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LOST Analysis for Episode 6.17/18, “The End

June 21, 2010

Well, it’s over. All has at last been said, all has been done, and we know all there is to know about the story of LOST. According to the producers, we will never be given any other information about the show (besides the DVD extras) beyond what we already have. So, what exactly do we have?

Candidates and Cataclysm

While I thought it suspicious that the identity of The Candidate would be revealed earlier than the finale, I did not see coming what did end up happening. But in many ways, I think it’s a little bit perfect. Almost too perfect that I’m surprised nobody (including me) seemed to see it coming. It’s fitting that Jack dies, and that the Island is left to a pure soul like Hurley, counterbalanced by a redemptive character with experience, like Ben.

Just a couple of cool guys doin' some cool things and some cool Island protecting.

While Ben didn’t have as big a role as many would have liked for the finale, I think he ended up the way he was supposed to. And although it turns out he was not really pulling any kind of long con on MIB, he was doing everything for the safety of the Island, and you could tell how quickly he changed his tune after MIB insisted he was going to destroy the Island.  By supplying Kate with the walkie, he ensured that she and Sawyer got off the Island safely, and by helping Hurley, he got to protect the Island – the one thing he’s always wanted to do – without being in danger of succumbing to any kind of thirst for power. At least, his conversation with Hurley in the flash-sideways seemed to tell us this. Whatever the case, we got a fitting end for Ben, if for no other reason than we remained unsure right up until the end where his loyalties lay.

As for Hurley, he was just the right choice. Jack always felt like a good, “obvious” choice (as MIB put it), and he served his time as Island Protector quite well in fact, doing what Jacob could never do – kill the MIB. But if I was to entrust the Island in someone other than him, it’s gotta be Hurley. Judging by his conversation with Ben outside the church, Hurley also did a bang-up job as the next Jacob. And apparently, for those who are dying to know what happened during Hurley’s tenure, there’s something like 15 minutes of bonus footage on the DVDs that will document at least some of that time. I’m not so sure I like this idea, but I’m sure the writers will make it appropriate. I’ll probably have someone else watch it first to tell me if I should watch it.

To me, the Island just continued being the source of everything, and people kept protecting it, and will continue to protect it. The Losties didn’t change humanity as we know it, but they did preserve it by preserving the Island and not destroying it.

There Goes the Man in Black

So, I think some people are confused as to why exactly MIB was killable (which apparently is a word), so here’s how I understood the events on the Island.

Sexiest Smoke Monster that's ever walked the Earth. Just look at this guy.

  1. Desmond goes down into the Source and unplugs the thing. All Hell breaks loose, literally.
  2. This is exactly what MIB wanted, because it was the only way he could leave the Island for good without killing Jacob and all the candidates.
  3. Unfortunately for MIB, Jack was right as well – Desmond doing this makes MIB mortal, so Jack (with an assist by Kate) is able to kill him for good.
  4. Unfortunately for Jack, he has to re-plug the hole before the Island completely falls apart and is destroyed, and destroys probably the whole world. Also, he got stabbed, so that sucks too.
  5. Jack goes down into the cave and re-inserts the pillar (this is sounding really dirty now), and the light and the water are restored, and all is well.

I am curious of a couple things: namely, how Jack survived the Light and didn’t turn into a smoke monster. I totally thought that’s what was gonna happen – Hurley as the new Jacob, Jack as a cooperative smoke monster. But, I guess not.

But anyway, back to awesomeness. After the Source is de-sourced, Jack tracks down MIB, who’s all ready to depart the Island on Desmond’s boat. And, well, this fan-made video pretty much says it all:

Okay, there were no lightsabers, but that’s pretty much how it went down. It was a great fight scene that befits how crazy their relationship has been, and it was emboldened by the fact that it’s not even Locke. Jack gets by with a little help from his friends, however, and Kate saves a bullet for MIB. It’s too bad she waited until the very end of the show to be useful, but you can’t say it didn’t come at a perfect time. Jack kicks MIB over the edge of his precious cave, and all scores are settled. It truly did feel good watching MIB fall that far down the cliff, and it never occurred to me to feel bad because he was in Locke’s body. Terry O’Quinn is such an out-of-this-world actor that by the end of the season I failed to connect MIB and sideways Locke, even when they had the exact same face. He truly made the MIB his own character, and re-acquainted us with the original John Locke we knew and loved in the sideways timeline without confusing us, and to me, that’s a truly great feat of acting.

Jack contemplating the Freudian consequences of what's happening at this moment.

Live Together, Die Together

Most people’s least favorite aspect of this episode – the revelation of the nature of the flash-sideways – was one of my favorite parts of the entire series. For those still confused, here’s my interpretation of what transpired:

At the end of season five, Jack and company tried to detonate a hydrogen bomb that would prevent “The Incident” from happening, and thereby make it so that the plane never crashed, and none of these terrible things ever happened to them. Unfortunately for them, Jacob had other ideas – because the bomb did not explode, or at least didn’t have the impact they wanted. What we thought for a large part of the year was an alternate universe created by the events of 1977 was not at all. And while I was correct in this case, since I spotted the many inconsistencies and impossibilities with this, I was completely wrong about what it actually was.

It turns out the flash-sideways was not a sideways world of any kind; if anything, it was a flash forward. For those who are describing it as purgatory, please cease and desist immediately. It’s only purgatory in the sense that it came after their earthly lives and before their afterlives. They aren’t being punished, or held their against their will, or there because of their sins. They created this place, this world for themselves, so that they could progress into the afterlife – or, whatever’s “next” – together, with the people that were truly important to them. Because, as Christian said, “Nobody does it alone Jack. You needed all of them, and they needed you.”

Some people seemed to think that this meant that what happened on the Island was all this place, and that nothing had been real. This is just completely misunderstanding what Christian said. Everything that ever happened to them was real, including everything we saw and didn’t see on the Island, was real, and happened. This explanation applied only to the flash-sideways and everything we’ve been seeing in that world.

Claire rethinking whether she actually remembers anything after seeing Charlie's hair deterioration.

And so, what we’ve been seeing throughout the season, and in large helpings during the finale, are our characters coming to an understanding of what’s happening to them once they come into contact with their loved ones and see flashes of the life they had while they were living. And despite seeing many of these throughout the episode, they did not feel forced or repetitive, and I especially liked the writers’ choices for some of them: namely, Kate’s and Claire’s awakenings happening while Aaron is being born; Locke’s happening when he discovers he can move his legs; and Sawyer and Juliet’s recognition was obviously really powerful. This is the part where I link to my post where I declared that “We can go dutch” would be totally relevant. Pwned.

One particularly stupid scene (one of the only ones in the episode) was the Sayid/Shannon recognition scene. Now, I never minded Sayid and Shannon as a couple, but it just seems to me that Sayid’s number one was always Nadia, and that after she died, it probably should have been her he was sticking around the afterlife for. But alas, the writers wanted Boone (and I did too), and you can’t have Boone without Shannon, and the reunion would have been way awkward probably. Anyway, I just didn’t like that part all that much. I approved, however, of all the rest, including the fact that it took a little longer for Jack, who has always had a lot of difficulty letting go. His being a combination of memories from Locke, Kate, and his father was really appropriate and made a beautiful ending for him that matched his ending on the Island.

Another gripe people had was that this all took place in a Christian church, under the direction of a man named “Christian Shephard.” I disagree with this one, however: not only did the writers finally address the ridiculousness of this name (Kate’s “Are you serious?”), but they even made a point to leave exactly what was “next” ambiguous. In the church, we see many stained-glass windows and religious items around

So this was a Unitarian Universalist church, basically.

the room – both the back room where the coffin is, and the sanctuary where all the Losties are. The items we see are from various religious, and the stained-glass windows portray symbols and signs from various religions (including Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism and Taoism). The writers knew that they had no business delving into what comes next, but felt bold enough to interpret whatever-it-was as not a lonely, individual journey, but as one shared between people who were important to each other, accomplished great things together, and suffered together.

In reality – a term that’s pretty much all relative in the realm of Lost – this was the only way it could be truly done. This was the only way these characters could be given an end that befits the enormity of what they went through together. Those final moments, transitioning between Jack stumbling through the jungle to his death in the same spot he awoke after the plane crashed, and the scene in the church, were, I thought, the perfect and most peaceful way to end the show. Each character accepts his/her fate, recognizes that they indeed were on the Island for a reason, and that in their one way, each one of them was special and had a purpose. Corny? Don’t care.

Questions vs. Quest Ends

What a dumb section title.

One of the most ubiquitous conversations taking place throughout the series, and especially towards the end, has had to do with whether the show will answer all of, or at least most of, the many questions that have cropped up over the years. One of the gripes I’m reading about the finale is that it failed to answer many of these questions, but I would venture to say that those doing the complaining are missing a key element of the series, why it is good, and why people have loved it for so long.

Yes, they could have very easily incorporated the season five outrigger shootout scene (seen here) into the finale. For example, Richard, Miles, and Lapidus see the outrigger, notice Locke’s bald head (which they mistake for MIB’s bald head) and start shooting, and Juliet shoots back. Then they disappear into space-time. Boom, done. And no, I wouldn’t have minded knowing why the Dharma food drops still took place, or what was up with Walt, or a million other things probably.

But why do I want to know these things? I’m not saying some answers wouldn’t be nice. But doesn’t the writers telling us how everything is and should be remove the mystery that’s driven the show from the beginning, that helped it revolutionize the way we tell stories on television? I agree that telling us who’s doing the food drops wouldn’t, like, ruin the mystery of the show, but with something as big and macro and huge-issue-dealing as Lost – when we’re talking about the Island being basically the heart and soul of mankind – I want as ambiguous information as possible. If they had gone into detail about the Light, where it came from, what it’s made of, and how it was comprised, it would have just been ridiculous. Putting the big things like this, like Walt’s powers, etc in an ambiguous space, the writers put it on a plane we can interpret for ourselves and debate over, because these questions aren’t able to be answered on their faces. I’ll let Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, the show’s Executive Producers, explain my next point:

“The point of doing it the way that we did it was so that we wouldn’t have to explain it. Lost has always lived in a space that forces people into communities with each other to debate as to what they feel it meant. We don’t want the legacy to be diluted by us coming forward and saying ‘Your debates have now come to an end. Let us return with these tablets and tell you what we meant.'”

– Damon Lindelof

“We hope that different people will have different interpretations of some of the events in the finale. If your particular concern was ‘who was that guy Sayid shot on the golf course,’ then you’re gonna be frustrated when the finale is over, because it was impossible to answer every little question. To do that would have been so didactic and non-narrative. And so as storytellers, we took the position of: If the characters cared about it, we care about it. And if they don’t care about it, then why should we as storytellers go out of our way to answer questions that our characters didn’t even care about?”

– Carlton Cuse

What they’re saying, and what I agree with, is that this show is first and foremost about these awesome characters, and that it’s their quests and redemptions (or not) we care about first rather than what Eloise Hawking’s deal truly is. Would we really have wanted an “Architect” scene like in The Matrix? I mean, that sucked. Would you want George Lucas to tell you exactly how the Force works, or is it not better when it’s more mysterious and mystical, and something that comes from deep inside a person? No need to answer. What I’m saying is that if I’m choosing between endings, I’ll take the emotionally satisfying character resolution over the mind-numbing and possibly-even-more-disappointing-than-getting-nothing explanation of All That Hath Been Left Unexplained.

By the way – one of people’s main mysteries they’re pissed about not knowing the answer to is why women could no longer get pregnant on the Island. And to them I have an ironclad theory that I think the writers were hinting at:

A scene PREGNANT with drama. GESTATING the entire episode and BIRTHING a new timeline. I'm really sorry about this caption.

So, we see Ethan born on the Island to Tony Almeida’s wife in 1977. Juliet delivers the baby while she, Sawyer etc are all stuck in the past living in Dharmaville. As of that moment, there are no issues with childbirth. The only other people we’ve seen born on the Island since then are Alex (Rousseau’s daughter) and Aaron (Claire’s son), both of whom were 8-9 months into utero when they arrived on the Island, so clearly they’re okay. So, what happened after Ethan was born? Well, when Richard shows Juliet the womb CTs of Island women uteruses in season three, Juliet remarks that the 28-year-old woman’s uterus pictured looks to belong to someone in their seventies, and showed serious deterioration. The work, perhaps, of serious radiation.

Now, remember The Incident? Jack drops the hydrogen bomb into the Swan site to negate the energy caused by Radzinsky drilling too deep and hitting the pocket of electromagnetism. What I believe happens is that when the bomb explodes, it doesn’t change the future as Jack intended, but instead causes certain levels of radiation that cause deterioration of the uterus. The radiation that emanated from The Incident, then, caused the pregnancy issues on the Island. And making it even more full circle is that Juliet – the fertility doctor who was brought to the Island to solve this problem, and whose main storyline has to do with suffering through failed pregnancies of those around her, is the one to set off the bomb and cause all these issues in the first place. And in a larger sense, the Losties caused the Incident they were trying to stop, and ended up being the reason they were brought to the Island in the first place. Full circle. Boom.

Final Thoughts

So, that was most of what I wanted to talk about, at least the important stuff. I’ll offer more thoughts throughout the summer, including a post-by-post countdown of my favorite episodes (Nerd? Yes? Yes.), and various other thoughts and theories that pop into my brain as I re-watch the entire series.

Before I wrap, however, I just want to echo what I wrote in my Goodbye to Lost, and just say that while it is not the end of the world, it is pretty much the end of the world for me, and that I’ll miss this program, this mystery, this way of thinking very much, and I want to thank all out there who have ever watched Lost with me, shared it with me, debated it with me, and lived through the best and worst times of the show with me. Especially, I’d like to thank the original Lost Club, from its founding members to its fair-weather members, for making our little get-togethers as magical as they were. I mean they were magical. Remember during “Greatest Hits” when Charlie’s brother gives him the ring, and someone whispered “Keep it secret! Keep it safe!” really loudly, and it occurred to us that Dominic Monaghan was a hobbit in a former life and it became way funnier. Yeah. I’ll miss that.

But like anything else, Lost lives on as long as we want it to, as do the clubs, the costumes, and characters, the action figures, and the soundtracks that go with it. We will be watching and experiencing Lost for the rest of our lives (at least I will)… just not as “live” as we used to. And while probably no one I know will miss Lost as much as I will, it’s all the consolation in the world to know that I’ll always have dear friends upon whom I can force a viewing whenever I’m going through withdrawal. Thank you Lost, and thank you, fellow viewers.

I’ll close with a few photos taken at (and leading up to) the 2008 Season Four Finale Lost Club Extravaganza. Enjoy.

Johnny and I absolutely went to the Woonsocket public library to check out every Lost-related book they had.

Most of our time was probably spent making the list of protocols we needed to take care of before the finale.

Johnny at Ocean State Job Lot, where we bought the Tiki torches and the ORIGINAL LOST CLUBS.

Johnny working on our Dharma food labels.

Cutting out and creating our Oceanic boarding passes...

... and I'm really, really pleased with the results.

The fruits of our (hours of) labor.

Brendan's living room adorned with various LOST items, including the tarp from nowhere.

I greeted everyone with a lei, their boarding pass, lottery ticket, and a high quality "Namaste" as they arrived.

Steve was excited for the big Traveler finale.

Our hatch-like bookshelf.

Dharma refreshments, with a touch of Desmond.

Charlie: already dead, but not in our hearts. That's real heroin. No it's not, it's brown sugar.

Lost Club gets political.

Our Dharma placards, which were room-appropriate.

Our two main dudes facing off atop the DVD player. Jack was still on drugs at that point, hence the prescription bottle.

See you in another life, brothas and sistas.

– Charlie

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My Goodbye to Lost

May 23, 2010

For those who were hoping for the analysis I promised, it shall not come, unfortunately. Lost chose a crappy time in my life to end, but you can bet I’ll have plenty to say after the finale. I’ll do a full breakdown of what we learned, what we didn’t, and what I thought of it. Until then, I leave you only with this open letter to Lost.

On October 27, 2004, I watched my first episode of Lost. I was 15 years old at the time, had barely any of the close friends I have now, and didn’t really care about anything in particular. That time of my life saw the beginning of many things, some of which remain critically important to me to this day. But few of these things have stood the test of time in quite the way the Lost has. So if you’ll excuse my indulgence in cheesiness for a few paragraphs, I just need to say a few things about it before it all ends. And for those who would say that I can’t possibly get this emotional over a television show… well, I think you know what my response is.

Whenever I tell people about exactly how much I enjoy Lost, I always end up coming back to one sentence: “It is not a television show.” Which isn’t to say that for most people, of course it’s just a television show. Because it is. It may have great characters, intricate storylines, and intriguing mysteries, but for most, Lost is just a television show that’s ending tonight. For these people, other shows will fill whatever gap, whatever opening Lost might leave behind when it concludes at 11:30pm.

But for me, something else will happen. Maybe this is something you can simply chalk up to my obsessive personality, but there are very few things in this world I’ve obsessed about, pored over, analyzed, and cared so ridiculously about for so long as I have for Lost. And that’s because what I said before is true. For me, Lost has always been more than a television show. It was a culture that extended far beyond Internet geekdom, beyond the comfortable ritual of sitting down once a week and enjoying a beautiful piece of art. It even (and perhaps most importantly) brought me closer with like-minded people, especially those already close to me, who, if only for that one hour per week, cared an inordinate amount about the same thing I did. And in strange, inexplicable ways, it has related to my life, and often during times when I needed it most.

Lost was daring. It was smart without being too smart, and was ridiculous enough in such a smart way that it convinced us to accept smoke monsters, frozen donkey wheels and randomly appearing dead people for six years. Lost was brave. It questioned what we thought we already knew, about life, about faith, about the nature of what’s good, what’s evil, and what will always live in that grey area in between. Lost dared, as I feel no other show has in recent memory, to tackle the very question of “why are we here?” By taking on these questions and dealing with them in a profound and powerful way, by weaving them into a complex and challenging story of science fiction, and by telling this story through the lens of dramatic, sometimes redemptive, and even a little bit relatable characters we grew to care immensely about, Lost shackled us to the idea that television doesn’t have to just sit back.

One of the great unforeseen benefits of Lost growing into the international phenomenon it has become is that from now on, any show embarking on even a fraction of the adventure, the drama, the emotion, and the intricacy that Lost idealized for six years, will be forced to reach for more. Put simply, Lost did more than raise the bar. It can only be appropriately described as a term the writers liked to use a lot for scenes that made you rethink everything you knew already: it’s a game-changer. I say this because others will indeed try to replicate the success, the mystery, and the dramatic power that Lost reinvented over the last six years. But no one ever will. Not for me.

Lost has been like any great friend. It’s made me cry, it’s made me laugh; It’s made me question things I previously took for granted; It’s made me care about things I never thought I could, and it’s even pissed me off quite from time to time (to time to time to time…). It’s kept me in the dark about some things, and waited until just the right time to tell me. Naturally, it’s been there whenever I’ve needed it. And like any truly great friend, I will care about it long after it has gone.

Thank you, Lost. I’ll see you in another life.

– Charlie

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The Beginning of the End – Top 16 LOST Moments

May 21, 2010

The time is upon us. Tomorrow I’ll be writing a detailed final analysis, as well as some parting words for the greatest television show to ever grace the earth. But before that, I thought I would recount some of my favorite moments over the past six years. Some are more emotional moments, some are intense, others are more mysterious, but all of them define the show. Enjoy!

16. You’re Gonna Die, Charlie.

Our first scene was one that truly kicked off the third season, which had struggled to this point. But the subtlety of the music, the acting of Ian Cusick, and the resolution of what exactly seems to be happening to Desmond make this episode. Flashes Before Your Eyes is one of the best LOST episodes to date, and one of the trippiest. And we all know trippier is better. Now that Desmond has become immensely important both on the Island and in the Sideways, it’ll be interesting and beautiful to see where his abilities take him in the finale.

15. Michael Murders Ana Lucia and Libby

While I’m not particularly a fan of Michael or Ana Lucia, this is a riveting scene that is the true example of complete shock on Lost. To this day, there’s no moment in Lost history that shocked me more than this moment. No matter how you feel about Michael, there’s incredible weight in this scene – the resolution of Ana Lucia’s character, which finally came about in a beautiful way after a season of frustration with the character; Michael’s decision to save is son the only way he knows how; and the knowledge of what these events will mean for the last couple episodes of the season. And even in this scene, so early in his tenure on Lost, Michael Emerson steals the scene with his classic Ben look – before we even knew he was “Ben.”

14. Charlie’s Death

What is there to say about this one? Probably the saddest death on Lost, given the sacrifice that Charlie made for everyone. If not for Charlie, probably everyone on the Island would have died instead of just, you know, many of them. “Not Penny’s Boat” is a pop culture staple in the Lost community, and the emotional power of this scene carries it in such a way that we don’t care how Charlie’s marker can write on his wet hand, nor why Charlie didn’t even try to swim out the narrow window.

13. Progress

… in which we meet the two fathers of the Island. When originally aired, we didn’t know this was Jacob we were looking at until his name is spoken towards the end. But a lot of this cryptic and incredibly well-written conversation echoes themes we’ve heard the entire series: redemption, good vs. evil, people being brought to the Island. Mark Pelligrino and Titus Welliver both helped make season six one of the best, and their introduction in the season five finale, in this scene, is proof enough.

12. Small World

A lot of people forget about this moment, but it remains one of my favorites, and by far my favorite scene between Jack and Sawyer. And now that they’ve (for the most part) made up and are on the same team at the end of this season, this one seems appropriate to remember. Say what you will about Jack’s constant and unrelenting flow of tears, but Matthew Fox knows how to be emotional like no other. And this was just really cool of Sawyer.

11. It’s Never Been Easy

Sorry everyone kind of sounds like chipmunks, this is the only version of this one I could find. And even though what everyone remembers about this scene is “Why do you find it so hard to believe?” “Why do you find it so easy?!!”, I think the most important part of this is Locke questioning Jack, “Why did you come back?” Like my number one moment, as you will see, it’s almost as if Locke can see the potential for faith in Jack, and even though it’s taken so long to get here, it’s bee really gratifying to see Jack embrace his role as a man of faith. And this is where it began.

10. Ben Kills John Locke

There are a lot of Ben and Locke scenes I could have included on this list, but ever since The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham aired last year, I feel this one’s the most important. Locke’s plight is certainly the most powerful part of this scene, but it’s the combined acting gravitas of Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn that make this scene as potent, emotional, and riveting as it possibly could be. And it’s strange that even after we’ve been told that Ben’s motivations were almost solely selfish, I still believe every word he says, and I think he believes it too: that Locke is special, that he’s not a failure, and that he’s still incredibly important. That’s how good these guys are.

9. Deus Ex Machina

One of the first in a long line of depressing John Locke stories, but it’s the end of this scene that’s the key, and what truly thrust me into my Lost fandom in the first place. The hatch lighting up at the end is epic enough, but the later knowledge of what caused it (Desmond, whilst contemplating suicide, turned the light on) makes it all the more powerful.

8. The First Scene

Ah, the Pilot. Still one of the best episodes of Lost, thanks in large part to this incredibly crafted scene. They paid a lot of money for this scene, but damn if it didn’t pay off. Matthew Fox is awesome in his first scene (as is Vincent, of course), but the complete chaos the immediately sets in once he arrives at the crash site is what hits you the most. Then Jack saves about 15 people’s lives, and indeed, he is our hero.

7. The White Rabbit

When Jack and Locke have scenes together, it’s special. It’s like the two of them being alone on screen automatically flips a switch in the collective head of Lost fans that lets them know that something important is about to happen, that something really, really important is about to be talked about. This scene is no different. Locke’s proclamation that “This place is different, special… we all feel it” and that his look into the eye of this Island was beautiful set the stage for season six… five seasons in advance. Which leads me to wonder… has Locke seen the Source? Chew on that.

6. Exodus

Another sometimes-forgotten scene, but one of the most emotionally important in the series. This is one of the scenes that reminds us what this show is really about: these characters and their journey. They got to the Island, they left, they came back, they left again, but in the end, they were brought together for a reason, and we viewers benefit from the magic that ensued. Also, Walt having to tell Vincent to go back is really gut-wrenching for some reason.

5. What’s in the Hatch?

When this episode aired on September 21, 2005, my dear friend Johnny called me as this scene was happening, and he asked me the same question I was wondering in my head: are we on the right station? Is this the right show? Is the premiere actually next week? We were not yet fully acquainted with/prepared for Lost’s style of completely throwing you for a loop (literally?), and were not prepared for the last 23 seconds of the scene, which knocked me on my ass probably more than anything in this show has yet, or will ever. Not only is this scene an introduction for maybe the best character ever, but it’s incredibly well-crafted, and blows my mind every time I watch it.

4. Desmond’s Constant

Speaking of the sexiest Scotsman ever to walk the earth. This is the famous scene from what I still think is probably the best Lost episode there is. I remember watching this for the first time more so than any other episode, because of how tightly I was clutching the chair I was in, praying that the phone wouldn’t just keep ringing. Luckily, Penny answered, and the two of them proved why they’re more special than Jack and Kate, or Sawyer and Kate, or whoever else on the show could ever be. Everything about this scene is perfect. And I don’t care how cynical you are about anything, but if you didn’t at least well up when you first saw this scene or during any subsequent viewings, then you are a cold soul, and that is it.

Also, I never noticed this until now, but Desmond says “I made a huge mistake” at the beginning, and “I’m on a boat” towards the end, so now I’m never gonna be able to watch this without laughing, which is totally inappropriate. Thanks a lot.

3. We Have to Go Back

This one speaks for itself, but I still feel the need to say things. This is the flash forward, and Lost’s true return to greatness. It is so like Lost to allow you to dislike an entire episode, then turn it on its head at the end when you realize you haven’t just been watching some lame Jack flashback… and that you are in fact seeing the future. Kate emerging from the darkness there is probably the only useful purpose she’ll ever serve for the show. But other than that, the scene itself is amazing, and let’s just say I don’t not have it memorized nor have I not acted it out in public on occasion. This show has many iconic characters, but this may be it’s most iconic scene.

2. This Is My Destiny

And if that one isn’t, then this one is. Almost every Lost fan I know (including myself) cites this scene as the reason they kept watching, and as the moment they knew this show was going to be something truly special. This was the third episode of the series, and it catapulted Lost past any preconceived notions that it was simply a show about a plane crash. Clearly, after we see Locke rise up from depression and destitution and take his place as someone special on the Island, we can see it’s about so much more.

1. Each one of us was brought here for a reason.

Still, to this day, the most important scene. I had no doubt when making this list that this would be number one. And like John Locke, I did not question my instincts. This scene addresses so much at such an early time in the show’s history: the evolution of Jack, the nature of the Island, and what brought these people to the Island. Addressing “why are we here?” is something that Lost has been doing from the very beginning, and the fact that it remains the crux of this adventure tells us how important this scene is in the history of the show. Most telling, I think, is Locke’s prescient denial that Jack does, in fact, believe in destiny – he just doesn’t know it yet.

See you tomorrow for an analysis!

– Charlie

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A Few Thoughts on “The Candidate” and “Across the Sea”

May 18, 2010

So, it’s really a tragedy that I have exams amidst the final several episodes of LOST that will ever air. Because otherwise, you’d be getting full-on, bitchin’ analyses of the episodes, because there is of a course a ridiculous amount of stuff to talk about. But because I have my very last exam on Thursday, I need to spend a maximum of two hours on this post, so whatever I finish at the end of these two hours is exactly what you will get. On Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, I will put up a series of posts – a couple will be analyses, on a series of topics and themes including thoughts on What They Died For, which is the episode that airs tonight, and a preview of what’s to come in the 2.5 hour finale; a couple will be retrospective, probably with some top tens sprinkled in (favorite characters, favorite episodes, favorite scenes, etc); and the last one will basically be me pouring my heart and soul out to this masterpiece of a television program. There will be tears. From me. Over a show. But before that, here are some thoughts on these tomes of episodes, The Candidate and Across the Sea.

Raised By An Other

Let’s begin at the beginning. I mean the very beginning. Mark Pelligrino (the actor who plays Jacob) told us that Across the Sea takes place in 43 AD, and he sounded quite confident with that information. It also correlates pretty well with other after-the-fact spoilers I read that say it takes place around 20-30 AD. My first thought was “Jesus?”, but that’s probably not worth talking about. Damon and Carlton do love their Christ figures, but I don’t think this is a religious show, so all the date really does is tell us that

CJ's always been good about dodging answers to our questions.

the Island is damn old. Our first hint is that Claudia (Jacob/MIB’s real mom) is speaking Latin with CJ Cregg (that’s what I’m calling Allison Janney’s “Mother” character, so you can deal with that). The writers mercifully switch us over to English after establishing that these people are from a long time before English was around. This solves the “why do Jacob and MIB have no accent/speak English” problem I had earlier in the season, though it was something I had already considered – that the writers were just making the dialogue a little easier on us dumb stupid Americans. Thanks, guys!

So, CJ is a very strange character. And I’ve decided a few things about her:

1. Unlike many other Lost fans, I don’t feel like I need to know where she came from.

2. I’m cool with her being nameless. I’m also cool with MIB being nameless, in fact, I like it better. It makes him more frightening and mysterious.

3. She’s definitely a little bit crazy, and she made me feel badly for MIB, which I didn’t think was possible after the massacre of the week before. Now I know what MIB was talking about when he talked to Kate about his crazy mother.

4. And the final thing I’d like to talk about is her role. She’s either the previous Jacob (as she claimed) or she’s the previous MIB (smoke monster). Evidence for “smoke monster” includes the fact that she single-handedly destroyed MIB’s people’s camp, and the fact that MIB kills her before she has the chance to speak, which is a “rule” we’ve been seeing all season. Also, CJ says “thank you” as she is dying… like she’s been trapped for quite some time and has been looking for a way out. Though, that more reminded me of when Jacob was knifed by Ben, and he didn’t even seem to care. So, who’s to say the Island Protector and the Smoke Monster can’t be one in the same? MIB could probably just chill and protect the Island if he wanted to as the smoke monster, but he doesn’t want to, and that’s what the problem is, and that’s why Jacob has stayed all these years.

The Source and the Smoke

Okay, so this was interesting. In their youth, CJ shows Jacob and MIB “The Source”, which she describes as “Life, death, rebirth. It’s the source, the heart of the island.” Basically, this is everything. It’s all that is important. It’s all of human memory, or something. It’s all emotion, it’s all feeling, it’s all power that exists. And it has to be protected.

More practically, it’s the source of the electromagnetic uniqueness of the Island, and of its power to time travel (hence the frozen donkey wheel, the explanation of which I was very pleased with). And while the golden light in the tunnel is utterly cheesy, I can accept this. The Island had to derive it’s power from somewhere, and this was a good way to explore it. And oddly enough, we’ve been experiencing it this whole time: in season one, when Sayid’s compass went crazy; in season two, with the hatch and the electromagnetism and whatnot; in season three, when Desmond, who was at the very core of all this madness and imploded the hatch, got his special future-seeing powers; in season four, when Ben turned the FDW in the Orchid Station; and in season five, when our Losties time traveled. And again, do I need to know how the Source came into being? Of course not. If our characters don’t know, then why should we?

Anyway, I’m gonna talk about the Source a bit more later, and why it has everything to do with the Flash Sideways timeline and its resolution. Keep in mind that bit about Desmond.

But first, let’s talk briefly about the smoke monster. The real one, MIB. One of the main answers we got this episode was how the smoke monster was created: Jacob tosses MIB into the Source and he basically gets pwned. Smoke monster comes gushing out of the cave and now seems to exist. Jacob is… appropriately shocked. And he’s also really upset when he discovers this caused the death of his brother… or at least his body. It seems that once CJ was killed, her little rule that they can’t kill each other was off the table.

And so it seems that Smokey has indeed been inhabiting MIB’s body, and presumably his soul. Or is he? Well I mean, obviously he’s used MIB’s image before as he’s using Locke’s now, but since Smokey can access the memories of dead peeps, then who’s to say that he’s not just pretending to be MIB? Well, okay, I don’t really believe that, since all year Smokey’s been talking about how he just wants to leave/go home. But still, something to think about.

Adam and Eve

"Pouch" is a funny word, and reminds me of kangaroos. That's all.

Ah, the much-hyped mystery that we’ve been promised for years. Damon and Carlton have told us since the beginning of this season that we’d get this answer, and that it would provide evidence that they’ve been planning this from the beginning. The writers threw in Hurley’s little soliloquy on how Adam and Eve might be one of them having time travelled back, and we wondered if that was a friendly reminder of the mystery for more casual viewers, or if it was just a red herring. It turns out it was a giant, bright red herring (which I guess I suspected). I’m pleased and satisfied that MIB and Mother were the two that were laid to rest in the caves, and the integration of the black and white stones really helped ground it in something we recognized from season one. And you know what? The intercutting of the season one footage with the footage of Jacob? I was a huge fan of it, and am having difficulty understanding why others didn’t. Like the stones, it helped ground us and connect this distant past with the characters we’ve known and loved ab aeterno (yeah I just went there, I just brought the Latin and the Richard Alpert). It also helped make Jacob seem more human, ’cause that was a totally human moment.

The Rare Theory

I’m not one to theorize, at least not in the “grand theory” sense. Not in the “the Island is Purgatory” sense or the “Smoke Monster is nanobots” sense. But I’ve got it this time. I know what the sideways timeline is, and I know how Lost is going to end. While this is a theory based in no way on any actual spoilers, don’t read on if you don’t want to know.

Think of Desmond for a minute. Think of what he did for three years… pushing the button. Saving the world by keeping the electromagnetism in the hatch at bay. People were there before him, waiting for replacements. One of those people was Kelvin Inman, who rabid fans may remember, but I’ll throw up a picture just in case. Here’s a conversation between Inman and Desmond from the season two finale, in which Desmond finds Inman drunk, chillin below the hatch floor with the Fail-safe key in the place where Desmond will eventually turn the key and implode the hatch:

Kelvin doesn't wear a Dharma Jumpsuit quite like Jack does.

DESMOND: What is this?

INMAN: This is the only other way out, partner.

DESMOND: What are you talking about?

INMAN: Failsafe. Turn this key and this all goes away.

DESMOND: What’s behind that wall, Kelvin? Huh? What was the incident?

INMAN: Electromagnetism, geologically unique. The incident—there was a leak. So now the charge builds up and every time we push the button it discharges it before it gets too big.

DESMOND: Why make us do it—push the button? If we, if we can just…

INMAN: [laughing and closing the lid] Here’s the real question, Desmundo—do you have the courage to take your finger out of the dam and blow the whole thing up, instead?

As it turns out, Desmond did have that courage. When shit got out of hand and Locke destroyed their chances of keeping the electromagnetism at bay any longer, Des did the only thing left to do. He turned the key, and blew the whole thing up, instead. He stopped the power emanating from the hatch for good, neutralized it, and made it so nobody had to keep watch over the hatch anymore, nobody had to keep the electromagnetism at bay. He saves the world. I think you might be able to tell where this is going.

Now, hold that thought. Think of the Sideways timeline, and the event – the Incident – that we were led to believe created it. Juliet detonated the hydrogen bomb in 1977 in order to change things so that Oceanic

I has a bomb?

815 never crashed. As it turns out (and as I theorized) many things changed besides that. Because, of course more things than just the plane crash would change, since the bomb going off would change things beginning in 1977, not 2004. And so we saw this sideways timeline unfold, in which Sawyer is a cop, Jack has a son, and Locke is happily engaged to Helen, among many other things. We saw these changes happen, things that were presumably affected by the H-bomb detonation in 1977. It seemed to have worked. Juliet even said so in her dying moments.

But then some strange things popped up. Things that couldn’t possibly be true if these changes were caused by a hydrogen bomb blowing up the Island in 1977. For example, we see Ben and his father both off the Island, alive and kicking, when both were on the Island when the bomb went off. We see Dr. Chang in Hurley’s flash-sideways giving a speech at a dinner in his honor; this one is especially weird because Dr. Chang is the same age as he was in 1977. Not only should he not be alive, but he should be 30 years older even if he was alive.

The most telling distinction, however, occurred in the very first scene of the season. Jack looks out the window of the airplane, and we see the Island underwater, yet completely intact. The four-toed statue is fine, just underwater. Why? Not because of a hydrogen bomb, that’s for damn sure.

So what happened? Clearly, something that happened before 1977, something that didn’t destroy the Island, but sank it. That didn’t explode it… but imploded it. And here, my friends, is how we get back to the Desmond analogy.

One of, if not the main theme of this season has been the idea of Candidates. Jacob is looking for a candidate to replace him and continue keeping the smoke monster at bay after he’s gone. In the same way, Inman is looking for someone to replace him and continue pushing the button, keeping the electromagnetism at bay, after he’s gone. He says this himself. During season two, there’s much talk of “Replacements” – people who will assume your role as button-pusher and relieve you of your service after you’re gone. Replacements = Candidates, but on a much smaller scale. Desmond pushing the button, staying in the Hatch = Jacob (or a candidate) protecting the Source, staying on the Island.

Now recall the conversation I posted above, and what happened in the season two finale. Now apply it to this season. Imagine this scenario, and compare it with what I wrote above:

Or he could just smile at the smoke monster. Pretty sure that would take care of it.

When shit gets out of hand and “Locke” destroys their chances of keeping the smoke monster at bay any longer, Des does the only thing left to do. He enters the cave, and blows the whole thing up instead. He stops the power emanating from the Island for good, neutralizes it, and makes it so nobody has to keep watch over the Island anymore, and nobody has to keep the smoke monster at bay. He saves the world.

We’ve already seen that Desmond can handle huge amounts of electromagnetism and power, and was brought back to the Island for that very reason. Does he not seem like the perfect candidate (no pun intended) to do this? To, instead of just putting a band-aid on the wound Jacob created so long ago by creating the smoke monster, to heal it and eliminate it instead?

We know that water will factor into the last couple episodes. In Across the Sea, MIB says that the FDW is part of a “system that channels the water and the light.” The water, it seems, encapsulates this power that exists on the Island, and that extends to the world Across the Sea. The real world. What if whatever Desmond does in the cave negates the energy at the Source, floods the Island, and sinks it; and that amidst the tinkering with the heart of the Island, it gets time traveled back to some time before 1977, and that this – not the detonation of the h-bomb – is the beginning of the Sideways timeline?

Think about that. And enjoy tonight.

– Charlie

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LOST Analysis for 6.13, “The Last Recruit”

May 4, 2010

It’s crunch time. There are only four episodes left (five hours), and one of them is tomorrow. Contrary to popular belief, quite a bit has gone down this season; but my gut tells me that most of the stuff we care about – character, theme, and mystery resolutions – are gonna go down in these last few episodes. After not this week’s, but next week’s episode, I’m gonna do a “mystery/question breakdown” of the questions that have been answered this season, and what big questions still remain, as well as my take on which ones are important enough to address, and which ones I’m okay with not knowing. Believe it or not, there are some.

There were a few complaints that The Last Recruit, which aired two weeks ago, was simply filler. I hear that, though I interpret “filler” in this case as “setup” for this next episode and the rest of the season, which, rumor has it, is quite… intense. And awesome. And shocking.

The Big Reunion

Believe it or not, I’m not talking about Jin and Sun, who were indeed reunited in this episode for the first time in three years. This, I thought, was a good thing to get out of the way before all the craziness gets set in motion for the next four episodes. More time for explosions/mythology.

No, I’m talking about the two most important dude on the show from the beginning (sort of): Jack and Locke. Jack hasn’t seen Locke since a few days before Locke killed himself in LA when he wound up in Jack’s hospital. Things were left on a rather sour note, with Locke insisting that Jack was “supposed” to go back to the Island. Unfortunately, this is former faithless Jack who was having none of that.

Luckily, we have new and improved Jack 6.0, who doesn’t seem at all afraid of He-who-is-not-Locke, and also isn’t afraid to ask him some questions about what he really is. MIB reveals to Jack that he was, in fact, Christian Shephard (Jack’s father) on the Island. Which makes sense, and is something we’ve long suspected. But now that he mentioned it, there are some serious issues with this revelation. If MIB can’t leave the Island and can’t travel over water, how did he appear to Michael on the freighter? Or to Jack in his flashforward at the hospital in season four? Jack’s I would just chalk up to a hallucination, but Michael had never met Christian, so how is this possible? Even if MIB rowed his ass out there, he can’t leave, and that freighter could have left anytime it pleased, if we forget for a moment the 800 lbs of C4 strapped to it.

But I’ll leave that be for the time being. After all, we know there exist some “souls” that cannot move on; though, Hurley does seem to be the only one who can see them. Why would Jack be able to?

Anywho, MIB does something else very interesting to Jack – as with Ben, MIB talks some serious trash about the real John Locke, how he was a “sucker”  who “was stupid enough to believe that he’d been brought here for a reason.” This is what he’s done all season. To Sayid, he promised Nadia. To Sun, he promised Jin. To Ben, he promised revenge towards Jacob. To Claire, he promised help finding Aaron. To Richard, he promised answers. To Sawyer, a way off the Island. MIB appeals to the deepest wants and desires of our candidates and promises them a future where their desires are possible. To Jack, he “shmoozes” about how much of a loser John Locke is because he thinks Jack will eat it up because he and Locke never saw eye to eye. Unfortunately for MIB, he’s talking to Jack 6.0, who is all about believing in John Locke and his mission, and is committed to the fact that everything happens for a reason. Jack is clearly not convinced by MIB’s sweet talk.

Or was he? The following conversation with Claire not only freaked me out because Claire is batshit crazy, but because of the potential power MIB’s words have on whoever they’re directed towards.

CLAIRE: You know, I-I never really had much in the way of family, so it…really means a lot that you’re coming with us.

JACK: Actually, I haven’t-I haven’t decided if I’m coming with you.

CLAIRE: Yeah, you have.

JACK: What do you mean?

CLAIRE: You decided the moment you let him talk to you, just like the rest of us. So, yeah, whether you like it or not, you’re with him now.

This makes it sound like Dogen’s “Don’t let him even speak” phrasing was actually quite accurate – that if you even let MIB speak to you, you’ve been claimed for him. But then, why is Jack later in the episode able to say the following to Sawyer, in the most emphatic terms possible: “We were brought here because we’re supposed to do something, James. And if Locke–that…that thing–wants us to leave; maybe it’s afraid of what happens if we stay.” That sounds pretty unequivocally anti-MIB, pro-original-Locke to me. Though at the very end of the episode, MIB points out that everything’s gonna be okay, because Jack is “with [him] now.” Hopefully whatever manner of powers MIB has are revealed in the episode after next, which is apparently Jacob/MIB centric.

Flash-Sideways Shenanigans

In the Flash Sideways, we had a number of things going on. Sawyer brings in kate for holding at the police station, where they (of course) flirt before Miles tells him about a suspect they have for a shooting that took place in a restaurant. He’s talking about Sayid, who was fleeing the scene where Sun (and Keamy and his goons) was shot. Sawyer and Miles get all badass and take down Sayid, who’s trying to get the hell out of there. I can’t possibly imagine where this is going; maybe somebody’s gonna free Sayid from prison, a la season five in

Why doesn't everyone just remember Desmond's hair? Honestly.

Dharmaville? I guess it doesn’t matter, since I stopped being interseted in Sayid awhile ago. Or Kate for that matter, though it would be an interesting twist if she was, in fact, completely innocent (as opposed to the original timeline, where she was, uh, really guilty) and could go live with Jack happily ever after. I’m still waiting on Sawyer and Juliet to bump into each other, but give it time, folks.

Additionally, Desmond rather creepily wrangles up Claire and gets her into an office with Jack, where Illana (who is now a lawyer) is going over the terms of Christian Shephard’s will, of which Jack and Claire are both a part. Perhaps Desmond is hoping to do a little matchmaking here, to get these two to remember each other… however, no such thing seems to happen. Hopefully Jack makes it back there after his surgery so they can have a nice touching moment together.

Two (er, three) more things of note. Number one: when they’re being wheeled in, Sun and Locke both (I think) have some serious flash-sideways memory leakage, Desmond-style. When Sun is being rolled in alongside Locke (how appropriate) she recognizes him and keeps saying “No, no! It’s him, it’s him, it’s him!” It’s interesting that Sun recognizes him as the MIB and not as the regular ol’ Locke. At least, that’s what I assume is happening, since Sun seems geniunely afraid of Locke.

Even more interesting: when Locke is being transported in the ambulance (accompanied by the still-dapper Benjamin Linus), the following goes down:

Don't tell me what I can't remember from an alternate universe.

EMT #1: When we get to the hospital you can talk to the cops. Do you know anyone we can contact for him?

BEN: I have no idea. Like I said, I barely know him.

LOCKE: Helen.

BEN: What did you say?

LOCKE: Helen Norwood. I was gonna marry her.

BEN: Well, you’re still gonna marry her ’cause you’re gonna be okay, Mr. Locke.

First of all, is Ben adorable or what? Second of all, I think Locke’s use of the words “I was gonna marry her” are deliberate. I think this is his Island brain leaking through, beginning to recognize what’s happening, and asking for the one person he could think of – the person he was, in fact, going to marry in the original timeline. Clearly, Desmond’s mission worked, and Locke is having some serious revelations. The quesiton is, will they stick? Also, what does it mean that Locke is dead on the Island yet still flashing sideways? Not much I guess, since Libby remembered things also, and she’s dead, too.

But alas, like most episodes, the writer saved the most captivating scene for (almost) last. Jack is called to the hospital for an emergency surgery, and that emergency – for which we’ve been waiting all season – is Locke. The real Locke.

I think I know this guy... from the front of my Mr. Clean product at home.

FEMALE SURGEON: That’s why we called you. We’re in a bit over our heads here.

JACK: Yeah, I got this. [In operating room.] We’re ready to cut?

FEMALE SURGEON: Say the word.

JACK: Scalpel. [Jack looks familiarly at the reflection of Locke’s face in a mirror attached to the operating table.]

FEMALE SURGEON: What is it?

JACK: I think I know this guy.

Damn straight you do. First of all, how badass is Jack? “I got this.” Hell yeah you do. It seems Jack 6.0 has extended into the Flash sideways. I absolutely cannot wait until Locke comes out of surgery alive and well. This may be a pie in the sky hope, but I’m gunning for Locke waking up, Jack waiting there for him, and Locke being able to move his legs. A nice miracle for our two main boys. But I’m not that hopeful. At least not yet. What would be even better is if they both completely recognzied each other from the other timeline.

I mentioned all this as exceedingly important because tomorrow’s episode – awesomely entitled The Candidate – is both Jack and Locke centric (apparently). It seems appropriate; ending with a Jack/Locke centric, then a Jacob/MIB centric, then a multi-centric (maybe?) to round out the series. Hopefully the Jack/Locke stuff gives us some juicy flash-sideways story to work with, as well as some nice solid standoffs on the Island between Jack and MIB.

Loose Ends

1. Sawyer, I like you. You’ve always been a solid character with a nice story, and good comic relief at times. And I love you and Miles as a team in the Flash-sideways. But dude? You were a real dick to Jack. And he’s right. And you’re wrong. So get it together before someone gets killed.

2. I do not feel that badly for Claire being abandoned. Not only is she crazy, but she’s totally buying into Locke’s crap, and sort of gave up her ticket when she tried to kill Kate. Not only that, but the whole Aaron thing is getting old.

3. What happened to Desmond? Sayid made like he was gonna shoot him, but seemed to reconsider. Obviously he didn’t shoot him, but I’m wondering if he just left him there rather than actually let him go. Certainly he still has something he needs to do, but he’s running out of time to do it. Seriously, dude. Four episodes.

4. Where are Richard, Ben, and Miles at? We haven’t heard from them in a couple of episodes, and last we saw them, they were going to blow up the Ajira plane. Which works for me.

5. I’m pretty sure I know what the flash-sideways is, and (sort of) how the show will end. But I’m gonna wait until next week to reveal it. Also, what of those who have already recognized people. What’s Charlie doing right now? How about Hurley and Libby? WHY IS THERE SO LITTLE SHOW LEFT?! Whoa. Got a little carried away.

Enjoy tomorrow,

– Charlie

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LOST Analysis for Episode 6.11, “Happily Ever After”

April 12, 2010

Well, that was a trip.

Like The Constant and Flashes Before Your Eyes before it, Happily Ever After delivered a trippy, time-bending, Desmond-overloaded mindf*ck of an episode that upon first viewing is was maybe my favorite episode of this season. Upon second viewing, it’s one of my favorites of the entire series, along with the two previous Desmond acid trips I just mentioned (and linked to with Lostpedia). With Happily Ever After, we got our first real taste of answers to how our two universes – the one we know and love on the Island in which Locke is dead, and the one where Jack has a son, Kate is still annoying, and Locke is definitely not dead – interact with each, bleed through to each other, and perhaps might even collide sometime over the next few episodes.

My goals in this analysis are the following:

1. Try to make sense of what exactly happened for those still confused.

2. Decide what Desmond knows in which timeline.

3. Spend a lot of time fawning over Charlie and Daniel.

4. Try to make some guesses about what Desmond must do next (in both timelines), what can happen between timelines, and what this means for our characters who exist and both, and for those who only exist in one.

Desmond's not nearly as amused as I am by WIdmore's pronunciation of "scheduled."

Desmond in Distress, Part Deux

Poor, poor Dessie. Just as he’s getting ready to settle down with Penny and Charlie for good, after being shot by Ben (and subsequently kicking his ass), he goes and gets himself abducted by Widmore and company. Needless to say, he’s not all that pleased about the fact that he’s back on the Island, and let’s Widmore in on this by beating him senseless with his IV stand.

But why is the sexiest Scot alive (our apologies to Sean Connery) back on the Island? Why does Widmore want him there, and why is he important? Widmore’s super-nerdy science team gives us a sneak peek of their motives by subjecting Desmond to basically an electromagnetic shitstorm that killed and totally torched a dude just minutes earlier. Widmore does this, he says, because he “needs to know
that Desmond can once again survive a major electromagnetic catastrophe, and that if he can’t,  “we all day.” Well, Widmore’s never been one to hedge.

We don’t yet know what this means or why it’s important that Desmond be able to survive an electromagnetic anomaly, but I have my guesses. For one, I think it’s possible Desmond’s gonna be paying a visit to the frozen donkey wheel down at the Orchid station sometime in the near future, possibly in some crazy attempt to merge the two universes, or to move the Island in time, or… something. Whatever it is, I certainly see something happening where Desmond initiates some sort of major explosive event that merges the timelines, or perhaps even ends one of them. But I’m getting ahead of myself, because the meat of this week’s episode has a lot to do with the nature of this other sideways universe, what the potential interplay that already seems to be happening between them. Let’s delve in, shall we?

You’re Gonna Try to Die, Charlie.

Because one of the main takeaways of this episode is that relationships, especially ones based on love, truly amtter in terms of the meaning behind the timelines, I’m gonna talk about Desmond’s sideways adventures as they pertain to the four main people in them; four people who have had huge impacts on Desmond’s life in the past. Er, the present. It’s complicated.

First off we have our beloved Charlie, bonafide former rock star how’s out on bail after smuggling heroin over from Australia on flight 815 (thanks a lot, Jack. IDIOT.).  Desmond’s been commissioned by Widmore (with whom he’s buddy-buddy in sideways world) to basically babysit Charlie until a concert he needs to perform at later that night with Widmore’s son, who is apparently a musician. How interesting! But we’ll get to that.

Desmond and Charlie sit in the bar, while Charlie does most of the talking. And it’s very, very interesting talk. Basically, Charlie’s near-death experience on the plane brought him into some sort of daze in which he experienced what he called “consciousness-altering love” for a woman whose description we can be pretty sure belongs to Claire: “A woman, blonde, rapturously beautiful, and I know her. We’re together. It’s like we’ve always been, and always will be.” Wow. So he remembers Claire, who he’s never met, and basically gets a glimpse into his other-world psyche. And it was so “real” to Charlie (“I’ve seen something real. I’ve seen the truth.”) that he wants Desmond to experience it as well.

One thing I noticed about these conversations is that there’s a lot of talk about what’s “real”, what’s “the truth”, and what isn’t. Charlie seems to believe that the original timeline that we know and love is what’s “real”, and Daniel seems to as well (we’ll get to it). If that’s so, then why have we spent so much time on this alternate sideways timeline?

Charlie, I have a friend I'd like you to meet. It's called AN APOSTROPHE.

Next, Desmond and Charlie are in the car. Then they’re in the water. This is Charlie’s version of “offering [Demsond] a choice”, whether he wants to see his “real” life or not. Here’s the video clip of the scene, which would be more useful than just describing what happened. Thank you, wordpress, for not letting me embed Hulu clips easily.

So, what happened here? Some of the questions I’m seeing revolve around this particular scene have to do with whether or not Charlie intentionally put his hand on the glass so that Desmond would have this particular vision. Basically, did Charlie know exactly what he was doing? I’d say a mix of yes and no. Charlie didn’t seem to have any idea why anything would be written on his hands (he says this later in the hospital). But he certainly did it. Still, he seemed to be very unconscious, then spring to life and put his hand on the window, then calm drift back into his sitting position into unconsciousness. Perhaps Charlie was being controlled by some other force in order to show this to Desmond? Either way, Desmond flashes very clearly on this time in his past, when Charlie died and Desmond watched. But why this time? Because it was an emotional moment? A moment of love? Indeed, that is what I think.

But what’s really happening to Desmond? When he’s at the hospital getting an MRI, the nurse asks Desmond if he’s had any double vision. Interesting. Desmond does, by the end of the episode, seem to have “double vision” – meaning he can see into both timelines. Because he’s awesome. Also while he’s getting an MRI, he flashes again, except this time on Penny and little Charlie (his curly-haired son). Why then? Do MRI’s deal with electromagnetism? Science people, help me out. Anyway, Charlie has certainly planted this seed in Desmond’s head. Observe as it explodes his brain throughout the rest of the episode.

Breakin’ All The Rules

So since Desmond was silly enough to believe that Charlie wouldn’t drive his car into a harbor, he’s the one who will be informing Mrs. Widmore about Charlie’s non-attendance to their son’s musical charity event. Naturally, Mrs. Widmore is exactly who we think she would be – Eloise Hawking, the woman who helped Jack and company get back to the Island, who is Daniel’s mother, and who approached Desmond in Flashes Before Your Eyes:

So, what does this mean for Desmond? Well, she seems to immediately recognize him, which is never a good sign. Her hair is really ridiculous and huge. And she is, contrary to popular belief, very, very nice to Desmond, perhaps so that he’ll just leave and not ask questions. She reassures him that these types of mistakes occur all the time: “What happened, happened.” How clever. And blatant. Desmond seems content with this answer (in fact, overjoyed with it) and goes to leave. On the way out, however, he overhears the name “Penny Milton” from someone reading the guest list. Desmond follows Charlie’s suggestion and inquires after her, wondering who she is and where he could find her. And that, as Daniel would say, is where things got weird.

You can't handle the truth!

Eloise goes apeshit. The following conversation ensues:

DESMOND: Look, I’m, I’m sorry, if I’ve overstepped my bounds.

ELOISE: Stop talking, Hume. I’ve heard what you’ve had to say, now you listen to me. I want you to stop.

DESMOND: Stop? Stop what?

ELOISE: Someone has clearly affected the way you see things. This is a serious problem. It is, in fact, a violation. So, whatever you’re doing, whatever it is you think you’re looking for…You need to stop looking for it.

DESMOND: Do you, do you know what I’m looking for, Mrs. Widmore?

ELOISE: I don’t know why you’re looking for anything? You have the perfect life. On top of it, you’ve managed to attain the thing you wanted more than anything–my husband’s approval.

DESMOND: How do you know what I want?

ELOISE: Because I bloody do.

DESMOND: I need to see that list…or you need to tell me why I can’t.

ELOISE: You can’t because you’re not ready yet, Desmond.

DESMOND: Ready? Ready, for what?

A few questions:

1. Why in God’s name does Eloise just know these things? Why is she all-knowing? Is Widmore also all-knowing?

2. What in the hell is a “violation”? Isn’t Desmond himself just a walking violation? My guess is, this isn’t the last “violation” we’ve seen. Desmond’s gonna start violating people all over the place over the next few episodes. That came out wrong.

3. Indeed, Desmond, ready for what? For being the savior of both universes? For being responsible for their collision/disintegration?

4. Why would Eloise not want Desmond to do his thang? This sounded remarkably like their conversation in Flashes Before Your Eyes, in which Desmond seemed content in his past life, but had little flashes of the life he will have, and then tries to change it. Eloise then steps in and warns him against any such actions. Same thing here. So, why?

... and Faraday invents Apple's newest revolutionary product, the TriPod.

Thank God It’s Faraday!

Oy. Desmond has had a seriously rough day. Charlie goes batshit crazy trying to get him to change everything, Eloise goes batshit crazy trying to get him to not change anything, and Desmond just goes batshit crazy. Luckily, we have the ultimate equalizer, and one of my favorite characters of all time, to help us out, brotha.

Alas, he’s not longer Daniel Faraday; he’s embraced his true father (Widmore, who was also his father in the original timeline) and has pursued his original career choice of music. Recall that in the original timeline, Eloise pushed Daniel to give up his music so that he could become a brainy, adorable physicist. In this timeline, he may be “just a musician” as he says – but my boy’s still wicked smaht. And he still rocks the skinny tie like no other. Basically what I’m saying is that I love Daniel. I can’t stress this enough. Anyway, what were we talking about?

Right. So Daniel, who seems to have been observing Desmond’s confrontation with Eloise, goes up to him afterwards and basically tells him something similar to what Charlie said: that he saw this beautiful redheaded woman eating a chocolate bar, and “It was like [he] already loved her.” Very much like what Charlie said, right down to the hair color giving away who they’re talking about. It’s Charlotte, by the way, for those who didn’t pick up on that. “And that,” says Daniel, “is when things got weird.” See this awesome clip for the remainder of the conversation.

So Daniel, thanks to his intrepid note-taking, seems to be the most aware out of anyone as to what’s actually going on here.He deduces that they have this “whole other life”… some other life that they were “supposed” to have. This all seems to give more credence to what Charlie indicated, that the Island world that we know and love is “real” life, and that this sideways world is just it’s dumb blond stepsister. Did I just make a veiled reference?

Anyway. I’m betting this is the last we’ll see of Daniel. And while I hope I’m wrong, this was a great way to send him off for good. He always deserved more than, you know, just being shot and killed by his own mother.

Chicks dig the Scots.

A Penny Earned

Alas, Desmond’s true love connection. Charlie and Daniel both encourage Desmond to seek out Penny in order to capture that feeling they both experienced for their respective other-world loved ones. Daniel acknowledges to Desmond what we already knew – that Penny is his half sister. For those who are hazy on that: at least in the original timeline, we knew that Daniel was the son of Widmore and Eloise, and had discovered earlier that Widmore had conceived a child with “an outsider” we still don’t know, and that this child is Penny. So, yeah. Half-siblings. And because Daniel is a sweetheart, he tells Desmond exactly where and when he can find her.

Oh, but of course. The stadium. Hell, I’m surprised Jack didn’t show up here, too. Desmond just sort of goes right up to Penny and introduces himself with no preface of any kind, which most women would, I imagine, find creepy. But no, not Penny. She shakes his hand and BAM! Desmond is out like a light and has awoken in the Island timeline on the floor of the electromagnet field room after what Widmore describes as “only a few seconds” of being knocked out. It’s difficult to tell what he knows and doesn’t know in each timeline. He does indeed seem differently situated in his mind in the Island timeline, telling Widmore he understands exactly what he has to do. Could you, uh, fill us in there, Des? “You told me you brought me here to the Island to do something very important,” he says. “When do we start?” All the anger he had directed towards him earlier has for some reason completely disappeared. And perhaps the weirdest part: When Sayid shows up and totally kills some of Widmore’s lackeys, Desmond seems perfectly find just going with him, saying “lead the way.” WTF? Bad move, Des. I really hope you have a plan.

But hang on just a second, sports fans. We’re not finished in sideways world yet.

Desmond wakes up and snaps out of it – Penny notes that “I must have quite an effect on you.” Indeed. Desmond nuts up and asks Penny out for some coffee. On the way back to the car, and similarly to the Island timeline, Desmond seems… different, to me. Like he has a sort of weight on him… like he knows a lot not. He’s smiling a lot. Which could just be ’cause he scored a hot date moments earlier, but it’s deeper than that. Something different is going on in Desmond’s mind. Is he self-aware? Like, majorly self-aware? My guess is yes, at least to some degree. He at least has the awareness to ask George the Driver for the manifest and passenger list for Flight 815. When George asks why, Desmond responds that he wants to “show them something.” This echoes what Charlie said earlier to Desmond when he said “I wasn’t trying to kill you. I was trying to show you something.” Sounds to me like Dessie’s gonna be spending the rest of this season trying to bring together the Losties, hopefully in a way that doesn’t need to end with them totally dying.

My Theory-ish Thing – We’re gonna end up in a situation where the Losties need to make a sacrifice by choosing one timeline or the other. They can stay in sideways timeline and be happy and normal, or they can stay in Island timeline and die in a blaze of glory to save the universe. I have no evidence yet; but my guess is the “bleeding through” of love and information from one universe to the other that we’ve been seeing all season (remember my “mirror” comments last week?) will come to a head at some point, and a choice will have to be made. As Jacob and Desmond have both said: “There’s always a choice.”

I'm about to blow your minds, dudes.

Loose Ends/Tomorrow Night’s Preview

1. Lost holds true to its cardinal rule #1: that every single trip to the hospital must involve Jack in some way, shape, or form.

2. In Widmore’s sideways office, we see a blatant painting of a scale, with something dark on one side, and something light on the other. Some new symbolism! Oh wait. Don’t know what this indicates. Probably everything and nothing.

3. Why isn’t Desmond wearing a wedding band anymore? He was in the premiere on the plane, but isn’t in Happily Ever After. Prop error(yes) or something far more ridiculous, like other-timeline Desmond traveling through time and space into the alternate timeline and checking out how everyone’s doing on the plane?

4. Tomorrow night’s episode is called Everybody Loves Hugo, which means it’s an episode about Frank Lapidus. But seriously folks, what is there to know about Hurley? Hopefully this means we get some serious dead-people conversations, and Hurley can continue to be awesome as far as leading the way on the Island is concerned. At the very least, it looks like Michael will be making an appearance. Here’s to a possible Libby sighting!

Cheers,

Charlie

h1

LOST Analysis for Episode 6.10, “The Package”

April 6, 2010

Good evening, Lost fans. I admit that it’s been tough to get motivated to do this analysis, given the centricity of this past episode, as well as its comparative paleness to the previous week’s Richard Alpert Island Mythology Answerfest. But alas, we must soldier on. For not only did the ending of The Package – in which we are introduced to the package itself – give us a tantalizing taste of what’s to come; but dear readers, we have a mere SEVEN EPISODES remaining. Just seven. Five regular episodes, then part one of the finale, then part two, a final two-hour episode airing on May 23rd. We are truly getting down to it. So let’s, er… get down to it. With a nice analysis sandwich.

So THIS is why Naveen Andrews isn't even trying to feign an Iraqi accent anymore!

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

I’m gonna start with some of the cooler stuff in the episode, then give you what you truly are looking for, some Sun/Jin storyline analysis *cough*, then come around to the ending and what it means – and if I have time, an Olbermann-esque Special Comment.

So first, we turn to the ever-elusive, still-unnammed Man In Black, and his henchman-in-chief, Sayid. That reminds me – I don’t think we’re ever going to discover the Man In Black’s name. It’s gonna be like a novelty item of the show, the same way we  went many episodes without knowing Ben’s real name. We only discovered his because there were many seasons of the show left. It’s interesting, however, that the writers insist on calling him Locke colloquially. Just let that ruminate.

Anyway, Sayid is in a right state, if you please. Ever since getting “killed”, resurrected, then turned over to the dark side, he’s been slowly descending into… well, something. He describes his state of mind thusly: “I can’t feel anything… happiness, anger, pain… I can’t feel it anymore.” He means this literally. He has no feelings. It’s why he didn’t react when Claire went apeshit on Kate. Perhaps even more interesting, however, is MIB’s response: that “maybe [it’s] best, Sayid. It’ll help you get through what’s coming.” Oy gevalt. I’m not sure “what’s coming,” but if it means that this officially ends his internal “to torture or not to torture” kvetching, then hell, I’ll take it. Is breaking out the yiddish when talking about Sayid ironic, or just idiotic? Anyway. Sayid’s zombiefication at least means that he’ll do whatever MIB wants, including going on a creepy jungle water assassin mission to go check out the Package. But more on that later.

Don't ever tell me who I can't manipulate into doing my bidding! Ever!

Speaking of our dark-clothed friend, MIB’s agenda is becoming more clear with each episode. He’s telling Sawyer, Claire, and everyone else that he wants to leave the Island with all the candidates; but alas, I would guess that his true goal is to get them killed one way or another so that he himself can leave. Because as we now know, if Jacob is dead, and his replacement candidates are also dead, then MIB and the accompanying darkness leave the Island and spread to a theater near you. But alas, we saw the little boy from The Substitute – who I maintain is young Jacob – tell MIB that he “can’t kill him” (meaning Sawyer). Because if he could kill candidates, then quite frankly, he would, because he’s the freakin’ smoke monster. He’s had no issues killing other crazies on the Island. So luckily for Jack, Hurley, Sun, and Jin, who are the remaining candidates not directly within his grasp, there seem to be rules of some sort that prevent MIB from taking their destiny into his own smokey hands.

One more note on MIB – I love how nonplussed he is by the bullets fired at him when he approaches the pylons outside Widmore’s camp. In fact, that’s a pretty accurate description of MIB in general. Just nonplussed. I guess when you’ve been trying to get off the Island for the last several thousand or so years and can turn into a giant pillar of black smoke, you aren’t really surprised or threatened by anything anymore.

Charles Incharge

Moving on, however, to one of MIB’s adversaries, and a sort of ever-present outside power of the Island – Charles Widmore. At the beginning of the episode, Zoe (Tina Fey character) and the other scientists basically ambush the camp and knock everyone out just so that they can get Jin. Why? So that Jin can identify pockets of electromagnetism for them, from the Dharma days. Zoe asks him to confirm that he’s the Kwon who signed a bunch of Dharma maps identifying these power sources, and naturally, since every character is a stubborn mule, Jin did not. But he will. By the way, it’s interesting that Zoe is a geophysicist, and is also kind of awkward. She and Faraday – who I dearly, dearly miss – would have gotten along nicely.

Remember that time you had a bone sticking out of your leg? Those were good times, mang.

So, this brings up the question of Widmore’s allegiance and motivations for coming back to the Island. Obviously he’s been trying to get back long before this time, and, as MIB pointed out, once said that war is coming to the Island. And so while some may be saying that Widmore is only there for the pockets of energy, to reclaim the Island for himself or to exploit it (as Ben has asserted in the past)… I might disagree. Might. What if Widmore sent mercenaries to the Island to extract Ben because he somehow knew Ben might try to kill Jacob? True, there’s no real way of knowing this, I suppose. And Widmore did say that the reason he wanted Ben out was so that Locke (the real Locke) could go there and be able to lead. But Widmore at least seems to have some grip on the situation, the gravity of what’s going on, and who he’s supposed to be up against. The pylons alone are indication of that. For now I’m willing to settle on Widmore being a sort-of good guy, as long as he’s anti-MIB. For now.

Hold still right quick while I gouge out your painfully predictable character story arc.

Annoyance Has a Face and a Name

Yeah it’s Sun’s face. She’s annoying. And really stupid a lot. And in this episode, well… she was more annoying and stupid than ever. While the best part of the episode is one I’m about to discuss, and is really obvious, the far-and-away second best part of the episode was Sun getting totally pwned by that tree. Seriously, I replayed that many times. It was great.

But seriously, woman. You don’t yell at Richard Alpert. You just don’t. Seriously, get out. You’d make a terrible candidate anyway. All you care about is finding your husband, and all we care about is finding out answers to the show. Therefore, you must go, immediately. Especially now that you can’t even speak English anymore. That was your one little thing that you had, that you could speak English and Jin couldn’t. Now Jin is like William Wordsworth and you’re back to Kindergarten. Talk about pwned.

Luckily Jack drops some knowledge all over the place, Jack-style. It’s nice, number one, to see Jack back in doctor mode, since he’s been pretty much on autopilot for two seasons. Additionally, the way he acted with Sun towards the end was high quality. With someone like Sun, it seems you need someone with a calm manner – a “nice way about him”, as Rose said many seasons ago – to knock some sense into her. This scene was very similar to the one last season with “Locke” promising Sun he would reunite her with Jin; except this was much sweeter and nicer. And it was initiated by a real person and not a smoke monster. Basically, Jack was great, and I think he’s gonna start pwning bitches all over the place.

A Solid, Sexy, and Satisfying Package

Right, there’s no way I wasn’t going there.

We saw Desmond for about one minute in the premiere, speaking to Jack in sideways world on the plane, Jack recognizing him, and he not recognizing Jack. Ever since… total blackout. Desmond is off the map, and not on the Island. Then, surprise surprise – he’s what Sawyer was asking about that was locked in the sub. Called it! Then again, so did everybody else.

So clearly, Widmore thinks Desmond needs to be on the Island. He’s insisted for many weeks now that the Island isn’t done with Desmond yet… but in what sense?

The shirt. The guitar. The Dharma notebook. The beard. The Charlie. It's all perfect.

At first, I went immediately to the reason I hope: that Widmore knows Desmond is a big part of the whole good vs. evil equation in saving the world from MIB being unleashed and darkness encompassing everyone’s hearts. ‘Cause Desmond is adorable and a good dude. This would make sense. Because while MIB says he sent Sayid to get back Jin, Sayid seemed very interested by Desmond. But hold that thought.

The other only somewhat less cool reason Widmore might want Desmond back is to deal with those pockets of electromagnetism. After all, Dessie was there at the moment of electromagnetic detonation, that seemed to make him able to see flashes of the future. And, as Faraday insisted last season, the “rules don’t apply” to Desmond. Perhaps Desmond is necessary for whatever Orchid-diving, Swan hatching that’s to be going on with these geophysicists on the Island. But still I’m presuming that Desmond is indeed this “Wallace” guy that Jacob said was coming to the Island in Lighthouse.

A couple things to think about for tonight’s episode:

1. It’s entitled Happily Ever After. That sounds nice. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that means we’re gonna have a disappointing ending for Desmond, either in one of the timelines or both.

2. And by disappointing, I mean that I think Desmond is going to bite it in one of the timelines. Like, the Island one. He’s gonna die. However, I think that when he dies in that timeline, his consciousness will leak over to the sideways timeline, since the rules indeed do not apply to him, and he and Penny will live happily ever after. Except we’ll be pissed because he won’t be around on the Island. But hopefully I’m completely wrong. Because if something happens like, Sayid kills Desmond, I’ll be so pissed.

3. Another possibility – “See you in another life, brotha” takes on cosmic significance. What if Desmond is conscious of both timelines in at least one of the timelines? What if Desmond can literally see everyone in another life? That’d be neat since, yet again, the rules don’t apply to him. So watch out for that. Something different at least will be going on with Desmond, I think.

Special Comment

A sideways sidenote, if you will. I’ve mentioned this to some of you, and the picture compilation I’m about to show you proves it: in every single episode that has featured the sideways timeline, the centric character(s) in the episode have looked into a mirror/seen their own reflection for a semi-extended period of time. Jack on the plane in LA X. Kate in the back of the car shop in What Kate Does. Locke in the vanity mirror in his house in The Substitute. Jack once again at his house looking at his appendix scar in Lighthouse. Sayid in the glass on Nadia’s front door in Sundown. Ben in his microwave in Dr. Linus. Sawyer in the locker room mirror (that he proceeds to punch out) in Recon. And in The Package, Sun and Jin had some reflecting time at different points. This picture below shows each incident of reflection:

This isn’t a mistake or a coincidence. These shots are all very similar, and for a reason. I believe our characters are having little consciousness leakages – like the kind I believe Desmond will feel in droves tonight – in which they get “flashes” of their alternate lives on the Island. I can’t say for sure whether this mirror-image motif is a hint as to the significance of the sideways world, or whether it’s just a motif. But the fact that Jack and Hurley discovered this lighthouse in which mirrors show your life off the Island points to something greater. That’s what I think, anyway. Just something to ponder.

Odds and Ends/Tonight’s Preview

Replacing Desmond as the wearer of the buttoned-way-down blue oxford.

1. Quote of the Week comes from Sawyer:

LOCKE: We’re taking a boat ride over to the other island.

SAWYER: What do you need a boat for? Can’t you just turn into smoke and fly your ass over the water?

LOCKE: Do you think if I could do that I would still be on this island?

SAWYER: No, ’cause that would be ridiculous.

Basically I just love when our characters recognize some of the ludicrousness of the show’s logic, and what the writers are asking us to believe. When you watch Lost, you have to suspend logic on different levels, mainly in terms of “the smoke monster can kill people and read their memories and turn into dead people, but it’s unable to get past a circle of ash or an electric fence, or the water, and those are the rules.” Fine. Usually the person to point out “Lost Logic” is Hurley, but Josh Holloway’s deadpan delivery made Sawyer a hilarious conduit to the fans this time around.

2. Note that I didn’t even dedicate a section to the sideways world timeline of Sun and Jin. And I won’t. Except to say two things. Number one, Keamy and Mikhail were BOTH back, and that is awesome. They’re just great. Number two, Sun’s getting shot and her pregnancy will probably send her to the hospital… to see Jack? Or Juliet, his estranged ex-wife? Or Ethan? I like.

3. Look for fun things tonight. Heartbreaking things. Lovable things. I’m betting on a Charlie appearance, hopefully one in which he’s playing “Wonderwall” on some streetcorner. Maybe Desmond bails him out. Or saves his life, like the good ol’ days. That’d be sweet.

4. I repeat: Only seven episodes remain. CHERISH THEM.

See you in another week, brotha.

– Charlie