Dr. Nick's "Lost" Analysis: We Can't All Be the Candidate

By Nick Gorini
 
We can’t all be “Candidates”. We can’t all be heroes. Not all of us get to be special, or chosen. Many of us grow up and live entire lives believing, whether the evidence supports or not, that something big, something important, awaits.
 
Watching “Lost”, we want to be that strong-jawed, determined hero, like Jack. Or the too-cool-for-school loverboy hero, like Sawyer. Maybe we want to be the scary, not-to-be-messed-with baddass hero, like Sayid. Maybe we even want to be the universally loved and gentle hero, like Hurley.
 
As much as I wish I was like these guys, I’m not. If I was on “Lost”, I’d probably be unassuming Bernard, on a good day. On a bad day, I’d probably be more like the whiny, petty Frogurt. You remember – the guy that ended up with a fiery arrow in his mouth?
 
Unlike Jack, we can’t all have that smug satisfaction, being nominated to replace a nearly immortal, time traveling, all-knowing martyr.
 
And when we unchosen ones aspire to heroism, and try to do something big, or expect something important in our lives, it doesn’t always end up so well. Some of us who try get blowed up real good, or die for something a little smaller, like love.
 
The advice that I would’ve given to Sayid, Sun, Jin and even Lapidus: Save yourselves, and embrace your own mediocrity, like I do! Sure, you won’t be special, important, or even cool. But you may be able to sit on a tropical beach, feet in the warm water, nursing a delicious Dharma beer. Let the heroes figure it out, man.
 
Quick Sideways Recap:
 
So we begin with Jack telling Locke he’s a candidate for experimental back surgery. Locke steadfastly refuses, but at this stage, we don’t know why. We later find out, after Jack does some highly unethical, inappropriate detective work and Jack-style pushiness, that Locke was paralyzed trying to fly a small plane that crashed hard, making his dad, Anthony Cooper (Hey Coop! You must still be a bastard!)  a vegetable. The guilt and self-loathing that we’ve seen spilling out of both Smokey and sideways Locke is now clear.
 
This is what Terry O’Quinn has been showing us these past few episodes. His line readings as both characters have been tricky – this anger that Locke feels towards himself? It’s affecting Smokey, for sure.
 
Throughout the course of this, Jack meets Bernard, who shares the Oceanic flight experience, and steers Jack towards Cooper. Obviously, Bernard knows a LOT more than he’s letting on. I wonder: Bernard and Rose are married. Did they have their own Desmond moment together? Their love, and their serving as each other’s “Constants”, gave them full awareness of the island without any intervention on Desmond’s behalf?  What do you think about that?
 
On a side note, do you think Cooper is an actual vegetable? Could he be faking it? We know that Cooper, even in this sideways timeline, is still being hunted down by Sherriff Sawyer as a suspected con man. How will this storyline be resolved?
 
Later, we see that the timelines continue to converge, as Locke dreams about pushing buttons and other nonsense. Claire shows up, and after she and Jack share a reflection in a mirrored box willed to her by Christian Shepherd, she gets invited to crash at her bro’s pad. They also share their Oceanic flight moment. Oh, and most important, Jack doesn’t need Jacob’s help getting a candy bar out of the vending machine. Uh, that’s some real growth there, I guess. In this newer, better universe, even snack machines get a second chance to right their wrongs. Does this snack machine haunt the island like Michael, struggling to move on, consumed with the guilt of endless quarters taken with no candy given?
 
As we get to what is one of the best scenes of the evening, we see Jin behind Locke bringing flowers to Sun’s hospital room. See folks! They’re alright! Anyhow, I really liked the dialogue between Jack and Locke, and nearly all of those lines came from previous episodes, only now, they’re tinged with all this sad wisdom, and battered hope.

Your island recap, and way more, on the alt-entry after the jump. . .


Quick Island Recap:
 
You know, not that much happened. I mean Jack wakes up in a boat, talks to Sayid, gets threatened by Locke; Sawyer, Kate and gang go back to the polar bear cages, Widmore can’t get his generators working…. Let’s see, anything else?
 
Oh yeah, that kid from Kate and Allie got killed by Smokey. I knew that would be the big heart breaker. Oh yeah, Jin, Sun, Sayid and probably Lapidus got killed, too. But on a related sad note, Zoe didn’t get killed. Which brings me to this week’s STUPID AWARD: Smokey, you did a LOT of damage this week. Killed well-loved, and loving, people. But couldn’t you have just gotten rid of Zoe? Invited her to the sub? Something… Well, Smokey wins this week’s stupid award for not killing Zoe.
 
By the way, Zoe, Sally Jesse Raphael called – she wants her glasses back.
 
We also found out that according to the powerful but petty power players like Widmore and Smokey, Kate is now superfluous. However, if she is expendable, WHY DID JACOB PAY HER A VISIT? She’s sneaking under the radar for an important reason.
 
So, Smokey and Jack bust our folks outta the cages, and we see Smokey kill some more folks and find explosives on the plane. He removes the explosives (not to save lives, but to use the C4 he knew would be there for more nefarious purposes), and steers our crew to the sub. The entire time, Jack is naively protesting leaving the island. And I think somewhere deep down, he knows Smokey doesn’t want Jack to stay.
 
Smokey also anticipates Sawyer’s con, and everything begins to fall into its proper place.
 
After some gun battle, and some moving of chess pieces (you knew Smokey was waiting to get shoved into the water by Jack), all of our folks make it into the sub, minus Claire (poor Krazy Klaire, never picked for any reindeer games).
 
Kate’s been shot, and as the submarine descends, Jack asks for some bandages from his backpack… Which was switcheroo’d by Smokey to have all the explosives and a timer.
 
Jack has the right idea! Don’t touch the bomb. It won’t go off, because Smokey can’t kill a candidate, right? But Sawyer, rightfully wary about the whole endeavor, wrongfully yanks the wires out, causing the timer to go into hyperdrive.
 
Sayid saves the day for nearly everyone by telling Jack he’s the candidate and that Desmond lives, takes the bomb and runs to the other end of the sub. Kaboom! Sayid goes out, Arzt-style! Confusion and flooding ensues. Lapidus gets one last Bruce Willis line before taking a header from an imploding steel door, Sawyer gets bonked in the head, and Sun is pinned against a wall. Crap!!
 
Jack is back in season one mode, saving Kate, Hurley and an unconscious Sawyer (boy, he’s going to HATE himself when he wakes up), but can’t save Sun (hopeless) or Jin (his choice).
 
Well, I choked up. That was a brutal way to go. But kind of beautiful, too. And similar to Charlie’s demise. Only, as much as that one hurt, this one hurt a lot more. I think we can safely say that Smokey is a 100%, genuine meany-weenie. He is not getting invited to next year’s luau..
 
Our remaining heroes make it shore, and they all break down. Thank you, writers, for not giving us a speech where one wouldn’t do it justice. Hurley and Jack channel what we’re feeling about the whole thing.
 
So, the question now becomes about how these four react. They can’t really kill Smokey, can they? And will their hearts be eaten al
ive with darkness? Will they warp into twisted killers like Krazy Klaire and Sayid? I bet Sawyer could easily head down this road now. We shall see…
 
Thoughts about the deaths of our beloved Sayid, Sun, Jin and (apparent though not confirmed death) Lapidus:
 
Show runners Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof have been taking some flack this week for killing most of the ethnically diverse characters in one swell foop (Sayid = Middle Eastern. Jin & Sun = Korean. Lapidus = Sasquatch).
 
I can understand the criticism, but I would counter with this: In our modern age, Cuse and Lindelof would’ve known that this could be a controversial choice, but the story dictated it. Three of these characters had simply, naturally, reached the end of their storylines (one could even argue that Sayid’s was over-extended). It was, in fact, a BRAVER choice to bring these storylines to a close and risk the wrath of the politically correct.
 
SAYID: Remember that Sayid originally was going to be a suicide bomber in Sydney, but backed out at the last minute? Well, I guess he got his wish, huh? Seriously, though, I am sad his ending was so abrupt and quickly overtaken with the heartbreaking deaths of Jin and Sun. But let’s face it; Sayid was nothing if not a man of action. For him to make a quick decision to sacrifice himself for his friends was an apt way to go. He’d already died, for crikey’s sake! That he died saving most of his friends’ lives, and gave Jack his confirmation that he indeed was the candidate?
 
“Because it’s you.” Concise. Clear. It was the right thing to say, and the right way to go. And I’m sure in two weeks, when we see our crew again, we’ll get some onscreen acknowledgement of the end of a beloved character.
 
Bon voyage, original flavor Sayid! Without a doubt, you were one of the coolest, most memorable television heroes ever. While you didn’t get quite as much nooky as Sawyer, you finished a strong second in that department. Far and away, you kicked more butt in hand-to-hand combat than anyone else on the show, and took your fair share of hits as well. You had a big heart, and a tortured soul. Your self-loathing was acute, but your capacity to love others and aspirations to live honorably surpassed most others. Still never bought an Iraqi Red Guard torturer falling in love with a spoiled rich brat from Los Angeles, but what the hell. Glad you might get a chance with Nadia in the sideways universe.
 
This one’s for you, Sayid (apologies to Neil Sedaka):
 
 JIN and SUN: After getting an unceremonious reunion last week, I’m so glad these two got the full weight of this week’s episode. Think about how much these two went through, just to die in each other’s arms.
 
Now, I’m sure a lot of folks might be a little peeved that Jin chose to stay, and not try and make it back to raise Ji Yeon on his own (which, by the way, would’ve been a great, bittersweet story arc), but c’mon, man. Give them a break. Ji Yeon’s got bazillionaire grandparents to take care of everything, right?
 
I will miss these characters terribly. For at least four seasons, their storyline had depth, pathos, and real growth. The journey Jin went on (from mistrusting bully to loyal romantic) happened at the right pace, with the right catalysts. And for a long time, Sun was the most complex female character, until Juliet came along.
 
I did feel that, in the midst of all the show mythology and the vast amount of story territory to cover, Jin and Sun got lost in the shuffle this past season, which was a real shame. The show had poised both of them to go to some interesting places (Jin on his solo journeying through time on the island, and Sun becoming a somewhat malevolent, vengeance-seeking off-island force striking deals with Widmore to kill Ben). But, this week, they got the closure they deserved. And if you’re a big Jin fan, keep an eye for him to be back on series television in the fall, when the remake of ‘Hawaii 5-0’ premieres.
 
Lapidus: Lastly, I’m sorry that Jeff Fahey didn’t get more to do with this role. Did you get the feeling that the producers got their hands on a decent character actor, created a compelling character, then just found no place to fit him in? He was like an NBA all-star riding the Celtics bench. Still talented, still capable of big minutes, but stuck on an overloaded team.
 
Perhaps, in the end, he was too similar to Sawyer: tough, gruff, sarcastic, acerbic, hairy, prone to unbuttoned dress shirts, but with decently capped teeth. All this time, we thought he was safe because he was a pilot. Whoops. However, if I were Locke, I would’ve kept you around. You can land helicopters, jets and planes in any adverse conditions, including time travel. Locke, apparently, is such a lousy pilot, you’d book a flight on the Hindenburg before hopping in his ride.
 
What we talk about when we talk about love, er, lost:
 
A few weeks back, I told you that (at least for me), Lost is about The Survival of Love. Not just love on it’s own terms, but love that is challenged, love that is wounded, compromised, hurt but ultimately rises above all crises and evolves to become the love that comes from the deepest place.
 
That resonated with me when Jin and Sun overcame every obstacle and beat The Man In Black. They died, but their love endures. Nothing took that away.
 
But at times, we all know that love requires great sacrifice. Sometimes, the price can be too dear. Which brings to me this:
 
I think as an audience, we know the unspoken notion that most of our remaining characters, the ones still alive in the original timeline, are going to have to die. Yes, yes, Sideways timeline folks have their own things going on, but our surviving heroes are going to be left with one choice: Stay on the island forever, or die. These deaths will complete the arc for that individual to move onto this ultimately better life we’re seeing. A couple people will live, to replace whoever needs replacing on the island, but that’s it.
 
Once these conflicted characters embrace that struggle, growth and love, the love survives, but they won’t. That is, except for the few replacement players (maybe Jack and ..?), for whom embracing that love means to live as an eternal martyr enabling all other love to survive.
 
Something will happen to that original timeline to close it off. Or, a more compelling question might be that when Jughead detonated (or may not have), did it obliterate the outside world in our original timeline? That the Ji Yeon and the Aaron we’ve seen, and know live back on the mainland, no longer exist? That, except for the folks that were on the island and those already on their way to island via Widmore’s sub, that timeline effectively ended?
 
Only three episodes left! But, over four-and-half hours of programming, and lots of ground to cover!
 
·         Ben, Miles and Alpert are probably back at Dharmaville rounding up all remaining weapons, grenades, etc. You won’t see them next week, but they’ll be back for the final two episodes.
 
·         But wait a minute: Remember last season when Sawyer, Juliet and others were paddling on a boat, went through a time flash, and suddenly found themselves being pursued by another boat with three characters whom ended up shooting at our heroes? And that Juliet returned fire, hitting one of those shady folks? And the, shortly thereafter, Sawyer, Juliet and crew time-flashed back to their original timeline? It remains an unsolved show mystery, so I ask you: Who do you think those three people were? Why do you think they would be shooting at heroes? To prevent them from ultimately detonating Jughead, or create some wrinkle in the timeline in a well-meaning attempt to th
wart Smokey, perhaps? And who do you think took a bullet?
 
·         I still want to know who/what was Christian’s ghost off-island, and I want to know when Smokey will figure out there’s an alternate universe. I want to know why Christian is still playing such a prominent role, and has yet to be shown. Now, on another side note, I finally think I know what all that ash is! In fact, I’m almost positive I know what the ash is. And I think next week, I will get my answer!
 
·         You won’t see Desmond next week, but he will be in the final two episodes as well.
 
·         As a matter of fact, island Bernard and Rose might go all Lassie on a certain someone stuck in a well. On that note, after watching the scene between dentist Bernard and doctor Jack, don’t you get the feeling that Bernard and Rose know something that the rest of us don’t?
 
·         So, from the original/prominent cast members, who’s left that we haven’t seen in the sideways timeline? Shannon, Abbadon, Eko, Mr. Friendly, Ana Lucia, Juliet, Rousseau, Christian, Walt, and Michael (I know – we saw Michael’s ghost, but I don’t think that quite counts). There are others, but that covers the main folks. How many of those do you think we’ll see again by show’s end?
 
·         ABC released a couple of promos for next week’s episode. In one promo, we see two women – one is pregnant, presumably with someone or something important. The other woman is Alison Janney (West Wing). My theory is that either she fulfilled the original Jacob role, or the original Smokey role. We just don’t know yet.
 
·         On an even more interesting note: I’m not sure this show is quite done with time travel. I can’t say for sure whether the time flashes may still occur, but there may be some residual effects from past time flashes we saw in other episodes. Just something to keep in mind…
 
·         NOTE: THIS IS A REPEAT BULLET FROM THE LAST POST, BUT I’M ADDING TO IT, FOR GOOD REASON. This might have been a “Blooper”, but I think it was intentional: Jack and Locke’s fireside conversation was at night. But when they walked back, it was in daylight. Long conversation, or clunky symbolism? Guess what, people – That was not blooper, and that was no clunky symbolism. Time is speeding up on the island. I repeat, TIME IS SPEEDING UP ON THE ISLAND! Remember Faraday’s experiment with the small rocket launched from the ship? Back then, the time difference between the island and off-island was 3 minutes. Well, if Faraday were still alive and conducting the same experiment, what do you think would be different? And why? I think I know why. I think the cork is out of the bottle. I think time on the island is rapidly going down the drain. Like a blackhole, sucking up all energy, time, space, love and hope. The anti-matter isn’t coming out; it’s sucking everything in.
 
·         Want to hear something else kinda crazy? Remember two seasons ago when the storyline hinted strongly at reincarnation? Well, that theory quieted down somewhat, as people thought the reincarnation was of the more symbolic variety – Locke wasn’t really reborn, but reanimated by someone/something else. BUT, there have been a few hints of reincarnation popping up again this year. The biggest one that came to my attention is that Ilana originally refers Richard Alpert as “Ricardus” – NOT Richard, and not Ricardo. Ricardus is the original Latin version of the name. Alpert corrected her and said he was indeed Richard. Could Richard have been Ricardus in another life, serving the same purpose on the island?
 
Want to get even crazier?
 
This week’s crazy (but not too crazy) theory:
 
Last night, as I’m gathering intel to write my post, I was visiting various online Lost forums, trawling for good theories or some decent info. There’s this guy who’s gaining momentum and support on a theory he developed at the end of season 5 that Aaron is the key to everything. All of this stuff is a time-loop to help give birth to Aaron, who is the ultimate antidote to Smokey. Aaron is the actual timeline deviation that Jacob or someone else created to prevent Smokey from destroying mankind. And Smokey has spent all this time trying to prevent Aaron from being born, even going so far as to weave an alternate timeline to help make that occur. This guy also thinks that ‘The Others’ are all people who were raised on the island, or brought the island and trained to do whatever it takes to ensure that Aaron is born.
 
I could go on for pages, but suffice to say, this guy’s theory is compelling because he goes through each season with supporting evidence. I did say a few posts back that Aaron is such an important biblical name – “Exalted” and “Enlightened” are the Hebrew translations. Aaron is Moses’ older brother, high priest of the Israelites, etc.
 
Oh, and the candidates? They never were candidates to replace Jacob (that was speculation on Smokey’s part). They were candidates to help (Jack/Christian) “Shepherd” the birth/resurrection of Aaron.
 
To quote Keanu: Whoa.
 
My co-worker started watching ‘Lost’ for the first time, and just gave his opinion of the first episode. Its fascinating watching someone begin ‘the journey’. I’m temped to encourage to him to watch the finale in a few weeks, then go back and pick up wherever he left off. I mean, wouldn’t it be interesting to talk to someone who discovered these episodes out of order?
 
Is ‘Lost’ like a figure eight, storytelling in an infinite form? Not quite a Keanu-worthy, thought, but compelling nonetheless.
 
Folks, there’s so much more to cover and so little time left. But isn’t it a lot of fun?
 
Thanks for reading and for watching

Weekend "Lost" study group: Dr. Nick tells all about Tuesday's episode, and points the way to next Tuesday….

“Oh Hurley; you’re such a Dahl, but Desmond’s a Peach”

By Nick Gorini
 
Wasn’t this week great? Just like old times, it reminded me of a typical episode from the first two seasons. A little death, a little love, a little action, a little science fiction, a little religion, and a few key ‘WTF’ moments (Listed with thoughts below). And to top it off, the promo for next week’s episode took the great Gene Wilder/Willy Wonka creepfest boat song and turned it into Black Flag B-Side (see here). Awesome.
 
Here are just a few of the “Wowza” moments this week:

Just when I got to liking Ilana, she blows up, Doc-Arzt style. That was quick and unceremonious, especially for all the work she had done. Will we ever know why she was in such rough condition when Jacob visited in the hospital? MAN, I hope they blow up Zoe next.

Hurley finds Ilana’s copy of Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground, chalk full of existential angst. Man, I feel bad for Ilana. Training for Jacob her whole life, carrying around Russian Downer-Lit for light reading, and then getting Blowed Up Real Good! For more good Blowed Up, see here.

Know what else Hurley found in Ilana’s tent? Jacob’s ashes! Hey, have I asked this yet? What the hell is the ash all about?

Hurley blowing up the Black Rock! Yeah!! Honestly, I was getting sick of dynamite. It’s time to move past firecrackers and guns. We’re playing a game for souls here.

So, we know that in order for people to reconnect with their island selves, they need to experience chaos, whether it be the good kind of chaos (intense love and passion) or the bad (extreme pain, physical emergency).

Oh my man, Desmond! You were great in every scene this week! And you and Smokey at the well? Best interplay of characters yet. “Why aren’t you afraid?” Smokey can’t figure it out, can he. He tried to get Desmond focused on the petty little mysteries of the island, but Desmond’s stuck in his little love shack.

The Whispers! The whispers are the souls that cannot move on spiritually, the souls still so consumed with guilt and self-loathing. Poor, poor Michael. This raises a few questions:

So the show creators say the island isn’t Purgatory, but souls being stuck on an island between Heaven and Hell? Sounds kinda like Purgatory to me.

During the first few seasons, the voices always appeared right before Smokey showed up, or right before the Others came trudging along the trail. Are these ghosts forces for good, or bad?

Does Smokey know about these ghosts?

Souls stuck on the island. Guess what? Isabella’s ghost appeared to Hurley, and so does…. JACOB!! Does this make Jacob a lost soul?! Hmmm…

And on that note, why is Alpert so, so bloodthirsty now? To be honest, I think it’s a plot device: the writers wanted to create tension and conflict for Hurley, and they needed a reason to split off a few characters (Miles, Ben and Alpert) who will show up again in a few episodes, ostensibly to save the day at a moment when all hope seems lost. Rang just a hair hollow for me.

Smokey whittling away at his stick while Sawyer fumes was an important scene, for a few key reasons. Much like all the characters, they run around, leading busy but meaningless lives. Working at something, doing some sort of activity, until that moment of clarity comes. It was almost as if Smokey was taunting Sawyer.

Desmond getting thrown down the well! Wow! The instant I saw the well, I knew Desmond would be back in The Hatch. A great scene, anyway.

Biggest. Shocker. Of the night: Sideways Desmond turning wheelchair-bound Locke into a hood ornament. I always feel terrible for Desmond (he’s been put through so much), but Holy Cow! Can Locke’s spirit take any more of a beating? So why did Desmond do this? There really are only three possibilities to consider:

1.  He knows Smokey takes over Locke’s body and that the only way to prevent Smokey from destroying everything is to kill Sideways Locke.

2. He knows that the only way to re-awaken Jack is to have him meet his polar opposite, Locke. And that most of our characters need to converge in one spot.

3.  He knows that Locke can be re-awakened in his possessed body, but that it takes some sort of cataclysmic event to re-adjoin Locke’s soul. Time will tell.

Wowzas, predictions and more follow this here jump….
 
These are not “Wowza” moments, but worth noting nonetheless:

Hello again, Dr. Pierre Chang! Nice cameo. Where’s Charlotte?

Hello again, Bruce Davison! Vaguely passive-aggressive Dr. Brooks is back!

Hello again, Libby! Thanks for waking up Hurley! And thanks for the assist, Desmond!

All this time, we’ve thought Sideways Hurley had it made. But again, as we see, the same issues follow our characters around, at least until they’re resolved internally. Did anybody else find it ironic that Alpert was pissed at Hurley for lying about Jacob’s presence? Seems a little hypocritical.

Officially, all potential candidates other than Jin are at one camp. Though, as claimed by next week’s episode, there is still, ‘The Last Recruit.’.

Desmond’s order number at Cluck’s? 42! Ha! Will these numbers never stop!?

Hurley wondered why Libby’s ghost never paid him a visit, whether in spirit form or channeling Whoopi Goldberg. But she was an innocent on the island – she never had an ugly choice to make that haunted her for the rest of her, um eternity?.. So other than Michael, which ghosts do we think are still stuck on the island?

This week, Doc Jensen does a good job of mostly staying on task with his literary references. He mostly sticks to Dostoevsky (with a dash of Kierkegaard) and his importance to this season of Lost. Doc feels that the show is firmly calling itself out as existentialist, and that key concepts, such as “the idea that reflection creates opportunity.” Doc also says that perhaps the island’s power is that it creates consciousness for these characters, and the chaos that puts all of these people in peril is what helps them elevate to their higher consciousness. It’s a good read, if you’ve got at least an hour to spare.

On that ‘Chaos’ note, I once had a boss who, in the midst of some personal/professional upheaval, told me with such an air of authority that it etched in my brain, “Out of chaos, there is always opportunity.” I loved that quote, and I think of it often. It helps push me through some of the worst times in my life. Of course, that boss was fired and divorced shortly after telling me that, so I guess it’s all perspective…

The boy ghost who visited Smokey again seems to have aged. I’m not sure who/what this kid is, but I think it senses when Smokey has a desire to break “The Rules”, and shows up to ref the fight (“Hey! I want a good, clean fight! Know hitting below the belt, no biting, and no killing of candidates!”).

Did you notice that Miles didn’t know who “Michael” was? That’s because when they were hanging out on the freighter, his name was “Kevin”. But Miles knew Michael was a liar, so why didn’t he know his real name?

Jack sure seemed serene when talking to Hurley, but did you catch the look on his face when he saw Smokey? Can Jack continue to take a backseat to Hurley/Jacob/The Island, or is he going to have one last burst of potentially destructive decisiveness?

I do understand that this was a Hurley episode, but it sure felt like what took place with Desmond and Locke/Smokey overshadowed e
verything else.

I also wish Michael had gotten a little more closure – there was some, but why didn’t he get a chance to confront/freak out Ben? Why didn’t he get to reunite with his son? Why didn’t he mention murdering Ana Lucia (who will also be reappearing soon)? Michael, you may have been a little grating at times, but you were ultimately underserved by the storyline. And bottom line: you provided the show with one of the most shocking moments ever. Have we really seen the last of you?

And damn Desmond! Why does the island want to keep you buried underground? Why must you be held down? It’s a bum deal. But Smokey knew he couldn’t kill you, so he put you somewhere to avoid removing fear from anyone else. That’s Desmond’s real power, see? Smokey represents fear and negativity, and that’s how he holds power over others. With Desmond showing up oozing love, confidence, and bravery, well, that just won’t do. Have a swim in the drink, Brutha!

Another key moment of irony: In the original timeline, Ben murders Locke. In this new sideways timeline, it is Ben who rushes to Locke’s side to save him! I also liked that Ben’s really growing into his hero role – he’s right to question a single man parked across the street watching school children.

You did notice how quickly Desmond responded when asked if he had a child and what his name was. Sideways Desmond seems to know more than Island Desmond. How much he knows, we don’t know…

Stupid Award: It was tough this week, because nobody really did anything truly stupid. Except for Ilana. So, for violently setting down a bag of 300-year-old dynamite to make a point and then blowing up? Ilana, you get this week’s Stupid Award.
 
Anything to tell you about next week?

At least one more KEY character from the past will be showing up soon. Someone who was a regular cast member.

Jack and Smokey have a pow-wow. And, even if he didn’t have specific guidance from Jacob, Hurley did the right thing this week. You’ll see.

Do you think Miles, Ben and Alpert increased their odds of survival by not heading to Smokey’s camp?

So Sun AND Locke will be heading to the ER at the same time. Jack better be scrubbed up and ready to operate. And what do you think will happen when all these folks, er, candidates, end up in the same hospital room?

I encourage you very closely watch Locke and Smokey over the next two episodes. Why? Terry O’Quinn’s giving us all sorts of clues in his performance, but we’ve got to pay attention.

Yes, I know I’ve mentioned it each week, but get ready: Ilana blowing up was like a mozzarella stick at TGI Fridays. The rest of fried hero platter will be arriving shortly. More ice tea?
 
Thanks for reading and watching!

P.S. when we get to what I will call the Bye Week (that is, the week of April 27, when Lost will rerun Ab Aeterno), I’ll provide you with what I hope is a succinct essay about what this show is trying to tell us, and why.

He's Back! Dr. Nick gets all analytico-reducto with "Lost"'s 'The Package.'

Look at the package on that guy…

By Nick Gorini

Hello there. Many apologies for not posting last week in regards to the epic ‘Ab Aeterno’, which according to internet chatter, has already become one of the most beloved Lost episodes all time.
 
I did have my reasons for not posting: Spring Break, travel, willfully ignoring things like television, email, phones, and the like. But I must confess: I’m still trying to figure out the Alpert episode! I’ve watched it twice, and I fear I may be over-analyzing myself into a perplexed, Doc Jensen-like Rubicon.
 
So much has been written about the damn thing, that in order to just fill-up that gaping hole in my heart, I will just post a few vexing thoughts about it before I move on to talking about Kwon’s Package…
 
In regards to ‘Ab Aeterno’:

1.   As we expected, it is tragedy that drove Alpert to the island. It’s what has driven all of our major characters. But the man who purchased Alpert as a ship’s slave was working for a man named Hanso. The Hanso family eventually went on to create the Dharma Initiative. Does this mean that the Hanso’s have always been knowledgeable about the island and it’s powers? Was Alpert purchased specifically for that intent?

2.   Alpert’s back-story? Powerful, tragic, and engrossing. I’m also intrigued and trying to understand why he wasn’t offered absolution from the priest in prison. Penance takes time, he was told, and he didn’t have that. Was this an example of a cruel priest perhaps symbolizing the cruelty of the power players on the island? Was it that Alpert didn’t seem so sincere in his guilt, much like Eko was? Or did the priest know where Alpert was ultimately headed? I don’t know…

3.   Some people think Alpert was talking to his wife’s ghost, while others think even the sincere moments were held with Smokey as an apparition. Why did she wait until Alpert called out to Smokey to show up? When the scene cut to Smokey in the distance, why did he look unsurprised at the moment? I don’t know…

4.   Richard the prisoner was really into Luke 4:1-27. But what is the purpose? Alpert wasn’t on a 40-day fast in the desert, and he doesn’t seem to have a demon inside him needing to be cast out. So, folks, why is this passage important?

5.   Smokey? Exactly as I expected him to be. Jacob? That threw me for a loop. Seeing him beat the living daylights out of Alpert shocked me – this isn’t the way we’ve been watching him behave before (or since, if we’re talking linearly timeline on the show). And the fact that it’s ALPERT’S suggestion to become consigliore instead of the other way around? Also odd. This Jacob doubts. This Jacob uses physical force. This Jacob doesn’t seem to operate with the bigger picture in mind. And this Jacob gloats. All of these things… I’m still trying to figure out what it means.

6.   And on that note: “Bring back my wife!” Can’t do that. “Give me absolution!” Can’t do that, either. “Give me immortality!” Oh! Yeah, I can do THAT! Folks, what does this mean? I don’t know…

7.   [Imagined scene from the writer’s room]: Well crap, we still gotta explain the damn slave ship and that freaking four-toed statue! HEY! I know – let’s just crash ‘em into each other! Yeah! HA HA! It’s like we’re telling the audience to stop asking about this stupid crap and focus on the characters, or something!

8.   Lastly, I give myself the delayed Stupid Award from last week, because I didn’t post anything, and because I still can’t figure this freakin’ episode out…
 
ENOUGH! Onto The Package…just hit the jump….
 
WHAT WILL SOON NOT BE CALLED A SIDEWAYS TIMELINE BY ANYONE OR ANYTHING WATCHING THE SHOW
 
Rather than give a blow-by-blow account, let’s just touch on the highlights, shall we?
 
Our ‘other’ Jin and Sun don’t speak English (my bad – when we last saw them at the airport, I was convinced Sun wasn’t speaking English because she WANTED Jin to get busted). Also, while Jin works for Mr. Paik, he’s not married to Sun. They are kicking boots, however. In not so secret.
 
Odd that Sun seems so much more self-assured, and openly self-indulgent, in this timeline. And this Jin is still a bit of an ass, but not as mean as Jin originally was before the island redeemed him. Also odd that this time around, running away from Mean Old Man Paik was news to him. And, odd that Sun got her moment of reflection in a mirror (like Jack, Locke, Ben, Kate, etc.) but I didn’t notice Jin getting one, unless I missed something.
 
Sun’s Dad (like nearly all dads on this show) is still a Big-time jerk – in fact, he’s such a jerk that he has Jin personally deliver the $25,000 smackers to pay (the awesome villain) Keamy to kill him! As mean as it is to have someone killed, this is even meaner. Wow.
 
And Omar’s there again, too. No wait! It’s Patchy! Awesome. I missed the old, died-4-5-times-before-he-really-died-Patchy. Well, he died again (along with Keamy and Omar) but not before he got to speak Korean, and not before he got his eye shot out (“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”).

What other awesomeness did we get in this timeline? Oh man, I loved that cruel, conflicted speech Keamy gave a clueless Jin in the walk-in cooler. When Jin mistakenly thanked Keamy for his “kindness”, Keamy seemed sad and excited about what he was about to do. Almost like he was playing some sort of evil role that he wasn’t entirely buying into. It was great.
 
Hat tip to Doc Jensen at EW this week, for explaining a most-awesome juxtaposition: While Keamy is messing with Jin’s mind in the enclosed walk-in cooler in one timeline, Jin’s tied up in Dharma psychological torture Room 23 in the other. Doc reminds us that the last time we saw Room 23 was when Karl was being tortured in it – tortured by Ben for dating his daughter Alex! So, Paik = Ben, Jin = Karl, and Sun = Alex. Jensen also reminds us – who killed Karl and Alex? Keamy and Omar!! WHOA!!!!!
 
Well, we already know what happens next. We also see Sayid reluctantly hand Jin a box cutter to free himself. Gee, thanks for saving me, I guess.. Honestly, for a second, I thought Sayid was going to shoot Jin. This new Soul-less Sayid creeps me out, man. Thankfully he takes off.
 
Before this side of events ends, we have to have a tragic cliffhanger, one that will force the involvement of yet another character (like say, a surgeon). So, sadly, we see a pregnant Sun getting shot in the stomach, with Jin frantically carrying her to the hospital.
 
For what it’s worth, I have to say that I always liked the Jin/Sun storyline. The love story seems genuine, the passion real, and the growth and redemption well earned. While I don’t consider myself THAT much of a softie, I’ll be a little pissed if these two don’t get to live happily ever after in some capacity.
 
WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR STILL ON THE ISLAND BUT NOT FOR LONG FOLK:
 
Some great stuff happened on this side of the storyline, too. Opening with some night goggle vision was intriguing, for sure. Smokey’s cryptic statements to Sayid’s lack of feeling (“That may be for the best”) and to Claire’s remaining streaks of bloodlust and jealousy (when it comes to killing Kate – once she’s gathered all the other candidates I can have killed, “Whatever happens, happens.” ß A former quote from Faraday, which I know is only going to feed fodder for Doc Jensen’s crazy-ass ‘Faraday is Smokey’ theory) were great examples of Smokey’s power plays.
 
Smokey

Hello, Dr. Nick! Or: Bullitts, Badges and Sons O’ Bitches

…..and your little dog, too!

BY NICK GORINI
 
In honor of Sawyer, man of action, there will be NO preamble this week. I’m starting with a few clarifications and theories before we jump into a recap.

There seems to be a growing concern by some vocal viewers that the ‘Sideways’ timeline is actually an epilogue of what is currently happening on the island. And that, if that’s the case, it kinda stinks. Folks, that’s not the case. These events are occurring side-by-side. It’s messy business trying to explain the How and Why, but brutha, you gotta believe me.

This week they showed us an intact plane, and an in-use submarine. One way or another, Smokey is getting off the island. And he will make it to the sideways timeline. And then it will get really, really messy.

How messy? How about Sawyer shooting at Sawyer? How about Locke meeting ‘Flocke’ (Flocke is the internet nickname for Fake Locke). Or how about nice guy sideways Ben getting the crap beat out of him by a confused Desmond? I’m not saying I’m saying these things will be happening for sure, but just think of the possibilities?…
 
What happened to Detective Ford:

The sideways timeline opens with Sawyer having The Sex with yet another nubile thing. A briefcase falls open with a bunch of Benjamins falling out. Sawyer! Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems, Cuz! But is he pulling a con? Nope, because as I suspected after the season 6 opener, he’s a cop! And his code word? La Fleur! Man! That is a stupid code word. In a nice touch, James Ford’s partner is Miles, who looks like a natural in Kevlar and a badge.
 
Back at the station, we learn Ford is awfully similar to Sawyer of old: Much like we saw 1977 Sawyer come to enjoy his security job, this Sawyer enjoys wearing a badge, bustin’ heads, and bedding babes, but only when the job calls for it! That is commitment. We also see that Detective Ford still likes to hide things, like his weekend jaunts to “Palm Springs” really being trips to Australia to track down the creep responsible for his parent’s deaths, Anthony Cooper!
 
Aha! Bad stuff still happened. I believe then, that it was in this sideways timeline that Jacob visited a young Jimmy Ford on the steps of a church after his parent’s funeral to dissuade him from being a bad man. Mission sort of accomplished – if only it were that easy. Also, isn’t it interesting that we see both James and Locke lying about travel in this alternate timeline. Also interesting? Isn’t it obvious that in spite of this new timeline, all of these characters are on some sort of collision course anyway? You know Ford is going to have bust Locke’s dad at some point. Just as we know Jack’s likely to operate on Locke.
 
So, this version of Sawyer has plenty of time for sex with beautiful criminals, but not enough time for a relationship. Naturally, Miles feels sorry for him, so he hooks him up with a friend for a blind date. This friend happens to be a gorgeous, intelligent redhead by the name of… DA DA DA! Charlotte! Great, Sawyer has sex with Kate, Juliet, Ana Lucia, and several others, and now he gets to bat at the plate with Charlotte? Wow, such a tortured soul.

Follow the jump for more sexy Sawyer tales…


 
During small talk, Sawyer mentions that he was influenced to become a cop after watching the Steve McQueen classic, Bullitt. Which honestly, is a pretty good reason to become a cop, better than the one he gave when she pierced his hardened outer shell: “It got to a point where I would be a criminal or a cop.” Soooo coool….
 
Well, they hit it off until she rifles through his things looking for a t-shirt (leave it to an archaeologist to dig something up, heh-heh). By the way, on Sawyer’s nightstand are books Island Sawyer’s read in the past, including Watership Down and Lancelot. Lancelot is a great analogy for Sawyer, making Jack the ennobled King Arthur, and wait.. The twelve-year-old in me just started snickering about Sawyer’s still steamy bedside showing a book called Lance-a-lot. He certainly does.
 
I digress. She finds the file that contains the cold case closest to his heart, and he has a big freak out. He refuses to tell Charlotte what the file is all about and roughly kicks her out of his house. What an ass. Which also brings me to:
 
This week’s Stupid Award! This week’s stupid award goes to Sawyer? Why? It’s really simple: When people constantly ask you for the truth, many people, and you really have no reason to lie, other than to look down, jut your jaw, and let your bangs hang low? Well that’s just stupid. Really – there was no earthly reason for him to NOT tell people, let alone freak out so bad. Stupid!
 
Back at the station, Leslie Neilsen and O.J. Simpson are OH WAIT! Wrong show. Though let us not forget our heroes are near Brentwood, O.J.’s old stomping grounds. Back at the station, Liam Pace (hey Liam!) is there, looking for his brother Charlie, incarcerated for drug possession on an Oceanic flight. I will overlook the fact that at least originally, Liam was living in Australia. That was one hell of a quick flight.
 
Miles shows up, pissed that Sawyer’s a liar, and that he’s made things a little awkward with his nice friend Charlotte (go to her, Miles. Let her know you care). Like all our main characters, Sawyer looks at his reflection. Unlike most of our main characters, he smashes his reflection. More stinkin’ thinkin’! Unlike Sayid, who I fear has truly become a lost soul, I think we’re still seeing hope for Sawyer. He understands his inner demons, but he keeps on trying to not be ruled by them. Think though – both Sawyer and Sayid have been manipulated by others to kill. I think Sawyer’s still in okay shape, but he’s walking awfully close to the line, you think?
 
Back home with beer and TV dinner (I guess most of our characters never learned how to cook – Jack orders pizza, Ben microwaves organic turkey, and Sawyer’s Salisbury steak. These guys really need their moms), he has an epiphany watching Little House on the Prairie. Well, WHO DOESN’T!? Michael Landon’s heavenly advice to Laura leads Sawyer to show up at Charlotte’s with the same flower he gave Juliet (hmm) and a 6-pack of beer (not Dharma beer). Thankfully, Charlotte tells Sawyer he blew it and slams the door on his face. Sawyer’s just ‘Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places! Lookin’ for love in too many faces!’
 
The next morning (and this is why we still have hope for Sawyer), he reaches out to Miles and tells him the truth about his mission for justice. But before they can hug it out Ari-style, a car crashes into theirs, and out runs a hooded fugitive! Is it Charlie Pace? Kinda looks like him, only about a foot taller. Of course not! As Sawyer chases the fugitive down and cuffs ‘em, we see it’s Kate.
 
What happened to former Security Agent La Fleur:

Sawyer’s hanging with Jin at Claire’s sweet digs, enjoying tea time. These two guys talk, quickly establishing what they know about Smokey, and Sawyer, still feeling loyal to his pals (particularly Miles and Jin, who were his buddies for three years) promises Jin that they won’t leave the island without Sun.
 
The rest of Smokey’s crew shows up and gets ready to depart. Claire and Kate enjoy cooing at Claire’s dead squirrel skull she’s been taking such good care of in Locke’s crib. No wait! Actually, Kate’s a little creeped out, but Claire puts her in her place by saying, “It’s all I had.”
 
Smokey gathers everyone and before I go further, just let me say, that whether he’s Smokey or Locke, Terry O’Quinn does such an AWESOME job. This entire episode, he plays Smokey just perfect. He gives these speeches to
rally and comfort his troops, and somehow, he’s able to convey the sincerity and malevolence on such a subtle level. I really liked Smokey in this episode. I think after years of getting bossed around by Jacob, he seems to enjoy manipulating these poor human beings.
 
He reassures everyone that some evil smoke monster killed everyone at the temple (the old, “Wasn’t me” defense), and that as traumatic as the evening was, we’re in for some fun times, kids! Let’s go for a hike! Claire also pulls a creepy move by holding Kate’s hand in a fake, public display of togetherness.
 
Sawyer calls out Smokey in front of everyone, and we see a flash of that anger. In private, he gives Sawyer a mission: Head back to polar bear cage island, track down the Ajirra flight, watch for suspicious folk, insinuate yourself as necessary, and come back with a report. Funny side note: I loved that Smokey didn’t catch Sawyer’s less-than sincere apology. Smokey’s so old, he’s older than sarcasm!
 
Anyhow, Smokey levels with Sawyer, with some interesting dialogue. He tells him he had to kill the folks at the temple – it’s kill or be killed, right? Every man for himself. Then, sounding more mortal than ever before, Smokey says simply, “I don’t want to be killed.”
 
On Hydra island, Sawyer walks down memory lane and finds the dress Kate wore for Ben years ago, and starts humming ‘To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before’. He also stumbles on a smelly pile of dead bodies, all dragged into a circle, which I’m assuming was the work of Smokey. But wait, there’s a fishy survivor! A cute girl with glasses named Zoe, who says “um” before answering any of Sawyer’s questions. She also likes to ask about guns, and people with guns. Before Sawyer can do anything, her own gun-wielding guns capture Sawyer.
 
FUN POP CULTURE FACT #1: Sheila Kelley, the actress playing Zoe, is married West Wing’s Toby (Richard Schiff). Not only did she star in a great Portland-based flick with Burt Reynolds (1989’s ‘Breaking In’, which includes some great scenes at the no-longer present Corno’s Market), she also appeared in the movie ‘Nurse Betty’, with… Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell)!
 
FUN POP CULTURE FACT #2: One of Zoe’s gun-wielding cronies is played by Fred Koehler, the cherub-cheeked kid from TV’s ‘Kate & Allie’. Fred appeared in several episodes of HBO’s epic Shakespeare-In-Prison soap opera, ‘Oz’. Who else was on ‘Oz’? Well, Eko (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Michael (Harold Perrineau), of course.
 
These goons take Sawyer to meet their leader, Widmore, in his submarine. Notice that on the walk, we see the goons setting up the anti-smokey fencing. Probably ain’t gonna work anymore. Inside the sub, Sawyer passes a large locked box and asks about it. So to all of you: What’s in it? A bomb? A special gun? A ‘Smokey’ cage? Or could it be a person? Or a particular body? Inquiring minds (oh yeah, reminds me: We still don’t know what the freaking ash is, do we?).
 
Sawyer makes a deal with Widmore to lure Smokey into his trap, in return for safe passage for he and his friends. Sawyer still cares, man!
 
Back at Camp Smokey, Kate gets creeped out by a passive, soul-dead Sayid (in fact, I’m kinda creeped out by him as well), and gets attacked by Claire. Before Claire can kill Kate, Smokey shows up and beats the hell out of Claire. Ah! Being on Team Smokey isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, Jacob can be cryptic, and ask you for incredible sacrifices, but he doesn’t go all Ike Turner on you like Smokey. And he doesn’t humiliate you in front of others to assert power.
 
And also, Jacob doesn’t try and appeal to the worst aspects of your humanity, like Smokey does. This is where these two as metaphor come into play. Jacob does ask a lot, but it’s always in the service of others, and it’s always as a sacrifice for something greater than yourself.
 
Smokey, as seen in his conversation with Kate, wants you to think selfishly. Wants you to take care of yourself, because that is the only thing that matters. Smokey thinks that Altruism isn’t just stupid, it’s wasteful and deadly. Smokey wants you to feel good about being a selfish prick. In short, I think SMOKEY IS REALLY AYN RAND.
 
In my favorite scene, we watch Smokey first rationalize that he had to lie and manipulate Claire in order to save her, only later to tell Kate that now Claire’s too crazy to take care of Aaron. Living a lie and feeling guilt is what drove Kate back to the island, and here’s Smokey telling Kate that living the lie was the BEST thing to do, and now is the ONLY thing to do. Of course, we also see that Smokey’s got some SERIOUS mommy issues going on. Which leads to an incredibly nutty theory espoused by the dear Doc Jensen (to read more about this theory, check out the ‘Bullitt’s’ below.
 
We part on Sawyer telling Kate that he’s successfully conned both Smokey and Widmore into killing each other while they can sneak off the island. Oh Sawyer, don’t you think that Smokey and Widmore are at least a few steps ahead of you? You have a very painful lesson to learn very soon…
 
So, what can I tell you about the next few weeks?

This week, Doc Jensen is at the top of his game, with some awesome insights about this episode, including Sawyer’s repeated line (“Son of a Bitch!”) being central to the episode and the mystery of Smokey’s identity. Doc thinks Officer Sawyer will end up apprehending (or killing) Anthony Cooper at Locke’s wedding. Doc is also convinced there’s some significant hidden meaning in the episode of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ that enthralled Sawyer.

Did you catch that Miles mentions his dad (Dr. Chang) and Charlotte working at “The Museum” together? Doc did, and thinks Chang may put in a pivotal Harry the Explainer appearance, telling us about the space-time continuum. Or some such thing. Doc also thinks that Kate running around in a hoodie was some kind of reference to hoodie-wearing Charlie Pace in the first season, helping then-baddish guy Sawyer swipe all the camps guns.

This is the best, BEST part of Doc Jensen’s column this week: Doc Jensen thinks Smokey is Faraday. I repeat, Doc Jensen thinks SMOKEY IS FARADAY!! Isn’t that crazy! NO! That’s crazy awesome! I’m going to be chewing on that one for awhile. Son of an Eloise Hawking, indeed.

Here’s my little back-pat. I was the only guy I know of who predicted that Sawyer would be a cop. I was WAY wrong, however, in guessing that his life wasn’t going to be as messy. As we see, almost as messy as before. The badge is just another thing to hide behind.

For what it’s worth, I still don’t think the bomb ever went off. It was something else that transported our heroes out of 1977. We may never know what it was, but that bomb hasn’t gone off… Yet.

Next week’s episode is all about Richard, and it’s called ‘Ab Aeterno’, which means ‘From the eternal’ or can also be translated as something beyond time. What cool Alpert stuff will we see? Well, as you can imagine, someone who’s been alive for hundreds of years has probably watched more than a few loved ones die, which would be the really sucky part of immortality. We’ll see some Catholic guilt, lost love, and the original man in black (the great Titus Welliver). Don’t be surprised if we see that Jacob and Alpert weren’t always buddies, and uh, yeah, get ready for some answers. If there were ever a time for Lost to start possibly polarizing some die-hard viewers, this might be the episode that does it.

We’re not done seeing Juliet (yay!), nor are we done seeing Charlotte.

Think Smokey’s done beating up some of his loyal followers? He hasn’t even begun. Expect mass-beatings and general jerkiness to continue in full.

Guess what? Lapidus will finally have something to do! Like, um, I don’t know. M
aybe fly a plane?

As mentioned at the start of this post, two worlds are going to collide, and it’s going to get a little messy. How will someone know they’re speaking to the ‘right’ Jack, or the ‘right’ Hurley?

Big-time Spoiler Alert: I try not get ‘Spoilery’ here, so I’m going to warn you now: if you don’t like spoilers, avoid the internet, because it’s been revealed that several key players may be departing us in a single episode. This, ahem, ‘explosive’ news could really put a ‘damper’ on folks who like to be kept in the dark (I have some of the names, but won’t be posting, or telling).

That ‘secret word I mentioned a couple weeks back? The one that describes the island in a nutshell? The one with an ‘O’ but no ‘A’ or ‘E’? Rumor is that it’s coming this week.

Who still has centric episodes? Jin & Sun, Desmond, Hurley and Smokey, for sure.

Want to know the cryptic names of some of these episodes? Try these on for size: The Package, The Last Recruit, The Candidate, Everybody Loves Hugo, and Happily Ever After are some. A couple others are just too dang spoilery to say.
For you Lost fanatics, you can now pre-order the entire series on Amazon. 38 discs. 38.
 
Thanks for reading and watching

Hello, Dr. Nick! – Nick Gorini Visits "The LIghthouse," Smashes the Hell Out of It

Ever wonder where Nick gets his insights into “Lost”? And no, he’s not telling you where it is.

By NICK GORINI

Hello, folks! Once again, I have successfully procrastinated in bringing you my recap of this week’s Lost episode, ‘The Lighthouse.’
 
Why the delay? I’ve been spending too much time starting at myself in the mirror with the sound of running water in the background. You know, like all the characters on our show (Jack, in particular, seems to do this an awful lot).
 
Before I begin, two real-life Lost-related incidents to share with you:

1.   Earlier this week I was watching that Michael Bay masterpiece known as ‘Con Air’, or as I call it, Crap. I mean, rarely do you get a pop-culture moment with so many talented people (Cage, Malkovich, Cusack, Rhames, Buscemi, etc.) dumpster-diving for dollars in one dingy flick.
 
Anyhow, there’s a scene where the convict-plane pilot, played by Frederic Lehne, is booted from the cockpit. Frederic Lehne plays Kate’s caustic pursuer, Marshall Mars, on Lost. Well, when he steps out of the driver’s seat, who steps in? A swarthy convict by the name of Swamp Thing, played by the great character actor M.C. Gainey… Who was Mr. Friendly, original face of ‘The Others’ on Lost! One Lost character gets replaced by another Lost character in a movie over ten years old. Whoa!!!
 
2.   If that wasn’t enough, I took my family for a fun weekend hike around Sauvie Island. On the far Eastern tip, away from the farms, corn mazes and bike lanes, there’s a three-mile dirt trail that is the only island path leading to… A lighthouse! Knowing what was coming up on Tuesday night, and (while looking at the map) realizing that in all the times I’d gone to this island I NEVER knew it had a lighthouse, I had to check it out. Maybe it would give me wisdom or insight into this week’s episode and what was to come. Or maybe it was just a beautiful, sunny winter day in the Great Northwest.
 
 
THE ‘SIDE’ TIMELINE AND THE ORIGINAL TIMELINE – SIDE BY SIDE!:
 
(If you’re curious why I’ve now combined the two, it’s because there aren’t two timelines! Ha! Read more about it at the end of the post.)
 
Jack wakes up in his nice, antiseptic apartment (hey, this other Jack doesn’t sit on his dirty apartment floor drinking whiskey and dreaming about frequent flier miles!), and stares all deja-vu-like at his reflection while water runs out the sink (see?). He sees his appendix surgery scar (you know, when he wanted to operate on his damn self until Juliet and Kate tricked him?). He has NO memory of any surgery, even after a quick phone call to his mom (welcome back, Veronica Hamel! Loved you in ‘Hill Street Blues’) reveals that he had it removed when he was a boy. Oh yeah, your dad wanted to do it, but the hospital wouldn’t let him. Just like your old island self, Jack! A chip off the old whiskey barrel..
 
Jack gets ready and we briefly see the same exer-cycle that Desmond had in the hatch. In fact, I believe this cycle has shown up at least three times this season. I believe the cycle officially has a SAG card now.

Follow the jump for a wide array of mind-bending revelations. . .
 
Jack listens to some Stevie Ray Vaughn in his beaten-up brown truck (the Iggy Pop tune Sawyer listened to last week made sense. Not sure what the Stevie Ray connection might be, other than that Stevie Ray is awesome) and pulls up to a school to pick up his pre-teen son, David. Um, did I just say Jack has a son? Whoa!
 
BIG SIDE NOTE: Now, some of the Internet Chatter complained about this twist, but I thought it was PERFECT. What better way for the universe to force Jack to deal with his daddy issues. Damn you, Internet Chatter! You are so wrong, and get so worked up about the dumbest things and don’t put trust in the storyteller. For this, Internet Chatter, you are getting this week’s Stupid Award. For anyone keeping tally, I give a Stupid Award each week, because as much as I love this show, somebody does something stupid in order to propel the story forward. But this week, the storytelling was so awesome, so fitting, that complaining about is was just stupid. This means the winners so far, in order, are: Kate, Claire, Locke and Internet Chatter. At the end of the season, I will give final numbers and perhaps an award, a stupid award, of some kind.
 
Back to our great story: We see Jack looking at his reflection AGAIN in some pond water, rippling his reflection. Calm Dogen comes to speak to him, and lets him know that even it seems to be a hostage situation (Jack: ‘was leaving here even an option?’ Dogen: ‘There are ALWAYS options.’), Jack is in control of his fate. Meanwhile the underutlized Miles, and Hurley are playing Tic-Tac-Toe until Jacob pops up and tells Hurley it’s time to grab pencil, write some junk down, and get to work, okay? Someone’s coming to the island, and it’s your job to help them find it, Hurley!
 
Back in normalville, we get some quick brushstrokes to show that Jack has the same warm relationship with his son that he had with his dad. Jack awkwardly tries to bond with David over ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (yes, another literary reference, but other than some stuff about Though the Looking Glass, don’t worry about it), but David shuts him down with a ‘we see each other once a month. Let’s just.. Get through it.’. Ouch! Jack’s mom calls, frantic about Christian’s missing will, and Jack’s gotta cut his emasculation short because…
 
Island Sayid comes to talk to Jack, and Jack, continuing the trend showing a different leadership style than his first go, tells Sayid everything (‘they wanted you to eat some poison’).
 
We flash to Krazy Klaire as she frees Jin from a bear trap, and before Jin collapses, we learn that she has no idea that she’s been jungle-bound for three years.
 
Back to Hurley, who’s wandering in a dark cave with lots of Bic ink on his inner arm. Dogen confronts Hurley, and we get some great Hurley AND Jacob lines (I like that we’re starting to see Jacob has a sense of humor). Jacob instructs Hurley to brag about being a “Candidate”, and rather than give him a baby to kiss, Dogen just gets all pissed off and leaves. Jacob also gets Hurley to grab Jack who reluctantly goes traipsing along only after getting some bait (“Jacob wanted me to tell you that you have what it takes.”).
 
Jack thinks, “Hey – my dad used to say that, too! Only, he said something like, “You DON’T have what it takes.” I bet this Jacob cat knows where my dad is, and much like five years ago, I am going to go looking for my dad. But before, it was my dad’s ghost I was chasing through the forest. Now it’s Hurley. Whatever.” And they’re off!
 
Back to Jin waking up in Krazy Klaire’s tent, where she’s surrounded by Rousseau’s dynamite and raising a beautiful baby deer skull. She drags back my favorite Red Shirt Other, Justin – hey, he’s alive! Probably not for long…  Justin’s wounded and gets tied up, because Krazy Klaire’s about ready to go all Mel Gibson “GIVE ME BACK MY SON!” on poor Justin. When she leaves to prep for some emergency Jin surgery, Justin lets Jin know that this bloodthirsty blonde mop is going to kill them both if they don’t leave.
 
Jack and Hurley are wandering through the forest and of course, randomly bump into Kate. I mean, it’s a real, fricking small island, I guess. She reiterates she’s looking for Claire, and Jack warns her about Dogen’s cryptic infection message. But Kate’s going one way, and Jack and Hurley are going another.
 
Meanwhile, happier Jack is at his mom’s, refusing
a scotch (good for you, Jack) keeping his mother calm, and looking for a will. In more shadows of ‘Jack-is-his-dad-now’, his mom explains that David’s scared of him. Jack’s mystified as to why, much like Christian probably was mystified about Jack. Before they can get into a real discussion, the will is found, and Jack’s mom quickly finds a new name in there: illegitimate daughter Krazy Klaire, I mean Claire Littleton.
 
Back to Jin, who resists untying Justin, who’s looking legitimately scared to be there. She comes back with a big axe and mentions her dad and her “friend” (who we all know is Smokey) telling her that the temple folk have Aaron. She’s going to get Justin to talk. Or turn him into kindling. Probably kindling.
 
Back to island Jack and Hurley, who have happened upon the old water source – you know, where Adam and Eve are. They step on an old inhaler of Shannon’s and Hurley wonders aloud, on behalf of all viewers, one of the oldest show mysteries: Whose skeletons are these? Are they us from another time travel event? (If you like to bet, bet that ultimately, these skeletons are Bernard and Rose. Everyone online seems to think so). (PAC chimes in, uninvited and to Nick’s obvious annoyance – Oh, yes. Bernard and Rose = white and black, respectively,,,)
 
Hurley also starts questioning Jack about what went wrong in his off-island time. Jack talks about his failures with Kate, his failures trying to raise Aaron, etc. Hurley says he always thought Jack would make a great dad – Jack strongly disagrees. Jack also admits to Hurley that he originally found this water source when he was chasing his dad’s ghost and found his dad’s empty coffin. Which he smashed to pieces (much like the smashing he does to the lighthouse later).
 
Back to happier Jack, who comes back from Mom’s with a pizza for David, only David isn’t there. Jack rushes over to his ex-wife’s house (his old house, because he found the hidden key under the rabbit!) and goes looking for David, who isn’t there, either. What he does find is his son’s room, full of life and things about his son that he realizes he never took the time to see. It dawns on him that he desperately wants to be part of his son’s life. He listens to David’s answering machine and hears his own broken voice calling from Australia when he was there to pick up his dad’s body. The next message is about David’s audition, which he’s currently at. Jack rushes off to catch up with him.
 
Side note, part deux: First off, Matthew Fox is a great actor. With no dialogue, we watched him encounter his failures, his shame and his needs in a few brief moments in one room. Awesome. Second, we all want to know who the mom is, right? I’m basing this on absolutely nothing, and haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere, but in this alternate series of events, couldn’t it turn out to be… Juliet?
 
Back to island Jack, where Hurley reminds how cool all this “Old school” stuff is, just the two them, going somewhere unknown, doing something dangerous. Hurley says he came back because Jacob told him to, while Jack says he came back because, “I was broken, and I was dumb enough to think the island would fix me.” Boom, because of that catharsis, the lighthouse appears. Yeah, yeah, yeah, they found it, right? No. If Jack hadn’t said that, or felt that, they would’ve kept on walking. It only appeared because Jack was finally ready to see it.
 
Back to Krazy Klaire, who’s ready to kill Justin for taking Aaron until Jin tells her the truth: Kate took Aaron off the island. She’s been taking care of him. Let this seemingly nice man Justin go! Well, she ain’t havin’ it, being all infected, see? The axe swings and we say, “TIMBER!” as another red shirt comes crashing down. Expect to see a lot more of these dudes die in the next two weeks.
 
A quick shot of Jack and Hurley busting into the lighthouse, which quickly shoots to…
 
Happier Jack walking past a sign for David’s audition that says “Candidates Welcome.” Jack beams with genuine pride and love for his son while David plays a beautiful piece by Chopin. Did it sound familiar to you? It may have because IT WAS THE SAME PIECE FARADAY PLAYED FOR HIS MOM!!! WHOA!!
 
A young boy asks Jack about his son, and the boy’s father begins speaking to Jack – it’s Dogen!! Double-Whoa!!! Dogen says that children are too young for this kind of pressure (wise), and also tells Jack that his son has a “Gift”. Is this the same “Gift” that Michael was told Walt had? Hmm. Or maybe the gift is that there’s still someone under the age of forty that can read sheet music. Either way, when Dogen asks Jack how long his son has been playing, Jack says, “I don’t know.” On the one hand, we want to say that’s because of the split Jack situation. But the show’s toying with us. Jack said that because he’s been a distant dad.
 
Back at the lighthouse, where Hurley gives Jack some coordinates with which to turn the reflective mirrors. There are numbers and names scrawled along the wheel for each point along its axis, and most of the names are crossed out. Much like the cave last week!
 
As Jack turns the wheel, we see strange reflections in the mirrors (this lighthouse is for looking inward, and not outward, okay?). First image Jack sees, not that he’d know it, is the temple where Jin and Sun got married. It’s where Jacob ‘touched’ them. The next image Jack sees is the church steps where a young Sawyer met Jacob, clutched revenge letter in hand. Jack finds his number, 23, and turns to it, despite Hurley’s objections.
 
Jack sees his childhood home and quickly gets enraged. He demands that Hurley bring Jacob to him this instant – how long has he been watching me? In frustration (for more on why he’s really frustrated, read more below) at himself, not liking this reflection, he smashes the mirrors, just like his dad’s coffin. Anger, with potential future catharsis, ensues.
 
Back to happier Jack, who gently confronts his secretive son. David says he didn’t want to disappoint his intense dad, and Jack, reaching perhaps with his father’s help, goes beyond what he was capable of before, and tells David, “When I was your age, my dad told me I didn’t have what it takes. And I always carried that. You will never fail in my eyes. I will always love you and just want to be part of your life.” Well, what kid doesn’t want to hear that from their dad at some point? Good job, Jack! If you noticed, what was also key here, is that Jack didn’t speak with anger and resentment about his father (like he did in the past). Within his speech to his son, you heard a man who understood his dead dad, forgave him, and loved him.
 
Back to the lighthouse, where Jack sits looking at the sea while a recently arrived Jacob gets chided by Hurley for being so cryptic and obtuse. When Jacob lets Hurley know that the plan was for Jack to smash everything in the first place, Hurley gives Jacob a little what’s what. But Jacob explains two things: one, you can’t reach everyone the same way, and two, I had to get you and Jack out of the temple, because some BAD stuff is about to go down. Hurley wants to go back to help his friends, but Jacob’s having none of it. If your friends at the temple are going to fight Smokey, they’ll be doing without Jack and Hurley. Good luck, guys..
 
One last flash to Krazy Klaire who now looks like she wants to kill Jin for the hell of it. In a pre-emptive bid to save his own ass, he tells Claire that he lied – Aaron’s at the temple, and he can take her. That’s when Smokey pops into the tent and Krazy Klaire corrects Jin. “That’s not John, that’s my friend…”
 
NUMBERS, SCHMUMBERS! OKAY, SO WHO’S COMING? WHAT’S HAPPENING? AND WHY THERE ARE NOT REALLY TWO TIMELINES!
 
· NUMBERS! Hurley told Jack to turn the Lighthouse dial
to the number 108. Yes, we all know that Jacob meant for Jack to turn it to his number (23) and smash the hell out of everything. But here’s some numbers for you to chew on: Hurley’s numbers equal 108 (4 + 8 + 15 + 16 + 23 + 42). And this episode was the 108th episode of Lost. Whoa!!!! Does it mean anything? Probably Nooo!!!! Still cool, though.
 
· NUMBERS? Seriously, though, a couple other notes about the lighthouse numbers: Benjamin Linus was number 117, and yes, he was crossed out. Kate was number 51 – still not crossed out! But why wasn’t Kate one of Hurley’s numbers? Could it be that Kate has a different, even more mysterious role in Jacob’s plans than our other heroes?
 
· MIRROR, MIRROR! What Jack went through this episode is an almost exact mirror of Jack’s first season episode titled ‘White Rabbit’. Is this a gimmick? No way, man! If you want to get a read on what next week’s episode is going to be like, re-watch or read up on Sayid’s first season episode(s). You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll know about next week beforehand. Seriously…
 
· I’M GOING DOWN, DOWN, DOWN! Speaking of next week’s episode, it’s called ‘Sundown’. Should we take it literal, as in Jin’s Sun goes down for the count? I hope not… Show producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof said that this episode, in addition to being about Sayid, is a bit of an homage to ‘High Noon’. The temple serves as the dusty town that evil gunslinger Smokey envelopes, giving everyone there “Until sundown” to get out of damned temple-town before he tears it to pieces. We shall also see Sayid and Dogen finally confront each other.
 
· GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER? So who is coming to the island? Did Jacob simply mean it was Jack coming to the island, and having to get a good cathartic look at himself to do so? Is it our perhaps still powerful Widmore? Is it our good man Faraday? Maybe even another Desmond appearance (“We miss ya. Come back to us, Brotha.”).
 
· DOC’S THE MAN! AND WHY THERE AREN’T TWO TIMELINES!!! Once again, Doc Jensen from Entertainment Weekly had an exhaustive take on the whole thing, but one of his insights I found so piercing was that the lighthouse wasn’t for looking out – it was there specifically for looking in. It made me think that when we are going through our most difficult times, when we aren’t our best selves and we’ve lost our way, like we always do, in that rocky sea inside, being able to look at yourself, LOOK! Don’t look away, no matter what it is you see. Stop and look at yourself honestly and nakedly. It may hurt, and you may want to smash that mirror, but this is the only way to heal, and maybe move forward.
 
Jack wasn’t angry about being spied upon. He was angry because he looked in that mirror and saw his childhood home. He saw that JACOB SAW Jack’s been locked in that space in his life for so long. He was still that stressed little boy scared of the man whose approval he so desperately sought. He smashed those mirrors because he recognized all the fear and anger he’d held onto – all the growth-stunting turned into false bravado. He raged at himself for not letting go. And just as he did that, the other Jack was able to move past viewing himself as a “broken” son and finally begin the journey of being a dad.
 
Jack’s been reborn, folks. And in light of this (pun intended, and not), I can safely say that these timelines aren’t serving as a comparison. The emotional catharsis taking place in one is directly influencing the other. We aren’t watching two Jacks – it’s still one soul, temporarily split apart, for whatever greater purpose is out there. Now, is that not cool storytelling, or what?
 
The other cool fringe benefit to this? I’m telling you, I just don’t believe Locke is all dead yet. Because half of Locke is in a wheelchair, learning to live the life he has, and being in love with Helen, he is influencing Smokey in ways that Smokey doesn’t yet understand.
 
We’ve got rebirth. Now it’s almost time for some resurrection.
 
 
ONE MORE HINT FROM THE WIZARDS OF OUR OZ
 
In another recent interview/torture/tease, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof told us that we would learn specifically what the island truly is in mid-season episode (my take: likely to be the episode centered our ageless Maybelline man Alpert).
 
In a concerted effort to drive me even more nuts, they said that it’s a four-letter word that has no ‘A’ or ‘E’ in it. Well, it may not be Hell, but when I get clues like this, it sure feels like Hell to me.
 
Perusing the net, the dominating names/theories seem to be:
· Ship (oh man, I hope not. I don’t want Aliens to be thrown into the mix).
· Brig – like the brig of a ship. More intriguing, but still kinda lame.
· Gift
· Door (ah, now we’re getting a little more interesting)
· Tomb
· Lost – Yes, it’s possible that the island is what’s lost, and it’s using our players to find its’ way back home. But does that also make it a ship?…
· Cork, or Plug – now this I like. In the 6th Season Promotional Posters, there was all sorts of symbiology thrown at us, some of which has already appeared on the show (i.e. Hurley’s Ankh from the guitar case). One symbol that appeared in the poster that hasn’t (heh heh) ‘POPPED’ up yet is a champagne bottle with a shooting cork. Might the island need a new Jacob because it’s preventing something from leaking out? A Black Hole, another electro-magnetic explosion, demons from hell? Or is it the metaphor of the island, of redemption, hope and inner growth that is holding back the bad things inside of us?
 
Thanks again for reading, and watching.