Thursday, April 30, 2009

"Happy 100th Episode - 5.14"

This week we watch helplessly as Dan’s life is revealed to be a dizzying circle of destiny that he has little control over. His mother (and missing father) guide his brilliant mind toward their own goals of saving…what, the island? The world? The Universe? Whatever, it’s the “God help us all” destruction that TPTB have been hinting at since Season 2. Who knew that Daniel Faraday was the center of all of this, we thought that it was Desmond?! We also watch Dan propel himself into a spiral of logic concerning what could happen if the energy pocket under the Swan location never gets compromised by the excavation, sending the 815ers on a new course that they never dreamed could exist, i.e., getting the Big Do-Over.

So many questions are aroused by Dan’s startling new mission (which is actually his mother’s mission?), that you hardly know where to begin. The obvious being the contradictions between what he said previously about changing the past, and what he said to Jack and Kate about people being the variables in the equation of life. People are always the variables! Didn't Calvin once tell Hobbes the tiger that the world would be a perfect place if it wasn’t for all the people in it? Somehow, Dan had forgotten to include these variables in his calculations concerning the island’s energetic timewarp problems. I guess that we can give him some slack for forgetting, since he did have those memory problems and had to catch up on his theories in double-time after he arrived on the island, verified by how we’ve seen him frantically shuffling through his notes every time something offbeat happens. BTW, Dan’s reading his notes on the Scale Factor (a theory on relative expansion of the universe) as he's preparing to speak to Chang below the Orchid, which I’ll do some research on for a Lost Science post.

The next question to ponder is for Jack and Kate. That is, do they really want to change their future course so that they never crash on the island? Certainly for those who died that might be a better outcome, although perhaps they would die somehow soon anyway, as per universal course-correction. But do Jack and Kate really want to create a world in which they never meet or have the chance for redemption? One where all the interactions between the other Losties never happened and where the sick people aren't healed? Juliet and James might have something to say about that, they seem to want things to stay just the way they are now and I don't blame them. Another thing to consider about this is, what will happen when the future changes…they don’t belong in 1977 in their 2007 bodies, will they get sucked into some kind of vortex and get spit back out into their proper place in time? That’s gotta hurt. Or maybe they'll just stay put and never exist where they did later. And one more question about course-correction: how do you know which is the correction and which is the way it was supposed to be? Maybe Charlie was supposed to almost die three times.

Then we are compelled to question the heck out of Eloise’s actions. At first I didn’t see it, but she seemed to be in a painful spot at each critical turn of Dan’s life, guiding her gentle talented son towards something that was necessary but (at the end) fatal for him. Eloise is played by the same actress in the piano scene and on the island. How long after she shot and met older Dan, was she in the parlor steering Danny to his life spent "studying relativistic physics"? Did she suddenly know when she walked into the parlor that she had shot her own son in the past, the way that Desmond suddenly “knew” that Dan had given him a new memory? It sounded like that, the way that Dan accused her of knowing what was going to happen in his last breath. She and Widmore may have both known where Dan was going in life, but perhaps Eloise alone knew that she shot Dan in another time loop. Let’s hope that he gets carried to the temple like Bennie did, but I don’t have much hope for that. Anyway, you know that she was always proud of him and his special gifts, but maybe she should have taken some of Miles’ advice and told him that before it was too late.

The next probing question is why Dr.Chang didn’t believe Dan at all about his time travel. I mean, if you’re studying time travel, you might think that someone from the future where it’s become possible, might travel back to talk to you about it for some reason, most likely to give you some advice. But I suppose we can assume that somehow Chang warms up to the idea, due to the video that he made in his bungalow that he sent to the DIs at ComicCom last summer.

A few other thoughts I had were:
* Des, don’t you know that saying you’ll never leave someone will make it happen?!
* Why would Eloise say that it was Dan’s fault that Des was shot? Wasn’t it more Widmore’s fault because of sending Ben on a vengeance spree?
* I thought that Eloise was going to steal Charlie while Penny was visiting Des!
* Won’t blowing the island up with an H-bomb ruin everyone’s future as well, via either death or severe radiation burns?!
* Was Widmore in LA due to Ben’s threat against Penny?
* Jack falls back into his comfort zone of resolving conflict and fixing things, hoo-rah!
* Dammitt Kate, you and your guns you got Dan killed!
* Why did Dan need a gun to talk to his mother, so she couldn’t talk him into her way of doing things again or because of how trigger-happy she was in 1954?
* Why does Richard seem to have memory problems like Dan when it comes to recalling people that he’s met on the island before?!
* Will little Charlie not be born if time gets reset?
* I knew that Teresa was his girlfriend as well as his assistant, how could she resist?!
* Funniest line: “I just got shot by a physicist!” -- as if physicists aren’t supposed to shoot people. X-D

A great episode for a great milestone! Thanks to TPTB for giving us 100 fascinating hours of TV fun, new friends, stimulating mental gymnastics, and intellectual frustration.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Little Big Miles - 5.13"

Probably everyone would agree that it was great to see a Miles origins episode, and we now know that his story fits in with all the DHARMA drama this season. It was worth the wait to have TPTB insert it here, and his backstory was a lot more than I expected that we would get about our favorite ghostbuster.

I also really like the trusting relationship that has evolved between James and Miles in DI-ville. The two most belligerent guys of the island "intruders" have formed their own circle of trust, that helps the FBs manage to keep their profiles low and their phony story going. That is, until Mr. Nosy got his hands on the fence tape. Well, I guess that he was just doing the job that he was hired to do.

OK a picture is worth a thousand words so, 'nuff said here. Whew. I really just can't believe that Kate and Juliet didn't try to think up a better cover story than, "...uh, um, I'm sorry Roger, um, uh..."

TPTB have drawn us farther into the DI machine with every S5 episode and that's fine with me. I have been dying to know more about the DI since the TLE ARG days, and although we're getting it in the usual bits and pieces Lost is known for, it's great. Miles rolls with whatever game is necessary, to keep up the FB charade. He's good with every contingency plan that arises and is adept at staying under the radar. But chaos theory will win out as the security tape incident shows, and Hurley in all his dopey innocence is bound to let every dang cat out of the bag if he's not careful! It's also interesting that the two guys who can converse with the dead (albeit in different ways for different reasons) keep ending up together. I know, that's the way that TPTB are writing it, but it's still neat. Their banter has filled the gap where Sawyer's ritual sardonic repartee used to be, now that he's all serious security man and has the fate of the FBs on his shoulders.

Ken Leung in Miles' punk version looked so young, his voice even sounded more innocent and less marred by years of pent up feelings as the angry young dude with a 'tude. Maybe he was just being gentle with his mother, but Leung did a great job in this scene. We got some juicy details about his parents' past too, although it's not like we didn't already have enough time to mull over and guess all that info, which is the one bad thing about this show's structure...they give us fragments of hints to things, and then give us too much time to guess what's going to happen.

Is Bram a part of the group that we were supposed to fly to the island with on flight 316? I guess we'll never know what our part might have been with the reconstituted DI. Lost2010 at TLC thinks that Bram is part of the DI kids that got ejected off of the island along with Miles and Charlotte. I really like that idea and it fits with Charlotte's story, i.e., searching all her life for signs of her past and returning to the island. Perhaps these DI offspring have been on the same lifelong quest as hers, and ultimately Miles', but in a much more aggressive way. Are they backed by Alvar Hanso? Let's not even mention Hans from the last ARG, he's dead to most of us now.

Again, well done Mr. Leung and Lost writers, the scene of Miles watching his baby self with his dad gets me ferklempt every time I watch it. Especially when Chang charges out of the house after the phone call and says, "Miles I need you," and Miles squeaks out, "You do???" Great scene. Viewing Miles' recruitment by Naomi was an interesting and unexpected addition to the episode. I wonder if Charlotte got some kind of skills test. Did Naomi test Michael's deck swabbing skills as well before he got hired? :o)

We are privy to more of the secret station construction this week also, and it makes you wonder exactly how much TPTB really spend on this show. Seriously, take a good look at all the equipment and structures at both the sites! Just incredible, even if some of it is CGI, and we fans really appreciate it. Koreambear at EyeMSick and I noticed in the captions that someone carrying the bodybag mentioned something about Jimmy Hoffa...was that a hint from TPTB that Mr. Fillinghead is going to be buried in one of the cement pylons or cornerstones of the Orchid building to hide him? :-)

And then we have Mr. Faraday without his tie. I honestly thought he'd have it on till the end of the show, but he wears the DI jumpsuit very well. As disappointed as I was that the DeGroots didn't pop out of the sub, seeing Dan climb out and looking as if he has his wits about him again made up for it.

Now a little comment about Mr.Chang. I've mentioned here before that I've worked with many wild and woolly scientists during my lab career and Chang has many of the typical characteristics of the most annoying ones. Daniel is on one end of the scientific personality continuum, and Chang is on the other. There are guys like Chang who are so smart that they can't possible tolerate dealing with peons who don't have the brain power that they have, because we're like ants to them. They also think that everyone else's work and particular discipline is inferior to theirs, and to say that they have a superiority God-complex would be selling them short. Then you go to one of those company picnics where everyone's family shows up and there this idiot guy is with his family acting like Chang did with baby Miles, and you say to yourself, "This is the pompous ass that I work for????" So whether they realize it or not, TPTB really did a good job of portraying a certain type of scientist that's a jerk on the outside and the doting dad on the inside. This guy really does exist in life, not just in the DI.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Home Sweet Home - 5.12"

This week on "Legend Of The Seeker", Charles Widmore rides into camp on horseback looking very medieval. I like that look for Charles, it looks as good on him as it did once on Richard, but I wonder where Richard's medieval shirt and long hair went, he seems to have remained in his modern purple shirt and short hair for some time now, even though when we first saw him with Bennie he was sporting the long hair and embroidered shirt. Does it mean anything?

Charles' lesson to Ben about insider anarchy was actually a huge part of the hippie "revolution" back in the 60s-70s. Overthrowing from within was the message of the "New Left", as illustrated in Abby Hoffman's S.D.S. propaganda publication "Steal This Book". It's also woven into the "V For Vendetta" story. As Koreambear mentioned on EyeMSick, I also wonder if Amy was one of these double-agent plants in DI-ville, which could be how Ethan became an Other so young. Or was it just a case of an angry young man growing into an angry older man?

It's annoying when Locke gets so smug when things are going easy for him. His hubris might be for a different reason this time around, since he's Zombie John now after all, but we'll see if he turns into a puddle again when the going gets tough. I'm getting very confused about how Ben says that he does and doesn't know what was going to happen with Locke coming alive. But I'm beginning to wonder if he uses the ploy of innocence that the Emperor Claudius used in ancient Rome ("I, Claudius" by Robert Graves) i.e., playing up your disabilities on the dumb side to make people think that you're less of a threat than you really are. Otherwise I don't see the gain in letting Sun think that he had no idea that John would come back to life. The way that Ben turns people against each other is also a form of insider anarchy. But to me the best line of the night was Ben saying, "Well, I just didn't have time to talk you back into hanging yourself!" that a stuffed Hurleybird in Ben's office? :-D

All the temple scenes in this episode were very satisfying to me, I've been looking forward to it for a long time. And our intrepid Bendiana Jones dives into scouting out the lower chambers looking for his judgement. The psychological implications of Ben needing to come back to be judged for letting Alex die was reflected in the look on his face the moment she was killed. The encounter between Ben and Smokey-Alex was incredible TV viewing. ::coughEMMY!cough:: I'm guessing that Alex wasn't supposed to die, hence, why Ben was judged for it. Luckily, he truly was sorry for his mistake, unlike Eko, and Smokey grants reprieve. BTW, look closely at the temple pics above and below...both show Smokey coming from the stepped grate. Let's study the rest of the hieroglyphics to see what else can be interpreted literally!

One question about Smokey though: why can he slither through the grate holes, but not through the trunks and roots of the banyan trees to get at people? Okay, two questions: what does draining a sinkhole have to do with summoning Smokey? Please explain soon, Damelton!

I also found the judgement scene to be extremely satisfying as well. Up to now we've only seen this happening from the outside as onlookers, squinting at the images flashing around the judged person in the jungle. Now we get to see it from the inside, as the defendant being judged, and that was a very dramatic effect.

It was interesting how Widmore predicted Ben's eventual banishment. It could have been just a macho version of a parting shot, but Wid seemed to have a bead on Ben's personality from the beginning, illustrated in their continual clashes over protocol, etc.

I was very happy that Ben didn't shoot any members of Our Mutual Family! Let's hear it for bulletproof groceries, and the power of mothers and children on Ben's psyche. Then, Daddy to the rescue!

I really don't like Ilana (as a person, not a character), and I can't say that I'm sorry that we probably won't be seeing Caesar anymore. Because, dead is dead, right? Hmph, who put them in charge?! But for now I'm guessing that Ilana is most likely a part of Widmore's second-wave assault and that mega-trunk is filled with their artillery. But would the Others and the DI both have used riddles? Or had Radzinsky gone over to the Dark Side by the time he was stuck with Kelvin in his beloved Swan? That would be the kind of twist that TPTB would throw at us, but we'll have to wait and see as usual. And by the way, was that Ben's desk that Caesar pulled the hidden sawed-off shotgun out from under?! Not so corporate John, and you're still not seeing more than what's only before yours eyes.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

"Lies, Truths, And The New Jack - 5.11"

Well this episode was very involved and I still haven't digested it sufficiently to discuss it easily. We went down so many different roads here, light and heavy, and they all require a lot of thought. Aside from the usual comic relief that TPTB give us weekly, a lot of major disturbances happened, and not just in time and space.

For one thing (back to the poor kid getting shot) what the hay, what's up with Ben's gunshot wound being on the opposite side this week that it was on last week?! I couldn't help yelling at the TV as soon as I saw it, it was so obvious! Vozzek69 at DarkUFO has a theory (purposeful mindgames from the island), but I'm not sure I can go with it. There's got to be something up here though, because surely the costume department would notice that they had to have two separate bloody jackets, with two different holes in them in different places. You'd think that someone in the crew would have noticed it. To be continued, I guess. It was touching to see Roger come to his senses as a Dad finally, but older Ben makes it sound as if he didn't keep that up too well, before he gives Roger his complementary can of poison gas with his can of beer.

It seems that TPTB wanted to depressurize our brains a bit instead of making us wait for Daniel to come back onto the scene, so we get the Time Warp discussion with Hurley and Miles. And we deserved it. :-) Well we did! It's not too much different from what most have guessed, but I wanted to hear it from TPTB's mouths only, because no matter what things that we can guess, it all boils down to how they are going to make it work in their story. So I'm very thankful that they relieved some of the speculation that we'll have to do about that...for a while.

You know that this whole trip has just sprung Jack's last good nerve, and he's got nowhere left to go but around to the other side, and that would be the side of Faith one would hope. And um, nobody liked the old wino you, Jack.

But before he gets his act together completely, there's a new Jackface in town, ya'll best get used to it! And he's not going to let anyone push him into being a hero this time around. This episode is the first one where Jack actually refers to the Island as an entity in itself! Locke would be proud. It was a baby step, but it was a step nonetheless.

And on top of finding out that Jack can probably be partly accused of turning Bennie into Zombie Ben, it was also his fault that Kate lost track of Aaron! Don't think that she didn't hold that against him too!

This was such a frightening scene and it lasted a long time, the way that time seems to stop when it happens in real life. Such a tense scene, and all of E.L.'s work this episode was very good. I didn't much care for the scenes with Cassidy (what kind of morals did she expect from a Conman, and one that she conned people with herself?). But at least Kate had someone to be friends with finally, and thinking back to her giggly phone conversation that Jack walked in on that scene gets more meaning. He's probably thinking, "Why does she have a friend, I don't have one?!", heheh.

Just because we were together, it doesn't mean that we're together Freckles. Ouch. James really has matured, good. I hope that he and Juliet do stay together, but mostly because I find fickle characters that keep changing their minds very boring.

We didn't need shaving!!! Er, saving. Obviously, because we see again that Jack's hair hasn't grown back since Juliet shaved it off on the beach. Hmmm. But more importantly, what about that saving stuff, what do they need to be saved from if everything turned out hunkydorey for them in DI-ville? There must be something looming down the road a piece.

Welcome back chump! I can't help but think that most of Ben's reaction to seeing Locke was another one of those quick scenes before the show's over to make you think that one thing is happening, and then it turns out to be something else altogether in the next episode. So I'm not going to think too much about this one yet. And the next pic is for Wayne...