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.

"Lost" in Translation – Child is the Father to the Man

Mama said knock you out!

Talk about feeling lost: parents never really know what’s going on with, or what they’ve done to, their own kids until it’s too late to do anything about it. I just listened to a song by Okkervil River, “Savannah Smiles,” that captures the feeling. Tune is “Savannah Smiles,” the narrator a divorced dad contemplating what he’d just learned by (accidentally) reading a page of his teenaged daughter’s diary. In that moment he realizes he can’t reconcile the smiling photos he keeps on his wall with the feelings she records by hand.

“Is she someone I don’t know at all? Is she someone I betrayed?”

So back to “Lost,” and another haunting episode describing the emotional discord haunting its characters: the disconnections between parents and children; the terrors of a failed parent; the scars borne by lost and confused children. Particularly when they become parents themselves, and realize how their wounds now define the unhappy relationships they have formed with their own children.

“Just cannot believe, could do that to a child,” the song continues, far beyond the point where feelings trump words. “A child, a child.”

It’s easy to forget how crucial the emotional side of the saga has been; how easy it is to get so caught up in the action we barely notice how we keep coming back to these particular headwaters. It’s the one undertow that never, ever loses its grip.

“Lighthouse” was a Jack-centric episode, toggling between Island Jack in 2007 and alterna-Jack in Los Angeles, 2004. Island Jack, we recall, lives in a jungle of his father’s creation. We’ve always known how fraught/broken the relationship between Christian and Jack Shephard has been. It is Jack’s most primal experience: of loving and fearing his dad; the tangled strands of admiration and resentment; the love and the hatred; the need to be nurtured, and to destroy. Jack was bringing his (alcoholic) dad’s body home from Australia when he stepped onto Oceanic #815, and when the plane crashed the impact seemed to revive Christian’s soul: He kept reappearing, silently, only to lead Jack further into the depths of a literal/figurative jungle that presented far more questions than answers.

As the series continued it seemed that Christian had some connection to Jacob. He appeared in Jacob’s stead. He delivered (or claimed to deliver) Jacob’s instructions. But now that Jacob has stepped in himself, in both real and spectral forms, the connections between the Island’s Good Father and Jack’s bad daddy have grown murkier. Is there a reason why Christian and Jacob have never been seen together? And if the Man in Black has the power to animate the bodies of the dead, doesn’t it make sense that Jacob would, too? Has he been walking in Christian’s burial suit for all these years?

What seems clear now is that Jacob plays the role of Father of Fathers. From his perch on the Island – and in that groovy, previously-unseen lighthouse – he has been keeping track of his charges, monitoring their lives and stepping in when it seems they need a gentle push to keep them moving in the right direction.

Jacob’s vision of a right direction, anyway, which opens up an interesting can of worms: For all his clear-eyed, seemingly warm-hearted affection for the Losties, has Jacob’s presence enriched their lives, or simply made them much, much worse?

Consider that alterna-Jack in L.A. – the Jack who never went to the island and seems untouched by Jacob’s presence – is actively breaking the cycles of dysfunction that “broke” him (as the other Jack tells Hurley on the island). So while his relationship with his own teenaged son (who didn’t even exist until now) bears the marks of his own disconnection from Christian, Jack is growing and changing on his own. He comes to terms with his own feelings for his dad, admits his failings as a father and these revelations lead him to reconnect with his own son.

We’ve seen this again and again in the alterna-Losties in Los Angeles: From Locke to Hurley and now to Jack, the bonds between fathers and sons seem far more functional than it is in their island alter-egos. And now that Jacob presents himself as a kind of father-in-general. . . . God the father. . . what are we to make of how screwed up the Jacob-influenced Losties are? Why are the Jacob-free characters so much more able to control, and find satisfaction, in their lives?

Back on Jacob’s island virtually every paternal/maternal relationship is a disaster. Most vivid case in point: Crazy jungle Claire and her insane pursuit for Aaron, who she saw last when she abandoned him on a log and wandered off into the jungle, presumably in the grip of the Man in Black, or some other wicked force. Now she’s basically Rousseau 2.0, wild-eyed and dangerous, stalking the jungle for a lost child. She has no idea where the kid is, but her free-wheeling desperation to reconnect has turned her psychotic. She’ll kill any and everyone she encounters, always in the name of her lost child, but actually because her maternal instincts have been subsumed, and poisoned, by the island’s darker forces.

So is the dark force the Man in Black, or is Jacob fostering the darkness too? Consider how he manipulates Hurley into leading Jack to the lighthouse, seemingly to help guide someone else to the island. Only, when Jack realizes that the lighthouse is actually Jacob’s monitoring station – that the mirrors are what have given Jacob the power to see into their lives – he smashes the whole works to smithereens. A fact Jacob takes with surprising aplomb. In fact, it was the plan all along:

“It’s the only way for him to understand how important he is,” Jacob tells Hurley. “Jack is here to do something. He can’t be told what it is, he has to find it himself.”

This is Jacob’s version of paternal guidance. Whether his lighthouse is leading him – and everyone else – to a safe harbor or onto the rocks still isn’t clear.

"Lost" – It's all an allusion

Is this gonna be on the test?

By PETER AMES CARLIN and NICK GORINI

So a month into the final season we’re still made to wonder: What is “Lost” really about? Is it a show about philosophy? Is it a vast analogy about the wages and moral toll of imperialism? Or is it all, somehow, about the polar bear?

So many ideas, so many direct quotations, so many books turning up everywhere you look. But a lot of that stuff is pure Maguffin; a graduate school of red herrings.

So we here at PAC.com’s “Lost” central – including our shadowy leader, Guru Dev Nick Gorini, lit the candles and fired up the incense, took a dunk in the hot tub of wisdom and attained clarity. What follows are the REAL moral/intellectual/narrative headwaters of “Lost.”

THEORY THE FIRST: “LOST” IS A METAPHOR FOR RISE AND FALL OF THE BEATLES

John Lennon is the Man in Black: A little bitter, more than a little sardonic, determined to escape the bonds of the utopia he helped create (to say nothing of the wide-eyed fans who reside there), he’s possessed of an explosive temper and, when you least expect it, deep sensitivity. When the MiB told Sawyer that Jacob and the other Island cultists were killing one another over nothing he was really saying: “Imagine there’s no countries/it isn’t hard to do/Nothing to kill or die for/And no religion, too. . . “

Paul McCartney is Jacob: Handsome, charming, a trifle melancholy, deeply in love with his own illusion. Jacob/Paul is more than a little manipulative and never shy about picking a fight. Many people believe he’s dead, though his regular appearances – often looking far younger than you’d expect – argue against it. Convinced that ebony and ivory can live together in perfect harmony, but there sure are a lot of names scratched off his cave ceiling. . .

George Harrison is Sayid: Meditative, eastern, suffered at least one near-fatal attack before actually getting killed. Reincarnation important to both. George didn’t seem to return from the Other Side as quickly as Sayid. . . but something in the way he moves just might remind you of another lover.

Ringo Starr is Hurley
: The perpetual baby brother, mostly adorable and funny, but a surprisingly capable hit-maker. See also: “It Don’t Come Easy,” which Hurley discovered all too clearly when his lottery winnings seemed to spell nothing but doom. Later turns out to be far more intelligent and better-adjusted than anyone expected.

Stu Sutcliffe is Charlie: Artsy, sensitive, troubled, not quite able to stick with the band. Doomed to die young, but given immortality in the name of his legacy and the spiritual impact he had on those who would go on to greatar glory.

Pete Best is Ben: The very foundation of the rock-and-rhythm, the drummer is always a group’s secret leader. Until the group calls for a new drummer. Now Ben is in his own spiritual Liverpool, sentenced to a life of woulda, coulda, shouldas.

Yoko Ono is Kate: Beguiling, not always friendly, perfectly capable, and willing, to kick anyone’s ass at any moment. Just when she seems charming – that’s when you should be afraid. Very afraid.

Linda McCartney is Juliet: Blonde, smart, no evident musical ability, but a natural-born matriarch. Dies tragically young, leaving behind a shattered partner who rebounds quickly into another, extremely ill-considered new partnership.

Brian Epstein is Locke: A man of faith whose reach often exceeded his grasp. And yet his spirit was pure, his belief in his cause unwavering, and his success so astonishing as to be inarguable.  All this despite being shockingly ill-equipped for his role, and more afraid than anyone would guess. Died young under conditions so murky no one can say for sure if he committed suicide, died accidentally or was murdered.

Allen Klein is Charles Widmore: Shadowy, scary, will do anything and kill anyone in order to get what he wants. But even when he wins the battle, he always seems to lose the war.

THEORY THE SECOND: “LOST” IS A METAPHOR FOR THE GW BUSH WAR TEAM: 

After a cataclysmic event, a group of empowered surviviors gathers together to fight back, survive, solve life’s greater mysteries, and tackle the essential question of man’s nature. Was it fate or free will that led us into war? Both groups are/were lost in many ways. Let’s briefly break down some of the key players:

George Bush is Locke: After a life riddled with failure and endless daddy issues, finds himself in a position of great power. A man driven by faith who doesn’t spend much time using logic or thought to make decisions, the power goes to his head. Like Locke, Bush’s reputation is deader than a crab-riddled corpse.

Dick Cheney is Jack: The REAL power broker in the group, almost too coldly analytical, and unwilling to listen to anyone, even when the truth is staring him in the face. Convinced he can fix anything, and that anyone who doesn’t understand what he’s doing or where he’s coming from, he rarely tells anyone in the group what his motivations are. The only difference between Jack and Dick? Jack has a heart.

Saddam Hussein is Ben: Am I telling truth? Am I lying? Am I your ally? Am I your enemy? Sure, I do awful things, but you understand, it’s for good reasons. I may be a tyrant, but I provide you some stability. I sure love all this power. Oh, wait – are you getting sick of this game yet? Sorry, I’ll tell you truth about everything! Wait! Wait! Damn, too late. I’ve lost all my power…

Donald Rumsfeld is Smokey: More than ready to head to war, nearly salivates over it. He just wants to go home, if home means a world where Capitalist-based Christianity reigns in every nation. He’ll do anything to get home. He’s tired of the game of balanced diplomacy. A war needs to happen, and there has to be one winner.

Colin Powell is Jacob: Strong and reserved, a peaceful warrior, if you will. He tries to guide the group towards what is good, but ultimately, he is not in a position to affect choice. He can only show them ‘The Way’. Like Jacob, he can never go outright and just say what he wants. And like Jacob, he ends being symbolically sacrificed (his political career, that is).

Condoleeza Rice is Kate: Strong, smart, sexy and easily influences the men in her group. She isn’t above compromising some of her evident morals for people she loves, she’s torn between bad guys and good guys. Can she/we even tell the difference anymore?
George Tenet is Sayid: Both like to torture people, ALLEGEDLY, and are decidedly good at it. Can they elevate their morality and use their power for good? Doubtful…

John Ashcroft is Jin and Sun: Essentially good, but surrounded by a lot of destructive ideas, and an old-world view that limits personal growth. Resistant to change, but not incapable of it. C’mon, John – Let the Eagle Soar!


Ari Fleischer is Sawyer
: Strong, charming and sharp-tongued, he can speak for the group on many levels, and people really, really like him, even when he says or does some really dumb things.

"Mad Men" Season Finale: Busy Being Born

In the end there’s always hope. And Greenwich Village.

So as we end this season of “Mad Men,” just weeks after the assasination of JFK and, by extension, the ceremonial end of the way it all used to be, the horizon has once again flown open.

But first, let’s take a listen to the “Mad Men” theme song. Have we ever talked about it? About how sleek and timeless it sounds, how that vaguely hip-hop rhythm, the fretful strings and heart-like pulse, describes an essence that has precisely nothing, and yet everything, about the show’s time and place? In all this talk about eras being evoked, about the verisimmilitude of this and the perfect evocation of that, it’s easy to forget that the first sound we hear each week in the sequence designed to propel us into “Mad Men”s imaginary world has no time-and-space trappings whatsoever. It just is, like the thrum of electricity in your nerves, the relentless need wired into your brain, the appetite for something more, something else, something beyond the here and now.

Consider this for a moment. The show’s about to begin.

Sterling, Cooper has collapsed into itself, only to be reborn. Betty left Don for the old-world life of Henry Francis and mid-century-style Republican gentry, while the Draper kids find themselves the very model of the modern chid: the products of a broken home. And while some old relationships shatter, Don emerges into his future with a brand new sense of what relationships mean, and why they’re so desperately important.

It hits him like a bolt from the blue. Like a kick in the head. From a horse.

And while the episode overflowed with plot and the interplay between character development and the churn of core mythology, the real story came straight from the series’ conceptual foundation: the philosophical bedrock of America and Americans, and “Mad Men””s (thus Matt Weiner’s) core belief of what propels his characters, and the real-world analogues who gather each week to watch the show, from here to there, from there to somewhere else, and on and on into the unimaginable future.

So everyone’s making a break. Betty from Don; Connie from Don, PP & L from Sterling, Cooper (and Lane Pryce), virtually every major player at Sterling, Cooper from the Frankensteinian beast they let the firm become. Meanwhile Don broke from his pretend father (Connie), then from his fake bond to Sterling, Cooper (his contract) and (most importantly) the example of his real father, Archie Whitman.

Archie, as we see in flashbacks, had no interest in human relationships. When his farmer’s co-op can’t land the right price for his wheat he tosses his neighbors out of his kitchen and vows to go it alone. Only, as the recollection unfolds, we see precisely where this leads him: to a drunken decision to sell his crop on his own, an impulsive decision to make a midnight ride to the market in Chicago and then, to the horror of his young son, a brutal death at the hooves of a spooked horse in the barn.

It’s a lightning bolt  that spooks the horse. And while literary types will never mistake the sound of God’s own voice, it takes Don three decades and a huge personal crisis to hear it for himself. And as his own adult life falls to ruin, he finally understands that his future can’t be predicated on midnight rides into the darkness. Significantly, he hears it in a chorus from Peggy, the child figure who has finally had enough of his emotional distance/cruelty, and from Roger, the older brother he has spent the last year finding reasons to hate: Don, they both tell him, has no respect for human relationships.

Finally, Don hears them. And his answer is as certain as it is paradoxical: the only way they can all find their individual futures is to destroy their bond — to leave Sterling, Cooper — and build it over again.

They have to steal their past in order to move into the future, but this process goes much more smoothly than expected and by the end of the hour they’re back on the launching pad: Perched in temporary digs in a hotel room, minus desks, phones or trappings of any sort, but eqiupped with the real tools of their trade: intelligence, imagination, the spirit to re-imagine, rebrand and re-launch. Sterling, Cooper 2.0.

After so many dark hours this season it’s both surprising and gratifying to see how warm and hopeful the show’s true essence seems to be. Beneath the chilly electronic thrum of that song the machine-like rhythm is the sound of a human heart. Relentless, driving and warm.