Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Midside: S4E02 Confirmed Dead

Hey, I know you just got back and want to see all you friends again, but you need to meet these four people first. No, no, I know you miss your friends. I know you haven’t seen them in like eight months. But that’s the point, it’s eight months. If you waited that long, you can wait another week or so, right? I mean, these people are really really important. You need to meet them. I promise.

One of my friends said it best last night. The quote isn’t exact, but she her statement was something like, “I’m unsure about the episode. There was Dan and Miles and Charlotte and Frank. Ok. Next episode.” I have to admit to sort of feeling the same way. Can we watch LOST now?

I don’t mean to come off as so critical though. We are watching LOST. In a way, what’s happened with the first two episodes of this season is the beauty of the show. It’s always evolving. It never stays in one storytelling technique (well besides the “flashes”, which I’ll get to later). For example, if the narrator didn’t say “Previously on LOST” at the beginning of the episode, I would have thought I was watching the Discovery Channel or something. I even made a “Are we watching Cloverfield?” joke because of the first person perspective and the voice talking from behind the camera.

It’s also important to be fair to the story. As much as we like to fool ourselves in the internet era, the writers are in control of the story and they tell it the way that they believe is best to tell it. I remind us all of that fact because of a statement Lindelof made concerning the current season and the strike. Basically, he said that the first eight episodes (which are already filmed) set up a lot of questions and the last episodes (which have yet to be filmed) answer those questions. Well, I can say the following: I have a lot of questions, so the show is succeeding so far. Let’s see what happens from here on out.

Oh, by the way, ask me what the black smoke is.

I don’t know!

(Look, I’m like Ben now.)


To be honest, the title for this segment seems a little inappropriate this week. Sure, we didn’t get any answers, and we got four new characters. The problem is, however, that we don’t know any of those characters very well. The point of the statement is to put the emphasis on the characters and not the answers when watching the show. Well, when you do such a thing, you want to really feel like you know the characters. Know the characters like, you know, we did in the first season. I will admit though, it’s interesting how the writers have flipped everything and made our characters The Others and the new characters like the original Survivors. It’s almost as if the writers are assuming we already know our characters, so they don’t feel the need to treat them with the same depth. It would be like having a deep conversation three years into a relationship with a good friend. You already know what they’re going to say. So then, let’s have deep conversations about the four new characters.

First, there’s Daniel. Obviously, he’s a little off. He reminds me a bit of Charlie and Liam when they were on drugs. Whether that comparison is intentional or not on the part of the writers, who knows, but I’d guess not. What’s important to consider is if he’s off because he’s hiding something from our characters or because he’s simply a little off. There is certainly evidence for all of these new characters hiding something, but in the case of Dan, I just think he’s a little weird. He seems like one of those nice guys that isn’t quite comfortable in his own skin because he’s had to live under everyone’s thumb his whole life. Look at the way he cried when the “wreckage” of 815 was found; and he even admitted that he didn’t know why he was crying. That response is not normal. Come to think of it, do we even know what the guy is good at? Why was he picked to go on the mission? I can’t even remember, which either speaks to my memory or the writing.

Second, there’s Miles. He’s the most interesting character out of the four for me, and not because he’s a ghost buster. His profession is certainly part of his appeal, but it’s how he went about it that was so interesting. The dust buster was utterly amusing. Then, the way he made his money was just so LOST-like. He stole the drug money, but left the cocaine hidden to protect the grandma, and he gave her “half off” on his “reading” or whatever it was. Yeah, sure, he’s a jerk, but he has a heart. He demonstrated guilt (giving her some money back) for what he did to the grandma and consideration towards her (hiding the cocaine). Although, it could be argued he wasn’t very considerate, because if the police ever search her house, that’s possession. Why would they search her house though? Well, she does live in IngleWOOD. Finally, I enjoyed how he referred to Naomi’s body as just meet. It made his character well rounded.

Third, there’s Charlotte. I don’t like her. I also don’t dislike her. Pretty much the only opinion I have about her is that I feel sorry that she got stuck with Locke’s group. Now she has to deal with two crazies (Locke and Ben) and an angry (Sawyer). A lot of good her anthropological talents will do her with those three. Which, by the way, in her flashback scene, I couldn’t help but think of Indiana Jones. She’s like the female version of him. Now, where’s Short Round (or at the very least Shia Labeouf)?

Finally, there’s Frank. Frank is a drunk and should have been the pilot on 815, but circumstances intervened. I have to admit, when he explained that turn of events, it reminded me of 9/11 and all the stories of people who were almost on the plane, but lucked out. Regardless, I thought his flashback was the most compelling. I enjoyed the person on the other end of the phone asking who he was and how he wasn’t dumb enough to say his name at first. He was, however, dumb enough to reveal who he was eventually (which may have been how he ended up on this mission, something I’ll return to later).

What intrigued me the most about this week’s flashes was how infrequent they were. By my count, there was only five. I honestly don’t know the average number of flashes per episode (what, something about LOST I don’t know?), but it would certainly be interesting if someone calculated that number and compared it against five. To me it felt like there was a low number of flashes this episode and it makes me think the writers are struggling against their own form. At the end of the last season, I wondered if the flash forwards were a response to running out of flash back stories to tell. Now I’m starting to wonder if the whole flashes technique has run its course. What I used to love about the flashes was how their stories always ran parallel to the island story. I suppose you could argue this one did too though. As a character was found, we found out why they acted the way they did. I guess maybe I’m just bucking against the episode’s video game-esque plot. “Find all your companions quickly as the tracking device signals that they have jumped from the helicopter to the plane.”


There’s really not much to say regarding everyone else this week. Only a few of our characters were featured. I do have a couple of observations though.

How has Kate not punched Jack in the face yet? There seems to be this aura of them working together, but it always seems as if Jack just disagrees with whatever she suggests, no matter how strong the idea. I make this observation because of when she was trying to get the gun away from Dan. Yes, he knew more about the situation than Kate, but when she asked him for an explanation, all he said was that he winked, as if that somehow made everything ok.

While I’m talking about that scene, do you think Jack realizes the irony of that scene? Do you think he realizes that he had become Mr. Friendly? At first, I thought he was just using the Mr. Friendly gambit as a bluff, but when Sayid fired the shot, I realized it was the full blown version. I’m willing to bet that Jack is too much of a douchebag to realize the fact that he’s become everything he has hated and backed against for three seasons. Then Juliet came in and Kate suddenly because the third wheel. I imaged someone saying “awkward” in the exact intonation with which it’s trendy to say that word now-a-days.

Ben continued his plot propelling purpose in this episode, which I suppose is necessary to retain some respectability for the character. Otherwise, he simply has taken Boone’s place as the universe’s punching bag. Besides saying stupid things, he has been lead around like a dog. It’s certainly an interesting role reversal even though his character has sort of become two dimensional. For the record, I’m predicting that Ben’s man on the boat is Michael. One of my friends said it at the end of the episode and it just makes too much sense.

I’m really glad Sawyer went with Locke. He’s the only person who can hold him accountable for his manipulative douchebaggery. Everyone else is either too easily molded or too afraid of Locke to speak up. Being a con man himself, Sawyer is immune to both Locke and Ben’s chattering. He also understands one very important thing, which is why he beat the crap out of Ben this episode. When someone talks that much about crap, you don’t treat them with decency. They aren’t treating you with decency. So, he does the only logical thing. He beats the crap out of him.

Oh yeah, Desmond fans, my apologies to you. Apparently if things aren’t flashing before his eyes, he’s of no use. Here’s hoping he does something interesting soon, like time travel. Yeah, that’s right, I said it.


The most interesting addition to LOST mythology this week is the seeming confirmation of the conspiracy. The scene with the black guy and Naomi (whose name I only know how to spell because Van Wilder told me that it’s “I moan” backwards) basically made it so that guy is the face of the conspiracy. We also know now that Naomi was in on it, or was at least middle management and knew a fair amount of information. We can also figure out, or speculate, a couple other things from this scene.

If the four people on the mission (and maybe the people on the boat too) were handpicked by the conspiracy for a specific purpose each, did the conspiracy hand pick people on 815 for a specific purpose too? How big is the conspiracy? Did they simply only pick the group of four or did they pick 815 too and subsequently picked the group of four to further the purpose of 815? I think the answer to the size of the conspiracy exists in one character.

I really wish Penelope would come back. We see her sparingly, but her importance is continually hinted at. Now I want to know why middle management Naomi had the picture of her and Desmond. Is it a coincidence and the two are just friends? But Penelope asked Charlie who Naomi was. Does Penelope know about the conspiracy then and it’s fighting back by trying to use Desmond against her? This whole scenario has gotten much less supernatural and more political. But if the show isn’t supernatural, how do you explain Miles talking to the dead drug deal in IngleWOOD and talking to dead Naomi? I guess it’s a little of both. Isn’t it always?

The other interesting development is how Locke seemed to be shocked that Hurley saw Jacob’s cabin…and in a different location than Locke seemed to see it. Character who have seemingly had a communion with Jacob seem to think it makes them special, but what if Jacob just manipulates people that fit his purposes the way the conspiracy manipulates people that their purpose? Jacob takes Jack’s dad’s form (or is Jack’s dad), right? The conspiracy is symbolized through a black guy, right? Two players, one light, one dark…


-When I woke up this morning and read the news, I found an article that apparently said the writers’ strike is coming to an end. An apparent deal has been struck. Considering that five episodes of LOST are still left to air, I have high hopes that, if this news story is true, we can watch Season Four seamlessly. The best scenario I can think of is that the writers wrote some scripts, but simply did not send them to the network or into production. If I thought God cared about something as petty as LOST, I’d pray. But I don’t, so I won’t.

-From now on, this column will be cross posted on my blog at You can also find no-LOST related posts by me in that blog, mainly movie reviews, but a few other topics as well.

As always, until next week, remember:

Shut up, you’re wrong. (It’s why comments are disabled on this site now.)

Jayemel can be reached by email at

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