Sunday, July 24, 2011

LOST Redux: S3E07 Not in Portland

(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.)

Hello again. We’re back around the bend. Does it, does it, ever end?

I don’t know what that line was or where it came from (I made it up), but it felt like the perfect way to welcome you back to the one, the only, the sensational, the phenomenal, the I-need-to-stop-typing-adjectives-and-commas, The Midside.

Returning to LOST is like coming back to college at the beginning of your sophomore year. You just spent that first summer in your hometown. You slept in your old bedroom. You ate dinner with your family at the same kitchen table. You visited the mall, the movie theater, and any other hangout you and your friends might have had. Most notably, you visited those places with your friends. However, at each stop along the way, you hesitated. None of it felt the way it once did. You’ve suddenly realized you can’t go back. It’s like Blues Traveler said, “I've been away and I've seen too much, looks like I've been moving on as well/And when I started to not really belong I suppose I was unable to tell.” LOST has changed us and we couldn’t go back to our lives without it. Our summer felt empty.

Eventually though, summer slows to a stop. The air becomes a little more frigid. The leaves show hints of a color change. Once again, you have to say goodbye to the life you’ve grown accustomed to. The farewell is a little easier this time as the adjustment period was only three months, not 18 minutes, but it is awkward all the same. What you don’t anticipate is how awkward your return to school to be. Intellectually, you know what the buildings look like. You know what your friends look like. You know what the grind is like. What you can’t anticipate is what you’ll feel like. You can’t anticipate what everyone else will feel like. You’ve changed and no one else bore witness to it. Everyone else changed and you didn’t bear witness to it. You can’t help it. Distance breeds unfamiliarity. You return to your home away from home (or is it simply your home?) and begin to reacclimate yourself, no, acclimate yourself to your surroundings. It’s a whole new journey (thought I was going to type world, didn’t you?).

Unlike returning to college after that first summer away, our friends, the LOST characters have changed. However, we would be fools to claim that any of us haven’t changed. I myself have experienced a plethora of experiences that might make one reevaluate your life or, at the very least, reflect upon it. I’ve seen old death. I’ve seen new life. I’ve shed a few tears. I’ve had to stand strong. I’ve collapsed in weakness through pains both mental and physical. No, these characters haven’t changed, but I certainly have and my perceptions of them certainly have…and I only read a couple articles previewing the upcoming half of the season. How many did you read? Don’t answer that. I don’t really care. You’re in The Midside and the only thing that matters here is my opinion, mmkay?


“Was ever book containing such vile matter
So fairly bound? O, that deceit should dwell
In such a gorgeous palace!” Juliet, Romeo and Juliet

“I'm moving on, Carter. And if you want to waste your life beating the shit out of Alex every time you see him then you can just drop fucking dead!” Terry, Final Destination

The fact that I can begin this section of my column with a quote from Romeo and Juliet and a quote from Final Destination is beyond brilliant. Perhaps my ability to do so is reflective of my life experiences. Perhaps the fact that I did is reflective of how incredible of a show LOST is. In all likelihood, the answer is somewhere in the middle. I don’t really care though. I’m going to enjoy it while I can.

The quote from Romeo and Juliet is from a scene where Juliet is fraught with grief. She is upset and bemoans the fact that, essentially, Romeo is so good looking yet so deceitful. Her nurse eggs her on saying all men are that way. Am I really explicating Shakespeare in a LOST column? Yes and here’s the relevance. Obviously this quote could be about the man in Juliet’s flashback, her ex-husband. However, I’m actually applying it to the opportunity offered to her by Dharma. Yes, I know that a different company name was used, but, come one, we all know it was Dharma. Plus, I can’t remember the company name so it makes me look smarter if I say Dharma.

The job offer seemed like a great one. It was a legal (I think) way of continuing her apparently ground breaking without the involvement of her ex-husband. It seemed so “fairly bound” because her ex was looking to take advantage of her so his name could be on a “genius” scientific breakthrough. All she had to do was travel to Portland and she could work on that wounded womb woman. However, as we all know, life with Dharma is truly “vile manner” and deceit does dwell there. Deceit is Prince Ben’s middle name. Benjamin Deceit Linus. The guy was under anesthetic and still trying to manipulate everyone! Surely, at the end of her flashback, Juliet thought her life was about to improve. Only six months away and she could return to her now-pregnant-thanks-to-her sister who looks like a cancer patient. In reality, we learn the truth 3 years, 2 months, and 28 days later (yes, that’s a reference to the bad ass zombie movie). She is as much of a prisoner as Jack, Kate, and Sawyer.

The quote from Final Destination is from a scene where Terry, the speaker, is essentially telling Carter, who I believe is her boyfriend, that Alex isn’t to blame for the flight blowing up and them all surviving. She’s ready to move on with her life. The irony is that the line is her last line in the movie. After she says “drop dead”, she steps backwards off the curb and is, you guessed it, hit by a bus. Obviously there was a whole lot more blood than in this episode of LOST, but now you understand why I used the quote.

The second Juliet said she wished her ex got hit by a bus, I knew he was going to. Quite honestly, part of me was kind of hoping he didn’t. I haven’t decided yet whether him actually getting hit by the bus was good or bad writing. That scene was almost exactly like the scene in Final Destination though. When I saw that guy was outside near the street, I knew he was going to step backwards off the curb and get hit. If you watched closely enough, you could even see the bus in the background of the establishing shot.

What’s the moral of the story? Clearly Dharma is the unseen villain in the Final Destination trilogy. (Seriously though, the trilogy does have similar themes to LOST with the whole destiny and unseen power idea.)


Sometimes you have to step back and question your underlying assumptions. I learned that from House. Although, I admittedly should have been smart enough to use that technique already. It’s a nice bit of logic and an obvious part of the scientific method. What assumption am I questioning? I always thought dark haired girl that was running around The Good Guy’s camp was Rousseau’s daughter. In fact, when she slung a rock at Danny Pickett and emerged from the woods to rush Kate and Sawyer into a pit in the ground I declared, “Both islands have a crazy French chick.”

In all likelihood, Alex, as I am going to call her, is indeed Alex. She looks too much like Mia Furlong (the actress who plays Rousseau) to not be. However, I do believe that Juliet called her by a different name (which I can’t recall) and we are definitely being led to believe that Prince Ben is her father. The references to “he” are vague enough though that someone over Prince Ben is who she believes is her father. Whoever it is, I believe she was either brainwashed or told from a young age that he is her father when he really isn’t. Of course, maybe Rousseau’s husband never died and the reason her ship crashed was because Dharma wanted him.

Logically, the next person we are led to is Carl. I’m sure we’ll find out more about him in the coming weeks. Is he brainwashed enough that he’ll want to return to the shores of Dharma’s tiny island? Is his desire to do so going to become part of Kate’s plan to rescue Jack? His inclusion into the story does raise two interesting points, however. We have concrete proof that the writers know what they’re doing. The scene at the beginning was written so we would believe Sawyer would believe Alex. They could never have planned something so intricate if they weren’t thinking ahead. The other interesting point is the growing number of characters that aren’t series regulars. What if one of these actors earns a role in a movie or another show due to their guest spot on such a high profile show? Will their character be sacrificed on LOST? Are we going to get sick of the writers killing people for reasons not within the fictional world and stop suspending our disbelief?

While I’m mentioning characters dying, Danny Pickett biting it was totally predictable. Although, I didn’t predict that Juliet would kill him. I would have much rather seen Sawyer snap his neck or something.

And since I’m mentioning Sawyer, I thoroughly enjoyed how the writers used him to comment on their own writing. I was about to mock that guard’s name in the exact same tone and manner about two seconds before he did, but decided to keep my mouth shut. Also, did anyone catch how DL compared him to Captain Jack Sparrow in the special that aired the hour before? I ran around my apartment for about five minutes after that comment, bum knee and all. I’ve made that comparison so many times before. If he had been compared to House, I probably would have died a happy man tonight.

Since I’m mentioning Sawyer, let’s delve into the obligatory triangle talk. Over the past three months, I came to terms with the fact that Kate loved Sawyer, but was still attached to Jack because of all the trauma they had been through together and that was why she didn’t want to run at the end of episode six this season (I refuse to call it the Fall Finale) anymore. Now, I’m jaded. Something tells me that look Sawyer gave at the end before they piled into the canoe when Kate was on the walkie and refused to promise Jack she wouldn’t come back for him was one of realization that he’ll never be with her. Why am I so jaded? On the special that aired the hour before, DL said, “Kate genuinely loves Jack and knows he’ll take care of her, but is drawn to Sawyer because that’s the kind of guy she’s been around her whole life.” Also, I read TV Guide in Target the other day and the article claimed the triangle is not over. I’m not really sure how my perspective on something can be so skewed. Is it just me or was the guy from Firefly more like Jack than Sawyer? Wasn’t her childhood sweetheart Tom more like Jack too? Does the argument then become that we haven’t been shown the guys she was around while running and we’re supposed to assume based on Sawyer’s character that he was the type of guy she was around? I’m not buying it. Or maybe I don’t want to buy it. All I know is, Han Solo got the girl. Captain Jack Sparrow will not get the girl. If Sawyer is both, does he or does he not get the girl? If I was a drinker, I’d raise a glass to Jack and Kate being brother and sister even though we all know the two who are related are Jack and Claire.


There wasn’t much mythology this week. I’ve already mentioned the Final Destination comparison. I don’t really feel as if that is notable enough to expound upon. The Final Destination trilogy one is fun, but not all that in-depth or worth any kind of analysis.

Two other main things jump out at me. The first is the apparent brainwashing of Carl. It is notable to mention that Sawyer was mesmerized by the screen. Was he just trying to comprehend the images or was he being brainwashed as well? That question is one to remember over the coming weeks because Sawyer is going to need a new storyline. Additionally, the brainwashing pictures were filled with Eastern symbolism and Buddhist philosophy (We are the cause of our suffering.). I’m sure the inclusion of these elements will only fuel the speculation that Sun’s father is involved. At this point, that conjecture is probably all but a sure thing, although I would caution people that elitist left wing types like the Degroots would have been are obsessed with exalting Eastern religions over Christianity.

The other topic I want to discuss is the scope of Dharma’s powers. How is it possible to avoid the corporation controlling the world story? Now, Dharma can hit people with buses and show up at the morgue where the guy they just offed body is on the table next to them and get away with it? Am I supposed to believe a conspiracy this deep wouldn’t be found out? I guess it is here that suspension of disbelief emerges. It’s a damn good thing that I love this show and can excuse the ridiculous nature of it all. Sure, I can buy Ethan spying on her and thus them knowing her sister is pregnant, but the rest reminds me of…oh, well, here’s another quote for you all:

“You'll dress only in attire specially sanctioned by MiB special services. You'll conform to the identity we give you, eat where we tell you, live where we tell you. From now on you'll have no identifying marks of any kind. You'll not stand out in any way. Your entire image is crafted to leave no lasting memory with anyone you encounter. You're a rumor, recognizable only as deja vu and dismissed just as quickly. You don't exist; you were never even born. Anonymity is your name. Silence your native tongue. You're no longer part of the System. You're above the System. Over it. Beyond it. We're ‘them.’ We're ‘they.’ We are the Men in Black,” Zed, Men in Black

Oh, and did anyone else notice the multiple mentions of the number three? Three months, three years…maybe it’s a coincidence, but with this show, you never know. Oh yeah, and Carl was kept in room 23.


Alright, well, the above is pretty much all I’ve got for you. It’s been a long television week so far and Survivor premieres again tomorrow. I just can’t get enough. Please someone tell me you’re also enjoying this lineup: 24 on Monday, House on Tuesday, LOST on Wednesday, and Survivor on Thursday. The spring television season is looking up so far. Although, I will make this supposition: 24 is in need of more Jack Bauer. And if you disagree with that, well, then there’s only one thing to say:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

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