Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Midside: S5E06 316

Eye open. Wider shot to establish that a man is lying in the jungle. Wish you had written a column starting with the Pilot because then you could start this edition of The Midside the same way you started that edition and really confuse the audience. Because that’s how we measure success in the LOST-verse, by how confused the audience is, right?

What’s confusing me right now is the apparent promotion of Stephen Williams to head director. His first episode was the incredibly weird “Further Instructions” in Season 3. You remember, the one where Locke builds the sweat lodge and has that trippy vision about the airport. Obviously he can’t be held accountable for the content of the writing, but the directing is totally up to him. I always thought a lot of the shots in that episode were strange, most notably the whole rescue of Mr. Eko from the polar bear in the cave scene. I initially thought not showing the entire bear was a budget issue. Now I’m not so sure.

Williams seems to love these really tight close shots that have, up to this point, been atypical of LOST. Maybe I’m not remembering the pilot correctly, but the opening shot to this episode, which was supposed to parallel the opening shot of the series, felt a lot tighter and a lot brighter. If you don’t believe me you can check the Pilot screencaps here and the 316 screencaps here.

Of course, numerous other factors could play into me perceiving a difference. This time, Jack woke up in another place in the jungle, so the foliage was a bit difference. This time, the episode was shot in HD (though I haven’t yet viewed it in HD), so the image capture is different. This time, Matthew Fox is older, so maybe Jack just looks different.

Regardless, the sound effects in the background were interesting during this scene. There was heavy use of the opening credits and ending thud effects. I’m intimately familiar with the latter because it’s now my text message sound, and thus I can easily identify it. I’m not sure of all the symbolism here, but it did remind me of the end of the video game LOST: Via Domus, where the main character circled back in time to the original plane crash, but events were a bit different. Could this show end up Mighty Maxing? If you don’t know what I mean, go do some research on the 90s cartoon “Mighty Max.” It’ll be good for you.

And when you get done, come back and join me on my journey into The Midside.


You know what this show needs? Another frickin’ Dharma station, but this time it should be off the island! Oh, you mean there already is one and it’s called the Lamp Post? My bad. I guess I should have seen this coming. I mean, why else would Ms. Hawking hang out in a church? We wouldn’t want to endorse Christianity too much, would we? (Yes we would. That’s why we’ll make John Locke into Jesus.)

So, Ms Hawking plays the part of Faraday’s mother and tries to explain everything, but not really. Here’s what we did learn:

-The island is non-linear. Which, I suppose we should have known from the first episode on, as the storytelling of this show has never been linear.

-All you need to locate the island is a giant pendulum, giant chalk, and a giant floor map. Oh, and a giant amount of time to waste.

(Also, don’t think time travel is a pendulum. It’ll destroy your ethos.)

-They have to go back to the island. (Though I still ask according to who and for whose purpose?). The rules: "If you want to return, you need to recreate, as best you can, the circumstances that brought you there in the first place. That means as many of the same people as you are able to bring with you." Which, apparently, didn’t even include Walt, even though these rules were so sensitive that the shoes belonging to a dead guy were important. But no, not Walt. It must be because he’s black. Black children don’t count. Well, unless you’re into slavery anyway. Or trying to start a basketball team. Racist statement. Racist statement.

Also, the only seemingly purely good guy left on the show (Desmond, duh) gets in Jack’s face and tells him what’s up:

"These people here are just using us. They're playing some kind of game, and we are just the pieces. Whatever she tells you to do, ignore it."

This statement by Desmond harkens back to Locke’s quote from Season One, “Two players, one light, one dark.” Desmond doesn’t want to be part of the game, so he tells Jack to do the smart thing and peace (piece?) out. He even follows up with a “Fuck You” to Ms. Hawking:

"You say the island's not done with me. Well, I'm done with the island."

Good for you, Desmond. You know, I understand that this whole show is about the island and the producers want to keep the main characters together, but I’d really like to see some other characters be done with the island. Out of all these people, can Desmond really be the only one who is sick of all this ridiculous nonsense? Well, we at least known Jack isn’t. He ignored Desmond’s advice, ending up back on the island, leading us to…


When you get a Jack episode, you have to. I’m sorry. I know I had one of these sections a couple weeks ago, but can you blame me? He’s such an easy target. Besides, if you love Jack, why are you reading my blog? That’s like me walking into an Obama supporters meeting. This time though, I will be proving my Jack = Sad theorem.

Here’s our first Jack quote:

"My father is gone. My father has been dead for three years. You want me to...and to give it to Locke. He's in a coffin."

Yes, he’s gone. Let him go, ok? But no, we can’t. And the writers can’t either. So what do we do? We make Jack revisit his issues with his father by having him need to use Locke as his dead body proxy (what?). And since Jack can’t actually see his father to sort these issues out, what does he do? He goes to see his grandfather. Those father issues are real deep if you put them on the grandfather when your father is gone. I even thought the grandfather was going to the island to become the new Locke, considering the desire to leave and the cane. Was he just supposed to be symbolic of Shepard men, or was this scene another example of a Jack failure? Take your grandfather to the island, Jack! Although, I have to admit, this scene was awesome because of how Jack’s grandfather reacted to his unique brand of crazy. “Can I take these shoes that belong to my dad who’s been dead for three years and not explain why so you’re probably just assuming I’m still not over it?” “Sure.” His grandfather didn’t even blink. He was that used to Jack’s crazy.

All of this buffoonery culminated in some weird scene that the weird LOST fans with foot fetishes must have loved, as Jack put his Dad’s shoes on Locke. I’m not even sure how I feel about the fact that I just wrote that sentence. The scene makes me wonder though: were the white tennis shoes, that Jack explicitly mentioned in this episode, hanging in the tree in the Pilot symbolic of Jack’s character flaw? Or maybe they were symbolic of the entire series, considering the important role Christian seems to have.

Ms. Hawking: "...and start asking yourself whether you believe it's going to work. That's why it's called a leap of faith, Jack."

We once again return to the notion of Jack being a man of science or a man of faith. In fact, Locke said the leap of faith line to Jack way back in Season Two episode “Orientation.” We know that Locke was originally told the statement by Helen. Even though this issue was raised in the Season Two premiere, Jack still hasn’t gotten over it. Although, to be fair to him, that question seems to be the entire question of the series: Do you take what the island can do on faith or do you try to understand it by studying it scientifically?

And just in case you didn’t understand what was going on in this episode, the writers beat us over the head with Ben’s explanation of the story of Thomas the Apostle. Jack is Thomas the Apostle and Locke is Jesus. Get it? No? Did you even actually watch the episode?

Kate: "We're on the same plane, Jack. That doesn't make us together."

I have to say, I loved that line. Anytime Kate sticks it to Jack, I can’t help but be happy. Yes, she continually has her weak moments and crawls back to him, which I’m not ready to forgive her for, but she still sees the way he really is. I’ve always said that Kate is brilliant symbolism of the way a lot of women in our culture are today. She portrays this tough and rugged independence, which she does have a lot of the time, but deep down she is deeply afraid of being hurt, so she falls back on the cultural norms that make her acceptable. When she falls back on them, she ends up with Jack.

Take this episode, for example. She is an extremely weak and scary moment, so she breaks into Jack’s apartment and cries in his bed. She then uses him for comfort, thinking that somehow what he is supposed to be will make everything ok. But he doesn’t, because he never does. Then, the next day, they share an awkward moment (“Do you want coffee or orange juice? Because I got you both, just in case!”), and she delivers the killer line on the plane. It’s a Sick Cycle Carousel (credit: Lifehouse).

The most interesting thing about Kate is people’s reactions to her. A lot of people have very negative reactions to her. She’s often called a bitch, a slut, or any other number of derogatory terms for women. Personally, I do think she’s emotionally immature, and her actions regarding Jack and Sawyer are pretty messed up, but I can’t help but have a soft spot for her. Of course, my perspective on her may be an entire other concern, but this column is not the place for that discussion. Let’s just say this there’s a nice cross section of women on LOST (Sun, Juliet, Claire, Shannon, Ana-Lucia, Rose) and Kate is by far the best one. Although, Goth Claire was pretty hot.

Besides, how can you not love a woman that says awesome things like: "Why hold onto something that makes you feel sad?" Which is exactly what Jack always does. He holds onto things that make him sad. That’s why Kate goes to him when she’s feeling sad. Thus, my theorem is proven. Jack = Sad. Fact.

And just to drive the point home, here’s Jack Most Epic Fail of the Series (so far):

Ben:"Is it because you're afraid?"
Jack: "Afraid of what?"
Ben: "Afraid that he blames you. That it's your fault he killed himself."
Jack: "Was it my fault?"
Ben: "No Jack, it wasn't your fault."
(Jack starts to cry.)
Ben: "Let me give you some privacy."
(Ben gets out of his seat and walks away.)

This exchange is THE epic fail for three reasons: Jack actually considers that Locke’s suicide might be his fault (No one’s suicide is ever your fault. They’re taking their own life.), he starts to cry over it, and he makes the situation so awkward that Ben, who loves other people’s pain, moves. Epic Fail. Fact.


Desmond: "I came here to deliver a message. Daniel Faraday, your son, sent me here. He wanted me to tell you that he and all the people on the island need your help. He said that only you could help them. He didn't say Jack. He didn't say Sun. He didn't say Ben. He said you."
Ms. Hawking: "But I am helping, dear."
Desmond: "Consider the message delivered."

Really, that’s it? So Desmond’s entire subplot this season paid off with “But I am helping, dear”? Oh, wait, Ms. Hawking also told him the island isn’t done with him yet…which we already know by virtue of him still being on the show!

Jack: "This is ridiculous."
Ms. Hawking: "Oh, stop thinking how ridiculous it is..."

Ok? Wait…no. You telling me to stop thinking about how ridiculous this show isn’t going to stop me from doing so. Yes, I enjoy it, but part of the fun is harping on the ridiculousness. It’s like being a Detroit Lions fan. At some point you just had to give in and enjoy the fact that your team is that bad.

Ben: "We're all convinced sooner or later, Jack."

Either that, or Ben punches you in the face. True story.

Jack: "Are you Jill? Ben sent me."

Oh why oh why couldn't Jack have said "Are you Jill? I'm Jack. Let's go up a hill to fetch a pail of water"?!

Jack: "Where ever you are, John, you must be laughing your ass off that I'm actually doing this, because this, this is even crazier than you were."

No, actually, it's pretty par for the course at this point. See? LOST is ridiculous.

Ticket Agent: "Mr. Shepard, if you just bare with me. The reason for transporting Mr. Bentham to Guam?"

Oh why oh why couldn’t Jack have replied: “He committed suicide so he could act as the proxy for my dead Dad so me and the rest of the Oceanic Six could crash onto an almost-unlocateable island for the second time.”



But, alas, Jack sucks and was more concerned with checking out Kate and her trendy sunglasses.

Sun: "If there is even a chance that Jin is alive, I have to be on that plane."

Forget the fact that I have a young child to take care of. I want to crash back on an island that moves through time.

Jack: "It's pretty crazy, huh?"
Kate: "Which part?"
Jack: "Hurley, Sayid, being on the same plane. How did they end up here?"

Yes, how did they? Thanks for rubbing that one in our face, Lindelof, or beating us over the head with it. We got it. We’re not supposed to know yet.

Frank: "Wait a second, we're not going to Guam, are we?"

No, but wouldn't it be awesome if they actually did? Season Six takes place in Guam. What a twist!

Jack: "How can you read?"
Ben: "My mother taught me."

Obviously she didn't teach you to read anything good. Also, she didn't teach you. She died giving birth to you. Do you really even have to lie about the little things?

Kate: "The plane, where's the plane?"

Don't you mean "De plane, where's de plane,” Kate?


Three questions we have:
-Is Ben’s loose end Penny, and what does that have to do with him being bloodied? (Probably)

-What happened to Aaron, and was it before or after Kate decided to go back to the island? (I don’t know.)

-Who busted Hurley out of prison and told him to get on the plane? (Widmore.)

-Why was Sayid arrested, and why did his captor subsequently take him on a plane to Guam? (His captor is a bounty hunter, not a cop.)

(Ok, so there were really eight questions.)

-In the airport, Hurley was reading the Spanish version of Brian K. Vaughn’s graphic novel “Y the Last Man.”

-Frank is back! I like Frank a lot. Well, except for the fact that he is a Yankee’s fan.

-The woman playing Sayid’s captor previously played Eva Marquez on the short lived Fox science fiction show New Amesterdam about an immortal living in New York City. How sad is it that I remembered the character name without having to look it up?

-316 was the flight number of the Ajira Airwaysplane, but it’s also a reference to the biblical verse John 3:16. Go look it up.


I have a whole section planned here, but need some graphic help to pull it off. Let’s just say it has to do with Locke’s letter to Jack and his middle name being Michael. Hopefully I’ll get it up soon. And if you don’t believe that, well then:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Midside: S5E05 This Place is Death

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Dorks, I tell you. We’re all dorks.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Shut up, you’re wrong.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Midside: S5E04 The Little Prince

It’s time to face facts. It meaning now, of course. What fact must you face right now? The truth behind following if-then statement:

If you watch LOST, then you’re a dork.

I substantiate the claim on the following two premises:

1. This show is all about time travel. That subject means the writers sit around and talk about time travel all day. That subject means the fans sit around and talk about time travel all day. You know who talks about time travel all day? Dorks. Most time travel stories are incredibly convoluted. Thus, their creators and followers spend way too much time debating the details than focusing on what’s important: the characters and the value of the story. We have reached that level in LOSTology. (And yes, Stephen Hawking talks about time travel all day, but he’s a dork too. You aren’t precluded from being a dork because you’re confined to a wheelchair. That condition probably makes you more likely to be a dork.)

In contrast, let’s refer to the only great mainstream American time travel epic: Back to the Future. You know how they dealt with the details? They didn’t. They wrote them away. “Hey, Zemekis, what do we do about pre-destination paradoxes?” “Ahh, just say you can’t ever meet yourself. Done!” Of course, hardcore nerds (or dorks, whatever) would still argue pre-destination paradoxes can occur because you can affect events and people connected to yourself and thus indirectly affect yourself, but no one really argues the rules of Back to the Future. You know why? It’s pointless. The movies clearly established that should not be taken seriously. No one is that dorky. Then again, time travel really shouldn’t ever be taken seriously, so maybe people are that dorky.

Um, I take that back. Anyway…

2. Nerdcore rap artist Beefy referenced Brian K. Vaughn in a song on his latest album “Rolling Doubles.” What is nerdcore rap? It’s a subgenre in which the artists rap about the nerd/dork lifestyle rather than the gangster lifestyle. Beefy’s album contains songs about pinball, being good at board games, and what it’s like when your internet connection is down. The song that mentions Vaughn is called Dork Date. Beefy asks the fictional object of his affection out by naming dorky activities they could participate in: “Grabbed ya by the hand and asked ‘Ya wanna go to comiccon?’/We can meet Brian K. Vaughan and get our cosplay on.” I didn’t know what cosplay was until I copied and pasted that lyric. I’m sorry I looked at Wikipedia: “cosplay, short for ‘costume play,’ is a type of performance art whose participants outfit themselves, with often-elaborate costumes and accessories, as a specific character.”

Why is Vaughn mentioned in this song? He is the creator of the awesome graphic novel “Y The Last Man,” the tale of Yorrick Brown and his pet monkey Ampersand, the last two remaining males of any species left on Earth. The books were immensely successful and garnered a huge dork following which surely includes, at the very least, Damon Lindelof. Now, Vaughn writes for LOST, probably thanks to that fandom. He co-authored this episode and his comic book style was apparent through out. Yes, LOST is so dorky that they went out and hired a dork writer to handle the dork material.

I have to admit though. I’m kind of disappointed they didn’t reach out to me. Nah, they probably enjoy the Midside too much to aid in its ending. How about we appease them them and journey onward?


Whereas last week’s episode teased us on the idea that Charles Widmore might actually be a good guy, this week’s episode reminded us that Ben might actually be the (or a) bad guy. Several of the main characters were shown distrusting or working against him. Then again, now that I think about it, Jack was the only character that seemed to be on Ben’s side. Regardless, a couple different quotes highlight Vaughn attempting to make us view Ben in a negative light.

Jack: “Ben is on our side.”
Sayid: “The only side he is on is his own.”

Outside of the context of the show, I would have a problem with Sayid’s statement implying that Ben is a bad dude. Every person is necessarily on his own side. However, within the context of the show the quote is supposed to remind us of Ben constantly mistreating everyone, including those people he supposedly loves, such as Juliet. Pretty much the only two people we haven’t seen him mistreat are Annie (and who knows if she’ll ever return) and Richard Alpert, and the only reason he may not mistreat Alpert is the fact that Alpert does everything Ben commands (that we know of).

Even if you are on your own side at all times (like you necessarily are), there is always an opportunity to ally with people who have similar goals. Thus, you temporarily (for any designated period of time) appear to be on each other’s side. What makes Ben such a bad dude is that he doesn’t grant those alliances respect or even the appearance of loyalty. Sometimes it seems he has no end goal or values that he lives by besides “the island.” Living by such a standard can be extremely dangerous, as a famous leader in the past lived for only one reason and region: Hitler lived for Germany. (Oh my God, run for the hills, I mentioned Hitler. Nothing is like the Nazis! Everything I’ve ever said is invalidated!)

Kate: “And it’s just a coincidence that her lawyer happens to be the same lawyer that’s trying to take my son?”

Besides being self aware of the show and pointing out how ridiculous of a coincidence it is that Claire’s mom happens to be in LA at this exact moment, this quote opens up a plethora of possibilities as to Ben’s role in the story. We learn in the next scene (or when the quote was said or when the lawyer first showed up in “Because You Left” if you’re as smart as my friend Dan) that Mr. Dan Norton is Ben lawyer. They discuss documents while Ben and Sayid sit in a truck whose name is an anagram for reincarnation (credit: Susan). We then learn in the next to last scene of the episode (or when the quote was said or when the lawyer first showed up in “Because You Left” if you’re as smart as my friend Dan) that Ben is indeed the person requesting the DNA tests from Kate. Clearly, he never expected her to agree to the test (as he could never win a custody battle), so the tactic was intended to make Kate run back to the island. This explanation satisfies my problem with what initially seemed like a contrived way to get Kate back to the island in “Because You Left” when the lawyers first knocked on her door. It also makes me reconsider Ben’s relationship with Sayid.

It is entirely possible that Ben has been playing Sayid since (or before) Nadia’s death to keep him in line when they inevitably had to go back to the island. Ben knows Sayid doesn’t trust him. What better way to make someone align with you than to create a bigger evil than yourself? This creation would mean all the assassinations Sayid was sent to complete had no purpose (or a different purpose than he was told), the people being sent after him and Hurley were sent by Ben, and the girl Sayid killed in The Economist was also working for Ben. If all those people don’t work for Ben, who do they work for? The implication is they are employees of Widmore, but what reason could he possibly have for sending assassins after Sayid, Hurley, and, now, Kate. Would someone have eventually been sent after Sun as well? Or was the paper in the guy’s wallet with Kate’s address on it intended to manipulate Jack into using it to manipulate Kate? If so, it worked. If not, I wonder who the “big bad” is, especially if it isn’t Widmore.

Part of the reason I’ve concocted this theory about Ben and Sayid is the implications about Sun if Ben is good. Then, Sun would be evil. Granted, she has always been kind of a bitch, always lying to Jin and cheating on him with the Golden Child. However, especially now, her bitchiness gradually became a badassness. Is she supposed to be bad? I can’t buy it. Of course, next week, or two weeks from now, Ben will probably talk her down by saying Jin is still alive. Then she’ll be good that had been tempted by bad.

Maybe the girl in The Economist was working for Widmore. Maybe it is that stupidly obvious and Ben is one of the “good guys, Michael.” But man, I hope not. And speaking of things that suck.


After going a week without Jack, we were welcomed back to his wonder. Man, that sentence had a lot of ws in it. Logically, with more Jack, I was reminded as to why I dislike him so much. There were five specific instances:

“I can fix this, Kate. I can fix it.”

At least we know that Vaughn understands the characters. But seriously, now that Jack is no longer addicted to pills and alcohol (or at least is avoiding them for the moment), he has returned to his addiction to fixing things. This turn of events means we have to listen to and watch him try to control every situation from this point on in the series. Gee, that should be fun. Is there ever a situation he thinks he can’t fix? “Paging Dr. House…Dr. Shepard, why are you here? NO, you’re NOT better than House. Even Wilson admits that and he’s as much of a wuss as you are.” Fact.

(Side note: Can the island heal physical addictions the way it does injuries? What about depression? Is no one ever depressed because their serotonin levels are always controlled? What constitutes a hurt body? Is the island technically a drug because of all the healing it does? Can you become addicted to the island? Are Locke, Ben, and Jack addicted to the island?)

It starts raining and Jack knocks on Claire’s Mom’s motel room door.

While there is no way for Jack to realize this parallel, Christian did the exact same thing in Australia. Now, the lack of awareness on Jack’s part lowers my annoyance with him, but the fact still remains: every episode Jack becomes more and more like his father, who he has badmouthed so many times and essentially blamed for all his shortcomings. I know. It’s good writing. We all become like our parents. But isn’t that state of reality exactly the point? We’re all affected by and similar to our parents. However, we don’t all blame them for all our shortcomings and problems. Fact.

Claire’s Mom: “You look drenched.”
Jack: “No, no, no, I’m fine.”

Really, Jack, you’re fine? You mean, you weren’t just standing in the pouring rain on a fool’s errand? Look, I get that he didn’t want to complain or impose, but it makes him seem like much more of a douchebag to burst into this lady’s apartment just to talk to her about completely irrelevant shit. It’s not like he was out for a walk on a sunny day or anything. He had to consciously decide to run through the rain and then act like it’s no big deal. Fact.

Kate: “Why is Sayid here?”
Jack: “That’s not important right now. All that matters is we get you and Aaron to some place safe.”
Kate: “Safe from who?”

Here we see a classic Jack “I’m not going to answer you because I know what’s best” answer. I understand that Jack couldn’t tell Kate they were going with Ben because she wouldn’t want to go with him, but isn’t that exactly the problem? Shouldn’t he have enough respect for her to tell her everything and let her decide for herself what she wants to do? No, because he doesn’t have respect for anyone. Why not? Because you can’t respect anyone if you don’t respect yourself. Fact.

(Kate sees Ben.)
Jack: “It’s ok. He’s with me.”

He’s with you? That makes it all ok? The man with possibly the second worst ethos on the show (behind Ben) thinks he can vouch for someone? That’s like A-Rod vouching for someone about steroids. Yes, I filled my Jack-Hate quota and A-Rod mention quota in the same paragraph. I win. Fact.


Over the past season and the beginning of this season, I have had some interesting discussions with my friends on the role of Sawyer in this show. I’m sure some of it has bled into my column. However, I will repeat it for the sake of this section.

It seems to me that the writers only originally wrote half the series for Sawyer. “Wouldn’t it be cool if there were a guy who became a con man because of a con man and that con man was Locke’s Dad?” “Yes and eventually he can kill Locke’s Dad.” “Yes, let’s do it.” The problem with such an idea is the character is forgotten from the point he murders Locke’s Dad on because he has nothing to do. And that series of events exactly has happened to Sawyer.

Ever since the end of Season 3, Sawyer has moped around the island, lamenting his life. Well, he’s done that this season. Last season, he had no arc. He was simply there. Oh, and he argued with Kate a few times. This episode, in what I believe was 100% intentional by the writers, we were finally re-introduced to his character. Though I’m thankful for the turn of events, the problem is that he’s become a shell of himself: Emo Sawyer.

Emo Sawyer slips on his words to say things like “I did it for her, I mean them.” Emo Sawyer gives weak nicknames like “Johnny boy” and “crazy town.” Emo Sawyer opens up to Juliet, an ex-Other that he pretty much hated in Season 3 and barely saw in Season 4. Emo Sawyer says things such as “It doesn’t matter what I want,” “It don’t matter. It’s gone now,” “What’s done is done,” and “Time travel’s a bitch.” Ok, so that last one is true, but you get my point. Emo Sawyer isn’t Sawyer. He’s a watered down version who has forgotten rhetoric and reason (and without rhetoric and reason, what is life?)

Don’t get my wrong. Emo is ok. We’re all Emo once in awhile. Everyone has down moments. The trick is pulling out of them and realizing their relevance because Emo becomes as annoying as Jack when it’s prolonged. No, scratch that, prolonged Emo IS Jack. The problem is what the writers have done with Sawyer’s solution to Emo. They’ve made it Kate.

As independent and awesome Sawyer has always been, you could easily argue his greatest failure is that he was a second hander. He lived his life based on Mr. Sawyer, not on himself. This argument is supported by the fact that the writers had him read “The Fountainhead,” the novel where Ayn Rand put forward the philosophical concept of a “second hander.” Everything he did in life was motivated by Mr. Sawyer and what he did to his parents. Now that Sawyer has killed him, we should have seen him face life with only himself to deal with. However, the writers have replaced Mr. Sawyer with Kate.

Why was it intentional that this episode was about Sawyer missing Kate? Because this episode is also where Jack and Kate reconnected, especially with the line, “I’ve always been with you.” Yes, Kate meant as an ally, but you better believe we were supposed to consider the double meaning and that “Jaters” are touting it all over the internets (and probably real life). Back in Seasons 1, 2, and 3, I was all for Sawyer and Kate. However, if their pairing must occur at the expense of Sawyer’s character, than I am against it, just as I am against sacrificing my life and values for any girl (sorry, Mystery Girl X). Do I think Kate is Sawyer’s constant so he won’t ever get a nose bleed or be in danger from the time travel? Yeah, but that doesn’t make me ok with it. What happened to the Sawyer is a leader storyline from Season 3? Bring that arc back.

And to answer your question: Yes, boys and girls, if Sawyer is going to be Emo until he gets Kate back, and prolonged Emo is Jack, Sawyer will either end up with Kate or become Jack. Why do I like this show again?


In other nose: Charlotte, Miles, and Juliet got nosebleeds. So, Miles is probably PF Chang’s son and everyone is going to die a horrible bloody death unless they find a constant.

I still have no idea who “The Little Prince” is. Does the title refer to Aaron? He would be my best guess considering that the episode seemed to focus on Kate, and her story was about him possibly being taken from her. What are the implications of him ruling the island and the actual story “The Little Prince”? I don’t know, go ask someone who cares.

Oh yeah, and:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Midside: S5E03 Jughead

Welcome back once again to another edition of The Midside LOST style. I feel like I just finished my two columns from last night and here I am again composing a new collection of my insight. The season is almost three weeks old, and I already feel like I’ve been at this for months. If time is like a record that skips, then call me DJ Wells, because I’m scratching this shit like it has poison ivy.

I’m not even really sure what that means, I just thought it sounded cool; which is really how I think about most of the stuff I write, really.

This episode featured the complete and utter destruction of our perceptions of certain characters, and I would like to point out that I anticipated this destruction a few seasons ago. What was it? Well, let’s jump into that question right now.


Up to this point, the writers had played on the societal belief that corporations and their CEOs suck to provide us with a less than positive perception of Penny’s father. Wow, that sentence had a lot of Ps in it. Anyway, this time, Widmore finally received the Ben treatment. We were reminded of the “bad” things he’s done, but also shown a different side of him through “good” things he’s done.

What the writers are great at is providing us concrete evidence that support both sides of a question. Let’s run through what we have with Widmore.

1. He sent a boat to the island to “kill everyone.”

Did he send a boat to the island? Yes, most definitely. My problem is with the second half of this statement, which Penny made in this episode. Martin Keamy most certainly wanted to kill everyone and seemed to indicate it was a protocol. However, other members of the boat crew (most notably our three new main characters, Frank, and the captain) seemed to not want to implement the protocol. It wasn’t until Keamy killed the captain that he could implement the protocol.

As for Widmore’s intentions himself, it’s hard to tell. He rarely ever gives a straight answer (does anyone on the show?). Whereas other characters will defend themselves or rationalize, Widmore obviously does not feel the need to explain himself. He has only come close two times. First, when Ben came into his room he said the island was his. Second, he told Desmond that the situation was old and didn’t concern him. Did Widmore intend to kill Alex? It’s impossible to know whether that was Keamy working of his own accord because Widmore never claimed the act when Ben accused him.

2. He kicked one of Ben’s guys in the face.

In “The Other Woman” Ben showed Locke a videotape of Widmore kicking one of the Others. Widmore then looked up and the tape stopped. From Ben’s perspective, this action was bad. He was attacking one of Ben’s people. However, we, as more omniscient (not completely) and objective observers have no idea about the true morality of this action. Why was the Other not on the island? How did he get captured by Widmore? It’s entirely possible that Widmore had a legitimate reason to be angry. Maybe the Other was committing sabotage or espionage. It would be extremely short sighted of us to judge Widmore for this action

3. He told Desmond he wasn’t good enough for Penny.

It’s hard not to condemn Widmore for this action. He completely insulted and denigrated Desmond in what seemed like an elitist moment. However, two things give me pause about this moment. First, this series of events eventually led to Desmond becoming the time traveler he is today. Second, we haven’t seen Widmore act that elitist since. Even in his scene with Sun in “Because You Left” he wasn’t that elitist. Sure, he was straightforward, aggressive, and cold, but he wasn’t that much of a snob. Also consider his scene with Desmond in this episode. He treated Desmond much more like an equal this time. Was there a reason he was a jerk the first time? Well, yeah, there’s always a reason. Was there a good (and/or moral) reason he was a jerk before? That distinct possibility exists.

4. He was keeping that girl alive through financial support.

Just as Christian Shepard was supporting Claire’s mother, Widmore is supporting Faraday’s early mistake. Interestingly, a parallel could be drawn between those two cases that we’ll get into later. Regardless, paying the medical expenses of a person on her death bed does not seem like the actions of a bad person. The logical response is that he is only doing it to tie up a loose end as he was funding the research that harmed the girl. This response causes two problems. First, Faraday has never been shown in a negative light and now we see he is connected to a “bad guy.” Is Faraday bad now or is Widmore good? Second, is it a bad thing to take care of every contingency in a plan of action you undertake? If you want to best complete the plan, doesn’t that mean you’ll pay close attention to all the details and outcomes? The idea of only doing something to tie up loose ends makes more of a negative statement on humanity than Widmore.

5. He was on the island before Ben.

Before Ben was born, even. This turn of events is a major blow to Ben supporters. One of his main claims to the moral high ground was that he was on the island before Widmore, if Widmore had been on the island at all and hadn’t just discovered it and was trying to conquer it. Instead, we now know why Widmore called the island his and that he may have more of a claim to it then Ben. However, the true answer to the good vs. bad dilemma in relevance to this issue exists in a much deeper mystery: Who is Jacob?

The illustrious Jacob, though perhaps fictional, seems to be the true owner of the island. Although, that statement could be a lie as well. If Jacob is real, when did he come to the island? If he is real, is he alive or a ghost? If he is real, is he a time traveler? If he is real, what is his relationship with Richard Alpert? Richard Alpert has supposedly been around forever (according to Juliet). If so, how is the island not his? He also said that the selection of their leaders starts very young, but at the time he seemed to be the leader. While this line almost surely explains why they kidnapped Walt, it doesn’t explain why he went from the leader to the second-in-command. Maybe at the time we saw him in this episode, the leader was gone. Or maybe…

…I still maintain that “The Man Behind The Curtain” was a huge clue as to the true power structure of the island. Richard Alpert is Jacob as the man behind the curtain was the Wizard of Oz. Alpert created Jacob to be in control but not act like he’s in control. Go back and watch how he deftly controls Ben while letting Ben think Ben’s in control. Likewise, whenever there is a major moment shown in the island’s past, who is there? Richard Alpert. Finally, also in “The Man Behind the Curtain,” go back and watch how Alpert slickly uses the tape recorder containing Ben’s message to Juliet to manipulate the situation.

Wait, how did we get to Richard Alpert? I thought we were talking about Charles Widmore. We were, and that’s how crazy LOST is. Widmore brings us to Alpert. Of course, I think everything brings us back to Alpert. Maybe it’s how much he looked like Jeff Probst in this past episode. I am way too obsessed with Survivor. Which reminds me…


I don’t know if anyone else picked this up while watching, but I almost immediately noticed that the only two characters from Season One that were in this episode were Sawyer and Locke, and both of them were barely around. Locke was a bit more of a presence due to his conversation with Alpert. Sawyer, on the other hand, was nothing more than the kind-of-angry guy and the World’s Worst Time Traveler. I’d love to see him be Doctor Who’s companion for just one episode. It’d be hilarious. But, in all seriousness, Elizabeth Sarnoff cannot write Sawyer. She turns him into a stereotype of what she thinks he is and writes him unwitty “witty” lines. I’m mildly offended everytime she does so. “Stay here in crazytown”? What kind of a line is that? Hey Sarnoff, go write for Grey’s Anatomy where McDreamy, McSteamy, and McDouchey can get away with saying bullshit because the audience is so shallow that no one cares.

This episode featured relationships and characters introduced from Season Two on. The fact that we were able to buy it speaks well of the writers. Think about it. This show is barely even the same show we started watching in 2005. There’s an island. There’s a mystery. And that’s about it. Now, it’s a science fiction time travel (possible) masterpiece focusing on the relationship between five British characters.

Thus, t’s important to mention Ellie and Eloise. Ellie was the annoying British girl in the past that I wanted to die. Eloise is Faraday’s mother who is in Los Angeles, according to Widmore. Are Ellie and Eloise the same person? Signs point to yes. Now, is Eloise also Ms. Hawking? Signs also point to yes. This turn of events makes Faraday’s financial relationship with Widmore even more interesting, as well as his interest in time travel. Is Faraday Widmore and Ms. Hawking’s son? Is he interested in time travel because it’s part of his family history? Or did Widmore simply fund Faraday because he is his son and has no idea what Faraday was actually studying? I would lean towards the former before I would the latter.

Another interesting discussion is the now inconspicuous absence of Penny’s mother. Is Ms. Hawking her mother and thus Penny and Faraday are siblings? The possibility is now on the table.

Of course, Hawking and Widmore could just be brother and sister and this whole discussion could be moot. I’m just not sure I would be satisfied with the lack of explanation of who Penny’s mother is then.

Despite all this mumbo jumbo, we still haven’t discussed Desmond. And you know what? I still don’t really feel the need to. He more drove the plot to all these revelations, almost standing in for the audience, than had any epic moments himself. The only other interesting element of his story introduced is Charlie. Now we have three different babies with three different relationships to the island that will probably end up on it. Charlie wasn’t born or conceived on the island. Ji Yeon was conceived on the island, but born off of it. Aaron was conceived off the island, but born on it. This observation must be important. Why? Not because I made it (because I didn’t), but because two is a coincidence and three is a pattern.


So there we have it, another episode, another week, another column. And it doesn’t stop. Next we have “The Little Prince.” Could this episode be about Aaron? Maybe, but I’m not going to bother speculating. Cue the ending…

If you disagree with any of this, well then…you might possibly be right, but probably not, so I’m going to say it anyway:

Shut up, you’re wrong.