Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Lost, "The Little Prince": Family court

Spoilers for "Lost" season five, episode four coming up just as soon as I do something about this pesky nosebleed...
"At the time, I thought it meant something." -Locke
"Did it?" -Sawyer
"No. It was just a light." -Locke
For all we talk about whether or not there's a master plan at work on "Lost," we have to keep in mind that a TV show, unlike a novel, or even a series of novels, is a living, breathing organism, one that changes and grows in ways that even its creators couldn't anticipate. Characters and events that seemed so important in the early days have turned out not to be for all sorts of reasons: an actor who didn't want to live in Hawaii anymore (Mr. Eko), a kid who was growing too fast for the show's timeline (Walt and his psychic powers), a bit of island geography that the network deemed too weird to revisit for a while (the four-toed foot). By the same token, a plot device that was cooked up on a whim to fix a specific episode (they needed an excuse for Sayid and Desmond to not immediately demand answers upon arriving on the freighter) might inadvertently lead to one of the series' greatest episodes ("The Constant") and its most beloved couple (Desmond/Penny, who were liked before but not adored by fandom the way they are now).

Stuff happens. The story moves in ways we don't expect, in ways the characters don't expect, in ways the writers don't expect. The heavenly light bursting from the hatch turned out to be Desmond simply turning on the lights in The Swan to see what the racket was about. Shannon, while welcome comic relief in the early goings, turned out not to be necessary as the series moved forward. Michael Emerson, who might have only been around for two or three episodes, made himself indispensable when he asked if his captors had any milk.

It's telling that the most beloved episode of last season revolved around Desmond, who wasn't even a regular character until the third season, and that the most popular episode so far this season (albeit from a tiny sample size) was last week's "Jughead," which focused largely on Desmond and the even newer Dan Faraday, and which didn't devote a second of screen time to Jack, Kate, Hurley or the rest of the Oceanic Six. For the most part, Lindelof and Cuse have been good judges of which characters to hang onto and which to sacrifice to the island gods, which stories still fit into the grand scheme and which can probably be done without at this late date.

All of which is an overly long preamble to me saying that an episode like "The Little Prince," which is so much about Kate, and about whatever dysfunctional, on-again/off-again relationship Kate and Jack have had over the years, feels like a relic of an era the show has long since evolved past. Because it was intercut with so much happening back on the island, and with the activities of other members of the Oceanic Six (plus Ben), it wasn't as bothersome as last year's Kate spotlight, "Eggtown" -- or, even worse, the polar bear cage episodes at the start of season three, which were all-Kate, all the time. It was still an entertaining episode, with lots of interesting clues about the island's time travel problem, another vintage Sayid action set piece, some more fine acting from Josh Holloway and, oh yeah, the return from death by Jin. But it was also a reminder that, of the lucky bunch of remaining survivors of Oceanic 815, Kate is by far the least compelling, particularly when paired with Jack instead of Sawyer.

Sawyer's aching love for her back on the island made her seem more fascinating than she actually is, but, of course, those scenes either didn't feature Kate at all or briefly featured archival footage from season one. But Evangeline Lily and Holloway have always shared a chemistry that she sorely lacks with Matthew Fox.

In fact, the Kate/Jack portions of the episode were so lackluster -- albeit necessary, in that the writers need to convincingly explain why Kate might be willing to take her adopted son back to that terrible island -- that I'm not going to bother saying anything else about them.

Instead, let's just focus on the island action, starting with the question nobody seems to be asking: why is Locke so convinced that the island's problems are being caused by the absence of the Oceanic Six, as opposed to the simple act of Ben turning the frozen donkey wheel? Now, I know he's convinced because Richard told him this was the case, but as I recall, Richard told him that because Locke told it to him at some other point. So the idea apparently came from Locke himself at some point, and while it fits his island zealotry -- he's gone to great, often explosive, lengths in the past to keep anyone from leaving -- it ignores the fact that other people have, in fact, left (Walt and Michael, to name two) without this kind of calamity. To me, the new element seems to be the donkey wheel, which suggests the drive to get the Six back to the island may not fix much of anything. Again, I believe that Locke would believe this; I just think he's wrong.

Meanwhile, the latest travels by Locke and Sawyer's unhappy, nosebleeding band introduce some potential new players to the board in whoever arrived on the beach in those wooden longboats with the Ajira Airways water bottles. (As with all fake companies on "Lost," there's already an official Ajira Airways website, which you can explore to your heart's content. As I prefer to stick to what's actually in the show -- which Cuse and Lindelof promise is all we really need to understand it -- I'll pass, but go party there if that's your thing.) We know they're relatively contemporary, based on the water bottles, and we know they have guns, but who could these "other Others" be? The Oceanic Six, having returned to the island and mistaking Sawyer's boat for the bad guys? Richard Alpert's people, back from a snorkeling trip? More of Widmore's mercs? Could we possibly be introduced to yet another faction at this late date?

(By the way, while I've mostly shrugged off the nitpicking of the show's time-travel rules this season, I was surprisingly bothered that the stolen boat was still there after the time jump. I know the Zodiac came with Dan and his group after the initial flash at the end of last season, but I'd like Juliet or someone to ask Dan to explain how all of this works. Either way, Sawyer finally being grateful for a time-jump, and then immediately taking it back when they arrived in a downpour, was hilarious.)

The episode also reintroduces an old faction, albeit one where we've only seen one member before, as Jin is saved from floating on a piece of freighter debris (ala Rose from "Titanic") by a much younger, still pregnant version of Rousseau and her science team, which would put the episode's final scenes around 1988. Damon Lindelof told me that the strike prevented the writers from showing more of Rousseau and Alex's time together after their reunion, but the time-skipping structure allows them to tell another chapter of Rousseau's story before all is said and done.

I also thought it was a nice touch that Jin once again washes up with a strange group of castaways, and that, after going to the trouble to learn English, he finds himself in a group who mostly don't speak it. While we all knew Daniel Dae Kim was still a regular, there was always the chance that Jin would only be alive in the show's past, so it's nice to have the possibility of a Jin/Sun reunion still out there.

Speaking of people whose demises were greatly exaggerated -- in this case, by me -- Charlotte turns out to be very much alive (whoops), and Daniel's explanation for why she and Miles were affected first is interesting. It was set up at the end of last year that Charlotte was probably born on the island, but could Miles have spent time here, too? Was the speculation from the premiere about him being the son of Dr. Chang more on the mark than we realized? Given that Juliet -- on the island for several years before Locke and Sawyer came along -- is stricken next, it's not an unreasonable assumption to say that Dan's theory is right, which would put Miles behind only Charlotte for duration of time on the island.

Lots and lots to chew over, even with so much time devoted to Kate angst and Jack once again promising to fix things.

Some other thoughts:

• Rebecca Mader's eyes were a particularly disorienting shade of blue in this one, which suited her character's state of mind.

• I'm sure it must be a tremendous hassle to film scenes out in the Pacific, but on the rare occasions when production goes to the trouble, they always look incredible, don't they?

• Sayid's battle in the hospital was brief but effective as always in triggering my "Hell, yeah!" reflex.

• For a minute there, before Kate explained the custody problem to Jack, I was all prepared to go on a rant about how, even on the mainland, the characters still can't be bothered to share useful information with each other. Crisis averted.

• So, should we assume that Bernard and Rose have taken Vincent for a long walk? And will they come across Cindy and the kids in their travels?

• Again, given that Emerson kind of got the permanent job on the basis of "You guys got any milk?," do you think the writers deliberately give Ben the most mundane-sounding dialogue -- in this case, "That's my lawyer" -- because they know how funny he'll make it sound?

What did everybody else think?

120 comments:

Justin said...

For all of you anagram freaks, the van that Sayid was driving with "Canton-Rainier Carpet Cleaning" on the side; "Canton-Rainier" is an anagram for "reincarnation." What ever that's worth.

Carmichael Harold said...

I really enjoyed that episode, surprisingly, even the Kate-centric part.

Not only didn't I even consider that the person on the piece of wreckage might be him, but I thought it was Rousseau. So while I was busy silently chiding the Lost powers-that-be for going overboard on the strings-of-surprise soundtrack (which such chiding they then deserved at episodes end), I was completely flummoxed that it turned out to be Jin.

I shouldn't be allowed to be this happy that a fictional character isn't dead.

Katie said...

I thought the Kate stuff didn't take over the show at all.

And I do hope that Sawyer gets more screen time this year.

I forgot, is Claire dead for sure?

Anonymous said...

Each epi seems to pick up the pace and the tension. The execution this season is outstanding.

Puff

Alan Sepinwall said...

I thought the Kate stuff didn't take over the show at all.

I'd agree that she didn't take over the episode. I just felt there was a noticeable dip in the excitement level whenever the action swung back around to her, with or without Jack.

Toby O'B said...

I was ready to do the screaming about characters not talking to each other several times - when Sawyer asked about the light, when Locke asked Sawyer about what he saw in the jungle, as well as the Kate and custody discussion - but thankfully all of them talked about this stuff... eventually.

While I was expecting Jin to show up in the contemporary sense, (as far as surviving the explosion, if not in the "current" timeline), HOW he showed up made his sub-plot the most intriguing of the night. It's nice to see Rousseau again, and while it's not Mira Furlan, it should always be about the character more than who plays it.

And I'm so glad they didn't drag out who hired the lawyer any mor than they did. I guess at this stage of the game, they can't afford to dangle too much over a period of time.

Anonymous said...

JIN!!!!!!! WOOOOO!!!!!

Devin McCullen said...

BTW, Charlotte being alive was what I saw in last week's previews that I wanted to mention.

Yeah, Kate episodes always bore me. But what can you do? I did want to slap the writers when she told Jack she'd always been behind him.

You didn't mention Hurley in jail, which was awesome, of course.

I'm not really clear how much Locke told Richard. He did say he needed to get off the island, but Richard seemed to know more than that about what was happening.

I'm wondering now if there's as clear a connection between whatever the nosebleeds signify and what happened to Minkowski and Faraday's girlfriend. Something just seems different about it.

EOTW said...

This ep was good for it revealed but at the same time, it's also one of those eps that is more about getting things into place for future payoffs. Be tough to be last week's greatness but it remains a pretty solid hour and I am so jazzed since this season began.

I'm still holding out for an adult Rosseau to show back up, at least for an ep. But this was gold, especially Jin's realization.

A friend of mine says that he thinks this season is all about the oceanic 6 getting back to the island and next season, the last, will be about the group saving the island. it might be true. 4 eps in and it seems like they are taking their time to get back to the island and Hugo's still in the clink. Clearly, everyone on the island is going to nosebleed city sooner than later.

I knew Charlotte wasn't dead. She hadn't been sick enough and it would seem hat the folks who came with Faraday may not be traveling back and forth in their lives. Although, be curious to see if it happens with Juliette and Sawyer, assuming Locke gets off he island before he falls ill.

One last thing: I LOVE how this show casts actors to play the characters as younger (Widmore, Rosseau) who look so much like the older versions. They do a really great job of this.

bill p said...

As for the stolen boat, it seems any object the time-jumpers are touching when the flash happens goes with them, which would go back to the bullet that was in Locke's leg.

Sam Hobart said...

I have to say I'm enjoying the version of Jack that seems to be hanging on by his fingernails.

And the surprisingly up front turn Ben seems to have taken this season (which I'm sure is not long for this world).

I even enjoy the Kate/Jack relationship when their history is used as subtext.

But as with all things on this show, it's all about the island, and the thing I found most interesting was that we saw what I believe was the first flash that definitively occurred post donkey wheel. I'm fairly certain that we know the occupants of the other canoe, especially since they seemed to be silhouetted in much the same way that the tailies were when they first showed up chasing Jin out of the jungle in season 2. Outside of Eko, none of the tailes would have been particularly menacing minus the enhanced shadows and I suspect it would've been the same tonight had we been able to make out the occupants of the chase canoe.

Two questions keep bubbling up -- does Ji Yeon have to return with them? And where's Walt?

Fernando said...

Burning question: if you go back to Rousseau's season 1-4 scenes, shouldn't she recognize Jin? Or were they not in any scenes together? This lead to like an hour discussion about time travel.

Y was Hurley's jump suit so extra snug?

MPH said...

Alan,

I like how you prefaced the post about a TV show evolving, unlike a novel, whereas everything can be planned in advance. (This is the same debate that can be had about the Cylon reveals in BSG)

Nonetheless, I hope they do use this time-travelling structure as an opportunity to revisit some loose threads. Walt, Libby and Mr. Eko (in that order) would be great ones to wrap up and explain their importance to the island and the story. And why Walt alone does not have to return to the island would be nice to know as well.

Omagus said...

it ignores the fact that other people have, in fact, left (Walt and Michael, to name two) without this kind of calamity.

YES. That is what I was thinking while I was watching this episode. Why is it those six who have to return? Walt is still alive but his return isn't necessary? And for that matter, does Jin being alive mean that he needs to return to the rest of the group? And why does Jin seem to be in a different time stream than the rest of the people who are still on the island? Not to mention that several of the Others have apparently been coming and going to the island for quite some time. Will these questions ever get answered?

I did think it was funny when Kate told Jack, "I've always been with you." I kind of wanted her to add, "Except when I'm sleeping with Sawyer."

xyz said...

I disagree about Jack, he has been an integral part of the show since day 1, he is a fascinating character (especially his transformation from a by the numbers man of science on the island to someone who is changing the course of the rest of life solely based upon his faith in Locke's words), getting to his story is always nice. I agree that Jack and Kate love story is boring but to me atleast Jack's story was tied to Ben and Kate's to Aaron making the episode work.

@Fernando: I don't think Rousseau had a scene with or interacted with Jin, most of her scenes in Season 1-4 have been with Jack/Sayid/Locke/Kate/Hurley and Claire. Jin has never gone on a mission with her. Although she could have probably seen him in the background but it has been 16 years and Rousseau is a little crazy.

KC said...

As you so rightly stated Alan, the vagaries of television have presented unique opportunities. While I know I've lost track of some of those loose ends that seemed so important at the time, I really think this fact has made for a much more dynamic and interesting story.

I still wish some characters would have stuck around...Mr. Ecko (who knew Hawaii was such a bad place to live?) but these episodes are keeping me glued with new surprises, characters we've come to know, answers to questions. Yeah, I could be nit picky but who cares its just too much fun. I feel like I'm already one of the islanders so I'll be there for the ride, and so far its a real good one.

Grimoald said...

Adding to bill p's comment it would explain the rifle they have too.

I think you are spot on about the wheel at the Orchid station Alan, but they will need members of the six in order to be able to do something about it.

The wheel is obviously important given it's showcasing in the season premier. I just hope the realtime version, of the flashback scene with Faraday in the past, is broached before the last couple of episodes of this year's batch.

Anonymous said...

What reason would Jin have to recognize Danielle's name? am I forgetting a part where they interacted? or any other reason he should know about her? I suppose its possible sun might have talked to him about her, but that also seems unlikely, I don't think sun knew her too well either.

Andrew said...

another vintage Sayid action set piece

I'll disagree here. Sayid's fight with the henchman improbably bad peripheral vision struck me as a pretty incompetently filmed. The way Sayid managed to briefly disappear from the henchman's sight in a tiny room made no sense.

Anonymous said...

Cool episode but one thing that bothers me about Jin's survival.

The helicopter leaving the ship as it exploded was headed back to the island. However, it was too far from the island to be impacted and pulled into the time shift. So how is it possible that Jin, who would have been near the boat would get pulled in along with the island? I mean, after the island "moved", the boat disappeared, suggesting that it didn't get moved with the island. That being the case, how did Jin get pulled in time? Why were the survivors on the helicopter not get pulled in time?

Patrick Wynne said...

And why does Jin seem to be in a different time stream than the rest of the people who are still on the island?

He's not; they've all appeared in 1988 when the French crew came to the island. That's why the wreck on the beach looks recent. It's just that Sawyer & Co. are on a different part of the island from the rest, probably quite a ways down the beach.

Anonymous said...

Great episode. Jin returns, and Sawyer sees Claire's presumed vagina. Four stars.

JDSTL said...

I too was bothered that when they jumped and were in the longboat, they were still in the boat and not thrashing around in the sea. That made no sense to me. Definitely the writers are just trying to propel story and glossing over details. Yes, I am picking nits, but so what.

dez said...

I did think it was funny when Kate told Jack, "I've always been with you." I kind of wanted her to add, "Except when I'm sleeping with Sawyer."

"I'm with you...except when I'm in a cage with Sawyer...or in the Others' camp with Sawyer...or with Sawyer, period."

I love that we're getting some more of Rousseau and, of course, that Jin is back (YAY!!!). Now if the next time shift could only take them to that four-toed statue when it was still whole!

Jennifer said...

I hated the way they ended the episode. Was the fact that she was Danielle suppose to leave us going "OH MY GOD?!". If you didn't figure out who she was the minute they all appeared speaking French, I don't even know what to say.
The show has been dumbed down this season and I am not liking it.

This was a good episode. The second half better than the first. It was so nice to see Jin alive and finally get an answer as to who sent the lawyers. I still wish it had been Sun but it's okay.

Any kate scene tends to be painfully boring but I agree with your assessment it's even more so when she's with Jack. There are never any sparks or passion between those two.

Anonymous said...

Alan, what was the plot device you referred to as being cooked up on a whim to fix an episode? The entire consciousness-traveling thing? What could the episode have looked like before they added that plot device?

belinda said...

JIN! YAY!

You've hit the nail on the head regarding Kate (and Jack). I was more than a little relieved that this episode wasn't a full on concentration on those two, and instead we got a good assortment of things that are happening, and of course, the reintroduction of Jin and Danielle into the storyline. (Well, for Danielle, until the next flash...)

So, did Danielle and Jin meet in the previous seasons? I can't remember the actual moments, but it would seem strange that Danielle in the previous seasons didn't recognize him then when she's met him before in this episode.

And, the nosebleeds, of course. I guess that all but almost confirms Miles' parentage. What I wonder was whether Miles knew he was on the island or not, and if not, why not. He seemed truthful when Daniel asked about it.

Sawyer's exclamation of "I take that back!" was such a HEE! moment.

Kensington said...

I'm going to be the contrarian on Kate. Evangeline Lily is so beautiful that I am never bored or disappointed when she's onscreen.

Mark Madel said...

I thought it was the weakest episode so far this season; especially considering the great reveals last week.

Partly it was due to boredom with the whole Jack/Kate dynamic; partly due to wasted opportunities (what a great chance to have Sawyer learn something he - or we the audience - never knew about actions of the survivors in earlier seasons); and partly due to the obvious reveals: of course Jin survived the freighter explosion; how else will they ever get Sun to go back to the island unless she knows that Jin is alive?

Anonymous said...

Just goes to show how opinions can vary so much. The love triangle is definitely not my favorite aspect of the show, but I find Kate more interesting with Jack than with Sawyer. This is due to my opinion that Sawyer is the most cliched, obviously written character on the program, and Josh Holloway does nothing to elevate the writing above a stereotype. I can see all of his acting choices from a mile away; his performance is completely predictable. I don't like Kate but I don't have those same issues with Lilly, and I honestly think Matthew Fox is wonderful.

Shaun said...

Maybe the whole "things you are touching will come with you during a time-flash" will be used to get Jin back with Sawyer's group, since it seems they are in the same timeline right now? Then again if that were necessary it wouldn't explain why Locke now seems to go with the rest of Sawyer's group during flashes when he wasn't before. Ah, time travel island, you hurt my head so much.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Then again if that were necessary it wouldn't explain why Locke now seems to go with the rest of Sawyer's group during flashes when he wasn't before.

Locke always traveled with the rest of the group through time. It's just that he was in a different geographic space for most of the first two episodes. So he jumped to 1954 at the same moment as Sawyer, but they didn't immediately see each other because Locke was in a different part of the island.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, what was the plot device you referred to as being cooked up on a whim to fix an episode? The entire consciousness-traveling thing? What could the episode have looked like before they added that plot device?

If you listen to the DVD commentary for "The Constant," Cuse and Lindelof say that they got to the point in the season where Desmond and Sayid were going to get to the freighter, and they needed something big to distract them from adding questions. This decision was made while they were still at the outline stage, so it's not like there was any other way the episode might have looked.

And it's entirely possible that they were going to do the traveling consciousness idea anyway -- they had already been doing it in a way with Desmond, only before it was his 2004 persona traveling back to his past selves, as opposed to a past self taking over his 2004 body -- but it got used in this particular episode, and led to such a beloved plotline, just for expediency.

WendyWatson said...

Alan, what was the plot device you referred to as being cooked up on a whim to fix an episode? The entire consciousness-traveling thing? What could the episode have looked like before they added that plot device?

The consciousness-travel has been around sine Season 3 - basically, it's what Desmond's been doing when he was having flashes. I believe Alan is referring to Desmond's crisis because of going through the barrier the wrong way.

WendyWatson said...

...not to mention that he is also faster than me.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I hated the way they ended the episode. Was the fact that she was Danielle suppose to leave us going "OH MY GOD?!". If you didn't figure out who she was the minute they all appeared speaking French, I don't even know what to say.

Yeah, I figured out we were going to see the young Rousseau as soon as Sawyer's group found fresh wreckage with French writing on it, and the young actress so obviously resembled Mira Furlan -- and seemed to be the only woman in the group -- that the actual moment of revelation wasn't surprising to me.

But I'd compare it to the very end of "The Economist," when we found out that Sayid was working for Ben. The way the scene was structured, you heard Ben's very distinctive voice well before you saw his face, but it was obvious the show didn't expect you to have the OMG moment until the final shot. But just because I had that moment a minute or two earlier doesn't make it any less effective. It was still mind-blowing to see that Sayid was with Ben, and still cool to realize we were going to see a much younger Rousseau.

When the characters are only a few minutes behind the audience, I don't mind occasionally waiting for them to catch up. It's when they're weeks, months or even years behind us in figuring things out that I get annoyed. (Case in point: "The Brig," which spent three-quarters of its length trying to hide the fact that Locke was arranging for Sawyer to kill Anthony Cooper, and that Cooper was the original Sawyer, when that was something a lot of us had figured out a long time before.)

Alan Sepinwall said...

And I'm so glad they didn't drag out who hired the lawyer any mor than they did. I guess at this stage of the game, they can't afford to dangle too much over a period of time.

Yes, that was very nice. The same episode where we found out for sure that Ben was working with Norton, Kate figures it out and Ben cops to it. In the early days, when Cuse and Lindelof didn't know how long the show was going to run, they would've dragged this out over at least a half-dozen episodes.

Jessica said...

I have a pet theory that the oceanic 6 DON'T need to go back, and it's all a ploy of Ben's to take over the island somehow.

Next season will be the uprising against the Bentatorship.

Anonymous said...

OK, guys, so no one has mentioned the fact that Carol Littleton, Claire's mom, was in LA, and NOT looking for Aaron. What's up with that? What do you all think?

justine said...

I have to say I am one of the few who have always enjoyed Kate's story, but the problem with her story to me has been it is a slower, internal story to tell, which is frustrating against the "faster" character stories. Desmond's story is/was always to get back to Penny which is a universal story. Ben's has morphed into a classic complicated villain (everyone loves a great villain). Kate's has always been this battle of fighting her selfish nature of fight or flight (she generally chooses the wrong won) and finding her self-worth to be a true leader.

I appreciated last night's story, because it served Kate's internal battles of flight or fight and doing what's right, but recognized that structural shifts in the show don't have to make it all about her for 40 minutes.

And it was a great moment to finally see Kate know when she is being played. Not only does it more the narrative toward its conclusion, it is a nice evolution of Kate.

You are right on with your criticism of those damn polar bear cage episodes. Yikes. Made it tough to be a fan of that character.

For the speed they are handling the Oceanic 6 they really need to speed up Charlotte's story. Kill or reveal is my new motto for the show.

OldDarth said...

Another great episode. Didn't mind any of the parts as the pace was good. The show was tight and well written.

Did anyone flittingly play with the idea that Jin was behind the lawyer at first to get Aaron as some deal she worked out with Widmore?

Ben always does the best with such innocuous lines. 'He's my lawyer.' Ha!

And it was very refreshing to see characters answer questions if not right, shortly thereafter.

Richard Hoeg said...

One of the things that I find interesting about this season is that without the flashbacks (or flashforwards) the story of Lost is really moving quite quickly.

This is almost a complete 180 from the earlier seasons of the show. The net effect, I think, is that the whole series starts to feel more and more like one unified whole, like a singular book or movie, with major exposition taken care of on the front end and major plot developments handled at the back.

In other words, thanks to the first three seasons, we now know these characters backwards and forwards (not that there aren't major revelations in the offing), and the plot can move forward based upon that knowledge.

I personally love the forward motion, but I can certainly see where people who were initially attracted to the slow, character building episodes of the show's first three seasons could be put off. In fact, I think this shift in pacing is more responsible for the drop off in the show's recent ratings than is the more widely reported shift towards science fiction, if only because the pacing shift truly changes the types of week-to-week episodes the show produces (there was always a monster in the jungle after all).

Chris said...

ABC got skittish about the four-toed statue? That's the first time I'm hearing about this.

jim treacher said...

Glad to see Ben's lawyer has recovered from that massive dose of insecticide he inhaled the other night.

Was the speculation from the premiere about [Miles] being the son of Dr. Chang more on the mark than we realized?

Maybe that's what the opening scene of the season was about? At some point in the future, Faraday obviously finds some way to travel back through time without worrying about the white-light dealie. So maybe he needs to, I dunno, innoculate little baby Miles against the time-sickness? I'm as confused as ever, but at least it feels like it's leading up to something.

I'd agree that she didn't take over the episode. I just felt there was a noticeable dip in the excitement level whenever the action swung back around to her, with or without Jack.

My excitement level was just fine. Kate cleans up real good.

P.S. Sayid strangling the bad guy with his IV line was SUPER-MEGA AWESOME! And I'm glad Jack at least got chastised for commandeering a room at the same hospital he got kicked out of for being an unbelievable druggie.

Bryan said...

For me they really can't get everybody back to the island fast enough. The Oceanic 6 plotline (other than the occasional Hurley or Ben hilarity or Sayid machismo) is quickly wearing thin. It slows everything down way to much. I only hope - since we now know Hurley's getting out of jail tomorrow and Sun just showed up they get going. The only problem is that at some point we have to see Locke off the island.

Love all the island stuff - as far as Locke's motivation- I think he's learned to run completely on instinct (eg- his running away from the light) and even he's not exactly sure why he knows what he does (like why he has to get the 6 back).

Love having Jin back - my only question is he's evidently been laying on that board unconscious and just zapping through time with the rest of them - but how long has it been in real time since the boat blew up?

Anonymous said...

Alan, do you keep lines of copy on file to use for any review of a Kate-centric episode? Lines like...

-Kate is the least compelling characeter
-Evangeline Lily is a lesser actor than the rest
-Lily and Fox have no chemistry.

Your reviews of any these episodes seem like reruns. And even though I agree with you on much of it, I long ago realized my opinion on the subject is in the minority among Lost fans.

Davy said...

I don't mind Kate (especially when she's desparate and on the run), but it's Jack I find insufferable (he's whiny, annoying and thinks too highly of himself). Kate's story bogs down for me every time Jack enters a scene with her.

A less filling episode than the past few, but they still managed to move things slightly and reveal some interesting tidbits (more confirmation about Miles' parentage, Jin's whereabouts, who hired the lawyer).

And man, they sure cast the right actress to play young Danielle. Great job, that one.

Eric said...

Anonymous, I think Claire's mom was in LA for exactly the reason stated. She has no reason to believe that Claire survived or that her baby was ever born.

Anonymous said...

Biggest problem I've had with the Kate/Aaron storyline is that it's absurd.

Lawyers show up at Kate's house and demand DNA proof that she's Aaron's mom. Kate panics and runs.

Why??? The character is a multi-millionaire (Oceanic settlement). She could have had armed guards in front of the house and half a dozen of her own lawyers on retainer with a few phone calls.

Instead, why not have apparent hitmen after her as they're after Sayid/Hurley? (Yes, I know that one hitman had her address, but that's not the same as a narrow escape or three.)

That would provide much more drama and much better impetus for her to either join up with Jack and Ben or for her to want to kill both of them.

Ryan said...

I am fairly convinced that the flashes have something to do with the total number of people on the Island at a given point in time.

Each flash where they've identified some sort of event has corresponded to someone either arriving at or dying on the Island - Yemi crashing, the American soldiers getting killed by flaming arrows, Boone dying and Aaron being born, and now the shipwrecked French scientists.

Redsmom said...

But, now that Kate knows it was Ben who was behind the "custody" battle regarding Aaron, what reason does she have to run? She now knows or soon will know that Ben is going back to the island and, more important, that the person behind the lawsuit has no more legal claim to the child than she has. It would be more convincing, to me, if Ben had interposed either Claire's mum or the prospoective adoptive parents of Aaron between himself and the lawyers. Having revealed that he is the one behind it leaves no motivation for Kate not to go back to her nice house and wave bye-bye to the idiots getting in a boat to "crazytown." But, its only a TV show and I love it, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Rose, Bernard, and Vincent better be okay. When Sawyer found Vincent's collar, I think I panicked more than I have for quite a while.
Seriously, the show needs to have Walt & Vincent reunited by the very end, or there will be hell to pay.

Bryan said...

I am fairly convinced that the flashes have something to do with the total number of people on the Island at a given point in time.

I agree that there has to be some kind of trigger - I just don't know that that's it (though it's a good theory I think). At first I thought it was because Locke and Richard were together.

But what about the jump when they were in the longboat - unless something happened off screen there were no additional people added to the island (also I think there were two jumps last week that occurred when no people were added)

The Rush Blog said...

So . . . Kate was the one who originally drummed up the lie about her being Aaron's mother. I think that this makes me despise her more than ever. And I also despise Jack, Sayid, Sun and Hurley for going through with this plan.

This very unecessary lie prevented Carole Littleton from ever getting to know her grandson. And for that I will always despise the Oceanic Six. Especially Kate.

siddhartha said...

Anyone else think that Ben is the one that sent Sun the gun? And when she tries to shoot him, the gun will turn out to be filled with blanks.

If Ben engineered Kate's legal troubles and engineered the use-henchmen-to-stun-Sayid, why doubt that Ben found a way to get Sun to the marina?

(I also like the fact that the same way that the island wouldn't let Michael die, it's not letting Jin die either. That's the second time he's been blown off a boat and washed up on shore.)

Josh said...

I didn't have time to read all the comments so if this point has been brought up forgive me. Have all the flashes occurred in the past so far? Is it possible the canoe's on the shore were in the future? Why else would the camp be empty? It would have been something Sawyer or Locke would have remembered if it happened during previous time.

Anyone else think that Charles Whitmore could be Faraday's father? He was on the island at same time as his mother (supposedly).

I've got to give the creators a lot of credit. They've asked so many questions over the past four season that we can't possibly remember them all. This way when the show does end even if they throw us a few bones we'll be satisfied.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

"I don't mind Kate (especially when she's desparate and on the run), but it's Jack I find insufferable (he's whiny, annoying and thinks too highly of himself)."

I normally find Jack insufferable, but I think off-kilter cold-turkey Jack is vastly preferable to island-warrior-king Jack.

"This very unecessary lie prevented Carole Littleton from ever getting to know her grandson. And for that I will always despise the Oceanic Six. Especially Kate."

You know what else would have prevented Carole Littleton from ever getting to know her grandson? Claire putting him up for adoption like she'd planned to when she got on Flight 815.

"But, now that Kate knows it was Ben who was behind the "custody" battle regarding Aaron, what reason does she have to run?"

I suspect that as far as Ben's concerned, getting her to where he wants her to be physically is the most important thing. If it mattered to him that she not know he was involved, he would have just said nothing.

K J Gillenwater said...

The minute we got to witness the drug plane crashing, I knew we'd see Danielle again. I don't think that scene last night was supposed to be shocking. I think most of the audience knew we'd see Danielle at some point in the past. However, what I was NOT expecting was JIN. That got me.

I also totally enjoyed Sayid kicking butt in the hospital. So much fun when he gets to play the James Bond-type role. I'm always up for that.

What I'm curious about is why they would use tranquilizer darts? Why does Charles Widmore (I'm guessing that's who it is) want Sayid alive rather than dead? Why he is collecting everybody, since it seemed Kate was next on the list?

Great show. This season has not been disappointing me in the least. Lots of action. Lost of mystery. Lots of great moments.

Archie said...

So - I totally called the client being Ben - duh!!! Make Kate run and she'll do anything and the only way to make her run was to threaten Aaron - and does this now mean Claire's mom suspects something?????

I also totally called the Rousseau boat before anyone said a single word in French and gave it all away - and I called the body on the boat being Jin, though it was a bit "duh!!" so can't take too much credit.

I have a question - one that I raised when we saw Sun in LA - what about Ji Yeon??????

So - basically, Jin somehow jumped off, or survived the blast, judging from the burns on him - and was within the radius of the island when it moved??? So he's someone else that needs to be back on the island??

And huccome Rousseau in the later days doesn't seem to remember meeting Jin???? Or did we miss those flashes of recognition on her face????

Ben said...

Alan, another strong post. I agree with most of it, including the snooze scenes involving Kate and Jack.

I really love Evangeline, but Kate, combined with a neutered Jack, isn't that interesting. But, I'll live with it for sure.

So...I wanted to toss this idea out there to you...have we been fooled from the start on Danielle?

- when i first heard the folks on her raft, I thought I heard a little latin, similar to things from the young widmore's crew

- all of our info on Rousseau is told to us, not seen. We don't really know how she got there. We don't really know if she has been living in the jungle for 16 years. We don't even really know what she says in the 16-yr old recording (remember, Shannon only knew a little French)

- also, Rousseau is the one that gave Ben to the Losties when he pretended to be Henry Gale. Knowing what know about Ben now, does it seem likely that he would get caught in a net???

- also, rousseau is the one that told the losties "the others are coming". of course, it was a diversion ultimately

i don't know, just thinking...

Linda said...

jim treacher --

Ha! I think this week was a push for Tom Irwin.

Bryan said...

And for that I will always despise the Oceanic Six. Especially Kate.

That's the point - they are all human and they all (except for Hurley) have committed despicable acts even worse than the baby mama lie. Murder, torcher, adultry - they are not good people. (it didn't really hit me until the second time I saw it I think did you notice how easy it was for Jack to get Kate back on the helicopter after she'd JUST told Sun she would get Jin?)

Anonymous said...

Speaking of lawyers.... will we ever see Abadon again (& I'm not just saying that coz I'm a Wire fan)

Sandwich of Ham! said...

That's the point - they are all human and they all (except for Hurley) have committed despicable acts even worse than the baby mama lie. Murder, torcher, adultry - they are not good people.

What did Jack do? He turned in his father for being a drunk. He mercy killed an old guy.

Jack, unlike the rest, was not a bad man until the island. And it is questionable whether he is a bad man now.

Tyroc said...

KJ,

I actually thought Ben hired the guy who went after Sayid this week, knowing he would fail and they would find Kate's address. Thus pushing them to go round her up.

The guy did mumble something when Sayid asked him who sent him, but I couldn't understand it.

I too was surprised Ben came clean to Kate about hiring the lawyer. Guess I'll have to see how he still keeps her motivated to go to the island.

What did make me laugh is that Kate waits until she has parked her car in Marina Del Rey to ask Jack why he was coming to get her and all the other questions she would ask right away. What were they talking about the rest of the time? The drive from downtown L.A. to the Marina is a good 30-40 minutes!

Has anyone kept track of the different time jumps? Could they be following the pattern of the infamous numbers?

christy said...

my "Hell, yeah!" reflex.

I involuntarily blurted out, "Sayid's a NINJA!"

This episode was jam-packed with moments where I started to get annoyed that they were dragging things out, only for them to resolve them time after time. I agree with everyone that I breathed a sigh of relief when the lawyer thing was resolved, when Sawyer told Juliet he saw Kate, and of course I was psyched when I saw the French and realized we were about to meet Roussau's group.

I agree that the young Roussau is a good match. But rewatching Jughead, I was even more stunned at what perfect casting they did with young Widmore and young Hawking. They really capture some kind of essence, don't they, all three?

And Jin...well, Jin's just the new Rasputin.

Hurley in the jumpsuit! So adorable. I want to hug him. I want a miniature version to keep in my pocket!

Sun is scary. Now that Jin's alive, maybe her conversation with Kate earlier in the season makes more sense. Maybe Ben or Locke told her that Jin's still alive, and when she says "wouldn't you do anything to KEEP Aaron" to Kate, she meant that SHE would do anything--even steal Aaron?--to get Ji Yeon's father back to her. But maybe not. Maybe she meant she would do anything to avenge Jin's death. I don't know. That scene perplexed me.

I'm starting to think Ben's just behind everything. The lawyer, the guys with darts, the package Sun got. He's just creating redundancies so he has the best chance of getting everyone back to the island. Even if he has to pile seven horse-tranquilized people into a boat and sail it himself.

Each flash where they've identified some sort of event has corresponded to someone either arriving at or dying on the Island - Yemi crashing, the American soldiers getting killed by flaming arrows, Boone dying and Aaron being born, and now the shipwrecked French scientists.

!!! Love this.

Carmichael Harold said...

Can someone explain the whole "constant" concept to me? Lostpedia defines it as "an object or person that exists in both periods of time, that the traveller deeply cares about and could recognize."

If that's the case, then is the only thing keeping all of the O6 from being each other's constants the fact that they don't care enough about each other? Does that mean that Faraday doesn't really care about Charlotte? Are Juliet's nosebleeds going to stop once she and Sawyer get together? Is Faraday in danger whenever they go into the past because Desmond isn't there?

teeblah said...

Ben's lawyer dropped the line that he was meeting with his client that day knowing full well that she would follow him to Claire's mom. Now that we know she doesn't know all Ben has to do is threaten to tell her and the custody battle is legit and Kate is back in trouble.

I also think Ben hired the hitman guy to round up Sayid and a backup to get Kate if the custody thing didn't work. After Sayid went all "West" Sayid (gangsta) on the guy, Ben's plan B was they have to get to Kate because she's in danger.... Not perfect but I don't think we have any other reason then Ben trying to get them back to the Island for any of this stuff to be happening.

Sean said...

I can't believe nobody has commented on the marina setting for the finale. I mean, it's not like we know anyone who is planning to arrive in Los Angeles by boat ....

debbie said...

Totally agreed on Charlotte's weird eye color in this episode. I was trying to figure out if all the original Others have steely blue eyes ('cept for Richard, of course).

And the canoe time traveling along with them bothered me, too. I was thinking that maybe those boats belonged in the time period they're supposed to be in, and that's why it came with them...but then, who were those people shooting at them in the second boat? The Others? The Others did have canoes, right? Like in the episode where Sawyer, Kate and Jack escape from the zoo island.

Can't wait for more, MORE Rousseau!

Also, I've been wondering a lot lately where Widmore got his big bucks, and how that relates to him being banished from the island.

Anonymous said...

So how come Jin, who was very close to the freighter during the original flash, is in the radius to be part of the flashes, but the six on the helicopter who were on their way back to the island and closer than Jin aren't part of the flashes?

Jennifer said...

Sean: hah!

I am not a particular fan nor hater of Kate (for the record: hate Jack, am warmer to Sawyer), but I can see why she came up with the parent lie.

(a) The kid was, as far as they knew, going to go to foster care once they landed and they'd probably never see him again. They didn't know Claire's mom (did they even know her mom was alive and existing on the island?). They didn't know Jack was a relative. Would you want a kid you knew to go into foster care and be abandoned into the system? Especially if you knew/were friends with his mom? Plus the whole 06 thing- you know they'd have to reunite later, and if they didn't do this parent thing they'd have to kidnap the child away from whoever ended up with him.

(b) Kate was the only one who could be his fake parent. None of the guys could, and Sun was obviously not the parent of a blonde. She's a weak/bad choice for this considering her criminal past, but their options for who could pull that off were limited. And if the kid wasn't "biologically hers", she wouldn't be allowed to have it, period. (Don't get me started on how Kate should NOT have gotten off scot-free.) I am amazed that she has miraculously pulled off this bio-kid ruse though. Nobody ever tested the kid? Went to the doctor? Kate have a gyno exam?

drake lelane said...

RE: Time travelling with objects

Juliet theorized a couple episodes ago ("The Lie") that whatever they're holding or sitting in would travel with them when they flashed.

With that in mind, if we're not questioning why the compass and the guns have made the jump with them, seems pointless to get hung up on the boat as well. If you're attached to the story strongly enough, you should find yourself jumping through time as well. Watch out for nosebleeds...

Bobman said...

More defending Kate's keeping of Aaron - I'm pretty sure Claire begged her to take care of him at some point (my memory is nowhere near as good as most of yours). Giving him up to what would most likely be foster care or adoption when they got back under the slim chance that she could "meet her grandmother" is ludicrous.

galaxigirl said...

I have to say I love reading your reviews. You highlight the best of the episode. I love LOSt but am not too quick at summing things up...you are my Lost-brain of the moment. My eight year old shouted out "it's Jin" way before they turned him over. I was thinking it was Desmond, how weird would that have been. I've just got Desmond on the brain, I think that's why I really love you , because you love him too. Which leads to my other conclusion that The Des/Pen and Sun/Jin storylines are on similar but reciprocal paths.Do great highs beget great lows and vice versa. The supposed demise of Jin was horrible, but now we can anticipate a tremendous reunion with Sun. As for Desmond and Penny...I don't think she should got to L.A.Don't go Penny, don't go!

James said...

I agree with the other posters that whatever inanimate object that the group is touching goes with them. That explains them keeping the clothes, the backpacks, the boat and Jin's plank.

I think in a roundabout way, the Oceanic 6 need to get back to the island to stop the time-jumping. My guess is that Ben is the only one who knows how to stop it and has to physically be there to do it. But since he was expelled from the island, the only way he can get back is if the Oceanic 6 return with him.

James said...

I have a theory on the nosebleeds as well. I think Alan theorized that only the newcomers are time-jumping while the Others are staying in their own times. Otherwise, all of the remaining Others, including Richard, would have been time-jumping as well.

However, those persons who weren't Others the majority of their lives but still were Others can time-jump but their time-jumps are limited in number. Since Charlotte has been an Other longer than anyone else (she was born on the Island and is older than Miles), she started the nose bleed after the first jump. Then after a couple of jumps, Miles started and then Juliet. I think it has to do with your ties to the island. The longer you've been tied to the island, the less jumps you can make. Eventually, it will hit the rest of the group too.

Alan Sepinwall said...

So how come Jin, who was very close to the freighter during the original flash, is in the radius to be part of the flashes, but the six on the helicopter who were on their way back to the island and closer than Jin aren't part of the flashes?

Maybe it's a height thing as much as a distance thing. The chopper was horizontally closer to the island than Jin, but maybe it was high up enough that it was outside the time bubble the island disappeared into.

Maybe.

Anonymous said...

I think they're overusing the time jumps. The second they started getting shot at on the boat I said "here comes a time jump," and sure enough . . .

I expect next week they'll get attacked by the somke monster and jump away just in time.

drake lelane said...

RE: Jin time jumps, helicopter doesn't

It might also have to do with the route the helicopter was on. There's only one way to get to the island, a sort of seam in the island's magnetic/temporal pull. It stands to reason, then, if you're in that seam, maybe you're immune to the island's idiosynchrosies.

Anonymous said...

I'm assuming that Jin doesn't meet up with Locke, because if he does, wouldn't he have mentioned Jin being alive to Sun as a way to get her to go back to the island?

Anonymous said...

I'll give you the Eggtown comment, but I disagree about last night. I really enjoyed watching Kate... much more than Sun and Hurley (who is especially dispensable). I really enjoyed Kate and Jack's scenes and found this is the most I've liked Jack in a long time... since season 2, after which I converted to being a "Skater."

As for Hurley, he works best just as comedy relief when paired with Sawyer, who has become, oddly enough, the true heart and soul this season of Lost.

debbie said...

drake lelane said...
RE: Time travelling with objects

Juliet theorized a couple episodes ago ("The Lie") that whatever they're holding or sitting in would travel with them when they flashed.


Thanks! That makes me feel better.

Anonymous said...

off topic, a left over thought from Jughead - is it possible desmond's son, charlie, somehow is actually charlie? not sure if this works logically or not, but say des and family go back to the island - a pretty fair assumption i think - and the island continues bouncing through time, and when it stops, its the mid 70s or so and a few of the reamining surviviors take the opportunity to leave the island and one of them scoops up desmond's son for whatever reason, say des and penny get killed or go down a different wormhole or whatever. the person who takes baby charlie off the island knows that grown up charlie has to do all the things charlie did in order to bring everything about. so the person takes charlie to the Pace family in england and convinces them that they need to care for this baby and raise him as their own.

Brian said...

If Desmond and Penny go back to the island and somehow wind up dying in the past, then maybe they are actually Adam and Eve, the pair of skeletons that the Losties found in the cave way back in season 1.

EOTW said...

Some observations:

Anonymous said:

"Just goes to show how opinions can vary so much. The love triangle is definitely not my favorite aspect of the show, but I find Kate more interesting with Jack than with Sawyer. This is due to my opinion that Sawyer is the most cliched, obviously written character on the program, and Josh Holloway does nothing to elevate the writing above a stereotype. I can see all of his acting choices from a mile away; his performance is completely predictable."

Man, your first sentence is dead-on cause Sawyer OWNS. I've always thought that if Lock is, indeed, the heart of the show (he's the one most in touch with the island), then Sawyer i easily the soul of it. I'm completely fascinated and crazy about how Holloway finds ways to make his screen time count for so much. His one liners, nickname, and his vulnerabiity are also so entertaining. And i agree with everyone who feels the Sawyer/Kate thing is MUCH more better than K with J.

And I agree with the sad fact that the Kate-centric eps tend to suck a bit, though no shame to Lily who is so gorgeous and amazing to watch. someone has to be the slack.

RushBlog said:

"So . . . Kate was the one who originally drummed up the lie about her being Aaron's mother. I think that this makes me despise her more than ever. And I also despise Jack, Sayid, Sun and Hurley for going through with this plan.

This very unecessary lie prevented Carole Littleton from ever getting to know her grandson. And for that I will always despise the Oceanic Six. Especially Kate."

I don't think anyone, fan or character, is thrilled about this part of the Lie, but even Claire told Kate in her dream that she wanted her to raise her so nand to never take him back to the island.

It is just a TV show, um, brother.

christy said:

"I'm starting to think Ben's just behind everything. The lawyer, the guys with darts, the package Sun got. He's just creating redundancies so he has the best chance of getting everyone back to the island. Even if he has to pile seven horse-tranquilized people into a boat and sail it himself."

LOL. Great, and most likely, true post on here.

James said:

"I have a theory on the nosebleeds as well. I think Alan theorized that only the newcomers are time-jumping while the Others are staying in their own times."

But which Others? After all, some of the Others clearly came from the real world (a la Juliette) so they are not "natives." My theory, from here on out is that Richard was the first human to get to the island. Despite handing over leadership to Ben and then Locke, he is running the show and the island has always been his home. He was the captain of the Black Rock when it crashed and was that young age when it happened, so he will never die and stay the same age forever. the second part of my theory is that Jacob IS the island.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the previous comment that time jumps are now being used just as a device of convenience.

There have been about 3 times where time jumps have happened at the most dramatic point possible. It's a little cheesy in my opinion.

Also, if the Oceanic 6 plus Ben make it back to the island, unless something changes, no one is going to be there. As everyone who remained on the island is now unstuck in time, and while they are on the same timeline as the Oceanic 6, they are are not in the same "Dimension" for lack of a better word.

For example, if Jack and Farraday had synchronized watches before the Donkey wheel was turned, they would still be synched, even though Faraday is physically in 1954, and Jack is in the present time(or 2007, whatever). So when they get back to the island, unless the Island decides to jump the time traveling gang right back to that exact period, it will be deserted.

Sean said...

Anonymous, I've been worried about the same thing in re Charlie Pace/Hume.

The Rush Blog said...

"That's the point - they are all human and they all (except for Hurley) have committed despicable acts even worse than the baby mama lie. Murder, torcher, adultry - they are not good people. (it didn't really hit me until the second time I saw it I think did you notice how easy it was for Jack to get Kate back on the helicopter after she'd JUST told Sun she would get Jin?)"


And that is why I have such a low opinion of human beings in general. It's interesting. Most fans had demanded that Michael pay the consequences for his crimes. Yet, when the topic is broached for other Losties to pay for their crimes, many fans end up making excuses for them. The only thing I can explain for this phenonemon is good old-fashioned favoritism.

Michael is monster, but characters like Sawyer, Kate, Jack, Sayid and others are not. Interesting.

The Rush Blog said...

"Just goes to show how opinions can vary so much. The love triangle is definitely not my favorite aspect of the show, but I find Kate more interesting with Jack than with Sawyer. This is due to my opinion that Sawyer is the most cliched, obviously written character on the program, and Josh Holloway does nothing to elevate the writing above a stereotype. I can see all of his acting choices from a mile away; his performance is completely predictable. I don't like Kate but I don't have those same issues with Lilly, and I honestly think Matthew Fox is wonderful."


Frankly, I feel that Matthew Fox is a better actor than Josh Holloway . . . and that Jack Shephard is a more interesting character than Sawyer Ford. But . . . I do not think that Fox and Lilly have much screen chemistry together - unless they're portraying friends or siblings.

MikeD said...

the part about the canoe traveling with Sawyer, Juliet et al bothered me last night. I fully expected to see them end up in the water. The explanation that whatever they are touching, or what touches them, travels with them, makes sense. I think Jin has been barely or un- conscious for an unspecified period of time. And, that the debris he was floating on was outside of the "range" of the flashes for most of the time. The first flash that he was caught up in, after drifting in range, is the one which brought him into Rousseau and company's time space. I thought it was Desmond floating on the debris too, and was genuinely surprised to see that it was Jin. I never believed any of the "Jin's not dead" speculation that was floating around.

Lester Freamon said...

So we know that Rousseau's team is going to come down with a mysterious sickness. The question is, which? There seem to be a number of bizarre medical conditions on this island:

1. Minkowski's Syndrome: Symptoms include a consciousness displaced between different periods in a subject's life, fainting spells, catatonia, nosebleeds, and ultimately death.

Cause: Exposure to high levels of radiation or electromagnetic fields combined with travel across a time bubble.

Treatment: finding a "constant", a person or object present in both time periods to which the subject has a profound emotional attachment.

Known Sufferers: George Minkowski, Desmond Hume, Theresa Spencer, Eloise the Rat

2. Cabin Fever: Symptoms include disorientation, suicidal tendencies

Causes: Prolonged proximity to time bubbles

Treatment: Unknown

Known Sufferers: Regina, miscellaneous crew of the Kahana.

3. Temporal Jet Lag: Symptoms included nosebleeds, seizures, headaches, double vision, and long term memory loss.

Causes: Time travel

Treatment: Unknown

Known Sufferers: Charlotte Lewis, Miles Straume, Juliet Burke


People seem to be confusing disease number 1 with disease number 3, but it should be noted that with the exception of the highly-visible nosebleeds, they have completely different symptoms.

Sam Hobart said...

For example, if Jack and Farraday had synchronized watches before the Donkey wheel was turned, they would still be synched, even though Faraday is physically in 1954, and Jack is in the present time(or 2007, whatever). So when they get back to the island, unless the Island decides to jump the time traveling gang right back to that exact period, it will be deserted.

Actually, I don't think this is true. Faraday's watch would sync up with Jack's watch just after Penny found the Oceanic 6, a few days after the island was moved. Faraday has three more years of living before his watch would sync up with Jack's. Although I suspect that the time jumping stop somewhere around 2007, meaning the island six would lose roughly 3 years.

Undercover Asian Man said...

I think the problem with the Mainland story line has less to do with it being Kate-centric and more to do with the assumed inevitability of the Six returning to the Island. Knowing they will make it back, all the tension and drama are deflated from watching the step-by-step process they take getting from here to there. It feels like they are finding artificial delays in order to juice up the storyline and extend it for a while - a technique that Lost has practically built itself upon - but in this case the audience can clearly guess where the storyline will lead. Therefore, we can worry much less about custody battles and Sayid-hating assassins and even Sun's seemingly duplicitous leanings since we have a strong feeling that they will inevitably make up and get their asses back to the Island, with no one dying before then.

I don't think any of the Mainland characters, including Ben, could hold our interests there because the mechanizations of Mainland life are so mundane (lawyers, driving around in cars and vans, and cell phone conversations) compared to the action of the Island (time jumping, stealing boats from unknown crashees, and not knowing who or what is around the next jump). So Kate gets a pass from me, as I think Hurley's focus a few episodes back felt just as time wasting as Kate's did now.

I also think this feeling of Inevitability is what makes time travel stories in general very anti-climatic. If we can't change the past in order to shape the future, why struggle with anything? The Six will return to the Island and save it no matter what happens on screen, because that is their fate. If the Sawyer/Locke/Juliet crew are instrumental to saving the Island, then they will survive all attempts to kill them with flaming arrows or shots from the chasing boat because that is their fate, and nothing in their (relative) past will change the future of them restoring order to the Island.

It's like Michael trying to kill himself by crashing his car into the wall. He couldn't do it, because he was fated to save Jin and Desmond. Instead of watching a drama, we are watching a puppet show lacking free will. If we can determine who exactly is instrumental towards saving the Island, we can treat them as Immortal like Michael in his car. Ben, Jack, Locke seem to be in this group, who else? I don't think it will be everyone, I think another surprise death or two will happen (Sawyer seems a good candidate).

On a trashy note, young Russo and young Eloise are hotties. I don't remember many English speaking military groups having female members serving at that time, but if it gets young Ellie in the story, I'll overlook. Even though it WAS patently ridiculous that Richard would send her alone with Daniel to disarm the bomb, as she looked like she was a very weak kid who could barely hold a rifle upright, and no match for even the geeky Daniel to overpower.

Alan: For all we talk about whether or not there's a master plan at work on "Lost," we have to keep in mind that a TV show, unlike a novel, or even a series of novels, is a living, breathing organism, one that changes and grows in ways that even its creators couldn't anticipate. Characters and events that seemed so important in the early days have turned out not to be for all sorts of reasons: an actor who didn't want to live in Hawaii anymore (Mr. Eko), a kid who was growing too fast for the show's timeline (Walt and his psychic powers), a bit of island geography that the network deemed too weird to revisit for a while (the four-toed foot).

This seems to be a common argument against skeptics of the show, and it is a poor one. Most of the complaints from skeptics like myself have nothing to do with 'organic storytelling' or 'cast availability' but extremely poor plotting that the showrunners had and have complete control over. I'll buy the Eko and Libby storylines being affected by the actors' career choices. I'm much less inclined to buy that Emerson was made Leader of the Others because of how he said a milk line, and that Ben Other was always going to be the pivot point of the show (I read your interview with Lindelof, Alan, and I know he gave an answer to this. But the answer he gave about choosing Emerson was just about the only one he COULD give without admitting he had no idea the Leader of the Other would grow to such prominence outside a "master plan". What else could he say? And how much time did he have in crafting the answer he gave you (at least a year)? That is why I found his answer much less comforting than you did).

But "organic storytelling" doesn't explain highly emphasized plot points that were purposefully injected into the story without a purpose other than to titillate. The Numbers. The need to enter the Numbers into a computer when it could have been automated (save for the manual labor made great television). The hieroglyphics in the countdown clock. The kidnappings/ baby emphasis. The virus. Why the Others disguised themselves and marched around daily as primitives when they controlled the Island with modern technology and knew how hard it was to get to the Island. Why the Others built a whole fake primitive village. Why the smoke monster was so terrifying at first that the Losties wouldn't venture into the jungle, but when it became a plot burden, the Losties ignored the terrifying-ness of the Monster and started to trek the jungle alone at night all the time without concern.

Even the Polar Bears. Making the Donkey wheel be in a freezing environment in order to "explain" the Polar Bears is some of the worst, post-facto plotting I've ever seen. The Others really thought it was easier to train a polar bear to leave it's cage, be lead to the Orchid station, go down that elevator (Ben and Locke and Keamy had a long ride down a very cramped shaft), go down to the room, wait for someone to load that room with metal to blow a hole to access the Donkey Wheel, get the polar bear to go down a narrow ladder that Ben could barely fit through, and then turn the wheel as trained?

I suggested a more docile donkey, which someone pointed out would be tough to go down a ladder. How about a chimpanzee? They are much more easily trained, stronger than humans, can live in the Orchid hatch with his trainer, and very comfortable in warm Island climates. They probably have a better chance of surviving in Tunisia as well.

Notice I didn't even bring up the absurdity of a magic wheel that needs to be turned that happens to be surrounded in a freezing cold climate. I'm GIVING them that, as absurd as a Post-facto device that is to explain the need for Polar Bears in a Jungle. Even then, the plotting and explanation is so shamefully inadequate as to be nothing short of insulting.

These elements have nothing to do with actor availability or organic story telling, and were in complete control of Lindelof and Cuse.

It also has to do with smugness and guarantees. One of the best shows on television - Battlestar Galactica - has used organic storytelling and has been open about it (New Caprica arc, Lee leaving CAG to be a Quorum member, the final 5, etc.). I have nothing but the highest respect and admiration and love for that show, even when I didn't think the arc was very good (New Caprica).

The difference is that BSG is honest about their approach and don't introduce a shocking element until they know what it means (Final 5 for instance). Lost introduces major shocking things they have no idea how to explain, and then do interviews guaranteeing that they have an explanation. They either don't bother (Dharma's continuing food drops, why the Purge didn't include Desmond when all you had to do was knock hard on the hatch's back door like Daniel did to get him to come out) or give such a ludicrous one (the need for Polar Bears) that many objective observers can rightfully conclude was made up post-facto.

I realize that Lost is much like religion. Those that want to believe will believe, and evidence means nothing compared to faith. Unintended signs will be seen that proves the path always existed because the human brain is wired to see patterns and make logical interpretations. Perhaps my criticism against Lost is related to my feeling about religion and by faith of skeptical analysis. Maybe. I really think it has more to do with being strongly against false storytelling and the long term damage Lost will inflect by promising the world and delivering garbage.

christy said...

So we know that Rousseau's team is going to come down with a mysterious sickness. The question is, which? There seem to be a number of bizarre medical conditions on this island:

1. Minkowski's Syndrome


Yes, and shouldn't Jin also get it? Boat people who wandered inside the perimeter without following a certain bearing got Minkowski's Syndrome as you call it. So, Jin was on the boat, and he somehow ended up within the perimeter before the first time jump. There's no way he would have been able to enter via the correct bearing floating on rubble. So he should probably be Billy Pilgrimming, too. Which might make it more crucial for Sun to return to the island because she'd be the only one who could serve as his constant if his consciousness bounces between "now" and some time before he's on the island.

I keep wondering why, if Locke's anxious to get off the island, he hasn't thought about the submarine yet. Some of the moments they've traveled to were moments before when the sub exploded but after the sub was put there. I know there are a lot of reasons that the sub may not be a viable way off the island for Locke, but I thought he'd at least think about it.

Alan Sepinwall said...

The difference is that BSG is honest about their approach and don't introduce a shocking element until they know what it means

Actually, that's not the case. Ron Moore has said on a number of occasions that he introduced ideas and figured out how to resolve them, or what they meant, at a later date.

As to your larger point about what to believe or not believe about the master plan and how in some ways "Lost" fandom is religious in nature, I do find it interesting to think on your commentary on each episode of "Dexter." I love reading them, but you often ascribe motivations and depth of meaning to characters that I don't see at all on the screen (or imagine on the page). I like "Dexter" but think it's a fairly thin show that's elevated by Michael C. Hall's performance. You, on the other hand, find meaning there that I don't.

If we were to get the "Dexter" showrunner in a room, show him a scene where I reacted only to what was there on the surface and where you saw something much deeper, and ask him which of us correctly guessed the the level of thought that went into that scene, I imagine he'd side with you. That doesn't mean he's telling the truth, any more than Lindelof may be telling the truth about certain matters related to "Lost." It just means that your take speaks more highly of him than mine.

With every TV show, to a certain degree, we see what we want to see.

The point of the long preamble was less another "is there a master plan or isn't there?" essay than an attempt to point out how many parts of the show that once seemed important were eventually jettisoned as inessential, and yet Kate (whom I can take or leave, but whom other commenters clearly like more than I do) remains as prominent as ever.

Archie said...

Wow!!! Loving everyone's comments - and Alan - it is definitely better to have your detailed review than just a quickie .... even though I was super impatient to get chatting on this yesterday

One question - that nobody seems to have seen - I might be mistaken - but why was Kate's address in that ninja's pocket???????

Capcom said...

Great review and comments!

I especially liked Ben's perky, "Hello Kate!", done in his usual hidey-ho manner when he's going to shock someone. :o)

christy said...

Speaking of Dexter, LaGuerta just popped up on Ugly Betty.

matty said...

I see so many people commenting that the polar bears were there only to turn the "frozen donkey wheel".

Has that been confirmed? I mean, it makes some measure of sense, especially considering that Charlotte found the skeleton in the Tunisian desert.

But it seems to me that the Others inherited a lot of their technology from Dharma, which I always assumed was responsible for most of the experimentation on the island. Aren't there a few hints throughout the show about Dharma trying to adjust the bears to a tropical climate?

Richard Hoeg said...

I talk a little bit about this in my blog (see my profile), but in thinking about this episode further, I think I may have stumbled upon what is making everyone, including Alan, so uneasy about the longboat transporting with the castaways. It's not that it shouldn't have been transported based on the time travel rules the show had previously established (see the compass, Juliet's hypothesis, etc.), it's that the only reason the Losties were heading back to the beach in the first place was to recover their motor boat. The fact that the castaways all thought it was a good idea to go back for the boat implies that the items transported in the first flash had special properties of some sort.

If, however, as the longboat sequence implies, the only things that transport are the things that a time traveler is touching at the time of a flash, then our intrepid island crew lost the motor boat a good four or five flashes ago. In other words there was no reason to go back to the beach.

Now it's possible (even likely), that the castaways themselves simply don't understand the rules, but seeing as how our understanding of said rules can only come from them, the longboat scenario (and the accompanying trek to the beach) winds up bearing more than the faint whiff of sloppy writing.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Richard, I believe the Zodiac did come with them through several flashes (it was still there after the camp disappeared, I think). My guess is that somebody -- whether Rose and Bernard, or the Oceanic Six, or some other faction -- took it off the beach in the time period Sawyer and company wound up in when they found the longboats.

xyz said...

@Undercover Asian Man: You are sounding more and more like a broken record each week. Most of the things in your post are factually incorrect (polar bears/"virus"/numbers/kid kidnappings to name a few) atleast when you are bashing the show take the time and effort to make sure that what you are posting is factually correct. Here's something to get you started with your research www.lostpedia.com

Richard Hoeg said...

Hmmm...I'd have to go back and check to see if the Zodiac did come with them over the course of several flashes. If, as you suppose, Rose or Bernard was in contact with the boat for one or more of the flashes (thus explaining its continued travels through time), the main problem would seem to be that the writers are taking short cuts rather than clearly explaining the rules. Thus, the disconnect regarding the longboats that I think many of us had during the episode.

(I actually recalling thinking at the time that it was dangerous for the castaways to take the boat on the premise that a flash would have exactly the effect you supposed.)

Jordan said...

I don't see what the big deal is with how much they planned out when. I don't really care. All I care about is that they give me an hour of enjoyment week after week, which they do. It doesn't matter when they thought up time traveling, The Constant was brilliant tv. I don't care when they thought up their ideas--or when they claimed they did--as long as they are good ideas.

Anonymous said...

I love the show, don't get me wrong, but almost all of the drama and mystery is based on a complete lack of communication. There were at least 4-5 scenes in the episode where characters asked questions of each other that were either ignored, or that they didn't have time to answer. I find it hard to believe that that would be acceptable time and again. Whatever. It's like watching Three's Company sometimes - if they only communicated, the comedy (mystery) would gone.

Lester Freamon said...

"I see so many people commenting that the polar bears were there only to turn the "frozen donkey wheel".
Has that been confirmed? "

I don't think this would make sense. The polar bears were Dharma. The donkey wheel predates Dharma; in fact, given the lengths Ben had to go to get at it, Dharma seemingly wanted nothing to do with it. Clearly they used bears in their experiments; that's how one ended up in ancient Tunisia. But it's more likely that it time-travelled in the booth, just like the bunnies.

1. Minkowski's Syndrome
Yes, and shouldn't Jin also get it? Boat people who wandered inside the perimeter without following a certain bearing got Minkowski's Syndrome as you call it.


Not everyone gets Minkowski Syndrome by not following the bearing, only people who've been exposed to radiation. Remember that two people went out in the zodiac: Minkowski and Brandon. Minkowski got MS. Brandon got Cabin Fever. The difference is probably that at some point Minkowski was exposed to a lot of radiation.

Jin's definitely at risk for Cabin Fever and Temporal Jet Lag though.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more with your opinions about Kate and Kate/Jack. Kate is compelling and dynamic only in her relationship with Sawyer (this has been largely the case for three seasons now), who has, incidentally, become the emotional pivot point of the entire story. Kudos to Holloway for taking taking this character on such a slow, poignant, and painful journey towards redemption.

Mrglass said...

Why Alan keeps on writing small essays after every episode of 'Lost' is the only real mystery. There is nothing there. I agree with UAM 100%, time jumps are cheap and only the latest trick from this show's writers to keep the story going another year.

In the first season, we were wondering what was the explanation for everything going on in the Island. Now, the few fans still watching seem to accept any explanation; no matter how stupid. I predicted time travel would play a role at one point, and I expect that at least one character is a werewolf or vampire.

And, oh yeah, why the hell are those who escaped going back to the Island? Nobody knows, and the fans or critics don't seem to care. (Because there is one more year, that's why.)

Heroes got rightfully hammered last season since the plot didn't make any sense, but critics still marvel at the amazingly erratic 'Lost' story. It is still a pretty good show, but mostly because of high production value.

Bryan said...

Why Alan keeps on writing small essays after every episode of 'Lost' is the only real mystery.

Yeah, Alan, what in the hell is wrong with you? You must be the only television writer in America that continues to ponder this junk every week.

(that was sarcasm - It's so hard to convey tone in an email)

Josh said...

i hope jughead was entombed in the four-toed foot statue.

Anonymous said...

1. When Sayid was fighting with the "orderly," my daughter and I were shouting, "Kill him with your ankles!" I still think the time Sayid killed the Other on the beach with his bound feet is one of the single greatest moments of television ever.

2. About Ben going back to the Island with the Oceanic 6: I thought that when Ben left the Island, he told Locke that he could never return? So he is gathering them up and sending them back, but I don't think he can go all the way back with them.

But why do they need to go back? Why was Ben telling them, when they got to the radio station and had him tied up to the tree, that they weren't supposed to leave? Why didn't anyone ask him WHY? When he told Jack, at the funeral home, that all the bad stuff that was happening was "because you left," why didn't Jack ask him, "Why?" And now that the Six (sans Hurley) are together on the dock, why isn't he explaining it?

Is their return going to stop the time shifting? How? The time shifting started when Ben turned the donkey wheel and left the Island.

Speaking of time-shifting, we know that Locke intends to turn the wheel and leave the Island himself, for the purpose of getting the Six to go back. But so far, it seems that he had only contacted Jack before he died. Its not even clear that he was working with Ben, who had gotten back to the States before him. Or did the time-shfting of the Island mean that Locke returned to the States on a different timeline, perhaps years after Ben did?

My head hurts. But I love the show.

I am not one of those who hates Kate and Jack together. Sawyer's genuine love for Kate is touching, but he's the one who doesn't have real chemistry with her, IMO. Two rogues together? No, I like the rogue Kate with good little boy Jack. I'm hoping for a Juliet/Sawyer hook-up -- the good girl doctor with the con man.

JIN!!! I KNEW YOU WEREN'T DEAD!!!!

Someone please stop Sun from killing Ben. But I want to know how Ben knows that Jin is still alive

JDSTL said...

OK, guys, so no one has mentioned the fact that Carol Littleton, Claire's mom, was in LA, and NOT looking for Aaron. What's up with that? What do you all think?
-Anonymous

The more important thing about this scene is that it was Ben's lawyer that was visiting her. Strange coincidence that he represents both Ben and Oceanic Airlines for settlements?? Hmmmm

jim treacher said...

I realize that Lost is much like religion.

And I suppose you're Galileo. Get over yourself.

cingersoll said...

"I totally agree with the previous comment that time jumps are now being used just as a device of convenience.

There have been about 3 times where time jumps have happened at the most dramatic point possible. It's a little cheesy in my opinion."

I think that's the exact point. All of these points of time were specifically to ensure the continuity within the closed-loop of the Island history.

If time hadn't jumped, Sawyer surely would have revealed himself to Kate -- an event we know did not happen. If Locke had decided to go find himself when he saw the light, time would have jumped before he could do it.

This isn't necessarily because the time jumps are being manipulated, but because that's when they happened in the Island's timeline.

The boats is setting this up for the future, something they can't do for past scenes. I'm sure we will see the same scene from the POW of the boat of shooters when suddenly the boat they are pursuing disappears.

Whoever Jacob is (Jack?), he knows the whole timeline of the island. The six must come back, Hurley/Michael can't die, etc. because they have a role in the overall closed-loop timeline.

tabernacle said...

I echo the above sentiment: I was glad that the show revealed Ben as the lawyer's client--and that we didn't spend three or four episodes on that particular mystery.

However, with Sun (possibly) being EVOL, I'm feeling a bit of the same thing I believe Alan has mentioned when discussing _Damages_. It's impossible to play along at home, and the switches in loyalty/allegiance seem arbitrary, for the sake of twistiness. There _has_ been more set-up in the case of _Lost_ (if only in the sense that it's been a slow boil), and I'm somewhat certain that some effort will be made to show that, ultimately, Sun was acting rationally in pursuit of her self-interest (and not gratuitously EVOL), but if it's just chain-yanking that doesn't track in retrospect, I shan't be pleased.

I agree with the million before me who find Jack boring, Kate+Jack boring, Sawyer awesome, Sawyer+Kate fine, and Michael Emerson's unique way of reading a line a thing of beauty.

Just to have something to check against my own, what questions still remain for you guys as sources of suspense? What are we curious about at this point? What, precisely, is the main reason to watch the next episode? What mystery do you most want answered?

Anonymous said...

I love so much you you put perfectly into words the problem with Kate stories, and with the Jack/Kate yawnfest storyline blah-blah lame love story storyline.

"Kate is by far the least compelling, particularly when paired with Jack instead of Sawyer."

Hear hear. But when you see Sawyer's face, staring at her with longing, you can't help but root for the two of them. I love how you point out the great moments Josh Halloway has been showing.

Great review, Alan!

Patty said...

I'm enjoying reading your blog as I "rewatch" season 5 in anticipation of season 6. Had to comment because I too think Michael Emerson's dry sense of humor with those mundane comments is fantastic!

RosieP said...

Claire never asked Kate to care for Aaron. The only reason Kate claimed Aaron as her son was for selfish reasons. The Oceanic Six never bothered to find out whether Claire had any other family members in Australia. This last part really horrified me.

Juanita's Journal said...

Hear hear. But when you see Sawyer's face, staring at her with longing, you can't help but root for the two of them. I love how you point out the great moments Josh Halloway has been showing.

"Eggtown" put an end to my support of the Kate/Sawyer ship. I finally realized that he had been nothing more than her bitch.