Friday, April 25, 2008

LOST: The Shape of Things to Come

For when the One Great Scorer comes
To write against your name,
He marks-not that you won or lost-
But how you played the game.
-Grantland Rice

Ben is so bewildering. So cut-throat and deceiving and clever, but I can't help thinking that if we knew his real motives.... There were at least two moments in that episode that I found myself with my jaw dropped: 1 - the death of Alex, and 2 - the summoning of Smokey, looking larger and fiercer than ever.

With the first it wasn't really shock so much as irritation and distress that they actually did it. I understand why though - to show just how cold and determined Ben really is, and also Widmore's group, for that matter. Just like when they had Michael kill Libby. If he had only killed Anna Lucia, everyone wouldn't have cared all that much because she was not a really likable character, but to have him kill Libby as well, who was sweet and seemed to have more story to tell, made the crime truly horrific. It was a brilliant moment when Ben stood at the window convincing himself aloud that Alex didn't matter to him. It even broke my heart a little when he kissed her on the head and cried. When they shot her he looked truly shocked - is that the 'rules of the game' that were changed - why Ben was so certain they wouldn't really kill her? Widmore made it personal?

Kirsten and I were watching together and as this was all happening we wished that Rousseau would have crawled out of the jungle with one last outstretched hand and yell, 'Nooooooooooo!' just as Alex gets shot, and then die herself. (I had secret hopes that she wasn't really dead still, since she kind of went out in a pathetic way, but I think that the writers just needed to close that chapter and move on.) I also, in my dark and twisty head, almost thought that Ben would have cut off Alex's foot or hair or something and had it hanging from his belt when he met up with the rest of them in the trees. Weird, I know, but Ben gives me this serial killer vibe and I always think he's going to do and say things that I've seen serial killers do in movies. I maybe watch too many movies.

As for Smokey. What?! Because of the flashes in this episode where he ends up in Tunisia (so I guess that poor polar bear that Charlotte found either accidentally got sucked through the portal or else it was a test subject...) I thought that when Ben ran back to that hidden room he was maybe going to jump through the portal and leave everyone else. Nope. Just had to summon his..... pet? His creation? Seriously, what is the craziness? So, all the times we have seen Smokey is it because Ben sent it or can it act of its own free will as well? I had thoughts that Smokey was connected to Jacob, but since he summoned Smokey and they still need to go and see Jacob, I am not so sure anymore, and I'm wondering if Jacob isn't as omnipotent as I thought. We'll see next week, I guess. Also, who made the call about Code 14-J? Do his 'Others' at the Temple have a phone or does it automatically happen when the electric fences are breached? did Alex trigger it to warn them when she opened the fences? Poor Alex, pleaded for them not to hurt them.

Widmore: Well, interesting. (I really liked Widmore when he made the comment about Ben's creepy, googly eyes) Though I do think that Ben loved Alex as much as he is capable of the verb, in his manipulative and possessive way, that is not the real battle between the two. Very curious to discover that Widmore has been involved with the island for a long time - it was his first and Ben took it? Explains why all-knowing Ben is so aware of who he is. Hmmmm. So did it used to be easy to find but Ben jammed the frequencies and now its nearly impossible? Or does he say, "you'll never find it" referring to something we haven't seen happen on the island yet? I am glad that Penny was brought up - where is she and how much does her father know about her rescue mission? I'm guessing he knows and is pretending he doesn't and is letting her. So help me Ben, if you hurt Penny... Also, I can't help feeling that Sun's dad is still involved somehow as well - who's going to come after his daughter? Its this whole generation thing again - so is Christian Shepherd still alive too? Will his daughter die by the end of the season?

The washed-up doctor and the Morse code deception: Despite Daniel's lie, I don't think that he is a cruel or deceptive person. I think they were told certain things and given certain instructions, and are confused about who to trust. The message was odd though. If it was true, then wouldn't that make things backwards from how they are? My thoughts on the time issue have been that the island is behind real time. If the doctor is alive and well on the boat and dead on the island, does that suggest its the other way around? Inconsistent! This time difference thing is confusing the heck out of me! Yep, the whole heck. When Jack collared Daniel and made him admit that they never had intentions of rescuing them, there was a shot of Juliette's face for just a second, but it said so much. It was almost a shrug - she wasn't surprised because she has been disappointed so many times. I seriously think that Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliette) and Michael Emerson (Ben) both deserve Emmy's.

Sayid: So he finally found Nadia and now she is gone for good. Sigh. So his heart is broken and he wants revenge. Seems like a good bet that Ben killed Nadia and not Widmore's group. Sayid usually has a clearer head and was too heartbroken to question Ben's true intentions. Ben had to come across as the good guy. His manipulation skills are amazing. I still don't understand the whole fake bomb they had Michael set off on the freighter though. What if he hadn't? Was the point just to see if he actually would? With Sayid, if Widmore's group really DID kill Nadia, was Ben just hoping that Sayid would join him or is there some necessity of free will involved? Does the island need 'willing' servants or is it just Ben being Ben? I guess Ben doesn't want his portal secret to get out either. I wonder were all and when all it can go.

Declaration of affection: Sawyer. I love him a little bit. Albeit I wish they would trim up his hair just a tad. He acts like such a jerk because that is where he is comfortable and what he is in the habit of doing, but in stressful situations he shows his true colors and is courageous, straight-forward and takes charge. Risking his life to save Claire and then threatening Locke in behalf of Hurley... I guess I'm guilty of the ages old female habit of falling for the bad boy with the heart of gold. Sigh. :)

Oh, and nice shout out by Hurley when they were playing Risk or whatever saying, 'Australia is the key to the whole game' - hmmm.

And what's with Jack's belly? I do hope our boy scout is okay. (Also, Kate, could you be any less obvious in your sassy glances and 15-yr-old teasy comments? I love ya girl, but please. (Maybe its just the Sawyer lover in me ))

Some other thoughts:

'I guess the whole Danielle back story will never be told after all - maybe a victim of the writer's strike? Everyone is blaming that for everything bad with this season already, why stop now? How bout a special in Memoriam for Nadia and that blond extra who always wore the handkerchief on her head who got shot by the freighters? I think I remember seeing her in the background of most of the Lost gatherings, but she never spoke a word. I guess Penelope deathwatch begins now.'

'I can't believe I'm saying this, but I am routing for Ben. I think that is the real goal of the writers. By the shows end the Losties will be the others and they will have us cheering for "the good guys".'

'Maybe the reason for the Doc's slit throat is because Sayid, Desmond, and Michael took over the freighter now that all the big guys with guns are on the island...'

'Did anyone else get a distinct deja vu feeling during this episode?The way Ben says "change the rules" makes me feel like he's been through this scenario before and is reliving it.'
'Here is the real question of tonight: Ben kept saying that he (Charles) had changed the rules. What are these rules and when did Ben and Widmore decide on them?'

'He was time travelling at the beginning. His head did that little shake. I got this feeling that somehow at the very end we would see him come too in the hatch while he was a prisoner and that it had all been planned early on. But we didn't. Curious that he was wearing a parka like he had been someplace cold.'

'Widmore! Oh man, so these two have a much, much deeper history than we ever imagined. Ben took the island from Widmore? Does that mean that Widmore was in charge of Dharma all along? And what happened so he can no longer find it? I'll state my theory now. I got the feeling that Ben and Widmore are related in some way from the way they interacted with each other and Widmore calling Ben, "boy".'
'Did it seem like there was something to what Ben said to Charles when asked if he was here to kill him. "You and I both know I can't do that." Is it impossible to kill Charles or not in the rules of the game?'
'Did anyone catch the name on Ben's jacket when he showed up in the Sahara Desert - I think it said Halliwax. Edgar Halliwax is one of the many aliases of the Orientation video guy (Marvin Candle, Mark Wickmund). Was that his jacket? Did he help Ben teleport?'

'How can Widmore be so sure Ben won't find Penny when he's handing out her number in public restrooms..?' - (Maybe like Alex to Ben, she's dispensable - a possession)

'I started to think after the last episode before the hiatus that the war between Ben and Charles was akin to the Michael Douglas movie "The Game," where the main character's life is turned into a live-action game. Or even a nefarious take on "Trading Places," where two men manipulate the lives and fortunes of others for their own sick pleasures – striving to be one chess move ahead of the other. I was even more convinced of this direction tonight, especially when Ben manipulated Sayid into being a hit man (I'm sure Ben killed Nadia himself). He had Sayid begging to work for him! If it's all a game, why did Ben grieve over his daughter? He did express sincere emotion, BUT it was a secondary, delayed response. His first reaction was shock. I thought he was shocked his manipulation failed for the first time in his life, but instead the shock was: He changed the rules. He even referred to Alex as a "pawn," another chess term. Makes me look at the all the game-playing in "Lost" in a new light: chess, backgammon, Connect 4, even the war game Locke, Hurley, and Sawyer were playing tonight. Remember what Hurley said: Australia is the key to whole game.'

'wow, looks like Jack gets really sick in next weeks episode...i wonder if he's pregnant.'

'Interesting that Ben's alias was Dean Moriarty - a character in Jack Kerouac's On the Road, which was about travelling and "finding one's self," and all around craziness. In addition, Dean's dad was a hobo and essentially he ran away or was abandoned (can't quite the book a long time ago!)... fits in with our losties' common theme of having daddy issues.' - 'Cute..CANDLE, WICKmund, HalliWAX...but does it mean something, or does he just like candles?'

'From what we know, i would surmise the Island is objective of the game. i would think Hanso is the gamemaster, Ben and Charles are the players and everyone else is a pawn. like any game there are rules. you can't win a game of Risk by pulling a piece and shooting your opponent. i think the world is the game board.the sad thing i am thinking is, someone will win in the end and new players will be chosen. what if the new players end up being Jack and Locke?'

'Forget Ben's parka in the desert -- what I'm wondering is where Bernard the dentist mastered Morse code ...And for some reason I keep trying to connect Ben's sickness at the beginning of the episode with Jack's sickness at the end of the episode, even though they may not be related at all.'

'What was the black thingy Ben was holding while time travelling – in the desert and in Chuck's penthouse? Several episodes back I mentioned the WAND in the 1871 novel "The Coming Race," which harnessed a life force based on Michael Faraday's electromagnetic findings. The WAND could be used to heal, destroy, induce sleep, communicate thoughts, and erase information from the brain of the receiver. It seems like Ben was manipulating the doorman (messing with his objections) when he was trying to gain entrance. Can that thing in his hand be a conduit for this life force, a byproduct of the electromagnetism harnessed from the island?''Kimmel: The island heals some people and doesn't heal others. For instance, Ben needed an operation from Jack to beat cancer, but it seems like Sawyer gets injured every sixth episode and by the next, he's fine. Is that just a TV thing?Carlton Cuse: Wow. [Laughs] Where are the softball questions, Jimmy? What about the warm-up?Damon Lindelof: The short answer is, it's not arbitrary. Yes, there is a certain degree of compressing story. The idea that everything you've seen has really happened in 110 days of real time feels fantastical, but that's the convention of the show. However, who gets sick and how fast they heal is something we talk about. In the second episode back [airing May 1], that becomes a major issue in the story. One character gets sick and another who has had experience being healed voices exactly that question: Is there any rhyme or reason to it?Cuse: The healing is related to the degree to which you are in communion with the island at any given moment. Perhaps Ben getting sick and needing surgery had to do with the fact that he had fallen out of favor, that his connection with the island was maybe not what it had been in the past.'