Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lost, "Lighthouse": Classical composition

A review of tonight's "Lost" coming up just as soon as I lie to a samurai...
"Jack is here because he has to do something. He can't be told what that is. He's got to find it himself. Sometimes, you can just hop in the back of someone's cab and tell them what they're supposed to do. Other times, you have to let him look out at the ocean for a while." -Jacob
"Well, next time, how about you tell me everything upfront? I'm not big on secret plans." -Hurley
Midway through "Lighthouse," Hurley tells Jack, "This is cool, dude. Very old school." And I agree with him - just not in a good way. If last week's "The Substitute" evoked great past episodes like "Walkabout," "Orientation" and "The Brig," "Lighthouse" mainly reminded me of those pre-"Through the Looking Glass" episodes of the show where characters would wander around aimlessly for most of the running time and fail to ask any good questions when given the opportunity, only for things to be saved by a really good cliffhanger.

Here's the thing: I'm on record as saying I don't require answers to everything in this final season, so long as good stories are told. But in two out of these first four episodes, we've gotten no answers and flat stories.

I know there are certain storytelling devices you just have to accept when you watch "Lost," like the way characters rarely seem to share information or don't ask good questions, but it was easier to accept that in the show's earlier days, when we knew Lindelof and Cuse (who got script credit for this episode, the show's Number-iffic 108th) had to stall because they didn't know how long they'd have to stretch things out for. But the finish line isn't just set; it's in sight, and now it feels particularly stupid that Jack apparently doesn't know any more about what happened to Claire than what Dogen told him at the end of "What Kate Does," and maddening that the island's movers and shakers still feel the need to manipulate our heroes through misleading or purposely vague instructions.

Watching Jack smash the lighthouse's mirrors, and recognizing that this is exactly what Jacob must have intended when he told Hurley to bring Jack along, reminded me once again of Ben's overly-convoluted plan to get Jack into performing spinal surgery on him. Back in the middle of season 3, I asked Lindelof why Ben required such a ridiculous scheme when he could have walked up to the castaways' beach on, like, day 5 and offered them shelter and food (let alone a trip home on the Dharma sub) in exchange for some tumor removal. Lindelof countered that "that version is considerably less intriguing for a mystery show." The problem is that if that's the only reason things are vague and overly-complicated - if it doesn't come from the characters, or the needs of the story, but from an external need to maintain an air of mystery - then it doesn't work. It's obvious and distracting and irritating, especially this late in the game, when there's no damn excuse for it.

Yes, Jack Shephard can be a stubborn ass who doesn't always do or believe what he's told, but he's that way in part because of what's happened to him on Craphole Island. He came back to the island in a much calmer, accepting state of mind, and while that state of mind got all blown to hell when Faraday's plan failed to work (and killed Juliet), I have to believe that if Jacob's ghost stood next to Hurley and through him told Jack exactly what was going to happen and what he needed him to do to make things better, Jack might've listened. Would that have made for compelling drama? No, but if that's the case, tell a different story! Don't build an entire hour around our characters once again being led around by the nose, following some plan they don't much understand, getting vague promises of more information down the road. Because that damn sure isn't compelling drama.

Nor, for the most part, was the flash-sideways to Jack's life as every-fourth-weekend dad. As I've been saying for a couple of weeks, I think all the 2004 scenes may eventually play better on second viewing, after we find out what they really mean, but until that happens, they might as well be extended dream sequences - yet another thing we don't particularly need to be messing about with here in the final season.

Last week's Locke story at least worked as a kind of coda to the life of a character who's dead in the main timeline, and brought us back to a relationship we knew well from several previous episodes. Jack's relationship with son David, on the other hand, was brand-new, created from some previous marriage Jack had due to whatever circumstances are different in this timeline versus the one we know(*). So we were starting from scratch, and while Matthew Fox and Dylan Minnette were both quite good at portraying the unsteady father-son dynamic, it was a lot harder to invest in than seeing Locke reunited with Helen. I suppose you could look on it as something of a happy ending for alt-Jack (he finally bonds with his kid) just like Locke got last week, but if so, the payoff didn't feel as strong because it mostly came from new material (though Jack's daddy issues date back to the comparable episode from the first season), and because the character is still with us on the island in 2007, and it therefore felt less necessary.

(*) And between Jack having a kid and a different ex-wife (or, at least, having married Sarah at a much younger age) and Locke being on great terms with Anthony Cooper, it's clear that this timeline's changes go much deeper than the island being sunk and Others like Ben and Dogen being on the mainland. I also have to wonder if Jack ever had his appendix out in either timeline, or if the scar he was so puzzled by came from something on the island, and is being explained away by whatever force created this other timeline.

So of the three stories in the "Lighthouse," the only one that kept me engaged throughout was Jin's nightmarish stint at Claire's tent, with its creepy homemade baby doll in the cradle Locke built and the variety of deadly tools and surgical instruments. Turning Claire into a second-generation version of Rousseau is an intriguing direction(**) and a nice turn of events for Emilie de Ravin, who didn't exactly have the most dynamic character to play for the first four seasons. The sense of dread and insanity in that tent was palpable, and I enjoyed watching Daniel Dae Kim portray Jin's dawning acceptance of who and what his friend had become, and how desperately he needs to get away from her.

(**)Though it does leave me wondering if, like the post-"Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" Locke for most of season 5, we saw a character we knew die, for all intents and purposes, a while back without realizing it. Did Claire (at least as we knew her) really die when the mercenaries attacked New Otherton? After Christian's ghost came for her? Or is this more Claire than Smokey is Locke?

The return of Smokey (or insert your own fake nickname here)means things can only get better next week. And they'd better. I didn't want to believe the complaints of the last two weeks that Team Darlton was under some sort of obligation to write the series differently because we're in the final season. But I see it now, and I'm starting to get impatient waiting for things to either get in gear, or just get more entertaining. 'Cause when Terry O'Quinn and/or Josh Hollway aren't around, things are dragging - far more than they should at this stage in the series' lifespan.

Some other thoughts:

• Sayid's accent remains decidedly more British post-resurrection. I have to assume this is deliberate, and not just Naveen Andrews getting a little sloppy, because sooner or later someone would correct him.

One of my Twitter followers compared Jack's pep talk to David to the scene where Casey tells his son he'll always be proud of him, from the "Sports Night" season 1 finale. If you've seen said episode, you'll likely agree.

• With this season's episodes deliberately following the structure of season one's (a group premiere, then a Kate episode, then Locke, then Jack, etc.), it made sense of Jack to return to the caves he first discovered in that season's comparable "White Rabbit." The cave is also where Jack and Kate (in the next episode, "House of the Rising Sun") found the Adam and Eve skeletons, and here Hurley again gets to play the voice of the fans in suggesting the corpses might be two Oceanic 815 passengers sent far back in time.

• Hurley's time travel comments, by the way, for some reason made me think of the kayak shootout from last season when Sawyer and company kept skipping through eras. Is that the only bit of time travel from that season that never got entirely explained (i.e., we never found out who was in the other boat)? And, if so, do you think we'll ever find out the answer, or is that one of those minor loose threads we just have to accept won't get tied up?

What did everybody else think?

224 comments:

1 – 200 of 224   Newer›   Newest»
Paul Worthington said...

All I can say now is this was a very satisfying episode -- answers, and more mysteries.

renton said...

You know, with those problems you mentioned... maybe they should set an end date.

CJ said...

Actually, I did like the off-island bit with Jack and his son, or rather I found it compelling because it makes sense for all of Jack's father issues that he might only move towards some kind of closure as a parent himself.

I am a big fan of Locke and was sad when his death was made clear, but I was more moved by Jack's moment with his son than by Locke's moment with Helen. And I can't say that I am generally a fan of Jack.

Chuck said...

"just as soon as I lie to a samurai..."

I GUESSED ONE RIGHT!!!!

Paul Worthington said...

Also, I still don't think 'our' Locke -- the character we followed four all those years -- is gone for good.

Jen said...

My primary takeaway from this episode is that Jin is clearly not an Arrested Development fan, because otherwise he'd know that you never promise crazy a baby.

For a Jack episode though I found this hour pretty enjoyable though I can't really explain why. I really like the sideways stories but suspect it's more for the 'where's waldo?' of it all.

Michael said...

Wonder why Jin said that he lied to Claire about Kate raising Aaron? That must have come up during the time when Kate, Jack, and Hurley were in New Otherton. Otherwise, there's no way he knew that Kate had Aaron since he was on the boat with Michael when Kate and Aaron were on the helicopter.

Ed O. said...

With Claire referring to Smokey as her friend at the end, should we assume that Smokey was Christian those times we kept seeing him? In the cabin with Claire, egging Locke on to fix the donkey wheel, etc..? That was what I jumped to.

Sparky Z said...

Alan,

Your first footnote confused me a bit, but I think you're forgetting the season 3 episode where Juliet took out Jack's appendix.

Lockab said...

Jack has rarely been as frustrating and insufferable as he was here. Has he ever not been a condescending prick to Hurley from the time he was acting like a dick to him right after the crash to today? While Jack's yelling at Hurley for not having the answers and answering Hurley's questions with questions instead of truth, did he happen to notice that Hurley's name is on that wheel too? No, because it's all about Jack all of the time. He's right, he would make a bad father. And seeing as how he only sees his son once a month and didn't even know he was a brilliant pianist, he was obviously right. Smashing the mirrors was the kind of silly, immature, selfish, foolish, knee-jerk reaction we've been seeing him make for years. Despite everything he's been through, he hasn't changed a bit. Why Jacob wants this jerk so badly as a replacement is beyond me.

Mike said...

thought it was wonderful and clearly every charcter is getting a redemption arc in their flash sideways.

i think this will be all be clear soon, yet there was still plenty of great stuff here.

its also interesting how all our main charcters are now away from the temple

I really think Darlton has earned the benfit of the doubt. You basically havent liked only 2 eps yet you sound really pissed

Anonymous said...

I mean, I wouldn't call it a good episode necessarily, but I found it entertaining in a goofy, silly way. Hurley was funny.

Fernando said...

Juliet took out Jack's appendix in Season 4.

I enjoyed the episode, it did seem to drag a lil, but thats par for the course on lost. And the added importance of the numbers next to the candidates was satisfying enough for this week.

I see ur point about maybe Jack being a lil more level headed if told the truth, but I can also see him wanting to know and then doing the opposite just to feel free or that he's not gonna play by the other person's rules. U have to show Jack something, not tell him.

Christopher Rosen said...

FYI: Juliet took Jack's appendix out, on the Island, towards the end of season four. So yeah, he definitely had it taken out in the "real timeline."

Otherwise: couldn't disagree with you more about the episode. This is the show. This has always been the show. And they are delivering what they've set up for five seasons. It's all mysteries and red herrings and unasked questions, but you trust that they'll give you some answers by the end of the season.

If you can't roll with that by now, take Lindelof's advice and go watch NCIS.

christy said...

I don't quite get the first footnote--Juliet took out Jack's appendix on the island, right?

That didn't look like the same cradle Locke made Claire.

And my rewatch this past summer and fall, along with occasionally catching episodes out of order on ABC late night, tells me that Sayid's accent has been crazy inconsistent throughout. I remember specifically thinking he was getting REALLY British around the time they got Jughead out of the cave.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I forget that Juliet took out Jack's appendix. Thanks, folks.

Anonymous said...

No disrespect to Alan because I love his work (as I've been sitting by the computer waiting for this review for the last hour or so, sad I know) but it just seems he often craps on centric episodes of characters he doesn't like (ie Kate & Jack) and raves about the ones that center around characters that he enjoys, although both the Locke episode and the Jack episode had basically the same story telling device. In this episode Jack blindly followed Hurly and last week Sawyer blindly followed Locke. Each time nothing was really answered until the very end. I just don't why one is loved and the other is hated? Perhaps I'm missing it, idk.

Either way I just wanted to say that and add that I enjoyed this weeks episode. I know this is all building up to go somewhere and I'm excited to see how it ends.

ej said...

One little joke that is a shout-out to the fans: Hurley and Jack finding Shannon's inhaler. Check out Jorge Garcia's question to Darlton at Comic-Con 2009.

christy said...

I don't think we have any reason to believe Locke's current form and the Christian we've seen through the years ISN'T the same entity. But it does seem like Claire differentiates between the two. "My dad told me...and my friend told me." Which means, assuming it is the same guy, he's got her fooled in some way.

I'm hoping, that there's something more to all this than simply Smokey and Jacob "claiming" various characters as pieces in their game of backgammon or whatever.

Lostpedia has #108 as Wallace...hmm...WALT? (I really want Walt to come back into play, if you can't tell).

Devin McCullen said...

Yeah, I liked this one more than Alan did. Especially the scenes in the cave, and getting to see Jack & Hurley talk about why they came back. I really felt the weight of their having been gone for 3 years, and still trying to get a handle on being on the island again.

It's certainly possible that Christian in Smokey, but Claire did say that her father told her that the Others had Aaron, and that her friend (Smokey) also told her.

Anonymous said...

Every episode does not have to be deep or answer questions, sometimes it can just be a thrill ride, which this was.
And while the character's agency may come into question and they end up acting like pieces on a chess board (or bacgammon set), I always like the character interaction while those pieces are being moved around, especially when it's Hurley involved

Puff

GV said...

I think the big problem with this season is that the question at the heart of it--can the timelines merge/did the bomb sink the island?--isn't all that compelling. It was a question that was forced onto us at the season premiere, and one we have no way of really guessing at until we are told. It's jus not that interesting to debate since it's binary. I guess you can say that with all the Others on the mainland it suggests that the bomb didn't sink the Island, but if there was indeed a Back to the Future style fork in 1977 it doesn't explain how Locke can be in their camp in 1955 in both timelines.

The other frustration, I think, stems from the fact that we have been told that we wont get the answer to every single question, which is fine so long as we don't get episodes were NOTHING is really answered. Okay, so we see Jacob's window, but was that on anyone's top 1000 list before this season started? The whole dialogue about not seeing the lighthouse before seemed was a little to cutesie for my liking.

Blake said...

I can certainly understand the frustration. Did the part where Miles and Hurley are playing tic tac toe because they're bored resonate with anyone else as a slight rebuke to the fans for wanting crazy, season-finale level excitement all season long? Either way, I certainly enjoyed the banter between those two about Hurley's hunger. Made me laugh.

bbf203 said...

The canoe thing from last season has been stuck in my head for a while, too. As I remember, Sawyer's group found the two canoes at their old beach camp, which looked deserted, and there was an Ajira water bottle (this was several episodes before Ajira flight 316 was mentioned). The reason I mention this was because in this episode, Kate mentioned to Jack that she was going to the old beach camp to look for Claire. I suspect that this is the start of assembling that "second canoe".

Could possibly we end up with Kate and Claire's groups joining up at the beach (with Locke and Sawyer in tow). Hopefully this will then set up a scenario where Sawyer shoots at himself. This is exactly the type of thing that the writers would love to sneak in, like the passing back and forth of the watch between Alpert and Locke.

Anonymous said...

108 = Wallace, I must have missed that because I've heard that referenced a few times. All I can say is:

"Where's Wallace at? Where's Wallace String!?"

James said...

Jack is my favorite character so I enjoyed it. I was annoyed by his smashing of the glasses - was it just a peeping glass or could he travel through time with the spins?

Despite that the episode was kind dragging it's leg along with the island verse.

Seeing the lighthouse and then comparing it to the cave, it definitely doesn't seem like the same man lived or worked in either.

I hope Myles doesn't die. He's still at the temple. I'll be sad. :(

Please, don't make a big deal out of 108 being Wallace.

christy said...

Don't tell me what I can't do! Heh heh.

Anonymous said...

I just assumed that the other canoe was the people with real Locke's body in the box.

Tim W said...

Interesting that Austen at #51 was not crossed out in the lighthouse. Does this confirm the cave was not Jacob's after all?

Also did anyone catch the name at #60? Maybe it was me but it definitely didn't look like it was crossed out. Looked like it started with Kys?

HBO2003 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chrissy said...

Jack's appendix scar is actually an intriguing clue, indicating, as Alan points out, that the timelines are different beyond small details. I've had two theories for where the X timeline diverges - either it changes in 1977, when the bomb goes off, or all of the changes are brought about because Jacob never touches the characters. The latter theory (my favorite) was pretty well disproved by Locke being on speaking terms with his father. Does anyone know how old Jack is? I'm pretty sure he would have been 7 or 8 after 1977, which leaves the former theory in play.

This episode didn't wow me, but I liked the lighthouse and I wonder if it indicates a finite number of possible candidates (360? 180?). Also noticed the Welcome Candidates sign at David's audition. All kinds of little nods there, from Annotated Alice to Jack picking up an actual rabbit to find the key to the house that would lead him to his son. Jack is still chasing his father, and his father is still not there. I do hope they stop laying the groundwork soon, though, and just take off - I agree that mystery for mystery's sake should not be the direction this show takes at this point - these last two seasons have taken them beyond that.

Oh, my take on Jin is that he did know about Kate having the baby, because Sawyer probably mentioned it. He was cautious, then told her to try to save the man, then realized she was batshit crazy and took it back so that she wouldn't kill Kate, and also as a way of getting her back to some folks who might be able to contain her. I was sad about that - Jin and Claire were not terribly connected over the course of the show, but he fed her the sushi that woke up Aaron after the crash, and he felt the kick. Now he's delivering that sweet young mother to certain death.

GV said...

The last thing I'll add (and hopefully in better English this time), is if Darlton is going to have a dead Jacob appear to Hurley, don't have Hurley compare his appearances to Obi-Wan Kenobi or his quest to Indiana Jones. Although Hurley' fun as a character comes from his role as the audience's surrogate on the Island, the pop culture references made the whole thing seem flippant and unbelievable. If you want us to believe that a ghost is speaking to Hurley with an important mission, sell it seriously! Don't highlight the fiction of it! Honestly, if Hurley hadn't seen Dave or Jacob on the island before, there is no way we would have bought into any part of that plotline.

alynch said...

Watching Jack smash the lighthouse's mirrors, and recognizing that this is exactly what Jacob must have intended when he told Hurley to bring Jack along
Maybe I wasn't watching closely enough, but I don't think they were implying that Jacob wanted Jack to smash the mirror. They stated that he wanted Jack to see his name written down and to see his childhood home, but I don't recall anything beyond that.

I really enjoyed this episode quite a bit, probably even more than last weeks. It was one of the best examinations of Jack's character the show has ever done.

Anonymous said...

Awesome episode! White Rabbit was always one of my favorite episodes, and tonight's mirrored that one in so many ways... I could not stop smiling the whole time.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
108 = Wallace, I must have missed that because I've heard that referenced a few times. All I can say is:

"Where's Wallace at? Where's Wallace, String!?"

Ummm. Jacob said someone's coming. Who could it be? Do i hear "The Framer in the Dell'?

Omar's Coming!

Stephen S Power said...

This episode is differing perceptions:

1. When Smokey Locke enters Claire's den, Jin calls him "John," then Claire corrects him, saying, no, this is "my friend." Does Claire see something different than Jin? Does the Smoke Monster appear to people based on who they are?

2. And while Claire thinks Jin is still her friend, even challenging him on that point, Jin's experience with Rousseau's party has him figuring out that she's suffered the same fate all but Rousseau did.

3. Just as only Hurley can see Jacob, only he can see the writing on his arm. It didn't appear to be there when Jack and Hurley were walking together, only when Hurley looked at it specifically.

4. Jack wonders how they missed seeing the lighthouse before. Hurley says something like they must not have been looking for it. I'm thinking Jacob or the Man in Black didn't want it seen.

5. How does this dovetail with LA Jack? His basic problem with his son is one of perception: his son thinks Jack thinks he's a failure, making himself feel like a failure, while Jack is finding much of his life somewhat cloudy as things from the other timeline start to intervene: the appendix scar, his overbearing approach to his son's practicing, as if he's emerging from a blackout.

In the end, while Jack and his son clear the air and presumably move forward, Jack on the island is left confused.

On a side note, is Widmore the man Jacob says is coming?

M.Chavez said...

Like other commenters, I also have to disagree with Alan's thumbs-down of this episode. Lots of great insight into our characters as reflected in their ALT-characters. It's looking more and more that the ramifications of the island's influence is not just that folks are alive and living 'normal' lives but that for the most part everyone is pretty content. Alt-Jack is no more a bad dad than anyone else w/ a teen boy that has trouble communicating. He's not flying into rages, he's low-key, he's a decent dad, and he's raised a child that anyone else would be proud of - and he is! He loves David - unconditionally! Locke, Hurley, and Rose's lives are similar (I know Kate, Claire, Charlie are unknowns at the moment - and Sawyer is a huge question mark).

So will the finale lead up to these tortured 'nudged' characters seeing the bliss their alt-characters have and being forced to decide if they want that or else the love and loss they've found on the island, as well as whatever role they find they have to accept in order for the universe not to implode?

A new wild theory I have on the eternal conflict here... the candidate thing is not just about Jacob, it's about *both* Jacob and MiB. MiB wants to be "free" - he needs someone to replace him - so he is no longer immortal and can be killed and released. Jacob is fine living forever and ever - creating a balance and thereby forcing MiB to coexist w/ him in that island. Both immortal - both forced to adhere to certain rules - and MiB wants out of this 'curse'. Thereby his struggle to get folks to replace their roles - another black and white piece to balance the scale.

Oh yes... folks that think we're not being given answers here... we were just handed a *major* answer: During these 6 seasons there were all these 'tasks' that ultimately failed - like dangling solutions that ultimately failed - we're now being told that all along they were *expected* to fail! We are all on our knees praying that Jack doesn't destroy the lighthouse so that whoever it is that's "coming" (Desmond?) can make it as per Hurley's task and yet when he does shatter all the mirrors, it turns out Jacob's perfectly fine w/ that. Failure was always part of the plan. As Alan quoted: "You can't just tell someone what to do, sometimes he's gotta find it himself."

And finally Alan one thing I do agree w/ you about - I have been nagging friends about this too - the Kayak scene is still unexplained and I only hope it's a big deal that it hasn't been talked about yet.

Peace

brando said...

Jack's son = David

Hurley's imaginary friend from the nuthouse = Dave

Discuss.

Chip said...

Wise words from AV club: I thought that overall this was another very strong outing for Lost. I didn’t even mind Jack doing the typical Lost thing of destroying a location/object/person who could help him find answers, because I’m starting to think that these kind of dumb moves aren’t just easy ways for the writers to prolong the story, but actions with their own thematic significance. These are characters—Jack in particular—who may not want answers, because confronting the truth about themselves could be deeply upsetting.

Chris said...

Does anyone know what Dogen said to Hurley in the temple (in Chinese)??? Right after hurley told him off, and before Jacob said "You don't want to know"?

dead souls said...

Wow, that was a fairly lame episode.

All the stuff with Jack and his son was like a bad soap opera. I just don't care about any of the flash-sideways yet.

The closer we get to the end, the more convinced I become that Lost is the television equivalent of The Emperor's New Clothes. There's simply nothing at its core.

Rabble Rouser said...

-Good to see Jack back to his old ways and being a self-centered emo douche-nozzle.

-Hard to believe that these flash-sideways are anything more than filler and a gigantic waste of time. There are alot of interesting stories that don't even get a second of airtime and instead I have to watch an inconsequential brooding teenager with daddy issues for 20 minutes. REAL ORIGINAL guys, we haven't seen any characters with daddy issues before, oh wait ALL OF THEM DO (Jack, Sawyer, Kate, Locke, Walt, Hurley, Sun, Jin, Faraday, Penny, Miles, and Ben Linus all do/did).

-I hope Claire does kill Kate(like she said she would if she found out Kate took Aaron), and then Jack goes into a deep depression and raids Dogen's pill chest. Has their ever been a show that has driven their stars into the ground like Lost has with Kate and Jack?

-Starting to get very frustrated with 'Lost,' maybe that's because this is the first time I've watched it one week and a time, it's really brutal, I don't know how some of you have done this for 6 years. I might have to take a break for a few month's and then watch them all at once on Hulu. Yeah that sounds like a plan.

Chip said...

Usually up on my news but Alan (or anyone) hear of a Mr Eko comeback that I maybe missed? Miss that guy.

Jon Weisman said...

I agree with Alan's take. It was a meandering episode that depended on your overall interest in the show; outside of Claire having her first dynamic scenes, there wasn't much in the episode itself that was compelling. There were a few good moments, but the episode overall just didn't give me much.

Aside: As a diehard Hill Street fan, I'm finding Veronica Hamel's current looks distracting - taking me out of the show.

Devin McCullen said...

Just to bring up the obvious guessing game of "Who's Jack's ex-wife going to be" (assuming they go there at some point, they might not), my candidates in order of likelihood:

1)(by a lot)Juliet
2)Libby
3)Penny (my preferred choice, because it would just be so off-the-wall)

Tony M said...

Alan, I usually agree with most of what you say or differ in degree. But I really liked this episode. I didn't have any of your problems. I thought Jack being manipulated by Jacob either to smash the glass or to get him and Hurley away from temple made perfect character sense. There is no other way it would have happened.

And I am increasingly enjoying the flash sideways. Watching Jack with his "new" son adds a sense of loss to the inevitable joining of the time lines. If the 2007 timeline is "real" and ultimately survives, then Jack's son ceases to exist, as do all the potential "better" versions of the survivors. I am finding it moving to think about.

CoolSid said...

Alan,

Gotta disagree with you on your opinion of this ep. I thought this episode was a good way to give closure to some part of Jack. The alt-sideways kinda made me sad, even though I was hoping for a Claire-Jack brother sister re-union.

In a weird way, Locke and Jack are very similar characters as both of them had defined their lives based on what other people though they could or couldn't do. Season 1's "White Rabbit" was to highlight the fact Jack is a leader and to give the character a sense of direction and purpose. And the same is true of "Lighthouse". Jacob purposely kept his instructions vague because like the glimpses of Christian's ghost, they served as guideposts to guide Jack to where he should be. Jack had to find out what he came here to do and for that he would have to find his purpose on his own, just like how he got over the limitations his own father set on him.

Anonymous said...

I loved Jack finally saying out loud that father's body wasn't in the coffin. That just felt good to finally hear.

Anonymous said...

I understand why Alan didn't like this one but Lighthouse was still a solid episode IMO.

Dave Sandell said...

I loved it. I loved seeing the reflections, I loved knowing there were 360 candidates and there's (seemingly-assuming Locke is actually dead) only 5 left (meaning we're in the last throes of this story, and there's not going to be some sort of lame "everyone dies and Jacob starts over" ending).

I was annoyed with the lack of straight forward answers, but I'm invested in the Jacob character, and I like seeing him trust and respect Hurley. I also thought his reasoning WAS in keeping with Jack's character. Jack wouldn't trust straight-forward answers at this point. He needed to see something.

I'm still not invested in the flash sideways, and even if there's an awesome reveal that gives them all great importance, I'm not sure they're going to be all that rewatchable.

Other thoughts:
Flash-sideways as rabbit hole? Anyone know what the two characters Jack mentioned do in the story?

"Someone's coming" - I assume he means the flash sideways guys, but I can't get my head around that. Maybe he means Widmore. Maybe, just maybe, Desmond Hume.

The Pants of Freedom said...

Why wouldn't Jack freak out? It is the one real thing anyone has done at that island. Jack is a proud man who worked very hard to be a spinal surgeon, thats years of schooling, years of long hours, and now he finds out he was just a puppet on some string this whole time. And he can't even talk to the guy ask the man with the string, he has to wait for him to "appear" to his friend.

I would have flipped out as well. It has been one mind**** after another for three years, Jack is tired of following the wind, and he wants answers. Me too.

Anonymous said...

This episode at least seemed a little more intriguing then the previous mediocre episodes this season, but the Claire storyline was awful. She looked and acted silly, and quite frankly, Emilie deRavin just doesn't have the acting chops to pull off whatever it is they are trying to have her pull off. It was painful to see her trying to stretch beyond playing a dew eyed innocent.

Fran said...

It’'s obvious and distracting and irritating, especially this late in the game, when there's no damn excuse for it. “
I agree, Alan. I think if the interactions between them were more forthcoming and straight-forward, it would help not hurt. Like what if Hurley had revealed to Jack that he communicates with Jacob’s ghost - after all that’s happened, seeing his own father‘s ghost, Hurley saving their lives with the ankh from Jacob with their names in it, Sayid rising from the dead - it makes more sense that Jack would not have the old knee-jerk skepticism. And if Jacob would have answered his questions thru Hurley, he would have listened. And I do think that would have been compelling drama. Like Smokey & Sawyer in the cave.
How can Darlton be worried about revealing too much too fast? There’s so many characters & so much going on with the two timelines in play, how can that be an issue?
Having said all that, I did like a lot about this episode. I love the relationship between Jacob & Hurley; they’re a great match, like Smokey & Sawyer. I liked seeing Jack & his son, & I’m not crazy about Jack.
Christian is smokey; he used him to get Locke to go home & die, so he could use his image to get to Jacob.
Claire, who knows.
As to who was in the other boat, it was the others, of who knows what time. Ben knew where the boats were because they belonged to the others.

Rabble Rouser said...

Here's a question: If Smokey was Christian just as he is Locke right now, then WHY was Christian's physical body missing from his coffin but John Locke body was in his coffin?

Jason said...

I'm with most of the other posters here - I think this was a good episode. I tend to agree with Alan, but I can't this week. I really enjoyed the whole thing.

dez said...

I liked it. And I think the cave = Smokey's lair. He's "crossing off" as many of Jacob's candidates as he can. Maybe that's the loophole that will let him escape. Unless he's on his own candidate search, as suggested above. Hrm.

dez said...

Claire's hair looked extra fried in HD. Yikes!

rosseau said...

Jack, you bond with your son for the first time and all you can offer him is cold pizza? Take him to a fine dining restaurant to celebrate his success! You're a doctor, you can afford it.

Alan, I don't know where you are coming from. This was a great episode. Hurley was unintentionally funny, they did a lot of call backs to past seasons, and the lighthouse looked and was cool. Like everyone else, I'm thinking that is a portal to the other universe, like the doors were in Stephen King's Dark Tower series. I assumed Jacob knew Jack was going to smash the mirror, so the portal still works. Though Jacob did mention something about Jack having a choice, so perhaps free will isn't completely obviated. I did not like the writers spelling out why Jin lied to Claire. It was obvious he saw the crazy and didn't want her to kill Kate.

Fans seem to hate Jack and Kate. I don't know why. Sometimes characters are jerks and sometimes they become annoying. It's intended to be that way. I can understand the animus towards a patronizing, whiny, messiah complex Jack who messes everything he touches, but again the character is supposed to be that way. He's the central character of the show and if everybody else dies, he will not. (Yeah, I know they wanted to kill him, and they still might, but I highly doubt it. In fact, I am certain it won't happen.)

But the hate towards Kate I don't get. I think that Lilly is very easy on the eyes and not a bad actor. Kate's story of wanting to be a mother and atoning for her past is very compelling. I hope she doesn't die.

Spooky. Word verification: ovatio. That can't be random right?

Oh and for literary nerds, last season's--or two season's ago-- Kate almost losing Aaron in the supermarket recalled a similar incident in Ian McEwan's Child in Time. Tonight, Jack being emotionally moved by his son's music recalls Henry Perowne being moved by his son's blues guitar playing in McEwan's Saturday. Probably not a reference, but interesting.

Question Mark said...

Another candidate (ha!) to be David Shephard's mother...Ilana?

As to how the bomb affected things in the timeline, wouldn't the bomb have aftershocks going back to the 50's? If the bomb explodes, then the Losties not only don't crash, they also don't time-travel back to the early 50's and meet up with young Widmore, young Ellie and bury Jughead in the first place. Maybe something happens in the early 50's that causes the Island to sink, which it wouldn't have without Locke/Sawyer/Juliet/Charlotte/Miles/Daniel's presence.

'Wallace' is the name at heading 108 for the lighthouse, according to Lostpedia. We don't know a Wallace yet, but the Scottish name makes me think of Desmond. Maybe that's Desmond's real last name? We don't know much about his parentage --- maybe 'Hume' is an adopted last name or something. Or maybe Wallace is Desmond's last name in the alternate universe and it's that version that's on the way to the Island (since Des can travel between both worlds).

I honestly think the vagueness is part of the plot at this point. Jacob seems to be testing everyone to see who the best candidate is, but he nor the Others can inform the Losties of this because (if they were to know of the test and what the candidate does) it would spoil the experiment. Now, Jacob did tell Hurley he's a candidate, but he also knows that Hurley won't do anything with the information since he doesn't know what he's a candidate for.

So, to recap....
At the temple: Miles and Sayid

On the way to the temple: Richard, Jack, Hurley, SmokeLocke, Claire, Jin and presumably Sawyer.

On the way to the beach camp: Kate, and it seems likely she'll run into Sun, Ilana, Frank and Ben on the way.

tribalism said...

I think that the following exchange between Dogen and Jack where they discuss the spinal surgeon’s departure from the Temple is extremely significant when it comes to the battle of fate and free will on this show:

“Is leaving an option?”

“Everything is an option. But I would have to stop you.”

Perhaps it’s not that destiny always trumps freedom on Lost, but maybe the Island is just very successful at stopping people from following through with decisions that don’t coalesce with its own mandate. If someone was able to work hard enough to overcome the will of the Island—like say, detonating an H-Bomb in its belly—then I think it’s quite likely that individual discretion can overcome determinism.

If Sayid and Claire have both been infected with…whatever it is, then is Sayid really the reincarnation of Jacob as many have theorized? I originally thought that the reincarnated forms of Sayid and Locke (two men that have definitely changed since dying, although the former Republican Guard’s transformation has been more subtle) would represent different sides of opposition on the Island. In “Lighthouse”, however, we found Jacob in the Temple slumped over the Spring of Sewage with his head hanging down: was he trying to keep a low profile (pretty easy to do when you’re a ghost that only Hurley can see) or was he upset at what happened to the malfunctioning spring that failed to prevent Sayid’s death?

If anyone is interested, you can find more of my thoughts about the episode at my blog where I go into detail about what I think Smocke has in store for Sayid. Click on my username for the link.

J said...

Just to echo some others, I thought that (qualifier - for a Jack episode) this was pretty good. The son thing was an okay little aside that showed that Jack-X could communicate and grow instead of getting hurt and smashy. I would have been a lot happier had Jack's storyline dealt with Christian (both of them), but at least it brought a little something new.

The numbers on the compass>numbers on a ceiling. Claire as Rousseau#2 is moderately amusing, but I like the idea that the island has certain roles that are always being filled and re-filled.

"Candidate" doesn't have play as a word. Just makes me think of Redford and bubble gum.

Scott said...

I haven't been really fond of the past 3 episodes. I'm not one of the people that cares what all the answers are and all that, I just want the show to be entertaining. I thought the Jin part was interesting because Kate is going to catch Claire at some point, and Jin is going to be exposed as a liar.

First Sawyer, now Jack, I wonder who is going to end up longingly staring at the water in 2 weeks?

BigTed said...

Was Miles and Hurley's tic tac toe game supposed to echo the battle between Jacob and Smokey? When you have two players who know what they're doing, the game always ends in a draw.

(Although I suppose you might be able to change the outcome by, say, killing your opponent.)

James M. Barrie said...

Rabble Rouser said...

Here's a question: If Smokey was Christian just as he is Locke right now, then WHY was Christian's physical body missing from his coffin but John Locke body was in his coffin?


My point exactly. I've been bringing this up since last season's finale. There must be SOME significance to this, with the whole "Christian's missing body" stuff being mentioned again in these first episodes.

Furthermore, Claire mentioned that her daddy AND her friend told her about Aaron being taken by the Others. Surely this means Smokey (her friend) and Christian (her dad) are separate entities?

James M. Barrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg S. said...

If 108 = Wallace, then perhaps 109 = Gromit!

Mike Mineo said...

to be honest, i think this is what's happening: the people coming to the island are those in the alternate-realm that are jacob's remaining candidates. this means jack, hurley, sayid, sawyer, etc... except now with their arrival, there will be two of each simultaneously present on the island. obviously this will not occur until this season's conclusion since jack broke the lighthouse (convenient tactic to stall and introduce new plots, i.e. widmore), but when it does we will find the candidates in a similar position that jacob once was. the effect of these "clones" of jack, hurley, etc. will produce the effect that marvin candle wanted to avoid... which is whatever would have happened if those rabbits got "too close" together. i don't know the implications if this were to occur, but it will obviously be in jacob's favor. anyways, jacob was able to reach out to the candidates at respective points of their lives while remaining on the island because there are two jacob's, one on the island and one on land. his ability to control both is either dependent on communication between the two or dual control by one subconscious. the candidate who eventually will replace jacob MUST have the ability to fulfill both on-island and off-island duties simultaneously, which is why "the numbers" are so special.

this is why juliet said the incident "worked", as it was an incident that jacob was engineering all along to concoct certain individuals who would be able to replace him. the incident made it so that the numbers/people are existing both on and off island, making the requisite of having two of yourself complete for fulfilling jacob's role as guardian of the island. my bets on aaron because he was born both on the island and in LA (keep in mind "the incident" made it so aaron has two different places of birth, a very special property). the "numbers" are variables that are required to get both aaron's there.

"the incident" is so damn special to jacob, and what this show has been building up to for five seasons, because it is the single event that created these "clones". they're not really "clones" obviously, but two of the same persons from the two different realities that have risen and will eventually converge (jacob loves that book as much as the writers love foreshadowing!). based on what this show has done previously (smoke monsters being stopped by trails of ash, richard not aging, random phenomenons), i don't see how this is unrealistic considering it has already occurred (via "the incident"). there are ALREADY two of the same person existing simultaneously both on and off the island, so why is it so unrealistic to bring those off the island to the island's new location to converge with themselves? watch that marvin candle video again where he was using the rabbit as an experiment and you'll understand what i'm getting at. this show has been eluding to this phenomenon for several seasons and i'm surprised it's being shrugged off, especially at THIS point.

Bryan said...

Other than some wooden dialogue and ham handed delivery I really enjoyed this episode as well. Not quite as good as last weeks but very good overall. A couple points I don't think have been brought up yet -

David's description of Jack watching him practice piano and his uncomfortableness of it is equivalent I think to Jack being watched by Jacob all those years. (which makes me think - and granted it's late and I'm not thinking or expressing myself very clearly- in dreams we very often incorporate what is happening in the real world into our dreams- eg a phone ringing becomes a bleating sheep or something like that. Is there something similiar to that going on with sideways world?)

Up until last week there was still some debate whether or not Smocke was good or bad - I think that question has been answered definitively tonight. By lying to Claire all these years about her son so she would battle the others I think we can now regard him as the bad guy.

BigTed said...

It was interesting that Jack's son was reading "The Annotated Alice." Not only is "Lost" full of "Alice in Wonderland" imagery, but Martin Gardner's commentary is all about the mathematical and philosophical concepts suggested in Lewis Carroll's work. It suggests that the kid will have an important role in what happens with the island (or not -- sometimes they seem to throw in "meaningful" books just for the heck of it).

Anonymous said...

"(we never found out who was in the other boat)? And, if so, do you think we'll ever find out the answer, or is that one of those minor loose threads we just have to accept won't get tied up?"

Alan. How can you ask that question with a straight face? In what other show can they just throw in a boat full of random gunmen and its ok? No explanation necessary - I just like shooting- wheeeeee!! This show is so ridiculous and absurd.

belinda said...

I was yelling at my tv when Jack smashed the mirrors up. Hello, not only your name was on that lighthouse thing. Wouldn't it be interesting or perhaps useful to see what the mirror would show on the other familiar names(or at least Hurley's, who's standing RIGHT THERE! Selfish Jack.)? But, oh no, smashy smash. It's all about Jack and no one else. Jack's angry, so he has the right to smash this possible incredible clue they have - shortsighted ego maniac. :D So, yeah, not enjoying this particular plot device so far. Seems somewhat lazy , in addition to not helping with the "let's make Jack a little more likeable!" plan.

Poor Jin! He really does have the worst luck ever. But I'm really enjoying how Jin is handling Claire - since Jin already has experiences in dealing with a young Rousseau. Mostly it was a hoot watching Jin's expressions in the tent. I wish we got to see more of this plot, especially when Lockey showed up - I'm dying to see what Jin's going to do now. As for Claire, it seems more like she went a bit nuts, but she seems pretty much like a nuttier version of Claire for now, rather than possessed by a ghost or something.

I'm also hoping to see more of the Statue people (Sun, Ben and co.), because we have yet to really focus on any of them (since all the drama in the premiere was more about what was happening inside the cave and Lockey rather than about them). Same goes for Miles, who I desperately hope Hurley would try and save from the temple now.

And finally the biggest question of all - How was Jack's son able to just eat that one Milano cookie? He's too good for Jack.

But yeah, anyway, this is another episode where I really didn't care for the flash diagonal story at all, even though it was well acted and gave a nice ending to altJack's story. But I fail to see the importance of spending all this time with a boy we didn't even know existed before (other than a, oh, things are different in this reality).

Bryan said...

I also find it telling that Jacob wants Jack and Hurley away from the Temple but NOT Sayid. I think it's safe to say Sayid is not Sayid anymore and also not a candidate.

belinda said...

But Sayid's name wasn't crossed out, was it? So for now, he's still a candidate.

James said...

My only real concern is that they're going to try to explain everything in a finale which would be a horrible mistake. They have this entire season to give us answers to jerk off too before they blow the wad. I'm pretty sure every episode could answer one stupid critical question fans have had while giving us the final satisfaction a finale should have. I just fear they'll dingle around until the last several episodes.

It'd be nice to see a show give us all the answers about 2 episodes before the finale. Then with the last 2 episodes show life continues.

James said...

How is Jack an egomaniac?

James said...

How is Jack an egomaniac?

Anonymous said...

Don't build an entire hour around our characters once again being led around by the nose, following some plan they don't much understand, getting vague promises of more information down the road. Because that damn sure isn't compelling drama.

This is exactly what they did last week with Sawyer and Locke. It's been this way for five seasons: the writers are just awful at creating the motivation necessary for a character to move from one place to another, so they just make it fit with whatever emotional threads are lying around or promise answers. It was Jack and Hurley this week, and they're not as cool as Sawyer and Locke, so it was tougher for you to look past the show's major inadequacies.

As a matter of fact, this episode was extremely similar to last week's:

Hurley convinces Jack to go to the lighthouse; Locke convinces Sawyer to visit the cave.

Jin prepares to visit the temple; Sun prepares to visit the temple.

Numbers and names in the lighthouse; numbers and name on the cave wall.

Jin and Claire ask questions of one another; beach folks ask questions of one another.

Jack gets his off-island story; Locke gets his.

belinda said...

Because it's all about him!
-I only came back because I want the island to fix me. All those other people who were still on the island? Who cares. But my life sucked ever since I'm off the island, so I'm going to reset everything and be a hero.
-Whoops, I accidentally killed Juliet. But I'm really mostly sad because I thought I knew what I was doing, and now I don't! Me me me! Huh, I wonder why Sawyer is so mad at me?
-I am so sad because the island is not helping me at all, so I will now kill myself with Sayid's poison pill.
-Weird dude tells me my sister Claire is 'changed', and because it's not about me, I don't ask any follow up questions. Hey, I just saved Sayid's life. That was selfless, wasn't it? I need to concentrate on me now.
-Since I am Jack, I am going to invite Kate along if I feel like it, Hurley be damned. Kate's hot.
-I will get angry at Hurley and break those mirrors because Hurley wouldn't let me speak to Jacob so I can ask him questions about me. And my old home is really creeping me out. So what if the mirrors might help the others, whose names are also on the lighthouse thing, find out what they were looking for? Hell, it might even answer some questions about the island, not just my questions, which are way more important. It is after all all about me.
-I am now going to sit on a rock and look at the ocean and for some reason fail to overhear Hurley talking to Jacob. That was dumb. I could have ask questions about me through Hurley to Jacob.

Bryan said...

I don't have HD and I don't know what this means if anything but when Hurley is pulling the chain at the lighthouse and Jack is watching the mirror the first image he sees should be -according to the way the wheel was spinning-108 Wallace. The image looks to me to me some sort of Japanese architecture. It's very large also almost like a lodge or palace. Jack was supposed to tell Hurley to stop at 108 but was startled by that image

James said...

He was depressed in his non-island life. He thought it was a mistake that they left. He admited to this in this episode. If this makes him an egomaniac, oh well. Everyone is motivated differently. It's not like any of them had good reasons for going back or attempted to help the non-islanders.

Jack didn't kill Juliet. She made a decision like he did just like Sawyer did by not punching him to death. They all made decisions. She accepted the consequences of hers.

Jack's "suicide" attempt was a bluff. While Jack has tried to off himself in the past, non-island, he isn't in the same mental state as he was then.

It's not like he has a real relationship with his sister. Why should he really care about her?


While I too thought it was silly he broke the mirrors I understand why he did it. He's tired of being having a chain yanked. Different strokes for different folks.

If Jack's an egomaniac who isn't on the island? Everyone can be framed as one with the exception of Hurley but he's too had his moments.

Savvy Veteran said...

I really liked the episode. In fact, I'd say that I was actually a lot more involved with it (and not frustrated with the supposed "revelations" offered) than last week's.

It doesn't make a lick of sense to me that Jack would destroy the mirrors based only on the events we saw transpire, but I'll give it a pass because I enjoyed myself for the other 42 or so minutes. I didn't really get the same season 3-ish vibe from it that Alan did, however, as in my mind, the events felt like they progressed reasonably enough (as far as the logic of "Lost" goes), and not cheap or purposefully meandering. Alan expressed why he had that impression very eloquently and reasonably (and I can see some of the points), but I just happen to disagree, I suppose.

That said, I am just *dying* to know how all of this quasi-happy alternate timeline stuff ties into the ACTUAL IMPORTANT storyline. Because if it doesn't become meaningful...then boo.

Erik said...

Interesting how this episode divides people into those who like everything about Lost when it doesn't fuck up and those who demand that it holds itself to a much higher standard. I fall squarely in the latter category: what a lame episode, and what a lame season this has been so far.

I agree with GV on all his/her comments: The setup for this season is not interesting and rests on the baffling stupidity of the notion that it could ever make sense to blow up a hydrogen bomb in order to reverse time or reverse the time travel or travel in time. (Am I the only one who finds it horribly annoying that they get to travel time just by blowing something up? It seems far too easy. Frozen donkey wheels are much more realistic!)

I think Tony M's theory about the meaning of the parallel universe storyline is very good and would make sense, but I honestly don't care how good an ending it can set up when it seems so phony and contrived and uninteresting. There is a basic question of how much you can torture/bore your audience in order to get a good ending. (My favorite example is the movie Dogville, which has an excellent ending but is irredeemably horrible/boring/stupid for two-plus hours before that. For me, that deal is not worth taking.)

I might go along with the exposition parts (flash sideways/back/forward) if I cared about these characters, but the truth is that they're horribly written piles of clich├ęs and terribly superfluous to what should be a really good fantasy/sci-fi/mystery romp. The exposition parts keep the pace down and the sentimentality up, and their absence is probably the primary reason season 5 was so enjoyable. I've never understood why people are so into Hurley; for me he's been made into so much of a comic character, a way for the writers to poke fun at the silliness of their own story, that he totally fails as a dramatic character. Almost every single line he had in this episode felt like a joke. (Also, why wasn't he the centric character this time? His habit of seeing dead people seems a lot more relevant to the story at hand than Jack's family affairs.)

Regarding the Claire & Jin-storyline: Is it fair to assume that whatever karmic forces are keeping people from acting rationally in the parallel universe, Jin is pretty free to act sanely in Claire's lair? If so, why doesn't he interfere when Claire is going crazy with an axe? He's not sure who to trust and she turns her back to him - why not knock her out with something and get a chance to listen to the Temple-guard's story? It's pretty clear she's not sane when she talks about her father and her friend and asks him if he's her friend in the middle of surgery. And how bad was the acting in that scene all around?

And the few good things: Number 51, Claire's friend, Hurley as candidate, somebody's coming (Desmond, surely). It seems like I'm forgetting something, that I should be forgetting something, but it was just a really painful experience to watch this time. I really don't hope they keep this stupid parallel universe going all the way to the end. On the other hand, it would be pretty awesome to get everybody together at the Temple and have a substantial amount of characters killed off very soon (at least: Sayid, Claire, Dogen's sidekick and Sun, and unless they want to give them something to do Frank and Miles might go as well. I really hate having characters sitting around in waiting position until the writers can get around to them.)

Joseph Thomson said...

Alan - I know you don't like watching promos, but I'd advise that after you see next week's episode you go back and watch the ABC promo for it - they do it completely differently to the usual style of promo and it's awesome.

Erik said...

A bit more that had to be cut out before:

I'm not sure I understand how people can buy into both the sentimental character stuff (did you notice that they muted the piano performance in favor of Hollywood-strings during Jack's son's performance) and the silliness of how contrived everything is (for Dogen to be there just kills off any amount of emotional resonance the plotline might otherwise have scrapped together). These flash-sideways very quickly seem to follow the same pattern: the characters get cheap resolutions, they bump into each other without knowing it, and they begin to suspect they're trapped in the wrong world, a sort of Matrixy blue-pill world. I didn't care for last week's episode either: why does Claire's friend assume Locke's personality ("Don't tell me what I can't do!" - what a horrible line that is, by the way, and how annoying Locke was in the original episode)? That's a dealbreaker, ladies.

As I see it, you have to somehow balance the smart ass meta-comments-to-schmaltz -ratio (preferably by keeping both at a minimum), and the whole Lighthouse-plot just went overboard on both fronts. As GV noted, it's silly for Hurley to poke fun at the technique you're using and expect people to take you seriously while doing it. It's equally silly to let Jack comment on how ridiculous it is that they've never seen the Lighthouse one minute, and the next let him go crazy asking for answers and behaving like a bitch. (Is it just me or was the CGI of the Lighthouse much worse than the CGI of the Statue?) Especially if the plot has to do with how Jacob has been manipulating all the characters all the time - it's simply too easy for the viewer to equate Jacob with the writers. (Am I the only one who hates Jacob? There's something extremely unsympathetic about the way the actor plays him. I'm more and more glad he got killed every episode.)

James said...

Rewatch Dogville. It's a great movie. The set-up is much more important than the ending.

James said...

Also, hate to say this as well but LOST hasn't changed too much since season 2 so all your critiques of the show have been around for 4 seasons. I'm shocked you kept in that long.

Maybe you have more patience than I thought.

alynch said...

Interesting how this episode divides people into those who like everything about Lost when it doesn't fuck up and those who demand that it holds itself to a much higher standard.

Yes, anybody who disagrees with you must have low standards. That has to be it.

Erik said...

@alynch:

Sorry, that came out wrong. I changed the wording a few times, and the "everything about" came in at the end. I think I meant to say that it shows the difference between those who accept the show as it is and those who keep wanting for the show to be something it's not.

@James:

You have no idea. But I really did enjoy season 5, so now for the first time I'm disappointed. If you want me to stop being such a sourpuss, let me concede that I kinda liked the Kate-episode a couple of weeks ago.

Matthew said...

Uhm, alan, I thought we DID know who was on the other boat. I think it happened in some other ep where we see guys on the boat shooting at someone else in the rain. Maybe something to do with ben's daughter and BF. I'm gonna find out and come back, but in case I dont:

this post serves to tell you, I think that thread was answered quickly, check again.

Anonymous said...

I cringed when I saw Jack once again act impulsively for reasons even he cant understand

jasctt said...

Wow. Couldn't disagree with you more, Alan. Granted, "What Kate Does" was awful (except for the temple scenes) but I don't feel the show is being vague for the purpose of being vague.

I think that what a lot of fans, and yourself now, are forgetting is that these two guys KNOW what they are doing. They are not stalling for the sake of stalling.

this isn't BSG or some crap show like that, which flaied for most of its seasons.

Last week, when they piled the irt on poor John, I realized that what I wanted on the show (especially for Locke, my fave character), wasn't going to happen.

Do what I do, please. Just sit back and enjoy each hour for what it is from here on out.

With any luck,they'll bring it all back home (which I have faith in).

Matthew said...

exactly. i remembered and went for a synopsis to cut n paste here. The shooters on the other boat were rousseau and her people during the storm that wrecked their boat and brought them to the island.

I think you just forgot in your late night typing is all Alan. I'm drinking coffee so thats my excuse.

"The group takes one of the canoes, which they use to paddle to the other side of the island. They are attacked by unknown assailants and another time jump brings them to 1988, in the middle of the storm that caused a pregnant Danielle Rousseau and her research team's boat to run aground on the island."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Prince_(Lost)

(sidebar: beginning to wonder if the time jumps werent so random, but im fact all important events in the island life. So like island skitzo where pivotal moments for jacob's candidates were mumbled up, thus the displacement of sawyer etc as it tried to find the right place for them. until donkey wheel got fixed)

xyz said...

I knew Alan was going to hate this episode as soon as I saw that it was Jack centric. Alan's reviews of Jack episodes are pretty predictable. This was a really strong episode for me, one that I'm looking forward to rewatching. Jack's flashsideways reality was great as tried do a role reversal on Jack as it pertained to his daddy issues and explored how he would behave if the shoe was on the other foot.

Don't build an entire hour around our characters once again being led around by the nose, following some plan they don't much understand, getting vague promises of more information down the road. Because that damn sure isn't compelling drama.

May I remind you that some of the show's most compelling episodes like Deus Ex Machina, ?, Dead is Dead, Cabin Fever do exactly that? Very often the reason why the characters are going somewhere is just a McGuffin and the entertainment comes from their interactions on their path to their eventual goal which they only vaguely understand. Deus Ex Machina did exactly what Lighthouse did except it was cranked up to 12. In that episode Locke did everything based on dreams with the eventual hope of finding out an answer, yet it is considered to be one of the best episodes of season 1.

belinda said...

Erik, I agree with you on Jacob. I actually find more sympathy towards Lockey ever since he expressed his only wish to be getting off the island (vs. Jacob, who's jetting all over the world and yet never takes Lockey with him). And Jacob's mode of 'nudging' people along to the path he wants them on without explaining why is just darn right annoying (and a tad too godlike imo). Lockey seems pretty evil but when I think about it, sure he killed a ton of people, but those people won't even be on the island if it it wasn't for Jacob and his nudging. Same reason why I don't feel sorry that Ben killed Jacob - because Ben was probably the most yanked around by Jacob, who could have stopped Ben from wanting to kill him if he'd only been more clear about what he wants Ben to do and why.(Hm, maybe it's just me rooting for all the 'evil' characters then. :D)

btw, is Sawyer still with Lockey?

As for Jack, I still think he's the most self centered character in the show - and I don't know if I could forgive him (or the writers for writing him that way) for smashing those mirrors up. But that's just me. If all he wanted was to thwart Jacob's plans, couldn't he have his tantrum AFTER checking out what all the mirror images are with names that seem plenty important? Doesn't he care about the other names of his supposed friends? For me, it just seems awfully self centered, and just makes me more annoyed with the character rather than going, ooh, exciting mystery.

Matthew said...

with all that's being said, i do want to say i love that we are in agreement on one thing.

we measure lost as pre and post "Looking Glass".


i love you charlie!

xyz said...

GV said I think the big problem with this season is that the question at the heart of it--can the timelines merge/did the bomb sink the island?

Huh? Who said that? That question is just a part of the larger story that the season is trying to tell. It is just one of the several big questions that defines this season and even within those questions it is not high on my priority list.


The other frustration, I think, stems from the fact that we have been told that we wont get the answer to every single question, which is fine so long as we don't get episodes were NOTHING is really answered. Okay, so we see Jacob's window, but was that on anyone's top 1000 list before this season started?


So your enjoyment depends upon whether we get atleast one answer an episode? If so that's a pretty sad way of watching the show. For me the show answered a couple of big questions like what happens to the victims of the infection and how Jacob selected the candidates.

The last thing I'll add (and hopefully in better English this time), is if Darlton is going to have a dead Jacob appear to Hurley, don't have Hurley compare his appearances to Obi-Wan Kenobi or his quest to Indiana Jones. Although Hurley' fun as a character comes from his role as the audience's surrogate on the Island, the pop culture references made the whole thing seem flippant and unbelievable. If you want us to believe that a ghost is speaking to Hurley with an important mission, sell it seriously! Don't highlight the fiction of it!

What? How does making a pop culture reference diminish the reality of the show? Any regular person... esp someone like Hurley would compare their surreal situation to something in a movie. If tomorrow dinosaurs were brought back to the world people would obviously talk about them in reference to stuff like Jurassic Park. When people experience something as surreal and weird they are bound to compare it with something in fiction. That's human nature. What is there to "sell" about Hurley seeing ghosts? The show has highlighted that specific point since season 2 and by this time you either buy it or you don't. The ship of "selling" that idea to you is long gone.

Honestly, if Hurley hadn't seen Dave or Jacob on the island before, there is no way we would have bought into any part of that plotline

Yeah but he did, so what's your point?

Erik said...

According to Lostpedia, the first and second building seen in the mirrors are the pagoda of Sun & Jin's wedding (corresponding to 108) and the church where Sawyer's parents' funeral is held. I've rewatched the scene several times now, and judging by the time it takes to turn the wheel, the second image must correspond to a number 90 and 50, probably close to 70 [the only candidates we know in that region are, again according to Lostpedia, #77 'Franetzki' and #64 'Goldstein']. But we already know that 'Kwon' is #42 and 'Ford' is #15, so why are there images of their lives on other numbers? And what might 'Wallace' be doing in Korea?

Scott J. said...

@Matthew: From http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/The_Little_Prince

Inside one of the canoes, Sawyer finds a water bottle with a label for Ajira Airways, which Juliet recognizes as an international airline based in India. They take one of the outriggers and begin paddling toward the Orchid. After a short while, they notice that unknown people are pursuing them in the other outrigger. As the other canoe gains on them, the people in it begin to shoot. After trying to escape for a while, the group has Juliet returning fire with a rifle, apparently hitting one of the pursuers. Before the pursuers can get any closer, there is another time flash. Sawyer exclaims, "Thank you, Lord!" The group reappears in the midst of a torrential storm, to which Sawyer then exclaims, "I take that back!"

The Ajira water bottle shows that they find the canoes sometime after 316 landed in 2007. There is no time-flash between then and when they are fired upon. Their pursuers are in the other canoe, not a life raft like the French team wash up in. THEN Sawyer & co. time-flash away to 1988. The whole incident has not yet been explained or even alluded to since.

Erik said...

"'If you want us to believe that a ghost is speaking to Hurley with an important mission, sell it seriously! Don't highlight the fiction of it!'

What? How does making a pop culture reference diminish the reality of the show? Any regular person... esp someone like Hurley would compare their surreal situation to something in a movie."

You're right that that's the only psychologically consistent way to handle Hurley, but GV's point still holds true: the writers are at once giving us lots of unconvincing storylines, and at the same snickering about it. Yeah, if Jacob asks you to use 'Candidate Mind Tricks' on Dogen, it's pretty logical to mention it to Jack, but did the writers really have to put that joke in there? For me it diminishes the Dogen-character, and that makes him less interesting when he shows up at the audition-scene.

WendyWatson said...

Mileages vary, clearly - I enjoyed the flash sideways a lot and felt genuine sympathy for Jack for the first time in what must be ages (if not ever). Granted, I'm working from the assumption that the flashverse is a result of what happens on the island now rather than the explosion, but even without that, I enjoy that other verse not least because so far the characters seem to care a lot better about themselves and are, surprisingly, able to learn from their mistakes and forgive them in others. To be honest, that makes it quite a lot easier for me to care about what happens to them, be that here or in the islandverse.

Andy said...

Ok, I have a theory/prediction. When Miles "spoke" to Juliet she said, "it worked." I think the 2007 time line will eventually cease to exist. There will be a large scale final battle on the island killing off all 2007 versions of these characters. The 2004 time line will be all that's left thus making these flash sideways stories all more important since it will be who these characters are from now on. I'm sure along the way mysteries will be solved and things will be explained, but ultimately the planes safe landing in 2004 will be what we are left with.

OldDarth said...

I'm down with the episode because of Hurley. He owned this episode and I really, really, really hope Hurley gets to play a MAJOR role in the endgame.

His character has been the comic relief dude for most of the series and despite all the various flashback/forward/sideways/whatever directions the story has put the characters through, Hurley has come out untarnished.

He is the heart of the show.

I eagerly await/dread Hurley's journey,here and in the sideways flash.

And I liked Jack's sideways flash storyline too.

Matt said...

The kayak shootout has been bugging me ever since the time-skipping stopped!

Sadly I don't think we'll ever find out anything more about it.

Joe Cobb said...

The reason that Smokey is now "locked" into Locke's body (pun intended) is because people have seen Locke's body. Christian Sheppard's body was purposely removed so Smokey could keep up the charade... but by having people on the island "aware" of Locke's body, I guess part of the deal is that now MIB is locked into that form.

Anonymous said...

I liked Jack's sideways story this week and Locke's last week. After these two, I wish even more that the writers had done more with Kate's the week before.

The Claire-is-actually-dead theory has been bouncing around for quite a while. I still think there's something to it.

LDP said...

Where's Desmond at? Where's Desmond, String?!

Alan Sepinwall said...

May I remind you that some of the show's most compelling episodes like Deus Ex Machina, ?, Dead is Dead, Cabin Fever do exactly that?

I didn't love "Cabin Fever," for many of the same reasons I was frustrated with this one. Been so long since I've seen "Deus Ex Machina" that I can't comment on it. And while "Dead is Dead" (which I loved) had some structural similarities, many more things actually happened, both on the island and the mainland, and Ben is an intrinsically more interesting character (and played by a better actor) than Jack.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I think that what a lot of fans, and yourself now, are forgetting is that these two guys KNOW what they are doing. They are not stalling for the sake of stalling.

I can believe that these guys know what they're doing in terms of the mythology (which I do) and still feel like they're stalling for the sake of stalling. This episode didn't frustrate me because I still believe Darlton are pulling a long con; it frustrated me because it wasn't satisfying as an hour of television. I didn't find enough of what (little) happened compelling, and I believe the producers made a tactical error in not telling us upfront what the flash-sideways scenes are. I'm willing to allow that there is, in fact, a good reason for that, and as I've said, I believe they could all play much better once we know if they're an alternate timeline, an epilogue for the series snuck in before the finale, a dream, or whatnot. But the experience of watching it last night, as an hour of serialized television, with no knowledge of what's coming, left me very, very cold.

Ryan said...

I was very pleased to freeze-frame the episode during the mirrors scene and see "Wallace" crossed off as #108 (which leads me to believe that whole "someone is coming" was a red herring), and also "Linus," "Friendly," and "Faraday" crossed-off as well.

But the biggie was definitely a completely-not-crossed-off "Austen" at 51. Interesting, because if you do the equation: 4+8+1+5+1+6+2+3+4+2+5+1, you get...42. Also, 51 could be a reference to Area 51, where something beyond our imagination may have happened (and maybe Kate as a candidate is beyond what MIB is expecting, and she could be his downfall?) Finally, the "reading WAY too much into it" connection with Area 51 -- both "Kate" and "Austen" contain the letters "ET." OK, that's probably a coincidence...

Matthew said...

@Scott J.

Ahh I see. I jumped to conclusion on that. Still have a nagging feeling it was cleared up, but maybe thats just remnants from me thinkin it was rousseau's storm. Thanks for pointing that out tho

Jobin said...

I'm with you all the way, Alan. The off-island stuff almost seems like a waste of time, because we're not being told what it all means.

I just don't understand how there can be 13 hours of episodes left and they waste an entire show on letting us know that Jack was proud of his son. That couldn't have been accomplished in 20 minutes? Seems like it's season 1-esque, where they are building the background of these characters, but we already know them! Get to the point of moving the story forward!

And Ben, the most compelling character on the show (IMO only, relax people), has what, 5 lines in the last 3 episodes? He kills Jacob and then fades into the background of the story?

Jennifer Finney Boylan said...

I liked this episode all right. Why? BECAUSE HURLEY WAS AT THE CENTER, DUDE! They've done well when they let Hugo channel the fans' thoughts, and he does so here. And yeah, it's fun to see Hurley in the "leadership role."

I WAS disappointed when Jack smashed all those windows, because, well, the Lighthouse was cool, and it seemed to open a door to finally answering questions. And then, oh, whoops, it's just another mind game to get a character to "grow." Grow how? Oh, gee, after 6 seasons the writers just can't get around to specifying this. "Son of a bitch!"

(and yeah, there was Hurley speaking for us again when he said, "Gee, how come we haven't seen this before?" Can't recall the reply, but wasn't it something pathetic like, "Because we weren't looking for it!"?)

I guess I'm waiting for this season of LOST to kick up to the next level-- other than the discovery of the Temple, I feel like we're still mostly wandering around in the jungle.

Used to be, the flashback sequences shone a light on the characters we were getting to know. Now, the flash sideways sequences show how everybody more-or-less worked things out. We haven't met anybody off island yet whose life is WORSE than on Craphole Island, have we? Even Kate? (whose appearance last night, from a writers point of view, felt like an opportunity for the writers to say, "She's still here!"

The "someone's coming" plotline makes me sigh. As Samuel Jackson said in Pulp Fiction, "Well, that had better be one m--------- charming pig." I had almost forgotten about the Ben/Widmore thing.

And then there's Myles. Back in the Temple with Bad Sayid. (Bayid?) There's an interesting combo. Can Myles have something to do in this show, after 3 years, other than tell one joke per episode, and talk to ghosts twice a season?

For all that: did enjoy the episode. But yeah-- getting antsy. Instead of stringing us along, it's time to answer, then kick it up to a new level, then answer again, then kick it up further.

Also: was I the only one unthrilled by the appearance of alternate-Dogen? Like, we dont' even know him in the other timeline, and we're supposed to be all woozy because he pops up at jack's kids recital?

Rick said...

I'm reading a lot of complaints about the "never seen the lighthouse before" dialogue, which surprises me.

The reason they've never seen the lighthouse before is because it was never there before. Why have a lighthouse that sees into a parallel timeline until the parallel timeline is created?

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else get the feeling that the lighthouse mirrors were looking into sideways-world rather than 2007 version? "Through the Looking Glass", the annotated "Alice in Wonderland" and all that...

Davy said...

I enjoyed this episode SOOOO much more than last week's. Locke's off-island story bored me to death, like I was watching an very special after-school special. "Gosh, Grandpa! I guess it really is okay to be handicapped, so long as you know your limitations." Puh-lease. To me, that was a regression for Locke, not progress.

This episode felt more like the Lost I've enjoyed the past few seasons, and less like the Lost I quit watching for much of season 2 and 3, which is how I felt about Locke's episode last week.

pbrl said...

I'm gonna jump in with the "loved it" crowd, and for a really basic reason: I find Jack just as compelling as Locke.

Here's the deal. We all love Locke episodes. And that is because (1) we all root for Locke because of what a shit life he's had and (2) Terry O'Quinn is a ridiculous actor. But remember, Locke and Jack are 2 sides of the same coin. It's not like Locke can just exist without his foil.

Jack is, to me, perhaps the single most interesting *person* in this show. Yeah we love Hurley, but he's not a deep or conflicted character. We love Ben, but he's a relatively simply person to describe (at this point he is - it'd be impossible to describe him in season 3). What makes Jack such a great character is that he is really, truly complex. He's an ass. But he's also a hero. He's not likeable. But he does tremendously good things. He does horrible things, but he's not remotely evil.

If you don't like watching the character of Jack because you don't like who he is, I don't know what to do tell you. For me, him smashing the mirrors made 100% sense - he is still Jack. Yes, he's come a ways since the O6 situation, and he's become more accepting, but he hasn't just turned into John Locke. How the hell would you react to this lighthouse with your name scrawled on it and knowing this guy you've never met has been watching you.

You would freak out! Especially if, like Jack, you are a "man of science" not built for merely giving in.

I love the character of Jack, even if I don't think I would want to be his actual friend if I knew him. If you hate Jack, of course you're gonna hate this episode, but that doesn't mean its bad.

Like many have said, this week and last week's episodes are very similar in how they told their stories. Those of us who love Lost need to accept those characters and storytelling devices on those terms, and not deride episodes because on happens to be about a character we personally empathize with and one we don't.

Bryan said...

I was very pleased to freeze-frame the episode during the mirrors scene and see "Wallace" crossed off as #108 (which leads me to believe that whole "someone is coming" was a red herring)

when I first looked at it I also thought it was crossed off but it you looke at it closer I think you'll see it's not. The bar in the A is a little long and I think also the LL's and the E give it the appearance of being marked through. Also, If it was marked through Jack would not have seen the image on the mirrors

mck said...

Really surprised by the majority's dislike of the episode. Yes, the Locke episode was better, but this episode felt nostalgic and offered alt-Jack a bit of closure, something I think he will have earned by the conclusion of the show. There are certainly things about this show that are incredibly frustrating, but I accepted them long ago. Therefore, I was perfectly content with this episode.

http://mcklowry.blogspot.com/2010/02/lost-lighthouse.html

Anonymous said...

I disliked this episode more than the others this season. I simply hate Jack. I knew he would lose his temper and break the mirrors. How can he still be this ignorant about the island? Wouldn't you try to figure it out?

"Hey, let's see what on Hurley's number. Let's check Saywer's. Who else is on here? What about the names crossed off? Hurley, can you talk to Jacob?"

But no, the idiot just smashes them.

Thought Claire's storyline was the most interesting. Seeing Smokey at the end added to that.

I still could care less about the alt-reality. I find the stories pointless and a waste of time this late in the game.

I do think the main story is advancing though painfully slow. We know Jacob brought people to the island to potentially take over it's "protection." We have an idea what happened to Claire and Locke. We're getting an idea of what Smokey is up to. To me, the point of the main story needs answers and that's about it and the main story is Jacob and Esau. That story has advanced the most this season.

Jon Weisman said...

Could we stipulate that just because one wasn't fond of last night's episode doesn't mean it's because one hates Jack?

Anythink said...

Concerning the real reason Jacob sent Jack and Hurley to the lighthouse:

Jacob is dead, and can't manipulate the machinery. Which means that he needed two people to adjust his magic mirror. And since we know that 108 is Wallace, and that Jacob has been dead for about a week, how was obviously getting Jack and Hurley to move the mirror so he could find out what was happening with David Wallace, CFO of Dundler Mifflin on The Office.

Jack, recognizing that this would turn into a promotion for a rival network, destroyed the mirror.

Mike said...

i guess why i am struck by your review is that you are far kinder to far inferior shows like any comedy on NBC which I have never seen you use the words lame to describe and there were many lame episodes of Community

Clearly you can see many people here disagree with you and it seems more than normal. Now you are certainly entitled to your opinion but i am surprised that you dont give the benefit to Darlton when like I said you are far more forgiving to other shows (and showrunners) that arent nearly this good

JamesG said...

I found it a bit of a stretch that Jack sees his childhood house in the mirror and immediately makes the jump to "Jacob's been watching us all along." That may be a logical step for us, seeing as how we know Jacob interacted with the characters in the past, but it should not be that obvious to Jack. I thought the entire lighthouse scene poorly executed, including how an admittedly "broken" Jack does not even fathom how the mirrors might somehow be useful to him or in leaving the island. Talk about self-pity.

I really enjoyed the Jin/Claire scenes in this episode. Claire's distinction between her "dad" and her "friend" was interesting, because I think we had assumed that Christian was somehow a previous manifestation of Smokey. It doesn't look like this was the case. Something else is at work there.

Robin said...

Wow. I made it through the comments! :)

I fall on the side of really liking the episode. While I thought parts of the flash-sideways were boring, in the end I liked Jack's redemption arc and I wondered if this means he has finally resolved his daddy issues.

Some points I didn't see brought up:

Everything about Jack seems to have changed in alt-2004, except that he still has a previously unknown connection to the Littletons? That HAS to be significant.

Darlton gave the fans the only answer they'll ever get re: Adam and Eve, and used Hurley to do it. I loved this episode for that scene alone.

Does Jin know that real Locke is dead? He was on the island when Locke died, but did one of the O6 tell him about Locke's death when they were all in 1977 Dharma? That knowledge would do alot for my reading of Jin's reaction to Locke at the end.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Could we stipulate that just because one wasn't fond of last night's episode doesn't mean it's because one hates Jack?

Thank you! I will freely acknowledge that I find Jack and Kate less interesting (and, in Jack's case, less likable) than many of the other regulars, but that doesn't make me incapable of enjoying episodes built around either character. As I said two weeks ago, I thought the Kate-centric "Whatever Happened, Happened" was one of season 5's best, and I really enjoyed the Jack mainland scenes in both "Through the Looking Glass" and "There's No Place Like Home," to name just a couple of examples.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Now you are certainly entitled to your opinion but i am surprised that you dont give the benefit to Darlton when like I said you are far more forgiving to other shows (and showrunners) that arent nearly this good

But here we disagree not only on the quality of this episode, but on the quality of other series like "Community," which I clearly like more than you. And I'm entitled to that opinion, just as you are to yours.

But also, there is a difference between reviewing episodes from one show's first season and another show's final. Very few shows come out of the gate fully-formed. They need to figure out what they're doing, what works, and what doesn't, and the audience also needs time to get used to that show's distinct rhythms. There's a learning curve, plain and simple.

Damon and Carlton have had their learning curve, and they not only figured out what wasn't working about the show, but convinced ABC to let them fix it by setting an end date. I'm not saying they're not allowed a bad episode (which I felt this was) now and again, but for them to be making what feel to me like the same rookie mistakes they finally moved away from with "Through the Looking Glass" really concerns me. There were episodes in seasons 4 & 5 that I didn't like, but it was only because I didn't like material in those specific episodes. But the problems I've had with two of this season's four episodes (and to a much lesser extent with last week's, which others point out had a similar structure to this one) feel more systemic in nature. And that shouldn't be happening at this late date, not from a show run by two guys who've been showing for the last two and a half years how well they know what they're doing.

Bryan said...

I find the lack of Kate in the last couple episodes very intriguing and I'm probably way way off base but a few thoughts pop up -

We know Kate is a candidate and Jacob touched her as a child but there's been no mention of her as such.

Kate was on the Lighthouse but not on the cave (was she?)

It is being set up for Claire to really really hate Kate

Smocke last week said "I know what it's like to lose someone close to me".

Claire is a blonde- Kate brunette

etc etc.

Also- this may have nothing to do with nothing as well but the 3 Jacob touched as children are all fine - 2 of the 3 that Jacob touched as adults (Locke, Sayid) are dead (or have died)

Millar said...

I always just assumed the other canoe had Ilana, Bram, et al in it. They have guns. They had the canoes that Not-Locke, Ben and Sun stole. And they had the Ajira water bottle from the flight.

Anonymous said...

pbrl said...

Thank you! I will freely acknowledge that I find Jack and Kate less interesting (and, in Jack's case, less likable) than many of the other regulars, but that doesn't make me incapable of enjoying episodes built around either character.

Sorry Alan, but I can't stipulate it. I love your reviews generally, but I sense a pattern in your reactions to Jack (though I do agree with you on Kate pretty much always).

You seem to tolerate Jack when Jack acts in a way you want him to. So when he is calmer, less of an ass, less impulsive - you like those episodes more. But that's not really a fair way to critique episodes; not to bring us back to the Chuckpocalypse, but you were vocal in saying that the characters should be allowed to explore their own worlds independent of viewers' desires.

Jack is often going to be an impulsive, arrogant jerk. That's simply a large part of who that man is. I haven't seen someone yet explain why this week's episode was somehow lesser than last week's, other than we simply like John Locke as a human being more than Jack, and he's more congenial to spend time with. I don't want to put this all on you, Alan, since you didn't really hammer Jack's piggishness too much in your review, but lots of commenters are. I think there are lots of people who simply don't like watching Jack be himself, but that's not a flaw of the show.

dez said...

If 108 = Wallace, then perhaps 109 = Gromit!

Cheese is the answer to all the Losties' problems!

Now that we know Crazy Claire talks to her daddy and to SmokeyLocke, it makes me wonder what the significance of seeing Christian, Claire, and "Jacob" (who many thought looked like Locke) in the cabin will turn out to be. The ash around the cabin was disturbed, too, IIRC. Hrm.

Katanma said...

When I saw that Jack's son was a piano prodigy, all I could think was, "Everwood did it first and better."

Miken said...

Alan,

I've read through most of these comments and there is one thing I have yet to see.

Why does Jack assume that a picture of the house he grew up in means Jacob is watching him? Why couldn't it be Christian? Jacob didn't touch Jack until he was long gone from that house.

What if the list is of people they are controlling? Locke was crossed off because he was being controlled by MIB. Whereas Shephard hasn't been crossed off, because maybe he's controlled by Jacob? Who knows who Sayid being controlled by, but if Jacob is dead, there is no way to know if he wanted to cross his name off. Littleton is crossed off because she has been reached by MIB.

Maybe these people can't be controlled until they die. Which is why MIB can't kill Sawyer, but he's keeping him close.

I can't explain why others are crossed off (because obviously they aren't ALL dead, but other things could eliminate them from consideration). I think this starts to make a lot of sense since Christian was in Jacob's cabin, and also led Jack a few places (Jacob using Jack's dad to get him to do things also makes sense).

And for the record, I still think the big twist is Jacob being "evil", while the MIB has been getting the raw end of the deal.

mas said...

How terrible was the Photoshop on the photos (especially Christian and Jack) at the top of the episode? Almost as bad as the flattened piece of chewing gum that was supposed to be a scab on Jack's forehead. The makeup and props seem to be a little slack this season - what used to be the best-looking show in HD now seems sloppy (storytelling aside).

Matter-Eater Lad said...

I found last week's and this week's sideflashes very compelling; these glimpses of Locke and Jack as more functional, emotionally and psychologically healthy people struck me as worthwhile and satisfying trips.

Given that the mirror showed Jack's childhood home when set to "Shepard," should we consider whether the mirror was set to look at Christian, not Jack?

One thought on the sideways-verse: If it exists as a result of the Incident in 1977, it has existed the entire time from 1977 to 2007, given the show's time travel rules.

Kristi said...

I apologize in advance for the length of this post :)

I actually thought this was a great episode. It was a nice contrast to the previous episode, and for me, it highlighted what I feel are some of the show’s central themes which involve the issues of faith, fate, and free will. When I talk about faith, I am not talking about it in a religious sense per se, but in the concept that when people make their choices in life, decisions are made based on either the information or lack thereof one has been given. This season is posing so many thought-provoking questions- have we been predestined to live a life already mapped out for us or are we able to change the variables? How important is the strength of personal conviction? Is having complete faith without logic better than having no faith at all and only answers? Or is it more of a grey area that we should strive for as humans- to be open not only to proven truths, but also self-evident ones?

I feel these points were greatly highlighted between these last two episodes – a couple of times, actually. Regarding faith, in last week’s episode, we saw the MiB essentially taunt Richard about following Jacob without being told much of anything- implying that Richard was foolish for following Jacob with such blind faith. Both with Richard and with Sawyer, the MiB tries to coax each of them through offering up the proverbial apple in the form of concrete answers to all of their questions- and that this means of “recruiting” just reinforces his point that humans are conditioned to repeatedly chose “evil” over “good”. In contrast, last night’s episode has Jacob offering up no answers, relying on Jack to pursue the right course of action through individual free will. In this chess game being played by both light and dark, it’s ultimately not about black or white, but shades of grey. We all know that being a man of pure science didn't work for Jack- it only made him a broken, confused man and that being a man of pure faith didn't work for Locke- it caused him to follow much too blindly and left him bitter and disillusioned. Maybe it’s not a question of whether you are a man of science or a man of faith, but instead that you are a bit of both. That it’s important to live your life based on the facts you’ve been given, but also the belief in what you know to be true and good in your heart, and that the power of the human spirit and this free will to choose good over evil is the one thing that will “trump” predetermined destiny.

I think that Jacob is ultimately trying to prove that human beings are inherently good. I think this season is partly a study in how each of these characters react to the information they have or have not been given, and each one must rely on both faith and reason to ultimately do the right thing, where others have failed in the past. Somehow I envision the endgame being a final showdown between “Jacob’s people” and “MiB’s people”, and that instead of killing each other as they have in the past, our Lostaways will choose not to fight each other, because they know there is ultimately good in each of them despite how “infected” they might be, and this will ultimately somehow “fix” the timeline and also “free” both Jacob and the MiB. Remember- “It only ends once. Everything that comes before is just progress.”

Miken said...

Whoops, MIB and Jacob can't be controlling Shephard and Claire (as a result of the cabin scene), but I still think the Shephard on the lighthouse wheel is not Jack, but rather Christian

Hollywoodaholic said...

Yikes, Veronica Hamel looked like Morticia from "The Adams Family."

Anonymous said...

its naive to expect a classic everytime out

its like expecting a-rod to hit 4 homers a game

Sam Hobart said...

First let me say that I think that one's opinion of each of the three post premiere episodes thus far is very much dependent on one's feelings about the characters and actors at the center of each. Each was a character study with basically the same plot (traipse through the jungle to find someone/something, get some ancillary information along the way and then a few pseudo answers at the end).

I think the real issue comes from Cuse & Lindelof's decision to build season six as a mirror to season one but without any definitive explanation for why on the flash sideways. These first three episodes have been VERY similar to the first three post pilot episodes season one thematically with the basic point of each being, look how much different things could have been.

We've gone from a season five in which the plot ruled to a season six that seems to be much more about putting us into each character's head (in both realities) in the lead up to what looks to be a pretty epic battle royale (although I'll probably be disappointed on that front).

It's not a character flaw to prefer one version of Lost over another, it's just part and parcel of what Cuse and Lindelof have said they're trying to do from the beginning, giving people who like the show for different reasons a little bit of something each week.

Anonymous said...

Every time Veronica Hamel shows up it just makes me sad. She still has that great voice, but it is very difficult to look at her now. Why Veronica, why? What's wrong with aging naturally?

Sam Hobart said...

Also, next week should be a Sun/Jin episode based on mirroring season one. What happens the next week when it should be a Charlie episode? Skip straight to Sawyer or go in a completely different direction?

Miken said...

I thought instead of Charlie, we will get a Ben episode. I thought I saw that somewhere, but I don't have a source.

And I don't think anyone is expecting a 4 HR game every week, but I don't think it's too much to ask to go 2-4 with 2 doubles. They only have 18 hours to work with, and they explain things 2-3 weeks after they bring something up. We probably won't see Jack conclude anything looking at the ocean for 3 weeks, and that's all this episode was for!

Bryan said...

I was in the "what the hell is Dogen doing in sideways world?" camp but it just occurred to me maybe it was more than just a let's see out mysterious we can make this exercise.

If Dogen's in Sideways world that means he probably wasn't on the Black Rock (or could mean he was and got off the island but that would mean he doesn't age in outside world - WTF)

Q Ball said...

I liked the episode, but I don't understand why some commenters think it's kosher to go on Alan's blog and attack him for not liking an episode. Of all the critics of this episode I feel Alan has defended his opinions very thoroughly and it's clear that his negative view of "Te Lighthouse" doesn't begin and end with Jack.

One of my favorite moments of the episode is one that no one has discussed yet. Kate's appearance might have seemed like an obligatory "hey, she's still here!" moment, but that last piece of dialogue between her and Jack struck me. Jack's reasons for coming back to the island are just as flimsy as anyone else's (as Hurley pointed out) and when Kate said, "I hope you find what you're looking for," I think that comment laid the groundwork for Jack's explosion at the lighthouse. He has realized that whatever he's looking for just might not be on the Island. This harsh reality makes Jack's later actions understandable to me.

The numbers/candidate names at the lighthouse also semi-validate my theory that "Jacob's" cave seen last episode might just be part of Smokey's con to get Sawyer on his side. Now that's a recruitment violation that Pete Carroll would be proud of.

My final thought is on the 108 - Wallace. I think it refers to Desmond coming back to the island with his other time traveling relative...William Wallace! His great-great-great-great-great grandfather is the first Hume/Wallace to time travel and he's coming with his far removed grandson to kick the action up a couple notches. I think that's something every Lost fan would approve of.

Anonymous said...

The appendix scar would seemingly be from when Juliet and Kate operated on him.

Anonymous said...

A+

This was a wonderful reward for the hardcore Jack fans. If you did not immediately recognized the significance of "you have what it takes" then this episode was not meant for you. I love that Darlton care more about rewarding their most passionate fans than pleasing the masses.

As a tv critic, I suppose Alan has to judge the hour on its own merits. I can understand why it could fail that test. But I don't view it that way. I have seen White Rabbit about 15 times and this episode was meant for people like me.

Hannah Lee said...

Like the Twitter poster, I definitely was having flashbacks to the “Casey McCall talks to his son” episode of Sports Night during Jack’s conversation with his son. It was a little too reminiscent and took me out of the episode a bit. The other thing that took me out was the son having both a cell phone AND an old-school answering machine, just so Jack could both try to reach his son, and be able to playback his own message and find out about David’s audition. (Did teenagers have their own answering machines back in 2004?)

For some reason, I find the scenes with Jacob compelling, even if nothing much happens. Maybe it’s the way the character is played…very low key delivery. Kind of like speaking with a whisper causes people to lean in to hear, playing a character that softly is drawing me in.

So, with some Jacob, and some Hurley, who is always fun, I enjoyed the episode. The Jack X scenes were a little troubling, if only because it introduced a character who doesn’t exist in the original timeline, who has his own hopes and dreams. Will David cease to exist when the timelines merge?

I think the episode would have played better if a) the promo monkeys hadn’t shown us Jack smashing the lighthouse mirrors…as soon as Jack and Hurley got to the lighthouse, I kept wondering when Jack was going to smash it. b) Jack had taken a moment to appreciate how interesting the mirror was before he smashed it and c) Matthew Fox was a bit stronger actor so we’d have a better sense of what was going on with the character during the lighthouse scenes.

My theory of the day: the reason why Shepard looked like it had been re-written on the wheel is that Christian was the original Shepard candidate, but got crossed out for some reason (like his death) Then Jack became a candidate so Shepard got written back in. Oh, and the cave and its numbers are Smokey’s, and the lighthouse and its numbers are Jacob’s.

Mike said...

Appreciate the response Alan, and yes you are more than certainly entitled to your opinion. I guess I just dont view them as making mistakes as you say and I trust that they are laying pipe for things to come very soon, like in the next month at the latest.

Also I guess even though I understand what you are saying, there were so many good things here, I feel, like Hurley's comedy, Jack's scenes and redepmtive story with his son, that even though I understand why it wasnt your fav I guess I thought based on the other factors you wouldnt qualify it as a bad ep.

But it is your opinion and if thats how you see it, you have to be honest. I guess i just feel there are certain elements to LOST on any given week that make it far from an ordinary TV show and like you said you did enjoy the Claire/Jin stuff.

Anyway thanks for the response. Enjoy reading you very much whether I agree or not. All the best!

Camille said...

I just need a refresher....didn't Sun see Aaron's cradle back at the camp? so the one last night isn't the same one.

Peter said...

Until something drastic changes with the 2004 mainland stuff I'm sticking with my theory that those stories are everyone's happy ending after the timeline is reset when smokey is defeated in 2007. Which essentially means all the time we are spending in 2004 is essentially a big waste of time.

Anonymous said...

Jack's conversation with Hurley when he admitted he was broken was a mirror to Jack's conversation with Locke in White Rabbit ("I looked into the eye of this island..."). Locke asked him what he was looking for, and Hurley asked why he came back. I wonder if this is a clue about Hurley being Locke's opposite or something.

I made a decision to stop watching the previews this year and based on some of the comments above I'm glad I did. I expected Jack to smash the glass just like he smashed the coffin way back when, but I'm glad it wasn't spoiled in a preview.

I was really hoping for some Christian in this episode. But just like Jack, the show is not quite ready to confront him yet. Its all leading to the inevitable meeting between Jack and Christian. That is going to be the climax of this whole show as far as I'm concerned. You all can have your "answers." I expect most of you will be disappointed with them. I want to explore the questions more. And most of all, I want to see Jack get to talk to his dad.

kelly said...

I loved this episode. The alternate timeline is starting to pay off with last week's episode and this one. Kate's was not interesting because it was set up exactly as what would've happened in their lives if the plane did not crash. Now with Locke's and Jack's alternate timeline, we are seeing that their lives were similar to the real timeline but different. I also think the big finale on the island is a showdown at the Temple so there isn't much story left to tell until this happens. All island scenes are going to show each group getting closer and closer to the Temple.

I liked how Jacob manipulated Jack with memories of his father. Maybe Jack will finally let go of his control issues and start to go on faith.

Rabble Rouser said...

How are we supposed to believe that Hurley could actually find the lighthouse when in Season 2 he couldn't even find Sayid & Shannon's beach 2 miles away, he's not exactly Magellan.

Allison DeWitt said...

I liked the episode, but I don't understand why some commenters think it's kosher to go on Alan's blog and attack him for not liking an episode. Of all the critics of this episode I feel Alan has defended his opinions very thoroughly and it's clear that his negative view of "Te Lighthouse" doesn't begin and end with Jack.

If I may give that a triple "AMEN".

It's about a television show, for crying out loud. And there are good arguments to make for or against an spisode. Alan's made cogent reviews praising shows, this time he made one criticizing a show.

I mostly enjoyed the show but IMO Alan's were expressed well and good advice. I'm happy to suspend disbelief but some things are too much. Hurley does what Jacob wants ..without question? The man who got so hysterical about numbers previously doesn't care about the numbers on the wheel? OR the number (108) that Jacob gave him.

I liked the change of seeing Jack grow as a person, not that he was a perfect father, but he was much improved over his own. The "you're not good enough" from his father was a burden he's carried throughout the whole show.

His expression about Jacob's reversal of that sentiment was memorable, also.

Jeff B. said...

I also avoid all the promos, especially the one they run immediately before the episode begins! Hey ABC, we don't need to be convinced 10 seconds before the episode begins to watch it, that's why we have it on!

So basically I catch the last moments of the previous week's episode, hit mute and put my hand in front of my eyes until I see the credits at the bottom stop, and then quickly unmute.

Brian said...

it's natural that a person is going to be drawn to certain characters and hence- like their episodes better. So I don't blame Alan for that. For me, I don't necessarily like one character over the rest. They all fill different roles to me so I try to judge them in that regard.

On this episode though- it pays to remember this about the show. Lost is like putting together one of those massive couple thousand piece puzzles. Some things look frustrating but once some pieces start to fall together it changes the complexion of what you're working on. While some felt the episode fell flat last night I enjoyed the flash-sideways as it showed Jack learning that by being right on top of things (his son playing) he was missing how much the son liked it. Once he was removed from it all he could see the picture more clearly. That was how I took that ending. When he was staring in the mirror he was too close to see everything. Once he was sitting on the rocks staring into the ocean he was looking at the big picture again.

At the end though, the pieces to the puzzle started to fall into place as we have a better understanding of how long Smokey has been moving pieces on his end. It also gave us a better view of Claire's psyche going forward.

kyle said...

I think there are lots of people who simply don't like watching Jack be himself, but that's not a flaw of the show.

I would actually argue that this is a key flaw of the show. If enough of the viewing public actively dislikes watching a given character (or two, i.e. Kate) to the point that they are apprehensive about watching an episode before it even airs, that is a problem. For me personally, i can't picture an ending for Jack that will make me like him. I don't know if the writers even want me to like him, and therein lies another related flaw. If we have spent 6 years with the same character and I still can't decide if the writers want me to like him or not, then I don't think they have done the character justice. It would be different if he were a multi-faceted character like Ben and I didn't know if I was supposed to side with him. But Jack is the most one-dimensional character on the show and, along with Locke, the "hero".

On a different note, in the past I have really enjoyed the flashbacks and flashforwards because we knew what general purpose they served. As far as the 'flash sideways,' they don't work for me because as far as I'm concerned they serve no purpose. They may be better on repeat viewing after the whole story is told, but arguing that logic simply reiterates the fact that they aren't good television now. Which, for me, all adds up to a disappointing beginning to the final season.

Scott J. said...

JamesG said...

I found it a bit of a stretch that Jack sees his childhood house in the mirror and immediately makes the jump to "Jacob's been watching us all along." That may be a logical step for us, seeing as how we know Jacob interacted with the characters in the past, but it should not be that obvious to Jack.


His first clue was Jacob's message, "you have what it takes". The significance of those words were likely only ever known by Jack & Christian and confined within that house. This isn't like the Others knowing Jack was a surgeon, Locke was paralyzed, etc. The only way Jacob could have known such intimate details of Jack's childhood is if he had witnessed them himself.

Lizbeth said...

Also- this may have nothing to do with nothing as well but the 3 Jacob touched as children are all fine - 2 of the 3 that Jacob touched as adults (Locke, Sayid) are dead (or have died)

Like the above poster I had noticed this too and my original thought was that Locke was supposed to die when he was thrown out the window by his dad, but Jacob's touch saved him. Sayid was supposed to be hit and killed by the car that killed Nadia but was again saved by Jacob.

However, as Faraday's mom said, that would mean Locke and Sayid (like Charlie) would eventually die anyway because the universe has a tendency to course correct if someone -- like Jacob -- tried to change what happened.

Of course, my theory doesn't make much sense regarding Jin and Sun who were not "saved" by Jacob's touch on their wedding day as far as I can tell.

But I'm just wondering if all this is on some infinite loop (a sci-fi Groundhog's Day) and Jacob hasn't just watched the "candidates" but intervened at certain points to "save them" knowing full well their time is still borrowed.

pbrl said...

But Jack is the most one-dimensional character on the show and, along with Locke, the "hero".

I don't even know what to say to this. I think Jack is the most multi-dimensional person on the show.

I think you are simply confusing "I like him" with "he's a complex character". Hurley is perhaps the most simple character on the show - he's not remotely deep. He's not conflicted. We know exactly who he is, but we still like him.

John Locke is also a pretty straightforward character - as Ben said, John Locke is a believer. And the notion of Locke-as-believer really does explain most everything he does.

For my money, Jack is the most complicated personality on the show, with maybe Sayid 2nd. It's not really easy to figure out why Jack always does what he does, and he has a lot of things pulling at him.

It doesn't matter at this point whether you like him. Lost is at no risk of being canceled or anything. The writers are free to make us feel completely uncomfortable about Jack. Why is it that in the middle of season 4 and 5, when we had no idea whether Ben was good or bad, that was hailed as a great thing, but you find it a failure that you don't know if you like Jack?

Like him or not, Jack is a well-portrayed, well-written, and IMO frustratingly real portrayal of a very smart yet screwed up person.

Scott Hollifield said...

I have to say, I find the nature of the debate over Lost's final season fascinating because to me, it mirrors what's going on in the show. Reaction over Darlton's pacing and storytelling choices is becoming more polarized. People are choosing sides. Some are demanding answers, like a certain spinal surgeon I know; others are patiently confident that the show will eventually provide them.

I'm in the meta-Locke camp. I have faith that Lost will eventually reward my faith. I feel this because I feel like I know the show well by this point. I don't expect it to speed up; I don't expect it to be any less frustrating all the way up to the very end. But I do trust that, once that end has passed, we will have digested a most excellent and worthwhile meal of a show.

Lizbeth said...

Also wanted to add that I'm disappointed like many fans because I just don't feel the story as compelling as it was in the past. Some of this has to do with retreading the same material over and over again, as Alan pointed out.

But some of it comes from having such a large cast and constantly adding new members which leaves fan favorites "benched" for too many games. I simply get bored with episodes that lack Ben, Locke, and Desmond.

I'm happy they kept Terry O'Quinn involved despite killing Locke but it's not the same. I think it was a mistake to kill Locke even though it allows O'Quinn to exercise his acting chops.

Unfortunately, it sets up our Season 6 Villain with the face of a beloved fan favorite and it makes it tough to really fear him imo.

To me, it simply can't compare to the early use of Ben who could set terror in your heart just with a look from his beady black eyes.

dez said...

Unfortunately, it sets up our Season 6 Villain with the face of a beloved fan favorite and it makes it tough to really fear him imo.

I dunno; I've seen "The Stepfather" and Terry O'Quinn does terrifying quite well. I find it unsettling to see a character I care about overtaken by a probably malevolent entity.

Anonymous said...

Claire's not shocked the Jin speaks English?!?!?

Jin learned to speak English during the time traveling segments....when he and Claire were separated...

Sorry, I just couldn't help but to point it out.

Bryan said...

Claire's not shocked the Jin speaks English?!?!?

Claire's CCCCRRRAAAAZZZYYYY-

she rocks a baboon skull to bed every night -

Miken said...

I agree it's tough to get used to Terry O'Quinn being bad, but I thought he looked very creepy when he walked into Claire's tent.

That was the first time I was worried to see him.

Karen said...

Just as an aside, if the final of season of Lost were tracking the extended season 6 of the sopranos, we would just be exiting the Vito/Johnny Cakes storyline and heading into much more interesting, dramatic and revelatory plotlines and episodes. Even though there are only 14 episodes left, that's still quite a few tv hours to hit us with good story.

Ari N. Schulman said...

There is a commenter over at Videogum who says:
I think the bigger problem than the constant discovery of new buildings... is how quickly they use up all the new buildings plot relevance. I mean the hatch storyline (the discovery, then the button within the hatch, and then the eventual destruction of the hatch) lasted more than a full season, and as a result it was really cool. We wanted to know what was up with the Hatch because we had discovered it and inhabited it for as long as the characters (longer actually since they’ve only been there for like a week at this point).

The problem is not that they're not revealing enough, but if anything that they're just tossing off mythology stuff now as if it hardly matters. At the same time they're completely dropping all subtlety in developing the characters, who are coming to seem a bit cartoonish.

Much like The Wire, Lost used to be a wonderful meta-commentary on itself, and that was part of what I loved about it. The question of whether the Losties should have faith in the island was also a question of whether we should have faith in the show. But look at Jacob's speech to Hurley, which was essentially a retelling of the old creative-writing rule "show, don't tell", with something of an insult that Hurley needs to be told while Jack needs to be shown. But this rule is exactly how the show itself is supposed to work, and it's exactly what they're no longer doing, at least as far as the characters are concerned.

This episode is rife with examples. Just to name one, look at the scene where Jack goes to see his son's piano recital. Not only is this something that, as Alan points out, we have a hard time caring about, but they completely spoiled what was itself a not very nuanced scene by dumping all over it with the score. Here was a great opportunity for the music the kid is playing on the piano and Jack's reaction to do all of the emotional work of the scene. But they just had to override the music that's already in the scene and doing emotional work at the level of the characters themselves with that overwrought sentimental score. The clunky directness in the conversations between Jack & his mother and Jack & his son — everyone saying directly how they feel to make sure we don't miss the character development — confirms the point.

Apparently the Lost writers now consider us to be Hurley and not Jack: tell, don't show.

MEGAMONO said...

Has there ever been a show that has driven their stars into the ground like Lost has with Kate and Jack?

Matt Saracen. Friday Night Lights.

Anonymous said...

I don't get the "at this stage of the game.." criticisms. We're on episode 4 of an 18 (I think) episode season. There's still some table setting to be done for this season. I'm pretty sure I read that this season was supposed to mirror season 1 in some ways, so I'm still expecting 'sideways-centric' episiodes for: Hurley, Sayid, Sawyer, Claire, Charlie, & Boone.

Even though this is the last season, there's still a story to tell for this season. They (the producers) can't just devote this entire season to wrapping up the first 5 seasons - how could they make 18 episodes outta that?

Mike F said...

Couldn't disagree more with Alan. I'm absolutely loving the flash-sideways scenes. They are my favorite parts of this season and perhaps any season so far. I find them extremely compelling television.

The only part of this episode I didn't enjoy was the Claire parts...I rarely enjoy that kind of mania in a character. For the same reason, I was never particularly interested in the French woman's character.

Anyhow, my full support goes to the showrunners who I continue to feel have been paying off loyal fans episode after episode.

The lighthouse itself was beautifully conceived, even better than the cave ceiling. I think the cave ceiling from last week is Smokey's lair and I think the lighthouse is Jacob's domain.

kyle said...

I think you are simply confusing "I like him" with "he's a complex character".

Pbrl, you are making the assumption that I think there are any complex characters left on the show. In general, the characters I enjoy watching the most are Hurley, Miles, and Sawyer. I wouldn't argue that either Hurley or Miles are complex. Sawyer is a little more multi-dimensional, but I don't know if I would go all the way to call him complex. At least when Sawyer comes to a point where he has to make a decision, I don't know right away what choice he is going to make. Maybe I should substitute the word predictable for one-dimensional.

I will say that I don't really remember the nuances of the characters from the early seasons. I think that everyone was probably more complex in early seasons, but I have not rewatched any season since it originally aired on television. I will freely admit that there is a good chance I don't remember some very important character-building moments.

In general, I think that the majority of the characters that populate the world of Lost have ceased to be individuals whose decisions/actions/personalities drive and inform the story/show. It seems that since the start of this season, the plot and the direction it needs to take is driving the actions of the characters and that is a disappointing turn for me. I understand that in some ways this is a necessary adjustment in the final season, but I feel like it could be handled a little better.

At this point, the main reason I'm still watching is because I am really interested in reading the reactions other people have and hearing their thoughts about the episodes. I don't know if I still enjoy the actual hour I spend watching it or not. What I really look forward to is the day after and seeing everyone else's opinions.

ZB said...

Alan, didn't you feel that the Hurley talk about Adam and Eve could be a hint for what happened to Rose and Bernard? Everyone else from 815 came back to the present timeline, but we haven't seen Rose and Bernard on the island yet. Could they've gone to the past instead? Maybe will see them in a Richard flashback or something like that (I'm kidding about this one... or maybe not...).

Lepidoptera said...

"The problem is that if that's the only reason things are vague and overly-complicated - if it doesn't come from the characters, or the needs of the story, but from an external need to maintain an air of mystery - then it doesn't work."

This is extremely well said, and not true of simply this episode, but the entire series. There are no cogent satisfying answers, because there is no plan, and Lost, which offered us a compelling Act I, just continues to regurgitate different tired versions of an increasingly implausible Act II, as we stand obediently by, thankful for the stale scrap of anything vaguely ominous, mysterious, spiritual, or coincidental. The big reveal seems pretty clear: there is no Act III, and there never was, and the characters' histories, like the show itself for 4 years, is doomed to repeat itself with painful, disappointing results.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

And yet, Lepidoptera is still. Watching.

7s Tim said...

Jack smashed the mirrors, but the telescope might still work, if he didn't get it too banged up. They should have kept it. If this was a video game, it would have been useful.

regarding Jack's son wearing a Dodgers hat in the photo booth pictures when Jack had already pushed the Red Sox on him: this plays perfectly into a long running theory of mine, as well as themes in this episode and Lost as a whole. Just like anyone who grew up in the DC, Philly, or New York areas but roots for the Cowboys, David roots for the Dodgers to piss his dad off (Yanks would work better, but not as many games in Cali).

I am torn between thinking that the 2004 scenes are epilogue to the series as a whole, or flash forwards in a way. stay with me here: Something will happen later this season that causes these characters' histories to change. I know Juliet said "it worked" but maybe that was a head fake. And we are constantly being fooled (and maybe the characters are too) into thinking 2004 world is a happy ending. But we'll find out later that whatever victory earned them this reward was pyrrhic at best. they will regain their memories of seasons 1-5 and fight their way out of 2004 and back to 2007 timeline just before the season ends. But we won't even know what caused the divergence in 2007 until they are already trying to fix it in 2004.
Or it's their happy ending and Darlton wanted to give something to each character, so they decided to go with this narrative device. Or they have to fight the past to restore the future!

or i'm crazy.

Lepidoptera said...

I am still watching, Matter-Eater, yes. I am just more disappointed all the time. I will see it to its end, the same way I rarely walk out on a movie. If you are finding the show satisfying, and feel confident that even a fraction of the myriad mysteries will be cleverly revealed, I truly wish you (as I do my friends headed off to rent ALL ABOUT STEVE), the very best of luck.

Henry said...

I've taken a look at some of the crossed out names in the Lighthouse and saw Rousseau crossed out so I think that blows up my theory that women are not considered serious "candidates" by Jacob.

Some observations from my viewing with my brother last night:

-- When his son David called him dad, my brother and I both said, "Dad?" at the same time. Interesting also that David was pushed to classical piano, just like Daniel Faraday was before his mother pushed him towards physics.

-- Claire became a badass on her time in the wild with Christian and Smokey. I called it when she said she'd been with "her friend" during the three years the Oceanic Six were away from the island. I mean, it fits too snugly with Dogen's explanation that she'd been infected with the sickness. I actually think Claire being a badass is interesting. I mean, Justin was dead as soon as he got tied up. But the way she killed him was cold-blooded.

-- The numbers on the lighthouse make a pretty explanation for connecting the numbers and names to the cave. Too bad Jack destroyed the mirror. This is why fans of the show hate Jack. He's too reactive. Too impulsive. His own myriad of issues get in the way of getting the answers he wants. Theory: Adjusting the lighthouse to 108 degrees would have made the mirror get to the Omega Point and would have allowed for humanity to get to the next stage of evolution. It may have also provided a method of getting off the island without using the Frozen Donkey Wheel. But we may never know now that Jack destroyed the mirrors.

Anonymous said...

Its always amusing to hear people talk about "answers" in relation to Lost. This show is about asking intriguing questions, not providing the answers. Its about capturing your imagination, not limiting it.

If you expect season 6 of Lost to be fundamentally different than prior seasons by providing answers instead of asking questions, then you will certainly be disappointed. I am loving the way this season has continued to explore the questions in compelling ways. They're hinting at some possible answers without spoiling all the fun.

Jon Weisman said...

I just think it's weird when someone says, "I don't like the episode because of X," and the reply is, "No, you don't like the episode because of Y."

There are many different components toward forming an opinion about this or any other TV show. I would be careful about assumptions you make.

Allison DeWitt said...

This is why fans of the show hate Jack. He's too reactive.

I wonder why more people don't blame the writers, then. JMO but then maybe that's just the way they express it.

And his reaction to what he saw by breaking to mirrors seemed to be something Jacob saw coming, if I remember his reaction properly. Plus Jack had a miserable childhood. I wouldn't find it surprising he'd smash the image of his childhood home.

Hurley's reaction was much harder for me to understand. Numbers used to freak him out.

I like how pbrl expressed it, myself, re: Jack.

Like him or not, Jack is a well-portrayed, well-written, and IMO frustratingly real portrayal of a very smart yet screwed up person.


I agree- I don't find Jack one-dimensional unless he was doing the angry face and scremaing at people. I've always felt Jack was a very typical child of an alcoholic who was an alcoholic himself. His father treated him like he was a weakling, his good impulses made him strive to a leader and a hero but he also hated that responsibility - as children of alcoholics do. His mother treated him like crap, also..and also demands his help. He saved Sarah as a surgeon, married her out of good but misguided impulses and then ruined it all by being king of dysfunction. He's so damn human it hurts - quite unlike most TV characters. It's interesting and frustrating, both.

This year, I see his facing of his faults as interesting. He can be maddening, I agree - because he's so like people I've known. They can be altruistic or they can be demanding and arrogant. I remember him as both, but I remember how he sacrificed himself because he thought Kate loved Sawyer.

I dislike him less (ditto with Kate) if I watch him as part of a story rather than just one character.

I miss Ben as a bad, complex guy. I hope they change that. And I always miss Desmond.

arvee said...

yup, sorry Alan, but i liked this episode. To be fair, though, i found the island Jack scenes too dragging; i didnt mind when that happened on the flash sideways ones since, as the others have said, this is a reversal-of-roles take on the White Rabbit.

and 180+ comments on a "filler" episode. wow. what's the last one to do that, LaFleur? LOL

the next episode must have Ben. Please.

Gridlock said...

Oh, and the cave and its numbers are Smokey’s, and the lighthouse and its numbers are Jacob’s.

Would seem to be another lightness/darkness point, wouldn't it? A deep cave you must climb down to vs, literally, a tower of light.

But doesn't it make more sense that Jack just smashed Smokey's mirrors, pleasing Jacob ?

This means Jacob's cave was at the bottom of Hacob's ladder :D

Henry said...

I just think that Jack is supposed to be our hero, right? Yeah, he's screwed up (I certainly acknowledge that), but I think he's let those screw-ups get in the way of getting those answers or the redemption that he wants. I can buy him desperately wanting to get back to the island in season four and setting off the Jughead as a way of trying to save his friends, but I think there is that subset of people out there who gave up on Jack from the island when he said he was doing it to get Kate back. The whole "smashing the mirrors" thing just added to the whole frustrating "Jack-against-the-world" course that Jack seems to be stuck on. So is he really a hero for this show? At this point, people seem to be rooting for Sawyer to be the actual hero in the whole Lost tapestry, which is ironic given the show's beginnings.

Why do you think Hurley (who's always been the most friendly of the survivors) would be afraid to convince Jack to go anywhere with him? He's always gotten what he wants by whatever means possible and I don't understand what seeing the old house would throw him into such a rage for. What does smashing the mirrors really give you, Jack? In terms of getting redemption, not much of anything. Why not wait until Jacob shows up or see what happens when the pointer gets to 108 degrees? If nothing happens, then by all means, go ahead and whale away at the mirrors. It just added to a growing sense of frustration that seems to be percolating beneath the surface of Lost fans.

Henry said...

And his reaction to what he saw by breaking to mirrors seemed to be something Jacob saw coming, if I remember his reaction properly. Plus Jack had a miserable childhood. I wouldn't find it surprising he'd smash the image of his childhood home.

Isn't his reaction a little selfish? We see the Korean temple where Sun and Jin get married and Jack bypasses that. So he sees the source of his daddy issues and anger issues and that gives him the right to smash Jacob's mirrors to pieces? Sure, I saw from Jacob's reaction that he expected Jack to smash the mirrors, but why? Where is Jack going at this point? Is he trying to overcome his root issues? Has he already done so by smashing the mirrors? So where do we go from there? It's a somewhat unsatisfying cliffhanger for the story (yes, irony in the fact that Jack is sitting right on the edge of the cliff).

srpad said...

I agree this was a weak episode. I can't believe Lost went to the "Parent shows up and stands in the back of their kid's recital" well and didn't do anything fun with it. Crossing my fingers for next week.

Mike said...

Didn't have as much of a problem with this episode. Ever since they introduced the time travel element in the show, I've accepted Lost for what it is, preposterous and laughable. This episode was no more or less enjoyable than any episode in the last couple years. I see the end of the season playing out with all the characters in the a straight forward way.

Hannah said...

I always took for granted that the needlessly complicated plan to get Jack to remove Ben's tumor was straight from the pen of whoever was pulling Ben's strings. (I called Ben Number Two back then. His ultimate superior was Jacob.)

Jacob tests Ben's faith and allegiance by asking Ben to cage, beat, torture, threaten, manipulate the only person on the island who could save him from cancer. (I would imagine Jacob commands those insane acts of faith on a regular basis to keep the sheep in line.)

Then Jacob gets to test Jack with life and death on the line. Does Jack have what it takes to be the island's new guardian?

I'm betting a whole lot of the wild goose chases enacted that seemed so pointless at the time were all chances to see his candidates face life-or-death choices and be measured.

I'll be really pissed if whatever these characters learn this season on the island disappears as they pop out of existence (should the island timeline comes to an end in favor of the alt timeline). The idea that their growth, heroism and sacrifices would become moot is sad and nihilistic.

The coolest ending would be a hand to hand battle between the survivors from the two universes. Remember the Avengers annual where the 1963 version of the team battled the 1969 squad? Epic!

Suppose the never-crashed alt timeline is a consolation prize for the Losties who won't get to be the new Jacob and MIB. (Sorry for putting you through all that hell! As parting gifts, you get a slightly less effed up life and a copy of our home game!) If any of our candidates DON'T get a flash-sidewise episode, is that a clue that they'll be the new champions?

My one big wish is that alt-Hurley finds true love with alt-Libby before the end here.

Did I misremember? I'm almost certain we saw a bearded Bernard and Rose on the island timeline this year. Someone upthread says they're still missing in action.

Justin said...

"Did I misremember? I'm almost certain we saw a bearded Bernard and Rose on the island timeline this year. Someone upthread says they're still missing in action."

In the flash sideways, Bernard and Rose were on the plane, and they've only been in the flash sideways.

On the Island, they were last seen in 1977, living in the jungle. It remains to be seen whether they moved in time when Jughead was detonated or whether they remained in the past.

ZB said...

And why does Dogen seems to know what a candidate is and Richard Alpert doesn't?

Dennis said...

I'm not saying I want everything revealed but with so few eps left an entry like this left me wondering why I've spent so much time caring.

schmoker said...

I liked this episode, Alan, although I can understand why you would feel it wasn't a very good stand alone hour of television. I thought the same thing about the Kate episode, but I suspect I will like hers better (and you will like Jack's better) when the end times play out and we understand things that maybe went over our heads the first time around. But we are so close to the end now that I cannot but help feel that it's worth trusting Darlton until it is over. They have moved me and made me laugh so many times over the years that I cannot find the will to worry about being ultimately disappointed until I actually am.

I do think we got more answers than maybe you saw, however. Not going to go into a total point by point, because we will find out soon enough if we did or did not, but here are some things that really interested me from last night (and that I haven't see any comment upon yet). These aren't answers really, but just some of the things I was intrigued by or felt made this a good episode.

1. The scene with Kate was great and doesn't seem to be registering with anyone. She blew off both Sawyer and Jack's needs in just a few seconds, indicating to me that Kate's on her own path. I've always felt the criticism of Kate as simply an appendage to the Sawyer and Jack stories was a bit overblown, and last night we saw her blithely blow off Jack's quest (in action) and Sawyer's wallowing (in words) and head off on her own path. I think the feminist fear that Kate's story was all about which man she'd end up with can now be put to bed. That was cool.

2. It looked lie both Shepherd and Jarrah were scratched deeper into the wood than all the others. Being deeper also made them darker. Could that be an indication that "Shepherd" is actually Christian, because it does appear that both Christian and Sayid have now died and been reanimated as . . . what? It wouldn't surprise me to see Clair's name was etched deeper and darker also. Which leads me to . . .

3. I think the Lighthouse, along with the Cave, are Smokey's rather than Jacob's. Which might just mean the numbers are Smokey's, too. We may have had a lot of stuff backwards all along, which would be pretty cool to me. Perhaps these rules by which Smokey and Jacob are bound forbid them from doing anything to each other's stuff, so Jacob HAS to lie to Jack in order to get him to break the mirror, which he obviously knew Jack would do and was pleased he did. But perhaps Jacob's not allowed to say, "Hey, Jack, see that mirror? That's Smokey's, and I need you to crack it into a zillion pieces."

Anyway, I like the off island stuff a lot (except for the score during the piano scene, as so many have mentioned, which is a rare complaint for a show whose score has consistently been one the greatest in television history), and I don't mind that Darlton are sacrificing a few hours of standard beginning, middle, and end storytelling here or there this season. It's such a big journey that we've been on, and I appreciate that eventually it's going to be on un-frakkingly-believable long movie that can't really be broken up into precise 42 minute segments that always work on their own. I also think it won't take nearly as long in screen time to answer a whole bunch of questions (many of which are tied to each other and can't be answered one after another, week after week, but need to be set up for a more complete rounding out in the second half of the season) as people seem to think. If they wanted to sit down and talk out the answers, they could probably do it in one episode, but showing it all come together is going to have to take some time.

Long post (sorry), but just trying to give some food for thought, and part of my enjoyment from the show comes from writing about it. Probably should actually update my own blog rather than cluttering up yours, but you let me use 4000 characters a post, so your bad. :-)

schmoker said...

By the way, I totally walked away from last night believing that Smokey is most certainly evil. I think the idea that he's the misunderstood bad guy can now be put to bed also. Maybe I am putting too much into what I saw, and usually I am hesitant to make such proclamations when it comes to Lost, but I just feel that they went as far as they could in clearing up that mystery without screaming it from the rooftops.

Anonymous said...

"Isn't his reaction a little selfish? We see the Korean temple where Sun and Jin get married and Jack bypasses that. So he sees the source of his daddy issues and anger issues and that gives him the right to smash Jacob's mirrors to pieces?"

It was selfish. On the other hand, it's stretching it to say his anger was simply about daddy and anger issues.

The guy came back to the island thinking he had a purpose. He thought he carried out that purpose, but it led to two deaths and to his knowledge, no positive results. It's obviously frustrating to fail and to admit he's "broken."

And then you have this absent Jacob trying to restore his faith but doing so by basically taking advantage of a private conversation between Jack and Christian, a conversation that's haunted him all of his life but that no one else was really privy to. No answers, just a realization that someone's been involved all along but for unknown reasons. If I was on this island, I'd be plenty angry and frustrated and not so willing to just have faith and follow orders without knowing why.

Sure, it's not the way someone like Locke would have handled it but it could easily be argued that Locke had too much faith which made him susceptible to too much, leading to his demise.

Besides, Jacob pretty much admitted he wanted it to be this way. Maybe he doesn't need the lighthouse anymore because he doesn't need any more candidates to find the island - he's going to choose among those on the island.

annie said...

Enjoyed the episode. I hope at some point to view a DVD of LOST in its entirety with writer's commentary on the literary references. Certainly noted last nights continued Alice in Wonderland theme for Jack of chasing rabbits and mirrors but not sure if it's meaningful to the story or just fun storytelling. Alt Jack and Island Jack both made sense to me - I thought it was one of the better illustrations of Jack trying to live his adult life but still deeply wounded by words his father said in his childhood.

Anonymous said...

"Don't build an entire hour around our characters once again being led around by the nose, following some plan they don't much understand, getting vague promises of more information down the road."

1) If this frustrates you, you should probably have given up on this show after the season 1 finale. I get that it's late in the game, but this is Lost. Which leads to...

2) At what point in anyone's life have we been doing anything BUT being led around, based on what may or may not come around down the line? ALL religion is based on this concept -- you choose (or don't) to behave in a way that follows some vague (and ultimately irrational) plan in hopes of achieving a similarly vague (and ultimately unknowable) conclusion. Such is life, and the genius of Lost is that it's managed to translate the basic truths of our existence into something fantastical. Same as every great story ever told.

Charlotte K said...

Wallace/108---does anyone know what Juliet's maiden name is? If they told us, I don't remember.

Jack's breaking the lighthouse mirror and being all wrapped up in his own name vs. Sawyer's cool appraisal of the writing on the cave wall reminds me of the encounter between the two in Dharma times where Sawyer tells Jack that as leader, he thinks about problems instead of reacting. I sure hope Sawyer comes out of this a) alive and b) the real hero.

schmoker said...

According to Wiki, Juliet's maiden name was Carlson.

Anonymous said...

The coolest ending would be a hand to hand battle between the survivors from the two universes.

Now, now. Perfectly symmetrical violence never solved anything.

Mamba's Messenger said...

Is "The Constant" the key to this entire flash sideways business? Think about it, Desmond was experiencing two time lines simultaneously. When he was in island time on the freighter and at some point in his past in the military. Although his past appeared to be a time line that he had already experienced, as opposed to these seemingly different flash sideways, maybe this is how it will all be resolved. Each castaway will start to sense the other time line, as many people have suggested, and it will help the somehow resolve whatever the current conflict is on the island (ie: Desmond saving his life by finding his constant, Penny).

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 224   Newer› Newest»