode 4. Like how did Sayid get to be Ben's little henchman? Why are they killing people and who is this mysterious "Economist?" In order to try and fully understand these questions, let's go back to something that has happened in the past - something that many of you may not be aware of - to try and explain what Sayid is doing, and more importantly, why he's doing it.

What you need to know first is a summary of plotline that was explained through an "alternate reality game" (called "Find815") that the producers of Lost created for fans during the off-season. In short, it was a scavenger hunt of clues that led fans to understand how the wreckage of flight 815 was found. So that you can impress all of your Lost friends, a brief recap of the game's storyline follows:

Sam Thomas' girlfriend, Sonya, was a flight attendant on flight 815. Sam was very upset upon losing the love of his life to the crash, but also suspicious about how no remains were ever found. So after doing some initial research (Sam worked as a computer technician for Oceanic, so he had some access...and more importantly, some questions), Sam decided that he wanted to take a look in the Pacific himself for the wreckage. He talked his way onto the Christian I, a salvage ship that was on a mission to find a slave ship from the late 1800s called the "Black Rock" that had sunk in the same area as 815 had gone down (we of course know that the Black Rock crashed ashore the Island). While on the ship, Sam received some very cryptic emails from an organization called the "Maxwell Group." At first he just thought they were junk since the bodies of the messages were just numbers, but soon he realized that they were codes for coordinates and other messages that only he would understand (like terms of endearments that he and Sonya would say to each other in private). After persuading the Christian I's captain to take a look at the area of the coordinates that he'd received, they realized that they had indeed found what they thought at the time was the Black Rock. But when they actually dove down to the ocean floor for a closer look, they of course found the remains of Flight 815 (!). The tale end of this storyline was obviously shown in Episode 2 of this season. See the full description of the game here on Lostpedia.

So the major points that can be taken from this arc are that 1) The Maxwell Group was behind placing the fake Flight 815 wreckage in the ocean, and 2) The Maxwell Group clearly used Sam to lead the Christian I to "find" the evidence of the remains. But why?

My guess is because the people from the Maxwell Group feel that the 815 story needs closure. Once every one knows that the flight is found and that there were no survivors, the world can move on. And while the world moves on they won't notice that the Maxwell folks will stick around the area and look for the Island. And once they find it, they may need to "get rid" of any survivors that are there, especially anyone that isn't Ben. I mean, no one's going to miss them anyways, right? There already dead. They just need Ben, anyway, and if anyone gets in their way, they are expendable.

So could it be possible that Micheal Abaddon, the scary dude who gave Naomi her orders to find Ben on the Island, is at the head or near the head of this "Maxwell Group?" And could it be that the Maxwell Group is just a cover for old Dharma folks that want payback? And is it entirely crazy for me to think that Abaddon could be Elsa's boss, the elusive "Economist" that Sayid is looking to kill?

Probably. But I do think that there is a connection here somewhere. Whether or not Elsa's boss is Abaddon isn't really the point...the point is that Ben knows who ALL of these people are, and because of their knowledge of the Island, and because of their desire to get back (or get Ben), they need to be eliminated. Don't forget that both Naomi and Elsa had the same bracelet on...I think this clue is the strongest piece of evidence that links Abaddon to both the Freighter folks and flash forwards. (The bracelets probably aren't sentimental pieces of jewelry, they could be GPS tracking devices or something of that nature so that their "bosses" can keep track of them...hence the incription, "always be with you - RG") (I also kind of think that "R.G." could be Regina from the boat...and actually could be her sister ((they sound exactly the same, and a code's just a code...doesn't mean that she can't have a sister)), but one theory at a time)

Another connection to this theory is Ben's ability to wrangle Sayid into this elaborate plan to eliminate all the people on his "List." But doing so is simple; he just exploits Sayid's feelings for his friends that are left behind. Trademark Ben manipulation...he's telling Sayid that the "only way to protect them" is to follow his plan. While Sayid may be a trained killer, his heart still wins most of his personal battles, as we've seen with his Iraqi girlfriend, Shannon, and now Elsa. In the end, it was too easy for Ben. Sayid may have "sold his soul" by trusting Ben, but in his mind he had no choice, the well being of his friends came first. Bottom line, if Ben's enemies are allowed to live, they could potentially threaten the lives of all of the people that remain on the Island. Sayid's friends.

Now of course, there's some other stuff that happens in the episode. Stoner Daniel sets up a little experiment showing that Island time is 31 minutes slower than Freighter. I have no answers for this. Obviously there are plenty of space time wrinkle theories out there, but I don't get it. How can they communicate in real time with the Freighter if the Island exists in a different time than the rest of the world? Yeah, I don't know either.

And on to Locke's group: did anyone else find it interesting that they have basically come full circle from being victims to being hostiles? Or in other words, from "losties" to the new "others?" The elaborate traps, taking hostages, bringing freshly brewed Iced Tea to said hostages (not exactly a nicely cut grilled cheese or a hamburger, but they're still learning)'s great. But for the first time we see a sense of uncertainty with Locke this week. He can't find the cabin, and Tall Walt is no where to be seen...who's going to tell him what to do?

And speaking of this hostage situation...everyone remember that Sayid was thrown into the "barracks" (or rec room, whatever) with only Ben before Locke showed up with beverages? Well, who knows how long they were in there for. Maybe they got to talking. Maybe Ben was doing some is a little strange that Sayid insisted on going to the Freighter alone....hmmm.

So there was more, but this is long enough as it is...and I might be even more confused than when I started. Lost seems to be throwing everything but the kitchen sink at us this season, and I say keep it coming.

Programming note: it looks as if the cast and crew will start shooting new episodes in March and will return with about 5 new episodes this spring. That will bring the tally up to 13 for the year. While there were supposed to be 16 episodes total, the writers felt confident that they could squeeze the plotlines into 13, which probably makes sense since they usually have 2-3 "filler" eps a season anyways. Good news!

Till next week!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Season 4, Episode 2: "Confirmed Dead"

Well then. Hmmmm. You see, summarizing episodes like this is pretty difficult. What we saw this week was an episode that offered a WHOLE lot of questions and virtually no answers (well, I guess that's like 98% of other Lost episodes, but you know what I mean). What it did accomplish was setting up the premise for what Season 4 will likely revolve around. What we know coming out of this is that 4 new characters are on the Island, searching for Ben, and that eventually 6 Losties make their way off. What lies in between is pretty much a giant question mark.

But with that said...let's see what we can scrounge up on these freighter folks (or "boaties" as they are being nicknamed by fans). We are first introduced to Daniel Faraday, an emotionally fragile physicist who may or may not have been stoned the entire episode (seriously, he was out there a bit). We know very little about this guy, but I do sense that he'll be an important figure for episodes to come. He's not quite as hell bent on their mission as his compatriots are and seems to actually care about them in some way. Some have even speculated that his backstory was a flash forward, and that he was crying because of his guilt of what may have happened on the Island when he was there. I don't really agree with this (I think they were all flashbacks in this episode), but it's something to think about. Regardless, Daniel seems to be an impressionable guy...I wouldn't be surprised if Locke, Jack, and/or Ben are able to get to him. No doubt they will try.

Miles Straum, resident Ghostbuster. To be honest, I wasn't too psyched to see this paranormal stuff, but Miles seems to be kinda interesting. A few folks have even gone as far to say that he's just a con man that uses his "skills" to make some cash (I mean, seriously, a dust-buster-ghost-finder?) But unlike Daniel, he's all about getting to Ben. The most intense of the new group by far.

On to Charlotte Staples Lewis, aka Miranda from Sex in the City. One very interesting note about her is that she shares the same initials as C.S. Lewis, the writer of the Chronicles of Narnia books. I highlight this only because the Narnia books were about a fantasy world where certain people could jump into a fantasy land where time traveled at a much different pace than in did the real world. And now our resident "CS Lewis" just found a polar bear in the desert. In a show that has certainly flirted with time travel on multiple occasions. Just sayin. But that's all I got for her for now.

And finally we get to the pilot. The drunk, Frank Lapidus. We know very little about this guy as well. He was supposed to fly flight 815 but probably showed up to work drunk and got the boot. But how could that translate into needing to find Ben? Why do any of these characters want to find Ben? This is that big question mark I'm talking about...and I won't try and speculate on any answers just yet. What I will say though is that Ben's "man on the boat" has probably been found out and these four will be on their own for now. When Miles radioed back to the freighter and asked for McIntyre or whoever and he was strangely unavailable in a crucial time of need. My guess is that Regina, the woman who answered may be cleaning house per Ben's orders. On the other hand though, it's entirely possible that Ben's man was the one who was found out and now he's been dealt with. We'll have to wait to see what plays out.

Thankfully we got thrown a bone with the return of Michael Abaddon, this time in a scene telling Naomi that she'd be leading the expedition to the Island. At the very least, we can probably conclude that Abaddon is working for a higher power that is directing this whole shabang, and while we have no idea who that might be at the moment, the leading contenders would be old school Dharma folks, or Penny's father's company, the Whidmore Corporation (which would partially explain the fact that Naomi had a picture of Desmond). It also seems likely that Abaddon's group set up the fake "recovery" of he seems to stress to Naomi that "there were no survivors of 815" in an especially creepy way. In a final thought - if Abaddon is working for old Dharma folks - could this be a simple revenge mission? After all, Ben did kill a whole lot of people during the purge. I'd be pretty pissed if someone killed all my employees. But that still doesn't necessarily explain why our four freighter folks have it out for him personally...

In terms of our usual cast: Locke realized that Hurley can see the cabin Jacob; Locke finally told everyone about Tall Walt; and Ben squirmed his way out of another precarious situation. Business as usual.

Easter Eggs:

Remember when the Pilot was watching footage of the wreckage of Flight 815 on television and called the number on the screen to report that the Pilot wasn't Seth Norris? The number's 888-548-0034. I wonder if it actually works? Hmmm...yes, I wonder....

Here are some of the pics on the wall at the house Miles visited. The child in them looks VERY familiar to a young Mr. Eko....but that couldn't be him.....right? RIGHT?

Ben's 1970s pic...nice hair.

No ring...he's available ladies!

Polar Bear Remains...Dharma "Hydra" Station Logo on the collar

In some final news: the Writer's Strike is over!! The WGA will officially vote today I believe but for all intents and purposes, everyone will be back to work by Wednesday. And while no news is confirmed, there is talk that we will get 3-6 more episodes of Lost this season (likely extended into June). I'll keep you up to date as to when official word comes out, but good news overall. I was getting tired of reading books and spending quality time with people.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Season 4, Episode 1: "The Beginning of the End"

And we're off! I thought the season premiere did all that it needed to: wrapped up the cliffhanger from last season (well, kind of), kept us at the edge of our seats, and, most importantly, set the stage for what looks to be a very new direction for Lost. Instead of flash backs, we seem to be continuing the flash forward trend, and will now have a whole set of new bad guys to deal with...and I'm not talking about just the "rescuers" either. And as has become the trend for Lost, we got an earful of shocking and/or hilarious quotes. So let's use those to tell the story...

"I'm one of the Oceanic 6!"

And with this we get our first shocker of the evening. Hurley confirms that we're seeing a flash forward and that only 6 Losties made it off the Island. So we know three - Kate, Jack, and Hurley - but what about those other three? Well, some have said that whoever is in the coffin is number 4, but I'm not sure I agree. Obviously the surviving 6 have received some coverage and fame (Jack signing autographs and what not), so don't you think that if one of them died at least more than one person (and that was Jack) would show up to their funeral? Just a thought.

But getting back to Hurley's story...we see that he's not being completely honest with Anna Lucia's old partner, Big Mike, when asked if he knew her or saw her on the plane before it crashed. This is another hint that the 6 have plenty to hide...and while that guilt has not necessarily hit Jack just yet (although that early morning screwdriver he poured in the first scene shows us that his drinking problem is well on its way), we know that it's going to eat at him in near future as well. But Hurley's the first one that thinks they need to go back, and his visions of Charlie are proof of that. Check out this quick pic of Charlie's hand during the vision that Hurley had in the interrogation room...

Coupled with Charlie's more direct visit later on in the Hospital courtyard, ("They need you Hugo"), we are getting the idea that some serious shit went down on the Island before their departure. But what? What are they lying about?

"Are they still alive, Hugo?"

I don't know what to make of Matthew Abbadon - supposed "lawyer for Oceanic" - but what I do know is that Some have speculated that he could be another vision, or even the Smoke, but I tend to think otherwise. My guess is that he's connected to either Dharma, to Ben's camp in a way (remember, Richard was on the mainland plenty of times to prove that they had outside connections), or a part of a new sketchy group. Either way, I'm liking where this arc could go.

"There's nothing here, there's nothing here, there's nothing here..."

In his best Dorothy impression, Hugo is trying to convince himself that he didn't just see a creepy cabin in the middle of nowhere that contained a man chilling on a rocking chair and a spooky eye pop up and scare the shit out of him. Regardless, it happened (or did it?), and looks like Jacob is up to his old tricks. But wait, who exactly is that sitting in the doesn't look like the Jacob we've seen before. No, upon a closer investigation, it seems to be someone a bit more familiar...

That's right, it looks like Jack's dad, Christian Shephard, just can't seem to stay out of the our story. And as for the eye, I think most are pretty sure that it's Locke's. His presence there seems to make some sense, since him and Jacob got off to such a good start with him being able to hear him and all, but Christian's presence baffles me. Hurley has had virtually no interaction with Jack's dad, so why he'd see him in a vision is beyond me. What this does spark though, is a whole new fire for those that believe that Christian is in some way behind all of this. As for me, I don't know what to make of it.

"Jack, with your permission, I'd like to go with John."

Like two captains on a football field, it's come time to choose sides. Team Faith led by Locke gets Hurley, Ben, Claire, Alex, Karl, Rosseau, and Sawyer (although Sawyer may starting up his own group: Team SURVIVIN'). Team Science gets Jack, Kate, Rose, Bernard, Sayid, Jin, Sun, and Juliette. And in many people's eyes, Jack's team may be looking like the losers, seeing that we can't trust these so called rescuers at all. And let's not forget that Jack pretty much turned crazytown with his attempted murder of Locke. That scene downright shocked me, and I doubt I'm alone. Seeing that Jack is so narrow minded, I think we can see how the single thought of getting off the Island has clouded his judgement. I'm thinking that Jack could turn into a downright bad guy...and while I don't think he understands it at this point in the game, the post-Island revelation of how his actions affected the others might be what starts his downward spiral into guilt, rage, depression, and addiction on the mainland.

"I think it(/he?) wants us to come back!"

As Hugo screams this to Jack at the end of the episode, we start to see how it's all coming together. Something happened out there where these 6 people were granted freedom, but only if they vowed to never speak of what happened and of who might still be there. When Jack exclaims that they can "never" go back, Hurley spurts back, "never say never, dude." This exchange, and the fact that both Hurley and (eventually) Jack are simply aching to get back to the Island leads me to believe that their return might just make up what will be the eventual final season of Lost. It's just a hunch, but seems to make some sense. They start with all flashbacks, move to all flashforwards, and then will meet in the middle (present) and throw down to save the world...or Island...or...whatever, it's just a thought. But there will need to be resolution there...and I think the only resolution to this show will happen on the Island, not off.

Alright, so I didn't get to these new "Rescuers" but we didn't learn much and I think we all know that they're up to no good. So who knows, maybe we'll get some flash backs or forwards on these characters as well that will shed some light on what the hell they're up to. Regardless, there's a lot going on, as usual, and I think we're in for a good ride.

Some Easter Eggs:

Looks like Hurley's been doodling some Island dream on that chalkboard in the background...

Again with the drawing...remember Penny's folks in the
Antarctic? Hmmmm....

See you next week...