Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"The Last Recruit"

Lucky 13.  Only five hours of LOST left, presented over three Tuesdays and a Sunday in May.  That's right...if you didn't glean it from the post-episode preview for the finale event, there will NOT be a new episode next week.  I repeat: NO NEW EPISODE NEXT WEEK!  Instead ABC will be airing a re-run of "Ab Aeterno" which will presumably be an enhanced version.  So LOST will officially conclude without ever completing an uninterrupted season which ABC has been promising since the second half of Season 3.  Granted, there was a (somewhat) unanticipated writers strike during Season 4 which created a hole in the schedule, however there were gaps in the schedule in Seasons 3 & 5 despite promises of "no breaks" and "no repeats."  So is there an upside to this?  There is, in a sense.  As stated above, the last three regular hour long episodes will air on May 4, 11 & 18 (all Tuesdays) followed by the two-hour series finale which will air on Sunday May 23.  So in the end, we will see the last three hours of LOST over a five day period.  So it goes, I guess.


If there is one word that describes the way I felt while watching this week's LOST episode, it would be "anxious."  There were so many times I was just anticipating something really terrible happening.  It was a palpable sense of dread.  I suppose it's because with so few episodes left, I would not be surprised if there were a shocking death coming before the finale.  I don't know who it might be but I'll admit that I am very worried about Desmond.  I don't think that we've seen the last of him but I am concerned.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

It seems that we have now passed the point of single character-centric episodes.  Damon and Carlton hinted that this would be the case earlier in the season so I expect that going forward, we will see stories in remaining episodes following multiple characters as flash-sideways threads are brought together and pieces are set on the Island stage for the final act.  Since the flash-sideways were made so important by "Happily Ever After" and "Everybody Loves Hugo," I found myself enjoying this week's multiple storylines converging and all of the characters crisscrossing with one another like never before.  As expected, we see hit-and-run victim John Locke arriving at the emergency room at the same time as gut-shot Sun and shell-shocked Jin.  It appeared that Sun had her Island flash when she recognized Locke on his gurney.  So when will Sideways Locke have his flash of the Island?  And did Jack have his when he recognized Locke in the operating room?

I was very surprised to see Sideways Claire intercepted by Desmond on her way to visit the adoption agency.  Not only that, but I was definitely not expecting Sideways Ilana to be the lawyer that he was trying to get Claire to meet.  But the gears immediately started turning in my head and I realized that Ilana was probably also Christian Shepard's estate attorney and so we would get the Sideways Jack/Claire meeting foreshadowed in "Lighthouse."  The Sideways Sawyer/Miles/Sayid interaction was very interesting especially considering its placement relative to the Island Sayid story arc.  I'll revisit that in a bit.  And of course the Sideways Kate/Sawyer interaction was nothing shocking.  As has been the case all season long, our flash-sideways stories were all left with dangling threads to be picked up again in the remaining episodes of the show.

On the Island, we got a major download right away during the much anticipated conversation between Jack and Fake Locke.  I was pleased that Jack asked Locke point blank if he was the one posing as Christian Shepard on their third day on the Island.  I was equally pleased to hear Locke admit that it was.  Very cool.  As many of us long-term LOST fans have begun to suspect, all of the castaways have been manipulated by both Jacob and the Man In Black for a long time.  Now it would seem that Jacob conducted his business off-Island while the Man in Black has been manipulating everyone from the moment they arrived on the Island. 

After a demonstration of power and an ultimatum by Widmore's people, Locke sends Sayid to take care of his dirty work with Desmond.  Like I said before, I am concerned about Desmond's future.  I wasn't so much last week, but Sayid seems like he has nothing left to lose and would have no qualms about offing the Scotsman.  However, Desmond's questions to Sayid were very prescient and seemed to indicate that he knew that Locke had promised things that could only be given to Sayid with a great price.  Was this Desmond's attempt to get Sayid to have a flash of his sideways life?  This would make sense as it really would be the kind of deal the devil would make with someone.  Nadia would be alive but not with Sayid.  Not to mention that Sayid would be in jail thanks to the quick work of detectives Sawyer and Miles.  I was very anxious, but I did find the conversation between Desmond and Sayid very moving and I even felt a little sad that this was how Desmond would die.  Since we didn't see him again, I feel like Desmond is still alive for now but I will remain very worried about his future.

I've never been too keen on any plans involving the sailboat ever since Sayid and Jin royally screwed the pooch with it in "The Glass Ballerina." But I guess since Sayid and Jin weren't involved in this plan, things worked out well.  Sawyer and Kate found the boat and rendezvoused with Jack, Hurley, Sun and Frank.  Unfortunately, crazy Clarie followed them and was allowed on the boat.  What could possibly go wrong?  And just when I started to like Jack, he had his weird standoff with Saywer prompting him to jump off the boat and return to Locke.  I have no idea who is right and wrong in this fight, or if it will even be a clear dichotomy when all is said and done, but this shuffling around of the pawns could get very tedious if kept up for too long.  In any event, Jack arrived back to Locke just about the time that Sawyer et al were greeted as unwelcomed visitors by Widmore's team.  Thankfully Jin was still with them and the very very long overdue Sun and Jun reunion finally happened.  Sun got her voice back and all is right with the Kwons...for now.

Widmore's team bombarded Locke, Jack and the Others but Locke was able to move a dazed Jack to safety.  We are left to believe that Jack is now officially on board with Locke.  I disagree.  If Jack is to be the new Jacob, he's probably right where he needs to be to help contain the Man in Black.  But what do I know?!? There are three more episodes left to move this pieces around the game board several more times before the finale.  Despite my anxiety, I enjoyed this episode even if it was a lot of set-up for future events and machinations.  I especially liked the increasing connections between flash-sideways characters.  I'm not happy that it will be two weeks before we find out what happens next but I suppose we must make the best of it.  After all, there is so little LOST left, we must savor every minute we can get!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Everybody Loves Hugo"

Another great episode of LOST tonight!  The story is really getting amped up and I like where it appears to be going even if this denouement means that the show must end.  You know what they say about all good things... 


I'm starting my blog a late tonight as I was busy earlier playing some of my songs at an open mic night at a local restaurant.  As a result this may be a more abbreviated entry but once I get going it's hard to stop so it may end up being like a regular episode blog.  I just finished watching the episode and DAMN!  Things are getting crazy and I like it!  Good to see Michael and Libby again especially in their respective contexts.  It was nice to finally get an answer about the whispers, but I wonder if I'm alone in my feeling that my speculation was more satisfying than the reveal.  Don't get me wrong, I'm very appreciative to know that the whispers are the souls trapped on the Island as a result of the wrongs they did during their lives, but it's somewhat of an anti-climax.  I am thoroughly enjoying the season, but as these lingering questions continue to be answered over the remaining episodes, I wonder if I will feel excitement, frustration or ambivalence about them.  For now, I'm enjoying the ride.

It was very exciting to see Libby again!  It was especially interesting since it was sideways Libby and she was "crazy" which was somehow causing her to "remember" her Island existence.  I was also very glad to see both Island and sideways Desmond working to fulfill their destinies although I am a little worried about the nasty fall that Island Desmond took down the well.  As far as sideways Desmond goes, great to see him seeking out the Oceanic passengers to help them connect with their Island consciousnesses.  The gentle nudge that he gave Hurley paid huge dividends.  Roxi and I were both pretty overcome with emotion when Hurley saw flashes of his other life after his kiss with Libby.  What an awesome awakening!  But now what?  When sideways Desmond completes his mission, will the timelines merge?  Will characters have to choose which world they want. Can both worlds continue to exist in a parallel fashion?

I am really looking forward to seeing what is next for sideways Locke.  During that final sideways scene, a lot of thoughts were going through my head.  Here's a summary:

Is sideways Desmond planning to talk to sideways Locke?
What would be the point since Island Locke is dead!
Who would sideways Locke have to talk to in order to have flashes?
Charlie and Desmond both experienced Island flashes during near death experiences.
Desmond is going to have to run over Locke!
Desmond is about to run over Locke!
Desmond just ran over Locke!

Since sideways Locke appears to still be alive, I'm thinking that we will see him experience Island flashes next week.  But what will that mean for the Smoke Monster who is the "substitute" Locke on the Island?  Will this somehow restore Island Locke's consciousness to the Smoke Monster's manifestation of Locke?

I was gobsmacked by Ilana's sudden and violent death.  In the back of my mind, I was expecting it since she was really handling that dynamite too roughly, but I was still shocked when it happened.  Good thing that won't happen to anyone else now that Hurley destroyed the Black Rock.   But will we ever get any more of Ilana's backstory?  Is it even important?  There were several shots of Hurley's shifty eyes during the episode.  I wonder if he has a plan or if he's under the influence of other forces.  He just delivered the remaining candidates and an airline pilot to Locke.  I hope he knows what he's doing!

Alpert, Ben and Miles went off together to destroy the plane, this time with Dharma hand grenades.  I don't think they'll be successful.  They mentioned taking an outrigger.  Will we finally see the other side of the outrigger shootout that we saw in "The Little Prince?"  And as much as I hated the "Sun has aphasia" device from "The Package," I was glad that we didn't have to see her writing a lot of notes to Jack this week.  I also felt a sympathy for her when she scanned the people in Locke's camp and saw that Jin was not among them.  Will they finally be reunited next week?  I think that next week they will finally see each other for the first time since "There's No Place Like Home."

There is most certainly a lot more to say about this episode, but it is late and maybe less is more in this case.  The bottom line is that this was a great episode with a lot of meaty storylines.  I continue to look forward to the momentum that has been generated over the past few weeks.  Please feel free to remind me of anything that I missed in the comments and if I think of anything else after some sleep, I'll make sure to update this post.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

"Happily Ever After"

Episodes like this make me so satisfied that I've stuck with LOST through the ups and occasional downs, but it also makes me a little sad that it's almost over.  Time is really starting to run short; there aren't that many episodes left and a lot of story seems like it still needs to be told.  If this were any other show, I would be getting worried at this point, but since season finales are always top-notch, I think the series finale will be quite satisfying.


Finally, the long-anticipated Desmond episode! With the actor's off camera troubles last year, I was worried that Desmond's role would be cut out completely this year much to the detriment of the overarching story.  Thankfully, for this and presumably several more episodes, we get our beloved Scotsman back!  It's quite amazing really to think that some of my favorite characters from the series were not introduced until the second season.  I can only imagine what LOST would have been like if Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje had never got "island fever."    But I digress.

With a Desmond-centric episode, you never know exactly what you're going to get, but it's guaranteed to be great.  I'll be the first to admit that I was very confused and frustrated the first time I watched "Flashes Before Your Eyes" during Season 3 but it's because it was such a jarring change to how off-Island stories were told up to that point in the series.  Since then, I've come to expect to be challenged by the storytelling devices.  Perhaps the most challenging thus far has been this season's flash-sideways device.  Many viewers, including myself, have questioned their purpose and are left to wonder if we should even care about that version of the characters.  I can now say that the answer is a resounding yes!

As usual there are several questions that arise from this episode but it seems that we also got a really huge answer regarding the nature of the flash-sideways.  All season long, the characters in the flash-sideways world seem to have moments of déjà vu or some sort of knowing glance at someone they've never met.  It's been subtle but they are there at some point in every episode (excluding "Ab Aeterno" of course).  There was nothing subtle about the moments of déjà vu for Desmond though, but that's to be expected for someone whose consciousness can travel through his lifetime.  Still this was a very different flash.  The effects of Widmore's electromagnetic field device forced Desmond's consciousness to travel into his sideways timeline.  

Desmond had three very important sideways encounters that indicate that he's not the only one who has been having what many viewers are now calling "bleed-through" from the Island timeline.  His first with Charlie got the ball rolling and made Desmond to start pondering true love.  What really shocked him was the flash of Island-Charlie's dying moment from the Looking Glass Station when it appeared that sideways-Charlie was about to suffer a similar fate.  Couple that with his vision of a happy life with Penny while he was in the MRI tube and things started getting really heavy for Desmond.  His second important encounter was with Eloise Widmore nee Hawking.  At first it was a normal enough conversation, but after Desmond heard the name Penny (Milton!) and wanted to know more, Eloise turned into the more ominipotent "Flashes Before Your Eyes" version of herself.  She certainly seemed to know more than she let on about what Desmond might or might not have been experiencing at that moment.  Before Desmond could leave the museum (Charlotte and Pierre Chang's museum of course), he had his third important encounter with Eloise's pianist son Daniel Widmore (!!).  Daniel saw a beautiful blue-eyed redhead eating a chocolate bar one day and knew that he was in love with her even though they'd never met.  That night, he dreamt a series of mathematical equations that only someone who studied physics for their entire life could conceive them.  And then the bombshell (zing!):

Imagine something terrible is about to happen, something catastophic, and the only way to stop it is by releaseing a huge amount of energy, like setting of a nuclear bomb....What if this--all this-- this wasn't supposed to be our life?  What if we had some other life but for some reason, we changed things?  I don't want to set off a nuclear bomb Mr. Hume; I think I already did.

The flash-sideways just got very interesting.

Desmond's meeting with Penny at the stadium was perfect.  There she was running the stairs and I was half-expecting to see Jack running them as well so that we could come full circle from Season 2.  Although their conversation was very different from the highly emotional climax of "The Constant," I found it equally touching.  There is something about this couple that I find more compelling than any other romantic pairing on the show.  After their reunion in "There's No Place Like Home," I was sure the Desmond-Penny storyline would lose some of it's luster, but their meeting at the stadium was just as powerful if not more so.  After all, their handshake brought Desmond's consciousness back to the Island timeline and made a believer out of him.  He is on board now and he understands that to keep the life he has, he must fulfill his purpose on the Island.

There are a couple of things that concern me about his "destiny."  The first is that Widmore told him that he would have to make a sacrifice.  I am worried that his sacrifice might end up being similar to the one that Dogan had to make...something along the lines of having to forgo ever seeing Penny and Charlie again in order to save their lives.    My second concern is about Desmond's willingness to join Sayid without question even after he ambushed and killed some of Widmore's people.  Is this all part of Jacob's plan?  Is Desmond's destiny to defeat the Man in Black by appearing to join him?  Just when I thought that was it for the episode, we got a thought provoking sideways story coda.  Desmond set a date with Penny and then returned to the limo where he asked George (I loved seeing Minkowski get more screen time in this episode than he probably had in all his other appearances combined) to get him the passenger manifest for Oceanic 815....he needs to show them something.  Is this finally the beginning of the convergence of the flash-sideways with the Island storyline?  I think so although I'm not exactly sure how it will be accomplished.  I'm guessing that this newly imbued-with-knowledge Desmond has a plan to get all of the should-be-Islanders together in LA for a meeting...there's work to be done!

Great episode, maybe the best of the season for me although "Ab Aeterno" is certainly a strong contender.  LOST is living up to my expectations this far.  Sometimes I'd prefer more forward momentum, but as long as we get stories like we have recently, I'll be a happy camper come the May 23.