Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Snuffy and Oliver Bring This Little Miss Sunshine

I liked last night's episode of LOST so much I watched it twice. It seems they can't go wrong with the Locke, Charlie and Hurley episodes. Or maybe I'm just prejudiced, since they're my three favorite characters. Anyway, despite the ominous title, Tricia Tanaka is Dead, which I happened upon several times on IMDB, this was mostly a happy episode, especially in the present. Hurley is just such a breath of fresh air; there's such a purity to him, and it has a cleansing effect on me every time I see him, the same effect I get whenever I watch Forrest Gump (which I just did a few days ago, and it improved my mood immensely, and wasn't the gorgeously eloquent scene with Hurley at Libby's grave just like the next-to-last scene of that movie?). We got just as much of Hurley here as we did of Desmond the other week; it can't help but make me giddy.
Hurley is cursed. It's a shame, for sure; he's probably the most fundamentally decent guy on the show, yet death and disaster follow him wherever he goes. (I love how after he said that, Vincent showed up with the skeletal arm in his mouth; how's that for timing? And hooray for Vincent having a significant role. He set off the events of the entire episode, and though he didn't contribute much after that, his general aura of contentment added to this episode's light feel.) Charlie is cursed, too, and it's great how Hurley snaps him out of his stupor so the two of them can cheat fate together. It's doubly dangerous for Charlie; he's supposedly doomed to begin with, and people in close proximity to Hurley have a habit of dropping dead. And the task Hurley has in mind would be life-threatening for even the luckiest of folks. It's like all that bad mojo cancels itself out.
I was right about Charlie shaving. They even showed it. It's still not so clear why... Did he want a clean slate, like Hurley's dad and Kate? ("You call it Little House?" Ha! One of my favorite Kate and Sawyer exchanges ever. And it's funny because I just had a Little House marathon at my grandma's... Anyway, just the idea that this bad boy is intimately, apparently even affectionately, acquainted with such a wholesome, sappy show is just so... sweet. And maybe all that pioneer spirit rubbed off and came in handy for his experience on the island.) Anyway, is it a physical embodiment of Charlie's reformation? Is it, as I suggested after last week, his way of disguising himself so the Black Hand of Fate won't recognize him? Or did he just feel like shaving? Where'd he dig up the razor? He looks so baby-faced without the scruffy stubble...
Kate got on my nerves in this episode. She's so testy. She's furious with Sawyer; I'm not sure if he's supposed to apologize for leaving Jack, or letting Karl go, or just generally being snarky. She sounds like she's spitting nails every time she calls him "James". And how could she not ask Locke and Sayid for help? They're the obvious choices, though Locke seems to have become the leader in Jack's absence, so the Beachies could be up a creek without him... Going to Danielle did make sense, though. You know she and Alex have to reunite eventually. It needs to happen...
Sawyer, on the other hand, I found delightful. Yeah, he goes into the tirade about having his stuff nicked, but it's short-lived. I love him calling Charlie "Oliver Twist," but if that's so, Sawyer is the Artful Dodger. "Munchkin" is a stretch, I think; gosh, Charlie's not that puny! It's not Merry we're talking about here... And "Jiminy Cricket" is just silly, especially considering Jiminy's role as Conscience, which Charlie certainly isn't too qualified for. Hurley got even more nicknames: Snuffy (ha!), Jumbotron, S.A. (which Rachel had to explain to me), International House of Pancakes (har-har...). Even the corpse wasn't safe from Sawyer barbs.
Not that Skeletor is a particularly original name for a skeleton. I'm glad for the re-naming, though, since it led to Hurley's wonderful defense of Roger as a person deserving of respect with others who cared about him (note, he mentioned Roger having a mom, but not a dad...). Anyway, that's one of my favorite things about Hurley; he truly seems to value every person, even if he doesn't know anything about them. His spontaneous joyful outburst and bear hug when he saw Sawyer was so moving, and it stripped Sawyer of his sting. He made sarcastic remarks after that, but he just couldn't be mean-spirited in the face of such abundant goodwill.
His tutoring of Jin was classy and hilarious, and it reinforced the connection that developed between the two of them toward the end of the first season and beginning of the second. Jin's reluctance to learn English is largely a matter of pride; I imagine it's especially hard for him to accept lessons from his wife knowing that she learned the language behind his back and concealed her knowledge for such a long time. But he's paying attention, so I think he understands more English than might be apparent, and he's so glad to see Sawyer again that he's more agreeable and eager than usual. Just the sight of him coaxes Jin to reach into the recesses of his past English lessons to bid him welcome, provoking Sawyer's impressed and touched, "Well, look who's Hooked on Phonics!" It becomes a fun, masculine bonding experience, learning to say "beer," "car" and the only three things you ever need to say to a woman...
Not enough Desmond, but his apology for the scotch and Sawyer's indignant reaction were great. He hangs back from the joyous reunion, which makes sense given his reclusive personality and the fact that most of his interaction with the Beachies occurred after Kate and Sawyer's departure. Too much Paulo and Nikki, and they were only there for a couple minutes. What was with him yanking her back by her belt straps so she wouldn't go with Hurley? Ew... There seemed to be a lot of random castaways when those two returned, but not a sign of Bernard and Rose. Where'd they go? Did a chunk of the hatch land on them and someone forgot to tell us? Jeepers. Can't they just show them for a minute so we know they're okay?
Hurley's mom is a trip. She's such a comical woman, and obviously she cares a lot about her son, but I don't think she ultimately is of much help to him and is more likely to make things worse with her meddling. Her brand of religion is interesting, made up of gaudy ornaments and practicality. I can understand her dismissal of Hurley's bad luck, but even she ought to be able to see that winning this ticket has brought nothing but misfortune. (A meteor striking the restaurant?? I thought I was back in Smallville! And boy, does Hurley give a lousy interview...) His discomfort with her renewed relationship with his father evokes sympathy but many laughs. I love how she covers the ears of her gold Jesus statue when she confesses her "needs" regarding Papa Reyes, and Hurley's horrified reaction to the acknowledgment.
Why must Hurley have a deadbeat dad? What does LOST have against dads? Jack, Kate, Locke, Sawyer, Charlie, Penny, Walt... Enough already! Granted, Michael's absenteeism was mostly not his fault, and he tried to make up for it, though he wreaked major havoc in the process. And Kate's adoptive father was all right, and Jin's seemed like a good guy; if anything, Jin failed him by being embarrassed of his upbringing. But positive father-child moments sure get a lot less attention than all the sordid messes in everyone's pasts. Hurley's dad was a jerk, but I was hoping for some degree of reparation between them, if only because Hurley doesn't seem one to hang onto a grudge for too long. I'm satisfied with their parting; with 17 years of disappointment behind him, Hurley doesn't have to welcome Pop with open arms, especially since, initially anyway, his presence was mostly about trying to take advantage of his son's newfound fortune. He didn't listen to his father's advice, but he didn't close the door on him entirely either.
Finding the VW bus is Hurley's way of undoing the streak of misery that started with the car that he failed to fix with his father long ago. (And how cute was Li'l Hurley? Mom didn't think he was a good match; he may have been a little dark, but those eyes, and his gentle facial expressions... Dead on. And his slim figure just showed that the current state of his weight is because his dad said he should go ahead and gorge on candy, or because he ate through the grief of his dad's departure... Either way, Dad's to blame...) By turning that key and starting the car, he was finally finishing the task his dad left him with. It was a symbolic gesture. And an excuse for a blatant Little Miss Sunshine nod with some very tense moments followed by sheer exhilaration.
I have more to say, I know it, but I think I'll stop here and just say, "Way to go, Hurley." I revel in his triumph, this victory that is at once so small and monumental. And who knows? That bus might just wind up coming in handy. For now, it's enough that it brought Charlie and Hurley release. Probably didn't quite break the curse, but it's a start. I love character-driven episodes like this. And I'm glad no one died; I had a brief sinking feeling it would be Jin, since Sawyer's untouchable, Charlie would almost certainly be too obvious at this point, and Hurley's curse seems to stipulate that he himself is safe. I hope that's true. Charlie's death would nearly do me in. Hurley's might just put the nail in the coffin.
I'm being overdramatic, of course, but gosh do I love those two. Sure is nice to get back to the beach. I don't suppose we'll see much of them next week; the ending (which felt tacked-on to me) was meant to indicate where things are headed next. Probably downhill. But at least we'll probably be learning a thing or two...
In summary and in conclusion, you go, Hugo! Hurley rocks my world!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"He Walks Among Us, Yet He Is Not One of Us..."

A day may come when I will blog, ever so belatedly, about American Idol. But this is not that day. My time is short, and I have more important things to discuss.
Does it make me a bad person if I'm less engaged when the show is about Jack? I mean, now that we're at the point when it being about Jack most likely means it's not about anyone else... We still got Sawyer and Kate in this episode, and that was fun, though it's rather sad to see their relationship turn sour so quickly, much as I enjoy their verbal sparring. But then theirs must of necessity be a rocky romance, with two such forceful, tormented powers at play. While I admire Kate's spirit, I think in this case Sawyer is right to hold back on saving Jack. They need reinforcements. They need Locke. (And Ben needs Jack...)

But I'll get to them later. To Jack, because he's definitely the main focus of the episode. The flashback was weird. It took me until about two-thirds in to really connect with the action there. Unless I missed an offhand reference, either in this episode or in some show long ago, there doesn't seem to be any kind of a time stamp on this flashback, which makes it harder to put into context. We have no idea where this fits into Jack's timeline or even why he's in this remote community, though I'm guessing it's some sort of Peace Corps-like position, except that he doesn't seem to be there with anyone else.

The tattoo stuff was interesting, but it made me frustrated again at Jack's stubbornness. Why was it so important to him to have her give him the tattoo? He didn't even know what she was up to before; now he suddenly needs to be in on this secret of hers in a very physical way. When he practically forced her hand, it seemed to me to show considerable disrespect for her people's customs and culture. If she says this is only for them, maybe he should listen.

She tells him one thing and makes the tattoo say another. Well, not exactly another; the two statements are complementary. Still, what she speaks is for Jack's benefit, while what she writes is what must be written, the undeniable truth. The irony: Jack is the Other. In one sense it means he is set apart because he is such a born leader; he's marked for greatness whether he wants it or not. But it foreshadows his current position with the Others. Now he is the odd one out, the only one in their company who has not been assimilated to any degree. How long can he resist? Juliet is marked too, for different but ultimately comparable reasons. She is an outcast. Now she and Jack must help each other. And their position is so vulnerable, she might just prove herself worthy of his trust, simply because without him she is totally unprotected. And because he saved her life.

Jack saved two lives today: Juliet's and Ben's. Maybe neither counts; he only saved Ben to the extent that he agreed not to withhold treatment if he would release Juliet, and Juliet was only in danger of being executed because of his threats against Ben the first time around, which ultimately led to the deadly confrontation on the beach. I admit I felt a little stab to my heart when Ben said, "We had an excellent surgeon. His name was Ethan." Ethan was, of course, a cold-blooded killer, but he also had the capacity to save people. And he seemed like such a nice guy when he wasn't attacking Charlie, Claire and Scott (or was it Steve?).
Tom. Let's talk about him, because he's still my favorite Other aside from Ben (who I've finally decided to call Ben rather than Henry, though I'm half-tempted now to switch to Captain Bunny-Killer). Half the show he seemed pretty congenial; the other half he was rather aggressive. He just about blew a gasket when Jack showed up at the hearing. I like the moment early in the episode when he asks Jack in a wounded tone, "What kind of people do you think we are?" And I really think Tom doesn't see their way of life as uncivilized, though I think he sometimes disagrees with the methods of some of his fellow Others. (What do they call themselves? Anything other than "the good guys"?) He raises a good point, and what this show is really becoming about more than anything: "You're in a glass house, Jack; how 'bout I give you some stones?" Jack's people have done some pretty unsavory things too. They seem to have much purer motivations than the Others; they seem to be better people; but we just don't know enough about these people to condemn them. We've entered the season of penitence with Ash Wednesday. Time for castaways and Others alike to do some genuine reflecting on their sins and what they might do to make amends...

That Isabella... Creepy. Kinda like the jewelry lady with Dezzy. She weirds me out. We didn't get much time with Cindy and the kids, certainly not enough to get any indication of how they've been spending their time since their abduction. They seem unharmed, though. Alex appears to be a nice gal, though she seems pretty mad at Jack for saving her father, which is a shame. Why must everyone on this show have daddy issues? I like Karl. Poor pathetic guy. I think he and Sawyer will probably have more to do with each other. It was sweet to see him being all mentorly, though of course he denied any tenderness toward Karl to Kate. But Sawyer cares. He wants to help this kid. I think he will. I loved the shot at the end of Karl star-gazing, and it panning across the sky and landing on Alex, doing the same thing. As Libbie astutely pointed out, very Somewhere Out There.

Poor Ben. He really was a mess tonight. His back... icky. But he's still got his sense of humor, even as he's muttering under the weight of all that discomfort. He and Jack are such fun to observe in conversation. I noticed the resigned way he banged his head against the pillow when he saw the hateful glance Alex shot him from the doorway. Ben loves his daughter, even if that's the only person he loves, even if she doesn't love him back. It's something. And I thought it was sweet when they were shipping out that Tom was standing there holding an umbrella over him. Maybe Ben ordered it, but it strikes me more as something Tom would have thought of on his own, out of consideration. Why am I so determined to like this guy? I'm almost getting a Sam vibe from him - though the real Sam status goes to Hurley, who's back with a vengeance next week, to my delight.

Boy, was Sawyer a pistol in this episode. I should've kept a count, but he must've spouted off at least half a dozen nicknames, which is impressive since we couldn't have seen him for more than a third of the episode. Probably more like a quarter. The aforementioned nickname for Ben took the cake for me, but I also dug Bobby (Brady). Karl quoted that "God loves you, as he loved Jacob" thing that we saw flashed on the screen, so it really must be important. Who is Jacob?

Sawyer has Kate pegged. She's feeling guilty for essentially choosing Sawyer over Jack, though at the time she thought it was probably Sawyer's last night alive so there was a certain lack of commitment attached to it. Certainly she hoped to save him, but at that point it seemed she was out of options. Now she has survivor's guilt and guilt over jilting Jack by default. She "cheated" on him - though they weren't technically in a relationship - and then didn't even save his life. It's a lot to juggle with. Seems the pendulum is already swinging toward Jack and Kate again. (Don't kiss him, Kate! He's your brother! And Ben is your father!!) Oh dear. The hour of loopiness has arrived.

I'm sure I haven't said all I want to about this episode, but I have to get up early, so I'll wrap things up. Thoughts about next week's episode... Is it just me, or did Charlie shave? Is he thinking a new look will put him off the Universe's radar? (Universe: Darn it, I was gonna kill Charlie today, but I just couldn't find him anywhere. Say, who is that hottie with the freshly shaved face? And where did he get a razor?) Anyway, the more important tidbit is this: Vincent! Boy, I missed you, buddy. And it looks like our favorite four-legged cast member will play a key role in this episode, too. Can Walt's dog help make up for Michael's indiscretions? Hmmmm... Sounds kinda scapegoatish. Don't want that. But the point is, I'm glad to see Vincent. Now if we could just get a word or two indicating that Rose and Bernard still exist...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The LOST Murderers...

So I've been thinking a lot about all the people on the island who happen to be responsible for someone else's death. The number is high. One point of the show seems to be that nobody is perfect, with the complementary point that nobody is beyond redemption. Most of the people have done horrible things, some for better reasons than others. I think it's unfair to paint the Others as such villains when we don't know most of their story, yet we do know so much of the vices of the survivors. Ultimately the island is freaky enough on its own that everybody, regardless of their background, should be helping each other to survive it. As was pretty much the case is season one. The arrival of the Others shot that all to sunshine...
Anyway, here, just for the sake of wrapping my head around it, is a list of survivors and their apparent culpability. I'm sure I'll miss something, and I don't really know the purpose of this exercise, but indulge me. In no particular order...
Kate - Murdered her father by setting her house on fire. Motivation: Protecting her mother from his abuse. Unintentionally got her childhood sweetheart killed by involving him in her plans and refusing to comply with the cops who were chasing her. Her restless spirit gets her into trouble, but she's done a lot on the island to make amends, always helping people and rarely initiating harm.
Jack - He hasn't been able to save every patient on his operating table. No surgeon can, but I imagine it weighs on him; he finds it especially difficult to lose a patient. Also, good intentions mixed with a lack of faith in Boone led Jack to rescue him when he didn't need it, probably leading to the girl's drowning, and I'm pretty sure there are more instances as well. All completely indirect; despite his threats toward Ben, I'm not sure Jack is capable of willfully causing someone's death, aside from the Marshall, whose life he ended early out of a sense of compassion, and very reluctantly at that. His pride has deadly consequences on this island, but the survivors owe a great deal to his surgical and leadership skills; Charlie, among others, owes him his life.
Sawyer - He killed the guy who turned out not to be the real Sawyer at all. Way to go, Daddy Shepard. This guy seemed pretty decent too, more a victim than a villain, and I think Sawyer is even more haunted, having conversed with him. It was like Joseph setting out to kill Mr. Christie in Far and Away and finding, most frustratingly, that he liked the guy. Point: It's a lot harder to kill someone once you've gotten to know them. Most of the intentional killings have happened in a flash, before there was time to think. Sawyer thought. He made the wrong choice. He also killed a polar bear, but since this presumably saved several lives, or at least limbs, I'm inclined to overlook it. He tried to put the Marshall out of his misery but only made things worse; this was actually a considerate action on some level, though I don't think it was his place to take matters into his own hands. And he did kill that random Other. Sawyer is brash and aggressive, and he needs to check his temper. I'm a little surprised he hasn't wreaked more havoc on the island than he has. But of all the castaways, he was one of the most in need of redemption at the time of the crash, and mostly it seems he's been climbing toward a clearer conscience, though he does backslide now and then.
Sayid - Came close to killing several people, including Ben, with his torture. Probably feels responsible for his friend's death by suicide bomb, and perhaps for Shannon's death as well, thinking that if he had believed her in the first place things might have turned out differently. Her death happened so quickly, though, he was completely helpless to stop it. Sayid has a lot to answer for, but he usually stops short of killing, and he feels great remorse for his torture.
Jin - He, too, has inflicted great physical pain on others but as far as we know hasn't actually killed anyone, though it at first appeared as though he had. Failing to kill the people Sun's father orders dead takes integrity and courage; Jin hasn't the strength to defy him completely, but our resect for him goes way up when we realize what he was up against.
Sun - She's interesting, because while Jin becomes more sympathetic as the show progresses, she becomes less. Partly because Jin comes across as so harsh in the beginning, and because she is so sweet-natured. But partly because when it comes down to it she is more capable of murder than her husband, who agonizes over what he's been told is his duty and ultimately makes the right call. Sun bears considerable responsibility in her boyfriend's death, since it was her decision to commit adultery that put this guy on her father's radar. She does feel guilty about cheating on her husband, however, and presumably it's the thought that Jin has been killed that fuels her self-preserving rage in killing Colleen. Still, that caught me way off-guard, and I hope she at least feels badly about it afterwards.
Charlie - He kills Ethan in cold blood when there are clearly enough people in Jack's party to subdue him. This is understandable since this guy tried to kill him and abducted Claire, and protecting Claire from any possibility of future abduction seems to be his aim. Never mind that he's not the only Other, and that questioning him and getting information might ultimately have proved more beneficial. Charlie's a hot-head, and while his motivations are usually somewhat altruistic, he's done some really crummy stuff. He could have wiped out half the island when he set that fire; luckily, no one was injured as a result. Moreover, there was nothing pure in his motives for abducting Sun. While I don't consider this an unforgiveable offense, especially since he had no intention of inflicting any real lasting harm on her, it was a dirty trick, and getting even with Locke certainly wasn't sufficient reason for doing it. Charlie's still got a lot of growing up to do.
Claire - As far as I can tell, she hasn't done anything so far that has endangered any lives. Her role on the island seems to be almost a Marian one, this virtuous young woman responsible for raising an extraordinary child, though we know her to not only be not particularly religious, but to look askance at religious devotion in others. We know her to have a saintly soul, if the psychic's words and our own impressions are to be believed. Aside from putting together the memorial for the fallen passengers, her contributions on the island have been minimal, but her purpose seems to lie in the raising of this baby. We may yet learn more about Claire that casts her in a more unfavorable light, but so far she doesn't have a great deal to feel guilty about.
Hurley - Poor guy. He's cursed. He feels responsible for the deaths of the people on that porch, and probably for his grandfather's death as well, since it was the first in a string of unlucky events that followed his winning the lottery. His forgetfulness directly results in Libby's being in the hatch at the same time as Michael, so perhaps more than in the other cases, he does bear responsibility for Libby's death, but only to the extent that he will feel guilty about that too. It was just colossally bad timing that led to Libby's death. He even unwittingly leads Sawyer to the frog and is distressed when Sawyer kills it. Bad things seem to happen all around Hurley, but all he ever wants is the best for everyone. His pacifism and consideration make him beloved by all on the island. I can't see that he has much to truly repent of; if anything, it seems that his tenure on the island may teach him to stop blaming himself for everything that goes wrong. It's very telling that when he finds out what Michael did, he doesn't try to kill him or even beat him up. His response to his circumstances is admirable, and if everyone followed his lead, there would probably be a lot less turmoil on the island.
John - He killed a boar or two. Murderer! No, I won't hold that against him. John's our Davy Crockett, the wild frontiersman once he's given the chance to be. He hasn't killed any people intentionally either; I was relieved to see him spare the young cop who shattered the only sense of family he'd ever known by betraying John's trust. However, he must be implicated in Boone's death; his statements that the island demanded a sacrifice cast him in an even worse light because it seems he knew he was leading Boone toward certain death. Oh, he was upset when the plane fell, and I think he's beaten himself up about it a lot, but his sometimes twisted spirituality has led to problems. His obsession with the hatch can also be considered a major factor in Arzt's death, since he was so eager to blow that sucker open, while his desire to see the best in people led him to ill-advisedly arm Michael. Of all the characters, Locke seems to have the deepest sense of connection with the island and the strongest sense of consequences and the need for repentance. He sees the island as a second chance, and he wants to help everyone embrace their better natures. But he's clearly far from perfect himself.
Walt - The bird flying into the window and the general creepiness surrounding the kid strike me as indications that somehow he may have had something to do with his mother's death, but if that's the case it was some sort of unconcscious physical connection. Anyway, I'm not at all sure on that count. There's something very strange about Walt, but aside from appearing to Shannon just before she got shot, he hasn't had the opportunity to cause much trouble on the island. That we know about, anyway; who knows what he was up to with the Others? I hope we haven't seen the last of him because I really want to know what his deal is. I think there's more to him than just being the motivation behind all of Michael's actions.
Michael - Sheesh, what a mess. He got a raw deal in the past to be sure, and he wants to make things right with his son. In fact, he's about the only decent dad on the show. Too bad he's a psychopath. In his desperation to retrieve Walt, he takes leave of his senses, completely losing any inner system of checks and balances he might have had. Wanting to protect his son is admirable, of course, but does that give him the right to use everyone else on the island as pawns in his game? He mows down Ana Lucia and Libby, the latter out of sheer panic, and while he feels remorse over both of their deaths, that doesn't stop him from being willing to deliver Jack, Sawyer, Kate and Hurley to the Others. His time with the Others probably messed with his mind, but the craziness started before he went. Michael's end does not justify any means, and in his quest to become a good father, he managed to commit some of the most greivous offenses on the island. If he and Walt really are headed for civilization, maybe deliverance from the island will come from Michael soliciting help. He saved his son, but he's not off the hook...
Boone and Shannon - I'll just lump them together because neither did anything too terrible while on the island, and whatever offenses they may have committed, it's too late to make up for it now, except in directing the actions of the survivors through creepy visions. This seems to be Boone's territory and probably stems from his unquenchable desire, even beyond the grave, to do something that makes a difference. Or he's just a byproduct of John's muddled mind, or the island's way of getting to him. Whatever. Both were fairly useless to begin with, though Boone tried not to be. He certainly had a few things to repent of in his former life, mainly his dubious tactics in deflecting Shannon's suitors, and maybe he figured this was his chance, though his treatment of her throughout most of their stay on the island wasn't too admirable. Shannon didn't much care about making a contribution, but Boone's sniveling spurred her into action, and I think she grew throughout the first season. With Boone gone, though, I guess it sort of made sense that she soon followed, since they're sort of a package deal.
Bernard and Rose - We've seen too little of them to get a real sense of who they are, but Rose's virtues seem to exceed even Claire's, and Bernard is a deeply devoted husband, if a little neurotic. I can't imagine that Rose has killed anyone or will; Bernard might in the interest of protecting Rose, but I hope it doesn't come to that. Ultimately I think Rose and Hurley are probably the strongest moral compasses on the show.
Eko - He's such a cool guy, I didn't relish seeing his back story detailing a long, sordid history of killing and maiming others in his quest for survival, starting with his first murder as a teen that spared Yemi from becoming a killer. There were solid reasons behind many of his killings, but that doesn't make them right, and it certainly doesn't make them something his shouldn't repent of. He seemed deeply disturbed by the fact that he killed two Others, which would seem to indicate that he has reformed, renounced his former life as a violent drug runner and embraced a life grounded in spirituality and virtue. But his death was all wrong. He regressed, refusing to apologize for any of his sins, and he paid for it with his life. The island, it seems, wants its inhabitants to feel remorse. That Eko renounced any need for forgiveness is most unfortunate and seems to go against his character. But I don't think we've quite seen the last of him.
Ana Lucia - Trigger-happy. Soooo trigger-happy... John sees the best in people; she sees the worst. She's aggressive and abrasive. She doesn't think before she acts. Shoot first, ask questions later. She kills the guy responsible for her unborn child's death, taking a vigilante approach instead of trusting in the justice system of which she is a part. She kills Goodwin because she finds out he's an Other. She kills Shannon because she's jumpy and figures she's an Other. I think she's shaken up by it, seeing that she has killed a completely innocent bystander. I don't think she feels any remorse for her attacker or for Goodwin, but in the aftermath of Shannon's death, she learns to check her aggression just enough that she is unable to kill Ben when she has the chance. I'm glad we got this detail before she died because she needed redemption more than most.
Libby - Ana Lucia's voice of reason, she seems to be as much of a pacifist as Hurley, and I'm not aware that she's responsible for any major calamities, though her past is full of mystery and she may have committed some major indiscretions in her past. I think we're still going to learn more about her. Still, unless you go so far as to blame the plane crash on her since she lent Dezzy the boat and he's ultimately the one who brought the plane down by failing to press the button in time - and probably if he hadn't shown up when he did his partner would have fallen asleep on the job at some point anyway and brought the island down with him - Libby seems to be in the clear.
Desmond - He killed Kelvin, but he didn't mean to. He did initiate an attack, but he certainly didn't intend it to result in his death and was horrified when it did. It was an unhappy accident, exacerbated by the fact that it led to the plane crash, which killed many people. So Dezzy has a lot of blood on his hands, but none of it is really his fault. And after this week's episode, we see just how incapable Dez seems to be of escaping destiny. His job is to save the world, whether he wants it or not. It seems pretty clear that he doesn't, but that won't stop him from doing what he feels he has to do. He's also bent on saving Charlie but doesn't think it will make any difference. Mostly I think Dez is a victim of dreadful circumstances, caught up in events that are much bigger than him.
Danielle - Killed everybody in her party, apparently because they were sick, though maybe she was just nuts. Hard to tell with her. But it seems she probably felt her actions were necessary and is trying to assuage her guilt now by helping the castaways. She's not all there, I don't think, but she's probably thrilled that there are now people besides the Others on the island so her isolation needn't be so complete. She knows more than she's telling, and will hopefully prove useful once more in the future.
Vincent - Yeah, I don't think he has too much to feel guilty about. But add that to Michael's list; just abandon your dog in the woods again, already...
That everybody? I'm not even going to bother with Paolo and Nikki and the other survivors who disappeared early or who haven't been given much to do yet. I'm saving the Others for another day because I already have spent close to three hours on this, and now I feel like I've wasted my morning. Hmph. But the point is that almost everyone who's washed ashore here has major sins to repent of, and while I want the island to be about them finding redemption, some of the worst offenses have occurred after the crash. I really don't want this to turn into Lord of the Flies. The situation has worsened, but there is still plenty of hope. Think virtuous thoughts, people...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Dizzy Dez Dispenses Doom

So LOST... So amazing. And strange. I figured from the first that it was another Desmond flashback, but then I was thinking, "Hmmm. Taking a long time to get to the flashback." And then I was thinking, "Hmmm. Taking a long time to get back to the island." Meanwhile, in Edinboro, Nathan's head exploded, and his uninitiated roomie's head exploded moreso. This is such a violent show.
How cute are Charlie and Hurley in this episode? They're so buddy-buddy, and getting Dezzy drunk and singing bawdy pub songs with him... and stealing my nickname for him... Priceless! The Scot and the Brit have gotten together, and Hurley can be Sam... That just leaves Frodo. Frodo, where are you? Actually, aside from the accent Dezzy's more like Frodo than Pippin. He's the one who has to turn the key and save the world. He's the tortured soul who couldn't go back to the life he had before even if by some miracle circumstances allowed it. Dezzy is haunted by destiny. Talk about predestination!
I don't know just what to make of the extended flashback. Did he go back in time? Did he flash forward? Was it all a dream? It seems like he actually relived those days after he turned the key, and somehow getting knocked out in the bar brought him back to the island. Very, very strange. Smarter people than me will make much more sense of this episode. But whether or not I understood it, I loved it. I loved the Dezzy overload, during which I observed that clean-shaven Dez looks an awful lot like Dustin Hoffman. And the poor guy is so confused... Just as confused as we are! (Though not so confused, I think, that we needed that condescending re-cap bringing us up to speed at the end. What, they thought we forgot everything that happened half an hour ago?)
When I was discussing the show with Nathan on Sunday, I predicted that the first words out of Desmond's mouth would be something depressing. Actually, I forget now what his first words were. But he's such a Debbie Downer; half of what he says is depressing. The campfire scene was so great because we got to see him smiling, laughing, just grinning his heart out as if he hadn't a care in the world. And twas loverly indeed to hear them singing together...
I wonder if that game actually happened. Ben mentioned the Red Sox, and certainly that was a big deal, but most of us Yankees wouldn't know beans about some soccer match in the UK; maybe that was the equivalent. Maybe not though. Seemed like much smaller potatoes, and if it was such a famous game, that probably would have been giving away too much too fast. Or would it? We know you haven't lost it, Crazy-Eyes. You're just as sane as you've ever been. Heh.
Creepy Jewelry Lady was the housekeeper from The Others. Is she also one of The Others? Ha! She certainly is in the know. And she ruined Desmond's shot at getting things right, because evidently bliss on a personal level for him equals cataclysm on a cosmic level. Poor Dez. I love you more each day.
While talking to Nathan after the show, I had the revelation that Charlie's song was a premonition. I recognized the song at once - Wonderwall, pretty popular when I was in high school. But the significance didn't hit me until later. "You're gonna be the one that saves me." Yes, indeed, Desmond the savior, and from the Christ-like beard to the outstretched arms as he lies naked on the forest floor, I know they're pummeling us with visual references to that effect. Dez is a mystic, and he's a reluctant messiah. What the religious implications in all this are I'm not sure, but they're at least getting the wheels turning, and that's something. Dezzy's such a doomsayer; we've got John Locke and John Calvin. It will be interesting to see how their interaction progresses.
Anyway, to Charlie. The universe says, "Your number's up." I say, Lame! And yet, if Charlie's survival means the implosion of the universe... Well, as Dezzy said tonight and I've said before, "You're a good man, Charlie," but I'm afraid it's sayonara. It can't be that simple, though. It's turning into Smallville. Are our destinies written in stone, or can we change them? Can Charlie evade certain death? Can Ben embrace his inner light? It all ties together. But seriously. If they kill off Charlie, perhaps Erin needs to have a little chat with the Universe...
Blogs after midnight are ill-advised. I shall retire before my loopiness progresses further. Happy Valentine's Day!

He Was An Other (He Was My Brother, Paul Simon)

So I'm watching LOST in real-time now, and boy is it exciting. I came away from tonight's episode full of the love of Desmond and desperately desirous of writing an ode to him. So what do I end up with instead? Danny Pickett. Sheesh. Quite possibly the most unlovable character on the whole show. The only good we're able to see in him is a sincere love for Colleen; even his loyalty to Ben hardly strikes me as virtuous when there's such bloodthirstiness behind it. And yet... I will not fall into the show's trap of fostering hatred for a certain group of people, or even just for certain unsavory individuals. Every person has worth and dignity. Every life is precious. So I will grieve for Danny, even if I didn't like him very much, even if his death was a necessary component to Kate and Sawyer's escape. Here, to the tune of He Was My Brother, is my slightly sardonic little ode to a man conventional wisdom says we shouldn't care about. Danny, you were a jerk. But I wish you'd stuck around long enough to prove that you could be more.

He Was An Other

He was an Other
And a bold sort of guy.
He was an Other.
Tried to torture Kate the day he died.

Sneering fighter,
Perhaps he envied Ben his place.
Too bad the writers
Must have said, "Hey, Danny, don't like your face."

Pickett's Charge was underway,
But Juliet trailed along.
She shot that Other dead,
Cuz shooting Sawyer would be wrong.

He was an Other.
Wouldn't let the Jack's buddies leave.
He, he was an Other,
So he died, but we're not supposed to grieve.
He died, but we're not supposed to grieve.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Spring Season Commences

Nice to have LOST back now. It wasn't such an interminable wait for me since I saw the sixth episode about a month ago, but still... high time. I think it resolved the cliff-hanger fairly well. And hooray for Ben not dying. I figured of everyone, he and Sawyer were the most endangered, and they weren't likely to kill Sawyer off. I do feel bad for Danny, hot-head that he was; Sayid was all set to kill somebody too when Shannon died, so some of his behavior can be chalked up to losing Colleen. That doesn't excuse it, but it helps explain it, and I couldn't help but think for the millionth time that this island would be so much better without the artillery. I love the tropical island scenario, when you're totally separated from all the vices of society and can start with a clean slate. But you can't very well do that if half the blinkin' people on the island are carrying fire sticks around! Yeah, Erin hates guns...
I do think, though, that of all the killings of the Others, this was the only one that was truly justified. It still might have been prevented, but Sawyer at least cut him a break by locking him up after beating him within an inch of his life instead of finishing the job. It was obvious Danny had a vendetta and planned to stop at nothing to do away with Sawyer, and he posed a direct and immediate threat at the time of his death. I still firmly believe that Ethan, Goodwin and Colleen shouldn't have been killed, though I understand the rationale in each situation. Sigh.
Since Abrams and Lindelof had to go and shatter the redemptive tone of the first season, with all these flawed characters working together to survive and/or find a way off the island, by bringing in the Others, who are apparently "the bad guys," though they insist otherwise, I'm going to cling to the tattered remains of my illusions and declare that the Others can be in on this too. It doesn't have to be "us" versus "them". They wanted us to see Sawyer as the bad guy, and that didn't last long; what makes the Others so different? Well. I shouldn't say that, because they do have an unseemly habit of skulking about and kidnapping people, though supposedly those folks, once assimilated, lead pretty decent lives within their society. The Others do a lot of shady things, but we have yet to get their perspective, aside from Juliet, who is something of a newcomer herself. I think these people need a shot at redemption too.
Tom and Ben are my favorites. I've developed a real affection for them, despite Ben's inherent creepiness and Tom's gruffness. With Ben, of course, I was unsure for a while as to whether he actually was an Other. I wanted to believe him. And then, when it turned out he was an Other after all, I still wanted to believe that he was decent and sincere, that he was Locke's friend, that he was totally undeserving of Sayid's skills. Part of it, I suppose, is Michael Emerson, who is so darn compelling that they decided to turn him into a regular. Which makes me majorly question the foresight of the writers if Ben was such a small part of the big picture, or if there even was a Ben planned before Michael made such a splash. I really hope they have some idea of where they're going with all this, because I sure don't...
Anyway, I don't think Ben is all bad. I feel sorry for him, and I probably shouldn't, because he's very manipulative and dangerous under that veil of innocence. But maybe he can be LOST's Lionel - and by cracky, Messrs. Millar and Gough, if you yank Lionel from the righteous path one more time... *shakes fist* The key to Lionel's goodness seems to be Martha; maybe Ben's is Alex. We haven't seen them together but evidently he cares for his abducted daughter deeply, though the feeling does not seem to be reciprocal. It will be interesting to watch them interact with each other...
I don't think he cares a great deal about Tom, aside from seeing him as an easy puppet. He can use him however he wants, and Tom will continue to follow him around like a wide-eyed puppy. Because I really think Tom's a soft touch. He acts tough sometimes, but mostly I think he's a pretty nice guy, and he's deeply devoted to Ben. He was obviously genuinely concerned when Ben was on that operating table, and he experienced real panic when he had to help Jack finish the surgery and was afraid he might mess something up. If the Others were across-the-board vile, thoughtless people, wouldn't you think if he was second-in-command he would jump at the chance to have the boss out of commission? No, I think Tom is truly loyal. It may even be a Smithers-type situation, which I've wondered about since he mentioned laughingly to Kate that she wasn't his type. There seemed to be an implication there supported by the deep respect and affection he apparently feels for Ben. Or maybe I'm reading way too much into it. Either way, I like Tom, and I hope he sticks around a while.
I didn't think I had that much to say after seeing last night's return. I guess I had a few things to say after all. Whaddya know?