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.