This is slightly inspired by Hurley’s numbers almost hitting the Mega Millions this week.  Did any of you see Jorge Garcia’s opinion of the Lottery?  Very funny.  Check it out here: http://furtherdispatches.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/will-you-people-ever-learn/

I’ve given TV a chance.  Walking Dead shuffled off into hiatus.  Dexter came and went like a silent killer.  Boardwalk Empire was as fast as a group of guys robbing an Atlantic City Casino.  I have not found a single show that stimulates that primal “I need to figure this crap out’ part of my brain the way that Lost did.  I tried to watch the X-files on Netflix, but that just isn’t doing it for me.  It was really cheesy on the outside during the first season.  Don’t You think?

What should I do?

Well, I did buy the entire Lost collection on Blu-ray…

 

“We have to go back!”

 

 

That is it.  I’m going to go back to the island.  I’m going to re-watch from the beginning, and it is going to be in awesome Blu-ray crystal clear awesomeness!  But, I’m not going to attempt to watch it with fresh eyes at all.  Rather, I’m going to watch it with my already filled to the brim Lost theorizing mind and try to explain it as I go.  For every four or so episodes I’ll offer I Always Have a Plan annotated notes.  I’ll connect dots.  I’ll explain actions and reactions that the writers didn’t even know they had at the time of writing.  This show was probably such a happy accident by the end that the writers, producers, and directors had no idea where they were going at the premiere of season 2, but ended up steering an out of control Island castaway, Plane wreck, time traveling, philosophical, action/adventure story on a collision course with TV history.

Please, feel free to watch along with me, start or join the (a) conversation, and maybe we’ll find some theory, idea, or Easter egg that nobody saw yet.  I’ll begin watching this Sunday Jan 9th at 12:00pm EST with a tub of popcorn and a notepad.  See you back on the island.

 

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Part 4 – Where the Wild Smoke Monsters Are – Establishing villains

From the beginning the smoke monster was established as the ominous adversary.  The castaways saw it from afar ripping entire trees out of the ground, probably just going for a walk.  It was an unknown ‘thing’ that would randomly pop into the camp and terrorize, kill, and drag people off.  From a writing standpoint it seemed to be a Deus ex Machina given form, which is pretty funny.  It did become more.  It was given a face.  Actually it was given many faces over the course of the show.  Best of all, it was given motivation.  It was given a reason to be so angry.  It has been a prisoner for thousands of years.  A lifetime sentence has to be pretty rough when you are an immortal sentient cloud.

The purpose of the monster was to act as the antagonist to a group of people that would need to face the greatest threat that not just the world has ever faced, but all of existence.  Their test was such a mind-bogglingly huge task, that people will talk and write books about it for years to come.  Many people seem to see the conflict as being one of good versus evil, as Locke hinted at during season one while teaching backgammon to Walt.  “Light versus dark” was the exact phrase Locke used.  I do not think that is the correct phrasing for this conflict though.  It would be accurate to call the Lost conflict of the Castaways Vs. Smoke monster ‘People versus Evil.”  None of the Castaways were what anyone religious, agnostic, or atheist would ever call ‘good.’  Sayid was an interrogation torturer, Shannon slept with her half brother, and Jack was so conflicted that it drove him nearly to suicide.  The fight in Lost was one of human beings banding together to rise above their vices, prejudices, and petty hatreds to fight something that is beyond even their understanding.

Why did the monster choose Locke?  The monster chose John Locke’s form because very simply, it was a good fit.  John was an adamant believer in all of the goodness of the island and what it could potentially be to him and all people.  This steadfastness made him perfect for a guise that would allow the monster to enact his final gambit to get off that rock.  It is a slippery slope when you believe as strongly as John Locke.  It raises philosophical questions that people constantly ask themselves with regards to whether or not there is a god, like “If god loves us why is there war, famine, disease, hatred, guns, etc.?”  If Jacob loved them, then why was there a smoke monster?  When the resurrected John Locke appeared with a more extreme viewpoint, it was completely believable to the Others.  He was a new kind of leader that wouldn’t take Jacob’s ‘Look-at-me-I-live-in-a-foot-and-tell-you-what-to-do’ crap anymore.  Little did they know, that they were following their sworn enemy on a mission to kill the protector of all that they loved.  Locke’s likeness was a flesh-suit that the smoke monster wore with ease and died even easier while wearing.

“These pretzels are making me thirsty!”

There were other monsters to contend with on the island as well.  Greed.  It is man’s nature to want more than they have or need.  The source represented something that men would kill for.  It was a modern (and also ancient) fountain of youth, that men would travel time and space to acquire.  Men and women have died trying to discover trading routes across the sea.  What would they do to live forever?  Vices.  Charlie literally could not get away from heroin.  It was rather hysterical how much heroin was on the island.  Just when you thought he was clean and sober, another bag of heroin would pop up.  Jealousy. Jack loved Kate who slept with Sawyer who lived with Juliet in 1977 for three years, who fell for Jack.  All four of these people would live and die for each other, but they will always be looking at the other woman or man and wondering ‘what if?’  Infidelity – Sun was on her way to another man when the plane crashed.  Cruelty – Boone’s constant belittling of his sister. 

MURDER!

Murder – How many people did Jack kill on his rampages through the Other’s camps.  What about the people in the past that died in the bomb he dropped down that hole in the ground?  Sawyer was on his way back from Australia where he committed murder.  Kate killed her stepfather.  Charlie killed Ethan.  Desmond killed Kelvin.  Michael killed Ana-lucia and Libby.  Locke’s doubts all but killed Mr. Eko.  None of them were angels.

They all had a monster within, and that is what made them all so fascinating.  They had the capacity for true evil, but chose to fight it within themselves while fighting it externally on the Island as well.

I’m not quite retiring this site yet.  There is more to say, and I will be purchasing the season 6 set in a few short months and re-watching.  I’ll probably have some new thoughts at this point.  In the next few days I will have a new site up (URL TBA) and will post and link to it here.  I’m going to open up my reviews to encompass more than just Lost.

Keep an eye out for one more Lil’ Ben strip in the next few days!

Absolute favorite Finale moment: When Ben apologizes, and he means it!

And lastly, Links to the OTHER parts of this series of thoughts, recaps, reactions, sweet nothings, etc. about the final episode of Lost, “The End.”

And They All Existed Happily Ever After Part 1 – THE SOURCE

And They All Existed Happily Ever After Part 2 – Desmond is the Metal Fork in the Microwave of the Universe!

And They All Existed Happily Ever After Part 3 – The Peripeteia

Thanks for reading!

-Rob

ialwayshaveaplan.lee@gmail.com

Part 3 – The Peripeteia

A peripeteia is a sudden reversal dependent on intellect and logic, essentially changing a person or character’s mind. From Wiki, Aristotle defines it as “a change by which the action veers round to its opposite, subject always to our rule of probability or necessity.” According to Aristotle, peripeteia, along with discovery, is the most effective when it comes to drama, particularly in a tragedy.

Over the past 6 seasons Lost has been called a brilliant Sci fi show, a moving drama about survival, a time traveling adventure story, and many other descriptions suit it as well. No matter what it was to you or the person sitting next to you, it was dependent on one constant, Characters. Lost was populated with a cast of wonderfully flawed characters. But did these characters reach their moment of peripetia, where they could evolve and achieve a full metamorphosis into something ‘more’ than when they began 6 years ago in their harrowing survival of the Oceanic flight 815 wreck? I think some of them did.

I CAN see my house from here.

Jack Shepherd was a hard-edged man of science. He was confident and sure of himself when in front of others, but fragile and given to vices when left to ponder his actions. Jack desperately wanted the love of a father who died. While traveling home with his father’s remains, flight 815 crashed on the island. He resisted belief in the mystical nature of the island. As a doctor, he could not wrap his rational mind around it. Even through EM flashes, smoke monsters, underwater bases, the endless coincidental connections between the people on the plane, and seeing his deceased father walking around the island, he still declared himself a practical man of science and had every intention of obtaining rescues for all those men and women that would follow him, but he would do it with a phone, and a gun, and a boat or a plane. There was never any consideration given to any of the otherworldly occurrences on the island, or how they could be utilized for escape or rescue.

Jack is reminiscent of King Arthur pulling a sword from a flaming wreck of a plane and declaring that everyone should follow him, but he refuses to admit the powers of Excalibur. The peripety came for Jack in L.A. after the Oceanic six had been saved, in the form of a dead Jeremy Bentham. Jack felt overwhelming guilt over his being home, while his friends remained behind and faced hardship without his leadership. He was a King that abandoned his kingdom. He declared “We need to go back!” But that would not be the only reversal. Jack was the character equivalent of a car doing donuts in a field. He would go back and forth between leader with unstoppable forward momentum and wallowing pill popping alcoholic and even a ‘let’s wait and see’ person. The final reversal came at the end of season five with his sudden determination to detonate Jug-head.

"How is this for faith Locke? I'm going to blow us all up in order to make it all right."

Jack decided to give himself over to fate and faith. Science got him nowhere, and he knew that. The living embodiment of Science, Daniel Faraday, was executed thirty years before he arrived on the island by his mother who had not even conceived him yet! (Which raises a very interesting question: If Daniel died before he was born, was his soul eradicated?) That moment gave birth to the Jack that would lead and ultimately save his friends (the ones still alive at least) in the final season. Jacks transformation from ‘daddy issues boy’ to Arthurian leader willing to sacrifice himself for his people was complete.

What happened was just this. The wind began to switch the house to pitch and suddenly the hinges started to unhitch. Just then this this b!#ch caught me in a net and I've pretty much been here all night...

Ben Linus – Ben was introduced under the guise of a lie. The lie was told to the castaways in the hatch as well as the audience. Nobody knew who this man was. He told everyone that his name was Henry Gale, and he was on a balloon trip around the world with his wife. Their Balloon crashed on the island and his just finished burying his wife. This was a series of half truths. Half true, because they happened to someone else. Henry Gale did crash on the island, but he was already dead. From there, Ben would be established as the ultimate manipulator on the Island. He would do anything, say anything, hurt anyone that got in the way of his ultimate goal, which was to protect the Island at all costs. This duplicitous nature created many enemies for Ben. Even amongst his own people, they were constantly waiting for a sign of weakness to dethrone him as he pointed out in the Season Three Episode where Ben thanks John for Destroying the Submarine. He told him that to let Jack go would have been a sign of weakness, but to kill him would have been unacceptable as well, because that would have been going back on his word. And if they sensed either, his status as the leader of the others would be in jeopardy. Where or when was the moment of peripeteia? I think it occurred during “The End,” but it originated some time earlier in “Cabin Fever” Season 4 Ep. 11, where Hurley shares an Apollo bar with Ben. So, this reversal would actually take years to fully develop.

Up to this moment, not a single character has ever openly shown Ben an ounce kindness. As a child his father got drunk on his birthday and reminded him that his mother died in childbirth. But this exchange between Ben and Hurley placed a glimmer of love in Ben’s heart. In Dr. Seuss terms, you could say his heart began to grow right there, and it had three sizes to grow.

The first growth in size would come during his heartfelt confession to Ilana regarding his daughter and murder of Jacob. He looked within and realized he has made some horrible mistakes, which he would most likely take to his grave with no chance for atonement.

I'm going to do something redefining for my character right now, because you shared a chocolate bar with me Hugo!

Amidst the island ripping itself apart during “The End,” Ben sees a massive tree limb falling towards Hurley. Ben selflessly shoves Hurley out of the way only to be pinned under it. His heart grew one more size when Kate, Sawyer and Hurley work together to save his life.

And the Third Size came just after Jack turned the light of the source back on. Hurley did something which nobody ever did for Ben. He asked Ben for his help. Right then, Ben completed his reversal. He went from rampaging lying monster to nurturing father. He became what he always wanted from his father. He reassured Hurley and told him that he can run the island how he sees fit. How Jacob ran it was not the only way. Ben really had a wonderful story of redemption and the search for acceptance and love.

Part 4 of 4 on Friday.

Favorite Finale Moment #3

When Kate said she missed Jack so much.

Part 2 – Desmond is the Metal Fork in the Microwave of the Universe (s)

I'm not a fork! I'm a man!

We can all agree that Desmond is unique.  In all of the Lost world, he is most likely the only person that can withstand the reality shifting trauma caused by exposure to extremely high levels of electromagnetic radiation.

I propose that Desmond always had this ability.  It was innate, but untapped, like Luke Skywalker living on Tatooine, and having no idea what the hell a midi-chlorian ever was. He was chosen by Jacob to come the island because of this preexisting condition.

Driveshafted

His survival at ground zero of the Dharma Swan Station blast was the first major exposure he experienced with this otherworldly electromagnetic (em) radiation emitted by the Source.   He survived, but it came with some unpredictable side effects.  He was able to glimpse the future.  Not his future though.  Additionally, these glimpses were not random by any means.   They were very exact glimpses he was meant to see of Charlie Pace dying.  This situation harks back to an idea that I’ve mentioned more than once, regarding a sentience to the Lost universe.  The Lost Universe/ Island is self-aware and is able to problem solve and provide fixes for itself.  In this case the fix was Desmond.  The Island saw the series of events as they needed to happen and fate was standing in the way of it’s and everyone’s continued existence by attempting to end the life of Charlie.  To combat this problem, Desmond was granted his flashes, so he could keep Charlie alive until he could perform his ultimate act and sacrifice by shutting off the jamming device in the Looking Glass Station.

“The island isn’t done with you yet Michael... I mean Desmond.”

The Island was by no means done with Desmond after Charlie’s death though. The Island has a mortal enemy in the Smoke Monster  (more below on why they are enemies).  It knew that it would need a person of Desmond’s ability to shut off the magic of the island, because the only way to kill the Smoke Monster was to shut off the Source.  The Source nearly sacrificed itself to finally remove the threat of the smoke monster.  Desmond was the failsafe key to the lock that extinguished the source (for a short while) and made Smokey mortal, so Jack could rough him up and Kate could put him out of his misery.

With regards to Desmond’s glimpses of the Sideways universe – I think that after Charles Widmore gave him his second bath in EM energies, the side effect wasn’t that he could see Charlie’s fate.  Rather, he was seeing his own fate, or at least beyond it into his next life. He thought he was supposed to turn off the light so he could traverse to another place where they all get to be with their loved ones.   It was all a mistake, but it wasn’t a mistake at the same time.    He was supposed to shut it down.  Snuffing out the Source made Smokey mortal, and allowed him to finally be killed.  It was all meant to be, and it was Desmond’s destiny.

The Underverse

Why did the smoke monster become mortal when the door was opened? Guess what?  I’ve got a theory.  The smoke monster is the last remaining survivor of the universe that preceded the Lost universe.  It’s home died.  Everything it ever knew died.  It has been here since the beginning of time in the Lost Universe and it hates it.  It holds the Island responsible for replacing and eradicating it’s home.

Finale Favorite moment #2

Jack’s expression when he sees Vincent

This is good TV

More tomorrow with Part 3 of 4

Part 1: The Source


Jacob was the protector of The Island. He did that job in an overly complicated way until Benjamin Linus was manipulated into killing him. Jacob then gave the job to Jack. Jack’s first day on the job was a rough one. The Island contains the Source. It is the eye of the island. The Source, as I’ve come to understand it, is what gives every living thing… well, life. If that is the case, it stands to reason that it is the spark that caused the first cells to spontaneously combine in the primordial amino acid ooze of the planet.

Those cells multiplied and grew, and then split off, mutated, adapted, climbed out of the muck, grew feathers, gills, rooted itself in forests, giving birth to all LIFE. The Source, in itself (in the world of Lost) is the miracle of Life. When Desmond removed the ancient ‘cork’ in the Source, it began to overheat, and the miracle of life began to overheat too.

"Ship out of Danger?" "Needs of the one outweighs the... how did that go again?"

The Source might be something akin to a nuclear power plant, where heavy water is used to keep nuclear rods at a manageable temperature while also partially protecting the surrounding area from radiation. The sheer amount of power contained in the Source requires a coolant, to keep it from overheating, expanding, and swallowing up the entire planet. That was where the mystical waters of the island came in, flowing into the cave, and down into the mouth of the Source

OR…

I had the weirdest dream. I was in the cargo hold of a plane, for like six years!

The Source might be the energy left over from the past universe which precede Lost Prime.  The statement by Christian to Jack in the church at the end of “THE END” regarding everything that happened in the Sideways universe ‘being real’ as well as the island being real had me thinking in a karmic sort of way.  It is clear that they died in the Original Lost Prime universe.  Everyone in the Church had died in Lost Prime.  In the Sideways universe,  as a gift, they got to live out their lives with their loved ones with no island, smoke monster, and significantly less tragedy.  It is hinted that it is a purgatory-like place.  I would like to suggest that it is merely the next stage upward in the many different planes of existence.  As they all passed away in Lost Prime, their spirits graduated to the next plane of existence, and as a reward for all of their sacrifices in defense of all of existence, they were granted a lifetime reprieve to love one another.  If this were the case, I suggest that the cosmic cork in the source was keeping the universe that preceded the Lost Prime universe from overcoming Lost Prime.  It is most likely a dead universe, and all of its life had graduated up to Lost Prime.  A little crazy, but so is this show.

OR…

(This is where I get a little abstract) The hole in the ground on the island might be a small gateway to another universe all together. The source could very well be the exact point at which the energy required to act as the catalyst to begin life, spilled through into the Lost world. What if, on the other side of that hole, there was an alternate reality in which the entire Lost universe was a child’s third grade science experiment? What if there is a grand designer that planned the whole thing from start to finish, sitting right on the other side of that hole. That would make the hole a wormhole of some sort. From my many hours watching Sci Fi Science on The Science Channel,

along with my new obsession, Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking, I understand that in order to open such a fissure in the first place, it would take so much energy that the planet would be shattered. But what if it was opened from the other end? The Lost universe would just be dealing with the energy caused by the spill over. Maybe they would just need to cork it? Also, what if the actual Laws of Nature were radically different over there? What if there were energies at work that could cause miracles to occur? Hugely extended lifespans? Sentient Energy Monsters? Time Travel? The harnessing of the energy of a person after they die, and keeping them nearby, sort of like the ghosts of the island? What if those were the energies seeping onto the island?

THE COMIC BOOK ANGLE:

FROM WIKI: In DC Comics The Source (and it is really called that in the comics) is:

Darkseid has been after the Secret of the Source and the Anti-life Equation for pretty much ever.

“The Source can be considered a shared Consciousness in the DC Comics Universe, where it is the non-religious equivalent to Buddha-nature. It is the “source” of all that exists. Alternatively, it can be considered a description of the Creator God of the Universe, a science-fiction analogue based on Judaeo-Christian doctrine. Mostly associated with the New Gods, the Source was the supposed origin of the “god-wave” that is believed to have been responsible for creating and empowering the “Gods” of the DC Universe with their divine abilities. It also seems to be partially responsible for the ability of DC residents to develop super-powers, especially those that defy physics. Lying at the edge of the known universe in the Promethean Galaxy is the Source Wall, which protects the Source, and traps all those who attempt to pass beyond it.”

Sounds really really familiar doesn’t it? I’m sure a few Issues of the New Gods were passed around the Lost Writing rooms.

The Source is something that can be theorized about for years to come.

More  tomorrow, with …

“THE END” And They All Existed Happily Ever After: Part 2 of 4

On a personal level.  The episode was amazing.  I laughed.  I wept.  I got a few emails thanking me for my  writing over the past few months and that was very touching.   I never thought what I was doing was ‘thank worthy.’  I was also told by one person that I was a part of the Lost phenomenon and that IS SO COOL THAT ANYONE THINKS THAT!  Thank you.

One of My Favorite moments:

"I'm giving it right back to you after you get that light back on!"

Breaking the tension caused by the end of the greatest show ever…  here are some funny Lost Clips.

This Week in Unnecessary Censorship – LOST Edition

And Ben Linus’ Situation…  hey I’m from Jersey.

And Last but not least…  All of Lost Told by Cats in one minute!

Oh yeah, I stopped by the Mess Hall in Dharmaville to get some beer today…

Boone – Boone had to die so John Locke could mature as a character.  Up to this point John had only played war games at work with a colleague during his lunch hour.  Boone’s death made the ‘war games’ real for the first time.  A decision John made led directly to the death of another person.  His death also led directly to the emotional collapse of his sister.

Shannon would have been a great Hitchcock character.  She is a person that we have all met at some point.  She is the person who buries her fear, frustration, and lack of ability to adapt deeply, behind a thin veneer of self-indulgent actions and an air of arrogance.  Shannon died in the story so we as the audience would feel the total polarization of the two camps from flight 815.  The Tailies were fighting for their lives, while Sayid and Shannon were going on a romantic picnic.  Her death added a tension to a meeting that could have been so joyous.

Damn it Leslie! Be careful with that!

Leslie Arzt – Leslie was very simply a red-shirt.  What is a red-shirt?  A Red Shirt is a term from Star Trek …

From Wiki: Redshirt is a slang term for a minor stock character of an adventure drama who dies violently soon after being introduced in order to dramatize the dangerous situation experienced by the main characters.

He was introduced so he could die.  They only gave him real character later.

Mr. Eko, while a new and interesting character, seemed like filler while Jack had more important things to do than debate philosophies with John Locke.  Eko, and his preacher stick, had no place in the story after the freighter storyline was conceived.

The "Not Penny's Boat" thing is good and all, but it is his expression in this moment that tears me up.

Charlie – Charlie had to die so the audience could understand the power of fate, purpose, and destiny in the Lost universe.  It is clear now that if the universe wants you out, then you are out.  It was also the beginning of Claire’s descent into crazytown.

Charlotte – Charlotte had to die so Daniel could change his mind with regards to his “Whatever happened happened” mantra.  The loss of the woman he loved made him look within not for a scientific formula to resurrect her, but hope.  He placed faith in science, and faith in variables.  It was a bit of a reach, but it did pay off to some degree.  His actions in the past detonating Jughead led to the sideways timeline and Charlotte once more being counted amongst the living.

Mom, you are such a jerk.

Daniel Faraday – Daniel had to die to illustrate how much of a bitch time travel can be…

And sometimes that bitch can also be Daniel’s mom Eloise…

Sun and Jin – Died to pave the Way for Jack, Kate, Sawyer and Hurley.  Their death fuels the rage that the remaining castaways feel as they walk towards the end of the show.  It gives them a reason to pull the trigger.


Sayid died to re-establish the grey zone again.  This show has always been very grey in terms of right and wrong.  Sawyer kills, but is considered a good guy.  Jack is a pill popping alcoholic doctor.  John Locke is a philosophical leader apple-crate preaching about the ‘goodness’ of the island, yet stabs Naomi in the back, arranges his father’s murder, etc. etc.…  Sayid desiring redemption brought back the ‘moral grey’ in this season that has been all about black and white/ good and evil.  Out of all of the Castaways, Sayid has strove for redemption, even as he committed more wrong.

And Last, but not least at all, Eloise the Rat – Died to foreshadow what was to come, with the castaways becoming unstuck in time.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy ‘THE END’ tomorrow!  Swing on by when it’s all done, and let me know what you thought!