Sunday, December 30, 2007

Missing the Pieces

There are a lot of mysteries surrounding The Missing Pieces mobisodes. Who are they intended for? Do most Verizon subscribers even know they've been selected for these obscure broadcasts? Where are all the hot actors - like Terry O'Quinn the Emmy winner? Naveen Andrews? Evangeline Lilly? Josh freakin Holloway? Why are they numbered out of order? Were these training exercises for writing interns? But most importantly, what secret messages are hidden in these pieces that at first glance seem like they probably could have stayed missing? Let's lay them out and see where we stand and see if they're giving us any hints of where our upcoming micro-season is headed.

#1 a/k/a #107 The Watch

We start off, very originally, with Jack and his daddy, having another emo moment. Because no one ever gets enough of those. Seems Jack's daddy's daddy was also a dickhead, proving that blood is indeed thicker than ... um, tears. Which we get another sneak peak cameo of. Haven't you missed seeing Matthew Fox suck his crocodile tears back up through his big red nose? If so, this Missing Piece didn't disappoint.

Christian gives Jack the watch his father gave him on his wedding day...which was a mistake....sort of like Jack's wedding day. Jack puts on the watch, which is apparently not the watch we've seen him wear on the island. Did he lose the watch or just put it away until he gets the chance to mess with his own son's mind someday? ... The watch is wrapped in a white handkerchief, like the White Rabbit has before he jumps Through the Looking Glass...And Jack throws rocks. Like Desmond threw rocks when he discovered his secret power to flash on the future....And,uh, Jack wears sunglasses...Yeah, we got nothin.

What Missing Piece did we get here?
- Christian was sometimes sober.
- Jack's love life has always been as boring as shit.
-TIME, personified by the watch passed from daddy to son, is a central theme of Lost.

#2 a/k/a # 103 The Adventures of Hurley and Frogurt

This piece starts with Hurley escaping from Bernard's tent as porn music cronks in the background. A hideous looking redshirt approaches him to smarmily insult him about his upcoming date with Libby. Some sexist banter is exchanged about the soon to be murdered woman. The end.

There is one meaningful line in this one. The skeevy dude makes the comment that if Hurley fails with Libby, it will be "Neil and forever", which is such a nightmarish prospect it might have made Libby feel lucky she caught that bullet instead. But we can anagram that little tidbit into Time Line...unless he uses the alternate spelling of Neal, of which case, nevermind....though if the Time Line is "now and forever", does that bring us back to Time Loops? Lost geeks everywhere certainly salivate at that possibility.

What Missing Piece did we get here?
-There are redshirts on the Island so foogly they make Hurley look hot.
-Hope is just a stupid joke because disaster lurks around every innocuous corner.
-Something else about TIME. I think they want us to think about TIME.

#3 a/k/a #101 King of the Castle

This was a rather classy piece. We see Jack and Ben, during Jack's period of cushy collaboration with the enemy, when he agonizingly suffered through chess games in Ben's handsomely furnished lounge. Jack flirts with Ben and Ben mocks him with false flattery. Oh, Jack, you're so smart. Oh, Jack, please stay with us. Oh, no, Jack, do you have me in check, you sneaky devil? Then Ben castles his king, proving once again that Jack's an amateur playing against a pro. Oh, snap.

This one contained some very telling lines. Ben assures Jack that they "have a deal". He tells Jack that it's up to the Island whether or not Jack will be able to leave. And he tells Jack that if he does escape, he'll want to which Jack replies "Never". (Not even if he leaves Kate and Sayid in handcuffs as Ben's prisoners while he trots off with his new honey bunny.) It's a pretty sweet little vignette that references the awesome flash forward scene where we see for a fact that Ben was right. Duh.

What Missing Piece did we get here?
-Jack plays chess worse than he does ping pong.
- Jack is verrrry comfortable making deals with the enemy.
- Ben is ALWAYS right. Don't fucking mess with him...And no way is this Island "just" an Island.

#4 a/k/a #110 The Deal

In this piece, we revisit the theme of deals made with and for Ben, deals made by and between enemies. We learn that Juliet visited with Michael during his endless Waaaaaaaaalt quest. She explained that she'd made a deal for her sister's life and now she'd like to negotiate a deal with Michael to get Ben out of the Lostie's clutches, which will result in another deal that Michael may finally find a way to get his boy out of there. We get our first look at Harold Perrineau, as Michael sweats and frets over his lack of good options.

The piece ends on the interesting note that Juliet thinks Michael should accept this deal, even though she hints it might mean separation from Walt. There is a reminder that there are no limits to what people who really love others might be willing to suffer on their behalf. Juliet accepted captivity to save her sister. We know what Michael was willing to do to try and save Walt. Have both made deals that benefited others at their own expense? Deals that, not incidentally, also caused great harm to innocent bystanders.

What Missing Piece did we get here?
-Michael is back!
-Juliet and Michael have met before.
-When you really love someone, you'll make deals on their behalf even if it means hurting innocent people in the process. (Sort of like Jack did when he left Kate shackled in a pool room so he could get his own ass onto that sub.)

#5 a/k/a #106 Operation Sleeper

In this intimate little set piece, Juliet crawls into Jack's surprisingly spacious tent while he sleeps. Equally surprisingly, when he wakes, he does not slap her head up against the nearest solid object. Instead, they speak to one another calmly, respectfully, intelligently. Juliet opens up about the fact that she's been lying to Jack about her reasons for following him to the beach. Jack accepts this with a shocking degree of calm. Although she admits to him that she has just deceived him again, he blindly accepts that this time, she's telling him the truth. He doesn't grab her forearm and scream into her face and demand that she prove her honesty. He just looks kind of sad that she didn't come to the beach just because of her crush on him.

The most interesting line in this piece is when Juliet raises the possibility that Locke did not blow up the sub. This calls back to Jack and Ben's chess game, when Jack asks if Ben will blow up the sub, and Ben implies it is the Island, not any person, that makes that decision. This may be the most salient point raised in any piece so far. Perhaps the sub is a big red herring. Has anyone ever gotten on the sub, stayed awake and watched on the sonar screen as it travels across the ocean floor and resurfaces at the Island of Mystery? As a matter of fact, no. We've never seen that.

What Missing Piece did we get here?

-Juliet lies and tells the truth so glibly it's impossible to tell the difference. But Jack trusts her like he's never trusted anyone in his entire life. Go figure.
-We've all been as gullible as Jack when it comes to that submarine. It's a prop, I tell ya.
-Jack and Juliet sitting in a tree....k-i-s-s-i-n-g....You know it's coming.

#6 a/k/a #104 Room 23

This piece has a Hitchcockian feel to it. Ben and Juliet scurry about wondering what to do about That Kid. They've locked him into the brainwashing room and clearly he's not the supple subject that Karl was. Juliet drags Ben out to the back staircase to show that Walt has been using his super powers to convince birds they should smash themselves into the building and die.

This piece raises questions about why the Others took Walt. They say they "got more than they bargained for". Did they take Walt simply because they liked snatching loose kids? And they were totally unprepared to deal with Carrie's longlost brother, which is who they ended up with? What's with the birds, anyway? Do they come to Walt and die trying to reach him? Or does he call them so he can kill them? Was Ben telling the truth when he said Jacob wanted Walt? Or is this another creepy secret plan that's all about Ben? Is he trying to destroy Walt because he thinks he's the Usurper? If - as per Darlton- Richard is meant to be the Panchen Lama and was scheming to groom Locke as Ben's replacement, maybe Ben (as the Dalai) was working his own plan to replace Richard with the 'special' Walt. We see that Juliet wanted to drop that hot potato back on the beach and be free of him, but obviously her wishes did not prevail.

What Missing Piece did we get here?

-Poor Walt wasn't kidding when he cried to Michael about not wanting to go back into "that room".
-Something happened to Walt in Room 23 that made him grow a foot in a month and gave him the power to bring Locke back from the dead.
-Whatever forces Ben has control over, Walt isn't one of them.

#7 a/k/a #112 Arzt & Crafts

This piece starts by asking cell phone users to read teeny tiny translations of Korean on their 2 inch phone screens...which must have been quite annoying for anyone who really tried to watch these things on their phones. Then the funny man who died too soon makes a reappearance. Good old rumpled bloviating "doctor" Arzt. We flash back to the controversy over Jack's plan to hide in the caves. Arzt thinks it's a bad idea because it will be all moldy and buggy and stinky back there...and also he thinks Jack is a fruit loop because he saw him chasing his dead daddy through the jungle one day. We knew there was some reason we loved Arzt.

This is a funny piece that reminds us of a season one plot point, the caves, that the writers seemed to want us to forget. It always struck me as strange that, with all the flammerjammer they put us through about going to the caves, they never bothered to explain why exactly everyone suddenly changed their collective mind and came back to the beach. But maybe that's just part of the gentle humor in this piece. We get Arzt's mockery of Dr. Dickhead and then we're reminded that Arzt really is just another hero worshipping coward when push comes to shove. Just one echo of the Monster and Arzt beats feet off to the shelter of Daddy Jack, just like so many fans of Lost keep trying to do.

What Missing Piece did we get here?
-Killing off Arzt so quickly was a big mistake. Anyone who can take the piss out of Jack like that should have been kept as the last man standing.
-Maybe this "hero" Jack that everyone is 1000% relying on has flaws that go beyond his cute little daddy issues.
-Remember how everyone went to the caves for no reason? Wasn't that stupid?

#8 a/k/a # Buried Secrets

Close-up for scrutinization!

In this piece, Sun is burying the California driver's license she obtained before she ever stepped foot in California. (And we wonder why there's an immigration problem in the US.) Michael blunders upon the scene and Sun cries on his shoulder...then looks into his big, brown eyes...and they almost kiss! Oh, we knew it!

Sun mentions that the Island is her punishment, an apparent reference of the bad things she has done to Jin. The affair, the planned abandonment. Yet, she's willing to suck face with Michael right then and there. Mmkay. She also says she couldn't leave Jin at the airport because she was too afraid...even though we all saw her melt with love when her handsome husband offered her a white flower at the last second. Was this Sun telling another lie to get Michael's sympathy? Or just amnesia on the part of writers distracted by the strike that was about to put them out of work?

What Missing Piece did we get here?
-Guilt seems to be a very flexible concept for Sun.
-Sun and Michael got a thang going on.
- Sun's license expires: in the date of the final episode of our eentsy weentsy micro season. Does that mean our 2008 season expires on that day...or that Sun does?

There's a few more of these gems coming out in the remaining weeks of our waiting game. So far, to be honest, we can't find a theme in these Missing Pieces. It wouldn't make sense for anything big to be slipped into them when no one but the most psychotically addicted Lost fans are even watching them. But we'll keep an eye out and try and stay up on them.

In the meantime, now's a good time to wish everyone the best in 2008...To Geese Friend and Geese Foe alike. Enjoy your Happy New Year!!!!!!

And please remember, whatever you do...

Arrive alive. Don't drink and drive.

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