Sunday, February 28, 2010

Update on LOST recap

Yeah, I am WAY behind on this one...sorry, real life intervened. I just did my first (and probably only) re-watch last night, and at last check Lostpedia doesn't have the full transcript up yet. I rely heavily on those transcripts to put my recaps together, so if that isn't up soon I am going to have to go back and rewatch again and make more detailed notes.

Bottom case scenario to have the recap up is tonight, but more likely tomorrow.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Getting fired up!

Spring practice is only a week away…that fact really hit home with me yesterday as I was on the way home from work and got to hear yet another great interview with Coach Grantham on 790.

I love everything that I have heard from Coach Grantham about the aggressive intensity and mental toughness that he plans on being the trademark of his defense. Seriously, he must have said the words “aggressive, physical, relentless” about a dozen times. Plus, he continues to reiterate his goal that every team who plays us will be glad when the game is over so they don’t have to deal with us anymore. I LOVE that. For too long, I feel like we have been in such a "reactionary" position, and it's about time that WE become the ones dictating the pace and style of the game rather than always being on our heels.

Between that interview, this BEASTLY post, and then this and this from the great David Hale….I am getting seriously fired up about what the Dawgs defense is going to be in 2010 and beyond.

I feel like our personnel is actually much better suited to an aggressive, attacking 3-4 than what we have run in the past. Houston and Washington are natural OLB’s in a 3-4. Our linebackers are MUCH better at read/react and fly to the football then they are in a “softer” coverage-based defense. The one position where I was worried about depth next year, defensive tackle, all of a sudden looks much more sturdy when you only have to fill one position instead of two.

One other guy to look out for at OLB that doesn’t really get talked up in those posts is incoming freshman TJ Stripling. This seems to be a guy who was created specifically to either play the OLB position in a 3-4 scheme or hunt down commandos in the jungles of Central America, and I can't wait to see him get on the field.

I expect that the combination of the agressive style and the early unfamiliarity with assignments may lead to some blown coverages and big plays early on, but I think if Dawg Nation is patient and understands that going in, then the longterm rewards will be measured in championships!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Idol Thoughts - Top 12 Guys

OK, before we get started, here is the breakdown of the categories as I referred to them the other day:

Annoying: Todrick, Jermaine, Lee, Tyler
Obvious Cannon Fodder: (in other words, people who might stick around for a couple of weeks but nobody outside their immediate family believes they have ANY shot at actually winning): Joe, Big Mike, John, Alex
Teenybopper bait: Aaron, Tim, Casey
Only person I am actually looking forward to hearing: Andrew

Questions? Comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section...

Trust me, this one will likely be shorter than yesterday's, for reasons that will become obvious as we go along.

1) Todrick Hall - "Since U Been Gone": Well, he certainly got the memo from last night about not just singing the song straight. I give him points for his creativity, confidence, and stage presence...and then I immediately subtract said points based on the fact that he didn't so much "change" the song as "butcher" it, and also that he is one of those people who are so addicted to runs that they appear incapable of ever holding a note longer than about half a second.

Simon nailed it...he is a dancer who is trying to sing, not a singer who also dances. To his credit, he admitted as much during Hollywood week, so at least it won't be news to him.

Kara and Randy, on the other hand, are either total hypocrites or they suffer multiple personality disorder...this is where they start the annoying trend of telling people they should just leave the melody alone instead of trying to change it up so much. The exact opposite of what they told the female contestants the night before.

I think the answer is in the middle...change the melody to something GOOD. Todrick only got 50% of the equation correctly.

2) Aaron Kelly - "Here Comes Goodbye": Nasally and flat vocal. No stage presence, other than that one move where he kept raising one arm and posing it. Yeah, I can see why the judges gave him such a tongue bath.

(Psst...that was sarcasm).

3) Jermaine Sellers - "Get Here": Another one who is intent on injecting runs into every single phrase. This was entirely too old fashioned and, just like some of the females, a performance that might have gone over better in the first 2-3 seasons of the show. The middle part sounded like someone was strangling a mongoose.

Oh, but he did give us the funniest part of the night: "Oh, yeah, I've made up with the band. Michael? Who's Michael?"

4) Tim Urban - "Apologize": Rocking the Bama bangs like JPW. Here's my only question...why would you pick a song that features a falsetto voice so prominently if you have no falsetto to speak of? This was awful in an uncomfortable way, which becomes the theme for most of the night.

5) Joe Munoz - "You and I Both": Who? I have never seen this person before. Nice scarf. Good tone to his voice, but his vibrato is out of control. This was actually a pretty good performance, but very forgettable. I don't think he won any fans with that, but I said the same thing about Kris Allen during the first week last season, so what do I know?

6) Tyler Grady - "American Woman": OK, here is where I would go postal on some judges if I were a contestant. Tyler got up there and did the EXACT thing that they have praised him for since his first audition. He strutted around making faces at people, was overly ambitious vocally, and basically played the part of a 70's rock star. That's what he does, and we just saw an entire video package of the judges acknowledging that and praising him for it, up to and including them putting him in position to perform tonight. I never really got it...I always thought it was the very definition of "affected", which Simon always kills people for, but the judges seemingly ate it up with a spoon.

So, tonight, he does the same thing that they have been telling him for months was so awesome...and they tell him he needs to cut that crap out and do something else.


7) Lee Dewyze - "Chasing Cars": Ooooo, I just want to punch this guy in the face. Don't you just want to punch him in the face?

This started bad, and then got worse...the pitch was EVERYWHERE, and then in the chorus it just got terribly, wince-inducingly FLAT. Just AWFUL, and nowhere near on pitch. And he seems to know it when he gets finished.

And then Simon tells him he was "by FAR, the best performance of the night."

I give up.

Seriously, I think this may be one of those times where Simon watches the recording and realizes that what he heard was in no way reflected in this place we call "reality". It will be interesting to see if he acknowledges it on the results show...he has been known to do that before.

8) John Park - "God Bless the Child": Boring, old fashioned, decent voice, but just a brutally boring performance. Moving on.

Wait, wait....Simon. THAT was flat, but Lee was AWESOME?


9) Michael Lynche - "This Love": My god, he is ENORMOUS. That guitar really DOES look like a ukulele.

This was a "nice" performance. His voice is not that strong, but he is having fun up there, though I do question whether his guitar was even plugged in. This is a prototypical "cannon fodder" performance. It's pretty good, and he will most likely outlast a good bit of the rest of this steaming pile of garbage that is the Top 12, but he has NO shot at winning the whole thing.

10) Alex Lambert - "Wonderful World": Is he rocking a mullet in his pre-performance interview? At least a mini-mullet. Interesting...

Oh my gosh...this dude is PETRIFIED. Seriously, he is scared to move. He looks like Whitney Houston in Bodyguard when she knows there's a sniper in the crowd. His vocal starts out terrible, probably because he can't breathe, but it gets better as he goes along.

I think he has talent, it's just hidden under about 30 layers of pure fear. I hope he sticks around, if for no other reason than to see if he can grow a full-fledged mullet by the time the Top 4 gets here. It's about time the music scene experienced a mullet revolution.

11) Casey James - "Heaven": Yeah, thanks for replaying that ridiculous audition scenario. You know, that whole thing really ticked me off. See, it was during the whole Bikini Girl fiasco last season that I gained a lot of respect for Kara, because she called her out on her whole B.S. when she told her to just show up naked next time. How is this any different?

Anyway. Casey's voice is about a B-, but that is obviously not what he's about. Which is fine...I always say Randy is full of it when he calls this a "Singing Competition", because he is. This is a "Pop Star" competition, and that often has little to do with singing ability (Britney, Jessica, the Jonases, etc, etc, etc.). He's just using what he's got, and I have no problem with that. I don't necessarily think he's THAT good looking (granted, I'm not really the target audience), but what he does have is a very natural charm and, most importantly, swagger. And great hair.

He's going to get a contract out of this, no matter what, so good for him.

Kara is absolutely EMBARRASSING herself. Ugh. If Simon was this blatantly unprofessional about a 25 year old female contestant, women's groups would be calling for his job.

And Ellen is professional enough to recognize it and apologize for it. Good for her, seriously.

12) Andrew Garcia - "Sugar, We're Going Down": Here is the one I have been waiting for. I am not familiar with this song, so I have no frame of reference as to what he did to switch it up, but I know I would buy it. Like Crystal last night, he's just a pro...very authentic, and he showed off his musicality and creativity. It didn't blow me away like I was hoping it would, but I thought it was light years ahead of everything else we heard tonight.

Ugh. That was epically bad, as a whole. Enough so that I am starting to believe that they REALLY want a female to win this year. The problem, though, is that because of the stupid Guy/Girl format, there are going to be six of these people in the final 12, no matter what.

I REALLY miss the Wild Card format from last year. Why did they get rid of that? When your Top 12 is the BEST three from the three previous weeks, plus three that the judges put in because they really believe in them, you're pretty much guaranteed to have a quality Top 12.

I wish we could get rid of 4 guys this week instead of 2 guys and 2 girls.

OK, let's wrap it up:

Top 4:
1) Andrew Garcia
2) Casey James
3) Ummmm
4) Whatever.

Who SHOULD go home: Randy Jackson, along with like 10 of these talent-deficient bores.
Who WILL go home: Not nearly enough people.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Idol Thoughts - Top 12 Ladies

When Ryan walked out through that gauntlet of all 24 performers, I gotta tell ya...I was a bit overwhelmed. There are so....many...of them. This is going to be a LONG week. So let’s get to it….

As usual, I’m not gonna spend a lot of time going through what the judges say unless somebody either says something that I totally agree with and hadn’t thought of or somebody says something so ridiculous and egregious that I just have to stop and scream at them for a minute (gee…wonder who THAT would be?).

I will say this…Kara has either been watching another show or was lying through her teeth when she said that we probably know these contestants better than we have in years past. I feel like I have never seen half of these girls .

Theme for this week was…..? I never really figured it out. Ryan said something about the Hot 10 on the Billboard top 100 or something like that, but best as I can tell it was “Any Song From Any Era That You’ve Ever Heard of Ever".

1) Paige Myles – “All Right Now”: Speaking of contestants I have never seen…

I thought this was a good song choice in that it was unexpected. You could definitely see the nerves early, but it got better as it got to the chorus. She went for a big note at the end, and I don’t think she had quite enough to get there, but I’ll bet it sounded decent live. Overall, a passable performance that I will have forgotten about 5 minutes from now .

2) Ashley Rodriguez – “Happy”: Well, she looks fantastic. A few pitch problems on the verse, and….wait, that’s it? That seemed really short to me. There were a couple of times where it felt like it was about to go somewhere, but then…didn’t.

3) Janell Wheeler – “What About Love”: Oh Janell, Janell, Janell….HORRIBLE song choice. You only sing Heart if you have Alison-level pipes, and that is not Janell’s strength. She is overpowered by the song, by the backup singers…dang it. At least she LOOKS great, of course, and if she sticks around I hope she gets back to what she’s good at, which is the sultry Southern girl-next-door type stuff.

4) Lilly Scott – “Fixin’ A Hole”: She started out on my bad side because I read her bio and she says things like “I’m going to revolutionize the mainstream”. Who talks like that? I do think it’s cool that she’s 37 years old and finally getting a chance, though. And she’s a big Beatles fan, as you can tell by the song she chose to sing.

The performance was good…a bold song choice, sung in her very distinctive voice. It was one of those performances that you will either love or hate, but you will definitely remember. I liked it, but her problem is one that I will probably get into a little later (if I remember)…there are LOTS of “quirky, coffee-house singer” females on the show this year. Will they split that vote?

5) Katelyn Epperly – “Oh Darlin”: She really is a gorgeous girl, but Kara was right about the look this week. This is one of my all time favorite Beatles tracks, and it’s a really good “singer’s song”. Her voice sounds good, but you could tell she was nervous, and she tried to hide it by doing what Nigel Lythgoe (from SYTYCD) calls “pulling faces”. I also think she flubbed a couple of words…it’s not supposed to be “I’ll never do you no harm” at the end of every line, but if you’re not familiar with the song you probably wouldn’t notice that. Overall, I think it was a nice performance…nothing great, but I definitely think she sticks around for another week.

6) Haeley Vaughn – “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”: Wow, when did this become Beatles Night? I’m not complaining, just wondering..

You know what? I kind of loved this. Admittedly, her voice was sort of all over the place, but I think it may just be because she’s SIXTEEN!!! (sorry, I channeled Randy there for a minute) and hasn’t really learned “how” to sing yet. I absolutely loved the arrangement. She showed a lot of creativity and musicality, and managed to make what is possibly the most dated of all the Beatles songs into something almost current. I don’t know if I will buy in every single week, but for this week I dug her.

7) Lacey Brown – “Landslide” – Oof. This was not good. HORRIBLE start, and then even when the vocal got better it was just…boring.

And just to address her comments to Simon for a minute…number one, as I went over and over last season, “I love that song” does not equal “I need to sing that song on American Idol." Especially the first week…you need to pick a song that you sound GOOD on. Sorry, Lacey, but this wasn’t it.

Secondly, it WAS boring, just like Simon said it was. Not because it was slow…as you’re going to see in just a few minutes, you can sing a slow song and not be boring.

8) Michelle Delamor – “Falling”: Oh, good grief. As if we haven’t heard this song enough on this show. And Michelle has a nice voice, but she does absolutely nothing to the song to differentiate her from the other 957 times we have heard it. Hate to tell you , Michelle, but this show has progressed past that now.

9) Didi Benami – “The Way I Am”: Loved her interview package…no mention of the dead best friend, which is good. She needs to avoid going to the Gokey place (doesn’t everybody?), and she was refreshingly self-aware of the “Crybaby” tag.

This was a great song for her voice, and I thought she sang it well, though her voice almost went into the Megan Joy thing a couple of times. I agree with what Ellen said (which I did much of the night)…as one song in a set, it would be really great, but there may not have been enough here to be memorable.

And since Simon brought it up in his comments to her, this would be a good place to address one problem I have with their choices of contestants this year. There are too many of these same type female singers in the group…the singer-songwriter type with the quirky tonal quality who you usually find in local coffee shops (or on my MP3 player). I would put Didi, Janell, Lilly, Siobhan, Lacey, and maybe Crystal all in that same genre…that’s half of them! Even if you don’t count Crystal, it’s still basically five of the same type. “Different” is the new “Same".

Simon said she sounded like several of the other girls, but that’s not really her fault. She could have done what Janell did, which is try to sing a big Singer’s Song, but we saw how that worked out, didn’t we?

10) Siobhan Magnus – “Wicked Game”: All right, the more I see of this girl the more I am convinced she was sent here to save us all. First of all, that name is straight out of one of my nerdy SciFi/Fantasy books that I have suddenly gotten hooked on. Then she starts talking and she is just so refreshingly real and interesting. I mean, come on…a glass blowing apprentice? Isn’t that the coolest job that any of our semifinalists have ever had? Sure beats Kellie Pickler’s waitress-on-wheels out of the water, I’ll tell you that. Anyway, I am really starting to love her, if you can’t tell.

And this performance certainly doesn’t hurt. From a technical perspective, this was probably the most impressive performance I heard all night. She starts out in this really low register, where it is MUCH harder to sing. It’s very difficult to sing that low and maintain good breath support, tone, pitch, etc. But she NAILS every note. And then when it goes into the falsetto on the chorus, she just effortlessly switches registers with no breaks, no faults on the pitch…just really gorgeous. See, Lacey, you CAN sing a slow song and not be boring.

And THEN…Randy finally pushed me over the edge enough that I have to address it. HOW…HOW is he qualified to talk about singing? His fascination with big notes just shows how little he actually knows about the subject. Look, I’ve done a little singing in my time…if you have the range to hit higher notes, then the “big notes” are the EASIEST ones to sing, because you don’t really have to worry so much about control, or support…you can just rear back and BELT it. The truly great singers are the ones who can master the subtle parts, the nuance of a melody…not just “BLOW IT OUT”, like Randy likes to talk about all the time. What a useless, pointless person.

OK…moving on.

11) Crystal Bowersox – “Hand in My Pocket”: What can you say about this? The girl is just a pro, plain and simple. I truly don’t know if that’s going to help her or hurt her in the competition, because she almost makes it look TOO effortless. I do agree with what Simon said to her, though…this was good, but it was very “sound-alike”.

Here is her problem…she really doesn’t watch this show. I believe her when she says that. And she is used to doing her OWN stuff, which means she doesn’t have to worry about “making a song her own”…it is ALREADY her own. So I don’t think she has much experience taking somebody else’s song and rearranging it in a way that is unique and fits her voice, which is more and more what this show is starting to be about (which is a good thing, by the way). She will definitely be around for a few weeks, and I am VERY interested in seeing how she adjusts to that. I know she has the talent…I’m just curious as to whether she’s going to have the patience and wherewithal to use those talents in this very specific way.

12) Katie Stevens – “Feeling Good”: Ugh…I am so sick of this song. Just like that song Michelle did, it is almost impossible to do this song and not sound EXACTLY like everybody else who does it.

Which is precisely what happens her. Her voice is great, don’t get me wrong. But this is not memorable in any way. Not for me, anyway. She is another one who I think is going to stick around based solely on the audience’s familiarity with her, but she is going to have to bring more to the table than that.

Overall, this was a fairly entertaining show…the problem was that, in my opinion, there were no truly GREAT performances, nor were there any truly HORRIFIC performances. WAY too many of them fell into the “Good, but Boring” category: Paige, Ashley, Katelyn, Michelle, Didi, Katie. Then you had a couple (Janell, Lacey) in the “Why in the World Would You Pick THAT Song” category. The rest are my Top 4 for the night. Combine that with the fact that, as mentioned, so many of the contestants are so similar, and I REALLY don’t have a clue as to who is in trouble. Other than Crystal and Katie, nobody else would truly shock me if they went home.

My Top 4:

1) Siobhan
2) Crystal
3) Haeley
4) Lilly

Who SHOULD go home: Lacey and Paige
Who WILL go home: Since I don’t have a clue, I’m sticking with Lacey and Paige.

One more quick note…I really thought Ellen did a great job. She seems like she is going to be more of the “voice of the fan”. A lot of her comments tonight were along the lines of “I don’t know about all the technical singing parts, but I know I did/did not like it”. She was pretty easy on them tonight, but again…I don’t think anybody really warranted any over the top praise OR criticism, so I thought her tone matched the performances.

Geez…I have 12 more of these to do tomorrow? Can we just start eliminating 8 people a week?

Super quick LOST thoughts...recap to come later

Maybe it's just the selection of people I follow on Twitter, but the instant reaction I'm seeing online to last night's episode is mostly negative, and I really don't get it.

That episode included:
- Tons of funny Hurley stuff.

- A glimpse at how Jacob is bringing people to the Island, with the Lighthouse scene that almost has to be analyzed frame by frame. (By the way, Kate's name WAS listed on that wheel-thingy...but she was number 51, not one of The Numbers)

- Creepy Claire, which I thought was awesome.

- Jack has a son! least in the X timeline he seems to have resolved a lot of the father-son issues that have been central to his character since the Pilot episode.

- Hints of more connectivity between the two realities, as Jack seems confused by his appendectomy scar.

- For the FIRST time since the third episode of the show, we revisit the Adam and Eve Skeletons. I actually saw someone complaining last night that they were ticked that this was all we were going to get on this subject.

Says who? Was last night the series finale and nobody told me? I think the point of showing the skeletons again was to remind the more casual viewers that they exist. You know, the people who haven't been involved in online discussions regarding their significance, and therefore may have forgotten that ONE 45 SECOND SCENE where we saw them 5 YEARS AGO. If we weren't going to get more than that on the Skeletons, I seriously doubt they would have bothered showing them last night.

I think people are really cheating themselves by sitting at home with their checklist of "answers" that they are looking for. I refuse to do that...I'm going to enjoy the ride, and last night's episode was another fun and intriguing installment.

Plus, Claire buried a hatched in that dude's chest!

I guess it's the "instant gratification" factor that comes in to play when such a large percentage of the audience is jumping on the internet at 10:01 every week to discuss the episode, but I don't understand people who act like they are owed ANSWERS every single week. The answers are coming, and sooner than I want them to, because answers mean the end of the show, and that makes me sad.

Look, at this point it does not matter to me what the "ending" winds up being...I'm not going to be mad at the creative and productive forces behind this show that has brought me hours upon hours of high-quality entertainment for the last five years (at no cost, by the way). It's not OUR story, it's THEIRS, and I think they deserve to tell it however they want.

OK, rant over...I'll be back sometime later today with the recap of the Top 12 Ladies Night on Idol, and then the full LOST recap will probably be up sometime Saturday.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Idol Thoughts - Top 24 preview

Random thoughts on American Idol so far:

- I still think the audition episodes go on about 2 weeks too long.

- Good guest judges: Kristin Chenoweth (since she can do no wrong in my book). Neil Patrick Harris (my dream pick to replace The Cowell), Shania Twain (surprisingly effective).

- Bad guest judges: Whichever Jonas Brother that was (brought absolutely nothing to the table), Katy Perry (seriously? YOU are going to tell people about singing?), that Spice girl (memo: "I like your outfit" does NOT equal "This person can sing").

- Guest judges who probably weren't good yet I am strangely attracted to them so I give them a pass, sue me: Avril Lavigne. Yeah, I know...I can't really explain it either.

- Hollywood Week continues to be the fulfillment of everything that is good and wonderful. I miss it already.

- Thoughts on Ellen? So far, so good. I still hate the idea of four judges just on principle, but so far she has been funny and constructive while still being concise. I was really worried that she would be prone to ramble, but she seems to have resisted the urge so far. However, all of these shows so far have been taped, which means edited. I am withholding final judgment until I see how she does on the live you can tell by the fact that I just used the phrase "so far" about a dozen times.

- As for the actual contestants....meh. It's weird. I seem to remember an awful lot of good singers during the audition process, but I am only really looking forward to rooting for five of the top 24, and only one guy.

My top 5:

Crystal Bowersox:
Love everything about her, except for the chiclets. Girl needs a SERIOUS Elliot Yamin-style teeth makeover.

Didi Benami:
Or, as I call her....Brooke White 2.0. Great backstory, great voice, questionable emotional makeup.

Janell Wheeler:
My Idol girlfriend for this year...lucky her. Ask Megan how that worked out for her last season.

Katie Stevens:
Just consistently good...and luckily, she is no longer 16, so we don't have to listen to Randy bellowing "SIXTEEN YEARS OLD!!!!!!" every frakking week.

Andrew Garcia:
The one guy I actually really like. The rest of them are either annoying, obvious cannon fodder, or teenybopper bait. (Here's a fun game...try and categorize the other 11 in the comments!)

OK...the plan is to have the recap of the live shows up the next day. I will not be doing recaps of the results shows, although I may chime in if something awesome (like ALISON IRAHETA performing this week! YES!) or awful (like Alexis Grace going home about 8 weeks too soon last year) happens.

Can't wait! Looking forward to hearing from you!

Friday, February 19, 2010

More LOST thoughts and some other stuff

Many thanks to David Hale for the kind words and the the immortal words of Wayne Campbell..."I'M NOT WORTHY!!! I'M NOT WORTHY!!!"

Believe it or not, even after writing what felt like a Stephen King-level opus yesterday (I mean length, not content...not enough gratuitous gruesome death or creepy kids to qualify as King-level content), I still later realized that there were a couple of things that I meant to address and didn't.

First of all, Shan brought up the point in the comments about what exactly the "rules" are concerning Jacob and MIB, especially in light of Ilana's comment to Sun that MIB was now stuck in the Smocke persona. We are all pretty much in agreement that we have seen Smokey take on other personas, right? Yemi and Alex for "sure" (at least as sure as we can be about this show), and maybe Dave, Christian, and the old guy that Locke saw in the cabin way back in "The Man Behind the Curtain".

So, what has changed? The only thing I can think of is that it revolves around the death of Jacob, and may be somehow related to the loophole that MIB had to find in order to kill him. He can obviously still go back and forth between Smokey and Smocke, so apparently it is only related to his ability to take on the personas of dead people.

Secondly, a more general comment regarding the "Sideways Timeline" plot device...I am certainly enjoying seeing the characters in this new environment and trying to figure out what's "different" about their personalities and how their lives have been changed. And, of course, I'm digging seeing so many of the people from the Island pop up when you least expect them. However, I think that at some point the novelty is going to wear off and the writers are going to have to raise the stakes a little bit. So far, we have not seen any real relevance to what is going on back on the Island, or any concrete consequences to the Jack Daniels plan of blowing up the Island, or even given any real reason to "care" about what is going on in the X timeline outside of just a "what if" scenario. We've seen little hints that some of the characters feel a little tugging at their consciousness that something is weird (Jack recognizing Desmond, Kate seeming to feel some connection to Jack, Claire just "knowing" that the baby's name should be Aaron, etc.), but nothing else.

I'm going to trust the writers, of course...I'm sure they are going to provide more context and stakes to the X timeline as we go along. I just hope it happens sooner rather than later, or I am going to start losing interest in that part of the story.

I'm sort of afraid that they may run into some of the problems that I have with "FlashForward" Shan pointed out in the comments to yesterday's post, one little thing (the fact that Locke and his dad appear to be on good terms) produces so many questions and possibilities that it's going to be extremely difficult to reconcile it all without fudging some of the details. How did Locke and Helen meet if he wasn't in anger management, is Sawyer still a con man if Anthony Cooper never conned his parents, and if Sawyer is not a con man why was he in Australia, etc, etc, etc...

The difference here from FlashForward is that we have established characters and plotlines that we as viewers are invested in...I think that if the writers can just get us to the point where the X timeline somehow has consequences or stakes related to the Island timeline, then it will all work out.

One more thing...Terry O'Quinn is a brilliant actor, and is giving an Emmy-worthy performance. What I love is the subtle differences between pre-Island Locke and X-Locke, contrasted with the calculating and dangerous Smocke character that he now is on the Island. Terrific stuff.

Programming note: We are down to the top 24 on American Idol, which means that those recaps will start back up next week. They are back to a two hour performance night on both Tuesday and Wednesday, unlike what they did last season, so I am going to be a busy little blogger with four hours worth of performances to recap every week. For that reason, the LOST recap will almost definitely be pushed back to Saturdays...hey, I have to talk to my wife and kids at SOME point.

This weekend, I plan to let you know my favorites based on what we've seen so far, as well as my thoughts on how this season is playing out with the judge shake-up (SPOILER ALERT: I do not miss Paula).

Hey, and maybe there might even be a few Dawg and other sports related posts thrown in there too, at some point. What can I say? I'm a Renaissance man...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thoughts on Lost - The Substitute

Couple items of "old business" first:

- Evangeline Lilly was interviewed for the ABC video podcast last week, and she had a couple of interesting things to say.

  • In her opinion, Kate went back to the Island for NO other reason than to reunite Claire and Aaron. Sure, other things may happen or be resolved as a result of that decision, but that was her motivation. I'm glad to hear that...I would much rather it be that than a Jack/Sawyer thing. Not that I think that situation won't be addressed again at some point, but at least it's not the top priority.

  • She is intentionally playing "Sideways Kate" with more of an edge. In her opinion, the Kate we saw in the original flashbacks was scared, out of control, and just doing whatever she could to survive. She was miserable being a fugitive. Sideways Kate, on the other hand, LOVES being a fugitive, the adrenalin rush that comes from being on the run. She is MAKING things happen, rather than just dealing with what happens to her. In re-watching her scenes from last week, you can see the difference she's talking about, and it was cool to hear her thought process as to how she was portraying what is in a lot of ways an entirely different character than the one she has been playing the last five years.

- Lots of talk last week about the date on Claire's sonogram being 10-22-04, which is exactly one month later than you would expect it to be if this new Flight 815 was arriving on the same day as the original one.

Some people have pointed out the D: next to the date and said that it could mean "Due Date". Others have pointed out that Dr. Ethan said she was 36 weeks, while back on the Island she was 32 (I don't even remember if that's correct). Then Gregg Nations (the member of the production staff who is tasked with policing continuity issues...good grief, can you even IMAGINE?) went on the Fuselage fan site and implied that it may be a production error (he said part of the date was a hint and part of it was an assumption would be that the "2004" part would be a hint as to when all of this is happening, and the "10" was the error).

Bottom line...I have no clue. Again, I'm not going to break my brain trying to figure stuff like that out right now, because if it's important we'll know soon enough anyway...there are only around a dozen episodes left, after all.

But if we weren't obsessing over every little minute detail, even stuff that a typical TV fan would never even see, much less attempt to derive plot detail from it, we wouldn't be LOST fans, would we?

OK, on with the show...pack a lunch, buckle in, or whatever cliche you want to apply...I think this may be a long one.

- From the very first scene, we can see that there is something different about Locke in the X timeline. Whereas the Locke we all knew and pitied probably would have railed against the sprinkler in the face thing, or broken down crying and screaming a Nancy-Kerrigan-level "WHY?!?!" at the heavens, this Locke just...laughs it off.

Also, not sure if it was an intentional callback, but the image of the sprinklers hitting Locke in the face definitely reminded me of his upturned face as the rains poured down back on the Island in the Pilot episode.

- HELEN!! That is so awesome. Man, I really want John Locke to have a happy life. Is it wrong that I wish for good things to happen to this character moreso than I do for most of my friends and some of my family? It is? Moving on then...

- Another clue that this is September, not October? Helen tells the caterer (or whomever she is talking to) that the wedding is happening in OCTOBER, implying that this is probably sometime before that. I think. Check back with me next week.

- Yep, she totally said he should invite his dad to the wedding. Either that relationship is WAY different in this timeline, or Helen is really being insensitive by pressuring him to invite the kidney-stealing absentee dad who pushed him out an 8 story window and crippled him. More on that in a minute.

- I don't think John believes in destiny. Hmmm....

- How cool was the whole "Let's Take a Trip With Smokey Around The Island" thing? I especially liked the part where we stopped at Sawyer's window and you could see Smokey in the reflection of the window. Nice touch.

- "Alright, Richard...time to talk". Love it.

One of my favorite "little" things about this episode is how scared out of his mind Richard is. We have always seen Richard as being totally chill, kind of a "been there, done that" attitude, never freaking out. Not now. Dude is TERRIFIED of Smokey. I can't wait to find out what the history is there.

- Yes, Randy Nations is still a jerk (with totally sketchy facial hair). But he's also right. "Sorry I went on a trip to Australia that the company paid for and then never bothered to show up to the conference thingy I was supposed to be going to. Can't I just tell you that it was for 'personal reasons' and then you leave me alone about it?".

Ummm, no. You're FIRED.

- Did you catch the photos on Locke's desk at work? Obviously, he and his dad are on good terms (check the bottom picture)...interesting. So how DID he lose the use of his legs if it wasn't because his dear old dad shoved him out a window?

- OK, this conversation between Smocke and Richard was the first of several "That guy is totally SATAN!" moments that I had while watching this episode. Doesn't his little pitch to Richard remind you of the serpent in the Garden of Eden? "What, he didn't tell you? Wow, I never would have kept you in the dark like that. Come on, follow me, and I will tell you all the secrets. I'll put you on the same level as Jacob, knowing everything that he knows." Sound familiar?

But I think Richard has heard this pitch before, and he's not falling for it.

- Good grief, there's too much stuff to parse through in this exchange, particularly everything that comes out of Smocke's mouth:

"(I want) what I've always wanted. For you to come with me." - Again, I can't wait to get the history between these two. Apparently Richard was the number one draft pick when the sides were being picked.

"John's a candidate...or at least he WAS a candidate" - That one we'll get to later, obviously.

"People seldom get a second chance." - Is this part of the struggle between Jacob and Smocke? That Jacob believes people SHOULD get a 2nd chance and Smocke doesn't? Because this seems to fly in the face of the whole "Tabula Rasa" philosophy that we have seen so far on this show.

- Blond kid, with bloody arms, standing in a very Christ-like pose. Anybody got any ideas? At this point, I can only think of a couple of possibilities...that's either Jacob (my first choice, though I don't get the significance of why he is appearing as a child or the bloody arms...guess we would get more on that later), or maybe Aaron (though I don't know how that works with the timeline...he's obviously only around 3 years old in 2007). Or...maybe it's somebody else entirely, based on what we see later. More to come.

- Ilana to Ben: Did (Locke) kill Jacob as well?

He really can't help himself, can he. "I lied...that's WHAT I DO."

- Ilana scoops up the ashes of Jacob and puts them in her pouch. Yeah, I think it's safe to say that will be important later.

Maybe the ash that protects us from Smokey is the ashes of other former "Jacobs"? That is one theory I've seen, but there sure does seem to be a lot of ash to spread around, considering that Jacob has apparently been in this body since the Black Rock came.

Whatever...suffice to say that this is not the last time we will see this ash.

- I'm afraid Sawyer is attempting suicide by alcohol.

And Josh Holloway continues to knock it out of the park. Four years ago, I considered him to be the weak link on this show, acting-wise. He has really proved me wrong the last couple of seasons. Even "Redneck Loner" Sawyer, which he reverts to in this episode (seen very clearly in the later shot of him holding the gun on's an almost exact replica of the shot of him pointing the gun at the polar bear way back in the Pilot), seems to be deeper and more real now than it seemed then.

- "I don't give a ___ if you're dead, or time traveling, or the Ghost of Christmas Past. All I care about is this whiskey. So...bottom's up! Then get the ___ out of my house."

Kids, this is what we call hitting rock bottom.

- I thought it was really cool that we get to see Sawyer showing off some of the skills that made him such a successful con man...he has a great ability to read people. "You're not John Locke. Locke was scared, even when he was pretending he wasn't. And're not scared."

And while we're here, another great little moment for Terry O'Quinn. Watch his eyes as he drops the facade of trying to be John Locke and just starts playing it straight as Smocke. Awesome.

- "Well, I guess I better put on some pants!". This was my wife's LEAST favorite line of the episode.

- Back to the X timeline...Locke may be more well adjusted now than he was in the original timeline, but he's still a stubborn old fart. "Yeah, I know that's a handicapped parking spot...but I don't WANT to be handicapped! I can park wherever I want!".

I can't imagine very many parking lots that would allow him room to drop a wheelchair ramp in a non-handicap spot without hitting the vehicle next to him.

- Hugo needs to reintroduce himself to his razor. Those mutton chops are WAY over the top.

- I can't shake the feeling that Hurley is going to be the one who is the "leader" by the end, especially in light of what we see in the end of this episode? He tells Locke, "Chin up...things are gonna work out", and I think that is foreshadowing something other than just Locke's job placement.

- Was that a spider on John's rapidly decaying head? Cause if so, that's pretty disgusting.

- So Jin is heading to the beach, and Sun is heading to the Temple. I'm still OK with this now, but if they keep this "just missing each other" thing going until the finale I'm going to be pretty ticked.

- "What were you doin' alone in that house, James?"


- Now Sawyer can see the little blond boy too. What does that mean? I have no idea.

- Two things I thought of while Smocke was chasing the boy through the jungle: Number one, why doesn't he just turn to Smokey if he wants to catch him so bad. Number two, why doesn't he ever take that backpack off? WHAT'S IN THE BACKPACK?

- Now we get a better look at the kid. Yes, he looks a LOT like a younger version of Jacob. But seeing as how Smocke is still acting as if he thinks Jacob is dead when they get to the cave, I'm thinking it may not be him.

Of course, I have to think that there is a higher being than either Jacob or Smocke involved here...SOMEBODY had to set the "rules", right? So maybe this is that Higher Power? Just spitballin'....



There is obviously still some residue of Locke left in this "entity" that Smokey has taken over. I think that when Smocke told Ben what Locke's last thought was back in "LA X", it wasn't because he was's because it was still bouncing around in his head when Smocke took up residence.

- Hee. Richard is SCARED. Not sure why that cracks me up so much.

- "Who were you talking to?"
"Nobody. Where's the kid?"
"What kid?"

Awwwww....just like all great relationships, it looks like this one will be built on a solid foundation of mutual trust and honesty.

- I admit I didn't catch this, but I saw it in a writeup later...the "what animal would you describe yourself as" temp agency worker was the woman who Hurley's dad hired as a fake psychic back when he was trying to convince Hurley that he wasn't crazy.

And Locke's reactions to her were priceless.

- ROSE!!

- Was it a little odd that they didn't recognize each other? Weren't they just on the same plane yesterday? Locke, for sure, has a pretty unique look to him...

Also, why was billionaire Hurley flying on a commercial plane?

Anyway, not important...

- LOVED how Rose completely cut right through Locke's B.S. about being a construction site coordinator. Locke is one of those people who would pick something like that intentionally, just so the other person will say no, just so he can accuse them of being prejudiced against them because of their disability. You know the type. Rose nailed him.

- Dang. Rose still has cancer.

Dang. That really sucks.

- Back on the Island, Sawyer pulls a little Ben Linus on Smocke with the "Of Mice and Men" reference...this was the same book Ben quoted to Sawyer way back in Season 3 when he took him up on the hill to show him that he was on a totally different island from the rest of the Losties.

- Smocke's plea to Sawyer:

"What I am is trapped. And I've been trapped for so long that I don't even remember what it feels like to be free. Maybe you can understand that. But before I was trapped, I was a man, James. Just like you....I know what it's like to feel joy... to feel pain, anger, fear... to experience betrayal. I know what it's like to lose someone you love."

OK, so how much of this is truth and how much of is just to manipulate Sawyer? I DO think he's trapped...but I don't know if he's ever been a "man" the way he is describing it to Sawyer. What he and Jacob are is obviously still up in the air, but I don't think "human" is high on my list of possibilities.

- "John Locke was...a Believer, he was A Man of Faith, he was...a much better man than I will ever be. And I'm very sorry I murdered him."

You know what? I believe him.


(hold on, I think I have something in my eye...)

- "Weirdest ___ funeral I've ever been to."

Yeah? Frank obviously missed Boone's funeral. That one was pretty wild, too.

- That whole scene with Locke confessing to Helen that he got fired for not going to his conference, I was thinking that the universe was going to course-correct and Helen was going to leave him again, just like she did before, and I was dreading it. So, no matter how cheesy the whole "The only thing I was waiting on was you" line was, I was just so happy to see something good happen to Locke that I was digging it.

- OK, let's take a closer look at Locke's dialogue here, in comparison to similar things he has said in prior episodes:

"The Substitute" dialogue: "My walkabout. An adventure in the outback. Man against nature."

"Walkabout" dialogue: "Not that you would understand, but a Walkabout is a journey of spiritual renewal, where one derives strength from the earth. And becomes inseparable from it."

See the difference? It's subtle (sort of), but I think it's intentional. In the initial timeline, it's all about becoming ONE with the X timeline, it's man AGAINST nature.

"The Substitute" dialogue: "And I sat there yelling at them. Shouting at them that they couldn't tell me what I can't do. But they were right. I'm sick of imagining of what my life could be out of this chair, Helen. What it would be like to walk down the isle with you because its not gonna happen. So if you need me to see more doctors, have more consults, if you need me to get out of this chair, I don't blame you. But I don't want you to spend your life waiting for a miracle because there is no such thing."

"There's No Place Like Home" dialogue: "It's not an island. It's a place where miracles happen."

Obviously, there are more examples of destiny-loving, miracle-believing Locke, but the point is the same...yes, this Locke seems more well-adjusted and content than the "original" Locke, but what has he had to give up for it? He's SETTLING, and that is not the Locke we know and love.

I'm thinking that business card gets taped back together before too long.

- Of course, the way to Jacob's cave is...Jacob's Ladder. Do with that what you will.

- Didn't that look like the same place that Hurley almost jumped off the cliff in "Dave"? I thought we were about to get some confirmation that "Dave" was really Smokey, and now he was trying to get Sawyer to take the plunge the same way he tried with Hurley...

- Count me as one who thinks that Smocke somehow orchestrated Sawyer's "near death" experience to engender more trust in him.

Before we continue, a sort of "disclaimer"...I don't think LOST is a Bible story. But there have been TONS of religious references and overtones throughout the entire show, and not just Christian ones...we've seen Roman and Greek mythology, Egyptian gods, Islam, Catholicism, etc, etc. But, more than anything else, there has been the overpowering themes of light vs. darkness and good vs. evil.

Now, coming from a Christian background, my natural inclination is to apply those themes in a certain way, specific to the Christian religion and the Bible. But every religion has a "Good" higher power and an "Evil" adversary, they just call them different things.

So I don't think I'm reading too much into it when I say that, based on everything we've seen in the show (especially this episode), Jacob is a picture of "God" and Smocke is a picture of "Satan".

I bring that up now, because that belief is central to my theories about what we are about to see next...

- OK, the rocks on the scale: Obviously, the white one represents Jacob, and the black one represents Smocke. They have been equals for all of these years, and the scales have remained in balance. But now...Jacob is dead, so Smocke yanks his rock off the scale and flings it in the ocean. The scales are forever tilted in his favor.

Except...Jacob's not really dead, is he? We saw him talking to Hurley an hour after Ben "killed" him. So maybe Smocke is being a little premature in his celebration?

I couldn't help but make this parallel: Just like Smokey "inhabited" John Locke and then manipulated him to cause the death of Jacob (with Ben's help, of course), the Bible tells us that Satan inhabited Judas in order to bring about the death of Christ. Satan thought that this signified his victory, when in fact the death of Christ was part of God's plan all along. Could it be that by killing Jacob, Smocke may have somehow brought his own demise? Remember, a lot of us noticed in last season's finale that Jacob seemed to OFFER himself to Ben's knife, and did not attempt to fight back in any way...even Ben pointed it out to Smocke in the aftermath, which is why I thought it would definitely have importance later. Just like Christ OFFERED Himself up, as a Lamb to the slaughter, and did not fight back against those who were crucifying Him.

Again, I don't think that the story of LOST is supposed to mirror the Bible...but I definitely think the writers draw parallels to the Bible as much as they do other "books", especially in the case of what are turning out to be the two central protagonists.

- Back to the X timeline for a minute...Locke is now a substitute teacher, teaching biology...remember when his guidance counselor tried to encourage him to go to Science camp?

- "I don't believe we've met...Ben Linus. European History."
"John Locke. Substitute."


Oh, and he's exactly right. If you empty the coffee pot, START ANOTHER POT. We live in a SOCIETY, for crying out loud.

- Back to Candidate Cave...I'll go into which names are on the walls (and which ones AREN'T) in a minute, but for now let's just deal with Smocke's explanation.

- All of the people on this wall were "chosen" as candidates, and from then on they had a seemingly unavoidable destiny. Jacob was "pulling the strings", as Smocke says, in order to get them to the Island. Once there, they would be somehow vetted and then "crossed out" if they didn't meet muster.

Flash back to last season's finale, when we first meet Jacob and his adversary:
- "They come. They fight. They corrupt. They destroy. It always ends the same."
"It only ends ONCE. Anything that happens before that is just progress."

(side note...I think that as long as there is a "Jacob", then the adversary is not allowed to leave. That's what he means by "trapped". Now that Jacob is supposedly dead, he thinks he's found his way out)

So...apparently Jacob has brought all of these people to the Island over the years, looking for a replacement, and the search has yet to be successful.

At first glance, this paints Jacob as...really awful. Think about the things that we have seen these characters go through in order to end up here. Jacob CAUSED all of those things to happen, just so he could bring them here to this Island?

But...we're only hearing one side of the story, and just like Satan, Smocke knows just how much truth to leave out and how much to mix in with his lies that it makes it hard to tell the difference. I think that what we will ultimately find is that, yes, those things did happen because Jacob needed them on this Island...but that ultimately, it is for the Greater Good (another early episode title, by the way). He knows more than we do, so what seems to be "manipulative" and "unfair" to us has positive outcomes that we can't see yet.

Now, I don't know if Smocke knows that and is just not telling Sawyer, or if this is really what he believes...but either way, I think Sawyer is only getting part of the story.

- Why does Jacob need a "replacement" if he's still on the Island?

- Oh...and Smocke ain't taking Sawyer "home". That much I can pretty much guarantee.

OK, on to the names on the wall...Lostpedia has a great breakdown HERE.

Some items of interest:

- Obviously, all of the most familar names to us have all been assigned the "numbers".

4 - Locke
8 - Hurley
15 - Sawyer
16 - Sayid
23 - Jack
42 - Jin/Sun (I personally think it's Sun, but that's mainly due to the whole Paik Industries thing that you can read about HERE)

Remember that the Numbers are factors in the Valenzetti Equation...some math-geek talk is coming up, so skip down if you so choose.

We've had an episode called The Constant, and we've had an episode called The Variable. A variable in a mathematical equation is a symbol that stands for an unknown value in the equation. Once you assign a number or value to that variable, that number or value is called...the Substitute, which is the name of this episode. Maybe Jacob has finally found the factors that will solve the equation?

What equation? I don't know...probably not the Valenzetti exactly, but...something else. I'm still working on this theory, obviously.

- Some other familiar names are already crossed out: Pace (Charlie), Rutherford (Shannon), Littleton (Claire...I'm assuming).

Also, Mattingly and Jones, which were two names that we saw on Army uniforms that the Others were wearing last season.

- The big missing name, of course, is Kate Austen. I REALLY don't know what's up with that. We were showed in no uncertain terms last season that Jacob showed up in young Kate's life and "touched" her on the nose. So isn't she a "Candidate"? Maybe Jacob got as tired of her as the rest of us did...

- One other thing that confused me...Hurley and Sayid were not visited and touched by Jacob until AFTER they got off the Island originally, but before they went back on Ajira 316. So were they not candidates before, but then maybe became candidates because of their actions on the Island?

Look, I obviously don't know what all of this means yet...but I do believe that we just saw what this entire show is about in a very cool nutshell.

How will they ever top THIS one?


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why I love LOST...

Wow. Last night's episode is already firmly entrenched in my Top 5 all time episodes, and could possibly vault into number one upon rewatch and the opportunity for subsequent episodes to add even MORE importance to it (which seems impossible).

In the wake of such mind blowing awesomeness, I am reminded again of just why I love this show so much. There are so many aspects of this show to love...the acting is stellar (particularly in the last couple of seasons), the dialogue is sharp and witty (most of the time), it's a gorgeous show to look at almost all of the time, the characters are fully realized, etc, etc.

But all of that has been done by other great shows over the years. What sets this show apart for me is that I have never seen a show with such ambition and audacity that has also managed to stay on the air this long.

I have never seen another show that respects their audience and challenges us on a weekly basis the way this one does. I love the fact that for the last two and a half seasons, the writing and production staff have basically told their audience: "Look...we're going to be dealing with subject matter on this show that you are not going to find anywhere else. Physics, archaeology, time travel, the time-space continuum, religion, literature, human name it. And we're not going to cut it up into small bites for you, either. We're giving you the whole freaking steak, and we expect you to know what to do with it. If that's too much for you, well....there's always The Biggest Loser." As far as I can tell, they have never once felt the need to back off of a concept or a plot device because they were afraid that the audience wouldn't get it. In fact, they have voiced concerns in the media that they knew that there were some people who would find the show too challenging, but they still have the guts to throw it out there anyway.

And kudos to the network, as well...I think the level of cooperation that the producers of this show are experiencing may just be unprecedented. Not only the much talked about decision to let them set an end date, which almost definitely saved the show from a creativity and story telling perspective, but also that they have apparently allowed them to go as far as they want to into this unchartered territory.

Maybe we have it all wrong when we talk about Joss Whedon having to go to a cable network in order to be able to tell his stories the way he wants...maybe he should call Disney/ABC instead.

I'll be back later with the recap, including the mind-blowing fact that apparently in the sideways timeline Elvis is somehow still alive, but he has continued to get fatter and now he drives a yellow Hummer.


Oh, that was Hurley? Dude, those mutton chops are FIERCE!

EDIT: It will be a couple of days before I publish my recap, so I wanted to go ahead and get it on record before it gets published in about two dozen other recaps...there were TONS of parallels to Satan in Smocke's behavior in that episode. Just to throw it out there.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Thoughts on LOST - What Kate Does

Yeah, I's not Thursday. I'm starting to think Thursdays might be a little optimistic. Maybe if all 5 of you loyal readers could start some kind of fund, so that I wouldn't have to do my actual job during the week...

Anyway, this episode was not one of my favorites...any episode that is Kate-centric has an uphill climb for me anyway, and then add that we never saw Ben, Locke, Un-Locke (or, as Mo Ryan has dubbed him, Smocke), Richard, or any of that crew, and it's probably not going to be a favorite of mine. That being said, a mediocre LOST episode is still better than about 98% of what's on television,so let's get to it...

- Yeah, Sawyer is pretty bitter that Sayid gets a second shot, while Juliet doesn't (as far as he knows).

And...he's not wrong. Sayid IS a torturer (whether he's Iraqi or not is irrelevant), and he DID try to kill a 12-year-old boy. As far back as Season 2, when Ana-Lucia is questioning him after she kills Shannon, Sayid is saying that he deserves to be punished, and maybe even die for the things he has done. More recently, there is the "Nothing can save me" remark he made to Jack in the van, and his conversation with Hurley about what awaits him in the afterlife.

My point, and I do have one, is this...I don't know that Sayid was supposed to be saved, no matter what Jacob supposedly did or didn't say.

Or, maybe...the point is that he DOES deserve to live, that he DOES deserve a second chance, and part of Sayid's character arc is that he has to come to terms with the concept that he is a good man who has done some bad things, which is different from being a bad man who deserves to die.

- Kate DEFINITELY recognizes something in Jack other than just him being the guy whose pen she lifted on the plane. They even played a quick cut of the "sideways flash" sound effect when their eyes locked. I think that there are going to be more and more little coincidences that the characters notice until it becomes obvious to all of them that there is something they are supposed to do in order to reconcile the two timelines.

- I thought that when Arzt was in the cross walk, we were going to find out that he was always "supposed" to die and the cab driver was going to run over him. And I was looking forward to it. Does that make me a good man who sometimes does bad things, or....?

- And, also, I was really glad to be rid of that cab driver...for the other Heroes fan(s) out there, he was the Puppetmaster, which was the creepiest part of the last season I actually watched (I think two seasons ago?)

- Sideways Kate has a harder edge to her, don't you think?

- Still love Miles, even when he only gets about a minute of screen time. The timing on this line was perfect:
"Yeah, and as you can see, Hugo here has assumed the... leadership position, so... that's pretty great."

Even though I don't think that's really true...he pretty much let Jack take the lead again in this episode. I was a little disappointed in that, because last week I thought we WERE heading to a "Hurley becomes a leader" place. Maybe he is taking the 2nd in command position from Sawyer, since Sawyer looks to be punching out.

- There are definitely some rules about what the Temple others can and can't do to our Lostaways. They weren't allowed to shoot Sawyer even though he was firing on them.

- Unfortunately, it looks like Sawyer has made a complete circle. He is back to being the loner who is only concerned about least that's what he wants everybody to think.

- Of course, Kate is going to be the one to track him down. Of course she is.

- In another example of similarities between the two timelines, the stuffed whale that Kate finds in Claire's bag is identical to the one that little Aaron has in "Something Nice Back Home" when he walks in on Jack and Kate's argument.

- Nice little moment for the Jaters in the audience as Kate is leaving to track Sawyer. Not sure what it means, based on what we see out of Kate later, and frankly...I don't care. The Kate Triangle (or Trapezoid, if you include Juliet) is at about 15,000,000 on the list of things I care about seeing this season.

- Dogen has Sayid strapped down, and the first thing he does is blow ash onto him...I assume that is a test to see if he is Smokey or not.

- Very uncomfortable torture scene...I agree with what I have seen written elsewhere: I wonder if the "test" would have been different if it wasn't Sayid the Torturer being tested? Regardless, I think the irony was intentional.

- Kate goes back to pick up Claire, who willingly gets back in the cab with the woman who just had a gun in her face 30 minutes ago. Right...

I'm only going to fan-wank this once....I'm going to assume that if it had been anybody else, Claire would have waddled away as fast as she could. But since it's Kate, and they share a connection similar to the one that Kate felt with Jack, she is willing to get in the cab with her. And take her with her to meet the potential adoptive parents of her unborn child. And have her at her bedside in the hospital. And lie to police for her. And give her credit card to her.

Moving on....quickly, before I pull something suspending my disbelief.

- Although Aldo is a jerk, he also had one of the funniest lines of the episode when faced with multiple questions from Kate and Jin" "I'm sorry, is this a press conference?" Also maybe an Oceanic 6 callback?

- Poor doomed Justin seems really nice and helpful. And informative. I'll bet he never really fit in with the Others.

We see a Rousseau-esque trap, even though she has been dead for three years. This will be important later.

- Gotta admit, even for a Kate hater, that was funny: "Remember me? You knocked me out with your rifle that time in order to escape-" POW!


- I think Jack is beginning to realize the special authority that he and the rest of his crew have. He walked right up to the (rather large) guards outside of Dogen's lair and simply said "Step aside". And he wasn't surprised when they did exactly that.

- So, Sayid is "infected". Is this the "sickness" we have been hearing about ever since we first met Danielle?

- "He has to take it willingly, and he won't take it willingly from us." "Then maybe you should have asked him to take it BEFORE you tortured him."

Point, Jack.

- This is another example of the fact that the Island can't MAKE you do anything. You have to be willing to help yourself (Christian couldn't help John up, etc.).

- I'm a little confused by this...Dogen had them all tell them their names when they first arrived at the Temple, like he didn't know who they were. But he sure seems to know an awful lot about Jack's history.

- The winner of the "funniest moment of the night" award:
HURLEY: You're not a zombie, right?
SAYID: No. I am not a zombie.

The seriousness of Sayid's response is what sold it.

- 2nd place: "We'll be in the food court if you need us."

- I have been a Jack hater for a while now, but I'm digging this Temple version of Jack. No pretentiousness, no Savior complex (so far, anyway). Just acting as the leader (which he is), and watching out for his people, his friends. Sayid trusts him completely, and Jack is not about to do anything to betray that trust.

- Kate really doesn't know where Ajira 316 landed, since she missed that "landing" by 30 years.

- "Who do YOU care about, Kate?" Ugh. That was clunky dialogue, there. I don't even know what he is asking her. Is he accusing her of caring about nobody but herself, or does he just want to know how the Triangle plays out? Is Jin a Jater, or a Skater?

- Breezing past the fact that Claire wants a cab-hijacking stranger to be the one with her when she meets the adoptive parents....

(seriously, why wouldn't she be worried that Kate is going to pull a gun again and start taking hostages?)


- Claire is not supposed to give Aaron up for adoption. I think the universe has been quite clear on this point, don't you?

- Kate must be an extremely reckless driver...she made it to the airport just three minutes after the contractions started? I would think it would have taken at least a minute or so to even get her in the cab. Was the hospital right next door?

Interesting side note...remember the Numbers? 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42. Turns out they were the factors in the Valenzetti Equation, which was supposed to be a formula that would predict the time of human extinction. According to the story established by the LOST Experience ARG, the Dharma Initiative was established in large part to try and change those factors and prolong the existence of mankind.

Vozzek has a theory that part of the fallout from Jughead is that the Numbers DID change, by a factor of one. He thinks that we will see more instances of the numbers 3, 7, 14, 15, 22, and 41 in this Sideways Timeline. I'll leave it up to you to decide what it means if the factors actually go DOWN rather than up.

- Sorry, but friendly Ethan may be even creepier than evil Ethan.

So, apparently, Ethan escaped from the Island in 1977 as a baby, kept the name Goodspeed (Horace and Amy's name) rather than Rom (still not sure where that one came from, other than the fact that ETHAN ROM is an anagram for OTHER MAN), but still went on to become a doctor specialiazing in OB/GYN.

Also, he's not evil anymore.

- "I just don't want to have to stick you with needles if I don't have to."

Heh. Nice one, show.

- Love how they keep showing little moments that could have multiple meanings...did Kate do a double take because Claire named the baby Aaron, which sparked something in her subconscious, or just surprise that Claire has named this baby that she was supposedly giving up for adoption?

Also interesting that the baby "flatlined" when Claire said she wasn't ready to have him, implying that she still wanted to give him up, and only came back when she freaked out and called him "Aaron"? Again...Claire is not supposed to give up this baby.

- Awesome, awesome scene between Kate and Sawyer on the dock. Josh Holloway has come SO far as an actor in these six seasons.

- Interesting parallel between Ben, Sayid, Hurley, Sawyer...everybody who has lost loved ones on this Island. Rather than blame the person who actually killed their loved one (Keamy, Ana-Lucia, Michael, Jack (sort of)), they all ultimately end up blaming themselves.

- Why did Kate break down in tears? I actually had a conversation that threatened to turn heated about that very topic (hi, Amanda!)
- Option 1: Kate came after Sawyer because she thought there was still a chance for them to be together (if not now, then maybe later), and she is heartbroken because she realizes that Sawyer will never feel that way about her again after seeing how deeply he loved Juliet. I sincerely hope that is not the case...if Kate still held out hope for a happy Skater ending after seeing Sawyer's reaction to Juliet's death, she is even dumber than I have ever given her credit for.

- Option 2: I think she just was overwhelmed by everything at the moment. Up until then, she had been occupied with the idea of what to do Juliet, save Sayid, escape from the Temple, find Sawyer, etc. But now she sits down for a minute, and everything hits her....Juliet's death, being captured (again), Sayid's death and apparent resurrection, the fact that the Jughead plan apparently didn't work and they are still on the Island, and now Sawyer seems to be ready to cut her out of his life completely. That's a lot of stuff to back up on you at once. Heck, I'm getting a little emotional thinking about it, and I don't even LIKE Kate.

Either way, I'm holding out hope that this signifies the end of the Triangle. Please.

- Great line from Dogen on his use of a translator:
"Because I have to remain separate from the people I'm in charge of. It makes it easier when they don't like the decisions I make for them."

Know what it reminded me of? Stranger in a Strange Land. Yeah, Jack's Tattoo Episode, widely considered to be the worst LOST episode ever. Remember what Jack's tattoo means? "He walks among us, but he is not one of us."

The point of that episode (if there was one) was that Jack felt disconnected from the rest of the group due to having the leadership mantle thrust upon him, but he was always destined to fill that role.

- AWESOME! He swallowed the pill! I'm telling you, I am DIGGING New Jack.

- Claire lies to the police and gives Kate her credit card. Moving on...

- Wait, one interesting thing...Claire chose "Aaron" because it was like she "knew it or something." Another connection is made that will ultimately bring the characters to the point of reconciling the two timelines.

- So Claire was "infected" and now she has apparently become New Rousseau.

So did that mean that Rousseau was the one who was "sick" and not the other members of her group? I really don't think so...I think the other French group members became infected because they came in contact with Smokey.

Danielle went crazy because all of her team members died, including her lover who tried to kill her and her unborn baby, and then the Others came and took her baby, and then she was stuck on the Island for 16 years.

Claire somehow came in contact with Smokey, or at least some agent of his, and I think now we know why the water was dirty when they shoved Sayid down into it. Sweet little innocent Claire is gone...the infection reached her heart. Can't wait to see what she is now.

Overall, although it wasn't my favorite LOST episode I think we are starting to see some answers and some idea of the direction the "Sideways Timeline" plot device is going to go.

Next week...we are back to Smocke, Ben, Richard, and the gang.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Well, that's just great...

I thought I had my new American Idol Girlfriend all picked out (last year's was Megan, for those of you who don't remember and actually care).

Janell Wheeler. Gorgeous voice, great stage presence, and smokin' hotttt.

Well, get this: She definitely WAS, and maybe still IS....

....Tim Tebow's girlfriend.

Now I just feel....DIRTY.

LOST recap should be up later tonight, after I recover from my shock and disgust and take a "Crying Game" shower.

Check the comments section to this post....

Great she can be my Idol girlfriend again! I'm sure she is going to be THRILLED!!

Thanks, Anonymous!! If I only knew who you were...I would shower you with gifts!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Thoughts on Lost - LA X 1&2

Sorry this is schedule, Super Bowl, blah, blah...let's get to it!

For new readers, I basically go through the transcript of the episode after multiple viewings, so these thoughts are (for the most part) chronologically congruent with the way the episode aired.

- Between the recap special before the premiere and then the actual episode, I felt like I watched Juliet get pulled down that hatch-hole about 15 times. Kind of took away the emotional impact of both that scene and the later one between her and Sawyer.

- OK, here's the deal on the "new" Flight 815 thing...Damon and Carlton have said in multiple interviews since the premiere and again in the podcast that this is not an ALTERNATE reality, because that implies that one of the realities is not real. This is more of a parallel reality...both of them real, just...different. The "X" in "LA X" is probably a reference to a common comic book practice of referring to parallel realities as "X" (Earth vs. Earth X, for instance).

The Jack Daniels plan of blowing up Jughead assumed that the only real result would be that 815 would never crash. In fact, there are probably going to be huge ramifications on all of our characters because of this (still idiotic, in my opinion) decision on Jack's part to blow everything up to keep from having to meet Kate (I agree with the motivation, just not the decision).

So this explains the differences we see between the two flights, most of which you can find on, HERE. I probably won't note all of them, just the ones that I found the most interesting and/or important, and I'll revisit some of my questions/observations at the end.

Side question: Carlton called this new plot device a "flash sideways" rather than a flash forward or flashback. But...on the Island, the year is 2007. Is this new Flight 815 also in 2007, and therefore three years "late"? Lostpedia is saying that Flight 815 X is happening in 2004, just like the original one did, so I guess we'll go with that until we hear otherwise...

One thing that I noticed throughout the "flash-sideways" was that Jack seems noticeably discombobulated. He seems to realize something is wrong before the turbulence ever starts.

- On the other hand, Rose seems almost preternaturally calm. This time, she is the one who calms Jack down instead of the other way around. Nice callback to have her tell Jack, "You can let go's OK, you can let go", since we know this has always been Jack's problem.

And maybe I'm reading too much, but her response of "Yeah...we sure did" when Jack tells her they "made it" seemed to have deeper meaning than just the turbulence.

- Bernard: "I almost died in that bathroom". Heh...yeah, if you only knew.

- I think it's safe to assume that Jack didn't just nick himself shaving. They wouldn't have focused on that wound if it didn't mean something. Is it a callback to the wound that he received in the original 815 crash, the one that he got Kate to help him stitch up? a weird scenario I came up with on the it the gunshot wound that Daniel Faraday had in his last days on the Island? Has Daniel somehow been reincarnated as Jack in this parallel universe? Crazy, I know. Then again: Smoke Monster, Taller Ghost Walt, Dead Christian Shepherd, Eyeliner Guy who never ages, etc, etc....

- And then...hey, there's Desmond! This was the first real clue that other things have changed than just the plane not crashing. Desmond is supposed to be on the Island, forgetting to push the button.

- The book he's reading is "Haroun and the Sea of Stories". I'll let you do your own research HERE as to how it relates to LOST, but I will say this..."Haroun" is the Arabic version of "Aaron".

- Jack seems to remember Desmond, but Des doesn't remember Jack (or does he?...more on that later). But, does Jack remember Des from the Island reality, or from when they met at the Stadium? Or, did they even meet at the Stadium in this reality? Des, you remember, was there training for his boat race around the world, which is how he got to the that boat race still real? (this is where the nosebleeds begin...don't worry, it's normal).

- That was a really cool shot that took us to the underwater Island, complete with Dharma shark.

Just based on what we saw there, the Island did in fact make it through 1977, and presumably was sunk by Jughead. So...what happened to all of the other people who were on the Island at that time, and what are the ramifications? Eloise? Ben? Charles Widmore? If they all died, then what about Faraday, Penny, etc?

- And, AGAIN with the Juliet death scene...

- At the time that Sawyer was kicking the crap out of Jack, I was getting a real vicarious thrill from it...I pretty much felt the same way. By the end of the episode, though, I actually started feeling a little sorry for Jack, believe it or not...I think his character has reached rock bottom with the belief that his "plan" didn't work, and now he has dead bodies on his conscience.

(Again, for new problems with Jack and Kate have nothing to do with the actors portraying them...I just find both characters to be extremely annoying, in their own special and unique ways. I am a "Jater" in that I think they should wind up together in order to avoid subjecting other innocent people to their misery).

- OK, this was funny...on the initial viewing, I thought Jack and Kate were having a little "moment" on the plane when she came out of the bathroom, and I think Jack did, too. Turns out she only let her hands linger on his chest to lift his pen for her later escape plan.

- The next two scenes (Kate talking to Mars, and Hurley's conversation with Arzt) are a good opportunity to remind you what we saw at Comic-Con. In two separate videos, Hurley is now the owner of the Mr. Cluck's franchise, and obviously living a great life. Kate, on the other hand, saw her plan to kill her stepfather blow up in her face (see what I did there?) when she accidentally blew up his plumbers apprentice instead. Does it make a difference now that Kate actually killed an innocent bystander, rather than the alcoholic wife-abusing cretin that she killed in the original timeline?

- They were obviously trying to make us think that Sawyer is going to try to con Hurley out of his lottery money. But maybe in this timeline, Sawyer is just a guy who is looking out for Hugo, rather than trying to establish trust so that he can pull off another long con?


Nah, he's totally going to con him out of his lottery money. Poor Hugo.

- Funniest line of the night that shouldn't have really been funny: Hurley, tending to Sayid, who is coughing up blood: "Oh, God. Oh God, this is gross..."

- Unfortunately, Sayid kind of has a point about his eternal destiny. He IS a torturer. He IS a murderer. Even when given an opportunity at a "Tabula Rasa", he still keeps going back to his old ways. He tortured Sawyer way back in Season 1. He tried to murder a 12 year old Ben Linus. He became Ben's hit man in the O6 days. As much as I love Sayid, he is not a good guy, and this Island seems very concerned with the whole "good vs. evil" thing.

- "I've got a gun....and I know how to shoot it!" Hee. I love Hugo.

- Hmmm...apparently, Jin is still a jerk in the new timeline. That stinks.

- OK, either Boone is MUCH more confident and self assured in this new reality, or Ian Somerhalder has a hard time losing his Vampire Diaries persona (no, I don't watch the show...but I have two tweenage daughers, and a wife with tweenage tastes. This Boone looked and acted a lot like Damon (the vampire, not the producer)).

- I really, REALLY wanted Locke to be telling the truth when he told Boone about the walkabout. Dang.

- Another cool little "inside joke" type line - Boone to Locke: "If this thing goes down, I'm sticking with you". Heh.

- Locke seemed...different, somehow to me. He seems happier and more at peace now than he did in the initial timeline, although he is still living in a fantasy world sometimes (lying to Boone about the walkabout, similar to his role-playing as the "General" in the initial timeline). Maybe they were just trying to throw us off by having him appear more "whole" to make it more of a surprise when he was revealed to still be wheelchair-bound?

- And because it can't be said enough, Terry O'Quinn is probably the best actor on television right now. He not only played two vastly different characters in this episode (mysterious and dangerous Man in Black, broken yet wise Locke)...he INHABITED those two characters.

- As always, there is so much subtext in conversations between Ben and Locke (even Fake Locke) that it is almost impossible to discuss it all. But I definitely think there is something to this exchange:
Ben: Why didn't he fight back? Why did he just let me kill him?
FLocke: I guess he knew that he was beaten. I don't think that's it. Jacob LET Ben kill him, and the writers just confirmed that for us on purpose. He had a reason.

- Bram seems like a real jerk. Or SEEMED, whatever. (Oops...spoiler alert!). But he was part of the team that came with Ilana, who was brought here by Jacob, who I am still assuming is a good guy until we are told otherwise.

- Frank ain't buying it, though.

- Loved how Ben tried to get a little of his Liar Mojo back with the whole "No, everything's fine...John and Jacob are just hanging out in there and they want to talk to Richard...nothing to see here" thing, only to have Richard rather unceremoniously dump him on top of Locke's dead body.

It's always interesting to see Ben genuinely shocked by something that happens on the Island, normally because it doesn't happen very often. Sure does seem to be happening a lot more frequently, doesn't it? Anyway...the body of dead Locke was apparently the LAST thing he expected to see, based on his reaction.

- Another funny exchange:

Jacob: I died an hour ago.
Hurley: Sorry, dude...that sucks.

- So Hurley thinks Jacob is going to ask him to do something crazy, and Jacob says no. He just wants him to get Jin to take the almost dead Sayid to the hole in the wall where he went with the French team, which will then take them to a Temple, where Sayid can get help...and oh, yeah, bring that guitar case I gave you.

So, yeah...nothing TOO crazy, right?

- I'm kind of breezing past what is going on at the Swan...short story is that they think they hear Juliet and are trying to dig through the rubble to get to her. And Sawyer is still pissed at Jack. And Jack is trying not to cry a lot.

- Back on Flight 815 X, we get another scene that has a couple of cool little callback moments:

  • Jack is saving Charlie's life, just like he did after Ethan hanged him in Season 1.

  • Jack is saving somebody's life and looking for a pen, just like he was in the pilot.

  • And, of course, we find out later why Jack doesn't have a pen...Kate lifted it in when Jack thought she was flirting with him.
- So in the original timeline, Charlie was "just" snorting heroin in the he is apparently trying to commit suicide by swallowing a bag of heroin instead.

- My very favorite scene of the entire episode...Bram and his team of "bodyguards" try to kill "Locke" only to have him disappear....followed by the familiar clickety clack sounds that can only mean one thing...SMOKEY!!

We all pretty much assumed that Locke=Man In Black=Smoke Monster after the finale last season, but it was cool to have it so obviously confirmed.

Plus, I loved the scene where Bram tried to protect himself with the ash (which answered another mystery...the ash was used to repel Smokey, so the ash around the cabin was probably meant to protect Jacob (or whomever was in the cabin)), and it worked for a few seconds...until Smokey basically threw a chunk of ceiling at him, knocking him out of the circle of ash, and then impaled him on Jacob's loom). Hilarious. I watched that part about 5 times in a row. :-)

And then, official confirmation: "I'm sorry you had to see me like that".


- OK, I have changed my mind on the Sawyer/Juliet deathbed conversation since I wrote my initial post. When Juliet is trying to tell Sawyer that "It worked", it's because she gets a glimpse of the X timeline in her dying moments. I thought she was just talking gibberish to Sawyer when I first saw the episode, but upon rewatch I noticed what she said: "We can get coffee some time....we can go Dutch".

I'd bet my paycheck that we will see Sawyer and Juliet meet in the X timeline, and they will have this exact conversation. And I will most likely cry.

So? Shut up.

- And on Flight 815 X, Desmond is nowhere to be found. So was he ever there in the first place? Remember, Faraday said that Desmond is "uniquely and miraculously special". I wonder if Desmond is able to pop back and forth between the two realities?

By the way, one other Desmond note...he is wearing a wedding ring. I can't really see how he is with Penny in this X timeline. Maybe he is still married in the "original" timeline, but still bouncing back and forth? Hmm....

- And Rose's "Oh, we were sleeping" excuse just didn't seem genuine to me. I'm either reading too much into Rose, or the writers are using her as a red herring, or the part just wasn't very well acted...because almost everything Rose said on this flight rang false to me.


Whew....deep breath, crack the knuckles...back to work.

- Even before Hurley copped to it later, we know he's already looked in the guitar case, since he tells Miles it's not a guitar. Not that I blame him or would actually be weirder if he DIDN'T look at some point, right?

- Good matter which timeline we are in, Oceanic SUX. They are either crashing planes hundreds of miles off course, or they are losing passengers' dead family members...and referring to them as CARGO.


- Did anybody else find it strange that Jin was OK with just heading on down into that hole? Last time he was there, he saw Smokey drag armless Montand down there, and he was sure to make sure Danielle didn't follow. I think this was just a plot hole...

- So, the whispers are apparently this new group of Others? The Temple Dwellers? Is that confirmed? Regardless, Kate continues her habit of wondering away from the group and getting snatched as a result.

- How big is this friggin' Island? Nobody ever found this Temple, with all of the running around they did?

- Agent Mars is still a jerk, and still incompetent, and still getting his butt kicked by a girl. Nice to know some things are the same.

- Speaking of things that are the same, Sawyer still has the hots for Freckles, and whether we know he is a con man or not, we know that he is not above bending the law for a hottie.

- I haven't mentioned it, since I haven't been giving much attention to this story line, but Josh Holloway killed it in this episode, too. His mixture of anger, grief, and utter brokenness was pretty guttural, and it came to a head in the scene with him and Miles at the gravesite.

Although, he did come across as a little slow: "What worked?" Seriously? What do you think she may be referring to James? The Obama stimulus package? Todd Grantham's 3-4 defensive schemes?

- VERY interested to see what the deal is with Cindy the stewardess. She has obviously been hanging out at the Temple for a while, but she really seems to be a part of the group.

- Lostpedia has the translation of the head Temple-Other, and what he says before he tells them to shoot the Lostaways is, "They should not have come here. Seeing this place is unforgivable. Shoot them." Which is further evidence, to me, that Cindy was one of "Them" all along...otherwise, why didn't they shoot her when she got there, if she was just another Lostaway?

- Jacob does love his lists, doesn't he?

- I know, I know, the Ankh is the Egyptian symbol for eternal life...but couldn't Jacob have found a smaller version to put one little piece of paper in? If I was Hurley, I'd be pretty ticked. Jacob really needs a stationary set. He could get envelopes with a little Ankh symbol on them. Much easier to carry.

- What WAS Jin doing with all of that money? Did he have that in the original timeline? And...does Sun speak English, and she just sees this as her opportunity to ditch Jin? Or, in this timeline, has she not worked up the courage to leave him and therefore not learned English?

- Why isn't the water in the spring clear? My guess is it's because Jacob is dead...more on that shortly.

- "If we do this there will be risks". Probably things like memory loss, a loss of innocence, stuff like what Richard said would happen to Little Ben.

- I love this show SO know how long they held Sayid under water? 108 seconds. I love that the show paid that much attention to detail, and I love that they knew their fanbase well enough to know that they wouldn't even have to point it out on the show...we would figure it out ourselves.

- And another cool callback...Jack continuing to do chest compressions, even after the patient is obviously dead. He gave up on Sayid a lot quicker than he gave up on Charlie, though...could it be that Jack is learning to let things go easier?

- Another thing that hasn't changed in the X timeline...Frogurt is still an annoying little tool. Yeah, Kate cut in line, but he didn't have to be a jerk to somebody he doesn't even know. Unless, of course, he has met Kate, in which case his behavior is forgiven.

- CLAIRE! Good to have you back! Couldn't tell whether she was pregnant or not, though...

- Did Hurley seem more leader-ish to you guys, or is it just me? Maybe it's just because I love the character so much and would really love for him to be involved in the ultimate "answers" as to what is going on?

- Obviously, Jacob was somehow protecting the Temple from Man in Black/Smokey, because they freaked when they found out he was dead. Plus, I think that's why the water turned dirty, too...Jacob wasn't around anymore to keep the Temple operating correctly (not sure how else to word that...hopefully you get my meaning).

- Another awesome Michael Emerson/Terry O'Quinn scene. These guys should just agree to only do projects together from now on.

- So Smokey has some residual Locke-ness to him...he knows what his last thoughts were. And, yes, I agree...that is about the saddest thing I have ever heard. More than anything else, I am rooting for Locke to somehow have a happy ending out of this new timeline. I still hate the way he went out...confused, angry, broken, humiliated. Ugh.

Great description from Smokey:

I'm talking about John Locke. Do you wanna know what he was thinking while you, choked the life outta him Benjamin? What the last thought that ran through his head was? "I don't understand". Isn't that just the saddest thing you ever heard? But it's fitting in a way, because when John first came to the island, he was a very sad man. A victim, shouting at the world for being told what he couldn't do, even though they were right. He was weak, and pathetic, and irreparably broken. But, despite all that, there was something admirable about him. He was the only one of them that didn't wanna leave. The only one, who realized how pitiful the life he'd left behind actually was.

- And, what does Smokey want? He wants to go HOME. He's been trapped on this Island for thousands of years, probably held somehow by Jacob. Now that Jacob is out of the way, he can finally get out. Obviously, I'm not clear on the details, but that's the great thing about recapping this season...I'm not going to break my brain theorizing any more. Answers are gonna come sooner rather than later.

- It looks like Sawyer is getting his wish...Jack is definitely suffering.

- Another great scene between Jack and Locke in the Lost Baggage section. I miss wise old eccentric Locke.

Is there any significance to what the two men "lost"? Jack lost his father, the man who Jack hated and idolized at the same time, a symbol of everything he loved and despised. Locke lost his knives, a sad reminder of what he had lost because of his injury, a symbol of unfulfilled hopes. It's certainly worth paying attention to. Needless to say, I don't think Oceanic is to blame for either man's lost "cargo".

- "Nothing is irreversible". Goosebumps.

- How awesome will it be when Jack repairs Locke's spine and he starts walking again?

- Back to the Island...was that confirmation that Richard did in fact come over on the Black Rock? "It's good to see you out of those chains". I know this...whatever Jacob was doing to protect the Temple and its inhabitants, he was doing the same thing for Richard. And Richard is now FREAKED.

With good reason, apparently....New Locke is a bad mamma-jamma.

- For some reason, this cracked me up: "I'm VERY ALL OF YOU!"

I have no idea what it means, but it made me sounded like my 6th grade teacher the day after we terrorized a substitute.

- And now Sayid is alive. Three possibilities here, listed from least possible to most possible, in my opinion:
  1. It's Sayid, and he's exactly the same. All the water did was bring him back to life. period.

  2. It's not Sayid, it's Jacob. This theory is making the rounds on the interwebz. I can see why you might think that, but I don't really see the reasoning. Jacob is not like Smokey...we've seen him come and go as he pleases, both on the Island and off it. He's still around on the Island in his old form, talking to Hurley. Why would he need Sayid's body? Also, if this IS what happened, it's obviously different from the Fake Locke scenario, because Smokey didn't inhabit Locke's BODY....the body was still in the coffin. He just somehow took on his persona.

  3. It's Sayid, but he's not the same. To me, this is the most likely. I think it is similar to how Ben was saved as a twelve year old...he is even experiencing the memory loss. But how is he changed? Ben was an innocent 12 year old boy, and apparently the healing process stole his soul (as best as I can tell). Since Sayid is a murderer and a torturer, will it have the opposite effect? And what is the significance of the fact that the water was not clear?

Whew...that was a long one.

Couple of more thoughts...

- People we did not see on the "new" Flight 815:

  • Michael and Walt - unexplained
  • Shannon - explained - she didn't want to leave her "bad relationship"

  • The Tailies - maybe just because we didn't venture to the back of the plane, but this includes some (Ana Lucia, Libby) who we have heard confirmation that they will be in season 6

  • Claire - we saw her in the taxi, and presumably she was on the flight, but we never saw her
- What does this mean for Lapidus? Captain Norris was once again the 815 captain.

- Where is Christian's body? Absolutely no clue...

- Based on last week's podcast, it sounds like we aren't going to get a definite answer on what makes Walt "special", we just have to accept that he is. I'm OK with that. I mean, we never found out why the Force was particularly "strong" with Anakin Skywalker, did we? Some people are just special.

That being said, I DO think we find out why Desmond is so unique...maybe that will give us a clue as to why Walt is, as well.

Guess that's all for now...the recap for this week should go up by Thursday night, barring any unforeseen obstacles. No out-of-town trip this week, and only one hour to recap!