Saturday, February 6, 2010

MORE LOST THAN EVER

"... all the stories that had ever been told and many that were still in the process of being invented could be found here, the Ocean of the Streams of Story ..." - Haroun and the Sea of Stories
It's a running joke that LOST is the TV show that keeps its fans perpetually starved and begging for answers. Well, it's not really a joke ... because it's true. But this is the final season - time for the answers to start creeping out from under their hiding places, time for the story to start rumbling in for a landing.



So, now that we've seen the big gala premiere episode, how does it feel? Does it feel like it's all starting to come together?



Hell, no! The two hour episode wound through multiple realities and story twists, only to end on a resurrected Sayid's question: "What happened?" Good question! One we're not getting the answer to anytime soon. Because, seriously, just to show how eternally screwed we all are: We waited eight months to find out what happened when Juliet hit the bomb and we still don't know for sure whether or not it went off!



We saw that Kate had landed softly in the top of a tree.



And we found out that Juliet was miraculously still alive and squeaking after hugging herself around an H-Bomb while it (maybe) exploded in her face.



But the Island under everyone's feet was fundamentally undisturbed. Juliet, last seen perpetually falling down into the abyss, was now only a few feet under ground. And she wasn't buried in Radzinsky's construction site. She was crushed under the rubble of the Swan Hatch as it had been when Desmond imploded it in 2004.



The Bomb Squad had time jumped, quite conveniently, to 2007, where all their friends were waiting on the beach to synch up storylines with them. But they hadn’t managed to unmake time so that whatever happened didn’t happen. So Jack's plan didn't work, right?



Right. Except for the part where it totally did!



And you know what that means, right? It means they went there.

"For every story, there is an anti-story" - Haroun and the Sea of Stories
In addition to still being on Craphole Island circa 2007, Jack and Locke and all their frenemies were also getting a do over on Flight 815, heading into LAX from Sydney Airport on a beautiful sunny September 22, 2004. Having exhausted the paradoxical quandaries of time travel stories, the intrepid writers of LOST have decided to boldly go to pretty much the only place they haven't been before: Alternate/Parallel/Coexisting Realities. Which means that for all the devotedly bewildered watchers of LOST, the questions that need to be answered … just doubled.



If you're in this thing for the Answers, you might as well set your DVR and come back in June. But if you're up for another epic entanglement with a many headed Question Monster, then gird your loins and get ready to do battle. The questions in this story are like Whack a Mole. Hit one down and a new one pops up. Questions like:



How did the Island sink underwater? And when? In 1977, when the bomb did/didn't go off? Then how did everyone not drown? Are they going to have to go back and find a way to resurrect Atlantis? Or is Season Six going to be the story of how they sunk it?



Is the Dharma Shark happy that he has the whole town to himself now?



Why was Desmond on the plane? And then not on the plane? Was Jack the only one who could see Desmond, the way only Hurley could see Jacob? Since he left someone who was snoring, and since Rose was sleeping the whole time he was there, is he some kind of Dream-Desmond?



What does it mean that Sayid was resurrected from a pool of water that had turned dirty?


Is he still Sayid? Or is he some kind of cousin to the creature who now possesses John Locke's body?



And what does that tell us about Ben's visit to the Temple in 1977? What really happened to young Ben inside the Temple?



And if we find out later that Sayid isn't really Sayid any more, will that mean that Ben hasn't ever actually been Ben?



What's up with this Cindy chick? Is she like a permanent Other, or just an opportunistic beeyotch who always finds a way to hook up with the kool kidz?


Was there any particular reason that so much of the story in the alt-world took place inside small public toilets?



Should we be upset that Hurley is wearing the biggest Red Shirt ever made?



What does it mean that he was carrying a big old symbol of eternal life in his guitar case,



... and the first thing the Shogun dude did was break it?



Doesn’t that seem like a bad sign?

Why is the Man in Locke so mad at Richard? And what is he disappointed about?



And what chains did Richard used to be in?



How did Jacob die from a stab wound, when his God-Twin is impervious to bullets?



And speaking of Jacob, how can it be that Jack never heard about him before this? Doesn't everybody know Jacob by now?



Did the Jack who was on the plane remember the Jack who was on the Island?



And did he have a personality transplant? All of a sudden he’s the most mellow fellow on the Island. He even stood by and let them drown Sayid!



This new Zen Jack seems to share a personality in common with the pleasant, friendly Jack we saw on the plane landing at LAX. Is Jack going to be the conduit between these two worlds? And the most shocking question of all: am I going to have to start liking Jack?



Whoa! We are clearly not in Kansas anymore. But, hey, at least we're out of DharmaTown!

I think the place to start is with some nomenclature. This is not going to be easy. Damon Lindelof has cautioned against regarding this new off island storyline as an "alternate" universe, saying that " We don’t use the phrase “alternate reality,” because to call one of them an “alternate reality” is to infer that one of them isn’t real, or one of them is real and the other is the alternate to being real." So in the interest of keeping this whole thing true to his creative vision, I've decided to call this off island world OtherLOST. I think that kind of sums it up, without in any way implying that it's inauthentic or less real.

I've also read that Darlton consider this season, in contrast to last season's "graduate course in physics", to be instead a "graduate course in the humanities". I really like that idea. I want to go back to the Season One glory days when discussing this story inevitably revolved around issues that were philosophical and ethical and theological, when no crazy question or wild ass story arc took precedence over learning more about these wonderful characters. And I take them at their word that's where this is all going. But for now, trying to figure out this first Season Six episode, I find myself going back inevitably, however reluctantly, to good old fashioned Quantum Physics. My (not at all) favorite subject.


In 1935, an Austrian physicist named Erwin Schrodinger felt the need to develop a thought experiment, or gedanken, because he had a quibble with some of his buddies about their theories of quantum mechanics. He wished to question the argument that a physical system only resolved all of its possible states once a measurement, or an observation, of its actual state was made. To do this, he invented a hypothetical "diabolical mechanism", where a hypothetical cat was in a hypothetical box. The box was rigged with a silent but deadly hypothetical device that had exactly a 50/50 chance of going off and killing the cat.



There would be no way for anyone outside the box to know if the cat had been killed or not. Therefore, until the cat was observed to be either alive or dead ... he was both! Basically, until we observe a specific reality, all possible realities are equally true. And unless I’m mistaken (which is definitely one possible reality) I think that’s where we are headed this season on OtherLOST.



Jack's plan didn't work.



And Jack's plan worked.



At the same time.

Juliet is dead.


And Juliet is alive, looking for someone to split the tab with her at Starbucks.


Desmond was on the plane.



And Desmond wasn't on the plane.



Jack argued with an Oceanic lackey and his father’s body got put on the plane.



Jack argued with an Oceanic lackey and his father’s body has become lost in time and space.



We should probably all try to be like Gedanken Desmond. As he said to Jack "Nice to meet ya. Or to see you again."



It seems to me the first place to start understanding OtherLOST is to think of it as a system, one with common elements - our characters. All the possible states they could ever have been in are equally real ... until some yet-to-be-made observation causes this fantastic world of infinite possibilities to collapse into one consistent reality. For right now, we're flickering between two LOST's. There's LOST and there's OtherLOST. It might just be a passing fling, but at the moment, I'm finding OtherLOST a whole lot more seductive. It's a puzzle, after all, and I've never quite figured out how you can be a LOST fan if you don't appreciate a good puzzle.



OtherLOST intrigues me. It's the same, but it's not. It's not opposite world exactly, even though Charlie switched haircuts with Jack.



Some of the differences are pretty stark. Hurley went from being cursed to being the self described luckiest man alive.



Jack has gone from being a tightwound control freak to being, like, normal. OtherLOST looks good on Jack. He's boozing less.



It’s him that has fear of flying this time, instead of Rose.



And he has no problem graciously accepting her advice that he should "let go now." He's actually ... dare I say it ... kind of ... nice.


Hey there, OtherJack. Pleased to meet ya.

Rose and Bernard aren't much different, but they are safe and happy together on the plane. Which is different.



With all due respect to the emotional tone deafness of LOST's fanboy recappers, the Sawyer we see on the plane is subtly, but unmistakably, a different man. He's not glowering at anyone. He’s polite, friendly, helpful … especially to Kate.



I think he's being entirely sincere when he advises Hurley to shut his trap about his lottery loot when he's in public. So do you think OtherSawyer killed that shrimp guy in Australia? I’m going to guess that answer is an obvious No.



OtherBoone is sans Shannon, and he also isn’t suffering from post-incestuous stress syndrome.



Locke appears unchanged.



Still crippled, still sad. But he seems melancholy more than miserable. And he's somehow more peacefully philosophical, more secure in himself, less bitter.



He still likes to examine diagrams and charts.



And he claims to have gone on an actual Walkabout this time. That seems unlikely, even in OtherLOST, but when he describes what he did in the outback - "We slept under the stars and made our own fires, hunted our own food." - it kind of does sound like what they just spent the last five years doing on the Island.


Hmmm.

Most of the differences are subtle, and probably still hidden. I really enjoyed the OtherLOST scenes because they began to feel like a subtle dance, with little bubbles of mystery popping up in unexpected places. I am officially intrigued.



Sayid is still gazing at Nadia’s photo, but he has an Iranian passport now. So what does that mean? Did he defect from the Revolutionary Guard? Is he a traitor now? Is he looking at the woman he lost or the woman who's going to pick him up at the airport?



Kate is still a murderer, and she's on the run, which feels the same ... except that in OtherLOST, she's no longer interested in the Halliburton case.



What happened? Did she and OtherTom never bury the plane? Or did they just never dig it up?

The numbers were still lurking around, but like everything else, they were just a little bit off. Jack's seat on Flight815 is enshrined in LOST history as Seat No. 23. But on OtherLOST, by my counting, the row he was sitting in was No. 24. Maybe that's the Other23.



Charlie is still a junkie in OtherLOST.



This time he tried to swallow his drugs for safekeeping, rather than pour them down the toilet. Jack came to his rescue, but for some reason he bypassed the more obvious Heimlich maneuver and went for the surgical method of heroin baggie removal. Maybe there are no first aid posters in OtherLOST.



OtherCharlie was saved, but as he resentfully reminded OtherJack: "I was supposed to die."



It seems that some things don't change, whatever reality we find ourselves in.


Jack didn't seem to remember how he got that sore on his neck. And we were wondering along with him, because we don't know either. Although it did look a bit like the wound that Faraday got when he was nicked by a bullet in The Variable. Did it mean anything that Jack only saw the sore in the mirror? Maybe, it's both there and not there. It's a Schrodinger's sore.


Maybe the mirror itself was the clue. Maybe this time they've all passed through a different kind of looking glass. But OtherLOST isn't a place of symmetric reversals. Many things were changed, but many weren't.

Jin is still an uptight prick, still carrying Mr. Paik's watch and a large sum of cash to LA, where presumably he still intends to bail on his father-in-law and disappear into some California Koreatown.



Unless she's also still a liar, OtherSun can't speak English. So, no Jae in her past. And no dreams of her own either. Poor OtherSun. Whipped, in any dimension.



OtherFlight 815 still went off course and flew over the latitude and longitude of the now sunken Island. That didn't change.


Christian Shephard had obviously still gone to Australia and died there. And Jack was not feeling too kindly towards him, seeing as he wanted to cannonball his body from the plane straight into an open grave within two hours of landing. So the much beloved Shephard family dynamic appears to be intact.


The causal chains that brought each of the OtherLosties onto Flight815 were all different, some a lot different, some only a little. But somehow they all ended up again in Sydney, Australia looking to get on a flight to LA. Cause and effect had conspired to get them all into exactly the same place. Well, not all of them. Most of them. I'm not sure Claire was there. Or Michael or Walt or some others. But then again, maybe they were. Since we didn't observe them, their superpositions haven't yet collapsed into any concrete reality. See? That's how this is going to work. Maybe.



What changed to make the characters so different? And what stayed the same? Was it a kind of butterfly effect, where one change set off an unpredictable new chain of cause and effect? Or are we also dealing with a Many Worlds fantasy now? Is this kind of like how the location of a rainbow changes depending on the location of the person who is observing the rainbow?



Or maybe we can go back to Schrodinger's poor kitty for a minute. Instead of the cat being both alive and dead until observed, let's imagine that at some point the cat dies ... and at that same point, it also lives! Whenever a choice is made, the world branches out into two things - the thing that happened, and the thing that could have happened, but didn't. Only now it does. Whatever happened, happened. And whatever didn't happen ... also happened!



And this goes on and on into infinity, so that the universe is made up of infinitely decohering realities. It's mind blowing, and it has absolutely no practical application to life as we live it, but it's a great way to take your imagination out for a ride.



When Desmond sits down next to Jack on the plane, he is carrying a book. I hope every LOST fan knows by now that you have to rewind the DVR whenever a book shows up, because trust me, you're expected to know these things. The book is Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories.



Haroun lost his temper and shouted: ‘What’s the point of it? What’s the use of stories that aren’t even true?
The story begins in a city "so ruinously sad it had forgotten it's name", a city that finds its name and is saved by a wonderful thing - the power of imagination, and of stories. Salman Rushdie lists as his inspirations two literary influences that we are very familiar with on LOST - Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. But he also lists a third, The Arabian Nights, which is a book we've never really seen referenced on LOST before. Until now.



That is - if you want to compare this years bunch of random mooks to Arabians. Whatever we call them, we have met the Season Six Tailies/Others/FreighterFolk/Dharma-ites. It's like the props department wanted to use up all their spare parts, so they dumped everything into the multicultural mixmaster, and came up with something that had a kind of Apocalypse Now meets the Planet of the Apes feel to it.



I don't know how to describe these people. It was kind of like John Lennon was translating for Shang Tsung at Indiana Jones’s Temple of Doom while the Mad Max children from Tomorrowland served cookes for everyone.



WTF are these people doing there and why have we never seen them before? ... Ah, it wouldn't be a new season of LOST if we didn't get to ask that question at least once, would it?



I've got to admit, I was underwhelmed by this season's choice of Others. But they obviously went to a lot of trouble to build that wicked looking temple thingie, and there's got to be something about all this that will mean something to us at some point. So I'll give it a shot. This heretofore unseen gigantic palace in the middle of the Island had obviously been built above the place where we had seen the Smoke Monster drag Rousseau's crew underground. In the bowels of the temple, Kate and Hurley find a copy of Kierkegaards "Fear and Trembling", and you know what that means. Book Alert!



This is a book about Faith, which uses the Biblical story of Abraham obeying God by murdering his son to illustrate the many difficulties that arise when a man resolves to have Faith in that which is Absurd. Certainly as LOST fans we can identify with that. And in the great LOST tradition of bastardizing all the faiths of the world and using them as chum for the story, this Angkor Wat knockoff had within it what looked like a Jewish mikveh - a ritual bath of purification. Now where else other than LOST can you find two things like that in the same place?



Sayid figured his soul wasn't headed to a good place, and it turns out he was right. He was taken in for his baptism and they didn't take him out until the bubbles stopped coming up. Apparently they had to kill him in order to save him.



But why? Weren't these guys Friends of Jacob and hadn't Jacob ordered them to save Sayid? When they heard that Jacob was dead, they all ran out like the volunteer fire department to lay a ring of ash around their fortress, and to fire off a rocket to ...



Richard?



It seems like this quasi-ancient society coexists in time with 2007 where Richard is on the beach, waiting for NotJohnLocke to come out of The Big Foot.



And even though Jacob had been living inside the Foot, the guys in the temple seemed like they were his amigos. NotJohnLocke, as we know, had just found the loophole he needed to kill his God-Twin, Jacob. After which we found out, by watching his ruthless slaughter of Ilana's men, that the being who inhabits NotJohnLocke is also the force that we have come to know and love all these years as The Smoke Monster.


"I'm sorry you had to see me that way"


I know this was meant to be a huge revelation, but somehow I felt like we already knew that the Smoke Monster was the being who was inhabiting Locke. What we didn't know was that the Monster doesn't consider himself a monster at all. He may look like a coldhearted, deadeyed bastard, but all he's trying to do is the same thing we watched Jack Shephard try to do for the first three seasons. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, he just wants to go home.



Where is his home? Is it off the Island? Is it inside the Temple where he used to drag his prey, but where he's now kept out by a ring of ash? A ring of ash that apparently wasn't needed until Jacob died and the Temple lost his protection? And didn't we just see him in that Temple very recently, when he appeared to Ben as Alex and told him to obey NotJohnLocke, i.e. himself? Oy, the labyrinth of questions never ends.

Whoever he is, whatever he is, he's the nemesis of Jacob. The black to his white. The Lucifer to his Michael. The Twin. The Other. And whatever else we know about this Battle of the Titans that's going on just beyond the wall of our understanding, I think we can all see that these two are the Gods of the Island. If there was ever any doubt, consider this: They know everything. Jacob knew that a time traveling Jin had been with Rousseau's crew as they were being dragged by the Smoke Monster into his lair. Where did Jacob come by that knowledge?


And his Bad Twin went him one better: He had been inside John Locke's very mind the night he was murdered and had felt his fear and heard his dying thought.


These guys have omnipotence. They exist outside of time and space. But what is their endgame? What are they trying to accomplish? It feels like a war, but it also feels like a game.


And games, as we know, are sometimes won ... and sometimes LOST.

A game has rules: In this one, you can't hit a player when he's inside a circle. Although, as in any good video game, there are plenty of backdoors and tricks.



And there are players. In last year's finale, we saw how Jacob went about the process of choosing his playing pieces. He chose Ilana, Jack and Locke, Sawyer and Kate, Sun and Jin, Sayid and Hurley.


Is that why Sayid couldn't die? Was he "killed" because he couldn't be saved, because both his body and soul had been ruined? But then, because he's one of the playing pieces Jacob has chosen, was it necessary to bring him back? Even if he is, technically, maybe, no longer Sayid at all? Was that why Sayid lived again after death, but Juliet - who was never chosen - had to stay dead?



I don't know if you missed it in this episode but Juliet died. For quite some time. The Interminable Dying of St. Juliet, lasted - if you include the hiatus and all the excruciating commercials - about eight freaking months. And in the course of it, magically, her motivation shifted 180 degrees. Instead of hitting the bomb so she could never have to meet and lose her precious James, she now claimed to have only wanted to let him go home ... which, I hate to tell you, could have been accomplished a whole lot more efficiently, if she'd just stayed on the damn submarine! Argh, I hate when LOST slips and insults us like that.


So, what was the point of it all? You know I really hate to bring this up - really, I do - but there's an ugly comic book trope some of you may be familiar with - something called " Women in Refrigerators." The name comes from this iconic comic moment when the Green Lantern's girlfriend is killed and stuffed in a refrigerator, thereby driving forward the adventures of the bereft heroic boyfriend. Because the hero's story matters. And, just like Juliet's, the refrigerator woman's story does not.



The medical genius who went toe to toe with Ben Linus was reduced to the adoring helpmate of James LaFleur and then sent for a little spin through a meat grinder. The fact that so many online fans keep having multiple orgasms over this sexist storyline makes me sad.



The flipside trope to this comic book staple is known as "Dead Men Defrosting", wherein when a male character is killed off, he frequently returns, altered in ways that make him even more intriguing and intrinsic to the tale. Exhibit A: Sayid Jarrah. Gender: male.



But hey, I'm not going to let a little misogyny get between me and my favorite storytellers. I just really felt it needed to be said. And besides, all is not yet lost. There are still a few women left alive around here.



Season Six Kate is showing some definite signs of returning to her longlost badassery. It will probably take awhile to wring all the Kate Hate out of this fandom, but I like that it looks like she's finally getting her mojo back.



It was so great to see Kate back to Season One form. She was wild and brave and tough - at least OtherKate was. And on the Island, Kate seemed to be back on the side of Sawyer, which just always feels more natural.



The scene where she tenderly helped a wounded Sawyer reminded me instantly of the way she had nursed him in Collision when he was near death.



Sawyer decided he wouldn't kill Jack after all, only let him live so he could suffer.



And once again, at least part of Jack's suffering comes from having to sit off to the side, watching, as Kate's affections turn to Sawyer.


That wasn't the only scene that conjured up memories of how LOST used to be. The entire sprawling episode was glittering with inside references and callbacks and deja vu of seasons past, especially Season One.


The sequence of the passengers disembarking in LA mirrored the famous plane boarding scene from Exodus and the same musical theme played to poignantly accent the reflection.


Familiar relationships from Season One reassembled effortlessly in OtherLOST. Boone and Locke will be friends in any universe of possibility.



Sayid and his feet of fury will always be of invaluable assistance to Jack.


Jack met the other characters in much the same order as he did in the Pilot. First Rose, then Charlie, then Kate. Only instead of stitching him up this time, Kate ripped him off.



LOL. I really like this OtherKate.



Sawyer had Kate's back in the elevator, instinctively helping her to get free. But why did Sawyer help her? I don't know, but I have a feeling this might be one of the more effervescent mystery bubbles in OtherLOST. Was it just me or was that look he gave her on the plane something other than flirtation? Was it maybe ... recognition?



Jack's attempt to revive Sayid mirrored his desperate Season One attempt to revive Charlie ... except that this time he failed.



The Marshall got his noggin conked, which seems to be his interdimensional destiny.



Both times Jack landed at LAX, he didn't have his father's body to bury.



And Claire was back! I can't wait to see what happens next between Aaron's Two Mommies.



And of course, we got to see the true "ultimate relationship" of LOST begin to unfold before our eyes in OtherLOST.



John Locke, in his white shirt, and Jack Shephard, in his black suit, together form the kernel at the heart of this story. I don't think that can possibly be denied at this point. The scene of them exchanging awkward looks as they left OtherFlight815 perfectly mirrored the moment in Exodus when they caught one another's eyes upon boarding.



At the end of the episode, they met up unexpectedly in a place that made perfect sense - Lost Luggage Claims. Nothing in the entire episode was more striking than this encounter. The Island adversaries bonded in a scene that twinkled with many facets of irony.



Jack offered his services as a spinal surgeon to try and fix John's disability. OtherLocke is still "irreparably broken."



OtherJack is still The Fixer, but the framing felt more profound. It didn't feel like the same old controlling obsession we remember from Jack.



It felt like ... Redemption. "Nothing is irreversible", he said, and somehow that sounded like a motto we're going to need to remember as we continue on. But what will end up being reversed? Which reality needs to be fixed?



John was gentle and helpful to the distressed Jack, and reminded him of something that's very important in this story. Jack hadn't lost his father, only his father's body.



It's something we need to keep in mind as we continue this beguiling journey. It's not the surface that matters, not the things we can see.



Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.- The Little Prince


The soul is not bound to the carcass it inhabits. As John Locke's story has shown us, the body itself is only a vessel. OtherJohn had lost his knives, the body that carried the soul of his manhood. But in our Island tale, a knife was the instrument of NotJohnLocke's vengeful spirit. Which will it be in the end of our story, when it finally winds down to the ending that must come?



I don't jump to the conclusion, like many have, that NotJohnLocke is evil and Jacob is good. I don't know if the Island is even meant to be seen as a place that is either evil or good. Despite the constant references to black and white contrasts, I'm not settled on the idea that Western style bi-polar morality is where this story is eventually headed.


One of the logical deductions of the Many Worlds Interpretation is that morality is irrelevant. Whether good or evil is done, whatever the consequences may be, whatever happens ... it's just another branching point, a different set of consequences, a new chain of cause and effect. No reality has dominance over another. No outcome is superior or more desirable. Everything just is what it is.

It's a good Zen concept to take into the season I think. It's time to drop our expectations and predictions and just start bobbing along for the ride. The story has gotten more complex, more inscrutable, more impossible. And that has to be by design. I'm reminded of last season's Book Club Selection: Everything That Rises Must Converge. A title that hearkens to the theory of the Omega Point, where a universe of ever increasing diversity ultimately converges into a state of transcendent unity of consciousness.


Yeah, I know LOST isn't going to ever be able to hit a philosophical point that sophisticated, but I do think they're headed in that general direction. Since we started with physics, but we've been promised a season moored in the humanities, it might be good to remember the words of a great genius who well represented that rare combination.



Obviously, I've got high hopes for this season. I'm willing to look past some of the glitches and kitschy misteps, at least for now, as long as I still get the sense that the story is reaching for the stars. I'm not sure John Locke's dying thought was all that sad: "I don't understand." Well, who does? Certainly noone who is currently watching LOST. But that's ok. If we understood it all right now, what fun would that be?



I'm strapped in for the season. Looks like it's going to be a bumpy ride.


30 comments:

Miss T said...

Wonderful recap as always.

I'm also wondering if I'm the only one who felt a little choked up as we heard the iconic music as they all stepped off the plane?

butterfly-kate said...

Great recap, Fish. You really hit on all the things I liked about this episode, particularly OtherJack.

I was surprised to find that the Jack/Locke meeting was my favourite part of the episode.

Dezdemona said...

Schrodinger's cat! You've framed the season perfectly. (And can I please have the cute kitty in the cardboard box?) I do believe that the box will be opened sometime later this season, and that we will learn which potential kitty-fate actualized.

Glad you liked the season opener; I thought if was a blast... except for Juliet's endless death which kept throwing off the pacing. So good to have your recaps to look forward to for another season.

control said...

The uncertainty principal. I love it. FB you have given me my favorite take on LA X yet. Thanks in advance for providing a guided tour to the bumpy ride.

Goyt said...

Thank you Fish amazing recap

Crystal said...

Fantastic recap, Fish! You touched on all the things that both fascinated me and left me even more confused than ever. From the Other-Others to these flash-sideways, Sawyer/Kate, Jack/Locke, Juliet's redundant and pointless death.. it's been a doozy of a premiere.

Devera said...

"Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."- The Little Prince

Lovely, Fish! Another excellent recap of an excellent first episode. While I can see the issues that you have with some things--such as Juliet's neverending death scene and the crazy new set of others--I think we need to observe closely, have faith, and as you said--enjoy the ride.

T, I definitely felt some twinges of nostalgia when some of the classic music played.

LostTvFan said...

Nice job Fish, I've been looking forward to your review and you addressed three of my favorite questions from the premiere:

Is he still Sayid? Or is he some kind of cousin to the creature who now possesses John Locke's body?

And what does that tell us about Ben's visit to the Temple in 1977? What really happened to young Ben inside the Temple?

And if we find out later that Sayid isn't really Sayid any more, will that mean that Ben hasn't ever actually been Ben?


What happens in the temple? Is someone inhabited by the spirit of someone else (like Locke/Flocke has been without a visit to the temple) or are they just changed in some way?

Kimmerz said...

Miss T- oh i had tears in my eyes b/c that end scene from season 1 on the plane always makes me cry

Fish- the temple group-- am I wrong in thinking we HAVE seen them before ?!?!?! didn't jin and ecko see them wandering through the forest- the barefoot people with raggedy clothing with the child carrying the teddy bear on the string peter pan style? aren't they the same people???

Ben said...

Fish, I gotta wonder, why do you Keep doing this if you so obviously hate sci fi? Its like you wanted it to become days of our skate"

Kyle from Kentucky said...

I hope that in the end Sayid is Sayid and John is John. Obviously MIB has taken John's body and Jacob has probably taken Sayid's body. But what if Jacob is not MIB's rival at all but instead the only person blocking him from the real power on the island like their daddy or something. But what happens next? Christian takes dead Jack's body? Black horse takes Kate's body? Cooper takes Sawyer's dead body? Is that the endgame were headed to? I loved the first 2 hours but while I find myself extremely intrigued by the MIB vs Jacob story and history I am way more interested in the destinies of our original characters. I don't want them all to die and be reposessed by demi-gods.

Anne said...

Hey Fish, thanks for giving us your take on the Lost premiere. I agree that there were a lot more questions raised as per usual, but I totally love your shroedinger's cat analogy. That we will be getting to see both how it worked and how it didn't work, and both are equally valid, just like Darlton themselves have been quoted as saying.

I have no idea what's going on with Sayid. I fear he has gone the way of Locke. That the Sayid we knew and loved is gone. Mind you, after what he did to Ben, I suppose this could be some weird kind of Karmic justice. On the other hand, the Lost writers do love to surprise and shock us, so the obvious assumption that something is possessing Sayid could be way off base.

I'm so sad that Locke's last thought was I don't understand. It's both tragic and fitting. Seeing Terry O'Quinn play both Smokey incarnate and OtherLocke was such a treat.

I agree that Jack was pretty sympathetic and likeable this episode. I felt his remorse, and for once he didn't seem to scream self-absorption but genuine concern and sorrow at how his plan had worked out for those around him. OtherJack was less reactionary and one of my fave scenes of the ep was with OtherLocke in baggage claim.

'Nothing is irreversible' does seem to be a line which stands out. Also 'You can let go now.'

Locke's comforting message about how Jack's father was not lost, only his body was poignant and seemed to whet my appetite for more metaphysical discussion.

But where is Smokey's home? When has Richard been in chains?

Why did the temple and the new Others look so hokey and Temple of Doom-ish? Lennon was channeling Lennon. I'm not sold on him or Dogen yet.

I agree that Juliet seems to have been fridged. To motivate Sawyer's arc and drive him darker this season.

Loved Kate, loved the Sawyer/Kate scenes. As usual they got the musical love them, the gorgeous lighting, the long wistful looks, and even Jack looking on.

The Juliet death scene was overkill. But good for those fans of the pairing I guess. Seemed to lessen the impact of the finale, though, for me. Also her motivation got beatified. Sorry, but she changed her mind so as to never lose Sawyer to Kate. She stated that in the finale. It wasn't to send him home. And to what? He was a soul destroyed guy coming back from having killed the wrong man in his quest to get brutal revenge on the real Sawyer. Why send him back to that? It made no fricking sense.

I don't understand why people think you hate scifi, or are slagging the show. It's obvious that you love the show, but are not blind to its shortcomings, and have your own preferences in watching. There's nothing wrong with preferring the character development and drama or philosophical themes vs the geeky mythological puzzle within a puzzle theorizing that some people enjoy.

Lost has something for everyone. I am thrilled that the creators said this season would be a lesson in the humanities.

Loved that you reused a Little Prince quote. I have a feeling that people who want every question they have in their minds explained will be disappointed and be missing the journey along the way.

As the creators pointed out the only questions which matter are those the characters themselves are burning to find out. So Scott and Steve, and the Hurley Bird, and the lack of hair bushes and such are never going to be explained in my opinion.

SW was a little ruined by over-explanation. I just hope that the writers give us enough of a great story that we can overlook not having every single mystery or ? explained thoroughly.

Demystifying Lost would be a bad thing. JMO.

Anonymous said...

great recap. looking forward to them all.

Surprised there's been no mention of both Kate and Sawyer saying the same line in OtherLost.

Sawyer to Arntz when told who Hurley was "Well, how about that."

Kate to Sawyer in the elevator when he told her they were on the same plane "Well, how about that."

Anonymous said...

Yay, first recap of the new season! And as entertaining a read as always.

"And the most shocking question of all: am I going to have to start liking Jack?"

Hahahaaa!

Though tbh, I'm starting to like him myself. ._.

Keep up the good work, Fish! Can't wait for next week, that one oughta be good. ;p

Benn said...

"How did the Island sink underwater? And when? In 1977, when the bomb did/didn't go off? Then how did everyone not drown?"

Who are you referring to when you say, "everyone"?

If you're referring to Jack, Kate, Sawyer etc... well, they didn't drown because they were never on the island in the alternate timeline.

jessica said...

great recap as alaways and I have to admit i didn't dilike Jack this episode *shocked* Why everybody keeps calling the bomb being detonated "jack s plan" it was not, it was Faraday's and jack agreed with him

Anonymous said...

Thoughtful and inspiring recap, as always.

Here's something to ponder: If there was a new branch of time created by the bomb, we can reasonably assume that the new branch was created in 1977. So everything that we know about our characters from past flashbacks that happened after the split has the potential to be somewhat different in OtherLost.

One thing that would be the same is the encounter that young James Ford had with Jacob in 1976, when he gets the pen from Jacob to write his letter after his parents' funeral. (Everything before the split in 1977 would be the same in both timestreams.)

So, Sawyer might be the only person in OtherLost who has been touched by Jacob. He could be a part of Jacob's endgame plan in that world as well.

TM Lawrence said...

Great detail and erudition...
Couple comments, though:
1) Sun & Jin appear to not be married ("Ms. Paik" at Customs and no ring)
2) In your analysis of the Haroun reference, it should be noted we have had references to Arabian Nights before. The b&w portrait in Locke's locker is of Sir Richard F. Burton, explorer of Egypt, consul of Fernando Poo (see Lost/Illuminatus trilogy tie-ins), and translator of Arabian Nights.

TM Lawrence said...

Also... though I hesitate to mention this to anyone who believes Sawyer actually merits the attention of either Juliet OR Kate...when Kate climbs out of the tree and looks past Miles, she sees two unmoving figures on the ground. She identifies Sawyer and Jack, looks back and forth between them, and goes to revive Jack, not Sawyer. She furthermore subsequently protects Jack from Sawyer's violence.

"Rodimus" Ben Lundy said...

FB, love your brilliant recaps as always. They are always the highlight of my tour through the LOST community on any week when a new episode airs. And while I agree that, in general, LOST does not have very strong female characters, I have to take exception with your particular criticism of Juliet's storyline. Just because she died does not make the character's story sexist. Don't forget, it was only two seasons ago when the tables were turned, and Juliet's lover Goodwin died so that Juliet's character could move forward. I don't think that particular trope is limited to one-way between genders. Although granted it happens a lot more where the woman is the victim.

Anonymous said...

Rodimus, it isn't just because Juliet died that makes it a sexist storyline, although it does seem as if the female characters are far more disposable on this show. It's because of the transformation of Juliet's story...she was a strong character to start with... fertility genius, family-oriented and devoted to her sister, ability to deal with the head honchos such as Ben on the island... to nothing but a whimpering lover, willing to forget it all because she couldn't handle her lover loving someone else even though she knew that to begin with.

Fish, I've already told you how much I love this review but it can't be said enough! You're a 99.9% perfect genius, the 0.01% to allow for any incorrect assumptions you make, just as you know it's possible for anyone to make one when it comes to this show! Your take on it makes total sense to me right now. I'm going to think of Schrodinger's Cat and your Many Worlds theory from now on, until it's proved otherwise. ;)

Happy to see your great sense of humour is still very much present too... lol at the Ben gif in particular.

Totally agree with you on the differences with OtherSawyer ...now that it's pointed out that we may be seeing another side to him, it's a good reminder that Lost often intends us to think one thing based on what we already know ...in this case, we could presume we're seeing Sawyer's previous con man ways, but I can definitely see this assumption being turned on its head down the Lost road this season.

A final thanks for the lovely, entirely appropriate The Little Prince quote. "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly". So often things are not quite as it seems initially on this show. Which is part of what makes it fun to watch.

A very sincere A+++ for this review from me. Your reviews have become as essential as watching this show.

- Midnight

オテモヤン said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Masheen said...

"The Marshall got his noggin conked, which seems to be his interdimensional destiny."

OMFG. This just too funny! Can't stop laughing.

To quote yourself FisH: "In our photo, this group is made up of Sayid, Sawyer and Kate. But who's who? Sayid is clearly in the traitor's spot, and he does look the most confrontational and demanding."

I'm pretty much sure now that Sayid is indeed the traitor. God help us all

Gypsy Crow said...

Freaking yay. Welcome back, Fishy.

Mynamesdan said...

everything is everrything

Another indispensable report on the show, Fish. It's hard to imagine that writing these isn't your full-time job. So much work goes in. Ever grateful.

Dunno if it helps at all, but my understanding of the sybolism of the ankh is something only nominally different to yours. You say 'eternal life' but I've been told that it represents longevity, moreso than infinity.

The shape of the Ankh, and please forgive me because i'm sure you already know this, is drawn from the shape of the original sandal, or flip-flop. The ancient egyptians worked out that people who wore shoes would have a longer existence wandering around on protected feet than those who rocked the stylish barefoot look. The loop of the ankh is the ankle loop, and the 'T' shape is the part you stood on. I don't suspect that Richard is immortal, but more preserved into longevity by a symbolic Ankh. We are now aware that Ankhs can be broken- so everybody look surprised when Richard dies pretty soon.

Love your step-by-step of Quantum theory. I broke my brain on that book five years ago and I never could have explained it all so succintly. I've long contended that Lost was operating narratively on multiple dimensions, the clues were there early on of course, but my theory is that everything we experience as an audience is constantly happening. Wherever that swooshy noise happens to describe a time-jump or a dimension-jump we're being informed of it as a viewer. Charlie is fighting with his addiction on the island, but look what's happening over here simultaneously five years ago in London. We saw it in the way Desmond had a continuous stream of conciousness jumping through time. It's the same for all of them, but Desmond has been the only one- up until this most recent episode, to be fully aware of the transition.

sorry to go on and on. I STILL think the statue looks like Juliet. We'll see.


Please don't stop doing what you're doing, Fish. I may be more addicted to your blog than I am to the damned show itself.

Chris said...

Hey FBL.

I really don't envy your work - your selection of images is so spot-on, it must have taken forever to get right :O

I have tried emailing you, but I don't know if it was successful. I have recently began my own Lost analysis blog at superduperstream.blogspot.com and I have collected a few of the best Lost minds (Vozzek69, Izi, Karen (of Karen's Lost Notebook) etc to discuss a question each week to share our thoughts and opinions :)

Anyway, I am a big fan of your blog, have been for years, and would love if you would join in. My email is lostquestions23@gmail.com if you are interested :)

Anyway, keep up the fantastic work!! I'm very impressed - I felt it took forever just to add rather random images to my own analysis, I can only imagine how hard it must be for you to blog in this style and pull it off so very well!

Anonymous said...

Terrific! Thanks! I just read this today but was just postulating that Sayid being 'claimed' sounded like they're game pieces, being picked by the players. I have the backgammon image in my head, and the disks that set off to the side until they can be placed back onto the game board, back in play navigating their circle.

Mary

Anonymous said...

http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2010/02/the_doubleedged_sword_of_devot.html

I invite all you shippers to read the above and reflect on how it may apply to you.

Anonymous said...

Great recap as always Fish! Looking forward to your next installment.

rove3

Anonymous said...

cool story bro