Great episode last night. It was good to see each of the characters back after an 8 month layoff. So many twists and turns as always. The island is traveling through time, we expected that. But so much more is going on than just that. I loved knowing that in 70 hours…”God help us all!”. What does that mean? Hurley in jail? Jack and Sayid in the hospital. And what about those still on the island?
It’s going to be a great season, I can tell already. Thoughts from anyone on last nights episode and what to expect this season?
From the Chicago Tribune:
The post below discusses Wednesday’s two-hour Season 5 premiere of “Lost.” There’s some new information from executive producer Damon Lindelof about things that occurred in the season premiere, the complete versions of answers to some questions I had to trim from this recent interview with Lindelof and executive producer Carlton Cuse, and some thoughts of my own about the episode.
It’s probably best if you’ve seen the two season premiere episodes that aired Wednesday, “Because You Left” and “The Lie,” before proceeding.
Before we get down to business, here is a link to the funniest “Lost” recap ever at the Throwing Things site. Additional links to recent “Lost” stories are here. I’ll try to add more links to the end of this item throughout Thursday.
Here are a couple of questions I had after watching the season premiere, and Lindelof’s answers to them:
We saw the island skipping through time in the season premiere — is it going to stick with a few time frames, or keep traveling a lot in time? Will that aspect of things get toned down a little?
Lindelof: All we can say is, whatever convention we’re using in the premiere episodes — nothing in the show is season-long.
There are actually sort of three acts to the season. The first act is the first seven episodes, the second act is eight through 13, and the final act is 14 though 17.
Every time that you think that the show has settled into, “Oh, is this all about the Oceanic 6 trying to get back to the island and the island is skipping through time,” it changes. But we don’t want to tell you how it changes or what frequency it changes. All we can say is, there are a lot of twists and turns this year.
The question that bothered me most, or gave me the biggest headache, in the season premiere had to do with Faraday knocking on the door of the hatch. Desmond answers the door and they talk. How come Desmond doesn’t remember that encounter the whole time? How come he doesn’t recall that encounter at the hatch door with Faraday from the time it happened up to and including when we see him in the season premiere, which is years later? Why wasn’t that incident a memory for him?
Lindelof: A) That’s a very good question to be asking, and certainly not one that we ignore. B) Listen carefully what Faraday is saying to Desmond, in terms of why he believes this information he’s telling Desmond is going to transfer.
Finally, something happened to Desmond way back at the end of the second season of the show, something incredibly significant. Which imbues him with a certain power, for lack of a better word, that nobody else on the show has, and that was demonstrated regularly throughout Season 3, in terms of what happened to him at the end of Season 2. This makes him a bit of a wild card.
What we would advise you, and the fans whose heads are hurting, is to say, if you apply common sense rules to Desmond’s memory and cognition as it moves through the show, you will drive yourself crazy. But if you fundamentally accept that his consciousness can bop around in time, and where it lands is more an aggregate of destiny rather than logic, you will be able to sleep a lot better.
Here are the complete answers to some responses that were trimmed when I first posted this interview with executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.
Cuse: Part of it unfolds this season, part of it unfolds next season. … We were talking before about keeping the show on a character level, that’s really what it comes down to. Yeah, the island is skipping through time, or our characters are, but what are the consequences of that for them in terms of their survival, in terms of their relationships, in terms of whatever their ultimate destiny with the island is? Those are the pertinent questions.
I just wanted to ask you a lightning round of quick questions, if I could, about various characters this season. Pierre Chang/Marvin Candle — is he around this season?
Lindelof: All we’re willing to say is that the season premiere is not the only time that he appears in the season. We’re showing you that scene for a reason, and in the spirit of what the show does, sometimes we show you a scene, and you think understand the context of that scene, but once you watch [a version of it] again a year later, it has an entirely different meaning. We will be seeing Dr. Chang again.
Now here are some thoughts from Mo. They’re pretty random, given that I watched these episodes three times, so I have several sets of notes. Please forgive the randomness. And please add your reaction, if you care to, in the comment area. I’m interested in what everyone else thought.
- Overall, I thought the episodes were really strong and provided a lot of what I enjoy about “Lost” — mythology, relationships, mysteries, Marvin Candle, humor, action, shirtless Sawyer and of course, flaming arrows.
- First of all, I loved, loved, loved the fact that the first few minutes were a gift to longtime fans of the show, especially those of us who are nutty for Marvin Candle/Pierre Chang, the man of many names who stars in the Dharma initiation films.
- I mean, we had Candle/Chang waking up at 8:15 a.m. — a reference to Flight 815. We see him put on an album (a callback to the start of Season 2, when Desmond was playing albums in the hatch), and then the record begins skipping — just as the island itself begins skipping in time.
- It seems we got our first clue as to what the Dharma Initiative was doing on the island — attempting to harness the “limitless energy source” that Chang mentions and which Ben manipulated with the donkey wheel in the Season 4 finale.
- But Chang/Candle’s dialogue with the random Dharma worker also seeks to reassure fans that the show won’t be unleashing so much confusing “wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff” that our brains will explode. “There are rules, rules that can’t be broken!” Candle says. Let’s hope so!
- Given that these two episodes had to go back and re-explain what happened in the finale, for those who couldn’t quite remember all the big developments, AND unleash the whole “time keeps on skipping, skipping, skipping … into the future” thing, the show threw a lot of shiny things at us, the better to distract us from the potential confusion of the time issue (and though I’m no fan of time-travel plots, I’ll stipulate here that I think the time issues in these episodes were laid out quite well).
- Among the shiny things: We got shirtless Sawyer, a running joke that only got funnier the longer he remained partly unclothed. Shirtless Sawyer was there as eye candy to us shallow types, but Sawyer served another important purpose as well: He was the guy saying, “Time travel? Hell to the no.” Let’s hope that if this does start to get confusing, Sawyer will take his shirt off again, the better to ward off any time-travel migraines.
- Like Sawyer, Hurley was there to entertain us; much of the second hour was Hugo’s Big Adventure, and as such it was quite fun. Hurley is, though, the stand-in for the audience as well as the comic relief. He recapped the story so far for his mother, and kudos to the writers and Jorge Garcia for making what could have been brain-numbing exposition into really enjoyable exposition.
- And after all the fast and furious developments of the first hour, we really needed Hurley to be the guy who grounds the show emotionally as well. He is as freaked out by Sayid’s ninja adventures — as awesome as they might be at times — as any normal person would be. You know, Hurley just wants a burger, but terrifying, confusing events happen to him instead. And he’s the one to tell his fellow Oceanic 6 that lying is bad, and that they shouldn’t do it. For a guy who’s spent a fair amount of time in mental institutions, Hurley may be the one of the sanest people on the show.
- One (of a few) things that drove me mental about the whole Desmond-Faraday hatch-door exchange — well, of course Faraday leaves Desmond in a time-flash just before Faraday says his mother’s name. Why couldn’t that be among the first words out of his mouth when he first sees Desmond? Well, because then the show couldn’t play out that string for a bit longer. Putting on a GOB Bluth voice here: “Oh, come on!”
- It seems pretty clear to me that Jin is conning Kate and is still monumentally angry at her and at Jack and at Ben. I bet Jin is behind the lawsuit that spooked Kate into running. But what’s behind the monumental nature of Jin’s anger? Obviously she’s angry about Sun’s death, but I’m guessing there’s more to it than that. Which we’ll see in the past. Or her past. Or in the future. Oh, I give up. We’ll see it sometime.
- Is there anything scarier than Ben trying to be nice? When he attempts to charm Hurley and even smile at him, it’s deeply creepy. No wonder Hurley would rather turn himself in to the cops than go anywhere with Ol’ Freaky Eyes.
- Speaking of Ben, this is just a guess but I think there are probably lots and lots of catches involved going back to the island. And it would be unlike Ben to mention these catches, if they do in fact exist.
- What was the most fun? Hearing Frogurt call Sawyer “inbred,” hearing Sawyer call himself “the ghost of Christmas past” as he banged on the hatch door, or hearing Hurley describe Sayid’s secret life “where he does crazy ninja moves and spy stuff”? It’s a three-way tie.
- Random thought: I really like Lapidus. Without really appearing to do much of anything, Jeff Fahey adds to any scene Lapidus is in. I do hope we get to see more about him, perhaps in the “freighter folk” episode(s) we’ve been promised by Team Darlton.
- It goes without saying, or maybe I should say, that I really like Charlotte, Faraday and Miles and eagerly look forward to learning more about them.
- Who knew that Ana Lucia could be a really fun and funny character? I think the answer here is that Michelle Rodriguez works best in small doses. As in, now that we’ve gotten an enjoyable little dose of Ana Lucia, maybe we won’t see her again for a long time. And that would be fine.
- Trivia question: Can anyone point out to me the significance of Jekyll Island beer? Apparently you can spot this beer in the movie “Rules of Attraction” as well. On “Lost,” Lapidus was seen carrying this beer; the camera lingers on the bottles for a good while, so I’m assuming this beer signifies something. Or not.
From Entertainment Weekly:
And down the rabbit hole we go. Or should that be wormhole? Lost plunged into brain-boggling sci-fi in last night’s premiere, and the show itself seemed anxious about our reaction. The self-conscious opening sequence — with Dharma laborers drilling into the Island’s ”exotic matter” and melting their bits; the Dharma hardhat who rolled his eyes at the Dharma Dude of Many Names as he bleated about time travel — spoke to and for those who have always worried that the show’s overtly out-there elements would turn the series into silly hokum. If you got a cathartic thrill out of seeing Sawyer slap Doc Faraday across his scruffy theory-spouting mug (ouch!) and then threaten scientist sidekick Charlotte Lewis with the same (”Shut it, Ginger, or you’re getting one, too!”), then you’re probably one of the wary. Me? I’ve always liked Lost’s geeky side, and more, the adventurous storytelling it inspires. ”Because You Left” — which skipped back and forth along the Island’s timeline, leaving the castaways (and us) to puzzle out their time/space whereabouts — was a wild winner in my book. And it was made possible, no doubt, by all the bandwagon fans that have fallen off over the years — the ones Lost doesn’t have to worry about alienating anymore. ”Because You Left.” How ironic.
Still, for all its risky choices, the premiere did what all Lost premieres aspire to do: activate a wide swath of story in deft, dynamic fashion and remind us just who these characters are. Jack the reluctant hero. Kate the lonely fugitive. Hurley the cursed clown. Shirtless Sawyer, the abandonment-forged rogue, distraught over departed and dead friends, best expressed the episode’s tenor of heartbreak and disorientation. He also best embodied its nervous subtext. The producers have joked that leaving Sawyer half naked for the whole episode was meant to pleasure those for whom the genre stuff might be displeasing. Yet he also stands for a show that took the risk of exposing a big part of itself to the audience — a part that it has often had to keep hidden for fear of being rejected.
The episode made clever use of a Willie Nelson tune called ”Shotgun Willie.” (More on this in a minute.) But I found myself humming Nelson’s more iconic hits, ”Always On My Mind” and ”On The Road Again,” as ”Because You Left” went about its business of reintroducing our haunted, Constant-deprived heroes and then putting them in perilous transit. Two notes about what you’re about to read. (1) Out of respect to those who may have only watched the premiere, this piece contains no spoilers of ”The Lie,” which I’m giving its own recap. (2) This recap is very, very long. Much longer than I intended, much longer than it should be. My apologies. But let the length be proof of how much ”Because You Left” engaged me — and I promise to be more concise, beginning with my take on ”The Lie.”
JACK AND BEN
Ding dong, the beard is gone! Yet things remain pretty hairy for Jack on the inside. Like some clean-shaven Samson, Doc Shepherd was rendered a blind, impotent shell of his former self. His vaunted rationality — his eyes; his strength — has been proven meaningless in the face of Island magic and the inescapable fate worshipped by ideological nemesis, John Locke. (”What did he say to make you such a believer?” Ben asked, believer landing like a snarky slap.) Now, he must trust another enemy to help him round up the rest of the Oceanic 6 and find an Island that currently doesn’t want to be found. Ben not only appointed himself Jack’s Island-tracking kemosabe, but as he revealed in the season’s second episode, his Narconon sponsor, too. The exiled Other flushed the pills down the crapper and bought him a dapper new suit. If this manipulative mastermind thing doesn’t work out, Ben should really consider a makeover show on Bravo.
Did you notice how Jack’s story was basically rebooted? Season 1: Mom scolded Jack to duty, pushed his guilt buttons to save his father from a deadly Down Under bender. Season 5: Ben needles Jack to heroism, pushing his buttons to rescue his friends from their super-string reality-bender. To borrow from the giant on Twin Peaks: ”It is happening again.” Or, to paraphrase Nietzsche: Eternal recurrence, baby! (Or, in your words: STOP IT.)
I know many of you don’t like Jack, but I do. I find his jittery ruin relevant and his redemption yearning poignant. Bemoaning his god-awful life, Jack moaned: ”How did this happen?” Ben snapped: ”It happened because you left.” Two interpretations. (1) Sarcasm. Ben’s basically saying: You know, if you stayed on the Island, things would be different, because… well, things would be different. (2) Something more cosmic. Ben’s matter-of-fact declaration — combined with Richard Alpert telling John Locke that to save the Island, he had to bring the Oceanic 6 back — made me question: What really caused the Island to vanish? Was it the frozen donkey wheel — or was it actually the Oceanic 6? Could it be that the very act of leaving so disrupted the predestined flow of history that it knocked the Island offline? And can you explain to me what I just said?
More ambiguous line readings open to multiple interpretations: Ben asked Jack if Locke had spelled out exactly what had gone down on the Island after they left. Jack: Nope. Ben: ”Well, I guess we’ll never know.” Do you think the Machiavellian maestro is truly that clueless — or do you think he knows stuff and it serves his interest to make Jack think he doesn’t? Think this through. The premiere gave us the answer to Ben’s probing inquiry: After Jack and co. bailed, the remaining castaways started ricocheting through time. The opening sequence, in fact, revealed that at least Faraday is destined to make a stop in the mid-seventies Dharma Initiative past — perhaps right about the time Ben and his widowed father arrived on the Island. If this is where/when the season is going — if the rest of the time traveling castaways will be joining Faraday in the Dharma heyday — the implication is clear: Ben has probably known the castaways — or known about them — since he was a kid!
And what about this possibility: What if Jack’s bluffing, too? What if Locke did tell him stuff, but Jack is playing dumb? It wouldn’t be the first time; see: The Kidney Sack Bait-And-Switch; and The ”I Got A Plan To Kill The Others And I Ain’t Tellin’ Anyone” Gambit from Season 3.
SUN AND WIDMORE
The Season 4 finale introduced us to a new Sun, all Lady Vengeance, as she confronted Charles Widmore on a London street with knowledge of his badassery — and the offer of an alliance. The power plays continued in the premiere. En route to L.A., Sun was pulled out of the airport queue and tossed into a security holding room. This time, Widmore had waylaid her: Penelope’s Island-hunting father (he’s been searching for 20 years — a conspicuous detail dropped by Miles Straume) wanted to accept her offer…and establish control in the relationship. And once again, Sun is the subordinate spouse, forced to walk behind her male mate. But is she hatching another betrayal? And another burning question that stems from the fact that Sun told Widmore she wants Ben dead. But do you believe her? Sure, Ben is a bad man. But was he responsible for Jin’s death? No. That was Keamy the Merc whose bomb blew up the freighter. Which belonged to Widmore. Who wanted everyone on the Island dead. It should be Chuck’s blue blood that Sun should want spilled. Maybe she’s playing double agent, pretending to be a Ben Hater but really a Ben Friend tasked with spying on their mutual enemy. Maybe she’s just getting close enough to shiv him when he’s not looking. Those would be the simplest answers, though they hinge on the assumption that Sun is all about Jin grief. But what if she isn’t? What if Sun has moved on? What if Sun has a new man, a man worthy of her station, possessed of money and power, a man whom Ben would want dead because he threatened his need to get all of the Oceanic 6 back to the Island? My friends: What if Sun is knocking boots with ”The Economist” — the never-seen money man that Ben wanted Sayid to assassinate last season? What if Sun is trying to bump off Ben to protect her new life, not avenge her old one?
HURLEY AND SAYID
The safe house was not so safe. Having busted Hurley out of the loony bin, Sayid hooked up Food Addict’s Bitch with some fast food burgers from Rainbow Diner (Mr. Cluck’s must still be shuttered for repairs; meteorite damage, you know) and brought him to his apartment. ”You know, maybe if you ate more comfort food you wouldn’t have to go around shooting people,” Hurley told Sayid, whose unrepentant attitude after killing out of sheer paranoia was truly disconcerting. Motivated by a danger-detecting Spidey sense that’s been on mega-tingle since the dubious death of Jeremy Bentham, a.k.a. ‘He Who Shall Not Be Openly Referred To As John Locke,’ the once-a-soldier, always-a-soldier Iraqi spoke of a falling-out with Ben, for whom he had been doing the flash-forward assassin thing, and implored Hurley not to trust Mr. McShifty. (Clearly, a flashback for a forthcoming episode.) At the safe house: ambush. Sayid got the best of his shadowy enemies — he tossed one off the balcony and impaled another on some dirty cutlery — but not before getting shot with a tranquilizer dart. Hurley was caught on phone-cam with the bad guy’s gun in his hand and incriminating blood-red ketchup on his shirt: Oops. ”I never should have left the Island!” he cried, carting his snoozing bodyguard to the car. On the run, nowhere to go, madness encroaching, no grease bomb to comfort him. The Curse, renewed. (More on Hurley in my recap of ”The Lie.”)