Friday, May 28, 2010
First things first. Damon and Carlton said they were leaving the ending up for interpretation, and that's all my theory or anybody's is...it's just your interpretation. I don't know that there is a "right" theory (although, of course, we all think our own is more right than anybody else, right?).
So here's mine...it's kind of "wonky", as Miles puts it, so bear with me...
I think a lot of people are frustrating themselves trying to apply the concepts of "Purgatory" and "Heaven", because the logic starts falling apart. I mean, Sayid is still a killer, right? And Sawyer is still driven by revenge...Kate is still a fugitive...Charlie is still a drug addict. Yes, some of them, like Locke and Jack, have certain "issues" that it seems they have worked out, but many of them seem very similar to who we've always known them to be, with just little differences.
For that matter, if the Sideways Universe is a place of Purgatory, what the heck is a guy like Keamy doing there? Shouldn't he already be in Hell? And what about Alex? Why is she still paying some sort of "penance"?
You get the point...I don't think they are in any sort of limbo state waiting to move on to what we know as "heaven". I think we have to dismiss all of our own theology if we're going to make it make sense.
My theory is this: The Sideways Universe is a totally separate consciousness. The people we see in it are the innermost manifestation of every single human being, whether you want to call it your soul, your spirit, your consciousness, whatever. I'm there. You're there. EVERYBODY is there. It exists outside of time...it's always happening. It exists outside of space. It's not an "afterlife". It's "another" life. It existed before the events we have watched happen for the last six seasons, and it exists long after. It is a sort of shared consciousness, if you will.
In that Sideways Universe, life is experienced much as it is in our physical universe, with some subtle differences...we don't really know enough about it to know all of the characteristics of this other life, so we sort of have to fill in the rest of the blanks ourselves.
Now, for every spiritual being in that Universe there is a physical manifestation...one that is born, lives , and dies in our physical world. If, in this physical world, you are lucky and blessed enough to be a part of a group of people who go through a life-changing, consciousness-altering experience together, one that leaves an imprint of those people and those experiences on your innermost being, then those experiences and those people can actually be "remembered" by your soul/spirit/consciousness in the Other Life.
We saw that spark of recognition as these characters were suddenly able to remember these people and their time together as experiences and emotions "bled over" into the Other Life from this one.
The church, as Christian told Jack, was a place that these people "created" as their own special place in this Other Life as a place where they could come together, reconnect, remember, and even re-LIVE their time together. Once they all "connected" and came together, then they "moved on"....not to Heaven, but to a higher state of consciousness, a higher state of being, new places of love, communion, and true friendship.
The lesson, then, is that while we are here it's important to LIVE life, LOVE the people around you...create bonds and experiences so deep that it touches your innermost soul, so that when this physical life is over you can "find" that place that you and your loved ones have created for yourselves.
At least...that's my theory.
Couple more thoughts:
- This would explain anybody who wasn't in the church...the people who weren't there either weren't really part of this "bond", or they had their own that was outside of this one. For instance, Walt was only on the Island for a short time as a child, so maybe his "most important" time and people were from later in life. Ben, I think, wanted to be with Alex, and plus can you really say that Ben was a "part" of this group? Etc, etc...bottom line, anybody who you thought "should" have been in that church who wasn't, my theory means that they may have had some other place of their own to be, or maybe they didn't have any connections strong enough.
- I still call foul on Shannon being Sayid's "soulmate" in this scenario, as we have been hit over the head for six seasons now that Sayid's lifetime love is Nadia. I think the actual explanation is that the writers wanted Maggie Grace to be a part of the finale, and this was the way it made the most sense, but I can fanwank it to say that since Shannon was Sayid's "love" at THIS time in his life, it made the deepest impression on him. I can make that argument, but that doesn't mean I have to agree with it.
- I'm still not sure what the deal is with Jack's son, but the closest I can come to an explanation is this...as I said, I think life in the Other Life is very similar to what we know as our physical life now, and I think Jack and Juliet were drawn together because of their shared experiences and connections, and from there, well...nature took its course. But, in my theory, David has a physical "counterpart", who was born, lived, and died in our physical universe, and his spirit/soul has its own destiny that we know nothing about.
- Part of my theory came from the end of the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I won't give away any more than that, since some of you may not have read it (and if you're a fan of LOST and its influences, than I STRONGLY recommend it). But Damon and Carlton have both listed this series as a strong influence on their writing in general, and on the endgame in particular, so read into that what you will.
Feel free to question my sanity, laugh at me, etc., in the comments section...but this is my interpretation, and I'm (most likely) sticking with it.
Just thought of something else...remember when the Mother told Young Jacob and Young MIB that a little of the "Glowy Magic Light Stuff" is in all of us? Maybe the part that is in all of us is this spirit/soul/consciousness part that exists in the Other Life? And maybe THAT is the part that dies if the Source is allowed to go out on the Island? So, when Jacob said that "everybody dies" if the light goes out, he was actually referring to their existence in the Sideways Universe, rather than the death of their physical bodies? Just a thought...
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Bottom line...Crystal was easily the better performer last night, she won every round, she clearly had the best three performances of the night.
And she's not going to win.
Don't get me wrong...I like Lee. I see the appeal. I definitely think he has a very commercial voice and style, and I will likely be downloading his album if he does what I think he will be doing.
But Crystal proved (again) last night that she is READY, right now, to be a star. All three of her performances were spot on...she was in great voice, picked better songs, and most importantly she seemed to have a sense of "the moment". She knew this was maybe the most important night of her life and she WENT FOR IT. She performed with a passion and a drive that we haven't seen from her, at least not in a while.
And she's not going to win.
Last night's rankings:
1) Crystal - Up to the Mountain
2) Crystal - Black Velvet
3) Crystal - Me and Bobby McGee
4) Lee - The Boxer
5) Lee - Everybody Hurts
6) Lee - Beautiful Day (this was really...not good at all)
Prediction: I've been saying it for three seasons now...no female will ever win this show again. Lee wins.
And that's OK...as has been proven in the past, you don't have to win this show in order to profit from it. Crystal will most definitely get a record deal out of this, and she'll have her chance.
Plus, she gets to say that she received the last ever Simon Cowell critique on American Idol. That's outstanding.
Sorry these recaps have been so lackluster the last half of this season...I wish I could have risen above the material, but this season was so bad it took all of my willpower just to make myself watch, much less recap. HUGE changes need to be made, or this show is on the way out.
Monday, May 24, 2010
I am really struggling to put all of my thoughts and emotions into words, so let's take a moment and just talk about the basics:
- Everything that happened on the Island for the past six years was real...I thought that was extremely important.
- As for all of the unsolved mysteries/questions...I am OK with every single one of them, and I actually sort of feel sorry for the people who couldn't enjoy this season because they still don't know who came up with the Numbers or why there was still a Dharma food drop in 2004.
It's a Mysterious Island...it's going to have mysteries. For every one we didn't get an answer to, I think we have enough information to make intelligent guesses, and (more important and exciting) to have intelligent debate and discussion for as long as it takes until we are all ready to "move on".
- Other on-Island stuff I loved:
Jack and Locke's fight on the cliff. Jack and Locke have always been at the heart of the conflict on the Island, and now you add the extra context of Jack the Protector vs. (Un)Locke the Malevolent Evil. It had a real "Clash of the Titans" feel to it, them fighting on the cliff while the storm howls around them and the Island is falling apart. Just epic television.
Miles's dedication to duct tape.
Everything Hurley said and did.
The closing scene, especially the fact that Vincent was there to comfort Jack and make sure he didn't die alone.
Honestly, there was nothing about the Island stuff that I didn't think was done perfectly...I can't think of anything that I would change about it.
- As for the Sideways Timeline...well, I loved that too, even if it did take a little more brain power than I had available as I was watching it in the early hours of this morning (long story).
First of all, every single scene that involved our characters gaining "awareness" was just wonderfully done...it got REALLY dusty in my living room a few times. Especially the Charlie/Claire/Kate/Aaron scene....hold on, I got something in my eye....
I've already had a couple of conversations with people who were confused about the "Sideways Endgame". I think the big mistake that people are making is trying to view the story through the prism of their own theology. I am a Christian...if I try to look at what we saw in this episode and make it fit into what the Bible says about the afterlife, Heaven and Hell, etc, then this will make no sense at all.
I'm still formulating my thoughts, but here is a rough sketch...
First thing: There is NO "time" related to the Sideways. All of the things we thought were "Timeline errors" weren't errors at all, because there IS no timeline in the Sideways.
I'm not looking at the Sideways as an "afterlife". It is Another life... as in "See ya in another life, brotha". The Sideways is a place that exists outside of our own time and space. The characters that we have seen in that Sideways timeline are not the physical beings...it is their innermost conscious, whether you call that their soul or whatever. This reality exists ALL the time...there is no beginning, there is no end...it is ALWAYS happening.
The connections that these people have made in "our" timeline were so strong that it caused their innermost selves to create this place for them all to get together, reconnect, and REMEMBER.
It's not "purgatory" or "Heaven", per se...trying to put those labels on it is what is going to confuse people, I think.
Here are the two aspects regarding the sideways that I am still mulling over:
1) How was it "decided" who gets to be in the church with them and who doesn't?
2) What was the deal with Jack and Juliet having a son? Who was that guy?
I think I know the answers to these questions...but I'm still thinking about it.
I will be back sometime with a full recap...hopefully it won't take me as long to do this one as it did last season's finale. My biggest issue right now is to train my brain to stop asking questions like "What's next?"; "Where are they going with this?", etc.
This was a brilliant finale to a brilliant series. We will never see anything like it again.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
- Open on Jack's eye....maybe for the last time?
- The injury on Jack's neck is bleeding again...guess we'll find out what that is about tonight, because I have no idea.
- David talks about "the concert"...I was a little confused, based on what we see later. Is this HIS concert, or the Driveshaft one? Are they the same thing? I think they are, after going back and reading the "Happily Ever After" transcript again. Charles mentioned in that episode that Daniel wanted to combine classical music with modern rock.
- So we are obviously going to find out who the mother is at the concert. I'm starting to believe that it is Juliet, because if it was Sarah I think they would have just told us already. Although...Julie Bowen, the actress who plays Sarah, was in Hawaii to film an episode of Modern Family around the same time this would have been shooting, so who knows?
- Desmond pretends to be an Oceanic representative...not sure what he's trying to accomplish there. We find out later that part of his plan is to get everybody to this concert...I guess this is another part of the plan?
- Nice little callback with Jack sewing Kate up...remember, Kate sewed him up in the Pilot, which is when Jack told her the version of the "Five Seconds" story that leaves out the part about his Dad totally stepping in and saving his bacon.
- Jack tells the others that Sayid told him that Desmond is in a well...remember that for later.
- Ben tries to stop Desmond from running over Locke again...the funniest part was when Ben said he was making a citizen's arrest.
- I think Sideways Desmond remembers Ben, don't you? That was quite a beatdown...almost like Ben was somebody who shot him and tried to kill his wife.
And, as I tweeted that night...Ben takes a beating better than anybody since Colt Brennan! (::rimshot::)
- Glad to have Miles back: "Well, I lived in these house 30 years before you did; otherwise known as last week…"
- And also:
BEN: It’s C-4, Richard. I put some thought into hiding it.
MILES: Let me guess--cookie jar.Hee.
- Interesting that Richard buried Alex, and yet we have seen Smokey take on her form...I guess that disproves the theory that the reason the Others were so quick to bury their dead was to keep them from being re-animated by the Monster.
- It was good to remind us of that moment when Alex was shot...gives some context to what we see from Ben later.
- VERY interesting quote from Ben: "It’s where I was told I could summon the monster. That’s before I realized that it was the one summoning me."
I'm not sure what to make of this, and it's something that has sort of confused me since we found out what/who Smokey is. We saw Ben go into this closet and pull the little plug, and then we saw Smokey come and kill the mercenaries. That certainly implied that Ben WAS summoning the monster...unless Smokey was just trying to make Ben THINK that he was under his control in order to keep manipulating him. I've said before that I think Ben was being used as a tool of MIB all along, he just doesn't know it...I think he knows it now.
- Now Charles and President Laura Lemon are there....cool that they framed Charles as he came in with the picture of Alex as a child in the background. One more reminder of what Widmore took from Ben.
- Widmore says that Jacob came and visited him, convinced him of the errors of his ways, and sent him back for some purpose that we don't get to hear.
This sort of irritated me for a couple of reasons...the main one being that Widmore has been a big villain throughout most of this series, to the point where I have said over and over that I don't trust him yet, even after we have seen him apparently trying to stop UnLocke. So it turns out there was some lifechanging conversation between Jacob and Widmore....and we just have to take Charles's word for it? That just seemed too quick and easy, and I think it's more of the pacing issues catching up with them.
- Back to the Sideways...funny that Locke refers to Desmond beating down Ben as an "Incident".
And...I think Ben remembers Locke now. Something about the way he is addressing him.
- Desmond turns himself in to Sawyer and Miles, and is locked up with Sayid and Kate...I loved all of these little moments throughout the whole episode. It had a kind of "Ocean's 11", getting-the-band-back-together feel to it, and it was a lot of fun.
- Oh, by the way...Miles will be at the concert. So will Charlotte. I'm starting to think this concert may be important.
- Nice scene between Jack and Sawyer as they are trying to find the well. Sawyer is feeling the guilt of knowing Jack was right about the bomb on the sub (and I think he was right, too). I think that the "old Jack" would have gone totally self-righteous and "told-you-so" on him, especially considering how Sawyer treated Jack after the disastrous Jughead plan. Instead, he absolves Sawyer, and keeps everybody focused on what the new goal is...stop UnLocke.
- OK...I have tried to wrap my mind around the whole Teenage Jacob thing, and I can't figure it out. How/Why is Jacob manifesting himself as a youth? Any ideas? I think if Adult Jacob had just showed up and asked Hurley for the ashes, he would have given them to him, right?
- Back in New Otherton. Laura Lemon and Widmore are going to hide, Miles is exiting stage left...but not before Ben stops him and tells him to take the walkie talkie. Remember that for our later "What Are Ben's Motives" discussion.
- Richard is going to talk to the Monster. That....doesn't seem like much of a plan.
- I really do not think Richard is dead...I think Jacob's rules still exist as long as Jacob does, and Jacob is still hanging around right now. I don't think there is any way the writers would have Richard die so abruptly and with so little fanfare...but I could be wrong.
- I totally understand Ben giving up Widmore's hiding place. I think he would have done that even if UnLocke didn't promise to give him the Island (the same Island that he later promises to destroy).
- Back in the Sideways. Funny that Alex tells Dr. Linus that he's "like, the nicest guy EVER"...right after we see him basically give Charles Widmore a death sentence. A death sentence, by the way, resulting from her own death.
- YES!! Rousseau is back! And looking very cougar-y all cleaned up!
- "Even if we have to kidnap you."
- Coq au vin night at the Rousseaus...I think Ben got choked up when Danielle says that he is the closes thing to a father that Alex has ever had because he has some awareness of what happened to her on the Island, maybe even a subconscious awareness.
- LOCKE: Wait out here. . . You don’t need to see this.
BEN: I want to see this.
Yeah...like I said, I am totally with Ben on his motivations up this point.
- President Laura Lemon joins the increasingly growing list of Season 6 characters who were introduced to do a whole lot of nothing and then die.
- Of COURSE we don't get to hear what Widmore's plans are for Desmond, other than that he is a measure of "last resort" due to his ability to withstand large amounts of electromagnetic energy.
- Ben: Did you say there were some other people to kill?
I think Ben is trying to play UnLocke, and his plans have something to do with the walkie talkie he gave to Miles. I am truly hoping that we are not going to just toss the "Ben Linus Redemption" story, and I don't think that's where we're going with this.
- Our remaining candidates meet up with Jacob at the campfire (loved the little moment when Hurley thought he was going to have to translate), and Kate is NOT happy.
I don't think Jacob really answered her question, though...she asked him if Jin, Sun, and Sayid died because their names were on the wall, and Jacob responds with "I'm very sorry." That is...not what she asked.
- Back in the Sideways. There is absolutely no way for me to do justice to the scene between Locke and Jack in Jack's office...it is yet another scene that Terry O'Quinn can add to his Emmy reel. I love how he played his explanation to Jack about why he had changed his mind about the surgery...awkward pauses, sheepish and embarrassed looks. Like he's saying "I know how crazy this sounds...but I feel like I have to go for it".
Jack tells him not to mistake coincidence for fate...I guess that's the closest we are going to get to a Mr. Eko return.
- Jacob sits the candidates down and gives them the reasons why they are here. There was a lot about this that I liked...the notion that what was "special" about them was just the opposite..they were flawed and lonely, just like Jacob (and most of us, at least at times). The fact that having a choice is so important to Jacob because he doesn't feel like he ever had one. The fact that Kate wasn't "disqualified"...she still could choose to take the Protector role, but Jacob didn't want her to have to leave Aaron.
The one thing I didn't like is also the part of this season that is bothering me the most. Jacob tells them that if they don't stop UnLocke, then they and everybody they care about will die. I have NO idea what that means.
It annoys me that we are heading into the very last episode of this show, and I still don't know what I am rooting "for" or "against". Why can't MIB leave? What happens if he does? What does "everybody dies" mean? How is Jack (or anybody else) supposed to stop him? What is Widmore trying to do? How does Desmond figure into that? What is Desmond trying to do in the Sideways, besides get everybody together in one place and hope for some mass awareness to take place (sort of like Woodstock)?
I understand that we will (hopefully) find all of this out in the finale...it just feels like everything that is happening now is extremely rushed, and I can't help but think that all of that time in the Temple and in the Sideways (before we saw any type of connection with what is happening on the Island) was...well, wasted.
OK...rant over. I really did love this episode, I just wish that we didn't have to rush through so many important events.
- So, the inevitable happens and Jack steps up as the Leader that he (and we) have been told over and over that he is...as bad as "Stranger in a Strange Land" was (and it was bad), I still really like what Jack's tattoo said: "He walks among us, but he is not one of us." That's called foreshadowing.
I'm just going to point it out, just in case...Hurley's line of "I'm just glad it's not me". I think it's just further evidence that Hurley REALLY doesn't like being the leader, but it also seemed like the kind of line that may come back to haunt him.
- Jacob takes Jack aside and tells him where the heart of the Island is...as if there needed to be more confirmation that it was "always" going to be Jack, how about the fact that he is the only survivor that landed next to the Magical Cave of Glowy Goodness?
- Nice work by Matthew Fox after he drinks from the cup...he looked like, for the first time, everything made sense.
- Was I the only one who thought that the sight of Kate in that cell was going to be what brought on Sawyer's Island awareness? What would have been funny is if it only happened to him and not her: "We're supposed to be having sex in these cages...I swear! Seriously!"
- Loved this whole exchange:
DESMOND: Think it’s time to leave.
DESMOND: I said, I think it’s time to leave. You ready to get out of here?
KATE: I’m sorry. Who are you?
SAYID: He’s a crazy person who turned himself in.
KATE: What’d you turn yourself in for?
DESMOND: I ran over a guy in a wheelchair.
SAYID: You see what I mean?
- Ana Lucia is back...you know, as much as I couldn't stand her during her run on the show, I have really enjoyed her in the small doses we have seen since then.
- Hurley is apparently experiencing more memories: "Hey, you didn't tell me Ana Lucia was going to be here....Oh, no. We've never met."
- Like we have said...everybody is going to the concert. Not sure why Locke would be there...or how Jack is going to have time to do back surgery on his back. But pretty much everybody else has a reason to be there, including Sawyer (who will probably show up looking for his fugitives). Not sure about Bernard and Rose...but it is a charity event, so maybe they are coming with donations.
- UnLocke (I think I like that one better than Smocke now) mentions that he likes to feel his feet on the ground because it reminds him of his humanity...interesting. And maybe something that may come back to haunt him? Don't know...it was just sort of weird that the writers inserted that little exchange here.
- They get to the well...and Desmond is gone. Somebody helped him out...but who? It wasn't Sayid. He told Jack that he was still in the well. So..who? Richard? Jacob? Miles? How about VINCENT?
By the way...if it's Vincent, then I don't care what else happens in the finale, it will be the most awesomest episode EVAH.
- UnLocke vows to destroy the Island. But...didn't he JUST promise it to Ben, like, five minutes ago?
And how about the fact that the first time we saw the Sideways timeline, the Island was at the bottom of the ocean? Does that mean that UnLocke succeeded? If so...why don't we see any effects in that universe?
Well...the good news is that we don't have to wait long to find out.
This episode felt very much like so many of the LOST episodes that I have loved in the past. Great character moments, huge mythological storyline development, some typically stupendous acting...just everything we have come to expect out of a penultimate LOST episode leading into a finale.
As I mentioned, I have had some issues with some of the storytelling decisions that have been made this season. But, above all else, I go into this finale full of gratitude and appreciation for everybody involved in bringing this show to us over the past six seasons. I have enjoyed the 120+ hours of entertaining and thought provoking television and, even more so, the countless hours of discussions with friends (and online strangers), the ways that it has enriched my knowledge by forcing me to read up on authors and subject matter that I would otherwise never have been exposed to...just so many ways that this little television show has brought a little extra joy into my life.
No matter how it ends, it's not going to take away from the ride.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Sorry...real life intervened today and I wasn't able to put together my Idol recap from last night. Tell the truth...did any of you even notice?
Super short version: pretty much everything was boring until Lee sang "Hallelujah" and created one of the EXTREMELY rare moments that I will remember from this season. Yes, he was helped tremendously by the arrangement and production values (seriously....back up choir, angelic lighting, smoke machine, AND the split screen treatment? You think Simon knows who he wants to win this thing?). But I think that early in the season, he would have been swallowed whole by that arrangement, but he has truly improved every single week in my opinion, and was able to more than hold his own.
Another commentary on this season: Last night there were 47 million votes cast. Last year's vote count on Top 3 night? 88 MILLION. So apparently I'm not the only one losing interest.
The biggest problem has been the lack of breathtaking, memorable, showstopping numbers that make you say, "I am going to rewind and watch that again RIGHT NOW." Last season, we had at least one of those almost every week...this season, I think there have been, at MOST, six:
- Siobhan, "Think"
- Siobhan, "Paint it Black"
- Lee, "The Boxer"
- Crystal, "Me and Bobby McGee"
- Lee/Crystal, "Falling Slowly"
- Lee, "Hallelujah"
Am I missing any?
Anyway...one more to go. I promise not to blow off the finale.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Random and scattered thoughts, five minutes after my first viewing....
Some SERIOUS forward momentum tonight, even though it definitely felt like Part I of the finale, which is basically what it is.
So...maybe we all jumped the gun a little on the whole "Ben Linus Redemption" story from Dr. Linus? I understand why he killed Widmore, but I was a little surprised to see him seemingly entirely on the side of Smokey.
Loved everything about the Sideways timeline tonight....even Ana Lucia!
I kept waiting for the Sawyer/Kate "awareness" to be brought on by the jail cell...you know how those two are in cages.
Rousseau cleans up nice!
Can we all agree now that Smokey=Smocke=Man in Black=Boy in Black? And also, that the light didn't "go out" when Smokey was born last week?
Wait...did Richard die? Or is he just knocked out somewhere? He can't be dead, right? RIGHT?!?!?!?
Still love Miles: "I was here 30 years before you...also known as last week". HEE!
I still have no clue what exactly Desmond is planning, but I'm not going to worry...we'll find out soon enough.
Jack is the new Protector...glad they didn't really drag that out once Jacob laid it out for them. Any arguments would have just been wasted time. But...I wonder if any of the other "candidates" are starting to worry about their survival chances, now that the Island no longer needs them? I know I'M worried.
Desmond is the "fail-safe"...that's fitting, huh? Turning the fail-safe is how he became "unstuck" in time in the first place.
So...Smocke is trying to destroy the Island. The first time we see the Sideways Timeline, the Island is at the bottom of the ocean. Did he succeed? Still don't know what I think about that, because I'm not really seeing any evidence in the Sideways timeline that things are all that much worse than they were before.
OK...that's all for now. I will try my best to get the recap up before the finale on Sunday. If not, I may just do this one combined with the finale, since this was obviously part one of a three parter (or 3.5 parter).
THIS was the show I fell in love with.
Monday, May 17, 2010
This is almost definitely going to be even more rambling and disorganized than usual...
- In response to what a couple of people have said in the comments, as well as what I have seen in some other analysis...I still think, without any doubts, that Man in Black=Smocke=Smoke Monster. There are some who have said that Smokey already existed on the Island before the events in this episode, and that what we see in later episodes is Smokey manifesting himself as Jacob's brother, just like he is now manifesting as John Locke.
My theory is this...when Jacob sent his brother down into the Cave of Glowy Goodness (more on this later), his soul/spirit was separated from his body and transformed into what we have seen as the "Smoke Monster" and all of his various manifestations since. The Smoke Monster was born at that moment. MIB's physical body died at that moment, but his soul/spirit lives on as this new entity, so it is still in line with the "Jacob and MIB can't kill each other" rule.
I do have some evidence to support this...back in "Ab Aeterno", MIB tells Richard that the Devil (referring to Jacob) betrayed him, and stole his body and his humanity. That's what happened when Jacob threw him into the Glowy Cave...he suffered physical death, but now lives on as this other entity trapped on the Island.
(Interesting aside that this is basically the OPPOSITE of what the Bible tells us happened with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden...in their case, when they sinned they died, just like God said they would. But their physical bodies continued to live...the death they experienced was spiritual.)
To me, Smocke HAS to be the same little boy that we saw in this episode who just wanted to "go home". Otherwise, his intentions and goals are even more nebulous than they are right now.
- Although I think we saw the birth of Smokey when MIB went down the cave, I also think that the Mother had to have SOME other manifestation...there is no way that she could have filled that well in by herself and then wiped out the entire human camp by herself without being in something other than human form, right? Maybe an earlier form of Smokey? I don't know, and I don't think we will ever find out, so that is one we will be debating on message boards, I guess.
- I don't think what we saw in this episode is the "beginning" of the Island story, it's just the beginning of Jacob and MIB's story. The Mother told Claudia that she got to the Island the same way that she did....by accident. The story of LOST has been full of loops and repeated history, and I think this was just another example.
- Interesting note from Darlton's interview with Alan Sepinwall...they drew a connection between the human camp being wiped out here and the Dharma Purge, saying that there is a repeating cycle where the more "curious" people get about the Island and its properties, the more protective the "Island Protector" gets, often resorting in the types of genocide we have seen.
- I have also seen some who said that the MIB was "supposed" to be the Island Protector, and that Jacob only got it by default. I disagree...I think the Mother is right when she tells Jacob that it was always supposed to be him. I think she wanted it to be her other son (man, it's super annoying that they never named him), but I think she realized in the end that she had been mistaken.
- Whatever problems I had with the episode had nothing to do with the actors...this was a typically brilliant episode in terms of its actors, in particular Titus Welliver as the Man in Black. He had several great moments, none better than the moment right before his Mother bashes his head against the rocks...for just a brief few seconds, he went from being the defiant, angry, rebellious man to just being the little boy we saw earlier, whose only real crime seems to be that he wants to know the Truth. The Truth about who he is, what this Island is, what else is out there, etc...just really good, subtle acting.
- On this week's podcast, Damon and Carlton said that the reason they inserted that footage at the end from season one was not to hit us over the head with who the skeletons were, but instead to remind us how much these characters have learned and grown since then.
- On rewatch, I enjoyed this episode more than I did the first time I watched it, probably because I had initially gone into this episode with ENORMOUS expectations.
My remaining issues:
- The Cave of Glowy Goodness. I can forgive the corniness (barely), but my biggest problem is how it fits logically in the story. I have said for a while now that I really don't care if they answer every question, or even ANY more questions, as long as the ending makes logical and emotional sense. If that happens, I can fill in the blanks on the other stuff, if you give me logical and emotional context.
But does this make sense logically? How do we reconcile what Mother told Jacob (it's this beautiful light, the source of life, death, rebirth, etc) with what Jacob told Richard (the Island is the cork that keeps this evil contained)? And what does it mean that in the beginning of the Sideways timeline we see the Island at the bottom of the ocean? Does that mean the Source of Light has gone out? If so, why do we not really see any evidence of that in the Sideways timeline?
I'm reserving judgement on this part of it, because in the Sepinwall interview and also the weekly podcast, Darlton hinted that there will be more information coming about what all of that means. I sure hope so, because it felt REALLY flat to me, which is really disconcerting considering that this Cave of Glowy Goodness is apparently what the whole Island story has been about.
Not what the SHOW has been about...to me, the show is still about the characters. But the mythology and history of the Island has been such a HUGE part of the show, and I hope the Glowy Cave of MAGIC isn't all there is to that.
- My BIGGEST issue of this episode? We know NOTHING more about what Smocke's intentions are, or the reasons behind his actions, than we did this time last week. All we learned about him is that he hated his mother, and he wants to go home. Didn't we already know that?
It seems that the point of this episode was just a big mythological data dump, with no intentions to move the story forward. But, in my opinion, the only way that would be effective is if the mythology we are given tracks to the story in some emotional or logical way, and I don't think this episode pulled that off. I feel like we took one of the last few hours of this show to talk about a bunch of stuff that either A) doesn't really matter, or B) makes no sense and only serves to create more questions that have no answers. I get the meta commentary...."Every question (we) answer will only lead to more questions". To which I say....then why bother answering any?
Overall, like I said earlier, I am trying to reserve judgement until we see how it all plays out. But, for me personally, this episode was ultimately disappointing and seemingly useless, unless something happens in the next 3.5 hours that provides significantly more context and meaning to what we saw in this episode.
Can you believe that this time next week, this show will be OVER? GAH.
One more thing...my post on this episode last week was by far the most read and commented on post I have ever put up. I am a little overwhelmed by it, honestly...this blog started as just an opportunity for me to write again about stuff that I enjoy. I was once an English major before my career took a sharp turn into the world of Finance, and I have always loved to write. This was an outlet for me to write about the things that I was constantly talking the ears off of my family and friends about.
I am so appreciative that my little personal venting space has somehow gained the attention of people (many of whom I myself read and enjoy every day) who have been nice enough to point people my way. I hope that your visits have been worthwhile...I know I enjoy the sharing of ideas that a show like this incites and encourages. I have never pretended to be anything but a huge fan of the show, and I love having conversations with other huge fans.
Hopefully, you guys will stick around after this show ends...I have many other subjects that I can ramble on about for hours on end, I promise.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
1) Lee Dewyze - "Kiss From a Rose": OK, first of all...I would punch Jamie Foxx right in the mouth if he got in my face like that. What a freaking tool.
As for the performance...meh. It started out REALLY bad. Falsetto is definitely not Lee's friend, and the pitch and breath control problems were back with a vengeance. It's like an every other week thing with him.
Once the song got "bigger" he sounded better...but overall, this was probably around a C or C-.
Oh, and Randy...since when is Lee a "rocker"? Has he done even one real "rock" song since he's been on the show? Yeah, Lee...way to rock out on some Simon and Garfunkel!
Randy is a moron.
2) Michael Lynch - "Will You be There?": Whatever. It was fine. It certainly didn't blow me away or anything. This is two weeks in a row where I felt like it should have been a lot better than it ended up being.
3) Crystal/Lee - "Falling Slowly": My feelings about this song should be pretty clear, if you were reading my recaps last season.
This was really, really good...definitely the best performance we've heard in several weeks on this show, if not all season. And yet, for most of the song, I was thinking about A) how much better Crystal is than Lee (this REALLY amplified that), and B) how much more I like Kris Allen than either of them.
Still, though, I really enjoyed it, and it was the first performance since Siobhan's "Paint it Black" that was good enough that I didn't immediately erase the show from my DVR because I want to go back and listen to it again.
4) Casey James - "Mrs. Robinson": Oh, he totally should have done the Lemonheads version of this song. Because, as I have been saying about him for weeks, doing stuff like this is NOT playing to his strengths. His voice just isn't good enough to do stripped down versions of songs. He could have rocked this out, and that's what he should have done if he wants to be in the top 3. I think he may be in trouble.
5) Crystal Bowersox - "I'm Alright": PERFECT song choice for her, I thought, especially since I HAVE been a little worried about her the past few weeks. I have felt like she has gotten too polished, and has lost a lot of what I loved about her in the first place. This was more like "early Crystal", which usually equals awesome. And this was really good...don't know that I would say it was AWESOME, but it was by far the best solo performance tonight.
6) Mike/Casey - "Tell Me Have You Ever Really Really Really Ever Really Really Ever Really Really Really Really Ever Really Ever Loved a Woman....REALLY? No, SERIOUSLY? REALLY?!?!?!?!?": Gah, I hate this song so much. REALLY. It sounds like it was written by somebody who has actually NOT ever really loved a woman.
Anyway...this was pretty good, actually. Casey, in particular, was really good...he was like the Richie Sambora of this duet (trust me...that's a good thing). Great guitar work, and I thought he really nailed the harmonies. Mike was his usual good-not-great self.
It is so stupid that they have duets at this point in the show. Aren't we trying to decide who is going to be the next big pop star? How does singing in a duet show that at all? Oh, right...it doesn't. It's only happened since we decided that the judges are more important than the actual performances on this show, so rather than have everybody sing twice we stuck them together in duets to save time.
Kara looked GORGEOUS tonight.
Jamie Foxx is worthless as a mentor on this show...he's proven it two years in a row now. If he takes Simon's place next year I'm officially out.
1) Lee/Crystal duet
3) Casey/Mike duet
Predicted eviction: Casey
Things we definitely learned:
- Who the Adam and Eve skeletons belong to
- Who that little boy is who Smocke keeps seeing in the jungle
- What Smocke means by wanting to go "home"
Things we sort of learned:
- How MIB became Smokey. We saw it happen, but I'm not sure exactly what we saw. Since Jacob found the actual body later, did the soul/spirit of MIB leave him, and that soul/spirit is manifested as Smokey?
- Why Jacob and MIB can't kill each other. We know the Mother made the rules...but how?
- The origin of the Frozen Donkey Wheel. That particular well got filled in, but obviously someone in the subsequent years finished the job (probably at MIB's command/suggestion/influence). I'm OK with not necessarily seeing who that was.
- How Richard Alpert lives forever. The Mother had Jacob drink from that wine "container" (not sure what that thing is called), and we can assume that is where his mortality came from since that's when he stopped aging. Remember, when Jacob and Richard had their conversation, Jacob had that container with him...I'm OK assuming that he had Richard drink whatever it was his Mother gave to him.
Things we saw that seemed to contradict something we "knew" already:
-When the skeletons were first discovered, Jack said they were around 40-50 years old, based on their clothing deterioration...turns out he was off by around 2000 years or so. Is that just because Jack's not as smart as he thinks he is, or do clothes deteriorate at a different rate of speed on the Island?
- Jacob told Richard that the Island was the cork that kept the evil in. But Mother said that the Island was protecting the "Source", and that the Source was a good thing. So...which is it?
Things I'm either more confused about now or feel like we should know a LOT more about after last night, based on the fact that this was supposed to be the episode that gave us the "answers" regarding the origin of Jacob/MIB, Island history, etc:
- What is The Source? Source of WHAT? And is it the same thing that is in Marcellus Wallace's briefcase?
I know the producers will probably pull out the old "midi-chlorian" spiel on this one, but come on...if you're telling me that this is what the Island is and always has been, and that all of these characters were ultimately brought here because of it, then we need a better explanation than that. Maybe it's still to come..
- How does the Mother's "rules" work? She just declares that they can't kill each other, and then they can't?
- Why can't the MIB leave the Island? More specifically, how or why does anything that we have seen Smocke do this season have any effect on these "rules"? We don't know any better now than we did last week how killing the Candidates will somehow release MIB from the Island.
- Along those same lines...why is it that Jacob CAN leave the Island, as we saw him do several times in the season 5 finale?
- I hate to keep coming back to Walt, but MIB was referred to multiple times as being "special"...the same way Walt was described so many times in the first two seasons. Is there a connection there?
- We know who the little boy is who has been running around the jungle...but why/how is Jacob now manifesting as a 13 year old version of himself, and why can only certain people see him?
- How is MIB walking around looking like John Locke? He didn't "possess" his body...we saw that body getting moldy on the beach, and now it is in the ground.
- What the $%&@& is MIB's NAME?!?!?
Thing I'm OK with that other people may not be:
- Where the Mother came from. I'm OK with assuming that her story is very similar to the one we just saw...she was either born there or brought there by whomever the "Protector of the Source" was at the time, and has been biding her time waiting on a replacement. I don't need to see who raised her, and then who raised that person, and who raised that person, etc, etc..
Other random questions running around in my head right now:
- Do the "rules" that govern Jacob and MIB apply to other people? Is that why Ben and Widmore can't kill each other?
- Are the Others stealing children because they don't want them to be infected by the evil people, the same way the Mother kept her little boys away from them?
- Do the infertility issues have anything to do with what happened at Jacob and MIB's birth?
- Was the Temple built over the water at the Source? When Jacob died, is that why the water turned dirty, because Jacob wasn't protecting the Source anymore? And is that why Sayid wasn't completely "infected"?
OK...as you can see, my head is still spinning, but I am at least back to processing complete thoughts again. Feel free to jump in on the comments and either answer some of these questions (PLEASE!!! I'm BEGGING you!), or add to the list, and I will try to address those in the full recap.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
It's probably not a good thing that I actually feel MORE confused than I did two hours ago, right?
I am going to have to watch this at least a couple more times. Plus, I try not to read too many other recappers before I post my own, because I want my thoughts to be my own...but I may have to read EVERYBODY before I write this one, because I am really having a hard time processing what I just saw.
Maybe I'll sleep on it....
Monday, May 10, 2010
It's like this...as a standalone episode I thought this was great, but I also think it magnified some issues that I have with this season as a whole. So, in order to keep from getting bogged down even more so than usual in the recap, I'm going to just recap the episode itself as we go, and then put all of my "big picture" stuff in the "Final Thoughts" section.
- We open with what was a disturbing phenomenon in this episode...Jack watching Locke while he's sleeping. Dude...boundaries.
- I definitely think that Locke is at least a LITTLE aware of the Island timeline...we see some evidence of that here, I think, when he recognizes Jack (I don't think it's just from Lost Luggage). We'll see more later, and there is also his line in the ambulance: "I was going to marry her..."
- Jack: "I think you're a CANDIDATE.......for this new procedure".
Very funny, Jack.
- Jack hasn't completely gotten over his Hero Complex...he is still trying to "fix" everybody. I just think he has it a little more under control now, although that theory will definitely be tested in this episode.
- I was fairly convinced last week that Sayid was "back", and his opening scene this week sealed the deal for me. "Welcome to Hydra Island...at least you didn't have to paddle".
See, I don't think Zombie Sayid was really interested in making jokes.
This begs the question...what does it mean to be "infected"? We've seen both Sayid and, to some extent, Claire kind of "wake up" and start to demonstrate their old personality.
I'm thinking it's kind of like hypnotism...in order for someone to be hypnotized, they have to be open to suggestion. In this case, Smocke used ideas that his subjects were very vulnerable and open to (Claire's feelings of abandonment, Sayid's view of himself as a heartless, evil monster) in order to exercise some level of mind control. But, as usual with this show, there is always a choice, an opportunity to express your free will. Once Claire and Sayid realized that, they were able to break that control.
That's my theory for this week...we'll see what happens in the next episode to blow it to smithereens.
- Back to the Hydra cages:
"Well, I've got the gun, so you - "
"Not anymore, doughboy"
- Widmore threatens Kate, Sawyer caves, and then Widmore tells him: "You may not believe it, but, I'm doing this for your own good".
Sawyer doesn't believe him (of course...why should he), and I still don't think I do, either. Until I've seen him do something that is obviously for someone's benefit other than his own, I'm still not buying that he is a good guy.
- Hey, it's Bernard!
I'm telling you...both Bernard and Rose know SOMETHING. He is way too familiar with both Jack and Locke's case...seriously, why else would he remember Anthony Cooper's name from three years ago? Cooper wasn't even his patient.
And..."I hope you find what you're looking for".
AND....Bernard/Rose. Light/Dark. ROSE AND BERNARD ARE THE KEY TO EVERYTHING!!
(just kidding...unless it turns out to be true. Then I was TOTALLY serious).
- Back to the Island...interesting that Jack tells Smocke, "They're not my people". I assume that's either because he doesn't want Smocke to think he has any influence on them anymore, or if he's just still pissed at Sawyer about the whole "Get off my boat" thing. Maybe because they wouldn't listen to him about not leaving?
Anyway...Jack still doesn't want to leave. Smocke does his typical awesome job of mixing just enough truth with his lies...I think he CAN kill them all. I just don't think he's ALLOWED to and still be able to leave, or do whatever it is he's trying to accomplish. Back to that in a little bit...
- Sawyer lets Kate know that her name was crossed out in the cave...on this week's podcast, Darlton says that this will be addressed in an upcoming episode, so I'm not going to spend a lot of time theorizing on why she's been crossed out.
- Sun and Jin have another BRIEF conversation (more on that in the Final Thoughts section), and then....SMOKEY!!!
Yeah, I know that Smocke is the personification of evil, blah, blah, blah...but I freaking love Smokey.
- Doesn't Kate have the shortest arms of anybody in that cage? Why is SHE the one trying to reach the key?
- Jack: "I'm with him".
- Sideways: Jack is REALLY not doing a good job at "letting go" here, is he? He has now tracked down Anthony Cooper in his nursing home and shows up unannounced and uninvited. That's...creepy, isn't it?
I think this is one of those things like I've mentioned before (Claire trusting a gun-wielding, cab-hijacking stranger with her life and her credit card, for instance, or Penny not freaking out when a perfect stranger approaches her in an empty stadium, passes out, and then invites her out for a coffee) where there is just a "pull" between these people that they can't shake. Jack NEEDS to fix Locke...like he tells Helen, it's not enough that he saved John's life. He has to FIX him.
- And Anthony Cooper is...gone. Completely. Sorry, dude...I don't feel bad for you. You kidney stealing, lying, son-crippling thief.
- Back on the Island, Smocke goes all Terminator on the folks guarding the plane...interesting that he stops and gets the guy's watch BEFORE he steps on the plane and sees the bomb. Almost like he KNEW there would be a bomb there, huh? Some have said that they think he and Widmore may be working together, and this is evidence of that, but I think it's something else. Not sure what, yet, but that doesn't feel right to me.
Also...we haven't seen Richard's group since they left the smoldering Black Rock with plans to stop Smocke from leaving the Island at any cost...could they actually be the ones who rigged the plane?
- Lots of quick plot development/exposition here...they give up on the plane and decide on taking the sub, Hurley still doesn't trust Smocke and wants to reconsider helping him leave the Island, Sawyer is still conning Smocke into thinking that he trusts him and is going to let him leave with them, Jack is willing to help everybody else leave but has no interest in actually leaving himself, and Smocke is still stringing Claire along.
Got all that? Cool.
One interesting note...Sawyer tells Jack to just "get it in the water" and he will take care of the rest. Based on that, and what we've heard before about Smokey not being able to travel over water, I was expecting something big to happen when Jack pushes him in later. Did Sawyer think that, too, or did he just want Smocke distracted so that they could make a quick getaway? Because falling in the water didn't seem to have any effect on Smocke that it wouldn't have had on anybody else. Just annoyance.
- And, back in the hospital, Jack is watching Locke sleep again! He's creeping ME out!
- Obvious proof that, at least on some level, Locke is aware of the Island timeline, as he's murmuring "Push the button...I wish you had believed me".
Just an aside...I think it's interesting that what it takes for these characters to achieve "awareness" is so different for each of them. Libby sees Hurley on TV, Charlie has a near-death experience, Daniel sees Charlotte across the room, Sun is shot and on her way to the ER, etc, etc...in Locke's case, he gets hit with a car, and it still seems he's only PARTIALLY aware, like maybe even subconsciously.
Not sure what it means...maybe it's harder for Locke because his Island self is being occupied by MIB?
- Claire shows Jack the music box that Christian left to her. Of course, it plays "Catch a Falling Star", and there is also a shot of both Jack and Claire in the mirror, continuing that motif.
Some interesting notes on the "history" of Christian here...if I remember correctly, in the original timeline, doesn't Claire remember her father singing that song to her? Apparently, Sideways Claire has no such memory.
Also...some things may have changed, but Christian still drank himself to death in Australia.
- Jack is finally starting to put it together...something is strange about the fact that every new person he meets was on Oceanic 815.
- "We're not strangers...we're family".
I think that, in a nutshell, is the "answer" we are going to get for one of the earliest questions ever asked about this show...what is the connection between all of these people? Why are they so intertwined in each others' lives? I don't think we're going to get a deeper answer than that...they are connected. It was not random that they were the ones on that plane.
Personally, I don't need any more explanation than that, but I know there is sizeable portion of the audience who is looking for more "answers" than I am.
- Back on the Island, about to board the sub. From here on out, I had a hard time remembering to breath, so excuse me if I miss a couple of points due to blackouts.
- JACK!!!! CHECK YOUR BACKPACK!!!! HE CHANGED BACKPACKS ON YOU, JACK!!! YOU'RE FALLING FOR THE OLDEST TRICK IN THE BOOK!!!
GAH....I hate it when TV characters ignore me.
- "Whoever told you, you needed to stay had no idea what he was talking about."
"John Locke told me I needed to stay."
Man...who knew I was going to end up loving Jack this much?
- Confession/Complaint...I read Doc Jensen's article on EW.com on the day of the episode, and he said that he was going to have a "special" interview up as soon as the episode was over with somebody we were going to want to hear from after seeing this episode. I was ticked, because I read between the lines enough to know that somebody was going to die, and I am VEHEMENTLY anti-spoiler.
So, when Kate took a bullet, I thought for sure she was dying. If only.
(that's only about 20% because I wouldn't mind seeing Kate die...mostly, it's because I would rather lose ONE than what ended up happening)
(BTW...the interview was actually with Damon and Carlton, and it was a good one)
- Claire gets left again...though, to be fair, both Sayid and Sawyer tried to get her to get on the sub, but she was too busy playing Annie Oakley.
- So...were those actually Widmore's men firing at the sub? If so, why did they wait until half the group was already on the sub to start firing?
Maybe they were waiting for Smocke to show his face before they started firing...IF Widmore is actually a good guy (a HUGE if), than he probably doesn't care that the Losties leave. His concern is making sure Smocke doesn't.
- Back on the sub...the C-4 is discovered, and Jack figures out immediately what happened...Smocke tricked them all into thinking that he wanted to leave with them on the sub, but actually he just need all of the remaining candidates in one place so that they could kill each other.
(Still fuzzy on the "rules" here...was Locke no longer a candidate, which is why Ben could kill him? Maybe the candidates can be killed by anybody other than Smokey or themself?)
Anyway...as is the trend this season, I am 100% in agreement with Jack. If they let that timer go all the way to zero, that bomb doesn't explode. I think that this has been the cycle for years...the Man in Black manipulates candidates into killing each other, and then another cycle starts. (aside...maybe that's the story behind the Purge, as well?)
If that's the case, then my guess is that as long as either Jacob or ONE candidate is still alive, then MIB is still trapped.
Which, by the way...he obviously didn't want to leave the Island on that sub. So how was he planning on going "home"? What constitutes "home" for him?
- Sawyer doesn't trust Jack, and why should he? It's only been a few days since Jack's last big "Trust me, I know I'm right" moment...and that little plan got Juliet killed.
But this time...Jack is right.
- Sayid's redemption arc is complete...I loved it, and was actually happy for him in a really sad way, but...I'll get to the rest in the "Final Thoughts" section.
- "It's going to be you, Jack."
Anybody out there that does NOT think that Jack is supposed to be the new Jacob? I don't know that it's going to play out like that, because I think Jack is going to be given a choice, and what he decides will ultimately decide the ending of this show. But I am about 99% sure that he is the Island's choice.
- And now the hits are coming in rapid succession...Sayid blows up, Lapidus takes a bulkhead door to the face, and Sun is trapped behind what looks to be a large filing cabinet. Oh, if only Widmore had joined the rest of us in a paperless society!
- "There is no Sayid!"
Is it wrong that this made me laugh a little? Yeah? OK...moving on.
- Now Sawyer is unconscious, and Jin makes Jack get him out of there, leaving Jin and Sun trapped in the sub together.
Another confession...the first time I watched this scene, I totally took myself out of it emotionally. Number one, I didn't think they were actually going to die...I was in some state of denial that convinced me that Sayid was the "big death" we were going to get in this episode.
Secondly, I was extremely distracted by the fact that Sun never once mentioned Ji Yeon when trying to get him to leave. Not that I thought that her doing so would be enough to convince Jin to leave her, but as a parent it just didn't seem natural that she wouldn't bring it up, so that was distracting to me.
And the third reason...I will get to later.
Having said all of that, when I went back and rewatched the episode, I was definitely more emotionally impacted. I wasn't even as bothered by her not mentioning their daughter...in a way it made it even more gutwrenching, because it was this unspoken thing that was so terrifyingly heartbreaking that she couldn't even bring herself to say it out loud...but she was saying it, I think. At least I can make it be that, as a fan, and that's good enough for me.
And what a fantastic job by Daniel Dae Kim (Jin), Yunjin Kim (Sun), and director Jack Bender. Beautifully shot, heartbreaking scenes. Once I stopped watching this scene as a blogger and just watched it as a fan...well, let's just say that my reputation as a big ole crybaby is still intact.
- Said reputation, by the way, was only enhanced by the next two scenes...fair warning.
- Jack approaches Locke in the hallway, questioning him again about the surgery. Locke starts his story with, "I was in a plane crash.." and I thought for sure this was it, the moment when these two finally figure things out and start working together. Not yet...but I still think that time is coming.
- My weekly "Terry O'Quinn deserves every single Emmy that is ever awarded, in perpetuity" moment...compare the Locke in that heartbreaking explanation of how his father came to be an invalid with the one we see now on the Island...how is that even the same person? You can even see it in his EYES...the almost feral Smocke, compared to this sad and guilt-filled man. Terry O'Quinn is a frakking genius.
And, yeah, I'm crying again...what of it? Shut up.
- At least Jack now acknowledges that "letting go" is not really his strong suit.
- That pause when Jack says those magic words, "I wish you believed me"....we are SO close.
- Nope...still not OK enough to recap the scene on the beach. Suffice to say that a grief-filled, sobbing Hurley was enough even on the first watch to snap me out of my "analytical blogger" mode. I was OK until Hurley wasn't.
- Like I said, I still don't know exactly what "home" is to Smocke...but he obviously knew or felt somehow that his plan didn't work. Maybe if they had all died, he would have been released immediately?
- Poor Claire....alone again.
On its own, this was a fantastic episode of television. Action packed, emotionally jarring, beautifully and effectively shot/directed, and the usual Emmy-worthy acting from everybody involved.
OK...let's talk big picture.
I had separate issues with the deaths of both Sayid and Jin/Sun, but they were kind of connected.
With Sayid, I just felt like his "redemption" arc was really, really rushed. He's spent half the season or more wandering around like a zombie, apparently "infected"...but then we see one conversation with Desmond, and then one conversation with Jack, and then that's it...Sayid go boom.
My problem with the story is the pacing of it, and that is part of the problem I have with season 6 as a whole...I felt like we wasted an AWFUL lot of time in the first 6-7 episodes. Does anybody even remember Dogen and the Temple people? What was the point in spending all of that time there? Plus, we were spending half an episode every week in the Sideways timeline that had absolutely no meaning to us at the time, and only inklings of meaning now.
Again, I'm not somebody who is looking for every single answer to every single question...I'm OK with a Mysterious Island having a few mysteries, and I like to think I'm intelligent enough to figure some of these things out for myself without having the writers spell it out for me.
But...if we were just going to tread water for a third of the season, couldn't we have done it more productively? For instance...maybe if Jin is kidnapped by Widmore's group a little earlier, he could have spent a little more time in Room 23, which could have given us a little more insight into what that room was for, which could have given us more insight into....Walt. That would be a way to come back to that story that was a HUGE part of the first two seasons of the show, without having to deal with the fact that Malcolm David Kelley is apparently seven and half feet tall now.
That's just an example, but you get the point...there was a lot of wasted time. And now we are at the end of the season, and I feel like storylines (like Sayid's) are being rushed to completion. As you've probably heard, the LOST staff have asked (and been granted) an extra half hour for the finale, making it a total of TWO AND A HALF HOURS. Now, I'm not going to complain about more LOST...but it sounds to me like the writers were left with too much story to tell in the final episode, and needed more time to end it effectively. Maybe if we had not wasted so much time at the beginning of the season, they wouldn't have that problem.
As for Jin and Sun...my problem with their characters actually goes back two seasons now. Remember the end of Season 4? Jin was supposedly dead, but we all figured he had to be alive somehow, so there was a lot of intrigue over what that tombstone that Sun and Hurley visited really meant. Sun had just bought Paik Industries out from under her father, and had confronted Charles Widmore in a totally kick-butt scene that led you to believe that meek little Sun had morphed into a serious player in this game. I, for one, was really looking forward to what she might have planned
And then....NOTHING. EVER. HAPPENED. They spent the next two seasons doing nothing but uttering various permutations of "Where's my wife?" and "Where's my husband?", had a half dozen annoying "near misses" and a very cheesy and anticlimactic reunion, and then...they die.
That's what I was thinking about the whole time I was watching their death scene the first time...wasted opportunity. Bernie said it best in the comments after my initial post-episode thoughts: "Quite simply, Jin and Sun deserved better".
There's my list of grievances...feel free to chime in with your own, or to tell me to stop my whining and enjoy the final four and a half hours of one of the greatest and most influential and genre-changing television shows of all time. Either way, I'll probably agree with you.
Friday, May 7, 2010
So much, in fact, that I am actually going to break the steady stream of TV-related posts and post my 2nd Annual See How Little Scott Actually Knows Post...yep, it's time for a little position-by-position breakdown.
We will start with the offense for today, and honestly...that may be all I do. I am afraid to even try the defense. How many different ways can I come up with to say "I have NO idea what is going to happen here, since we have seen barely even a hint as to what the defense is actually going to look like...and, no, G-Day doesn't count"?
Oh, and if you want to see how close I was to being right last year (yeah...not that close. In particular, check out the sections on QB, DT, and LB if you are feeling particularly masochistic), here are the links to my offense and defense previews from last spring.
Just like last year:
Bold = Projected starter
Italics = incoming freshman
* = Expected redshirt (my expectations, not necessarily the staff's)
Aaron Murray, Logan Gray, Hutson Mason*
Wow. What seemed to be a really deep, if deeply unproven, position 3-4 weeks ago now seems awfully shaky. If Logan Gray chooses to transfer, we are looking at a season of holding our breath, hoping Murray is A) healthy, and B) effective.
Having said that...doesn't EVERY team have to hope for that out of their starting quarterback?
Obviously, we only have to worry about the depth issue if Aaron gets hurt or plays his way out of the starting role. If Logan stays, I feel like we can maybe still compete with him, though I think it reduces the number of winnable games by 1-2 (no, there is absolutely no scientific backing to that theory...just a gut feeling). I do NOT feel comfortable that we can be competitive with Hutson Mason as our QB at this time.
So, it all comes down to Aaron Murray. We haven't seen much of him...only high school tape (which was pretty freaking amazing), and a couple of G-Day outings. Last year, I thought he was the most impressive of ALL the quarterbacks on G-Day...this year, not so much. But the coaches rave about him, and he does have a lot of the physical tools: a super-quick release, ability to throw on the run, and a strong and accurate arm.
The negatives are obvious: Number one, he is freshman. It takes a special freshman to perform consistently week after week in the SEC. A lot of people forget that even David Greene was benched at times early in his freshman year...in particular, I remember leaving Sanford Stadium after the South Carolina game in '01 extremely concerned about our QB situation, having watched David Greene struggle mightily and Corey Phillips look utterly clueless when called upon for relief duty. So...expect growing pains. Expect some bad decisions.
The other concern that I have is his height. Anthony Dasher of UGASports.com assured listeners of their weekly podcast last week that Aaron is a legitimate 6'0 plus maybe a half inch or so. That's taller than I thought, but he still seems short out there. I saw enough batted balls last year to last me a lifetime, so I'm hoping that's not an issue again.
As for Logan...I share his concern that any talks of there being a "package of plays" for him is just lip service, based on what I saw last year. I would like for us to find a way to take advantage of his athleticism, but it doesn't appear that the coaching staff trusts him enough to make plays with his arm, so I don't know if that will happen or not.
Hutson Mason put up huge numbers in high school, but has faced criticisms that those numbers were a result of the system he played in rather than a reflection of his own potential as a legitimate SEC quarterback. He worked almost exclusively out of the shotgun in HS, so he would definitely have to adjust to being under center in Bobo's system. Again, all I've seen is HS tape...and to me, he looks like a project. Barring disaster, he will redshirt this year and work on getting bigger, stronger, and more accurate.
Incomplete. It's a cop out, I know, but we have yet to see any of these guys take meaningful snaps.
Caleb King, Washaun Ealy, Carlton Thomas, Dontavious Jackson, Ken Malcome*
Ahhh...this one feels better. I have Caleb listed as the starter, and he probably will be, but I expect that he and Ealy will see virtually equal playing time this year. Normally, I am all about finding the one feature back and giving him the ball 25 times, but you can't argue with the results from the second half of last year when these two were splitting time and Running the State. Along with the O-line, these two are the absolute key to the Dawgs offensive success next year.
Carlton Thomas is a guy who we hear about a lot in practice reports, but hasn't yet really put it together on the field. My belief is that can at least partly be attributed to how he is being used...he's just not a guy who can consistently run between the tackles. Hopefully, we can find ways to get him "in space", because his strength is definitely avoiding tackles, not breaking them.
D-Jax has had a hard time staying healthy, but I think he is a nice option off the bench...he ran hard in the G-Day game, and he certainly had the HS credentials.
Ken Malcome may just work his way onto the field, despite the numbers in front of him. His HS tape reminded me of a bigger version of Knowshon...an excellent cut-back and run downhill type runner.
Shaun Chapas, Fred Munzenmaier, Charles White, Xander Ogletree*
Chapas and Munzenmaier return for their 17th year of eligibility, and we can expect more of the same from these guys. Chapas really came on at the end of the year as a blocker after struggling somewhat early on. Both of them are pretty good weapons in the passing games, and both are money in short yardage situations.
Charles White moved over from linebacker this past year, so I don't know much about his skills as a FB...he certainly has the body type for it.
UGASports.com has Ogletree listed as a tailback, but I am almost certain he will be a fullback. He is not as athletic as his twin brother Alec, but I think he may grow into a pretty decent weapon over time.
Clint Boling, Cordy Glenn, Ben Jones, Chris Davis, Josh Davis, Trinton Sturdivant, Tanner Strickland, A.J. Harmon, Chris Burnette, Jonathan Owens, Dallas Lee, Kolton Houston, Austin Long, Ben Harden, Brent Benedict*, Kenarious Gates*
Man, that's a lot of folks....the staff has done a really good job at building depth here, although three of those five starters will be gone next year. I hope to see some underclassmen step up when given the opportunity to play this year, because we are going to be counting on them in a big way in 2011.
I said it last year, and I'll say it again...Clint Boling is one of the most criminally underrated players in the country. Some NFL team is going to be VERY lucky next year when they pick him up. He not only plays four different positions, he excels at all four. Look for him to anchor the line this year at the LT position.
If this group stays healthy (a big if over the last several years), there is absolutely no excuse for them not to be one of the more dominant units in the SEC. That starting group was absolutely beastly for much of the last half of '09, and there is definitely some quality depth behind them. Sturdivant, in particular...it's difficult to expect much from him after his second consecutive devastating knee injury, but man...if he is actually healthy, that's a HUGE plus, obviously.
As for the incoming freshmen...Brent Benedict was a BEAST in HS, but is recovering from a major knee injury of his own. Kenarious Gates was a late signee, and is the definition of "project". Both of these guys will redshirt.
Orson Charles, Aron White, Aaron Lynch, Bruce Figgins
It says a lot about the depth we have at this position that a guy like Bruce Figgins is 4th string.
Orson is a matchup nightmare, and I think he may be even more effective this season since he gets to play with his old QB from high school. I would say that 30-35 catches and 6-8 touchdowns are not unreasonable expectations, and that's a huge year for a TE (for comparison sake, he ended up with 23 catches and 3 TD as a true freshman last year).
Aron White has proven that he can be a weapon at times...he just needs to do a better job minimizing the drops. Interesting stat...in only 16 career catches, he has 6 touchdowns. Pretty good ratio there.
Arthur Lynch didn't have many balls thrown his way last year, but he did see the field in some jumbo sets and on special teams. His John Mackey-like touchdown in the G-Day game showed that he can do more than just block...although he blocks EXTREMELY well.
Figgins has had well documented troubles getting on the field the last couple of years, but the guy is a beast as a blocker and has decent hands. On most teams, he would be the surefire starter...on this team, he is just quality depth. Wow.
A.J. Green, Tavarres King, Kris Durham, Rantavious Wooten, Israel Troupe, Marlon Brown, Michael Bennett
Well, any group that includes the best in the country at his position is probably going to be pretty effective. That's what A.J. Green is, when healthy...the best wide receiver in the country. The issue is that we haven't seen him play "healthy" for very long stretches since he's been here...he was hampered by a nagging hamstring injury his freshman year, and then missed most of the end of last season with various ailments. If he can stay on the field and play close to 100% this year, he is a gamechanger even when we don't throw the ball his way...look for a LOT of open field for the previously mentioned tight ends to run around in when he is on the field due to the attention that opposing defenses absolutely have to give him.
The other thing I love about A.J. is his downfield blocking...not only is he surprisingly good at it, considering his thin frame, you can tell he really enjoys it. Gotta love that in your All-Universe wideout. I sincerely hope that we are able to take advantage of him this season, since he is obviously NFL bound in 2011...it would be a real shame to go through a period of Matt Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, and A.J. Green on campus for extended periods without even a divisional title to show for it.
Tavarres King is a solid #2 guy...great speed, decent hands, can definitely stretch the field. I'm hoping that Kris Durham can step in and give us those tough catches and yards that the shamefully underrated Mike Moore was giving us the last couple of years. Wooten looks like the real deal, Troupe showed signs of life last year...hopefully Marlon Brown can build on what was supposedly a strong spring and start fulfilling some of his endless potential. If he does, look out...this team is really loaded with offensive weapons.
Michael Bennett will see the field in some capacity this season, I suspect...the numbers are too thin otherwise.
A- (with the potential for even better)
Well...it's not hard to see, from looking at my position grades, what I think the real key is to the offense is in 2010. There are weapons EVERYWHERE, and the O-Line should be one of the best in the country....it all boils down to quarterback play. If we can just get a season out of Aaron Murray where he doesn't shoot himself in the foot too often, I think this offense has tremendous potential.
Obviously, turnovers and penalties have been a problem the past couple of seasons...I have no way of knowing if that is going to change this year or not. The Ginger Assassin, God love him, was a turnover MACHINE...unfortunately, due to Aaron being a freshman, I don't necessarily see a big dropoff in interceptions this year. So, we need our running backs to hold on to the ball (moving Samuel to LB will help, in my opinion), and our O-Linemen need to act like the veterans they are (three seniors and two juniors on the starting 5) and stop making stupid mistakes.
Some pretty big IF's...but an awful lot of potential, too.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
The other thing that had me in a bad mood before the show even started...up until last year, the top 5 always featured two songs apiece, but because you have imbeciles running this show that has been cut to one song each so that we can accommodate the four judges rambling. On one hand, I don't know that I would particularly want to hear two songs from each of these folks, but on the other hand...don't try to sell me on the fact that this is a SINGING COMPETITION, DAWG and then drastically cut the amount of actual singing.
Once more, into the breach...
1) Aaron Kelly - "Fly Me to the Moon": Decent vocal, as usual. High School Talent Show level performance, as usual.
I'm not spending any more time on this guy. Sorry.
The band sounded good, though.
2) Casey James - "Blue Skies": Oof. After a great performance last week, it really all came crashing down on Casey this week.
Something that hurt him, and something I was going to mention in my "Final Thoughts" section, is that the candidates were really limited this week as far as how they could arrange the songs. From what I could tell, they were pretty much required to use the big band and basically do it in something similar to the original style. One of my favorite things about how American Idol has evolved over the last few years is the emphasis on musicality...re-arranging "genre-specific" songs into something that represents what you are as an artist. I don't think Casey, in particular, was given the opportunity to show us who he is as an artist this week.
Anyway...he looks really awkward without his guitar, like he's not sure what to do with himself (and he's probably not). His voice is nowhere NEAR suited for this type of music...the song completely overwhelmed him, and the out of control vibrato was back almost in full force.
Although...Kara kind of ticked me off acting like this was the first time she's heard that particular vocal problem of his, when it has NEVER been more apparent than it was on "Jealous Guy", which the judges universally praised. Whatever.
3) Crystal Bowersox - "Summer Wind": Nice back tattoo, first of all.
I really liked this....not as good as some of her earlier performances, but better than last week. As opposed to Casey, Crystal DID manage to show off some of her musicality...I really enjoyed the phrasing she used, and she did a great job of creating the mood with some nice changes in tempo and dynamics. Not sure how much of that was her, and how much of it was Harry's arrangement, but it worked.
Also, she caught herself about to talk back to Randy and stopped...good girl.
4) Michael Lynch - "The Way You Look Tonight": One of the greatest songs ever written, of course, and perfectly suited for Mike's vocal style. However, I did NOT feel the connection that Harry was trying to get him to make...just more of Mike's typical cheeseball stuff.
I just don't think this was as good as it should have been, and I'm not sure why...maybe I'm just biased because he gets on my nerves, I don't know. But I didn't like his phrasing at all, and even the tone wasn't nearly as good as I expected. It was OK, but nothing to get all excited about.
5) Lee Dewyze - "That's Life": Great arrangement, and I think it was Lee's most impressive vocal performance. I didn't hear the pitch problems that tend to plague him, and that's a little surprising considering the degree of difficulty on these type songs.
Even within the constraints of this week, he managed to make this sound current and relevant, more so than any of the others this week by FAR.
I will agree with Kara on this part...he needs to start acting like he can win this thing, because I think he probably could. Assuming, of course, that Aaron Kelly has not sold his soul in exchange for this year's crown, a possibility that I am becoming less and less dismissive of.
- I usually love Rat Pack/Sinatra night, because I love the music and they are perfect for this show...they are songs written by and for great singers, so they are really easy to show off on if you have the talent.
That's a really big if.
- I thought Harry Connick, Jr. did a fantastic job tonight, both with the arrangements (which they made it sound like he was responsible for) and with his interaction with the contestants. I wouldn't mind seeing him take Simon's spot if this show survives this debacle of a season.
And the band sounded AWESOME on every one of these songs. Again, I'm predisposed to love this music (I think I own every single Harry Connick CD), so I was loving the band all night.
- Oh, and one more thing: Even though they only had HALF the number of songs that they have had in years past....they STILL went over by around two minutes. Imbeciles.
(INSERT HUGE GAP HERE)
Predicted eviction: Somehow I feel like Lee or Crystal might be in trouble....but I'm going to go with Casey.