Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
American Idol dominated the 9pm hour, though it was a more competitive hour against new episodes of Lost and Criminal Minds (and Life). Lost which had risen nicely in the demos last week (to a 5.1 among 18-49s) dropped back down to the two weeks ago level when it drew a 4.4. But last week it wasn’t up against American Idol and two weeks ago it was. So it looks pretty consistent. Lost was remarkably consistent numerically for both half hours.
If we're to believe last night's preview of next Wednesday's Lost, it would seem that the long awaited reunion of Sawyer and Kate (also know as "Skate" on these here internets) will soon be upon us. And so, the bitter debate regarding whom Ms. Austen loves more -- him or Jack -- will burn especially bright in the coming week. Will she live happily ever after with the quippy Southern con artist or the stressed out doc? I don't know ... Rumor has it, Kate might not live "ever after" at all.
Solid sources tell me exclusively that Evangeline Lilly is auditioning for pilots ... pilots that are intended to launch this fall. And Ms. Lilly's people apparently told producers she will be available. Say wha--??
Yeah, I can't make sense of it either. The notion that Lost producers would kill off Kate -- or have her disappear in any capacity -- before the series' final season seems preposterous. Still, no story development on this show would completely surprise me, as everything is clearly possible in the land of Lost. And the fact is, Lilly seems to be looking for work.
Now, for all those Island-obsessed, please know this is not a spoiler... just a fellow Lost fan trying to compute what she's seen and heard.
I've been familiar with the name Jeremy Bentham ever since I got a wonderful book about mummies when I was in grade school. Bentham was included because he willed that his body be embalmed - Bentham called it his "auto-icon" - and wheeled out at special University of London council meetings forevermore.
What fascinated me most, however, was the gruesome picture of Bentham's head. Due to a mistake in the embalming process, the head had turned into a blackened, shriveled thing that sat between the auto-Icon's feet, while a lifelike wax copy perched upon its neck. After watching last night Lost, I have to wonder whether Locke's noggin likewise has been replaced by a wax one - become he sure was acting like a man without a brain. Indeed, I think part of my slight-but-lingering disappointment with "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" is due to Locke's ongoing willingness to believe just about anything anybody tells him. Widmore: "You're special! Ben's bad." Locke: "Okay." Ben: "You're special! Widmore's bad. And here, let me help you with that noose." Locke: "Okey-doke."
The episode opens as Cesar, a Sayid-esque passenger from Ajira Flight 316, rifles through the Hydra Station (which means they've landed on the smaller island). He's just stuffed a shotgun into his bag, when Ilana (the Ana Lucia proxy) walks in to tell him that they've discovered a man, dressed in a suit (Why is this such a big deal? Not everybody travels in sweatpants), who wasn't on the plane. It's Locke, of course. The following morning Ilana tells Locke that the outriggers were already on the beach when they arrived, and that there were three until "the pilot and a woman" (Sun perhaps, frantically looking for Jin) took one in the middle of the night. Locke tells Ilana that he doesn't remember being on the flight, but he does remember dying. She shakes her head and walks off.
We flashback to Locke turning the wheel and the flash of light and - boom - he wakes up in the Tunisian desert, just like Ben in "The Shape of Things to Come" and, in all likelihood, the Hydra-collared polar bear whose skeleton Charlotte uncovered in "Confirmed Dead." Locke's leg is still badly fractured, and calls for help when he notices there's a camera fixed on him. He lays there until night, when a pickup truck almost runs him over. A group of gun-toting Tunisians jump out, none-too-gently throw him in the back, and take him to a clinic/field hospital. There, Matthew Abaddon peeks out from behind a curtain as the local doctor sets Locke's leg without painkillers, in a scene that makes my bones ache just writing about it.
Locke wakes up when he hears a voice; it's Charles Widmore. He's had a specialist flown in to set Locke's leg properly (or so he says). Widmore reminds Locke of the last time they met: on the island, when Widmore was just 17 years old. He asks Locke, who hasn't changed a bit since then, how long ago it was: four days, says Locke.
Widmore explains that Tunisia is "an exit," that Ben fooled Widmore into leaving the island, that before then Widmore was the leader, and protected the island peacefully for more than three decades. Also, there's a war coming and if Locke isn't back on the island when it happens, the wrong side will win.
This speechifying is, I think, is another reason why I found this episode less exciting than I wanted it to be. I know there's less than two seasons left and they have to move things along, but flat out expository ("Let me tell you that A happened, then B, and C") by its very nature lacks the mystery and subtlety that I've come to expect from Lost. Last week we had Mrs. Hawking explaining how they found the island, and now here's Charles Widmore giving up a lot of his back story, whereas in seasons past each might have had an episode or more to developing these stories. Now we have answers to questions we haven't even had time to ask.
Though he still doesn't trust Widmore (something about that boatload of killers and C4), Locke is onboard with the rest of the plan to round up the rest of the O6. Widmore gives him a passport in Jeremy Bentham's name ("Your parents had a sense of humor, so do I," says Widmore. Jeremy Bentham, the philosopher, was opposed to John Locke, the philosopher's concept of natural rights), as well as a dossier on the whereabouts of the O6, a phone with speed-dial connection to Widmore, and a car and driver/bodyguard. The latter is an old friend: the other-worldly Matthew Abaddon.
The two of them set out to convince the O6 to return to the island. Sayid's in San Domingo, building houses for a Habitat-for-Humanity style organization. He doesn't want to go back to the island, but asks Locke a couple of good questions: who's manipulating him, for one, and whether the reason Locke so desperately wants to go back is because he has no where else to go.
Next, they drop by New York City for a quick visit with - all together, now - WAAAAAAAALT. "Boy's gotten big," notes Abaddon dryly. Walt's been dreaming about Locke - he was wearing a suit and everybody wanted to hurt him. When he asks about his father, Locke hedges and says the last he heard Michael was on a freighter near the island. As they leave, Abaddon helpfully notes that Locke is now 0 for 2 when it comes to gathering former residents of the island, though this is the first we've heard that maybe Walt was supposed to go back, too. Neither of them notice Ben watching them.
Hurley, working on a watercolor of the Sphinx (shout out to Garrison Dean's Ra theory!) in the yard at the asylum, first thinks Locke is another ghost like Charlie. But when he realizes that Abaddon is with the very-much-alive Locke, he really freaks out. Abaddon is evil, he warns Locke, then refuses to continue the conversation, let alone go back to the island. At this point, Locke finally asks what Abaddon does for Widmore - and here comes more of that exposition. Abaddon reminds everybody that he was the orderly in the hospital after Locke's accident who convinced him to go on the walkabout, which caused him to take Oceanic 815 and end up on the island. Abaddon helps people "get where they're supposed to get to."
Then it's off to L.A., where crabby Kate not only refuses to go back to the island, but tells Locke she thinks he's a desperate, loveless, angry obsessive. And with that, Locke makes Abaddon take him to his lost love, Helen Norwood. She's dead of a brain aneurysm, and as Locke and Abaddon stand before her tombstone, they discuss whether Locke's death will be inevitable or by choice. As they leave the cemetery, an unseen Ben shoots Abaddon. Locke, terrified, drives off like a crazy man and gets into a car accident.
For a moment, we wonder if Locke is dead, but then he wakes up in Jack's hospital, and immediately starts giving the hard sell about going back to the island: it's fate that brought him to the hospital; somebody's trying to kill him because he's special. Jack's not buying it. He thinks Locke's deluded, a "lonely old man that crashed on an island" once upon a time. But when Locke tells Jack his father says hello, he starts to get nervous. Locke presses his case; only Jack can convince the others. But Jack doesn't listen. It's over, he tells Locke, "and we were never important. You leave me alone, and you leave the rest of them alone."
In his room at the Westfield Hotel, Locke has written his suicide note, fashioned a noose of electrical cord, and is ready to take the final plunge off a desk when Ben breaks down the door. He's been following them all, keeping them safe - which is why he killed Abaddon. Widmore is extremely dangerous, says Ben, that's why he moved the island - to keep Widmore away so Locke can lead, and he reiterates how important he is.
But Locke thinks he's a failure, at least until Ben tells him that Jack has booked a ticket to Sydney. (Do we know the significance of this? Or is Ben flat-out lying? Who flies to Australia and returns "first thing in the morning"?)
"You can't die, you have too much work to do," Ben pleads, and Locke gets off the desk. When Ben mentions that Locke hasn't even been to Sun yet, he spills the beans about Jin and the wedding ring. Ben appears shocked that Jin is alive. Locke tells Ben that after they've gathered everyone together, they're supposed to go to Eloise Hawking. Ben admits he knows her then, faster than you can say "Tony Soprano," garrotes Locke. (This strikes me as the second time Ben has usurped a task that Locke is supposed to do, turning the wheel being the other. Is Ben trying to keep Locke from fulfilling his destiny by performing these tasks himself?)
Cut back to the island, where Cesar is poking through a Dharma folder, when the reanimated Locke walks in. Locke confesses he's been on the island before, and has no idea how he got back. Cesar then asks him if he knows why, after the flash on the plane, the big guy with curly hair was gone, as were some other passengers. This rings a bell with Locke, who asks for the passenger list-but Cesar says the pilot has it (though when Locke earlier asked about the passenger list, Ilana told him to talk to Cesar). He then takes Locke to a makeshift hospital, where Locke recognizes a seemingly badly injured Ben. "Do you know him?" asks Cesar. "Yes, he's the man who killed me," says Locke.
So, is Locke really "special" - or do Ben and Widmore understand that this is the best way to manipulate him to do their dirty work? Are the Losties just pawns in a bigger game? And is anybody dreading next week's big Sawyer/Kate reunion as much as I am?
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I once heard a saying that goes “You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the number of apples that will come from an apple seed” Locke went around trying to preach the gospel of “We have to go back” but without much success. Or so it seemed to him. All he ran into were mostly doubting Thomas’s who not only told him that they weren’t going back, but ridiculed him. But we find out from previous episodes that some of his visits did make a difference.
Take Hurley, Locke visited him in the Mental Institute while he was painting a picture of the Sphinx, which by the way is in the general location that Locke happened to land after leaving the island. It’s interesting that Hurley had thought that Locke was dead referencing Charlie’s & who knows how many other visitations Hurley had received. Locke’s visit further planted in his mind the idea that he got from Charlie that he had to go back and then Hurley started preaching it to Jack.
Locke visited Walt, its interesting that Walt asked about his Father to Locke and then later to Hurley. It’s my guess that Walt’s curiosity has been piqued and that he won’t rest until he can find a way to go back, which will probably be in season 6 when his growth issues will no longer be a problem.
Later Locke visited Jack. Jack just like Sayid & Kate was a total jerk to him. But then later Ben tells him that Jack had started flying to different places hoping to crash and even later Jack was one of the first ones to come around when Ben started rounding up the OC 6’s.
So Locke’s efforts did have an effect on everyone, it just didn’t seem like it at the time.
Abbadon is a lot like Richard; both men are very interested in helping Locke achieve his potential. Both me seem to have an other worldly aura around them. Which makes me wonder in Abbadon is really dead. Who knows maybe we'll get a flashback where after Locke drives off he gets up and walks away.
Note Earlyer I mentioned that Fringe is on ABC. Feo has kindly reminded me that Fringe is on Fox and I have since erased that part. Its was late last night.
Benjamin Linus vs. Charles Widmore:
It’s interesting watching the lengths that these two men go through to win the game that they are playing. The past few weeks Ben has acted like an angel. But this episode we find out how devilish he really is. It’s my guess that even though Widmore appeared saintly to Locke that he really is bad also. Both men keeping have been keeping heavy tabs on all who left the island. Both men telling everyone that the other was Evil. It will be interesting to see how things play out.
Finally I have to say that I loved the opening scene, that scene actually fooled and disoriented me a lot more then the season premiere did. I loved the intros of Ileana and Caesar a whole lot better then Nikki & Paulo. Great episode!
Lost's Ben Linus talks to us about his connection to The Island.
by Matt Fowler
February 24, 2009 - It's not often that we here at IGN TV get to march into the heart of darkness, but this past week I had a chance to speak with the winner of IGN TV's Top Villain of '08, Benjamin Linus himself – Lost's Michael Emerson. Linus is a complex character, but he's also been our "constant." Because Ben always seems to know more than he's sharing, we as an audience are able to put our faith behind a show that's filled with secrets. The fact that Ben seems to know what's going on sets our hearts and minds at ease whenever we find ourselves getting overwhelmed with the "unknown." Michael Emerson's performance, which manages a tremendous balance between petty jealousy to irreverent malice, is definitely something that brings us back to the show each week. Even if we do wind up, occasionally, wanting to beat his character in the face with a large piece of plywood.
IGN TV: I just wanted to give you a "heads up" before I start here that most everyone in our office, myself included, are complete Lost fanatics.
Michael Emerson: Oh, well then they must have had a good time Wednesday night, I thought it was a pretty good episode. IGN: We had a great time. And now speaking directly to what we saw on Wednesday night, we got to see Ben battered and bloodied again. You'd gone injury free for a long time, but now you're back to the Ben we remember. Emerson: (laughs) Oh, gosh. I sort of had a vacation from it for six episodes, but now as you can see I'm a punching bag again. It takes longer every morning in make up when you've got to apply all the bruises and bleeding. We're back to that old drill and the more ragged clothing. It sort of feels like we're going back to the thing that I know best.
IGN: What kind of things are you allowed to know, an actor, headed into a scene? I know that it's good to keep the audience in the dark about certain elements, but what about the actors? When you filmed that scene with Ben acting frantic, covered in blood and on the payphone, did you know what had just happened to Ben?
Emerson: No. I didn't actually. And it was the cause of some speculation on the set. "Wait a minute. I'm beaten. Who beat me? And for what reason?" But, you know, I could speculate. I had a pretty fair idea of what my secret, last minute mission was. You know, before I had to get on the plane. So it's an outgrowth of that, clearly. IGN: What is it like, from an actor's standpoint, to head into scenes where you might not know the set up or the outcome? Emerson: Actually, I suppose it might seem like it would be a problem for some people. But I started the show as a guest actor not knowing what the heck was going on, and I find that, as I've gone along, that that's still the best policy. In a way, I'm happy not to be the keeper of the big secrets and I'm happy not always having to gauge my performance toward some secret future development. Or some secret past development. It really just makes it easier if I just show up on the day and play the scenes straight.
IGN: This season's big development is the big and daring bellyflop into the realm of "Time Travel." It's now a show about time travel. How did that sit with you? Was that something that you knew was coming?
Emerson: Every season the writers inject a new, sort of, device. Or a new level to the storytelling. Previously they've done flashbacks and then flash forwards. I wasn't sure what they were going to come up with for this season, but I knew it was going to be something big because it is every season. And this one seems to be logical. Now that they've unleashed the forces of the space-time continuum than it seems natural that we should start bouncing around in there.
IGN: You're probably not aware of this, but you were voted, here at IGN, the top TV villain of '08 in our Best of '08 feature that we ran before the holidays.
Emerson: Oh, that's nice! Thank you!
"IGN: Ben is definitely someone with bigger plans and a bigger picture in mind. When you play him, do you see him as an evil character?
Emerson: No, I don't really. I don't think of him in terms of good and evil. But even if I did I would not think of him as a villain. We don't really have solid evidence of that, and maybe it's partly my nature to just think of the character as free floating on the scale of good and evil. And I'm not sure where the writers mean to go with it. I mean the writers love teasing the audience a lot with my character. Making them fear him. Making them worry about his plans all the time. And depending on which part of which season you're looking at he might come off as very villainous or perhaps very sympathetic. I think they've made him rather sympathetic lately and for all I know, they mean to wrap it up in a very heroic manner. I think the jury is still out on Ben. Although it's safe to say that he's manipulative and deceptive when he needs to be. Ben might say "well, if you knew what I had to get done, then it justifies my means."
IGN: It's a given for us that Ben mixes lies with the truth and is a master of manipulation, but I think what tipped the scales for us and what got Ben the IGN TV award was his little throwaway lines. Like when Locke said, "You just killed everyone on that boat?" And Ben said, "So." Or even from this past week's show when Jack asks Ben about what might happen to everyone else on the plane, and then Ben said, "Who cares." The nonchalant attitude towards the deaths of others sealed the deal for him in our eyes.
Emerson: Oh yes. (laughing) Every season they seem to give me one of those moments where I seem like the coldest human being on the planet and that was one of them.
Emerson: That seems to be where we're at right now. In fact, I made a mental note to myself this week that Ben may not be a General after all. He may be a Captain. There seems to be this upper tier of people who understand the mechanism and they seem to be jealous of one another and then they're sometimes outright violent with one another.
IGN: What is Ben's attraction or attachment to The Island specifically? He mentioned that it's a place "where miracles happen" but we also know that he doesn't seem to give a damn about people. So it would be safe to assume that he might not even care about miracles.
Emerson: I think the full answer to that is unknown. Not just to the viewer, but to me as well. Because the answer to that question is tied in with the end reveal of the series. With the whole conclusion, I think. I can say that the force that The Island represents is the most powerful force in the world and therefore he who controls it, controls many other things. But I think it's more than the quest for power. His attachment seems to be more personal.
IGN: You're almost done filming this season, aren't you?
Emerson: Yes, they're just finishing up number fourteen I think. So just three more.
IGN: What's it like knowing that Lost is headed for a definite conclusion after one more season? Is this the right time for the show to end, or could have seen it going on longer? Emerson: I think it's a great and bold stroke on the part of the writing staff to say, "Okay, we're not going to milk this thing. We're not going to run it into the ground. We have a plan. We have an outline and we're going to finish it in this many episodes." It's certainly good for the show. It's revived the momentum of the playing and of the writing on the show. It also sort of gave an electrical shock to our audience who got to become a little more engaged all over again. I just think that for me as an actor, you hate to see a great thing come to an end, but it's also been really hard work and it's been somewhat lonely work because it's shot so far from all my friends and loved ones. Family. The world of the theater. You know, the life I had before Lost has been on hold for more than three years. It will be nice to come back to the mainland and pick up where I left off.
IGN: Well, we'll miss the show, of course, when it leaves. But we'll also really miss Ben and your performance.
Emerson: Thank you. I really enjoy the ambiguity of the character. I think it's not only fun to play, but I think it's true. It's true about life. The villains in our lives are not such obvious villains. They're subtle. And you're never quite sure if you've seen what you've seen. Or heard what you've heard. I like that. I think the playing of villains is the most fun an actor can have. It reflects the truth about humanity, which is that we all have a little bit of villainy or corruption in us. But we're also very good at hiding it and that's what the playing of villains is all about.
email this Buzz up!add to Yahoo! buzz add to facebook Another Thursday, another installment of TVGuide.com's "Getting Lost" video series. And this one comes packaged with an intriguing "bundle of joy."
But first: On the heels of Walt's still-tall/non-ghost encounter with John Locke, Malcolm David Kelley shares his take on whether we've seen the last of Michael's son. Or... might Walt and his never-fully-realized "powers" resurface next year in time for what undoubtedly will be Lost's thrilling series finale?
Looking ahead to next week's episode, if you seek info on Amy, 24 alumna Reiko Aylesworth phoned us to share some tantalizing tidbits about her recurring character, who turns up next week. Pregnant. (Watch for my complete and completely intriguing Q&A with Reiko next week. Seriously, I had goosebumps by the time we got done. Gonna be a big episode. Game-changing by all accounts.)
Lastly, in the Burning Questions segment, I pass along some of your theories about why Ben was all bloodied at the end of "316." Your new mystery to chew on: What did Kate do with Aaron, and why does it have her so upset? Getting_Lost@tvguide.com is the place to send your theories.
Malcolm David Kelley wants closure.
Just like the rest of us, MDK is a hard-core Lost fan, which means he is dying to know more about what makes Walt so "special," and he even has some ideas about where Walt might fit in season six. We just spoke to MDK exclusively, and he shared his pitch for Walt's future and what he knows about the kid's superpowers.
Read on for the inside track about the future of WAAALT!
After last night's brief but tantalizing return engagement, Malcolm is ready and willing to go another round with Lost. "I would like to come back for a long stretch, but it’s not up to me. It’s up to the writers."
In fact, after having been a recurring character for seasons two through five, he'd be down with returning to regular-castmember status for season six. "That would be cool."
Like the rest of us, MDK is intrigued by the hints about Walt's "special" qualities and wants to know more. He says that Walt is man with a mission; he just needs to find his jumping-off point: "He knows something’s going on because he has those magic powers, and he didn’t get to fulfill his purpose of being on the Island, and now he’s back home, but I think he knows what’s going on. I think if he had the chance to [go back] he would, but I think he feels he wants somebody to ask him or to feel like they need him."
Attention, Darlton: Would someone please call Walt back to the Island? Please?
As for those "magic powers," MDK personally has no doubt that Walt is indeed a human with special abilities: "I am really convinced he has those magic powers. I think he can make anything happen that he wants to. Remember with the polar bear? He brought the polar bear out of the book. I think [his abilities] are totally independent of the Island, but I think it is a place where he can really use his powers. At home he can’t really do anything with his powers, 'cause he’d be just kind of a weird kid—on the Island is where he can be free." Awww, no wonder he gets along so well with Terry O'Quinn's medicine-man character John Locke.
MDK even has some ideas he's been working up for actual scenes where Walt makes his triumphant return: "I’ve actually been thinking about this so much! I’ve been wanting to write my own episode and send it to Damon [Lindelof] and them. Like, I’d pitch it myself. One episode, the opening is me sitting in a chair on the phone on the Island and just talking business and stuff. I don’t know. I’ve just been reading so much into it." Hey! Us too! Lost high-five!
Would you want to see MDK back full-time for season six? What's your theory about his "magic powers"?
Lost fans want to know: Who is Mrs. Eloise Hawking?
We know she's a mother and something of a mystic, and that her mysterious character (played by the superfine Fionnula Flanagan) has both mucked up Desmond David Hume's (Henry Ian Cusick) life and helped the Oceanic Six get back to the Island. But as Fionnula reveals to us in an exclusive interview, the full story won't be revealed until a certain episode a few weeks out...
In the meantime, if she's Daniel Faraday's (Jeremy Davies) mother, then who is Daniel's father? Could it be Charles Widmore (Alan Dale)? Says Fionnula, "Mrs. Hawking never talks about her past sexual relationships." (Say it with me: LOL.)
Having already done three episodes so far this season, Fionnula promises she will bring Mrs. Hawking back again later this season: "I'm literally waiting for the car to come pick me up because I'm going back to Hawaii to do another one." That episode, likely number 14 (of this season's 17 hours), explores Mrs. Hawking's many abilities. "I do know quite a good deal [about her now] from the episode that I'm just about to do. I know a great deal about her past and her present and her future. But I am contractually unable to tell you, or they'd have to kill me."
OK, so we can't know who she is (and she isn't telling if she's the cute little Ellie from Richard Alpert's camp in the 1950s), but can we know where she is? Does she ever go to the Island? Says Fionnula, "Oh, I do think Mrs. Hawking can come and go anywhere she pleases. I think she has that capacity. Whether she’s able to control it or not, I don’t know." Hmmm...
Some watchful Lostpedians noticed that Mrs. Hawking wears a couple of quasi-religious totems—a snake eating its tail and a Tibetan Buddhist symbol. So what is Mrs. Hawking's religion, if she has any? Is she a woman of science or a woman of faith? "[Her spiritual beliefs] are definitely not of this world and not of this planet. That's for sure!" Um...not of this planet? I suppose it was just a matter of time before the show introduced aliens!
Continues Fionnula, "I think she's got that wonderful blend of scientist and spiritual believer. When the stars are properly aligned she seems able to call upon great strength. I think she's a woman of enormous strength."
Fionnula doesn't know why Mrs. Hawking's photo appeared on the desk of the abbot of Desmond's monastery. "In fact, I was told about my photograph having appeared. A man stopped me on Bond Street in London last year. He grabbed my arm and said, 'I'm terribly sorry, but I have to know: Why was your photograph on the desk?' And I thought, this man is a lunatic."
We're all mad here, but at least we're in good company. Fionnula is famous in theatrical circles for her appearances in productions of James Joyce's works, and she thinks there's a connection between that writer's literary fever dreams and our beloved, nutty Lost. She says, "I think there's definitely some connection between Lost and Finnegans Wake—James Joyce's great magical, mythical book drawing on seven languages. Yes, I think Joyce would have enjoyed Lost, for sure."
High praise, indeed! Are you guys enjoying Lost this season? Post in the comments and be sure to tune in to ABC tonight at 9 for the all-new "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham."
In case you haven't heard, Zap2It's Korbi is reporting that Lost star Evangeline Lilly has auditioned for fall pilots and that her reps have told TV producers she would be available for a show. And if Lilly were on another show that shot in the fall that would obviously mean a Kate-less season six of Lost.
Well, we checked, and according to Lilly's publicist, the story is "absolutely false." To sum up: Evangeline Lilly is not auditioning for pilots. Evangeline Lilly is not available for pilots. Evangeline Lilly is not leaving Lost. (Hallelujah!)
A relief to be sure...Would you even be able to watch Lost if they cut out Kate and her related romantic storylines?
Question: Do you think the major-ish character that will be killed this season on Lost could be Juliet? Please say no. I have a girl-crush on her. --Michelle
Ausiello: Join the club. Nah, Juliet is considered a major character, no "ish" about it, so I think she's safe. In other Lost news, look for the season finale to intro two new, potentially recurring, characters: Jason is a former soldier whose gravitas makes him a natural-born Pied Piper; and Samuel is a J.R. Ewing (minus the Stetson, accent, and drunk wife) whose day isn't complete without a corporate takeover.
Question: Is Penny dead on Lost?! OMFG, what is this show doing to me! --Gaby
Ausiello: Penny, on the other hand, definitely falls under the "ish" category. And even more ominous than the big fat target on her forehead is the fact that her portrayer, Sonya Walger, has landed the lead role in a new ABC pilot that, appropriately enough, is already drawing comparisons to Lost. The show is called Flash Forward, and it's based on Robert J. Sawyer's apocalyptic tome that chronicles the mass chaos that comes after everyone on the planet blacks out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. The flash-forward part applies to the vision of the future that everyone experiences during the blackout. But even if ABC orders the show to series, as many expect it will, that doesn't mean Walger is done with Lost. Quite the contrary. As a well-placed Lost insider tells me, "She will juggle both shows."
By Jeff Jensen
Jeff Jensen, an EW senior writer, has been despondent since the cancellation of ''Twin Peaks''John Locke went tilting at windmills last night, and paid the price. The maybe-delusional/maybe-not/probably-both knight errant of Lost screwed on his Don Quixote and went on his greatest quest yet: convincing the world-weary, spiritually-defeated Oceanic 6 that they were special; that they were meant for greater adventures and grander purposes; that they belonged back on the Island. Alas, just as ''the knight of the sad countenance'' of Cervantes' mock-heroic epic was met wherever he went with derision and much physical punishment, Locke, too, was greeted with heaps of scorn and physical battery. Still, it was Locke who laughed last. In the wake of a journey that tested his faith and left him for dead, the Holy Fool found himself born again on the sandy shores of his heavenly home — or at least, just across the water from it, over on Hydra Island, the Maui-esque Purgatory which orbits the Paradise-or-Inferno(?) riddle of the (Big) Island. Continuing the season's time loop theme (figurative and literal), Locke celebrated by doing what he did the first time around — biting into a juicy mango and telling a complete stranger his big secret, which this time around was this: I used to be dead. Now I am alive. Fancy that.
We had been prepped for an episode about what happened to John Locke during his apocryphal Jeremy Bentham digression — about what happened after he left the Island and how he became coffinized. We got all that — plus a surprising amount more, beginning with the resolution of last week's Ajira Airlines cliffhanger. Good ol' Frank Lapidus managed to land Flight 316 intact on Hydra Island. (Didn't spot my runway, though. Oh, well.) And with that, Lost has a new group of castaways, and with a few exceptions, like conspicuous newcomers Caesar and Ilana (admit it: you were thinking about punching the Nikki/Paulo panic button, weren't you?), they can all look forward to glorious futures as background dressing, canon fodder, and Smokey food. To be honest, I was surprised to see Locke resurrected so quickly. Whenever I envisioned his reanimation, I always saw it at the end of an episode — a big reveal, a swell of Michael Giacchino score, and then BONG!...title card. Nope. We got the Risen Locke right away, in a moment that belongs on a clip reel of Quasi-Mystical Pop Culture Characters Who Introduce Themselves With A Dramatic Removal Of An Oversized Hoody. (See: Obi Wan Kenobi; Gandalf; Spock in the original Star Trek movies.)
''The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham'' was largely a flashback saga, bracketed by the Hydra Island stuff. Locke's globetrotting, let's-put-the-band-back-together journey began with a scene of massive mythological importance, and ended with an all-time awesome scene. The whole episode evoked and synthesized a number of literary, religious and pop culture references, and if you will allow me to just let me list some of the titles here, I promise not to bore you with the details as we move along: Homer's The Odyssey, James Joyce's Ulysses, Alan Moore's Watchmen, Neil Gaiman's American Gods, Esau and Jacob, the passion of Christ, Acts of Thomas (specifically, ''The Hymn of the Pearl''), and...Ocean's 11, 12 and 13, plus the platforming narrative structure of Rock Band: World Tour! (Just kidding.) And now let's get on with it by following ''the wandering rock'' (see: Odyssey/Ulysses) that was Locke through his not-so heroic journey....
DESTINATION NO. 1: TUNISIA/CHARLES WIDMORE
Like Ben before him, Locke landed in the desert after turning the frozen donkey wheel. The wormhole magic churned his tummy and made him puke milk...and yes, now that you mention it, the moment did remind me of that sequence in Watchmen when Dr. Manhattan teleports Silk Specter to the arid wastes of Mars and she tosses up her lunch. (Please. You didn't think I was serious about that aforementioned ''deal,'' did you? I. WILL. NOT. BE. DENIED!) And speaking of men who watch, surveillance cameras stood sentry around the Island's boom tube exit — a new addition to the scenery since Ben's beaching three years earlier. The man behind the lenses? Charles Widmore. Clearly, the mystery man had been anticipating Locke's arrival. Fuzzy on the ETA, but expecting it, nonetheless.
Locke was taken to some Bedouin urgent care center — dime a dozen over there — and got his fractured leg snapped back into place. ''ARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!! DTRTED! AYY — TSTSLKKRICKT!'' (Translation from unwashed bite-stick muffle: ''Ouch. That hurt! And hey — this tastes like Sanskrit!'') Then, Widmore showed up, and intriguing disclosures followed. But how many of them were true?
Megabucks Chuck identified himself as the hotheaded, Latin-spouting, neck-breaking 17-year-old (!) proto-Other jerk whom Locke encountered and grinned at during L'Affaire de Jughead in September of 1954. He claimed that he went on to become the leader of Richard Alpert's band of arrow-shooting, clothes-swiping merry men and women. He said that their sacred trust was to protect the Island, like some super-squadron of Grail-guarding knights templar. And he alleged that his 30-plus years on the lsland came to an end when Young Turk Ben pulled a Jacob on his Esau and tricked him into leaving his peeps and his promised land, thus swiping his birthright. If all these statements are true, we now know something of the meaning behind Widmore's cryptic comment to Ben back in ''The Shape of Things To Come:'' ''Everything you have you took from me.'' BURNING QUESTION: What motivated Ben's coup?
Widmore wanted to bankroll Locke's bid to reunite the castaway band. He said he was ''deeply invested in the future of the Island,'' and he insinuated that such a future required all the castaways to be back on it. Especially Locke. ''There's a war coming, John,'' he said ominously, ''and if you're not back on the Island when that happens, the wrong side is going to win.'' Widmore didn't elaborate, and I wanted to punch Locke for not pressing the issue. Like:
JOHN: What kind of war? A world war? A territorial skirmish? An End Times war, like in The Stand, or The Last Battle, or Supernatural? And who would I be in this scenario? Jesus? Aslan? Jensen Ackles? Oo! Oo! Can I be Jensen Ackles?! Please?!
You get what I mean. Then again, Locke has always been a sucker for father figures who bat their eyes at him and call him ''special.'' ''The Island needs you, John. It has needed you for a long time,'' said Widmore, adding that the reason he sent the freighter mercs to the Island was to subtract Ben so that Locke could assume his rightful position as King Other. BURNING QUESTION: Do you believe this? Yes, we know Locke has had opportunities in the past to go to the Island — but a destiny that's been long neglected or deferred? I'm game for the possibility, but we do have to wonder if Locke is being suckered as part of very long and very weird con.
Locke accepted Widmore's financing, plus his suggestion for an off-Island alias: Jeremy Bentham, another philosopher name, just like John Locke. Widmore: ''Your parents had a sense of humor when they named you. Why can't I?'' Why does ''Jeremy Bentham'' amuse Widmore so?: And might the name hold a clue to Widmore's sincerity? Consider:
A. The real Bentham and Locke were ideological opposites. Bentham considered Locke's belief in natural law ''nonsense on stilts.'' Is that how Widmore views Locke? As silly nonsense? A fool? If so, then Widmore is a jerk.
B. Bentham pioneered a school of thought call Utilitarianism, which evaluates the morality of an action based on the amount of good that said action generates for the most amount of people. Ergo, Widmore is using Locke — but to facilitate a greater good. If so, then Widmore is a good guy.
C. After he died, Bentham's corpse — per his instructions — was (get this) entombed inside a cabinet called an Auto Icon. Whenever his followers gathered, they were supposed to wheel him out so he could hang with them. Creepy? Oh, yeah. Application to Locke? Widmore was lying when he told Locke he didn't want him to die. He wanted Locke to wind up in a box. Meaning: The Coffin. Or maybe... Jacob's cabin! After all, isn't that ghost shack basically a rustic extrapolation of Bentham's Auto-Icon, a vehicle that allows this ''Jacob'' — i.e., Locke — haunt the Island? Maybe this is the ''destiny'' Locke is being set up for: An eternity of ''Help me'' flickering. If so, then...Huh?
One last thing Widmore gave Locke for his journey: A chauffeur. The ominous Matthew Abaddon, the orderly from Locke's physical therapy days, the one who encouraged him to the do the walkabout, and also spooked Hurley at the mental hospital during Season 4. Abaddon's job? ''I help people get to where they need to go.'' Which, as articulated by actor Lance Reddick, made Abaddon sound like a mythic figure. I'm tempted to forge connection to similar characters from mythology (Hermes!), American Gods and the ''Brief Lives'' storyline of Neil Gaiman's Sandman, but I'll stay on point. BURNING QUESTION: Never mind the hell/demon/guardian angel connotations of his name — what's your Abaddon theory as it pertains to Lost? And do you think by episode's end, Locke got to the place where Widmore wanted him — or do you Ben effectively undermined Widmore's intention...whatever it may be? As always, it's impossible to know the good guys from the bad guys — the angels form the demons — on this show. Even harder for Locke, who's so desperate for connection to higher purpose that he'll drink anyone's Kool Aid.
PS: Did you see the way Locke looked at that wheelchair when Abaddon snapped it open? The prospect of being back in that thing looked as appealing to him as...well, a coffin.
DESTINATION NO. 2: Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic/Sayid
Locke found the former Iraqi torturer trying to put his more recent sins behind him — i.e., serving as Ben's private assassin — by building houses for a Habitat for Humanity-like organization, Build Our World. (Shades of: Jack Bauer in 24: Redemption.) My paraphrase summary of their conversation:
SAYID: John, you're being manipulated. By Widmore. By Ben. By both. Let this go.
LOCKE: I don't care! Just come with me back to the Island. It'll be fun!
SAYID: No. Stay with me and do some good work for some needy people here in the real world.
LOCKE: HELP PEOPLE? IN THE REAL WORLD? WHEN WE CAN BE LIVING LIKE KINGS IN OUR OWN PRIVATE NARNIA? WHAT ARE YOU — CRAZY?!
SAYID: John, your misplaced priorities disturb me. You've been infected with the 'American Idol' virus — that corrupt cultural value that equates self-worth with ''being special,'' self-realization with overstated achievement. Seriously, John: You have more to offer the world than hunting boar, pushing buttons, and blowing subs. Instead, you should consider emulating the kind of everyday heroism that I now sweatily embody: selfless, humble, global minded yet locally invested, building communities with my bare yet well-manicured hands —
LOCKE: Oh, go wash your hair or something.
DESTINATION NO. 3: New York/Walt
For all y'all who were like, ''How come Walt wasn't on the plane last week if they had to replicate exactly the conditions and personnel of Oceanic 815?'' — well, now you know. Locke simply couldn't bring himself to ask the boy to come along. He didn't articulate his reasoning, but in his proud, beaming smile, I heard the following:
''You know this is pretty damn trippy for me. Just 100 days ago or so, you were, like, 10, and I was teaching you how to throw knives and play Backgammon and telling you all my secrets. You were like the Robin to my Batman, and oh how that made your Dad so mad! He's dead, by the way, but let's not talk about that. Hey — remember when you torched the raft, you little firebug you? I was a little worried that was a sign that you were going to grow up all anti-Christy, just like that creepy kid in 'The Omen'. But now look at you! Fours months for me is three years for you, and you're tall, strapping young man, and while I am often a horrific judge of character, it seems to me that you've turned out pretty well, all things considered. And so, time-space continuum catastrophes be damned, I am NOT going to bring you back to Wormhole Island. I just can't bear the thought of screwing up your life anymore than it already is!''
How many of you feel Lost needs to revisit Walt again? Would you be cool with letting this stand as his goodbye? Yes, there are unanswered questions: The nature of his psychic abilities; what happened at The Hydra during his Others' captivity; how he appeared to Locke in ghost form in Season 3. But I think all these things could be explained without him around. And maybe the cryptic business about his possibly prophetic dream — Locke wearing a suit (his coffin suit?), surrounded by people who want to hurt him (the Ajira castaways?) — suggested a solution. The kid's got The Shining times 10, and he can use his scary=psychic powers to astral project himself to the Island — most likely unknowingly, perhaps only in his dreams. Call it Roy Orbison theory: In dreams/I walk/with you/In dreams/I talk/with you...''
BTW: Loved Abaddon's line: ''Boy's gotten big.''
DESTINATION NO. 4: Santa Rosa, CA/HURLEY
LOCKE: Come with me back to the Island.
HURLEY: You're crazy, dude!
About Hurley's watercolor painting of The Sphinx. Some theory-math for you:
1. A Sphinx was the threshold guardian/protector — you know, like The Others, charged with protecting the Island.
2. Second, the word ''sphinx'' means ''to strangle.''
More on this in a minute.
DESTINATION NO. 5: LOS ANGELES/KATE AND JACK
Kate said no, of course, and she was cruel about it. Exuding palpable disdain for Locke, she cut him deep, first with her smug assumptions that he had never loved or been loved; and then, after Locke opened up so vulnerably about how he chased away Helen Norwood with his father fixation (Terry O'Quinn's stuttering, anguished line reading of the word ''obsessed'' was wrenching), Kate swung at him again, insinuating that he was still the scary-obsessed man he's always been. ''Look how far you've come.'' Oh, snap! Kate seemed to have a certain someone on her mind throughout her charged encounter with Locke — ''Have you ever been in love, John?...I think about how desperate you were to stay on that island, and then I realized it was because you didn't love anyone?'' — but who? I continue to believe she will ultimately wind up with Sawyer. But yes, she could have been pining for Jack. Or was she really meditating on her maternal feelings for Aaron?
INTERLUDE: Locke was told that Helen had died. Brain aneurism. Or so Abaddon said. Do you believe him? Consider: What if Team Widmore faked that grave and fabricated that story to keep Locke on task and make sure he had no possible motivation for wanting to back out and not go back to the Island? Regardless, like some time traveling Scrooge confronted with an awful future, Locke grieved and owned his stuff: ''She loved me. If I had just...'' Locke left the thought hand, then finished: ''We could have been together.'' I'd like to think they could still be.
Then, Abaddon got gunned down. (Blood splatter on the windshield! Boys say YEAH!) And then Locke gunned it — and got caught in a violent accident. He wound up in Jack's hospital, and he awoke under Jack's woozy-boozy-hateful gaze. For the 1 billionth time, Jack the Skeptic/Cynic/Man of Science and Locke the Believer/Tool/Man of Faith debated their competing worldviews — but I must say, the emotional intensity and the articulation of their respective positions made this debate one of their better ones, no matter how old hat. Jack's probability logic seemed to carry the day — as well as his own brutal takedown of Locke: ''Have you ever stopped to consider that these delusions that you're 'special' aren't real? That you're a lonely old man who crashed on an Island?'' He played the age card! DOUBLE snap!
But Locke did get the last word. ''Your father says 'Hello.''' It was part last-ditch attempt to sway Jack, part I'm gonna hurt you, too, you big meany! Jack reacted as Jack usually does when slapped with a big shocker — with one of those eye flutter/step back/'Say whaaaa?'' combos that he tends to do. (Matthew Fox might consider a new approach to acting stunned.) Jack's encounter with Locke may have filled in some of the missing pieces in his motivation for going back to the Island: Once again, he's being tugged by a responsibility to save his father. Just like the first time....
Jack's parting shot was interesting, because it underscored an important theme of the episode: questioning, if not subverting, the whole yearning to be ''special.'' ''We were never important!'' he shouted. Yet Jack was/is no Sayid; he doesn't believe in anything, while Sayid at least believes in something — like his own redemption. At least, not at this point in the story yet.
DESTINATION NO. 6: THIS PLACE IS DEATH/BEN The episode's best scene — and one of the best scenes the series has ever given us. It began with Locke in his skuzzy hotel room writing his Jack-addressed suicide note/bitter parting shot. Locke had been totally destroyed by going 0 for 6 on his back-to-the-Island recruitment drive. Each encounter had chipped away at his faith and self-esteem, so much so that by the end, you got the sense that Locke saw himself the way everyone else saw him. Which is exactly what happens in Don Quixote, too...oh, but another time.
And so, Locke made himself a noose out of an extension cord and was on the verge of killing himself when Ben barged in. Presented with the greatest challenge in his career as cajoler, manipulator, and seducer, the great snake of Lost rose to the occasion as he coaxed Locke off the ledge. ''You have no idea how important you are,'' he said. ''You've got too much work to do.'' Of course, our rooting interest here was pretty complicated, in a marvelously ironic way. After all, we knew that Locke actually needed to die to fulfill his Island-saving destiny. But Ben succeeded, and managed to talk Locke off his cross...and then he went and made good on Hurley's subliminal foreshadowing and sphinxed him to death with the extension cord. But why? Why save him, then brutally kill him? Does the Island's resurrection power not work on suicides? Was Ben actually doing Locke a favor by murdering him, i.e., helping him fulfill the requirement of dying in such a way that wouldn't deny him a shot at living again in paradise? Hard to say. Ben's decision seemed to be tied to two bits of news, which seemed to come as complete surprises: (1) The revelation that Jin was alive; and even more so (2) That Locke needed to seek out Eloise Hawking for help in getting back to the Island. The words ''Eloise Hawking'' seemed to function almost like a psychotic trigger, and Ben seemed to snap, either out of reflex or some quick realization that he had no choice: He had to kill Locke; he could not allow him to meet Ms. Hawking. I was struck by Ben's melancholy goodbye: ''I'll miss you, John. I really will.'' Are we really to believe that Ben had no idea Locke would live again once he was back on the Island? Or might there have been more nuance in Ben's salutation. Maybe the Resurrected Locke is profoundly different than the Old Locke; perhaps Ben was grieving the loss of the latter.
One last thought about Ben: Very Tony Soprano, didn't you think?
What did you think of Ben's bait-and-switch? How do you think he feels about Ms. Hawking? Who's the bigger rogue: Widmore or Ben? Do you think Born Again Locke is any different from Old Island Locke? Heck: Do you even think he's born again? Could be some Christian Shephard-esque poltergeist? And what of Caesar and Ilana? What are your first impressions? I look forward to hearing your thoughts and theories below.
Finally, I'd like to thank all of you who took the time to search the message boards for our Easter egg/bonus content. We learned a lot from the experience, including 1. You guys really like that kind of stuff; and 2. You guys deserve to be rewarded with truly COOL stuff when you do take the time to do it. We intend to do more things like that in the future — not this week, for certain, but in the future — and when we do, we promise: the payoff will be worth your effort.
Until next week: The floor is yours.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I crave Lost scoop! — Lee
MATT: About what, exactly? Why Ben is all bloodied? What Kate did with Aaron? How Hurley got free? Why Zuleikha Robinson has Sayid in cuffs? (I've read some saucy fan-fic about that last one.) Although this week's episode, "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham," is rife with exposition, we won't get an answer to any of those aforementioned burning questions until mid-March (keeping in mind there's no new episode on the 11th).
SPOILER ALERT: Before you read this post, buy some cord from the hardware store--no, don't do that with it!--hook it up to your TV and watch last night's Lost.
I'm not going to write too much tonight about the mythology implications of last night's episode of Lost. Partly because we knew the general shape of what was going to happen--minus the little bit about Locke coming back to life, which answers our question from the last LDG--and partly because we can speculate on that in the comments. But mostly because I want to talk about how awesome Terry O'Quinn is.
John Locke is Lost's man of faith. But he's not, really, not entirely. He certainly has faith, in the Island, in the unexplained, but he also has doubt; his faith is constantly shaken and never as absolute as he wants it to be. When he goes to persuade Jack that he needs to go back to the Island, you can see in his searching popeyes that some part of him also wants to persuade himself--that he is special, that his "destiny" is not a mistake, that he's not being swindled again. (Think about it: if one character on Lost has reason to have no faith, in anything or anyone, it's John Locke.)
Take a look at the scene where he gets ready to hang himself. He's not going into this calmly, as some sort of stoic sacrifice. He's been told by Richard Alpert that he must die to save the Island, but he doesn't entirely believe it, doesn't entirely want to. You can see the despair in his eyes, the fear. He wants to die; he doesn't want to die. The man of faith is a man of doubt.
I was going to write that this undermines the Christ parallels that some have drawn for Locke, but thinking about it, it makes him more Christ-like--in the sense that you can feel him wishing, if I remember my Gospels correctly, that this cup could pass from him. Faith for him isn't some Zen-like impermeable armor. It's an ill-fitting burial suit. Faith is hard, and O'Quinn's every-nerve-ending-exposed performance shows us that. You can feel every hurt, from the physical pain to his heartbreak over Helen. You know when you watch a Locke episode that your heart is going to get kicked around for a while; O'Quinn is just the athlete for that job.
Now for the story stuff. It is indeed getting tough to tell the players without a scorecard, with not only the Oceanic Six back but two new regulars and a whole new team of redshirts. So let's bring on the hail of bullets...
* ...starting with the ones that offed Matthew Abbadon. I don't know if this one was always in the works or necessitated by Lance Reddick's work on Fringe, but I didn't see it coming, which made that burst of blood on the rear window that much more surprising. (Reminded me of the accidental shooting in Pulp Fiction, but from the outside.) Probably not a bad idea to get rid of a ches piece with the board getting this crowded, but I'll miss Reddick.
* So what's up with Caesar? Mrs. Tuned In tried to hash it out after the episode. I maintain that the first scene implied that he was deliberately looking for something--something he wanted to conceal--and thus that he knows a thing or two about the Island. Is he working for someone? Was he on that plane on purpose?
* Meanwhile, a lot of questions, and some hints of answers, about the rivalry between Ben and Widmore. The O.G. Others, Charles says, defended the Island for "more than three decades." So this doesn't extend their lineage back to the stone-foot days--raising the question of who and what preceded them on the Island. And Ben supplanted Charles as leader by tricking him into leaving the Island. This still leaves the question: why does each of them want it?
* Waaaaalt! Good to see him back, even if it was fleeting (and the "he's been through enough" seemed like an offhanded way of explaining why he isn't returning to the Island. I don't expect Lost to answer every question it has raised, but if it leaves Walt's specialness hanging, I'll be ticked off.
* I'm assuming that Ben ends up killing Locke (called it! along with half the Internet) because the info about Jin means he knows he can get Sun without Locke's help. If I'm mistaken, let me know. Also, Ben's voice breaking when he tells Locke he really will miss him was yet more proof of why Michael Emerson is so crucial to the show.
* Oh, and speaking of the little matter of Locke being alive again--did he come back to life inside a sealed coffin? It must have been hard to resist the temptation not to show that scene.
* Liked how "Jeremy Bentham's" naming scene, for once, had fun with making the philosopher-name intentional. Also loved the scene with Hurley--terrified that John isn't a ghost--and Locke's rejoinder to Jack about Christian, which injected a little humor into a fairly somber episode. "Well, he didn't look dead to me!" Neither do you, John. Neither do you.
I Believe!!! The light of this episode lead me back! 24
It made me want to run away like Grandpa Shepard 0
Votes so far: 66
Why was Ben beat up?
He killed Penny 7
He tried to kill Penny and Desmond beat the crap out of him 21
He ran into some of Widmores goons 10
Something else 16
Votes so far: 54
Who did Kate leave Aaron with?
Sun's Mother (with Ji Yeon) 1
Her Mother 2
Claire's Mother 22
Someone Else 12
Votes so far: 42
Doc Jensen digs into the story of Doubting Thomas and the real life of Jeremy Bentham for enlightenment on themes in this week's episode. Plus: Teases galore, corrections about Narnia, and a new installment of ''Totally Lost''
You read that right. We have multiple teases about tonight's new Lost. Most of them are hiding within (shameless plug alert!) the new installment of Totally Lost, the web series devoted to the crazy talk, over-thinking, passionate feelings, and general fun-time tomfoolery that Lost inspires in myself and Dan Snierson. You can find the show (which includes a very special guest ''appearance'' from Lost exec producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof via the modern magic of electromagnetic bobble-headed talismans) at the very end of this column.
Here is this week's installment of ABC's entertaining attempt at recapping Lost. However, there's no untangling of my favorite knotty moment in last week's episode: Ben's choice of airplane reading material, James Joyce's Ulysses. OBSCURE ULYSSES TRIVIA OF GREAT LOST SIGNIFICANCE! One of the heroes of the novel, Leopold Bloom, is utterly fixated on a big word: metempsychosis. It's a Greek term referring to ''the transmigration of the soul'' (the spirit moving from one state to another; see: the Oceanic 6 leaving the real world for the Island). It also refers specifically to the idea of reincarnation. Think: John Locke?
APOLOGY AND CLARIFICATION
I received several e-mails — some of them quite furious — taking me to task for screwing up my Chronicles of Narnia references in last week's column. So, for the record: 1) Reepicheep is a mouse, not a rat; and 2) the yellow rings don't take you to Narnia, they take you to the Wood Between the Worlds, a nexus that connects various different realms. (Thanks to Jamie in Bristol, Va., and Emily in Sacramento for being among the first to notice and reproach.)
Many of you wrote to say that my ''memory upload theory'' makes no sense. I argued that season 1 Rousseau didn't remember meeting season 1 Jin because season 5 Jin had not yet had the experience of meeting her. Similarly, I stated that while Faraday had the experience of encountering Desmond in the past at Oxford, he was not permitted to recall the memory until Desmond had the experience in the future. The general consensus was that my theory was convoluted to the extreme. And the general consensus is correct: I think it's totally wrong. What I realize in retrospect was that I was trying to take into account Faraday's insistence that the past can't be changed. But I have since come to a new conclusion: Faraday is wrong. In fact, I think Faraday is wrong about a lot of things. And I think Lost has been subversively using this alleged fount of time-travel wisdom to misdirect the audience about where the season is headed.
So let's leave it at this: I think the reason that Rousseau didn't remember Jin in Season 1 is that, at that point in the story, the event hadn't happened yet. Until Jin went back in time, she was living in a timeline where he was never part of her Island ordeal. When he did go back in time, history changed to accommodate his presence. And if Rousseau were alive today, I am SURE she would totally back me up on this.
EVERYBODY SING: JOHNNY LOCKE! SUPERSTAR! WHO IN THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?
A brief reflection on the Locke-Christ thing — and a provocative link to last week's Doubting Thomas painting that may explain this week's episode.
Two episodes ago, John Locke officially took on the role of castaway savior in the grand salvation drama that is Lost. And like any game actor, he embraced the part with gusto. Baldy Brando even broke a leg! (rimshot!) Seriously, folks, how many ways can the ''Man of Faith'' be a symbolic Jesus? Lost has him serving as a sacrificial lamb (Richard: You're going to have to die, John. Locke: Umm... Okay!), so that fallen souls (i.e., the Oceanic 6) may be reconciled with their paradise-dwelling God (see: the Island). Remember when Locke fell down the well in ''This Place Is Death''? That's your proverbial descent into hell in this John-as-Jesus passion play. In Christian theology, this event is known as ''The Harrowing of Hell.'' As part of Christ's trip down under, he apparently walked up to Satan's throne and put a middle finger in his face. ''You think you're so tough, Mr. Snakey-Snake? You think you have dominion down here in your inescapable Place o' Death? Well, watch this, beyotch!'' And then — poof! — he was gone. He, like, totally metempsychosisized himself. Resurrection and Ascension. Or, to borrow one of my favorite lines from literature: ''Up. Out.'' A Doc Jensen ''No Prize'' if you can find the reference. You can send your guesses to JeffJensenEW@aol.com. In the meantime, here's tease no. 2: Matthew Abaddon — a.k.a. ''That guy from Fringe who made a couple appearances on Lost last year'' — is back tonight. And what does ''Abaddon'' mean? Many things, all of them bad. ''Hell.'' ''Place of Destruction.'' ''The Destroyer.'' ''Demon.'' ''Devil.'' ''Angel of Death.'' So very ''This Place Is Death.''
Anyway, tease no. 3: Tonight's episode is called ''The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham.'' It is about what happened to John Locke after he cranked on the frozen donkey wheel and disappeared from the Island. (Yep, Lost is hitting pause on Jack and Co.'s ''Return to the Island'' storyline and sketching in some back story — including tease no. 4: some crucial new Sayid intel.) We already know some of Locke's awful off-Island odyssey: He went back to the real world — a place that was a proverbial Hell for Locke, compared to his Island heaven — so he could evangelize to rebel angel Jack Shephard and his assorted crew of lost souls and bring them back to the Island. This, too, fits the corollary to ''The Harrowing of Hell.'' According to some interpretations, Jesus not only went to Hell to prove his power, but to free many of its prisoners, too. But again, this application assumes that the off-Island world is the equivalent of Hell in Lost's metaphysical allegory. If you're more inclined to think of the Island as Hades, then maybe the prison break association better suits drifting spirits like Christian Shephard. Maybe Jack's spectral father is hoping Locke will ultimately bring about circumstances that will liberate him from the Island and allow him to pass into Heaven...or maybe even live again. Again: ''metempsychosis.'' Yes, yes, I know: Jeez. And by the way? It's only going to get worse from here.
THE LOST GOSPEL
Doubting Thomas, Gnostic texts, and some thoughts on Lost's sudden fixation with religion.
Remember that scene last week in ''316'' (see: John 3:16, Christianity's bottom-line, leap-of-faith verse) when Ben told Jack about Thomas the Apostle? According to the impromptu Sunday school lesson from the shifty, double-speaking über-Other, Doubting Thomas suffers unfairly from a bad image. Ben reminded Jack and us that this allegedly faith-challenged apostle was also the same one ready and willing to sacrifice his life with and for Jesus: ''Let us also go, that we might die with him!'' How does this apply to Lost? And why does it seem that the show has gone so overtly religious on us all of a sudden?
Well, I'm not sure that it really has. With his rumination on Thomas' call to sacrifice, I think Ben is telling us a parable, albeit one that needn't be seen as wholly religious in nature: He's just expressing the idea that the fates of the castaways are inextricably intertwined, and that they really need to start embracing that. ''Live together, die alone,'' you know? It's a big tent sentiment that can embrace many perspectives, religious and humanistic.
Moreover, I think Ben's composite picture of Thomas as both believer and skeptic — or rather, moving from believing to unbelieving and back again — captures a universal theme that's swirling through Lost. Thomas is a one-man symbol for mankind's shaken, if not lost, faith in ANYTHING that purports to offer meaning and stability. Religion, science, government, the economy, even family — it's hard for people to completely trust in any of these institutions and the people who represent them anymore, for any number of reasons. This is what the ruins that dot the Island represent to me: They are reminders that we once lived in a world that no longer exists — a world of answers, not ambiguity. A world where God was experienced as a literal presence in everyday life. A world where science and religion were joined at the hip, and not at each other's throats. Now, everything is a mystery, and everything is an argument. Who is right: Jack or Locke? Which is correct: The God-forged cosmology of C.S. Lewis or the God-subtracted physics of Stephen Hawking? I'm not sure that Lost is asking us to pick a side, but I am certain Lost is saying: ''This kind of confusion profoundly sucks.''
[My ''deep and meaningful'' blah blah blah rant about ''What Lost Means'' has now concluded. We now return to my regularly scheduled nonsense....]
One final thought about Thomas, a thought that I think MIGHT actually have something — if not everything — to do with tonight's Locke-centric episode. So call it a maybe tease. The episode comes to us with the vibe of an apocryphal text — a mysterious piece of lost lore, relevant to the mythology of Lost but falling slightly outside of the season's central narrative. As it turns out, Lost didn't tell you the whole story about Thomas the Apostle. Those who know their Bible — or just know The Da Vinci Code — know that there are bunches of other ''books'' which the Powers That Be chose not include in the Bible. One of these apocryphal texts, called Acts of Thomas, is a hardcore Gnostic tract. (Gnosticism is an unorthodox form of Christianity that says we are souls trapped in prisons of matter who require liberation.) The story follows the apostle Thomas to India (Hey, isn't Ajira Airlines based in India?) and ends with his martyrdom. A demon named Abaddon makes an appearance. And in the middle of it all, you will find a yarn within a yarn — a proverbial island of parable — called ''The Hymn of the Pearl.'' It tells the tale of a boy (the son of a king, so consider him...the Little Prince) sent on a mission to faraway Egypt to fetch a pearl from the mouth of a snake. Alas, he gets sidetracked, and eventually completely forgets his identity and his mission. Fortunately, the boy is saved when he receives a letter from his king, reminding him of his true nature and purpose. His memory restored, the prince snags the pearl and returns home. As Wikipedia notes: ''The hymn is commonly interpreted as a Gnostic view of the human condition, that we are spirits lost in a world of matter and forgetful of our true origin. This state of affairs may be ameliorated by a revelatory message delivered by a messenger.''
Generally speaking, ''The Hymn of the Pearl'' is John Locke's recurring arc, boiled down into a fairy tale. He's always going on adventures, always getting sidetracked (sometimes misled, sometimes its his own darn fault) and always needing to be brought back on point. But some specific connections can be made to more recent events. A letter filled with transforming revelation? Sounds like Jack and that suicide note from last week's episode. A messenger tasked with convincing lost spirits that they have fallen off the path of destiny? Sounds a lot like tonight's episode, chronicling the off-Island quest of John Locke.... Or should I say, Jeremy Bentham?
WHAT'S IN A NAME? EVERYTHING! THE CURIOUS CASE OF JEREMY BENTHAM
We further prepare you for tonight's episode by exploring the possible significance of John Locke's mysterious pseudonym.
JEREMY BENTHAM IS THE ANTI-JOHN LOCKE
Jeremy Bentham was a 18th century English ethicist and founding father of legal positivism, which stands in opposition to natural law, which was promoted by...17th century English philosopher John Locke, one of the founding fathers of the so-called Age of Reason. Locke was a deist (i.e., a creator God) who believed that man had certain intrinsic, unalienable rights; his philosophy was capable of integrating science and faith. Bentham said: BWA-HAHAAH! He thought natural law was ''nonsense on stilts.'' Bentham is a very post-God thinker: He believed the only rights a man had were the rights society gave him.
DOC JENSEN ANALYSIS: The castaway formerly known as Locke has chosen a namesake that literally mocks his previous namesake. Last week, Man of Science Jack switched teams: He became a Man of Faith. Is John Locke/Jeremy Bentham about to do a worldview flip-flop himself?
JEREMY BENTHAM BELIEVED THAT THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS
Bentham helped pioneer a school of thought called Utilitarianism. The Big Idea: That the moral worth of any action should be assessed by the amount of happiness it generates for the most number of people. The provocative nature of this ethical system is that it allows for ends-justify-the-means thinking that exonerates behavior that may be seen as self-evidently wrong.
DOC JENSEN ANALYSIS: Locke knew that his death was a necessary ingredient in the Island-saving recipe. Did Locke kill himself because that was the only way to achieve that result? Perhaps tonight's episode will resolve the matter. While many religions consider suicide to be wrong, Utilitarianism might disagree, saying, ''If the suicide brought about an effect that had great benefit to a lot of people, then it was good.'' One other note: Recall the Dharma Initiative, where everyone is classified according to their function — which is to say, their utility. Ben was ''a work man.'' Horace Goodspeed was ''mathematician.'' Olivia Goodspeed, ''teacher.'' Perhaps Dharma aspired to be some fantastical extrapolation of Utilitarian ethos, a community of varied members, each with his or her own utility, laboring together toward a greater good. But what was the greater good? And don't you love it when I pose burning questions about hypothetical scenarios that may have zero relevance to anything on Lost?
JEREMY BENTHAM HATES THE FOLLOWERS OF JACOB
Bentham was a staunch critic of the Jacobins, the troubling band of brothers that drove the French Revolution. This violent cabal was responsible for ''the Terror'' and ''the September Massacres.''... Members of this political club were called the Jacobins because they met in an old convent called St. Jacques. In Latin, Jacques is Jacobus or Jacob. Hence, ''Jacobins.'' The Jacobins didn't come up with their own name — sneering rivals foisted it on them. It's similar to how the castaways on Lost came up with the name ''The Others.''
DOC JENSEN ANALYSIS: The Others, who speak Latin, get their orders from Jacob, a derivation of ''Jacobus.'' Which in French is Jacques. Which in English is...Jack. Yep, I'm calling it. Jack = Jacob. And I'll explain what that means to the future of Lost in next week's episode, when the show returns to the Jack-in-the-Dharma-days storyline.
JEREMY BENTHAM COULD HAVE BEEN DHARMA'S ARCHITECT
Bentham's other great claim to fame was designing the Panopticon, which was a model for a new kind of prison. He envisioned a circular structure with a central guard tower that made it possible for a small number of jailers to keep an eye on all the inmates in the prison. Bentham seemed to think that such a structure could help rehabilitate the prisoners; since they were constantly aware of the possibility that they could be under surveillance (the jailers themselves could remain invisible to the inmates), they had an incentive to be on their best behavior at all times. From one point of view, the Panopticon is a metaphor for the obedience God can inspire when his presence is felt, if not seen — and the disobedience that can occur when he's not. Consider the Bible story of the golden calf, in which the people of Israel decide to misbehave while God and Moses go camping in the mountains. From another point of view, the Panopticon is a metaphor for Big Brother-ish societies that promote civility and conformity by cultivating a culture of fear.
DOC JENSEN ANALYSIS: Remember the map that Locke found inside the Hatch? Look at the design: It's a Panopticon. That station smack-dab in the middle? That's the Pearl, whose occupants were tasked with observing the action in all the other stations — but specifically, Station 3: the Swan, whose occupants were charged with pressing the Button.
(You suddenly flashed on my ''Hymn of the Pearl'' thing when you read that last sentence, didn't you? Yes, I have a theory that connects... but again, that's next week.)
JEREMY BENTHAM WAS NOT A GOOD (SURROGATE) FATHER
Jeremy Bentham had a friend named James Mill, a historian, philosopher, and all-around smarty pants who wanted to make sure that his son was as super-smart as he was. In fact, his ambition was to engineer a flat-out genius. And so, to that end, Mill kept him separated from other kids and home-schooled him with big-time help from Bentham and another pal, Francis Place, an English reformer who was into promoting contraceptives and population control and stuff. Collectively, these men raised this boy like some holy trinity of ruthless eggheads. But it worked. John Stuart Mill grew up to become a certifiable genius and a towering intellectual figure. Of course, he also had a nervous breakdown in his 20s and almost went mad from the pressure put on him by the bullying brain trust that raised him. But hey! Genius!
DOC JENSEN ANALYSIS: Bentham certainly brings the requisite Bad Dad thematic resonance. But this curious bit of biographical business also links some intriguing Island mythology mysteries. Recall, for starters, that Richard Alpert attempted to bring John to his ''special school'' in order to cultivate...whatever ''special'' ability Alpert wanted John to have. And remember the orientation film from the Hatch? Seems so long ago now, doesn't it? Well, the film conspicuously dropped the name of B.F. Skinner, a pioneering psychologist. His novel Walden Two envisioned a utopian, Dharma-esque community that practiced communal parenting as a means of engineering more fully realized citizens.
Now, check this out:
In On Liberty, in which he rails against ''the tyranny of the majority,'' which can produce a culture of conformity and mediocrity, John Stuart Mill called for ''experiments in living'' in hopes of producing creative, unique people whose dynamic new ideas could grow and nurture all of society. Mill writes: ''As it is useful that while mankind are imperfect there should be different opinions, so is it that there should be different experiments of living; that free scope should be given to varieties of character, short of injury to others; and that the worth of different modes of life should be proved practically, when anyone thinks fit to try them.''
I think this short passage could be nothing less than the Dharma Initiative manifesto. And I think they may have been applying this manifesto in some pretty far-out ways. For example, what if these ''experiments in living'' included time travel? What if they aspired to beta test ''different modes of life'' by auditioning different timelines marked by different possibilities?
Again, more on this in the weeks to come, as Jack and company take us into Dharma's trippy-idealistic utopian subculture.
I have yammered your ear off, and now I will stop. Tomorrow: my recap, which unlike last week will be more fun-time recap and less ''Did you REALLY have to tell us all about Soren Kierkegaard?'' up-my-own-arsery. Now: Totally Lost. With Lindelof and Cuse! FIVE cool teases! And creepy bobble-head dolls, to boot! WHOO-HOO!
Here are the first set of spoilers for the Season 5 Final. This episode will film between the 4th and 28th March.
Any ethnicity, late 30s-60s. Former soldier. A leader of men. Smart but more than that – he is wise. Strong and straightforward. The words he says are always listened to and they carry gravitas. GUEST STAR two episodes. May lead to recurrings. Looking for someone very interesting and very special for this role...
Any ethnicity, 40s-60s. A corporate raider looking to take over his next company. Powerful, devious and obtuse. He has a cunning intellect and a strong sense of danger. GUEST STAR two episodes. May lead to recurring. Looking for someone very interesting and very special for this role...
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Julie in Pittsburg: Kristin, I can't believe that you didn't mention the fate of our dear Penny in your Lost Redux! Ben was bloody and at the marina and that could only mean that he was there looking for her and to make good on his promise to her dad. I'm dying to know if she's OK! When will we know? Thanks!
Sorry Julie, Sonya Walger would not comment on whether Ben got to her in the last episode, but says "anything is possible" regarding Penny showing up on the Island. When I asked her whether she was related to anyone we already know, like Charlotte or Daniel, she coyly replied: "She could be." Hit the comments with your guesses!
Craig in Orlando, Fla.: I just saw Walt from Lost on some commercial for chicken wings or something! Give us some scoop on past Losties! I want to see Charlie, Shannon, Libby, Boone, Ana-Lucia, Eko, Nikki and Paulo!
Charlie is a definite possibility. (And you Shannon fans really just need to go see Taken—Maggie Grace and Liam Neeson are great together.) We just caught up with Dominic Monaghan and he told us, "I never close doors...I loved working on Lost because it felt like a big film, it was such an event...I would like to [come back]! If it was up to me I'd be back every so often, but that's more of a writer's question." Meanwhile, you can catch Dom in this summer's Wolverine flick, out May 1. According to Dom, "My character's story begins the angry motivational moves for Wolverine. I'm a guy who was friends with Logan in his earlier Army days, and something goes down in an Army sortie, and because of that, Logan gets brought back into a combat scenario." Can't wait! (P.S. Got Q's for Lost stars Fionnula Flanagan or Malcolm David Kelley? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll try to get you answers!)
Happy Monday, tubers! If you were just as shocked about Jin hopping out of the Dharma V-dub bus as I was, you'd track down Daniel Dae Kim to get some answers, right? Well that's just what I did!
Not only is Jin alive and jumping through time, he's just flashed right on over to our set. But will he be flashing to his true love, Sun (Yunjin Kim)? Daniel Dae Kim is here to dish on that and more coming up on Lost, including secrets about our good friend Smokey.
Also, if you love Fringe (and who doesn't?), I've got the scoop on the Observer and a big twist coming its way. Yes, I said it! Plus, info on who spills the beans to Nora about Tommy's (Balthazar Getty) arrest on Brothers & Sisters, and the many pregnancies of Samantha Who? So click above and enjoy this week's episode of the Watch with Kristin show!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Navigating the rocky road of toddlerhood can be difficult for any mom, but Elizabeth Mitchell has found a fail-safe way to keep 3-year-old Christopher ‘CJ” Joseph happy — wide open spaces! “He has never had a tantrum outside,” the 38-year-old Lost star tells the January issue of American Baby magazine. “He’s 3, so he certainly has his fair share, but I find that once he’s outside, he’s really happy.” Fortunately Elizabeth’s Seattle-area home with husband Chris Soldevilla is situated on a one acre parcel of land, and the couple take advantage of every inch of space their yard has to offer! “We go out and walk…CJ plays in the stream and in the pond — any little kid can find a world of adventure,” Elizabeth explains. “We have apple trees, and he likes to help me do some of the gardening, the cleanup, and the pruning.”
Elizabeth reveals that she and Chris have different parenting styles: While she is better at keeping her patience and remembering that CJ is still a toddler, Chris gets props for his “unbelievably high energy” and ability to have fun with their son. “There are giggles that come from CJ when he is with Chris that I have just never heard,” Elizabeth says. “They are the most beautiful things ever.” Grandparents are also a big part of CJ’s life, something Elizabeth says she wouldn’t have any other way.
“CJ is a funny, interactive, sweet kid, and I feel that’s because he has been exposed to so many different points of view.”
Having a baby has been good for Elizabeth’s career, in that it has expanded her creative horizons. Calling parents the “makers of magic,” she feels that beyond the practical responsibilities of parenthood it is every mom and dad’s duty to spark that creativity in their children. “Whether or not your child loves all these things, like singing and music, has a lot to do with the way you present them,” Elizabeth says. That’s why most mornings you’ll find CJ engaged in the arts — in one form or another! “Kids need someone fresh — a babysitter, grandparents, whoever — to come in with fun ideas, and then your child’s life is richer for it,” Elizabeth explains. “Chris and I alternate mornings in charge.”
“On my mornings, we get up and I have CJ draw a picture. He has his own little table and pad. And we always listen to music. Sometimes it’s classical, sometimes it’s jazz, sometimes it’s rock — it just depends on what mood we’re in. I like to tell him who the composer is, and then he walks around saying the name because he feels he knows something. He’s like, ‘This is Bach.’ It’s pretty neat.”
Despite the rigorous shooting schedule of her hit television show, Elizabeth says she “cannot be someone who is not there at all hours.” That means that if CJ wakes up in the middle of the night, he can count on company in his mom! “I am going to be there, and we are going to figure out how to go back to sleep,” she says. What’s more, her approach is paying dividends now. Reveals Elizabeth,
“For the first year, he just did not sleep, and now he sleeps like a rock. I think this is because I put so much time in with him back then. You stop worrying about dumb things, and you really just start doing the things that are most essential.”
The insomnia she experienced has also — indirectly — provided Elizabeth with some laughs. She has kept an informal baby journal on her nightstand since CJ’s birth, where she jots down his daily accomplishments, and some of the more humorous updates were written when she was working on very little sleep. ”Some of it is very flowery, which is not usually me: ‘I love you like the moonbeams.’ But I am reading it now and going, ‘Wow.’”
Source: American Baby
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Feb 22, 2009
As part of the media blitz for the opening of The Counter, the new build-your-own burger restaurant in Kahala Mall, I had breakfast with restaurateur D.K. Kodama and "Lost" actor Daniel Dae Kim. It was the breakfast of champions, really — a loco moco with kim chee on the side.
"I can't tell you how great it is to live in a place where everybody knows what kim chee is," said Kim, whose investment in the restaurant, the first of three, is a way of setting down roots in Hawaii, where he wants to stay after "Lost" wraps up in another season and a half.
D.K. asked him to invest in The Counter franchise while the two were on the links at Waialae. "I didn't realize we were doing business," says Kim. "I thought I was there so he could kick my butt on the golf course. Then D.K. says to me, 'How would you like to eat lots of great burgers for free?'"