Saturday, March 22, 2008

Drillbit doesn't bore.

I can't say I'm a huge Owen Wilson fan, though I by no means dislike him. I found myself in the theater for Drillbit Taylor because it is yet another movie in a slew of Judd Apatow productions. This story was co-written by Superbad scribe Seth Rogen. However, his writing partner was Kristofer Brown who previously worked on The Tom Green Show, Beavis and Butthead, and Undeclared, the short lived Apatow sitcom that Rogen starred in. Brown and Rogen's movie left me entertained and with two questions: Can Rogen write a movie that isn't loosely based on himself? If he can't, should I care as long as I keep laughing?

Drillbit Taylor follows three hapless high school students in their quest to be cool and have girls like them. If that plot sounds familiar, it's because it's essentially the plot of Superbad. The three guys even mirror the Superbad guys. Ryan is Seth, the overweight curly haired kid with quick wit (and a love for rap this go around). Wade is Evan, the ridiculously skin and soft spoken nice guy. Emmit is Fogell aka McLovin, the most awkward of the three that Ryan doesn't even really want to be friends with. The main difference here is that the guys are starting high school, not ending it, so they're less concerned with alcohol and more concerned with the local bully-cum-psychopath.

Enter Own Wilson as Drillbit Taylor, a bum with a knack for bullshit. The story proceeds as you would expect from PG-13 Rogen fare. The kids hire Drillbit to protect them. He starts out cold and then grows a heart. Punches are thrown and the hits are taken in comedic fashion. There are even a few cool cameos for those intimately familiar with the Apatow brand of comedy. And yes, every once in awhile one of Rogen's trademark vulgar or pop culture insults slips through. He even manages to reference his next movie, Panda Express, at one point.

What's most disappointing about Drillbit Taylor is the under utilization of Leslie Mann, Apatow's wife. When Drillbit infiltrates the school by impersonating a substitute teacher, the two begin a lust based relationship. However, their pairing disappears, only to be tied up quickly at the end. I understand that the movie isn't a romantic comedy and the point was to forefront the relationship between Drillbit in the kids, but Mann's character could have been used to add resonance to Drillbit's change. It almost seems as if she was added simply to have an adult female presence in the movie.

Overall, it plays like Superbad light. It's cute, it's funny, and it has Owen Wilson. If you're a huge Superbad fan, you'll find yourself yearning for Seth's vulgarity and Fogell's unwitted goofiness. If you're not yet of Superbad age, Drillbit Taylor can serve as your training wheels. If you're neither and just looking for a funny weekend diversion, you could do far worse.

2.5/5 Stars

The Midside: S4E08 Meet Kevin Johnson

I met Kevin Johnson and this is what he taught me: a layer has been taken out of the show. I don’t mean that this show has only one thing going on at a time. Such a statement would be ridiculous to make. Every scene still has characters at different levels of understanding. As the viewer, we are a little over the middle mark of understanding in those conversations. We can easily identify the characters who think they have a clue and really only have a quarter of one, but we have a hard time distinguishing between the characters who are pretending to have a clue and who actually have a clue. No, these layers will always exist in LOST, perhaps past the airing of the final episode. When I say a layer has been excised from the show, I’m referring to the dualistic nature of the storytelling.

While this episode was certainly not the first extended uninterrupted flashback (Flashes Before Your Eyes first featured such an episode, although we could debate if it was actually a flashback or not), it was the first such episode where the shift in storytelling technique really hit home for me. No longer are the flashes being used to tell a separate story from the island tale. Instead, we now have one integrated plot. Yes, it was all always the same plot because it fits under the title of LOST, so let me explain my point a little further.

Part of what made Season One so magical is the way the flashbacks and on island scenes each told a separate story and then intertwined to make one even larger story. Each separate element surely could have aired on its own and still been entertaining, but what made them so much better, what made them a cut above the rest, was the way they combined. Yes, other shows and movies have used such a storytelling technique many times before. Highlander is an example, hence why I used the Duncan McLeod reference as a heading previously. However, I would argue that no show has done it as well. It takes a lot to keep me interested in a story that constantly flashes back or “Tarantino’s” (starts with a scene from the end and rewinds), and LOST has done more than keep my attention. It has captivated me more than any other piece of television or movie based fiction ever has. Now, the dualistic method of storytelling is no longer.

At the end of Season Three, I thought that when we traveled “through the looking glass”, we had simply flipped our dualistic perspective. I thought the future would act alongside the present the way the past has for so long. And to a certain extent I think the writers have tried, though not as hard as with flashbacks. The Economist was a strong effort in which Sayid conducted intelligence operations in order to protect his allies, but it still lacked that succinct point, that lesson learned in the flashback that the character adopted on the island (it was exchanged for the twist). Eggtown was a halfbaked attempt where Kate emoed (yes, I used it as a verb) over how she would deal with her past when she got off the island and we were shown how she did deal with it when she got off the island. There was also an attempt to create a parallel theme of “playing house” in her scenes with Sawyer and Claire and her mothering Aaron in the future. However, once again, the twist ending was supposed to carry the weight of the point. So, instead of the storytelling continuing as I anticipated, it has shifted. But I’ve discussed why it shifted in previous columns. What’s more important here is the use of the flashes.

The flashes are now simply another way to convey information about and progress the plot. The interesting point of contention here is that it’s possible that the flashbacks were always used to convey information about and progress the plot. In the loosest interpretation of the word “plot”, everything in the show is the plot of LOST. What I actually mean is the story after the Oceanic Flight 815 crash. The crux of this differentiation is when the influence of the island began on these people. Was it before they crashed? Was it during the flashbacks? If so, then yes, the flashbacks were always used for that purpose. However, I would say that purpose was never primary…until now.

Why am I writing about this use of the flashes? Well, for one, it interests me to learn different storytelling techniques. But, more importantly than my personal desires, noting this shift in the storytelling signals that we must also shift our storyviewing. No longer are we learning, now we are experiencing (yes, learning is always a part of experiencing). We are past that initial stage of a deep friendship where you ask the “tough questions” and bare your soul to the other person. Now, we are close friends and deal with life as it comes at us, our loyalty pledged. I can’t speak for you, but I’m an intensely loyal person and am going to stick with my favorites until the end. This week is a perfect example. I’ll be talking about what Michael did and will do, rather than why he did it, and what Ben did and will do (although I still think we’re going to get another flashback for him).


They took my boy!

I’m sorry. I had to get that statement out of the way. I mean, anytime you’re mentioning Michael it has to be noted: He’s not very smart. I’ve never seen a character, or even a person, who makes the least smart choice possible in every situation; at least I’ve never seen a character or person do it not on purpose. I don’t mean that people don’t make stupid choices repeatedly. What I mean is that someone’s instinctual manner could be to react so poorly. You need to free the trapped Alpha-Other and there is a woman holding a gun? Take the gun from her and shoot her. Another woman walks into the room and could identify you? Shoot her too. Forget about holding someone at gunpoint and then running away with the Alpha-Other. You try to shoot someone and he knocks you down with a powerful uppercut? Grab a wine bottle and hit him over the head with it. Forget about the fact that he could own you in a fight and offered you his hand in peace. You were given a mysterious package that turns out to be a bomb? Might as well arm it. Forget about figuring out what the boat is really doing and who the people are on it.

The point I’m trying to make is that if I’m supposed to have some sort of sympathy for Michael, that possibility was thrown at the window a long time ago. While I think the character is actually masterfully acted by Harold Perrineau Jr. (He adds depth that wouldn’t otherwise be there), he has always been a one note song. Even in the video game the first words he says are his “screaming Walt” cry. I do understand how the character fits into the whole twisting of archetypes as well. Here is a single black father and rather than avoiding his paternal responsibilities, he is accepting them. Michael is the antithesis of a stereotype. In the very very beginning, he was a likeable character. Then he degenerated and did what he did.

To reintroduce him, rather than sending him on a mission to atone for his wrongdoings, the writers made him suicidal. That perspective means that rather than him being aware of what he did, taking responsibility for it, and looking at the world outside himself, he is still trying to duck responsibility and acting like his pain is of paramount importance. What is he, a teenager? Tom summed it up best when he was disgusted that Michael handled his guilt so poorly that he had to tell his ten year old son. How am I supposed to like this character? How am I supposed to have sympathy for him? I don’t even pity him. I just want him removed from the equation.

A friend of mine asked me why Sayid turned in Michael and what I thought of it. I paused for a second to think. The pause speaks to the strength of the writers muddying the waters, but the truth re-emerged for me. Sayid was right. Michael is a traitor. Sure, there was a certain amount of irony to Sayid turning in Michael for working for Ben, but being a traitor isn’t about who you’re working for, it’s what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. What do I think of Sayid turning Michael in? I would have done the same exact thing. Get him out of the way so he stops messing things up. Is the freighter on a rescue mission? Who knows, but Frank certainly seems to think so and Sayid is already building a relationship with him. There’s no need for rash judgments and decisions.

The flashback allowed us another brief glance at Walt, emphasis on brief. Seeing him through the curtains makes me wonder if we’ll ever actually see Walt again. With the whole puberty issue with Malcolm David Kelley, he would have to be inserted back into the story in the future. Is the story intended on going that far into the future? It could be argued that Walt could appear in a flashforward, but is that time period even believeable? The mention of flashforwards brings up another interesting issue.

It was my original belief that Michael was the last member of the Oceanic Six and was the mysterious person in the coffin. Now it would appear that he is not. This appearance raises some questions: What happens to Michael? Does he stay on the island or get his death wish? What happens to Walt? Does he get back to the island? Is he in the coffin? And: Is Aaron the last member of the Oceanic Six? My inclination is still to say that Michael is the last member of Oceanic Six and in the coffin, especially considering his death wish. However, it is possible Aaron is the last member of the Oceanic Six. In that case, I would think Walt would be in the coffin, having killed himself after realizing his father’s fate.

My problem with Aaron being the last member of the Oceanic Six is it carries with it too many unexplained considerations. Does Aaron count as one of the eight in Jack’s story of the eight survivors of the plane crash, six survivors of the island? If not, who is the eight person besides Claire who survived the fictional plane crash and how exactly did a pregnant woman get out of that wreckage in that trench? Also, if Aaron is one of the Oceanic Six, does the world know that Kate is not his birth mother? If so, how did the government allow a federal fugitive to have parental rights of him? Also, didn’t it seem like Kate’s mom was under the impression that Aaron was her biological grandson? I mean, the Oceanic Six is a world known (probably media created) name, right? Everyone would have to know who all six people are and obviously a federal prisoner wasn’t carrying a newborn baby with her.

I don’t care what ABC says. The last member of the Oceanic Six is still unknown. And I’m ending this section.


This week this section is going to focus on one character and the tension surrounding him. I’m only going to focus on him because the debate is one of the main points of contention this season (and perhaps over the rest of the series) and his involvement was the only interesting part of the episode besides Michael. I will begin though by saying that it was nice having an entire episode without Jack, wasn’t it? Believe it or not, my LOST knowledge does not include how many episodes each character has appeared in. Something is telling me though that this episode may be one of the first, if not the first, that Jack didn’t appear in. I know, I know, I just exchanged my Jack hate for Michael hate, right? I think the writers are more aware of our disdain for Michael though and that’s why they made him so pathetic. Jack, on the other hand, is pathetic of his own accord. But this subject is tired. Let’s move on, shall we?

I’m not buying the whole “Ben is the good guy” thing. First off, his being the good guy assumes that he is at war with Widmore. We have been shown that Ben is at war with someone in Sayid’s flashforward. Are we to assume that person is Widmore? Yes, but that assumption is dangerous. Although, with the series in its back nine, the divide between Widmore and Ben may be as it seems, a war between two factions over the island. Assuming this battle is as it seems, I still don’t buy Ben being good.

Recently, the writers have been walking the line between Ben being good and evil, but leaning more towards the good side. Every time they show him in a positive light, they are always sure to counterbalance it with something negative. For instance, in this episode, they tried to vilify the crew of the freighter to make Ben look good. The captain beat the crap out of his own crew in order to protect them and is an overall gruff and no nonsense individual. In contrast, Ben, though he doesn’t like the freighter and its crew, was shown telling Michael not to kill anyone on the boat, as to not kill anyone innocent. This command is essentially the conservative view of war. It’s a necessary evil, but sometimes you have to, and when you do, you should innocent casualties to a minimal. Besides espousing this apparently rational point of view, through his command Ben was toning down the command of killing everyone. He’s being perfectly reasonable, right?

Not so fast, fellow LOST fans, the writers were sure to bring back crazy Ben at the end of the episode. In order to quell his own jealousy and own what is his, he sent Alex, Karl, and Rousseau into a trap. Marksmen took out Karl and Rousseau, shooting them in the chest on the opposite side of their hearts (would someone die so quickly from being shot there?). Alex, in her fear, then gave Ben what he wanted, standing up and screaming that she is his daughter. Alex, sweetheart, did you see how accurate the shooters were? They shot Karl and Rousseau in the exact same spot! If they intended on killing you, you would have been dead already. There was no need to scream what you did. It did give us another opening season arc ending character screaming moment though. “I’m Ben’s daughter” meet “Kate, damn it, run!” Anyway, the point is, Ben was lying (duh) in the sense that he does kill innocent people. We could delve into a discussion here about if he was lying to himself or to Michael to get Michael to do what he asked, but I won’t. What I will point out is that the first major action of, possibly, Ben’s entire life was to kill all of Dharma, including the innocent people. Here is where someone chimes in and says Dharma is evil, so anyone associated with it was guilty. Maybe Dharma was evil, but weren’t the Nazis evil? And was every person associated with them evil? Didn’t some people have to acquiesce in order to save their own skin? Hold on there hippie world peace advocates, don’t get all indignant. There is nothing morally wrong with protecting your own skin in such harsh times. Holy crap, I just talked about the Nazis in a LOST column. Anyway, the point is, Ben began by, has always, and will continue to kill innocent people. I can’t buy him as good.

Ben not being good also calls into question Widmore as well. What has Widmore done that has been so bad anyway? Ok, so he was a touch arrogant when dealing with Desmond, but he is British. Jokes aside, is his arrogance worse than Ben’s? No. Also, he was shown kicking one of Ben’s operatives. Do we know what the operative was going? How do we know he didn’t deserve to be kicked? Finally, we’re supposed to believe Widmore wants the island for himself just for profit. Yeah, um, so? Is doing something for profit so evil? No. Go read Atlas Shrugged and learn something.

What saddens me the most out of this entire discussion is the offing of Karl and Rousseau. I will admit to being shocked at Karl’s death. I legitimately liked the kid. He and Alex worked together. However, I was so shocked by his death that the immediate impact of the demise of Rousseau was lessened. I was still trying to get a hold on the end of Karl and the future of Alex when, Bam, Rousseau hit the deck too. I understand that her story was over and have come to terms with it now, but, wow. I just hope that these deaths were done as more than an excuse to keep Ben walking the line. I hope they really were planned from the beginning.


Ok, this show has officially crossed the line into science fiction. Sorry all you drama loving regular viewers, when the island becomes the anti-Final Destination and stops people from killing themselves, then the realm of reality has been exited. Personally, I don’t care. I love science fiction. Heck, I just finished watching the first three seasons of Sliders on DVD. I just hope that the rest of you that have been told this show will be based in reality or on “pseudo-science” will stick around for the rest of the ride. What’s the difference between science fiction and “pseudo-science” anyway?

Michael not dying in the car crash and the gun jamming raise some interesting questions. Is the island sentient? My first instinct in order to explain these events is the course correcting a la Flashes Before Your Eyes. The guy in the pawn shop could have sold Michael a faulty gun on purpose. However, how does this idea explain the car crash then? It can’t really, can it? Thus, I am inclined to believe that the island is sentient. It can take human form through the people that have died on the island or perhaps just dead people in the memory of the people on the island. Ben saw his mother and she didn’t die on the island, right? The smoke monster would be the physical appendage of the island, and Jacob would be the way it manifests itself to Ben. The island being sentient would also explain why Ben thinks he is so good for protecting it. He thinks he is protecting a good creature. But sentience does not equal being good or value, even though a lot of people seem to think so often in science fiction. Take the ending of Land of the Dead or the alternate ending of I Am Legend. Somehow the zombies are life to value on an equal scale with humans. Give me a break.


Well, with the death of Rousseau, my guesses for the end of the season proved incorrect. Let me put forward a finalized list for the remaining five episodes of the season (as we’ve now seen the first eight). I’d like to point out as well that we’ve seen more than half of Season Four as well. I’m kind of sick of all the rankings the media does, especially ESPN, but I think this season has been the worst season of LOST so far. Anyway, in order, here’s what I anticipate seeing:

-Ben flashback
-Locke flashforward (on island)
-Sawyer flashforward (on island)
-Claire flashforward (on island)
-Jack flashforward (off island, trying to get back on as they get off in present time)

I'll see you in a month. Breaks are all just part of being a LOST fan. And if you disagree with that, well then:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

Jayemel can be reached by email at

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Midside: S4E07 Ji Yeon

I’m not exactly sure where this ability came from. I have an idea, but the exact details of its origins are blurry to me. But for our purposes, there’s no need to explicit my power. A long diatribe on the struggle to come to terms with ones inherent talents is best level for a superhero origin story or someone with teen angst. Besides, I’m so over the whole critical theory self awareness bullshit that permeates from the walls of the buildings of higher education. How long can you tear things apart besides you do anything yourself? Maybe my vision came from there, my education. Regardless, I’m done with that perspective. If you haven’t noticed, over this season, my column has become a lot less about what I liked and didn’t like (although I’ve always maintained that I love LOST), and more about how all the elements fit within the monolithic entity that is the story. It’s an unpalatable position for many, but that divergence from that mass is what’s important. For some reason, I can hear the footsteps a mile away. The naysayers are coming and they’re ready to tear LOST down the way the Internet Wrestling Community has torn down Professional Wrestling.

Don’t worry fellow LOST fans, we don’t have megalomaniacal show runners like Vince McMahon, a steroids scandal, or a double murder suicide to contend with. Yes, we have our Michelle Rodriguezes and Cynthia Watroses, but what family doesn’t have their screw ups and black sheeps? What we do have is quality writing, acting, and production that continually pushes the boundaries of the television entertainment genre. Sure, there are some missteps. No one is perfect. However, it’s nearly impossible to follow up an episode like The Constant, let alone with a Juliet episode and then a Sun and Jin episode. What were the producers thinking? They were thinking they had a 16 episode season and needed a lull before the halfway mark at eight. While I won’t be naïve enough to say they couldn’t anticipate the strike, I’m sure The Other Woman and Ji Yeon were intended to be the falling action in the story of the first half of the season. Episode eight would then be a conclusion of sorts followed by another eight episode arc featuring the characters ignored in the front end of the season. I’ll save my predictions for the final six episodes of the seasons (thanks to the strike) for the conclusion section though.

What’s important is that this episode was a good episode. Of course, I love almost every LOST episode up to and including SOS. About the only episodes I couldn’t take were Charlie episodes (except Greatest Hits). My likes and dislikes aren’t important though because you could be a huge Charlie fan and still be welcome in The Midside. The reason I mention the quality of the episode is to cut the naysayers off at the pass. LOST is still alive and kicking and will be in 2010, at least in The Midside it is.


Ladies and Gentlemen, the writers of LOST have done it again. When the show started, we thought it was cool and unique the way they used flashbacks. Focus on a different character every episode and tell his unique story? That’s preposterous! Then, in Season 3, they pushed the form. Flashes Before Your Eyes came along and we were not only seeing a flashback, but Desmond was apparently reliving it. This new form of flashback continued in The Constant, further sharpening the question: Are we just witnessing these flashbacks or are the characters experiencing them without awareness that they’re re-experiencing the moments in their life. Now, in the middle of Season 4, the writers have pushed the boundaries again. We’ve had our first flashfackword.

A flashfackword is a story that is both a flashforward and a flashback at the same time. I don’t think it would be possible to have one scene to be a flashforward and flashback simulatenously (if it is possible, I await the day that smart person pulls off that story), so you have to alternate scenes, one forward, one back. The easiest way to do such an alternation is with two characters (especially if you’re trying to deceiver the viewer a la LOST), so it makes sense the writers would use Sun and Jin as the opportunity to tell such a story. What’s incredible is the fact that for the majority of the episode they were able to distract me enough to the point that I didn’t figure out the time differential.

One question transfixed me throughout the episode: What’s with the panda? If Sun is in the hospital about to give birth, why would Jin stop and buy a giant panda from a toy store? Then, why would somebody steal a giant panda? It’s a stuffed any for God’s sake! Although, it was sitting in a cab. The guy probably wanted the cab, and the cabbie ended up inheriting the giant bear. My mind began to race for answers. Maybe there are drugs in the bear. Maybe something happened on the way off the island that made a panda significant to Sun and Jin. The writers couldn’t possibly be making Jin into a putz and having him buy a giant stuffed animal for his new baby, could they? Could they even have messed up their stereotypes and had a Korean guy buy a panda? That’s China, you idiots. You know, the place with the Olympics and all the smog that’s causing the controversy.

But then Jin lost the panda, so it couldn’t have been anything specific about that panda because he immediately went back and bought another one. It has to be something symbolic or metaphoric. And it has to be something ridiculously important because he’s flashing around (no pun intended) that Oceanic Six settlement money like there’s no tomorrow (also no pun intended). Finally, the big moment came and Sun yelled for Jin in her deliriousness. He didn’t come. No, there’s no way Jin has reverted back to neglecting his wife. But there he was delivering the panda to another woman who gave birth while his wife was giving birth. It makes too much sense. Jin works for Sun’s father again. He’s reverted back to his problems with way Jack becomes an alcoholic and Hurley gets committed again. No, say it ain’t so, Jin.

Then the meaning behind the panda was revealed. Jin was in the past. It was only two months after he married Sun. What? No way, that means he’s still neglecting his wife. There’s no way the new Jin would do that. There’s no way the new Jin would miss his child’s birth. That means there’s only one possibility left. It’s what I’ve feared since the Pilot.

Jin Kwon is dead.

I won’t hear any arguments to the contrary. Jin has always been near the top of my favorite characters list, but he has always lived on borrowed time. He has always been expendable. He has always been the tragic half of the tragic romance. Sun is the story of a strong woman overcoming the patriarchal society that dominated her, most symbolized by her husband, who has immersed himself so much in the culture that he himself is dominated by his wife’s father (and he ignored the wife he allowed himself to become dominated for). Thus, it is logical that Sun would outgrow Jin. I don’t mean outgrow Jin in the sense that she doesn’t love him anymore. No, she will always love Jin. That constant (ding ding) is the tragic part. What I mean is that she would always have to outgrow him in the sense that she would be a fully autonomous independent person. While I personally believe that it is extremely possible (important even) for people in a relationship to be independent and autonomous, storytelling wise, especially in a romantic drama such as the way Sun and Jin’s episodes are, it is difficult to demonstrate that independence. Plus, by killing one of the two people in the pair, it drives home the point, story wise and visually. These characters were always Sun and Jin. From the together, they were seen together. Now, they are Sun and Jin is dead. Think of how jarring it was to see Hurley standing there with Sun at Jin’s grave. Sure, the two have interacted, but it isn’t often, and it’s strange to see Sun standing there with a man that isn’t Jin. Yes, the writers have wiggle room to unkill Jin, but they won’t. The point of this episode is that Jin is dead. One of the great questions for the remainder series is now: When and how does Jin die?

This episode raises another interesting question that I expect to be answered soon (and that I think answers that question and another lingering one). According to his headstone, Jin died on September 22nd, 2004. That date makes him the new Charlie. We know he is dead at some point on the island, but we don’t know when. That date is the original plane crash, which means, as part of the cover up, it is being claimed Jin died in the plane. I’m betting he gives his life to save Sun. He’s basically been emasculated by her. Don’t even get me started on the point that she cheated and then he groveled to her. Regardless, the point is, Jin doesn’t get off the island. He isn’t part of the Oceanic Six. That means we still don’t know who the sixth person is. Who is the sixth person then?

My bet is that the sixth person is Michael. I believe it is him more by eliminating everyone else than by figuring it’s him. I admit claiming him as a member of the Oceanic Six is a very tenuous position. What happens to Walt? I’m betting he stays on the island. Didn’t they already get off the island? Did he? The end to the LOST video game brings new considerations to that discussion, if I should even consider that ending important at all. You also figure that the last person to get off the island has to be the person in the coffin. Well, we know that the person in the coffin is American and no one really likes him (from Kate’s asking why she would go). Hurley would pretty much go to anyone’s funeral (he shows up for everything), even Sawyer’s, except Michael’s, because Michael Killed Libby. It stands to reason, to me, that Michael is the last member of the Oceanic Six and is in the coffin, especially considering they just reintroduced him.


There’s not much to say about the rest of the cast this week besides Juliet. Desmond and Sayid were sort of involved in this episode, but the point was more to reveal Michael than anything. Although, it is important to note that their story here represents the difficulty with LOST this season: everything seems to be written around the reveals and not the characters. In contrast, The Constant was all about Desmond. Are the writers better at asking questions then answering then? Well, that depends whether you The Constant answered or asked questions, so I’ll let you mull over that question.

In regards to Juliet, she has transitioned even more into the female version of Jack. It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to defend her to myself. I understand why she did what she did, telling Jin about Sun’s affair, but, technically, Sun isn’t her patient. In a real world situation where laws apply, Juliet probably would have been able to exert some power over Sun. However, they live on a frickin’ island. Sun isn’t legally bound by anyone to protect herself or anyone else. Of course, here is where we get into a debate about government, and you start to understand my distrust of laws and government. They empower people like Jack and Juliet to exert their will on others. Yes, a person should probably follow his doctor’s advice, but shouldn’t we all also have the right to not follow our doctor’s advice if we want to? On the island, the characters have that right, so who is Juliet to run around revealing affairs? True, she didn’t do it out of any malice, but still, Sun’s an adult, let her go. Oh Juliet, you belong with Jack.

That concludes this week’s character’s section. I guess I can see why people would be disappointed. I’ve said it repeatedly though. It’s all about story now.


I think I’ve determined something very important about the initial plane crash and surviving on the island. Desmond revealed to us the importance of a constant. Did each original survivor live because they had a constant? Remember, back in season one, each character had some item or person they were attached to. Can a person’s consciousness not jump back and forth without a constant to hold onto? Sawyer had the letter and Mr. Sawyer. Sayid had the picture and Nadia. Kate had the toy plane (and noticed how she needed to get it so badly, was her sub conscious reaching for the plane to save her?). Charlie had the drugs (or arguably the music). Boone and Shannon had each other (whether Shannon wanted to admit it or not). Rose had Bernard (remember how adamantly she believed he was alive). Michael had Walt. Claire had the baby. Locke had his Dad. Sun and Jin had each other (although the watch was made to be important). Walt had Vincent. Hurley had the numbers. Jack had his Dad (or maybe his douchebaggery). These things were in both these characters island time and their flashbacks.

What if then, if a constant allows travel, if the constant is taken away? If Desmond had never flown off the island, he never would have needed a constant, right? So, if someone’s constant is taken away on the island, can they not leave it? Sayid, presumably, still has Nadia in his heart. Desmond has Penny. But, Locke’s Dad is dead. Can Locke and Sawyer not leave the island? Something, some people say the island, worked to get Charlie to drop the drugs. Could he have not left the island? I’m not sure, but I think I’m onto something here. It’s tough because I wish I could see the experiences of everyone ever on the island. Does Rousseau have flashbacks? Did Ben’s parents have flashbacks?

Also of note is the fact that the crew members of the Kahana (the freighter) are seemingly committing suicide. I say more than one because Regina jumped overboard with the chains on, the blood stain in Sayid and Desmond’s room looked like one from a suicide via gun, and the captain mentioned the severe case of cabin fever. Is this the sickness Rousseau was talking about? Is it what happens when you try to go to the island without a constant and aren’t killed violently? Rousseau’s constant was presumably Alex, did none of the rest of her crew have constants? I doubt it. Everything is starting to get clearer.


We known thanks to the strike, we only have six episodes left, five of which will be following a month’s break. I’m not looking forward to the break. Here we are back into the swing of things and LOST is gone again. It’s disheartening. Regardless, we know that the next episode is called Meet Kevin Johnson, so it’s probably a Michael episode. But who has the rest of the episodes? I suspect the following might happen after the break:

-The first on island flash forward via Locke.
-A Sawyer on island flash forward.
-A Ben flashback.
-A Rousseau flashback.
-A Claire on island flash forward (possibly the season finale).

If the writers follow this plan, all the main characters will have centric episodes, and we’d be given a nice surprise of a Rousseau episode. Of course, only looking at these five episodes means that in the original 16 episode plans, the three episodes would have been repeated character centric episodes. Thus, I wouldn’t be surprised to see no Rousseau episode and another Jack episode (as he’s the “hero”, right?), another Hurley episode (as he had the season episode), or another Michael episode (because he’s newly returned). I also don’t expect Jin’s death to occur this season. Or maybe I’m just hoping he sticks around for the duration. Either way, if you disagree with any of my predictions, well then, I’m going to make like an ESPN analyst and say:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

Jayemel can be reached by email at

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Midside: S4E06 The Other Woman

Life is tough. It really is. Or, at least it’s hard out there for a LOST fan. One week, you’re given this supremely magnificent episode, fast paced and full of revelations and romance, and the next everything is slowed down on you. If you’ll bear with another one of my sports metaphors, it would be like your team playing the undefeated Colts one week and facing off against the always tough opponent “Bye” the next week. You face the emotional invest of trying to end your heated rival’s dreams of an undefeated next season and the emotional lack of investment of playing no game at all the next week. What do you even do with your time off? Do you watch other games? Do you speculate about the last game? Do you watch your DVDs of past Super Bowl championships?

Fortunately, we didn’t have a complete bye week. No, thanks to the strike we’ll have an entire bye month later on. However, for this week we did have another episode. The problem is that I’m not really sure if there’s much to talk about. I don’t think I can stretch an entire column out of it. So, where does this episode rank amongst the episodes so far this season? I refuse to answer that question. I hate rankings of unquantifiable concepts such as “Best Team Ever” or “Best Episode of the Season”. The more important question is: Was it a good episode?

The answer is simple. Yes. So how am I going to stretch a paragraph out of this explanation? The same way I’m going to stretch an entire column out of this episode.

I’m going to use my mad graduate school skills to pick part the context surrounding the episode in order to help you at least understand the steps it takes to reaching that point of view (if not agree with me). Essentially, I return to the main statement I used a few weeks ago.

We’re still watching LOST. This episode was still a small part of an overarching serialized story. It still necessitates our prior knowledge of the characters and the story. More importantly, it still has the same high quality of production that LOST always has. An episode isn’t scripted lightly. A scene isn’t filmed haphazardly. A lot of time and effort go into any single episode of LOST. And the quality shines through, to such an extent that we can sense when the quality is off. And that we can even differentiate between the ups and downs demonstrates that not only is this show pushed by all of us associated with it (starting with the producers and trickling down to us) to be as good as it can be, but that this show has turned us into distinguishing minds. Sure, a program like LOST is already going to attract the discerning viewer (such as myself). However, the fact that after an episode airs, you can almost hear a collective groan from the fanbase demonstrates that everyone who watches the show has begun to indulge in that sort of thought. And that fact is the most important thing to remember about LOST.

If an episode was so bad, you wouldn’t be reading about it right now. You wouldn’t have used the wide wide world of web to get wherever you did to partake of these words. Even more strongly, if the episode was that horrific, I wouldn’t be writing about it. Isn’t it weird how I can use both the present tense for you reading something and me writing that same something in the same paragraph? If the episode that horrific, it would be like my friend RJ said, “Ok, next episode.” Ok, so maybe to him it was that horrific, but to me, it wasn’t. There are still things for me to write about. I still want to put ideas and characters in context of one another. If not for my own enjoyment, but because I know I have at least one fan out there. Besides, it’s like RJ would also say, I have to maintain my LOST street cred. I am an FHM published theorist anyway. Are you?


It feels good to be able to write that subject heading again. I always figured I would be able to. Although, I think pretty early on the writers said that the episodes from now on would be a mix of flashbacks and flashforwards. I was sure some characters, like Ben and Rousseau, would have flashbacks, but Juliet was one of those weird in between characters that I didn’t know what they would do with. Sure, she probably has some flashback stories to tell. Sure they might be interesting, but she’s kind of creeping up to that season three category for some of the original LOSTaways where you just felt they had run out of flashback material. With the shorter seasons (episode wise, especially this season), that probably won’t be a problem though. I would anticipate her episode next season being a flashforward, if there is any type of flashes at all. The dissolution of the flashback/flashfoward storytelling technique was never one I really considered before The Constant, so I’ll leave any detailed thoughts about it out until I have more detailed thoughts. I will leave you with one question though: Don’t the flashes have to stop at some point in order for there to be a satisfying conclusion to the story?

To be honest, I’m not sure what Duncan McLeod would do this week. Sure, he’s a passionate guy and would surely appreciate all the love (or at least love) being tossed around, but I’m not exactly sure how he would feel about essentially being stuck in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. And let’s not fool ourselves, this episode was most definitely LOST’s Anatomy. The only storytelling device that was missing was the shallow narration that disguised itself as deep philosophical pondering. “They say never to lie, cheat, or steal, but then they twist that phrase to say when to do those things. I think that’s what we all do and the secret is knowing when. When do we allow our passion to override our sense of right and wrong so we can steal moments with those we enjoy? I think it’s far too infrequent. Sometimes, you just have to buck the system by saying, ‘Hey world, this is who I want to be with, you all deal with the mess.’ Well, this is who I want to be with and look at the mess it caused.’”

Do you see part of the reason I hate Grey’s Anatomy now? As a joke, I just penned an opening or closing narration monologue like the show would use, and if you didn’t know any better, you could assume that I actually quoted that from the show. Believe me, I would not make myself suffer by sifting through the narrations to find an appropriate on to this episode. Instead, to write it, I thought of the situation, a cheesy cliché that annoys me that applies to it, and used self centered reasoning to explicate an analysis of it. Pretty drab stuff, right? Or maybe, if you love Grey’s Anatomy, I’m just that good of a writer, and now you want to see me transition away from LOST to not only write columns about that craptasterpiece, but episodes. Yeah right, like that outcome is ever going to occur.

When I say this episode was Grey’s Anatomy, I’m referring to the dual layers of the title. You could actually argue that there are three layers to it (which I will demonstrate), but I reject the third. The first layer is the square in Juliet’s flashback. She was the other woman because Goodwin was married. The second layer is in present island time, she was an other and is a woman, thus she is an other woman. The third and final layer is if you believe Jack and Kate are meant to be together, then Juliet is again the other layer. I will address the first two layers in this section and use the next section to discuss the final layer.

Initially, after the episode, I didn’t see the need to give Goodwin a wife. The Juliet and Goodwin thing was setup last season in Juliet’s second flashback, so I didn’t really have a problem with it. That flashback leading into this flashback shows some foresight on the part of the writers (as many parts of LOST do). However, it’s tough to say that the whole wife storyline was part of any forethought by the writers, or they just thought it would add to the episode. The point I’m making is, I could see them completing the script for this episode and then going back and adding Goodwin’s wife to the entire thing. She seemed superfluous, simply added in to create more drama. However, upon further thought, I think she was in the episode to add some negativity to Juliet’s character. With her, Ben would have been the villain of the episode. Instead, I have to temper my sympathy for her because she was having an affair with a married man. So, was the square Grey’s Anatomy-esque? Yes, especially in one particular therapy session scene. However, I can see why the writers did what they did and I did enjoy watching it more than Grey’s Anatomy. I mean, at least in LOST someone ended up dead and someone else ended up threatening someone else.

The second layer is, of course, the way this entire episode positioned Juliet in relevance to Jack. Early in the flashback, Juliet was made very Jack-esque. She was crying in a Dharma lab over her inability to fix the pregnant woman on the island. Then, just to drive the point home, Goodwin swooped in and told her the problem is not her fault, so even though she hasn’t fixed it yet, she hasn’t caused any harm in her trying, which is what Jack always feels, but not succeeding in fixing a problem he didn’t create, he’s causing harm. Juliet felt that same responsibility to fix the world. Interestingly, Goodwin became that character that told her she didn’t have to. That character is one Jack hasn’t met. Most people expect him to fix the world or they ignore him while he tries to. Likewise, in present island time, Juliet has been trying to make the “noble sacrifice” since she fell for Jack. What I mean, in order to protect him, she wouldn’t let herself admit how she felt. How Jack-ian is that action? Ironically, by finally telling Jack, she elicited a classic Jack response, daring the world to tell him he can’t stop things from happening the way they’re supposed to. Damn, Ben’s the bad guy and he’s the good guy and Ben can come find them if he wants to start something. Hey, these people may have gone off the deep end, but at least they’re finally taking a stand.


The question that sits with us after this episode is: Is Juliet a stop measure for Jack the way many people believe Sawyer to be for Kate? Is this storyline just a small part of the overarching great love story of Jack and Kate? The answer is no. Whereas episode like Eggtown lower my faith in the writers, episodes such as this one raise it again. While I will openly admit to having no reaction to the Jack and Juliet kiss (maybe I just don’t believe the guy can truly love or something), the parallel storylines between Jack/Juliet and Kate/Sawyer are undeniable to anyone with half a brain. Now Jack and Kate both have unfinished business on the island to return to. They will without-a-doubt leave the island without proper goodbyes and when they return and see their respective love interests their feelings will come rushing back. Also, it’s impossible to deny how Jack continually walks away from Kate. And these days he’s walking to Juliet. One day Kate will see that she has never been more than an obligation to Jack, a pretty obligation he probably fantasizes about, but an obligation none-the-less. Look at what happened when he found her hurt. He took care of the wound, gathered information, and took off after Juliet. Truth be told, I’m glad Jack finally found someone as crazy as he is. And those of you that love Jack and buy the parallel between him and Juliet need to go back and watch season two, especially if you hated Ana Lucia. They tried to make her a douchebag leader to parallel Jack’s douchebaggery. Believe it.

The script has seemingly finally been flipped on Ben. In the flashback, he seemed like a good guy. He explained the situation regarding the evil Charles Widmore to Locke. But, in the flashback, he was a totally manipulative asshole. Is he could or bad? What about when he was stitching up Sayid in the flashback, was he good or bad? I will say the following: I’m not so willing to believe the writers are going to make Ben a good guy at the end of all this. Sure, they’ll play with the tension the entire series, but the dude just does too many bad things. Remember, anyone who is locked in a closest and has no other options has to act nice to get freed. If you’re not in a power position and care about the hierarchy the way Ben does, you have to suck up to those people at the top, so don’t believe he’s nice all of a sudden. He’s just playing in Locke’s need for a father figure. Besides, how can someone who taped over the Red Sox’s first World Series championship in 86 years be good? That act was the final straw for me. If you have 3.2 million dollars, do you really have to save money by reusing such an important tape?

I’m kind of annoyed by the continuance of people on this island not to trust each other. If Daniel and Charlotte really were doing good, why did Charlotte have to hit Kate over the head? Couldn’t she have explained the situation to Kate? I guess you could make an argument that their SOP (standard operating procedure) is to not indulge in relationships with people on the island and Daniel was breaking that procedure when he convinced Juliet to let him make the gas inert (if that is what he indeed did). Although, he did need to convince her to complete his mission. Finally, ironically, since when did Kate start trusting people so much that she would allow Charlotte to hit her in the back of the head the way she did? It seemed a bit out of character for her, didn’t it?

Most importantly to us here in The Midside is that after nearly two full episodes our hero returned and his leadership angle was foreshadowed the entire episode. Is Sawyer going to lead a coup of Locke? It sure looks like it. He’s ready to kick ass and I love it. I would love nothing more than for Sawyer to kill Locke or Ben (or both) and take over, starting his own Galt’s Gultch on the island. If that storyline happened, I think I wouldn’t need to live my life anymore. I would have seen perfection on a television show. The only thing that could make the storyline better would be Kate returning to the island and entering Sawyer’s Village the way Dagny entered Galt’s Gulch. I can’t even begin to describe how the simply possibility, the simple thought, of this idea pleases me. Come on Sawyer, become the true leader this people so sorely need.


The most obvious development to the mythology this week seems to be the deepening of the involvement of Charles Widmore. By his kicking one of Ben’s people in the face, we’re supposed to believe he is some sort of nefarious customer. He wants to use the island for his own selfish purposes. Well, you know what? I don’t buy it and my reasoning is two fold.

First off, that storyline is too obvious. Oh, Ben really is the good guy and here’s Charles Widmore, a bad corporate asshole. Out of everything LOST is done, do you think the writers would stoop to such a cliché storyline? I guess you could argue they would. I’d have to know more about JJ Abrams past work to say, but I think I do remember hearing something about a triple twist with Sydney Bristow’s father. First he was good, then he was bad, then he was good again. I’m not sure though, so someone should confirm or deny that belief for me.

Second, part of Widmore’s storyline is his relationship to Desmond. Remember, he tried to get Desmond to leave Penny alone. Now, you could have a whole conspiracy theory here and say he needed Desmond to get on the island so his daughter would find it, but I won’t go there. What I will say is this: If Widmore is evil, it calls into question Penny and she is the one character I will not call into question on this show. If every romance on the show ended except Desmond and Penny, I wouldn’t care. They have to be together. Likewise, Widmore will eventually accept Desmond. He will see what a great man he has become and welcome him into his family with open arms. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the end, in all his jumping around, Desmond has to choose whether to believe Widmore or Ben and make a crucial decision off of it. No, I don’t buy Widmore being evil for a second.

The other interesting mythology based issue is the appearance of Goodwin’s wife in present island time. The whispers came, she appeared, she disappeared, and the whispers came again. I’m not 100% sure about that order or the exact details, but I don’t believe I saw her walk away. The question here is: Is she dead? If she’s dead, then it explains a lot, because we’ve seen other dead people appear in that manner. However, I have no reason to believe she’s dead, so I’ll say her appearance present some pretty interesting ideas about Richard’s group of people. If Goodwin’s wife is somewhere, it’s at the temple. Now I believe the temple isn’t a temple at all. When we find out what’s going on there, it’s going to be some pretty crazy shit.

This puzzle is slowly coming together. It’s exciting, isn’t it?


For this week’s conclusion, I have a bit of a Jerry Springer Final Thought to make. What’s your flashback? If you were on the island, what would the character flaw be that they kept bringing back in order to show you haven’t been “found” yet? The reason I ask is to point out that fixing that flaw is how to improve your life. Do I know what my flashbacks would be about? Yes and it’s juvenile and boring. It would make for awful television (or maybe Disney Channel fare). Regardless, I work to fix it every day and the truth is that I flashback less. What I mean by that metaphor is, the more I improve my life, the less I consider and care about what I have done and the more I start to think about what I will do. And what you will do eventually becomes what you do do.

Oh man, did I just write a cheesy Grey’s Anatomy final monologue? I can’t believe that I did, so if you think so, please, spare me the commentary and just do what that catchphrase says:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

Jayemel can be reached by email at

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Midside: S4E05 The Constant

This episode was that doucehbag Mystery from VH1’s the Pickup Artist’s dream. If you’ve ever wanted a random ridiculous pick up technique, listen to that guy and reference The Constant. Here’s the technique:

-Put on a giant furry hat.
-Use eyeliner.
-Buy ski googles and wear them when you’re not skiing, but never over your eyes.
-Variant pseudo-ancient wooden carved googles are a plus.
-Paint your finger nails.
-Wear a ruffled shirt a la a bad magician or old school French fencer.
-Never look your “target” directly in the eyes or be nice to her.
-Always use a random creepy “opener” like “Do you floss before or after you brush?”
-Make statements of values such as “I’m not a douchebag even though I look like one.”
-Be on the look out for IOIs, indicators of interest, such as hair touching. Be careful to make sure the girl’s hair isn’t just out of place when she touches it.
-“Neg” the girl or, in other words, compliment her by “playfully” belittling her.

Yes, follow this short list of suggestions (read: requirements or you’ll be an AFC, average frustrated chump, not American Football Conference). Not only that, but couple the Mystery Method ™ with the fifth episode of the season five of LOST and you’ll have the ultimate pick up technique. This episode feature concepts such as:

-Can I have your number so I can call you in eight years?
-If you give me your number, I’ll leave you alone, I promise.
-I need you to be my constant so when my consciousness jumps across time periods I won’t get Butterfly Effected.
-I just flew off a mysterious island and don’t know who these people around me are, but I love, oh shit, the battery on the phone on this freighter is about to die.

Seriously, you know Mystery was watching this episode and foaming at the mouth at the prospect of going up to a girl and asking her to be a constant. Then, when she asks what the constant was, he’d make a joke about the LOST episode and transition (or whatever stupid fancy word he gives to conversational segue ways) into the rest of his “crap-nique”. You know he was watching too because, unfortunately, he’s enough of a geek to be enthralled by the, um, mysteries of LOST. And he’s the guy who posts all his ridiculous theories on message boards, flames you when you post a critique or question, and then somehow you’re the one who gets banned. It’s like some sick twisted world where Desmond isn’t tied to any time period and Daniel has long hair and teaches at Oxford, er, wait a minute.

Conversely, we now have the ultimate LOST screening question for meeting strangers. Simply go up to someone you would like to talk to and ask them “Will you be my constant?” or “Can I have your number so I can call you in eight years?” and they’ll either get the joke and laugh or react ridiculously (such as staring at you like you’re blankly or saying something mean) proving they don’t watch LOST, which pretty much means they aren’t worth talking to anyway. I mean, come on, if you aren’t watch LOST, what are you watching? Hereos? Rock of Love? My Dad is Better than Your Dad? Grey’s Anatomy? Exactly.


Note to future writers and directors of science fiction/fantasy television programs and movies: if something is going wrong with your character’s brain, I understand, but do NOT make him bleed from the nose. All you’re going to do is make your audience think of The Butterfly Effect (at least anyone in my age group because Ashton Kutcher is like sooo hott) which, when the nose bleeding happened in that movie, just made everyone think the main character was doing cocaine, especially in the second movie.

Hold on, brief aside. Look, I love to make fun of Daredevil and Darkness starring Anna Paquin (especially the latter because you have to say starring Anna Paquin to give it any sort of relevance to anyone) by calling them the worst movies ever, but The Butterfly Effect 2 is literally the worst movie ever. If you can think of everything awful to put into a movie, then it’s in that movie. Unlikeable main character? How about a good looking 20 something with a good job with a promising future that changes the past because he didn’t get the promotion he wanted? He is possibly the whiniest character ever. A previously use device that is actually made worse? How about rather than reading a journal of blacked out memories the dude just looks at pictures to travel back in time? A random homosexual scene for no reason? Yup, the guy wakes up from gay sex FOR NO REASON. A short run time? The movie has to be about 90 minutes long. Useless minor characters? Yup…though now that I think of it, the actress who played his girlfriend is pretty hot and you do get to see side boob, so, I take it back, The Butterfly Effect 2 is not the worst movie ever. It is a steaming pile of shit though.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have The Butterfly Effect 3, which does a few things for me. First off, it explains where Desmond has been for the first four episodes of the season. Sometimes I hate how these writers manipulate me, and they did it again. They made me miss Desmond and then gave me, essentially, 44 pure minutes of “Brothery” goodness. At least we know why he’s been MIA.

Second, it makes me feel sorry for the Scot. Is there a character’s head that has been messed with more on LOST? Sure, Locke and Jack have both had to continually confront their daddy issues. Sure, Kate has had to continually run all over the freakin’ place (although, all everyone pretty much does on this show is run back and forth across the island. Oh, you just got back from finding the tail section survivors? It’s time to run to Other Village to find your son). Sure, Sayid has had to continually come to grasps with the fact that he’s such a badass he can torture information out of anyone. However, none of this suffering compares to the utter mindf*ck that Desmond has had to perpetually face. First, he gets kicked out of military and immediately threatened by his ex-girlfriend’s extremely rich father to never see her again. Then, he tries to join a boat race and ends up crashing on an island. Then, he ends up pushing a button every 108 minutes in a hatch with stuff from the 70s and 80s where a dude killed himself. Then, his button pushing partner dies. Then, people blow up the hatch, climb down, and one turns out to be the random douchebag doctor you saw running a stadium. So what do you do? You pull a Kate and run away like a coward.

Which, by the way, does anyone else think it royally sucks that in the middle of all this crap Desmond keeps getting called a coward by people in his past? He’s a coward? Do you jump between time periods? No, and if you did you’d just try to pull the totally amateur move of getting yesterday’s lottery numbers. First off, watch a time travel movie. That never works. Second off, this is LOST, you know what the numbers are, just play them.

However, you can’t run away. Your boat keeps coming back to the island. So, what do you do? You turn the Swan failsafe key and end the button pushing scourge. How are you rewarded? You jump back to the moment you hurt your girlfriend and, since you can’t change the future, you’re given the illusion of free will and as you try to exercise that “free will” you’re convinced that you have to “save the world” by not proposing AGAIN.

So you don’t and you wake up naked on an island with the apparent power to see the future. But you don’t see the complete power, you see one British dude getting killed over and over again. Normally that wouldn’t bother you because you’re Scottish and he’s English, but this guy was in Lord of the Rings and has fledgling relationship with a cute blonde Australian who has a child out of wedlock. You HAVE to save him. So you try, a few times, and figure out it’s impossible.

You come to terms with the problem and tell the guy he has to die. He finally mans up, thank God, and sacrifices himself for the good of everyone on the island (and the show in general). But, as he’s dying, he writes “NOT PENNY’S BOAT” on his hand, basically saying that the entire reason you sacrificed him backfired, so he should have just written “I DIED FOR NOTHING. THANKS!”

But finally, FINALLY, things seem to be looking up. You get on a helicopter and fly to a freighter on bearing 305. The only problem is, the island has some weird time barrier, and you forget everything, actually believing you’re 8 years in the past. Finally, you get to the freighter and figure out, on top of everything, it’s Christmas Eve which means you didn’t even get off in time to get any presents this year. Finally, through the use of information gained in both time periods. Hey, you’re getting good at this. You call Penny, making her your “constant” and what happens? What happens?

The battery on the phone dies!

Long story short, Desmond is now my third favorite character. He’s like the ultimate reluctant hero. He continually gets screwed over, but adapts to time traveling with ease. Plus, he’s got a cool accent, a cool catch phrase, and a hot girlfriend. What’s not to like? Which, by the way, I could care less (yes, I said could not couldn’t, look up “sarcasm”) about Kate and Sawyer or Kate and Jack or Kate and The Cheat anymore. As long as Desmond and Penny end up together (which they will because they are OUR constant), it’s all gravy (and turkey and mashed potatoes and stuffing).


Yes, I skipped a section this week and renamed the first section. The first section title wasn’t applicable and the second section title was unnecessary, unless you really wanted me to point out that one of the guys on the freighter was the guy who had a confrontation with Roxy in the Dead Like Me episode “Sunday Morning”. And I just pointed that fact out anyway, so consider this paragraph the second section of this week’s column.

For this section, I’m just going to look at a few things Daniel said:

-You can’t change the future.

This comment explains how the writers are going to get out of time travel paradoxes and the such. By jumping through time, Desmond isn’t doing anything, rather, he’s experiencing things. The difference being cause and effect. Actions are causes and have effects. They change things. Yes, Desmond can take actions in the past, but there are no true effects because it doesn’t change anything. This inability to change things essentially means he only has the illusion of free will in the past. He isn’t pre-destined to go back or anything, but when he goes back his actions are limited to repeating what he already did and small actions with no consequences. The way the universe or whomever insures this illusion of free will is using people like that old lady in Flashes Before Your Eyes to negate free will by convincing Desmond not to propose to Penny.

This inability to change the future explains that old lady’s “course correction” comment, especially in light of Desmond’s visions of Charlie dying. Desmond’s knowledge of the future made him try to change the future by saving Charlie from death. However, each time, the universe “course corrected” and Charlie died anyway. Eventually, Desmond had to realize he couldn’t change the future and had to let Charlie go.

Now, the obvious debate is that Desmond made so many small changes, thwarting death over and over, that Charlie’s death became “meaningful” and had an effect, it changed the future. I reject this assertion. From a storytelling standpoint, yes, Charlie’s death was more “meaningful”. However, any change he made, if he had a change at all, would simply be course corrected. Sorry Charlie fans.

In summary, in this instance, Locke is correct, it is fate. It is destiny. Now is there a plan behind that fate and destiny? That question is yet unanswered.

-Desmond’s consciousness was jumping between time periods.

This statement effectively explains his visions from last season. He wasn’t viewing the future, he was jumping forward and remembering pieces when he jumped backwards. This statements also has to make you wonder about all the flashbacks and flashforwards on the show. Repeatedly, as the mythology on this show has deepened, I have said that the flashbacks are more than an interesting storytelling technique. They are part of the mythology. There is a reason they have to be used. First, Eko say flashes of his past in the smoke monster. Then, Desmond’s first crazy time adventure was called Flashes Before Your Eyes. Now, we have this episode.

Stay with me here, but what if the conciousness of everyone who’s on the island jumps through time? What if the flashbacks aren’t stories we’re watching, but experiences the characters are having that they don’t realize they’re having? This idea works perfectly with the parallel nature of the island stories and flashback stories in the future. The characters had to re-experience their pasts in order to make the right choice this time on the island. Then you have to wonder if the entire island is the “course correction” mechanism and these characters are being shaped in order to help in the process.

Another interesting thought in this same vein is that every flashforward episode except Hurley’s has ended on a scene in the future rather than island (and in Hurley’s episode, he was not seen after the final scene of his flashforward). Have the Oceanic Six’s consciousnesses’ jumped into the future to stay and jump back for island flashbacks?

-Was Desmond exposed to radiation or electromagnetism?

The first thing Daniel asking this question makes me think is that George and Brandon were and Daniel thinks that’s why their brains got Butterfly Effected. The second thing this makes me think is that yes, Desmond was, and that is why he is aware of his jumps and why leaving the island screwed up his brain. The consciousness jumping obviously messes with your brain and so does the amount of electromagnetism that Desmond was exposed to. This difference between Desmond would explain why he’s aware of it and no one else is.

There are, of course, a billion questions about all this stuff, the least of which is not: Can Desmond go back to the island? Among others are: What does Ben know about all this stuff? It has to be something because of constantly leaving the island. When they strapped Juliet into the submarine, did they give her something to combat or aid the jumping? Someone I watch with made an interesting point about babies. They literally have no past. So, do they die on the island because their consciousness has nowhere to jump to? Did Aaron survive because he was old enough to have a past in the womb? Could also those people who say Future Aaron looks retarded actually be right? Did the island screw up his mind by messing with it in its developmental stages?

You have to love a Desmond episode. Since the season two finale, they’ve always been a completely awesome mindf*ck. He’s a great character and the time travel element is superb. The Constant is by far the best episode of the season so far. It was a nice turn around after Eggtown (which isn’t as bad on second viewing).


I must apologize this week for this column being a little late. I was distracted by the LOST video game “Via Domus”. It came out on Wednesday, but Blockbuster didn’t get it until Friday. My friend and I played for about five hours on Friday and two on Saturday before finally beating it. Here is my official review of the game:

-Unless you need to own every LOST thing EVER, rent it and don’t buy it.
-The best parts of the game are the graphics and the storyline. It’s cool walking around areas such as The Hatch (my favorite part of the game) and The Hydra. The storyline is enough to keep you interesting.
-All the characters aren’t voiced by their actors and are mainly stereotypes. It did give me a new perspective on Kate though. She is genuinely nice in the game and seems to have a crush on your character. Very interesting.
-There isn’t much to actually game play besides solving some math puzzle via fuse boxes and running away from the smoke monster.
-Though the game was written in episodic format, there were only seven episodes and it felt kind of stunted.
-If you’re not a fan of LOST, or even just a casual fan, you’ll hate the game.
-If you’re a diehard, which you probably are if you’re reading this column, you need to play this game for the ending alone. Let me just say this: It wasn’t a coincidence that it was released the same week as The Constant.

As always, I’ll see you next week, and if you disagree with anything I’ve written here, well then:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

Jayemel can be reached by email at