Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Hurley Christmas Card

The snowflakes are swirling in sparkling squalls.
A wonderland starts to unfold.
Snow silences straggling sounds as it falls;
The evening is quiet and cold.

But icy extravagance isn't the sight
That sets me a-tingle with glee.
My mind is on tropical climates tonight,
All thanks to my trusty TV.

The ad promised LOST is about to come back.
I'll soon observe ever-torn Kate
And learn whether shepherding's over for Jack.
Does John have too much on his plate?

As Sun and Sayid strive to make their wounds heal
And Sawyer, no doubt, remains surly,
One character carries the greatest appeal:
The island's own Santa Claus, Hurley.

Now, Hurley has neither a beard nor a sleigh.
He favors green clothing, not red.
But he has a list and an uncanny way
Of knowing where joy should be spread.

He may be worth millions, but Hurley has shown
Most meaningful gestures are free:
The warmth of a hug to a friend who's alone.
A jolly diversion or three.

A calm voice of reason. A steadying hand.
A laugh that alleviates fear.
The patience to listen and then understand.
A soft touch assuring, "I'm here."

His generous spirit allows him to give
To even the meanest of men.
He clings to the precept of "Live and let live",
Forgiving folks time and again.

Although he's no longer an islander now,
I trust I'll continue to find
In him an outstanding example of how
To always be gentle and kind.

O Lord, in this season of waiting and hope,
Remind me I don't need an isle
To focus on helping another to cope.
Let me dispense peace with a smile.

Each day, I'll endeavor to be Your reflection,
A light on a turbulent sea.
By Your Golden Rule, we will make a connection,
The huggable Hurleys and me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Season Four Review

Season four is LOST's shortest season, but it's also the one that introduces Daniel Faraday, Frank Lapidus, Miles Straume and Charlotte Lewis.  And The Constant has gotta make it to just about everybody's Top 5 list.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What Can Be Found in LOST? Review

An interesting look at LOST from a Christian perspective.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Some Thoughts on the Season Four Finale Before I Retire for the Summer...

I've been avoiding blogging about the LOST finale since I know I have so much to say about it, and since I figure I'll never remember it all at once, and it'll probably take me hours to get it all down. I wrote ten pages about last year's finale, and I liked this year's so much better. By that measure, it seems like it ought to go on for what... 20 pages? But nobody wants to read that.

In some ways, There's No Place Like Home Part II was less ground-breaking than Through the Looking Glass, since much of what we saw was stuff that we already knew would happen, particularly the rescue of the Oceanic Six. But there were so many details we didn't know about - such as the fact that Penny rescued them. I'd like to think that Charlie's death did some little bit of good in helping Penny keep the faith, though it's not like she had to wait too long after that before she talked to Desmond. I guess the point is that Charlie had to die one way or another, and better in one of the most gorgeous, self-sacrificial death scenes ever than with an arrow to the neck. Blech.

Charlie's death bothered me, but not nearly as much as the fact that it achieved the exact opposite of what he had hoped. I just found last year's finale so depressing on so many levels. So much pointless carnage. I never liked Jack's beach massacre to begin with, especially considering the fact that they were all leaving to get rescued anyway. What would have happened if Ryan and the gang had gotten there and found the camp empty? I don't know. Complications for sure. But that doesn't mean I condone Jack throwing the Hippocratic Oath out the window and doing great harm. Of course, Sayid, Jin and Bernard were in on it too, and Sawyer and Hurley participated as well - though I tend to give Hurley a pass since his intention was primarily to rescue rather than to kill, and perhaps Ryan needn't have died if he hadn't insisted on standing right in the van's way and shooting at Hurley. Anyway, ten dead Others on the beach. Ben should have sent them off to the Temple instead of on their kidnapping mission. Nobody seemed to be thinking too clearly. But what a waste.
What a waste, too, to kill Naomi, which accomplished absolutely nothing. And Charlie going down into the hatch resulted not only in his own death but in Bonnie, Greta and Mikhail's as well. And by extension, the presumption is that Keamy and the gang's landing was facilitated by the Island making radio contact with the ship. So I consider The Shape of Things to Come a bookend to Through the Looking Glass, with Charlie's actions, so well-intentioned, resulting in the deaths of every member of Camp Locke, with the exception of Ben, John, Hurley, Sawyer, Aaron and possibly Claire. And Claire is a big fat maybe. What. A. Mess. And the good guys are at least partly to blame for all of it, whether intentionally or not.

There was death in this season's finale too, but it didn't feel like as much of a bloodbath, and the castaways were victims or acting in self-defense. Keamy's guys make the Others look like a bunch of pussycats, so I can't feel too badly about them getting killed. I thought maybe some of redshirt mercenaries might make it, but it never got to that point; it was just complete combat, with Richard and the gang doing most of the dirty work, though Sayid's hand-to-hand battle with Keamy was pretty impressive. I worried for him for a minute, before I remembered he was safe; kinda takes the edge off some of these scenes when the survival of some is so certain! For a moment, I allowed myself to think Keamy was taken care of, but of course there was that explosive device to be concerned about, which would have made a big mess if he's actually died that early on. What was he thinking, anyway, baiting Ben like that? Did he have a death wish? After surviving such a brutal fight, if I were Keamy, I'd think I would just be glad to be alive. Forget Ben! Run away, Keamy, and never return! And honestly, it seems to me Keamy is the only one Ben should be blaming for Alex's death, and he got his vengeance as bloodthirstily as he possibly could. Why drag Widmore into it - and especially Penny? I swear, Ben, if you kill her, I'm giving up on you altogether...

Now, Jin... That's troublesome. The scene with Sun flying away from Jin was horrible, and I was a little upset with him for not having left just a minute or two earlier... though of course he was trying to save everyone on the ship. That scene of him maneuvering his way through the corridors reminded me a lot of Titanic. Bad times... But maybe it's the eternal optimist in me - I'm still not 100% convinced Jin is dead. I think Sun is convinced, but all we actually saw was Jin running and the ship blowing up, right? No kind of actual close-up on him? I want to re-watch the episode and haven't yet, but the ship blew up from the middle, and it seemed he was close enough to the edge he might have been able to jump off the edge and cling to somebody in a lifejacket. (Again, I *think* most of the people on the ship got off and were floating in the water, but with the island gone, where can they go? Seems like their only hope is another ship passing by, and how likely is it that those who were castaways would not identify themselves as crash survivors, thus making it the Oceanic 12 or 18 or whatever?)

I've been worried about where Sun's going ever since The Glass Ballerina, when we saw a much darker side to her than we're used to. Seeing her in the future with her father makes me wonder if ruthless business mogul is her future. I certainly hope not. It also makes me feel sorry for Widmore for the second time this season, even though I've been saying for ages that he's more malevolent than Ben. He looked really haggard in the last episode. Was that before or after Ben threatened Penny? It's interesting that Sun blames him for Jin's death. Because it was his ship? Or she figures rigging the ship with explosives was his idea? There's a long string of people, from Daniel and Juliet to Desmond and Jin himself, who could be considered as having an accidental hand in his death. Widmore's so removed from everything that has happened on the Island this season, again, I'm not sure it makes much sense to go after him from a vengeance point of view.

It's a shame that Michael died - and I am pretty positive he did, since he was at the dead center of things and creepy Christian even showed up to give him his exit papers - but I guess under the circumstances it was sort of a relief. I would have rather seen him be able to go back home and rebuild a life with Walt, but I'm glad that he at least was able to do some good. Assuming some of those people did get off the boat; if not, I don't know that he actually did accomplish much... In Michael's episode, Ben told him not to blow up the ship because there were innocent people on board and he didn't want to kill them if he could avoid it. It was a nice bit of humanity from Ben, but I don't know what his plan was beyond that. Seems like in reality, everybody on the freighter was decent except for the mercenaries. If something could have just been done to keep them from getting to the island - disabling the helicopter seems like it would've been a good start, and within the realm of possibility for tech-savvy Michael - a whole lot of trouble could have been avoided. Anyway, though, I'm glad he managed to redeem himself in some sense, and to do it without killing anybody. I suppose one of the reasons the Oceanic Six didn't contact Walt was that they wouldn't have wanted to deal with questions about Michael. Who wants to break the news to a kid that his dad blew up? And they must have known, especially with Desmond joining them. I don't blame Hurley for his evasion on that topic when Walt came to visit. Incidentally, what's with Christian being the Angel of Death? His presence was especially weird because he and Michael had nothing to do with each other. I can't decide if it was creepy or comforting; it kind of reminded me of the Black Rabbit at the end of Watership Down, which is one of my favorite book endings ever.

Speaking of rabbits, I love that last year's finale was a reference to Lewis Carroll and this year's showed us "time-traveling bunnies," which just happened to be white. The first ones making the magical journey into the future, just like Alice's White Rabbit into Wonderland. Speaking of weird hatch stuff, I loved that John couldn't find the Arthuriums; when Ben said that the episode before, I said, "What makes him think John has any idea what those look like?"

I'm so conflicted about Ben. I'm pretty steamed at him for setting off the dynamite; on the other hand, I can't figure out how anybody on the island could feel safe if Keamy was still alive. Maybe they could keep him locked up in that big room where they kept Locke's dad last season... If that didn't get blown up when Keamy stormed "New Otherton," which I suppose it probably did... Anyway, Ben sure isn't much of a heroic character, and I'm pretty unsettled by what we've seen of his future. But I can't help seeing him as an anti-hero rather than a villain, and I really did feel bad for him this season, especially since The Shape of Things to Come. He's been through quite an ordeal. And after all that, in order to save the Island he has to banish himself...

The sense I'm getting is that Ben never really was supposed to be in charge at all, that Locke is "the chosen one" but since circumstances kept intervening to keep him from getting to the Island, Ben was his somewhat unsuitable replacement. I've been hearing rumors that Ben and John may actually be brothers, which actually seems somewhat plausible and would add another whole layer to the making-John-kill-Anthony-Cooper weirdness, presuming he is the father of both. Or could they both be like Anakin, the result of virgin births? I feel like that's getting a little too out there; I'll stick with Cooper, I think.

Speaking of strange familial connections, I'm really curious about Charlotte's relation to the Island. Didn't she say she was born there? The way I figure it Charlotte is probably in her late 20s, which means that she could conceivably be Ben's daughter. Maybe he got Annie pregnant and she was taken off the Island to deliver the baby and never came back, and that's why he was so adamant against Juliet taking the pregnant women elsewhere. (Though that would mean she was conceived, not born on the Island; I'm assuming women then couldn't give birth on the Island, but maybe they could...) You'd think she would have mentioned Ben to Charlotte, but maybe not. Or maybe Charlotte was born but Annie died in childbirth. Or... I don't know. Charlotte probably has nothing to do with Annie. But I'm so eager for answers on that front I'll take any potential leads that seem to pop up.

I don't know what Daniel and his raft people are going to do. I figure they're in the same boat as the people in the water, and I can't imagine they're just going to kill off everybody who was in the water when the Island disappeared. (More irony; if Daniel hadn't been so proactive about rescuing people from the Island, they would've been in much better shape. Especially Jin. Though it sounds like things go pretty sour on the Island itself...) I would love it if next season, Rose becomes the leader of the beach people, though it will probably be Sawyer, unless John shows up to make them all one big happy family.

I will say that I'm very happy with Sawyer this season. He didn't kill a single person (or even a tree frog or polar bear!). True, he threatened John and he came close to killing Ben, but aside from those isolated incidents, this season has been all about him embracing his better nature, with Hurley as his guide. He really put himself in harm's way throughout the season, and I thought jumping out of the helicopter was a spectacular gesture. (Of course, I was a little surprised to see him in there, partly because he wasn't one of the Oceanic Six and partly because he didn't seem to keen on leaving, but I guess he changed his mind.) For a long time, I've thought of Sawyer as the Han Solo of LOST, and I think he's gone from anti-hero to flat-out hero.

Speaking of heroes, I was so relieved about Desmond too, especially after first being shut up with the dynamite all that time and then almost drowning after the crash. (Jack saving him gave me a flashback to him saving Charlie season one, though Desmond's revival seemed to come a lot more quickly than that one. Thank goodness; how awful if he would've died within minutes of reuniting with Penny... Incidentally, I read an article in which the writer said he thought the whole episode was priming us to think it was Desmond in the casket, but I never really thought so; what reason would Jack have to feel so ambivalent toward him, and Kate so downright hostile?)

I love Jack, but I'm getting really sick of his hard-headedness. I'm glad he finally relented and took John's advice about lying to the world. But after all the things he's seen on the Island - and heck, after repairing Sarah's spine - how can he be so sure of himself all the time? He was wrong about being able to fix Sarah. He was wrong about Bernard being alive. He was wrong about the purpose of entering the numbers. He's been wrong about so many things, yet he always acts as though any view other than the one he has must be unequivocally wrong. Maybe his rather pathetic argument with Hurley after the Island disappeared was his desperate last grasp trying to prove the world worked according to his rules. Probably not though. I think a rather narrow view of things is just a part of who Jack is.

I'd say we're definitely going to be seeing Desmond and Penny again, but I have a feeling they and Frank are going to be relegated to pretty occasional status, which bums me out. Desmond's my favorite post-season one character, and Frank is tied for my favorite season four newbie. Penny never has been around much, but now she finally seems like one of the gang. (By the way, I loved Jack's "See you in another life, brother," though I was hoping for a little man-hug to accompany it; I get the sense, though, that aside from Penny, Desmond's not much of a hugger!) Penny still has a major role to play yet, and presumably Desmond will be fully wrapped up in that, but I don't want to think too much about the possibilities for their storyline, since we left them in such a happy place. I'd like to pretend they don't have to worry about any more unpleasantness after this. Their reunion was absolutely thrilling - though I still think The Constant trumps it. Here, finding each other seemed inevitable if they could manage to survive; in the other, it had been years since the last contact, and Desmond's very life depended on Penny answering. An absolutely perfect scene. I also like that not only did Desmond get the happiest moment of the episode, he also got several great lines, chief among them his "boom" speech.

I should have felt really shattered at seeing Locke in the coffin. He's been one of my favorites since the beginning, despite his rather erratic behavior (and it was nice to see him so concerned about the people on the freighter). I figured he was one of the major possibilities, but I just kept thinking there was no way he would leave that island willingly. So was he forced, or did he leave because things were so desperate he felt he had no choice but to get the Oceanic Six back? And how did he get back? Did he move the Island again? If that were the case, I would think he wouldn't be able to come back - but maybe it doesn't matter since he's dead, or maybe the not-coming-back thing wasn't Ben being punished so much as just the natural consequence of his Island-moving, and if he can find his way back, maybe he will be allowed to return after all. I guess part of the reason I'm not feeling properly mournful is that the only really compelling reason I can see for needing to bring Locke back is that his connection with the Island is so strong, he can not only come back from paralysis and near-death when he's there, he can be revived like Spock in The Search for Spock. It's probably just wishful thinking, but there's so much weird metaphysical stuff happening on that show I'm willing to think it possible. (By the way, I thought Ben's farewell and apology to him were fantastic. What a complicated relationship...)

Speaking of the dead, I loved the extra bit at the press conference - just a couple of minutes, but I found it extremely gratifying. Ever since Kate's episode, one of my biggest questions has been who else, according to their story, survived the crash but then died? I was thinking it was just two extra people but wasn't thinking about the fact that Aaron was born later. I was really hoping that Boone and Charlie would be the two, so I cheered a little when Jack identified them. He also said Libby was one of the ones who died. She wasn't as obvious a choice since their was no sacrificial element to her death, but I tihnk she was a good choice. Anyway, that makes me more hopeful that maybe Liam will pop up in one of these flash-forwards, especially since Damon said in LOST Magazine that we probably haven't seen the last of the DS ring. I also liked the fact that Eko got a little nod via Hurley.

I was glad to see Rose again, though it seems like almost every time she's opened her mouth this season, she's been saying something snarky. We've got Sawyer for that... I was surprised he didn't have to undergo any obstacles to "rescue" Hurley, but it worked out rather nicely. And of course, jumping into the ocean from a helicopter was a very dramatic way to save his friends. Good thing he reached the shore before Ben turned that wheel. Juliet sitting around drinking reminded me a lot of Live Together, Die Alone, as did the sky turning purple. And of course, Desmond's storyline came full circle with Penny. I really think he deserves an Emmy nod for this season, and I'd love to see him nominated, especially since he probably won't be a regular from now on. But I really think this is Michael Emerson's year for the Emmy. He was absolutely haunting in this episode, and really every episode in the second part of the season (except the Jack one that he wasn't involved in). I'm rooting for you, Michael! Speaking of Kate's home life, what was up with that dream? Was it really Claire? The Smoke Monster? Kate's subconscious trying to convince her not to return to the Island? Whatever it was, it was pretty freaky.

At the beginning of the episode, Kate said "I've spent the last three years trying to forget what happened the day we left," so that puts Locke's death in late 2007/early 2008. I was thinking they would probably end the series in 2010, but now I'm not so sure. If they're gonna go back there with John in tow, seems to me they're going to have to do it pretty quickly. I doubt they're going to want to be dragging around a body that's been dead for two years. But maybe once they return, we'll see a couple years into the future yet again? I'm guessing that in the end, whoever is left of the original castaways will probably wind up staying on the Island, especially considering how miserable the Oceanic Six are post-Island. Maybe not, though; it'll be interesting to see!

I'm curious about what they're going to do in the interim; sharp-eyed Nathan caught an ad during the broadcast for Octagon Recruiting, which is related to Dharma and touts a conference in July when all of these opportunities can be explored (curiously, the same date and city as 2008's Comic-Con ;) ) and the ABC website has a massive LOST landscape that has about a hundred clickable objects and some kind of complicated contest that, again, could potentially result in the prize of a free ride to Comic-Con. It's in San Diego; if I were Benjamin, I'd be so there!

I'm not, so I'll have to content myself with sitting around and picking apart the last season and hopefully writing a new string of poems and filks about it. I think I may be coming out of my dry spell. I know I have more to say about the finale. But this covers most of it. Surprisingly enough, this finale left me feeling pretty good about the way things are headed, at least in comparison to last year. It's a pretty nice place to leave everyone for the summer and fall. I will be returning...

Penny Girl (Danny Boy, Traditional)

The writers' strike put a bit of a damper on the fourth season of LOST, mainly in terms of developing the quartet of new characters who came from the freighter. Nonetheless, this season has had some of the most beautiful moments of the series thus far, and perhaps my favorite of them all is the life-saving phone call that occurs at the end of The Constant, a brilliant episode from start to finish. Here's my meager attempt to capture some of its glory. I think of it sort of as Desmond practicing what he's going to say to Penny when he tracks her down in 1996, to the tune of Danny Boy.

Penny Girl

Oh Penny girl, my mind, my mind is flailing.
Again, again I'm tumbling with the tide.
Adrift, alone and starless, I am sailing.
It's you, it's you can heal this great divide.

So bring me back. Pen, sing me to my senses.
With you my anchor, I will not let go,
And I'll atone for all my past offenses.
Oh Penny girl, oh Penny girl, I love you so.

Eight years from now, you'll hear the fateful chiming -
If you have faith. Oh, Penny, please believe!
And when you answer, I will praise the timing,
The perfect present on that Christmas Eve.

Then, through my tears, I'll cast away my sorrow.
Though it may seem that I am lost at sea,
You'll have my pledge to meet you in tomorrow,
My life preserved, Pen, by your constant love for me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


One of my favorite moments in this fourth season of LOST occurred at the end of Cabin Fever, when Hurley, waiting with Ben to find out Jacob's marching orders from John, opens up an Apollo candy bar and, after sharing a brief glance with Ben, breaks off the bigger piece and hands it over. No words are exchanged, but it's a moment brimming with humanity and compassion.

Throughout the show, Hurley's "love your enemies" attitude has helped dissolve many conflicts on the island and transform Sawyer from anti-hero to outright hero. I'd like to think this tiny gesture toward Ben, who has been the source of so much turmoil, might have similar good ripples - maybe taking him back, at an especially opportune moment, to the first time he was offered an Apollo bar, by the best (and, by some measures, only) friend he ever had. According to Wikipedia, Plato connected the name "Apollo" with simplicity, redemption and purification. Coincidence? I hope not.


It isn't much: a silent glance,
A second chance, a gentle touch.
A careless shrug. The greater half
From one whose laugh is like a hug,
Whose empathy bursts into bloom
Though Ben's presumed the enemy.
An act of grace so undeserved;
Surprise preserved upon Ben's face.
So off-the-cuff, this chocolate clutch.
It isn't much, but it's enough.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

LOST Goes From Alice to Dororthy, But This Is Hardly Child's Play...

So we have come once again to the LOST finale. Instead of Alice in Wonderland, it's The Wizard of Oz this time, and our friends are just a couple of heel clicks away from Kansas. There's No Place Like Home. But what happens to the scarecrow, the tin man and the cowardly lion? A whole lot of people aren't getting off the island. In fact, at this point, it seems it would be much better if nobody else got off the island, since the people on the freighter presumably aren't making it back to the mainland, or it would be the Oceanic Nine, at the least. Or are they just taking on different identities like Michael did?

I'm worried about this episode. For one thing, I usually find the rescue scenario rather depressing in these types of stories. Nuts, I know, but whatever. Mostly, though, I'm worried because I think a lot of bad things will happen before the rescue. They seem to want to top themselves in terms of intensity with each finale. Fifteen people died in Through the Looking Glass, plus that mysterious someone in the future. Are we in for another massacre?

Keamy's the only one I really want to lose, and maybe his lackeys. LOST seems to have established a pattern since season two of introducing a new group of characters and killing most of them off by the end of the season. That makes me very worried for Daniel, Frank, Charlotte and Miles. I think it's almost inevitable one of them isn't going to make it through the episode, and I wouldn't be too shocked if it's more than that. Frank is probably the most heroic and likable of the bunch, with Daniel a close second. That puts them in a very vulnerable position.

Jin also gives me reason to worry. He's on the freighter, but he doesn't get rescued. When Sun told her father that two people were responsible for Jin's death, that sounded like a pretty specific reference to me. Sticking to the script, she wouldn't be able to tell him what she really meant, but I suspect something will happen to him on that freighter, and that thought upsets me. (I'm also a little concerned about that trick she pulled on her father; he had it coming, but I don't want to see her turn into a ruthless CEO like him.) Michael and Desmond worry me too, though they could maybe go back with the freighter folks incognito. I suppose Desmond might want to do that, and then confront Charles and let him know that he made it after all and that Penny still loves him. Or just strike out and look for Penny on his own. I loved his Panic Face when he discovered the explosives; more deranged-looking than we've seen him since Live Together, Die Alone. But that stuff is bad news. And Nathan figures it's rigged up to Keamy somehow, so if somebody takes him down on the island, the ship might go down too.

I would love it if Sawyer was done killing people. I really would. Sure, he threatened both Ben and Locke this season, but he didn't follow through. Basically, he went from mercenary to hero, largely because of Hurley. What a good influence. But he seems like one of the most likely candidates to kill off Keamy, which I basically think has to happen, lest everyone on the island get annihilated. Then again, Locke and Sayid can certainly hold their own, and Smokey has much more reason to be irritated with Keamy than with Eko. Anyway, he has a lot of enemies. And somehow I doubt we're ever going to be given a glimpse of his humanity. I guess it's about time the show had an utterly unambiguous villain...

Speaking of which, looking back at last season's finale, if Mikhail had done what he did about ten minutes earlier, it would have saved everyone on the island, at least for the time being. Ironic. Everyone would have been so much better off if Charlie had never gone down into that hatch in the first place, and in trying to save Claire's life, it looks like he got her killed. It also looks like Desmond was lying about seeing Claire get into the chopper, just as a way to get Charlie to agree to sacrifice himself. He probably figured it would happen, but I don't think he actually saw it. How very frustrating...

Anyway, part one of the finale was good, though I didn't like it as much as Cabin Fever. But there was quite a bit packed into there. The rescue, which none of the castaways looked all that happy about, at least while they were on the plane. I suppose they were in shock, as Sun said. The press conference was somewhat revelatory, though we still don't know the deal behind their fabricated story. The reunion was happy at least, especially Hurley, and I thought it was very sweet that when he noticed Sayid didn't have anyone waiting for him, he rushed him over to introduce him to his parents. Poor Kate didn't have anybody; I would've thought Sam Austen would have shown up, but I suppose her being a fugitive complicates things. Still, it seemed like the two of them were really close, and she must've been very hurt that he didn't come. I hate that we got cheated out of a truly joyful reunion between Sayid and Nadia; it was such a beautiful moment, but it's kinda hard to really enjoy it when you know she's going to be murdered in a few months.

They finally cleared the air with Claire being Jack's sister, and poor Jack looked like he was about to throw up. I'm guessing that he doesn't see Claire again before he leaves the island. So whether or not she's dead, he probably thinks she is, and he must feel horrible about it. Besides, it would be a huge shock to realize this girl he got to know so well on the island was actually the sister he never knew he had. A little like Luke and Leia, but he couldn't share his revelation with her. I thought the scene with Hurley's party was really funny - especially his mother's comment about Jesus Christ not being a weapon - but also sad. He's not adjusting well to post-island life. The incident with the car was really spooky; I don't think his dad rigged the numbers that way. It would have been in really poor taste for him to pull something like that, and he seemed almost as surprised by it as Hurley. I think he genuinely wants to make a fresh start with his son, and it's a shame those nefarious numbers had to ruin such a touching moment. Just goes to show, I suppose, that the island isn't through with Hurley yet.

On the island, I love the fact that Sawyer put himself in harm's way for the sake of others, first by joining Jack, then by insisting they rescue Hurley - though it's a shame they couldn't spring Frank first... There are a lot of parallels in Hurley and Sawyer's stories. Most notably, perhaps, in the season two finale, Hurley, upon learning that Michael killed Libby, refrains from vengeance, while Sawyer kills Tom out of revenge in the season three finale. Also in that finale, Hurley rescues Sawyer, so this time, it's up to Sawyer to rescue Hurley, thereby perhaps dispersing all his bad karma once and for all. I'm not too worried about him, since Jack and Kate's future conversation seems to indicate that he is alive when they leave the island. I do feel like he's been slightly ripped off this season, though, without a single centric episode. They could rectify that with the finale, but I don't think they will.

More likely than not, since it's a Part Two, it will follow the same flash-forward pattern as the first part, and we'll be seeing a lot of the Oceanic Six off the island, especially Jack and Hurley. But what I'd really love, now that he's finally decide to show up again, is a Richard flashback-forward. With two hours, I figure they could start in the past - which could mean hundreds of years for all we know - and wind up in the future, which needs to be incorporated somehow if we're going to find out who's in the coffin. This way, we might actually get to see some of Danielle's backstory first-hand even though she was so unceremoniously killed off, and maybe we'd get some of the scoop on Annie too. He knows the island better than just about anybody, so we'd get all kinds of juicy tidbits. And he leaves the island, or at least he did; I'm not sure the destruction of the submarine would necessarily keep him from taking off. So he could witness the death of whoever's in the coffin. Or cause it. Heck, he could be in there himself, but since at this point we've never even seen Jack interact with Richard, that seems a little unlikely.

Still, a possibility. Assuming the deceased is someone we know, I think that leaves a pretty small pool of candidates. It has to be somebody Jack doesn't like very much but still feels very strongly about. Locke would be one option, but I just can't see him leaving the island unless somebody gives him the bind and gag treatment his father got. Could be Michael, but surely at least his mother would go to the funeral, unless she didn't realize who he was because of the name Kevin Johnson. But I'm not really feeling that scenario too much. Maybe one of the freighter people, too, but I'm not sure he's associated with them enough to have that strong of feelings about them.

At this point, I'm practically positive it's Ben in that coffin, which makes me sad if it's true, but then that would be true no matter who it is. We know Ben is off the island in the future, and there's probably not anybody who would bother coming to his funeral. Sayid, maybe, but he might find that a risky move considering the circumstances of their association with each other. Whoever killed Ben might come after him too. Unless he killed Ben, in which case he certainly wouldn't be likely to show up to mourn him. Hurley, who always spoke at the island funerals and actually got to know Ben a little bit, might have attended too, but at this point he's probably still in the mental institution and pretty out of touch with the outside world. He probably wouldn't know, and even if he did, he probably couldn't just check himself out to go to a funeral. Anyway, it certainly would be understandable for Jack not to consider Ben a friend. However, it would also make sense that his death would send him into a spiral of despair, considering that Ben tried so hard to stop him from contacting the freighter, and it turned out he was telling the truth about their intentions, or at least Keamy's. And of course, Kate wouldn't want anything to do with Ben. Presumably the newspaper would have an alias there instead of "Ben Linus," but maybe there's a picture, or maybe Jack knows his pseudonym du jour. Or maybe it's not Ben at all. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

When Ben told John to take a look at the plants at the Orchid Station, I was hoping he was pointing to some really weird vegetation, like Venus Fly Traps or something like that. Alas, nothing but a bunch of trigger-happy guys. What a way to end the episode, with Keamy knocking Ben out. If he can't kill somebody, he's at least going to beat him to a bloody pulp. Yeesh. It's odd how immediately Ben 180-ed from victim back to leader. So much for me thinking John was calling the shots now. As soon as Ben heard, "He wants us to move the island," he took charge, and John was in the dark again. Hurley, too, of course. I got a little chuckle out of his warning about the 15-year-old crackers. It was a derisive comment, but it might have also been a useful cautionary note. As for the mirror signal, the presumption was that he was communicating with Jacob, but could it also have been Richard, and that's why we're suddenly seeing the Others again? Did Ben tell them to come? Why would he do that, though, if the Temple is the only place where they're safe? Does he intend for them to launch an attack on Keamy?

I loved the little bit of Frank that we got in this episode, but more than that, I loved Daniel, who really went into hero mode with his ferrying of survivors. I found it interesting that he didn't put Charlotte on the first boat. I suppose she was there to corral the rest of the castaways, but she didn't look too happy about it. Maybe she was worried about Daniel, but she also seemed hurt that he didn't take her along. If it's so crucial to get off the island, she has good reason to be nervous. For both of them. Of all the freighter folk, I have a feeling Dan is the most vulnerable right now. He could wipe out on his raft. He could get caught up in the time differential vortex. Desmond could die, and his brain could lose his anchor. (Don't, Desmond. Don't you dare!) Of my cream of the crop, Hurley is safe, at least in the present. John is too crucial to the island mythology to die yet, I think. Desmond's on the shakiest ground. I've got my fingers crossed for him.

I hope that tonight's episode will not be as calamitous as last year's. It probably will be. But hopefully there will at least be enough bright spots to keep it from being entirely depressing. I hope Rose and Bernard have a lot to do, or at least a little, and I'm really eager to see just what sort of miracle John is going to bring about. I want something beautiful to sustain me through all that is bound to be unpleasant. Will this be my favorite finale yet? I suspect not. But I'm sure it will be brilliant.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Well, Ben, It Looks Like Jacob Helped John After All...

I was really looking forward to Cabin Fever, both because I was itching to learn more about Jacob and because John-centric episodes are pretty much guaranteed pure gold. Was this one? Oh, yeah. I love how we got to see John in three different stages of life we hadn't seen before: birth, childhood, adolescence. Every step of the way, someone connected with the island was keeping tabs on him. First Richard - and boy, John ought to be kicking himself that he didn't go to that science camp - then Matthew, who seems to be batting for the other team, which makes me wonder why he would want John on the island. Wouldn't he just be a roadblock?

At any rate, I loved seeing John as a silent, sullen kid already intrigued by the thought of being a warrior - which apparently really upset Richard - and a cranky teenager tired of being picked on by his peers. He reminded me of Sam at his most disenchanted in Freaks and Geeks. But John is so off the beaten path, it's pretty disappointing to think that he would let his peers' petty bullying dissuade him from an amazing opportunity. His teacher picked entirely the wrong tactic to try to convince him to go, though, and I knew that teen John was going to snap, "Don't tell me what a can't do!" Even though his belligerence in that instance made me sad, I still cheered when he said it.

It's odd enough already that Ben and John both had a mother named Emily. Now we see they were both born under tragic circumstances. Ben's mother died, John's was seriously injured. I assume that Anthony is the guy Emily's mother was referring to. I don't blame her for disapproving if that's the case, and Emily was a bit of a smart-alecky brat. But her mom was obnoxious too, and smoking in a neonatal unit? What was she thinking? I'm not entirely clear on what caused Emily to reject John so tearfully. Was it because he was just a reminder of her whole ordeal with the accident? Or she was afraid to get close, knowing her mother wouldn't let her keep him? I also found it interesting that both Emilys were very insistent on the naming of their sons. Benjamin is reminiscent of Old Testament Benjamin, son of Jacob, while John seems to recall John the Baptist.

It's nice to see that John really is as special as he seems to think he is. His sense of destiny is not all in his head. It was pretty spooky seeing that picture of Smokey in little John's living room, especially since it seemed to prefigure the death of Mr. Eko. The compass could be a reference to Eko as well; I'm not too sure what the sand is about, other than the fact that there is, obviously, a lot of sand on the island. I love that John was playing backgammon as a young child, and as a teenager he was listening to Geronimo Jackson. I don't like the idea that he owes Abaddon one; I don't think he's the kind of guy you want to owe something to.

Anyway, all of the backstory stuff was incredibly intriguing, and the on-island stuff was just as good. I thought the interaction among John, Ben and Hurley was hilarious, especially in the scene in which Ben says that he's following Hurley, who of course has no idea where he's going. The blind leading the blind! And then there was his impressed, unsettling comment about John fooling Hurley into thinking it was his idea to keep going to the cabin with them. Ben is a master manipulator; John's getting there. But seriously, I wouldn't want to go wandering off through the jungle by myself. Hurley's done it before, but it wasn't fun - and John almost killed him on one occasion.

I felt so sorry for Ben in this episode. I know he's up to no good in the future, but at this particular moment, he's so sad and defeated, struggling with guilt over his failure to save Alex and grief over losing her, not to mention his sense of control over what's happening. He's lost his exalted position, and at this point, he seems willing to admit that John is now the favored one. I thought his admission that he "really wasn't thinking clearly" when he shot John last season, in what I think of as the bookend to this episode because of all the parallels (birth of Ben/John, presence of Horace, mass grave, Jacob's cabin, question of whether Ben or John is rightful leader, etc.), was funny in its understatedness. Yeah, it probably wasn't a good idea to shoot John. Very petty of him. Not to mention that John was about his biggest asset in protecting the island, and if he'd been around maybe the confrontation with the castaways would have played out a little differently.

I thought his demurral when John asked him to join him in the cabin had a very defeated ring to it, and it seemed to be the final indication of him yielding his leadership at last. When he earnestly asked John what he found out inside, the roles really did seem to be reversed. Oh, and what I love, love, loved, more than any moment in the entire brilliant episode, was Hurley taking that trusty Apollo bar out of his pocket, glancing over at Ben, breaking off a small chunk for himself and handing Ben most of the candy bar. No words. But an almost heartbreakingly sweet and simple gesture that is an encapsulation of everything I love about Hurley, and I thought bedraggled Ben seemed genuinely touched. I got a screencap of that moment, and it now is serving as my desktop background. Gorgeous.

I wasn't entirely disappointed with Horace's appearance. Yeah, it would've been cooler if he'd been alive, or "alive," whatever the case may be. But I'd rather he be John's dream than Ben's, since John had no idea who he was, just like he had no idea who Christian was. Gives the idea of a "vision" more credibility. (Maybe John ends up spilling the beans about seeing Claire and Sawyer puts two and two together and tells Jack? I think Jack will know she's his sister by the time he leaves the island.) Horace did give John some worthwhile information, and for some reason I was very amused by the noise he made when he wiped his brow. "Phewwwwww!" Hehe. Building a cabin is hard work.

A cabin in which Christian and Claire are hanging out. Is she dead? I'm starting to think maybe she is. She's acting sorta zombified, like most of the deceased in Our Town. Wandering around in a vaguely contended haze. Of course, I would prefer that she's alive. We'll have to see. Why doesn't Christian want John to let people know about her? And why can't Jacob talk to John himself instead of sending Jack's pop to intercede for him? When we actually do see him, it's gonna be crazy. Now, if I were Hurley, I'd want to inside that cabin. I'd want to know what I was the one who could see it, if nothing else. Hurley has a very special connection, but he doesn't seem too interested in exploring it, partly because he doesn't really like being set apart and partly because he's easily spooked. I'm not complaining; if he'd gone inside, we wouldn't have gotten the candy bar moment! But I couldn't be so incurious.

Meanwhile, back on the freighter, just as I was really starting to love Captain Gault, he got killed. Grrrr. He came across as a pretty good guy when he was chatting with Sayid and Desmond and telling them about Widmore, but Michael said not to trust him, and we're predisposed to distrust everyone on the freighter anyway, though it's starting to look like just about everybody aside from Keamy and his crew are decent people. Even the cranky doctor, who probably should have high-tailed it the other way when he heard that he'd washed up on shore with a slashed throat. We knew it was coming, but I really didn't need to see that.

I adore Frank. It's really a tough call between him and Daniel, who's so sweet and soft-spoken, but Frank has such a heroic streak, and he's proven to be a real friend to the castaways, more than any of the others. He's incredibly proactive, and he puts himself on the line to do what is right. I love that he liberated Michael and stood his ground against Keamy, even though it didn't do any good and ultimately actually got somebody killed. And watching this episode, I finally remembered that we saw him leave the ship with Keamy's crew in Ji Yeon. So that solves the mystery of when they left. Anyway, Frank is awesome.

Keamy is not. By far the most despicable villain LOST has introduced so far. Worse than Ethan, Danny and Cooper. Maybe worse than Widmore. Definitely worse than Ben. He told Hurley this time that he wasn't responsible for the Purge, which I always figured was the case, but I was starting to think maybe it was his doing after all. He played a role in it, yes, and he did kill his father, which was awful. But if my first hunch was right and he's not really a mass murderer after all, it does make me feel better about him. Anyway, Keamy is horrendous, just a completely one-dimensional villain from what we've seen, and regular killing machine who couldn't care less who he hurts. I almost never approve of resorting to capital punishment to eradicate murderers, but in this case I think I'd like it if Frank figured out some way of dumping him in the ocean. Maybe he'll just crash the helicopter altogether, sacrifice his life for the sake of everyone on the island, and the Oceanic Six are just the ones who fit on Sayid's raft. At this point, I wouldn't put it past Frank to resort to those heroic measures, though it would make me really sad to lose him.

How are they getting back to shore? Gault, whose outright decency kinda floored me in this episode, is gone. Desmond has sailing experience; could he do it? Drive the ship to land and then disappear? Widmore knows who he is, obviously, but if he could get off in time, maybe he wouldn't realize he was there. I sure hope he doesn't get himself killed on the freighter. His presence there makes me a little nervous. But his farewell to Sayid was touching, and anyway Sayid can get more people off the island if Desmond doesn't come along. My impression is that the castaways will be rescued in the present, not in a flash-forward. We'll be getting a flash-forward, though, if we're going to find out who is in that casket. So far, none of the main folks have died in the future; when it happens - because I assume that whoever's in the casket is someone we know well, or will - it'll be strange to see them in the present, knowing their ultimate end.

The two-part finale should be very revelatory, and I can't wait to see how in the world they're going to go about moving the island. Get the Dharma shark and some of his buddies to pull it? Have Smokey give it a monstrous push? Will we finally see the temple? Will we learn the fate of Jin and Claire definitively? So many questions, most of which probably won't be answered. But it seems this ought to be a fairly optimistic finale. At least compared to last year, my least favorite of the three. If it's anything like Cabin Fever, which I'm declaring my favorite episode of the season with the exception of The Constant, it will be fantastic.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Jack and Kate in Wonderland

After being bludgeoned with The Shape of Things to Come, I found Something Nice Back Home something of a relief. Had the main island storyline - Jack with appendicitis - happened a year ago, it would have been a real edge-of-your-seat deal, but since we all know Jack gets off the island, I wasn't worried about him, and that was okay. I could use a break from worrying. I thought there might be potential for concern in the future, since I wasn't sure at first whether we were seeing before or after Jack's first flash-forward. Once I was sure it was before, I realized we were just seeing Jack spiral into drugged-out alcoholism; while that's depressing, it's nothing we didn't already know about, and at this point I'm banking on him coming out of it. The biggest source of concern for me was Claire, but it seems to me if Hurley is questioning whether Jack should be raising Aaron, the likelihood is that Claire still could be raising Aaron herself.

We saw Claire wander off with Christian. Dan posited a theory he'd heard, that Claire died in the barracks and was seen by Sawyer as an apparition, like several other castaways have seen. Miles, meanwhile, could see her because he sees dead people. Interesting theory for sure. How was she holding Aaron, though, if she was dead? Anyway, I'm most certainly not ready to give up on Claire yet. I took her disappearing into the forest with Christian as a sign of hope that when the Oceanic Six left, she could not be found so Kate took Aaron with her, but that she will resurface at a later time. I really don't know what's up with Christian though. He seemed pretty corporeal to me. Maybe this island has a regenerative effect, and everyone who's died eventually shows up again. Maybe they're all at the temple with the Others. I just know I was disappointed that he and Jack didn't get to have their little chat after all.

And why couldn't we see another Hurley-Charlie chat? Okay, so it probably would have been totally superfluous. Just referencing Charlie was nice, and I like the idea of the two of them just hanging out, old buddies at the funny farm. I also dug the Christmas Carol vibe I got from Hurley when he said Charlie told him Jack would be getting a visitor. I guess that makes Charlie Marley, or Charlie via Hurley anyway. Marley, whose first name happens to be Jacob, who I am totally pumped to see this week. I also can't wait to see Horace and find out what the heck he's doing walking around and talking all these years later. I hope it's not just some bad dream Ben is having. I would be so disappointed.

It was nice to see Jack and Kate together in the future, however briefly, and it was a bit of a thrill to watch Jack propose. Of course, the blissful union couldn't last, and if they go back to the island - and you know they will - it's probably just going to be the same old love triangle all over again. I'm relieved to learn that Sawyer was still alive when Jack and Kate left the island, not that I really expected otherwise. Kate shouldn't have lied about whatever she was doing for him, which I'm guessing involved Clementine, but she's a chronic liar, and she knew Jack's reaction to it would be bad. There's just too much weirdness there. Even if she'd been totally up-front with Jack, I think it would have caused tension, even though Sawyer is hardly a real threat to their relationship when he's still stuck on the island.

I also took hope from Jin's threat to Charlotte that he may well still be alive on the island, where he stayed because his top priority was getting Sun to safety, even if they couldn't be together. I thought Rose's sassiness to Charlotte was a little odd, but I guess she earned it. While I'm warming a bit to Miles, Charlotte's behavior is bugging me, and I loved the way Daniel took her to task for it, especially considering that he has a crush on her. I liked Sun and Jin's conversation on that topic, and the fact that Charlotte is spurred into admitting her understanding of Korean by Jin's threats against Daniel tells me she's not quite as tough as she looks. Anyway, I thought Rose seemed a little more cynical than I'm used to for her, but it was still great to see her, and I thought her comment about the timing of Jack's illness was very intriguing.

Nice that Miles got to show off his Ghost Whisperer skills again, though the circumstances were most unpleasant. And so much for us getting a Danielle flashback. Moreover, I certainly did not need to see their dead faces lying in the dirt. I'm surprised, though, that Keamy and his thugs bothered to bury them. Or did someone else do the job? I liked Sawyer's pained expression when he saw Karl, who he'd nurtured; I so wanted to see that mentoring relationship continue. Miles generally came across as a pretty good guy in this episode, and I felt bad for him getting so much flak from Sawyer, not that I really blamed Sawyer for being suspicious. I like Hero Sawyer quite a lot; if this is his way of redeeming himself for all his dastardly deeds, I'd say it's a good strategy. I hope he keeps it up.

I think my favorite part of the whole episode, though, was when Frank, who knew only Miles (who he didn't particularly like), came bursting through the brush and urgently warned these strangers to hide, then put himself on the line to lead Keamy and his merry band away. I suppose his life may not have been in immediate danger, since they needed him to fly them back to the ship, but it still seemed like a really gutsy and downright decent thing to do. I'd say Frank is definitely one of the good guys. Really, I think all the freighter quartet are, but Frank and Daniel keep impressing me. (Nathan is disappointed that his theory about the reasons for Daniel choosing Desmond as his constant seems to be baseless. It would have opened up some interesting conflicts... Then again, does Desmond really need any more conflict in his life?)

The Juliet-Kate dynamic was well played in this episode, but I'm a little tired of all the Sawyer-Kate-Jack-Juliet tangles. I was more interested in seeing Bernard get a chance to make use of his medical skills. He did right by Jack, no question. But Jack... What a control freak, wanting to supervise his own appen..omy! Have a little faith, Jack. That's never been one of his strong suits... Incidentally, when Jack told Kate, "You're not even related to him!" I felt there was an implied "...and I am." I think that in the future, he knows that Aaron is his nephew, and if so, he's probably going to find out about it quite soon on the island. How appropriate that he's reading Alice in Wonderland to him...

Now it's up to Sawyer to take care of Aaron until they get to the beach, and it seems that probably should be their priority at this point, since they have no idea how to track down Claire and those snipers are probably coming back. They need to get Aaron to safety. But I'm not sure if we'll even see them tonight. The focus is going to be on the freighter and, more importantly, John. I think we're going to get some answers about Jacob, and it's about time. This episode didn't make me think too hard; tonight's will. I expect important bits of mythology to be cracked. Besides, John flashbacks are usually pure gold. I'm pumped. Just don't kill anybody else, okay?

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Shape of Things to Come Leaves Me Feeling Flat

I haven't been very diligent about recording my impressions of the latest LOST episode in a timely fashion, but The Shape of Things to Come unsettled me so much, I figure I'd better get it out of my system right away. I did not like this episode. Well, that's not entirely fair. Even in the midst of all the carnage, there were things to love, but when it was over, I experienced the same soul-deadening sensation that followed Through the Looking Glass. Damon, Carlton and anyone else who worked on this episode, if you're attempting to depress the heck outta me, congratulations. You've succeeded.

So this was a Ben flash forward, which I rather suspected when it started with him off the island. Apparently he has been out on the mainland before, but I figured if it was a flashback it would be giving us the scoop on Annie. Or maybe I just hoped. Anyway, this gives us a better sense of the timeline of Sayid's flashback, and it shows how he got himself into that situation.

Sayid and Nadia are one of the great love stories of LOST, and something smelled rotten when she was absent in his future, so it makes sense that she's dead, and that her death would cause Sayid to sink into the depths of despair, which, as we've seen before, would be channeled into rage. Sayid is a dangerous man when he's angry, and Ben knew just how to work that to his advantage. What I'm not clear on is whether he was involved in her death. His reaction to the television footage makes me think he just happened to find out about it and quickly worked out a plan to use that as a way to manipulate Sayid into working for him, but that patented Creepy Ben Smile after Sayid offered his services made me wonder if Ben actually was behind the whole thing.

But I'm horridly depressed by Nadia's murder, after all that Sayid sacrificed first to save her and then to find her. Now we may get to see their reunion, but instead of being purely joyous, it will be tinged with bitterness (much like certain scenes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince are bound to be). Reunited after all this time, and then torn apart. Just like Danielle and Alex, and possibly just like Desmond and Penny. But no, I won't go that far. They can't yank all my hope away.

But what a rotten thing, to wipe out Karl, Danielle and Alex all on the same day. If Danielle did somehow manage to survive, she won't be long for this world. The end of the last episode was terrible, but after all that I really didn't think Alex would get the axe this time around. The ironic thing is that Alex probably would have been better off if she'd stayed in the bunker, though if they'd taken off when Ben first told them to they surely would have made it to the Temple. So Ben did try to save her.

But doggone it, he didn't try hard enough, and how horrible that the last words she heard were her father's declarations of complete indifference to her. Did she know he didn't mean it? Does it matter? I so wanted to see Ben throw himself in front of Alex or do something comparably selfless to spare her life, and instead the standoff played out in the most heartbreaking way possible. I think he suspected all hope was lost when Miles informed him that Alex was the hostage; would Psycho Sniper really have let her go if he'd surrendered? I doubt it. But Ben is used to getting what he wants through manipulation, so it was one last desperate grasp at cheating his way out of the Kobiyashi Maru (yes, I'm drawing parallels to The Wrath of Khan again). Plus there are those mysterious "rules" to consider. When Alex died, Ben went practically catatonic, immobilized by shock and horror, and seeing him cry later was just as affecting. His grief was genuine, and I feel for him. If only he'd sent Alex to safety with Richard. But she probably wouldn't have gone anyway. What a terrible situation.

And now Ben plans to kill Penny. Yes, Ben, that will make everything better, won't it? It seems you really are Moriarty; might as well wear it on your sleeve. Sigh. I can't imagine Sayid would ever kill Penny, and though Ben tends to be a puppet master rather than a hands-on kinda guy, I think he would insist on doing this job himself, thinking he would derive some sort of visceral satisfaction from it. And that, I think, will be Ben's test. I think he will find Penny eventually, and when he does, he will have his last great shot at redemption. If he kills her... Well, I think I'll just have to wash my hands of him, which I probably should have done long ago. But there's no denying now he was right about the people on the boat, and the loathsome Mr. "We're Shooting Things" makes even Ben look like a pussycat. Ben's a villain, but hardly the worst of the bunch.

Charles Widmore is worse too, at least I think he is. But what does he mean about the island always having been his? Could he maybe be the captain of the Black Rock? Maybe his connection to the island goes much further than we suspected. He and Ben have obviously had dealings with each other before, beyond just knowing of one another's existence. What is their history? And why can't Ben kill him? And what are these rules they agreed upon, and why?

And it wasn't enough to kill poor Alex and Nadia. Three redshirts bit the dust; it was starting to look like the Purge again. And the doctor washed up on shore with a slit throat. Did the snipers kill him? Maybe he was standing lookout and they overtook him and then took a lifeboat and high-tailed it to shore. The island and the boat aren't on the same time, which is confusing to say the least. How long has the mercenary party been on the island? And do Daniel and Charlotte know about them? Daniel lied point-blank to Jack, who was pretty clever to get Bernard to listen in on the Morse Code message. Why lie about that? Jack already knows about the time differential thanks to the Desmond incident. I thought Daniel's "no" to Jack's query about their rescue was both forthright and apologetic. "We're not here to rescue you" isn't the same as "We're here to kill you." I'm still not sure he's in on the plot. I hope not.

I did like the Risk game. Yeah, it was pretty much the same as the fake-out with the golf game way back in Solitary, but it was much more effective here. The situation is so dire already, the confrontation seemed entirely possible - and indeed, it foreshadowed the end-of-the-episode argument. So I laughed with relief when I realized they were just playing a game. Didn't last long, of course, though I thought their reaction to the phone was funny, and I enjoyed seeing Ben play the piano. We needed a bit of levity to offset all the calamity.

I also liked Smokey, and I'll even give him a pass for committing yet another homicide, since it prevented several more. The funny thing is that during the second or third commercial break, I said, partly jokingly, partly thinking of the now-open barrier, that it would be a really good time for Smokey to show up. So when he did, I cheered. Too bad Ben didn't summon him a little earlier, but I guess there wasn't time and anyway, he probably would have posed a threat to Alex too. It was like Aragorn busting in with his scrubbing bubble mountain men in Return of the King. What an adrenaline rush! Smokey saves the day!

But what really kept the episode from being completely depressing for me was Sawyer, who absolutely put himself on the line for Claire in a show of heroics that I'm sure he couldn't have imagined of himself a few months earlier. Putting aside all my complaints with the episode, that sequence is sure to stand as one of my all-time favorite Sawyer moments. Would he have done what he did if he'd really known what he was up against? I'm not sure, but I'd like to think so. It's a miracle he didn't get himself killed, but the selflessness of his adrenaline-soaked, desperate search for Claire was a miracle in itself, and the absolute compassion and concern etched upon his features as he found her really touched me, as did his devotion to Hurley, even though it was wrapped up in a death threat to John. "If you harm one hair on his curly head..." You care, Sawyer. You really care.

And the beauty of those moments is enough to sustain me until next week, when I fear things will just get worse as Jack wrestles with appendicitis and Frank issues dire warnings. And if Claire doesn't make it to the end of the season, I'm revoking my already shaky acceptance of Charlie's death. Honestly, I can't see how it's done anyone much good. He never should've gone down there in the first place. The show has certainly gotten darker in his absence. I wonder what they're going to do about the last two seasons. They're going to have to change the format if we're going to see what's happening both on the island and off. In any case, I imagine we'll be seeing a lot less of Kate, Jack, Sayid, Sun, Aaron and Hurley, scattered across the globe as they are. Hurley's going to hit me the hardest. It's going to be hard going without him for possibly several episodes at a time, and not having him on the island to make everyone feel better. The one upside: Maybe Rose will finally get the chance to gain a prominence she's been denied up until now. Another reason for optimism. I need those...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Michael Seeks Redemption and Tom Crashes His Flashback

Tonight, LOST finally returns, and I get to squeal for joy. Maybe. Though the previews look rather dire. Ah, well; I guess the castaways in peril is better than no castaways at all! At any rate, it's high time I weighed in on Meet Kevin Johnson, the cliff hanger I had to cling to for a month while I contemplated what would befall our friends next. It follows the same format as Flashes Before Your Eyes, the only other episode thus far to do so. I'd rather spend the better part of an episode with Desmond than Michael, so this one doesn't quite compare, but it was still interesting to see what happened to him since we last saw him in Live Together, Die Alone.

Poor Michael. Things really haven't worked out for him, have they? His wife separates from him, takes his kid and does nothing to let little Walt know that he has a father who cares about him, even confiscating the cards he sends. Then he gets stuck with a seething pre-adolescent Walt when his ex-wife dies suddenly, and just as they're finally starting to reach an understanding, Walt gets kidnapped. So he goes on a desperate quest to find him, eventually leading him to kill two people and betray several others. And after all that, when he gets his son back, Walt is so disgusted by his dad's actions that he doesn't want anything to do with him. And then Tom comes calling...

Now, Tom is probably about the last person Michael would want to see in his situation, but it sure was a kick for me when he emerged from the dark alley, swooping by in his trenchcoat. This was almost as much Tom's flashback as Michael's. We finally got to see him off the island and get some idea of what he's like when not living entirely in Ben's shadow. He's sort of a cross between menacing Mr. Friendly and congenial Tom. He looks a lot different in this episode in his posh surroundings and preppy clothes.

And, of course, LOST finally confirmed my long-held Tom Is Gay theory. His boyfriend doesn't seem to know anything about the island. Is this someone Tom just met, I wonder, or someone he meets up with whenever he gets off the island? I can't imagine that's too often, and with Ben's tight security, that would mean no communication, which can't be good for a relationship. I'm guessing he and Arturo haven't been together long.

Mostly, Tom seems like a pretty good guy here. I was happy when he offered Michael that shot at redemption - until he said it involved killing everyone on the ship. Not cool, Tom. Haven't we learned by now that killing one person (let alone many) to save another usually only leads to anguish? And it seems to me that murder is murder, no matter who is being killed. But then, Michael's already a double murderer, so I suppose he figures his soul is in major jeopardy already. But redeeming yourself for killing by killing again seems pretty shaky to me.

Michael clearly isn't crazy about it either, especially once he gets to know some of the people on the boat. One guy we don't see him befriend is Daniel, who I'm convinced is a good guy. It was nice to hear Ben say the same thing - not about Daniel specifically, but about certain members of the crew. Not that Ben's motives are necessarily trustworthy, but it at least seemed that he genuinely wanted to avoid killing innocent people. Maybe feeling a little guilty about the Purge? Michael's got a lot to repent of, but Ben... If he ever went to Confession, he'd be in there all week. The fact that Ben stopped Michael from setting off that bomb could mean both that Ben isn't wholly evil and that not all the boat people are up to no good. I like both ideas very much. And Ben does seem more sympathetic in this episode than most, once again desperately warning Alex to get away for her own safety. That doesn't seem to have worked out so well. I'm really bummed about Karl; I really dug the mentorship vibe between Sawyer and him, and of course you hate to see young love snuffed out like that. I'm not convinced Danielle is dead, though, at least not yet. I think we still need to get her story in greater detail. Maybe, like Eko, she'll stick around long enough for a flashback. I have a strong suspicion, though, that she won't make it to the end of the season.

There are some interesting parent-child parallels going on in this episode. Alex and Ben have a very strained relationship, as do Michael and Walt, and it's largely because of the nefarious things the parents have done. There was something bone-chilling about the part of Michael's conversation with Ben in which Ben told him that he never asked him to kill those women, that their blood was entirely on his hands. The thing is, it's kinda true. Michael took a bad situation and made it worse with an awful solution to his problem. It seemed to him like the only course of action. Was it? I can certainly understand why Walt would be scarred by the idea that his father is a killer, and that he did it for him. I'd think Walt would feel guilty about it and lash out against Michael as a consequence. But when Michael became Kevin, not much time had passed after they arrived in New York. I would think that Walt would be ready to reconcile before too long.

We didn't see much of John's gang in this episode, but the little bit we got was intriguing. Shame on Sawyer, though; kill Tom for stealing Michael's kid, and then kill Michael for killing AnaLucia and Libby. Will the chain of revenge never end? Sayid, too, seems to want revenge against Michael, or at least wants him in a position where he can't work for Ben. Maybe this has something to do with why Sayid winds up doing Ben's dirty work; he replaces Michael, after realizing he should have just left Michael alone. Desmond doesn't have much to do in this episode. He's really out of the loop on the whole Michael saga, so he doesn't have the emotional engagement Sayid does. He's got a grand total of three lines in the episode, all of them pretty pointless. Better luck next time, Des!

So Captain Gault implies that Ben staged the plane crash, while Tom says it was Widmore. Who do we believe? Is Tom more trustworthy, or is the captain? That may not matter, because both of them could be misled or mistaken. So who is more trustworthy, Ben or Widmore? That's a tough call, but I'm going with Ben. I think he ultimately is one of the good guys, despite all his diabolical deeds. I understand he has a flashback coming up. Will we get to see what happened to Annie? I really want her to be alive somewhere, but I'm getting the feeling that she probably is dead, which is very upsetting. Maybe she died during pregnancy and he kidnapped Alex as a replacement baby. I think Annie is incredibly important to our understanding of Ben, so it's bound to come up sooner or later.

I saw a longer than usual preview for tonight's episode yesterday, and Alex shrieked "Daddy!!!" which really struck me, since in that moment of supreme terror, despite all that has happened between her and Ben, she is still his little girl, crying out for his protection. At this point, the fact that she was abducted as an infant is almost moot. Ben is the man she knew as her father, and he's probably all she has left. We know Ben survives, so he can't lay down his life for the sake of his daughter, but I hope he tries. I hope he does something. Alex's life has taken a major turn for the worse, but I don't want it to end entirely. Oh, the nail-biting anticipation. What will tonight bring? Who are those snipers in the jungle? What have Richard and the rest of the Others been up to? Will Daniel allay Jack's concerns? Will we be spared more carnage for a while? I can't wait to find out!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Sawyer (James Ford) Action Figure Review

Sawyer's letter has been oddly altered, but he's got the coolest backdrop of any figure in the second series. And gotta love those snarky quips!

Jin Kwon Action Figure Review

Jin with his arms tied behind his back, bloodied and panicked? Really? Is this the best way to present our favorite Korean fisherman's son?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sun Kwon Action Figure Review

Sun shows some skin in defiance of her strict husband. I'd rather she were busy saving Shannon's life, but I'm glad she's represented.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Circle Of Life Moves Us All With Ji Yeon

So it seems that going into tonight’s episode, we know the identity of the Oceanic Six: Jack, Hurly, Sayid, Kate, Aaron and Sun. What we don’t know for certain is just how bereaved Aaron and Sun are. We’ll find out soon enough.

Ji Yeon was one of the most emotional episodes LOST has given us, and it certainly played like a final act for Jin, dragging out the one major unresolved issue between him and Sun and neatly taking care of it, showing the strength of their marriage and of Jin’s decency. Jin’s last words in the present were "You will never lose me," which might be seen as a safe bet that she would lose him. It showed us the birth of a baby that Jin named even though he couldn’t be with Sun in the future and her presentation to a dear friend to the accompaniment of Life and Death. The big question is... Why isn’t Jin there? Are we about to witness his death on the island? That’s certainly possible, even likely; we know somebody dies tonight, and if it’s him, we’ve been prepared for it.

But I’m not ruling out the possibility that he’s still alive. The grave stone says he died September 22, 2004. We know that’s not true. Couldn’t it be taking the facade one step further? Obviously, there would be a grave for Jin if the world is supposed to think he is dead, and it certainly makes sense that she and Hurley would visit it. Even if the eyes of millions weren’t upon them, it would seem like an appropriate thing to do. A symbolic act. If Jin is living on the island in the future, it’s probably because he struck some sort of bargain ensuring Sun got off, or there was only room for six people and he gave up his spot because someone else seemed to need it more and hoped he would be able to leave in the future, or something.

I like that scenario better, even though it’s more convoluted and means that the LOST people are really having too much fun yanking us around. That seems to have been the main purpose of Jin’s flashback - trying to give viewers a false sense of security that both of them end up off the island, about to become parents. I never really bought it; I couldn’t believe that the two of them would both be in the Oceanic Six, so as soon as I saw Jin in a separate flashback apparently headed to the hospital for Sun’s delivery, I was suspicious. Besides, he seemed much more concerned about that panda than about the baby; if this was his own child, I’d think that getting to the hospital ASAP would be his top priority. And he seemed rather violent when he was threatening death against the guy who took his seat in the cab. It didn’t really seem like the Jin we have come to know on the island. Still, it was a bit of a dirty trick, especially pulling the same thing they did with Jack when his words implied that his father was still alive. Sun is delirious because the labor is so intense, so she’s calling out for Jin. Blah. So after all that, after they make us think he’s alive, only to make us think he’s dead, if they then reveal that he isn’t dead after all, that’s some major whiplash.

But it would be worth it if it spared his life. Jin didn’t seem like such a nice guy when LOST started, but we love him now, and his devotion to Sun, his acknowledgment of past mistakes, his willingness to forgive... Those should garner a reward, not a death sentence. Then again, with some notable exceptions - most unfortunately Eko - LOST has a tendency to kill off people once they’ve reached a height of moral development. So I guess we’ll see. At least we know that Sun and the baby survive; the chances of that had been looking rather slim...

I loved Bernard’s conversation with Jin, which was mostly one-sided but still great. Any excuse to dig Bernie out of obscurity is fine by me, and it was just what Jin needed to give him a little perspective. It was a beautiful scene, and Jin’s reconciliation with Sun was even lovelier.
Juliet was interesting in this episode. I really liked her, even though revealing Sun’s infidelity was a pretty rotten thing to do. Under the circumstances, it was the last thing she could think of that might prevent Sun and Jin from setting off for John’s village. Though the revelation threatened their marriage, it did it job, and Juliet was able to impress upon Sun just how important it was that she get off the island. While it might seem strange for Sun to listen to her at all after what she did, I think Sun was starting to realize that her survival was at stake. Then again, Hurley is among the Oceanic Six, as is Aaron, so joining John wouldn’t necessarily have prevented her from leaving. But Juliet wouldn’t know that...

We didn’t see much of Daniel in this episode, but I thought his conversation with Sun was pretty funny. What an awkward man. Their discussion was laughably uncomfortable. Frank was good for a few chuckles too, especially when he pointed out to Regina that her book was upside-down. I had assumed that he left the door open for Desmond and Sayid; I guess it was Michael, whose re-appearance couldn’t have surprised much of anyone at this point. Way to ruin our fun, LOST.
It was nice to see Sayid and Desmond’s friendship continuing to develop, albeit under most unpleasant circumstances. Their conversation with the captain was quite intriguing, though it didn’t tell us that much that we didn’t already know. I was surprised to see him so forthcoming, since LOST is so full of people keeping loads of dark secrets, and one would assume the folks on this boat would be worse than most. Desmond has a lot to process now that he knows Charles Widmore sent this ship, though I’m surprised he didn’t suspect it. How else, if the boat didn’t have anything to do with Penny, would Naomi have that picture? I suppose there would be other explanations, but Charles has always made the most sense. Speaking of Naomi, EW thinks Regina was the "R" on Naomi’s bracelet and that she killed herself out of heartache for her lost love. That’s an interesting theory, and less sinister than my suspicion that the captain forced her to do it for some unknown offense. Then there’s his story that she just went crazy, which also seems plausible, but I’m poised to think the captain must be lying about something...

I want to hug Hurley again after this episode. Good for him for visiting Sun, who seems to have the earliest flash-forward of the bunch. Sayid’s the only wild card, and it looked to me like his was further into the future than just a few months. Coming to see Sun and her newborn baby was a very Hurley-ish thing to do, especially given that it was such a bittersweet experience for her. He’s an excellent comforter. Of the remaining survivors, Kate seems to have the closest relationship with Sun, but she probably wasn’t allowed to travel internationally because of the charges she faced. Sayid was probably too busy jet-setting and whacking people, and Jack probably just wanted to distance himself. I would have loved to see Mr. Kwon in this episode, welcoming his only granddaughter; I hope that opportunity will come eventually.

There’s more to discuss in this episode, but I guess I’ll leave it at that. Tonight is Meet Kevin Johnson, so I would assume it’s a Michael flashback that will show us what he’s been up to for the past month or so and let us know what the heck happened to Walt. The previews have grimly promised us that Someone Will Die, and Jin and Claire seem to be in the most vulnerable position. But it could be anybody, really, other than Jack, Kate, Sayid, Hurley, Aaron, Sun and Ben, though I’m pretty sure it won’t be Desmond or Michael, and I just can’t see them killing off John or Sawyer. What if Jin catches another fish? Can that fish count? Pretty please? Ah, well. I am bracing for carnage. The season has been surprisingly free of bloodshed thus far...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ben's Not the Kind of Guy You Want Having a Crush on You...

It’s always hard to follow up a Desmond episode. I knew I couldn’t expect The Other Woman to blow me away like The Constant did. But it was an interesting installment nonetheless. And we got to see Tom again, albeit for about a minute... Still, I was excited about that, and amused by the image of him "cryin’ about [his] daddy," and it was nice to see Goodwin too, except when he was pinned to the ground with a stake. Ick.

The flashback seemed a little bit repetitious to me, what with seeing that plane crash scene from the Others’ perspective yet again and seeing impaled Goodwin yet again and seeing him fooling around with Juliet again, though this time we had the added information that he was married. I wasn’t too surprised that Ben had a crush on Juliet; I got that vibe a couple times before, but it was funny to see him so giddy when they had their little dinner date. (When he pulled the ham out of the oven, Dad said, "Oh, I guess he’s not Jewish!")

It was awfully nasty of him to leave Goodwin with the castaways until he got killed. What a vindictive thing to do. Makes me wonder if Ethan did anything to tick him off. I’m also curious about Annie, who I assume is the "her" to whom Harper referred. It would seem that she did remain on the island as an adult if Harper was able to say that Juliet looked just like her. My guess would be that he married her and then she died in childbirth, just like Ben’s own mother did, which is a really depressing thought. I’d really much rather she be alive and suddenly return at some point to help Ben redeem himself. (As for Juliet, I don’t see her being much of a match for Ben or Jack. The feeling definitely isn’t mutual with possessive Ben, and she and Jack just lack a certain chemistry, as evidenced by their rather grueling end-of-the-episode kiss.)

It’s good to know that I’ve pretty much had Charles Widmore’s number all along. Bad news and majorly involved in the bid for control of the island. I’m encouraged by the fact that Ben said the "friends on the freighter" aren’t the enemy, and Dan confirmed that they were on the castaways’ side when he rendered the gas inert. Ben might have to worry about those two, however. He and John continue to have an intriguing dynamic. I liked the fact that he asked whether that rabbit had a number on its back; aw, isn’t that sweet? Ben cares about his pet bunny...

There was some interesting misleading dialogue in this episode. The beginning was worded in such a way that I think we were meant to at least consider the possibility that this was a flash forward and Juliet was a member of the Oceanic Six, and when Dan said, "What if I can’t do this?" to Charlotte, I thought maybe his conscience was getting in the way of him performing some dastardly deed. His worry, of course, was entirely different - that he literally would be unable to come up with the proper commands to disable the gas in time.

I loved the despairing look he gave Juliet when she came barging in; it was heartbreaking, even though all we could see was his eyes through that hazmat suit. The commercials were misleading, though; they had Dan shooting an alarmed "You speak for yourself!" look at Charlotte when she told Juliet she’d just have to shoot them both. I waited for it in the episode, and I never saw it. Ah well...

Sun and Jin didn’t have a lot to do in this episode, but I’m glad we at least saw them, and I think it’s rather nice that Jin gave Dan and Charlotte the benefit of the doubt. Still no Rose and Bernard, which is frustrating, but that end shot of Sawyer and Hurley playing horseshoes and then incredulously watching Ben walk into the house was terrific. I also liked Claire’s conversation with John, especially her point about "All Charlie said was whose boat it isn’t. Don’t you want to know whose boat it is?"

Who does Ben have on the boat? Someone who would shock John, and supposedly us. The first possibility that would spring to mind is Michael, but if that’s the case, I’m really not going to be too shocked since we’ve been seeing his name on the credits all season. Libbie says AnaLucia, which makes so little sense it actually could be true. I’ll go with something equally unlikely and say Christian. Maybe we’ll find out in this episode, which is Sun and Jin-centric. I suspect Sun is a member of the Oceanic Six and Jin is not. Hopefully if that’s the case, he’s not going to be killed off this episode...

I had a dream last night that I saw the next episode of LOST. I don’t remember too much about it, but it involved a speech-making Hurley and spider-like aliens, one of whom had braces. In fact, the episode opened with them, far into the future, but they were traveling back in time to rendez-vous with the castaways... or something... and I recall thinking that there was no question at this point that LOST had gotten itself firmly into sci-fi territory. I don’t think there will be any aliens in this episode. But you never can tell with LOST...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Penny Gets An Early Christmas Present and Erin Gets a Late One

Wow. I had this feeling that The Constant was going to be dismal, depressing and possibly deadly for dear Desmond. How wrong I was! How relieved I am! Well, I guess I wasn't exactly wrong; poor Desmond really went through a traumatic experience. I think this episode is definite Emmy material for Henry Ian Cusick. What a range of emotions! I love that this episode was every bit as perplexing as Flashes Before Your Eyes; in fact, I'm thinking of it as that episode's bookend. They go together so perfectly, and this one really seems to show that Desmond's time traveling is a side-effect of the hatch implosion.

I felt so sorry for him at the beginning of the episode, getting yanked around in time and having no idea what was going on, and at the same time there was something comical about it. Or maybe the Desmond overload was just making me giddy. This was also like Flashes in that barely a minute passed on screen without Desmond. It was a bizarre format, bouncing back and forth and not really being quite sure where the "real" Desmond was grounded. Time travel makes my head hurt. Early on, Mom asked, "So is this a flash-forward or a flash-back?" I answered, "It's a flash-sideways!" And that really seemed about the most logical way to describe what was happening there.

We really didn't see why Desmond got booted from the army, unless we're supposed to assume that it had something to do with him acting crazy, only supposedly that was something that happened in his new past, not his old past, so that wouldn't have been it, and you'd think his going back would have changed a lot of things; I wonder if we'll start to see any strange effects. Time travel is very, very dangerous stuff. This episode reminded me of a lot of things. Star Trek. Journeyman. Back to the Future. *shudder* Premonition. *shudder*

But it also seemed wholly original and absolutely brilliantly executed. I just had a big goofy grin on my face from the moment I saw Penny's picture at the beginning of the episode. I cheered, and then I cringed and said, "Ooooh, I sure hope they don't kill Desmond!" And then I cheered again.

I didn't think the helicopter was going to land on the freighter in this episode. I thought it would land somewhere else, in some mysterious vortex or something, and Michael might be there, and everything would be very weird, but I definitely thought the chopper was going to go down in the storm. But it didn't. It was so strange spending most of the episode with 1996 Desmond in 2004, especially with Sayid, who was so obviously concerned about him, even though they haven't really spent a lot of time together, at least that we saw, though I suppose hiding Naomi was a bonding experience. Now that they've been through this ordeal together, I think they will most definitely share a bond; after all, by putting him in contact with Penny, Sayid saved Desmond's life. And he seemed deeply moved by the long-distance reunion to which he was a witness.

Desmond and Penny finally connecting again was one of the emotional high points of the entire series thus far. I wouldn't have expected it before tonight; I thought if they reunited - and I hoped they would - that it would be at the end of the series, and face to face. It did occur to me that "the constant" of tonight's title would probably have something to do with temporal anomalies if it was a Desmond-centric episode, and when Daniel was yammering on about constants to Desmond, I thought that the constant might be the photograph. But no, it was actually Penny herself. And somehow I managed to majorly miscalculate the date, and when I saw that calendar and Sayid pointed out that it was almost Christmas (which I thought was rather ironic, considering that he's a Muslim), I felt like Ebenezer Scrooge, jumping up and down and shouting to the streets below, "I haven't missed it!"

I want to give Darlton a great big bear hug. They gave me my Christmas after all, and there may be more to come. Of course, that also may mean the tsunami is imminent, but let's think happy thoughts, shall we? Because I certainly do feel happy after this episode. And wasn't that a gorgeous tree at Penny's house? There was such joy and passion in their reconciliation, I could have sworn they kissed, even though that was completely impossible. It felt like they genuinely touched each other from across all those miles. (And how eerily appropriate it is that I picked Same Old Lang Syne for my Penny and Desmond tribute when their story comes to a climax on Christmas Eve...) Anyway, it was one of the happiest moments on LOST ever, a perfect ending, and then I heard the creepy music and saw Daniel leafing through the journal, and I thought, "Oh, no, something is going to come along to ruin this." Instead, what I saw written there - "If anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be MY constant" - was an immense comfort. Now Daniel's fate is tied to Desmond's, and to my mind, that makes Desmond's position considerably more secure. If they kill off Desmond, Daniel most likely dies along with him, and I don't think they're going to be in any hurry to kill off two major characters at once, especially when there wouldn't be much of an element of surprise involved.

And let's talk about Daniel, because I believe he is starting to fill a void. Now, granted, if I could trade him to have Charlie back, I would, but I think Daniel is just adorable, in an extremely eccentric Doc Brown sort of way. I wanted to not trust him, I really did, but doggone it, he won me over almost immediately, and I like him more with each episode. His interaction with Desmond here is wonderful. He comes across as intensely interested in him, both from a scientific standpoint and out of deep concern for his fellow man (and possibly, as Nathan suggests, romantic interest; I'll have to keep my eye out for more hints on that, which could complicate things...). I get a sense of profound empathy with Daniel. It also seems that he is used to being on the fringes of society. I love that he taught at Oxford, and his hippie-ish hairdo was groovy. I think it's both sad and funny that his colleagues are always teasing him because of the tone of his research. Daniel thinks outside the box. That's important. When we met Eloise, I immediately thought of Flowers For Algernon, and that made me sad, especially when Eloise died. It really looked like Desmond was in trouble. But Penny wasn't kidding when she said she would always stand by him, even if her behavior in 1996 might seem to indicate a change of heart. Penny saved Desmond.

Alas, there was nothing and no one for George Minkowski to cling to, and I was really surprised that they killed him off so early, since I thought he was supposed to be a major character this season. I want more Fisher Stevens! Ah, well; it's always sort of disappointing to hear him without a crazy accent anyway... Frank really does seem to be with the good guys; I think he's the funniest of the newbies and Daniel's the sweetest, and I love them both. I'm still undecided on Charlotte, who it seems I know the least about, though with her name, I'm pretty primed to like her. (And the whole time delay thing reminds me of how differently time works in Narnia than on Earth.) Miles is obnoxious, but I think he's more petty criminal than evil mastermind. I really think these four are pawns, and I'm not sure how much they understand about the intentions of their employers.

I want to read that Black Rock journal! Obviously, so does Charles Widmore. I'm guessing he plans to scour the journal for coordinates or some other clues as to how to reach the island, and I still can't help but think the race was somehow orchestrated as a way to get Desmond there. But that would require Libby being in on the conspiracy too, I suppose, and them somehow rigging his instruments so that he sailed to the island without knowing it... Or maybe the race was just more generally intended to have someone find the island. Somehow or another, Charles Widmore is very involved in the bid for control of the island, and I'm pretty sure we don't want it to fall to him. I was a little surprised he gave Desmond Penny's address, but I guess he wanted to rub it in his face that Penny didn't want anything to do with him anymore. Little he knew...
I hear that Juliet has a flashback coming up, which probably means more Tom, which definitely means a happy Erin. I suppose it might be a couple of episodes before we see Des and Sayid again, but I'm okay with that. They're not exactly in friendly territory at the moment, but they've got each other, and it seems Frank as well, and Desmond has a renewed sense of purpose that should sustain him for a while, anyway. It will have to be enough to sustain me too.