Thursday, March 25, 2010

S6Ep9 - Ab Aeterno

Hello my dear friends -

Guess what? We've officially reached the halfway point of Season Six. Nine hours down, nine hours left to go before it all ends on May 23. I've gotta say that if the remaining episodes are even remotely as incredible as Ab Aeterno was, we are going to be very happy Lost fans indeed.

So go ahead and add me to the list of people who loved this Ageless Richard-centric hour (its title, by the way, is Latin for "since the beginning" or "for long ages"). I made what might've been the most obvious comment ever to my husband after it was over: "This was so much more powerful than it would've been had we gotten his backstory earlier." We needed years of seeing Richard as Jeff Probst's doppelganger -- clean-shaven, stylish, confident and spewing out impeccable English -- in order to truly appreciate how far he's come in, oh, a hundred and forty years. And to understand how utterly desperate he must feel to finally want to give up on the job he was given by Jacob all of those decades ago.

Since this episode bucked the traditional format and was almost entirely done in flashback mode, I'm just going to cover things chronologically. Let's do this.


The opening scene showed the beach gang discussing what Ilana told Sun about "the candidates." Since I knew from the previews that this was going to be a Richard Alpert flashback, I was really surprised to see the replay of Jacob and Ilana's conversation in the hospital when she was all beat up. So I just assumed Richard was going to walk in, or was also lying on another hospital bed or something. Wrong. They showed us -- and expanded upon -- that scene again to reiterate three important points: 1) Jacob was wearing gloves and therefore never transferred any of his magical powers to Ilana, 2) he specifically said that she had to watch over "the remaining candidates," indicating that he was aware the latest experiment he was conducting on human nature was coming to an end, and 3) that "Ricardus" would know what to do once she brought everybody to the Temple.

The scene cuts back to real-time on the Island and Ilana repeats that Jacob said Richard would be the man with the plan. That's when we heard what might've been the most girly, yet simultaneously awesome laugh from the ageless one, who was standing off in the shadows of the campfire. He's like, "Joke's on you, suckas, because I got nothin' for ya." He then proceeded to tell Jack that he (The Mad Doctor) was dead and that they were all in hell.

And then I (and I'm sure many of you) groaned a loud groan and said, "Oh no, the Purgatory / They're All Dead theories are going to be alive and well again after tonight." Sometimes I think the writers just want to mess with the hardcore fans who dismissed those theories (because the producers themselves shot them down) back in 2004. Sigh.

Then Richard stomps off into the jungle to find the Man in Black, Ilana tries to stop him but Jack says it's pointless, Hurley's on the outskirts of the clearing, talking in Spanish to an unseen ghost, Ben tells everyone that Richard "doesn't know anything," and then the group just looks at each other and laments that they don't have any marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey's bars with which to make some much-needed s'mores.

And then we switch to flashback mode once more...


A heavily bearded Richard is riding a horse across what I assumed was the Island, as there was a mountain in the background and we'd seen Widmore riding a horse around the Others' camp before. But nope, the setting was the Canary Islands and the year was 1867. Richard arrives home to his coughing-up-blood wife, Isabella, and he realizes that he needs to get her help right quick. She gives him her cross necklace, tells him that "we'll always be together" and he takes off on a half-day journey to find a doctor.

He finds a doctor, who's pretty much an ass, and then accidentally kills him -- much like how Des accidentally killed Kelvin on the Island. But as Richard looks down at the blood flowing from the back of the doctor's head, he realizes that he's got the medicine vial in his hand already. So he busts out of there... all for nothing. Isabella has passed on by the time he returned to her.

He gets no time to grieve because lawmen followed him home. The next time we see him, he's in a prison cell. A priest visits him, he begs for forgiveness for the awful accident, but Father Suarez will have none of it. He tells Richard, "I'm afraid the devil awaits you in hell. May God have mercy on your soul." Nice. That's the last time Richard gives a confession! Even if he wasn't about to be hanged!

Shortly thereafter, Alpert is in the process of being hauled off to the gallows when he's stopped by some British dude and asked if he can speak English. After it's revealed that he can, the British guy -- Jonas Whitfield -- BUYS him and declares him the property of one Magnus Hanso. As in, the great-grandfather of Alvar Hanso, founder of the Hanso Foundation, which financed the Dharma Initiative. (None of this is stuff we hadn't known before, except the confirmation that Richard was indeed a prisoner on the Black Rock. I'm just repeating the Hanso stuff for the "normal people" who don't remember all of this Lost mythology from past seasons.)


Finally, we get to see the long-awaited Black Rock voyage. Thank the heavens that the FX were OK in this scene. All of the prisoners are in chains below deck and one of them peers out to see an Island that is "guarded by the devil" -- Taweret in all her glory.

And then, the Black Rock proceeded to take out the majority of the Four-Toed Statue. BIG MYSTERY SOLVED -- woo-hoo! I thought that part was pretty cool. Now we also know that it was a huge tidal wave that landed the ship in the middle of the Island. Another mystery solved. It's almost too much to handle. Almost.


Next we watched as poor Richard saw Whitfield stab and kill everyone else below deck, one by one. Just as it was Richard's turn to look down the edge of the officer's sword, who shows up to wreak havoc but Smokey. Whitfield is disposed of and now Richard's face-to-face with something much worse than a man-made weapon. Smokey proceeds with the white-flash/mindscan thing we've seen him do before with Juliet and Eko, Richard is spared and Smokey rattles off.

Minutes turn into hours, hours turn into days, and Richard continues to fight to break free from his chains. Although these scenes were sad, I did find it kind of humorous that long before the boars of the Island taunted Sawyer, they were around to mess with Richard, and one of the bigger members of their clan caused him to lose the pin he'd been painstakingly trying to unlock his cuffs with. He was just out of reach of the pin and of rainwater, and he was just about out of hope and the will to live when Dead Isabella materializes. But Richard thought she was very much alive and therefore totally freaked out when she ran above deck, only to be eaten by Smokey.

What was Isabella? Since her body wasn't on the Island, it doesn't seem like the MIB could've transformed into her, does it? But maybe after the mindscan MIB could shift into people he saw from Richard's past? Or maybe Richard was just hallucinating -- who could blame him at that point, right?

I have to think that Isabella was the MIB in disguise, however, because the entire crux of his plan was to make Richard think that "the devil" had her. He even went so far as to admit that he was the smoke monster, that's how confident he was that Richard would be undeterred and still do whatever it took to save Isabella.

MAN IN BLACK: I'm not the one you need to worry about. The Devil has your wife, and you are going to have to kill him if you ever want to get her back.

RICHARD: Murder is wrong. That is what brought me here.

MAN IN BLACK: My friend, you and I can talk all day long about what's right or wrong, but the question before you remains the same - "Do you ever want to see your wife again?"

RICHARD: Yes I do.

Now, I know that in my last few posts I've been pointing out the increasingly religious tone that the show has taken, and clearly Ab Aeterno was the most blatant Bible-referencing episode of late. However, I think the only reason "the devil" was actually mentioned this time around was solely because of the mindscan Smokey performed. The Man in Black knew Richard was a God-fearing man and therefore used that against him in order to manipulate him into doing what he wanted -- namely, killing Jacob. What better way to do that then by telling Richard that Jacob was the devil... and had nabbed his wife? So let me be clear: the Island is NOT hell, no one back at the campfire in the present time is dead, they are not in purgatory, and Jacob is not Satan. I believe, just as I always did, that Jacob and the Man in Black might still represent some sort of religious figures, but I'll talk about that more in-depth later.


Richard sets off for the statue, gets into a tussle with Jacob who -- in an attempt to convince the Island's latest visitor that he is not in fact dead -- dunks him a bunch of times in the ocean, just like a high school bully. I kind of liked this less patient version of Jacob. Anyway, Jacob was like, "If your wife was dead before you came here, then that wasn't her that you just saw on the ship -- duh." Jacob then goes on to describe evil as wine swirling around in a bottle, and the Island as the cork that was stopping it from escaping out into the wider world and spreading. Jacob explained that he brought people to the Island in an attempt to prove to the Man in Black that humankind was fundamentally good. Yet he never wanted to interfere with anyone's actions once they arrived. Richard called Jacob's strategery lame, and pointed out that if Jacob didn't try to influence visitors' actions, "... he will. DOUBLE DUH!"

Jacob felt really silly for not having realized this. He would've totally failed a Game Theory course back in the real world, geez. It dawns on him that this Ricardo dude could be useful, so he offers him a job as his "representative" in exchange for immortality. It's important to note that Jacob made it clear he couldn't bring back the dead, nor could he absolve anyone of their sins. So, he is NOT God, not that anyone really ever thought he was. I should probably mention that in the comments for my "Sundown" post -- the episode in which Sayid turned evil and killed Dogen -- Lost fan extraordinaire and LLL reader SherylM pointed out that while Jacob offered to save Dogen's son in return for Dogen coming to the Island, never did Dogen actually say his son had DIED. He just said that Jacob claimed to be able to "save" the boy, which could mean that he was so seriously injured he was probably not going to make it. So there are no inconsistencies in what Jacob says he can/cannot do. Even when he touched Locke after Locke's eight-story fall, he touched Locke within seconds of landing, so it's possible Locke had not died of internal injuries by that point, which I'm assuming would've happened otherwise. (Holy crap, it just hit me that we still don't know WHY Locke was paralyzed in the flash sideways timeline since he now has a good relationship with his father... DAH! Sorry. Back to THIS episode...)


Back in the present day on the Island, Richard returns to the stone bench under which he had buried Isabella's cross... the cross that the MIB saved from the Black Rock wreckage 140 years prior and had handed back to him with the promise that his "offer" would always stand. After Jacob's death, the Temple massacre, and learning information about "the candidates" which he'd never been privy to for 14 decades, Richard was more than ready to take the MIB up on his deal and end his time as Jacob's errand-boy. And I think the writers of this episode did an excellent job of helping us viewers understand exactly why Richard had finally had ENOUGH.

So he digs up the necklace and starts shouting into the wind, "DOES THE OFFER STILL STAND?!?!"

I was positive that Fake Locke was going to appear out of thin air, but instead Hurley emerges from the jungle. The first thing through my mind was, "Hurley is definitely going to be Jacob's replacement." I mean, all signs are pointing that way, no? I still think Jack will play some monumental role in "saving" the Island and everyone on it, but so far Hurley has been the most connected to Jacob and has already carried out his will several times. Then, in a very Ghost-like sequence, Hurley revealed that he'd been talking with Isabella -- who was presently standing right next to her long-lost love -- and that she wanted Richard to stop punishing himself for her death. She also wanted to remind him that they are "already together." Sniff.

Ghost Isabella vanished and Hurley dropped one last bomb on Richard: the ageless one's dead wife also mentioned that he HAD to stop the Man in Black from leaving the Island because if he didn't, "we all go to hell." Once again, I did not take her words literally. I took them as, "I'm a God-fearing Ghost and you're still a God-fearing immortal and the MIB is evil so you can't let evil win." Do not make me publicly shame you by trying to convince me her warning was evidence for the Purgatory theory!!!


The last scene took place back in 1867 on the Island. We see Jacob and the Man in Black engaged in another tenuous chat, much like the one they had at the beginning of "The Incident." The MIB swears he'll find a way to kill Jacob one day... and that he'll also kill anyone who replaces Jacob. So there should now be no doubt that the promises Fake Locke is making 815ers like Sawyer and Kate and Sayid are complete lies. He fully intends to off them. Also, did you notice how Fake Locke and the MIB as played by Titus Welliver are so amazingly alike in their mannerisms and speech? Very impressive.

Even though his life has just been threatened, Jacob takes the high road and replies, "Brother, you need a drink. Oh look, I just so happen to have some wine. Here you go -- bottoms up." He gives him the bottle and then takes off. Once he's alone, the Man in Black throws a hissy fit and smashes the wine against a log. That's, like, SO mature.

Let's wrap up by discussing what new things we've learned about Jacob and his nemesis. I know there's a "Fight Club" theory going around that states Jacob and the MIB are the same person. This idea picked up a lot of steam after the MIB gave Richard the exact same instructions for killing Jacob that Dogen gave Sayid for killing Fake Locke/MIB: 1) Don't let him speak... AT ALL, and 2) plunge a special silver sword into his heart (it was the same sword in both episodes, by the way). While I am not by any means dismissing this theory on the grounds that I don't think it makes any sense (because I do think it's very clever), I am going to dismiss it on the grounds of "too complicated for a prime-time TV show with only half a season left."
First off, Jacob is already dead -- so how would THAT work if he and MIB were the same guy? Secondly, you've got people like Ilana sent to protect Jacob, and another big group siding with Fake Locke. I just think it would be waaaaay too complicated to not only wrap all the other several dozen (or more) outstanding mysteries in the show, but also find a way to easily explain to the average viewer that Jacob and his nemesis -- you know, the guys that were shown talking to each other, passing a bottle of wine back and forth, giving rocks as presents to each other -- are actually THE SAME DUDE. Nope, too complex to pull off, sorry.

After this episode I think the same thing I've always thought: that MIB is a form of evil. It doesn't really matter what his name is or if he's the devil or just a force for darkness or a demon or whatever. All that matters is that he despises humankind and therefore wants to prove that man is inherently "bad." He also wants to escape the Island so that he can spread his special brand of wickedness around the globe. (One thing that's confusing me is that I could've sworn we already saw Smokey -- in apparition form -- OFF of the Island. As Zombie Dad in Jack's hospital in "Something Nice Back Home" (remember, the smoke alarm even went off in that scene?) and on the freighter before Michael blew up. Anyone wanna help me make sense of that?)

Jacob, on the other hand, represents "light," or "goodness." He believes that man is inherently moral. He could be some sort of angel... that would still make him on par with the MIB if the MIB was in fact the devil, because in many religions the devil is described as a fallen angel. He might be some sort of heaven-sent representative charged with keeping the devil from running wild all of the place.

No matter what you want to view these two as, clearly they are not human beings. So we can all at least agree on that point, right?

I think it's nearly impossible for next week's episode to match the awesomeness of Ab Aeterno, but here's hopin'...

Until then,
- e

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The March Contest Winner

... is Robbie Freeman, randomly selected from over 160 Lost fans who told me what piece of memorabilia they'd love to snag from the set, as well as their favorite Detour Designables tee.

Robbie said, "No doubt about it, it would have to be Charlie's Drive Shaft Ring." Good pick! For his efforts, Robbie will soon be sporting the shirt to the right.

If you've got a few minutes, I highly recommend scanning through everyone's responses -- while the Dharma van, Faraday's journal and Eko's Jesus Stick were probably the items mentioned most often, there were also some more, um, unusual entries... like Locke's infamous orange slice. Whatever floats your boat, people!

Somebody wrote me that Jorge Garcia (Hurley) recently talked about what he wanted to take with him on the new podcast he's been recording with his girlfriend Bethany. I don't know what he'd decided on though, as I haven't had time to listen to "Geronimo Jack's Beard" yet (is that the best name ever, or what?), but if you're curious I'm sure you can find his comments among one of the previous recordings here. And if you know what his response was, leave it for me in the comments so I don't have to wait until I get a chance to listen to all of his podcasts this summer!

Thanks to everyone who entered; I'll definitely have another contest in a few weeks, so stay tuned for that. And more importantly, enjoy the show tonight and remember that it's due to run six minutes long, so set your DVRs accordingly!

- e

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The March Contest: Which Lost Prop Would You Want?


Hello my dear friends -

It's time for the March contest... up for grabs this time is a Lost-inspired t-shirt of your choice from the very awesome Detour Designables. One of their tees, "We Have to Go Back," recently won the Island Category in the contest I wrote about last month. And as you can see to the left, they have some other extremely cool options the lucky winner can select from as well.

So here's what you have to do to be entered into my random drawing:

1) Via a comment left on this blog and specifically under this post (no FB or Twitter entries this time, sorry), tell me what bit of Lost memorabilia you'd love to have if you could keep absolutely anything from the show. It CANNOT be one of the actors/actresses/characters/Vincent. I'm thinking more along the lines of a prop... like the arrow that killed Frogurt. Maybe that's a bad example.
2) In that same comment, paste in the product page URL for your favorite Detour Designables Lost-inspired shirt after browsing their online store here (most Lost designs are at the top, but I also saw an Oceanic 6 one about halfway down and a Fish Biscuits one in the last row...)
3) Check back Tuesday morning to see if you won, because once I post the winner I'm only giving them a few days to claim their prize before I select someone else. I will cut off the contest at 10 PM Central Time Monday March 22 and announce the winner the following morning.

Anyone can enter from any country, but you can only enter once. And I'm not going to publish any inappropriate comments, so let's keep it clean, folks.

Good luck!
- e


Thursday, March 18, 2010

S6Ep8 - Recon

Hello my dear friends -

Remember when I mentioned in early February that I'm working on a book and that my Lost posts would have to be significantly shorter this season... and then I proceeded to still spend hours on them? Unfortunately, "e's Bite-Sized Recaps" are now going to have to kick into effect. Not only am I in the thick of interviewing people about stuff that will be in my manuscript (which is due in May), but I also saw the draft of my book's jacket for the first time yesterday.


For those of you who watch Saturday Night Live, once I laid eyes on the cover I felt like shouting, "'Cause this here's REAL!" There's no turning back now, I MUST finish this book.

So... here are my short and sweet thoughts on Recon -- hope you still find them insightful! And to any new Long Live Locke readers... if you roll your mouse over the pictures in my posts secret messages will pop up -- ooohhh, ahhhh.

Flashes first...



That hussy messing around with Sawyer wasn't the only one fooled by his undercover brotha-ness. As I stated in my "LAX Part 1" post, I was absolutely positive that in the sideways timeline, Sawyer was still a con man and had set his sights on the gullible, happy-go-lucky multimillionaire otherwise known as Hurley. I love it when I am wrong (only with things related to this show) -- I totally didn't see it coming that Mr. James Ford was a cop. My favorite part of the episode happened very early on when he uttered the code word "LaFleur" and that chick was like, "Le What?!?"

I was also very happy to see Miles as Sawyer's partner -- they make a good team. So good, in fact, that Miles could sense Sawyer had been hiding something from him. Maybe in the alt timeline Miles can read more than just corpses? Anyway, even though Sawyer was on the right side of the law in this version of events, he still was hunting the man who scammed his parents. Meaning, the main issue he needs to find peace with in his life has not been resolved in the alt timeline -- unlike Jack's daddy issues and Locke's acceptance of his paralysis and Ben's quest for power.

Sawyer knew the guy he was looking for was "Anthony Cooper" and had been making calls in his spare time to try and track the con man down. Eventually in the last flash he spilled the whole story to Miles and admitted that he went to Sydney because he thought he had a hot lead on Original Sawyer... but alas, it was a dead end.

The problem now is that we know Locke is the son of the man Sawyer's after, and that he's currently in LA and enjoying an apparently healthy father-son relationship. It may even be possible that Cooper changed his way years ago, maybe right after what happened with the Ford family. But who wants to bet we're going to see Locke's happy world get blown to hell when Sawyer finally realizes that the revenge he's been seeking can be carried out just a few miles away? (Oh Lord, what if it's at Locke's WEDDING?) That's the way I'm leaning... of course the other possibility is that Sawyer gets ready to kill Cooper, Locke intervenes and convinces Sawyer that his father's a changed man, and then Sawyer can finally put it all behind him and everyone lives happily ever after. It could happen. It's the alt timeline -- anything could happen!


In the midst of Sawyer and Miles' bickering about what Sawyer was hiding, Miles set his partner up on a date. We all thought it was going to be Juliet, didn't we? Yes. So once again I was blindsided when it ended up being Charlotte -- though since Miles did indicate the woman was a colleague of his father's "at the museum," maybe I shouldn't have been as surprised. Regardless, there was Charlotte all dolled up and RAAWWWRRR-looking at the restaurant, and it was only a matter of like two seconds before she and Sawyer decided they needed to take a roll in the hay. That part kind of freaked me out, to be honest. They did not seem right together. I wish I could erase it from my mind.

Then Charlotte had to get all snoopy (it's in her blood... she's a digger), find the forbidden portfolio and get kicked out of Sawyer's place wearing nothing but a blanket. Later Sawyer regrets reacting so harshly and, classy guy that he is, shows up at her door with a six-pack (of beer... 'cause he had his shirt on). My brother wrote me that he was positive Faraday was going to pop up behind Charlotte at her place -- skinny tie in full effect -- and taunt Sawyer. "Don't hate the playa, hate the game!" That would've been AWESOME. You missed a huge opportunity there, writers. I didn't think about the possibility of Faraday making an appearance, but I WAS 100% positive that Sawyer would end up running into Juliet as he walked down the hall of Charlotte's building. I think I'm still in denial that Juliet wasn't in this episode. Aren't they going to meet for coffee and go dutch, like her dying words hinted? I just don't get when that's going to happen now. I WANT TO SEE IT HAPPEN, dammit!

One more thing about Charlotte -- it did enter my mind that she might've been looking a little too hard in that drawer for a t-shirt. I mean, why would she be digging furiously underneath all of his other clothes? It was kind of like she was hurrying to try and find something before he came back in the room, which doesn't really jibe with the situation. But... I might be grasping for straws -- it's probably too late in the season to think that she, Miles and Miles' dad are part of some sort of conspiracy revolving around Alt Sawyer. So let's turn to the bigger story line -- the one about how all of the 815ers just can't seem to stay away from each other in LA.


In the final flash segment, right after Sawyer hands Cooper's file over to Miles and tells him about his plot to kill the man he holds responsible for his parents' death, a car crashes into them from out of nowhere, and since it was nearing the end of the episode I was thinking "Oh, here we go again, who in the hell is THIS going to be?" I was not counting on anyone obvious. Since we already had Charlotte and Charlie's brother Liam make cameos, I figured it would have to be another semi-random. Like Abaddon or Claire's psychic or Mr. Eko or somebody crazy like that. But once we saw a person bust out of the car, then I knew it was Kate with the po-po after her yet again.

She fell into Sawyer's trap and when he slammed her up against the fence they were both like, "Hey... I know you, I know you!" I have to admire these characters' memories. There is no way I would recognize anyone I spent a matter of seconds with on an elevator days earlier. But then again, maybe if I shared an elevator with the likes of Sawyer it would be a different story.

Before we flip over to the Island events, can I just say that I used to freakin' LOVE LOVE LOVE Little House on the Prairie and really got a kick out of seeing Sawyer watch it? I read all of those books and watched the show like a maniac growing up, and that series is why I continue to love Jason Bateman to this day, thank you very much. Ah, the memories. Well, I'm actually still trying to forget the memories of people calling me "Nellie" back in grade and middle school (you know, 'cause of my last name), but there's no need for me to get into that right now.

Enough reminiscing... on to the Island!


Finally, it's revealed where Sawyer's been... he's been helping nurse Jin back to health at Camp Crazy Claire. But they've soon got company; Fake Locke returns with Claire, Sayid, Kate and all of the Others who decided to tag along. Cindy and The Kids are there, too, and when they ask what happened to everyone who stayed behind, Fake Locke had to break it down for them like this: they're all dead. Sorry in advance for the nightmares, little boy who looks like a girl because he has hairbands in his hair.

Then Sawyer and Fake Locke go off to have a private chat and Fake Locke tells Sawyer straight-up that he is Smokey. THANK YOU writers for finally squashing any remaining doubt left in those who didn't want to accept this until they saw Fake Locke physically transform into a puff of blackness. (Remember the FX budget? That scene was never gonna happen.) Sawyer strangely took this news in stride. I guess after all he's seen on the Island nothing would be that shocking, but a dude who can morph into a giant killing machine made of clouds seems like it should still rank pretty high on the WTF-o-meter. But I digress.

Their walk-n-talk leads them to the beach, where Fake Locke tells Sawyer that he needs him to bust over to Hydra to scope out the situation. Of course I then thought Sawyer was going to be shot on his way there... by time-traveling Juliet, of all people. (Some of you wrote me after I mentioned this in my last post, asking what I was talking about. I'm talking about the scene in "The Little Prince" where the time-traveling Losties are in the outrigger and are shot at by an unseen group of people, also in an outrigger. Juliet fires back -- and appears to hit one of them. But then another time flash whips them into a different year, so we never saw who was in the other canoe.)

Sawyer agrees to Fake Locke's plan and sets out for the other island.


Fake Locke rejoins everyone else just in time to save Kate from Crazy Claire. Maybe this is awful, but 1) I thought it was HILARIOUS how Sayid just sat there all bored-looking while Claire jumped Kate and had a knife at her throat and, 2) I thought it was even better when Locke up and slapped Claire across the face. Snap out of it, woman! Kate's reaction was priceless -- she realized she was with a bunch of really messed up peeps and was kicking herself for her new No Tagging Along policy. She could've been chilling with Hurley and Jack instead of coming face to face with the evil Squirrel Baby and then being attacked by a weave with a life of its own while Dead-Eye Sayid was off in la-la land replaying some of his all-time greatest ninja-breakdancing moves in his head. (He decided his best was still the twist-kick-neck-snapper he used on an Other in "Through the Looking Glass, Part 1.")

After calming Claire down, Fake Locke took Kate to the beach, told her what he'd asked Sawyer to do, and then revealed that he knew how she must be feeling after seeing Crazy Claire, because his mother was cuckoo, too. His exact words were, "Because... my mother was crazy. A long time ago, before I... looked like this... I had a mother, just like everyone. She was a very disturbed woman. And, as a result of that, I had some growing pains. Problems that I'm still trying to work my way through. Problems that could have been avoided had things been different."

Now, as I've said too many times to count, I don't think they're ever going to reveal the Man in Black's name. And I'm still leaning toward thinking that he's some sort of devilish figure. But many Lost fans started calling the Man in Black "Esau" from the first moment we saw him in the Season Five finale, because in the Bible Jacob and Esau were warring brothers. Esau was supposedly a kinda hairy hunter dude, and Jacob was "a simple man." And guess what? Their momma had some issues. I'm not going to go much further than that except to provide this link I found which gives a quick overview of how their mother (Rebecca/Rebekah) helped screw over Esau. There are SO MANY parallels between this story and the Jacob/Man in Black subplot on Lost that someone could write a book about it... but that person's not gonna be me. Though I thought I'd at least bring the Jacob/Esau story up at this point as some food for thought.

However, since I must always try to play devil's advocate (pun intended) wherever possible, I think that another valid theory is that Real Locke's memories are still inside of Fake Locke (the Man in Black knew Real Locke's dying thoughts, and we've heard him used Locke's trademarked "Don't tell me what I can't do!" line, too). Locke's birth mother was kind of nutso -- remember that she told her son he was immaculately conceived and then proceeded to sell him out to Anthony Cooper, his birth father, who was badly in need of a kidney. I think that qualifies for crazy. And I think I just convinced myself that Fake Locke is drawing from Real Locke's memories, despite the fact that he said "before I looked like this" in his speech to Kate. Keepin' hope alive, yes I am!


Sawyer makes it safely to Hydra, fondles Kate's old dress at the cages, and then comes across a nasty stinkin' heap of dead bodies. One chick named Zoe is still alive, and immediately 1) I thought she was Grown-Up Annie... but then reconsidered because she was asking Sawyer SO many questions, and 2) My husband yelled, "Hey, that girl was the roommate in Singles!" (He was right.)

Zoe was on Widmore's team, and soon Sawyer was face to face with the man himself in the depths of the submarine. Widmore seemed surprised that the Man in Black had taken Locke's form, but nonetheless, he wanted him delivered on a platter, and Sawyer said he'd do just that if it ensured he and his friends could take leave of the Island once and for all. It was a deal. Then Sawyer went back (without getting shot at, phew... but you KNOW that scene is just around the corner...) and spilled everything to Fake Locke. No one should've been surprised that Sawyer was going to try and play both sides. He said as much to Kate, and then told her that he planned to use the sub to escape. Did anyone else think the last scene was a little anticlimactic? "We're not takin' the plane... we're takin' THE SUB." As if that was some huge twist or something? I was like, "Huh? Why is that how this episode ended?" But whatever. We'll see how well Sawyer's plan works. Won't he need to know the exact coordinates to follow in order to be able to break free from the Island's grip, though?


Last week I ended with my thoughts on Widmore, so I'm going to close out that same way this time around. I still think Widmore's up to no good, although it's becoming a little clearer that he is not on the same "side" as the Man in Black. Since we know that the Man in Black is also Smokey and Widmore's team was putting up a sonar fence -- pretty much the only thing (besides Magic Ash + Alive Dogen) that can keep Smokey at bay... AND since Widmore seems eager for Sawyer to bring the Man in Black to Hydra, it seems like he intends to fight, kill and/or capture him.

But that doesn't mean Widmore is on Team Jacob. He could just be out for himself -- he's always been driven by wanting to regain control of the Island. He was so insulted and blinded by rage when Ben banished him that he's pretty much dedicated the rest of his life to finding a way back. While Ben recently learned how pointless this sort of quest for power can be, Widmore isn't quite there yet.

Even though I am no fan of Widmore's, there's something that makes me very sad about the thought of Fake Locke/Smokey killing him. I hope that doesn't happen. And I hope he has Desmond hidden away in that locked room in the submarine, for God's sake. We've seen Des for only a matter of minutes this season, and it was waaay back in the premiere, at that. It's been too long. Lost fans demand to hear "brotha!"


SAWYER: LaFleur.


[Kate looks at Squirrel Baby in horror.]

KATE: What is THAT?

SAWYER: What happened back at the temple? How'd you know to rescue everybody from that smoke thing?

LOCKE: I didn't rescue them. I am the smoke thing.

KATE: Sayid, are you alright?



This is a gentle reminder because I know those of you who spoiled me on next week's episode (a full week before we saw the preview for it) only did so because you thought I would be excited. But I really, REALLY don't want to know what's coming up in future installments, so please -- even if I wonder about something in a post that you have intel on, don't share it. I'd like to continue to be blissfully ignorant about the ten hours we have left. Thank you!

And I didn't get to it this past weekend, but I definitely will be posting the March contest this coming weekend, so stay tuned for a chance to win another cool Lost t-shirt.

Until then,
- e

Thursday, March 11, 2010

S6Ep7 - Dr. Linus

Hello my dear friends -

My husband returned home from a Bulls game late Tuesday night, took one look at me and said, "What's the matter?" I'm one of those people whose face betrays a good, hard crying session looong after the tears have stopped. "Oh, it's Lost," I replied, feeling kind of silly. "Did something bad happen?" he asked. "No... it was just really, really good," I sniffed, getting all choked up again.

I don't know about you guys, but for me, the best Lost episodes are the ones that feel like a blow to the gut and leave me reaching for the Kleenex. I was doing so very early on this past Tuesday night -- from the moment AlternaLocke waved his hand at Ben and said, "I'm listenin'," to be exact.

So yes, I loved "Dr. Linus." It's either my favorite installment of Season Six so far, or tied with "LAX Part 1," I haven't made up my mind yet. But before we get into this Ben-centric hour, allow me to revisit a Ben-centric question I raised in my last write-up, which many of you were kind enough to answer. I had been wondering what the deal was with the weird case he took from the vent in the hotel room last season, and it seems the consensus is that the case concealed the gun he later used to shoot Desmond at the pier. Ben wouldn't have wanted Jack to come across it, hence its position in the vent. Thanks, everyone! I always love it when I can cross a mystery off of my list.

OK, now onto this week's show. We'll start with the flashes.


Wink-wink shout-outs to the Island and Napoleon kicked things off as Dr. Linus wrapped up a history class. Moments later, he faced the indignity of being assigned to watch over detention sessions for a week by a budget-slashing Principal Reynolds. I was hoping we'd see some sort of John Hughes-inspired Breakfast Club-ish scenes, but thankfully what we got was so much better. Ben sulked back to the teacher's lounge, started a bitch session with Leslie Arzt, and then was surprised to hear the new guy, Locke, chime in with a very logical solution: "Just sounds like you care about this place. And if the man in charge doesn't, then maybe it's time for a change."

Now, I could write for a long time about all of the parallels between the flashes and what we've seen go down on the Island, but since I think they were pretty darn obvious, all I'll say instead is that the main reason I enjoyed this episode so much is because I found it absolutely brilliant that the writers were able to replicate Ben's political struggles on the Island in a high school setting. And I especially loved that it was Locke who planted the seed in Ben's head about making a power play.


Locke's "I'm listenin'" was Kleenex grab moment #1, and realizing that I was staring at Really Old Roger and his son who cared dearly for him was Kleenex grab moment #2. I'm sure you all caught the irony of Ben helping to keep his father comfortable/alive by changing out his oxygen tank, whereas on the Island he killed him with poisonous gas. Even though I was all quivery-lipped during this segment, I didn't miss the huge piece of info that Roger doled out: namely, that they DID go to the Island and had been in Dharma for a bit before leaving.

Since we're 39% done with the season at this point, I'm taking things at face value and interpreting Roger's words to mean that the flash sideways are what many of us thought they were all along -- a depiction of what would've happened had the plan Faraday put in motion WORKED. Now, I still don't think this means that Jughead had to have blown up the Island, especially since we saw the statue and the Barracks pretty much in one piece at the bottom of the ocean in "LAX Part 1." But I do think it means that something the Losties did back then set off a chain of events that ended with everyone having to leave the Island because it sank, and I would guess that that point in time was not much later than 1977. So everything that happened until 1977 was the same as it had always been, and then the timelines split.

I have read all of the reasons why that would mean that the Losties could have never time-traveled in the alternate timeline and whatnot, but I'm siding with all of the countering reasons that prove that Losties did still make their time jumps -- like the fact that in the enhanced version of "What Kate Does" it states that Ethan (as in, Dr. Goodspeed who was taking care of Claire in LA) was born on the Island in 1977. If Sawyer hadn't been on the Island in 1974 to save Shifty Amy (Ethan's mom) from being killed by the Others, there would've been no Ethan. No need to try to convince me otherwise because -- not to sound glib like Matt Lauer -- but I really don't care too much about these arguments. I'm going with what's easiest for millions of Lost fans who do NOT read message boards to be able to swallow, and to me that's a simple branch of events in 1977, caused by Faraday's plan. I'm sticking with this theory until something on the show proves otherwise, in which case I will gladly believe something else!


Then Ben gets a knock on the door and we're all like, "Oh crap, who's THAT?" I was not expecting Alex to be standing there, and for a moment I was confused that she was somehow his daughter in this timeline. But no, she was one of his History Club nerds trying to figure out why he didn't show up for their meeting. Once Ben learned that she was freaking out about her upcoming AP test, he offered to help her study the next morning.

While they were going over materials, Alex let it slip that the school's principal was a pervy perv who did pervy things with the pervy nurse who was not his wife. From that very second I saw the wheels turning in Ben's head, as I'm sure you did, too. But Alex made him promise not to say or do anything, because she needed a letter of recommendation from Reynolds in order to get into Yale. She explained that she had no chance of being accepted otherwise, and mentioned how her mom had to work two jobs to pay their rent and whatnot. Let's just pause for a moment and consider our favorite Crazy French Chick working at, say, an office. Or maybe being a greeter at The Olive Garden. What kind of job could she hold down, really? I want a flash dedicated to that!

But back to Ben. He called upon Arzt to help him out with his blackmail scheme -- who knew Arzt was an expert hacker? I love it. Except that Ben's plan didn't go exactly the way he'd imagined it would. Principal Reynolds one-upped him by threatening to "torch Ms. Rousseau and her future." What was Dr. Linus gonna do?

I'll tell you what I thought he was going to do. I thought he was going to still go through with his threats, usurp the principal's spot and then get his old pal Widmore to ensure Alex was accepted to Yale. All I could think was that if an ultra-snob, high society goddess like Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl couldn't finagle her way into Yale, a rec letter from some random high school principal wasn't gonna cut it for Alex, and so Ben would have to call upon his successful businessman friend from the Island to get the job done. Remember that Ben and Widmore did meet in 1977 after Young Ben had been shot by Sayid and was recuperating after his visit to the Temple, and at that point Widmore had promised Ben that even though he'd have to return to Dharmaville, he could still consider himself an Other. If everyone was forced off of the Island shortly after that point (and survived), I figured Ben and Widmore might have kept in touch. And maybe that still could be the case, but alas, it didn't come into play in this episode.


Things didn't pan out the way I figured they would at all. Ben did the noble thing and put aside his desire for power in order to help secure a brighter future for his favorite student. Arzt wasn't happy about not getting his coveted parking spot next to the maple tree, but was slightly mollified when Ben offered up his spot instead. The final scene of the flash segments showed Ben watching a super-excited Alex leaving the principal's office, giddy about his over-the-top letter for her. And all was well. So in this version of events, I think it's safe to assume that Ben did save Alex. Sniff.

But the sob-fest's not over! On to the Island...


The subset of "good guys" were hauling butt through the jungle, and Ben was able to quickly rejoin Ilana & Co after escaping the Temple. But Ilana smelled a rat and put Miles to work with Jacob's ash, demanding to know how "the closest thing she had to a father" died. (I love how everyone's finally taking advantage of Miles' abilities so late in the game, by the way.) For a second there I thought that Miles was going to protect Ben and then use his newfound knowledge as leverage over him later, but instead he chose to tell the truth. Ben was now in deep doo-doo.

He really had no choice but to continue on with the group, though, and back at the beach camp he made a halfhearted attempt to discredit Miles, but Ilana was having none of it. Good ol' Lapidus was still willing to make small talk with Ben, however, and I really dug their conversation about how the Island "still got Lapidus in the end." I think it's fair to say that in the original timeline, if the Island wants you, it's gonna get you... and -- as we saw later with the Jack/Richard scene -- it's not going to let you go until its business with you is finished. However, in the split-off timeline, characters are making different decisions when the power of the Island (and Jacob... and the Man in Black) isn't there to nudge them one way or the other. Interesting.

But before Ben could become any more nostalgic about the good ol' days of the Oceanic 815 crash, he was chained to a tree and ordered to dig his own grave. To make matters worse, Miles informed him that the last thing Jacob thought before he died was that he hoped he was wrong about Ben. Somebody get this guy some ice cream! He's had a bad, bad day.


On cue, Sun tells Ilana that she needs to find her husband. For once the response Sun received wasn't "WE KNOW ALREADY -- GOOD GOD, WOMAN!!!", but rather, "I need to find him even more than you do, honey." Ilana explained that she had to protect both of the Kwons because she didn't know which of them was meant to be a candidate. Then she went on to tell Sun what a candidate was, and stated that there were six of them left.

So in my mind we've got Jack, Hurley, Sawyer (because Ilana doesn't know he's with Fake Locke) and one of the Kwons. Who are the fifth and sixth? She's probably no longer counting Sayid since she knows he murdered Dogen and Lennon (speaking of those guys, I forgot to mention in my last post that I wouldn't be surprised if they showed up again thanks to whatever it was Jacob was shown pouring into the spring at the beginning of "Lighthouse"). Is she considering Lapidus a candidate since she mentioned as much to Bram last season? Who knows. Hell, I think Vincent's the best candidate at this point. (Speaking of... what happened to HIM and Rose and Bernard after the Jughead incident? Are they still at their Retirement Hut By the Sea?)


Let's break from the beach camp for a moment to check in with Hurley and Jack. They slept by the lighthouse and now Jack's all hyper about getting to the Temple. Since Hurley knows that bad things were headed that-a-way thanks to his chat with Jacob, he's doing everything he can to stall. Eventually they run into Ageless Richard, who tells them he'll help them out -- but he lied! Instead he took them to the Black Rock and we finally got confirmation that this is indeed how he came to the Island, and the "chains" Fake Locke was referring to back at the statue were the ones that held Richard captive on the ship. We also learned (though Richard had alluded to this point before) that it was Jacob's touch that made him immortal. I was really hoping we'd get a Richard-centric episode of some sort in the future, but now I feel like we probably won't because we pretty much know his background. Boo.

Anyway, Richard had had it UP TO HERE with Jacob and his promises, and now that the Island's protector is dead, Richard wants to check out, too. But he explains that he is unable to kill himself, so if Jack could oblige him by lighting a stick of dynamite and sending him the way of Arzt, he'd very much appreciate it.

Hurley wants to check both of these guys into Santa Rosa and decides to get while the gettin's good. Jack, on the other hand, has grown quite cocky since finding out about Jacob's mirror apparatus and is like, "Sure, I'll blow you up!" and lights the fuse. Richard starts panicking when Jack refuses to scram, and that's when the Mad Doctor breaks it down for the Ageless One: Neither of them is going to die because Jacob wouldn't have gone to all of the trouble of making Richard immortal and watching Jack since he was a kid if they were simply meant to go ka-boom. And sure enough, the fuse fizzles out. (There's a sick part of me that thinks it would've been hilarious if the dynamite DID explode, though. Cut to Hurley shaking his head a mile away, staring up at the flames from the Black Rock. "I told you, dudes.")


Back at the beach, Ben was pretty darn close to finishing his grave when he heard the sounds of Smokey and turned to find Fake Locke standing there. Once again, Fake Locke makes a character a selfish deal. "Come with me and you can be the king of the Island." He promised Sawyer a chance to leave, he promised Sayid a reunion with what he loves most, and he promised Claire she'd get Aaron back. The clamp on Ben's ankle magically falls open, and Fake Locke instructs Ben that he best make a run for it and grab the rifle that's a ways out in the clearing.. and when he gets there, to not hesitate in shooting Ilana. He also tells Ben that his plan is to go to the Hydra, which means that we'll soon get to see who it was that the time-traveling Losties shot while they were caught in the huge rainstorm in the outriggers last season. Remember that?

Fake Locke leaves, Ben thinks everything over for a minute and then makes a mad dash for the clearing. Did anyone else laugh when he chucked that didgeridoo-looking bamboo shovel into the air and busted out? I did.

He runs, runs, runs... finds the gun and turns it on Ilana. Now, since we'd been reminded by Richard that Jacob's touch is magical, and since we know that Jacob had on gloves when he visited Ilana in the hospital back in the day, I was pretty sure she was a goner. Instead, Ben told her that he wanted to explain himself, and went on to deliver the mother of all moving speeches. Cue the water works once again. And color me surprised when Ilana's response to Ben's insistence that Fake Locke was the only one who'd have him was, "I'll have you." Superb, superb scene.


I wasn't sure what Ben was going to do, but was relieved when he chose to follow Ilana back to the beach. Moments later, after we see that Miles has indeed dug up some of Nikki and Paulo's diamonds, Jack, Hurley and Richard come 'round the bend in yet another slo-mo sequence that had me in pieces. I don't know what was going on with me Tuesday night, but I was a freakin' mess. Seeing Hurley and Sun, and then Jack and Sun reunite was almost more than I could handle. Lord help me when we get to the BIG Jin/Sun reunion.

I felt badly for both Ben and Richard because they were each standing there with no one to give them a hug. They certainly weren't going to hug each other after what Ben pulled at the statue. It's going to be interesting to see how this random group gets along. Who'd have ever thought the remaining band of Good Guys would consist of Ben, Richard, Miles, Lapidus, Ilana, Hurley, Sun and Jack? Craziness.

Then all of a sudden the camera perspective changed and dammit if the sub's periscope didn't emerge from the ocean. Yep, someone was on his way to the Island, just like Jacob predicted, and the man in question was Widmore. Unless Jacob was talking about somebody else, which is of course entirely possible. Either way, Widmore's almost there, and the fact that our Losties were all shown in tinted red cross-hairs might lead you to believe that the sub crew was planning to blow them all to smithereens or something. I doubt a firefight is going to start, but I also don't think Widmore's up to any good. Let's discuss, shall we?


If Widmore wasn't the person Jacob said was coming to the Island, then my money's on Desmond. But if Widmore was who Jacob had in mind, does that mean Widmore is "good"? All of the evidence points to Widmore NOT being good. Here are some important things to consider:

- First and foremost, Widmore sent the freighter to the Island, was the one who gave Keamy and crew their orders, and therefore is responsible for Alex's death. Throw whatever other evidence you have at me, but I'm going to have a hard time believing that the guy who killed an innocent sixteen-year-old girl simply because she was the daughter of his nemesis could be anything but evil.
- Widmore tried to get Sun to kill Ben.
- Widmore encouraged Alive Locke to get everyone to go back to the Island. Now that we know what we know, we could infer that Widmore was working for the Man in Black and therefore knew the plan to take over Locke's body... or at least knew that all of Jacob's candidates were needed back on the Island in order for the Man in Black to be able to 1) kill Jacob, 2) kill all of his possible replacements, and then 3) do whatever it is he intends to do -- leave, blow up the place, etc.
- We also know that the Man in Black promises people what they want most. Widmore has always wanted to control the Island, and in fact believes he is the rightful leader of the Others. The Man in Black most likely promised him this if he could find a way back to the Island to help him win "the war."
- Widmore hates Desmond. Anyone who hates Desmond is bad. Duh!

OK, so I think Widmore's bad. I didn't always feel this way... I used to believe Ben and Widmore were on the same side (the Island's side) but just went about protecting it in different ways. However, after seeing how angry Widmore was throughout his life courtesy of the time traveling of last season, and because of all the points listed above, I now think he is bad. Maybe he's in the sub in order to help the Man in Black and all of his new followers leave? I mean, how else are they all going to get out of there? (I say this even though I still think the Man in Black's ultimate end game is to destroy the Island and kill everyone on it, including himself.)


I'd like to end by revisiting a concept we talked about in the last post. About how Fake Locke could represent the devil and Jacob might be representing some sort of angel or higher power or maybe even God. Let me repeat that I am positive that the show will never come right out and say this -- it would turn off way too many people. But I think so far they've been able to frame religious and/or spiritual themes in a subtle way that gets people thinking along the lines of "good versus evil"... often represented by "light versus dark."

So we've already discussed reasons why Fake Locke could be a devil-like figure. He's sweet-talking everyone, claiming to be looking out for their best interests... and if they could just help him out with this one little thing, he'll give them what they desire most. We saw it again with his promise to Ben in this episode.

But what else happened in "Dr. Linus?" We had at least four characters talk about their faith. Richard said he wanted to end his life because he'd spent countless decades, maybe even centuries, believing in a man who told him he had an important part to play in a master plan that he was never made privy to. But then that man, Jacob, died and Richard felt like his entire existence was a joke. Jack spoke of the kind of faith that comes with finding out that someone he'd never met had been tracking him his whole life, had brought him -- twice -- to a crazy Island, and that there simply must have been a reason for it. This was a faith that made Jack confident the stick of dynamite he lit would not blow up. Ilana did not speak directly of her faith, but showed it when she continued to be dedicated to protecting the remaining candidates even after she learned Jacob had been killed and all of the odds seemed against her. Further, she is carrying on what she believes would be Jacob's wishes by forgiving Ben --- the very man who murdered her leader -- because she knows he has truly come to see the error of his ways. And finally there's Ben, who admitted that he let his quest for power go to his head and lost sight of what really mattered, and had lost all faith in Jacob and what he represented by the time he came face to face with him in the statue.

Something to chew on.


[Out in the jungle, Hurley is asleep in the grass]

HURLEY: Cheese curds...

BEN: Miles... do you remember once you asked me for 3.2 million dollars? Do you still want it?

MILES: What are you gonna do? You gonna write me a check on this banana leaf?

HURLEY: But... you look the same as you did thirty years ago. How's that possible?

RICHARD: It's not easy to explain.

HURLEY: Is this, like, a Terminator thing? Are you a cyborg?

RICHARD: No, I'm not a cyborg.

HURLEY: Vampire?

HURLEY: Dude you're gonna blow up! (This was my favorite line of the episode... not so much for the line itself, but the way Hurley said it -- it killed me.)

[The fuse almost burns to the end, then goes out]

JACK: Wanna try another stick ?

I dare say The War for the Island is upon us... can't wait to see what happens next!

Until then,
- e

PS - Actually, I'll be posting the March contest at some point this weekend, so... until THEN.

*** AND A FRIENDLY REMINDER: Please don't post comments about future episodes. Some of us would rather not know. Thanks!