Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Midside: S5E05 This Place is Death

I have some bad news. I know. I’m sorry. I don’t like to start The Midside this way either, but sometimes, you just gotta. Sometimes, to be in line with reality, you have to acknowledge negative events so that you may come to terms with them and move forward.

Drew Goddard is with us no longer. No, he’s not dead. I did lead up to that perception pretty well though, huh? Rather, he’s no longer part of the LOST writing staff. In fact, according to, he hasn’t done anything anywhere since being a co-executive producer last season. I’ve been waiting for an episode by him this season and finally decided to figure out why he hasn’t written one. So, I would just like to take a moment to thank the man who wrote such amazing episodes as my Season One favorite “Outlaws.” Drew, you will be missed. I hope you’re using your new found free time to write another movie as awesome as Cloverfield.

What inspired me to look into this information? Kitsis and Horowitz wrote this episode. They also wrote “The Lie.” That’s right. They’ve written two of the five episodes so far this season. They’ve certainly carved themselves a nice place in the LOST writing community. They originally started out as the writers for Hurley episodes. Now they’ve written two of the first five episodes of Season Five. Well done, fellas.

Let’s discuss what they had in store for us, shall we?


Ok everyone, on three, everyone say it with me: “He puts the lotion in the basket.” Another reference we could make: Ok, Lassie, little Johnny fell down the well. Go get help. Go girl, get them. Lassie was a girl, right?

I’m starting with this turn of events and subsequent scene inside the well because of its importance. It may be the most important scene so far this season. Also, it’s extremely representative of LOST. How many times on this show have characters done something, left the place they did it, only to return to that place a few episodes later with a different perspective? Back across the island! There were so many flashes I almost forget that our merry band of time travelers was just trekking across it again.

The first thing I have to say is how grotesque that broken bone in Locke’s leg looked. I bet the writers are just trying to see how badly they can hurt Locke and the audience will still buy it when the island heals him. Of course, they’re kind of forced to continue to escalate the injuries as it seems the island will eventually heal the ultimate injury: death. After leading Boone to his death, did Locke take on his mantel of island punching bag?

Second, I have to note the absurdity of this “what you have with you, travels with you” time travel rule. How is it decided what’s with you? I mean, it’s an easy way of keeping the characters from ending up naked with every flash, but it was absolutely ridiculous that Sawyer was holding that rope and it ended up stuck in the ground. Why not just lay face down on the ground with your arms spread out wide and say “I’m holding the island”? Why not hug a tree and bring it with you so there are two trees? There has to be some havoc to create with this rule. Or can no part of the island travel in time? It must remain static. But then the problem is how do you define what is part of the island?

Dorks, I tell you. We’re all dorks.

And who was at the bottom of the well? Christian Shepard. And we have proof that guy played by John Terry actually is Christian Shepard (or he’s someone else taking the form of Christian Shepard and is someone else’s father). As Locke disappeared he said, “Say hello to my son.” Locke, of course, clueless as always, responded: “Who’s your son?” It’ll be interesting to see how this exchange plays into the possibility of Christian being Jacob. I can imagine Locke and Jack being together the next time they both see Christian. Jack will freak. Locke will ask, “Your Dad is Jacob?” At least, if that type of scene happens, we’ll know if Locke thinks Christian is Jacob or not based on if he asks that question. Do I think he’s Jacob? He’s number one on my suspects list. Richard Alpert is number two. Do you think he’s Jacob?

Interestingly, the scene between Christian and Locke is the only one my LOST viewing group didn’t heckle through this season. Is our complete engagement testament to its high quality? I can’t picture myself heckling through Seasons 1-3…well, maybe parts of three.

Also of note in that scene is Locke asking Christian for help getting up. He asked, “Could you help me up?” Christian replied, “No, sorry, I can’t.” We could think that Christian can’t help because this journey is Locke’s, so Locke must do it on his own. However, the more likely scenario seems to be that Christian is some sort of non-corporeal being. In other words, he literally couldn’t help Locke because he has no physical body, so he couldn’t touch him. This possibility would explain the whole “Christian is dead yet alive” thing. Then again, his actual body is missing from his casket, and he was sitting in the chair in the cabin.

Locke had to move the island and not Ben. The wheel was off its axis and now it’s back. What does any of this crap mean? I’m not sure, but what I know is the following: The flashes were happening extremely frequently. The plot device had sort of run its course. Do I think the flashes will stop now that the wheel is back on its axis? No, but I expect them to happen infrequently. Keeping the characters in one time period makes for storylines that we invest in more. If they can just leave whenever, why do I care? I don’t. Also, the more they travel, the more nosebleeds they get, and the closer they get to dying. Which reminds me…


Charlotte’s dead and a whole bunch of eggs weren’t released into the wind to blow where they may in commemoration of her death. Yes, that was a “Charlotte’s Web” reference. Count it.

In other news, was Charlotte the most useless character on LOST ever? My favorite ridiculous moment of this episode was when she explained her own character in 20 seconds because she was obviously dying. “I’m from this island. I night be Annie because I was part of Dharma. I became an archeologist to get back to this island…so I could die in a death more pointless than Shannon’s! Except there’s not a role in a badass action move like “Taken” waiting for me on the other side.” (That was paraphrased, maybe.)

Her end did reveal something though. On her death bed she told Daniel, “Because I remember something now...” and told him how he visited her in the past to tell her not to come back to the island because she would die. Her suddenly remembering is exactly the same way Desmond suddenly remembered Faraday knocking on The Swan door. It means the timeline can be changed. Charlotte’s death caused Faraday to travel back in time. However, though he took the action, nothing really changed. Maybe you can act within your free will as far as it doesn’t majorly affect anything. By creating that kind of situation, the writers could be trying to cleverly avoid the whole pre-destination paradox thing, or, at the very least, the determinism thing.

Finally, Charlotte told Jin not to let Sun come back because “This place is death.” It’s like the Amazing Race how the episode title was spoken in the episode! Anyway, this scene reminded me of when Claire “contacted” Kate and told her not to bring Aaron back. How crazy would it be if the island turned out to be evil at the end of series? Straight up, I’d laugh.


We finally saw the frogs and I don’t know if we’ll ever see them again. Here are my thoughts on their action:

-Jin dealt with the time travel thing very easily, very quickly asking Rousseau what year it was and then not questioning it. I guess when you’ve been on the island so long, nothing surprised you anymore. Then why do things still shock us, the viewer?

-So the frogs went down in the temple and got “sick” because they didn’t want to leave anyone behind. You know what this means don’t you? Always use pirates’ code.

-We finally got to see the sickness and it was interesting. Why did Rousseau’s lover, boyfriend, husband, whatever want to shoot her? Did it have to do with her pregnancy? Does the monster really turn people evil in the temple? If so, the island might actually be evil. Also if so, was Locke saved from turning evil in Season 1 when he was pulled out of the hole when the monster had him? Although, if he’s working for the island now and the island is evil, doesn’t that make him evil? “I was just doing my job when I killed the Jews.” NOTHING IS LIKE THE NAZIS!

-Also, good to finally see the temple. Now we know why Richard and the Others/Hostiles went there. The monster will protect them.


I’d like to introduce a new section this week where I respond to ridiculous quotes from the episode with mocking statements. It’s an exercise in, well, jackassery:

Faraday: "The blast must have thrown him in the water. He's been moving with every flash just like us."
Let me translate: Don’t you wish I was around in the first three seasons? I know the writers do.

Ben: "Why don't you put down the gun? No one wants it to go off."
That’s a lie. We do. We really do. Wait, of course it’s a lie. Look who said it.

Sayid: "And if see you or him again, it will be extremely unpleasant for all of us."
Except for me! And everyone else who hates Jack and Ben, which should be everyone.”

Ben: "Thirty minutes, we can be there in 30 minutes and you'll have proof, proof that he's alive. Or you can shoot me and never know."
Is that the same fine print in the Domino’s delivery promise?

Sun: "You said we'd be there in 30 minutes."
Ben: "I didn't account for traffic."
Wow, he really does sound like a pizza delivery guy.

Faraday: "It does make empirical sense that if this started at the Orchid, then that's where it's gotta stop..."
Yes, it makes empirical sense, because as long as you say the word “empirical” whatever you say next must make empirical sense. It’s a law, you know.

"...but as far as bringing back the people who left in order to stop these temporal shifts, that's where we leave science behind."
Yes, that’s where we leave science behind. Not the temporal shifts themselves. Not the nosebleeds from the time travel. Not the concept of a constant stopping the nose bleeds. Not the magical healing power island. Not 48 people miraculously surviving a devastating plane crash. Nope, we leave science behind when we have to bring survivors of the devastating plane crash back to the magical healing power island because the people still on it don’t have constants and are thus getting nosebleeds from the temporal shifts!

"Thank God. What are the odds that we would end up at the same time as this thing?" (Flash.)
About the same as the writers of every episode using the flashes as a cheap excuse to end a dangerous moment or make an easy joke.


Another week, another dollar. I have to say though that even though I’m disappointed Sawyer got a nosebleed, his character was a lot better. Sure, Kate’s not his constant, but did you see how happy he was when he saw Jin? They’re two badass characters. They should be friends. I’m really glad the writers didn’t make him Emo again. And it gives us a new rule. The One Episode Emo Rule. Emo is ok. It’s a natural part of life. But don’t let it last more than one episode. So consider this my one episode.

And since this is the end of my column, Desmond just showed up and asked me if I was here to find Faraday’s mother too. I replied, “You mean Penny!’s mother?” Penny must always be written with an exclamation point. And if you disagree with that, well then:

Shut up, you’re wrong.


Anonymous said...

Drew Goddard's busy with that movie he's doing with Joss Whedon - "Cabin in the Woods", IIRC. :-)

Jayemel said...


Thanks for the info. Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon back together again should be worth the wait.

I don't know what IIRC means though. Ithaca Is Really Cold? Yes, yes it is.

Anonymous said...

IIRC = If I remember correctly. Don't thank me; thank Google.

Emo, sure, but great lyrics.