Sunday, July 10, 2011

LOST Redux: S2E22 Three Minutes

(At the request of a reader, I will be reposting old editions of my LOST column as they no longer appear on the internet. I will not be making any edits to them, so please be aware that they represent a moment and time--my thoughts and analysis after watching an episode's initial airing.)

(Note: I don't have a copy of my column for S2E21 "?" and I don't have a reason either. It's just not in my folder titled "The Midside" on my computer.)

How deep do you want to go down the rabbit hole? Do you want the red or the blue pill? Hurry up, make your decision. It’s now or never and this train is leaving with or without you in, oh, I don’t know, three minutes.

When I typed three minutes right there, I actually meant to type three months. Fellow Midsiders, the show we have come to know as LOST is about to make a dramatic shift. I predict that the shift will be so dramatic the producers might even considering changing the name to FOUND. I’m joking (somewhat). Tonight’s episode was the start of the final chain reaction of the season that will give us the answers many of us have been demanding…that will then give us even more questions we never even thought of asking. The button won’t be pushed, the others will be confronted, the truth behind the crash will be revealed, and the secret behind the most recent and important mystery will be revealed:

Why did Sun sound so hilarious when she said “boat”? Every time she speaks English her inflections are perfect. Tonight she sees a boat and it sounds like she’s reading off a flashcard. I was thinking, “Does Sun really see or a boat or does she just feel like practicing English?” And while we’re talking about this mystery schooner (“A sailboat is a schooner!”), why did everyone huddle together and move towards the shore? Am I the only one who would have ducked for cover?
Which brings me to the main point of this column: the 815ers stupidity. Since the flashback tonight was all about LOSTology, I am going to pull a season six Highlander move. I am going to eliminate Duncan McLeod from the equation. In place of his section I will chronicle the many mental blunders perpetrated by our heroes in this episode before they were thankfully saved by the only man on the island who may still be rational. This new section will be called:


Scenario 1:

You find a briefcase containing vials of some type of serum labeled as a vaccine and the method injecting that serum quickly and painlessly. The instructions say to take a dose once every nine days. What do you do? Oh yeah, the briefcase was on a pallet that mysteriously fell out of the sky.

Darth Chuckles’ solution:

First I’ll inject myself with this serum to test out the device (though admittedly that may have been a lie he told Claire to cover up past drug use). Then I’ll give the briefcase to the naïve young mother and newborn as a way to win their favor back by demonstrating that I have their best interest in mind even though I’m not around them anymore. Plus, women love gifts and I was a hobbit, so I’ve got that going for me.

The flaw:

Hi, how about not injecting the next generation (and his mother and yourself) with some random serum that you know nothing about.

The Red Beret Way:

Take the briefcase into the hatch and show it to the doctor. Ask him if he recognizes the substance. If he doesn’t know what it is, and doesn’t go power hungry and confiscate the case (whatever it may be), take the case to the scientist. The scientist will then create a makeshift centrifuge to separate the serum into its component substance and individually analyze each of them while Dr. House stands over his shoulder yelling, “See, if you people spent less time worrying about bombing my country, you might restore your former glory.”

Scenario 2:

The father who was only recently returned to camp from his epic solo quest to “save his boy” which began by locking you in a closet with another guy he knocked out, demands that only you, him, and three others carry out your plan to attack those who you perceive to be your enemies because he should get to do it his way because they’re trying to get back his son. What do you do? Oh yeah, he was also shot recently, as far as you know, by one of those people who you perceive to be your enemy.

Jack’s solution:

He placates Michael by agreeing to all his demands only to undercut his demands later (behind his back) by agreeing to allow Sayid to go. So, not only has he put his own fate and the fate of three other’s in the hands of a raving lunatic, but he has created reason to make the lunatic even loonier when he discovers that his plans have been meddled with without his knowledge. Did I mention that he agreed to let the crazy guy lead them into battle?

The Red Beret Way:

Tell him no. If he insists, tell him no again. If he still insists, punch him in the face to knock him out. Then put him back in the bed in the hatch and make him rest some more because clearly he needs it both mentally and physically. While he is resting (under the watchful eye of someone you trust), sit down with a few others and create an organized plan to proceed with the invasion. And keep the crazy guy on a short leash at all time.

Scenario 3:

You have agreed to the psycho father’s terms. One of those terms is that as few people know about the excursion as possible. He feels that way it will be easiest to accomplish what needs to be accomplished. How do you ensure that the smallest number of people know what is going on?

What Jack and Michael do:

Apparently Jack and Michael decided shortly after coming to their agreement that taking a stroll down the beach would be a good idea. Of course everyone then ran around yelling, “Michael’s back”, greeted him, and saw his arm in the sling. Anyone with half a brain would then start to ask questions, especially considering the two recent deaths and the fact that Jack is chit chatting with Michael as if he’s been back for awhile now.

The Red Beret Way:

Oh, I don’t know, how about returning to the hatch where you have been making plans all along. What is the need to give other people information that is only going to ask questions when you don’t want them to ask questions at all. Don’t you think it’s a tiny bit suspicious that Michael was missing all this time and then comes back into camp like nothing was wrong? Yes, in Jack’s perception Michael was freaked out. However, in the perception of those who saw him walk onto the beach and then greeted him, like Jin and Sun, it was like another day on Craphole Island. Sayid was the only one who seemed to think Michael’s behavior was out of the ordinary.

If it wasn’t for Sayid, I would have been totally frustrated with this episode. I even believe that I said, “Thank God for Sayid” at one point. How am I supposed to believe that none of these characters see through Michael’s façade? You’re telling me that Sawyer the con man and Kate the fugitive who are experts at the art of deception wouldn’t be able to smell his bullshit a mile away. I understand that they are all blood thirsty for revenge, especially Sawyer, but does everything about you disappear when you want revenge that badly and if everything does disappear, what was Ana Lucia really like considering her defining characteristic was her incessant need for revenge?

Not only did Sayid see through Michael, he went about it in the perfect manner. The way he handled the situation shows why he is one of my favorite characters. First he agreed to Michael turns to deceive him back. If someone is lying to you, your greatest advantage is that they don’t know that you know they’re lying. Most people would have thrown that away and accused Michael of his deceit. Then, he went to Jack and setup a plan to double cross Michael, by using that advantage. Of course, then the random boat showed up which makes me think the others know about everything that happens in camp, but we’ll save that for a later section.

And I have to ask, why did no one question why Hurley needed to be brought on the trip? He isn’t exactly prime soldier material. Oh, and none of them seemed to pick up the oddness of Michael calling him “Hugo” either. Although, while we’re talking about Hurley, let’s move to the next section.


Hurley is right on the verge of that flip out I’ve been anticipating. In some ways, I really like what Libby’s death has done to his character. True, now he’s as pissed off as the rest of them, deluded by his desire for revenge, but at least he’s not the wimpy bumbling fat guy anymore. The moment where he told Michael he was going on the excursion was an odd one as because of Michael’s “flashbacks” we knew it was better for him to stay, but at the same time his agreeing to go demonstrated huge growth in his character.

I’m really starting to enjoy this whole jack and Sawyer friend thing. No, I’m not excited that Sawyer has a friend and is showing character growth. What I love is how Sawyer keeps Jack in check. Everyone else lets Jack run around the island doing whatever he wants without questioning a thing. Now, whenever Jack does anything, Sawyer critiques it and makes sure Jack takes the wisest course of action. When Sawyer invited Sayid to go on the excursion, Jack had no choice to agree because it made logical sense to take the soldier into battle. Jack’s passion is a very valuable asset to the group; he’s just out of control with it because no one has ever checked it in his entire life. Sawyer provides that balance, yet they still find a way to compete over Kate. Of course, it wasn’t hard for Jack to compete this episode as all he had to do was shut his mouth and let Sawyer believe he and Kate were “caught in a net.” Here’s betting that Sawyer’s confession to Jack about he and Ana Lucia is going to bite him in the butt down the line concerning Kate.

What was with all the random Charlie screen time in this episode? Recently he’d become Eko’s lackey, helping the big man build a church, and tonight he was up to his old tricks, trying to get into Claire’s, um, tent, and sniffing around the drugs. It was sort of tragic the way he followed Eko into the hatch like a puppy following his master. However, he then redeemed himself by telling Eko to stick it where you smuggle drugs and get his own stuff. I loved seeing Charlie finally stand up for himself. Wait a minute, I typed the word redeemed.

I am making a prediction concerning the season finale right now. Charlie is going to die. His character has been brought full circle. Ana Lucia’s big moment was deciding not to reap revenge upon The Character. Charlie’s big moment was tossing all the statues into the water. He is finally free of his addiction. The scene even made me contemplate Charlie’s character. Maybe the whole reason he is so inactive and never stands up for himself is because he is an addict. Addicts literally cannot standup against the powers of the drug they are addicted to even if they know it is detrimental. My whole problem with Charlie’s character is that he seemed to be that sedentary before the addiction too, but now I have found a certain peace with the character. This scene was the moment I first predicted his death. Then when Claire held his hand during the funeral, thus forgiving and redeeming him in their relationship, I was even surer. Charlie is not going to survive next week’s two hour season finale.


Where to begin, where to begin? As with Claire’s flashback episode this season, this Michael flashback was so mythology heavy because it flashbacked to events on the island. This flashback was even weirder because, if you could get past Michael’s constant yelling (Can you imagine what they told Harold at the start of the filming of this season? “Ok, your character’s motivation this season is to yell until he gets his son back. Action.”), it showed us a new side to events that just happened. Though, I have to nitpick for a moment. When Zeke didn’t want Michael to talk as to not tip of Kate as to him being there, why did Zeke himself then continue to ramble about Michael’s son? Did he not think Kate would put two and two together and figure out what was going on? Well, she obviously didn’t, so maybe he was whispering quietly enough that she wouldn’t figure out what was going on. In the entire LOSTiverse, I’m not going to waste my time worrying about something as petty as that nitpick.

Walt pretty much confirmed to us tonight that the entire others thing is an act with his “they’re pretending” comment during his three minutes with his father. I pretty much suspected all along, and now I am even more skeptical as to what on the island is part of this grand illusion and what isn’t, but it’s always nice to have some onscreen confirmation. Of course, they probably told us so clearly because they’re going to reveal the truth behind the others next way anyway, but who cares, it makes me feel good for the week.

The main thing that got me about the mythology this week is the list Michael was given. Either the producers read my column and take pleasure in dismantling my ideas or my theorizing is spot on to their thinking at points. The list the black woman gave Michael contained two people who I figured to be in Locke’s flashback group, Kate and Hurley, and two that I considered to be in Jack’s flashback group, Jack and Sawyer. If I were a vain man and thus would try to reach to retain my ideas, I would say that the fact that two from each group were on the lists demonstrates something we are yet unaware of. Instead, I will say that this list refutes any relevance to the two flashback groups at this point and that these groups are nothing more than a coincidence that will be broken at some point in the future.

The inclusion of Kate on the list also brings into question my unforced onto the plane/forced onto the plane dichotomy. Kate was one of my strongest examples of someone who wasn’t supposed to be on the plane, yet her name appearing on the list directly contradicts this theory. If she wasn’t supposed to be on the plane, why would she be on the other’s list? Once again, I could scramble and say the perhaps, by this time post-crash, the lists have been edited to include those they didn’t expect to be on the plane, but I don’t believe that is the case. All of the 815ers were supposed to be on the plane, but for some reason there was a list of “good” people made. The difficulty is that we don’t know in what capacity “good” is being used.

What confuses things even further is that now that we know more of the people on the list, none of them seem particularly good. Eko was a warlord. Sawyer was a conman. Kate was a fugitive. Jack and Hurley, Hurley especially, are the two most innocent of the group. You can also figure Claire into the list, but it is easy to explain her away because she was with child. The one connection I can find between all of these characters is that they are loners. Sawyer, Kate, and Eko definitely are, while Jack and Hurley only really have their mothers. Of course, Hurley doesn’t fit into this categorization once again. Thus, I am inclined to believe that Sawyer, Kate, and Eko, and possibly Jack, were picked because of the combinations of talents and their low social status. They would be a valuable member of the others and no one in the rest of the world would notice (besides the now dead Marshall in Kate’s case) their disappearance. Remember how Goodwin supposedly said Ana Lucia could be “good”? She is a very similar character to those three and also only had her mother in the entire world. Hurley could then be easily explained away with the numbers; perhaps his connection to them is so strong it makes him valuable to the others. Jack is the final interesting case. I still have the gut feeling that his name being on that list has something to do with his father.


-I swear, I don’t know if LOST is taking all of this energy out of my recently, but I was so tired this morning that I stopped my alarm without realizing it and slept two hours past it before realizing my mistake. Thus I am skipping work for the day. No need to worry, I work at my dad’s factory, though I do wonder if when I walk downstairs he is going to go Christian Shepard on me. Do I really think LOST is what tuckered me out? No, I spent seven days in New Orleans being rushed all over the place both physically and mentally and never had a chance to deal with any of it, it being seeing a city that has been over 50% destroyed to my own personal adventures on Bourbon St. and beyond, only to have to come home, go to sleep, and wake up at 6:30 am the next morning for work. It’s kind of amazing that I was even able to do that for one day.

-A two hour season finale? I’m sure I’m not the only person who wishes it was next Wednesday already, but what are we going to do all summer without LOST and what are you going to do all summer without The Midside? I have a feeling that next week’s season finale is going to so blow us out of the water that by the time the season three season premiere airs, we won’t even know three months have passed. Oh, by the way, I read somewhere, I forget where, that next season the second half of the episodes will be aired 24 style, that is all in a row without a hiatus until the seasons ends. Finally what we’ve all been asking for will be delivered. Of course I also read somewhere that LOST is possibly an acronym. It would explain why I’m forced to type it in caps every time though.
-That’s it, that’s all I’ve got for you kids this week. Sit back, enjoy the season finales as they roll around, contemplate ABC’s stupid decision to run the Alias series finale against the 24 season finale, and make some summer plans. Oh, and if those summer plans including looking forward to a third season of LOST with Charlie flashbacks, well then, I don’t really hate to be the bearer of bad news but:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

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