Thursday, January 30, 2014

LOST Rewatch: . . . And Found

I took a few days off this week, due to snow and kids out of school, due to work pressures, due to tiredness, due to whatever. But the girls and I have watched two episodes since "Everybody Hates Hugo" and I need to catch up a bit.

This episode continues the arc of Season 2 that focuses on what is happening on the opposite side of the Island with Ana Lucia, Mr. Eko, and the rest of the Tailies (plus Jin, Michael, and Sawyer). If you haven't seen the show before--or like me you haven't seen the shows in several years and have forgotten--you might have thought that the bulk of Season 2 would be about what is happening in the Hatch and pushing the button every 108 minutes. And, yes, I thought that was what so much of this season WAS about. But I forgot and am being reminded now that there were several episodes here where they are introducing the Tailies into the mix.

And rightly, this is so, because we spent all of last season thinking that 1.) they were all dead and 2.) bringing in a new batch of characters can be a dangerous thing (see Nikki & Paolo . . . who are still to come). But LOST did make a habit of bringing in a new batch of people on a fairly regular basis, enfolding them into the existing bunch. I think we tend to forget that because each season was wrapped around a different piece of Island mythology or the narrative storytelling device was always something different. But in this season, we still rely on Flashbacks and we now bring the surviving Tailies to the familiar part of the Island.

Sun and Jin are the focal points of ". . .  And Found,"filling in the gaps of how they met and who they were before their engagement and marriage. We already know that Jin was the embarrassed son of a fisherman, striving to leave his village past behind. We see that he is always reminded of his humble origins by the people he is asking employment of--such as the Seoul hotel for which he becomes a doorman.

The bulk of the flashback, however, tells Sun's story. How she was set up by a matchmaker (via her rich mother) to find a husband. How she met with the son of a hotel magnate--yes, the same one that Jin is working at--and how the magnate and Sun hit it off. How Sun was becoming okay with the matchmaker's choice, only to learn that the dude was planning to leave Korea in a few months to marry someone else in America. How he was just enjoying this matchmaking time with Sun to lessen the pressure put on him by his own mother and didn't Sun already understand that? (Oops . . . not really.)

Back on the Island, Jin, Sawyer, and Michael are still at odds with the acerbic Ana Lucia and the ominous Mr. Eko. They are all huddled in the remains of the Dharma station and our Lostaway friends are wondering what happened to the Tailies to make them so skittish and afraid. Though they don't say it, their eyes indicate that "Back on our side of the Island we had beach luaus with roasted boar, copious flows of fresh water, all the mango you could eat, and plenty of fun, fun, fun! What is so bad over here?"

The Tailies eyes are full of regret, fear, and haunting events that should NEVER be spoken of! So, the idea is presented. Let's all relocate to where YOU guys have been partying it up for the last 40 days. We're tired of being picked off one by one. So, they gather up their meager supplies and get Michael, Jin, and a weakening Sawyer to lead the way.

Michael takes this opportunity to run for it. He doesn't want to go back to the Beach/Caves. He's got to find Waaaaaalt! (Remember, they TOOK HIS SON!) Jin is determined to go after him, reluctant to let his raft buddy trek through the jungle alone. Ana Lucia wants nothing to do with any of this and just want to find a safer place to live. But Mr. Eko shows his conscience and decides to help Jin locate Michael. The rest begin their journey along the (safe?) coast to find our Lostaway pals.

Eventually, Jin and Eko find Michael, who is wandering around shouting at waterfalls and begging the Others to appear and capture him. They eventually meet back up with the rest of the Tailies and continue their journey, avoiding the dangerous Jungle. On this journey? Michael, Jin, a stumbling Sawyer, Cindy (the 815 stewardess), Libby, Ana Lucia, Bernard, and Eko.

Back on the Beach? Well, Claire is complaining that Charlie is getting a bit too familiar. And what is with the Virgin Mary statue he's always carrying around in his backpack? Is Charlie some sort of religious nutter, she asks Locke? Locke, who knows that the statue contains heroin says nothing and doesn't confront Charlie about it. Also, Sun is freaking out that she has lost her wedding ring and she is carrying the burden of knowing that the message bottle signals dangerous times for the raft. (The ladies who discovered the bottle has still not told any of the other Lostaways about their fears.)

Sun talks to Hurley and Jack and Kate about her lost ring and eventually, she finds it when she digs up the bottle again. The ring was in the sand alongside the bottle itself. Buoyed by a hope that Jin (and the other raft goers) might be alive, Sun ventures a slight smile.

Monday, January 27, 2014

LOST Rewatch: Everybody Hates Hugo

As you might expect, the title of this episode caused some consternation in my house. We are big Hurley fans, so the girls (who have not seen any of these episodes before) have a hard time imagining a scenario where anyone, much less EVERYONE could possibly hate Hugo. But, there it was in black-and-white (pixels) so they had to try and sort it out.

The story of everyone hating Hugo is the center of the Flashback as well, as we see Hurley keeping quiet in the immediate day after he won the Mega Lotto Jackpot (playing the computer Numbers that Desmond had trained Locke to input). He goes to work his dead end job at Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack and has to put up with his jerk of a manager. You might have heard of him. His name is Randy. (To be a bit fair to the jerk manager, he was eating chicken after hours and cutting into the profits a bit.) But Hurley's coworker buddy, Johnny, commiserates with him and tries to make life bearable.

But Hurley comes to realize that he doesn't need to put up with his boss now that he's got a winning lottery ticket in his pocket. So, he quits his job and tells Johnny. In a fit of solidarity, Johnny also quits and they spend the rest of the day hanging at the record store--where Hurley has a crush on Starla, the girl behind the cash register. Emboldened again by his impending wealth, Hurley asks Starla out and she says yes.

Everybody LOVES Hurley, right? Well, no . . . because he is afraid to fess up to the lottery ticket, not wanting everyone to start treating him differently or hit him up for favors.

And Hurley's fear turns out to be true late in this evening of freedom when Johnny turns the car into the gas station where Hurley bought the winning ticket. The press is there interviewing the station clerk, who immediately fingers Hurley as the big jackpot winner. Suddenly Johnny is angry that Hurley has kept this from him. Now, at least one person hates Hugo.

On the Island, Hurley is also worried about people disliking him. Why? Well, he has been put in charge of the Hatch's food pantry inventory by Jack. And he is worried that when word gets out about the shampoo and peanut butter and Apollo bars and potato chips and everything else . . . the Lostaways are going to try and take advantage of him. And when he says no . . . hatred.

Again, he's not entirely wrong. Kate just takes some shampoo without so much as a neveryoumind and utilizes the Swan station shower. Charlie starts pressuring his pal for the peanut butter that he promised to Claire back in Season 1. And Hurley knows it'll just go on and on. He is so worried about it that he has some pretty bizarre dreams:

Speaking of Jin, remember that at the end of the last episode, Ana Lucia bamboozled our pit friends for information, found out they (also?) were on Flight 815, punched Sawyer and stole his gun, and was lifted out of the pit.

If this information is to be believed, then the people holding Jin, Michael, and Sawyer captive are NOT the Others that have long been spoken of, but never seen. Rather they are Flight 815 passengers who were in the tail section of the plane (the part that broke off right behind Kate's seat during the crash). They were all assumed to be dead--except that Rose remained convinced that her husband Bernard was still alive.

So, eventually, Jin, Michael, and Sawyer are released from the pit and taken through the jungle. It is clear that Ana Lucia is the brash leader of this band of Lostaways. And she's not a consensus type of leader like Jack or even Locke or Sayid. She is of the punch-first/command-allegiance school of leadership. And she punches Sawyer a few times to prove her moxie. (I'm not sure if this wins Michael and Jin over to her way of thinking or not. But it does signal a return of snarly, angry Sawyer that we had not seen much of in the last third of Season 1.)

The episode ends thusly. the raft survivors are led by Ana Lucia and a few of the Tailies (referring to those Flight 815 survivors seated in the plane's tail section) to another Dharma station in the jungle. We don't get a very good look at it, but it is not nearly as elaborate, nice, and lived in as Desmond's Swan station. (Plus it is not buried deep underground either.) There are a few other Tailie survivors huddled within, but they hear tales of sickness and dying. These guys have had a hard time of it. There is a bit of cheer though, when Bernard appears, confirming Rose's belief in his survival.

Back on the other side of the Island, Hurley has made a decision. After completing his inventory, he realizes that the amount of food Desmond has stored would not feed the 40 Lostaways for any significant amount of time. Let's just eat it all up in a big celebratory party and eliminate any chance of future problems. Jack agrees to follow Hurley's lead and the party commences.

Hurley is--in fact--loved for his generosity and everyone feasts and has a good time by the nighttime campfire.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

LOST Rewatch: Orientation

In this episode, we continue to follow two stories that have defined this season so far: first, what is happening with Michael, Sawyer, and Jin now that the raft escape failed and they are back on the Island--apparently being threatened by the Others.
Second, what exactly is going on down in the Hatch?

Let's start with our raft friends. If you remember, Michael and Sawyer had just dragged themselves up on the shores of the Island, after floating around on bits of raft wreckage in the previous episode. Sawyer is still injured from the bullet in his shoulder. Michael is still worried about what has become of his son--his name is Walt, as you might remember. Jin was escaping from the Others, but the three of them fall back under the sinister clutches of these mystery dudes . . . and Our Raft Friends are thrown into a pit, covered with a bamboo cage. It's not looking very good for those guys.

In the other story, Desmond has a gun on Locke; Jack has a gun on Desmond; Kate is climbing around in the air ducts. Eventually shots are fired and the old computer is damaged--the computer that Desmond uses to punch in the Numbers code. He begins to really freak out because he believes that the only way to prevent the end of the world is to punch in those Numbers every hour and 40 minutes--forever! (It does sound weird, but Locke is desperate to believe that all of this Island . . . stuff means something! So he is willing to go along with the nonsense that Desmond is going on about. Jack, of course, is absolutely skeptical and thinks that it is as crazy as it sounds.)

Still, Kate comes down from her airduct journey and is quickly dispatched to the Beach to get Sayid for help repairing the computer. Meanwhile, Desmond gathers up some supplies and prepares to run for it. It turns out he's been stuck on the Island for a long time and he wants out/off. He's gonna leave the job to Locke and anyone else willing to repair the computer and get on with punching in the Numbers. Jack tries to talk some sense into Desmond, but Desmond really wants to get away. See you later Desmond. Sorry that we didn't get a chance to know you better!

Back in the Hatch, Sayid is working on fixing the computer and the timer is counting down from 108:00 to 0:00. And if it gets down to 0:00 . . . then what exactly might happen? Well, Desmond warned them that it was something bad. But Jack really didn't believe that. So, is there another opinion that we might get? Well, before Desmond fled into the jungle, we told Jack and Locke to watch the Orientation film. What's that, you ask? Well . . .

Does that clear it up for you? No . . . I didn't think so. But that's okay. I think you'll learn more about the stations (of which this one is only 3 of 6 you may note) later in this season.

But back to Michael, Jin, and Sawyer. Remember that they were down in a pit, being threatened by the Others? As they are formulating a plan to try to trick the guards, the top of the pit opens and an unknown female is thrown down with them. They talk to each other about how they got in the pit and it turns out that they were all passengers on Flight 815. And sure enough, the female down there with our heroes is the very same lady that spoke to Jack in the airport bar flashback in the Season 1 finale. (Ana Lucia, remember?)

So, there are other survivors of the flight on the Island. As they start to feel a bit better, Ana Lucia hauls back and punches Sawyer really hard and takes the gun that he has been holding onto from the raft. And then Ana gets lifted out of the pit. Turns out she was with our friend's captors and was just posing as a prisoner to gather information on the prisoners. Was what she said about being on the same flight true? (Well . . . we know that she was, but THEY don't know that. And we aren't sure about the rest of them.)

So, as this episode ends the raft-goers are still stuck in a pit and the leaders of the Lostaways are getting stuck down in the Hatch slowly becoming enslaved to a pitiless timer and computer. What'll come next?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

LOST Rewatch: Adrift

When last we left LOST, Jack and Locke were in a stand-off with our new pal Desmond down in the Hatch station thing. The other Lostaways were hanging out in the Caves and trying to figure out why all of their so-called "leaders" were running around in the jungle late at night when the Others were supposedly endangering everyone. And they did not yet know of the fate of Michael, Jin, Sawyer, and Walt on the raft of doom.

But this episode--as the title suggests--spends lots of time with the remaining rafters. Well, at least it spends a great deal of time with Michael and Sawyer. Jin (who, as you may remember from the end of season 1, dove into the water to save Sawyer after he was shot by the boat-goers) was not found anywhere in the vicinity of the raft.

Not that Michael and Sawyer were looking for him that hard in the night. Michael, of course, was shouting for Walt at every opportunity. And Sawyer was getting a headache from Michael's shouting while also bleeding quite a bit from a shoulder bullet wound. And also . . . the raft is in pieces and Michael and Sawyer are uncomfortably occupying a piece of it not much bigger than they are.

These two fight like the Bickersons . .  about everything:

  1. whether Sawyer can dig the bullet out with his fingers (turns out he can), 
  2. whether Michael should keep shouting (he's doing it to try and signal to Walt that he's still alive--but Walt can't hear), 
  3. whether or not there are sharks in the water (they think there is at least one), 
  4. whether or not the gun will work once dunked in the ocean (not really?), 
  5. whether or not they can exist on the same bit of broken raft (most of the time they cannot and at one point they simply float next to each other on separate pieces with sullen expressions), 
  6. who is to blame for bringing the boat in that kidnapped Walt (Michael blames Sawyer for demanding to use the signal flare and Sawyer thinks they had no idea that these people were not on the up-and-up). 
Generally, things are bad is what I'm saying.

Back on the Island, we get another view of what is going on in the Hatch--at first from Locke's point of view as he enters the hallway at the bottom of the open shaft, takes off his shoes for more stealthy movement (which Jack later sees), tries to puzzle out the banks of outdated computers, and eventually encounters an angry, crazed Desmond who has Kate at gunpoint. Desmond ties her up and locks her in a closet room. But she escapes, finds the pantry stocked to the gills with food of all sorts, luxuriates over the taste of a chocolate Apollo candy bar, then begins to escape through the ceiling duct works.

From that vantage point, Kate sees Jack enter the Hatch station and listens as Jack and Locke bicker over destiny and as they try to sort out what Desmond is actually up to. But we are going to leave her up there for a while and move on to some other things.

Such as, what is happening back on the ocean? Well, Michael and Sawyer have caught the current that delivered them back to the Island. And they are happy to at least be alive. But as they are clambering back through the surf onto the shore, who should run up but Jin? With his arms tied behind his back. And he seems scared. He's shouting about something, but since it is in Korean, it is hard to make out. Finally, he gets one English word out . . . Others. Others!

Sawyer and Michael look up and see people silhouetted as they emerge from the tree line. They look sinister . . .



Friday, January 24, 2014

LOST Rewatch: Man of Science, Man of Faith

Previously . . . on LOST.

We begin Season 2 where we ended Season 1--obviously. (Well, maybe that is not obvious? Maybe it could have started somewhere completely different with different characters or something. But that might confuse people and it most certainly would have stressed out the fans of LOST that spent all of that time between Season 1 and Season 2 (May to September 2005, if I recall) trying to figure out what was down the Hatch and whether the Others were really a thing or whether it was just a fever dream Rousseau had. And what was Smokey and lots, lots more.

So, here we are at the start of season 2 and everything is grand and the episode begins with . . . this?

It was a very unexpected way to begin anew. And now that I think about it, maybe it was starting the show in a new place with new people in an unpredictable way. But after that, we join up with our Lostaway pals at the top of the Hatch shaft as Locke, Kate, John, and Hurley discuss how to get down into that hole. Well, Hurley and Jack don't want to get down there. Hurley has no interest and Jack says that the shaft is too narrow, too deep, and too without-a-functional ladder to serve as a quick way to hide the rest of the Cave dwellers from the supposed attack of the Others. (Remember from the end of season 1, that is why they were blowing it up in the first place--or at least that is why Jack was going to do so--as a way to protect everyone from the Others.)

So Jack and Hurley convince Locke and Kate to return to the Caves. I mean, the Hatch isn't going anywhere Jack says and let's just worry about going down into it in the morning. Locke reluctantly agrees. They head back to the Caves and Jack makes another inspirational speech about how everyone is going to be safe and they'll all live to see the sunrise and it'll all be okay, all right?

Except . . . well, Locke decides that he just doesn't feel like waiting. So he gathers up some vine rope and heads back into the jungle, at night, with the possibility of the Other attack around every tree trunk. And if Locke is gonna go, then Kate also decides to go--to, you know, keep him safe. But also just to keep moving because maybe the Hatch if full of tiny toy airplanes, right? Have you ever considered that? Jack reacts to this news as you expect him to. With clenched jaw disbelief and a sad shake of the head.

 Locke and Kate team up to rappel (or belay . . . something?) down into the Hatch's shaft. But the rope slips and Kate falls and Locke loses purchase and she basically disappears. There's a big dramatic shift of floodlights into the jungle sky and Locke is left alone with maybe Kate being dead. Oops!  So, Locke ties himself off on the rope and starts to head down there himself to save her.

Oh . . . the Flashback for this episode is the immediate aftermath of Jack's future wife, Sarah's car accident that brought her to the hospital and how badly she was injured and how Jack was performing a desperate surgery on her that had pretty slim odds. (The odds of which he callously tells her ahead of time.) We meet Sarah's original fiance who bails when he comes to believe that his future wife won't be all hot and nimble and bendy and stuff anymore . . . so, no thanks.

But Jack is a bit too decent to tell crippled, pre-surgery Sarah that she was planning to marry a douche bag. So he keeps quiet about that. He does, however, perform the surgery and is convinced that it'll never work.

To get over his frustration, he goes to a nearby football stadium and runs the stairs to work out his tension. He meets another runner named Desmond, who is training for an around-the-world sailing race. (Desmond appears to believe that modern sailboats are pedal powered . . . because why else would he be improving his cardiovascular health? I'm no doctor, but that seems an odd choice.) Desmond and Jack chat during a water break and . . .  whatever, right?

Back at the hospital, Sarah incredulously informs the sweaty Jack that she is able to wiggle her toes. Stunned, Jack rejoices with her. And their romance begins.

The scene then shifts to Jack back at the Caves, who had decided he doesn't want to wait until sunrise either. Hurley is peeved, but Jack ignores him. Jack just wants to be where Kate is!

When he gets to the Hatch again, there is no one there. Jack manages to make it down the shaft by utilizing Locke's secured, but abandoned rope. At bottom, he begins exploring and finds:
  • painted murals on the wall
  • a strange magnetic force in one hallway
  • a pair of shoes
  • an odd, dome-like chamber with Apollo-astronaut-era computers and magnetic tape machines
  • an Apple-II computer with a blinking, expectant monitor
  • John Locke being held captive by a mad gunman
Wait! What was that last one?! Locke being held at gunpoint?! Even though he is concerned, Jack doesn't miss an opportunity to deride Locke's expectation of Found Destiny at the bottom of the Hatch. Also, where might Kate be?

But most importantly . . . hey dude with the gun. Who are you?

Suddenly Jack sees past Locke's face and really notices the guy in the khaki jumpsuit with the Crazy Eyes. It's Desmond! His stadium stair running buddy from several years ago!

Why?!!! What? What'll happen next?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

LOST Rewatch: Exodus, Parts 1 and 2

The Season 1 finale! Two hours! Lots of stress and decisions and discussions and danger! Featured in this episode: the Black Rock, dynamite, the Travelling Music, the return of Smokey and our first real look (if brief) at it, Arzt, the numbers are bad, the Hatch, columns of smoke, Rousseau, the Others, the Raft crew.

Rather than only one character flashback, in finale, everyone gets a flashback . . . Oprah style.[Jack gets a flashback! And Hurley gets a Flashback! And John gets a Flashback! Sun and Jin get a Flashback! You get the idea.]

For those in the know, we also get hints of season 2 when Jack's Flashback centers around a conversation he has with a sassy Latino girl in the airport bar pre-boarding. In fact, all of the Flashbacks take place in route to the plane or in the airport awaiting the time to board. I don't think any of the Flashback moments present information that we didn't already know about the characters over the course of the first season's episodes. So . . . if you want to call all of it padding to fill out the need for two episodes of run time, I'm not going to disagree with you.

Anyway, what is happening on the Island? Remember how Dr. Arzt berated everyone in the previous episode that the Raft needed to get underway? Well, the story arc for the first hour focuses on finishing the raft build and safely getting it into the water. When the crew launches there is much rejoicing. Everything looks like it's gonna work out great. But (if you will allow me the right to stick with this storyline and divert from the broadcast plotting . . .) later that night, in the dark . . . things take a sinister turn.

The raft's makeshift radar that Sayid cobbled together indicates that there is a boat nearby. After some debate, they decide to use their one flare to signal the raft's presence. A small boat appears from the dark. There are threats, confusion, dismay. Sawyer is shot and falls into the ocean, Jin dives in after him, the mysterious boaters deliver the line "We're gonna have to take the boy." (Which they do.) They also toss a bomb onto the raft, Just before it blows up, I swear it looks like the bomb is made from the carafe of a Mr. Coffee maker. The raft goes up in flames and Walt disappears into the night on the boat. Michael begins to scream that familiar scream: Waaaaaaaaaalt!!!.

As if that wasn't bad enough, back on the Island, the Lostaways don't know that their hopes of rescue are actually going up in flames. What they do know is that Rousseau is back on the beach and she is warning them all of the Others who, she claims, are on their way. They have set a signal fire of black smoke and the last time they did that, the Others stole her baby Alex from her 16 years ago.

As all of the Lostaways prepare to relocate from the Beach to the Caves--under Jack's reassurance, there is confusion. Rousseau takes little TurnipHead from Claire (who had her own Ethan-abduction flashback saying that Rousseau was involved?). Claire names the baby Aaron and begs Sayid and Charlie to go get him back for her.

Charlie and Sayid pass by the Beechcraft during the race to catch up with Rousseau. Unfortunately, that puts Charlie right on top of the Virgin Mary statues filled with heroin that was uncovered by Locke and Boone several episodes back. We see later that Charlie was not able to avoid the temptation to take one of the statues and puts it in his pack. Also, later, while following Rousseau to the black smoke column, Charlie trips one of her traps. He gets a nasty head wound and Sayid seals the bleeding with gunpowder and a match. It's pretty gnarly.*

So, okay. Let's take stock. Um . . . the raft rescue mission hasn't gone well at all. And the attack of the Others and Aaron's disappearance has turned the Lostaways into turmoil. How are the Lostaways going to be kept safe from the Others? Locke convinces Jack to blow open the Hatch and let everyone hide down there. Supposedly there is some dynamite at the Black Rock (whatever THAT is). So, Kate, Jack, Locke, Hurley . . . and Arzt head off to find the Black Rock's dynamite.

When they finally get there, they discover that the Black Rock is the name of an honest-to-God wind-powered sailing ship that has apparently been beached in the middle of a jungle. But these sorts of oddities are just normal for our Lostaways these days. They've got to get some old dynamite and transport it quickly and blow up a mystery Hatch and get on with things.

Sadly, our favorite new character Dr. Leslie Arzt becomes a casualty of the old and sensitive dynamite. Hurley is sad and keeps seeing bits of Arzt everywhere (and that is a literal statement, not some metaphor for the fact that he can't forget him). Anyway . . . after some Alpha (fe)male jockeying between Jack and Kate about who should carry the deadly dynamite in their backpacks, they make it to the Hatch.

As they are preparing to use the Black Rock dynamite to finally blow open the hatch, Hurley sees the numbers (4 8 15 16 23 42) stamped on the exposed side of the Hatch's structure. Frightened, he tries to get Locke to stop going through with the plan because, as he shouts "The numbers are bad!" But Locke won't listen and light the fuse and . . . well . . . Boom Goes the Dynamite!

So, when the smoke clears and everyone dusts themselves off, what do we see? The door of the Hatch has been blown off and Jack and Locke huddle at the exposed entrance. They look down and down and down into a shaft that bores into the earth.

What's down there?!!!!

*The upshot of the chase for Aaron? Rousseau was hoping to trade baby Aaron for her own Alex. But the Others she keeps claiming are around never showed up. So Claire's baby is saved and Sayid and Charlie return to the Caves as heroes. This endears Claire to Charlie further and allows Shannon to forgive Sayid for not killing Locke as she asked him to do in the previous episode.

Hannah @ 6

Happy birthday to Hannah Maria Martin! She is six years old today.

As my children get older, I know that I appreciate their maturity and their ability to function in the world as independent people with their own thoughts, goals, and wants. But there is always a part of me that misses the cuter side of childhood. Their inexperience; their curiosity; their unexpected sense of humor and their ways of expressing that. I don't want to minimize the challenges of young children, of which there are many. But this is a celebratory day. So hurray for the wonders of childhood. And Hannah brings much wonder into this world and into our family.
She's getting older too. Every day! And learning so much. And sloooowly taking her first actual steps away from us and toward her own life. But it's great for all of us that she is here, telling her terrible Knock Knock jokes and learning to tease. And trying to keep up with her older sisters in every way.
Hannah's seventh year will mark the end of full childhood shelter. She'll be out of daycare by next Fall and fully into the city. I can't wait to see where she goes next and what she may do.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

LOST Rewatch: Born to Run

Previously . . . on LOST: we learned a lot about Jack and his relationship with his dad. We learned about Kate and her troubled, criminal past. We learned about Charlie's rock god/junkie status. We learned about sad, young Sawyer. We also learned about John Locke's sad life and miraculous Island present. We learned about Sayid's time with the Republican Guard. We were told the sad tale of Michael and Walt. We learned about Boone and Shannon's slightly icky personal history. He got to know the charmed and cursed life of Hugo "Hurley" Reyes.

Is that everybody? Yeah, without actual verification, I do think that covers all the non-Socks.*

But really, what everyone REALLY WANTS is more about Kate. Our Miss Kate--the prettiest ex con on the Island. Kate, the patron saint of runaways. Kate . . . Kate . . . beautiful, conflicted, confusing Kate.

So, since that is what everyone wants, that is what this episode is going to deliver. And in delivering it, we learn via Flashback that Kate once had dyed blonde hair, was sneaking back into Iowa, and wanted to meet up with her childhood friend Tom (who is now a respectable doctor at a Cedar Rapids hospital with a wife and kids).

Why is Kate sneaking around? She needs to see her mom, who is in the hospital that Tom works at. Kate uses her childhood memories and her adult wiles to get Tom to work Mom onto the MRI machine . . . and to secretly let Kate speak to her. Kate's mom, however? She's the one person in all of the world who just doesn't want to talk to Kate or look at Kate or know more about Kate.

So, why is Kate's mom not getting the memo about how awesome Kate is? At this point in Kate's story, that is unclear. But Katie flees the unwanted attention of a screaming mom and hides out with her pal Tom. They decide to dig up an old time capsule that they mutually created back in the mid-90s when they were children.

(Pardon me while I pause for a second and think about how old this previous sentence makes me feel.)

When they dig it up, we learn via taped cassette that these two were childishly planning to marry someday. (Back before Kate got all "interesting" and fugitivey, I guess.) We also learn that Tom placed his toy airplane in the capsule--which is left in the back of the car.**. Unfortunately, adult Kate decided to run from the law again and as she does so, she gets adult Tom mixed up into it. He gets in the car and gets shot by the police as Kate tries to ram his car past a police barricade. Nice.

So . . . yeah. Kate is the best. She should all totally like Kate.

Back on the Island we meet someone ELSE we should be liking: Dr. Leslie Arzt. Formerly a Sock, he's now front-and-center, berating the rest of the main Lostaways about how little they know of global wind patterns and seasonal shifts and how all of this adds up to totally needing to launch Michael's raft yesterday to ensure the wind and the currents take them north to the shipping lanes.

I like Dr. Arzt. I sure hope he sticks around.

Also, in present Island time, Kate is realizing that if Michael's raft rescue does work, they will all become global media celebrities. Her fugitive past doesn't work well with that idea. So she tries to get Sawyer off of the raft first through her typical persuasions and later by spiking a water bottle to make him sick. (Remember how she drugged Jack's juice in the previous episode?) People don't suspect her at first, but Jack--who is now familiar with Kate's crap--eventually figures it out. Kate's runaway plans don't work this time and Sawyer remains a member of the raft crew, along with Michael, Walt, and Jin.

And that is the major stuff for this episode. Next time . . . the season 1 finale. Things are hurtling to a dramatic cliffhanger!


*Back when LOST was being premiered live, I listened to various show-related podcasts as well as carefully reading the Entertainment Weekly stories about each episode. From all of this research, and more I learned that the showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse took to calling all of the background extras "socks." Why? To quote Hurley: "Why? Not telling."

**We learn in a different Flashback scene that the plane migrated from the aftermath of the car crash/death of Tom (via the U.S. Marshall) to the New Mexico safety deposit box that was robbed in the episode "Whatever the Case May Be." The U.S. Marshall planted the plane there to lure Kate back into his clutches.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

LOST Rewatch: The Greater Good

How does everyone respond to the death of Boone (and the birth of Claire's baby)? We all know that John Locke is missing in action. We know that Jack is angry and bent on revenge, wanting to immediately march out into the jungle find him. But Kate convinces Jack to slow down--due to his exhaustion, brought on by lack of sleep and loss of (transfused) blood. [She even "sweetens" the deal by crushing up some sleeping pills in his juice and knocking him out.]

Most importantly, how does Shannon respond? Well, she asks Sayid to "take care of it" in so many words. The implication is strong that she wants her Islamic lover to snuff out John Locke. So, just when we thought that Shannon was beginning to humanize a bit . . . she starts getting other people to do her stuff for her. First she wanted Charlie to fish for her and now she wants Sayid to kill for her.

(I think there is a Teach a Man to Fish joke in there somewhere . . . )

The Flashback for this episode also involves Sayid, telling the story of how he was coerced by the Australian intelligence agency to infiltrate a Muslim group of immigrants who are suspected of plotting a bomb attack in Sydney. Why do these Australians want Sayid? Well, he was once a communications officer in Iraq's Republican Guard. But these terrorists are Syrians, which Sayid derisively points out to the intelligence officer. No . . . the real hook is that the leader of the plot is Sayid's old college roommate, Essam.

Reluctantly, Sayid agrees to help.

Honestly, the Flashback is not that compelling. Sayid earns the terrorist's trust, he works with them up to the planned date of the attack. He even commits to being one of the suicide bombers, along with his former roommate. But at the last minute, he reveals his complicity and Essam rejects him, turning a gun on himself to commit suicide.

Back on the Island, Boone is buried (on what--from now on--will be called Boone Hill) and Sayid gives a nice eulogy. Locke appears and apologizes to the Lostaways en masse for making a mistake (not for the first time) and allowing Boone to die. Later Locke takes Sayid to the Beechcraft so that Sayid can look for radio parts to fix up a signal maker for the raft. While there Locke and Sayid engage in lots of suspicious talk past each other, as Sayid tries to determine Locke's real actions and what really caused Boone's death.

In the end, Sayid comes to believe that the event was really an accident. Shannon is not pleased by this evaluation later, however. She steals the Haliburton case key (where the guns are stored) and goes after Locke.

Jack (now awake from his induced nap) and Kate and Sayid run after Shannon into the jungle to save Locke. There is a standoff and eventually, Shannon shoots but is knocked aside by Sayid. Locke is only grazed in the temple by the bullet. But everyone walks away in disgust. Locke is quickly becoming the new pariah--replacing the ever popular Sawyer.

As the episode ends, Sayid forces Locke to show him where this Hatch is located, so that he can see if for himself.

Monday, January 20, 2014

LOST Rewatch: Do No Harm
You know what is tough about committing to watch and blog about each episode of LOST that I watch with my kids? They don't care about the blogging part of it, which does take a bit of time on my part every day. Usually this happens in a few spare moments between arriving home and dinner. Or most often after Hannah has gone to bed and the other two are taking showers and preparing themselves for sleep.

But when you have a three-day weekend with no pressures of school or work to call an end to things at the end of an episode? Well, then we watch more than one. And on especially long weekends, we watch even more than that. And especially as the pace of Season 1 begins to hurtle to its dramatic conclusion, we watch EVEN MORE THAN THAT!

So, yeah. I'm behind . . . and I'm struggling to catch up today while also doing some office work in preparation for the week ahead. And I feel about as busy as Jack did in this episode, as he struggled to keep a very damaged Boone alive with very little medical supplies and even less knowledge--because Locke skedaddled out of there after bringing Boone back to the doctor.

So, this episode tells the Island story of Jack struggling to keep Boone alive and a Flashback to when he was preparing to marry Sarah (played by actor Julie Bowen)--a former spinal patient of his. We learn yet more about Jack's all-consuming focus and inability to give up. But we also learn that Jack is consumed with doubt in himself and a fear of not doing enough. He reflects this in his medical actions by doing remarkable things to stitch Boone's chest wounds and to reset his fractured leg. But he can't stop the internal bleeding that is slowly killing him. Jack even provides Boone with his own blood--as they can't find an exact match for Boone--further weakening him and making his decisions cloudier.

Luckily Sun reveals herself to be a calm and reliable presence in the medical arena. She helps Jack locate a sea urchin spine to adequately serve as a makeshift syringe. She helps Jack reset Boone's broken leg. And, most importantly, she tries to talk Jack out of desperate actions that will be examined later.

In the Flashback, we learn that Jack is preparing to marry Sarah, who was in a terrible car crash and suffered severe spinal damage. Improbably, Jack repaired the damage and promised Sarah that he would "fix her." Which he did. She was able to stand, walk, and dance again against all odds and carries a hero complex for Jack that he has not dissuaded her from having. But on the night before the wedding, he can't figure out how to write the vows that Sarah wants him to write. He is struggling with doubt and desperately asks Christian if he (Jack) can be the right kind of husband and dad (by which I presume he means--not like YOU, Christian).

Christian replies to Jack that "Commitment is what makes you tick." It is the drive that makes him a great doctor. But the fear of being wrong also holds him back.

And back on the Island, Jack needs to be held back, because he is desperate to fulfill his promise to save Boone and settles on the crazy idea of amputating the damaged leg to prevent internal bleeding from causing Boone's death. Against Sun's protests, he prepares to remove the damaged limb by severing it with a steel luggage compartment door that is found in the Caves. Just as he gets ready, Boone awakes enough to tell Jack to stop . . . to let Jack off the hook . . . to ask for the peace to die.

Matthew Fox does his best crazy/sweaty/tense jawed/blinking back emotion face and relents. But before Boone passes on, he mumbles something about a Hatch in the jungle that Locke made him swear not to reveal. And he mentions the plane that he fell from. Jack realizes that Locke didn't tell him the truth about the accident and kept other things from him as well.

Mad Jack face! The sweaty emotion is now replaced with the determination of revenge and righteous certainty. John Locke is bad! He must be found and punished. Because it is Locke's fault that Boone died under Jack's care. (It's not about Boone dying, you see. It's about Jack's failure.)

Oh . . . and also, while all of this is going on. Claire decided to dramatically have her baby. But Jack can't leave Boone so he tells Charlie to lead Kate though the delivery process. Which she does along with the watchful help of Jin. It's a touchingly-acted scene between Evangeline Lilly and Emelie de Ravin. And the baby is born triumphantly while Boone slips away.

Life and death tied together. (But not literally, or anything. The baby isn't Boone reincarnated or anything crazy like that.)

The following morning the Lostaways gather on the beach to celebrate the birth of the baby as Shannon and Sayid approach. They, you see, had been gone during all of this on a romantic night away. But the afterglow is immediately dimmed when Jack is forced to tell Shannon about the death of her brother.

Then . . . he immediately sets off to find John Locke and put things right!

LOST Rewatch: Deus ex Machina
Here is where the story arc for Season 1 pivoted, I think. Up until now, the show has been busy with introducing characters and examining their personalities while slowly opening the door to the mysteries of the Island and what exactly might be going on there. But by this episode, we have met all of the major players and we are getting a firm grasp of what they are about. Hurley was the last of the main actors to get a flashback in the previous episode Numbers, and even before him we had started to get 2nd and 3rd Flashbacks.

This episode gives us the Second Flashback story for John Locke and it further reinforces what a sad life he has led. We know by the impressive hair on Terry O'Quinn's usually bald head that this bit of the story occurs prior to his time working with Randy at the box company. This is also evident by the fact that he is not confined to a wheelchair yet. Instead, Mr. Locke is working at a toy store, trying to convince kids to purchase old classic games such as Mousetrap. But while he does so, he sees a mysterious red-haired women giving him significant looks.

When he is leaving at the end of his shift, he sees her again and catches up to her in order to ask what she is doing? She haltingly explains that she is his mother. The scene shifts to a diner and Locke asks who she is further and gets the idea pretty quick that she has mental problems (she claims that Locke had no father, but was immaculately conceived). So, he hired a private investigator to get information and learns that she suffers from some schizophrenia. The private investigator also found information on Locke's real father? Does he want it? (Yes. Yes he does.)

Back on the Island, Locke and Boone continue to struggle to open the Hatch. For the past weeks they have excavated the entire top curvature of the structure and even several feet down its sides. It clearly is a large structure, resembling the conning tower of a submarine. But the small, square glass window refuses to crack and they have decided to build a trebuchet to impart some medieval force on that window.

The trebuchet bangs hard on the window, but doesn't crack anything but itself. Locke's patience is slowly cracking in upon itself and he shows frustration. Simultaneous to this, his legs begin to falter and weaken once more. In fear, Locke is convinced that the Island is testing his faith and that they must interpret a new message for what to do next. Boone is skeptical of John's mysticism, until . . .

. . . John is gifted with a vision right there in the jungle that consists of 1.) a two-person, orange and white Beechcraft plane flying overhead, 2.) Boone appearing bloodied and injured, speaking of "Theresa."

When John tells Boone of Theresa, Boone reacts in surprise and admits that she was his childhood nanny. Impressed with John's knowledge of things that should not be, the two agree to follow the vision's flight path of the Beechcraft plane. John is certain that there, answers will be provided.

In the Flashback, John has tracked down his father, Anthony Cooper--an apparently wealthy man who lives in a gated compound and likes to hunt birds. He doesn't deny John the fact of parentage and they slowly become friends. John experiences some happiness and enjoys spending time with Anthony, until he arrives "early" one afternoon and sees his dad undergoing a dialysis treatment. Turns out his kidneys are failing and he is low on the transplant list. This, naturally, gives naive John an idea to donate one of his kidney's to his father. Cooper reluctantly accepts.

On the Island, Boone and Locke discover the Beechcraft perched precariously atop a cliff. Because Locke's legs are getting progressively worse, Boone agrees to climb up the twenty feet to the plane and investigate what is inside. As he explores, the plane shifts dangerously. But Boone finds a radio that sort of works and sends out a distress call, identifying his group as Survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. Someone on the other end of the call also says something about Flight 815 . . . but it is a bit garbled and hard to understand. Boone also finds Virgin Mary statues filled with heroin--lots and lots of heroin. But then the plane slides and falls to the jungle floor below. Boone is severely hurt. Locke grabs him up, manages to get on his balky legs and carries Boone back towards the caves.

In the Flashpast, Locke wakes up from the kidney transplant surgery to find that his father's bed is empty. The nurse says that Mr. Cooper already left. Locke is confused and in pain, but he checks himself out of the hospital and drives to Cooper's house. He is denied entrance by the security guard (who seems embarrassed). Locke realizes that he's been conned by Cooper. His own father had set him up to get a kidney, orchestrating the reunion with his mother to lure John in. Another moment of tragedy in the life of John Locke.

Back at the Caves, Locke delivers a very injured Boone and lies about the nature of the accident. Jack immediately begins to try fixing Boone but when he turns around to ask John further questions about what happens, Locke is gone.

Where did he go? To the Hatch, where he kneels before the window, shouting at it, questioning why the Island has not rewarded him for his faith. What more does he need to do? As he pounds on the glass, suddenly a light turns on and shines up through the window . . .


Sunday, January 19, 2014

LOST Rewatch: Numbers
One of my favorites.

But, ultimately, one of the most frustrating subplots of the series, certainly.

Still, I have always enjoyed the many strands of what the numbers meant, might mean, could mean.

And my kids were very pleased to FINALLY learn more about one of their favorite characters.

Were the numbers cursed? Was Hurley just connecting the dots incorrectly?

And the biggest question that was never truly answered throughout the run of the series--why were the numbers EVERYWHERE? On the hatch covering, adding up to 108, being transmitted from the (now revealed to exist) radio tower.

Why? Why? Why?

Thus began the drumbeat of fans, early on in the first season. Answers, answers, ANSWERS?!

And thus began the growing problem for Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, and all the writers of the show. They had indeed created a monster of a show and it increasingly became hard to satisfy that drumbeat.

I believe they did their best. I will always love the show.

But this moment--at the end of this episode--ended up speaking for a great many fans over the course of six years.

4   8   15   16  23   42

Saturday, January 18, 2014

LOST Rewatch: In Translation
Nope. Not a Hurley episode again. (But be patient friends. It is soon.) This episode gives us more information about the quarreling Koreans, those Cranky Kwons--Jin and Sun.

And the fighting is first off the jump in this episode as Sun decides to wear a revealing bikini on the beach, but Jin immediately wants to enforce that modesty. Sun does look remarkable in that bikini, which makes me wonder 1. If it fits her so well, is it hers and therefore when did Jin ever expect her to wear it? In a hotel bathroom? And 2. if it is not hers, it is pretty improbable that it would fit so well, right ladies?

So . . . the Kwons get into another public fight, which makes all the English-speakers around uncomfortable. For some reason, Michael steps in and tries to stop it all. This causes Sun to intervene herself, slapping Michael and giving him a warning stare to stay away--you don't know what Jin is capable of!

The Flashback reminds us what Jin is capable of: loving Jin, convincing Mr. Paik to overlook his humble origins to grant marriage permission, working for Mr. Paik in whatever sinister capacity he is told, and delivering messages. (Easter Egg image of Hurley on Korean TV in the background.)

But the message delivery to the Korean Energy Secretary needs to be less wordy and more bloody. So Jin returns and prevents White Suit hitman from killing the government official. Jin beats him bloody instead. Now Jin knows the kind of man he is working for but be won't tell Sun of the true nature of his work for Mr. Paik. Jin is a good man in a bad situation. 

Speaking of bad situations, the raft burns. And Michael suspects Jin of doing the deed. Because Jin has always resented Michael (for the watch incident--which was a misunderstanding--and for his more than usual interest in Sun--which is not so much of a misunderstanding, really). And, to be fair, Jin does have burns on his hands and arms, so things don't look so good. Shouts are made, Michael punches Jin and many, many misunderstandings occur . . . because Jin can't speak English and it is a real problem.

Yet, as Jin is being attacked, Sun finally steps in to shout (in ENGLISH) that Michael needs to STOP and that Jin DIDN'T DO IT! The burns were the result of him trying to put out the fire.

Also, Locke gives his first inspirational speech to the group by reminding them that there are Others on the Island who have hunted them, attacked them, killed them. It's likely THEM who burned the raft. So stop blaming each other and lets quit acting like they are all alone.

(What we later learn in a quiet scene in the caves is that Locke figured out that Walt set the fire. He asks the boy why. Walt replies that he is tired of moving from place to place and that he likes the Island and wants to stay here. Locke agrees that he also likes the Island and promises not to tell on what Walt did.)

After the shock of Sun's language revelation dies down, Michael begins to rebuild the raft. And Jin--who has refused to reconcile with a contrite Sun and is living at the beach alone--volunteers to help him rebuild. Sun takes on her own new-found singleton status to strut around the beach in whatever bikini she wants.

So, I guess the viewers all win.

Friday, January 17, 2014

LOST Rewatch: Outlaws
The long-awaited Hurley FLASHBACK kicks off the episode and my kids yelled a cheer into the living room, performing fist pumps and dancing. They were so happy to learn about their favorite dude who is so chill and is only looking out for everyone . . .

[trombones slide and cymbal crash!]

Just KIDDING! This episode is not about Hurley at all! It's more about Sawyer--the guy that seems like the worst person on the Island except for those few moments when he is not. And this episode begins with Sawyer sleeping in his spacious lean-to on the beach. He awakens to a snuffling and shuffling sound.  Is it Hurley searching for illicit peanut packets? Is it Kate trying to get a gun (or something else)? Is it Jack?

Nope. It's an adult boar. You know, the boar that Boone and Locke had assured everyone had already migrated away from the Lostaways. But here it is, snuffling and rooting through Sawyer's stash. Our man from Tennessee yells, grabs an aluminum pole or something (does he celebrate Festivus?) and shoos the animal away. But during the chase, the boar wrecks Sawyer's tent, takes away his tarp, and makes Sawyer look very, very foolish.

But Sawyer isn't going to let a wild pig humiliate him! He sets off the next morning to exact some revenge. Because taking revenge is what Sawyer does, remember? He's been carrying around the revenge letter of his eight-year-old self for over twenty years. And we get to see that eight-year-old kid in the  . . .


It begins with that young kid being hidden underneath his bed while the mom rushes out to deal with yelling and shouting and door-pounding. Then there is a gunshot. Then, from the kid's under-the-bed perspective we see boots walk into the room, sit on the bed. There is another gunshot and the feet slip.

Thus the young pre-Sawyer sees the end of his parents and his life thrown apart by the con man named Sawyer who ensnared the boy's mother, stole their money, then gave the father the reason to commit the fateful murder/suicide. Tragic. Truly.

Later in Flashback time, grown-up Sawyer, our con man with a (presumably) heart of . . . let's say aluminum at this stage in the series . . . he runs into his old buddy Hibbs. Hibbs hands him information about the whereabouts of the original Sawyer con man (Australia) and suggests that our blonde friend take the revenge he's been planning for so many years.

While in Sydney, Sawyer confronts Sawyer, who is selling Sweet Shrimp out of a food truck alongside some dock. The real Sawyer looks pretty down-on-his-luck and enjoys chatting up a fellow American. Our Man Sawyer struggles to pull out the gun and fulfill his childhood vow. He realizes that he is not a killer and disappears into the rain. (So much rain in these early season 1 episodes.)

Back on the Island, in real time, Sawyer reluctantly takes Kate's tracking aid to find the boar in the jungle. She thinks he is ridiculous to place all of his life's blames on a pig, but it seems like she's got nothing better to do this week. And besides, they get to have a nice campfire in the woods and drink small bottles of airline alcohol. Sawyer introduces Kate to the dorm-room game "I Never" and they tease out facts about each other: Sawyer once wore pink, Kate never went to college, Sawyer has never been in love. Eventually, it is revealed that they have both been responsible for killing someone. The fun game ends in somber reflection by the campfire. They are the Outlaws.

Slipping back to the Flashback, we see a depressed Sawyer drinking in an Australia dive bar. And he chats with another fellow American that we know is Christian Shephard--Jack's disgraced surgeon father. Christian talks about regrets, taking stock of life, his love and admiration for his son . . . and his inability to express that to him. Christian asks Sawyer why he is in Australia and if he is avoiding some task that would make his life better and his burdens lighter. In the end, without knowing it, Christian encourages Sawyer to seek out the Sweet Shrimp man and try again (to kill him).

And Sawyer does so, this time pulling his gun (again in the rain) and pulling the trigger. The Sweet Shrimp man begins to die as Sawyer pulls out the letter and begins to read. As Sweet Shrimp begins to die he realizes the story of a child de-familied by a con man and connects Sawyer to Hibbs. It is revealed that Sweet Shrimp is NOT Sawyer, but someone that owed money to Hibbs. Hibbs got Sawyer to do his dirty work for him . . . playing the player.

And back on the Island again, Sawyer eventually faces down the boar that has tormented him for days. With gun in hand, he could pull the trigger and end this . . . just as he did with Sweet Shrimp and just as he did with the U.S. Marshall. But deep in his soul--as he bonds with the eyes of the jungle boar--Sawyer must accept that he is not a killer as he wanted to be when he was eight-years-old and hiding traumatized under his bed.

Who will Sawyer learn to become?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

LOST Rewatch: Homecoming
In which Claire returns and everything is great.
Wait, no! . . . It's not! She's completely lost her memory. (But she hasn't lost the baby.) And also, Ethan is creepily appearing in the jungle in the rain and threatening Charlie and telling him that he wants Claire back. And that he will kill someone every day until Charlie does what he says!

(Look . . . William Mapother.

I know that I've made some accusations of your cousin on this blog before. (All in good fun, legal community . . . really!) And I know that you are just an actor. But your ability to really sell the creepiness of Ethan and his menace and his complete craziness . . . Well. Let's just say that it might run in the family.)

But, back to the story . . . and to what is going to happen to Claire. Not to mention what is going to happen to the rest of the Lostaways who probably don't have any idea what is really happening, since the main characters tend to compartmentalize information and don't let the socks in on what is happening. (This is reinforced in this episode by 1.) a brief aside scene where Jin and Sun have a Korean conversation about what might be going on over there on the other side of the caves and how the rest of them are getting punished for what those dudes have done. Jin is the one saying this, and Sun could probably try to disagree with him, but that might lead to the reveal that she understands much more of what is being said than she wants Jin to know.) Also 2.) later during the funeral scene, you get more reinforcement that if your name isn't Sayid, Jack, Locke, Kate, and sometimes Charlie . . . and Sawyer if he feels like being assertive, then forget anyone knowing who you are.

Only a few of us get to talk about what is going on.

ANYWAY . . . Sayid and Jack and Locke . . . . and, Boone, I guess all discuss what to do about Ethan's threat. And Sayid and Locke eventually get Jack to step back from his desire to track Ethan down and go after him. (Jack is most likely still angry for the severe beatdown that Ethan gave him during the first time they tried to track him down in the jungle.) Instead, the Lostaways burn fires and set sentries and get ready. But night falls and eventually, Ethan creeps in (via the water Locke later guesses) and fulfills his threat by killing Steve. No, wait . . . it was Scott. (That joke never gets old.)

And so Steve is buried in the previously mentioned funeral scene. Hurley gives a nice quick eulogy based on the census notes he took in the episode when Ethan's true identity was revealed. And Hurley apologizes for always getting Steve . . . no wait SCOTT's name wrong. (Sorry dude.) It's nice. It provides a necessary moment of comedy during an episode that is really fraught with peril and uncertainty.

But wait . . . you ask. Who's the Flashback Focus this episode? Surely its Hurley, right? We haven't learned much at all about the lovable Dudemiester. Tonight's the night, right? (At least that is what my kids say every night we fire up a new episode.)

Sadly . . . no. We get MORE of the Charlie Pace back story--post Driveshaft breakup. Mr. Pace is still using heroin and going nowhere in this life. Thought he does look a bit healthier in most of the Flashback scenes. But that might only be for show because what Charlie is really doing is planning a con job on a rich girl he picked up at the pub. He plans to steal some high-quality merchandise from her house and fence it to buy more drugs.

Unfortunately, Charlie can't even be a criminal correctly because he is too decent. He falls for the girl and wants to start reforming his life. Her rich dad who was once in a band himself has heard of Driveshaft and sees that his daughter cares for Charlie. This best dad that LOST has ever created decides to put on hold his efforts to buy a paper company in Slough. (GET IT?!) And he gets Charlie a job as a copier machine salesmen.

But Charlie's drug pusher is unimpressed with Charlie's reforms and puts him into withdrawal before Mr. Pace's first day as a salesman. Charlie looks terrible, isn't an effective salesman, and throws up in the copier.*

In other bad decisions, on his way out the door the first day, Charlie does, in fact, steal a silver cigarette holder owned by Winston Churchill. After Charlie screws up his sales presentation and the silver case is found by ambulance drivers, the girl is furious. She kicks Charlie out of her house for good--saying he'll "never be able to take care of anyone!"

Charlie is motivated by these past memories to prove to Claire that he can be a better person. But after the death of Scott/Steve, the new plan is to use Claire as bait to draw Ethan out, then unleash the guns the Lostaways have kept hidden in the Haliburton case. Everyone arms themselves with guns (Sayid, Jack, Sawyer, Locke, and Kate . . . naturally) and then they wait . . . in the rain. While they let the 9 month's pregnant girl who's been recently traumatized also stand in the rain. (How is this good medical practice, Jack?)

Ethan attacks and he and Jack get into another fight. But this time Jack bests him and all looks well . . . until SHOTS FIRED! We all assume that Sawyer did it because . . . well, Sawyer. But it was Charlie Pace, out of nowhere, picking up Jack's dropped gun.

Goodbye Ethan. Now Charlie has proven himself to be a trustworthy caretaker.

Wait .  . . what? If this works and if Claire thinks that Charlie is a good dude, then that imaginary peanut butter must have been really tasty.

*NOTE: We've got the same sort of copier at MY office. But I've never thrown up in it before.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

LOST Rewatch: Special
Walt! Walt!
The first four words (and more, but I quit counting) out of Michael's mouth to start this episode. If this is not your first time watching the show, this should make your eyelid twitch uncontrollably. And, yes, this is another portent of things to come. (I suppose that you are tired of me saying that, but I defend myself that this is the nature of a retrospective look back with foreknowledge.)

Still . . . Michael is looking for Walt. (He's almost as bad as the Walking Dead's Rick looking for Carl. Actually . . . Michael should be angry that Sheriff Rick stole his shtick. Nobody searches for his absent son better than Michael!)

And Michael's search leads him to Locke. All roads in recent episodes seem to lead to Locke, don't they? And now, where there is Locke, there will be Boone. He has abandoned his Shannon-stalking to be Locke's lickspittle. He is Robin to Locke's Batman. He is Lies to Kate's mouth.

Michael thinks Boone's sycophancy is weird. But he thinks Locke's knife-throwing tutelage of his boy is wrong for Walt. And he warns Locke to stay away. Locke tries to give Michael his patented Mystical Lord of the Flies speech. Michael is unmoved. He warns Locke to stay away and he stalks back to the caves with his son. Walt, for his part, is petulant in ways that only a ten-year-old can be. (Aggrieved parents know what I'm saying.) Why, such parents think, can't Walt appreciate the hard work that Michael is undertaking for his son?

Well, we learn more of why in this episode's Flashback--which explains that Michael was estranged from his baby momma, who took Walt to Amsterdam, then to Italy, then to Sydney while she was a lawyer. And she also married her law partner, who originally got her the job in Amsterdam. And they formally adopted Walt. Michael wasn't happy with any of this, but 1.) he had no legal standing, 2.) he was a largely unemployed artist and part-time construction worker not getting it done, and 3.) when he headed off to confront his estranged girlfriend in Amsterdam, he got hit by a taxi and was in the hospital for months.

So, Walt grew up not knowing anything about Michael. And Walt's mom kept it that way. (She never gave Walt the hand-drawn cards and illustrated letters that Michael faithfully sent him.) But then . . . much like the ill-timed taxi, another plot contrivance stepped in to throw everyone's world upside down. The mother died of a sudden blood disorder and the adopted father lawyer just decided in his grief to bail on 10-year-old Walt and give him up to Michael.

By this time, unfortunately, Michael had moved on with his life. He is therefore understandably surprised to hear that a.) his former girlfriend is suddenly dead and b.) the douchebag father is abandoning Walt. But Michael is a decent guy and tries to do the right thing. He arrives in Sydney to take Walt home with him to America. He doesn't tell the truth about what a tool Walt's adopted father is. And the two board Flight 815--strangers to one another.

Back on the Island, Michael is taking Walt's peevishness with anger, but he unloads most of that on Locke. And he decides to start building a raft. Because he thinks this Island is no place for his son to grow up. And no one else is doing much to escape. While he is sorting building materials, Walt slinks off into the jungle to follow the much cooler pair of Locke and Boone. But in the course of events, Walt gets lost, gets cornered by (another!) polar bear, and relies on the teamed up efforts of Michael and Locke to get saved.

Walt learns to respect his dad a bit more. Michael learns to respect Locke, who is trying to be an (odd) decent fellow. And everything seems to even out in the end.*

*NOTE: Fans of this episode will note that I didn't bother to explain the meaning of this episode title, which is a reference to Walt's "supposed" specialness. But I don't think this episode or the series as a whole did a very good job of explaining this subplot at all. Walt's adopted father thought that because an Australian songbird hit the sliding glass doors on the same day that Walt was studying that bird in a book is enough evidence for him? Viewers might try to say that the appearance of another polar bear at the same time that Walt was intensively studying the Spanish language comic book that also featured a polar bear is another bit of evidence.

And of course, there are future events in later seasons that might play on this thread. But let's be honest, shall we? Of all the subplots on LOST . . . and goodness knows there are MANY, this was by far the weakest one. The less said about it the better.


Set me straight in comments.