Thursday, March 06, 2008

Lost: Goodwin some, lose some

Spoilers for "The Other Woman," the latest episode of "Lost," coming up just as soon as I fold my laundry...

Almost anything was bound to be a letdown after last week's time-bending love epic, and while "The Other Woman" wasn't the weakest episode of '08 (that remains Kate's episode), a number of season three-era problems crept in for the first time this season.

Start with the flashback story. I don't mind alternating Oceanic Six flashforwards with flashbacks for the newer characters who aren't so played-out that we're finding out the origins of their nose jobs. But they need to tell us something new about either the overall story arc or the character, preferably both, and Juliet's flashback told us neither. Outside the introduction of Goodwin's unpleasant wife Harper (played by Andrea Roth from "Rescue Me," who's in danger of being typecast as a shrew whose husband steps out on her), the flashback story offered us absolutely nothing we didn't already know about Juliet, Ben, or Goodwin and his death. Between the season three-opening flashback showing The Others' response to the Oceanic 815 crash, Ben and Juliet's strained relationship throughout that season (past and present) and the revelation in "One of Us" that Juliet and Goodwin were sleeping together, it was beyond obvious that Ben had sent Goodwin to the Tailies' side of the island in the hopes that he might get killed. Why did we need an entire episode on that detail when it's been clear from Juliet's first appearance that Ben is insanely crushing on her? If it was just to set up the big dramatic moment where Jack decides to defy Ben by kissing her, then yawn. The moment where I gave a toss about Jack Shephard's sex life passed a long, long time ago (if it existed at all).

(To go off on a tangent for a moment, one positive about the return of Goodwin and the visit to the site of his death was that it got me to reminisce on one of the few highlights' of Ana-Lucia's tenure on the show: the long, tense conversation she and Goodwin had on the top of the mountain before they had their battle to the death in "The Other 48 Days." I wish it was on YouTube; might have to crack open the season 2 DVD to watch that one again.)

Just as frustrating was how we're back to Jack and Kate being complete imbeciles -- Kate the alleged badass letting Charlotte get in position to cold cock her even though she knew these two were up to no good (Juliet the obstetrician continually makes her look like a wuss), and Jack again following someone blindly in a situation where answers are demanded and letting things go after being told he's better off not knowing. If you're going to devote an entire episode to The Others having an electrical station that doubles as a poison gas plant, the least you can do is explain what the purpose of it is within the Dharma/Others/pirates balance of power on the island.

And yet, in spite of all that, "The Other Woman" wasn't a total waste of time, because it wasn't a sole-focus hour. The problem with "Eggtown" was that if you didn't care about Kate, there wasn't much else there. (Most of the discussion about the episode, not surprisingly, was about the scraps of information we got about the Oceanic Six/Eight, plus the Aaron twist.) This one, on the other hand, gave us a rare B-story (or, if you consider the flashback to the B-story, then a C-story) with Ben once again getting over on Locke over at the bungalow colony. While John is also being an idiot in the grand scheme of things (and is being more destructive than whatever small idiocies Jack and Kate committed), there's at least a thematic consistency to it. Locke is obsessed with protecting the island, and on that his goal and Ben's are intertwined, so I can see how this makes sense in his cracked brain. Plus, any scene with Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn playing off each other is fun (as was the reaction of Sawyer and Hurley to seeing Ben out and about and being domestic). Last week made it plain that Mr. Widmore was behind the freighter, but that was info Locke didn't have yet, and the prospect of the two island zealots teaming up to make things bad for everyone else intrigues me, and I would like to subscribe to its newsletter.

Some other random thoughts on "The Other Woman":

-The opening of the flashback tried to fake us out with the implication that Juliet was one of the Oceanic Six (she feels like a celeb), but of course she couldn't be, because she wasn't on the plane.

-Interesting that Ben, even in captivity, can easily communicate with the rest of The Others, which suggests two things: 1)They're going to come back before the end of the season (preferably with Immortal Richard, now that Nestor Carbonell's commitments to "Cane" would appear to be over); and 2)Ben is, as usual, lying through his teeth when he tells Locke that his people don't want him.

-"You people had therapists?" "It's very stressful being an Other, Jack."

-The "Lost" score is usually impeccable, but I thought this one was overdone in a number of spots, notably when Goodwin stopped by to give Julia his "extra" sandwich. As with the entire flashback story, it was as if the producers didn't trust us to figure this out unless they underlined everything. "See? Ben's up to no good here! Can't you hear all the strings?"

-When Harper says to Juliet, "You look just like her," is she referring to Ben's mom or to Annie, his young friend from the flashbacks in "The Man Behind the Curtain" or to someone else altogether?

-Ben was just bursting with the great one-liners tonight, notably "This didn't have a number, did it?" and "I taped over the game."

What did everybody else think? As mentioned in the post below this one, I had to enable comment moderation for the whole site (it's an all or nothing thing) from now until when "The Wire" finale airs because the finale leaked and people are starting to go around to various sites and "guess" everything that happens in it. Sorry if it slows down the flow of the discussion. I'm going to bed shortly, but please comment, and I'll authorize everything as soon as I wake up in the morning. I know it's a pain.

98 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can't you just not put up The Wire talkbacks until after the episode airs?

Anyway, now that we know Ben and Widmore are enemies are we to assume that Elsa was working for Widmore?

And since you mentioned Richard (who I'd sort of forgotten about) could his lack of aging have something to do with time moving differently on the island?

And finally, after watching Lost I watched the Sarah Connor episodes I'd dvr'd from Monday and found it ironic that Dean Winters was sleeping with Andrea Roth on Rescue Me and with Sonya Walger on Sarah Connor and both of them are love interests on Lost. Are there only like 5 people in Hollywood or something?

jim treacher said...

Yeah, nothing was ever going to top last week, was it?

Besides "Rescue Me," Andrea Roth was so great on "Lucky," which I'm still annoyed at FX for canceling.

One thing this episode did tell us: Why Juliet hates Ben so much. But yeah, are we supposed to care that Big Dr. Jack lays one on her even though Ben doesn't want him too? Oooooh.

I liked the Juliet fakeout at the beginning because she was way too made-up and hair-poofed for the island.

I think "her" in "you look just like her" is somebody we haven't met yet.

Oh, and how tall do you suppose Zack and Emma are now? As tall as Walt?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Can't you just not put up The Wire talkbacks until after the episode airs?

No. It's all or nothing. I can't just enable comment moderation for one post and not the others.

So it goes said...

A so so episode but it had its moments.

Ben cheerily telling Hugo and Sawyer "see you guys at dinner" in passing may have made my night. He is so good at doing what he does that its getting harder not to pull for the evil sonuvabitch.

kathy said...

I thought this was tons worse than Kate's episode, but then, I despise Juliet and want her to blow up or fall down a well or get shot about 100 times or something, so that's not a surprise.

I'm confused about how CS Lewis and Daniel knew who she was. I suppose it's possible they have files on every person on the plane and every "known" Other but Daniel spoke to her like he knew her and Juliet didn't bat an eye or make any kind of expression that would indicate she was surprised to be addressed so familiarily by a total stranger. Did I have some bizarre Lost brain blip and forget that there's a way in which they know each other?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Interesting, Kathy. I took note of that, too. Maybe Daniel's path has crossed with Juliet's during one of his (presumed) time trips?

kathy said...

Oh, I am a goon. Duh, of course they know who Juliet is, they've spent the past 2? days with her on the beach! I got confused because I was in the Juliet flashback mode.

Just another reason to hate her, making me look like a moron!

jim treacher said...

Juliet and Faraday met on the beach. "Talk really slow and maybe we'll understand you," remember? They didn't become best buds or anything, but they at least recognize each other.

Alan Sepinwall said...

And I am, of course, a goon for going along with you. It happens.

Anonymous said...

Color me annoyed, for the same reasons season 3 was so irritating. The episode either provided no answers to legitimate questions, or was deliberately vague about things that are obvious.

Seriously. BEN'S. PLANT. ON. THE. BOAT. IS. MICHAEL. We get it, writers.

"I'm confused about how CS Lewis and Daniel knew who she (Juliet) was"

Haven't they been hanging out on the beach together this whole time?

Toby said...

"Daniel spoke to her like he knew her"

Well, it wasn't for very long - island-time - but he knew her since Sayid and Juliet got the drop on him and Miles in the jungle....

Toby said...

woops- you both arrived at that while I was typing! LOL

Devin McCullen said...

She'd been interacting with them down on the beach, so I'd assume her name had come up. (But yeah, it did seem a little more familiar then you'd expect.)

The one thing I really wish they'd worked into the Juliet backstory is when she found out it was going to be more than 6 months.

And this was also another example of the mysterious characters making a situation more complicated than it needed to be. Why couldn't the new guys have told Jack what they were going to do?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Seriously. BEN'S. PLANT. ON. THE. BOAT. IS. MICHAEL. We get it, writers.

Yeah, and we get it, promo guys. If they wanted Michael to be a surprise, maybe they shouldn't have announced it at Comic-Con and then put his name in the opening credits again.

Or else they're being really clever and the spy is someone else entirely. Perhaps an even taller Walt? Libby?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Also, how did Jack let days and days pass with the very talkative and easily pressured Dan without getting back to the matter of those gas masks and HazMat suits? Mo-ron.

Anonymous said...

Copter pilot "outed" Juliet as a Native to Miles and Dan. And if they are looking for Ben, they had to know he'd be surrounded by his Crew/Tribe...
Plus the two days on the beach....

Puff

jim treacher said...

Now I'm thinking the "man on the boat" is Libby. She's supposed to be coming back in these first 8 episodes, and she's even less likely than Michael. And, most importantly, the Lost writers are dicks.

Toby said...

I always want to know who was the inspiration for the names of the characters, and most times it's pretty easy.

This new character, Harper Stanhope, though.... Looking through Wikipedia, this was the best suggestion I found:

"Electricity was another of the subjects which [Charles Stanhope] studied, and the volume of Principles of Electricity which he issued in 1779 contained the rudiments of his theory on the "return stroke" resulting from the contact with the earth of the electric current of lightning, which were afterwards amplified in a contribution to the Philosophical Transactions for 1787."

Works for me!

Anonymous said...

"If they wanted Michael to be a surprise, maybe they shouldn't have announced it at Comic-Con and then put his name in the opening credits again.

Or else they're being really clever and the spy is someone else entirely."

I actually wouldn't put it past them to try a fake out. I could see it being Libby; I didn't know she would be back until Jim said so. Just as long as they come up with a plausible pretense for whoever it is actually being there.

But (and I know it comes up a lot) the credits thing is really annoying. I assume it's a union issue, but Michael's return could have been a really cool surprise.

Plus, it was pretty obvious (if it wasn't already) that it was Widmore's boat, since Alan Dale was in the credits as well.

Gabriel said...

I think "her" in "you look just like her" is somebody we haven't met yet.

My guess is that it's either Ben's mom or his old friend Annie, who we never saw grown up.

http://www.lostpedia.com/wiki/Emily_Linus

http://www.lostpedia.com/wiki/Annie

TheBlackRock said...

I'm sorry but I think some of your criticism are very petty, for example in case of Kate she is not a CIA trained agent or a super stealth soldier. She learned that they were upto something evil only after looking at the gas masks and by that time charlote had managed to sneak behind her.

They never mentioned it on the show that Ben had a thing for Juliet. In the early episode of S3 people assumed that but that changed after the they revealed that it was Goodwin she sleeping with. Infact the only mention of Ben having a thing for Juliet was in one of the mobisodes which only like 5000 people saw so I think having that on the show is fair game. As for Juliet not telling Jack where she is going, it was more of a writing thing "show not tell", it didn't matter because we learned everything relevant about that station by the end of the episode anyways, it would not have had any impact had Juliet told Jack about the station first and then the audience saw it later (after knowing what it was about already) and would have felt like a waste of time.

Charles Widmore being involved in the whole thing is a huge reveal but how in the world does he have all the information about the island? For once I think that Ben is NOT manipulating Locke. I was slightly let down by the fact that the station they went to was not 'The Orchid', I was sure that we were going to see The Orchid in this episode especially after Ben made 'number on the rabbit' reference earlier in the episode. Ben's creep factor just went up when he said "You are mine", we know that Jack is alive in the future but I'm worried for Julie, I'm not a shipper and I usually don't like that kind of stuff on the show but the Jack-Juliet kiss gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling, they have good chemistry together (I am also grateful that they did not have Kate pop in on that scene to play the scene for some angst) BTW the last scene was a total laugh out loud moment for me, quite possible the funniest ending to a Lost episode :D

Finally, Juliet looked great in this episode. I was going to give this episode a 7.5/10 but Juliet in a swimsuit scene bumped it upto a 9/10. It is great that there was some eye-candy for the guys. I mean female viewers have it great as in every other episode either Sawyer, Sayid, Desmond or Jack are shirtless (in Desmond's case it seems like the top 3 buttons of his shirts are always strategically opened)

jim treacher said...

Hey, I just got done watching it again and caught a funny line at the end:

Sawyer: How'd you get so damn good at horseshoes?

Hurley: Dunno, guess I'm just lucky...

Hurley. The guy with the cursed lotto ticket with the evil numbers. He's just lucky! I love Drew Goddard.

J said...

It's almost like they planned to have a Big Duh Episode after making everyone's heads spin last week. This wasn't awful, it was just very remedial connect-the-dots stuff. And I'd forgotten about Goodwin, so I guess I needed to be reminded before I went back to forgetting about him again.

My two favorite things about the episode were (1) the amount of make-up with which they spackled Juliet in the opening scene to try to fool us into the O-6 thing and (2) how, after Jack said "I trust them" at the end outside the chemical station, Kate said, "Of course you do, dumbass."

#2 might have only happened inside my head.

TheBlackRock said...

The episode either provided no answers to legitimate questions, or was deliberately vague about things that are obvious.


If you did not think that the Charles Widmore reveal was a big enough answer then I don't think anything on the show is ever going to satisfy you.

If they wanted Michael to be a surprise, maybe they shouldn't have announced it at Comic-Con and then put his name in the opening credits again.


I don't think that they could have kept it under the wraps anyways. He was being signed as a regular and on their podcast they mentioned that they have to have the actors' name in the credits as part of a Network/Union thing.

Also, how did Jack let days and days pass with the very talkative and easily pressured Dan without getting back to the matter of those gas masks and HazMat suits? Mo-ron.

He already asked him that and Dan claimed that he did not know anything about it as "He was not in charge of packaging" I highly doubt he would change his story if Jack asked the same question again.

Now I'm thinking the "man on the boat" is Libby.

Wait, Libby is a man? Now that would be one killer twist. In all seriousness it is rather far fetched, Libby is dead and buried, how in the world could she be on the freighter?

J said...

an even taller Walt

Holy crap, how tall can he get? Does he have eight toes?

joshjs said...

This episode wasn't all that exciting, but it was redeemed by several bouts of Ben-induced laughter.

I have a feeling that Ben's man on the boat isn't Michael. I think it's Walt. That fits better with Ben's "you should sit down" line, and it would actually be a surprise. I'd like to think the creators are smart enough to realize that, with Harold Perrineau's name in the credits (not to mention the hullabaloo about him coming back), fans are not going to be shocked at him being the man on the boat at this point. In fact, at this point, *anyone* else would be more of a surprise.

So yeah, I think it's Walt. But here's hoping it's even more of a surprise.

joshjs said...

Also, Alan, I think the first poster was suggesting that you leave comments unmoderated, but not give anyone a place to talk about The Wire. Of course, they do already have a place, in the previous posts. So your plan's bettah.

BigTed said...

There were so many instances in this episode in which someone refused to give up information and the person who needed it didn't press for it, or didn't even ask, that it was maddening -- and virtually all of the conflicts were based on unnecessary mistrust as a result.

Exactly how omniscient is Ben? If he can mentally communicate with people, and knows what's happening all over the island (or maybe all over the world), then it's not exactly a fair fight, is it? If he loses in the end, it'll just be because he screws up, not because anyone beats him. (Of course, we still don't know exactly what he's after, anyway.)

The Others, and Ben's relationship with them, have become the least interesting part of this whole show, especially now that they've been defanged and demystified. I thought this episode really was the dullest so far this season.

Teev said...

I'm not a trained CIA agent either but when Kate stepped around the bag instead of crouching where she was I yelled out "Don't turn your back on her, dummy!" and sure enough she got clocked. How on earth did she manage to be a fugitive for so long?

I kind of forgot about the Others, being caught up in the arrival of the freighter folk, but yeah, what the hell have they been up to? Why did Ben have to send Juliet after DF and CSL when there are what, 40 or 50 Others who could have been camping out at the gas plant?

dez said...

And, most importantly, the Lost writers are dicks.


Hee hee!

@theblackrock, I think it's been obvious for a long time that Ben was crushing on Juliet. Didn't need to be spelled out because Michael Emerson's acting told all.

Anonymous said...

i thought the big reveal/'omg lost' moment was gonna be that juliet and goodwin had murdered his wife in some fashion and then 'so who/what was that that warned juliet? - OMG LOST!'; i also thought they were actually gonna go ahead and reveal who ben's spy is (sorta in keeping w/ lost's 'no more screwing around' mode this season so far) but i guess they're saving that big reveal for somewhere down the line. instead we got some confirmation on stuff we heavily suspected/assumed and arguably some further ambiguity about whether the freighties are Evil or just bad for ben/the island (although considering how much we've been told 'no, they're Evil' i guess the only what form their evil takes). o and some fun ben action - i think i laffed more at horny datenite ben than 'see yall at supper' ben, they do need to be careful that they don't make him too charming antihero, he's already not nearly as terrifying as he was when he was locked up in the hatch. also was 'next week find out who the last members of the oceanic six are. also btw it's a sun/jin episode' especially blatant or have i just gone too long w/out seeing a 'next week on lost' tag?

Kensington said...

Here's the thing that bugs me: why couldn't Daniel and Charlotte just be straight about what they were doing, if what they were doing was, in fact, saving everyone from a potential gas attack?

It's classic idiot plot for them to get all stealthy, gun wavey and cold cocky.

Or did I miss something? I mean, there's nothing to suggest that they weren't on the up and up, was there? So why not just tell everyone what they needed to do and find some more reasonable source of drama and tension that didn't require people to act like idiots in order for it to work?

jim treacher said...

Wait, Libby is a man? Now that would be one killer twist. In all seriousness it is rather far fetched, Libby is dead and buried, how in the world could she be on the freighter?

Do you think the writers of Lost would ever employ, say, misdirection? Shocking, "everything you know is wrong" twists? Plus, it wouldn't be the first boat Libby was associated with... It's probably Michael, but I wouldn't put it past them to mess with us knowitalls.

By the way, thanks to anybody who checked out my liveblog! It's nice to have documented proof that I suspected the opening scene was a fakeout.

Stef said...

Wait, Libby is a man? Now that would be one killer twist. In all seriousness it is rather far fetched, Libby is dead and buried, how in the world could she be on the freighter?

Do you think the writers of Lost would ever employ, say, misdirection? Shocking, "everything you know is wrong" twists? Plus, it wouldn't be the first boat Libby was associated with... It's probably Michael, but I wouldn't put it past them to mess with us knowitalls.


True, they like to toy with us, but it would have to be a pretty crazy explanation as to how Libby is alive and on the boat when we've all seen her die and be buried on the beach. I think it's more likely (a lot more) that we'll see Libby in flashbacks coming up.

I liked this episode, knowing of course it would be hard to follow up what was arguably the best ep ever, but that's cuz I really like Juliet. She's a much stronger, smarter, and more interesting female than we've had in a while... Sun's been absent, Claire's kinda pointless, and Kate is just maddening and fairly dumb. Bring on more Juliet, even Harper and Charlotte.

Did anyone else think Harper's appearance in the jungle was a Smoky apparition? She came out of nowhere and disappeared as quickly, amidst all the whispers.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about Ben's statement, "They were on the list and who are we to argue with the list..." when he and Juliet were talking about the children. Where do the lists come from?

Kristin said...

I wholeheartedly agree, Alan. This one was a disappointment after the awesomeness of "The Constant" last week. Not the least of which was the return to flashbacks. And flashbacks that really told us absolutely nothing new. It was almost like they created the flashbacks in order to introduce Harper's character and that's it. Just not good writing.

How they can manage to rock it out one week and completely fail another week is hard to understand sometimes...

My other least favorite moment...Dan & Charlotte just happen to know that the gas is going to explode at this exact time so they must rush across the island? Wouldn't that have been their first order of business??? I mean, I get that they landed with the gas masks, so perhaps they were planning on rushing right over to the gas tanks first to disable them...but it just seemed to perfectly timed after everything else that happened.

I am going to pretend like this episode did not happen and just look forward to next week, which looks like a return to the awesomeness.

Oh, at least Jack and Juliet have chemistry. Jack and Kate *never* did. And it does make me wonder now if Jack was set up by Ben to go back to the 'real world' because Ben was hoping he do himself in. Just like he set up Goodwin to die.

Alan Sepinwall said...

The lists come from Jacob. It was mentioned several times last year.

lungfish said...

Did anyone read the writing on the map that Faraday had? I froze it but the font was hard to read. I was able to make out that there were directions on it ("Follow....") but I thought I made out something about tunnels.

Freckles said...

I really liked this episode. I think Juliet is more interesting than some of you do. There wasn't much new info but a different spin on old that I found interesting.

I predict that Libby will be back in either flashbacks, hallucinations, or smoke-monster manifestations (not sure what to call them but ie. Echo's brother, Christian Shepard, Kate's horse). I do not think Libby will literally be back and alive or the man on the boat.

Though it has been increasingly likely that Widmore is behind to the boat people, that was a big and important chunk of info. In my Lost watching party we then debated: Did Widmore find out about the island before or after Penny started looking for it? I thought Charles knew long before Penny did. After Desmond disappeared, Penny found out about the island from her dad. I don't know if she is looking in conjunction with her dad or separately.

I like the idea of Jack and Juliet. I don't think Kate really deserves Sawyer or Jack and I think Juliet is really more the kind of person Jack would be with. I was reminded how pretty she looked as an Other, clean, with the super straight hair and minimal but pretty makeup. She looks overwrought as mainlander and mostly just dirty as a beach dwelling Lostie.

special k said...

I knew anything after last week would be a let down, but this? This was godawful. I'm talking almost as bad as Jack's tattoo episode awful. The only redeeming moment for me was Sawyer and Hurley's reaction to seeing Ben out and about.

Jack and Juliet's kiss made my skin crawl. I don't know what it is about that guy and his inability to have a decent kiss (or any sexual tension for that matter) with anyone on this show.

Terrible. Worst of Season 3 terrible.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Ben say something about not everyone on the freighter being bad, just the person in charge? (i.e. Whitmore) I can't remember the exact quote, need to watch it again.

So is it possible, that Dan and Charlotte don't have the full story of why they're doing things? I believe they're just following orders, sort of like how the others just followed orders from Ben, and probably didn't know the big picture.

Maybe in the grand scheme of things, the gas would be needed to "protect the island", and now that it's gone, there's one less line of defense.

I'm just talking out of my butt, but it's an early morning theory.

jim treacher said...

Did anyone else think Harper's appearance in the jungle was a Smoky apparition? She came out of nowhere and disappeared as quickly, amidst all the whispers.

Good point! I figured she just came from the same place Nikki and Paolo did (Retconapolis?), but she could have been another ghostie.

Lostpedia has what they say are transcripts of the various whispers, although I have no idea what any of it means.

Mt. Moses said...

Hey Alan, R u sure Andrea Roth was real? I got the feeling it was actually an Island projection. Juilette heard the voices and then she appeared. Jack and her hear the voices and she is magically gone. It seems weird to me....

rukrusher said...

I think the gas about to explode was a direct result of Daniel's attempts to make it inert. He was entering codes that were being rejected and causing the pressure to build up. I do not think they just got to the power plant in time.

Kristen said...

Added to the file of Why people on Lost should talk to each other - Jin saw Charlotte and Daniel go into the jungle and didn't say anything because Jack and Juliet had not shared that they are untrustworthy. The whole problem of the episode would have been avoided if they had just TALKED to each other.

I totally thought Harper was a ghost, and that the flashback was going to reveal who she was and why she was talking to Juliet. So, I was a little disappointed with the episode.

Gabriel said...

Did Widmore find out about the island before or after Penny started looking for it?

Widmore probably found out about the Island in 1996 after he purchased the journal of the first mate of the Black Rock.

Dan said...

Didn't they make it fairly clear early on in "Lost" that the whispers were just a sign that Others were near or coming? So, if that is the case (and it's been true through all 3+ seasons), then why so quick to assume Harper is a "ghost" or hallucination?

I think this is just another typical example of "Lost" viewers over-analyzing EVERYTHING.

jim treacher said...

Possible timeline clue: The "Red Sox" tape is presumably the one Ben showed Jack to prove he had access to the outside world and could get Jack back home. That was a month ago, in-show, so Widmore kicked Ben's guy's teeth out within the last month. Of course, we still don't know where that was shot or how Widmore found Ben's guy, or how Ben has footage of it.

Freckles said...

"Widmore probably found out about the Island in 1996 after he purchased the journal of the first mate of the Black Rock."

I think Widmore knew about the island even before he bought the Black Rock Journal. I thought the reason he bought the journal was because he was trying to find the island. But it is possible that he only discovered it throught he journal.

lar said...

I am confused on one point--Juliet has been on the island three years. But was it just me, or did they made it seem last night as though she and Goodwin started their affair not long after her arrival? So did they have a three-year affair, and she thought during all that time that Ben didn't know? It just seemed last night as though she'd been on the island a much shorter time than we'd been told earlier. Is that purposeful or was that a continuity error?

Also, Kate knew that Faraday and Charlotte had tramped through the jungle 30 minutes ahead of Juliet, but she didn't have the sense to avoid being cold-cocked. Riiiiight.

jim treacher said...

Didn't they make it fairly clear early on in "Lost" that the whispers were just a sign that Others were near or coming?

Or Walt, after he'd been kidnapped. Or Ben's mom, who was dead. It's not necessarily a sign that the person isn't really there, but there's precedent.

Just throwing around theories. Part of the fun!

Andrew said...

Did Widmore find out about the island before or after Penny started looking for it? I thought Charles knew long before Penny did. After Desmond disappeared, Penny found out about the island from her dad. I don't know if she is looking in conjunction with her dad or separately.

Widmore knew about the island in 1996-- in "The Constant," he was buying Hanso's journal from the Black Rock, obviously looking for clues about the island.

How Penny's Brazilians from the s2 finale are connected with her and the Widmore boat is, I think, still an open question.

Anonymous said...

Kensington, about your comemnt about CSL and Dan getting all gun-wavey about their plot to actually save everyone:

I keep going back to Dan's "saving you is not really our primary objective" bit. It seems like they're not necessarily disabling it for the Losties, but more to make the island defenseless. They came prepared for Benry to use the gas on them (hence the masks) - and got a break cos he was "captured".

If Charles Widmore IS planning on using the Island for exploitation, it would make sense that they would gradually start to turn off all its defense systems. My guess is they'll find a way to destroy Smokie soon too.

Adam said...

I loved how this episode manipulated me. I've known Ben was evil ever since he gassed his dad and everybody else at the dharma initiative. But during this episode, there were points where I was fooled into thinking maybe, in some twisted way, he was good. After all, weren't the freighties going to gas everyone on the island?? But then we find out that Faraday and Charlotte were turning off the gas, not turning it on. And we found out that Ben has a little bit of a psychotic obsession over the people he brings to the island. When he walks outside, a free man, I was thouroughly creeped out.

Bjooks said...

Lars said: Also, Kate knew that Faraday and Charlotte had tramped through the jungle 30 minutes ahead of Juliet, but she didn't have the sense to avoid being cold-cocked. Riiiiight.

Kate didn't know that Juliette/Jack were chasing DF/CSL because she was on her way back from New Otherton and hadn't yet made it to Jack's crew. Her conversation with Jack indicated they'd not seen each other since she stayed behind at Locke's.

I think one's enjoyment of this episode has to do with two things:

1) whether or not you like Juliette (after this episode, she's my favorite female on Lost). I thought her acting kept this episode from being as dreary as the Kate ep.

2) how many of the bad/slow eps you've seen. I dropped out mid-season 2, returned mid-season 3, so while I'd picked up a few clues about this stuff, it was mostly new to me. And it served as a reminder that, regardless of how warm & fuzzy you might want to feel about Ben now that he's a prisoner and (arguably) on the Lostie's side against someone/thing on the boat, he's an evil, manipulative man, and his story with Juliette served as a nice reminder when juxtaposed with Locke beginning to get into some relationship/partnership with him. I think we see that evil coming out from time to time, but he's such a charasmatic actor that we need to be reminded about what he's capable of (even if we don't know how he does it all) or he will be defanged. I'll admit I've been cheering on Ben for some time, and this reminds me why he's not just someone you love, but someone you love to hate.

Toby said...

I think "her" in "you look just like her" is somebody we haven't met yet

My guess is that it's either Ben's mom or his old friend Annie, who we never saw grown up
~~~
I was hoping that picture of Ben's Mom holding the cat (that is her, right?) would be the one that was hiding the safe. But instead a new picture was introduced for everybody to speculate about.


My other least favorite moment...Dan & Charlotte just happen to know that the gas is going to explode at this exact time so they must rush across the island? Wouldn't that have been their first order of business???
~~~
I have to agree that Dan started up the program by futzing around with the access codes.

doug said...

Great episode. As if we needed as reason to see Ben even MORE creepy. One thing I noticed at the end, that wasnt mentioned in the comments. It's a small thing, but it occurs when Hurley and Sawyer are playing horseshoes. Hurley makes one and we see that another 5 are around the pole. Hurley just chalks it up to luck and says" I guess, I'm lucky". You wonder how long its gonna take for the survivors to pick up on this. Its been 4 seasons already!!!

Toeknee said...

Dan 9:42:
Didn't they make it fairly clear early on in "Lost" that the whispers were just a sign that Others were near or coming? So, if that is the case (and it's been true through all 3+ seasons), then why so quick to assume Harper is a "ghost" or hallucination?

I think this is just another typical example of "Lost" viewers over-analyzing EVERYTHING.


The whispers are not strictly associated with only the Others. Frequently, whispers are heard when the smoke monster makes an appearance, so I don't think it requires any analysis to think Harper was a manifestation of smokey - that was actually the first think that came to my mind. I expected later in the show that we'd find out how that character died (being that smokey frequently takes the form of dead people). You can read more about when the whispers have occurred here:
http://www.lostpedia.com/wiki/Whispers

jim treacher said...

Hurley makes one and we see that another 5 are around the pole. Hurley just chalks it up to luck and says" I guess, I'm lucky". You wonder how long its gonna take for the survivors to pick up on this.

Which part? I got the irony of it, since Hurley thinks he's cursed.

Anonymous said...

My other least favorite moment...Dan & Charlotte just happen to know that the gas is going to explode at this exact time so they must rush across the island?

It wasn't set to explode at a certain time. Daniel's messing with the computer to try and turn OFF the guess, set off an alarm to release it, and that was what he stopped in the nick of time. - That was my impression anyway.

What if Ben talked to Harper via timetravel. He could be able to do what Desmond did last week, with control. So, he sent himself back to before he was captured and told Harper to go warn Juliet at a specific time.
If he can time travel, it explains how he is so omniscient seeming - he has seen the future.

Rover said...

As to the question of avoiding all the misunderstandings by just talking, isn't it possible that the Boat People don't trust the 815ers? They have an agenda and they know there are people on the island who will try to stop them. How do Faraday and Lewis know what the 815ers would think of their efforts to disarm the Others' defenses?

Anonymous said...

This episode WAAAYY worse than "Eggtown" because at least there was a huge (tiny) Aaron surprise. In this episode NOTHING happened, and if you think something happened the writers are tricking you. The Ben storyline could have happened next week (last week? maybe) and this episode could have been avoided altogether.

For an episode named "The Other Woman", Andrea Roth's face showed up like 3 times. And is she still alive or a ghost or how come we;ve never seen her before?

Alan Sepinwall said...

For an episode named "The Other Woman", Andrea Roth's face showed up like 3 times.

Because in a situation like this one, Juliet would be the other woman.

jim treacher said...

Juliet is "the other woman" between Jack and Kate, too.

In this episode NOTHING happened, and if you think something happened the writers are tricking you.

We learned why Juliet hates Ben, and why Ben's only child is adopted. We learned that Widmore is the Economist, and Ben is surveilling him. And we learned how Charlotte deals with obstacles, both blonde and brunette.

kshen said...

Mrs. Goodwin might still be a ghost. My thought was that Ben or more likely Jacob is able to manipulate Smokey in order to, for example, trick Juliet into killing people.

Dan said...

Jim, I think you are speculating a bit. How do we know Widmore is the Economist? We know he's after the Island, or at least interested in it, but there was nothing to reveal his involvement with what's-her-name, Sayid's future love interest/assassin.

Also, why is Ben's only child adopted? When was this reveal? I'm assuming you mean Alex?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Here's a question, re: Harper in the jungle: what, exactly, does Jack say to Juliet about her? I don't have the episode handy, but someone on another blog thought it was "Who were you talking to?," which could be interpreted as Jack not having seen Harper -- which would, in turn, put her in the company of past "Lost" apparitions, like Eko's brother or Dave, that only one person actually noticed.

If it was phrased in such a way as to make it clear that he saw her, too, then nevermind.

So it goes said...

What if Ben talked to Harper via timetravel. He could be able to do what Desmond did last week, with control. So, he sent himself back to before he was captured and told Harper to go warn Juliet at a specific time. If he can time travel, it explains how he is so omniscient seeming - he has seen the future.

If Ben had the power to do this there would be no show because everyone that was remotely threatening to him would already be dead. Ben is being held in his own house, I don't think its a stretch to think that Harper could have easily snuck in or that there is a communication device hidden somewhere.

I think he seems so omniscient because of his thorough understanding of and relationship with the island.

If it was phrased in such a way as to make it clear that he saw her, too, then nevermind.

Harper talks directly to Jack after he asks her who she then she says the "Maybe you and your gun can go too" line concerning following CS & Faraday.

Anonymous said...

The thing that impressed me the most was that we saw Jack siding with his captors, and Locke siding with his captor. It's interesting to see how the "live together, die alone" bunch has split, and their loyalties shifted. The softening of the others adds to this whole equation.

The show has numerous references to the tribes of the old testament, and in a way we're seeing tribes of mankind being reborn.

jim treacher said...

Jack was pointing a gun at Harper, so he definitely knew she was there.

How do we know Widmore is the Economist?

He's definitely on the short list, doncha think? Ben knows who he is, but not vice versa, which is the same dynamic with Ben and the Economist. Widmore has various agents running around trying to gain control of the island, or whatever feature of the island it ends up being; same as the Economist. It looks to me like they're setting it up as a cat-and-mouse game between Ben and Widmore. The question is, which one's the cat and which one's the mouse?

Also, why is Ben's only child adopted?

I was making a joke about his success with women.

jim treacher said...

Also, it's strongly implied that the guy Sayid killed had something to do with the faked 815 that was crashed in the Pacific, or at least knew about it. Presumably he was working for or with the Economist. The Economist would have to be really rich and really motivated to pull off a fake like that. Widmore is both.

lungfish said...

I think Jack did see Harper. In fact, didn't Harper say something like "just talking to my friend"... and later on, Jack asks if she really was a friend, because she seemed hostile?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Yeah, I think it's clear by now that I didn't remember all the signs of Jack seeing and even communicating with Harper. Nevermind.

jim treacher said...

Whoops, looks like one of my comments didn't get through. (Sorry, I just get excited.) I was just saying that there seem to be strong parallels between Ben's relationship with the Economist and his relationship with Widmore. He knows a lot about them, they don't know who he is; both the Economist and Widmore are very rich and very motivated to control the island; etc.

Undercover Asian Man said...

Ever since the "mystery" of the show moved from the Island over to Ben, this show has suffered a lot. Everything now revolves around Ben, who is supposed to be 3 steps ahead of everyone, but seems to get captured and beaten up a lot for a genius manipulator (couldn't he come up with brilliant plans that doesn't involve him getting his face smashed by everyone?). And no one has given a plausible explanation of why the Others ever put up with Ben's crap in the first place - he has not given them much except cryptic commands and no rewards, and doesn't seem to have a stick to wield over them (oh yeah, except he talks to Jacob - yawn).

I don't get why many keep saying this is the season where we've gotten answers, and the producers are playing 'fair' on that front. I still feel the same chain yanking from previous seasons. They have yet to address so many of the low-hanging fruit questions from the first 3 seasons. Did they ever explain why Ethan Rom seemingly had super human strength - and then ignored that feature in all of the other Others? Or why they marched around in tattered clothes and primitive sticks at one point [Jin and Swayer hid in the bushes and watched them pass by, and we saw their primitive garb]? Or explain the whole disguise wearing B.S. for the crew who took Walt, but then had Ben, Ethan, and Goodwin, walk right into their camp undisguised?

I hate to be the constant cynic, but how can people possibly believe that things were not being made up on the fly purely for shock value? It is incredibly easy to put images and concepts up on the television screen that hooks people in if you promise - but never give - logical explanations for them. Why don't they reveal that Kate is actually Jack's sister? Or that Widmore is actually a supernatural devil? OMG!! Does that make Ben = J. Christ?!?! It is so SO easy to shock an audience by putting up, startling, illogical images up on screen. We find them SO trippy BECAUSE we expect a logical explanation eventually, but if you never intend to give one, you can pull off this stunt again and again.

Or How come those magic numbers (4,8,15,16,23,42) don't appear everywhere anymore - could it be because the ultra lame 'reveal' about what they mean was deemed so insignificant that they are now embarrassed about how much emphasis they were given before (literally every early episode seemed to reference them)? I really expect a lot of Lost's HUGE MYSTERIES to be resolved like these numbers were - huge build up and overplayed significance, ultra-pedestrian "please forgive us and ignore from now on" explanation.

It is just not probable that literally millions of minds speculating on Lost, including the ACTORS themselves, cannot come up with anything remotely logical about what is happening. The producers WILL provide an answer - one I suspect that is HEAVILY borrowed from this Internet speculation from fans, and mixed and matched - and will try to be inclusive of all the little mysteries. But they have played the 'make it up' gambit for so long that they will be stretching credibility - both of the explanation and the fact that they 'knew it all along' - to an outrageous degree. It is no surprise that time travel will be involved because that is the easiest, cheesiest way to explain illogical happenings (any Star Trek fan will tell you how lame it is to have a "Reset Button" like Time Travel, that allows you to do outrageous things in the 'present', but then 'fix' it in another time line.).

I would love to bet that the final explanation will be so unsatisfactory and full of holes that it will be argued for the rest of time that they were making things up in the first three seasons, and doing damage control in the last. We are allowing the pretty girl to constantly tease us, and many of us are ok with it for now because the flirting itself is enough, but I'm pretty sure there is going to be a backlash coming real soon once we realize it was never going to lead anywhere real.

Kenrick said...

I'm inclined to agree with you, UAM. I "gave up" after season two, which amounted to watching the last ten minutes of each episode of season three, but I'm back to watching season four. It helps that there's nothing else on tv.

You can fault me for this, but I've learned to throw a lot of logic out the door and just go along for the ride (I do this for a lot of movies I watch as well). To some degree I'm watching the series now as if the "mysteries" from the first two seasons never happened. During the first season I got caught up in the speculation and tried to figure it all out, but I've since dropped that... mostly - it's still kinda fun to tease your brain. I don't see how they can come up with any satisfying explanation for all the random stuff they've introduced without heavily relying on "magic." Yeah I mean, millions of people on the interwebs are throwing theories out there to no satisfying conclusion, so either the "answers" will be some variant of what's been discussed or something completely ridiculous and disappointing, or something so mind blowing my head will explode.

I don't even remember what the "answer" was for the LOST numbers, so if there was one it was probably pretty lame.

So about this episode. I thought it was quite weak. I liked and didn't like that they tried to trick you into thinking it was a flash forward, well I didn't like the way they did it. When it first started I thought it was a flashback, 'cause the setting looked so old, but then they brought in a psychiatrist and threw the word "celebrity" around so I thought ok, maybe Juliet gets off the island. Of course it turned out to be a flashback, and I was annoyed that they even referred to Juliet as a "celebrity" 'cause that doesn't make any sense.

This was a terrible case of let's not talk to each other about anything so we can maintain a false level of suspense.

And no, I didn't seriously think that Faraday and the other girl were going to gas the island, especially since Faraday doesn't seem the type, Ben is a liar, and Miles would be killed too. And of course Lost does this kind of stuff all the time.

I had no problem with the flashback, mainly 'cause I didn't remember a lot of the stuff that they apparently retread. I'm glad they finally settled the Jack & Juliet love angle, 'cause the Sawyer Jack & Kate triangle was getting old.

At this point I'd be almost surprised if they spy actually IS Michael. Even in the previews they made the spy look like he had his fro. So yeah, maybe it's Libby as other people were suggesting. Although I never heard the news of the character coming back so I'm taking your word for it.

Also, Locke kinda sucks and I liked Ben's line at the end of the episode.

This post is so long I bet zero dollars that no one's going to read it.

Patrick said...

Or How come those magic numbers (4,8,15,16,23,42) don't appear everywhere anymore - could it be because the ultra lame 'reveal' about what they mean was deemed so insignificant that they are now embarrassed about how much emphasis they were given before?

There was a final explanation about the numbers? Somehow, in all of the hullabaloo, I missed that. What was the 'reveal'?

Undercover Asian Man said...

Patrick: "There was a final explanation about the numbers? Somehow, in all of the hullabaloo, I missed that. What was the 'reveal'?"

Well sort of. They finally gave a concrete meaning to the numbers as: "The numbers, 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42, are explained in the Sri Lanka Video, as the numerical values to the core environmental and human factors of the Valenzetti Equation." - from Lostpedia

You learn this from playing the game "The Lost Experience" which was held over the summer between seasons (I don't remember which ones). I did not play any of the "Lost Experience" online game, but just read about it after it was concluded. See here:

http://www.lostpedia.com/wiki/Valenzetti_Equation

After this, the numbers have all but disappeared from the new episodes of Lost, so I would think that is the only explanation we are going to get. Wonderful. Another completely made up concept, "the Valenzetti Equation", that is unsatisfactory compared to the weight and screen-time these numbers were shoved down our throats as "mysterious". Just like how all the original Losties' back-stories seemed SO intertwined that the 'mystery' was how they all ended up together on 815 - that seems like a non-issue now that it's all about Ben. All that time learning about Jin's marriage woes and Kate's daddy issues and Swayer's con man days, all barely worth remembering as any type of explanation compared to what is going on now, yet they chewed up hours with it.

jim treacher said...

The numbers have appeared in various forms this season. Not as blatantly as they used to be, but they still pop up. As for whether there's any rhyme or reason to any of this, maybe there isn't. But I'm enjoying it! If they leave us hanging at the end, we can grab pitchforks and torches and storm their solid-gold mansions.

Dana said...

^ UAM

Not to be flip or anything, but frankly, if you've been watching LOST because you expected some kind of all-encompassing theory that connected each of the various threads of mythology perfectly....you've been a bigger sucker than most of the viewers from day one.

Yes, I think we can accept that the producers are not omniscient demi-gods that can out-think all the rest of humanity. How exactly is that a revelation?

Of course, maybe you just want to be a buzzkill.

Jenn J. said...

kenrick: i read it. :)

KaveDweller said...

He's definitely on the short list, doncha think? Ben knows who he is, but not vice versa, which is the same dynamic with Ben and the Economist.

If it is Widmore's boat, he DOES know who Ben is because the four people from the boat have all said they are looking for Ben Linus (by name) and have his picture. Miles even knows his financial situation.

Also - there will never be a "logical" explanation for anything on Lost, because it is a Sci-Fi show. Always has been. There may be some degrees of explanations for various things, but there is certainly no way to "logically" explain monsters, ghosts, time travel, etc.

Whether their will be some other all encompassing reveal summaries everything, is up for debate. I personally think at least 50% of this stuff is made up as they go along and will never be answered (but don't care). There are people who think it is planned out, though. But it still will never be logical.

jim treacher said...

If it is Widmore's boat, he DOES know who Ben is, because the four people from the boat have all said they are looking for Ben Linus...

Dang it. You're absolutely right! I hate when my brilliant theories get derailed by dumb facts. Okay, so Widmore probably isn't the Economist, since the whole point of Elsa's seduction of Sayid was (will be?) to get Ben's name, and Widmore already knows it.

But we do know that Widmore and Ben are at odds, which among other reasons is why I disagree with anonymous that nothing happened this week.

Mo Ryan said...

eennnh, this was my least favorite episode of the season, and the weird thing is, I *like* Juliet a whole lot. I think Elizabeth Mitchell is one of the best actors on the show. But puh-leaaaze, we didn't learn much. Holla if you'd rather see her interacting with Robin Weigert rather than 'find out' that Ben had a creeptastic crush on her. Yeesh.

Two threads I'm not too fond of -- "Juliet didn't like being on the island and felt trapped there" and "Ben manipulates Locke, plays him like a violin and gets exactly what Ben wants."

Been there, done that, got the T shirt. I do like Ben and I do like Locke (at least badass Locke), but I felt like I'd seen this movie before. Locke is just a sucker for Ben's manipulations, we get it.

So yeah, Widmore's in charge of the search for the island. Saw that coming. Jack is a gullible person who will generally make the wrong decision. MMmm, knew that. Kate gets clocked by someone she knows is lying. People run through the jungle hot on the trail of ... other people running through the jungle.

It wasn't Bai Ling bad, but it was a bummer after such a string of good eps. Still, it's to be expected that there would be a couple meh ones in the mix. And I must say, I didn't hate the Kate ep as much as everyone else, so this was my Eggtown, if you will.

Randomly, I think the pregnancies on the island don't go to term because of the time problems. If time doesn't go forward at the "right" rate, babies can't develop the right way. Just a thought... probably already been theorized by lots of people but thought I'd just throw that out there.

Anthony Foglia said...

I guess I must be slow. I didn't catch Ben's "major crushing" on Juliet last season. Yes, he was always trying to get in her good graces, and she kept rebuking him, but I figured that Juliet hated Ben because he's kept her on the island to do her research, and Ben is so sure he's doing good, and is agood person, he wants everyone to believe him totally. ("We're the good guys, Michael.") They did lay it on heavily this week though.

Now that Ben is free, how long do you think Sawyer, Hugo, and Claire will stay around? And major points for Claire pointing out that Charlie only said three words.

Re "The Other Woman": Not only is Alan correct, but Juliet is also the woman from the Others, hence, "The Other Woman."

lar said, "I am confused on one point--Juliet has been on the island three years. But was it just me, or did they made it seem last night as though she and Goodwin started their affair not long after her arrival?"

The affair started a few months after she arrived, and lasted at least a year. Two years plus a few months isn't that farfetched.

@Undercover Asian Man: First let me answer this "Or explain the whole disguise wearing B.S. for the crew who took Walt, but then had Ben, Ethan, and Goodwin, walk right into their camp undisguised?" because it's straightforward. Ben was either captured, or caught on purpose, but either way, he was pretending to not be one of the others, but Henry Gale instead. And Ethan and Goodwin were undercover as crash victims. Kind of hard to blend in if they look like homeless or scraggily mountain men.

But the bigger issue is that if you're watching this show just for answers, this is not the show for you. Hey, you know six people get off the island; why not stop there? I'm watching for the journey, the characters, and the writing, not the plots. If you just wants plots, stick with "Heroes."

Plotwise, last week's episode wasn't much different from a number of other sci-fi unstuck-in-time or other reality-bending episodes, but the writing and the characters raised it from a bad episode "Voyager" to a great episode of "Lost."

Undercover Asian Man said...

Dana: "Of course, maybe you just want to be a buzzkill."

I think anyone who has been burned by devoting years to the X-Files (I still don't forgive them) or Twin Peaks will understand both my demand for real answers and my disdain for the illogical, ill-fitting, semi-answers that are usually offered instead in these situations.

kenrick: I read it as well.

Also from Lostpedia regarding The Numbers: "Damon Lindelof did make a comment at Comic Con in 2005 that "We may never know what the Numbers mean". He quickly regretted this, as he got tons of unhappy fan mail demanding to know what he meant exactly, and since then, the writing team have declined to comment directly or expand on this topic (except through The Lost Experience)."

See where this is going? Notice any pattern?

christy said...

Did they ever explain why Ethan Rom seemingly had super human strength - and then ignored that feature in all of the other Others?

I never wondered this. Characters on this show each have different talents (sometimes mysterious ones) that other characters don't have.

Or why they marched around in tattered clothes and primitive sticks at one point [Jin and Swayer hid in the bushes and watched them pass by, and we saw their primitive garb]?

I thought this was so that the 815 survivors wouldn't know that they had civilization on the island. Not let their adversaries know what they have. Also so that they would fear them as "hostile natives" of some sort. Keep them confused, basically.

Or explain the whole disguise wearing B.S. for the crew who took Walt, but then had Ben, Ethan, and Goodwin, walk right into their camp undisguised?

Well, I thought they were disguised as scruffy seamen so that the raft crew would believe they were just guys on a boat (and therefore able to rescue them), and get close enough for them to grab Walt. The clean cut look would have seemed strange in that context. Goodwin and Ethan were pretending to be fellow survivors of 815, and Ben was pretending to be a dude who crashed his balloon, so I don't know why they'd need disguises. There's nothing about the Others' regular clothes that make them look like anything other than regular people.

And the numbers haven't disappeared at all.

All that time learning about Jin's marriage woes and Kate's daddy issues and Swayer's con man days, all barely worth remembering as any type of explanation compared to what is going on now, yet they chewed up hours with it.

I guess this is just a matter of taste, but I think character development is valuable in and of itself. I think certain details of people's pasts will come into play, but not every single detail. Sometime viewers just, you know, care about the characters.

Also - there will never be a "logical" explanation for anything on Lost, because it is a Sci-Fi show. Always has been. There may be some degrees of explanations for various things, but there is certainly no way to "logically" explain monsters, ghosts, time travel, etc.

Sci-fi stories don't completely lack logic. They need internal logic. They need to create a world with rules and tell a story within those confines. It's still well within the realm for LOST to end up that way. We'll find out.

Of course, I may also be in a tiny minority that wouldn't be so sore about it if certain things never get explained. I don't really like my stories all tied up neatly with a bow. There's a fine line, of course. I don't like glaring loose threads or non-endings. But the hint of lingering mystery is nice. Again, probably just a matter of taste. Just flirting is fun! Like, really fun.

jim treacher said...

Holla if you'd rather see her interacting with Robin Weigert rather than 'find out' that Ben had a creeptastic crush on her.

Why the quotes? They've always been shown to be officious and cold toward each other. Now we know why.

UAM, let's say that next week they answer every single question you have. Then what?

jim treacher said...

Oh, and I assumed Rom worked out a lot and knew how to fight. He kicked Jack's ass and was able to hoist Charlie's weight on the end of a rope, but I don't see how that's "superhuman strength."

JC said...

Maybe I'm just not remembering correctly, and if that's the case please forgive but I don't feel like dragging out my S2 box set, but I have a question. In the episode where first see The Others react to the plane crash and Juliet is hosting the book club it seems like there is lots of hostility between Ben & Juliet ( I guess because of the Goodwin thing). The scene in this week's episode with Ben & Juliet's "date" takes place after the plane crash (because of discussion of children being abducted & the list). Doesn't it seem strange that Juliet seems to be so nice to Ben in this scene after being fairly openly hostile to him earlier? Or am I totally missing something that would explain that in this week's episode?

If I did miss something, it's probably because I thought this week's episode was pretty craptastic. And I even like the Juliet character.

Mo Ryan said...

Jim, I guess the quotes were because where that story would go even within the episode was so predictable. Even if you didn't think that Ben had a little crush on Juliet, they telegraphed it so strongly that the whole thing played out predictably. I didn't necessarily know that Ben had a thing for her, but once that was brought up in such an obvious way, it seemed obvious where that would go. That, added to the fact that we got Credulous Locke again this week, just made me feel meh about this episode. It's true that for once Ben did offer up some real info and held up his part of the bargain, but it just felt recycled.

but again, I'm back to really loving Lost again so I'll allow a ratio of 1 meh episode if it's surrounded by 5 or 6 good or great ones...

jim treacher said...

Even if you didn't think that Ben had a little crush on Juliet, they telegraphed it so strongly that the whole thing played out predictably.

Guess I wasn't smart enough to predict it! Ben's last scene was like, "Whoa..."

Undercover Asian Man said...

KaveDweller:"Also - there will never be a "logical" explanation for anything on Lost, because it is a Sci-Fi show. Always has been. There may be some degrees of explanations for various things, but there is certainly no way to "logically" explain monsters, ghosts, time travel, etc."

Please tell me you are being purposefully obtuse and aren't really that hazy-minded. I'm not asking for "logic" as in NASA scientists must verify the possibility of Lost's explanations. I'm asking for logic as in "If the Island was virtually undetectable before Desmond blew up his hatch, why did the Others bother to make up a primitive village and dress in primitive clothes? Who exactly did they expect would a) have the tech to find the island but b) be dumb enough to fall for such a ruse? If there secret was so worth protecting, why not just kill any unwelcomed visitors - they have showed a willingness to do so - instead of 'tricking' them at all in the first place? Just kill all the men and keep all the baby-producing women of the crash."

Or "If Ben's priority is to make sure no one finds the Island, then why leave a Giant Four Toed Statue on the coastline? Why not tear it down or at least cover it? You say that the Hatch's field made it impossible for boats to randomly "happen" upon the Island? Well then why the "Primitive Village on the Coastline" ruse again?

Or "why does Dharma continue to drop of huge amounts of food and supplies to the Island even though they must realize all their people have been slaughtered and out of contact? "

Or "Why is no one afraid of the "Monster" anymore? They've been on the Island just a few months, and surely haven't forgotten how many people it's killed - including their good buddy Echo - in that short time frame. So why is it virtually ignored now as everyone wanders around, alone sometimes, without any real concern anymore about something no one understands?"

Again, I'm not looking for Einstein's seal of approval, I'm just looking for consistency within the Lost world. Internal Logic, which good Sci-fi has plenty of, even if its about spaceships traveling faster then light or time travel.

Look, I don't doubt people's ability to "fan wank" explanations like Ethan Rom worked out (go rewatch that episode, it was much more than being strong, he was purposefully made to seem superhuman [one extended arm lifting Charlie easily] and by implication make the Others seem similarly dangerous), or settle for the weak explanations to come ("Jacob said don't tear down the 4-toed statue!!! That's why!"). The human mind WANTS order so much that it will see and believe patterns where there are none. I think Lost's storytellers are going to rely on that fact heavily to find redemption.

But as a writer and storyteller, I do not think what they are doing is fair or honest at all.

Put another way: if you gave me 10 "startling scenes" - for instance a) Abraham Lincoln on the moon in a spacesuit b) the sun appears looking like an eyeball for one day, c) lions roaming the streets, occasionally walking on their hind legs, and ignored by people around them like it's an everyday thing d) The ocean is now bright green e) Jin telling Sayid in perfect Arabic "Our plan is working PERFECTLY", etc, etc. - I can put up SOME kind of story together that links all these super trippy, mind blowing events POST FACTO. It will be very loose, and of course would have to involve supernatural things, but I could do it.

OR I can hire a skilled writer, who had nothing to do with creating these 10 startling events and had no previous knowledge of them, present these 10 things to him, and have him make up a story NOW that links them all, even though he JUST got the information today. His story will be loose and far-fetched, but he's skilled enough that at least it is SOME KIND OF explanation. This is in fact what I think is happening with Lost. They aren't quite done with the "throwing things up just for ratings" stage, but they've seen the initial backlash and ratings drops of the Twin Peaks / X-Files suspecting crowd's abandonment, and are now committed -and SCRAMBLING - to tie it all together, no matter how loose that tie has to be.

As to why, then, do I continue to watch - 1) Technology - without Tivo and the ability to watch it on my own schedule and commercial free, I would have dropped it long ago, and 2) this is the first X-Files/Twin Peaks series that has declared an end date and promised to give explanations. I want to see how they do it and the public's reaction, same as I did with the X-Files and never got to truly witness.

jim treacher said...

Wait, Ethan has superhuman strength because he lifted up Charlie? 5'5", 150 lbs. Charlie? I could see your point if it was Hurley...

I see what you're saying about X-Files, which was limping along way before they took it out behind the barn. They never really answered anything. (And yet I read an interview with Chris Carter about the new movie, and he was insisting that it was a fresh start because everything had been tied up. Ha!) Maybe Lost will do the same thing. Maybe we'll all be suckers. I hope not, but you could be right. So far, though, I'm enjoying the "mythology" of Lost far more than X-Files.

Undercover Asian Man said...

Here is a bit of fun for Lost fans:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/artsandliving/television/features/2007/lost-central/lost_madness.html

It's a NCAA Bracket matching up Lost characters to find the most popular. Some of the First Round Matchups are complete blowouts (Jack vs Cindy, Sayid vs Michael), but some of the First Rounders are TOUGH (Jin vs Sun, Hurley vs Swayer). Get your votes in today because Round 2 starts tomorrow. And don't forget to fill in the "other side" of the bracket (the Others vs Dharma, and Random Important Characters), you have to "zoom out" and then choose that side to fill it.

GO VINCENT!!!!

jim treacher said...

How bout that.

http://blowingsmokethemovie.com/archives/2008/03/march_madness_l.php

special k said...

I love reading Undercover Asian Man's posts even if I don't always agree with them. But in terms of this episode a lot of your points are valid, UAM. Thanks for sharing.

But in the end I have to go with Mo Ryan; if all the eps were as good as "The Constant," I really wouldn't care that greatly about logic, consistency, getting answers. But when eps are this bad, the show leaves itself open to such criticism.

Lionors said...

Q: Also, why is Ben's only child adopted?

A: I was making a joke about his success with women.

Further speculation: The "her" Juliet resembles died carrying Ben's child.