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'Lost': The Home Stretch

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Jen Chaney
washingtonpost.com Movies Editor
Thursday, May 17, 2007; 2:00 PM

We interrupt this regularly scheduled Celebritology chat for a special "Lost" discussion. Since Liz is out today, her cohort in "Lost" blogging, aka washingtonpost.com's movies editor Jen Chaney, will sit in as host of this week's chat, devoted exclusively to "Lost."

The season finale is only a week away. What are your thoughts about last night's Charlie-centric episode? What do you want to see happen in next week's two-hour finale?

On Thursday, May 17 at 2 p.m. ET, Jen answered your questions and dissect your various "Lost" theories.

A transcript follows.

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Jen Chaney: With Liz away for the afternoon, I am filling in, turning Celebritology discussion into a full-on "Lost" chat for today. If you're here because you want to point out how not-hot it is that Paris Hilton's jail sentence has been reduced, save your well-argued rant for next Thursday at 2 p.m.

If, however, you're here because you want to discuss the Dharma Initiative, Driveshaft and the mysteries of the elusive Jacob, stick around.

Before we get started today, I also want to mention that Liz and I will be doing a "Lost" chat together next week, following the big season finale. That discussion will happen Thursday at 3 p.m., following Liz's usual Celebritology discussion. With that out of the way, let's turn our attention to things of a more Sawyer-flavored nature...

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Allentown, Pa.: I'm posting this even before "Lost" tonight because something on Lisa de Moraes' blog caught my eye today. Nestor Carbonell is someone she listed as being part of the ensemble cast of a new CBS drama. Could this spell doom for Dr. Richard Alpert?

Jen Chaney: Mr. Carbonell also is slated to star in "The Dark Knight," the next Batman movie, which is amusing since he played Batmanuel on "The Tick." That, and his role in the show "Cane," suggest Richard might not have a major role in "Lost" next year. But I don't know if the character will die because I don't think Richard can die.

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Zurich, Switzerland: I am so hooked on "Lost" that I lament the few hours I have to wait to download it on Thursday morning since I live in Switzerland.

But lately, I've been having some doubts about the very storytelling structure of the show.

This whole mystery game about "What IS this place?" seems to be undermining the great stories and characters on "Lost."

The writers have bet the whole show on revealing to us plausible and compelling explanations for all this somewhere down the line.

I now believe the show has a fundamental flaw here. Whatever revelations will come, purgatory, aliens, etc. will inevitably disappoint or seem contrived.

I'm thinking of a better model in the NBC show "The Pretender." We had a vague notion of the mysterious "Centre" and what it was about. Just enough to keep the drama going but never staking the whole show on having to reveal the mechanics of how the hero came to be and what the place is really all about.

This left the show to focus on great stories and fascinating character arcs which is what storytelling should be all about.

Your thoughts?

Jen Chaney: Hello, Switzerland!

I understand your qualms about all the focus on the mythology regarding Dharma, and what the island is and all the sci-fi-ish stuff. The first season of "Lost" was much more character-driven in a traditional sense because it had to be: We needed to know who each person was and why we should care about their fate. After the first season, the story turned away -- to a certain extent -- from that and started to get bigger picture.

But I think in "Lost's" case that the island is, in effect, another character. The writers do a pretty good job of weaving together the mystery elements of the story with basic, good 'ol drama. I was genuinely moved, for example, when Sun recently realized Jin was her child's father, partly because the scene was beautifully acted but also because I've come to care about the characters after three seasons. At the same time, two seconds after being emotionally moved, I could have a long conversation about the influence of, say, "The Wizard of Oz" on "Lost." That's what makes the show unique, in my opinion.

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Saint Petersburg, Fl.: Hi, Jen. Thanks for sitting in. Is it just me who's stopped watching the "next week on Lost" coming attractions? They simply show me too much in advance; I want to continually be surprised when watching the show, as that's a big part of the enjoyment. It's not just "Lost," as I've stopped watching the "next week ons..." for the several serial dramas I follow, including "The Sopranos," "24," and the currently hiatused (a real word?) "Battlestar Galactica." Do you watch 'em?

Jen Chaney: Oh, I can't ignore the "next week ons." I actually think they're more misleading than anything else. Most of the time they don't tell you anything, they just make you think that what's going to happen the following week will be hugely momentous. "Next week, nothing ... will ... be ... THE ... SAME."

I'd love to review the "next week on" that preceded the Bai Ling episode. What could they have said that would be truthful -- "In next week's episode, nothing really important happens and Bai Ling is totally awful, so honestly, just skip this one and pretend it never happened"?

The ones for "The Sopranos" are similar in that sense. As for "24," that show doesn't even need coming attractions anymore because if you've ever watched it, you know what will happen: "Next week, someone will be revealed as a mole, Jack will force Chloe to work some technical mumbo-jumbo magic and something will very likely blow up."

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Detroit, Mich.: And I missed the significance of the ring Charlie got from Liam. What did DS mean, other than Driveshaft? It seemed to have some sort of family importance, but what it was, I missed.

Jen Chaney: It was a reference to Dexter Stratton, someone in Charlie's and Liam's family. The ring had sentimental value for that reason, but more importantly, symbolized the brotherly bond between the two. It was a rare moment when Liam treated Charlie as an equal.

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Rockville, Md. : Is anyone really dead? Or is it a dream?

Jen Chaney: This whole chat right now is a dream.

Actually, I think the show's writers have dismissed the "Newhart" approach to explain the show, thankfully. At the moment, it appears that Boone, Shannon, Anna Lucia, Libby and Mr. Eko are really dead. Locke, I'm fairly certain, is not.

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Germantown, Md.: Something I've been pondering ... The other person that was in the hatch with Desmond, was he with the Dharma Initiative or was he an other? Last season when Desmond killed him and then went back to push the button, the man put on a gas mask before he went outside, then to take it off when he got outside. This makes me wonder if Ben knew about the hatch and Desmond when he was planning with the others to kill off the Dharma Initiative people.

Also, was Desmond lying to Charlie about the visions? Desmond only saw Clare and Aaron get into the helicopter ...

Jen Chaney: I don't think Desmond is being dishonest about his visions. The thought crossed my mind at one point last night, but I believe he is telling what he believes to be the truth. That doesn't explain why he was so willing to suddenly swim down to the Looking Glass when Charlie started getting all weepy. I mean, the dude gets sad for a minute and suddenly Desmond says, "You know what? My vision is probably wrong. Here, let me drown myself instead." There may be a reason for that, but it struck me as odd.

You also make a great point about the guy in the Hatch with Desmond. I forgot all about his gas mask. I wouldn't be surprised if Ben somehow knew all that. See, I love the way all these details from past episodes come into play much later. I'm actually starting at the very beginning and watching "Lost" episodes again to see how well the writers laid their foundation. I'm amazed, at least so far, at how rock-solid it seems to be.

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Answers: Is there a show on tonight about Lost, then a two hour show next Wednesday? Please confirm ... Thanks

Jen Chaney: Tonight's show is a clip reel, billed as "Lost: The Answers." I believe Troy McClure is hosting.

Next Wednesday, they reair "The Answers" at 8, followed by the two-hour finale at 9. Here's a question for the group: How do you feel about people who watch "American Idol" instead of "Lost"? Are they morons? Are they the cool kids while the "Lost" fans are the nerds? Is it possible to love both equally?

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Rosslyn, Va.: Was it just me, or did Charlie rescue Sayid's long-lost love from a mugger in one of the flashbacks?

Jen Chaney: He did, as several other astute viewers/readers have pointed out. That was indeed Nadia.

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Alexandria, Va.: When seeing the few frames of Jacob in last week's episode, he looked like he had a wig or hair resembling colonial times and also garb like that of Richard when he first met Ben. There was mention of them being tied to the pirate ship in an earlier chat. Perhaps Jacob was the original captain of that ship or the overthrown captain. Thoughts?

Jen Chaney: This pirate theory seems to be gaining traction. I suppose that is a possibility. Maybe it's all part of a massive marketing campaign for the new "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie. ABC is owned by Disney, you know.

Maybe Jacob is actually ... Johnny Depp!

I still like my theory that Jacob is a doppelganger for Locke. That theory may hold absolutely zero weight, but I like it, so I'm sticking with it.

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Dead or Alive: Okay, the Smoke Monster killed Eko, so, let's say that he's dead dead.

But if the island has magical healing powers that helped the one-eyed russian (Mikhail), the Portuguese chopper pilot, and the snake-bitten couple, healed Locke's paralysis and that woman's cancer ...

Then why didn't Libby recover? Along with Ana Lucia and Shannon?

Jen Chaney: This is the same question I have raised in our blog posts, both last week and this week. I can't get my head around the reason why some people seem immortal and others clearly die.

To clarify, I don't think Nikki and Paolo were healed. The spider -- it was a spider, wasn't it? -- was only supposed to paralyze them, so they were buried alive. But I'm assuming they eventually died under all that sand.

As for Mikhail, aka McPatchy, I feel like his survival might be related to the sensors. Those surround the Dharma compound, and clearly everyone within them died after Ben gassed them. But when lil' Ben stepped outside of them, that's when he saw his mother and Mr. Ever-Lasting Youth, Richard. If Mikhail wasn't entirely dead and managed to, say, slide one arm past the fence, maybe he brought himself back to eternal life. I don't know, I'm just spitballin'...

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"Lost Fanatic": First, thanks Jen for doing an hour of chat on Lost.

It's just a thought, but is it possible that Naomi is in cahoots with the fembots inside the looking glass? What's your take on it?

Jen Chaney: A few of you have expressed frustration because the Losties seem to be taking Naomi at face value and expressing little skepticism about her. I agree.

She may be in cahoots with someone but I'm not sure it's the fembots. I think they are aligned with Ben in some fashion, which is why Ben had forbidden everyone from going to the Looking Glass station with his whole, "It's flooded and unsightly, really, you don't want to visit" routine. The fact that the station's symbol is a white rabbit indicates to me that the place is extremely valuable to Ben. That guy loves his white rabbits.

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The Vast Viewing Public: May I please point out one reason why "Lost" is steadily losing viewers is because it cannot possibly pick up new viewers? I was late to learn about the series and watched one episode. I recognized the beach where they were filming and felt like telling these people if they would walk a few feet they would find a road and be saved. I have no idea who these characters are, what they are doing, and quickly gave up on the show. For us latecomers to the show, we're the ones who are totally "Lost" and I doubt too many of us are becoming new viewers to the show.

Jen Chaney: I hear what you're saying. But with the next season not starting until January, there's one very easy way to catch up: DVD. Granted, it's a commitment, but if you want to get into the show that's the best way to do it. I agree that trying to catch on now is next to impossible.

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Jacob and the Smoke Monster: I think that there is a connection between the two-they are either one in the same, or Jacob is controlling the smoke monster or the smoke is a manifestation of Jacob's torment or spirit.

Jen Chaney: I thought this, too, as soon as I didn't see anyone in the chair. But when I spotted an actual Jacob, aka the Locke doppelganger (f I repeat it enough times, that will make it so!), I wasn't sure if I was right about that.

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Doppelganger Theory: The theory that Jacob is a doppelganger for Locke doesn't hold water. He is Ben's creation and would have to be Locke's creation for that to hold true. And all of the hostiles know of jacob.

Sorry try again.

Jen Chaney: Wait, how do we know Jacob is Ben's creation? I don't think we know that for a fact at all.

The Hostiles also were really excited when Locke showed up. If they knew Jacob and recognized a similarity or resemblence, that could explain why.

My theory may wind up being wrong, but I will fight to support it, by God.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Doesn't seem to be too lively in here today.

Blocking a signal from underwater doesn't seem to make sense to me. Why didn't they just cut the cable instead of swimming out there?

Jen Chaney: Yes, someone else raised this question, too. I don't know the answer to that. I'm not Damon Lindelof, though I hope to be when I grow up. He might be the only guy who knows the answer to that one.

Not too lively, huh? Maybe I should say something provocative. Okay, how about this? I think Sawyer might die next week. I have no basis for this at all, just want people to get fired up.

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The fact that the station's symbol is a white rabbit indicates to me that the place is extremely valuable to Ben. That guy loves his white rabbits. :...which his daughter was carving up when Ben returned.

Jen Chaney: Yes, that did not go unnoticed. Everyone has daddy issues on this show, and Alex is no exception.

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25th and M, D.C.: I'm waiting on the Chuck Liddell chat, but it's been delayed. So, to keep it relevant, do you think Chuck likes Lost? Is he more of Kate or Juliet guy?

Jen Chaney: I believe Chuck loves "Lost." Definitely Kate. The two of them in a ring might actually make an interesting fight.

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Charlie's Hatchmate: In addition to a gas mask, he wore a HAZMAT suit that had a huge rip in the leg ... which would render the has mask largely useless ...

Jen Chaney: That's right, thanks for the refresher. The deal with that dude was that he wanted Desmond to think he couldn't leave The Hatch when in fact, he could. But the gas mask thing is ironic in retrospect.

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Re: attracting new viewers: I'd just like to chime in that I was never into Lost at the beginning. I watched off and on during the second season and in the past couple months, I have been watching it religiously. Sure, I don't get everything but I do get enough to follow along now and find it interesting.

And just to make sure I inflate your ego a little more, I must say that the dueling analysis by Jen and Liz is a big help for me to discover new things and understand what is going on.

Jen Chaney: So you can watch and follow along. This person is living proof.

Glad you like our blog posts. That's nice to hear.

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Detroit, Mich.: A possible hole in your theory, Jen?

If Jacob is Locke's doppelganger, then Ben obviously knows this. Why then, would he risk allowing the two to meet? This would likely be bad for Ben and his plans, dont you think?

Jen Chaney: I don't believe Jacob can be seen by everyone. If Locke couldn't "see" then Ben would know he wasn't a threat. Introducing him to Jacob was a test.

(Must support theory in face of evidence that it might be totally false...)

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Boston: Where did Sayid come up with the plans to the Looking Glass? That seemed a bit convenient, didn't it, or am I forgetting something?

Jen Chaney: He grabbed a bunch of documents when they went to Mikhail's place a few episodes back, remember? When Juliet mentioned the name of the station, that jogged Sayid's memory of what he had read.

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Washington, D.C.: You didn't mention Paolo or Nikki as people you think are dead - why?

Jen Chaney: I am trying to forget they were ever part of the show. I think they are definitely dead, too, if only because the writers have said they killed them off due to fan backlash.

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Rochester, N.Y.: WAIT A MINUTE! We actually SAW Jacob last week? No way -- how could I have missed that? There was no one visible in the chair in the hut right? So exactly when did we see Jacob?

Jen, is it difficult to live in D.C. having the same last name (though spelled differently) as that "other guy"?

Jen Chaney: You could see him if you're nerdy and watch in slow-motion. Or if you go here.

To answer your second question, it's difficult sometimes. I say the phrase, "Nope, different spelling" on a fairly regular basis.

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More on Jacob and the Smoke Monster: Jen, Thanks for feeding our Lost frenzy -- looking forward to next week's chat with you and Liz, too.

Remember how the Smoke Monster took on the appearance of Eko's brother? Also, if you freeze frame other shots of the Smoke Monster, there are other images that come up, depending on the character Smokey is confronting (I'm sure the LostEasterEggs blog has examples of this). If we are to believe the theory that Jacob equals Smokey, this could begin to explain why nothing was in the chair, but a twin of Locke's showed up upon slo-mo review?

This could satisfy your theory that Jacob looked like Locke and the Jacob equals Smokey theory

Jen Chaney: That's true, the moment when we saw Jacob, it was from Locke's perspective, wasn't it?

I like this, and I appreciate that you have created a situation where everyone's theory wins. Bravo.

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Alexandria, Va.: Walt and Michael - throw me a bone here -- what's up with them??

Jen Chaney: Well, they were both supposed to return but apparently Harold Perrineau, the actor who plays Michael, was unable to negotiate a way to make a reappearance for the finale. I read that, but don't know that it's definitely true.

I suspect Walt at least will reappear. All the business about being "special" really needs to be explained. I trust it will be, in due time.

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Kate: I used to think Kate was beautiful but for some reason I don't think so anymore. I'm not sure why? Thoughts? Also, what's with Julia's 'lost puppy eyes'?

Jen Chaney: Maybe it's because she's acting petulant and idiotic lately? That would be my guess.

As for Juliet, I think that's a signal that we should believe she is a nice person and not a mean 'ol Other. I actually still believe that.

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Detroit, Mich.: Sorry, let me be more specific: Ben can see Jacob. Jacob looks exactly like Locke (well, okay, with longer hair, or any hair for that matter). It cannot be coincidence that Jacob and Locke look alike. Thus, taking Locke to the cabin is dangerous to Ben immediately, since if Locke and Jacob are connected, then it's Ben's head that might have been drilled by the flying bottles ...

Jen Chaney: I hear you. You're totally right, it would be a risk. I'm just grasping onto my theory until my knuckles turn white here...

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Re: Idol vs. Lost: I see those who watch Idol as ... for lack of a better word ... less smart than those who watch Lost. Watching Idol instead of Lost is like watching a blockbuster vs. a foreign film, reading a trashy gossip magazine vs. reading the New Yorker ... yes I'm a snobby Lost fan. I don't consider myself a Lost nerd though. I think Lost is intellectually stimulating ... and Idol, not so much.

Jen Chaney: One side the story. Who wants to defend "American Idol"? (It's not going to be me, by the way...)

I'll go overtime for a couple of additional minutes and then I have to cut this short. You guys have tons of fantastic questions and I can't possibly answer all of them. But I will take a couple more.

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Seattle: Two things. First, doesn't it really speak volumes about the show that there are these types of chats about the hidden mysteries and meanings? What was the last show that caused this type of reaction?

Second, I think the Locke vs. Ben thing is false because Locke was more interested in the mystery of the island in a way that I think Richard Alpert appreciated/supported. It's Ben and Jack that are command-and-control types that are less interested in the mysteries of the island and more interested in survival for their groups. That's where we'll see tension if Locke bites it.

Jen Chaney: Interesting points, Seattle, especially about the similarities between Locke and Jack.

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Arlington, Va.: First off, great chat! Secondly, it was mentioned earlier that the "Hostiles" were really excited to see Locke, and Locke himself mentioned in "The Brig" that he wasn't going back with Sawyer to the Losties camp, and after Ben's slightly-more-crazy-than-usual order last night to attack the Losties early, do you think Locke could be in a position to take over the Others/Hostiles?

Jen Chaney: I do think Locke is in that position, which is why Ben is threated by him.

Speaking of Ben's psycho order, why do you think he did that? How does he know the Losties are onto him? I also think that the signal is not being blocked by the Looking Glass station, as Juliet contends, because Ben seemed genuinely concerned when he found out Naomi had a radio.

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Nikki and Paulo -- "Iconic": Sorry, Jen, I don't think Nikki and Paulo are dead! The writers said in an EW interview that by the time the series is over, Nikki and Paulo will be "iconic." I think they're related to the Adam and Eve skeletons from Season 1 -- remember the skeletons the Losties found, and one of them was holding a pouch that had little stones inside? I think they're Nikki and Paulo's doppelgangers.

Jen Chaney: I will agree with this comment because it supports my doppelganger theories. And it's intriguing.

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Arlington, Va.: Why won't Charlie DIE already!? I was getting annoyed toward the end of last night's episode -- I was dreading the "Charlie as martyr" scenario where he nobly dives to his doom to save Claire -- but I was unprepared for the even worse scenario: that he wouldn't die! So now we'll get the Saint Charlie stuff from Claire and the rest, who will assume he died trying to save them, AND the annoying little waste-of-a-storyline will still be around! (Not to mention that he fails at the ONE USEFUL THING he could have done because he has to start shouting as soon as he gets out of the water.)

Jen Chaney: I may be among the few and the proud here, but I like Charlie. I thought Dominic Monaghan did a wonderful job in last night's episode, too. Yes, he's a flawed character. (When he introduced himself to Claire in the flashback, I totally wanted him to say: "Hi, I'm Charlie and in a few episodes, I'm going to go nuts and try to steal your baby in a drug-induced haze.") But there's something likable about him.

Maybe it's my love of Driveshaft that fuels this devotion. "You All Everybody" is the great rock anthem of our time.

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Idol vs. Lost: I like both but come on, Idol changes peoples lives. There have been several Grammys that came from contestants on Idol. It's a big deal in the TV world (WAY better ratings), music world and the lives of the contestants.

Jen Chaney: And now some love for "Idol." "Idol" also gives back, you know, but I think it just does that to get the tax write-off.

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Arlington, Va.: I think the 'Losties' are living in parallel dimensions and that there could be 'two' of each character as you alluded to in the recap.

How else to explain how Sun has stayed in near-perfect condition throughout her stay on the island. Her skin is just breathtaking. Put me or anyone else on an island for that long and I think we would all be worse for the ware but she still radiates beauty. Must be that pregnancy or the studio makeup artist

Jen Chaney: It also explains how Claire lost her baby weight so fast -- there's two of her! Actually, she never had baby weight in the first place, but I digress.

And with that last piece of insight, I really have to sign off. Again, my apologies for not addressing everything. This has been great fun and is making me that much more excited for next week's finale, which is supposed to include a "game-changer" in the "Lost" mythology. Could it be that ... Dick Cheney is my doppelganger? We'll have to watch and see.

Liz and I will be blogging next week as per usual, and don't forget to join Liz here at 2 next Thursday for her Celebritology chat, followed by the two of us talking "Lost" at 3.

Until then, namaste.

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