Thursday, March 29, 2007

Episode 314 - "Exposé" on Nikki and Paulo - Who Cares?

To waste too much more of my time on "Exposé" or its premiere characters (Nikki and Paulo) would be a disgrace after last night's episode. (If you want a decent recap and a couple of interesting theories, click on the title of this post to read Doc Jensen's piece on So rather than my usual blow-by-blow account, here's a summary of what transpired in this, the worse episode of Lost, ever.

Nikki was a bit player perpetual guest star (oh the irony) who went to Australia for a short-lived stint on the cult fave jiggle fest, "Exposé." The show, about two crime-fighting strippers, was what Locke was watching with his TV dinner in "The Man From Tallahassee" and, we learned this week, Hurley's pick for "the most awesome hour of TV ever." After her character was gunned down by the Exposé girls' boss, Mr. LaShade (who was also secretly their nemesis, "The Cobra"), we learned she landed the gig on the casting couch with the show's producer, Howard Zuckerman. It turns out her stint on the show was secretly a plot with Zuckerman's chef, (Paulo!) to poison the old coot and steal his diamonds. Yep, Nikki was a cold-blooded vamp of a gold-digger, and Paulo, her stupid, love-struck puppy of a sidekick. Incidentally, Mr. LaShade was played by none other than Billy Dee Williams. I don't mean that Billy Dee played the actor playing Mr. LaShade - it was freakin' Lando Calrissian himself appearing in the Lost universe! My favorite new theory? Jacob is Lando...

Back to the Nikki and Paulo fled to the U.S. with the diamonds in a matryoshka doll in a carryon bag, only to have their flight (Oceanic 815) crash onto a deserted island. We got glimpses of deceased favorites Boone, Shannon, Arzt and Ethan, as Lost's way of saying, "see? these two have been around the whole time," as well as recreations of some iconic moments from the show's short history (like the guy getting sucked into the jet turbine, and Jack's famous "live together or die alone" speech on the beach).

Nikki and Paulo's search for their bag o' stones led them to the drug-smuggling plane and the Pearl hatch long before the island "led" John Locke, Boone and Eko to those locales. Having learned from Kate that she, Sawyer and Jack found a case of guns in a lagoon, Paulo and Nikki took a look. Nikki, caring more about the $8 million in diamonds than her lame-o chef of a boyfriend, ordered Paulo to dive down and search. Fearing he would lose her as soon as he found the stones, he didn't tell her they were there, and he went to hide them in the Pearl the toilet tank. This explains why Paulo was reluctant when Nikki would later suggest they join Locke's party heading in that direction, and why he took such a long potty break when they did (yay! Big mysteries solved!!!! Yeah, right). While in the Pearl station, Paulo hid as Ben and Juliet came in to monitor Jack in the Swan station and discuss the plan to compel him to excise Ben's tumor (more on this later). They left behind a walkie-talkie, which Paulo found and took...and immediately did nothing with.

Eventually, Nikki discovered Paulo lied about not finding the bag when she spotted his dropped nicorette gum (the bag's other precious contents). She angrily tried in vain to get Sawyer to give her a gun (his repeated "who the hell are you?" lines were the episode's saving grace) and, ultimately, stopped Paulo dead in his tracks with one of the late Doc Arzt's Medusa spiders, so named because their venom induces a death-like paralytic trance. Nikki found the diamonds in Paulo's jockeys and left him paralyzed with his pants open when...another spider bit her, as well. Realizing she would appear dead if found (and that she would be unable to protect her regained diamonds,) Nikki buried the stash, then ran for help. She stumbled upon Sawyer and Hurley playing ping-pong, and tried to explain her imminent condition. Unfortunately for Nikki, her attempt to say "paralyzed" came out sounding more like "Paulo lies," (prompting Sawyer to respond with, "who the hell is Paulo?") and the two scheming lovers were promptly buried (alive!) on Boone hill, hopefully never to be seen or heard from again until what the Powers that Be have jokingly referred to as, "Season 7 - the zombie season."
Botching the "Real" Story
If "Exposé" had only attempted to be a tongue-in-cheek throwaway episode masquerading as a clip show, it could have been modestly successful, right down to Kiele Sanchez's awful acting as Nikki resembling Nikki's awful acting on "Exposé" ("Razzle-dazzle!" she yelled while karate-chopping a two-bit enforcer). But sadly, the Powers that Be chose this episode to resolve one open plotline and answer a lingering question...
Sun's Kidnappers Confession?!
One of the slowly-simmering pots that has been ready to boil over has been what would happen when Sun learned that it was Charlie and Sawyer, not the Others, who kidnapped her last season (so Sawyer could steal the guns in the armory and Charlie could emasculate Locke, remember?). This week, we yawned to the stunning Charlie just told Sun the truth! The setup was this: the beach crew was investigating Nikki and Paulo's apparent deaths, and Sun was convinced it was the Others, since, if they could show up and drag her off, they could show up and poison the jewel theives. She would not listen when Hurley and Sawyer tried to explain that the Others' camp was too far away for that to happen, so Charlie, still sporting his new lease on life, just copped to the crime. Sun's reaction? She just walked away. She then confronted Sawyer, shoved the diamonds Nikki was carrying in his face (because on the island, they're worthless), slapped him hard, and said she didn't tell Jin because Jin would kill him. And thus ends another promising plot point, buried with Nikki and Paulo...
Ben's Master Plan...That's It?
On the message boards there has been a lot of speculation as to whether the surgery to remove Ben's tumor really was the master plan for which the Others engineered the kidnapping of Jack, Kate, Sawyer and, briefly, Hurley. I have vociferously defended the idea that there must have been more to it than that, since manipulating Jack's feelings for Kate into making him want to do the surgery on an apparent enemy seemed too "eeeevil" and convoluted. But in "Exposé," when Paulo listened in on Ben and Juliet discussing their plan (from a time before the other castaways had encountered either of them), we learned that was it. The whole thing. Nothing more to it. Ben would get Jack to do the surgery by manipulating him where he was emotionally weak - the attraction between Kate and Sawyer. The plan had nothing to do with Jacob, his list, or any compelling reason that, in the words of Pickett, "Ben would rather die than let [Kate and Sawyer] escape." Color me disappointed.
Obituary: Nikki and Paulo
So, good-bye, wastes of space. Your contributions to the story? I guess with Shannon and Ana-Lucia dead, we needed castaways to despise for a while. And now you're dead. Your real sins? Finding the Pearl hatch and the drug plane, encountering the Others, stealing a walkie-talkie, and not telling the other 50 or so plane crash survivors about these possibly life-saving facts!!! Failing to realize that $8 million in diamonds is as useless when you can't return to the outside world as Hurley's millions are doomed you to die, stupidly, under a pile of dirt. And, since "Exposé," more than any other hour of Lost, wasted all of our time, I saw, "good riddance!"
Next Week
In "Left Behind," Kate and Juliet get some quality time together...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Preview of Exposé, Tidbits from the Powers, and Doc's Theories

Greetings, Lostophiles! It's Wednesday so I'm sure you're getting pumped for another great edition of Lost. I mean, after the fantastic threesome of "Enter 77," "Par Avion" and "The Man From Tallahassee," we've clearly hit the "road to Shambala," right?

Hold the phone - tonight's episode, entitled "Exposé," might be the big speedbump we've all been dreading. Its focus is on the most unwelcome new characters Lost has ever introduced, Nikki and Paulo (pictured here, courtesy of, which means one of two things will happen: Either, 1) as The Powers that Be have promised, this episode will dramatically change our outlook on these wastes of space, or 2) We'll all want that hour of our lives back and get angry that we've been diverted from last episode's kicker, Anthony Cooper bound and gagged in a utility room in Othersville (a plot we'll only return to in the May 2 episode). Here's hoping for the former...

Tidbits from the Doc
In today's column on, Jeff "Doc" Jensen gives us some Q and A he had with Executive Producer Damon Lindelof. The following snippets are not spoilers - they are clarifications of things we've already seen. This stuff is interesting, so I thought I'd excerpt it here for you. (For the rest of the Doc's thoughts and potentially relevant literary references, click on the title to this post).

When Locke was walking away from the submarine last week, he appeared to be soaking wet, despite the fact that we never saw him get into the water. This has led to speculation among fans that Locke didn't actually blow up the sub, but instead, took it out to sea, submerged it, and blew up the dock — all part of a plan to make it appear the submarine was destroyed. The question is this: Are we supposed to be wondering why John Locke was all wet? Intriguingly, Damon Lindelof says: ''No comment.''

In the final moment of ''The Man From Tallahassee,'' when Locke's eyes went wide and he said ''Dad?'' was Lost paying ironic homage to the classic ''Mom?'' moment in J.J. Abrams' other cult-pop classic, Alias? Despite the fact that the episode was written by former Alias scribes Drew Goddard and Jeff Pinkner, Lindelof and Cuse say no homage intended. But the moment was supposed to evoke the memory of another Lost moment — specifically, the episode from season 1 when Jack began seeing visions of his father on The Island and went hunting for his coffin, only to discover that the body was missing. Hmmmm...

Are we supposed to be wondering what happened to the corpse of Jack's dad, or is that fact totally irrelevant? Lindelof: ''Yes, you should be wondering about that.''

Bringing it Home - the Doc's Theory About Nikki and Paulo
As you read through the rest of Jensen's column, you'll get to his theories on the possible biblical referents for the names of our ne'er-do-well featured characters, and a prediction of what will befall them. In a nutshell, the Doc predicts (not a spoiler, just a theory) that these two will die tonight, only to be "resurrected" with the souls of recently departed Others Mikhail Bakunin and Bea Klugh. Bear in mind that Doc has long tossed around the theory that the island and the purpose for the crash of flight 815 has been all about rebirthing certain powerful souls into the body of Aaron and, now, Sun's baby. My take? I've seen nothing on the show or the island to think body-snatching or soul-hopping is going on, but hey, isn't Lost great because it inspires imaginative thinking?

Until tomorrow, with the recap of Exposé, Namaste!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Great John Locke Article in Los Angeles Times

Today's Sunday L.A. Times has a great article about the character of John Locke, how he is the heart and sould of "Lost," and how the character's journey has mimicked the journey of Terry O'Quinn since he has been cast, i.e. how he was as tormented by the way the character was emasculated by pushing the button as Locke was tormented that such was his destiny. Click on the title of this post to be whisked away.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Return to Form

Somewhat late to the party, the Los Angeles Times has begun printing recaps of certain shows (especially 24 and Lost) under the heading "Show Tracker." I have not been a big fan - the factual inaccuracies weigh against them. But today's recap of "The Man From Tallahassee" brings up an excellent point -

"Later, Jack was face to face with Locke, who had preemptively apologized seconds before the submarine exploded. The men glared at each other, hinting perhaps at a long-speculated Jack-vs.-Locke showdown, which has been building steam since Season 1. With Locke's growing ties to Ben and with Jack stranded once more, "Lost" might finally be finding its way."

(Click the title of this post for the full column).

Recall the finale of the first season, when Jack said to Kate, "if we survive tonight, we're going to have a serious John Locke problem." As Denise Martin of the L.A. Times points out, that sentiment was brilliantly recaptured in the look Jack shot Locke after the latter blew up the Others' submarine. We all worried that Jack had joined the Others, when, in fact, it was John Locke who seems be far more simpatico with them (despite his accusations that the Others are hypocrites). Jack now figures to return to the beach, but what of John Locke? And won't the tensions between them be awesome? Jack already has a strong ally in Sayid (alas, the Sayid deathwatch can begin again, as there is sure to be some casualty of the growing conflict). Just some random thoughts...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ep 313 - Locke (and the Plot) Get a Push From "The Man From Tallahassee"

Holy Smokey, Lostophiles! The story of Locke's paralysis revealed (and it was a powerful one). The psychology of John Locke explained (big baby)! A lot of insight into the Others' society!! And a big bang that ended the first great hope for rescue!!! Enough with the intros, let's get to recapping "The Man From Tallahassee."

Flashback – John Locke

(Thanks to Annafromfrance at for some great photos this week). An increasingly balding, post-Helen, post-commune John Locke was denied continued disability benefits for his crushing depression because he stopped his therapy. (In the words of Doc Jensen at, “[W]hich is good, because if Locke was, like, a watt or two more introspective, Lost would be considerably short on Big Picture plot. Clearly, the character's painful process of enlightenment is the heart and soul of this show.”) In a dank apartment, eating a bad tv dinner off a bad tv tray, Jack was visited by Peter Talbot, whose mother is about to marry an Adam Seward, a man Peter learned was once called Anthony Cooper (Locke’s conman father). Peter learned that John gave Cooper a kidney and wanted to know if that meant the guy had some good in him. Locked lied to Peter and said the donation was anonymous, but then found Peter’s mother and Cooper at a florist. John warned Cooper that Peter was on to his con, and demanded that Cooper call off the wedding, or he would reveal the plot to Peter. Cooper said he would, but John later met two detectives who informed him that Peter had died and the Talbots were worth $200 million dollars. Locke confronted his father about Peter’s death, and Cooper told him Ms. Talbot called off the wedding out of grief. As John turned to call the former fiancée to verify the story, his dad bum rushed him, smacked him through a window, and Locke fell 8 stories onto his back – the genesis of the paralysis which the island miraculously cured (and you think Jack has daddy issues?) After being informed by the detectives that Cooper had fled to Mexico, Locke began his physical therapy and wheelchair training, but only after giving the wheelchair a horrified look of terror.

Realtime - Othersville

Sayid, Kate, John and Rousseau are still eyeing the football toss between their would-be rescuee (Jack) and the Lostaways' frequent tormentor (Tom). Juliet emerges and seems to "have a moment" with Jack. Kate identifies her as the one who helped Sawyer and her escape, and Danielle slips away on her search for Alex. The rescue party watches as Juliet lead Jack to a building. As Jack waits outside, Juliet wheels Ben out in a wheelchair. As Jack shakes Ben's hand, Locke mutters, “this is going to be more complicated than we thought.” Alas, John, it will be you, not Ben, who really complicates things...

Kate loads her rifle, but Sayid tries to convince her that Jack may not want to be rescued. Locke stop Sayid from stopping Kate, claiming they owe Jack, who has done so much for them. Night falls. Juliet walks Jack "home." Locke devises a plan that splits up their party to send Kate in through Jack's side door (and give Locke time to go on his own rogue mission). Kate slips into Jack’s place, where he is playing the piano. Unfortunately, she walks right into the path of a security camera, and the Others are upon her almost as fast as Jack can scold her for being there. They’ve captured Sayid as well, and want to know who else is with them, but, after a seemingly compliant Jack tells her to answer her captors' questions, Kate says nobody else.

And “nobody” shows up in Ben’s place. Ben needs to adjust his craftmatic hospital bed to sit up and see John, pointing a gun. Locke tells Ben, “I’m not looking for Jack – I’m looking for the submarine.” Ben denies knowledge at first, until John tells Ben that he killed Mikhail after Mikhail told them about the sub. Alex enters and John takes her hostage in the closet when Tom arrives to reports that Kate and Sayid have been captured. Ben tells Tom he wants them separated. Tom starts to say that tomorrow Juliet and Jack…but Ben cuts him off, demanding that "the man from Tallahassee" be brought to him. After Tom goes to "make it so," John says he wants Alex to bring him Sayid’s bag. Ben asks John’s help getting into his wheelchair – no tricks, just dignity. “You of all people should understand what it means to want some dignity.” (Incidentally, it was great that the writers let Ben chew up so much screen time just being Ben. Michael Emerson brings so much to this show, doesn't he?) Ben figures out that John has the explosives (if he met Mikhail, he must have been to the Flame, etc.) and therefore wants to blow up the sub, not pilot it. When John angrily denies that Ben knows him, Ben recounts that John Locke was born in California, wasted time in Tustin at a box company, lost his last four pre-island years in a wheelchair, and says he knows how John ended up in it. In that brilliant Ben tone that's have sensitive inquiry and half menacing taunt, he asks, “Tell me, John, did it hurt?” Locke angrily replies “I felt my back break. What do you think?”

Kate, in a rec room, gets her cuffs in front of her feet. Tom enters and seems both impressed and happy to see her (his bonding moment with Kate in the Hydra locker room hanging creepily in the air). Tom points to his head and tells Jack, now entering, to be careful in here. Jack, now alone with Kate, asks if they hurt her, and Kate returns the question. He tells her enigmatically that the abductees from the tail section are "safe." Kate asks if Jack is with the Others and he says, “I’m not with anyone Kate.” He reminds her that he told her not to come for him. “I didn’t think you meant it.” She takes his hands, and Jack tells her that the Others will let him go home first thing in the morning, but he plans to bring back help. Crushed that Jack would abandon her (despite his logic), she asks why he trusts them, and he says he does because she told him to when he asked her to save Sawyer’s life. Oh Snap! It's clear by now that Kate's plan to rescue Jack was as much to rebound from her troubled relationship with Sawyer as to help a fellow castaway, and Jack just threw it back in her face (albeit gently). Juliet comes in, and says they need to go. Kate, perhaps ashamed, perhaps feeling a little silly, realizes Jack may not be the alternative to Sawyer she was hoping for, but Jack again assures her he will come back for her.

Ben says it was rough not asking Locke about his healing while he was held captive in the Swan. Locke pieces together why Ben had such an interest in him - after all, why is it the island healed John's paralysis but not Ben's tumor, or his post-surgery infection, or even the surgical wounds that keep him in a wheelchair for the time being? After some great verbal jousting, John asks for some food.

Alex approaches Sayid, chained to a swing set. She says her father sent her for Sayid’s pack. Sayid recognizes her immediately, even though they've never met. He says she looks like her mother, but Alex thinks her mother is dead. The guard swats Sayid to shut him up.

John takes some leftover chicken from the fridge. Ben says blowing up the sub will cause a problem. He was born on the island but most of the other Others were recruited. They need to know they can leave if they want to, and he will lose his hold over them if they think is lying about the ability to leave. He recognizes John wants to stay on the island, and offers to show John a box, "and whatever you imagine and want to be in it, there it would be." John responds "I’d say I hope that box is big enough to imagine up a new submarine." Hotheaded, he blasts that he is angry because the Others are cheaters, hypocrites, Pharacies. Their cush life in the barracks reveals that they don't know what the island is really about. Ben is incredulous - how could John know more about the island than he does if John has been there 80 days while Ben has been there his whole life? "Because you’re in the wheelchair and I’m not."

(As an aside, to the left is a collage of the artwork in Ben's place. More on this later, but if you want a closer view, click on the title of this post...As another aside, on Ben's table when he was whelled out by Locke was a copy of...A Brief History of Time which by now must have been an Others Book Club selection)

Alex returns with Sayid's pack. She denies having had any problems (concealing her discovery that her mother may be alive). Ben tries to stop John from destroying the sub (or does he?) by saying, after the anomaly (Swan implosion, sky turned purple...) the sub can’t come back if it leaves, so there's no reason to fear having to leave because of the sub. John doesn't listen and has Alex lead him to the sub. She tells him that Ben was manipulating him. At last we see the Others' submarine, and John apologizes for involving Alex…who Danielle, crouched in the bushes, has finally laid eyes upon and recognizes as her long-lost child. John walks the dock and opens (not another!) hatch. He climbs down into the sub, powers on some lights…

Ben returns the leftover chicken to the fridge. Jack and Juliet enter and Jack asks Ben to let his friends go after he’s gone – and he would not leave if they weren’t let go. Ben gives his word that he’ll let them go just as soon as Jack has left the island (tee hee, because John's about to stop Jack from leaving!) Juliet tears up and thanks Ben for keeping his promise, and the Drs. J leave. A wet Locke meets up with the escort taking Jack and Juliet to the sub. John apologizes, and the sub blows up. Jack shoots Locke a look of utter horror, revulsion and anger...hoo, boy!

Locke later finds himself chained in a pipe room. John tells Ben he knows Ben wanted it to happen, which was why he left the C4 in the bag. Richard Alpert, the Mittleos recruiter who conned Juliet onto the island, shows up and releases John's cuffs. Ben tells John that he was scared that letting Jack go would mean defeat in the eyes of his people, but killing him would break a promise, which the Others would not cotton to, either, but then John took care of everything for him by blowing up the sub. Now Ben doesn't have to let Jack go but can't be blamed for Jack's continued presence, either. Ben tells John he will show him what came out of the "magic box" he described earlier. He clarifies his question about whether the back-breaking hurt was asking what it felt like when John's own father tried to kill him. Ben taunts that John is afraid of him and the island is the one place he can never find you. He notes that John seems to have some sort of communion with this island, and that makes him very important, which, in timem he’ll understand. "I want to help you John," says Ben, "because I’m in a wheelchair, and you’re not." Richard opens a door, and John sees… his father, tied up and gagged!!

Recap Part 1 - the Cooper/ Sawyer Connection

I've long maintained that Locke's dad, "Cooper," will turn out to be the "real" Sawyer that James Ford was hunting when flight 815 crashed. To me, last night proved it. Here's my thinking:

  1. Both James and Cooper are from Tallahassee.

  2. Cooper makes a living by stealing from people after getting close to them. That's what Sawyer did to James's mother.

  3. Cooper has used multiple aliases, so why not Sawyer?

  4. Ben said the box gives you what you want to find most in the world, yet John wants to avoid his father more than he wants anything else...but James Ford has been obsessively hunting for "Sawyer."

  5. Finally, there is no shortage of connections between the survivors of flight 815.

I know I'm not the only one in cyberspace to think this, but at least now I have some "evidence."

Recap part 2 - that Devious Scamp, Benry

Ben is good. Really good. He even boasted to James about how much better at the long con he is than the island's version of Sawyer. Last night he manipulated Locke into blowing up the sub so he would be held blameless for keeping the other Others (and the castaways) trapped on the island. But this was not the first time.

Think last season, in "Lockdown," when "Henry Gale" was dispatched by John to push the button. Later he claimed he never did and nothing happened, which began John's fateful doubtfest that ultimately led to the implosion of the Swan (and the purple sky event that cut off the Others' access to the outside world). I'm thinking Ben knew what would happen if the button was not pushed, but he sure as heck did not want to be around when it happened. So he pushed the button to save his own skin but planted the doubt in Locke that would ultimately cut off all off-island communications (and really, he didn't seem all that surprised in last season's finale when it happened).

Two things to reconcile with this theory: 1) if John was so important to tumor-laden Benry, why goad him into being in the hatch when it blew (I suppose he figured Locke would just walk away and let the clock count down while he was not there...); 2) the very plausible theory put forth by the producers this week that the Others didn't know about the Swan hatch (since Kelvin Inman was not killed in the "purge")... There will hopefully be explanations for both of these inconsistencies, but for now it's a thing to make you go, hmm...

Recap Part 3 - Ben's Decor

If you have not yet, click on the title of this post to be whisked away to a collage of Ben's wallhangings. In addition to the detailed map of the island (someone from props, please please post that!), there are lots of unique tribal masks. What do you think? Ancient history of the island (the 4-toed people?) Just a love of primative things from around the world (but don't take his fridge!)?

Recap Part 4 - the Psychology of John Locke

Poor John. At least now we have a good idea of what makes him tick. Forever tormented by his father's leaving him, then stealing his kidney, and later, trying to kill him and leaving him maimed, John Locke was depressed before he lost the use of his legs. Trying to break free from his humdrum existence in data entry at Hurley's box factory, he tried to prove himself on walkabout, but got more than he bargained for when he crashed on the island, regained the use of his legs, and became a spiritual guru/ expert survivalist for his ad hoc new community. He believes his life finally has a purpose, and more importantly, that purpose is far away from his father. No wonder he doesn't want to leave, and, scared that his father's machinations will follow him here, he is scared to let anyone else leave and send help. In the end, John is far more fragile than the rugged jungle man he projects. Too bad for those around him...

Next Week

We're told the heretofore useless Nikki and Paulo will get their moment in the sun, as their flashback to the last 80 days on the island will bring back deceased favorites Boone, Shannon, Arzt and Ethan.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Tonight - Locke's Loss of Legs no Longer Lacks Lucidity

Are you ready for "The Man from Tallahassee?" The Others' Sub revealed...Ben offers Locke secrets of the island in exchange for an end to the demolitions...the secret behind Locke's paralysis...Jack confronted about his cozy Othersville life...and, according to Daman Lindeloff's ten-word tease to Jeff Jensen, ''The final five seconds of this episode are my favorite five seconds of the season.''

Also, from this week's mega-podcast, some interesting moments:

  • Take Mikhail's history of the island at face value. He wasn't lying, though his "hostiles vs. Dharma" story may have been colored by his being a "hostile."
  • The Others probably did not know about the Swan Station - after all, Kelvin was still pushing the button after the "purge" Mikhail talked about.
  • Locke's agenda, including his (probably) intentional destruction of the Flame, will be revealed tonight.
  • Ms. Klugh is dead (though she may show up in flashbacks) but Mikhail might not be.
  • "Him" and "Jacob" are one and the same...whoever that may turn out to be.
  • And finally, kudos to Joe Sculptor, who has posted a comment to this blog, for getting a question answered by the Powers that Be!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Theories and (Possible) Major Spoiler

Hey, gang. Doc Jensen at has some nifty theories about Paolo and Nikki (course corrected time travelers who showed up on the island after Desmond turned the key in a revised timeline?) and Locke (a future time traveller who designed the Dharma hatches to appeal to his own damaged psyche). Click on this link to be whisked away to the Doc's column.,,20015197,00.html

Also, check out this Canadian television promo for next week's episode, "The Man From Tallahassee," (above) for a glimpse at what Locke's hidden agenda may be.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Episode 312 - Siblings Revealed "Par Avion"

Good morning, Lostophiles! I channel Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson as an intro to this week's recap..."You want answers?" "I think I'm entitled." "You want ANSWERS?" "I want the TRUTH!" (The rest of the scene is too cliche and inapropos to repeat here...) How about these answers? We know who Jack's half-sister is! We got more about Jacob's list and the Others' submarine!! The beach crew has a new hope (the first Star Wars reference in this post)!!! And Locke-haters got plenty more fuel for their angry little fires!!!! So on to the recap of "Par Avion"...

Flashback - Claire

This week’s flashback began with Goth-era Claire, a piercer at a tattoo bar, waking up after a car accident, during which her mother flew through the windshield. Under police interrogation at the hospital, Claire was non-committal about her explanation that a truck forced her off-road, and she angrily denied her mother had died. After going home for a shower, Claire returned to her mother’s bedside, where her finger-pointing Aunt Lindsay expressed disapproval that Claire dared to leave her comatose mother’s side. A Dr. Woodruff then entered and explained that Claire’s mother suffered a severe head trauma, and fairly widespread damage. The elder Ms. Littleton was on life support, and Dr. Woodruff could not say with any confidence that she would wake up. However, the doctor revealed that Claire’s mother’s expenses were already covered, but the source asked to remain confidential. The veil of confidentiality dropped when Claire encountered the mysterious American benefactor in her mother’s room during a later visit. He was the man we recognize as Dr. Christian Shephard, aka the source of Jack’s daddy issues. Seeing Claire, Christian apologized and said he shouldn’t be there. Aunt Lindsay returned and obviously knew him. Christian suggested that Lindsay should tell Claire who he is. Claire demanded to know why Christian was covering the bills. In a Luke-deduces-Leia-is-his-sister moment, Christian told Claire he was her father.

(Cue my first aside: We all saw this coming. After all, Christian died in Australia on a botched trip to reconcile with his illegitimate daughter, and Claire was the only Australian woman in the cast. Kudos to the Powers that Be for teasing something and having it actually turn out to be true…)

Later, Christian showed up at Claire’s workplace, and offered to buy her some coffee, after which he said he would leave her alone forever. He clarified that Claire was the offspring of a fling. He visited her several times when she was little, and even sang to her (credit, who recalled that last season’s Claire flashback in the medical hatch showed a mobile for soon-to-be-born Aaron that played the same song that, in the Season 1 Claire flashback, she remembered her father singing to her as a baby; query – does this song further the sense that Christian may have been involved in some way with the Others?). Christian eventually stopped visiting because Claire’s Aunt hated him (was that the Aunt who refused to give Christian access in last season’s Ana Lucia flashback?) and his mother hated that he had another family, but this time he came because he wanted to help. He tried to suggest that Claire should pull the plug, which Claire angrily interpreted as trying to fix his mistake. She angrily reminded him she did not even know his name, and now she wanted to keep it that way.

(Cue my second aside: …and jeers to the Powers that Be for another excruciating example of dramatic irony, in allowing us to know that Claire and Jack are half-siblings, but depriving Claire of the opportunity to discover this by refusing to learn her dad’s name).

Christian warned Claire not to keep her mother alive for the wrong reasons, then said good-bye. Some time later, the familiar blonde, pregnant Claire visited her still-comatose mother, and turned on a nature show about migratory birds. Claire told her unresponsive mother about her pregnancy and her plan to give the baby away. She was apologetic for being such an awful daughter to the mum who raised her alone. She cried as she recalled that said some hateful things in the car, i.e. that she hated her mother, wished she weren’t her mother, wished that she were dead, and, worse of all the accident was all her fault…

A parting thought on the flashback: Claire has long endured second-class status as a character on the show. That said, her flasbacks have been some of the most insightful and intriguing when it comes to theory fodder and concrete answers. I have often commented that, having borne Aaron, her usefulness to the plot is limited and she may be on deathwatch for that reason. But I have to come to hope she sticks around long enough to keep providing key clues to WTF is going on. Now, on to Real Time action, Part I:

REAL TIME - The Beach

On the beach, Claire awakens to a plate of fruit with a sign that reads “G-Day” and a picnic prepared by Charlie. Claire comments on Charlie’s sudden emersion from his funk. Desmond interrupts Claire and Charlie’s picnic, insisting not-too-subtly that Charlie join him on a hunt and scrap the picnic. Claire sees seagulls flying over head and excitedly claims she knows how to get them off the island. She runs to Sun and Jin and demands a net, fish and buckets, because they need to catch the gulls. Claire explains that she saw the gulls were tagged, and she wants to attach a message to the scientists who tagged them to a caught bird’s foot and resend it on its migratory path. Charlie is hesitant, and tells Claire he doesn’t see the point. Claire and Jin construct a soccer-goal-shaped net, while Jin practices his English. Sun brings some fish chum to bait the trap. Sun relates that her mother always feared that she would end up working with her hands. Claire tells Sun that her mother was a librarian, to which Sun responds, “was?” Just as Jin is about to trap a gull, Desmond appears and fires a shot, scaring the birds away. He claims half-assedly that he was shooting at a boar. Claire doesn’t buy the line. She suspects Desmond and Charlie don’t want her to catch the birds and accuses Charlie of conspiring with Desmond to ruin her plan. Charlie belittles her plan, and she is more than a little upset that he wouldn’t support her idea. She angrily chases him away from Aaron and says she doesn’t want a liar around her baby.
Later, Claire decides to get some answers. She follows Desmond out onto a tide pool, and demands to know what he was doing. He found one of the birds (he seemed to know right where it would be), and it is indeed tagged. Desmond tries to deny that he knew where the bird would be, but she doesn’t buy it. He points to a spot on the rocks, and says he saw Charlie fall in and break his neck at that spot. All the weird behavior was just the latest attempt to stave off Charlie’s death – the theory was if Charlie didn’t support Claire’s bird hunt, he wouldn’t die approaching the bird Desmond had just “found.”

(Aside number 3: does anyone else notice that every time Desmond “saves” Charlie, it is by driving a wedge between him and Claire, whether by rescuing Claire before Charlie could drown in the attempt, or chasing Charlie away from Claire’s bird hunt? We’ll need to keep watching to see if this pattern has consequences other than Charlie’s continued existence…)
Claire brings the tagged bird back to Charlie at the tent. She says Desmond told her everything about the recurring Charlie’s death dreams. Charlie and Claire review the letter they are tying to the bird. It’s a message of hope and survival, begging the recipient not to give up on the survivors of flight 815. Claire says she won’t give up on Charlie, either, and that they’ll get through this together. They place the letter and send the bird off to rejoin the migrating flock, a biological message in a bottle to the outside world. The flock flies over the jungle…

REAL TIME - the Jungle
Sayid is trying to read the map from the Flame station. He and Locke argue over their various techniques for navigation (a not-to-scale diagram vs. an inscription on a dead man's stick), and, accused of intentionally destroying the Flame, Locke points out that Kate and Sayid never warned about the C4 in the basement (take that, Locke-haters!). After some debate about the merits of killing Mikhail, Kate spurs the troops on. At a stream, Kate finds it odd that Rousseau has not asked about Alex at all. Rousseau responds that, after 16 years and a virtual certainty that her daughter will not remember her, she has not asked questions about Alex because she does not want to know the answers. As the crew trudges on, Kate asks Mikhail how he got to the island. He says at age 24, he was brought to the island via submarine. After the sky turned purple, however, it became impossible for any who leave the island to return, because the guiding beacon no longer functions (query: why would people who have lived on an island for years need a beacon to find their way back? Shouldn't a compass bearing do the trick?). When Kate expresses incredulity that anyone who could leave the island would want to return, Mikhail smiles that she would not understand. Kate asks why, and Mikhail clarifies she is not capable of understanding because she is not "on the list." Mikhail refers to a magnificent man who brought the Others to the island, and smiles when he says that man is not Ben. Kate, John and Sayid are not on the list because they are "flawed" (looking at Kate), "angry" (looking at Locke) and "weak" (looking at Sayid). He knows their names and sarcastically claims he couldn’t know who they are. Just as he is about to reveal to the group John’s prior paralysis (and the fact that he knows about it), Rousseau interrupts. She has spotted a row of posts with what look like microwave emitters on either side. John states, rather obviously, “well, it looks like we’re here.” Sayid tells Kate not to even go near the pylons. He thinks they are a security perimeter, either an alarm system or a trap. Mikhail says that, like everything else on the island, the perimter has not functioned in years, and, as confirmed by Sayid's map, the pylons completely surround the barracks, so there is no going around.

Locke decides to test the "inoperative for years" claim and pushes Mikhail into the path of the barrier, which erupts with a loud hum. Trapped in the sonic blast, Mikhail says to John, “thank you.” Mikhail begins to foam at the mouth, his neck bleeding, and he is ultimately blasted backwards. Sayid says it looks like a cerebral hemorrhage.

Kate is pissed that John killed their bargaining chip, and John says they never would have traded Jack for Mikhail. Sayid demands to know 1) how Locke knew this, and 2) whether Locke is there to save Jack or for some other agenda. They plan to go over the fence rather than around or through, and as Sayid goes to retrieve the ax from Locke's bag, he finds C4, and confronts Locke over his now-obvious lie about not knowing there was C4 in the Flame (oooh, big point for the Locke-haters!!!). The crew gets a fun A-Team-style montage in building a ramp over the pylons. Kate volunteers to be the first one over. She lands safely. Locke follows as Kate inspects Mikhail’s body. He is still breathing. The four of them move on in a group as Claire’s flock of seagulls flies overhead. Sayid says, “we’re here" as they approach Othersville. They think they see Jack fleeing, but in fact, he is tossing a football with Tom!!! And he seems very happy to have made it to the “end zone.”

Parting Thoughts
  1. I really hope Mr. Bakunin is not dead. He was a fun character for revealing puzzle pieces, even if at least half of what he said was steeped in lies. And what's with the suicidal tendencies, anyway? First he tried to shoot himself, then he was relieved to be sonic-blasted. Jacob's fury must not be kind...
  2. Who the heck is on the list? If not Jack, Kate or Locke (who perhpas Ben was not really trying to recruit), then who? Cindy and the nameless abducted tailies? Why should we care about them? There needs to be a clear sign that someone in the camp is on the list so we can start to think about what gets you "listed."
  3. What on Earth is Locke's game? We know he has sabotaged efforts to escape the island before, but why? Couldn't he just choose to stay behind if everyone else gets rescued, or does he feel his destiny needs them to be there, too? And after Mikhail revealed that travel to and from the island is now impossible, why kill his best source of intel?
  4. Is Jack already an Other? What has he learned about their purpose on the island that would make him so happy to join them in their life in a way he never seemed to join the beach crew?
  5. Since next week's episode, "The Man from Tallahassee," supposedly reveals the mystery of how Locke got paralyzed. Personally, I've always cared a lot more about how he got unparalyzed, but I guess we should take our answers when we get them. In anticipation of next week, any theories on how Mr. Locke ended up in that wheelchair? Send me your thoughts!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

SPOILER ALERT! Coming attractions

You have been warned - some of you may consider this post spoilerish (though I don't)...

This week, in Episode 312 entitled "Par Avion," the promos folks at ABC tell us the hidden connection between two Lost characters will be revealed. Since the episode centers on Claire Littleton in her pre-pregnancy Goth period, could this be the confirmation, as so many have come to believe, that Claire and Jack are half siblings (after all, Christian Sheppard had a daughter with an Australian mistress...)

Also, for those of you who hate Nikki and Paolo so much you've come to believe they must be Others plants, click on the title to this post for some promo pics from Episode 315, "Expose," which flashes back to their time on the island and shows what they've been up to. The flashbacks promise to bring back dead characters galore, including Boone, Arzt, Ethan and Shannon. The photos certainly suggest Nikki was in the wreckage of the plane crash, and Paolo was not far away from her at the time. Could he be a plant? Could the photos indicate neither is a plant? We shall see, folks...

On a final thought, next year's Oscar for Best Makeup has to go to "300," in which Paolo himself (Rodrigo Santoro) was transformed into Persion God-King Xerxes...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Episode 311 - Don't "Enter 77" until you finish this post!

The Others have a new name, and it ain’t “Dharma!” Hurley’s ping pong talents revealed! Sayid’s sins confessed!! Another Dharma installation is found, and then promptly blown to smithereens!!! To paraphrase Dr. Marvin Candle (if that is indeed his name), “Manual override achieved. For recap of episode 311, entitled ‘Enter 77,’ keep reading."

Flashback - Sayid
Sayid worked as a chef in a restaurant in an Arab section of Paris (according to press notes; I saw no references to Paris and only Arabic writing). A patron named Sami claimed to recognize Sayid as an Iraqi and offered to hire him to Sami’s nicer restaurant at double pay. At Sami’s restaurant, Sayid met Sami’s wife, Amira. Her hand was burned…and then so was Sayid! Sami’s wife identified Sayid as “him,” and Sami kicked Sayid in the face. Sayid later awoke chained in the restaurant
pantry, where Sami brought a water bowl. Sami confronted Sayid with his torturer past, and asked if Sayid does not recognize one his victims – Amira. Sami said she was held for 3 months for allegedly harboring an enemy of the state. Sayid confessed his true name and role in the Republican Guard, but swore he never saw the wife. He claimed he could remember every face of every person he interrogated, but not her, even when threatened with death if he persisted in his claimed unfamiliarity with Sami’s wife. Later, swore to Mr. and Mrs. Sami that he would never have touched a woman, which led to more Samy-induced beating. If Amira confessed to something she did not do under torture, Sami insisted, Sayid would too, until his wife stopped him and said that was enough for that day.
Later, Amira visited Sayid alone, carrying a gray cat (one strikingly similar to a cat we see later on the island). She told Sayid after months as a shut-in she finally left her apartment to save the cat from kids who were torturing him. Sometimes the cat bit or scratched her, because sometimes he forgot he was safe. She forgave the cat, because she knew what is like to never feel safe, because of what she insisted Sayid did to her. Crying, Sayid finally confessed that he remembered her, and that her face had haunted him ever since he left Iraq. She then abruptly forgave him and said she would tell her husband she made a mistake and to release Sayid, because, she explained, they were all capable of doing what the kids did to the cat, but she would not be that kind of person.

Real Time - The Beach
Sawyer, in badass ponytail mode, finds Charlie, Hurley, Jin, Sun and a bunch of others assembling the ping pong table they found in the wake of the Swan implosion. Still pissed that his stuff got taken and put into community share-space, Sawyer finds a ping pong ball, and tells the crowd he’ll play them for his stuff (and in classis Sawyer fashion, dismisses the suddenly in everyone's business Nikki with a “who the hell are you?”). Sawyer agrees that if he loses, there will be no more nicknames like “Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon” (i.e. Jin and Sun) for a week. The beachgoers choose Hurley as their chamption and Hurley smokes Sawyer for the first point. Off-camera, Hurley beats Sawyer pretty bad, since he spent a lot of time playing ping pong at his mother’s place, but Hurley brings back some of Sawyer’s stuff, anyway. He says Kate will be fine, and he knows that’s what's really bothering him.

Of course, with all the tidbits we got in the main action this week, the flashback and beach scenes felt a bit like storytelling speed bumps...

Real Time - The Search for Jack
Sayid is annoyed that he, Kate, Locke and Rousseau, have been heading North on a bearing of 305 because they've been following Eko’s stick for two days. He wanders off to search for for food, finds a fruit tree and hears…a cow bell? And it’s on a cow! A whistle is heard, and the cow wanders over to a blue building with a satellite dish on top, a horse at the side, and a man wearing a jumpsuit (with a Dharma logo with a flame shape in the middle) and eyepatch out front. Yup, it’s patchy, the guy spotted on the Pearl monitor. Sayid circles the structure and finds nothing but jungle. As a "communications" officer he knows the dish could broadcast thousands of miles. But Rousseau says this is not the radio tower she used for her signal. Sayid leaves his rifle with Kate to approach unamred. Rousseau wants no part of this – she’s survived by avoiding these types of encounters, and tells the group to meet her at the stream…if they survive. Sayid approaches the building, hands in the air. There is a small cat on a table, which Sayid looks at with some familiarity (it looks a lot like the one that inspired his captor to free him from the pantry)…when he is shot. Patchy shouts that he had a truce and that he never crossed the line. Sayid shouts about the plane crash, and patchy emerges. Locke and Kate fire warning shots and disarm him. His name is Mikhail Bakunin, and he says he is the last living member of the Dharma Initiative, who somehow had no idea a plane had crashed on the island or that 40+ people had survived.

They help Sayid inside. Mikhail cleans the wound with vodka. He claims to be a former Soviet army trooper who once served in Afghanistan, helps Sayid. After being stationed in Vladivostok until the Cold War ended and he was dismissed, he says he replied to an ad in the paper asking if he’d like to save the world, and joined the Dharma Initiative, 11 years ago. The Flame station was designed to communicate with the outside world. Locke sees a computer chess game with a camera pointed at it. Mikhail says Dharma initiated a “purge” against "the hostiles," and were wiped out in the ensuing conflict, but he survived by not participating. He tells Sayid and Kate that 4 men appeared and offered a truce – as long as he did not cross a certain line…they took two cows and left him alone. He doesn’t know who they are, but they were here a long time before Dharma was. The bullet is removed. Mikhail calls the cat Nadia (Sayid's lost love?) but says he named her after the Romanian gymnast. He offers iced tea, and goes to check on John, who loses to the chess computer. Mikhael tells him the game is unbeatable and it cheats…Locke doubts that's possible, because only humans can cheat. Kate doesn’t understand why Mikhail would be left alone by the Others with so much equipment. Sayid responds that Mikhail is not Dharma, which is why the Others let him stay. He is certain Mikhail is not alone, because the horse outside is saddled for someone much shorter, a mystery Sayid wants to solve before signaling that it's time for a retreat. Sayid asks Mikhail about the cables around the Flame, which Mihail says run to other installations on the island, and he confirms there is an underwater cable (which Sayid saw waaaaay back in the first season, before he stumbled upon Rousseau) to guide in a submarine. Sayid reveals the loss of Elizabeth, which he concludes must have been because the Others have the Dharma sub and used it to sneak around his pala ferry dock ambush, and baits Mikhail by saying “at least we were able to kill one of them.” Mikhail takes the bait and attacks, but Kate and Sayid take him down. Sayid tells Locke to get some rope. Sayid suggests the Others came to the Flame because they lost communications "when the sky turned purple" and sought to reconnect to the outside world. Sayid then lifts a rug to reveal a trap door.

He and Kate decend the ladder into a dark room, while Locke responds to the chess computer’s verbal prompts. They see C4 wired along the ceiling of this basement. Sayid kicks open a door and finds records storage – boxes and binders all marked Dharma – "Food Drop Protocol," "Operations Manual"…Locke beats the computer at chess, which triggers…a Marvin Candle video?! Dr. Candle, in full-on multimedia mode, prompts Locke (or anyone who beats the computer) with different codes to enter for different purposes: palate drop, for mainland communications, sonar link, etc. The last option says, If there has been an incursion by the hostiles, enter “77.” As's recap points out, 4+8+23+42=77. Locke tries some of the communications options but the video tells him the sattelite dish and the sonar are inoperative. So Dharma knew about the “hostiles” as long ago as when Dr. Candle was making movies? And they programmed a real-time smart video feed that long ago that knew how have Dr. Candle videos respond to different prompts? Did the hostiles take Dr. Candle's arm (his prosthesis is pretty apparent in the photo, below, taken from Locke is about to "enter 77" when Mikhail takes him at knifepoint.

Down below, Kate is jumped by the long-absent Miss Klugh (making her first appearance since the season finale), but Sayid takes Klugh from behind at gun point. Kate, recognizing Klugh, slugs her former captor and tells Sayid Ms. Klugh would know where Jack is. Sayid demands to know if there are any more, then takes her upstairs when she does not respond…but John is not there! He’s outside at gunpoint. Mikhail offers a prisoner exchange, but Locke says not to do it, since they would have shot him already if they wanted him dead (maybe Ben wasn't lying when he told Locke in the Swan armory he was going to the beach to recruit him?) Klugh tells Mikhail in Russian to shoot her. (From my high school Russian class, I think she said “don’t tell them anything,” but then again, I remember very little from Russian class beyond “the hedgehog whizzes by”). ( provides this translated transcript of their discussion:

Mrs. Klugh: Mikhail, you know what to do.
Patchy: ...Do we have a chance?
Klugh: We can't risk it... you know the circumstances.
Patchy: ... there IS another way..
Klugh: You know what to do, that is an order.
Patchy: We've GOT ANOTHER WAY!
Klugh: Do it Mikhail!
Patchy: I AM SORRY! (Shoots Klugh))

Mikhail shoots Klugh dead (apparently marking her last appearance since the season finale), but Sayid disarms Mikhail before he can kill himself.

Locke goes back to the computer. Sayid asks if Mikhail was ever a member of Dharma. Mikhail says no, but the rest of what he said was true. Sayid is a bit incredulous that a group of scientists would choose to mount an attack against the Others of their volition. He says he has his ticket to Othersville, but it’s not Mikhail. Apparently, in the records room he found a schematic map of cables running from the Flame to a place called “the Barracks,” which sounds like a great place to visit. Mikhail threatens to kill them when their guard is down. Danielle, back from her noninvolvement trip to the stream, reminds Sayid that with the map, there’s no reason to keep Mikhail alive. Remembering Amira and her story about the tortured cat, Sayid refuses and says, as Mikhail is his prisoner, he will decide his fate. Locke appears and says he knows why Mikhail did not want him to beat the chess game…then the building goes up in flames. Locke explains he entered 77 because he thought it was the correct response to the video prompt, (after all, there had been an encroachment by hostiles) and Sayid is not pleased that John's actions may have cut off their chances to contact the outside world or get home. Sayid sees the cat staring at him, and he leaves with his comrades and prisoner...

So what do you think? Did Locke make a sensible call, since the other off-island communication attempts failed? In other words, did entering 77 have the potential to send a red alert signal to someone, somewhere, especially given that Locke was not in the basement to see the explosives? Or is this the return of the same Locke who clocked Sayid in the first season to keep him from finding Rousseau's transmitting tower and possibly rescuing them all from the island? Could he be deliberately sabotaging his companions' efforts to escape?

Random Afterthoughts...
(Not sure if this was national, but in New York there was a Visa ad that played “Downtown,” the song that opened Season 3, in a bizzarre breaking of the fourth wall… which abruptly ended when people started turning into M&Ms).

In other news, the Powers that Be granted fellow Lost blogger "DocArzt" (from a lengthy interview, which you can check out at the following link:

Among the juicy tidbits from the interview:

  • The Dharma Initiative and Hanso Foundation portions of "the Lost Experience" were "true" to the overall story of the show, but the adventures of Rachel Blake will not intersect with or impact our heroes' stories.

  • That Hurley's father and imaginary friend were both named "David" (or "Dave") is no coincidence - Hurley chose "Dave" as the name for his inspirational, authority figure fake friend to cope with his feelings over his long missing dad.

  • Don't worry if you feel you can't figure out what's going on on Lost yet - the producers say they have not given enough clues for us to fully integrate into a master theory yet, although some online posters are apparently awfully close to figuring out what Smokey is.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Theories on the Dharma/Others Connection?

Since the buzz about this week's episode, "Enter 77" suggests we'll get some answers on the connection between the Dharma Initiative and the Others, I'm putting out this call for theories. Post comments to this post or send me an email by clicking on the email link in the right column, and I'll incorporate your theories into this week's recap. No cheating by sending them in after the episode airs!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Ep 310 - Hurley Lives, but "Tricia Tanaka is Dead"

So there were two big surprises this week, from my perspective: 1) what on Earth the title, “Tricia Tanaka is Dead” could refer to, and 2) the negative reactions I got from so many of you (but, hey, love the comments, so keep ‘em coming!) First there was one of this blog’s best unofficial publicists, Kelly, who started my morning with this missive, “how much did Lost suck last night?” More from Kelly later. Then there was my coworker, a fellow Lost Loving Lawyer named Todd, who shrugged, grimaced, and said, “nyeah” when I got into the office (after pestering my secretary for two hours to try to find me so he could vent about it). More on Todd’s perspective later, as well. Finally, there was Grettybetty, a frequent message board poster who was kind enough to invite me in to the exceptional unofficial Lost message board, Her message began with, “the beer is skunky, but they are able to make the bus RUN????? WTF???” Again, Gret’s point will get some more air below.

I want to be clear – I loved this episode, complete with its "Little Miss Sunshine" homage. Now, I don’t want Lost to be this way every week, but after so much darkness since the break ended, and after Jack’s character development really starting to annoy me, I thought it was great that the writers reminded us why we care not just about the mystery our castaways are “Lost” in, but why we care about them in the first place.

So, here's my recap (with some help from Kelly, Todd and GrettyBetty, and some photos snagged from…

Hurley’s flashback this week revealed even less we needed to know than Jack’s did last week. As Kelly put it in her email this morning, “no interesting information was given during the Hurley flashbacks.” I agree, Kell. That said, it was a great character piece that enriched our notion of how a once-skinny barrio kid named Hugo became the slackerish, heavyset zillionaire called Hurley. As a boy, Hugo loved nothing more than working with his father, David (Cheech Marin! Freakin’ genius!) on the latter’s old Camaro.
Even though deadbeat David didn’t bring the carburetor Hugo knew would be needed to get the thing running, he had a valuable lesson for his son: “Having hope is never stupid. In this world, son, you gotta make your own luck.” Unfortunately, Hugo would long set aside that advice as his dad picked that very moment to hop on his Yamaha and run off to Vegas, not to return for the next 17 years. Later, we got to see Hurley in his post-lottery, pre-Australia life. For those of us who wondered how Randy, Hurley’s boss at Mr. Cluck’s, would later become Hurley’s employee at the box company (where he tormented John Locke), now we know: the first “business” Hurley bought with his lotto winnings was the old fast food dive where he worked before the numbers brought him all that moolah. But Hurley already suspected he was cursed by the numbers (after all, his grandfather died, and his mother’s new house burned to the ground), so when local reporter Tricia Tanaka came to do a fluff piece for the TV news about Hurley’s taking over his former employer, she was killed by…a falling meteor that blew the place up! Hence, “Tricia Tanaka is dead.” Just to make him feel more cursed, that’s when deadbeat dad David returned, obviously to try to mooch off his suddenly rich son (and, eww, fulfill mom’s needs for the first time in 17 years). Hugo was, by then, determined to go to Australia to figure out the numbers, but we got a sense of what he lost when his dad took off when he took David to the garage, where the symbol of Hurley’s lost sense of hope, the old Camaro, still sat, waiting for the father-son project to resume. David was not such a great dad, and he even tried to stop Hugo from giving up the money by getting a tarot reader to pretend to lift the “curse.” In the end he was not so bad, though, as David confessed that, while he was only there at first for the money, that didn’t mean that Australia would break the curse. The only thing that would was hope. He told his son to give away all the money except enough to fix the Camaro and take the long-delayed father-son road trip to the Grand Canyon. Although Hurley insisted on his trek to Australia, David swore he’d still be there when his son got back…

A parting thought on the flashback (taken from the American Express “Lost Moments” site) – could the name of Hurley’s dad, “David” be connected to the name “Dave” on his imaginary friend from the asylum?

Real Time
I concur with Grettybetty, who thought the realtime action on the island opened with a truly heartwrenching scence. Hurley, relating what happened when he, Jack, Kate and Sawyer were abducted, apparently to nobody, continues to talk, apparently to nobody, about the group on the beach. He says he’s scared, but then he’s been scared most of his time there anyway, “except when I’m with you. I miss you, Libby.” He puts a rose by the crude cross that marks Libby’s grave on Boone hill, and, I hear you Grets, ‘cause my eyes welled up, too.

What else happens on the beach? Hurley finds out about the clairvoyant death sentence that has Charlie in a funk. Paolo and Nikki continue being utterly useless. Just as Hurley comes to think the deadly curse that seems to follow him will soon take Charlie (just like it took his granddad, the unfortunate investor, and Tricia Tanaka), we get a return visit from one of Lost’s most lovable and seldom-seen characters…

Vincent prances out of the jungle, carrying a rotting human arm, which was holding a key on a rabbit’s foot chain. Hurley wants to follow, but Charlie, still feeling down (and a bit in the cross hairs) responds, “Yeah – chase the dog with the creepy skeletal arm into the jungle. You be my guest.” Like Lassie, Vincent seems to want Hurley not to chase but to follow…to an overturned, overgrown VW bus which Hurley sees and says, “awesome.” Of course, the bus has a Dharma logo where the VW should be.

A thought on Vincent…
Walt’s dog somehow survived the crash from inside a crate in the under-plane cargo hold? Somehow I doubt it. I’m starting to think Vincent is some combination of 1) Walt’s apparent power to conjure up animals by thinking about them, and 2) whatever it is on the island that creates apparitions in order to reveal the island’s secrets to our survivors. What’s that, you wonder? Think about it… Jack found the cave (complete with our castaways’ fresh water source and “Adam and Eve” and their white and black rocks) by following his dead father. Locke and Eko found the Pearl station by following Yemi. Boone died because he followed Locke’s dream to where the old plane had crashed. And now, Vincent led Hurley right to the bus, with the ignition key in hand. Well, in a hand, which belonged to…


For the first time since Desmond, we met a guy in a Swan hatch jumpsuit. Alas, the guy, who Sawyer later nicknamed Skeletor, was a dead man whose nametag read Roger Worman. Or, more likely, Roger, who was a Work Man. The guys on the Buddytv Lost site posit – could Roger be the “him” Kelvin was waiting for, but who didn’t show up because he died in the overturned truck? And, yes, that’s right, the nickname came from…

Meanwhile, in the jungle, Sawyer and Kate, sweaty messes, believe they’re almost home. Sawyer steps on a dart, and Kate yanks it from his foot. Sawyer talks about how he used to watch Little House as a kid when he had mono, and it looks like they’re going to have another tender moment. Kate says they can get things back if they just apologize to each other. Sawyer, his guard back up (again with the self-loathing thing) says he has nothing to apologize for. When Kate doesn’t just melt over this, Sawyer says “so that’s how its’ going to be.” At that point, with his jerky persona back up, Kate stops calling him James and says, “Welcome home, Sawyer” They emerge on the beach, and first Sun and then the extras come to greet them. Charlie hangs back. Sawyer looks at Kate like he’s already lost her, and she looks back in much the same way as they talk to different groups of castaways.

Back at the van, Jin discovers that Roger was on a beer run! And Dharma had both light and regular Dharma beer! Jin and Hurley work to lever the bus back onto its four tires. Sawyer shows up to complain about the theft of his scotch, but Hurley, suddenly hopeful, shouts, “dude you’re alive!” And bearhugs the big galloot Jin tries some English – “good to see you” – leading to a great Sawyer line – “hey, you’re hooked on phonics!” Sawyer sheepishly says Kate’s with him but “they still have Jack,” and Hurley, surprisingly, says that’s fine, Jack will be alright. We all are. Hurley believes the car and Sawyer’s return are a sign that things are picking up. After all, getting an old car running is something he hasn’t done since the last day he really had hope…
Sayid asks Kate what happened with Jack. He asks about other boats. Locke wants to know if the Others can leave the island. Kate tells Sayid and Locke about the zoo, and the Other village. Kate says she’s getting Jack back and is going to get help, but doesn’t answer when Locke asks “help from who?”

In the jungle, Hurley, Jin and Sawyer succeed in tipping over the van, which is filled with old paper wrappers. There’s a blueprint for a winding road, suggesting Dharma was trying to connect two points on the island, but we don’t know what points or why. Sawyer finds the beer, then Roger’s head. Hurley goes to start the car as Sawyer takes a handful of beer cans. Hurley turns the key, but nothing happens. So Sawyer opens the flat, skunky beer and takes a sip. Again, I agree with Kelly, who said, “watching Sawyer drink hot, skunky, flat beer made me want to vomit.” Hurley is looking for hope in fixing the car – but Sawyer says there sure as hell ain’t no hope here. And that is my response to you, Kell – yeah, it was gross that Sawyer was drinking the icky old beer, but in a hopeless situation like he felt he was in, it was something to hold onto and try to enjoy for him, just like the bus was for Hurley.

Hurley prays for help while he sits with Vincent. Sawyer tosses him “help” in the form of a beer, but it rolls past. Hurley follows it with his eyes, and smiles. He goes to get Charlie and says they’re getting the car running. Hurley tells Charlie that, if he comes, and doesn’t die, they win! Hurley gives a pep talk (ok, a bitch-slap), and Charlie comes. In the best scene in weeks, Sawyer teaches Jin the only three things a woman needs to hear. “I’m sorry.” “You were right.” “Those pants don’t make you look fat.” They then help Hurley and Charlie push the bus to a hill top, and look down on a relatively treeless hill. Hurley says he’s going to jump start by popping the clutch when they push him, rocks be damned.

Charlie says he’s going to ride shotgun! Victory or death! Hurley starts the car, 8-track and all, and turns away just as they nearly smash into the rocks. They drive across the clearing and do donuts as Sawyer, Jin and Vincent come running after them. They pile in and go for a drive, finally diverted from their plight by the simplest of things, a joyride in a big dumb car.
On this, GrettyBetty grouses, “yes, my friends...i GET the part that it was for FUN that Hurley wanted to start the van. Hurley is the FUN guy...this we are supposed to juxtapose with the few good memories he has with his dad restoring the Camaro (after winning all that money, he STILL had it in the garage, mothballed in exact same condition as it was when his dad bailed on him. WAITING for his dad's return so they could finish it together)...” And to me, that was the point. Particularly this group needed this – Hurley, who has been without hope for so long and yet, as Locke and Sayid pointed out a couple weeks ago, was the camp cheerleader; Sawyer, consigned to loneliness, getting to bond with other people; Jin, trapped in virtual silence by his lack of English, got to connect with the boys; and Charlie, understandably bummed by the news of his imminent death, gave death the finger and enjoyed a moment of hope.

And that I believe explains the other problem GrettyBetty had with this episode – that any environmental conditions that would skunkify beer would also render the car unstartable. Sure, in the real world, but on this island, the laws of physics often seem to bend for what people need psychologically or mythologically. Just as the island, as Locke would say, seemed to provide hatches to further the quests and food drops to feed our survivors, so did it provide this van at the moment that these four characters needed it most.

Later, as Hurley keeps driving in the clearing, Sawyer looks at Jin and Sun, and Charlie and Claire, and, realizing he’s probably lost Kate, drinks alone.

I’ll let Kelly tell you about the last scene: “Kate was being unreasonably cranky by not asking for Sayid's and Locke's help to find Jack.” Kate’s excuse was that they have no motivation and don’t know where to look. Locke says she’s wrong – they have a compass bearing. Sayid scoffs about the “sign” of Eko’s stick, to which Locke refers. Shots ring out, but Kate says it’s safe…and out comes Rousseau. Again, Kelly had some very strong thoughts: “it ended with Kate telling Rousseau about Alex being on the other island, like it was some big deal and an interesting plot twist, when all along we've all known that that girl is Rousseau's daughter, big deal.”
Here, alas, I think the scene played out the way it did because the writers wanted to take it to a certain place (i.e. bringing Rousseau along). I think this part was handled pretty clumsily, but, just as Hurley found Hope in an old beat-up car, I find it here: for the first time that I can think of, the characters are talking to each other about the things we know but they don’t. Sure, it was no reveal to the audience (or shouldn’t have been) that Alex the Other was once baby Alex Rousseau. The big deal here is not that connection, but that Rousseau was brought in on it. Never having seen an “Other” before Ben, but always knowing some group of “other” people took her baby, now she can join the main action because her 16-year-long paranoid delusion has turned out to be correct. Now that’s a plot point, even if it’s not a reveal.

So why did I like this episode? I thought it brought it back to the intangible aspects of Season 1 that made most of us love the show. Granted, my buddy Todd’s reaction is understandable, because he came on board in Season 2, when the writing stopped focusing on character and started being all about the mysteries on the island. And they are fascinating (and the reason I maintain this blog). But if we don’t care about the characters, we’ll lose interest in the plot. This episode gave us snippets of all our chacters (less Jack and the Others) that reminded us why we cared. It gave some psychological insight with the flashback even if it didn’t reveal anything to further the mystery (at least, not apparently). And it gave Sawyer some of his best lines all season and, while returning his relationship with Kate to the status quo ante, made us understand what opportunity those two have lost.

Next week, when the mythologically-intense “Enter 77” runs, please note I’ll be traveling late in the week and may not be able to post until a few days later than normal. So I continue to welcome your comments and thoughts and will continue to work them into my post.