Friday, February 22, 2008

The Midside: S4E04 Eggtown

I’m not quite so sure anymore. I don’t mean to say that LOST isn’t the best show on television. It still is. It’s still the best show on television ever. Lately, I’ve been watching Sliders on DVD from the beginning, and it’s an enjoyable sci-fi tri, but you can just notice the lack of quality. The characters aren’t as deep. The episodes are simple premises expanded over 44 or so minutes. Everything is an individual thought experiment. No, LOST still blows all that kind of television away. It still blows serialized shows away. My problem is that it is becoming a bit too self referential.

It was cute in the first few episodes this season when Jack and Kate bantered about their character types. It was clever whenever Hurley made an in-joke to the audience. Now, however, things are becoming a bit too tedious and over done. Like the latter two acts in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, I’m starting to wonder if the writers aren’t bothering to come up with anything new, but rather are harping on the mythology they’ve already built. Oh, it’s another Jack Sparrow rum reference. Oh, it’s another sea turtles to explain the unexplainable reference. I’m ok with occasional nod to your past, but when it takes over, you’re in trouble. In this episode alone, Ben referenced season two (mentioning “old times”), Locke referenced season two (essentially reiterating the originally clever “We’re going to have to watch that again line” with his “maybe you’ll see something you missed the first time”), and the writers referenced season one through Sawyer carrying the backgammon game to Locke. It’s like everyone is going through the motions. It’s like we, the audience, got what we wanted and it blew up in our face.

You see, when you slow down a story, you’re forced to focus on the characters. What defines the speed of a story is plot progression and the plot progresses through events. Events can be as small as a disagreement between two characters about ice cream or as big as one character killing another character. LOST has slowly sped up since season one, shifting it’s focus from the characters to the plot. In season one, it took us 24 episodes to open the hatch. In season two, it took us 24 episodes to not push the button. In season three, it took us 23 episodes to kill the Others. In season four, we’ve split into two groups, met three new people from off the island, killed a person from off the island, and sent two of our own off the island. While all this stuff is going on, we’ve barely seen Desmond, Juliet, Claire, Sun, Jin. Heck, Michael is listed as a series regular and we’re 31% through the season (25% through the pre-strike season order) and we’ve yet to see him.

Look, I don’t mean to complain. My point is just that LOST is shifting in a unique way. We’ve just started the second half of the story and the show is already iconic. It’s like comparing Clerks to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Both movies are well done and entertaining, but for their own reasons. Clerks is a honest attempt at a stand alone film. It is what it is. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is a movie that revels in drawing from its own context. The crazy thing about LOST is the first half of the story will have more episodes (71) than the second half of the story (48). Actually, we’ve seen over half of LOST, but we also actually haven’t. It’s when I start to consider facts like these numbers that I realize that LOST is still an experiment in process. There’s never been a show like it. And I truly do hope it succeeds.


The most jarring thing about this flash forward was the way the episode started. Locke had the eye opening moment, but the episode belonged to Kate. This twist is a perfect example of the self referential nature the show has taken on. I said twist in the last sentence because the writers were playing on our expectations. We’ve come to expect that the eye open means the episode belongs to that character. Then, they showed Locke in a white shirt. For those viewers like me that don’t read spoilers and previews, these events set up the expectation that what we’re watching is a Locke flash forward on the island. Not so, it’s quickly revealed that we’re still on Original Island Time, as Ben is locked in the basement the way Locke was in season three (too many references!). It’s not even a Locke episode. It’s a Kate episode.

Maybe I’ve watched too much Law & Order during the strike, maybe I’m too much of a fan of Elliot Stabler and the crazy guy from Criminal Intent, because I just wasn’t feeling the whole way Kate got off. If I were the creators, I would have put a call into the giant office building Law & Order surely has and asked their writers to guest write this flash forward. I’m not saying the reason Kate got off doesn’t make sense. It does. The only person who could corroborate that Kate murdered anyone was her mother, who refused to testify. Every other charge could surely be swept under the table, especially considering Kate’s celebrity status. Let’s not forget that we’re living in a country that left OJ Simpson off of a double murder. What I am saying is that Kate’s mother being the only corroborating witness was buried underneath all the Jack theatrics and legal worrying. The Law & Order writers would have balanced the personal story and the legal story. They always do. Heck, they probably even would have brought back Nathan Fillion as a character witness. I mean, if you’re going to reference yourself, go all out.

Then again, LOST isn’t a legal show, it’s a crazymessedupomgwtfpolarbear drama. That term is legit. Wikipedia that shit, I swear. Ok, so it’s not in Wikipedia…yet. If we all start using it, it’ll get there. Really though, the point is that what matters most is the relationships between Kate and Jack (and coffee, grr), Kate and her Mom (and Sabrina the Teenage Witch), and Kate and…Aaron? What matters not so much is how get became free, but that she isn’t really free. She’s tied to the island through Aaron. She’s tied to her mother through love. She’s tied to the state legally. Kate can no longer run. Though my bet is that Kate goes back to the island with her mother and Aaron one day, cures her mother, and lives the rest of her life there. I’m almost willing to be that the reason she didn’t let her mother see Aaron was to cover up the secret the Oceanic Six are hiding. I mean, surely Zelda would use her magical with powers and dedicate the kid’s DNA. But seriously, Kate’s mom surely would have known that Aaron wasn’t actually Kate’s son.


I’m worried for Sawyer’s life. The Doubt (a phrase I’m coining) is getting the better of me again. While it’s way too premature to say that Sawyer and Kate are over, this episode had Jack and Kate written all over it. Essentially, the episode ended with, in Original Island Time, Kate slapping Sawyer and, yawn, running away and, in flash forward time, Kate leaving the door wide open for Jack to walk through. This pill is bitter and tough for me to swallow. Why would Kate continually go back to a guy that treats her like crap? Then again, as a relative of mine said, that behavior is not exactly atypical.

My other problem is the Randian nature of the relationship between Sawyer and Kate. A lot of people bemoan the fact of how selfish the two are, as if being selfish is a bad thing. The Doubt is what’s telling them being selfish is a bad thing. “Oh, I can’t be selfish, that’s taking away from others, isn’t it?” Yes, selfish is taking from others if your values tell you it’s ok to take from others. In the Randian sense, good people (good defined by their values being logically in line with objective reality) will do good things by following their self interest or, in other words, by being selfish. When Kate comes into Sawyer’s room and he looks for sex, there is nothing morally abhorrent about that action. He wants her because she makes him happy. Because she is the highest type of woman he has ever found. In fact, the morally abhorrent action is Kate’s running away, where she doesn’t do what she wants because she is too afraid.

And in that definition of selfish lays my fears about LOST. They referenced The Fountainhead. Josh Holloway says he loves the book. These people are aware of Ayn Rand, but continue to push the anti-Randian relationship. Kate continues to go back to the guy who treats her like crap, not only showing she has a poor sense of self value, but leaving Sawyer without a storyline. Yes, it will reflect the show poorly if Kate ends up with Jack, but it isn’t the death knell for the show. What will be the death knell for the show is if Kate ends up with Jack and Sawyer is left storyless or, worse, dead in some “self sacrificing” move like Casablanca. Yes, Humphrey, letting the girl go will save all the Jews from the Nazis, but you aren’t really sacrificing anything. You had to choose between staying in Casablanca alone or traveling into rough waters, metaphorically, for the woman you loved. You took the easy way out to protect yourself. You’re so noble.

The point is that the writers need to decide what cart they want to ride, hitch a horse to it, and pull away. We’re all getting sick of this back and forth crap. Unfortunately, they may have written into the show’s end by intertwining it with the flash forwards.

On another Sawyer note, I enjoyed his relationship with Hurley and how he’s become a homebody. Think about it. It all makes sense for this character. I just miss his humor a little bit. Instead, we’re stuck with Miles as a poor version of him.

Wait, wait, there are breaking news on the other characters. Here we go, this just in:

-Locke still throws things against walls because he has no idea what’s going on. It’s nice to see people make progress.
-Yes, yes, I do believe we had a Juliet sighting. She yelled at Charlotte.
-Desmond has once again disappeared, this time literally. His helicopter is MIA. It’s all about the time gap.
-Sayid, after his triumphant return last week, has disappeared again. I miss him already. Maybe it’ll rain soon and he can look like a dog with wet hair again.
-Claire has a baby. Well, Kate has him too. I’m confused.
-Crazy Dan can’t remember three cards. Is it a training exercise or is he going through some sort of therapy? By the way, a bit eccentric, smaller build, could he be any more of a replacement for Charlie? (Thanks to Chandler Bing for this one.)


There’s always been a nagging feeling in the back of my brain that Ben was more than a representative of some alive island, especially considering how smug he has remained this season. For someone to be able to do what he did off the island, he had to have some sort of backing. I’m even starting to believe that the illustrious Jacob is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Sure, the island is still super natural, but all this political stuff is just that, political. There are two factions fighting for control of the island. Right now, Ben and his people (if he’s in power or down the command chain), hold control of the island. His opponents think that capturing him will give them control of the island.

This theory explains a lot of things such as how Locke can’t see Jacob’s house now. However, it also doesn’t explain a lot of things, such as how it was such a happy coincidence that Locke was shot right where is kidney that his dad conned him out of was. Am I willing to concede that there could be three forces at work on this show (two man, one super natural)? Yes, but that outcome seems rather convoluted for LOST. I still think the Ultimate Reveal will be something rather simple, like a character turning on a light switch and seeing someone or something in his room and the LOST logo popping up, leaving us to work everything backwards ourselves.

The other interesting angle I am seriously starting to consider is the involvement of Christian Sheperd. Now somehow, miraculously, his son and his grandson are two of the 60 odd people we’ve met on the island that get off the island. That outcome is a bit too coincidental, especially in this show, for me. Couple this consideration with the fact that Christian ran to Australia before the crash and seemingly led Jack around the island in White Rabbit, and everything starts to look a little crazier.

As for the Time Gap stuff, I’m not even going to touch it. All I’m going to say is this: Aaron looked pretty old for these people to get off the island soon. He’s only what, a few months old at this point? Maybe I should start calling it the Baby Gap instead. Bad jokes, for the win.


LOST is still awesome. I don’t know any other way to put it. Even though one of my friends predicted the Aaron twist as Kate walked into her house, it was still a shock. Continually, this show finds way to confuse me and no other show or person has ever been able to do that in my life. The writing, though a bit spotty this season, is still amazing. And if you disagree with any of this, well, then there’s only one thing left to say:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

Jayemel can be reached by email at

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Midside: S4E03 The Economist

LOST is back. I don’t mean to say that it hasn’t aired two previous episodes this season. It most definitely has aired two LOST-esque episodes. However, this week’s episode is what I’ve come to expect from LOST. A character we all know and love went on a mission on the island and his flash forward mirrored that mission. The symmetry has returned and with it the quality of LOST has skyrocketed through the rough again. It’s been a big week in the world of our TV show. The strike is over and there’s much to discuss.

Upon the news of the cessation of the strike, I was immediately overjoyed. We would be receiving our 16 episodes of LOST, and the season could very likely air uninterrupted. It wasn’t before long that the fallout of the strike disappointed. We’ll actually only be getting 13 episodes of LOST this season. That fact means we’ll be getting ten less episodes of LOST this year than we usually do. I feel like a junkie whose dealer is holding out on him. Also, there’s going to be a four week break in between the eight episodes that are already filmed and the five episodes that are yet to be filmed. I can’t help but be disheartened by all this news. They’re taking our LOST away from us. However, there is a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. The missing three episodes from this season will be tacked onto the remaining two seasons. In a way, this season will be a “teaser season”, in the words of Pushing Daises producer Bryan Fuller and we’ll get more LOST in the future. Heck, at least we’re getting LOST. 24 isn’t coming back until January 2009!

Onto the episode.


Before I go into an in-depth of analysis of this flash forward and how it changed the show, let me first make a statement. I missed Sayid. I know he was in last season, but he sort of wasn’t. He was backgrounded in a way. I also know that Naveen Andrews supposedly complained about that very fact. Well, apparently his complaints (or maybe ours) worked. Everyone reads The Midside, including the writers, right?

Sayid has always been one of my favorite characters and he proved why in this episode. Essentially, his brilliance is all summed up in his statement of not knowing whether the people from the boat were here to rescue them or kill them. Sayid is very deliberate with his choices and does not make a decision rashly. One of my favorite things about is how he always seem to mediate between Jack and Locke. Those two characters are supposed to be the leaders on the show, but really Sayid is the person who knows what’s going on. Now that I think of it, Sayid seems to be reining Jack in and Sawyer seems to be reining Locke in. Remember how important the Sayid and Sawyer relationship was in Season One and how they became the dynamic duo last season? The plot thickens….

Onto the “game changing” (sort of) moment. I can’t say I was shocked by the end of the episode. Was I surprised? Yes. Was I shocked? No. Ben being Sayid’s boss was a delicious bit of irony that no halfway decent writer could pass up. That irony is why the depth of LOST writing has returned. Sayid’s statement about never trusting Ben seemingly contradicting with the end of the episode was brilliant. Notice, however, that I said seemingly contradicting. I’m not convinced that Future Sayid trusts Future Ben. Has Sayid ever trusted Jack? Has Sayid ever trusted Locke? Has Sayid ever trusted anyone? The answer to these questions is no. Sayid is such a brilliant soldier and communicator because he trusts people to do one thing: act like themselves. It’s a secret to winning the game of Survivor and the game of life (not the board game, actually life) that few people know. Sayid assesses the situation (assess the situacion) and decides what to do based upon the outcome he most desires. So, does he trust Ben? I doubt it. So why is he working for Ben? The answer to that question is what throws this entire series into flux.

If most of the characters were working for Ben, you could figure out why. Juliet listens to Ben to get home. Jack would listen to Ben to get off the island (he still would, even though he thinks he wouldn’t). Sawyer would listen to Ben to protect himself or Kate. Locke would listen to Ben to be important. These character traits are why Ben is able to be so successfully manipulative. He can exploit these characters well. Sayid, however, is extremely tough to exploit. His one weakness is that deep down he’s a lover and not a fighter. It’s why he cried when he shot the agent who tried to kill him. It’s why he loved her even though it was a con. So, arguably, Sayid is listening to Ben out of the love for his friends or his love for Nadia. I’m leaning towards the latter and saying it is less Sayid being manipulated and more him making a rational choice. The rational behind that choice is where the mystery lives.

The truth of the flash forwards that was revealed through this episode is as follows: though the Oceanic Six are off the island physically, they are not off the island. This condition was hinted at through Jack’s cry of “We have to go back”, but that cry is in itself misguided. They don’t have to go back in the sense that they physically need to return to the island. That desire is just Jack’s misguided guilt. They do, however, have to go back in the sense that they never left. They left too many doors open. They didn’t say goodbye. The conspiracy lives on. They’re too entwined in the island’s politics. While it’s true that in life you don’t always get to finish your business before you leave, the key to a good story is that business being finished. Also, in real life, many people struggle because they’re in one location story wise, but another physically. I have a friend who is struggling with that right now. She’s here at school, but her story is elsewhere.

This story has not left the island. After the season three finale, there were cries that the flash forward ruined the suspense. We would know who got off the island. We would know who won Gilligan’s Island. But you know what? This show was never Gilligan’s Island. It was never about getting off the island. Rescue has never been about leaving the physical location. It’s been the characters freeing themselves from the (negative) bonds of their former lives. Truthfully, I don’t really care about who the other two members of the Oceanic Six are. I mean, I care in the sense that I want to know what their story is. But they aren’t off the island. If the remaining two are Jin and Sun, I’m willing to bet that Sun’s father plays some role in this whole game between Ben and whomever (or Jacob and whomever or Ben and Jacob or etc) and the two will still be living under his rule. Jack is still living under the shadow of his father. Hurley is still crazy. Sayid is still a soldier forcing information out of people. And, I’m betting that, Kate is still living under the rule of an oppressive male (a parole type officer) the way she did with her father whom she killed.

It’s really quite brilliant what the writer’s have done. They created flash forwards and eliminated the importance of the element of time. Desmond time traveling could actually happen now and it would be completely natural to the plot. I’m also eagerly anticipating the first on island flash forward. The writers teased it a bit at the beginning of this week’s flash forward, so hopefully we’ll see it soon. I’m betting that Locke will be the first on island flash forward, and he won’t be where we’ll think he’ll be on the island. Although, maybe he’ll be in the temple with Richard.


I’m not sure about the way Sawyer and Kate were reunited. I mean, I like that they were reunited, but it seems as if Kate is Sawyer’s prisoner and he’s never treated her in such a manner before. He’s always let her make her own choices unlike Jack, who constantly tells her what to do. I understand that Sawyer was finally taking a chance and stating how he feels. If anyone thinks he hasn’t changed on the island, all they do is need to watch that scene again. Actually, Sawyer is quite possibly the character who has changed the most over the series so far. The conversation was a huge step forward for him. Remember, he wanted on the raft so badly in season one. Now he doesn’t want to leave. I don’t know though, the scene just felt unfinished to me.

It’s interesting how the Kate and Sawyer dynamic has come to exemplify the key debates on the show. Should I go with Jack or Locke? Should I stay on the island or leave? Their conversation openly debated the main questions we all struggle with. It was just like the scene from House of the Rising Sun in season one where he asked her if she was going to stay on the beach or go to the caves. They’re also the questions we struggle with in life. If someone’s goals happen to line up with yours for the moment, are you “with” them? Are you on the same team? Are you ever one anyone’s team but your own? I still think their relationship is going to play a key role in the finale. If only Kate would stop running. And her need to run is why the scene felt unfinished to me. Sawyer should have opened the door to give her the opportunity to leave. Although, he probably didn’t need to because she knows she can get up and leave and he won’t stop her.

It was crazy how easily Hurley deceived everyone. Everyone on this island is so good at deception. Part of me wants to say it’s ridiculous how good they all are, but I think it’s actually an unspoken truth of life we all like to hide. Most of us are that good at deception and don’t like to admit it. Maybe we can’t be con men, but we could definitely pull off what Hurley did. What’s even more interesting is the way Hurley became so afraid of Sayid. Rousseau even was pointing a gun at Sayid, the guy she trusted the most to begin with!

Jack’s power is completely gone, at least in the inner circle it is. Sayid tells him what to do. Kate mocks him from being left behind. He’s left to making small talk with Frank about the Red Sox…and no one ever wants to make small talk with a Yankees fan about the Red Sox. So far, Frank is my least favorite new character. Sorry Frank, I have to be loyal to my boys from Boston. You stick to the Bronx.

Desmond made a triumphant return and I actually cheered. The writers seem to be managing his character very intricately. Well, they manage everything intricately, but what I mean is that taking him away from us seems to be intentional. It’s made me like him more. He’s now one of my favorite characters on the show, and he’s going to play an important role in the end game. I’m sure of it. Time travel here we come…


I keep returning to Locke’s line from the first season. “Two players, one light, one dark.” There is a giant chess game going on here and all the characters are the pieces, but what are the two sides. Is Ben the leader of one side and the conspiracy the other? But doesn’t Richard seem to be part of the conspiracy and didn’t he recruit Ben (by the way, I miss him. That stupid show on CBS be damned.)? The point I’m trying to make is: we still have no idea what the two sides are and what they want. We’ve gotten some hints. Naomi had on the same wrist band as Elsa (the agent Sayid killed in his flashfoward) and they seem to be the opposite side of Ben, but who are they? And why does Ben know so much and not tell anyone about anything? Sometimes I think all these problems could just be alleviated if a couple of the people trusted each other.

Daniel’s timer trick is messing with my head and I can’t even get my head around it. Did it take the rocket half an hour to get to the island? Is the island half an hour behind in time, so when they talk to the people off the island they’re actually talking to the future? I have no idea. I can’t even begin to figure it out. Where does this time variance stuff fit into the electromagnetic cloak shield and the Portuguese outpost detecting the island? I’m literally very confused on all this stuff. At least when the season two finale blew my mind, I was able to figure it all out. This whole thing with Daniel’s trick is just ridiculous.


-Alright, I’m done for this week. I expended a lot of time and energy, and, believe it or not, that last paragraph about the Time Trick was the most difficult to write of the entire column. And if you don’t believe that, then there’s only one thing left to say:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

Jayemel can be reached by email at

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

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Midside: S4E01 The Beginning of the End

A cynical fan might say that the title of the season four premiere of LOST is indeed true. “LOST is dying!” he would exclaim. “It has become a shell of itself. It’s like Scrubs in its later seasons! No one cares about JD anymore!” From the heights of the internets (or is it depths?), he would bellow his call in hopes that someone heard it and bestowed upon him the attention he so obviously deserved.

I am no such fan. I love LOST and always will, no matter what. Well, maybe if they kill Sawyer for some reason stupid reason like saving squirrels, or if they completely vindicate Jack, I’ll conjure some contempt for the show. However, those events will never happen. The writers have already proven they are way too skilled to do something so stupid (or something even close to that stupid). Instead, my love for LOST remains and we journey on into The Midside.

I’m not saying this episode was perfect. It was a bit of a disappointment from the first hour on. The commercials led me to believe the episode would be two hours. Rather, we were greeted with a recrap (that I admittedly didn’t watch) and a single hour episode. A few of the characterizations also felt a bit off. Truthfully though, it’s impossible to know whether I thought these things because I’ve built the return of LOST up in my mind or because I’ve been removed from it for so long or some other such reason. After all, this show is meant to be watched in rapid succession. It’s why anyone who borrows my DVDs instantly becomes hooked. Which reminds me, I am about to convert another fan and spread the disease even further here. Regardless of any shortcomings, LOST is always of strong quality and there is always something to discuss. And discuss is what we do here in The Midside.

It’s good to be back.


The most memorable part of this episode’s flash forward is arguably the opening to it. There were about three twists in the opening few minutes. First, we were lead to believe the episode was opening on the island through a close up shot of a pile of fruit (coconuts?). Then, a Dukes of Hazzard-esque car busted through, literally smashing our initial assumption of the setting. Then, as the car sped off, the picture shifted to a man’s hand pouring juice. Who is it? Who is it! Oh, he’s pouring vodka. It must be Jack. A pan up revealed the guess to be true and a breath is let out. Another season, another Jack beginning, which presumably needs another Jack ending. But wait! Jack looked back at the TV and the camera pushed in. The car, the car is driven by the main character. The car is stopped and the man climbed out, leading with his pudgy hands. There is only one man who could have such pudgy hands and his curly hair followed, Hugo “Hurley” Reyes.

The most intriguing part of the episode was that getting off the island also did not help alleviate Hurley’s problems. In fact, that series of events apparently had the exact same effect on Hurley that it did on Jack. It exacerbated his faults. Once again, Hurley is having visions of people who aren’t really there (and aren’t even really alive). He even ended up back in the same asylum. Although, I do have to admit, I was disappointed that Leonard was no longer to play Connect Four with him. I wonder if we’ll ever find out about him or if we’re just supposed to assume that he died while locked up. I certainly don’t think he was ever healed. The other option, of course, is that he was acting, and I don’t even want to address that option. It opens up way too doors.

Here is the first point where I think the episode faltered a bit. Ok, Hurley was off the island and he was crazy. Got it. What else was there in the flash forward? I don’t think there was anything. I mean, there were certainly a lot of expositional mystery things. A lot of new questions were raised (I’ll address those questions later). But in the way of character arc and single shot story development, the flash forward was sorely lacking. Then again, the same could be said of last year’s season premiere as well. Ok, Jack is a drunk and doesn’t like his Dad. Got it. The true strength of that episode wasn’t revealed until last year’s season finale and the mirror images between the two could be observed. I’d say the same possibility exists for this episode as well, but the writers’ strike has severely inhibited my ability to look at anything past the eight episodes that have already been filmed.

The one other interesting element of Hurley’s flash forward was his apparent inability to let Charlie’s death go. I understand that Charlie was his closest friend on the island to die. Well, as I write that sentence I recall and immediately debate my own claim. Was Hurley closer to Libby or Charlie? Regardless of that answer, my point becomes even stronger. Why was Hurley not able to get past Charlie’s death? Why was it so significant? My initial answer to that question is that his death was the event that cause the infamous split which is the event Hurley attributes his guilt to, as evidenced by his apology to Jack on the basketball court. I’d also be willing to be it’s the event that Jack attributes his guilt to as well. Which leads me to believe John Locke is in the coffin. Alright, I’m going to end this paragraph and section before it degenerates into the wild speculation that is currently flashing through my brain.


This episode felt like one where the writers were trying to fit every character in that they possibly good. In that way, it felt more like a season finale than a season premiere. Season finales are all about letting everyone see their favorite character before the show takes a summer long break, or, in LOST’s case, an even longer break. So, because of the extra long break, the writers may have felt obligated to give everyone a little camera time. Well, everyone except Alex and Karl that is. I don’t even think they had one line. It sucks if you’re a fan of them.

Besides the break, I understand why every character made an appearance. The writers needed to explain why each person chose the side they did. But, I still don’t even remember what side everyone took. Most notably, I have no recollection of Desmond choosing a side or being shown on a side the way Sayid was. Instinctively though, I would have to guess that he was on Locke’s side, considering the whole “Not Penny’s Boat” thing. Although, someone is going to have to explain to me why the people not being sent by Penny automatically makes them evil. Is it because Naomi had a copy of Catch 22 with a picture of Desmond and Penny in it? Couldn’t there have been any number of reasons she had that picture? What if she was personally hired by Penny and Penny had no idea she was on her way to an island to find Desmond? What if she coincidentally found the book with the picture somewhere or just the picture somewhere? I mean, come on, we’re watching LOST.

Sawyer was a little too nice in this episode. What was with his consoling of Hurley? The only person he has ever consoled is Kate. Now all of a sudden he cares about other people? Well, I guess he has always cared about everyone, and Hurley is the closest thing he has to a best friend on the island. I can understand why he acted the way he did. He has been trying to reach out to people since Ana Lucia died really. I guess what was missing was his biting sarcasm and aggressive tone. I really hope he doesn’t become the Ethan or Goodwin of Locke’s band of Others.

Jack was up to his usual antics. The guy has really gone off the deep end completely. My favorite Jack-ism of the night is how he made Rousseau lead Ben around on a leash because he doesn’t trust Ben with anyone but himself. Yes Jack, you’re the only one on the entire island who knows that Ben is a manipulative douchebag and can resist him. Speaking of manipulative douchebags, it’s a bit of a shock to me that Jack was going to shoot Locke so easily, but it was hilarious that the gun wasn’t loading. Everyone kept one-upping Jack in this episode.

Ben was by far the funniest character of the episode. I kind of like him when he’s tied up and can’t cause any harm. The situation allows him to express his intelligence without any danger of him using it to take over the world. Really, he just became the role I’ve wanted to have for all of LOST. He followed Jack around and mocked all the stupid things the doctor said and did. I’m not saying Ben is a good leader or someone I would follow, but he knows why Jack sucks. Unfortunately, Ben chose Locke’s side, so this new dynamic with Jack will seemingly disappear. Although, I have to admit, I am most interested in the Ben-Rousseau dynamic. They are like the incredibly dysfunctional parents of Alex. Their relationship has the potential for so much awesomeness.

While I’m considering characters that seemed a bit off, what was the deal with Kate? Yes, she controlled Jack most of the episode and finally embarrassed him like he so deserves for perpetually treating her like crap, but she treated Naomi a little too kindly, if you ask me, which you are because you’re reading this column. Maybe it’s just because she wants off the island ASAP. I don’t know. That explanation is probably sufficient. I guess something about that scene didn’t ring true to me. Maybe it was just the fact that Naomi died for a second time. I will say the following though: this episode was much better on a second viewing and gets a lot better the more I think about it.

A bunch of other characters made appearances as well. Jin and Sun renewed their loved. Rose and Bernard remained the sweet old couple. Claire, of course, played an important role in the mourning over Charlie’s death, which, by the way, I thought was handled very well. I thought it was probably the best part about the episode. Heck, Charlie even made an appearance, and, I have to say, he was much more badass than he ever was when he was alive. If I knew that dying was all it took for me to like him, I would have been advocating his demise much earlier in the series than when the rumors began last season. Hopefully, and I can’t even believe I’m writing this statement, we’ll see more of him in the remaining episodes of the series. Come on, you know it’ll happen. We’re guaranteed to see Boone again now too.


Speaking of seeing the dead again, my inclination is that Jacob takes over dead bodies on the island and acts as the people in order to manipulate the still living. Ms. Hawking from Desmond’s time travel experience may even be a dead old woman. Think about it. Locke saw Boone in his vision question. Jack’s dad walked around in White Rabbit all the way back in season one. The location of Jack’s dad’s body is one of the greatest mysteries of the show and it may have been solved, which leads me to my conclusion that Jacob controls dead bodies. Look carefully at the guest stars for this episode. John Terry is listed. Now, look closely at the guy sitting in the chair in Jacob’s house. It was clearly John Terry. Do I believe that Jack’s dad is Jacob? No. I can’t. It would make little sense. It makes much more sense that Jacob is controlling Jack’s dad’s body. As for the eye that popped up and viewed Hurley through the hole in Jacob’s door, it was probably Locke. I’d imagine that after Walt found him (hmm), he went back to Jacob’s and became the new Ben.

What’s most interesting to me in the mythology of LOST in this episode is the introduction of the phrase “The Oceanic Six”. Who are they? What assumptions are the writers trying to make us make regarding who gets off the island? The most obvious is that only six people get off the island. I would like to caution away from that assumption. Desmond wasn’t on the plane. Juliet wasn’t on the plane. Then again, the media is incredibly and sensationalistic and loves to give nicknames for people even if they don’t make sense, so I wouldn’t be surprised if someone not from the flight gets off the island and they get roped into “The Oceanic Six” simply because the media is filled with dumbasses. But, for the record, I think “The Oceanic Six” will be Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Jin, and Sun, but Desmond and Juliet will also get off the island. I’m not so sure about the other original Others, but I would not be surprised to see Alex and Karl leave either. The rest of them are at the temple, so I’ll leave them be for now.

The other looming question seems to revolve around the secret. What is it? Why does it drive Hurley to guilt and inevitably Jack? The initial reaction seems to be that only The Oceanic Six survived. However, two comments fly in the face of that assumption. First off, the creepy black guy who visited Hurley asked if they were safe or something. I think they’re definitely still alive. Second off, Charlie told Hurley he knew what he had to do to help them. The question now becomes: who are they? I think they are the people who stayed on the island and they’re trying to accomplish something, who knows what it is. Jacob is trying to get everyone back to the island, and that creepy black dude is part of an organization that is trying to figure out what the island is (still), maybe the group that Dharma was before Ben killed them all.

The interesting reaction to reconsider with this new knowledge is Kate’s in Through the Looking Glass. It seemed like she didn’t feel guilty about getting off the island and didn’t want to go back. But, in this episode Jack seemed to feel that way too. Will there be a future fast forward where Kate transitions into guilt too? Then again, I don’t think Kate feels guilt or remorse very often. Think of everything she’s done in her life and ask yourself if she’s a person who feels a lot of sympathy. She’s essentially a sociopath…


-I was disappointed with The Missing Pieces special feature over the break. Some of it was done okay, but most of it felt cheesy and unnecessary. I enjoyed things like seeing Frogurt (and hope to see him in the series), but didn’t like how the writers tried to use some of the “pieces” to answer dumb challenges by fans who either can’t suspend their disbelief or refuse to in order to seem intelligent or analytical.

-If you haven’t yet, go see Cloverfield. I say this to you because you’re a LOST fan and probably a fan of JJ Abrams. It’s an incredible movie. It’s even written by Drew Goddard who wrote such episodes as Outlaws and The Man Behind the Curtain. It’s LOST-tastic.

-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.

It’s nice to be back and, as always, if you disagree with that statement or anything written here remember:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

Jayemel can be reached by email at