Now we know why the creative team nicknamed the season finale “frozen donkey wheel.” Who knew it would be so literal? More discussion of the final two thirds of the LOST season 4 finale (including spoilers, of course) after the break.
Links and miscellanea
- This Time article argues that this season was better because of the writer’s strike (less LOST is more, apparently). This seems to be the meme of the moment among TV critics. I’m not linking any of the other half-dozen or so articles I found because they all say basically the same thing. And I’m not sure I agree—I think the ratio of good to less-than-good episodes was pretty similar to last year (approximately 3:1, by my count). But I can go along with this theory if it would mean that the networks are willing to take a chance on less volume, higher quality series with known beginnings, middles and ends, like what we see in British dramas.
- LOST Director Jack Bender will be directing a new pilot for next season (“The Prince of Motor City.”) Bender, in my opinion, is the most unheralded, but crucial, member of the LOST creative team. The show doesn’t get enough credit for just how great well directed it is. The stub doesn’t say anything about whether Bender will continue to work on LOST.
- Dark UFO put together a sequence of video clips attempting to put each of the flashforwars in chronological order.
- USA Today has an interview with Kevin Durand (the freakishly evil mercenary Keamy)
- Michael Emerson talked to TV Guide about the season 4 finale. (Part 2 here)
- Apparently, LOST’s scripts contain a lot of cussing that isn’t ever heard by the television audience. Also, these words from Lindelof and Cuse about the newest aspects of Locke’s backstory: â€œ’We would basically advise those who have time on their hands to look into Buddhist traditions and the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. We used a lot of that back story in the creation of this myth.’ ‘Or if you have a lot of time on your hands, become a Buddhist,â€ Cuse quipped. â€œRead the Bible; thatâ€™s always good. You might get some clues about Season 5 and some general spiritual enlightenment.’â€
- Take The Hardest LOST Quiz Ever. (via Pop Candy)
- Look for more LOST-style sci-fi in next year’s TV schedule. It seems like they tried this two or three years ago, with poor results.
- EW’s Doc Jensen in this column relays information from Cuse and Lindelof that we’ll find out more about the odd location of the flight 815 crash site (Indonesia? That’s not between Sydney and LA!) next season.
- McSweeney’s: Opening Act, from the Original, Unused Teleplay of Lost’s Pilot Episode. Exhibit A in the argument of why too much exposition is a terrible thing.
- I skimmed this week’s official podcast, and here’s what I got: stormtroopers are just bad; antipodal wormholes are good theories; Cuse’s favorite character is Sawyer, but Lindelof’s is Jack.
- The comic book put in front of Young Locke by Richard Alpert has been purchased off of eBay and is being posted online.
- And finally, Jorge Garcia (Hurley) has a blog: Dispatches from the Island.
Observations and speculations
- All of the setting up two weeks ago was well worth it. This was a fantastic two hours of television, some of the best of the series so far.
- Starting the final two hours at the exact place that last year’s season finale left off was a brilliant move and good storytelling. We come around full circle to where we were, and we actually do know so much more.
- Now we know that John Locke, going by the alias Jeremy Bentham, spent his last days visiting the Oceanic 6 trying to convince them that they needed to return to the island to be safe. Jack and Kate have very different feelings on this issue.
- By the way, I rarely do this, but I nailed it so I’ll indulge. Jeremy Bentham? Told you so (a year ago!).
- Jeremy Bentham, of course, is a philosopher influenced by John Locke, famous for his views on utilitarianism and, among other things, having his body preserved for display by the University College London. He was also known for his theoretical invention of the “Panopticon,” a circular prison in which the prisoners are in the center and always being watched.
- Nice Sawyer nickname moment (to Jack): “So what’s the plan, Sundance?” I guess that would make Sawyer Butch Cassidy. (Coincidentally, Sawyer’s lost love and the mother of his child is named Cassidy.)
- Locke has a very different approach than Ben ever did. He’s much more of an evangelical. He really cares about Jack (who, we might remember, wasn’t even on Jacob’s list) staying on the island and appreciating its mystical powers. Ben was always more of an elitist.
- Richard Alpert and the rest of the Others seem to have Ben’s knack for manipulating people. That’s the best explanation for how they were able to enlist Kate and Sayid in their plan to rescue Ben so quickly.
- Keamy must have at least twelve inches of reach on Sayid. The mans a giant. But then, Sayid has the Legs of Death. When Richard Alpert shot Keamy, I wondered why he didn’t put a bullet through his brain. I mean, what were the odds that he wasn’t wearing body armor?
- Before Walt and his grandmother go to visit Hurley at Santa Rosa, Hurley is just about to eat a Molly Fisher Fruit Roll-Up (a fictional brand). Molly Fisher Rock is a large stone boulder, a megalith, near Kent, Connecticut where some indecypherable ancient inscriptions appear to be written. According to local legend, Molly Fisher was a mysterious healer in Colonial times who used to visit the rock, and her spirit still haunts that location. This account gives some details that make Molly Fisher sound not entirely unlike Jacob. Also, it’s notable that there are some stones with ancient writings scratched into them beyond the “exotic matter” cave that Ben crawls through later in the episode.
- When Hurley told Michael that the Oceanic 6 are lying to protect the people left on the island, he was probably being truthful. On the other hand, when he added, “yeah, like your dad,” that was a lie because Hurley surely knew that Michael died in the freighter explosion. He probably just wanted to spare Walt’s feelings.
- Locke tells Jack: “Let bygones be bygones.” Ever notice how quickly people on LOST seem to get over their differences and ally themselves with each other as soon as circumstances change?
- Great exchange between Locke and Ben: “Couldn’t find the anthuriums, could you?” “I don’t know what they look like.” Both actors have great comic timing.
- Micheal gets creativity points for thinking to freeze the battery with liquid nitrogen. I have no idea if this would work in real life. I kind of doubt it. If disconnecting the battery means “boom” why is freezing it okay? Still, nothing like an imminent explosion to add suspense to a season finale.
- The exchange between Miles and Rose about the peanuts seriously cracked me up.
- In fact, Miles just cracks me up. “Oh no, you’re very dire. But I’m still going to stay.” Miles must think the island and its ghosts are a playground for him and his paranormal gifts.
- Miles knows things about people. For instance, he knows that Charlotte has been trying to get “back” to the island. It seems that Charlotte may have been born on the island, then unable to return. This may mean that the island’s tendency to kill off pregnant women has not always been the case. This should also put to rest the popular fan theory that the scene at the first of the season with Charlotte and the polar bear skeleton in Tunisia was actually a flash-forward. Charlotte has been obsessed with DHARMA and Oceanic 815 because she thought (correctly) that these clues might lead her back to the island. I think we’ll learn a lot more about Charlotte in the future.
- Yet another great Locke and Ben exchange: “Is this the magic box?” “No, John, it’s not.”
- We saw a different version of the Orchid orientation film than was previously available, including our introduction to “the vault.” We also see Hollowax (aka Candle) talk about a “pocket of what we believe to be negatively charged exotic matter.” From Wikipedia:
Exotic matter is a hypothetical concept of particle physics. It covers any material which violates one or more classical conditions or is not made of known baryonic particles. Such materials would possess qualities like negative mass or being repelled rather than attracted by gravity. It is used in certain speculative theories, such as on the construction of wormholes. The closest known real representative of exotic matter is a region of pseudo-negative pressure density produced by the Casimir effect.
- Ben voiced his contempt for DHARMA and their “silly experiments.”
- Keamy is big and certainly scary, but he’s not the smartest mercenary around. He gravely miscalculated when he assumed that Ben would care about the innocent people on the freighter. Ben couldn’t care less about the freighter. In fact, he views it as more of a threat than anything.
- Here’s what I suspect Sawyer whispered to Kate before jumping out of the chopper: “Find my daughter, Clementine Phillips, and make sure she’s okay. She lives in Albuquerque.” Or words to that effect.
- We’ve now seen Sawyer come 180 degrees from the “every man for himself” hording conman to the guy who is all about helping people and self-sacrifice.
- How awesome is it that Hurley was playing chess with Mr. Eko? Pretty darn awesome, that’s how.
- Sayid believes that the Oceanic 6 are in physical danger, most likely from the Widmore faction. That may make him easier to convince to return to the island, especially with Nadia gone. Hurley is resistant to returning to the island, though. Also, there was something very Harry Potter Book 7 about the way that Sayid did not let Hurley say Locke’s name. Yes, in part it was to keep the suspense going, but it also reminded me of the way Vold—er, He Who Must Not Be Named—tracked down the members of the Order of the Phoenix.
- Anybody else notice that Frank Lapidus patched up the chopper with duct tape? Nice.
- Watching Jin go down with the freighter was pretty gut-wrenching.
- Christian Shepard again, releasing Michael from his island duty just before the boom. Is this really Jack’s dad, or some manifestation of the island/Jacob/the Smoke Monster?
- Sun’s flashforward could mean that she’s not aligned on the same side as Sayid in the future. That could be interesting. Managing director is a pretty impressive job title that Sun has given herself at Paik Industries.
- We know exactly why Ben is icy and wounded when he lands in Tunisia now. The entrance to the island’s worm hole is frozen, and he cut himself when the ladder broke.
- I wonder why the person who moves the island can never return. That seems like an arbitrary rule.
- For the record, on the island when it disappeared: Sawyer, Juliet, Miles, Charlotte, Locke, Richard Alpert and a cast of Others, possibly Claire.
- On the freighter when it exploded: Michael, Jin, and assorted freighter people.
- On the chopper: the Oceanic 6, plus Desmond and Frank. I have a feeling that both Desmond and Frank will continue to be a part of the story going forward.
- It was unclear whether Faraday and that final group of survivors on the Zodiac made it to the freighter before it exploded. Based on not seeing him on the boat, I’m guessing he was still in transit. But did he make it back to the island before it disappeared? Probably not. I’ll miss Faraday.
- When Kate gets her late night phone call, the voice on the other end is heard in reverse (similar to the way Creepy Walt communicated in season 2.) I recorded and reversed the audio. You can hear it by clicking here (I reversed only the backwards talk in the audio clip). It’s a male voice, sounds like a young man, saying: “The island needs you. You have to go back before it’s too late.” It’s curious that the voice on the phone is working at cross-purposes to Claire, who insists that Kate not take Aaron back to the island.
- On the wall of Aaron’s bedroom, the White Rabbit, looking at his pocketwatch. Yet another Alice in Wonderland reference.
- The appearance of Penny’s boat at the end of the finale was another nice tie-in to last year’s finale, where we first learned about Not Penny’s Boat.
- Now is a good time to point out that Penelope was the name of Odysseus faithful wife who waited for her husband to return from his long, strange, perilous journey. Yea for Desmond and Penny. We know their future is still in jeopardy, but at least they are happy for how.
- Jack tells Desmond, “I’ll see you in another life, brother,” a callback to the first season, when Jack and Desmond first met. I think Jack will see Desmond again under still different circumstances.
- When Jack goes back to the funeral home, he is listening to The Pixies “Gouge Away” on his car stereo. Awesome song.
- Ben proposes that all the survivors must return to the island, even the corpse of John Locke. The island requires all of them to go back.
- Locke told Jack that after Jack left, “some very bad things happened.” I guess that we’ll find out more about that in the next couple of seasons.
- Jack trying to return to the island by riding passenger planes, hoping to crash, reminded me of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and the notion that once that story was over, the kids could not return to Narnia via the wardrobe. Ben has a few ideas about how they may return, though.
- Although I missed it at the time, a commercial for Octagon Global Recruiting apparently aired during the show.
Well, as you can tell I loved the finale. Even in the strike-shortened season, Lost managed to pack in quite a bit. Interestingly, very little time passed on the island this season, yet it seems like we learned so much, a lot of it during flashforwards.
NOTE: My apologies for the multiple typos in this post. A technical glitch erased half of my post somewhere around 1:00 am, so I did a lot of hasty rewriting.
I’m really looking forward to the next two seasons. What did you all think?