Hello my dear friends,
As we all figured, any episode following the awesomeness that was "The Constant" was bound to disappoint. While "The Other Woman" wasn't absolutely awful, it certainly was the weakest installment of the season so far, in my opinion. But it still had its moments (Juliet got a completely gratuitous bikini shot! Kate suffered a beat-down from Charlotte! Daniel was a glorious computer nerd! Benry cooked a ham!)... and since the next episode is rumored to be incredible, I'll cut the show some slack.
Let's jump into the new information we learned in this latest Juliet-centric episode (flashbacks first, Island events second), and then revisit "The Constant" again, now that our minds have recuperated a bit.
WOOO HOO, WITCHY WOMAN
I admit it, I was totally faked out by the opening scene. When Juliet was complaining to her therapist, the über-bitchy Dr. Harper Stanhope, about being a celebrity, I mumbled, "Awww, CRAP! SHE'S one of the Oceanic Six?!?! I call foul! This sucks." At the same time, I was wondering, Why is her hair all poofy? What's up with that makeup? Those questions remain a mystery, because even though the scene did end up being a flashback, it wasn't taking place during the 80s.
I was really excited a few minutes into the hour, because not only did we learn that Juliet was not talking about being one of the Oceanic Six, but we also got to see good ol' Zeke again. And we got to see him during a much simpler time in his life--pre-hillbilly beard, pre-Lostaways. I now prefer to remember him from this episode, rather than lying dead on the beach after Sawyer decided to avenge Kidnapped Waaaaaallt. He was even rocking a vicious mustache!
But back to Harper... while I was preoccupied with trying to figure out where she got the very cool vase that was on her desk, others spied that the certificate on the far right of her wall had a Hanso Foundation logo in the lower left-hand corner (and the middle certificate looks like it says "Experimental Social Psychology Society").
This has led many to wonder if she was from the original Dharma group and crossed over to Ben's side during the purge. Why else would she have something from the Hanso Foundation? We have yet to confirm who of the Others (besides Patchy) was originally from Dharma and who (besides Ageless Richard) is a native of the Island (or in whatever group Ageless Richard belongs to, if it turns out he's not actually a native of the Island). I would think it's fair to guess that Harper was originally a Dharmite, and that Goodwin, Ethan, and probably even Zeke were, too.
One thing's for sure--even if Harper isn't in Ageless Richard's group, she sure is jealous of them. Her face was so tight it hurt me to look at her--she's definitely been trying to stop the hands of Father Time. Didn't you see all the Botox syringes hidden around her office? I swear I saw them.
YOU CAN'T HIDE YOUR LYIN' EYES
We then find out that Juliet is "the other woman" in more ways than one... She's an Other and a woman (how clever)... she had an affair with Goodwin, and now she's officially the other woman in the Kate-Jack-Juliet love triangle (or if you include Sawyer, then it's a love quadrangle). We actually already knew that she and Goodwin were having a fling from Juliet's flashbacks in "One of Us," but we didn't know that Goodwin was married to the scary trout pout lady.
Now we got to see Juliet and Goodwin's first encounter--when Goodwin was suspiciously looking in a supply room for bandages to cover a chemical burn. He lied to Juliet and told her he had hurt himself in the power station. Who cares about their boring trysts--what was Goodwin really up to? Obviously he was trying to keep it on the down-low, because he was definitely sneaking around in the supply room and seemed to be in a hurry to get out of there before Juliet found him. It could be a really simple explanation: since he later admitted to Juliet that he was working with chemicals that could kill everyone on the Island, perhaps when he first met her he didn't trust her enough to tell her what his real job was. Or... he could've been up to something fishy that even Ben didn't know about and that he never confessed to Juliet.
I'M NOT A PLAYA I JUST CRUSH A LOT
What else did we learn from the flashbacks? That Ben is mega-creepy. Oh, wait, we already knew that, too. Perhaps we didn't realize the full extent of his creepiness before this episode, though. I had always suspected that he was lusting after Juliet, but not to the degree that was revealed in "The Other Woman." Gazing longingly at her next to the microscope while she was trying to convey important information about the pregnancy problem? Using the straight-up junior high school move of letting his hand linger next to hers? Pulling the ol' Faux Dinner Party trick? Sending her loverboy off to get killed by She Who Must Not Be Named? And then proclaiming, "You're mine" before clumsily running up the hill and leaving Juliet shocked and alone with Speared Goodwin? The Evil-O-Meter has gone to eleven.
I wouldn't go as far as to say that Ben actually loves Juliet, though. I think his attraction to her simply represents a challenge that he wants to win. He didn't seem too concerned when Jack threatened to kill Juliet in the Hydra back in "A Tale of Two Cities," so I don't necessarily think he'd be sad if she died. It's more like he would be unbearably mad if she chose to be with another man. My take is that his "feelings" for Juliet are ego-driven, not based on love. I think the only person Ben ever loved was Annie, and as Harper pointed out, Juliet "looks just like her." (I assumed that Harper was talking about Annie... we never saw an adult version of Annie, however.)
My theory on Annie remains that she did not die in The Purge, but rather in childbirth (with Ben's child), and that's why he's so hell-bent on figuring out the pregnancy problem on the Island. Perhaps she was even the first woman in the original Dharma group who died while pregnant. Since we never saw Annie's body in The Purge scene, I presume that we'll get another Ben flashback one of these days that closes out what happened to her. On the DVD commentary for "The Man Behind the Curtain," the producers declared Annie to be of "seismic" importance to the show... hmmm. For now, all we know is that Ben seems to have transferred his feelings for Annie over to Juliet in some twisted way.
SHE MOVES IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS
On to Island events... once Daniel and Charlotte are deemed "missing," a small group takes off into the jungle to find them. As soon as Juliet was completely alone and we heard whispers rise up on the wind, I knew something freaky was going to go down. Sure enough, out of nowhere appears Harper, who claims that Ben sent her to relay a message: "Kill Twitchy Nerd Boy and Snotty Brit." Then she and her highly-arched eyebrows vanished.
But not before Jack saw her. So what does that mean? I would bet big money that it wasn't actually Harper who paid Juliet a visit. Ben's a clever dude, but he really doesn't have the means to pull off a stunt like that. The Others are supposedly over at The Temple, while Ben's past few days have consisted of being dragged on a leash through the jungle and then getting tied up in Locke's new basement.
An obvious guess is that Harper was Smokey. Recall that Smokey mind-scanned Juliet when she and Kate hid in the tree while handcuffed together in "Left Behind" (or at least that's what most people assumed the blinding flashes of light were accomplishing). We know that Eko was mind-scanned... and then Smokey later appeared to Eko as Eko's brother, Yemi. Perhaps Smokey manifested himself (itself?) to Juliet as Harper. That wouldn't necessarily preclude Jack from being able to see her. Remember that a lot of viewers think that Dead Charlie, who appeared to Hurley in the future and who was also seen by other mental institution patients, was also Smokey in disguise.
Or maybe Harper was Jacob--who wanted to get in touch with his feminine side? If he's some sort of spirit-being, maybe he can take other forms?
Whatever Harper was, "she" was motivated by a desire to protect the Island at the expense of everyone in the vicinity. Ben wouldn't want to die from a nerve gas explosion, so I doubt he's behind all this. If the Island is actually a sentient being, perhaps Smokey is working on its behalf... or the Island is finding some other way to conjure up visions to lure people into carrying out its will.
On a related note, I found it strange that Harper claimed that Ben is “exactly where he wants to be.” That is word for word what Miles said (about his own situation) to Kate—even though both he and Ben are being held prisoner. Suspicious.
There's at least one thing that can be confirmed from this scene, and that is that Juliet truly doesn’t know what the whispers are. In the “Left Behind” scene where the monster flashed light in her face, she looked truly stunned, but at that point none of us were sure if she could be trusted when she said she had never seen the monster before and didn’t know what it was. Now I think it’s safe to say that not only does Juliet not know what Smokey is, she also doesn’t know much about the peculiar things (like the whispers) that transpire on the Island. If she spent almost all of her time to date in the barracks, she probably didn’t get to witness much of the freakiness to which our Lostaways have grown accustomed.
Finally, I couldn't make anything of the whispers that were heard during this scene. You can try for yourself here. I think the question we should be asking isn't "What are the whispers saying?" but rather, "Where are these whispers coming from!?!?" That better be one of the mysteries they end up explaining!
THERE AND BACK AGAIN
Yes, it was kind of awesome when Charlotte whacked Kate on the back of the head. I don't believe in violence, but sometimes Kate gets too cocky and nosy for her own good. She's alone in the jungle, she has no idea what's up with the two helicopter peeps except that she knows they're lying because she sees that their phone is still on after they've just claimed it to be broken, and yet she still starts bossing them around, asking to look in their duffel bag? You're outnumbered, babe! You should've been extra-nice and looking for a way to bust out of there as soon as possible. Instead, you got a huge headache and a new scar.
But there was an even better part of this scene: the eerie similarity between Daniel's Island map and the Middle Earth map that graces the front of each Lord of the Rings book. There is still hope that elves are going to appear on the Island, I knew it! Tell me the way the mountains are drawn on both maps doesn't look similar? Gandalf is coming! And then he's going to bellow out to Smokey, "YOU... SHALL NOT.... PASS!" And then I'm going to pass out with a smile on my face.
See what I mean? Anyway, the real question here is--where did Daniel's map come from? One station, presumably The Tempest, is marked with a Dharma logo, but that's about it. The creator of this map has obviously been to the Island before.
IT'S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
The whole "Tempest Station Crisis" scene was pretty anti-climactic, wasn't it? I mean, we kind of knew that everyone on the Island wasn't going to get wiped out. Not only have we seen flash-forwards of a lot of the people currently there, we also know the show's still on for 2.5 more seasons. So obviously Daniel was going to save the day at the last moment. What I honestly didn't expect was that he and Charlotte were trying to neutralize the toxic gas (rather than release it), or that everyone would walk away from the station as friends (for lack of a better term).
BUT WE BOTH CANNOT HAVE HER, SO IT'S-A ONE OR THE OTHER
Shield thine eyes--again! Witnessing a Jack/Juliet kiss was bad enough the first time it happened in "Through the Looking Glass"... hellooooo, NO chemistry. It was just wrong on so many levels. I wish my consciousness could go back in time and fast-forward through that part. Ugh.
But The Powers That Be are obviously trying to exacerbate the already high tension between Jack and Ben by adding in this "competing over the same woman" twist. Some people claim that we now know Ben's one and only weakness: Juliet. However, as I mentioned earlier, I don't agree. Ben's weakness is his ego and overconfidence in always being able to outsmart the Lostaways. He would not be stupid enough to think that Juliet would ever choose him over Jack at this point. Maybe he thought there was a glimmer of hope when he was cooking up the ham, but he doesn't anymore. Ben won't care if Juliet dies, he'll only care if she ends up with Jack. Therefore, I still don't think that The Mad Doctor has much power over Ben--he already had the chance to kill him and he didn't take it. Now what's he going to do--yell, "Nyah, nyah, I stole your girlfriend!"? I don't think so.
ERASE AND REWIND... 'CAUSE I'VE BEEN CHANGING MY MIND
Locke is pretty much in the same boat as Jack is when it comes to dealing with Ben (Ben even showed both of them videos to "prove" certain points)... the only difference is that Locke is at least trying to get more information out of The Sneaky One. While a lot of people were undoubtedly smacking their palms against their foreheads when Ben was set free, I think that Locke had good intentions. He knew he was getting nowhere with keeping Ben prisoner, he knew that the freighter crew might soon come (with more people) to capture Ben for themselves, and he was running out of time to think up a strategy for defense. Claire (of all people) suggesting that she may get further questioning Miles didn't exactly help matters.
So what else could Locke do but strike a deal with Ben? For starters, he could've negotiated a bit more. Locke was in the power position, but he didn't even say anything like, "OK, you show me what you're talking about and then I'll let you do what you need to do but only in my presence." It didn't have to be all (Ben goes free) or nothing (Ben stays tied up and locked in the basement).
And how, exactly, does letting Locke watch a videotape of Widmore and then giving him Widmore's file help Locke in any way whatsoever? It's not Widmore who's coming to the Island, so he's not Locke's immediate problem. Locke's immediate problem is defending the barracks against impending attack from the freighter's crew members. If Ben really wanted to help, he would've offered to hide everyone in his secret closet.
Finally, I highly doubt Ben really played "the only bargaining chip he had left," as he claimed. There are probably 25 other safes that he has, each customized for a different Lostaway, should he ever need to "convince" one of them of something. Since we never saw the entire conversation that Locke, Ben and Sayid had when Sayid bargained with Locke to let Charlotte go free, the only thing I can figure is that perhaps Sayid said something at that point that, combined now with the new information about Widmore, made Locke comfortable enough to let Ben go.
Regardless, now that Ben's on his own, I'm sure that the bad thing Future Hurley referenced is going to happen soon! All it took was for Ben to threaten Locke with the possibility of becoming not much more than a circus freak should Widmore find the Island, and Ben was set on his merry way. Well, Ben did also tell Locke who the mole was... but we didn't get to see that part.
Not to worry, I haven't gone back to doubting Locke... but I do wish he hadn't let Ben off scot-free. The look on Sawyer's face at the end pretty much summed up my reaction.
IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR
We now know that Penny probably figured out that her father controls the freighter that's searching for the Island. That would explain how she was able to find its number so quickly after hearing Charlie's final words. She may have known that her father had been searching for the Island for a long time, actually... which would explain how she would have been able to gather intel (perhaps stealing the information her father's team had collected) to use for her own separate search (which involved the guys in the tent). It looks like it's a father vs. daughter race to find the Island... but they're each in the race for different reasons. Penny finding Desmond might not necessarily prohibit Mr. Widmore from finding the Island, though. Finally, Mr. Widmore owning the freighter also explains why/how Minkowski (and most likely many others on the ship, including the captain) knew that the recent incoming calls were from Penny, and why they were instructed not to answer.
And because of the auction we saw in the previous episode, we know how Widmore may have come to find the general location of the Island: it probably was in the Black Rock ledger that he bought. Even though, from what I understand, the ledger was taken from the ship by pirates before the Black Rock made it to the Island. But it's fair to assume that the ship's first mate wrote down where they were intending to go. However, none of this explains how Widmore would even know about the Black Rock in the first place... unless he already had some other information about the Island before buying the ledger.
Other new questions raised from Ben's video of Widmore include:
1) If Ben has a mole on the ship, then who is his spy off of the ship? Meaning, who took the video that Ben showed Locke? Since a car was in the clip, it was definitely taken on the mainland. We know that Ben has sent both Richard and Ethan back to the "real world" in the past, so the identity of the videographer may be inconsequential--just another one of Ben's many cronies. Probably the same unseen guy who brought Papa Locke to the Island (I hope that one ends up being explained, too).
2) Is the guy who was gagged and getting a beat-down of any importance? Did anyone else think it was Ben Affleck? "Damn you for making Gigli! Take THAT!"
3) Is Widmore "the economist"? It doesn't seem like it... I can't imagine Widmore doling out bracelets to the likes of Elsa and Naomi (plus, his initials don't match). I think he's probably involved at some level with the person who Elsa and Naomi and even Abaddon ultimately work(ed) for, but I don't think Widmore IS that person.
4) Mustn't Ben have a boss, too? Otherwise, how is he getting all of his money?
BEST LINES OF THE EPISODE
[Locke serves Ben rabbit]
BEN: This didn’t have a number on it, did it?
LOCKE: And I assume you have a plan?
BEN: I always have a plan.
[After the warning buzzer is silenced…]
DANIEL: That… that was a close one.
BEN: (to Juliet): How can you possibly not understand... that you’re mine?
I WAS ELECTROMAGNETICALLY SUCKED BACK INTO A PARTY GOING ON THAT NIGHT
Since there wasn't a heck of a lot to chew on from "The Other Woman," let's briefly revisit "The Constant," because you know you want to.
I watched the enhanced version of “The Constant” and thought I would share the following information from the pop-up captions, as they usually mention things that are deemed important by The Powers That Be:
- "Faraday learned that time on the Island works differently…"
Notice that they didn’t say “moves more slowly” or “passes faster”—they said, “works differently.” In Daniel’s experiment, the time on the Island appeared to lag the time on the freighter’s clock by 31 minutes. But when the helicopter left, time seemed to pass more quickly to the Lostaways than it did to Sayid/Frank/Desmond. Which means that the speed of time is either changing, or is affected when someone comes to or leaves the Island. One theory is that there is some sort of “donut” surrounding the Island where time is skewed, but overall it’s the same date both on the Island and off. Most people believe that during “The Constant,” it was Day 94 (Christmas Eve) in both places and that the timeline on Lostpedia is off a bit. I just wrote a huge paragraph with all of the things that still don’t make sense (especially when you consider that the pop-ups in the enhanced version of “The Economist” stated that it was Day 92 on the Island, and during “Eggtown” it was Day 93...), but then I erased it because none of us are going to figure it out--it’s just too confusing. I can only assume (and hope and pray) that the dates on the Island, on the freighter, and on the mainland will be confirmed in a very obvious manner for us very soon.
- In reference to the name of Desmond’s military training camp, the following information appeared: “There is a real Camp Millar in Svalbard, an archipelago far north in the Arctic Circle. In Philip Pullman’s 'His Dark Materials' trilogy, Svalbard is a gateway to parallel universes.”
I thought, “Uh oh…” when I saw that sentence. I hope we weren’t meant to read too much into it, especially after the producers have gone on record saying that there will not be multiple parallel universes on the show. What if they’re lying to throw us off? D’AH! (Side note: If you have seen The Golden Compass (the first movie based on the HDM series) Svalbard is the polar bear kingdom. In real life, it’s high on my list of future trip destinations. But where else have we seen polar bears? Oh, yeah. The Island.)
I didn’t find much else of value in the pop-ups. However, upon second viewing, a few additional thoughts struck me (that weren’t related to the captions)…
- The scene where the helicopter was shown approaching the freighter gave me chills. It did the first time around, too, but I forgot to mention it. I thought, “Holy crap, this is happening!” I guess part of me never thought they would actually go to the freighter (I thought Frank would take them somewhere else).
- Speaking of Frank, I realized who he reminds me of. Wicket the Ewok! Could all of Frank’s crazy facial hair be another one of the producers’ shout-outs to Star Wars?
- Frank introduced Desmond and Sayid as “survivors of 815”... but Desmond isn’t. Since Frank knew that Juliet wasn’t on the flight manifest, didn’t he realize that Desmond's name wasn't on the list, either? Now that it’s been confirmed that the man behind the freighter team is Widmore, combined with the fact that we know Minkowski was aware that Desmond was Penny’s boyfriend, maybe Frank does know who Desmond is, but was trying to keep his identity under wraps to keep him safe. Or maybe I’m reading way too much into that one little comment.
- Another probable screw-up: How could Minkowski be time-jumping and still remember everything that had transpired on the freighter, while Desmond forgot everything about his current situation after his mind started time-traveling? It was probably too hard to write any other way—they needed Minkowski to share the information about the saboteur and whatnot before he died, so the writers needed to have him retain his memory in his 2004 existence.
- Since it has been confirmed that Widmore is in control of the freighter, it seems even more suspicious that he left the water running when Desmond was with him in the bathroom after the auction back in 1996. But then again, he actually had grabbed a towel to turn on the faucet (like he didn’t want to touch it with his own hands), so maybe leaving it for Desmond to turn off was another one of his subtle “I’m too good for this, but you’re not” moves.
FOR A MINUTE THERE, I LOST MYSELF, I LOST MYSELF
After finishing my post last week, I remembered a theory that was circulating in June 2006 about the whole show being about Desmond. Kind of like how in the first (or technically, fourth) Star Wars movie, everyone assumed the plot revolved around Luke Skywalker's life, but by the end of all six films it was clear that the entire saga was about Anakin, Luke's father. While I think it's a long, long, loooong shot that the Lost storyline is anchored around Desmond (could you imagine this initial pitch to ABC: "It's about this guy on an Island who's trying to get back to the love of his life... but you don't actually meet the guy until the second season... dig?"), I found this paragraph I wrote in my "Live Together, Die Alone" write-up to be worth thinking about again:
"So I REALLY love a theory that's circulating right now that the entire series is actually about Desmond, and is meant to parallel Homer's "The Odyssey." Reach back... waaaay back into your memory, most likely to college (for me it was "Great Books" class, 1992, which has already come in handy before in with this show!) and remember the tale of Odysseus, who was trying to return from his victory in Troy to his beloved... you guessed it... Penelope. And by the way, while he was gone, others were competing for her hand in marriage (in Lost, Penny was supposedly engaged when Desmond left). Odysseus had to overcome some crazy obstacles to return to Penelope, and a lot of his journey took place on ... wait for it... a boat or on various islands. Anyway, he had to face sirens, nymphs, Lotus Eaters, Poseidon and a cyclops, among other cool things. It took him ten years to get back, and "The Odyssey" itself is almost told entirely in "flashback" mode--taking the reader up to where Odysseus is in the present day. I dare say, it does sound fairly convincing. Obviously it doesn't explain a lot of other things, but I am pretty sure that there's never going to be one, overriding explanation for EVERYTHING, but rather several different "theories" that exist together. Anyway, I thought it was interesting, and needless to say, I will be very happy if a cyclops shows up."
VACATION, ALL I EVER WANTED ... VACATION, HAVE TO GET AWAY
So... I'm taking off on vacation with my friend Miss M shortly after I upload this post. That's why I got this write-up done so early this time around. (That, and the fact that the episode really didn't give us too much to talk about.)
Here's the good news: Even though I will be out of the country, the place at which I'm staying claims to get ABC. Yes, I emailed them to ask this specific question. So I should be able to watch "Ji Yeon" live, which I'm happy about, since it is supposed to be a good one. Remember, this is the episode that the producers wanted to end with before the show goes on hiatus, because it apparently has a built-in cliffhanger. Then ABC switched the schedule and decided to also air episode eight the following week.
Here's the bad news: I'm not going to be back from my trip until the day before the eighth (and final, for a while) episode. Meaning that I probably won't get my post for "Ji Yeon" (airing on March 13th) uploaded until Wednesday night, March 19th.
More when I return,
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Hello my dear friends,