Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Season 5, Episode 14: "The Variable"

Great episode! I think this was the perfect set up for the last three episodes of the season (one this week, then a two hour finale), as Daniel comes back to essentially pose the O6'ers with a decision that could ultimately change their lives...without further ado, let's get to it.

"I'm from the future."

Our boy Daniel is back and he's got a new plan. No longer is he lecturing on about the foolishness of trying to change the past...instead he's back to do exactly that. And his plan is an aggressive one: he first warns Dr. Chang of a "catastrophic accident" that will occur at the Swan Hatch (likely the "Incident"), then convinces Jack and Kate to escort him to the Hostiles camp. But before he can make the trek to see Richard and the Others he delivers his "old scary man" speech to little Charlotte at the ever-present swing set before getting into an all out gun fight with the increasingly agitated Radzinsky and crew in Dharmaville. Finally, just before entering the Hostiles camp, he lets Kate and Jack in on his secret plan: he wants to use Jughead to bomb the Island and prevent all the terrible things that have happened on it and to its inhabitants in the future. It's quite an agenda to take care of in 6 hours. And even though he won't be able to see out the plan himself, I think he's done enough to get the ball rolling.

So lets analyze one each of the above events one at a time to understand the motives behind Daniel's actions. First of all, it's important to note that he's not out to necessarily change everything. For example, his conversation with Chang is more of a formality than anything. After dropping the bombshell that the Swan will burst and that he is from the future, you see that Chang hesitates a bit before shrugging him off. What we should take from this is that Chang knows enough about the properties of the Island that he realizes that what Dan is saying could happen. There is enough energy below the Island that it could certainly cause some damage. Similarly, he knows that Dan could be from the future, since Chang is pretty familiar with the Orchid's theoretical time travel capabilities (not to mention that the argument that Miles was his son was pretty damn convincing - I mean, how many Asians do you know named Miles?). So when Chang finally does storm off, Dan lets him go knowing that he's said enough to make sure that he will do "what he's supposed to do" - which is to order the evacuation of at least the women and children off the Island, including Chang's wife, baby Miles, and Charlotte (which is why he covered his bases with baby Charlotte, telling her to do whatever Dr. Chang said and to leave the Island). These events actually did happened in the past, and Dan is simply making sure that they happen again. Not everyone will be spared from the Incident (or bomb explosion), but as you'll see later, getting these specific people off the Island will be extremely important as time moves on.

Now, while he takes some steps to ensure that some events happened as they always have, his foray into the Hostile's camp is to specifically change a sequence of events that were set into motion once the Incident took place. If you remember, he explains to Kate and Jack that after the Incident Dharma instituted the button to suppress the energy below the Swan hatch to prevent any future accidents. Desmond became the pusher of that button until one day he missed the deadline, causing Oceanic 815 to crash onto the Island. And because of that, the Freighter eventually brings Daniel, Miles, Charlotte, and the rest of them to the Island, which eventually kills Charlotte and so on and so forth. Daniel explains that because he and the O6 are "variables" in the overall equation (after all, they "are not supposed to be there"), they should be able to put a stop to that chain of events at this very moment by blowing up the Island before the Incident occurs. In order to do this, he needs to ask the Hostiles where they put "Jughead," the hydrogen bomb that he told them to bury in 1952. Once he has this information, he will be able to access the bomb and blow it before the Incident occurs.

Unfortunately Daniel's plan also included entering the Hostiles camp solo with a loaded gun and we all know how that ended. Not sure if he really thought that part through. But the big takeaway here is that Eloise of course unknowingly shot her son in 1977, but at the same time still encouraged him to go back to the Island in 2004 knowing that he would eventually be killed (by her, no less). So the question is - why? If we assume that Hawking sent him back so that she could personally end his mission to blow the Island and change the past, why send him back at all? Destiny or no destiny, if you didn't want Daniel to blow up the Island, why not just keep him on the piano bench at home? The dude was pretty much toast anyway, right?

My only thought is that Eloise sent him back because she realized that the past did in fact need to be changed. She finally figured out that all of the shit that the Others and Widmore had been feeding her was bullshit and that maybe the world would be a better place if the Island didn't exist at all. I mean, look at how she originally defined the word "destiny." She explained to little Daniel that destiny meant that if someone has a special gift that it has to be nurtured. But that's not what destiny means at all! Destiny is the idea that the world runs on a predetermined, inevitable course of events. And if that were the case, she didn't need to push Daniel to use his talents, because he would have eventually done so anyways. Similarly, she wouldn't have had to push Desmond to travel to the Island and push the button (as she did in "Flashes Before your Eyes") because he would have been "destined" to do so. All of these Other/time coach people continually talk about "course correction" and "destiny" but then can't just sit back and let those events inevitably run their course. Instead, they shape them.

So I think that at some point after Daniel fries his brain, Eloise realizes that all her talk is BS and that the past needs to be changed. And while I'm sure she would have liked to avoid it, she still needed to send Daniel back there because otherwise no one else would have been able to tell Jack - our once fearless leader - the master plan. This could also explain why Eloise sends Jack and company back on Ajira 316. She needed to be sure that before Daniel was shot he passed the necessary information to Jack - the one person who has yet to find his "purpose" upon his return to the Island. Well Jack, meet your reason for's to carry out Daniel's plan and blow up the Island. (Quick note - next week's episode is called "Follow the Leader" - yet another reference to Jack and his new found purpose).

You may be asking, "what the hell will happen to everyone in the future if the Island is blasted in 1977?" And that's a good question....hell, even Eloise doesn't know ("for the first time in a long time, I don't know what's going to happen next.") Of course she doesn't, because she helped Daniel change the past...for better or worse. One theory is that if we assume that the O6 get back to the present time before any bombs go off, they live in some sort of a alternative ("separate") reality on the remains of the now mostly decimated Island in 2007. You see, they didn't necessarily change their future, they only changed the future for those that were truly living in time of 1977. Remember, the O6, Juliet, Miles, and Daniel were in their own present, meaning they had lived their lives in full up to that point (and did not revert to who they were in 1977 upon the flash). But if you look at it from the 1977 perspective, baby Miles was hopefully evacuated on that sub and grew up to a totally new future, a future that did not include a trip back to the Island years later. It's for this reason that it was so important to convince Chang to evacuate some of the Dharma folks, because if baby Miles perishes on the Island, well, then so does adult Miles. (The same works for Charlotte - if she is evacuated her life is essentially saved because her trip back to the Island on the Frieghter will never happened. It can be argued that this is the underlying reason for Daniel's plan.) Similarly, if the chain of events that started with the Incident never happens, then the Losties never crash on Oceanic 815. They simply get on the flight in Australia and land in LA. They never meet, and they never get Lost. Unless of course, I've got it all wrong, and destiny WAS right and the inevitable happens. The plane crashes after all, but this time without an magnetic pulse to draw it to the Island it crashes sinks to the Ocean floor...killing everyone. I know that Widmore claims that he placed the wreckage there...but he's been known to lie before, right?

To be sure, there are a lot of holes in the above theory. But what Season 5 comes down to is whether or not Jack and company decide to change the past or not. We've been told all season "whatever happened, happened," but it's clear now that our Losties hold the keys to making that change if they choose to do so. It's free will versus destiny, and the season's conclusion will ride on that decision. To be honest, I really don't know what's going to happen and I couldn't be happier to that fact. What I think we can expect is a hell of a season finale, but at the same time a huge cliffhanger that will be causing us to pull our hair out for 7 months before the final season begins.

Tid bits:

-Many folks noticed the issue of "Wired" on Daniel's couch when Widmore went to visit him. Indeed, the cover had some very relevant headlines scattered across it ("The Impossible Gets Real!", "The Super Power Issue", "Time Travel!"), but I think the real reason it was included was to subconsciously plug this month's issue of Wired (May), which is guest edited by the show's own JJ Abrams. Pretty smooth, if you ask me....and I recommend you pick it up - it is dubbed the "Mystery Issue" and has some pretty cool articles.

-When Daniel visits Charlotte at the swing set she is eating a chocolate bar and says, "mommy says no chocolate before dinner" (or something like that). This is the same thing she says before dying in Daniel's arms years later. Obviously her consciousness was skipping, but it's interesting to note that in both "times" the last face she saw was Daniel's.

Alright, I think I thoroughly confused myself through this post so I'll turn it over to you guys to tell me where I went wrong. I think (hope) that some of these questions will be answered in this week's show and then I look forward to a great 2 hour finale next week! Till then!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Season 5, Episode 13: "Some Like it Hoth"

" we go."

If I could sum this episode up in one line, it would be this statement that Juliet made to Kate after Ben was discovered missing in the infirmary by Roger Linus. In a sense, I believe that this episode is the beginning of not only the end of Season 5, but the beginning of the end game of the whole series in general. Our time in Dharmaville is limited, and shit is about to go down...but more on that later.

Up first, more daddy issues! We are all familiar with the parental conflicts that run rampant in this show: Jack's got his issues with Christian, Sawyer's parents were murdered, Sun's Dad doesn't respect her, Roger takes joy in degrading boy Ben whenever he has the chance (well, before he was shot at least)....and the list goes on. And now the newest patient with daddy issues is our friend Miles. It is finally revealed that Dr. Pierre Chang is in fact Miles' father, and while that detail was anticipated, there was some other info in this episode that answered some nagging questions that we've had all season. Most importantly, we see Dr. Chang (somewhat lovingly) read a story to baby Miles....right in front of grown up Miles. This confirms that two versions of one entity can exist in the same time (in Lost anyway). While that fact is confirmed, the question of what happens when those two entities collide is an entirely different story.

If you recall, I while back I posted an Orientation video for the Orchid which showed Dr. Chang discussing the properties that the station held. As you can see from the video below, in his arms he had a cute little bunny with the number "15" stenciled on its side. About half way through the video, something unexpected occurs. The cute little bunny - number "15" - suddenly shows up in the background, seemingly out of nowhere, while the same bunny number "15" still resides in Dr. Chang's arms. Obviously some sort of time jump happened involving the rabbit and now two versions of the same entity exist in the same time. But the important thing to note is that Dr. Chang immediately yells out, "don't let them near each other!" and protectively cradles his version of the bunny from the other before the video cuts out. So the question remains: what happens if they touch?

Grown up Miles and baby Miles are physically able to exist in the same time, but if mustachioed Miles takes Hurley's advice and tries to "hold the baby you," some crazy shit could go down. Could it be crazy enough to cause an "incident," the same incident that Dr. Chang refers to in the Swan Orientation video (which is assumed to be the same incident that cost him his arm)? I'm not sure about that, but it's something to keep in mind. The more likely scenario is that Dr. Chang soon figures out that "Circle of Trust" Miles is the same Miles that poops with his pants on and leads him to send his wife and child off the Island - specifically to avoid any interaction between the two. Meaning, that Chang was really protecting his wife and child versus abandoning them. Furthermore, Miles' appearance in 1977 is likely related to the "credible source" that he notes in the below video proving that time travel is indeed possible. I posted this one earlier this year (it is from ComicCon 2008), and if you recall, a familiar voice sounds off towards the end. (Even if you've seen it before, it's worth watching again as it fits nicely in the time line of the story at this point in the show).

Anyways, all of that aside, Miles never quite resolved his issues with his father, and we know that left him feeling empty. (The line towards the end when Miles hurriedly walks from his father's window as Chang leaves the house is classic. Chang sees him and calls out, "Miles, I need you." And with a sniffle, Miles turns back and beams, "you do?" only to learn that Chang needed a ride to the dock. BURN!) And while Miles does a decent job covering up that hole, he can't hide it from the weirdos in the kidnapper's van that abduct him in one of the flashbacks. Many folks didn't seem to realize this, but the dude sitting shotgun and lecturing Miles about filling that void in his soul was Bram, an accomplice of Ilana who is currently on the Island in 2007 time. Bram also asks Miles the code/riddle "What lies in the shadow of the statue," which obviously is the same question Ilana asks Lapidus before knocking him out cold.

Now, last week I posed (as have others) that this "new" group was either working for Widmore, or was a new version of Dharma. Based on what we learned this episode, I'm thinking that neither suggestions are correct. The Widmore option clearly seems out of the picture, since we know that Miles was soon to be on Widmore's freighter, a decision that Bram was trying to talk Miles out of ("your playing for the wrong team.") And while the "new Dharma" theory is technically alive, another hypothesis that I've heard is even more intriguing: which is that Ilana, Bram and company are descendants of the ancient culture that once lived on the Island. You know, the same ones that built the statue of Anubis, carved hieroglyphics in the wall, and bowed down to god Smokey. It's certainly plausible, and would tie in to the (yet unexplained) Egyptian mythology that has been a part of the show ever since Season 1. And as vlogger Carmel puts it, this would truly be a case of the "Empire Strikes Back" - as inferred from this week's Star Wars themed title, "Some Like it Hoth." The Egyptians are back, and they're pissed. Brendon Fraser - consider yourself on duty.

Regardless, a war is coming, which brings me back to Juliet's "here we go" mantra that started the post. Simply put, their life in Dharmaville is starting to fall apart. Ben has been shot and kidnapped, Roger is suspicious of Kate, Sawyer's been made by Jimmy from Mad Men, Miles is getting chummy with his Dad, and Faraday just returned from a three year stint at Dharma headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan - this time looking especially bad-ass and confident in his newly issued BLACK Dharma jumpsuit (ahem...Return of the Jedi anyone? ). And let's not forget that dudes are getting fillings sucked out through their brains out at the Swan construction site (which is more likely the location of the upcoming "incident" that I mentioned above...don't forget that the Swan sits on a huge amount of electromagnetic energy, which is likely compounded by the chance that the "Jughead" bomb also resides there).

My guess is that over the final episodes of Season 5, we will see the unraveling of the Lostie's world in 1977 and that Faraday/Luke Skywalker will somehow lead our characters to the Orchid and get them back to 2007, where they belong. What remains to be seen is if they change (or have already changed) something in the past. Maybe Ilana's group only exists because of something that they did in1977? Regardless, once returned, the task at hand will be to fight the inevitable war that looms...but the question that remains is, who's side will they be on? (Hopefully not the Ewoks).


So I know I didn't mention Naomi's welcome return in this recap, but that scene with Miles and the dead guy all but confirms that Widmore staged the Oceanic 815 flight wreckage after all. Also, we can pretty much assume that the dead guy ("Felix") was intercepted and killed by Tom Friendly since he was the one that showed Michael those sensitive documents in "Meet Kevin Johnson."

But the most important tidbit in this scene revolved around what Naomi said to Miles. She mentions that she is "leading an expedition to an Island to find a man that will be very difficult to find." When pressed as to why Miles is needed on the trip, Naomi responds, "this Island has a number of deceased individuals...residing on it, and as this man is responsible for them being deceased, we feel that they can supply invaluable information as to his whereabouts."

Now at first glance, you'd think that she is referring to all of the people that are dead and buried on the Island because of Ben's doing....and there are plenty...but most obviously the Purge victims come to mind first. But she specifically says that there are a number of deceased individuals "residing" on the Island. Do you think it's possible that she's referring to the "ghosts" that live on the Island - like Christian? And if these "residents" are dead because of it sensible for us to deduce that Ben killed Christian?

I'll let you chew on that for a bit, cause instead of getting excited for a new Lost tonight, we are being treated with a repeat/clip show, and then coming back new next week for the final few episodes of Season 5. But let me know what you think below, and I'll see you next week!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Season 5, Episode 12: "Dead is Dead"

Well then, after a few too many episodes in 70's era Dharmaville, we finally got back to what's going down in good ole 2007, and the action was far from disappointing. OK, so the Smokey Slide Show may have been a little cheesy, but the other 56 minutes were the tops. And since there was plenty to keep track of this week, let's get right to it.

Seeing that the bulk of the episode centered around the adventures of zombie Locke and banged up Ben, their story is as good a place to start as any. Keeping with a major theme of this season, it becomes apparent very early in the episode that the relationship between these to foes (friends? leaders? chosen ones?) has taken a complete 180. Ben is no longer calling the shots. Hell, Ben doesn't even know what the shots are. Locke is so completely in control of his surroundings that it visibly frazzles Ben. Remember, while Locke seemed to be gaining confidence on the Island pre-donkey wheel turn (to gather the O6), he found out soon enough that Ben was still a step ahead of him, as he'd always been. He trailed John's every move, killed Abaddon, and then manipulated "critical information" out of John before murdering him in cold blood. It was the final "failure" of Locke's doomed life...a failure that Ben once again orchestrated from the start. But this time it's different. Ben broke the rules. He's back where he is not supposed to be and Locke is exactly where he should be. When Ben wakes up in that infirmary bed he is truly shocked to see John alive and well before him. He simply doesn't know what to make of it, but he knows one thing: it's f-ing crazy. As he told Sun later in the episode, Ben had "seen the Island do miraculous things, but never this. Dead is dead."

Which brings up a good point. Is Locke alive or is he something....else? Is it presumptuous of us to assume that he just resurrected out of nothing and is now alive and well? I know it was Easter week and all, but let's look at this rationally for a second (well "rationally" in Lost terms). First off, Christian is another dude who came to the Island in a coffin and ended up "alive," but we've never really believed that he is actually alive, right? No...Christian has been referred to as a ghost - or even a guide - that the Island uses to get people on the right track. He's told Jack numerous times that he's "got more work to do" and walked Locke through the whole process of moving the Island to go back and retrieve the O6 ("I said for YOU to move the Island, John, not him"). There are examples of other ghosts helping our characters out as well: Mr. Eko got Yemi, Hurley got Dave, and Kate...well, Kate got a horse (remember that?). In all of these cases the beneficiaries of these visits were given a path to follow, and a push in the right direction. Now, back in 2007 on an Island that may not want him back, Ben is in need of directions...and Locke - whatever he might be - is there to provide them. John is the new zombie Christian.

Some of John's lines and actions illustrate his new role as Island Sherpa. From the get go, in Ben's office, John takes control of the situation. He plops right down into Ben's old desk chair, and demands an explanation for his own death. He gets Ben to actually tell the truth for once, a feat the old John could never seem to master. Next Ben tells him that he must "be judged" by the Island and after a moment of thought John decides that he will help him on his "journey." Along the way he gently reminds Ben of what he is really being judged for: "You're're not coming back here to be judged for 'breaking the rules,' you're coming back to be judged for killing your daughter." And at that moment, Ben realizes the simple truth in those words, and begins to come to the realization that he must be responsible for his actions in order to be forgiven. Next John stalls on a promise to Sun regarding finding Jin to remind Ben that he's got a monster to summon; "better get to it then," he urges with a knowing smile. And as the show progresses, I think Ben starts to understand what's going on. When he comments to John, "you don't have the first idea of what this Island wants", he sees the crazy look in his eye when John responds, "are you sure about that?" Furthermore, it's no mistake that John is the one to come walking out of the woods after Ben mutters the line, "whatever is about to come out of that jungle, I can't control." Sure he was referring to Smokey, but let's not miss the bigger picture here...John is one with the Island, and Ben knows that he has lost his ability to dictate his actions.

It's probably for this reason that he was going to try and kill him yet again as Alex/Smokey prophesied in the Temple. But that won't happen now. Because of John's helping hand, Ben was led to the Temple, accepted responsibility for the death of his daughter, and was in turn spared by the Island. His punishment however may be as bad as death; he is stripped of all his power and ordered follow the commands of the man that he once owned so completely. But there can be no argument, because as Richard once said in reference to Ben, "the Island chooses who the Island chooses." But this time, it is Ben who is on the outside looking in.

One more note regarding the Island's decision to let Ben live. Sure, he needed to repent and all that stuff (don't forget that Mr. Eko - while "born again" in his faith - never repented for the life he once lived as a thief and a killer...even as Ghost Yemi urged him to do so, he never accepted the responsibility for his past actions...and it could be for this reason that the Island killed him), his salvation could have been helped by the fact that Alex was never supposed to live her life to begin with. In other words, Widmore was right: the Island wanted nothing to do with Alex or Rousseau. Ben's decision to save her got them about an extra 15 years or so, but in the end course correction took over and their lives were eventually taken. "You cannot fight the inevitable," snears Widmore. Ironically, that is all Ben did when in power of the Others. In addition to letting Alex and her mother live, he moved his people to the Dharma camp when they probably should have stayed in the jungle (where they have now presumably ended up again). In addition, he tried to fix the fertility problem which remained un-fixable. In a sense, everything he did on the Island was to fight the ever loosening grip that he had over it until eventually, it pushed him aside to welcome a new leader in Locke. Widmore was right indeed...Ben couldn't fight the inevitable and eventually he ended up just like his enemy, banished from his perch as leader of the Island.

Moving on to other matters, what the hell was in that crate that evil Ilana and crew are toting? They seem to be awfully careful with it, seeing that in the time it took for Locke and Ben to travel to the main Island AND for Lapidus to travel back to Othertraz the crate moved like two feet. And gotta love that code phrase: "what lies in the shadow of the statue?" it Bernard and Rose? Faraday maybe? Cause seriously, where the hell are those clowns? No, but clearly Ilana is the sneaky one with an agenda - and likely an employee of Widmore. My guess is that this crew will be the beginnings of the new "bad guys" for Season 6 when everyone is presumably back to the present. Furthermore, I'm thinking that inside the crate lies an extremely delicate communication device that will allow Widmore to find his way back to the Island.

The only fault with this is as many have pointed out, if Widmore knew that the plane was going to lead Ilana and the O6 back to the Island, why didn't he just buy a ticket and climb aboard? I mean, the dude probably has the miles for a ticket to Guam, right? Widmore mentions to Ben that he's been trying to find the Island for "20 years." Really? It took Ben three! Who knows, maybe if he had boarded the flight the "circumstances" of the original 815 flight would have been altered too much for it to return, but overall I'm just think Widmore isn't trying hard enough.

Another theory is that Ilana is part of a new Dharma crew that has come to take back the Island. One of the ideas supporting this is that her secret handshake question Ilana asked is reminiscent of Desmond's famous riddle, "what did one snowman say to the other snowman?*" which was a code leftover from Dharma times. Not sure if I'm on board with that, but it's intriguing. Regardless, Widmore spoke of a "war" coming, and this new group just might represent the beginnings of the Season 6 war that is no doubt on its way.

Speaking of statues, I'm sure all of you noticed the ancient drawing of our four toed pal Anubis and Smokey on the Temple wall above Smokey's wack-a-mole bed, right? Good. As a reminder, Anubis is the Egyptian god associated with death, mummification, and the afterlife. How appropriate.

And finally, we were all debating here at work why Ben tells Sun to tell Desmond that he was sorry. Seeing that he was unsuccessful in his attempted murder of Penny, what was the point of an apology? I mean, Ben has tried to kill Locke like 25 times and can still barely utter an apology to him (actually, instead of saying the words "I'm sorry" to John this week, Ben shows his remorse by KILLING ANOTHER PERSON in shooting Caesar..."consider that your apology," he says.) All I'm saying is that Ben is not one to be the bigger man. Boss Man Richard W has rightly pointed out that Ben could simply be apologizing for shooting Desmond, which certainly could be the case, but something else seems to be going on. Maybe Ben had someone finish the job? Or maybe he really is turning over a new leaf and is subscribing to the Island's 12 step program to save his soul?


I don't necessarily have a theory here, but I thought it was important to note that when Ben and Locke took the boat from Othertraz to the Island, Locke was deliberately shown taking off his shoes on the beach for the ride, and then shown putting them back on upon arrival to the dock. Again, this may be nothing, but the writers made a point to show us both mundane tasks. Could this be another shout out to Locke's connection to Christian - a gentle reminder that John may not be as alive as we think he is? Remember, those shoes were put on Locke by Jack at the funeral home and once belonged to Christian...and Lost has a history with the significance of shoes. (I just read that line and realized how ridiculous it sounds - "significance of shoes?" - man I'm in too deep. But as ridiculous as it sounds, I think it's something to keep in mind.)

(Another thought, if Christian and Locke are Island ghosts, could Richard be one as well? I mean, that would explain the ageless thing, right?)

Finally, I've theorized on this blog that the 2007 that Ben, Sun, and others inhabit might be an alternate version of the present based on a change that occurred in the past. This thought is based on how Dharmaville is all beaten up and doesn't look like it was ever lived in by the Others at all. Well, if you notice in this episode a game of Risk that Sawyer and Hurley were playing in 2004 was still set up in Ben's house when Ben and Locke returned. This seems to booster the theory that the past has remained unchanged and that we should still subscribe to the rule that "whatever happened, happened."

Alright, I didn't even cover everything (how/why did the Hostiles recruit Ethan? Did Ben ever go back to Dharma after his healing?), but this is long and I have to get going. For all of you Star Wars fans out there, next week's episode is titled "Some Like it Hoth." Can't wait to see what that's all about. Enjoy it because we are getting a recap show next week (4/22), before returning back live the following week for the finale arc. Till then!

*Smells like carrots.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Season 5, Episode, 11: "Whatever Happened, Happened"

So the debate continues...can you change the past or is what happened, happened? I know I must sound like a broken record by this point, but unfortunately this week's episode didn't give us much in the way of a concrete answer to the question that will likely plague us until the end of Season 5 (or beyond). But we did learn a bunch of stuff, and were treated to some quality Kate scenes...something I never thought I'd say again. So without further ado, let's get to it.

First off, we have to discuss a hot topic of debate that came out of this week's show: Little Ben's bullet wound. You'll notice from the pictures below that Sayid's shot hit Ben closer to the middle of his body (aka Heart) in "He's Our You," but in the beginning minutes of "Whatever Happened, Happened" Ben's wound clearly resides on the right side of his chest.

The top pic is right after he was shot, and the hole is on the left side of his chest, and the lower pic it's clearly on the right side (I'm using his left and right not yours)

There are a couple possible reasons for this: 1) it's yet another continuity error (it's been all but confirmed that the woman behind Sun in that creepy Christian scene two weeks ago was a crew member...come on Lost, get with the program!); 2) the Island moved the wound shortly after the shot to try and save Ben, or 3) the wound is in two different spots due to a matter of perception. Meaning that Sayid, filled with anger and rage for his nemesis, saw the bullet strike through Ben's heart...a certain kill shot. It's what he wanted to see, and therefore the Island let him perceive it to be so. However, when Jin turns Ben over, he sees it differently...the injury is in a relatively safer place (for a shot to the chest, that is), which leads him to believe that he has a chance to save his life. Jin quickly transports him back to the infirmary, and eventually Ben gets shuttled to the Others and is presumably saved.

There is much more written on the matter of perception in Lost, but all in all I think the point to take home is that the Island shows certain people certain things for a specific purpose. And while all the characters are seemingly going through the same series of events together, they could be perceiving them in a slightly different way so that their reactions create specific results that are in line with the will of the Island. Sayid sees his shot strike Ben through the heart, which makes him run off into the jungle instead of finishing him off with a head Locke's initial visit to the Cabin he sees a long haired Jacob beckoning for help, but Ben seemingly sees or hears nothing...Desmond sees flashes of the future while no one else can. All of these events (and more) create outcomes that are essential to the development of the Island - Ben lives, Locke becomes the "chosen one," and Desmond is able to find Penny (and these are just a few examples). I'm not sure if this theory is fully fleshed out, but I think it will be interesting to keep in mind as the show progresses.

Let's move on to Kate, Aaron, and Sawyer's abandoned lady friend, Cassidy. For those of you that need a reminder, Cassidy and Sawyer met up a couple of seasons ago when Sawyer tried to con her, but the ever perceptive Cassidy saw through his ruse and asked him to teach her his devious ways. They conned together for a bit, until Sawyer split upon hearing about her pregnancy (or something like that). Sawyer never quite got past the fact that he abandoned his daughter, and whispered into Kate's ear on the chopper last season to check on his Clementine. Kate also crossed paths with Cassidy in her past, as the two of them helped each other out for a brief period (Kate helped her con, and Cassidy helped Kate evade the feds). Upon their renewed friendship in post-Island days, Cassidy sees through Kate’s BS just as she did with Sawyer, and lets her know that she is just using Aaron as a placeholder for her lost love for Sawyer. This realization leads Kate to come to her senses and give Aaron to his rightful blood relative, Grandma Claire, and return to the Island with a clear purpose: to find the lost Claire. I was glad to see that her reason was that and NOT to go back and get all lovey dovey with Sawyer. Kate climbed up a couple of pegs for me in this episode...but I guess that's not too tough when you're already at the bottom (oh snap!).

So now we know the purpose of three of our five returning Losties. Sayid was meant to shoot Ben, Sun was meant to find Jin (I think), and Kate is bent on reuniting Claire with her son. But Jack....well, Jack's still waiting for the light bulb to go off. I've really enjoyed watching his transition from Mr. Fix It to "whatever man...I'll let the Island do its thang." He let go of the reigns and is along for the ride until destiny calls out for him. How Locke-ish of him. My guess is that the reason for his return is to have a final showdown with Christian, and resolve those Daddy issues that essentially got him into this mess to begin with. Only time will tell, but I'm liking the new Jack.

(Oh, and I guess we don’t know Hurley’s purpose yet either...but at this point I’m going with comic relief…more on that later).

And now for the meat of the episode...the showdown between Richard Alpert, Kate, Sawyer, and the hanging by a thread Ben (seriously...did everyone not realize that the kid got shot in the chest and was rapidly losing blood? There was a fair amount of dilly dallying going on in these scenes). Richard meets Kate and crew halfway in Hostile territory, as if he knew they were going to arrive, and makes his point clear: I can save the boy, but if I do, he's not going to remember a thing and he will be altered for life. This, in essence, is the creation of Ben as we know him. The trip to the Temple will change will "take his innocence" and turn him into a conduit for the Island, much in the same way the trip down the Temple tunnel did for Rousseau's crew. They were different different that Rousseau had to take matter in her own hands and kill them. Is it Smokey that changes people? Maybe. Or is it Richard himself? In all honesty, I thought the final scene (where Richard paused with Ben in his arms at the Temple door), was going to end with Richard shape shifting into the Smoke Monster and taking Ben down into the tunnel with him (music swells, cut to black: L O S T ...tell me that wouldn't have been awesome).

While that wasn't in the cards (yet), we have to think that Richard is different from the other Hostiles. He may not be "in charge" (seeing that we learn that the assumed leaders "Ellie and Charles" - Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore - may not agree with his decision to save Ben), but he clearly isn’t afraid of defying orders. In his own words, he "doesn't answer to them" and saves him Ben anyways. Richard has a sense of how things are going to turn out and he concludes that a living Ben Linus is essential the future of the Island. Is it because he knows that the next gen leader - John Locke - must conquer Ben to truly save the Island years later? Ben will have done his dirty work: eliminated Dharma via the Purge, gotten rid of Charles Widmore (and maybe Ellie too), dealt with the Freighter folks, moved the Island, etc. Once his jobs are done, it's Locke's turn to take the Island to the Golden Age. Right? Remember, Locke has already visited Richard in the 50' to Richard Locke is the end all be all...the first supernatural "god" type of vision he encountered. So he knows that if Ben dies, Locke never makes it to the Island, and all is truly Lost.

My only problem with the Richard scenes was the "he (Ben) won't remember anything" line. Really? Well, this line would conveniently explain why Ben doesn't recognize the Losties 30 years later; why he claims to have been born on the Island even though we know he wasn't; and even why he told Jack that his mother taught him to read when clearly that's not possible since his mother died in childbirth. What it doesn't explain is why he would retain such hatred to his Father if he doesn't remember how mistreated he was and other little tidbits like his childhood crush on Annie. I don't know...I'm hoping that the writers tie this one up but I'm thinking they instead tried to use the "remember" line as a plot hole filler to make moving forward simpler than it would have been otherwise. I kind of liked the idea that Ben DID know who the Losties were 30 years later, and used that knowledge to his advantage. Let’s hope that we are just reading too much into Richard’s line for the time being.

Regardless, tonight's episode will see the judgement of our frenemy Ben. And I for one, am looking forward to the verdict.


-Don't think I wasn't going to end this without mentioning the Hurley/Miles debate: classic. Hurley has always been the voice of the fans and Miles joined in on the fun this time. This dialogue was clearly meant to reflect the millions of conversations that we all have Thursday mornings following a new Lost...they even referenced Back to the Future! One important takeaway though: while the debate was mostly unresolved, Miles made it very clear that the time traveling Losties are in their present and that they CAN in fact die. I think that little seed was planted on purpose...and that we may lose a one or two time travelers before this season is over.

-Getting back to the Charles/Ellie comment; it’s now clear that both Eloise Hawking and Charles are still on the Island in 1977, which lends some credence to the story Widmore told Locke in “The Life and Death of Jeremy Benthem” (that he was a leader on the Island for close to three decades). Furthermore, it insinuates some kind of relationship between Ellie and Charles, furthering the theory that Faraday is their child, which would also make him Penny’s sister. Others have posed that instead Ellie and Charles are siblings…so there is that to think about as well.

Ok, well I think that’s it for this week. Tonight’s episode truly looks like a winner so get ready for some reckoning type shit to go down! Till next time….