the end: see you in another life, brotha

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2010 by eyeoftheisland

It turns out, in the end, it was all the Doc’s dream.

Kidding. Sorta.

The two-and-half-hour series finale of LOST, appropriately titled “The End”, was a surprisingly spiritual and emotional elegy with a heartwarming ending that left both fans and LOST-aways alike staring into a bright, white light. While “staring into a bright, white light” is typically mentioned as the last thing people see before they die, the light that ended the show actually represented the death of LOST to the millions of devoted viewers worldwide. Many were expecting the ending to be either an answer-filled treatise that tied together all the island’s and character’s mysteries or a completely shocking mindfuck that would blow everyone’s minds.

Yet, despite all expectations, LOST’s actual ending was much subtler and quieter than anyone had expected. The show we thought was a hard, undecipherable sci-fi puzzle held our hand through the whole thing and let us down easy.

This softer exit was echoed in Michael Giacchino’s gorgeous soundtrack, which, like the show itself, fully embraced a more ethereal tone, contrasting with the gritty and strange soundtrack that dominated previous seasons. Season 1’s mechanical clicks and eerie moans gave way to sweeping violins and optimistic overtones.  Fittingly, it’s as if Giacchino started scoring the show as if it was Dante’s Inferno and ended with the soundtrack to Paradiso. Fitting, as that work, too, ended with reader and protagonist staring into the light. All in all, Giacchino’s brilliant work has greatly contributed to the LOST experience. Imagine the scene in the pilot where Kate, Charlie and Jack go examine the cockpit without the spine-tingling Giacchino (a noun) blaring at you! Or Jack and Locke looking down the hatch together (both times)! Or anytime anyone’s walking somewhere (can that bit of music please play as I walk around the office? It would make my workday that much more epic, thanks)! I mean, seriously, EGOT that guy already. If you’re interested, there is a great piece in the New Yorker about how LOST is composed.

But back to the Doc – that is, Doctor Jack Shephard, of course – and his many dreams. Now, by “it was all the doc’s dream,” I don’t mean the whole show was a fake or a dream. On Monday the 24th, I overheard a co-worker say, “So, they all were dead. They died in the original plane crash.” NO, MORON, THAT IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED. DID YOU EVEN WATCH THE SHOW? For the record, I did not say that out loud. And yet I don’t think she is alone in having large misconceptions about the show’s ending.  I think we can agree that:

  • Everything that happened on the Island was real. The Island exists, with all of its mystical oddities and electromagnetic wonders.
  • Everything that happened to the characters on the Island was real. They did not die in the Oceanic 815 crash, whose wreckage was ill-advisedly shown during the finale credits. A rep from ABC did confirm that those images did not have anything to do with the show’s ending. The shots of the wrecked plane were just stock footage meant to transition the audience from the ending of LOST to the evening news. Yeah, ‘cuz footage of a plane crash really makes me feel better before watching the news. As Danny Faraday/Widmore said, “whatever happened, happened.”
  • The Sideways was an ante-chamber. A holding place. A limbo. A very large, world-shaped waiting room. A “come-and-go” place that the collective consciousnesses of the castaways made up so that they could find each other. They needed each other to face reality: recognize death. Accept it. Let go of the mortal coil. Move on, together. Essentially, LOST’s central mantra of “Live Together, Die Alone” culminated in: “Live together… die. Together.”
  • And yet… the Sideways was real too. As Christian Shephard (“Seriously? Christian Shephard”   was one of the many moments that I felt the likable Kate come back around in “The End”) said, “I sure hope we’re real.” The Sideways was outside of time – “There is no now here” – where the souls of those people who had died both before and long after Doc Jack were able to reunite. It was real in the sense that any spiritual tenet is real – it is real if you believe it is real. As Albus Dumbledore says to Harry Potter in the Deathly Hallows chapter King’s Cross: “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

What I mean by “it was all the doc’s dream” is that all of Fixer Jack’s fantasies came true. He was able to save all of his friends (while stepping up to the plate and sacrificing himself) during his mortal life, and in his spiritual pre-afterlife, he was able to work out his daddy issues and move on from them. And I thought that guy had a God complex before.

That being said, I think it is also possible that the Sideways world we saw throughout Season 6 could all be the pre-afterlife as Jack alone had imagined it. Jack features in most of the Sideways scenes (there are only a few moments in the Sideways that he doesn’t appear in at some point). The relationships that people are in in the Sideways are all those which Jack was familiar with – Sayid and Shannon;

SIDEBAR: Regarding Sayid and Shannon vs. Sayid and Nadia: call me crazy, but I somehow think this makes sense. For Sayid, Nadia was both an idea and an ideal. A relationship fraught with violence, longing and unattainable expectations. Even though Sayid and Shannon were only together for a short time, they were more appropriate romantic foils. They were able to see each other in new ways, ways which the outside world couldn’t see because of their stereotypes. I totally dug it, as did New York Magazine’s LOST recapper Emily Nussbaum, whom, by the by, I had the great pleasure of meeting at the Paley Center on May 22nd

Hurley and Libby; Ben and Rousseau. I mean, it’s possible that this is the ideal world that Jack had created to work through his mortal issues. After all, who was the key to moving on? Christian, Jack’s dad. He needed Christian to show him the way.

What about David, you say? Well, this is how I see it:  David, my personal Justin Bieber, was a way for Jack to work through his daddy issues. Only when he was a dad himself – something that, perhaps, Jack always wanted – did Jack see his father’s perspective. By (all-too-easily) mending the relationship with David, Jack was able to pseudo-mend the relationship with his father. David was an aide to his acceptance. I think David served a purpose for Juliet as well, who had issues regarding children. For Juliet, perhaps David was the child she never got to have either, and a way for her to raise a child to adolescence, where so many children she had delivered were stillborn.

Why make Juliet and Jack friendly exes? I think this twist also worked out for both Jack and Juliet. Each of them had horribly toxic relationships with their exes during their mortal lives. Their amicable relationship in the Sideways allows them to work through those issues together. The fact that this helps both Jack and Juliet points to the idea that the Sideways is not just Jack’s creation but the sum of everyone involved’s collective issues. Is it possible that Sideways world was Jack’s alone? Possible. But I prefer the idea that it really was the creation of all of the castaways. Their time on the island was the most important time in their lives (with the exception of maybe Des and Penny – I would hope there would be better things for them on the horizon, but I guess their love would not be so epic without the castaways and such) and their being able to relive those relationships is what allows them to pass on.

And yet… I was surprised just how Jack-focused the finale was, both in the Sideways (as mentioned above) and on the island.

Yes, you could say that it’s been his journey all along. The show opened with his eye,  Jack waking up in the bamboo forest then stumbling out to see the great melee unfold. But then the show exploded, with the introduction of a mass of complicated and interesting characters, whose stories were just as – if not more – interesting than that of the Doctor With a Hero Complex (haven’t seen that one before). Mainly I am referring to my personal favorite character John Locke, whose quiet philosophical teachings and strong faith were tempered with a fierce determination (DON’T TELL ME WHAT I CAN’T DO!) and scary skills with a knife. Everyone who watched the show had their “favorite”: from tortured Iraqi hottie Sayid; to voice-of-the-audience dude Hurley; to scheming-like-no-other Ben Linus; to on-the-run Kate. As viewers, we all made personal investments in the characters of the show and wanted to see how their personal struggles fit into the great mosaic which is LOST.

Which is why, AHEM, the show succeeded in the first place! Primarily, it was character-focused and character-driven. All the other storytelling elements and mysteries came second to the characters’ personal journeys. The mystery was the hook – the heart of the show was the characters. Which is why I don’t think fans should be surprised at the ending. Most people stuck with LOST because they wanted to see what happened next… to the people. I realized this at about Season 4 and was much happier watching the show not worrying about which parts of the mystery would be solved. I think, as time goes on, those who are currently griping about the lack of answers to specific mysteries will feel more in tune with the ending eventually. WARNING TO THOSE WHO KEEP TRYING TO MAKE THE NEXT LOST: START WITH THE CHARACTERS, THEN MAKE THE MYSTERY. Just sayin’.

As the seasons progressed, I had the feeling that, despite Jack’s central role (the purpose for which, as I see it, was mainly to anchor the show from meandering), LOST was an ensemble piece. It was the coming together of many different stories to make one larger story; which is, actually, an apt description of the finale. But “The End” still was, in my personal opinion, overly Jack-ian. The show narrowed itself down again from the journey of many to the journey of one and ended with a focus on his eye and its final closing.

Essentially the path of the show was: opening of one man’s eye/worldview; expanding to the point-of-view of many others; a tightening of focus on most important character arcs; sudden zoom back in to the story of the one man, and his eye shuts. It does make sense – I feel like I’m arguing with myself about this point – the show’s original title was “The Circle.” And yet, I still feel that some of the characters that we were told were important and who we focused on through the other seasons got a bit shortchanged at the end. I guess it’s hard to have long, personal elegies to a show with 16 main characters.

I suppose my biggest complaint about the finale (and for the record I quite enjoyed it), was the Jack-centric-ness and the feeling that it was definitely a Season 6 finale but didn’t completely feel like a series finale. They dutifully wrapped up the big mystery of Season 6 – the Sideways – but I think it’s hard to apply “The End” to the series as a whole. I felt it spoke much more to recent events in the series than all that came before it. /rant

Not to say that we didn’t get some WONDERFUL character moments throughout the episode, moments which spoke to earlier seasons. It could be easy to get fatigued with each of the characters’ awakening moments – and yet somehow, each one was a touching, beautiful monument to what these characters had been through together. The one that hit me particularly hard – both the first and second time I watched it – was Jin and Sun. Maybe it was because I hadn’t really thought of their deaths as deaths before – OH, WELL THERE’S ALWAYS THE SIDEWAYS. But in their Sideways realization moment, when they actually saw flashes of their final moments alive, I was very emotional. The way the show conveyed the notion of being able to reunite with those you’ve lost after death was moving, especially, I think, to those who have lost someone. The idea of simultaneous recognition – I dug it.

My other Top Teary Moments:

  • Kate/Claire/Charlie – I don’t think I’ll ever get over Charlie’s death. Ever.  I also liked how the three of them got to share their recognition moment together, a strange nuclear family that never coalesced in real life.
  • Juliet/Sawyer – I definitely felt this one more the second time I watched it, with knowledge of what the Sideways was. Juliet Mitchell and Josh Holloway are magic together and I think their relationship on the show, even though short-lived, was the most real of all the romantic entanglements.
  • Jack/Locke in the church – why did this get me? They had eye contact for like 2 seconds, but I had an emotional response. WTF, self?!
  • Kate/Jack on the cliff – again, a surprising one as neither Jack nor Kate have been my personal favorites. This one, too, came during the second watch. Maybe it was because, the second time around,  I knew this would be the last time they would ever see each other and that Kate would miss him for the rest of her life? Maybe I shouldn’t be allowed to watch these things alone.

So, shippers, if you’re keeping score, the final tally is: Kate + Jack! Sawyer + Juliet! Ben + Hurley!

Speaking of Number 1 and Number 2… how surprisingly pleasant is that pairing?! At the Times Talk LOST discussion, Michael Emerson mentioned that he and Jorge Garcia’s characters, who hadn’t interacted much before this, were given an interesting opportunity for an unexpected working relationship. And how!

This is why Hurley + Ben works: Hurley and Ben don’t have a lot of personal history. Sure, Hurley wasn’t so fond of His Trickiness’ trickery, and Hurley may have thrown a Hot Pocket at Ben (we cheered when that happened at the LOST-A-THON) and would have rather gone to jail than trust him… but, really, did they have that much baggage? Not like Ben and Locke or Ben and Jack or Ben and Widmore. They hadn’t had a chance to be dueling foes. In fact, I think Ben has a lot of respect for Hurley because Hurley is everything that Ben wanted to be. Everybody loves Hugo! He is spiritually (well, and monetarily) rich, has a good outlook on life and is someone people like and trust. Ben: not so much. I think Ben would be okay to work under Hurley because Hurley is the type of dude a reformed Ben might want to be. And I think, at that point, Ben knew that he couldn’t handle the power of the job, but he was still happy he was needed by someone.

PLUS, as you probably already know, there will be a 12-14 minute short about the Island Times of Hurley and Ben on the S6 DVD special features. Huzzah I say! I am very much looking forward to it, although I do like just imagining what it would have been like. Was it an era of peace? What were Hurley’s rules? Ranch dressing for all!? Did they meet up with the Others (oh hey, Cindy) again? Did the Jacob cycle continue? Who came to power after Hurley? Was it Ben? Was it a peaceful transition? We shall see…

SIDEBAR: WHY WAS BEN NOT IN THE CHURCH? While we’re talking about Ben, here are my thoughts about who’s in the church and who’s not: those gathered there had experienced something communally. That stage of their lives, on the island, was the most important. So, for Ben, while he could have gone with them, he was not ready to move on. He had some things to do before getting to the resolve, let go, move on step. He had recognition, but as Walt would say, he had work to do.

WALT?! A thorn in many fans’ side is why Walt wasn’t in the church. Personally, I was okay with it. In fact, it made me happy: it meant that the island was not the most important part of Walt’s life. He was able to move on and have something greater than that. Maybe he and Michael will be able to meet up and reconcile; although poor Michael had to stay on the Island and whisper. Okay, so how is it okay for murderin’ Kate, torturin’ Sayid and stranglin’ Sawyer to be there, but not shootin’ Michael?! I guess I can fall back that eventually he gets to be with Walt. But I do think it’s a bit unfair that Michael has to stay on the Island, while Sayid gets to prance with his lady love into the Great White Light.

Obviously, this ending still leaves much room for interpretation. There is an amusing video of all the “unanswered questions” up on College Humor (although I think the answer to most of the questions they mention can be inferred), and it’s 5 minutes long.

The part about the show that I am most curious about at this point is: what happened to the survivors after they left the island?

  • I felt sad for Sawyer, who, along with Claire, had never left the island, and now was going back to… his insanely depressing life pre-crash? Everyone thought he was dead. In the real world, he was a disliked con man who murdered the wrong guy in Australia and had a daughter who knew nothing about him. No to mention that he had also just lost the great love of his life, Juliet. And Kate ultimately loved Jack, not him. But, I’d like to think that maybe his friendship with Miles blossomed and he was finally able to open up to someone. After all, Miles was the closest friend (other than Juliet) that he ever had.
  • I imagine Kate and Claire raised Aaron together… but Kate missed Jack for the rest of her life. Maybe Kate was able to reconnect Sawyer and little Clementine, as she had that strange relationship with Cassie, Sawyer’s baby mama.
  • Oh, Richard! You actually made me so happy!

OMG GREAT RICHARD MOMENT

R. Alpert finally got to live a real life; that is, one with an expiration date. Silver foxes club with Miles? Done AND done. How great an actor is Nestor Carbonell that he could convey so much – “I’m free! I’m mortal! I can start again! But I don’t belong! That shit on the Island was nuts! But I made it!” –  with one look. So, so happy for Ricardo.

  • I imagine Frank was united with his true love… bacon.

And this is why I think the Sideways is a gift to the fans: because without it, LOST would have a very unhappy ending. Imagine: Jack kills the Smoke monster… but then dies. Six of them get to escape, but… the hero dies. Vincent’s there (AHHHH MY BFF VINCENT). It’s all very sad.

SIDEBAR: Can I say that the resolution to the Smokey-menace did not quite live up to my expectations? I do think it was a bold move to cut out the villain halfway through the finale – ultimately, that resolution ended up being fairly unimportant in the grand scheme of the episode. Yet, I was never really clear about what the danger of having a mortal Smokey escape would be. What was the importance of killing him? And the magical bathtub cork? A LITERAL HOT TUB TIME MACHINE? REALLY? And no one was in danger of becoming Smokey? Again, with the cheesy CGI and the way-too-easy solutions to much-ballyhooed problems. Don’t get me wrong, I thought that the island drama was visually stunning – I loved the gritty, post-apocalyptic feel when the island was sinking – and had some excellent acting and dialogue – EPIC fight scene between Flocke and Jack – but it was a bit weak story-wise. All in all, that was not meant to be the focus of the ep… which was….

The Sideways was a way for us, as fans, to let go. We were able to see the curtain calls of many of our fave characters and slowly realize that it was “The End” for us, too. LOST has been very meta this season, so it’s no surprise that the Sideways is a meta commentary on the show’s run as well. We have to recognize. To let go. To move on.

(Even though I stand by the notion that we were purposefully deceived as to what the Sideways was. The writers went out of their way to make this revelation particularly shocking, which can make one a bit resentful, but, I digress…)

The Sideways also allowed us to relive and remake our favorite moments/relationships/motifs from the series. In Season 6, we got to see many classic scenes again, beginning with Jack and Rose on the airplane. “The End” was chock full of these moments, from Jack and Flocke looking down a mysterious, glowing hatch together, to Jack and Kate talking stitches, to Jack doing a miracle surgery (originally on Sarah, but this time on Locke), to the final sequence of Jack’s death, which, shot-for-shot mimics the series’ opening. Not to mention that the Oceanic 6 are now the Ajira 6. We’ve gotten many repeated lines throughout the series – live together die alone; see you in another life, brother; I hope you find what you’re looking for; don’t mistake coincidence for fate; whatever happened, happened; the island isn’t done with you yet; don’t tell me what I can’t do – many of which recurred here. In the finale, we also got to visit some familiar settings – the bamboo forest, the hill where Kate, Jack and Charlie walked up to get to the Fuselage is the hill where Kate, Jack and Hurley go to get to the cave. It’s almost as if the series is a set of recurring moments – like we as viewers are having constant déjà vu.

This feeling, along with the central theme that these people are meant to be together (remember the excitement of seeing all the random connections between them in Season 1?) leaves me with this final theory: it only ends once, everything else is just progress. That is, the souls of these people may be going under some sort of reincarnation, where they are meant to find each other again in the next life (brotha). There is a cycle, whereby everything that has occurred in the past feeds into the present. We are constantly making ourselves; looking, like Sawyer, at our reflections in broken mirrors. I wonder if, after they walked into the bright light with Christian, if their souls moved on to new lives, where they will all eventually collide, fight, love, die and meet up again? Or, it could be that this is the end of a long cycle of enlightenment journeys, and finally it does end: these characters are moving on to the next thing.

Which is… ?

That, I am still wrapping my mind around.

In my real life, the next thing is finding the next show to enthrall and captivate me. I’ll be keeping a look out, but something tells me there will be nothing like the LOST experience. The week leading up to the finale was so thrilling for me and a fitting send-off to not just a show I liked, but a show that represented a specific time in my life. Over the past 6 years, my life has changed dramatically, and LOST will always be a touchstone for memories and friendships and places.

A few footnotes from LOST week:

-          Times Talk LOST was incredibly amusing, especially watching the Des-Penny constant scene on the big screen. I am quite jealous of those who got to watch the finale this way, although I am happy that my finale viewing experience was more intimate. I had my constants around me; there were margaritas and smoke monster popcorn. It helped me let go.

-          The panel at the Paley Center was excellent! Not only did we get to watch the pilot on a big screen, but yours truly may have been in the top 6 of their trivia contest. Somehow I lucked out and won this awesome poster (which will be framed posthaste).

-          We also visited LOSTATHON, where three college friends were aiming to break the Guinness World Record for a TV Marathon by watching the entire series of LOST simultaneously. We had our own mini marathon – 6 hours and many DHARMA beers later – and met some great fans, including the ladies from the Unlocke LOST podcast. I can’t say I’ve ever had so much fun nerding out as discussing LOST for 6 hours with other diehards, outside, at a bar. Congrats to the guys who did complete the marathon – I don’t think anyone has ever been excited about a dismembering as we all were when we cheered for Montand’s arm being ripped off. A farewell to arms, indeed.

And, with that, a farewell to you too, my dear readers. Since LOST has come to a close, I fear that this instant-analysis blog has also found its necessary end. Not to say that there is isn’t more to think about and discuss; I’m sure fans will be analyzing and dissecting and rediscovering LOST for a long time. I was recently discussing this finale week with a friend, who said he’d like to go back – WE HAVE TO GO BACK, KATE – and rewatch the whole series… but in about two or three years. Sometimes, one needs distance from something so large and all-consuming to get a fresher perspective on it. I have certainly loved developing the eyeoftheisland project and look forward to creating the next thing that really moves and inspires me. For now, my game plan is to keep the blog up for new fans of the series and somewhat maintian the eyeoftheisland twitter account to keep up with readers and LOST-related news, including August’s S6 DVD release. I’ve been more recently toying with the idea of going back to the beginning and analyzing season 1-4 postmortem with a bit of hindsight to put a new spin on it. We’ll see what develops.

Until then, thank you for going on this journey with me. Namaste and good luck!

and now we face the final curtain.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 24, 2010 by eyeoftheisland

hello, friends.

ihavesomanythoughtsaboutthefinalebutneedtimetoprocessthemall.

overall: i was satisfied. the more i mull it over, the more i appreciate it. however, it was not without its flaws. excellent character moments (i’m looking at you, sawyer+juliet, ben+hurley, claire+kate+charlie, richard!). beautifully filmed. provocative ideas.

i’ll be watching it again and posting in the next few days. in the meantime:

what did you think?

what they died for: just what i needed

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2010 by eyeoftheisland

For an episode entitled “What They Died For”, I sure had a rip-roaring good time watching it. While last week’s epic “Across the Sea” was a heavy-handed mythological download, WTDF was a LOSTian romp, filled with Miles quips, Ben flips and the ever-persistent machinations of Hit-and-Run Desmond. 

Desmond Hume: He will run you over until you get the message

 WTDF was 43 minutes of everything LOST has ever been: tragedy (Jin and Sun had a baby, you know); medical drama (I’m going to sew you up now, Kate); romance (BEN AND ROUSSEAU OH EM GEE); comedy (everything Desmond did in this whole episode); schemes (Ben, again, FTW!); death (PEACE OUT ZOE); and an epic date with destiny (Jack’s accepting of the Jacob job). I would be exhausted just thinking about it, but I’ve just chugged a very large cup of coffee. Caffeine for the win! 

 WTDF was the antithesis to the whole first half of this much-maligned sixth season. For the first eight episodes we were stuck in the temple, twiddling our thumbs with Doo-gen and Stupidface McUseless (aka Lennon); there were two timelines whose connection was not discernable and we were not getting answers. Last night’s episode had more in it than those whole first eight (with a few exceptions, of course). We got a glimpse of most of the characters, and got a sense of where this epic tale might lead. 

 Also, can I say that I loved all the meta-references in this ep, from Flocke’s repeated mantra that “this is all almost over” and Jacob’s “we only have a certain amount of time left”? The latter example seemed like a Back to the Future reference; if only a disintegrating Jacob would break out into “Johnny Be Good” after telling the remaining candidates that one had to take the job: “Jack Be Good (And Become the Protector of the Island)” 

“Have you ever been in a situation where you knew you were supposed to act a certain way, but when you got there, you didn't know if you could go through with it?”

 Hey speaking of Back to the Future, check out this amazing shirt

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads… only constants. And windswept hair.

 And while there were many excellent players in this ep (can I mention my love for Buddha Desmond again? “Hey old buddies! Let’s break out of this van and go to a concert! Did I mention that I run over people in wheelchairs in my spare  time?”), the MVP of this episode has to go to Ben “I Always Have a Plan” Linus. 

 

Would you like some murder with your lemonade?

 Ben’s sudden turnaround to the side of the good guys was one of this season’s most shocking – and, dare I say, moving – moments. Could the master of manipulation really turn towards the light? After some grave digging and Ilana-sploding we were meant to think, yes, this guy has gone through Liar Rehab and has emerged as a better citizen. And that’s when Benji got boring. He lost his mojo! How could he just sit around, quipping about Ilana exploding and following Richard towards some C4? 

 But in WTDF, he had his “aha moment,” where we saw that the island was not quite done with the long-term project known as Benjamin Linus. He was standing right over Alex’s grave. The death of the only person he ever really loved, which he had caused, was right under him. He couldn’t just sit around and let Guyliner do the talking. 

 Speaking of Richard, the thorn in my side with this episode: IS RICHARD DEAD? He wanted to take the diplomatic approach with MiBs, but his Smokeyness didn’t have time for talking, so he just clotheslined the ageless other into oblivion. Jigga what? Could it be that our beloved RA, whose death has been faked out or talked about several times this season, could just be smoked away in .5 seconds and never heard from again? COME ON! You can’t have a whole scene dealing with Richard trying to kill himself and then just toss him out into the distance. HE DESERVES BETTER. I hope there’s more to this, LOST, or we’re going to have to sit down and have a chat. 

 But back to MVP Linus. In pure Ben fashion, he decides that he’s had enough of just blindly following people around and helping with their on-the-fly plans – and thank God! Everyone else this season has been way too go-with-the-flow, from the Temple disaster to the Smokey submarine heist debacle. Praise heaven for the Master Schemer, whose encounter with Alex’s grave finally woke him up from his rehab reverie. 

 But… do I think Ben has turned his back on his conversion? Nope. While he shot Charles Widmore to show the MiB that he meant business, that was a necessary (and desired) casualty on the road to his ultimate shot at redemption: killing MiB and sacrificing himself for the good of the others and the island. Ben is a wily guy and all, but I don’t think he could turn his back on his desire to change so quickly. MiB should see through that, except he never saw the conversation Ben had with Ilana. According to the MiB, Ben is still the power-craving mastermind he always was. I think the winner of the ultimate con-test (get it? Like a long CON…test?) will be Ben. After all, he has a MAJOR bone to pick with MiB for conning him into killing Jacob. But Ben may have to pay for that victory with his life. 

How many times does he have to tell you? He ALWAYS has a plan.

 I also give a tip of my hat to Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn for the excellent scene of Ben and Flocke on the porch, casually discussing murder and island domination. Get these guys their own show, STAT! 

 Oh, and Sideways Ben… ca-ching! Best. Surprise. Evar. Rousseau has really nice hair off the island! And she has the hots for Dr. Linus! Like… a lot. Those come hither eyes she gave him over the dishes were both creepy and amazing (creepmazing?). As a mother, wouldn’t you be concerned, not turned on, that your teenage daughter is so close to an older, single teacher? I guess Rousseau saw that PhD and those glasses (and that broken arm and busted face?) and had to lock that down. Many moons ago, I had suspected that Ben might be Alex’s actual father – somehow I feel like this theory has finally been vindicated. Right?! 

It must be the onions… or my strange attraction to you

 As a whole with this episode, I commend the writers for abandoning the LOST trademark move of dragging out conversations and decisions. I thought the discussion over who would take over Jacob’s job would take forever, even though Jack was clearly the guy who would step up to the plate. I also appreciated that, FOR ONCE, the characters decided to take a break from traipsing around the jungle and making from-the-gut decisions to sit down and actually consider what’s going on. Since Season 1 I have been screaming at the TV, trying to implore the characters to actually sit down and discuss what was going on with them; they finally figured it out… in the penultimate episode of LOST ever. Sheesh. 

 I also felt that Jacob really did owe the candidates some explanation even if, as usual, it was cryptic and incomplete. And yet, after all the ish they’ve been through, I don’t think the metaphysics of it all was all that important to the castaways. If you’re former friend’s corpse’s likeness is being taken up by an evil smoke monster, I think  you just have to go with the flow.  I mean, I always do when that happens to me. 

 Going into the finale, I am glad to see that we’ve been set up with a mission: stop the MIB from destroying the island, and maybe save the world at the same time. A current LOST-related Heroes-inspired mantra going around the internets is “Save the Cheerful Scotsman, Save the World!” I like it. Now Charles Widmore (I would say he was gone too soon, but, really… what else could that conniving Brit have to say? Once you whisper in MiB’s ear, you’re pretty much done) is out of the picture. But thankfully he did let us know that Desi is the island’s failsafe before doing so. That’s what you get for shooting Alex in the head. 

 Another great meta moment: When Widmore was whispering into Flocke’s ear – how conniving of you, LOST, to do that to us so late in the game! – Ben expressed the audience’s frustrations with such coyness by popping several caps into his secretive nemesis. You want to drop some frustrating secrets on us, LOST? Well, then I am just going to have to shoot you. Several times. 

 This is the part of the post where we rejoice that Zoe is dead. DING DONG THAT BITCH IS DEAD! SMOKEY TOOK A KNIFE TO HER HEAD! DING DONG THAT POINTLESS BITCH IS DEAD! The Lockeness Monster said it best himself, “If she wasn’t going to be able to say anything, she was useless to me.” Truer words were never spoken, MiBs. Now you can happily go back to your stripper workout videos, Zoe-lady. There is no more room for your useless whining. 

FIN.ALL.Y

 All in all I am fairly satisfied to this lead-in to the most epic finale of all time. I look forward to watching it again, if not only to watch Kate and Sayid’s reactions to Crazy Des in the back of the armored car (also: bribe-taking Ana Lucia! After all this time, I kind of wish you had stuck around, even though I hated you when you were on the show. My bad!). 

 LOST week continues with Darlton on David Letterman’s Top Ten tonight; the Times Talk LOST broadcast tomorrow night (I’ll be in my local movie theater); Darlton’s last live appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Fri night; the Paley Center on Sat (and possible visit to the NYC LOST-a-thon; donate here!); and, of course, the five-hour-long finale fest that will be taking place on Sunday (two hour retrospective beforehand, 2.5 hour episode, followed by Jimmy Kimmel special). It is the end, my friends. And, my, hasn’t it been a great ride? 

 Namaste. Check out my twitter over the week for thoughts, event updates etc.

across the sea: inheritance and legacy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2010 by eyeoftheisland

was it perfect? absolutely not. the winner of most satisfying mythology download episode of LOST goes to “ab aeterno” (and not just because of my raging crush on harlequin hero richard alpert). while viewers had high expectations for “ab aeterno”, the episode had a fairly defined area to cover; namely, the origin storgy of eternal consogliere richard alpert. what really brings “across the sea” down is that, effectively, the entire series (in the minds of the fan community) was resting on the promised reveals in this episode. but like bib (boy in black) and his mother before him, we were left unsatisfied; answering one question will only lead to another question.

[for an excellent summary of critical and fan reception to what may be the most polarizing episode in LOST history, i refer you to mysles mcnutt's cultural learnings blog: http://cultural-learnings.com/2010/05/12/lost-the-morning-after-going-across-the-sea-with-critics/]

at first, this took a minute for me to digest. i have to admit that once this season started with a double whammy of an island storyline and a sideways universe storyline, i had given up on getting precise answers to certain mysteries. i had a sneaking suspicion that there was not going to be one be-all, end-all thing to tie together the dozens of mysteries this show has provided for us. in fact, the only thing that truly does tie the series together is that there are mysteries: some large, some small, some solvable and some we may never understand. and while we may seek out fictional stories to find some sort of truth, be they on tv, in a book through a console or in a song, ultimately fiction is our way of dealing with the unknown. to somehow define what the human experience is. in the end, despite how these stories may move us, we just have to shrug our shoulders and admit that we can’t be sure. that was the overarching lesson/theme/motif that i gathered from “across the sea.”

after all, is there much of life that we can be certain of? many LOST fans are complaining that the appearance of mother only led to more questions: who is she? how did she get to be in the position she’s in? and the people before that? etc. however, i saw her cryptic existence as being entirely fitting and strangely satisfying. throughout the series, we have been guided through a series of leaders, a hierarchy of supposed wisdom-keepers: did john locke have the knowledge? rousseau? ben? richard? jacob? mother? the answer is that no one really knows. nor can anyone know. and yet the sum of all human knowledge has been passed down to us by those who came before us. everything we know we learned from our parents and they from their parents, and so on. so what mother told bib and young j: she came from her mother and they came from her. that we can be positive about. our own personal light sources we protect — whether they be religion, morals, values, politics, history, all traditions — they come from our parents.

how they pass on this information intimately shapes us. this is another theme at the crux of LOST’s storytelling. we’ve been beaten over the head with parents and children and the various mommy/daddy issues that spring from them. in a recent interview with the nyt
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/16/arts/television/16weblost.html?ref=television, damon and carlton spoke of the path of redemption that the LOST characters keep going through: they are all victims of some sort when they crashed on the island, even jin and sun who were travelling together. but now, havin been through these experiences together, they are finding redemption for themselves both through and by helping others on their own redemption journeys. or, in short: live together, die alone. the only way for anyone to make sense of this mystery island known as life, we depend on the sympathy and compassion of others. our constants ground us to reality. and they help us shape the legacy that we might leave for those that come after us.

as a whole, the island gives those that land on it the opportunity to shrug off that burden of legacy. and yet, it is inescapable. jacob and the smokey form of the mib are still playing out the game they started as children: stay and obey the parent’s rule or rebel and escape the burden of inheritance. keep faith in what has always been or challenge the norm and step out into the abandon, across the sea.

enough of the philosophical. generally, the overarching themes and some key bits of writing in “across the sea” made it a success for me. it wouldn’t be LOST without asking questions as it was giving us answers. i did, however, have some issues with the execution, namely….

the glowing birth canal that lives in all of us.

i mean… really? are some fans of this show so dense that they need to see a literal glowing golden  gloryhole of global goodness? oh wait. yes. some people out there on the internets are moaning about not knowing exactly what it is and how it came to be. news flash: IT IS MADE UP. i think this calls for a

REALITY CHECK

dear nitpicky fans,
you will not get the answer to every question. we are not going to find out who was shooting at sawyer and co. on the outrigger next season. we may never learn mib’s name. why the whispers were whispering that thing back when shannon got shot: we’re not getting that. what happened with walt in room 23: prob not. at this point in the story we all just need to take a collective deep breath and accept that only what’s essential to the story of the survivors of 815 (and mayhaps ben… cause… he’s ben, i mean… COME ON!) will ultimately matter. at this point, we have to just relax and enjoy the ride. sometimes the best mysteries at all are those whose solutions are left up to our imaginations.

and when they’re not we’re left with a giant, glowing vagina of human life and rebirth.

love,
me.

other reflections:

– allision janney mom was both great and distracting. i could not stop staring at her hairnet thing. sometimes i was thinking about 10 things i hate about you. sometimes i just sat back and appreciated the mellow cadence of her voice.
— i am convinced that mother was smokey. she possessed within her both the light and belief of jacob and also the cunning and wilyness of young mibs. how else could she have filled out that well so fast and smoked (ha.ha.) all those villagers? my theory about her existence pre-across the sea is that she, like jacob would after her, had tried and failed many times to convert people into ideal candidates. however, once she saw the golden opportunity of two blank slates, she hopped on that (i.e. put a rock to mommy claudia’s noggin) and raised (as an OTHER) the babes as her own; two ideal, but distinct candidates. maybe it was her goal all along to have two protectors instead of one so that the burden was more evenly distributed.
— jacob could not be the man he is today without the ongoing influence of his smokey-brother. the jacob we saw in “across the sea” was childish and naive even in his adulthood; but the jacob we’ve seen so far in the series seems jaded and world-weary; maybe the game between himself and smoke-brother was the real training for him to be the proper protector
— however, there is a question of whether smokey is the soul of mib who is trapped forever on the island or, if by sending his brothers’ body down the well (a no-no by mother’s standards; you cannot go back up the birth canal!), jacob released the smoke monster into the world

there are so many other things we could get into in this episode… but it is late and i have thought too many complicated thoughts for a sunday evening. and i certainly have to save my brainpower for THE MOST EPIC WEEK IN LOST HISTORY. members of w.a.a.a.l.t. are finalizing their arrangements; i am going to my local theater to watch the live broadcast of the times talk discussion with damon and carlton on thursday AND THERE IS STILL A NEW EPISODE ON TUESDAY. i have to say that two out of every three of my thoughts has been about LOST lately. i can’t imagine that sickness will stop anytime soon.

hope you’re along for the ride on the crazy train, LOST friends. ONE. MORE. WEEK. AND. WE. WILL. KNOW. THE. ENDING.

GAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

heyyyyy brother

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 11, 2010 by eyeoftheisland

instant reaction: jigga… WHAT?

  • John Locke looked into the eye of the island and saw… a glowing birth canal from which all good things come? I am convinced this is what he saw and what he was talking to Walt about in Season 1.
  • The Smoke Monster came to be because… his a-hole brother pushed his dead body down a water slide of DOOM?
  • Allison Janney Mom was the proto-Rousseau?! Does that mean all women who give birth on the island are bound to go crazy?
  • Now that the ole dead bro was slid down the glory hole, the light went out… but then came back on? Shouldn’t they get a gate or something for that ish? Is it out now that J-Woww is dead?
  • How does the frozen donkey wheel that Ben and Locke had to push to get off the island work? And who completed it?!
  • How does the Smoke Monster intend to escape his vapor-y prison?
  • And now… I totes magotes sympathize with the MiB? I think he should totally be allowed to go across the sea. And whiny Mama’s Boy jacob deserved to die.
  • Was Allison Janney Earth Mother both Smokey and the Jacob figure? How else was she able to fill up the well AND waste all those villagers otherwise? So now the good/evil being component is split between two entitites trying to cancel each other out?

Also, the island as mother imagery was a little heavy handed. I’m thinking the wpisode as a whole was a bit much — but LOST is officially letting it’s freak flag fly. GO INTO THE LIGHT, EVERYONE!!!!

PS 100th eyeoftheisland post! woot LOST woot!

across the sea: sneak peeks

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 11, 2010 by eyeoftheisland

Things have been turned up to 11 in the LOST command center of my brain (which has swelled to an alarming size). With only 4.5 hours of the show left… EVAR… I’m starting to think beyond what might happen to the characters and what might happen to… me. And this dear blahr-g, with its random thoughts and the 481515623 hits a day from people looking for pictures of the LOSTies in DHARMA gear. The answer for both – as yet undetermined. I will be posting all my thoughts and emotions concerning the finale in weeks to come. But this glorious experiment in internets may come to an end. Thanks, three people that read it! (Hi D!)

 I have also made a conscious decision not to watch any more of the sneak peeks. I have not usually minded getting a tease or a glimpse into the upcoming episode, but it has oft ruined some surprising moments (and those two people I watch LOST with are getting  a bit tired of me whispering, “I’ve seen this already” when said scenes air). However, I have posted these below if you care to be teased for tonight’s mythic-centric episode “Across the Sea.”

 The episode will be on the level of “Ab Aeterno” – lots of island mythology! And if you want one little teaser… Allison Janney, formerly (and forever?) CJ of The West Wing, will be featured in tonight’s ep, character as yet unknown. My guess is that getting a heavy hitter like that (which Damon and Carlton noted was a big win for them; in fact, when they were talking about the character in the writer’s room, they referred to her as Allison Janney, thinking  they would never get her), she may be playing the mysterious mother of MIB, which the Man-in-Flocke himself brought up in a conversation with Kate.

 Then again, he is a manipulating SOB (!!!) so that could be a lie and she could be playing the Earth Mother or something. This is much better than that rumor that Matthew Perry was going to be on LOST. No, really.

 Here are some interesting links I’ve come across related to bits of news out there in the LOST-dom, including a link to the most recent audio podcast (recommended) and the aforementioned sneak peeks. I’ll be on twitter later tonight to give my instant reactions. Happy trips
Across the Sea!*”

 *can I also mention that my inner 10th grader is beyond psyched that a LOST episode and a Weezer song have the same title ????

the candidate: they come, they fight, the die

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 6, 2010 by eyeoftheisland

Okay, LOST fans, I have a confession. While I found the tragic death of Jin and Sun to be quite sad and all… I was not emotional. The first time we saw a LOST watery grave scene, the death of Chahlie, I weeped profusely. Many tears for my bloody rock god and the sacrifice he made. Normally, the water-logged demise of the finally-united lovers would have the same reaction. However, the Sideways world has ruined all emotional reaction for me. They’re not really dead; they still have each other and an in utero baby Ji Yeon and everything is going to be okay. Moments after the Titanic-y shot of their hands parting we saw a smiley Jin enter Sun’s hospital room with flowers.

never let go... until after the commercial break

Actually, the saddest moment of the episode for me was when Hurley broke down on the beach. Poor guy. His bffls just can’t catch a break. While Hurley was sobbing, I couldn’t help but remember the episode “Ji Yeon” where Sun and Hurley had their bonding moment by Jin’s grave. All right, maybe it is a bit emotional.

 Speaking of Ji Yeon… many people across the internets are buzzing about why Sun did not invoke her daughter when trying to get Jin to save himself. It did seem a bit conspicuous to me that neither of them mentioned her name in their final exchange. It seemed like maybe the writers didn’t know how to mention her without making Jin look like a total dick. However, I postulate this reasoning for leaving Ji Yeon out of it…

 When the freighter blew up in Season 4, and Sun thought her beloved had been blown to smithereens, it was wayyy intense. Much screaming, much trying to jump out of the chopper after him, much drama and sadness. There was also much desire for vengeance. From what we saw from the flash forwards, Sun’s life was consumed by getting revenge for the murder of her husband, which she blamed on Ben. She had a tremendous guilt – leaving him there and getting on the chopper. She took care of Ji Yeon, but the main purpose in her life was to pay justice to Jin. It was her obsession.

 When she heard that there was a possibility he was alive, Sun knew she had to go back. She didn’t hesitate over whether to leave Baby Suri… er…. Ji Yeon behind. She loved her baby girl, don’t get me wrong, but she wasn’t the number one priority in her life. Sun didn’t want that kind of life for Jin. She knew he would feel just as she had – that it was his fault, that he would forever carry around the guilt of leaving her to die alone. His soul mate, the woman who he had back for only a brief moment. She also didn’t want to saddle Ji Yeon with guilt either (a point brought up by Doc Jensen in his column on “The Candidate.”

 Ultimately, Sun didn’t want Jin to have to go through what she did. Whether this is the right decision or not is, of course, debatable. I think I am okay with it in the long run, but do see some faults with the decision (also the writing). But LOST tends to stay away from clear-cut “right” or “wrong” answers, so I think it rings true that their deaths are so controversial.

 Regarding the other fer real death… while I want to be sad that my beloved Sayid has gone the way of the Arzt/Ilana (explosives – 3; LOSTies – 0), I think we lost the real Sayid at the beginning of the season. Once he emerged from the Dirty Hot Tub of Doom, our resident Iraqi torturer has not been himself. A shell of the man we once knew. His story arc this season (and the entire series as well) has been about Sayid trying to forge his own identity, despite what people told him he was. In the end his death was a moment that made me happy, because in his final moments, Sayid was able to prove once and for all that he was “one of the good guys” and sacrificed himself “for the greater good.” Good going, Sayid. I lift my tankard to you.

 My thoughts on the status of Cap’n Frank “My New Best Friend” Lapidus are in the post below. I stand by the fact that unless you see a body on LOST (or you see them being Artzed), you can’t count anyone out. Stay strong, Frank. Mosey on out of the sunken sub!

 A lot of other shit happened in the island story of this episode. Widmore caged the LOST-ies; Smokey took a dip and lived to tell the tale; Claire got granny dumped again. Anyone who says nothing happened in this episode is totally whack. As I try to gather my thoughts, a million questions pop up: What is that Widmore up to anyway? Is he working WITH Smokey? And what up with the A-Team (Richard, Ben and Miles)? Is it possible they planted the C4 on the plane? AND WHERE IS GODDAMN VINCENT?

comic by nedroid. who is amazing. http://www.nedroid.com

 Serving as a nice counterpoint to a lot of 24-esque movement from the Island storyline, the Sideways world delivered a cool dose of philosophy and mental intrigue.

 Mirrors have popped up in almost all of the Sideways flashes and in “The Candidate” Jack and Claire look into a magic box containing a mirror and a song… from their mysterious dead dad (who’s body is still missing, BTW), Christian. CSheps wanted his bastard child to have the delicate box, which sweetly sang “Catch A Falling Star” a lullaby which has appeared over and over in LOST (Kate to Aaron; Claire to Aaron—Claire even says that the song was sung to her by her father).

 The box made me think of the “magic box” (WHICH IS A METAPHOR STILL, BTW) that Ben promised Locke, the box company Locke worked for and Hurley owned, the hatch as a box where Desmond was confined, Room 23 where “God loves you as he loved Jacob” was drilled into your head, the case from “Whatever the Case May Be.” Basically, boxes and mirrors (and SMOKE and mirrors) are all over LOST. I was hoping this one was significant (like maybe the mirror in the box is akin to the mirrors in the Lighthouse), but nothing yet. Aw, shucks.

 But what really got my brain working in the Sideways world was the exchange of lines between characters, especially Jack and Locke. From their positions as “Man of Science, Man of Faith” Jack and Locke have shifted into the other one’s camp. In the Sideways world, Jack wants to be the believe and Locke is the cynic.

JACK: You know, the first time you and I met, um, back at the, at the airport [pause] you told me that my father was gone, and, uh, it hurt to hear that but I knew you were right. Your father’s gone, too, Mr. Locke.

LOCKE: Uh, no, no, he’s not.

JACK: Yes, he, he is, and you can punish yourself as much as you want, and that’s never gonna bring him back.

[Locke sits in his wheelchair and listens to Jack, pensively.]

JACK: What happened, happened and [pause] you can let it go.

LOCKE: What makes you think letting go is so easy?

JACK: It’s not. In fact, I don’t really know how to do it myself [pause] and that’s why I was hoping that maybe you could go first.

[Locke thinks for a moment and begins to laugh.]

LOCKE: Oh, good-bye, Dr. Shephard.

[Jack turns and watches Locke wheel himself down the corridor.]

JACK: I can help you, John. I wished you believed me.

The scene above seems to serve as a counterpoint to one of Locke’s many conversions of Jack. “Why do you find it so easy?” “Why do you find it so hard?” That famous conversation occurred, of course, in Season 2 when they were discussing the pressing of the button in the hatch. This was specifically referenced when Sideways Locke said “push the button” in his sleep.

In any case, these two figures are constantly connected to each other and yet always at odds. Kind of like… Jacob and Mib? Which leads to…

 My Current Endgame Theory: Everyone will die. except jack. Mib’s assertion to Jacob in the season 5 finale was that people come to the island, they fight and then they die refers to not just people, but candidates. The candidates fight among each other and eventually knock each other out and the game of finding a suitable candidate must start again. So far, the LOST-ies have done a good job of doing that; only jack, sawyer and hurley are left. MiB is hoping they will all die again, but with no Jacob there is nothing keeping him bound to the island any longer. However, Jack will survive. All the others will die – and maybe live their lives in the sideways universe? – but Jack will live and take up Jacob’s mantle. Maybe the Jack in the Sideways world will die as a result.

I still think there will be a moment when the LOSTies consciousness’ in both the Island and Sideways realties will collide and an awareness of both will occur. This will be followed by a choice, perhaps involving a sacrifice.

But some things about LOST will never change…

  • subs are bound to blow up
  • someone is always telling you, “I wish you had believed me”
  • a crazy lady with a baby has a music box
  • Jack likes Apollo bars from vending machines
  • someone has a amateur pilot’s license (in the pilot, jack mentions he had dabbled in piloting; obv Locke had one in the Sideways world)

 Important LOST news items

 There will be no new promos for the season. Carlton Cuse reports that no new promos will be shown. They want to built up suspense or something, I guess.

 The finale will be 2.5 hours long, preceded by an hour-long recap episode. The finale will be directly followed by the Jimmy Kimmel LOST special. On Saturday they will show a pop up version of the pilot. My dream of an 8-hour LOST finale marathon is slowly coming true!

 After the finale airs, Damon and Carlton will go on radio silence.  Typical. They will be on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Friday night and will tape a segment to air on the JK finale aftershow.

 So, if you’re counting, that means:

  • On May 11th, the highly-anticipated Smokey-centric episode “Across the Sea” will air
  • On May 18th, the frighteningly-titled episode “What They Died For” will air
  • On May 21st, Darlton will appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • On May 22nd, the pop up Pilot will be shown
  • On May 23rd, 9PM the 2.5 hour finale, appropriately titled “The End”, will air
  • At 11 PM, the Jimmy Kimmel special will air
  • On May 24th my life will be over (kidding?)

 On pins and needles folks. I think I’m going to need profuse amounts of DHARMA beer to get through this month. Namaste!

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