LOST: Not in Portland

“Portland, Oregon and sloe gin fizz, if that ain’t love, then tell me what is. Uh-huh.”

Well, that was a complete non sequitur, especially when you consider that they aren’t even in Portland.

And…we’re back!

Spoilers from tonight’s long-awaited episode and link-filled goodness after the break.

Links and miscellanea:

  • The major media push on the official website is the LOST survivor guide, a series of videos aimed at drawing new viewers into the show and which were also aired before tonight’s episode. The theory is that with some basic information about the characters, anyone can enjoy the show, even without knowledge of the esoteric mythologies. I’m not sure I buy that, but I guess it’s worth a shot. The Survivors’ Guide is pretty inessential to anyone who’s been following the show for a while.
  • This AP article, “Lost tries to get its mojo back“, is pretty typical of the press that LOST has been getting this year. The pitch is that LOST has “lost its way.” There’s some truth to that, and I think splitting the season may have been a mistake. But from here on out is where the experiment could pay off, provided that the audience returns.
  • There’s was new video podcast this week, but new information was pretty slim. Lindelof and Cuse reveal that later on this season, Desmond will have a prophesy significant to one of the other characters, and we’ll learn how Jack got his tattoos. There’s also a very short sneak peak at some behind-the-scenes footage of Sawyer’s hypodermic-needle-to-the-heart sequence from last fall.
  • On the other hand, this online interview of Cuse and Lindelof is brimming with interesting revelations.
  • If you attend Tufts University, you could be enrolled right now in a LOST seminar course. Here’s a sample from the online course description: “This course will investigate how the show has spawned an empire of entertainment, marketing, and community that eclipses the show itself. We will look at how its producers have pushed ‘Lost’ to the bleeding edge of new media where online communities take pride in dissecting each episode, from literary references to philosophical allusion. And we will see how the show’s format has inspired dozens of copycats on networks desperate to adapt to a newly demanding audience.” I can’t imagine it’s anything you couldn’t learn by reading this blog.
  • Here’s an interview with Josh Holloway (Sawyer) that involves sex and fish biscuits.
  • And here’s another Halloway interview.

  • It’s too late to enter now, but TV Squad is running a LOST dead pool.
  • It seems unlikely, even if Michael and Walt’s boat does return to the island, that Harold Pirrineau will be returning as a regular cast member. He’s currently signed up for a CBS pilot of a supernatural drama called “Demons.” According to the Hollywood Reporter’s “sources,” failed contract negotiations may have played a part in the decision not to bring Michael back. It’s a shame because I’d still like to know more about Walt (as well as wanting to see Michael receive some retribution for his acts).
  • Finally, I can’t be the only one (in fact, I know I’m not) to create LOST Miis. Here they are (from left to right, this is Mr. Eko, Charlie, Locke, Sayid, Ben Linus, Hurley, Kate, Jack and Sawyer):

    LOST Miis

    Thanks to BTDF Forum member Viking, creator of the Locke, Jack and Sayid. If you have LOST Miis you’d like to share, let me know. I’m looking for a good Desmond, Claire, Jin and Sun.

Observations and speculations:

  • We learned several interesting things this episode. Alex is Ben’s daughter (I’m guessing adopted). Juliet has only been on the island for 3 years (3 years, 3 months, and 28 days, to be precise), and was recruited as an expert in experimental fertility treatments. Also, Kate doesn’t make idle threats.
  • In the opening sequence (which reversed the trick used for the season 2 and 3 premiers by having a flashback that looked like an island scene), we saw Ethan greet Juliet in a dimly lit corridor. This means that the Others’ organization had been stalking her for some time.
  • Juliet’s creepy ex-husband’s name is Edmund Burke. Add this to the list of classical philosophers: John Locke, Rousseau, and (Desmond) David Hume.
  • There’s an object on Juliet’s sister’s bedside table that appears to be a t’ai-chi symbol inside a very DHARMA-looking octagon. It’s not the first time we’ve seen octagon in a flashback. Michael’s ex-wife’s home had a lot of octagonal architecture.
  • Incidentally, Juliet’s sister’s name is Rachel, the biblical name of Jacob’s favorite wife who gave birth to Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son. We know from last fall that there is an Other named Jacob who has made a list (one that Jack wasn’t even on). In tonight’s episode, when Alex, Kate and Sawyer find Karl in a Clockwork Orange-style brainwashing chamber, one of the messages that flashes on the video screen in front of him is “God loves you as He loved Jacob.”
  • Some of the other messages that flash during that scene (one of the best of the episode for sheer “what the …??” effect): “We are the causes of our own suffering.” “Think about your life.” “Plant a good seed and you will joyfully gather fruit.” “Everything Changes.” There was also an image that appeared to be Dr. Gerald DeGroot.
  • LOST: Clockwork Orange-style brainwashing

  • I loved seeing Sawyer mesmerized by the bizarre brainwashing images. In this episode we saw that Sawyer is really a cerebral con man, while Kate is someone who takes action—a nice contrast.
  • Give Ben some credit. Even in the middle of spinal surgery, he can manipulate everyone around him. So now we know that he’s promised at least two people that he will get them off of the island if they help him out. What we don’t know is whether Ben ever delivers on his promises. Juliet apparently thinks so, or at least desperately hopes so.
  • Mittelos, the biotech company that recruits Juliet, appears to be an anagram. My best guess is “Lost Time.” (Cuse and Lindelof mention in the interview linked above that an important anagram would appear as an easter egg in this week’s episode, and I’m guessing this is it.) Incidentally, the man who recruits her is named “Mr. Alpert.” I have no idea if that is significant.
  • Why would Juliet think that a 26 year old woman appears to be in her 1970s? Is there something about the island that causes people to age prematurely? To “lose time”?
  • I loved Sawyer’s “Wookie prisoner gag” line. Note that this is at least the second time that Kate has used the fake hostage trick.
  • I’m not sure what Juliet meant when she said that the only way Ben will let Karl live is if Alex stays. Apparently, he wants Alex near him, even if she can be a problem.

I thought this was a very strong episode and a very satisfying resolution to the cliffhanger that ended the fall season. Next week, we get to go back to the beach, and it looks like there will be preparations for a battle with the Others. It should get good. I, for one, am very glad to have LOST back, even if it means I get less sleep on Wednesday nights.

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30 thoughts on “LOST: Not in Portland

  1. Nice summary…it definitely was good to get a little “Lost” back into my life tonight. And, good theory on the anagram/Mittelos thing…very observant. I can’t wait to get “back to the beach,” as you put it, next week. I miss Locke!

  2. Now that was compelling drama! It is so nice to have Lost back, and we get it for 16 straight weeks! Hopefully the writers will slow down the character development again, now that they don’t have to rush to fit characters within a six-episode plot….

  3. Agreed. Best episode in a while–even though I was hoping to see what was going on in the mainland. But I guess we’ll get to that next week.

  4. A few more thoughts:

    Although I just scratched the surface in my post, I think last night’s episode actually revealed some very important things about the nature of the island. We know that Mittelos Biotech (which I hypothesize is an anagram for “Lost Time”) is interested in Juliet because she’s a doctor doing very radical experiments in fertility. She apparently was able to impregnate a male field mouse, as well as assist her sister, Rachel, who seems to be terminally ill, in becoming pregnant. (I mentioned Rachel’s relationship as Jacob’s favorite wife in the blog post, but perhaps the most important significance of the name Rachel is that she was an infertile, elderly woman who was blessed by the Lord and made to conceive a son.) Mittelos, who is obviously linked to the Others, knows this, and for this reason desperately wants Juliet to go to the island to work. During her recruitment, they show Juliet scans of a woman’s womb. Juliet estimates that the woman is “in her 60s,” though Mr. Alpert says she’s only 28.

    All this leads me to believe that living on the island has made the Others infertile, perhaps because it prematurely ages them. They want Juliet to go there and see if she can correct the problem, or find some technological work-around. We also know, of course, that the Others are obsessed with children. Perhaps this relates to their inability to conceive or procreate themselves. This relates to why they abducted Claire in Season 1 and nabbed the tailee children.

    I’m guessing all of this information will become very important soon.

  5. Greg,

    I’m curious though what all that has to do with the Dharma project, which seems to be more psychological, sociological experiments, rather than genetic/pediatric.

    I think we haven’t yet met the real puppeteer of the island.

  6. “Incidentally, the man who recruits her is named “Mr. Alpert.” I have no idea if that is significant.”

    This is the best example of what Lost does to you that I have ever encountered. I am sticking by my prediction that Ben needed the surgery so that he could get off the island, although that might have changed now that the purple sky has introduced changes.

    I think the point isn’t that the island screws up people’s age, it is that it screws up people’s wombs.

    Finally, the Others don’t seem to be all that quiet, stealthy and super-powerful on the lil’ island. What’s up with that? And, if Alex is an adopted daughter, what did Ben do to get her?

  7. Dan, according to the Cuse and Lindelof interview I linked, will be getting a lot more information about the connection between the Others and DHARMA in episode 11, four weeks from now. (It’s about time.) That’s a pretty big issue we’ve all be wondering about for a long time. You might recall that when Kate, Jack, Sawyer and Locke met up with Tom and his band of torch-bearing Others last season, Tom quoted Alvar Hanso as “a great man.” So there’s some respect for Hanso/DHARMA among the Others, but it appears that the Others are *not* engaged in DHARMA studies anymore and that they possibly view it as failed. One theory is that the Others are Hanso fundamentalists.

  8. “And, if Alex is an adopted daughter, what did Ben do to get her?”

    He stole her from Danielle Rousseau when she was an infant, if we can trust Rousseau (aka Crazy French Chick), and I’m not entirely sure we can.

  9. Also, Bryce, if last night’s show doesn’t prove that Ben is evil, there is nothing that will. They kill her husband with a bus.

    Finally, Rachel had a hysterectomy because of ovarian cancer. I’m just sayin’

  10. She apparently was able to impregnate a male field mouse, as well as assist her sister, Rachel, who seems to be terminally ill, in becoming pregnant.

    This really bothered me. It seems sort of unethical to impregnate a terminally ill person? If not, unethical, for sure irrational.

  11. “Also, how much do you want to bet that Ben’s last name is Franklin?”

    Well, we know his last name is Linus. Franklin would be a good middle name, though.

    “They kill her husband with a bus.”

    Technically, it was her ex.

    “Finally, Rachel had a hysterectomy because of ovarian cancer. I’m just sayin’”

    Excellent theory!

    “This really bothered me. It seems sort of unethical to impregnate a terminally ill person? If not, unethical, for sure irrational.”

    Yes, definitely ethically suspect. Juliet and Edmund acknowledge as much, but Juliet doesn’t care about ethics because the only thing that her sister wants is to procreate before she dies.

  12. A few thoughts. First this was a very solid episode. I thought the first half of the season was actually fairly good. I didn’t understand a lot of the complainers. Although the Eco-centric episode was very disappointing. Doubly so given that the first Eco-centric episode was my favorite of the whole show.

    Contrast this return of Lost with the returns of Heros or BSG and I’m pretty happy. (Although, of course, with but one episode it’s hard to judge – I was pretty happy with the first two BSG as well)

    I agree that we’ve not met yet the master puppet player. I have a feeling that Batmanuel may be a significant character. (Anyone else catch the reference?)

    I still have this feeling that we’re going to have a series of homages to Beneath the Planet of the Apes where Charleston Heston pops up and a bunch of nuclear weapon worshipping folks.

    I suspect we’ll also see Desmond’s girlfriend make a re-appearance this season.

    BTW – the biggest news last night was that since the hatch blew, the Others can’t leave the island either. Which makes me wonder about a certain survivor and his son…

  13. BTDGreg,

    I’m confused about how we know that Ben is Alex’s father.

    And are we sure “since the sky went purple” refers to when they missed punching in the numbers and the hatch exploded?

  14. Which reminds me, the biggest mystery remains what exactly happened to Locke, Desmond, Ecko, and Charlie when the hatch went ka-blooey?

  15. “I’m confused about how we know that Ben is Alex’s father.”

    I’m simply going from the multiple times that he was referred to as being her father by the characters on the show. I’m not sure if transcripts are available yet, but it was pretty clear from the dialog.

    “Hey, when did we learn his last name was Linus? I missed that.”

    It was in the same episode where Ben showed Jack the Red Sox winning the World Series. He told Jack his name and told him that he was born on the island.

  16. Odd. I don’t remember anyone saying “Ben,” only “your father.” Sawyer refers to Alex as the boss’s daughter, but like others my impression is Ben does not appear to be the ultimate leader among the Others.

  17. Brian, you may be right. I’ll look over the transcript when it becomes available. I just scanned the transcript for ep. 3.6 “I Do” and found a few interesting things. First, we have Alex coming from the jungle with her slingshot demanding to talk to “Ben.” She doesn’t call him “Dad,” but this might be rebelliousness or because she doesn’t acknowledge that he’s really her father. We also have Ben asking, right before he’s put under, whether Alex asked about him, and Juliet lying and saying no and that she was “taken home last night” (probably on the main island, where the village is). I assumed that Ben wanted her on the small island, but it seems like that wasn’t the case.

    I still think Ben was the one they were referring to as Alex’s father, but that could be misdirection, I suppose.

  18. It’s true, they never referred to Ben as her father specifically. The closest thing we got was that “if you’re not here when he wakes up, he’ll never let Carl live.”

    It’s the wake up reference that is meant to direct us to Ben, who lay anesthetized at the moment. No, it’s not certain, but it has to be intended that we think Ben is the father.

  19. Also, when they are talking to Aldo (during the wookie moment), Aldo says her father wouldn’t approve, Alex says who do you think sent me and why don’t you call him, so then Aldo grabs the radio and asks to speak to Ben.

  20. Well, if he does ask to speak to Ben, that’s pretty conclusive, but it does make one wonder why Aldo wouldn’t know that Ben was in surgery. Maybe he’s just too low on the totem pole to be told such things.

    One thing I think has been different in terms of continuity is the nature of the others. In past seasons they’ve been portrayed as nearly superhuman. At least, Ethan was portrayed that way, as an individual who was stronger, faster, smarter, and more formidable. Who knows, perhaps Ethan is from a different group or subset, a subject of an experiment, or something similar?

  21. I’m not sure they were really portrayed, strictly, as superhuman. Rather they portrayed themselves that way – often in what seemed a deception. (I think that was clear in the way the Others and Jack first met) Once we started seeing the wore out low tech nature of the Others it was clear to me that something was up – something in the nature of a deception. And of course the Others are constantly deceptive.

  22. “One thing I think has been different in terms of continuity is the nature of the others. In past seasons they’ve been portrayed as nearly superhuman. At least, Ethan was portrayed that way, as an individual who was stronger, faster, smarter, and more formidable. Who knows, perhaps Ethan is from a different group or subset, a subject of an experiment, or something similar?”

    I think the Tailees’ impression of the Others was a paranoid delusion. I also think Ethan was clearly a bad ass.

    There are, in fact, more than one group of Others. I resisted this idea for a long time, but Cuse and Lindelof confirmed this in a podcast. That said, Ethan is clearly associated with *this* group of Others, as we have seen this season, in episode 3.1 (Ben sending Ethan out to the beach) and this episode (Ethan accompanying Mr. Alpert to recruit Juliet).

  23. I kinda think that “other island” is a set up, much like the tent camp was a set up. Remember that prior to the crash, the others were living in Otherburbia (whereever that was). Also, where did Carl come from and all the rock movers? There is something up.

    If there is more than one group of others, this group is clearly the only group we have had dealings with (Goodwin was with them). That leaves eye-patch and Rousseau to be the other others.

  24. I agree that this was a strong episode. Seems like the first episode in awhile where things actually happen.

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