Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Meeting in the Middle: The Challenge of the Art Assignment

I'm going to take a break this evening from the LOST Rewatch posts and write about something else. (And yes, I still have probably four to five episodes that I have watched with the kids but haven't yet taken the time to write up my rewatch posts. And, there may be an upcoming hitch in those plans anyway, as Grace didn't response calmly to the last one we did watch, Two For the Road, in which Michael does a bad, bad thing in the Hatch. I'll explain more during the recap, but if this is going to become an emotional problem involved with watching the show . . . then I'll have to start watching them solo. And that makes me sad.)

But that is not why I sat down tonight to write this post.

I want to muse about the new Art Assignment YouTube Channel, and specifically think about the first assignment, which is entitled "Meet in the Middle."

So, as you know, I'm a big Nerdfighter and I want to completely support Sarah Green's efforts with this new YouTube partnership with PBS Digital. And I went into watching these videos with the hope that I can try my best to take on these assignment as well. Hoping to inject a bit of new spontaneity into my routine and find fun ways to think about things.

So I watched this first episode and now I'm trying to figure out who I can meet in the middle? My first thought was my old work colleague Lisa. She and her family live in Missouri now and we recently been reconnecting more frequently over our shared enjoyment of the TableTop channel on YouTube. I thought maybe we could meet in the middle--somewhere on the Illinois/Indiana border (I haven't checked) to hang out and play board games with our kids?

But . . . we're both busy and do have kids and maybe that is just too far away? Maybe another time when we're less stressed.

So, someone more local? Certainly there are many people in Columbus that I haven't connected with in a while. I used to regularly throw cookouts when the weather was nice. But job stresses, family complications, and the fact that many of my oldest Ohio friends don't work around me anymore--and the fact that I'm a lazy, fair weather friend--have made me lose touch with them on any kind of regular basis.

But maybe now is the time to fix that.

I need to think on this more. But some of you guys who read this blog . . . I hope I find the time and the courage to give you an unexpected email or phone call soon. We'll pull out our road maps. We'll negotiate the necessity of video recordings. We'll meet in the middle.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

LOST Rewatch: One of Them / Maternity Leave

Credit: tle1lost.wordpress.com
Finally, FINALLY, dear readers we have reached that important pivot point in LOST when you can demarcate a BEFORE and an AFTER.

Because with this episode, you reach BHG and AHG--which is Before Henry Gale and After Henry Gale. Everything that was BHG was great and I loved it. But only in hindsight, after watching all six seasons of the show can you appreciate everything that came AHG. All the subtlety. All the confusion of motive. All the intricate layers and layers of lies and mistruths and everything that came along with our favorite balloonist from Minnesota.

Oh, Henry Gale. How glad I am to have finally reached your presence on this series. But, is he One of Them--as Rousseau so confidently tells Sayid when she leads him out into the jungle to show our Iraqi friend the hapless Henry suspended from a rope net? We spend the rest of the episode and the next several ones trying to uncover the truth of Henry.

Did his wife die on the Island and did Henry bury her underneath their globe-trotting balloon with a Smiley Face? Sayid doesn't think so, because as he tearfully yells at Henry, "You would remember how many shovelfuls of dirt in the grave if you had to bury the woman you loved!" (He's still recovering from the loss of Shannon, poor fellow. And I estimate that it took 650 shovelfuls of dirt for Sayid to dig her grave on Boone Hill. It might have been 375 with a standard shovel, but with something mocked up from bamboo and plane wreckage, it likely takes longer.)

But no matter Henry's protestations, Sayid doesn't believe him. He beats Henry up really badly and leaves him locked up in the gun closet of the Swan Station, where Jack and Locke are secretly keeping him stored while they try to decide what to do with him.

And Sayid is left with his thoughts and his tortured past. And the Flashback adds more torture to that past, informing the viewer how this simple member of the Iraqi Republican Guard got mixed up with the torture business in the first place. It was the Americans in Iraq that gave Sayid the tools and the opportunity to open himself up to this black part of himself--a part that he tells Henry had always been there.

So we leave the Flashback with Sayid on the side of an American blacktop highway that stretches from Baghdad and toward oil fires. His pockets are full of American dollar bills and his mind is full of doubt. And the episode ends with no clarity on the veracity of Mr. Gale. Is he One of Them? Was Sayid one of them to his Iraqi countrymen?


Speaking of truths . . . remember when Claire had no memory of what happened to her following her abduction by Ethan Rom? Well, she goes on a truth-finding journey of her own in Maternity Leave.
Spurred on by an apparent fever that Aaron has contracted, Claire is desperate to find some medicine that will help her heal the baby. But Sawyer has all the meds and anyway, Claire is convinced that the sickness is a result of something that Ethan did while she was in his control. But she can't recall what happened.

So, she turns to Libby--one of the Tailies that Hurley has a crush on--and enlists her skills as a clinical psychologist. Claire believes that a bit of hypnotism can bring the memories back, and it does seem to work. She gets flashes of Ethan in a doctor's lab coat, long-needled syringes, mysterious medicines, and a crib mobile featuring 747s. Also a brief glimpse of a teenage girl?

From all of these snippets, Claire is convinced that she can locate where Ethan was holding her and find some medicine that will help heal the baby. Jack is sure that the fever is most likely just roseola, but Claire is on a mission. She enlists the help of Kate and they begin to track back to where Claire thinks the memory flashes are leading her. Along the way, they encounter Rousseau. And Claire believes that Rousseau knows where she was being kept because she already has a memory of a struggle with Rousseau in the jungle that led to scratches on the Frenchwoman's arm. Claire's mention of the teenage girl in one of her recovered memories is all that Rousseau needs to go along.

Through some serendipity, the find the ivy-covered entrance to another DHARMA station (marked with a caduceus symbol). But the inside is abandoned with Lynchian flickering lights and empty medicine cabinets. Claire's memory of the place is bright, cheerful, and featured a fully-stocked nursery room with room decorations and a rocking chair. The place they find is decrepit, only featuring some clothing lockers with what looks to be costumery--such as a fake beard--and some makeup glue.

(More on that hmmmmm-inducing moment to come in a later episode.)

Claire didn't find the medicine she was searching for. Rousseau didn't find her now-grown daughter that she had been looking for. And Claire realizes that in this place Ethan and the Others were preparing to surgically remove Aaron from her pre-labor and most likely (?) kill her to clean up the evidence. But with the help of the teenage girl, Claire was able to escape the scheduled night of the surgery. Claire's memory of Rousseau struggling with her was a drug-addled misinterpretation of Rousseau trying to keep Claire quiet and safe from the searching Others who had realized that Claire was no longer in their captivity.

Claire and Rousseau part on better terms and she and Kate return to the Beach. Luckily, Aaron's fever has broken and he is on the mend. Claire owns up to the fact that she had prepared (pre-crash and during her drug-induced captivity) to give up Aaron to others. But she now vows to never part from him again.

And, oh yeah . . . back in the Swan Station? The mind games of Henry Gale continue. He maintains his story that he is a crash survivor from Minnesota. But he's not above needling John about the seeming subservience that our bald friend shows towards Jack. Naturally, this bothers John, who angrily shoves dishes around in the kitchen--within earshot of Henry locked in the gun locker.

Is Henry smiling?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

LOST Rewatch: The Long Con

With a name like this, you know the episode is about our friend Sawyer--or as Locke now knows of him as James Ford (which is his actual name, as John discovered from Hurley's airplane manifest.

And there are many other discoveries being, um . . . discovered on the Island in this episode. And most of those discoveries are internal ones, as people test their knowledge of each other.

Jack and Locke are still trapped in their never-ending struggle to one-up each other every single day. This time they are testing each other over who controls the combination to the Swan Station's gun safe--which now holds all the crash survivors guns, plus the Virgin Mary heroin statues and all of the airplane's collected medicine. Both Jack and Locke know the combination and they agree to only open the door in each others presence. (How long will this truce last? Well, a typical television episode is about 48 minutes long, so . . . )

Also, Kate and Jack are testing their romantic attraction to one another--something that has been off and on again throughout the 50+ days since the crash. Lately, though, things have been a bit rocky. Kate ignored Jack's commands in "The Hunting Party" and followed him, Locke, and Sawyer during the hunt for Michael. And her kidnapped presence became a key bargaining chip when the beardo Other captain drew his line in the "sand" telling the Lostaways to keep out. Also, Jack heard a delirious and feverish Sawyer declare his love for Kate when he was recovering from the gunshot wound under Jack's care. So, Jack has a tender heart and a bruised ego.

Speaking of bruised egos, outcasts Sawyer and Charlie are also suffering from them due to recent events. Sawyer is mad that during his absence on the raft, his medicine stash was taken by the rest of the group. And Charlie is mad that Claire and Locke don't trust him anymore and that he is seen as a baby-stealing, potentially heroin-taking nut job. (And, well, they may be right to fear that out of him, as much as I do like Charlie.)

In the Flashback, we learn that Sawyer was running another long con on some woman named Cassidy. And he tried the "breaking-open suitcase" trick that we've seen him do in previous episodes. But Cassidy immediately sees the move for what it is. And she propositions Sawyer to let her in on the action, becoming his con assistant. So, Sawyer and Cassidy work together on items, big and small. But eventually, they begin a big con that gets Sawyer mixed up with some other dudes and Sawyer has to leave her to protect her. And, given what we see . . . he seems to have loved her--at least a bit.

So, what happens in the end? After all of the questioning of each other between all of our Lostaways and after the having of all of their personalities tested? . . . The last thing that you would expect.

Sun gets attacked while working in her garden. A bag is slapped over her head and she is dragged into the jungle. She fights off her mysterious attacker and escapes, but this event throws the Beach into turmoil as they search for the person responsible.

And in the confusion that occurs around Sun's attack, we find out a few things. When Jack goes back to the Swan Station to get some guns and prepare to fight back . . . whoops . . . the guns are all gone--along with the medicine!

It turns out that Sawyer decided to pull a fast one on everyone and take the confusion of the attack to take control of all of the guns and the medicine.

A triumphant but angry Sawyer bloviates to the entire Lostaway Beach--"You took my stuff while I was off trying to save you on the raft, getting shot! But now, I'm back and I'm taking back what is mine. There's a new sheriff in town! And you better get used to it."
And in the final moments, we learn that Charlie was Sawyer's accomplice--trying to attack Sun (at least a bit) to cause the diversion that allowed Sawyer to pull off his plan. Charlie wasn't really trying to hurt Sun, but he did want to help Sawyer because Charlie wanted to humiliate Locke--who beat him up during the last episode.

So, Charlie's slide to the Dark Side seems to be progressing quickly. But next time on LOST--why does Sawyer work so hard to make everyone hate him?

LOST Rewatch: The Hunting Party / Fire + Water

Credit: tle1lost.wordpress.com
Ever since the Tailies arrived on the beach to share the Island with the original pack of Lostaways, there has been tension. And while that tension has been focused on personality conflicts--everyone hates Ana Lucia, Jack and Locke are bickering over the Button, Claire and Charlie are dealing with couply-type squabbles--the most significant conflict has simultaneously grown in tension and also been shoved to the backburner: what is going on with the Others.

This question has been growing in tension because the Tailies have brought to the front of everyone's mind the idea that the Others are more than just the delusional squawking of Danielle the French Chick. The Others are indeed murderers who have plans and are pretty lethal.

Also, don't forget please about their stealing of Walt--which amazingly has been shoved to the far backburner by everyone it seems--even by Michael (who didn't stomp around screaming WAaaaaaaalllt as much as I remember him doing).

But now Michael has the computer hook up--or so he thinks. And he is pretty sure that he knows where Walt is. So he runs off in search of his boy. So Jack and Locke and Sawyer (and Kate, who can't be told to stay behind) race after Michael. But they encounter the bearded boat captain deep in the jungle and beardo delivers an ultimatum to our Lostaway leaders. This far; no farther. Michael is with us and you can't come any closer. So turn around and head back the way you came. We have suffered your presence on this Island, but don't think that you are in charge here. And beardo reinforced this message with a show of hidden Tiki torch strength as well as holding Kate hostage to keep Jack's bravado at bay. Cowed, our Lostaways slink back to the beach without Michael and with a new rift forming between Jack and Kate.

(What is the Flashback? Well, we learn that Jack's marriage to Sarah the crash victim did not go well. He was distant and a workaholic and she decided to have an affair to be appreciated and also decided to leave him. Jack's obsessive personality was on full display as he attempted another miraculous spinal procedure on an Italian dude with a hot daughter. The surgery didn't work out and Jack was sorely tempted to cheat on Sarah. He resisted, only to discover her plans already in place to leave. Flashback Jack is despondent, but Sarah is right when she says that "He always needs to fix something.")

And now there is plenty for Jack to fix on the Island: his trust in Locke, his relationship with Kate, his status re: the Others. It's all falling apart.

But he's got a plan. He sidles up to Ana Lucia at the end of the episode and casually asks "How hard would it be to train an army?"

Action Jack is getting ready to go to WAR!


In the next episode, we watch the slow descent of Charlie Pace into villainy . . . sort of. But it starts with the slow descent of Charlie Pace into a sort of madness. He's having weird nightmares featuring baby Aaron being swept out to sea and Charlie trying to save him. But that always turns into strange sleepwalking events that make it look as if Charlie is trying to abduct the baby. Given Claire's past history with abductors and her current distrust of Charlie due to the Virgin Mary heroin revelations . . . she's not willing to listen to any of Charlie's protestations of innocence.

Also, in Claire and Aaron's new role as protector, John Locke takes this opportunity to beat Charlie up pretty good right in front of everyone. Heck, even Hurley looks at Charlie with doubt in his eyes.

What is a washed-up former rock god gonna do? Well, he'll start blathering on about how baptism is what Aaron needs. And he'll even try to set a small fire in order to divert everyone's attention so that he can take the baby again to get some sort of baptism going. But things just go even worse for Mr. Pace. And he is now a Beach pariah, commiserating with Sawyer in the shantytowns on the outskirts of Lostaway beach.

It's a shame really. We the viewers know that Charlie is confused and just trying to help. But no one will listen to him. And he is not acting normally at all. So things look pretty bad for Charlie--and they're gonna get worse.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

LOST Rewatch: The 23rd Psalm

Credit: tle1lost.wordpress.com
Hey, do you know who we don't know much about on LOST, season 2? Mr. Eko, right? He's this big, near silent, seemingly religious individual who likes to carry around big tree branches like Buford Pusser. (And, like Pusser, he doesn't carry that stick for show. He used it in "The Other 48 Days" and since then has been carving scripture verses in it. It was from this initial killing incident on the Island that he remained silent for 40 days.)

So, these things we know. But let's learn more. And that is what this episode is about. We learn that Eko was once the biggest boy in his Nigerian village. And he had a strong sense of loyalty. This he demonstrated when the warlord's army rolled up in town, disrupted the kid's soccer match, and tried to brainwash Eko's brother Yemi into becoming a killer by gunning down a random old man in front of the village Catholic Church. But Eko stepped in and took the gun and did the killing himself to save Yemi the shock of it all.

And because of all of this, Eko grew up to be a stone-cold drug runner who was quick to kill with a knife to get what he wanted. We also learn that Yemi grew up to be a priest. And that Eko concocted the plan that got bundles of heroin in Virgin Mary statues, in a Beechcraft airplane, (remember the Beechcraft airplane, Boone's ghost?) along with priests in the plane, flying and crashing into the Island years before Eko himself crashed along with the rest of Flight 815.

So now we know more about Eko. But we also learn in this episode that the recurrence of heroin on the Island is doing strange things to Charlie. It's not that he is tempted to taking the drugs again--though he insists on carrying a Virgin Mary statue in his backpack at all times and he also has a stash of five other statues hidden in the jungle. But he's not using . .  do you understand?!

Still, Claire doesn't want Charlie around baby Aaron anymore since he's proven to be untrustworthy. And that drives Charlie into a typical (pre-Moth) Charlie spiral of feeling underappreciated and overlooked. So when Eko demands to know where this Beechcraft plane is on the Island, Charlie agrees to take him. And all the while he's whinging about how people think he's a liar and why won't Claire trust him and how come Locke is moving in on his (fake) (not-)Baby Mommy and making him an exile and even discovering his stash of heroin statues and taking them away from him and locking them up in the Swan Station's gun safe, and His News is all of Woe!

But Charlie has to grow up. And Eko is here to help him, along with his trusty "Jesus stick." The two mismatched pair find the plane, burn it, and refrain from getting high off of the smoke.

Still . . . in the end, Charlie is shifting to the dark side. He is living on the outcast side of the beach with Sawyer. (More on HIM to come.) And our favorite rock god is not very happy.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

LOST Rewatch: What Kate Did

Credit: tle1lost.wordpress.com
What Kate did?

Well, she was untruthful. And she was a runner. And she was a murderer. And she strings dudes along. And she is asked to use her kisses as currency. And she has a fixation with toys. And she knows how to shoot. And she can track. And she's a daddy's girl (but certainly NOT a step-daddy's girl.)

Oh, you mean what did she do in this episode?

Well, she saw a black horse in the jungle. And she saw feverish Sawyer speak to her through someone else's voice. And she began to fear that she was losing her mind. And she first promised Jack that she would look after Sawyer in the Swan station and then she decided to abandon him when she started to freak out--thinking that she was going insane.

So, as usual, Kate says she will do something and then she decides that she will do something else. And that upsets Jack. But when Kate cries, Jack feels bad. But Jack also feels bad because feverish Sawyer mumbled that he loved Kate--which is certainly something else that makes Jack feel bad--because Jack wants to control everything and everyone and he doesn't like Sawyer--sick or not--and he doesn't want Sawyer trying to be Kate's boyfriend.

By the end of the episode, Jack has decided to let Sawyer become Kate's boyfriend, but he's going to start keeping his own secrets and become Ana Lucia's boyfriend instead.

What else happens? Well, in the Flashback, we learn that Kate "did" what she did by killing her step-father, who was abusive to her mother and was inappropriately creepy towards her. And we also learn that Kate's biological father was in the Army and decided to leave his marriage to her mom because she was a.) still in love with Wayne--Kate's step-dad and also b.) Wayne ACTUALLY was Kate's real dad and no one had bothered to tell her. And Kate couldn't stand the fact that a creep like Wayne was actually related to her through blood. So, Kate blew up her step-dad and the house and awarded the home insurance money to her Mother, expecting thanks. Instead, Kate's mom was horrified and so Kate began her runaway journey.

Also . . . Eko is hanging out in the Swan station with Locke and trying to reconcile the swank conditions there with what he remembered from the Arrow station on the Tailies' side of the Island. Also, he tells Locke that he discovered bits of a film, which Eko believes are part of the Orientation film that Locke uncovered a few episodes back. And somehow Locke knows how to splice the parts of the film together and they learn that the missing part of the Orientation film informed the inhabitants of the Swan station NOT to use the computer for anything other than punching in the Countdown code.

This is relevant because now Michael is snooping around the computer a bit more and hanging out in the Swan station a lot more. And he is definitely interested in trying to use the computer for messaging (non number-punching) purposes. Especially after Michael is attracted to some strange beeping and types in Hello? and eventually gets into a conversation with the computer which eventually ends with "Dad?"

Was it Walt on the other end of that computer message? That seems improbable, right?

Oh well . . . I guess we'll find out later.

You Sank My (Relation)Ship!

A few weekends ago there was big rumblings in the Internet world about an interview given by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. The buzz centered around some out-of-context comments Rowling made regarding the relationship that her characters Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger developed in the course of the books--especially in the final two volumes in which Ron and Hermione officially coupled off.

Credit: jscolemanfch/DesktopWallpapers4me *
Rowling said that she has since had second thoughts about this pairing and apparently stated that she felt Hermione and Harry were more suited for each other and that (presumably) if given the chance to do it over, she would pair off the three main characters in a different way, specifically allowing the Chosen One to couple up with Hogwarts favorite bookworm.

First, I'll repeat the maxim often said by young adult author John Green "Books belong to their readers." Meaning, once published, it matters far more how a reader interprets a story than how the author may have intended that story.

Credit: jscolemanfch/DesktopWallpapers4me *
So, if you want Harry and Hermione to couple up, well you can look for those moments when it might have happened and treasure those events. And you can certainly look to the movie versions of the books to seek lots of Harry + Hermione scenes.

But the facts of the published work remains. And Rowling DID choose to make the story a certain way. It is already there in black and white on billions of pages all over the world. That makes the relationship "canon" and not subject to change . . . unless Rowling decided to pull a George Lucas and start releasing new, authentic versions of the story that she was unable to publish. (But we know, of course, that NO ONE had more influence and control over their final product than Rowling did over the Harry Potter series. So I do not believe that she was prevented from publishing the story that she wanted to tell.)

Why the change of heart now? Without reading the full interview, I can't begin to guess.

What do I think? Personally, I understand where she may be coming from with regards to the personality differences between Hermione and Ron/Harry. I think that even part of the interview was about how Ron and Hermione were destined to a future of couples counseling because of their different personalities. And I guess that may be true. But I also heard Emma Watson respond that she reckons ALL of them would have a future of counseling in front of them, since they were young kids tasked with saving the world and experiencing traumatic events and all that. Just because you carry a wand doesn't mean you can't experience PTSD, I suppose.

credit: harrypotter.wikia.com
But what bothers me most about Rowling's questioning of her authorial choices is what implications it has other than Ron and Hermione. Specifically Ginny's relationship with Harry. If Hermione was somehow supposed to end up with Harry, then what would have happened to Ginny? And what about all of the turmoil and feelings that Harry experienced in Books Six and Seven that centered around his developing feelings for Ron's sister? I love those passages of the seven books almost more than any other part. And to hear Rowling try to moonwalk away from that, for whatever reason, is . . . well, it's not upsetting because I'm not a teenager . . . but I wish it were not so.

And besides, I've already got so much opinion invested in the Harry + Ginny relationship. I won't back out of it now!

Still, the books and what I make of them belong to me now. And I am pleased with the results of the romances as they are. Unless and until Rowling pulls a Lucas, I will always have it the way that I want it. And I think that is the way it should be anyway.

*Sorry to illustrate the post with movie images--which I think contribute to this disagreement more than anything else. Ron is underutilized in the movies and Harry + Hermione are pushed forward with frequency. Also, Bonnie Wright's portrayal of Ginny is not convincing enough to make her seem a viable option, unless you can watch the movie through a strong knowledge of the book's characterization of Ms. Weasley.

Other thoughts from people more connected to the issue than I.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

LOST Rewatch: Collision

Credit: tle1lost.wordpress.com
The tension of the previous two episodes comes to a conclusion in "Collision," when we finally catch up to the moment where Sayid is cradling a dying Shannon in the rainy jungle--while Ana Lucia still pointing her gun forward and while everyone else stands in shock.

As is her style, Ana quickly takes charge and uses her gun to reassert herself. She threatens Sayid and he responds by pulling out his own gun. (Where are all these guns coming from?) But Eko knocks Sayid unconscious with his trusty tree limb and Ana eventually gets him tied to a tree while she struggles to figure out what her next move should be. But she appears to be coming a bit more unglued as time passes. She knows that what she did was wrong and unforgivable, but Ana won't let herself show any weakness and admit a mistake. (Sounds like she'll fit right in with the rest of the plane crash survivors, doesn't it?)

The other Tailies are thinking that Ana might have gone too far in trying to deal with the shooting, but they are too cowed by her (and indebted to her for helping them survive the Others assault during the previous 48 days) to stand up and forcefully tell her that she is wrong. Everyone that is but Mr. Eko, who decided to pick up Sawyer and bring him back to the Beach so that he can get some medical attention.

And we all know that nothing makes Jack more upset that being thrown into a situation that he isn't in control of. So when a mysterious Eko appears on the shoreline with a bleeding, feverish, unconscious Sawyer . . . well, he first gets to doctoring and then gets to posturing and . . .  well, that is about as far as Jack gets. (He's best at doctoring and that involves getting Sawyer into the Swan station shower to try and get his temperature down.

Oh . . . the Flashback for this episode? It's about Ana Lucia's previous life as a cop. And she was pretty much as big a hot head then as she is now on the Island. She draws her gun at every opportunity, mouths off to her superiors, and stomps around as if she is supremely confident. (I guess I should be fair and point out that she is recovering from being involved in an officer-involved shooting at a previous crime scene where she was hurt and hospitalized and then put into a psych evaluation rotation. And, as we later learn, she was pregnant during the shooting incident and the baby was lost and her fiance/boyfriend left her in the aftermath of it all. So, I guess she has some right to be upset.)

But back on the Island, she is impulsive and abrasive and threatening to our man Sayid. He's mostly in shock after the death of Shannon, so he talks to her in the calm way he has when he is experiencing a Moment of Revelation. And Sayid knows that he did plenty of bad things in his life pre-crash, so maybe he deserves having Ana torture and kill him? At least that is what he is suggesting.

But Ana comes to her senses and lets him go. And she reluctantly arrives at the Beach to join up with the rest of the survivors of Flight 815. Sayid has Shannon's body; Ana has her guilt; Sawyer has a life-threatening fever; Jack has new unresolved issues to be tense about; Locke has someone new to talk to (Eko).

And we have a new dynamic on the Island.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

LOST Rewatch: The Other 48 Days

Credit: tle1lost.wordpress.com
I'm tempted to call this a very special episode of LOST. Because it upends (in a sense) the narrative flow of the series and projects things from a very different point of view--namely the survivors of the Flight 815 tail section, including Ana Lucia, Mr. Eko, Bernard, Libby, Cindy, Nathan, Goodwin, and many other unnamed passengers. (This also includes two children--a small brother and sister pair on their way from Syndey to Los Angeles to meet up with their mother.)

What I found most interesting about this episode was that it DID throw a complete wrench in the LOST dramatic narrative that we had been viewing for over 30 episodes. It left behind all of the characters that we had originally grown to like and understand and tossed up a completely different set of people.

Isn't that interesting? Isn't that a huge risk for a TV show? To absolutely upend everything and interject a new narrative without a bit of warning? (True, we had already gotten a bit used to the Tailies through the first several episodes of Season 2. But to devote an entire story to their experience was a bold move, I thought. It could have backfired on the show badly . . . as would later be the case with Nikki and Paolo. But more to come on those dudes later.)

Anyway, I don't have lots to devote to this episode. There is no Flashback for any of the Tailies . . . because the entirety of the episode is one long Flashback. But there are some things that I can say.

  • The Others were much more aggressive in messing with Ana Lucia and her crew than was the case with the Lostaways on the other side of the Island. They were attacked on the first night after the crash and on subsequent nights. Nothing like that happened with Jack and Company. Was the presence of the "security system" the thing that kept the Others away for so long?
  • The actions of "Goodwin" show that the Others have a definite method for learning about the plane crash survivors. He--like Ethan--posed as a member of the survivors, gathered information, and tried to single out certain "good" people for abduction . . . or whatever.
  • The brother and sister kids were taken very quickly. What is the fixation that the Others have with children? (Remember Claire's pre-birth abduction by Ethan.)
  • When did Ana Lucia finally realize that Goodwin was not who he seemed? It wasn't until Day 45 or so that she confronted him and they fought and Goodwin died. Was it simply that day that everything made sense to her? Because when she did confront him, she talked about how his appearance was wrong from the first day. But surely she didn't harbor real suspicion all of that time? Given her treatment of Nathan--who was not, it turned out, an Other--she would have acted forcefully and decisively much sooner. Right?

I really liked this episode. I think it should be celebrated for the risks that it took at a time when the show was strong in popularity and the chance of a backfire was real.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

LOST Rewatch: Abandoned

Credit: tle1lost.wordpress.com
Today's episode is entitled "Abandoned" and the focal point of the episode is Shannon. Shannon is trying to recover from the (recent in Island-time) death of her brother Boone (for us it happened all the way back at the end of Season 1). Shannon has also been struggling with some weird visions of Walt that she keeps seeing in the jungle, where the boy is dripping wet and speaking gibberish. (Yeah . . . he's actually speaking backwards. I remember when the episodes first aired back in 2005 and I was quickly on the Web sites and podcasts trying to figure it all out.

So, for your edification, I can tell you that in the first vision of Walt, he supposed said Don't push the button. The button is bad. And in the second instance of Shannon seeing Walt, he said They are coming. They are very close.)

Who is coming? Well, if you remember from ". . . And Found" the Tailies who survived the separation and crash of the back portion of Flight 815 have been surviving on the other side of the Island, have been harassed daily by the mysterious Others, and have now linked up with Sawyer, Jin, and Michael who survived the Raft's destruction. All of these guys are traversing the Island to get to the Beach and the Caves to live a more secure life of fruit, boar, fresh water, Hatch button-pushing, and lack of Other attacking.

But this journey has its problems. To keep away from the Others in the Jungle, Ana Lucia and Eko are leading Bernard, Cindy, Libby, and the Raftaways around the Island's circumference. This will take longer, but be safer. Unfortunately, the bullet wound that Sawyer suffered when the Others stole Walt from the raft at the end of season 1 has been steadily weakening him. (That was six episodes ago!) So, he is slowing down the journey and eventually passes out.

Ana Lucia is all for leaving him, but Michael and Jin won't do it and neither will Eko. They all build a sling from bamboo and vines and begin carrying Sawyer. And they are forced to go inland through the jungle to get the journey completed faster. While they are struggling to get the unconscious Sawyer up a small 10-foot cliff face, they discover that Cindy the stewardess has disappeared. The Others must have somehow magically taken her!

Meanwhile, Shannon is trying to convince Sayid that her visions of Walt aren't insane. And her flashbacks are all about when her dad (and Boone's step-dad) died. (He was the driver of the car that nearly killed Jack's almost-paralyzed wife Sarah back in Season 1.) He's only interested in solidifying his burgeoning relationship with her, but she is convinced that he doesn't respect her and thinks she is a child in need of help. This is reinforced by the Flashback's story of how Shannon got her inheritance money cut off from her by Boone's mom and how her plans for an internship in New York were derailed. So Shannon started falling into a pattern of getting Boone to bail her ourt of problems, which we saw happening in the first season.

In the end, both Shannon and Sayid see a dripping wet Walt apparition in the jungle and follow it. As the rain pours down and sounds get confusing, Shannon, unfortunately, intersects with a trigger-happy and scared Ana Lucia. She assumes that Shannon is an Other and fires a shot. Shannon is wounded in the belly and collapses into the arms of Sayid who caught up to Shannon a moment too late. Michael and Jin (and the other Tailies look on in shock as Shannon slowly bleeds . . .

. . . to death?

We'll see in the next episode!