Thursday, February 07, 2008

Lost, "Confirmed Dead": Who you gonna call? Miles!

Spoilers for the second episode of "Lost" season four coming up just as soon as I get an exact measurement on Taller Ghost Walt...

From the Department of You Can't Please Everybody, there were some complaints last week that "Beginning of the End" didn't offer as much in the way of forward advancement as I had promised in my review. Others have made the counter-argument better than I can in my hacking cough-addled state, but I would hope that "Confirmed Dead" would quiet some of those complaints. Because after an underwhelming pre-credits sequence (which I'll get back to), this sucker moved, and lots of things happened. We met our four new regulars, squeezed in useful flashbacks about three of them (and maybe four; again, we'll get to the Dan flashback shortly) and even found out the real reason they're on the island. "Lost" season three would have probably spent four episodes just introducing each freighter person, then a fifth (and possibly a sixth) on them getting Miles to say that they're after Ben.

(The flipside of all this business is that "Confirmed Dead" didn't have the same emotional resonance as "Beginning of the End" -- nothing was remotely as moving as the Hurley cannonball scene -- but you clearly can't have everything in every episode.)

Of our four newbies, Miles the dustbusting ghostbuster is easily my favorite, and not just because I thought actor Ken Leung was so good in his "Sopranos" episode as Junior's mental hospital sidekick. The show has long since abandoned any pretense that it might not be science fiction, so why not throw in a medium to go along with the time traveler, the smoke monster, the magic box, the invisible guy in the rocking chair, etc.? Plus, I love the sarcastic energy he brings. Sawyer and Ben can't be the only ones getting the good one-liners now.

As for the others, I'll always have a soft spot for Jeff Fahey as Frank the pilot, both for being in "Silverado" and for starring in the underrated '90s cop show "The Marshall." The surviving members of the freighter team are all damaged goods in some way (Lindelof the comic book fan borrowing, I'd guess, from The Losers, or maybe the '60s version of the Suicide Squad), and being the man who should've been flying Oceanic 815 on that fateful run makes Frank the most obviously damaged.

I'm reserving judgment on Charlotte, as I feel Rebecca Mader didn't get a ton to do but I've liked her in other things, and I really liked Jeremy Davies' nervous enthusiasm as Dan. I just wish they had come up with a more interesting way to show his flashbacks at the start of the episode. Other than the fact that news of the crash upset Dan for reasons he couldn't understand (or maybe was afraid to explain), we learned nothing there that we hadn't already figured out at the end of the previous episode. Usually, the final beat before the main titles is a lot more surprising than seeing last week's climactic moment from a different angle.

So should we start our rampant speculations about why they're there for Ben? Assuming Frank is really just there to fly the chopper, what kind of mission would require a medium, a physicist, an archaeologist (or anthropologist; I didn't catch exactly what Charlotte's specialty) and some kind of special forces bad ass to complete? And involving gas masks? Is this just Dharma Initiative revenge for their massacre at the hands of Ben and "the hostiles"? (That also involved gas.) If so, why not send in a team of killers? (Abaddon says that Naomi was the key to the whole mission, so how badly will things go with her dead?) Where the hell is Ben in that surveillance photo, and is anyone else surprised by the idea that he's left the island as an adult?

Meanwhile, who's Ben's man on the ship? Since the return of Michael was one of the producer-announced developments for this season, should we assume it's him? (Or are the publicity photos of Harold Perrineau on the island a feint, and we'll only see Michael in the flash forwards?) There's clearly something happening on that ship, based on Miles' inability to get George on the phone; has Ben's agent already started causing trouble?

The writers need to be really careful with Ben going forward. As Sawyer points out in this episode, they should have put a bullet between his eyes as soon as they took custody of him, because any information he can give them about the island is vastly outweighed by the many ways in which he can and will try to kill them all. (Remember the episode late last year where it looked like Locke had complete control of the situation only to get shot and dumped in a mass grave?) Ben knowing who the freighter people are will be useful to a point, but I worry about this turning into a middle-period Spike on "Buffy" situation, where the actor is so good and the character so popular that he's kept alive even though it makes all the heroes look like idiots.

Because the episode was so busy, I'm moving straight to the bullet points:
  • Sayid and Juliet ambushing a cocky Miles was a nice homage to when Tom ordered the lighting of the torches to convince an overconfident Jack he was surrounded back in "The Hunting Party." (Side question: other than xenophobia, why isn't Sayid the leader? If there's a guy on the island other than Hurley I'd trust to make the smart move -- and, in combat situations, someone I'd trust much more -- it's Sayid.)
  • Locke asking Ben what the monster is was a hilarious meta moment in the middle of an otherwise tense climactic scene. In that moment, Locke was every fan who has ever been frustrated with Cuse and Lindelof's refusal to answer the big questions, and Ben was one of the producers waving a shiny new mystery in our faces to distract us from the way he didn't answer the original one.
  • Also amusingly meta -- and necessary -- was all the Sawyer/Locke back and forth about Taller Ghost Walt. One of those things where it was so blindingly obvious that the show had to address it in some way.
  • Turns out the island's healing powers didn't have to do a whole lot for Locke, as he was conveniently shot right where the kidney the original Sawyer conned him out of.
  • Now, did the polar bear skeleton with the Dharma collar mean that their people have also been working in Tunisia? Or is the fossilized nature of the thing another time travel clue?
  • Was the spot where Miles' chute landed the same place where Desmond beat Clancy Brown to death?
  • How many times now has Locke predicted, to the second, when an island rainstorm will end? Always a neat parlor trick.
I suspect ABC won't be sending out any other episodes in advance, and I'm still trying to figure out how to approach blogging the remaining six (or hopefully more) episodes of the season. Last year I was not into the show enough that most of my blog entries could be written quick and dirty and posted not long after the episodes ended. If this season continues to be this good -- and dense -- I want to be able to take my time, but I also know that people are gung ho to start commenting right away. I'm open to suggestions; would people prefer something fast or something slower but more elaborate?

What did everybody else think?


Cassie said...

Loved this episode. LOVED it. Last week was good, but this one was great.

99sm said...

take your time, be thorough, nice work btw

Anonymous said...

This felt like a new show... And I loved it. It's like all the baggage, the dourness, the slow pace, the agonizingly dull flashbacks -- just jettisoned. Filled to the brim with character moments, solid action beats, and funny lines/visual gags. I was hesitant about getting too involved after Through the Looking Glass, less so after last week -- but now I'm in. Probably my favorite episode of the series to date. Can Brian K. Vaughan cowrite EVERY episode?

Bobman said...

Agreed on taking your time - I love that these are up seconds after the episode ends, but I'd much rather well-thought out posts than something quick and dirty just to appease us. Of course, there's always the compromise of putting up a shell post for comments right after the ep, and then editing the post with your actual thoughts.

One quick thing that cracked me up for some reason - when Sawyer called Locke "Colonel Kurtz". Just a good line.

Oh, also, they did say that the woman was some kind of anthropologist. There was a modifier in front of that, I didn't catch it though.

Mike Mac said...

Great episode ... ton of information to digest, and I like that the episode directed the focus onto the helicopter crew and was able to introduce 4 (or 5 if you count Naomi) backstories with some clues as to the nature of the team and the relevance of each of the members. While I still think there is great value in focusing on a particular character to emphasize a specific story, and the flashbacks of the new characters were never a flaw on this show (it is only when they delve unnecessarily into backstories of characters we've seen dozens of times that it feels tired) it is nice to see that, between the flash-forwards and split flash-backs, the producers are leaving themselves some room to play with the story a little more.

As for the blogging, I'm here now reading and responding because Lost is such a great, demanding show that I want to think about it and read insightful comments, criticism, and theories right away. However, as I mentioned in the beginning of this comment, it does take time to digest, and it would be a crime to rush a post and miss out on the deeper interpretations of the show in the name of expediency. So, damned if you do, damned if you don't, I guess... but I'll be reading either way.

afoglia said...

Good not great episode. I think the three new guys are good, but the jury's still out on Charlotte. I really liked Ken Leung, and I hadn't seen any of his Sopranos episodes, so it's definitely not that. (BTW, I don't think that Miles was found at the same place Desmond killed Kelvin. The latter was a much calmer lagoon, IIRC.) Jeremy Davies's Faraday was a fully-formed character in only a few scenes. Very impressive acting.

Did you catch the look on Ben's face when Hugo hinted he saw the cabin elsewhere?

I'm not sure that photo of him was taken off island though. The photo could have been snuck off, especially if Abaddon's people have a mole in the Others.

Now we know who's behind the boat, but there's still so many questions. What was Naomi's job? How did she get the photo of Penny and Desmond? Nevermind all the stuff about the Oceanic Six.

Heck, if Ben has a guy on the boat, how has he been in communication with him? Didn't the Others lose all communication with the outside island when the hatch imploded, if not before?

Anonymous said...

This episode was as fun as last week's was heartstring-tugging.

My instinct is that the new team is, in some sense, trying to find out what happened to the Dharma Initiative people, and that so far they've found out at least enough to know that Ben's still alive but maybe not much else? An anthropologist to study the clues they left behind, a medium to communicate with them if they're dead and a physicist science?

The polar bear skeleton was an intriguing detail, even if that was the least real-looking excavation set I've seen in a long time. Is the Dharma initiative just a really ancient organization, or is there some time bending going on?

Loved Taller Walt and also "you didn't want to ask him any follow-up questions?" And bumbling, nerdy, seemingly so sincere Dan reminds me so much of my high school geometry teacher that it just about brings a tear to my eye.

Indeed, Sayid should be the leader. Mmm... Sayid... (Homer Simpson drooling noise).

Dave Sandell said...


Since you're using Blogspot, why not put a placeholder up and then just edit it when you're ready to turn it into a fully formed article? I see the downsides of that though. There are probably enough places on the internet where you can get the instant gratification thing going that we would be best served by you taking your time.

While I'm here... the box was a metaphor. Ben said so. I assume, like, like the man said, that Ben's people hit him with a car, put him on a stretcher, winked at him and brought him to the island.

I'm going to trust Damon & Carlton will eventually reveal all of the answers to the questions they've raised in the past and just enjoy the ride (listening to their podcasts are a revelation... not spoiler-happy, but just gives you the sense that they've had a plan since day one, they just had to drag it out since they didn't know how long they were expected to keep it going for).

46 more to go.

Mac said...

I'm pretty sure that they're Dharma Initiative, and that this is a "shocking reveal" that everyone will already have figured out. The gas mask, the hydra symbol on the desert polar bear's collar, etc. Presumably it's just an old picture.

I liked this episode a lot, though.

Stef said...

What you said. And all those folks above me? What they said.

Great episode, lots to think about... and now I'm trying to go over everything I remember of what we know about Ben. He's been the most fascinating character to me ever since he came on the show, and he just keeps getting better. Love the one-liners, and I think I'm gonna love to hate Miles.

Did it sound like Naomi's voice on the phone at the very end when they couldn't find Fisher Stevens? I know she was laying there dead in the scene... maybe another actress that sounds the same?

Anonymous said...

First of all the episode was amazing. So well paced. The new characters are great esp Dan and Miles. Looks like the Lost guys have definitely learned a lesson from Paulo + Nikki and Ana Lucia.

As for the blogging. Alan had seen the episode 2 weeks ago so he probably wrote the writeup then and now just uploaded it as soon as the episode aired.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Did you catch the look on Ben's face when Hugo hinted he saw the cabin elsewhere?

Or, for that matter, the look on Locke's face when he realized Hurley might have seen the cabin at all?

That's the reason why -- though I couldn't explain it last week for spoiler reasons -- I felt so confident that Locke wasn't the face in the cabin window, because this seems to be the first time he's aware that Hugo has even seen the place.

Lane said...

was Desmond in this episode? did I miss him?

J said...

Sayid's always been a blind spot for this show. But this is Daddy Issue Island, and I don't recall his having any of those. Did he? Otherwise, his pragmatism might just not be practical there.

Anonymous said...

Wow...much much better than the premiere. Not only were plot and logic handled well, but they also managed to keep up a frantic pace while still avoiding burning through too much story. The pace this week felt much more appropriate, since with the freighter crew finally arriving things should be happening more quickly and urgently.

The A team all came off well in their first episode, with Jeremy Davies' physicist as the highlight. Now that's how you introduce new characters!

Originally it looked like they were going for a freaky supernatural event with Flight 815 being found, but from the pilot's note about Greg Grunberg and Naomi's scene at the end, it looks pretty definite that it was faked.

Unless they were just skimping on the extras, it looks like only about 8 or 9 plane survivors went with Locke (since Rousseau, Alex, and Karl - a real chump in this episode by the way - weren't on the plane). So despite Hurley's apology last episode to Jack, not all the bad can have come from following Locke, since most of the survivors went with Jack.

Alan, although I also have the desire to come here and post instantly, I think it's better to wait until you've had a chance to think it over a little bit. We'll get even better analysis that way!

BF said...

Gonna need someone to transcribe Ben's answer to "What is the smoke monster?" Stupid #&*@! ABC affiliate here had signal issues right at that exact moment (go figure!!)

Mike said...


Ben said "I don't know."

Lane said...

BF, he said "I don't know"

Lane said...

jinx, buy me a coke

Anonymous said...

One of the things about Drew Goddard's scripts for Buffy was how he picked up dangling plot threads and tiny little fannish details and managed to weave them back into the storyline in a clever way that didn't seem forced. In this case, things like "If I still had a kidney there, I'd be dead now," that feels like a Goddard line. "Where is the monster?", of course. And giving the damn pilot a name after 3 and a half years! Just nerdy little touches like that, which probably mean nothing to most people but just add to the fun for pathetic dorks like us.

Man, I've really got it bad, don't I? My man-crush on Goddard, I mean. His script for Cloverfield was disappointing, but as long as he keeps delivering like this at his day job, all is forgiven.

Hey, did anybody else record it from 9-10:02? It went to 10:03, apparently, because it cut out right when Ben was about to reveal how he knows so much about the freighter people. I just checked out one of the recaps, but it just isn't the same. Stupid ABC. Please show respect to your Tivo viewers! You need as many of us as you can get.

Miles might be my new favorite. "You guys were on Oceanic 815? Wow!" He made up for the British chick, who seemed out of her depth. The actress as well as the character.

The scene with Naomi and Abbadon, yeah, that definitely had a Suicide Squad feel to it. Or maybe Global Frequency, the Warren Ellis miniseries with a terrific hook (a loosely organized group of everyday people conscribed into action against various global threats, based on how their skills fit the specific situation) but lackluster execution (it was written by Warren Ellis). The WB did a pilot that's floating around on the Internet, but nothing ever came of it.

And let's hear it for Fahey. Hey, speaking of The Marshall, that show deserves the Cupid treatment!

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm swallowing a load of horse manure but damn if I didn't believe Ben in his "I don't know" answer regarding the Smoke Monster. He seemed genuinely at a lost as to what Locke was talking about.

I'm not too worried about the strain of having to keep Ben around. Locke said it best when he mentioned that Ben has been on the island longer. He definitely knows a lot more that Locke really wants to know.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Maybe I'm swallowing a load of horse manure but damn if I didn't believe Ben in his "I don't know" answer regarding the Smoke Monster. He seemed genuinely at a lost as to what Locke was talking about.

I think Ben knows of Smokey's existence -- after all, Juliet knows, and the sonic forcefield specifically repels it -- but knowing it exists and knowing what it is are not the same thing. He may very well not know.

Anonymous said...

The polar bear skeleton was an intriguing detail, even if that was the least real-looking excavation set I've seen in a long time.

Yeah, what was she digging through there, aquarium gravel?

He seemed genuinely at a lost as to what Locke was talking about.

I think Ben knows the monster exists. He just doesn't know what it is. That's the thing about liars, sometimes they tell the truth just to f*** with you.

Anonymous said...

A minor thing, but I was cringing at the font they used for the chyrons about where the flashbacks were taking place. If memory serves, they were a thin serif font. Lost looks better with the sans serif font. Any reason the switch? It just didn't look like a good font to me.

This sounds silly, I know.

Anonymous said...

Oh! And how great was it that Sawyer told the kid not to let Ben get in his head, and 45 seconds later he was ready to kill Ben for going, "Jack and Kate, sittin' in a tree"? It was pretty great.

Mrglass said...

What a boring episode. I can't wait for the strike to end, because Lost has never recovered from season3, and its very premise doesn't suit 6 seasons. Keeping the viewers in the dark as long as possible is nothing but a scam, like Alan rightly said last year.

Once again we learn nothing new about the Island itself or the Monster, the big revelation is... three names. Seeing that guy talking to ghosts is yet another "jump the shark" moment, if Lost hadn't jumped the shark long ago.

What is left is action movie cliches one after another. Can't believe they had another person hanging at the edge of a cliff. Soon our heroes will have to run from a giant rolling boulder.

So yeah, please let the strike end this week, I don't have anything to watch on TV except The Wire.

Toby O'B said...

Okay, who wants to volunteer for the CS Lewis dissertation - which of his books might have resonance on the show? (Charlotte's full name was Charlotte Staples Lewis, but I'm always slow on these things so I'm sure folks knew that ages ago....)

Oh, and I vote for taking your time. If I wanted speed, I'd hang out in that nut-hatch called The Fuselage.

TL said...

(Side question: other than xenophobia, why isn't Sayid the leader?

Because Mathew Fox is more famous than Naveen Andrews.

Oh, and I vote for slower and more elaborate in coming weeks.

Anonymous said...

Also because Jack, for all his many faults, was never a torturer for Saddam Hussein.

Anonymous said...

Great episode, and I hate to nitpick at the improbable eventst but.....

How did Ben get that gun? I assume he took it from Charlotte. How subtle can he be in picking her pocket with his hands tied and 10 feet of rope dangling? No one is keeping a close eye on this guy?

Add me to the list of people who'd like to see you take your time with your blogging for each episode, Alan. I always enjoy reading what you have to write.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Toeknee, it was Karl's gun, the one Ben was eyeing for a good chunk of the episode.

Anonymous said...

How did Ben get that gun?

It was in Karl's belt. They showed Ben eyeing it evilly, oh, five or six times. Some call it foreshadowing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification, guys. But still, how would no one notice him getting it?

Anonymous said...

Jim, Sayid was a torturer for the CIA, not Hussein.

Anonymous said...


Sayid was a torturer for the CIA first (only on his immediate commanding officer) and then for Saddam after the first Gulf War.

Anonymous said...

But still, how would no one notice him getting it?

Oh, they noticed.

So it goes said...

I saw this C.S. Lewis link in a comment on another board and found it rather interesting. So C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley died on the same day in 1963. Huxley wrote Brave New World. Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia on Brave New World.

"Brave New World is a 1932 novel by Aldous Huxley. Set in London in 2540 AD, the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology, biological engineering, and sleep-learning that combine to change society. Huxley answers this book with a reassessment in an essay, Brave New World Revisited (1958), and with his final work, a novel titled Island (1962)"

Matter-Eater Lad said...

I think the best comics antecedent to the Chopper Bunch would be DC's Secret Six.

Anyway, great episode. At this point complaints about the show are just white noise -- there's a bizarre segment of the population that seems to tune in for no other reason than to complain about how bad the show has been for the last three and a half seasons...

dgm said... this is my friend's theory for the show...and i'm signing on:

their is a huge conflict with two sides and somehow the island plays an important part. one side (including ben and the others) is trying to save the word from a future disaster. the other, maybe widmore, is screwing shit up. many of the characters in the show are traveling through time because they have important roles to play. charlie created the code in the looking glass AND he solved last season AND he wasn't a ghost with hurley. you know the deal with people on the list? they've been pre-selected for the role they need to play in this conflict.
remember desmond after the explosion? and when he was in his flashback and there was the creepy wedding ring lady? and the fossil of the dharma polar bear in tunisia?

Anonymous said...

you know the deal with people on the list? they've been pre-selected for the role they need to play in this conflict.

Now we're getting into "4400" territory (R.I.P.!) :-)

I loved this ep. I loved everything about it. It was fantastic. I'm most intrigued by Dan right now. Plus I love that Jeff Fahey is on the show (been watching him since he was on One Life to Live). They'd better watch out for the Lawnmower Man....

Anonymous said...

I also loved the random comment by the Jeremy Davies character about how the light doesn't fall right on the scatters weird. Perhaps another hint into the magnetic anomalies of the island and maybe hints into the time discrepancies moving forward...particularly liked it for Kate completely ignoring his ramblings. Also, love Jeremy Davies...he is one of those character actors that is so neurotically iconic he reminds me of Christopher Walken's screen presence (See Saving Private Ryan, Solaris, Ravenous)..."My mother always said I had crazy eyes".

As for why Sayid isn't the leader...when do you ever see a situation in the real world where the most pragmatic and skilled individual, who is also quiet, introspective and reserved, is actually the leader? Sayid was reclusive and shady at the start of the show, where Jack, Locke and Sawyer stepped up with assertive personalities. First impressions, inertia, et al.

Finally, good toss-away analysis on Buffy, Alan. Never really thought about why Spike held on so long (and then moved to Angel) and considered the ramifications for the quality of that show.

Anonymous said...

As one of the commenters who complained about the lack of momentum in the last episode, I have to say that I loved this one. The (mostly) intriguing new characters interacting with the familiar ones, and the intersections between the various camps (Jacksters, Lockeians plus Ben, and now Boaties too) really kept things interesting.

The one thing that seemed odd was the way everyone was running all around various parts of the island without worrying about all the dangers that used to threaten them constantly (including the smoke monster, the various animals/mental constructs/whatever, and the remaining Others, who I guess have gone away for real). Is there nothing scary hiding in the brush anymore?

Shawn Anderson said...

I believe that Ben's man on the ship is in fact George Minkowski, the man who is usually answering the SAT phone. What better for a mole is there then the communications guy.

Of course, the other big clue that it's him is that we know Fischer Stevens is playing George, and he's obviously going to play a bigger part than 'voice on ship.'

Shawn Anderson said...

I of course mean:
what better role for a mole is there than their communications guy.

Shawn Anderson said...

That is, unless of course it's Michael -- who still under Ben's thumb infiltrated the team with the promise of his handy carpentry skills. Or, more seriously, his knowledge of how to get to the island.

Another reason they're not surprised there are survivors from the flight?

Bruce Reid said...

See, the sinister genius of this show is that they already provided us with an answer to the polar bears--not a great answer, not a bad answer, but one I was satisfied with, so I could shove that aside as explained and worry about all the other mysteries. Now they throw in, what, a time traveling polar bear sent from the island?

Damn. They've got me to the bitter end.

I've never kept up with all the ancillary Lost clues hidden on the websites, video games, and the like, but wasn't Farady (this Farady, not the real one) mentioned somewhere back in season 2 as the writer of a book on abstract mathematics that was supposed to tie into the numbers (hey, remember those?) somehow? I can't find any web confirmation, so I'm probably remembering this wrong, but if so that could perhaps explain his reaction to the crash footage; maybe he knew about the island's properties and hadn't warned the world. Or something.

"Why isn't Sayid the leader" is one of those questions that's been annoying some fans from episode one.

Stef: "Did it sound like Naomi's voice on the phone at the very end when they couldn't find Fisher Stevens?"

From the accent I assumed that was Zoe Bell. (I'm assuming, Alan, that casting isn't a spoiler after the name appears in the credits. Go ahead and strike this message if I'm wrong.)

Anonymous said...

It was pretty awesome how Zoe Bell was sprawled across the windshield of the speeding helicopter for the last 10 minutes.

Anonymous said...

I've forgotten? Are there still any more Others alive on the island after the Season 3 finale? If so, what's their status?

bill said...

Plane crash with substituted bodies? I'll need to see if I still have a copy of the John Varley novel "Millennium" around somewhere. Here's part of the wiki description (there's also a bad movie starring Kris Kristofferson and Cheryl Ladd):

The time travelers can only take people will have no further effect on the timeline - those who have vanished without a trace, or died without being observed - otherwise they would be changing the past, which risks a temporal paradox and perhaps even a catastrophic breakdown of the fabric of time. Though they collect everyone they can, they exert a great deal of effort on those destined to die in various disasters such as sinking ships and crashing airplanes. As such incidents leave no survivors to report interference and change the timeline, they can freely remove the living but soon-to-die victims, and replace them with convincing corpses they have manufactured in the future.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm especially interested in what happened to Richard the Eyeliner Guy and his cohorts now, because I'm thinking that perhaps the possibly-time-traveling polar bear skeleton might tie into his mysterious lack of aging. You'd think they'd either be following Locke and them to try to protect/rescue Ben...or plotting against Ben, finally deciding to revolt after how many of them he got killed during the season finale. Or maybe they're with Locke now that he seems to have some natural connection with Jacob. Remember the last time we saw much of The Others they were almost religiously awaiting Locke to do something important and predestined.

Also, the moment when Ben called out "Her name is Charlotte Lewis! Charlotte Stickles Lewis! She was born...blah blah blah, etc..." I couldn't help but think to myself,
"Wow, are you psychic?"
"No...I stole her wallet."

K J Gillenwater said...

I have two ideas running through my head after last night's episode...time travel or a parallel universe. Time travel because of the polar bear bones and Dharma symbol at an archaelogical dig. Parallel universe because I could believe the plane that is in the ocean was the same plane in another universe that was 'switched' with our Oceanic survivors perhaps because of this magnetic anomaly. In one 'world' the pilot was not married, in 'our' world he was.

Jack and the others aren't supposed to go back because they are in the wrong 'world' in the first place. They have taken the place of their counterparts who should be dead...and are dead in the plane in the ocean.

And I'm surprised no one brought up the reference to Faraday. The Faraday Effect has to do with magnetic fields and light. I'm no scientist, so I don't quite understand it. But I thought it was curious.

Dan didn't know why the plane crashing made him upset...I thought that was a strange comment. This was after the plane had crashed. But before he was selected to go to the island? If there is time traveling going on, his conscience maybe remembers what happened on the island or something? I really believed him when he said he didn't know why he was sad.

This was a GREAT episode. Can't wait for more!

Anonymous said...

Loved this episode. I was one of the few who didn't get the love for the premiere, but this episode had an energy, a storytelling flow, and a sense of urgency that I thought was missing from the last week.

Love your Spike shoutout, Alan. I agree that they have to tread a fine line here, much as Buffy had to do with James Marsters. It's as if the writers couldn't keep up with the actor's talent and charisma; I hope it doesn't happen here. But I still love me some Ben snark.

Sayid is the true hero of this show; no histrionics, no annoying delusions of grandeur, unlike Jack. I remember watching last year's season finale in which the notes said something about Jack being the hero "we all know and love," and I want to shake the writers. We do NOT all love him! We really, really don't. He didn't earn my love at any rate, and I find him to be an annoying pain in the ass, as good an actor as Matthew Fox is.

Great Sawyer/Ben interactions; excellent, brief flashbacks that didn't take forever and were actually kind of interesting and cool (unlike an entire hour flashback devoted to Jack's freaking tattoos)... loved it all.

Cinemania said...

special k, much as I like Sayid, Hurley is clearly the real hero of the show. No contest.

Cinemania said...

Oh, and finally they've shown that Jack is an earnest ass all the time, and might actually have a sense of humour--"I did that eye wink thing." It's only taken four season.

Cinemania said...

Ooops. Meant to say that Jack ISN'T an earnest ass all the time. For a change.

Anonymous said...

When have there been time travel clues before? Aside from the polar bear thing last night? Did I completely miss something?

I enjoyed last night's episode, but I can not figure out why they are keeping Ben alive. Him knowing info about the island does no good if he doesn't TELL anyone anything. In fact, since the rescuers are there to get Ben, why don't they just hand him over in exchange for a ride hhome?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Over at The House Next Door, new "Lost" recapper Justine Elias has her own breakdown of the Freighter Four, as well as her theories on the Oceanic Six.

Alan Sepinwall said...

When have there been time travel clues before?

Well, we know Desmond's a time traveler, and it might also explain the presence of The Black Rock, Eko's brother's plane, Kate's horse, etc.

Anonymous said...

Did I catch a Woody Allen reference of all things?

Classic line in "Sleeper": Hey, nobody touches my brain; they may drop it. Then I'll talk like Mr. Lepidus who got hit by lightning.

Anonymous said...

i loved this episode. LOVE faraday. but, am i the only one who gets thoroughly annoyed by the heavy-handed use of the music on this show? it's related, i think, to the endless commercial breaks. reminds me of something i read long ago about the sopranos, and non-network shows in general -- the lack of commercials means they don't have to set up false cliffhangers, and therefore, the storytelling is much better.

Anonymous said...

Kate's horse shouldn't be in the same category with the Black Rock, etc. It should be in the same category as Christian Shepherd, Eko's (living) brother, and perhaps (maybe) Dave and (more likely) Walt.

Susan said...

Greg Grunberg played the pilot?

Alan, I think Sayid isn’t the leader because he didn’t want to be. In the beginning, Jack played doctor and helped everyone out while Sayid went off on his own and played with the radio. Sayid was much more interested in doing his own thing, and didn’t put himself in a leadership position. Also, at the start of the show, they weren’t at war, so they didn’t need a combat leader.

I know the search team is not who they say they are – well, not who they initially appeared to be – but my big question is: why is Dan/Sam using a fake name? And in which situation (at home as “Sam” or on the island as “Dan”) is his name fake?

I really can’t buy the parallel universe theory anymore, for one main reason – the helicopter pilot says that the pilot of the underwater plane is not the real pilot. So if that’s true, I think it’s clear that the underwater plane is a fake, staged there by Oceanic or Dharma or someone.

I admit, I really, really wanted an answer to "What is the monster?" That's one of the very first questions this show created, and with every episode they create about five more questions and answer very few. I'd like some answers, please. Just a few.

Anonymous said...

So Lapidus is supposed to have been the Oceanic 815 pilot, which crashed 60(?) days ago island time.

Yet when we see him wasting away in margaritaville (which, presumedly, is at least a few days before they could've had him piloting the helicopter for Naomi's team), he's got a full beard and long hair.

Assuming Oceanic requires it's pilots to maintain certain grooming standards, and also assuming that Lapidus isn't afflicted with some rare rapid hair growth condition, then doesn't it seem like time is passing faster off the island than on.

Nothing new there, but as concrete as I can remember w/r/t the time warp theory.

Also, where is Desmond? I mean, I understand how three years underground pushing a button would make you NEED an occasional moment alone, but he's been off the radar entirely since getting back from the Looking Glass.

Anonymous said...

They've been on the island about 100 days now, according to Damon & Carlton

Donny said...

And where were Sun and Jin? Did anyone see them this episode? Rose and Bernard? I thought these people were going with Jack and Kate...yet no sign of them?

Alan Sepinwall said...

In fairness, Jack and Kate -- and then Sayid and Juliet -- spent most of the episode split off from the larger group that would include Desmond, Jin, Sun, etc.

Anonymous said...

What? Desmond went with Jack? Why? He's the one who told everyone that Charlie said it wasn't Penny's boat. I feel like I missed anything that happened to Desmond after Hurley told Claire that Charlie died.

Dave Sandell said...

I think Michael's on the boat - that's how they know how to get there, and why Ben thinks that everyone on the island will die, not just the hostiles. The way Matthew Abbadon said 'there were no survivors' makes me think that if there were, they'd be disposed of.

So my theory is that Matthew works for the Dharma Initiative. Not sure what to do with that, but I remember that the Hostiles are 'the good guys', something Ben clearly believed for a dozen years or so before he killed his dad and everyone else in the project.

I feel like this story is leading us to lots and lots of satisfying answers for all of the questions we've all had... even the Black Rock & the four-toed statue, which I thought were distractions rather than integral to the story.

I love this show.

Anonymous said...

Okay...small nitpick. But was anyone else thinking to themselves when Charlotte kept saying "I almost died jumping from the helicopter" that she was directing it to the wrong audience? There she was with her parachute, trained to do that kind of thing....talking to a group of 20 people who had unexpectedly survived a plane crash! I mean come on....who deserves some respect?

Unknown said...

"I worry about this turning into a middle-period Spike on "Buffy" situation, where the actor is so good and the character so popular that he's kept alive even though it makes all the heroes look like idiots."

THAT has already happened. I can't think of why any of them (other than maybe Alex) who would want him still alive, logically. They'll have to do a lot of hedging next week to NOT have Jack/Kate/et al. be all, "You're here to kill Ben? GREAT! Let's go shoot his ass!" and try to save his life instead. You know it's gonna happen...

I am amused as all hell that there's now a ghostbuster on this show. With a vacuum. I wonder if they'll ever show from Miles's POV how it works for him. Probably not, but that would be cool.

Anonymous said...

Hurley might be a hero too, but Sayid is the man in my book. Not only can he break your neck with his feet while his hands are tied behind his back, he's sexy as all hell. I'd much rather have Sayid have my back then poor gigantic Hurley... although he can mow down people with a VW like nobody's business.

Cinemania said...

Hurley has probably saved more lives through his kindness and negotiating skills (and van driving) than Sayid has with his combat training. Sometimes heroism isn't all about being able to snap someone's neck like a twig.

Anonymous said...

Plus Jorge Garcia is a better actor than Naveen Andrews.

Greg Grunberg played the pilot?

In the pilot, fittingly enough.

Yeah, not only does Lapidus have a beard and long hair, but apparently he's set up his own tour-guide business in the Bahamas, from an office that looks like he's been living in it for 10 years. So either time is moving slower on the island, or I should just repeat to myself, "It's just a show, I should really just relax."

Anonymous said...

jim treacher,

just because lapidus is working in the bahamas, doesn't mean he owns the shop. Maybe he moved there and got a job there. That could happen in those 100 days, easy.

Plus, he "claims" that he was supposed to be the pilot of 815. Ok, let's take that at face value. He doesn't say why he ended up not flying the plane.

Maybe he had some mental breakdown or otherwise left the airline weeks or months prior to the flight. There's plenty of time for his beard/hair to grow out. I don't think this is as much of a glitch as people are making it out to be.

Anonymous said...

Well, we know Desmond's a time traveler

I am an idiot, I completely forgot about Desmond. Of, course there have been time travel clues.

I do think time is moving slower off the island. One of the new people (forget which) asked if they had been living there "this whole time." In the scheme of things, 3 months isn't that long. But a year or so, is.

K J Gillenwater said...

On the parallel universe theory:

The only reason the other pilot thinks it was not Greg Grunberg in the downed plane is because of a missing wedding ring. That's it. A person from a parallel universe is *similar* to a person in our universe, but not identical. Not everything would be the same. So, in the parallel world it could be the Greg Grunberg pilot wasn't married.

I am still stuck on what Jack said at the end of the season last year - "We weren't supposed to come back, Kate." Why? And what really answers that for me, is because they don't belong there. And why don't they belong there? This is not their world.

Anonymous said...

So either time is moving slower on the island, or I should just repeat to myself, "It's just a show, I should really just relax."

If they had MST3K'd the season 3 finale instead of doing pop-ups, it would have been so much more entertaining. In fact, that's what they should do with next week's "enhanced" repeat.

Re: Lapidus' beard & such: Maybe he already had some facial hair to begin with, so there wasn't so much to grow out? The pic of Greg they used showed him with a big moustache, so it's not like facial hair was completely forbidden for Oceanic pilots. Lapidus could also be naturally hairy, like one of those werewolf-lookin' mofos :-D

Toby O'B said...

"What? Desmond went with Jack? Why? He's the one who told everyone that Charlie said it wasn't Penny's boat."

Christy, he probably took that into account, but he's been on the island longer than most of them, save for Ben, Alex, Rousseau, but he's the one of that bunch who really wants to leave.

He wants to get back to Penny, and even knowing that's not Penny's boat, he could still see it as the best means to get back to her.

Anonymous said...

Plus Jorge Garcia is a better actor than Naveen Andrews.

Meh, don't agree with that. To each their own, I guess. I think both are fine actors. I just hope Naveen Andrews gets more screen time, and soon. I love me some Sayid.

Alan, like others have said, whatever you decide to do in terms of blogging for Lost is alright by me. I'll be reading no matter what.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I mean, I can see how Desmond might choose to go with Jack. It's just that it seems like something that should have been shown, not assumed. Because I assumed Desmond would go with Hurley. Maybe they did show it, though, and I missed it? That's what I mean...I feel like I've lost track of Desmond.

Anonymous said...

I like Naveen (and Sayid), but Jorge put on an acting workshop last week. He was amazing.

Anonymous said...

So what's the significance of charlotte wearing a bullet proof vest-expecting trouble?
Alan-take your time-i don't think you rushed when you were doing your NYPD Blue recaps and they became just as vital as the show itself (for me)

Anonymous said...

Okay, this parallel universe thing is growing on me. That would explain Jack's reference in the flash forward to his father being upstairs at the hospital - his father is still alive in that universe. And maybe Kate isn't a fugitive in the parallel world, explaining her freedom in the flash forward. Hmm.

Anonymous said...

Alan! Hi from a friend of Mona, Arnie and Evan!

I love reading your articles and people's posts. I'd like to offer some of my own thoughts.Some thoughts about Lost.

First, this is the greatest show I've seen and can't believe how I mull over shows during the week till the next one. Only 8 episodes for the season : ( ?? And just 3 seasons left : (
Keep in mind JJ and the rest are good. all the pages devoted to the numbers and everything else are likely for naught. The one thing I use as an example - the VW microbus and the skeleton. Did anyone figure out that was Ben's dad? Let alone how he wound up there? So the question of who's in the coffin is 99.999% unanswerable - we likely haven't met that person yet. Don't get me wrong - debating these things, making the websites and blogs is great to do and read! But how much has turned out to be right?The tail numbers of the helicopter - N842M - 8 and 42 are from the hatch. Any significance? Google 'N-Number Inquiry' and enter that tail number in the search... it comes back to a real listing of a helicopter owned bym a company in Montana that doesn't look like a hanso type of Lost related website. They aren't in the office now (11PM), but I'd be curious if they've been getting lots of calls. The producers likely could have made up a tail number that isn't real (unlike the passenger info number that they made a point to own). Or was the need to mix some hatch numbers into the mix outweigh their need to keep this company from getting bombarded with calls?

those background tories about the new people. who's to say they took place before they were sent on the mission? Charlotte got back home and got paid lots of money and can throw it around now to get to the polar bear site and knows the dharma logo from this trip to the island? The plane was found after things happen on the island - conventional wisdom is that they all died (as the guy told naomi when putting together the team), but the plane was found some time after the team went to the island? yeah, naomi said when she first was on the show that the plane was found and there were no survivors. just keep in mind they've had flash forwards already.. these teram flashes could also be flash forwards - dan doesn't remember the mission for some reason, but enough to get emotional about it? the tv made a point to say the bodies were unrecoverable (when the picture of the pilot was on the screen), so real ID that these are the passengers can't be made?
and the plane in the fish tank just before the pilot on TV - the team sunk the (or another) plane and he was reliving that?

It's fun to guess, but JJ isn't giving away things yet and likely without key info, you are just guessing (again, who guessed that was ben's dad that Ben killed himself?!)

JMC said...

What I'm really happy about is that we're almost guaranteed an ep or two with Greg Grunberg!

And I'm sorry to nitpick your post, baba, but many of us knew that the dead guy in the van was Ben's dad. It was properly explained, you just had to catch the clues.

Cousin Don said...

There's a book called "The End of Time" By Julian Barbour who is kind of a counter cultural physicist for lack of a better description.

He believes that time is an illusion of the human mind and the proof of it is that quantum mechanics works. Basically he postulates that since electrons and other particle really behave based upon probability functions, then there must be other much more complex probability functions for all things. Therefore, anything has a certain probability of appearing anywhere at any time.

This could explain ghosts, deja vu, time travel, and pretty much everything we have seen in Lost, except maybe the smoke monster. The skeleton of the polar bear has a certain probability of appearing in a desert in Tunisia even though it died on the island, it would normally be very low almost nonexistent but when it died on this wierd island perhaps the laws of quantum mechanics are out of wack. Or the dharma initiative just could have had an experimental station in a Tunisia but that would be boring.

The Faraday effect does involve light and magnetic fields and light would look "weird" aka "be out of phase" if passed through a dielectric medium with a strong magnetic field applied.

This is probably exactly what makes the island so hard to detect unless you push that button and release the magnetic energy, hence get rid of the magnetic field for awhile.

JC said...

To the person who asked way back towards the beginning of the comments whether the female voice on the phone saying that Minkowski was busy was Naomi - it was Zoe Bell. I can't wait to see what she does on this show.

Anonymous said...

m.chavez - people knew when they found the VW bus and the skeleton who it was? Sorry, I didn't realize that. I thought it was later when ben had the flashback to killing his father that it all fit together (and earlier in the show when he got his clothes - roger workman). Bet before that? There was ways to tell that was his father? What were those? I guess I missed things!

Anonymous said...

OK, let's assume that the freighter team is sent by Dharma, to get Ben as revenge for him ruining the operation by gassing everyone and joining with the "hostiles". So my question is: why now? If your answer is "because blowing the hatch made the island visible", think harder. Dharma always knew where the island is--remember the food drop? So...was it the plane crash? What about 815's crash suddenly made the Dharma people decide "hey, it's been years since our operation was destroyed--let's go get the guy!" I don't know. And if they're not Dharma? Who are they?

Alan, my vote is for you to write detailed, well-thought-out critiques, and post them whenever you're done, even if it's a day later. Your writing and analysis is why people are here. They can go elsewhere for their instant gratification.

Anonymous said...


ben may have disabled dharma's ability to find the island with the jamming coming from the looking glass. just a guess.

Unknown said...

All this talk of parallel universes makes me wonder whether that photo of Ben could have been taken of a parallel Ben - a Ben that doesn't live on the island?

Anonymous said...

Maybe do a quick summary, and then a longer version the day later. Keep everyone happy :)

Anonymous said...

2 things: There's all the talk of CS Lewis / Prince Caspian relating to Lost on ABC, right? Just got the annual report for Disney (who owns ABC)... on the back cover is a big promotional page for Prince Caspian movie! LOST IS A LONG / BIG AD FOR THE MOVIE!? Disney owns both ABC and the movie!

Oh, and the helicopter - the tail number, while having some of the numbers from the hatch, appears to belong to a helicopter owned by a real company (Rotorcraft) that a) didn't rent their copter to lost for filming b) doesn't seem to be related at all to Lost. Just like getting your phone number in a movie - the producers just didn't check into who owns it / didn't make up a fictional tail number? they wouldn't screw upthat way? They needed to use that tail number?

Anonymous said...

Abbadon's photo set of the team put me in mind of the original Mission Impossible, where Jim Phelps pulled his team from a binder full of candidate 8x10s.

Amazingly, with dozens of distinctive talents to choose from, he picked the same five guys for every mission in the season. Never thought outside the box.

Dennis said...

I like this show but I don't go over it with a comb like I do with The Wire, for instance.

I've seen a few things mentioned here that I must have missed or perhaps didn't pay enough attention to back when I almost quit on the show in the middle of season two.

So, where's the best site to hit to catch up all the details; however small they may be?