Lost has finally returned, and not a moment too soon. I have found myself fairly depressed as of late, and while I could blame it on the minus-40-degrees-with-wind-chill weather we've been having in the Windy City, or of course on The Man, I actually think that the lack of a weekly escape to Craphole Island and Falcatraz has made this winter seem more dire than usual.
Unfortunately, "Not in Portland" did not live up to my high hopes for the series' return. You may be surprised to hear this, as nearly everyone I talked to really liked the episode. I can't put my finger on why I was disappointed, but I think it was some combination of: Sawyer's cheesy one-liners in the face of danger, Pickett's ability to resume chasing Sawyer and Kate after having just been slammed into the fish biscuit machine head-first and seemingly electrocuted, Ben's totally lame and unbelievable awakening during his surgery, and the very predictable "hit-by-a-bus-per-Juliet's-wish" death of Juliet's ex-husband, that made me feel only so-so about the winter premiere. But at least I didn't hate it. There was enough in there to keep me from spiraling in to an all-out funk for the next week... namely, the continuation of Jack's Mad Doctorness, the growing likability of Zeke (I will NEVER call him Tom!), the techno-house-rave-Clockwork-Orange room, Pickett's demise (finally!) and the fact that I know they are returning to the OTHER Lostaways next episode.
There was a small bit of what I term "mass chaos" at my place Wednesday night when I realized that the episode was NOT BEING RECORDED on Tivo. I had been watching the pre-show episode (which was being recorded), and then when some friends arrived, I stayed upstairs chatting until about 8:15. When I realized that the ever-important red light wasn't on the Tivo box, I frantically started yelling at my husband to figure out what was going on. Luckily since the channel had not been changed, we were able to rewind to nearly the beginning of the episode. We missed the first minute, so when I originally watched it, I did NOT see Ethan coming out of Rachel's room, nor did I realize they were in some sort of dingy hospital.
That being said, I have since watched the beginning again and have read the transcript so I am fully up to speed. Additionally, I have come across several things that the nerdy super-fans on the boards have drawn attention to which I *never* would have figured out on my own. So without further ado...
While there definitely was a lot to take in and analyze from Juliet's flashbacks, the most important "reveal" was that, like most of the Lostaways, she also wanted off of the island, and may never have even gone there willingly in the first place (that part was left unclear). At the end of the episode, she stated that she had been on the island 3 years, 2 months, and 28 days. People on the boards have calculated the time she arrived at the island to be eerily around September 11, 2001. The date of the crash was September 22, 2004, as confirmed by Locke and Desmond in the Season 2 finale. The day that Benry showed Jack the Red Sox video was November 29, 2004 (Benry stated this). We are not exactly sure how much time has passed (days or weeks?) since that point, but it is almost definitely now early-to-mid December, 2004, so if you count backward from there... you can see how September of 2001 becomes a likely target for Juliet's arrival. Now don't worry, I highly doubt the writers would do something so stupid as to try to link Juliet's arrival on the island to 9/11, but since I do think the timeline of events - events on the island vs. events off of the island - is key to the entire series (as covered later), I did want to point this out.
So how did Juliet get to the island in the first place? Apparently Mittelos Bioscience (more on THEM in a minute) had been tracking her unorthodox fertility research (impregnating a male mouse, for example) for quite a while, and was willing to take any means necessary (hello, Bus of Death) to get her working for them. Juliet's ability to get her sister pregnant (who was unable to have kids previously because of chemotherapy, one can only assume) was apparently the final confirmation of Juliet's desirable skill set that they needed , and they quite literally cleared the way for her to join them. Only they were "not quite in Portland" as they previously stated...
Did Juliet willingly go to the island at first, or was she kidnapped, or was she threatened (they could've easily used her sister and unborn baby for leverage), or was she scared into accepting their offer (after all, they just killed her ex-husband)?
Something I certainly didn't notice the first time around was that the pregnancy test (now seen on the show three times on the show - in this episode, in "I Do" by Kate and in "The Glass Ballerina" by Sun) was the product of Widmore Corporation, whose products have also shown up elsewhere on the island (the real Henry Gale's balloon had the Widmore logo on it). And let's not forget that Desmond's dear Penelope's last name is Widmore, making her father the man most likely at the helm of Widmore Corporation. It was Penelope's father's "race around the world" that led Desmond to the island in the first place. Come on, you can't keep all this straight?!?!?
In this same picture above, you can see the magazine "Glass Patterns Quarterly" peeking out from under the papers. Some people think this may have something to do with the crazy patterns showing up in the brainwash video. I can see the connection between glass patterns and the video, but I don't know what Rachel would have to do with it... unless that magazine was somehow Juliet's (which is possible).
One other small detail that I appreciated was the copy of "Carrie" by Stephen King on Rachel's nightstand. Remember Juliet saying it was her favorite book in the Others' book club scene during the season premiere?
AND THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT... THE ISLAND
Although it was a little too obvious and in-your-face for my taste, Juliet's flashbacks served to highlight the 180 she has done on the island in terms of taking charge and attempting to kick ass. When initially turning down Mittelos' offer of employment, she muttered, "I'm not a leader, I'm a mess." A few seconds later the scene switched back to island time, with Juliet charging down the hall, determined to find where Sawyer and Kate had run off to.
REMEMBER TO LOOK BOTH WAYS...
I was surprised that a lot of people I spoke with, as well as people on the boards, did not see the bus scene coming. As I figured that Mittelos had to somehow be evil and connected to DHARMA, and as soon as the exchange below took place, I knew Mr. Burke was going to meet the big ol' Busdriver in the Sky:
JULIET: I can't.
ALPERT: Why can't you?
JULIET: My ex-husband wouldn't let me. I...
ALPERT: He wouldn't want you to have this opportunity?
JULIET [upset]: No, he doesn't want me to have anything. He would never give the okay. It's...
ALPERT: Maybe we could reach out to him on your behalf?
JULIET: Don't bother.
ALPERT: There must be something that he would respond to.
JULIET: If he were hit by a bus. How about that? That would work. [she gets tears in her eyes, then is embarrassed] How totally inappropriate.
ALPERT: No, no, no.
JULIET: No, I, uh -- I'm sorry, but I've wasted your time.
Perhaps the funniest part of the bus scene itself was the conversation that Edmund was having on his cell phone before he saw Juliet:
EDMUND: Because you're insufferable. And you're mean. Well, you asked me for the truth, Mom.
But did you catch THIS?!?! If you did, then I am impressed. Because this pic below was not even grabbed from a still frame of the show, it was actually from a fan who saw this episode being filmed. Notice anything about the side of that bus?
That's right, it's the infamous Apollo candy bar found in the Hatch and enjoyed by Kate and Hurley during season 2.
I would be remiss if I didn't also point out that Mittelos is very similar to the last name of Thomas Mittlewerk. Who in the heck is THAT, you may be saying? Well, Thomas Mittlewerk was a character in "The Lost Experience" from this past summer - the interactive, virtual game that the producers set up for the ultra-most nerdy fans (surpassing my level of nerdiness). Supposedly Thomas overthrew Alvar Hanso for a period of time and took control of DHARMA, did some horrible things, and then escaped after the authorities came for him. You can read the details here, but it may confuse you even more!
To see how the bus looked in the actual show, click here.
ANAGRAMS, ANAGRAMS... EVERYWHERE, ANAGRAMS
There have been a few instances in the show where fans have figured out anagrams based on a character's name, or something else. One example was "Ethan Rom," which is an anagram for "Other Man." The latest and greatest is "Mittelos," which is an anagram for "Lost Time." As you will soon see, there are at least two other allusions to "time" in the episode, not to mention in the series, which I believe is all leading up to The Big Explanation (aka: The Series Finale).
SOME GUARD YOU ARE, ALDO
Here is the second reference to time...
...Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time." Some completely nerdalicious fan contributed this little observation to Lostpedia.com: "He appeared to be highlighting information from Chapter 7, 'Black Holes Ain't So Black.' It deals with the nature of black holes and offers details about the event horizon."
Um... so I looked up "event horizon" (no, not the movie starring Laurence Fishburne), and the definition is: "a general term for a boundary in spacetime, defined with respect to an observer, beyond which events cannot affect the observer. Light emitted beyond the horizon can never reach the observer, and anything that passes through the horizon from the observer's side is never seen again."
Great, now I have to look up spacetime: "In physics, spacetime is a mathematical model that combines space and time into a single construct called the space-time continuum. Spacetime is usually interpreted as a four-dimensional object with space being three-dimensional and time playing the role of the 4th dimension."
Alright, peeps, you're on your own from here!
SERIOUSLY, WHO *THINKS* OF THESE THINGS?!?!?!
But I saved the best for last.
This third reference to time will blow your mind?!?!?!? (Audio necessary - be patient. About half-way through you'll get the point, it just keeps repeating)
THAT WAS SOME GROMKY SHOOM, MY DROOGIES
'A Clockwork Orange' is one of the very few movies that has actually made me sick to my stomach, and I had shoved the film and all of its disturbing images way back into the 'don't go there!" corner of my mind. But the bad memories came rushing back after seeing lovable loser Karl strapped to the chair, goggles on, staring at the screen with the crazy techno music blasting out his eardrums. How freaky was that scene? I loved it because I totally did not expect it. It also scared me that Sawyer and Kate also seemed mesmerized by the film for a bit.
One thing I noticed right away was the phrase "God loves you as he loved Jacob," plastered over several images on the screen. The first thing that came to my mind was when Pickett muttered in the previous episode that "Shepherd wasn't even on Jacob's list," which made several people assume that someone named Jacob was actually controlling The Others. The writers have stated that many of the character names on the show were chosen for a reason, so of course everyone is going crazy with theories about Jacob. I am not going to do justice to explaining the Biblical signficance of the name Jacob, but suffice it to say that he had 12 sons (one named... Benjamin). People think that Jacob may be the real leader of The Others and the name may signify the obsession with children, fertility, etc. For an absolutely thorough and quite insane take on all of the Biblical allusions surrounding the name "Jacob," check out this Entertainment Weekly article (scroll down the the sub-title "Names"). They've also got Desmond pinned as "Joseph" (as in, Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat) and Bernard as a mole for the Others.
Other things I thought of related to the name Jacob were: That freaky Tim Robbins' movie, Jacob's Ladder, and the little ditty 'John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith.' Somehow I don't think either of those apply here.
A few more items to ponder regarding that techno-rave-torture room:
- Was this "the room" that Ms. Klugh threatened Walt with in "Three Minutes" when he started telling Michael too much?
WALT: They're not who they say they are. They're pretending.
MS. KLUGH: Walt! You want me to put you in the room again?
It definitely sends a shiver down my spine to think of poor Walt being subjected to that!
- What exactly is being achieved by subjecting people to that room?
Now that we know that Karl is Alex's boyfriend and that he may indeed have been trying to help Sawyer escape early on from the cage (even I had thought that was a set-up before), perhaps The Room is his punishment? It certainly sounds like it could be a punishment in Ms. Klugh's statement above (though we're not sure she's talking about the same room).
Or perhaps, The Room is more of an indoctrination to The Others' society. The images were not violent, the sayings were rather religious or philosophical, but I'm not sure what the blaring techno music, the goggles or the IV have to do with anything - perhaps it's a "break you down to build you up" type of approach.
- This was the first extremely clear linkage of DHARMA to The Others
To this point, there has been no clear evidence that DHARMA and The Others are one in the same, we just know that at this point in time, The Others have at the very least taken over some of the original DHARMA Initiative hatches and stations. Per Juliet's vague response to Jack's question in the season premiere, it seems as if they are not necessarily one in the same:
JACK: Is this one of their stations -- the Dharma Initiative?
JULIET: They called it the Hydra.
JACK: So you people are just whatever's leftover of them.
JULIET: Well, that was a long time ago. It doesn't matter who we were. It only matters who we are.
However, in The Room, there were flashes on the screen of both Alvar Hanso (CEO and Founder of The Hanso Foundation, financiers of DHARMA) and Gerald Degroot (co-founder of DHARMA), both from the Swan Orientation film - created by DHARMA. So either The Room was originally used by DHARMA and The Others thought it was a pretty cool torture device and took it on as their own and just kept the original video being used, or The Others may indeed be part of DHARMA.
SO CLOSE... YET SO FAR
Somebody FINALLY ASKED AN INTELLIGENT QUESTION?!?!?!
JACK: So, if you really can get off the island why didn't you just take him to a facility? Why all this?
ZEKE: Because ever since the sky turned purple...
[We see blood spurt up from Benry, and Jack takes a step back. The heart monitor starts beeping.]
D'AH?!!? It was not meant to be for us to know the answer right now. However, that didn't stop people from speculating... The most common theory is that when Desmond turned the failsafe key, something happened to the electromagnetic properties of the island and The Others either no longer know how to or physically cannot leave the island. However, they came for Jack BEFORE Desmond turned the key, so that theory doesn't make any sense. So then everyone on the boards got all confused, saying that perhaps they were taking Jack, Sawyer and Kate just to take away the strongest leaders of the Lostaways, but when they could no longer get Benry off the island they then decided to use Jack for the surgery. Which would be fine... except for the fact that in episode 5 of this season, Benry stated: "Two days after I found out I had a fatal tumor on my spine, a spinal surgeon fell out of the sky." Which means that Ben has known about his condition for nearly 2.5 months... so once again, if they could've gotten off the island before "the sky turned purple," why didn't they?So all of that leads me to my own theory (and if you can't depend on yourself, really, who can you depend on?), which is that Desmond's recent turn of the failsafe key, which caused the sonic boom, the sky to flash colors and all that other weird stuff to happen, was NOT THE FIRST TIME it had occured. Obviously Desmond had never turned the key before, and he had been on the island three years. His Hatch partner, Kelvin, also seems to have never turned the key before (he made a drunken speech to Desmond about how he "couldn't do it"), but perhaps Radzinski (Kelvin's previous Hatch partner), or someone before him HAD turned the key? Since Locke destroyed the computer and the Doomsday Counter, we don't know if the timer and computer would have reset after the key was turned... perhaps they would've and everything would've gone back to normal and they would've resumed needing to press the button. Until we really know what exactly turning the key DID, it's hard to say whether it is possible that it could've been turned before or not.
THE MAD DOCTOR PULLS THROUGH
So the Mad Doctor did indeed complete the surgery and now is dangling in the most precarious of positions. Sawyer and Kate have left the island and he made Kate promise not to come back for him (uh, yeah, making her "promise" is really going to work). He has exposed Juliet for what she really is, but yet he has also most likely p!ssed off Benry, Zeke, and all of the other Others (although Benry and Zeke didn't really seem too mad, did they? Curious). Either way, we know from the previews that Jack isn't getting off Falcatraz any time soon. Will Benry ever actually let him free and send him home? WIll he be punished for the trick he pulled? Will he decide to say "Awww, what the hell!" and join The Others? And most importantly, will he continue to be as awesomely p!ssed off as he was these past two episodes?
THE GEEKS HAVE FAILED US MISERABLY
After watching the scene between Juliet and Benry in the operating room from behind the glass (just as Jack and Zeke has to watch it), I thought FOR SURE that someone who can read lips would have the whole damn thing transcribed online by the time I got upstairs. Alas, a week later and still no one was able to figure out what Benry was saying when they showed his lips moving. So we are left to speculate on our own. Juliet tells Jack that Benry promised to let her leave if she let him live and helped Jack in the process. If Juliet has been on the island for over three years, the only reason I can figure that she would actually BELIEVE Benry, is because she has seen him let others go before her. She must be certain that he actually has the ability to send people back to the real world and that she cannot get off the island without his help specifically. Do I think that Benry said something else to her? Yes, I do. I'm almost certain that he must have mentioned something about her sister and her niece (more on how I know the baby ended up being a girl in a minute) as a threat. But that remains merely speculation. Let's also not forget that even though we had already sense some sort of tension before this point, Zeke pointed out to Jack that "they've got history." I had always assumed before that there was some sort of previous romance between Juliet and Benry, so it will be interesting to see what exactly their "history" is.
*ENOUGH* WITH THE SLING-SHOT! ENOUGH.
Oh yeah, I just remembered another reason why I didn't like the episode. Scrappy shows up again with her slingshot and somehow fends off three guys with GUNS?!?! Um, no. That was lame. Also, her boyfriend Karl is NOT cute. And on top of all that, Benry is her "dad" (meaning, he at least raised her on the island). I can't wait for Rousseau (where the hell is SHE, by the way?!?!) to find THAT out and go berzerker.
GOOD RIDDANCE, PICKETT
Probably the highlight of the entire episode for me was when Pickett was killed. Yes, I'm sure that's an awful thing to say, but I really was OVER his inexplicable grudge against Sawyer and all of the "revenge beatings." It was of course also key that Juliet was the one who saved Sawyer and did the actual killing. Her actions on the beach, combined with the fact that we now know that she also wants off the island, will make her a little more trust-able in future episodes. The interesting thing to me is that she has turned out to be very much like the Mad Doctor - she's kind of not really on anyone's "side," she's just out for her own interests.
ABOVE AND BEYOND
Do you remember in school how you could do things for "extra credit?" And all of the people who really NEEDED the extra credit wouldn't take the teacher up on his or her offer, but all of the already-all-A's students would, so that they could get A+'s? I'm now realizing that the masterminds behind Lost are like those overzealous overacheivers - it's not good enough to just write the show - they have to do things like The Lost Experience... they have to do things like run ads in well-known newspapers and magazines, fronting as The Hanso Foundation... they have to do things like create full-blown web sites for any company ever mentioned in the show. And they couldn't create merely normal web sites where any Tom, Dick or Sally could clilck around and read pages and garner hints and clues about what's going on. No, they had to make aspects of those web sites password-protected - to make fans really EARN the clues.
That is what has happened with Mittelos Bioscience's web site. While I expected a site to be set up for this company, as others had been set up for The Hanso Foundation, Apollo Candy Bars, Oceanic Airlines, and so on. This time, the mega-fans figured out that if you went to the Current Projects section, typed in jburke and the username and rachel as the password, you could enter a special part of the site. What you would then see is this map below of not one, not two but THREE islands, and what is happening on each. Innnnnnteresting......
But wait, it gets better. Then as you are looking at the island map, "New message" flashes on the screen, and you are then taking to a new email from Rachel. It mentions that she knows that it is "impossible" for Juliet to reply to emails, but that she hoped her messages had been getting through. It also contained a link to this video of her daughter (the one she had just become pregnant with in "Not in Portland"), but embedded in the video was a rogue video from some shadowy character. It's quite bizarre, I suggest you watch it for yourself - it is creeptastic. I cannot really make out what the mystery voice is saying, but I'm pretty sure it's something like "Widmore, Mittelos, DHARMA - they're all the same thing" and that Juliet's life was in danger.
A huge, huge shout-out to LI for passing along the board thread with these links!
IT TAKES A LOT TO CHANGE MY MIND
Last year, I proposed a "time loop/time warp" theory, and now I am even more convinced that it could be valid. I'm stickin' to it, dammit! I'm already pressed for time in getting this post up, so I'm not going to reiterate everything I've said previously about this theory. Instead, I will summarize quickly: I believe that time does not move on the island as it does elsewhere. I think that the characters on the island are either: 1) in some sort of time loop, where they are replaying a period of time over and over again, and vaguely remembering their past experiences to the point where they may alter their actions on the island with each go around, OR, 2) I think that the island goes "in and out" of time - which is why you have a collection of old Army tools, a four-toed statue, a slave ship, Sayid picking up big band music on the radio and so forth on the island.
In the EW article I linked to below, the creators state that in "Not in Portland" there is a hidden anagram that gives a clue about the two skeletons that Jack and Kate found in the caves in Season 1. They state that those skeletons were specifically put in Season 1 so that when the series ends, they could always point back to that scene as proof that they have had a plan all along. Well, my belief is that the anagram is Mittelos = Lost Time... And that as I said previously, the skeletons are those of two of the Lostaways (my vote is Jack and Kate). Remember that one of the skeletons had a bag of black and white stones in it. Well, Jack took the bag, so now HE has the stones, so if there are some wacky time hijinx going on, he could've taken the stones from his own skeleton and now he has them so they will be on him when he dies in the future and is laid to rest in the cave... for Future Jack to take from himself, and so on and so on and so on. Does your brain hurt yet? The reason why I am more convinced about this theory after this latest episode comes down to all of the references to time... from the anagram, to the "A Brief History of Time" appearance, to the "Only fools are constrained by time and space" backwards recording. Let's not forget Sawyer reading "A Wrinkle in Time" back in the day!!!
PROVE TO ME THAT I AM WRONG!
Click here for the cover story in last week's Entertainment Weekly.
SOME ANSWERED, SOME NOT
Click here for a Q&A with the show's creators, where they outline if and when they will answer certain questions.
BEST LINES OF THE EPISODE
ALDO [into a walkie-talkie]: Danny, I need Ben.
ALDO: Listen, I've got Alex here. She's got Austen and Ford with her.
[Suddenly, Sawyer knocks Aldo to the ground.]
PICKETT: Whatever she says, don't believe it. Hold them right there. I'm on my way.
[Alex smashes the walkie-talkie, and Sawyer covers Aldo with a rifle.]
SAWYER: Don't get mad at me just because you were dumb enough to fall for the old Wookiee prisoner gag.
[Back in the operating room, Jack works on Ben's spine while Zeke stands by looking green.]
JACK: You okay?
ZEKE: Yeah, I just don't like blood too much.
JACK [holding a chunk of tissue in the air]: Well, then you probably won't want to be looking at that. [he tosses it in a tray]
So there you have it, folks! I liked the episode MORE after finding all of the things I missed through the boards. I have high hopes for this week's episode, as the creators have said that it will "employ a flashback technique never used before and that will never be used again." Hmmm....
JACK [exiting, to Juliet]: If you touch him, if you try...
JULIET: I won't.
JACK: You've got three minutes.
[Jack moves to the observation window and watches Juliet sit next to Ben. We see Ben talking, but can't hear what he's saying. Zeke joins Jack at the window.]
ZEKE: I'm Tom, by the way.
WISE WORDS FROM THE BOARDS
- I'm definitely having nightmares about Ben talking with a hole open in his back during spinal surgery. That was absolutely creepalicious. Ewww. Not to mention the whole Surgery 101 lesson we got, and the shot of the tumor.
- Poor Alex. Rousseau is gonna take some people out y'all. There is nothing that will keep her off of Falcatraz.
- Ethan and his droopy face always creep me out.
- I know that these Dharma people are crazy mo-fo's, but seriously, who approaches a person at a morgue to recruit for a job? And why the hell would you take the job?
- I am not down with Green shirt getting right back up after Sawyer beat his brains into that wall. He looked like he had an epileptic fit for crying out loud. Now this reminds me of something with Ethan seeming to have some kind of super-strength. Ringing bells for anyone else?
- Loved Jack the whole way through, but if he had one question to ask her, and felt he was owed it--there are plenty of other more important things to find out than what Ben said to Juliet to make her help him with the surgery.
- Clearly the Clockwork Orange scene indicates how they Other-fy the Others. So I'm interested to see how that plays out when we hopefully see some of the missing characters (Cindy, I'm looking at you).
- I kinda got the sense that Alex/Karl were the younger version of Kate/Sawyer.
- I'm so glad Pickett is dead, I hated his one-dimensional Sawyer-beating ass.
- I despise Jack with the passion of a thousand burning suns, but that last scene of him with Kate as she told him the story over the walkie was somewhat touching. Nicely done by Fox and Lilly (mostly Lilly).
- Tom was actually very disturbingly likeable. There were a few moments there when I forgot that he was one of the “bad guys.”
- The podcast has apparently confirmed that, contrary to popular belief, Mittelos is indeed not an anagram for Mole Tits.... we can only hope they were lying about this.
2/14/07 - Flashes Before Your Eyes - The Original Preview , Another version , The Canadian preview
2/21/07 - Stranger in a Strange Land
2/28/07 - Tricia Tanaka is Dead
3/7/2007 - Enter 77
3/14/07 - Par Avion
Titles of episodes past this date are not yet known, but rest assured there will still be 15 more episodes back to back. I consider whose flashback it is to be a spoiler, so I didn't include that information.