Sunday, July 24, 2011

LOST Redux: 3E12 Par Avion

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

I don’t know French, so excuse me if I’m talking down to any of you, especially any possible foreign fans. Apparently, the title of this episode translates to “by airplane” and is a phrase that is most commonly used on postage stickers. Therefore, its cultural context is most likely one of “air mail.” It makes sense why this phrase was used as the title of this episode with the whole bird mail scheme. I do, however, think it is a little strange to use a French phrase for an episode about the Australian on the island. I guess the phrase is in such wide cultural use that it doesn’t make much of a difference.

Initially, I feel it’s important to discuss why this escape plan will fail. The main reason I feel the need to discuss it is that the writers of the episode utilized time within the other storyline to explain why it would fail. The Russian was talking about how he got to the island and described a beacon that no longer worked because of the Electromagnetic Pulse. Why question is, if Dharma can no longer get to the island (assuming Prince Ben and The Good Guys are Dharma), then how are any scientists that read Claire’s note going to get to the island? The answer is that they’re not going to. At best, Claire informed the world of the survival of some of the 815ers. Beyond that outcome, her plan didn’t do much.

Let’s move on and discuss her flashback though, hmm?


This flashback had its weak points and its strong points. Typing that sentence seems kind of absurd. Everything has its weak points and strong points. What I mean by that statement then is that this flashback contained two extremes of quality with few average qualities in between.

The strengths of this flashback were twofold. First off, it was mythology heavy, but in a simple way. A theory I’m pretty sure we all had was confirmed last night. Claire is Jack’s half sister. Since I pretty much knew that (I considered their relation a “theory that was all but confirmed), the revelation wasn’t any spectacular. There wasn’t anything that could have been done to make the revelation spectacular. However, I would still argue that it was done extremely well.

At the beginning of the flashback, you got the sense that something important was going to be revealed. The scene opened with the aftermath of the accident. Instantly, I wondered why show the aftermath of an event and not the event itself. The answer is the same reason the crash of 815 has only been shown in flashbacks. The show is about the aftermath of the crash and not the crash itself. Likewise, this episode was about the aftermath of the car accident and not the car accident itself.

Still, as the story dove into the aftermath, I wondered where it was going. In the second scene, Claire’s perfect health was established. Sure, she had a broken arm, but considering the carnage of the accident, I would say her injuries were pretty fortunate. She was experiencing a little bit of the Hurley Numbers Curse. Then, the utter hopelessness of her mother’s condition was established. The only way Claire’s mother would ever live is if she was hooked up to machines. Here was the point at which I was sure something was going to be revealed. I don’t know about you, but an entire flashback about a character pining over the decision whether to take her mother off of the heart and lung machine isn’t very gripping drama to me. I understand that, realistically, the decision is very tough and agonizing. However, I am the type of person that says make a decision, follow through with it, and deal with the consequences. An entire flashback of Claire not dealing with any consequences would have been agonizing to me for all the wrong reasons. It was too dreadful of a scenario for the writers to follow through with. It was also nowhere near unique enough to be a part of the greater LOST story. LOST has always taken common stories and twisted them slightly to make them their own.

Then, the writers put their twist on it and built just the right amount of tension. Claire’s mother would not be taken off the machine. As Christian later told us, it is illegal in Australia to take someone off the machines. Claire and her Aunt then questioned who would pay for the hospital usage. As fate would have it, a benefactor decided to pay the bills. At this point, we were all thinking the same thing. Our theory about Claire being Jack’s sister was all but confirmed. However, that little but still added tension. Ever since last season, the possibility existed that the writers would twist us. The same could be said for this episode. In order for the plot to progress, the benefactor had to show up. However, until that moment the possibility existed that it wasn’t Christian.

Finally, the writers teased us for a few more seconds. An American doctor had come to take care of Claire’s mother. At this point, if the doctor wasn’t Christian, it would have been a pretty stupid twist. Still, the possibility existed. Claire walked into the room and the theory was confirmed. Just the right amount of suspense made the moment stronger than it had the right to be. I went off on how this show is crazy. Really though, was information we all knew was coming crazy? No, but it was written in a way that made the moment powerful. It’s like when you imagine something happening your whole life and then when you do it’s so surreal. The buildup affects the outcome more than we care to admit.

The other strength of the flashback kicked in. Here is where my love for LOST grows. Most shows would have let the revelation be the entirety of the episode. When I say other shows, an example I put forward is Heroes. The writers didn’t stop there though. They tried to honestly portray Christian and the way he would approach his relationship with his estranged daughter…and it worked very well. Christian is a character that my sympathy for continually grows. At one point, I thought he was the devil. He seemed to plague Jack and want to tempt Sawyer. However, now we see, especially in this flashback, how he means well. He is a man that struggles so much with the fallibility of being human. Every mistake plagues him. Obviously, we can see how Jack possesses that trait as well. In this scene with Claire, Christian was beating himself up over abandoning his daughter years ago. He honestly wanted to do everything he could to help her because he felt he owed it to her. It was why he offered to become the Australian Jack Kevorkian.

Hold on a second, I need to go on a little rant here. Christian told Claire that it’s illegal to take people off of machines in Australia. Keeping someone on a machine requires money. Obviously, in this fictional case, Christian paid the fees. What if there is no Christian though? People like Claire and her aunt would be forced to scrape money together and pay the fees. So, a government law forcing people to not only spend money, but possibly suffer emotionally. I know it’s tough for some of you to consider a human life through monetary terms, but also consider the emotional investment in keeping someone alive through machines. Then, what if Claire and her Aunt can’t pay? Who pays then, the government? Well, government money is taxed from the citizens, so the citizens of Australia would be paying to keep Claire’s mother hopelessly alive. Long story short, I obviously disagree with this law. Good thing I’m not Australian.

The weakest part of this flashback was the lack of connection to the island event. What makes LOST amazing to me is the exciting storytelling that is masterfully woven together. My favorite episodes are where a lesson learned in the flashback affects the character’s actions on the island. The only influence on Claire’s escape plan seemed to be that watching nature shows gave her the knowledge of the birds being tagged. I guess you could argue that visiting her mother every day taught her how to keep hope alive and knowing how to keep hope alive allowed her to come up with an escape plan and to write such a sappy note.

On a final note, punk Claire was kind of hot. It’s interesting to see the actress play Claire before the pregnancy. Sometimes, on LOST, I forget how young she really is and looks, but she was able to pull off looking about 17 or 18 years old, as the majority of the episode takes place pre-pregnancy.


It’s good to see Sayid getting back in the mix. It took his flashback episode, but he’s finally returning to his old self. He called Locke on about three lies and got frustrated with Locke over killing off the Russian. While I’m mentioning Locke, it’s really interesting to see him vary between two different extremes in two weeks. Last week, he seemed like bumbling naïve Locke, especially when he entered 77. This week, his actions made me completely reevaluate those actions. When Sayid discovered the C4, it showed that Locke knew there was a good chance the Flame would explode. He even tried to hide his knowledge of the outcome by lying to Sayid. However, having the C4 reminds us that Locke doesn’t want to leave the island. He blew up the Flame to remove any possible method of escape. Now I wonder what he has planned for the C4. Who or what does he want to blow up inside The Good Guys camp? Is the C4 for the submarine or is it just an insurance policy against any other type of escape method that may arise?

Kate has really been all over the map, lately. On one hand, she took the lead and went over the electric fence first. On the other hand, she needed Sayid to tell her not to run into the electric fence to begin with. How would Kate have survived on the lamb for so long if she didn’t know to avoid giant sinister poles? Then again, maybe you could argue that she’s so blinded by her need to rescue Jack that she isn’t thinking the way she normally would. Running and avoiding people are part of her MO that comes naturally. Rescuing people is a new pursuit for her. Meanwhile, Sayid can tell her how to rescue people because he’s just good at everything.

By far, the most one dimensional character of the episode was Desmond. He went from a tortured Scotsman trying to drink away his misfortunes in life to Charlie’s guardian angel. Apparently, all he does now is run around the island and make sure that Charlie doesn’t die. I’m not sure how scaring the birds away when Jin almost catches one saves Charlie though. Wouldn’t you want them to catch a bird so Charlie would have no motive to go looking for one? Maybe Desmond was trying to discourage the whole enterprise. Then, all he did was lie to Claire about his powers until he couldn’t anymore. Didn’t we see that story a few weeks ago between him and Charlie? Mentioning Charlie, how quickly his mood changes. Desmond tells him not to do something and he gets depressed. You think the opposite would be true and he’d start risking his life when Desmond isn’t around. And remember, if you eat a Super Sonic Breakfast Burrito it makes Charlie go away. Maybe whoever is trying to kill him should consider that fact. Sorry Charlie.

Where were Nikki and Paulo? I’d really like them to become regular characters before they get their flashback. If I were the network, I’d be pretty upset that the producers gave series regular money to the actors. We’ve had 12 episodes and they’ve been in a few marginal scenes. Maybe there was extra money in the budget, so they felt like being generous. I’m just worried these characters are going to become the Rose and Bernard of season three. They’ll hang around, have a flashback episode, and then disappear next season. I’m very supportive of the writers, but I think the biggest weakness of LOST is that they’ve introduced so many characters and it’s incredibly difficult to give them all an amount of screen time so it feels like their story is being told. Last night is a perfect example. Plenty of characters got screen time that was worthwhile, but fans of Hurley, Sawyer, and Jack and those of us who are curious about Nikki and Paulo will feel a little disappointed. It’s a shame that after such a strong episode that any of us feel disappointed.


Here’s the thing about Jack and Claire being brother and sister. It was firmly established that Claire didn’t know Christian’s name and thus it makes complete sense why she and Jack would never put two and two together. However, how is this revelation ultimately going to occur? Obviously, The Good Guys know all about these people’s pasts. They must know that Jack and Claire are related. It’s likely that one of The Good Guys will reveal to either Jack or Claire that they’re related. Writing wise, it will be a delicate situation to handle. What is the character going to do, threaten Aaron in front of Jack and then say, “You wouldn’t want us to hurt your nephew, would you?” Basically, it could make for either a very powerful or very cheesy moment.

It’s kind of ridiculous that Sayid and company could just climb over the electric fence to surpass it. It makes the fence seems kind of weak as a defense mechanism. Then again, they probably never intended to have to defend against anyone like the 815ers. It clearly discouraged people like Rousseau to stay away. She probably would have just turned around and went back to her camp if the rest of them weren’t there. Also, it was probably designed to mostly keep out animals. Therefore, there isn’t much of a worry of keeping out anything over the height of the fence. Finally, there’s always the possibility that the fence is intended to keep out something much more sinister, like the black smoke perhaps. The black smoke hasn’t really been around lately. In a way, it’s good Eko died. With the amount of trekking these people have done across the island lately, someone had to be at least attacked by the black smoke for the story to be plausible. It’s still kind of getting absurd that they haven’t seen the black smoke since Eko’s demise.

I’m not surprised to see Jack integrating himself into The Good Guys. I still think part of the master plan (of the writers, of the forces) is for him to become their leader. Playing pass with Tom was a really neat way to reintroduce him too. At first, as he ran towards Kate, towards us, our preconceptions made us believe he was trying to escape. Then, it became apparent that he was associating with The Good Guys. He was living with them. Kate felt betrayed and I considered whether he was brainwashed or not. Most likely, he’s just acting like he gets along because it’s to his advantage to do so.

The Russian brought back the notion of the list. We still don’t know what this list is, but we do know it is probably created by The Good Guys. Maybe it is the master list. We saw that at the end of season two, Prince Ben made a list that was centered around Jack removing his tumor. Now, we have confirmation that Locke is on some sort of other list that has a more ominous feeling in importance and scope because of how it has been portrayed on the show. Maybe the list is handed down by the higher ups of Dharma to The Good Guys (assuming they are Dharma). Whatever the list is, I’d look for the Russian to be in Locke’s flashback next week, as he says he remembers him being paralyzed. Then again, he knows all about all their pasts so he may have been saying that to mess with Locke. Out of every secret on the island, Locke has been able to keep his paralysis hidden very well.


Unless you have something, I’m done. Oh wait, this column is a one way medium. What I say is all that matters. Well then, I’m going to watch some college basketball. I’ve got March Madness. As always, if you disagree with anything I’ve written here, well then:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

LOST Redux: S3E11 Enter 77

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

Ask and ye shall receive. For the past few weeks, I’ve been writing how there hasn’t been nearly enough Sayid this season. Last week, I even said we should have a Sayid episode this week. Well…let me put a couple disclaimers out there right now.

First, I don’t read spoilers or leaked information on the internet purposefully anymore. In the first season, I used to know which episode belonged to which character months away. I don’t like to know that much information ahead of time anymore. So no, when writing that we needed a Sayid episode this week, I wasn’t aware it was actually a Sayid episode this week. The reason I used the word “purposefully” as a qualifier is because of accidental moments. For instance, last night, I went to to see when the replay of the new South Park was airing (as LOST and South Park, my two favorite shows, now air at the same time) and saw a LOST headline that read “Someone else dies tonight.” Why they needed to hype the death of Mrs. Klugh is beyond me, but they did and knowing someone was going to die altered my perception of the episode before I viewed it in a way I didn’t want.

Second, I am no way trying to suggest that I actually influenced the writing of the show. Obviously, these episodes were written and filmed sometime in the fall. At the very least, what I am suggesting is that I am aware to the current of the show as the writers and producers are. Then again, saying Sayid was missing so far this season wasn’t exactly a difficult prediction. Even retarded four year old Dave Matthews on House could identify that the guy who looks like a dog when it rains was missing, with or without the right half of his brain removed.

To be honest, I’m not sure how much I have to say about this episode. Thinking about it, I anticipate this column being my shortest of the season thus far. If that disappoints you, I apologize. Otherwise, be a realist and enjoy that you’re getting something. Besides, would you rather me write six pages of bullshit or three pages of sustenance? That question is rhetorical.


I’m sort of surprised that in this flashback episode there was no mention of Shannon. Maybe my reaction has a bit to do with my problem with the Sayid and Shannon relationship from the beginning. LOST has been made out to be a deeply romantic show, engrained with the concept of soul mates. Sayid’s soul mate was made out to be Nadia. Then, he fell in love with Shannon. I’m not going to be stupid enough to say that in real life you can’t fall in love with people who aren’t your soul mate, but there is a difference between actual reality and fictional reality. Seeing as LOST is fictional reality, I have to wonder why they had Sayid seemingly fall so deeply in love with Shannon only have it to disappear a season later? Granted, you could argue that he got over it last season during his confrontation with Ana Lucia, but just last week Hurley was still shown mourning Libby. Why does that bond still endure, but Sayid seems to have returned to stable first season form? Maybe Shannon wasn’t Sayid’s soul mate, but Sayid was Shannon’s soul mate. How’s that possibility for a tragedy?

So, grief and mourning behind us, Sayid’s story delved back into the gripping international war drama it’s been from the beginning. While the action on the island was pretty good, I wasn’t a big fan of the flashbacks. Sayid’s flashbacks always tend to be slower and thoughtful, as that is the kind of character he is, but this story just didn’t seem to have the weight behind it that his others have. I don’t think it was a bad flashback by any means, but it wasn’t one of the best ever either. Oh, and the cat thing? That was just weird.

I do have one nitpick of this episode. How would Sayid not know that the guy was lying to him? Clearly, the story took place after Sayid was an interrogator in the Republican Guard. That fact was the entire point of the story. It has been firmly established that the reason Sayid can always tell if someone is lying is because of his interrogation training so, why, this time, did he not know the guy was lying? Did he simply trust the guy because he was also Iraqi? If he did, that doesn’t seem like a very Sayid thing to do. Of course, maybe that is a mistake he has since learned from. Maybe the reason he can always tell when someone is lying now is because his first instinct is now to make people earn trust rather than to grant it to them right away.

The scene where Sayid walked into the “restaurant” also reminded me of one of the earlier episodes of 24 this season. Taken prisoner by a Muslim terrorist, Jack Bauer is forced to be locked up in the home of a Muslim friend of the terrorist. The rooms looked very similar. Maybe it has something to do with the portrayal of Islamic culture on American television. Either way, maybe we can see a 24 crossover in one of Sayid’s future flashbacks.

I understand why Sayid didn’t tell the guy he was the one who tortured his wife. It was a lie of self defense. If he had told that guy he did it, the guy would have bashed his head in with that pipe Butterfly Effect style. Instead, Sayid gave himself the perfect cover story for the wife to allow him to escape.

While I’m on the subject of the wife, did she annoy the hell out of anyone else? First off, looking at her just made me want to punch. I’m not advocating violence against women (unless they max out your credit cards), but I am saying that I didn’t care that she was tortured. My only response was, “Get over it already.” Granted, I don’t know what it’s like to be in a box and have fire crackers thrown in there with me. Then again, if that cat was inside a box with firecrackers, how did it look so pristine in the episode? Shouldn’t it have been missing part of an ear, part of its tail, something?

And then that speech she gave at the end of the episode was maddening. She was better than Sayid and her other captors because she was letting him go? She wasn’t going to put him in a box with firecrackers because she was better than people who did such things? Oh yeah, lady, what about people who kidnap cooks, chain them up in a closet, make them drink water from a bowl, and allow their husband to beat them into a confession? What kind of people allow that series of events to unfold? Oh, I get it, all that stuff was the husband’s doing. She was the kind and forgiving one.

The character of the wife really makes me think of the manipulated moments theory. Her actions in the flashback are the reason Sayid didn’t kill the Russian at the end of the episode. It’s not like Rousseau was advocating an immoral position. The guy had already killed his own ally and shot Sayid (and the only reason he fixed Sayid was out of necessity to continue his ruse). Killing him was actually a rationale choice. I’m not saying I could’ve pulled the trigger myself, but you know Rousseau could have, very easily. So maybe the entire reason the wife acted the way she did was so Sayid wouldn’t kill the Russian.


You have to love how easily they wrote Rousseau out of the episode. It made complete sense within the realm of her character, but it was also hilarious when she was like, “I’ll meet you down by the river.” Is she even going to be useful when they find where The Good Guys (or Hostiles) live? She’ll probably just run and hide until the dust settles. Then, is Alex even going to want her around? If the girl is brainwashed, she’s definitely not going to believe a crazy wild woman is her mother. If she isn’t brainwashed, how is she going to react a crazy French chick showing up claiming to be her mother?

John Locke once again looked completely dimwitted. One of the most interesting parts of his character to me has always been how in his flashbacks he looks so weak and easy to manipulate, but on the island he is this iconic character that has this ridiculous knowledge base and somehow manipulates everyone else. In this episode, he was once again the dimwitted guy. Any halfway rationale person would have stayed with the gun pointed at the Russian, but he was so obsessed with the chess game. I’ll never understand why either. It was a stupid chess game. Also, anyone with half a brain had to figure that entering 77 if the Hostiles took over had to be some sort of self destruct sequence. He’s lucky he didn’t kill anyone in the process.

On the other side of the island, it’s interesting the way they’re building Hurley’s character. With all the leaders gone, he is becoming the center of the group. He’s even making an effort to reach out to Sawyer. They began building that relationship last season and this episode was a big step forward in it. Who ever thought Hurley would be the guy to console Sawyer over this entire Kate debacle?

And Kate, when did she become so weak that people had to worry about her being taken care of? Hurley had to reassure Sawyer that Kate would be ok because she was with Sayid and Locke? Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always thought Kate was more adept at handling herself on the island than most of the guys. Then again, in the situation with the Russian, she seemed to be in over her head. For someone who lies as much as she does, she sure couldn’t figure out that he was lying very easily. Also, shouldn’t she have been able to take Mrs. Klugh pretty easily? I don’t know why that fight was so close. Are they watering down Kate’s character or is she just having a few off weeks?


We learned a few interesting details about the Dharma Initiative this week. The most important being how they communicated with the outside world. They used either a satellite or sonar. As I suspected though, the implosion of the Swan took away their communications abilities. I have to wonder how power is being supplied to the island now. Maybe there are a few backup generators here and there. Is it all going to last though?

Also, there’s a submarine. That piece of information is an interesting development. I wonder how it’ll be used in the future.

The most interesting point to me is this Dharma and Hostiles dichotomy. Obviously, from last night’s episode, we were led to believe that The Good Guys, led by Prince Ben, are the Hostiles. Mrs. Klugh was part of Prince Ben’s group and she was there with the Russian’s last night. However, a few things don’t add up. If they are the Hostiles and they were there long before Dharma, then why was Juliet (and Ethan) recruited in a manner befitting Dharma? Are there two mass conspiracies going on and one just happened to be on the island longer? Also, the Purge would have to have occurred sometime in the last three years, as Kelvin was still in the Swan with Desmond before then and mentioned nothing of a Purge. Finally, wouldn’t Rousseau have some type of recollection of a major island war?

To put that paragraph another way, the Russian’s entire story did not make sense. I’m not going to spend any more time analyzing it because it would be largely fruitless. We DO know there were Hostiles though from the computer in the Flame. It would be wrong, however, to assume that The Good Guys are the Hostiles and not what’s left of Dharma. There has to be something left of Dharma, why else would they keep dropping food and how else could Prince Ben be in contact with people off the island? At the very least, he has the power to get people off the island, or so Juliet believes.


I’m done. If you want more, too bad. Cue the catchphrase:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

LOST Redux: S3E10 Tricia Tanaka is Dead

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

LOST has jumped the shark, huh? It’s just not good anymore? The writers and producers don’t know what they’re doing? Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, of the viewing audience, I am done defending this show. Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to stop writing about it. What I am going to do is stop writing about it from the defensive position. Last week I had a lot of good things to say about a strong episode. However, I was paranoid about all the negativity I knew would be heaped upon an episode that we now know was placed in between two very strong episodes. From this sentence forward, I will only write about an episode from the assumed perspective that you and I both enjoyed the episode. If you didn’t enjoy something, why would you want to read (or write a column) about it? I can honestly say that I’ve loved every episode of LOST. Sure, they’re imperfect and some are incredibly spectacular while others are just good, but LOST is one of those rare series that always delivers. What’s my evidence supporting this claim? Ladies and Gentlemen of the viewing audience, I present to you Exhibit A: The Hurley Episode.

In the run of LOST so far, there have been three Hurley episodes: Numbers, Everybody Hates Hugo, and Tricia Tanaka is Dead. Of those three, I would argue that Numbers was the least powerful; however, being the least powerful of an insane trilogy still makes it insanely powerful. The simple fact of the matter is, Hurley episodes always deliver. I don’t think such a claim can be made about any other character’s flashbacks. The only other character I can think of with comparable strength of episodes is Desmond, as he had the Season Two Finale and the ridiculous Flashes Before Your Eyes two weeks ago.

Before I steal any thunder away from any of the other three sections of the column (and considering that my mind is starting to wander all over the place, which I’m sure is reflected in the previous paragraph), let’s move on to the flashback section. I promise that the comparison of the three Hurley episodes will be comprised in the composition of the rest of the column. (Yes, I used a lot of words that start with co in that sentence.)


The first idea I can hear echoing throughout the internet is the introduction of Hurley’s father to the story. The “All The Cowboys Have Daddy Issues” theory rears its ugly head again. I’m sure someone will consider the following question a reach, but, does Hurley really have that bad of father issues? Yes, I understand that abandonment is serious and can have just as ill effects on a child as, say, the suicide of Sawyer’s father had on him. However, Hurley leaving and going to Australia demonstrated why it is hard to have sympathy for some characters sometimes. All he had to do was try with his father and the healing would have begun. Instead, he chose to go to Australia. I guess my point about Hurley’s character is as follows.

Hugo Reyes’ main struggle is not coming to terms with his father’s abandonment of him. Throughout the episode, it seemed as if his father was little more than a nuisance. Hurley knew he wanted the money and just wanted him to leave. I would assert that most people with serious issues with the abandonment would deserve answers. The classic story is the adopted kid who searches out for his birth parents. Hurley didn’t do such a thing. In fact, throughout the entire episode, it was Cheech trying to reach out to Hurley.

Did anyone else think about My Name is Earl during this episode? In a Season One episode, Earl decides to win back a car for his father. His father was restoring the car and Earl lost it in a road race. The twist of the episode was that all of his life Earl didn’t realize that his father was restoring the car to give to him when he got his license. The episode ends with Earl and his father working on the car together and Earl realizing that he stole the time with his father from himself. Obviously, Cheech stole the time here, but the metaphor of the car and the similarity still struck me.

It’s also kind of funny that Hurley’s father is Cheech and this episode centered around him finding a stoner van. I’m almost reminded of an interesting difference. Every other father in LOST so far has been a hindrance to his progeny. Jin resented his father. Sun’s father is an evil corporation leader (oh no). Jack’s father haunts him. Charlie’s father abandoned him as well. This episode was the first example of a father having a positive affect on his child on LOST. Cheech saying you make your own luck made Hurley “make” his own luck by starting the Dharma Van.

Of course, Hurley didn’t really make his own luck, did he? This discussion may belong in the LOSTology section, but first Vincent found Hurley and delivered him to the van, then a series of seemingly random events brought, Jin, Charlie, and Sawyer to his aid. It’s interesting how the placement of the episode in the series changes our perception of it. If this episode had been in the first season, everything would have seemed so innocent (except for the Vincent thing). Now that we’re pretty sure the island or whatever can control animals, we see how the series of events was set into motion. Then, there just so happened to be beer to coerce Sawyer into helping? It will be interesting to see how the van is used in the future.

The other notable quality of this episode was the tone. Hurley’s stories always have some type of an uplifting ending to them. What made the tone of this episode interesting was that it returned to the “Happy Go Lucky” Hurley of the first season.

Numbers, though most of it was tragic, was at its heart a comedy. When the accountant jumped from the tower, I laughed. The way the event was juxtaposed in the episode, though someone committing suicide is awful, was funny. The episode ended with Hurley commiserating with Rousseau. We found out that he wasn’t alone, that the 815ers weren’t alone and everything was going somewhere. That ending, and the numbers themselves, are a big part of the reason I think Hurley I at the heart of the mystery.

Everybody Hates Hugo, though most of it was very dark, was a victory. In fact, the victory was the first real victory of Season Two for the 815ers. The first three episodes featured the journey into the depths of the Hatch and Sawyer and Michael floating at sea. Everything was so dark. Sawyer and Michael floated at night. The depths of the Hatch were poorly lit. The Hatch was a demonizing influence on the show. Paradoxically, at the end of the episode, Hurley puts his distribution plan into action at night. As he handed out the food, we were granted our first real smile of Season Two.

This episode was light from beginning to finish. Desmond’s powers didn’t seem as foreboding. Sawyer was downright likeable (to everyone). While there was no dark theme within the episode, the episode was placed in a very dark place in the season. This season has been pretty dark in general. It was like the producers were not only admitting that the 815ers needed some hope, but that we, the viewing audience needed some hope. I’ll return to this idea later.

One final note:
Tricia Tanaka, the asian reporter on Family Guy, are they the same character?


You know I’m going to say it, so I’m just going to get it out of the way. Sawyer was completely on point tonight. His hit so many ridiculous Sawyerisms that it was unbelievable. The hippie van? Hooked on phonics? Touche? All right, I’ll stop, it’s time to get a little serious. I have a couple substantial things to mention about Sawyer and Kate.

First off, what size is this island? Kate and Sawyer seemed to have traversed it very quickly. They literally made it back in two episodes. I guess you could argue that the shore they escaped to was a lot closer than the Tailies shore last season. Also, Sawyer is probably an expert at trekking across the island at this point. I wonder how the writers are going to make it so he has to make his way back to camp at the beginning of Season Four.

Second off, as for the Sawyer and Kate dynamic, it sort of bothers me that Kate is the one emerging with the positive image. She placed the onus on him to apologize. Then, when he didn’t, she turned a cold shoulder to him and switched from James back to Sawyer. I’m not saying that Sawyer’s not being an immature douchebag with the whole Kate feeling guilty thing, but why does Kate expect him to apologize without her meeting him halfway? She explained more to Locke and Sayid about why she wanted to go back and get Jack so badly, she “owed him” that much, than she did to Sawyer and Sawyer is the one who needs to hear it the most. Of course, maybe she knows Sawyer won’t listen if she tries to explain it to him. Who knows, I certainly don’t. I’m probably just projecting onto the situation how it always seems to me that girls can do whatever they want without consequence while guys always have to apologize. Sawyer said it himself though, there are only three things you need to say to a woman: I’m sorry. You were right. Those pants don’t make you look bad. He knows he has to apologize eventually, but is waiting for Kate to prove herself to him first. Apparently he didn’t trust her body and is now trying to read his mind.

Kate’s comment about owing Jack also revealed an interesting rift to their dynamic. It harkened back to the days of her looking to him to be morally cleansed and his teaching the five second trick to her. It also reminded me of another passage from I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe:

“Something about Adam’s avalanche of implacably moral stuff got to her, resonated with some of Christ’s Evangelic creed she had brought to Dupont without meaning to, sewn, as it were, into the very lining of her clothes. There was also, unbeknownst to either of them consciously, a woman’s thrill!—that’s the word for it!—her delicious thrill!—when, as before, a man expands his chest and drapes it with the sash of righteousness and…takes command!...upon the Heights of Abraham.

That moment was a turning point. Charlotte pulled herself together, did as she was told, and made it to the exam with time to spare. She returned to Adam’s apartment convinced that she had butchered this exam, too, and complained about the weird, warped mentality of Mr. Gilman. She did not break into tears; she did not despair. Scorn, contempt, and hatred were her métier. She registered not woe but anger, a deadly sin perhaps but a positive sign in this case.” (608)

In the excerpt, Charlotte hits a personal and emotional low and seeks refuge at Adam’s apartment. It is not until he releases his “avalanche” of words that Charlotte turns the corner and can overcome her grief, her choices that brought her to where she is. Obviously, she wasn’t instantly healed, she would still have to answer for what she did, but the journey could begin.

Kate and Jack share such a relationship and shared such a moment. The third episode was the beginning of Kate’s “rehabilitation” and she has felt obligated to Jack and looked to him for guidance ever since. Where most people would have not ignored the mug shot, demonstrated through Hurley in that episode, Jack did and, essentially, forgave her. He had already taken command and had used his power to spare her. Maybe they won’t ever be together, but they will always have that special moment.

Moving on to the other characters, I would say this episode had a good Season One blend of characters. All the characters, except for Jack, received small nods and scenes. I do want to note them each individually though.

Paulo and Nikki were downright likeable this episode. I don’t know how people can’t like them. Then again, I don’t know why I believe Entertainment Weekly on that claim. The small gesture of him grabbing her belt buckle demonstrated a lot about the type of relationship they have. It made him seem a lot more experienced and knowledge than her, as he was pulling her away from a experience her perceived naivety and innocence would have gotten her into.

Locke was the same old Locke, but I have to wonder what is going on with Sayid. I can honestly say that I miss him. We need a flashback for him SOON. Why is he following the light on Eko’s stick theory? It seems a bit out of character for him. Of course, it would be easy to argue that his mentioning of the light on the stick was in a sarcastic manner and he is only following the crowd to make sure he knows what is going on. He always kept himself involved, if only to protect the other 815ers. It’s interesting how he isn’t really noted as a leader on the island for that either.

Ok, Jin and Sun, did they have a mini-fight or something? What was the point of the whole flower thing? I thought it would have made sense for Jin to have said something to Sun in English. I actually thought he was going to say the three things Sawyer mentioned, though I’m glad he didn’t because that would have been cheesy.

Even Charlie was likeable this week. He actually took action and didn’t allow fate to control him. Although, his actions bring up an interesting question I’ve always had about Final Destination. If you try to kill yourself before it’s your turn in the pattern, will your suicide attempt fail? I think they mentioned this idea briefly at one point in the movies, but don’t recall. If so, then Charlie was essentially ridin’ dirty with immunity in the hippie van.

Rousseau’s storyline is finally going to progress. Do you think she’ll get a flashback?

And finally, and you know what I’m noting is obvious if even I’m asking it:
Where did Claire find a hair stylist on the island?


At first glance, this episode seems mythology light, but it actually contains the central dichotomy of LOSTology, light first dark. In this case, the dichotomy is manifested in comedy versus tragedy. Hurley has always been the comic character of the show. His episodes are uplifting and this episode seemingly said the characters could overcome their tragic fate and make their own luck.

And that last sentence is what makes the placement of this episode so interesting mythology wise. This season has without-a-doubt been tragic. Eko died, Sun’s child may be illegitimate, Charlie is living Final Destination style, Jack’s captured, Desmond was forced to travel back in time and chase away his true love, Sawyer and Kate last for about 30 seconds before they hit the rocks, and Sayid is STILL sad about Shannon. Now, when we all need some hope, we’re given some.

There’s always the argument that none of it was free will and all of it was fate. Vincent brought the key to Hurley. There was beer for Sawyer. Using the manipulated flashback theory, Randy was the one who made it so Tricia Tanaka went into the building and thus died tragically. If he is an agent of whomever, then he could have done that to make Hurley think he had bad luck.

Although, if there are TWO forces, maybe one controls them, while the other gives them the opportunity to overcome their past. So, one force gave Hurley the chance to embrace hope and the lessons of his fathers (presumably a good force would do such a thing) while the other force tried to control him by making him believe he was bad luck (presumably a bad force would do such a thing). Maybe there are PEOPLE trying to control the 815ers and make them do bad things (and they control the black smoke) and the island is a good force combating those people. Right now, I like that idea the best. I bet if you go back and watch Seasons One and Two with that perspective, then it’ll make a lot of sense.

Oh, and by the way, WHERE DID VINCENT COME FROM? I’ll have to go back and watch the Season Two finale because I thought he was on the boat with Michael and Walt. If he was, are they somewhere on the island? I thought it strange that they were allowed to leave.


I haven’t got much else to say. I hope you enjoyed the episode. I know I really did. If you didn’t, then stop watching LOST. We don’t need you, really. And if you think your negativity is a good thing, then I’ve only got one thing to say (and I’m not saying being critical is bad, there’s a difference):

Shut up, you’re wrong.

LOST Redux: S3E09 Stranger in a Strange Land

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

You hated the episode. I know. You don’t need to tell me. I knew you hated it about halfway through the episode. You know what I have to say though? Yes, you know. You’re venturing into The Midside, there’s only one thing TO say. “But Jay, it really was that bad.” No, that response isn’t correct. “It was the worst episode ever.” No, that’s not right either. Here, let me help you. Say it along with me now. To all you reactionaries, self obsessed viewers, and internet blowhards alike that skewer any product that doesn’t turn out exactly as you had envisioned it:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

The Midside is always a fair place. We don’t brand people. Well, we might make them wear scarlet letters (or perhaps clocks around their necks…YEAH BOY!), but never, never, do we not give our honest opinion. What’s my honest opinion? I’ll keep it short and simple.

This episode was a good episode. Of course there were flaws in it. There are flaws in every episode. There are flaws in every series. There are flaws in every person. There are flaws in humanity. Wake up, walk outside. Three spots down from you someone is parked crooked. On the road, someone hits their brakes a little too soon (or perhaps a little too late). Which mistakes are you going to criticize? Which are you going to ignore? Rather than answering that question, how about you just let me tell you? The only mistakes you’re going to respond to negatively (perhaps even notice at all) are the ones that you believe have a direct negative impact on you.

Plain and simply, you’re reacting so harshly to this episode because you feel as if a “better” episode has been taken away from you. The producers said in an EW interview that the magic number they’d like to end at is 100. Well, there is now one less chance to have what you consider to be an amazing LOST episode. Since this episode was so far away from what you consider to be an amazing LOST episode, you react extra harshly to it. Let me explain the phrase “so far away from” a little more.

Do you remember S.O.S.? No? It was the Rose and Bernard flashback episode. It’s pretty much as universally disliked by LOST fans as, oh, say, I don’t know, Rush Limbaugh is by feminists. The story stepped away from the mythology driven fervor for an episode to allow us to take a breather before the fast paced end to the season. You can’t deny that the season two finale was insane. Could you imagine dealing with it if you had mythology stuffed down your throats for weeks beforehand? I know I wouldn’t have been able to. So, rather than send us into information overload, the producers delivered us a well written, romantic, character based episode with hints of mythology. This week’s episode that you are ready to send back to the studio for good is the same type of episode.

Last week was one of the most insanely mythological episodes of the series. A flashback technique was used that will never be used again. Thus, this week, the producers gave us a character driven piece that tugged at the strings of mythology and hearts alike. Was a lot revealed? No, but enough was revealed to remind us of the old days. Something we didn’t know about a character was revealed and it was seemingly relevant to bits and pieces of mythology. For those of you yearning for the idealized days of season one (as EW claims), look no further than this episode. Oh wait, you don’t really want that season back, do you? You want to know what’s in the hatch NOW, summer break be damned. In the beginning, you just had no idea what was going on and accepted that this show wasn’t your story to tell. Well, accept it, because this is The Midside and it’s my story to tell, so we’re going on.


The major problem with this episode was not the writing or the flashback, but the placement in the season. Was it really another Jack episode already? Yes, and that means out of nine episodes in season three, there have been two Jack episodes. If I’m not mistaken, seasons one and two had three Jack episodes each. So, to be fair, if there are 24 episodes in a season, there would be a Jack episode every eight episodes. Episode one and episode nine were Jack episodes. That break is an eight episode break. It would seem I have proven my claim incorrect, but mathematics and storytelling aren’t exactly known for being congruent. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to fall back upon emotions and say the episode just felt too soon.

True, my disdain for Jack is obvious. It bleeds all over these columns, but how many other characters have we seen development for this season? Jin, Sun, Sawyer, Kate, Desmond, Locke, Eko, and Juliet have all had screen time. What about the rest of our favorite characters? Is Charlie’s flashback being saved for his (hypothetically) inevitable death? What have Jin and Sun been doing since returning from their rescue attempt? I mean, when Charlie killed Ethan (Jack Version 1.0), a big deal was made about taking a life changing you for ever, but Sun took a life and little has been made about it. And Sayid, he was such a key character all the way through the first two seasons. He always sat in the background and laughed at Locke and Jack’s dichotomy just as we did. Now what is he, depressed? Are we not seeing his story because the producers don’t want to show him turning Emo? Oh, and Sawyer, he may have had a flashback, but does the guy ever do anything besides trek across the island to get back to camp anymore?

The most devastating part about having another Jack episode so soon is that we still haven’t learned anything about Nikki and Paulo. Paulo likes to golf and Nikki can point out really obvious things. Gee, that’s, um, great? Where did they go after the whole Pearl Station journey? Didn’t Locke want to not tell them about Eko’s death or something? Isn’t there a fat guy on this island too? Oh right, Hurley, I don’t think he’s anything other than fat and naïve anymore.

The producers and writers are well aware that we’re all getting sick of Jack too. Maybe it’s a precursor to them finally killing him off. I can only dream, right? He did receive his first massive beating of the series this episode (I say massive to differentiate from the one his fellow surgeon Ethan delivered to him). The dinner scene with Thai Bo was pretty much an acknowledgement of our feelings on Jack. At least, it felt like one to me because it addressed what I’ve been saying all along.

When Thai Bo asked Jack a question and he started talking about his father, all I could think was “Here we go again.” I thought that at the beginning of the episode as well. Much to my surprise, she shot back with a, paraphrased, I don’t care about your father. I couldn’t have agreed more. It’s time for Jack to get over it. The whole teen angst because Daddy didn’t love you because he was an alcoholic thing just needs to end. We get it. Jack doesn’t realize his full potential because of the self doubt he is riddled with because of his father. I enjoyed this episode because it tried to moved BEYOND that character trait and show that there are deeper flaws to Jack’s character.

Thai Bo had the gift of seeing into people’s souls and knowing who they are. She saw that Jack was a great man. If we’re going with the “all the flashbacks are manipulated points in the character’s past”, she would be the manipulator in this episode, a la Desmond’s Oracle. What her actions force Jack into doing is getting his butt kicked because he refuses to play by the rules of Thailand. He is a stranger in a strange land and continues to act strange rather than trying to assimilate. In turn, this even makes him attempt to assimilate into the Good Guys world by playing their power games. He learned from his experience and acted differently. That sentence, my friends, is called character development.

Supposedly, according to the season two premiere, Jack is moving from a man of science towards a man of faith. He has always needed answers. That need is why his father’s lack of approval crippled him so much. To him, the answer to being a good surgeon (arguably a good person) existed in his father. Notice how he waited so diligently for his father the night before his wedding. Now, as he moves farther and farther from his father’s death (that’s was an awesome clause), his need for answers is slowly dissipating. Thai Bo saw him as a great man. She told him that in the tattoo shop. He was a leader, but it made him lonely and two other adjectives I can’t remember. She thus treated him as a great man. Like it our not, guys, women want to be with someone special. It makes them feel special. I now interrupt this column for a very special excerpt form I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe:

“‘I can tell you’re a nice girl. Why do you do this?’
‘Do what?’ she whispered.
‘Well—’ He didn’t know how to put it… ‘Wh…be so nice and obliging to somebody like me. Like…make yourself available and everything. You don’t even know me, and that girl—she don’t know Mike.’
‘You’re serious?’ She said it in such a way that obviously he was either making a little joke or was a little dense.
‘Uh…yeah. Why?’
‘You really don’t understand?’
‘You’re a star.’ Most obvious thing in the world.
‘And therefore?’
‘Every girl wants to…fuck…a star.’ She said it in the same sweet, sincere voice she said everything else. ‘Any girl who says she doesn’t is lying. Any girl.’
Try as he might, Jojo could not think of a cogent reply.
A moment later she added, ‘And every girl.’”
-Pages 594-595

Now Jack, in his ever-quest for answers, followed Thai Bo around the streets of Thailand to discover the secrets she was hiding. He didn’t understand his good fortune. He didn’t understand why she was so, hmm, forthcoming towards him. Like Jojo in the excerpt, he had to ask why. Like the viewing audience, he most likely thought she was a prostitute. In hindsight, it should have been fairly fucking obvious she was a tattoo artist from the beginning. I even said during the episode that they wanted us to believe she was a prostitute, but she clearly wasn’t. I don’t know why I didn’t put two and two together, probably because I hate math.

Having cornered Thai Bo in her tattoo parlor, he demanded answers. He was as physically violent as we’ve ever seen him. He wanted to know why she chose him and then why he was a good man. Beyond those demands, he even needed to be tattooed as physical representation of how he was a great man. After that night, the answer was tattooed on his arm. However, as he learned, there were consequences. He broke protocol of the culture and got his ass beat for it.

At the beginning of the episode, I said it was stupid for Jack to refuse to help Prince Ben. The Good Guys only keep you around if you are usual. That fact is their culture. By refusing to use his skills, Jack made himself expendable. Thus, he would be killed (or beat down as in the flashback). However, he learned his lesson and, as I stated earlier played the game again. Maybe Jack is finally changing. Maybe he’ll become a worthwhile character. It’s all ok by me, as long as he doesn’t end up with Kate.

The infuriating thing about the entire episode was that we only learned what a few of the tattoos meant. What about the number five? What about the $20,000 pyramid?


Though there weren’t very many minor characters in this episode, quite a lot was actually developed. We met two new characters. Well, we met one new character and the other became a full fledged character. The creepy judge lady was interesting because she is clearly UNDER Prince Ben in the power structure, yet somehow acted as if she knew a lot. Notice how, once we got to know them, none of the other Good Guys acted as if they knew much. Gay Tom is pretty much a lackey at this point.

Karl is our angsty teen for show. Although, I think you could argue that every character, especially Jack and Locke, is riddled with teen angst. However, Karl fits the role perfectly. Maybe he’ll find a boom box and bring it to Alex’s backyard. If they play Peter Gabriel on LOST, I may quit watching. I don’t know why I typed that sentence. I don’t hate Peter Gabriel or anything.

Alex is interesting to me as well. She looks so much like Rousseau, but they treat her like a regular Good Guy. She seems to have a lot of say. I mean, they could obviously catch her if they want, so why do they let her run around the island? It doesn’t make much sense. What exactly is the deal with her?

The most pressing concern to talk about in this section is, of course, the triangle and that bothers me quite a bit. For about two episodes series wise (and a few months real time wise), we were led to believe Sawyer and Kate were finally together. Now I am forced to begrudgingly consider what some fans have said from day one: Kate will be with Sawyer briefly, but end up with Jack. There isn’t need for much analysis of Kate’s actions in this episode. She clearly cares for both Jack and Sawyer. I would argue in different ways, but one has to wonder, will she end up with Jack, or does she just need to get the “star fuck” out of the way, as Jack is clearly the “star” of the island and she looks up to him whereas she sees Sawyer as an equal.

At which point, we are brought to Sawyer. At the beginning of the episode, I didn’t think the writers were good for Sawyer. They didn’t seem to get his dialogue right. Maybe they just aren’t witty people, because what they did get right is everything else. The scene with Karl demonstrated his hopeless romanticism (and provided a life lesson: you have to decide if you want to waste your time on all the girl that aren’t worth it or not). I have to wonder if Karl will become his sidekick. The final scene with Kate was brilliant as well. You could totally tell that she was shocked by what Sawyer was saying. She didn’t expect it. It is the one side of him she doesn’t yet understand and that lack of understanding is exactly why he reacted the way he did.

Ever since their, shall we say, moment, all Kate has done is talk about Jack. They have to wait for Jack. They can’t leave Jack. They have to go back for Jack. We, as viewers, know that her emotions and statements are a factor of the situation. Why wouldn’t she want to go back for Jack? The problem is, and I can attest to this situation from personal experience, when you’re on the inside, you don’t have the viewers perspective. People want to save and protect the star. It’s natural to flock to people with charisma. Kate has a special and unique bond with Jack on the island. Of course she would feel connected to him and want to go back and save him. The problem is that Sawyer, with his lacking perspective, can only see Kate’s allegiance to Jack. While she doesn’t think she has anything left to prove to Sawyer, he still does not trust her.

I know, I know, all you ladies out there think Sawyer is a star to. Yes, he is a star to us, but look at the island, look at his life. He is an outcast. And yes, outcasts can be stars in a unique way too, but that possibility is not the way he envisions it, it is not the way he forces it to be. Rather, he takes Kate’s words and actions as a slap in the face, not realizing that she too is also an outcast. Besides Jack, Kate isn’t close to anyone on the island except Sawyer. He seems to have forgotten that little tidbit of information.

Let this storyline be a lesson to us all, the bad boy isn’t always the star. Yes, the Sawyer character is the typical American hero, but think about why we can say that it is. America is the only country in the history of the world where that type of a character has the possibility to rise to the top. He can go from the outcast to the star. To avoid a political debate, you must concede that America is at least designed that way. Think about John McClane in Die Hard. He was the outcast. His wife didn’t want anything to do with him (she even went feminist and changed her last name). No one in the building would listen to him? But what did he do, he Cowboy Upped and saved the day. He made himself the star and what makes him a true American hero is he didn’t do it to be the star, but because it was the right thing to do and thus he had no other choice. I’m sorry LOSTpedia, but Sawyer doesn’t just represent capitalism, Sawyer represents democracy, Sawyer represents America. Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.


I’ll say the following about mythology: If you’re upset we didn’t learn more, blame it on Jack’s psychotic anger. We did learn a little bit though. There IS another group of others. They are the ones that take the majority of the kids (shown through the teddy bear). The Good Guys take some kids to find out why the Other Others take the kids. Also, by combining the facts that Ethan kidnapped Claire and that Juliet is a fertility doctor, it is safe to say there has never been a pregnancy or birth on the island before.

Claire (and Sun) just became ultimately important again.

(By the way, on two more EW notes, the father of Sun’s baby COULD be the Golden Child and the two bodies in the caves are the producers “concrete proof” in season one that they have an ending planned for the show. Here’s hoping those two bodies are Kate and Sawyer, rather than Kate and Jack.)


Really, the most pressing thing I want to know at this point is, is LOST tragic or romantic? I can’t keep track of whose relationships are up and down anymore…

I’m tired
This column has gone on too long.
If you think this episode sucked:
Shut up, you’re wrong.

LOST Redux: S3E08 Flashes Before Your Eyes

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

“Timeline? This is no time to talk about time. We don't have the time!... What was I saying?” Deanna Troi, Star Trek First Contact

“The mortician said that Death has a design. Right? Now, what if you, me, Tod, Carter, Terry, Billy, Missus Lewton messed up that design. For whatever reason, I, I saw Death's plan. We cheated him. But what if it was our time? What if we were not meant to get off that plane? What if it still is our time? If it is, then it's not finished, and we will die - now, not later - unless, unless we find the patterns and cheat It again,” Alex Browning, Final Destination

LOST fans, I would like you to meet can of worms. Can of worms, I’d like you to meet LOST fans. Before I get started with this column, I would like to make a point. Before you all start complaining that the show doesn’t make any sense and is ripe with paradoxes and inconsistencies, please remember one thing: YOU asked for this season. YOU criticized the show for moving to slowly. YOU demanded answers. Well, now you’re getting them. What did you expect them to do, not create new questions? I said it from our first journey into The Midside together. I warned you. There would be no LOST without questions. Good going everybody, now we’re really waist deep.

The specific species of can of worms we met tonight is time travel. Many different theories exist. There is a plethora of critiques, complaints, and a third c word to complete this list of three concerning the idea. The reason I typed “Good going everybody” in a mocking manner is because I almost feel like this episode was to mess with the fan base. We asked for faster storylines. We asked for plot progression. Well, we got it and more. It may be more than we can handle. Oh, and a nice little tragic story on Valentine’s Day too. I bet you didn’t catch that little joke on us. Well, I did and I’ll tell you what else I caught. Come along now, children. It’s time to sit back and enjoy the ride from now on rather than telling the creators what to do. It’s their show made for us to enjoy. So how about we let them make and we’ll enjoy it? Then, I can write this column and we’ll all be fulfilling our purpose in the world. No course correction necessary.


A warning: what you are about to read may upset you. You may not understand it. It may not make sense to you because, hey, let’s be honest, to most people, this episode made absolutely no sense. As I’m sure you can guess though, as the story began to unfolded, my brain was formulating theories. Most did not hold up throughout the episode. One did. Before I explain what I saw in this flashback, I have to set out a couple underlying assumptions first. To understand my thoughts, you must accept these assumptions.

1. The flashbacks in this episode were real events that occurred. They were not hallucinations brought on by the concussion or conjured by the island.
2. The flashback began right after Desmond tackled Charlie. Therefore, the majority of the episode was a flashback.
3. Much of what we learned from this episode’s flashback is intertwined with LOSTology and thus will be saved for that section.

Those assumptions accepted (if you didn’t accept them, I guess there is no point to you reading The Midside anymore. Of course, if you don’t agree, you could always hypothetically accept them to understand my perspective), there is an event I would like to remind everyone of.

Turn back to the season two finale. Take out your DVDs and watch it again if you need to. I probably would if I hadn’t loaned them out to another new addict I’ve created. However, to save yourself time and energy, skip to the closing moments of the show. In a remote monitoring facility, two men pick up an energy signal they have picked up once before. We are led to believe this signal is the button not being pushed. They discover the source of the signal and make a phone call. Who is on the other end of the line? Penny Widmore. Why would Penny Widmore be looking for the island? Simple, somehow, her father is involved with it and she knows that her love, Desmond, is on it. She discovered all this information after Desmond ran away because of her father. Her reason to dig was that she still had a chance with Desmond. If she could find him, she could convince him.

Flashforward to this weeks flashback (and that statement is where people struggle with time travel theory and why such ideas as “predestination paradoxes” are created). After turning the key, Desmond is forced to relive this event. But why this event? Why make relive the moment he almost proposed to the woman he loved only to run away in fear? Why make him feel like a coward one more time?

The first question to answer is actually an unwritten one. Who made him relive the event? I will actually discuss the answer further in the LOSTology section, but for now I’ll say it’s the island. The island made Desmond relive the event. This answer means that his reliving of the event was not about him. It was not meant to cause him emotional pain or joy. So now we turn to the most important question, why would the island want him to have a do over?

The most important scenes of the episode that informed the theory I am explicating are the ones that involved the old jewelry sales lady (unfortunately, I can’t think of a witty name for her). To get a couple references out of the way, her actions and mode of speak were reminiscent of the grim reapers in Dead Like Me, The Oracle in The Matrix, and God in Joan of Arcadia. That statement made, the key concept that The Oracle discussed was “course correction.” At anytime, the “universe” (for right now read: island) can “course correct” by “fixing” an event. How does it fix that event? It uses its ultimate tool, people.

Since he was on the island, Desmond was at the island’s disposal. The island sent him back in time and made him relive the event. Then, at the moment of purchasing the ring, it manipulated him in exactly the manner it knew would get Desmond to hurt Penny. Why would it want Desmond to hurt Penny? Because now that he basically told her to get lost (har har), she’ll have no reason to search for him. Essentially, the island has protected itself. No one is aware of its location.

This theory I have outline is, of course, fraught with problems that I’m sure people will point out. First off, it supposedly makes it so the final events of the season two finale never happened due to a “predestination paradox”. Basically, in order for the events of the show to unravel in the manner they are, they would have to be predetermined. Desmond would always have had to go back and live that event in the way we saw in the episode he did tonight. However, he didn’t. The first time around he ran away like a coward and join the Army. Therefore, to some people, a paradox I created, as two contradictory events occurred at the same time that negate each other. Desmond now has memories of running away and telling Penny to get lost.

I disagree with the “predestination paradox” idea and in this episode the writers demonstrated why. All events occur. Just because they are wiped from the timeline, doesn’t mean they didn’t occur and doesn’t mean the other events were predetermined to happen. Take this episode for example. The first even of running away occurred. The island didn’t like the outcome. Therefore, it sent Desmond back in time to relive the event as telling Penny to get lost. The first even is wiped from the timeline and thus Desmond was predestined to go back in time. I disagree adamantly. Desmond did go back in time, yes, but saying he was predetermined to means all forces operate within the timeline. Clearly, the island operates outside the constraints of time. Therefore, both events occurred. Essentially, whose eyes do you see the universe through? Through a human’s eyes, Desmond is involved in a predestination paradox. Through God’s eyes, he was not.

For you philosophers out there, this episode was basically a compatibilist view of free will and determinism.

On a final note on Desmond for this episode, is he now a tragic hero? He was told pushing the button was saving the world (and the only thing great he would ever do). Now he was told in order to save the world, he had to sacrifice his own love? Obviously he didn’t literally kill Penny, but he had to essentially break her heart. Worst of all, he had to willingly break his own heart. It kind of makes Jack look like even more of a whiny bitch, doesn’t it? Desmond is a hell of a lot more likeable too.

Oh, and the island may have fudged up its own course correction. When that Indian Doctor friend of Desmond sees the result of the soccer match, he’ll know that Desmond wasn’t crazy and start investigating. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him show up in a later episode.


Besides Desmond, there weren’t very many characters in the episode. Sayid and Locke briefly explained Eko’s death to Charlie and Hurley. Charlie and Hurley represented the curious masses, with Hurley playing the lesser role. Claire played the damsel in distress. Sawyer and Kate, despite the episode write ups, were missing from the episode. I, for one, was disappointed.

Based on the previous paragraph and the revelation at the end of the episode, the most important character to discuss is Charlie. First off, I’d like to take a second to gloat. At the end of last season, I said that his storyline was done (he redeemed himself by tossing the heroine away) and predicted he would die in the season finale. He narrowly escaped death several times in that episode. Now we know what happened, the island was trying to kill him and he was pulling a Final Destination by avoiding his deaths. However, now that Desmond is all but ready to pack it in, we can be sure he will bite it soon. In fact, when Desmond told Charlie he couldn’t escape death, I dance a little jig. I’m not even Irish! Teenybopper LOST fans across the country probably cried, but the rest of us will finally be rid of the selfpitying sometimes-witty-but-most-of-the-time-just-annoying hobbit! Maybe Claire will finally hook up with Johnny Locke. On second though, forget I ever said that last thing.


The Desmond and Charlie situation does raise some interesting questions as to the nature of the island. If the island is indeed trying to kill Charlie, then why give Desmond the ability of foresight so he can save him? And if Desmond receiving the power of foresight was an accident, why not course correct and take the power away? It doesn’t add up. Is Charlie supposed to live or die?

Basically, two things are being called into question. First, is the island good or bad? We’ve been led to believe, so far, that the island is a benevolent force. It creates opportunities for the 815ers to overcome their pasts and become better people, right? I’m not so sure. I put forward the example of Eko. One could argue that his inability to ask for forgiveness made him a better person. He came to terms with his past and was self assured. However, the island killed him for his disobedience. He refused to ask the island, through the visage of Yemi, for forgiveness. He was then pounded against a tree until he died.

I now turn to tonight’s episode. What type of a benevolent power would make Desmond relive such a painful memory twice, making it even more difficult the second time around? The first time, he simply ran away. This time he actually had to make the woman he loved cry. Wouldn’t a benevolent supernatural power conjure its desired outcome and have the 815ers have positive lives? At the very least, if their lives were going to be bad, wouldn’t it let them have free will to screw up their own lives? I don’t understand why such a power would mess up someone’s life just to achieve its purpose. That type of action seems pretty selfish to me.

Also tonight, we saw a flashback from a unique perspective. We saw how Desmond’s life was directly manipulated by the island assuming a role of someone in his past in order to control events concerning the island. I put forward that the island has exerted such control in EVERY flashback we have ever since. Every flashback has been a key event in the past that either brought the 815er to the island OR affected some pivotal event on the island. What if we are shown the flashback to show us how the island has manipulated the past events so they necessitate the outcome on the island? Notice how Locke’s boss at the box company was the same as Hurley’s boss at the chicken joint. What if Randy was controlled by the island? His phrasing of, “Maybe you don’t need this job that badly” or whatever made Hurley realize he didn’t need the job and subsequently quit. The quitting made him gallivant around town with DJ Qualls which inevitably led to the series of events that influenced him to decide to distribute the food evenly between all the 815ers? Do you see the point I’m getting at here?

I am also focusing on a statement Prince Ben made earlier this season. He said he needed a spinal surgeon and one fell out of the sky. Well, notice how events were manipulated so that not only would Jack crash in the plane and get captured by The Good Guys, but Sawyer and Kate would be captured too, giving Jack a reason to pretend to perform the surgery so they could escape. But, since they ultimately escaped, he actually did perform the surgery and Prince Ben was saved.

Now, take another step forward. What if Prince Ben and company ARE The Good Guys? What if they know the island is a malevolent force and are trying to figure out a way to stop it? What if that purpose is the purpose of DHARMA’s research? A lot of effort has certainly been put into making them look bad. Then again, how can they escape the island’s powers if the island can course correct anytime it wants? If they were working against the island, wouldn’t it just course correct and nullify their actions?

In conclusion, I am going to put one more controversial idea out into the abyss of the internet. What if dying in LOST is a GOOD THING as you are no longer a pawn of evil? Whenever a character has died, their story has come full circle and they are redeemed. Thus, the malevolent force of the island can no longer use them and kills them. Notice how tonight, Desmond hurt Penny because he was afraid. He was afraid staying with her would end the world. He was still a coward. This idea brings forth another interesting idea though. What if there are two forces at work on the island? The MALEVOLENT force is exhibited through the flashbacks. It “course corrects” by making the 815ers do terrible things. However, on the island, a BENEVOLENT force gives the 815ers a shot at redemption. In other words, the BENEVOLENT force emulated Yemi to give Eko the chance to redeem himself. Eko was redeemed though his denial. The MALEVOLENT force witnessed these events, found Eko useless, and killed him.

These two forces would satisfy the “Two players, one light, one dark” theme of the show. Right now, I am pretty sold on this theory. I hope I explained it well enough.


Since I received more comments over the last week on my column from before the break rather than my most recent one, I’ll briefly respond to those ideas. I never said Peyton Manning would never win the Super Bowl. That possibility always existed. However, he had to prove he could. My problem was that people were accepting it as fact that he could win it even though he did everything in his power to lose it. Now, he has proven that he has what it takes to NOT LOSE the big games. He stepped back and let his teammates make the big plays. Dominic Rhodes deserved the MVP of the Super Bowl for his excellent ground game. Next time you guys respond to my column, make sure you read it a little better first, alright? I know this week’s is a tough one, but it was an incredibly tough episode, so cut me some slack. And if you’re still going to mischaracterize what I said about Peyton Manning, then there’s only one thing left to say and you know what it is (No, it’s not “Do it, Rockappella!”):

Shut up, you’re wrong.

LOST Redux: S3E07 Not in Portland

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

Shut up, you’re wrong.

LOST Redux: S3E06 I Do

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

Jayemel Pet Peeve #372: When you know people will continue to deny the truth behind a statement or situation that is already proven.

No, that pet peeve isn’t in reference to ideas like the Theory of Evolution. It is a theory after all. What I’m referring to is, for example, the mindset of supporters of professional athletes such as quarterback Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts. If you’re from Indy or your Dad raised you on Colts football and the games remind you of him (aw, how sweet), your fandom is all well and good. However, if you still think Manning is the best quarterback in football, you’re a moron. It is proven that he cannot perform under pressure. He can win small games on big stages. Put him on the big stage and he puts on a worst show than a quickly signed teen pop punk band. The onus is on him to prove that he is the best in the game, not vice versa. In other words, the status quo is him choking in the playoffs and blaming his offensive line.

How does JMLPP372 apply to LOST? I cringed at the cliffhanger to the fall finale. I didn’t cringe because it was a bad cliffhanger. I cringed because I knew how people would react to it. Kate was refusing to leave Jack behind. All the people who claimed Jack and Kate would end up together now have their out. Kate wasn’t running, therefore she will choose Jack in the long run and Sawyer is just a fling, right? Wrong.

Kate and Sawyer are the status quo. The writers have been building towards their pairing since the scene where Sun dug up the message bottle to find her wedding ring and Kate tore through the messages to find one from Sawyer. You could argue they’ve been building towards it since the second half of the pilot episode, but I picked that moment in season two for a reason. Much of the triangle writing was very ambiguous in season one. We all picked our favorite, Jack or Sawyer, but Kate conceivably still could have chosen either one.

Season two marked a change in the writing. Ana Lucia was introduced as a love interest for Jack (yes, I still maintain that was the plan) and it seemed like it was only a matter of time before Kate got over her childlike reverence of Jack and chose Sawyer. Well, even though she finally chose Sawyer, the child like reverence remains. The Jack and Kate fans have their out, presumably until Jack dies and I’m not so sure I want to see his demise anymore (even though I’m still sure it will occur). Let’s save this discussion for later though.

For now it’s to infinity and beyond…or at least the flashback section.


Before I go into any indepth character analysis, I’d like to make an observation. I think I fell in love this past Wednesday night. I’ve always thought Evangeline Lilly was cute. She never rose past number two on my LOST list though. Emilie de Ravin always held the top spot over her. During the flashback scenes this episode though, Evangeline blew Emilie out of the water. She seriously looked ridiculous. I don’t even just mean when she was in the wedding dress. She looked amazing when she was shopping for taco night. Who looks good when the go to the grocery store?

Ahem, this column is serious and respectable. How dare you insinuate that I am immature and childish! To prove you wrong I am going to be critical and intellectual when dissecting this episode’s flashback! I’m not going to tell you that I just changed my long standing Confidence Man screen capture desktop wallpaper to an Evangeline Lilly wallpaper either.

I think I’ve located the source of my critique of the flashbacks this season. They aren’t surprising. Take this week’s for example. I feel as if I could have written it. Hold on a second. Don’t start attacking my ego. Besides wasting your time because everyone already knows that my ego is exponentially larger than it should be, you’d be missing the point. I’m not saying I could have penned the exact lines the LOST writers did. I’m not saying I would have thought to have Kate call the Marshall in the pouring rain and confide in him. The short scene subtly explained a lot about their relationship. We’re beginning to get a sense of why the Marshall acted so familiar with Kate. He was that familiar.

What I am saying is the basic plot was easy to outline; you there’s no such thing as DomestiKate. She thought she wanted to settle down. She thought she had found true love. The truth is that she had found nothing. She had to run. How hard is it for a hardcore LOST fan to conceive of the plot “Kate meets guy. Kate gets married. Kate drugs him and runs away.” Though with how the flashback ended, I have to wonder, is she still married? How does marriage law work? If you have a runaway bride AFTER the marriage, can you get a divorce without her consent? It seems kind of messed up to think of a judge saying, “Nope, the bitch ain’t here. You gotta stay legally bound to her until her body turns up dead.” Maybe that’s the reason the guy took to space in that show Firefly.

While I’m referencing other shows, did anyone else think of Friends every time someone called her Monica? I wasn’t even a big Friends fan and I thought of it every time. I really wanted her to flip it around by going Sawyer style and calling her husband Chandler at one point. That scene would have been priceless.

Overall, though the plot was predictable, I enjoyed the flashback. It was well balanced in the episode. I didn’t feel like it dominated the show, nor did the island activity dominate the episode. Kate has a lot more emotional depth to her now. Before she seemed like a cold hearted fugitive who ran and manipulated people without remorse. In a way, she was treated worse by the writers than Sawyer ever was. The fact that people have always thought of Sawyer as worse than Kate goes to show how far being a pretty girl goes in life.

I’ve already touched on the phone conversation with the Marshall. The other scene that I thought was powerful was the scene with her husband’s mother. You could feel the tragedy in the air. Deep down Kate knew she wasn’t going to be staying even though she wanted too so badly. She wanted to take that locket in good faith. The pain in her eyes was palpable through her happiness. Part of me wanted the marriage to work out even though I knew it never would. And that sense of inevitability is the true difficulty behind the flashbacks. In season one, and to a lesser extent season two, the flashbacks were a cool and unique way to learn about the characters. You could place yourself into the situation of the 815ers. Whenever you meet any new group of people they have seemingly automated responses and reactions that you have no idea how they developed. The pilot episode threw us into that situation and each subsequent episode pulled the curtain back a little more. Now, the novelty has worn off and many viewers are turning a callous shoulder to the show. I’m going to press pause on the discussion here and leave it as a “To Be Continued” until the LOSTology section because, in a point which I’m surprised no one has tried to argue yet, the flashbacks are actually a subsection of the mythology of LOST.


What we witnessed this episode was a little ironic character development. I’m not interested in talking about Locke. I’m not interested in talking about Sayid. I’m not even interested in talking about Sawyer and Kate. The character I’m interested in is Jack.

My admiration for the good doctor has been growing steadily this season. Maybe this odd outcome is a factor of him being placed in a situation he can’t control and where the control isn’t impressed upon him. If he wants the power, he has to earn the power. He has to struggle like the rest of us. Maybe I’m enjoying Jack because he’s no longer the golden boy. He’s the flunky being played like one of Sawyer’s marks.

He finally stepped up and grew a pair. More importantly, he did it in a way I never anticipated. Maybe he outsmarted me simply because I know little about medicine (even though I watch House religiously). I would have just killed Prince Ben. My hand would slipped, “Whoops, that was an essential nerve. We lost him. Aw, shucks. I said lost, isn’t that ironic?” Instead, Jack cut a small incision in Prince Ben’s kidney. Would a person really bleed out in an hour if that were the case? Of course, I don’t think there’s really any way to answer that question. I don’t think doctors gather a group of people and then put small incisions in all their kidneys to learn the average time it takes them to bleed out. Or maybe they do. It is a sick world we live in these days (Slim, for pete’s sake, put down Christopher Reeve’s legs).

The irony is that Jack pulled a con. If you wanted to argue hierarchically, you could even say he is now a better con man than Sawyer. Prince Ben conned Sawyer and Jack conned Prince Ben. Sawyer’s good, they’re better, Jack is the best. I don’t advocate such an argument though. Sawyer has conned the 815ers so many times it’s not even funny anymore. Ok, I lied, it’s still funny. No matter how many Jack Bauer outsmarts the world, it’s still awesome. The same applies to Sawyer.

The exact irony wasn’t the con. The exact irony was how the con fit into the whole Kate storyline of the episode. It was great to see Jack get some courage and take a stand. It was great to see him make the Good Guys scramble. It was even good to see him save Sawyer’s life. What was ironic though was how he gave Kate hope back, sort of.

Sawyer never told Kate that they were on a smaller island because he wanted to give her something to believe in. When he did tell her there, she finally chose him and all the risqué LOST footage ensued. Then, a few minutes later, Jack did everything in his power to give her something to believe in. It’s like rain on your wedding day. She makes her choice and the other guy seemingly gives her what the one she chose couldn’t.

I said seemingly for a reason. Initially when I saw the episode, even when I wrote up to this point in The Midside, I thought Kate as crying because she now had an opportunity to run and she didn’t want to leave Jack behind. Like I said, I’m sure many people, especially the Jack and Kate fans, are going to argue that point. However, it is now my belief that she was crying and yelling because she fears for his life.

When Jack took control of the operating room and starting making demands my first thought was, “This is it. This is where he dies.” Then I saw the end of the episode and I thought he was the hero again. However, Jack doesn’t have all the information. There is nowhere to run to. Sure, Kate and Sawyer could leave the cages, but where would they go, to the edge of the island? Would their lives become a giant game of hide and seek with the Good Guys? The only out I see to this situation is that Kate and Sawyer take the boat and drive to the other island. If they do, Jack might be safe. Otherwise, he’s in major trouble.

Then again, there’s the whole storyline with Juliet. If he kills Prince Ben, will there be new leadership among the Good Guys? Will he assume the leadership position I speculated about in a previous Midside? Wow, this cliffhanger actually left a lot of open (of course, what LOST episode doesn’t) and the questions are much different than the “Will Kate run?” one I focused on after my initial viewing. God, I love The Midside. God, I love LOST.


The time has arrived for me to note a trend among LOST fans I’ve noticed since the middle of the second season. This trend first manifested in response to S. O. S., the Rose and Bernard episode. Even though the episode was well written and produced, some people complained about it being slow and unentertaining. Others, like me for instance, praised the episode for its story and character depth. We learned a lot about Rose and Bernard’s relationship that episode and it made us consider them on a different level. There was even a bit of mythology thrown in with Rose’s cancer and the crossover with Locke. The response was split into those two groups, character and mythology, and the schism has only continued to grow since.

LOST’s popularity arose due to the focus on the characters. As I already mentioned in this column, the flashbacks were used in a unique way. We were given a new perspective on a situation we’ve all been placed in. We were given a perspective we’ve all always wanted. We saw inside the hearts and minds (a nod to Boone and Shannon’s first season episode) of people in a way we never could be more. What made this perspective even more powerful is the twist on the common character archetypes. LOST succeeds here where Heroes fails. The good looking talented doctor is tragically tormented by the family legacy he was forced to follow. The Iraqi soldier is the rational level headed one who abhors even his own use of violence when it is unnecessary. The pitiful old cripple is mysteriously knowledgeable and talented at seemingly everything. The Korean couple is not the bad reflection of their society in a Western perspective. The redneck Southerner rebel is intellectual, witty, and emotionally self aware. We were sucked in by the storytelling elements and fell in love with the characters. Before we came to know the island, we came to know them. Then Locke and Boone found the Swan Station Hatch.

Upon discovery of the hatch, Locke’s storyline became one of two epicenters of this dichotomy (the other is Hurley). His journey to uncover the mythology of the island, starting with the unearthing of the Hatch, became a metaphor for his search for purpose that spanned all the way to his depressing back story. In order to find inner significance, he demanded outer significance. The fans that followed his iconic character began to feel the same way. It wasn’t important how the characters reacted. What was important was what they reacted to. Those fans that drifted to the mythology side of the dichotomy had their reasons of course.

There is no denying that there are people who just love mythology. They love puzzles and they want the answers as soon as possible. They come to their decisions and want to be proven either correct or incorrect at the earliest possible date. I am not talking about those people. There is also no denying that all of us enjoy the mythology on some level. I want to know the answer to the puzzle. You all read my theories. If I didn’t care about the questions, I wouldn’t try to formulate an answer. The difference between myself and others like me and the mythology-driven fans is we don’t have a desire to know that burns like when a prostitute pees because we’re still as invested in the characters as we have been since day one.

I’m not saying that mythology-driven fans don’t care about the characters. Rather, they feel like they’ve gotten to know the characters so well that they’re like old friends. Think about when you first met your good friends and compare the way you interacted then and the way you interact now. You didn’t have complex flashbacks, but you had to learn how and why they would react to different situations anyway. Now, you know them so well that you can anticipate how they will react. The same can be said for the 815ers. It’s a safe bet that Jack is going to get frustrated and angsty at any situation he doesn’t have direct control over. Locke is going to do and say crazy things when faced with something he doesn’t understand. Sawyer and Kate are going to outwit, outplay, and outlast (except when it comes to each other). We have sufficient why to understand some things. We don’t have the entire why to understand everything. For some people, the sufficient is enough. For me, it’s not.

How do I stay invested in the characters? First off, I love a good story. I don’t care how many buildings you blow up, vampires you stab through the heart, victims you mutilate in traps, or aliens you disintegrate with your laser if there is no soft chewy center to your story. If there’s no human element, then there is only senseless whatever genre. Second, and more importantly, in regards to LOST I believe that the characters are the answer to the mythology. I’ve already explained the growing difficulty with the flashback technique. One could even argue that the flashbacks have run their course. The writers could have easily abandoned the flashbacks at the start of season three, but they didn’t. Additionally, the back story crossovers of the characters is one of the most interesting and important parts of the mystery. Ask yourself if you’d care half as much about LOST if the characters weren’t connected in the past.

My advice to all LOST fans is to be patient. The introduction of more questions doesn’t necessitate a lack of answers. Think of how much your life wouldn’t make sense without the context of your perspective. The mystery of LOST has never hinged on cheap twists and magic tricks. It is based upon what we weren’t being told. Go back and watch season one again. Considering the information we have now, it seems a whole lot less mysterious. What it all boils down to is if you’re a man of science or a man of faith. Are you only going to focus on what you see, only trusting what is immediately in front of you or are you going to keep the end in mind and believe that the writers, producers, and creators know the end? Me? I’m a man of faith.


-I’ll try and write some columns over the break. I can promise you that they definitely won’t be about the Groundhog’s Day rip off daybreak. I can also promise you that it will be better to look for them on MONDAY as my schedule best allows me to write on the weekend.

-Enjoy the break and remember: LOST is a pleasant diversion, but it’s not life. And if you disagree with that truth, well, then:

Shut up, you’re wrong.