And so we get to one of my favorite dysfunctional couples on TV, Jin and Sun.  This episode continues the eye-opening Motif, but this time with Sun opening her eye in close up as she looks on at her husband fishing for their daily meal.  But then, what’s that?  She looks off to the right at Jack and Kate who are preparing to hike up to the caves….  Sun seems to understand them?  But how is that possible, and why would she hide her English skills?  This is a truly eye-opening moment for the audience.

I’d like to take a moment and point out that the production team (Writers, Directors, Producers) were extremely daring to have two characters like Jin and Sun as primary protagonists on a mainstream show, not because of their nationality, but because they spoke their characters’ native tongue on the show.  American TV is too often close-minded to the fact that there are many nationalities besides Californian (Which is a tall, toned, tanned, US West Coast creature) and Lost strove to explore diversity even as it cut its characters off from the rest of the world.  Bravo!

This was a transitional episode.  A lot happens, but it is really sort of fragmented.  We get a part of Michael’s NYC attitude, a splash of Jin’s frustration, some Jack and Kate flirtations, and a Charley revelation.  While the Jin/ Sun flashback storyline is integral to their development, the on-island story was really just filling in a few blanks, wrapping up a few loose ends from the last few episodes, and planting a few new ideas.

The subtleties are one of the things I love about this show.  There was a teeny tiny moment which was very telling about Jin’s character during a flashback.  It was when he exits Sun’s home after asking for her hand.  He very naturally misleads her for a moment, making her believe that the meeting went poorly.  This masking of himself will become invaluable as he slowly becomes swallowed by the dark and dirty deeds that Sun’s Father will have him performing.  Like a superhero, Jin has assumed an alter-ego.  This alternate persona will work for Sun’s father and do what needs to be done to earn her hand and love.  The problem is that this new Jin, created out of necessity, will encroach upon the nice sweet boy persona that Sun fell in love with.  Sun, taking a cue from her husband, will create an alter ego for herself.  She will create a person full of hope and new beginnings who learns English in secret.  This person will plan to run away from her father and the man she on occasion loves but simultaneously grows to fear.

There was a wonderful use of a Hitchcockian plot device in this episode, known as a MacGuffin  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacGuffin).  A MacGuffin is plot element that drives a work forward, but loses importance as the story continues.  It can really be anything.  It simply has to be something that the characters desire, causes conflict, reveals character and motivations.  It is simply a story catalyst.  To name a few MacGuffins in Hitchcock’s films:

The stolen money in Psycho

The Secret Plans in the 39 Steps

The Microfilm in North by Northwest

A few more modern MacGuffins:

The rug in The Big Lebowski

The briefcase in Pulp Fiction

The Rimbaldi artifacts on the show Alias.

In this episode of Lost, the MacGuffin is the Rolex.  The watch serves as the catalyst that sets all the episode’s conflicts in motion, but loses importance in favor of the character developments and their interpersonal relationships.

Please enjoy this humorous Hitchcock explanation to Francois Truffaut of what a MacGuffin is:

It might be a Scottish name, taken from a story about two men in a train. One man says “What’s that package up there in the baggage rack?”, and the other answers “Oh, that’s a MacGuffin”. The first one asks “What’s a MacGuffin?”. “Well”, the other man says, “It’s an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands”. The first man says “But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands”, and the other one answers “Well, then that’s no MacGuffin!”. So you see, a MacGuffin is nothing at all. – From Hitchcock/ Truffaut

And here is a great clip from an interview where Hitch explains how to handle actors, editing, suspense, and suitcase bombs.  Enjoy!

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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.

2 more numbers and life would have been so different....

Yesterday I was at the bank.  I made my deposit, went back to my car and was about to return to work, when I thought “I should play the lottery.”  So, back out of the car and across the street I went.  There was a little shop a few doors down that did lottery.

The Mega Millions pot was over 300 million dollars.  I know people say you have a better chance of being hit by lightning, but you know what?  That is a very negative way of looking at the world!  I’d rather think about what I’d do with 300 million.  So I got a ticket.

My first line as you can see in the above picture is 4,8,15,16,23,42… I know, I know.  I’m a super dork for betting the Valenzetti Equation …  Or am I?!  I got 4 numbers!

I wonder how many people nationwide actually play those numbers?

If they hit, it would probably be the most shared pot in the history of the lottery.

Did you play them? Let me know if You’re a Lost dork holding on in some weird way too.

Hurley: A while ago, I was in this kind of psych ward and there was this guy, Leonard. All the time I knew him,all he ever said were these numbers. “4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42”. Over and over and over again. And they kind of got stuck in my head. So when I got out… well, actually a couple months after I got out, I was buying a frozen burrito and thought “I should play the lottery”, and I guess those numbers were stuck in my head, so I played them. And I won… $114 million. That’s when it started happening. My grandpa died, my house caught on fire, the chicken joint that I worked at got hit by a meteor… Well, actually, a meteorite. OK, so, tonight, I see the same freaking numbers on that hatch thing. Just written on the side. And that’s why I tried to stop it, because that thing is cursed, man.

Jack: You were in a psych ward?

Look for a new post tomorrow – – – – – – – – I have new Lost plans.

Lost is over.

Some think “The End” suggested there were more tales to be told. Hurley and Ben remaining on the island was the equivalent of a western hero riding off into the sunset. You as the audience know there are still wrongs to be righted, evil to be fought, mysteries to be solved. But, we’ll never see these fights, because for us it is over. It was over right when they all crossed over into the great unknown in a Poly Faith sacred building.

I’ve embraced my other two blogs and have a new focus for the next few months—-Zombies!

Bite m--- I mean---Click me to read about zombies

I think we can all agree that the final season of Lost is one of the most argued about seasons of television ever. People are ravenous about how right they are and others are just wrong wrong wrong. If you’ve ever wandered through a Facebook message board on the subject of Lost, then you know what I’m talking about. I posted a link to one of my blog posts once, and it led to the near criminal level of harassment by a man ( I think it was a man) who conspicuously had the same name as a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy character, and even more conspicuously, looked just like Lou Feriggno. That was the first time that I saw how crazy this show was making people. This person decided that he was absolutely right about everything and was willing to take time out of his day to literally hunt down people on the internet and insult them via Facebook, Twitter, and any other venue he could uncover. I followed his harassment of other people for one afternoon and was amazed how crazed this person was.  It got pretty personal. I had no desire to be beaten up by the Hulk. Although he probably looked more like this guy though.

CYBER BULLY!

So, my point. People, not me, but people, are dissatisfied with the end. Certain people have pointed me in the direction of fan fictions that would have played out the final season in an entirely different manner. I looked at two of them. They weren’t horrible, but I enjoyed the final season more than these ideas.

I began writing a response to one of these hypothetical endings. It was only supposed to be a paragraph. ONE paragraph.

That wasn’t enough space to say what I needed to say.

That paragraph opened up to a one-page treatment of sorts. Still not enough.

That treatment then expanded into an outline with character descriptions.

Some of the scenes needed dialogue. So I wrote it. When I was through, I realized I had written fan fiction. Shit.

What I had written was an alternative “B” storyline which could have been in the place of the Afterlife/ Purgatory / Sideways / Happy Ending storyline. I don’t know how this happened, but it did. And (embarrassingly) here is the first couple parts:

What if this were season 6’s flashes?

Episode 1 – We open on a young man that we do not know (or do we?) on a small two-person sailboat in a large harbor full of giant cargo ships. He is looking for a crew to help him find a mythical island said to hold the key to the origins of mankind. He has no family. He is an orphan.

He has recurring dreams of violence and darkness. In these dreams a group of people are battling for their lives on an island that isn’t an island. This dream always ends with an explosion of pure white light that is engulfed in a cloud of darkness.

He wakes from the dream and walks up into the city from the harbor. He enters a bar, where a heavy-set man makes fun of him for not being old enough to drink, “Maybe you should go back to your mommy little man.”

He continues to the bar where a woman’s voice speaks to him from behind, “You’re Aaron, right? I’m Anise.”

He turns.

“Do I know you?”

“No. But I know you. I dreamt about you.”

Episode 2 –

Aaron repeats, “Do I know you?”

“I’m Anise, and I’ve been dreaming about you since I was a child”

In her dream, Anise is always standing with Aaron, and holding his hand as the white light explosion erupts towards them.  They establish that they remember each other from when they were children.  They remember being on a plane, then on an island.

Next time—–  They find a charter and a man named LaFleur.

A few days ago, through a series of random events, a room full of drunken people applauded me for my love of Lost.

Here is how it happened.

Last Friday, it was HOT. We had a few days in a row of near 100-degree temperatures. On a day like that, the last thing you want to do is turn on the stove. So we went to the bar for dinner and a beer. Sitting on the patio in back, I noticed that the furniture is similar to the IKEA furniture I bought a week ago. That gets me thinking.

Five days earlier than that, I was in my backyard water-sealing our new patio furniture. It was really hot that day as well. At one point I went inside for a glass of water and noticed that the TV was on. My hands were covered in sealant, so I carefully picked up the remote to turn it off. I decided to check the DVR. It was nearly at capacity. The largest file on it was the Lost finale recorded in HD. (Yeah, I haven’t erased it! Big Whoop!) I wondered if I should erase it finally. I tossed the remote on the coffee table, and the finale picked up from where I left off at last viewing. The final ten minutes was playing in beautiful HD. I was mesmerized. I sat down and watched.

My wife came in to see where I was. I turned the TV off. I looked guilty. She was outside in the hot sun doing work, and I’m drinking ice water in the living room watching Lost. When I said “Lost–,” She said “Oh. Ok.” And accepted that I got distracted and it was beyond my control.

Back at the bar, last Friday, I made all of those connections in my head and began talking to my wife about the finale for the umpteenth time. She asked how did I just go from “isn’t this great patio furniture?” to “Jack stumbling through the bamboo forest.” I began to explain, when a man walked up and interrupted “Are you guys here for the high school 20th reunion?”

I told him “No.” I should have asked, “Is there an open bar?”

He smiled as he walked away, but then he stopped.

He approached us again with a weird smile on his face and said “I know you from someplace. You look just like that guy from that TV show.”

My wife laughed out loud, because people constantly mistake me for someone else.

I asked, “What show?”

He said “Lost.”

My wife said “Daniel Faraday?”

He said, “Yes!”

I said I was not he.

Then about a half-an-hour later, I walked to the bar to settle my bill. I walked past the reunion party, when the same guy pointed me out to the crowd. He declared, “See! I told you Daniel Faraday was here!” And I was applauded by a room full of 37 and 38-year-old drunk people.

Through a random series of events: Ikea, water sealing, a full DVR, a heat wave, my love of beer, and my chameleon-like ability to look like other people, I was applauded for Lost. Weird.

13 Noms! Who Will Win? Who will lose? How will Ben use this to his advantage?

The Emmy nominations are in, and there is a lot of love for my favorite TV show. If I had my way, I’d cancel the broadcast and just ship all the awards to Cuse and Lindelof, but I am not in charge. Luckily they are not up against Glee in any categories. Unfortunately they do have other tough contenders. There is Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, who uttered my favorite line of dialogue in the past six-months during the penultimate episode of this past season, and all he said was “Run!” In addition, there is Treme, Mad Men, True Blood, and the list goes on and on.

Here are the categories and individuals nominated for Lost:

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Lost • The End • ABC • Grass Skirts Productions, LLC in association with ABC Network and Studios

Damon Lindelof, Writer

Carlton Cuse, Writer

Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series

Lost • The End • ABC • Grass Skirts Productions, LLC in association with ABC Network and Studios

Jack Bender, Director


Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series

Lost • ABC • Grass Skirts Productions, LLC in association with ABC Network and Studios

Matthew Fox as Jack Shephard


Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series


Lost • ABC • Grass Skirts Productions, LLC in association with ABC Network and Studios

Terry O’Quinn as John Locke

Michael Emerson as Ben Linus



Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series

Lost • The End • ABC • Grass Skirts Productions, LLC in association with ABC Network and Studios

Elizabeth Mitchell as Juliet Burke

Outstanding Music Composition For A Series (Original Dramatic Score)

Lost • The End • ABC • Grass Skirts Productions, LLC in association with ABC Network and Studios

Michael Giacchino, Composer

Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing For A Drama Series

Lost • The End • ABC • Grass Skirts Productions, LLC in association with ABC Network and Studios

Stephen Semel, Editor

Mark J. Goldman, Editor

Christopher Nelson, Editor

Henk Van Eeghan, Editor

Outstanding Drama Series

Lost • ABC • Grass Skirts Productions, LLC in association with ABC Network and Studios

Outstanding Special Class Programs

ABC’s LOST Presents: Mysteries Of The Universe – The Dharma Initiative •

abc.com/lost • ABC Digital Media

Christopher J. Powers, Producer

Ted Bramble, Producer

Agnes Chu, Producer

Gregg Nations, Producer

Outstanding Sound Editing For A Series

Lost • The End • ABC • Grass Skirts Productions, LLC in association with ABC Network and Studios

Thomas E. deGorter, Sound Supervisor

Joe Schultz, MPSE, Sound Editor

Paula Fairfield, MPSE, Sound Editor

Carla Murray, MPSE, Sound Editor

Maciek Malish, MPSE, Sound Editor

Lloyd Jay Keiser, Sound Editor

Geordy Sincavage, Sound Editor

Allen Mark, Sound Editor

Robert Kellough, Sound Editor

Chris Reeves, Sound Editor

Gabrielle Reeves, Sound Editor

Alex Levy, Music Editor

Adam De Coster, Foley Artist

James Bailey, Foley Artist

Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Comedy Or Drama Series (One

Hour)

Lost • The End • ABC • Grass Skirts Productions, LLC in association with ABC Network and Studios

Bobby Anderson, Production Sound Mixer

Ken King, Production Sound Mixer

Frank Morrone, Re-Recording Mixer

Scott Weber, Re-Recording Mixer

Outstanding Art Direction For A Single-Camera Series

Lost • Ab Aeterno • ABC • Grass Skirts Productions, LLC in association with ABC Network and Studios

Zack Grobler, Production Designer

Matthew Jacobs, Art Director

Carol Bayne Kelley, Set Decorator

Good Luck Lost!

Unexplainable pseudoscience technology has been the MacGuffin or catalyst for many good character driven sci-fi stories over the years. Storytellers have formulated hypotheses regarding the future of mankind ever  since Verne and Wells first wrote their tales of trips to the moon, time travel, underwater adventures, etc. I recently watched the film TiMER, starring Emma Caulfield of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame. TiMER is a film set in a very near future, in which Scientists have been able to break down our auras, or time-lines, or pheromones, or something, so they can pin-point the exact day in your individual future that you will meet your honest to goodness soul mate. A TiMER, seen in the above picture, is then implanted in your wrist, which will count down until that day.

Damn it! I'm thirty!

The concept of the TiMER, in the wrong hands could have easily become a Logan’s Run, as thirty-year-olds obviously rebel against the stigmas that goes with age. Instead, it is a wonderful character film, which does–actually— like Logan’s Run, follow 29-year-old Oona as she approaches her thirtieth birthday, and worries that she will be alone forever. You see, Oona’s TiMER is blank. Which can mean one of three things: 1. Her soul mate doesn’t have a TiMER. They both need to have one for some reason. 2. She missed her chance. Or 3. She doesn’t have a soul mate.

The opening weekend gross of ROTK was strategically placed in the news scroll placing the intro of the TiMER in 2003.

The technology in TiMER is handled in such a wonderful and simultaneously ‘as a matter of fact’ way that it really needs no explanation, just an introduction.  The film opens with a series of news clips introducing the TiMER circa 2003.Through this montage, we arrive at the future, or rather the present of the film and a TiMER TV commercial, which markets the TiMER eerily like an  Apple product. Now, I do love my Mac, but it did not introduce me to my wife— who also has a Mac— Oh crap. Did we meet because of the Apple Corporation?! Digressing too far. The technology is simply stated at the beginning of the film to be what it was. Nothing else was necessary. The rest of the film is character driven.

Like the TiMER, Lost introduced several technologies and sciences that were simply stated for what they were. Like Han Solo declaring that the Kessel Run record-breaking ship the Millenium Falcon is the fastest ship in the Galaxy because it has a hyperdrive.  We just accept these scientific impossibilities because a character told us it was so, and it has been established in their universe that these things are possible. Some of these pseudosciences in Lost were as follows:

  • An Arctic Station to detect and pinpoint specific EM radiation bursts with amazing accuracy.
  • A Rat that is bathed in radiation so it’s mind travels into the future and it knows a path through a maze that it never ran before.
  • A magic button that will release magic electromagnetic energy every 108 minutes, thus saving the planet and maybe universe from annihilation.
  • Healing waters of a jungle temple protected by a hippie cult.
  • Time and space shifting donkey wheels.
  • Teleporting Islands.

Some Lost Science

But, my favorite was the time travel and characters becoming unstuck in time. The characters accepted the Time Travel with such ease, that I as a viewer accepted it as well. One day they were wandering the present day jungle, a flash of white light washed over them, and they found themselves in the 70’s. They accepted the shift, why wouldn’t I?

Another recent viewing, which, while amusing, could have played up its reality shifting goodness A LOT MORE, was Hot Tub Time Machine. I mean, come on, lets talk about a ridiculous time travel technology. They spill an illegal russian red bull called Chernobly on the controls of a hot tub, and their consciousnesses travel in time like Elly the rat! Whatever, I buy it. That is what I came here for. I rented this film knowing what I was getting into.  The only real problem I had with this film was that it felt like it was written by some kid that never experienced the eighties. He or she was probably a teen in the nineties and just wiki’d the eighties.  So they included the highlights of the 80’s, i.e. “Where’s the beef?, Poison,  Jessie’s Girl, flourescent clothing, etc.  There was so much more to the 80’s to make fun of.   Since it was at a Ski resort, I was hoping that Cusack’s character Adam would run into Lane Meyer, whom Cusack played in 1986’s Better Off Dead, another 80’s ski comedy.  That meeting would have been like a triple paradox!   Instead, they created way too much drama for four characters (A broken marriage, a suicide attempt, a shattered Cusack who ominously says “I didn’t do anything”) when it really should have been hilarity right through the whole thing.

80's things to make fun of: Sweat bands, John Travolta, One-man-army films, John Hughes, Ollie North, a Character that might be a Communist, a shopping montage, a training montage, someone randomly breaks into dance, nerds become cool, nerds get the girl, Jocks are evil, Principals or Deans are the devil, The Brat Pack, a robot with personality, and it should have ended with the entire resort gathering around someone doing something truly good and heroic and they would all applaud.