players of the dharma initiative alternate reality game, meant to lead-in to season 5, got a strange email recently, saying that the financial crisis had 'shut down' the dharma initiative. it was hard to tell if this is supposed to be part of the game, or if something had indeed happened.

well, now all is clear. damon and carlton confirm that the ARG for season 5 has been scrapped due to budgetary concerns. frankly, i'm more interested in what they'll be providing anyway: behind the scenes teasers for the upcoming season.

the ARG's always annoyed me anyway. while a nice distraction, aside from the 'missing pieces,' they were not considered canon, and were not written by, or developed by the show's producers.

each season of lost is a complete story unto itself. like the harry potter books, each provides a piece of the larger picture, but also contains a central theme. i love how each season's dvd box set of 'lost' has a different color scheme and look. and now this. at first i thought it was a piece of fan art, but after checking, i've got to make my disappointment official. wtf!? this is exactly the same color and style as the season 4 poster! not only that, the season 4 poster contained all kinds of tantalizing clues about what we could expect from the show. this poster offers nothing more than confirmation that daniel farraday is not dead, charlotte and desmond are joining us from the cast of 'little people big world,' and claire, as reported, will not be joining us.

my hope is that this is only a teaser, as the official season 4 poster was not released until a month before the premiere.

here's a great article profiling a q&a damon and carlton did for the 2008 screenwriting expo.

among their answers:

  • overall mythological structure was not determined (or even really thought about) until the show was given a full season order beyond the original 12 episode deal.
  • michael emerson was cast to play ben for a 3 episode stint, which also served as his audition for the character to be the leader of the others.
  • "this year will probably be a little bit more science fictiony."
  • mr. eko's botched storyline was the result of adewale akinnuoye-agbaje absolutely hating hawaii, and wanting to leave by the time they'd shot his second episode. "originally he was going to be someone who challenged Locke for the spiritual leadership of the castaways." such a shame. that could have been soooo good.
  • possibly joking about their 'favorite scene from the series finale,' they said: 'it involves a volcano.' tantalizing, as the island's volcano has been mentioned a couple times.

here it is:

the new clips are exciting - it looks like season 5 is going to be all about 'getting back,' probably with the O6's arrival coming right at the s5 finale..

from wordle.

video here.

just hope that her return is handled better than michael's.

wow, i just hope it's handled better than cynthia watros' return.

article here.

i wanted to do this episode full justice, so it has been a wait for my analysis. plus i felt no real hurry, really, we've got until february!

written by: damon lindelof and carlton cuse
directed by: jack bender

the top people worked on this finale. all the action was there, but like the latest indiana jones, i felt it was missing something, especially when 'part 1' of the 3 part finale was so strong. some of the payoffs weren't properly set up (michael going the way of arnzt), and many of the big reveals lacked the power of previous finales because they didn't give us any new insight, only new headscratchers. we got a lot of 'well, isn't that interesting' moments, rather than the stunning 'holy shit!' moments of finales past. and to be completely honest, part of the delay in writing this analysis has been because of the difficulty in pinpointing exactly why i felt dissatisfied by the episode, but after several months of writing, pondering, and re-watching, i think i've finally managed to pinpoint it.

the rush of the post-writer's strike schedule really finally showed itself in this episode. some of the special effects looked hurried, even some basic shots just did not look up to 'lost' standard. but those are minor gripes. let's hit the big issues, mostly through the prism of the oceanic 6. plus i'll discuss recent developments at comic-con.

  1. the frozen donkey wheel
  2. jeremy bentham
  3. michael
  4. jack
  5. desmond & penny
  6. sayid & nadia
  7. kate
  8. sun
  9. hurley
  10. the socks and others
  11. cool things
  12. preboomer
1. the frozen donkey wheel. who knew we were getting a season ending codename so literal! fun, but another headscratching moment that reminded me of the season 1 closer, leaving us peering into the depths of the hatch. so, what is the frozen donkey wheel? let's add up all the places that we've seen ancient ruins and heiroglyphs:
  • four-toed statue
  • pillar that locke's dad was tied to
  • doorway in ben's closet, leading to something that controls 'smokey.'
  • area surrounding frozen donkey wheel
the wheel was situated beneath the orchid station - and i must give the producers full credit here - the orchid video "blooper reel" was produced last summer, before a frame of season 4 was shot. yes, they knew quite a while ago exactly where and how they would end this season.

so what is the true connection between the ancient power of the FDW, smokey, and the four-toed statue?

the orchid (and by extension, the frozen donkey wheel) enables a timeshift forward. we learn from the video that a bunny can be sent several seconds into the future, causing it to seem to disappear for a moment. ben blasts the back wall of the chamber, climbs down into an icy cave covered with heiroglyphs, breaks the wheel free of the ice and pushes it a good one-third turn. after doing this, ben immediately ends up in a tunisian desert, his arm cut just as it was in "the shape of things to come," his episode earlier in the season.

i think it's safe to assume that the dharma polar bear skeleton charlotte found in tunisia was the result of dharma experimentation with this magic wheel, probably created by the 'natives' to harness the natural magnetic powers of the island, and used throughout time to protect themselves from outsiders and potential abusers. it also might explain why richard alpert doesn't seem to age - maybe he is aging, he just has the ability to jump in time. ah ha!

here's what i want to know - what is the relationship between the frozen donkey wheel and the failsafe button desmond pushed in the s2 finale? the sound and light effects of each occurrence were extremely similar. 32 episodes to go, a LOT of questions to answer.

but let's talk about the island's disappearance. let's assume, based on given evidence, that the island has been transported to some point in the future, the question is when? just as the bunny described in the orchid station video would seem to disappear for a few seconds, will the island similarly reappear at a later point in time? does it reappear at the same date that ben arrived bleeding and steaming in tunisia?

my theory: ben pushed himself and the island to october 2005. then, locke will take ben's place as the others/hostiles leader, and for reasons we've yet to discover (probably to save the island from another attack by widmore), locke will be forced to push the wheel himself, moving the island another few years further into the future and simultaneously exiling himself, just as ben did. when locke pushes the wheel, the island moves from 2005 to 2007, right at the time 'jeremy bentham' first started visiting the oceanic 6 (plus walt).

so, the island is there, in the same spot, in 2007, just waiting for jack and kate and the gang to return - and when they do return, they'll be surprised to find that only 1 month has elapsed on the island since they left - a month that we'll see play out in the "real time" island story of the final two seasons. remember each season of the show has covered roughly 1 month of linear island time, but the shorter season 4 covered half that time (2 weeks), so i'm guessing that the remaining seasons will cover two weeks of island time each, one month total. of course they may just completely change the format for the final 2 seasons.

if claire isn't dead, how surprised will she be when kate shows up one month later with a giant 3 year old aaron?

2. jeremy bentham. we first hear this name when kate yells at jack in the opening scene:

kate: you show up here with an obituary for jeremy bentham? when he came to me and i heard what he had to say, i knew he was crazy, but you. you believed him. him of all people.
jack: yes, kate, i did, because he said that that was the only way that i could keep you safe--you and aaron.


kate: i've spent the last three years trying to forget all the horrible things that happened on the day that we left. how dare you ask me to go back?
well this raises all kinds of interesting questions, and when you watch the episode for the first time, the big question is (and i know a lot of people were wracking their brains with it): who the hell is jeremy bentham? have i heard that name on the show before? is this supposed to be an "a-ha" moment? who are they talking about?

this conversation between jack and kate asks and answers a couple things at the same time. it immediately tells that in last season's finale, kate was indeed talking about aaron when she said "he'll be wondering where i am." we kind of knew that already, but we didn't know for definites. then it gives us two new mysteries intended to set up and carry us through to the end of the episode: 1) who is jeremy bentham, and 2) what exactly happened on the day that they left the island that kate is going to bring it up now?

which leads me to one of my gripes about this episode, and season 4 in general. don't get me wrong, i think overall, season 4 was very strong (though the strike knocked the wind out of it, which is not an entirely valid excuse since the worst episode of the year was created pre-strike), and it didn't quite fully recover. but i digress. my season-wide gripe: these conversations are starting to feel deliberate in their withholding and/or revealing of information. i'm not just referring to kate saying in the s3 finale "he'll be wondering where i am" when she probably would have just said 'aaron,' i mean that it's often starting to feel like the flash (forward or back) is artificially manipulated to thematically 'fit' the episode at hand when the actual events don't support the dialogue.

for example:

in the s4 premiere, hurley, shooting hoops at the asylum, says to jack "i'm sorry i went with locke." the moment made sense in the context of that episode, but it seems pretty damn clear, once we have the full story, that by the time hurley and jack get off the island, spend a week on penny's boat together, have birthday parties, become doctors again, drive daddy's car, and play house, jack and hurley might have some tension, but by this point would it really stem from that moment, so long ago? sometimes the story they create to 'fill in' the space between the flashforward and the present do not quite match up.

so for kate, three years after the fact, to conspicuously bring up 'the horrible things that happened on the day that we left' means that it had better be pretty damn horrible to justify saying that line now, and when it happens, we should know exactly what she was referring to. in fact, when it happens, there should be a closeup on kate's face and a whoosh to her future story to even more solidly tie the traumatic moment with her future psyche.

but after having seen 'what happened that day,' i couldn't quite tell you what she's talking about. the (cgi) freighter explosion? the (cgi) helicopter crash? i guess.. but if on that day she had to make a choice, and chose to save aaron over sawyer (or something) - now then i would buy it when she spits out a line about horrible things happening on the day they left (yes, i'm very big on defining characters through moral choice.) because really, for kate, that day was pretty much the same as the other 100 days she spent there, and based on her flashbacks, not that much different from the time before she even got there. so yeah: conspicuous shoe-horning of episode themes.

but about jeremy bentham, i have a lot of questions, so i'll just ask them all right now:
  • how did locke get off the island?
  • did locke push the frozen donkey wheel?
  • why did he choose the name jeremy bentham?
  • why was he trying to get all the survivors back to the island?
  • why would that be the only way to 'keep them safe?'
  • did he die because he had fulfilled his 'purpose?'
  • did christian shepard appear to him just before he died?
  • why does his body have to go back to the island?
  • what exactly happens to dead bodies on the island?
  • if locke's body is brought back to the island will his body disappear and will a manifestation of locke start wandering around like christian shepard?
  • do ghosts only form from people who died off-island and then had their bodies brought there (eko's brother, jack's dad)?
  • is that theory invalid because we've possibly seen an on-island ghost of claire? (but is claire dead? possessed? a bad actress being slowly written out of the show?)
  • do off-island ghosts count as ghosts or 'visions,' like kate's dream of claire appearing and warning her no to bring aaron back? why would an island vision try to keep someone away?
  • do you even want to get me started with all the questions i have about the rules regarding the ghosts and visions?
those who knew of the real jeremy bentham might have been able to guess right away that it would be john locke in the coffin, using the name of yet another famous philosopher as his moniker. i didn't know that. but read up on him, cuz it sounds like jeremy bentham was a pretty cool guy.

jeremy bentham being locke was the big 'reveal' at the end of the episode. one of the things i liked about this season is that it took us back to almost the exact same point in time that it left us at the end of last year. and i think season 5 is going to do exactly the same thing. we will see how locke, on the island, becomes the new leader. will his demeanor and morals change, as ben has hinted? will we see whatever it is that forces locke to give up his leadership, go to the orchid, and push the wheel? (will we learn that widmore was leader of the island and pushed the wheel himself at one point?) in 16 episodes we will learn about locke's visits to each of the oceanic 6. in the season 5 finale we will learn the (hopefully) dramatic details of locke's death, and we'll know exactly how he ended up in that coffin. boom. then february 2010, season 6: returning to the island.

3. michael. first: sigh. second: why oh why? why was michael brought back to the show?

remember when michael's story was interesting? gotta go back to season 1 for that.

when damon and carlton approached harold perrineau to return, what exactly did they pitch to get him to say yes? word around the street was that harold was written out of the show after two seasons of grumbling about what a pain it was living in hawaii and not getting very much to do, and yet somehow they lured him back to finish out his character's cycle.

they must have promised to kill him off once and for all, though it doesn't quite explain why harold would start yapping to the press like this about 'racially stereotyping' the characters on lost. his evidence: walt is now another fatherless black kid. stereotyping? really? i do hate that tired cliche of having telekinetic psychic black children you have to kill and die for in order to protect them from global conspiracies. let's think outside of the box, writers, sheesh.

truth is, harold has every reason to be upset with the producers, but not for sterotyping; for completely and utterly bungling his plotline.

the only real, new mythological element introduced to the world of 'lost' via michael's reappearance was the simple fact that once having visited the island, you cannot die or be killed until you have fulfilled some mysterious 'purpose' set out for you. ok, that's totally fine - it sort of explains why fate intervened just as jack was going to jump off the bridge.

but what failed to pay off is the idea that michael's 'purpose' would be at all important and at least a little bit interesting - something beyond spraying a bomb with a fire extinguisher to buy jin a few more seconds to ambiguously die.

in a move that confused many viewers, christian shepard appears to michael in that final moment and says:
christian: kthxbai.
michael: who are you?
freighter: kablooey.
i saw this as confirmation that michael had indeed fulfilled his (truly lame) purpose: to 'save' the survivors from being killed by keamy. i suppose he did this only by warning ben that the freighter would be coming, which ben knew was coming anyway in order to put michael on the boat in the first place. and in the end he killed most of the survivors on board the freighter anyway. oy. so many holes where michael is concerned. but now that michael has served his 'purpose,' he's now been given permission from 'jacob' to die. but why appear as christian shepard? why not, say, libby?

remember libby? what about ana lucia? his guilt over killing them was supposed to be the reason he embarked on this crazy mission in the first place. not only that, his guilt was strong enough to bring cynthia watros across the pacific to shoot 4 lines. (speaking of, does libby count as an island manifestation? ghost? fantasy?) if michael's story arc was to have any resonance, that guilt demands to be dealt with. a similar arc was handled masterfully last year with charlie. why was this so clumsy?

damon said it himself in an interview, where he laid out the LOST mission statement:
This show is about people who are metaphorically lost in their lives, who get on an airplane and crash on an island and become physically lost on the planet Earth. And once they are able to metaphorically find themselves again, they will be able to physically find themselves in the world again. When you look at the entire show, that's what it's always been about.
he goes further to say that michael's story arc was the opposite of most of the other characters - michael started out innocent, and didn't become metaphorically lost until his season 2 murder spree. at the time we were promised that michael's return would be the closure he needed to find his redemption.

so harold, i feel for you. you were done wrong this entire season, but it wasn't by stereotyping. mr. friendly's boyfriend arturo - that was sterotyping.

other questions: so, since christian shepard is suddenly appearing to people who've never met him before (locke, hurley, claire, michael), and since he's now sitting in jacob's chair in the cabin, is christian shepard jacob now? what are the rules for his appearing, disappearing, etc? is he a vision? is he actually there? and what changed from the first three seasons that christian is now appearing to other people, when previously the visions were very clearly only seen by intended parties? wtf is going on?

the faithful part of me believes that based on the 13th 'missing piece,' below, released before the season 4 premiere, damon and carlton do in fact have full understanding of the rules and regulations regarding the ghosts and visions, and that from here on out, for some reason, the rules will appear to change.

4. jack. so here's the things we have to remember about jack when we think about his future self storyline:
  • having visions of his father, starting to go a little crazy, doesn't trust kate anymore.
  • one day locke shows up and says 'no, no call me jeremy, it's more confusing and mysterious that way.'
  • 'jeremy' tells jack that he has to go back to the island because it's the only way to 'keep them safe.'
  • jack for some reason believes this (and, writers, when we see this scene next year, there had better be a damn good reason why doing this would actually keep them safe. right now, i'm not buying it).
  • a couple days later jack sees in the newspaper that jeremy is dead. and based on what jeremy told him in that extremely crucial "the-final-story-arc-of-your-entire-series-depends-on-the-strength-of-this" scene, jack is thrown into full craziness and realizes that jeremy was right. they must go back.
here's the big reason i don't think the finale packed quite the wallop i was hoping for: what we really needed to know before launching us into the next season was why it's important for them to go back. going back, wanting to go back, none of that is new information - going back is the cool tidbit they dropped on us last year. if we'd been shown exactly what the stakes are, when jack bellows at kate's car, we would completely understand and identify with him, viewing the scene in a whole new light. what we needed to carry us through this interminable hiatus was that kind of big new piece of information - one that informs and teases us with the kind of show we can expect to see next year.

all we really know about why jack needs to go back is what he tells ben about the conversation he had with jeremy bentham, a month earlier:
ben: and what did he say to you?
jack: he told me... that after i left the island, some very bad things happened. and he told me that it was my fault for leaving. and he said that i had to come back.
so - the questions are: what were the bad things that happened? (and will they live up to the promise when we see them?) why would it be jack's fault for leaving? is the ghost of christian shepard pissed that his son got away? we did get a tiny hint that maybe the island was trying to keep jack there by suddenly giving him appendicitis - will that weird, random plot point lead to a bigger payoff later? sure hope so!

sidebar: production begins on the season 5 premiere in a few days, and the episode is entitled 'because you left.' which gives me hope. hope that damon and carlton have spent all summer writing that crucial scene.

5. desmond and penny. it was a lovely reunion, but i was strangely unmoved. 'the constant' was my favorite episode of the season - the relationship between these two was so strong, with so much investment in these characters, it felt like there was still so much story left to tell, so much struggle for them to go through before being reunited. but this felt too easy, unearned even, and probably because we lost two of the planned hours for this season.

now, what remains to be seen is how ben's quest to kill penny will play out in the remaining episodes. what will desmond's involvement be? is he chummy with penny's dad finally? will he be downgraded from a series regular to a guest star? what have desmond and penny been doing for the past three years? "pushing the button?"

another big question: does ben count desmond as one of the people jack has to return to the island with? jack certainly didn't think to include him when ticking off the roster for ben:
ben: i'm here to tell you that the island won't let you come alone. all of you have to go back.
jack: are you... sayid--i don't even know where sayid is. hurley... is insane. sun blames me for... and then kate. she won't even talk to me anymore.
no mention of desmond, who has been on the island a lot longer than any of the oceanic 6. why wouldn't he need to go back too? for that matter, does walt count? he should, shouldn't he? and how about frank lapidus? again - it's the rules of this thing that are bugging me. right now it's very nebulous and arbitrary. i want specificity.

here's a cool thing. henrik, seen above, on penny's boat, was one of the portuguese guys in season 2's arctic station 'i guess they're not in purgatory' ending, the challah.

6. sayid and nadia. alright. that epic fight scene between sayid and keamy was pretty kick-ass. one of the episode's truly great moments.

but what's most curious about sayid is the scene between him and hurley at the mental institution. it's tough to follow until you know who jeremy bentham is - and once you do know, you have to go back and look at the way each person speaks about him.
hurley: and why would i go anywhere with you? i haven't seen you in, like, forever.
sayid: because circumstances have changed.
hurley: what circumstances?
sayid: bentham's dead.
hurley: what?
sayid: two days ago.
hurley: what happened?
sayid: they said it was suicide.
hurley: what do you mean, they "said" it was suicide? and why are you calling him "bentham"? his name is--
sayid: don't say it. we're being watched.
sayid kills a person we presume to be a spy for widmore outside the hospital - what exactly is widmore's plan/goal regarding the oceanic 6? in the season premiere he sends abbadon to confront hurley about the island, he possibly kills locke, possibly kills nadia, and he pretends not to know who sun is. i hope we get more insight into exactly what the widmore goal is. why kill nadia?

did ben kill nadia just to get sayid on his side? the timeline makes that a little difficult. ben arrived in tunisia on october 24, 2005 - we know that nadia was killed in los angeles right around the same time. ben might not have done it himself, but he certainly had the means to give the order. when ben transports to the middle of the tunisian desert, he doesn't even know if anyone got off the island. he would have had to have hatched his entire plan in a day or two.

something else that needs to be addressed - remember this photo of ben? when and where would this have been taken, if pushing the donkey wheel means exile?

7. kate. i wondered through all of season 4, if we would eventually see kate, post LAX meeting with jack, finally having visions of dead people from the island. and she does - claire appears, who tells her not to bring aaron back to the island. but unlike all the other ghostly appearances, kate wakes up from a dream of it. so, did we see a ghost of claire? a standard vision? a manifestation? or did we only see kate's dream? does this mean claire is dead? i have to say that the ambiguity regarding claire's fate is frustrating in an almost not fun way. again, it seems to be lacking in specificity similar to the recent christian shepard appearances - he's seen by people who've never met him, he talks to them, he clearly appears and disappears without effort.. i'm extremely curious about this choice to show claire (possibly?) as a ghost first and then fill us on her her death later.

sawyer's sacrifice didn't quite 'land' for me. har har. it was clear what they were doing and going for, but this again felt underwhelming, and i'll tell you why: we should have heard every word, very clearly, of his confession/request to her before jumping out of the helicopter. the mystery was already set up in jack's episode a few weeks earlier, and it was time for an emotional payoff.

even though the details of it aren't really a secret or a surprise, by letting us into that moment, we could share in sawyer's pain as he makes the decision (again, defining character through moral choice) to jump. we would know that he's throwing away not only his chance to be with kate, but (in what is likely to be his third-act character arc) also his chance to find his daughter. sometimes too much mystery (or misplaced mystery) can kill the emotional power of a moment. ususally the show is masterful at parsing this kind of information: see part 1's 'claire is your sister' scene.

8. but now let's talk about something that did work, and that was sun screaming for the helicopter to turn back for jin. fantastic, fully committed work by yunjin kim.

what didn't really work for me though is this idea that the second person (besides her father) she blames for jin's death is jack. sun is a pretty logical person (except when she randomly decides not to trust juliet because it serves the needs of the plot, i'm looking at you, eddie kitsis and adam horowitz). it's obvious in this scene that placing all the blame on jack is pretty unfounded. she has equal reason to blame lapidus, kate, sawyer, desmond, michael, or anyone who told her, in those crazy moments, to sit back down and stop screaming, which was pretty much everyone.

it's only a problem because we got such fantastic mystery setup for who this second person might be during her daddy bitchslap 'i blame two people' scene. it demanded that the mystery of the second person be revealed in a way that shows that this person deeply deserves her wrath. We needed to see jack be more active in separating her from jin, and we needed to see jack accepting the guilt and responsibility for it. where was the scene where jack attempts to apologize to sun, and where she makes clear how she feels? what we got was a kind of muddled 'well, okay, i can kind of see how she'd be mad at just jack.' i wanted the crystal clarity we usually get with these things on lost. for a show steeped in so much mystery, facts and known elements must to be absolutely clear and solid so that the deliberate ambiguities do not cross over into confusion.

that said, we're just going to have to accept that yes, sun blames jack. moving on. i'm interested to see where things go now that she has joined forces with widmore - my guess is that she will be approached by jack to return to the island, as he must do - and she'll tag along as a spy for widmore. in this sense she will become like juliet since she'll be torn by loyalties and we'll never really know which side she's on. she will sabotage the mission, put everyone on the island in jeopardy again, and then realize at the last moment, or even too late, that jin is actually still alive and that her hate for jack was always misplaced. what would be awesome is if in her hatred, sun becomes a full-on series villain - and the price she pays for that choice is realizing that jin isn't dead, but then also causing his -real- death. oops. but if that doesn't happen, it'd also be cool to see jin's surprise when sun shows up on the island (a la kate with aaron) one month later with pictures of ji yeon, now 3 years old.

9. hurley: his flashforward scene with sayid ends with hurley checkmating "mr. eko," which indicates that hurley is being visited by multiple island ghosts.

some open ends with hurley, certain to be addressed in the coming seasons:
  • why does hurley see multiple ghosts?
  • why was it such a big deal that hurley had also seen jacob's cabin?
  • is he more 'in tune' with the island than anyone else?
  • if locke is ben's successor, is hurley meant to be locke's sucessor? or is jack? (will the series end with another push of the wheel?)
  • does all this have something to do with the hurleybird?
since sayid is working for ben, and since hurley's now with sayid, jack's job just got a little easier. sun will probably return to the island as a spy for widmore, so really, jack just has to convince kate (unless walt and desmond and the bits and pieces of michael need to be returned to the island as well).

10. the socks. ok, here's what i'm wondering: did, like, almost all of the other survivors of flight 815 just die in the freighter explosion? are those 4 or 5 people who were in the boat with farraday the only socks left?

farraday: was his boat in the jump zone when ben pushed the wheel? did they travel with the island, or is farraday stuck in the "present" with the oceanic 6? if so, will he also have to return to the island with jack and everyone? would all the socks on that boat have to return too? update: my new theory comes from the recently released comic-con video, in which dr. marvin candle (whose true name is apparently pierre chang) makes a desperate plea from 30 years ago (via some kind of video portal in time) to re-form the dharma initiative and continue its work. all this ties into this summer's alternate reality game: the kicker is that at the end of the video you can almost certainly hear daniel farraday's voice.

so here's my theory: damon and carlton have hinted for a long time now, and stated pretty clearly that at a certain point, there would no longer be a classic flash forward or back structure. and here's how they're going to do it:

the show will now take place, in 'real time,' in all three places; past, present, and 'future.' when the island jumped, daniel and his boat are transported to a point in the island's past, where dharma is still operating. those still on the actual island, locke, juliet, sawyer, claire, are in the 'present,' and the story of the off-island survivors trying to return to the island is 'the future.'

this structure changes past, present, and future to 'now.'

with each whooshing sound effect, the show will jump between these three points. we'll still see rousseau's story - but it won't be a flashback, it will actually be happening. it's a cool idea but the logistics of it are making my head swim. plus, only 32 more episodes.. don't mess it up guys...

charlotte: from what damon and carlton are saying, her very special episode is one of the ones that got cut in the post-strike plan. which is interesting and weird. i can't say i'm sad that we didn't get more charlotte, but her two lines in this episode at least gave us some hint that she does actually have a larger purpose in the story: she believes she was born on the island. which could mean a couple things: was she, like aaron and alex, conceived off-island and then born on the island? or, is she one of the only people ever to actually be born on the island? is charlotte somehow related to annie, ben's long lost love? did ben send annie off the island to give birth to charlotte, and ben doesn't know she's his daughter? did annie push the FDW? and of course - jacob. is jacob charlotte's father? is jacob one of these ghosts, like christian shepard? was he someone from around the time that widmore was on the island?

11. cool things. as i tear this episode a new one, it's important to remember that originally all of the story in this 3-part finale was supposed to fit into only 2 hours. and after trying to pack it in, damon and carlton lobbied for an additional hour to help give some of these events emotional weight. so for all my complaining about things 'not landing,' i can't imagine how terrible this finale would have been if it had been forced to be an hour shorter. so i have to be at least a little forgiving. we are lucky to have had a finale at all, and we are lucky that it was pretty damn good.

each season of lost has its own internal structure and identity, and as the seasons progress, the premieres and finales mirror each other in interesting ways; whether with vintage music playing, eyes opening, island-wide events, exploding boats, or major new pieces of mythology revealed. i was struck by some of the parallels between this finale and previous finales, particularly season 1's: both end with the fiery destruction of a boat on which we've pinned hope for rescue, and in each of those incidents, jin and michael are both presumed dead by the time the preboomer hits.

and with reminders of season 1's finale fresh in my mind, i was filled with a brief moment of fear as penny's boat approached the survivors - would this be a replay of those s1 finale events? but no, we knew our heroes would escape to become the o6, but still pretty impressive that tension could still be created in a situation of certainty.

and, speaking of the...

12. preboomer - the final shot of jack and ben looking down at the coffin, along with the music cue, reminded me a lot of the final shot in the season 1 finale: jack and locke peering down into the open hatch. and this prebomer left me with a similar feeling: really wishing i was watching the whole thing on dvd so i could just put the next damn disk in.

i'm sure you've seen these alternate endings by now, which i think is a brilliant way to prevent the spoilers that riddled the internet last year. even people on set wouldn't know which answer was true.

reminds me of how they covered up the darth vader/luke's father secret by just giving the line to james earl jones during adr.

so there it is! my lengthy, unfocused thoughts on the finale. i've spent a lot of time thinking about it, probably too much, and looking forward to seeing where it all goes. the shape of the show is fundamentally changed. my only worry is that the story is too big to finish respectably in the two short seasons remaining. with 12 main cast members, it means your favorite character gets one featured episode per season. but, with the hinted at new structure, we may not see episodes based entirely around one character anymore anyway.

thanks for tuning in, thanks for checking to see if i've finally posted this, and we'll see you in february, possibly sooner if more 'missing pieces' or other lost canon (the ARG's are not canon) is released before the s5 premiere.

damon and carlton know how to write a finale.

overall, i loved it. solid. visually inventive. plot-driven. emotionally resonant. and this is just the beginning of the payoffs yet to come.

written by: damon and carlton.
directed by: stephen williams

there was so much happening in this episode, so many concurrent stories, that it's hard to believe it all fit into 42 minutes of show, all without ever feeling rushed. we got 4 stories on the island, and 4 stories in the flashforwards. the big question to be answered next week, is: how do certain people, from each of these disparate groups, end up becoming the oceanic 6? let's look at each thread:

  1. locke/ben/hurley
  2. jack/sawyer
  3. sun/jin/desmond/michael/aaron
  4. kate/sayid
1. locke, ben, and hurley are on a mission to the orchid station to 'move' the island, which i'm thnking will reactivate whatever it was that the failsafe disengaged regarding the island's electromagnetic 'shielding.' though we -still- don't really know exactly what happened in the season 2 finale other than causing a little blip in the portugese snow station.

i'm totally stumped how hurley might end up being part of the oceanic 6 from this point. it stands to reason that jack and sawyer will converge upon the proceedings, and they're doing it specifically to save hurley, so that surely has something to do with it.

hurley: his flashforward showed us that it didn't take long for the island to start exerting it's power on him. starting with the ominous other-whispers as he approached the surprise party - i'm sure someone's slowed down, reversed, and isolated those whispers and can tell us if they are indeed strange other-whispers, of if they're surprise party chatter, saying things like "hide hide he's coming!" other than that, hurley's bit of the story didn't give us much more, but it did bridge an important gap between rescue and the opening shot of the season, where he careened in his father's car through a pile of guavas. one thing we still don't know about hurley, is why he said 'good' to sun, when she said that none of the other 6 were in korea to see her baby.

and while we're talking about opening shots, i want to discuss the opening shot of this finale, which was a direct callback to a very similar shot in the series pilot - a shot of clouds that pulls back through a window to reveal that we're on a plane. in the pilot the camera pulled back for jack's flirtation with cindy, where she gives him a few more bottles of liquor (an exchange that was riffed upon in last year's finale). but the choice of shot is important because it reminds us that this is the first time these people have been on a plane since that first, very similar shot.

ben: some great ben moments in this episode, though his 'i always have a plan' line bordered on scenery chewing. loved the 15 year old crackers line. a great way to embed exposition in organic character moments. it reveals that it was probably the last time the orchid station was used to 'move' the island. and who was he flashing the mirror to? richard alpert?

locke: i'm expecting a big revelation regarding locke this week. it's going to tie into his flashback episode, and it's going to relate to a realization that he has met richard alpert before, and it's going to have something to do with being the true 'chosen one' for the hostiles/others. beyond that, i really have no idea.

2. jack and sawyer. ok here's what we can expect to see this week from these two guys.

jack: we will see michael complete his island mission, three years later, and then finally, successfully kill himself by hanging himself in los angles. we will learn that he is in the coffin, and i will rejoice. the next day jack sees the article in the paper and understands that something has changed, if michael was finally able to die. this prompts jack to attempt suicide himself, but 'fate' intervenes, and prevents him from doing so. i'm guessing that this week's episode's second-to-last scene will be last year's final scene, played again, only this time we have full understanding of where the characters are. the final scene will be when locke pulls the timeshift lever at the orchid station, and makes the island jump ahead in time three years.

of course the other major plot point was that we finally got our moment of discovery from jack regarding claire. the scene was handled wonderfully. i love when dramatic impact comes from seeing a person react to something. there was nothing actually surprising about the scene, but similar to desmond's cathartic phone call to penny, this is a scene we've wanted to see for a long time, and one that the actors get to sink their teeth into. just fantastic. and now we know that when jack yelled at kate 'you're not even related to him!' he certainly was twisting the knife.

sawyer: sawyer really got shortchanged this season. he didn't get an episode, which makes me wonder if he's going to be around much longer, or if they're saving him for later. they closed his 'mysterious letter' story arc last season, so unless they build a new arc for him soon, i wouldn't be surprised if they sent him the way of charlie - but probably not until early next season. the one big sawyer plot point of course is finding out what favor he asked of kate. i still think that it was to find his daughter, though why kate had to wait 2 years to finally do the favor makes that one a bit strange.

3. sun/jin/desmond/desmond/michael/aaron.

sun & jin & aaron: the slow motion with music section capping off this episode really made it clear that the great divide separating sun and aaron as oceanic 6 is probably going to happen pretty quickly. my guess is that the freighter blows up, and the sun is on the raft for some reason, perhaps as part of an evacuation from the freighter. i suspect that sun watches the freighter explode from the raft, and jin is still on it. sun believes that jin is dead. we'll find out later that he survived, and their act 3 story will be about reuniting.

rob and jeff jensen were quite irritated by the size of sun's (and the 6's) 'settlement' being enough to purchase a controlling interest in a company the size of her father's. i so didn't care or even think of it. i just loved watching her bitchslap daddy. it was sun's joan crawford, 'i'm taking over pepsi cola' moment.

desmond: will desmond die soon? the poor guy hasn't had anything to do since 'the constant' but look concerned. it would be a major dramatic mistake to have desmond die before he has a chance to discover/intercept/be destroyed by ben's plans to hunt down and kill penny.

michael: like i said above, michael is in the coffin, and his flashforward will tell us what his 'work' was, show how he got off the island despite not being an oceanic 6, show us his death, and put him squarely in that coffin. it seems to be the only person that makes sense. i'd love to be wrong though. but i'd also like to see michael dead, so i'd also love to be right.

4. kate & sayid. both of them have been cornered by alpert and the hostiles/others, and are being marched off somewhere, perhaps to the orchid, led there via ben's mirror flashing? i got really excited seeing the others as a group again, because it means that yes, next year is probably going to be about finding out who the hell they actually are, and yes, it will have something to do with the 4 toed statue.

kate: in the future, is kate truly where she needs to be? is she at all haunted by the island? is it going to come for her and sun eventually? will she start having visions of her horse again? will she be wearing pants again?

sayid: sayid's story got one of my favorite shots of the episode, the wide shot of the outside of the press conference hangar, where he finally, after so long, reunites with nadia.

a scene made ironically tragic, knowing that she's gonna be dead in just a couple months.

it was really weird seeing the island folk at hurley's surprise party, wearing polo shirts and looking normal. i think this week we'll be seeing nadia get shot down at that best buy on labrea and santa monica.

5. other stuff: abc is rerunning part 1 this thursday before the new episode, and they are rerunning it with a special extended press conference scene! in the podcast damon and carlton said that many more questions and answers were shot, but they just could not get all of them in. looking forward to seeing what new tidbits of information they're gonna throw at us.

cool details: geronimo jackson makes another appearance. i've loved michelle forbes since 'swimming with sharks' and 'star trek: tng.' so great to see her on battlestar, lost, and 24 - the best serial dramas on tv.


'my name is benjamin linus. i believe you're looking for me.' shocking only because the boom came so soon and unexpectedly. the episode moved so fast. it was over so quick. but again, ben gets the best preboomers. i think he had about half of them this season!

given the break in scheduling, my recap/analysis of 'there's no place like home, part 1' will not post until next tuesday. see you then!

written by: the sarn & kyle pennington. who the hell is kyle pennington? he wrote and directed one short film. now he works on lost. pardon me while i go track down kyle with my tonya harding lead pipe of jealousy.

directed by: paul edwards. he hasn't directed an episode since claire's 'par avion' last season.

  1. alpert
  2. horace
  3. abaddon & mittelos
  4. claire
  5. jacob
  6. headings
  7. preboomer
1. alpert.

hrm. alpert's presence at locke's birth kind of rubs me the wrong way for two reasons: convenience and logic. i'll talk about the logistics in #3. i understand it as a plot point, and as part of building the larger arc of locke's character going into the final act of this story, but the rapid execution here feels tacked on, much like ben's affection for juliet was conveniently tacked in in her flashback so as to drive the events of the episode.

while i'm not crazy about the execution - we needed earlier clues that locke has been loosely pursued by dharma/the others/the hostiles/whoever since the moment of his birth - but let's talk about what it means.

alpert's test is reminiscent of the test given to children when searching for the reincarnation of the dalai lama. so, who are the hostiles (or is it actually dharma at this point? very confusing.) searching for, and what role is this 'special' person supposed to play? what is the significance of each object? why does alpert get so disappointed when locke chooses the knife? it's in keeping with locke's character is that he's never able to accept who he is - he insists that he is a hunter, not a farmer, even while being unable to kill a traitor in 'further instructions,' and he vehemently rejects science camp! it's not until dharma or widmore or whoever come up with the idea of playing into who he thinks he is, that they get him in place to arrive on the island.

the objects:
  • comic book - brings to mind the spanish comic book hurley had in the series pilot.
  • knife - inextricably linked with locke's iconic knife throwing entrances.
  • compass - tracking, direction, headings, bearings, all big themes/elements on the show.
  • sand - probably directly from the island, to determine a child's innate connection with the physical place.
  • book of laws - probably an important choice for someone being groomed to rule over a society.
  • baseball glove - yeah, no one's gonna pick the glove, except maybe jack.
it brings to mind the 'tests' that mrs. klugh told michael they were giving to walt. were they testing walt for the same thing? and why was it decided that walt needed to be taken off the island? did they discover that walt was the antithesis of whatever it is they were looking for?

2. horace and his wife were present at ben's birth outside of portland oregon, and it's horace who reappears in locke's dream - why?

we're being reminded of the 'heralds,' who just happen to be present when these 'special' children are born. will we get a similar flashback at walt's birth, where we discover that he was also born 3 months premature, and that alpert, or someone of his ilk was also present?

and what is the significance of being born premature? are there other factors that make you a candidate to be 'jacob's go-to guy?' horace's arrival at ben's birth (ben was born 2 months premature) seems to be more accidental, but i suppose it could be retconned to make the coincidence look more deliberate - as though outside forces have been watching and waiting for 'the one' for a long time.

3. abbadon and mittelos. another reason i wasn't as wildly crazy about this episode as some of my friends was that the more i think about certain details of the alpert/abaddon/mittelos appearances in the flashbacks, the more i find myself asking hundreds of questions that only seem to confuse the plot rather than clarify it. how do these appearances gel with what we know to be happening in the bigger timeline? who is on what side at these various points? and which side, widmore or hostiles, is trying to get locke to the island from infancy? let's break it down:
  • may 30, 1956: locke is born 3 months premature - richard alpert is present.
  • 1960: locke fails richard alpert's 'test.'
  • 1960: ben linus is born near portland. horace and olivia goodspeed are present.
  • 1972: mittelos laboratories attempts to recruit locke to their science camp near portland.
  • 1970's: ben, following the vision of his mother, meets richard alpert, outside the dharma camp.
  • december 19, 1992: ben, with the assistance of the 'hostiles' purges dharma from the island.
  • 2000: abaddon is locke's physical therapist, urges him to go on a walkabout.
  • 2001: juliet is recruited by mittelos bioscience
i'm just going to unload all of my questions at once here - at the time locke is born, is alpert part of dharma? and in 1956, is dharma owned by widmore? if alpert isn't part of dharma, is he part of mittelos bioscience (then called mittelos laboratories)? but then are mittelos and dharma two entirely separate institutions? or is mittelos an off-island proxy for dharma, as we can assume from events in 'not in portland?' if mittelos has always been part of dharma since the 70's shouldn't it be pretty easy for widmore to infiltrate island business, since it's still operating and able to recruit juliet? if alpert is one of the 'hostiles,' is mittelos then a separate institution owned by the hostiles? are the hostiles so well equipped?

by 1972, when mittelos (an anagram for 'lost time,' if you missed that the first time we encountered mittelos bioscience last year) failed to recruit locke, did they then decide to annoint an on-island child (ben) as the 'chosen one?'

we know that abaddon is widmore's man. at least, he's widmore's man in the flashforward/back events we've seen this season. abaddon appeared twice before: harassing hurley to find out if 'they' were 'still alive,' and in a flashback hiring naomi and briefing her on her mission. so what is he doing lightly pushing locke to go on a walkabout in 2000?

the only think i can think is that widmore knows the 'proper' course of events. he acts like mrs. hawking, nudging people towards their destinies. perhaps it's destiny that locke is going to be the 'savior' of the island to unseat ben, but it's the timing that remains in question - so widmore has abaddon track him down and give him the push he needs in order to get his various chess pieces in the proper places.

i think the episode works great as a stand alone, which is why many found it quite satisfying (the candy bar scene alone rose it above many other episodes this season), but the deeper logic behind using alpert, mittelos, and abaddon seems to push the idea of a unified theory of lost further into the distance.

one question that i think was incidentally answered with some definition is that widmore is in fact part of, or owner of, or at least affiliated with dharma. keamy pulls out the binder with the 'secondary protocol,' and it clearly has a dharma logo on it, the same logo as was on ben's parks when he appeared in the desert in 'the shape of things to come.'

4. claire.

damon and carlton promised us in the mother's day podcast that we would be seeing claire again before the end of the season. hopefully he strange couple of shots will not be all that we get. is claire dead? if so, how will the jack/claire half-sibling revelation play out? will claire's ghost tell him herself? however it shakes down, it must be sufficiently creepy as to freak jack out enough to not want to go near aaron for several years.

is it possible that claire actually died when the house blew up with her in it? - she was ridiculously unscathed after that explosion, but acted more or less like her normal self afterwards - it's not until we see her in the cabin that she looks smug and out of character.

it depends on what the rules of manifestation are - it's also possible that everything locke saw in the cabin was an illusion, and the real claire is off somewhere else being manipulated by dad to do whatever it is that jacob needs doing.

5. and here we are, about to get part 1 of the season finale, and we know essentially nothing more about jacob than we knew at the end of last season. this means that next season will probably be about jacob, which could mean it's really about the hostiles, giving us a full season of four toed statues, temples, and underground smoke monster mechanics and physics explanations. here's how i predict the seasons will break down:
  • season 1: the arrival
  • season 2: the hatch
  • season 3: the others
  • season 4: the freighter
  • season 5: the hostiles
  • season 6: the departure/return
so yeah. the last moments of this season's finale, dubbed 'the frozen donkey wheel,' is purportedly not a major game changer, but more of a traditional action based cliffhanger ending. which is fine - it falls in line with what this season has been about: changing the rules. we had three seasons of disorienting season openings and game-changing finales. season 4 broke the tradition of the disorienting opener, so it follows that the finale would go out with a similar break in structural tradition. i'm just hoping that they're saving somthing big to go out wth at the end of season 5, and of course, the grand finale.

6. headings. a major revelation of the freighter plot in this episode was the shifting time differential - earlier in the season, the island was ahead of the freighter, but now it seems that the island is actually ahead. but the differential is probably governed by the heading one uses to approach and leave the island. a perfectly straight heading results in minimal distortion - like the 31 minute missile delay from farraday's early experiment. but ray's body would have been floating in the water with no precise directional heading at all, so by the time it reaches the beach, the distortion would be much larger, in this case actually putting the body in the future.

it's a fascinating idea.. i just hope that the writers can use it wisely without opening up a giant can of exploding spring-worms that'll never ever get back in that can.

is that an mp3 player, or what?

7. preboomer. 'he wants us to move the island.' great preboomer, just great. i'll put money that it means move the island in time, not geography, and it will involve using the orchid station.

written by: eddie kitsis & adam horowitz. this season they've written 'the economist,' and 'ji yeon.' so, pretty good track record.

directed by: stephen williams. back in rotation with jack bender.

this is season 4's 'hurley's van episode:' it's setup, laying the groundwork for the three-part finale in which many of our biggest questions will be answered (and then of course supplanted by entirely new ones). these are 'put the next disc in' episodes, because when we're watching this show again from the start with our high-school-aged children, we'll be saying: 'put the next disc in.' (really, i think disc switching is probably one of the main reasons to have children.) it's not an earth shattering episode, but necessary, and thankfully, executed as well as we can expect it to have been.

  1. rousseau requiem
  2. auspicious appendicitis
  3. creepy christian
  4. aaron aversion
  5. kindly kate
  6. petulant polyglot
  7. course correction
  8. timeline tweaks
  9. disturbing details
  10. premature preboomer
1. rousseau requiem. damn. she's dead. it just cleans out that storyline once and for all, which disappoints me. so much focus was placed on her thread, which played out beautifully over 3 years, that it makes me sad that -at present anyway- it feels like it's been prematurely clipped from the branch. we've still been promised a flashback. here's my guess: widmore himself sent rousseau's science expedition. and she and her crew faced the exact same insanity and weirdness that the current freighter crew is faced with. c'mon, how awesome would it have been to have rousseau realize that the freighter people were hired by her old boss? ah well, i guess we'll have that moment without her, in much the same way that libby was killed just before she could be reunited with her boat.

2. auspicious appendicitis. jack's appendicitis kicks in last week at the exact moment that daniel admits that they have no rescue intentions. why? and thank god for rose who asks all the important questions. rose as a character is really just a person sitting at home on the couch next to you who talks back to the screen. thankfully she's in the screen so we don't have to beat her up.

rose knows what's up. she knows that things like this don't just happen - rose knows we are in season 4, not season 1, and that there's an end date for the show. we don't have time for random events to pad out a season! we can't stop the show because jack got in a cave-in! every storytelling minute counts, so what is this telling us?

i think it has to do with the overall theme of course correction/destiny raised by the desmond plotline, which i'll discuss further in #7.

i enjoyed the surgery scene, mostly because it was great to see juliet get something cool to do. and extra points for gory-ness.

3. creepy christian. jack visits hurley, who's been visited by charlie.

after seeing charlie in hurley's season premiere flashforward, i imagined that a visit from christian shepard to jack would be imminent. i called it in my post for the beginning of the end:
if the monster is able to manifest to people off island, it might make a little more sense why jack, in the cracked-out finale, was shouting at the doctor to 'go upstairs' and compare his sobriety to his father's.
but what does it all mean? what the hell are these very corporeal visions? do they relate to jacob? are they jacob? are they the monster?

my theory: the visions may not be jacob, per se, but they are intrinsically tied to him. and they are physically present when they appear.
  • when hurley looked into the cabin, he saw christian shepard sitting in jacob's chair.
  • christian shepard physically interacted with vincent in the final 'missing piece.'
  • charlie was seen by one of the other santa rosa patients when he came to visit hurley.
  • miles saw claire leave with 'some guy.' - other people are seeing these things (though the patient is insane and miles is psychic..)
maybe they are jacob's 'messengers?' or 'production assistants?' are they the island's way of saying 'you may be done with me, but i'm not done with you?'

there were some comments about how christian is obviously actually alive because he's now wearing a different outfit. post-death, we've only ever seen him wear the suit - but why would christian appear to claire wearing what jack remembers him wearing? how cool would it be if christian is in fact wearing the same wardrobe from his one and only visit with claire, the way she remembers him?

oh. oh well, that would have been pretty cool though, right?

4. aaron aversion. so this week's flashforward skipped a couple big moments in the jack plot: why did he not want to see aaron? and, what made him suddenly change his mind? why was it such a big deal? is it because he figured out that claire is his sister? is there a scene coming up where christian appears on the island and both jack and claire go "dad!" and then they look at each other and go "hey.. that's my dad." awkward pause. "good thing we didn't hook up, cuz i think the writers kind of made this up later, like luke and leia."

there was an interesting, ambiguous tease where jack yells at kate "you're not even related to him!" but it's impossible to tell if he's yelling that as a jab at her, knowing that he is related, or if it's just ironic that he's related and doesn't know it yet.

i have a feeling that we will see the jack/claire/dad omfg moment on-island before this season is out.

5. kate has a secret favor to do for sawyer. my guess: find clementine phillips.

6. petulant ployglot. so, charlotte speaks korean.

one of the highlights in this episode was jin's all-korean verbal smackdown of big red. is charlotte going to die soon? i kinda hope so. i liked her at first, but now she is the least developed, least interesting of the freighter folk. the truncated season certainly hasn't helped. it's a big change of pace, because after 'confirmed dead,' i was most interested in what a 'cultural anthropologist' might bring to the show mythology-wise. based on her job title, i think we can be pretty confident that she is going to survive just long enough to say "egad, it is the great lost city of the four-toed time-travel people. the most important thing about these people is" whap. shot in the back with an arrow. boom. titles.

7. course correction. when all is said and done, we will look back at the entire story of lost, and we will say, 'now there was a tale of destiny, and course correction.'

course correction is explained to us by ms. hawking in 'flashes before your eyes.' here's what she says:
MS. HAWKING: The universe, unfortunately, has a way of course correcting. That man was supposed to die. That was his path just as it's your path to go to the island. You don't do it because you choose to, Desmond. You do it because you're supposed to.

DESMOND: I'm going to meet Penny in an hour. I've got the ring; she'll say yes; I can choose whatever I want.

MS. HAWKING: You may not like your path, Desmond, but pushing that button is the only truly great thing that you will ever do.

desmond later understands ms. hawking's position when he finds himself trying to stop charlie's eventual death. desmond's experience with course correction encapsulates the entire series in miniature.

we will come to discover that hundreds of years ago, a major rift in time was opened, probably when the black rock was mysteriously transported to the island. we will also learn that all of the events since that moment have been about destiny course correcting so that this rift can be healed. the numbers, the specific passengers on the plane, nearly every strand of the plot, each character's individual story can be seen as building a cumulative cause-and-effect snowball barrelling toward the conclusion, when all is set 'right,' whatever that means exactly - probably that the island is either destroyed, or hidden forever.

course correction as an idea is interesting to me because it still allows a person to have free will (widmore can still kill alex), within the constructs of destiny. characters are still able to make choices, but they can't control the universe around them.

but here's why i think course correction is such an important theme: it echoes the process of how the show itself is created. it's how the showrunners 'play god' in the universe they've made. they know the beginning and the end, and several key points along the way in that journey, but the filled in bits, the scenes and the episodes have a lot of leeway as to where they can go. some actors may have been considered for major arcs, but then it's discovered that the fans aren't connecting with them. another actor wants to leave the show to do a movie, but can come back once it's shot. perhaps the actress playing penelope is needed, but will not be available until a month later. all of these things throw little wrenches into the master plan, but the story is still hurling towards its conclusion, so a showrunner has to improvise ways to mold the story back into it's basic original shape, so that the endgame, the 'destiny' of it all, still plays out in the proper form.

"lost" as an entity is both rigid in structure, but fluid in form - using its own dna as a metaphor for god, echoing the showrunner's limited ability to control a universe of their making.

like george bernard shaw manipulating the destinies of his characters:

so why does jack have a sudden attack of appendicitis at the very moment daniel admits that rescue wasn't in the plan? because the island, or god, or destiny, or whatever, does not want jack to leave. as long as jack believed dan and charlotte, there was no chance he would be rescued, but knowing the lie, jack suddenly has to fight, he has to act on his free will, and so the island acts to curb it. the island seems determined to not even allow him to spit out orders to the crew. course correction. jack is meant to stay on the island, to do something. and his choice to leave follows him around (literally) until he comes back to do his 'work.'

my fiend emily didn't like the idea that jack might have some 'higher purpose' to attend to. i don't think his 'work' is necessarily going to be something grandiose.. look at the lovely job the island had desmond doing for three years, pushing that button..

8. timeline tweaks. here's where recent events fit into the future timeline:
  • (summer, 2005) sun gives birth to ji yeon. cries at jin's 'grave.' hurley is happy to not see anyone else.
  • (october 20, 2005) nadia is picked off.
  • (october 24, 2005) ben arrives in tunisia.
  • (later, 2005) nadia's funeral, ben/sayid form unholy alliance.
  • ben says to widmore "penny's gonna get it."
  • sayid is fully ben's bitch - tries to kill 'the economist.'
  • hurley goes on a bender in his dad's car, goes back to the asylum, has vision of charlie.
  • jack thinks about growing a beard. has screwdriver for breakfast.
  • abbaddon asks hurley if 'they are still alive.'
  • kate's got aaron. he looks about 2 years old, putting this at 2006. if there was no timeshift.
  • jack can't stand to see aaron for some reason. has hots for kate.
  • jack changes his mind, decides to be aaron's dad, moves in with kate.
  • (August 31, 2007) jack starts seeing his long-dead daddy.
  • jack grows that beard. is cracked outta his mind. sees in the newspaper that "j" has successfully committed suicide, which leads jack to try it himself.
  • jack tells kate 'we hafta go baaaaaaacccckkk!'
lostpedia states that:
By virtue of the Yankees/Red Sox and Indians/Mariners scores in the newspaper article, only one date is viable for the publication of the paper: August 31, 2007
so if last week's flashforward took place last august, then that probably means the 'we hafta go baack' scene probably took place now. now. more specifically, i'm betting it will take place on the same date that the finale airs, may 22, 2007 (same day indiana jones opens, thanks a lot damon and carlton.)

i predict that this season will end with the same scene, jack again screaming 'we hafta go baaack,' only this time it will have deeper repercussions because we'll know the exact reasons why he/they have to go back, and in that same moment, what was once the future will become the present.

9. disturbing detail. traveling to the future erases your surgery scars.

and all your body hair.

10. preboomer. eh. claire's missing again - it's also a mid-action preboomer, one of those that compels you to put the next dvd in. i recommended to friends that if they missed this weeks ep, they wait so that they can watch back to back with next week, cuz it's one of those.


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