Part 2 of the Pilot.

What we get in this episode is Character development, and a lot of it. So much information is crammed into 45 minutes, that I feel a bit Like Alex Delarge after watching it again. With this info comes a bit of foreshadowing, some of which doesn’t pan out for two, three or even five seasons.

What sort of character development? Well, It seems Kate is some sort of criminal. They keep it vague enough to fix us at the edge of our seat, and employ some wonderful editing, crosscutting from Kate relieving Sawyer of the only gun that they know of on the island, to her on 815 during the crash turbulence, then to Jack’s discovery of her criminal past, and back over to her on a mountainside leading a signal search party. We are barely told anything, and are left with the mystery of what this woman who seems inherently good could have done to be in so much trouble…

Charley is a drug addict. This was really no big surprise. The rock star drug addict is a bit clichéd but Dominic Monaghan pulls it off in such an endearing way. I love that Charley feels the need to interject “Ever heard of Driveshaft?” into the first thirty seconds of any encounter. Charley’s addiction storyline seems to be a personal demon story arc at first, but as anyone that has ever known a person with any sort of addiction issue, it will spiral out of control and suck in all the people around him or her…. Terrific set-up here for a redemption (song) story.

Shannon can speak French! There were so many moments where Shannon shied away from the group, claiming that “the boats will be there soon,” she doesn’t need to help, “there will be people for that,” establishing her as the epitome of a rich brat. Her brother Boone, the yin to her yang, is constantly trying to help, sometimes to the point of making a nuisance of himself. Their polar opposite personalities makes me think of a horrible Paula Abdul song for some reason….. which is then more blatantly referred to by Claire when she asks Shannon “Is he your boyfriend?” about Boone. Ewwwwwwww, I’m getting a Luke and Leia Star Wars vibe here.

Back to the French though. Shannon listens to the recording left by Rousseau over 16 years ago. This small but powerful moment will not completely play out until the final season. Bits and pieces of what is said will be explained and revealed over the six seasons.

A few other hints of future events peppered throughout the episode were:

– Jack Lies to the others on the beach about not finding any survivors in the cockpit. He begins making those hard decisions right away. HE decides what they NEED to know. He places himself in a leader role because he believes he needs to.

– The polar bear in the woods leads directly to the Dharma storylines and experiments that have gone on here.

– Sawyer, emotionally reads his letter that he keeps in his pocket. What is it? Who is it to? Who is it from? Mystery!

"These are my words."

– The line is drawn in the sand as early as this episode between Jack and Locke. They haven’t even shared more than ten words, but editing tells me that the central conflict will be between these two characters.

How?

I’ll show you.

While talking to Michael, Jack searches for a blade to operate on Federal Agent Mars. He finds a straight razor in a shaving kit, and when he pulls it out, it is featured menacingly in its own close-up. A close up like this is always used to bring the object to the attention of the audience. This shot says to me “Keep an eye on this blade! This will be important.” Or it is symbolic. This is a tool that can be used to heal or kill. How will it be used?

CUT TO: a Close up of a Backgammon set in the sand. John Locke’s hands come into frame setting up the game. Walt approaches to ask about the game. John explains the nature and history of Backgammon. Light and Dark. Conflict. Good and Evil.

A transition like this is not a happy accident. This is masterful writing. Without even knowing it, the audience knows who is against who. A weapon was brandished followed directly by a conversation about good and evil.

The stage is set.

Lastly, Charley got to utter the exact words that spell out THE mystery that lasts until the very last episode and even beyond, “Guys, where are we?”

So we have conflict, multiple mysteries, plot threads established, and only barely scratched the surface of just how damaged this ensemble cast of characters is. What a great show.

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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.

 

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

I watched “Live together Die Alone,” the finale to Season 2, last night, because I wanted to watch the implementation of the fail-safe key again.  I saw it, and had a whole slew of other thoughts including a few theories about what we’ll see in the “The End” episode on Sunday May 23rd.

SNOWGLOBE!

1. The boat “The Elizabeth” is discovered adrift off the coast of the island with an extremely intoxicated Desmond within.  Desmond wearily returns to the beach camp to declare “We are stuck inside a bloody snow globe!”   What an interesting metaphor.  A Snow globe is what?  It is a keepsake from a journey.  They sell them in gift shops at tourist attractions.  Is the island a keepsake of a higher being?

2. I found another reason why I sympathize with Desmond:  Desmond is being released from his court martial jail sentence.  Revealed as he retrieves his personal belongings are the picture of himself with Penny in better times, as well as a copy of Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens, which he brilliantly has saved for a poetic and dismal reason.  He states that he has “read every wonderful word written by Mr. Charles Dickens,” and he wants this book to be the last book he reads before he dies.

I can really appreciate this sentiment.  I recently bought the Antoine Doinel Box set of DVDs by Francois Truffaut.  Five films made over the course of a lifetime and career about one character living life, falling in love, failing at love, succeeding in business, and basically being a flawed human being.  I watched the first four, and could not bring myself to watch the fifth for fear of reaching the end.  Truffaut is dead, and unfortunately in our world, dead really is dead.  There will be no more Doinel.  I waited until a perfect Sunday afternoon and with a good glass of red wine I watched it, and I can never do that again for the first time.  I appreciate Desmond’s calculated patience.

Familiar Grouping to the "What they Died For" Episode?

3. Jacob’s Influence and The grouping of characters – Jacob gave a list to Richard, who in turn gave it to Benjamin, who then gave it to Michael.  What was on this list?  Four names.  Jack Shepherd, Kate Austin, John Ford, and Hugo Reyes.  Jacob knew it would come down to them.  Jacob wanted Ben to take them so he could test them.  Further, the other grouping of candidates in this episode, that fails in their task, mirroring the final season, is Sun, Jin, and Sayid.  Taking Desmond’s boat around the island in a effort to obtain the upper hand against the Others, turns out to be a wild goose chase.

"Hey, that's my belt!" That is also awfully familiar to MIB throwing his knife through the air to show Jacob the magnetic power near the well...

4. The philosophical conflict –  of whether or not to push the button in the swan station between John, Desmond, Mr. Eko, and Charlie, is mirrored in whether or not to let Smokey/ MIB leave the island. The castaways are divided.  John and Mr. Eko face fundamental differences over what to do in the hatch.  Faith versus Science versus faith in science versus man in the hatch.  John has switched modes of thinking, not because of any sudden transformation into a realist, but because he is having a crisis of faith.  He doubts himself and that terrifies them.  The all around lack of focus and determination leads to a stalemate that ultimately costs them their precious hatch.  The only thing that saves all of their lives and the entire world is Desmond turning his fail-safe key.  OR did it just blow them all up, so they could all start over again?

"What is that?" "This is the only other way out partner… It’s the fail-safe."

5. The fail-safe key.  Kelvin, when explaining underneath the Swan Station, asks Desmond if he would have the courage to take his finger out of the dam and blow the whole thing up instead?  The panel over the fail-safe lock reads:

What is the system?  The Computer System?  The Swan Station System?  The entire Island System?  The Entire Solar System?  The Entire Dimensional/Universal System that skewed off because of the ‘The Incident?’  A Pocket Universe growing off our own like a bubble?

In the sideways universe, Desmond is enacting a FINAL fail-safe.  Being unique in the entire world with his immunity to electromagnetic energies makes him perfect in his singular ability to enact this plan.  He subconsciously retained all his memories of the former existence/ universe.    All he needed was the right jolt, in the form of a deja-vu like experience almost drowning with Charlie, to bring them to the surface.  The plan that he foresaw when Charles Widmore trapped him in the EM chamber and bathed him in deadly levels of electromagnetic energy is at his disposal once more.

So, one could say, that in the Sideways universe Desmond himself is the Fail-safe key, but is Locke the lock that needs opening.  He did say that He was ‘trying to free’ Mr. Locke as he beat Ben in the School parking lot.  Does Desmond need Locke?  Does John hold some necessary element to the Fail-safe Protocol in the Sideways Universe?  Will it take the two of them together to set the world right?  Can they work together?

As I predicted very early on this season (Link) it seems that the island story is going to play to the end, and the Sideways story will begin from that end.  So it would benefit any true Lostie worth his or her weight in Dharma Beer to go back and watch all of the sideways stuff again…

But, what is the plan in the Sideways universe?

I have an idea…  I think Jack, on the island, is going to fail spectacularly.  I think it is all going to go sooooo unbelievably wrong, that the island is going to be utterly destroyed, and Smokey is going to get away into the world.  In this second and final incident (in the original Lost universe at least), brought on by the destruction of the source, so much energy is going to be released that it will create the sideways universe, a mirror universe in which things happen slightly differently than in the original universe.  (In a past entry posted before the premiere this season, I go into the concepts of brilliant Physicist Michio Kaku and how much energy it would take to create a parallel or tangent universe.  You could read that, or go watch below)  A new universe will be good for some, because they are alive now, but not for everyone, because Smokey is loose, and will have tainted the entire universe.  A bit of him is in everything in the sideways universe.  Eww Gross.

So, that said, I think the new fail-safe plan is quite simply how to get the djini (or smoke monster) back in the bottle in the Sideways Universe.

Another (probably not last…) theory – Desmond Can’t die because of his love for Penny.  The Source (as I think I understood it) is the parent of all life.  A bit of it is in every living thing.  To give a piece of itself to us all is a sacrifice of love.  When it comes in contact with Desmond turning the fail-safe key, it says to itself “You are so Awesomely in Love!!!  You are not going to die!  I am going to put it all back together again, and I’m just going to place you a few hundred feet away from where you were when the hatch imploded….  And TaDa!!!  Oh yeah, and I hope you don’t mind, but clothes are too complicated right now…”

"So the hatch like blew off your underwear?"

What a crazy and fun show this has been…

I’ll leave you with a clip attempting to explain Inflation Theory (You need to go to Youtube to watch it…  They disabled embedding.  It is really worth it though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qVU2ea57GQ&feature=PlayList&p=55A0D60754E059FE&playnext_from=PL&index=3

I’m in the middle of watching my personal Favorites before the Finale on Sunday May 23rd. Isn’t it great that Netflix has season 1 – 5 streaming in what my TV seems to think is HD?

Anyway, here is my viewing Schedule:

I’ve Already Watched:

5-18-10 – The Pilot Episode, and Walkabout – I watched the Pilot just because I always felt that The first shot is potentially the most important moment in all of the mythos, and Walkabout, because the way it unfolds to the BIG reveal at the end is some of the best TV storytelling I’ve ever witnessed. Also, the last shot of Locke on the beach is a little unnerving now that we are at the end. His smile is a little too sly. Is he Smokey at this point?…… nahhh. That would be cheating.

5-19-10 – Live Together Die Alone Parts 1 and 2 (Season 2 Finale) – Because I wanted to watch the fail-safe protocols again, and boy did I get more than I bargained for. These two episodes are SOOOO important to what we are watching right now in the homestretch.

I Will Watch:

5-20-10 – The Man From Tallahassee – Because I love how Locke’s tragic flashback storyline culminates in this episode. ( Season 3 Ep. 13) and

The Man Behind The Curtain (Season 3 Ep. 20) to get some quality Ben Linus time.

Through The Looking Glass Part 1 -2 (Season 3 Finale) Because “You All Everybody”

5-21-10 – The Constant (Season 4 Ep. 5) – Because Desmond and Penny will be all right Damn it! and …

The Shape of Things to Come (Season 4 Ep. 9) Because Ben is a bad-ass.

There’s No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3 (Season 4 Finale) Because the end gets me a little bit choked up. They are all so flawed and broken even though they escaped. Brilliant TV.

5-22-10 He’s Our You (Season 5 Ep. 10) Because of this line “A 12-Year-Old Ben Linus Brought Me a Chicken Salad Sandwich. How Do You Think I’m Doing?”

Some Like it Hoth (Season 5 Ep. 13) Because Miles has a really cool back story and Hurley’s Empire Strikes Back scheme.

Then “The End” on May 23rd

Episode 10, in which Lil’ Ben, Desmond, and Vincent attempt to answer the bigger questions, like “Why?”

(Click image to see full sized)

Below are the additional chapters in Lil’ Ben’s Adventures so far:

Part 1 “A New Universe”

Part 2 “Chicken Sandwiches”

Part 3 “Dr. Reyes”

Part 4 “I’m a Corporate Symbol!”

Part 5 “Apocrypha Now and Later”

Part 6 “Kill Charlie”

Part 7 “Serenity”

Part 8ish  or 4815162342: “The Epilogue”

Part 9 “What was your Favorite Part?”

Also, do not forget that The Lil’ Ben contest end later today!  Submit a one or two line theory explaining how you think it will all end, anf YOU might be featured defending your theory in a Lil’ Ben Post-it comic.  You can post a comment, or email me at ialwayshaveaplan.lee@gmail.com

Thanks for reading!

Is Benjamin Linus a cyber Bully?

So, I recently dared to enter the Lost messageboards of Facebook and Myspace… I was there just to test the waters, and see what people are talking about. I re-posted a blog from earlier last week to a message board. I was immediately challenged with responses that ranged from “Kate is a whore” to personal attacks on me. A person that adopted the name of a fictional hobbit as his facebook alter ego called me a coward for not replying to his/ or her taunts…. It was very strange. For about five minutes, I was enraged. I hadn’t drank my morning coffee yet. How dare this magical little person/ creature call me a coward. I am totally going to the shire to kick his….. Wait a second. This is a person that doesn’t exist. I’m arguing on behalf of a fictional character with a hobbit. I calmed down. I drank my coffee. I went on to have a great day.

Benjamin Linus, when introduced, was going by the pseudonym Henry Gale. (No need to go into the Wizard of Oz stuff. I’m pretty sure we are all well beyond that.) He chose the name of a fictional character that suited his situation, the personality that he wanted to convey, and his location. He then, under the guise of this alias, proceeded to (in-between beatings and torture sessions) create dissent amongst the castaways. Through simple questions, and manipulated situations, he was able to create a schism in the camp. Thus was born the Locke Camp and the Jack Camp. He played on their weakness of faith, both in a fundamental higher power and in each other. They began to distrust one another, and even position themselves into more strategic stances ‘just in case.’ This was all because of little Henry Gale, human punching bag, locked in the hatch. It is very similar to what a cyber bully does on these message boards. They create aliases for themselves. They argue. They insult. They belittle, and they distract you from what you should be doing, which is to be productive and proactive about formulating a plan to get yourself off of that freaking island! Build another raft! Use the radio tower to transmit something! Do Not listen to Henry Gale. He is just a Cyber Bully.

Things that are Lost:

The Incredible Hulk got Lost today in Hackensack. The snow confused him.

Hulk Cold!! Hulk Smash snow!!!!

Enjoy tonight’s Episode of Lost!