Thursday, May 24, 3 p.m. ET

'Lost': The Season Finale

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Liz Kelly and Jen Chaney, washingtonpost.com 'Lost' Bloggers
Thursday, May 24, 2007; 3:00 PM

After a roller coaster ride of a third season, the much-anticipated finale of "Lost" aired last night, complete with the game-changing conclusion promised by the show's producers.

Washingtonpost.com "Lost" bloggers, Celebritologist Liz Kelly and movies editrix Jen Chaney, talked about that important twist as well as other major developments that occurred in the finale, beginning at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 24.

Bring your questions about the Dharma Initiative and the mysterious Jacob, and also prepare to mourn the loss of one of "Lost's" major characters.

A transcript follows.

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Jen Chaney: Are you still reeling from last night's "Lost" finale? Even though we blogged about it this morning with super-smarty J. Wood, I still feel like there is so much to process. But that's why Liz and I are here today, to answer your questions and let you do some of the explainin' for us.

Is Jack's father alive in the future, or just a byproduct of Jack's drug-addled brain? What does a person have to do to make Mikhail die, since clearly electric shocks and harpoons to the chest don't work? Will Hurley become a poster boy for overcoming weight discrimination and, possibly, a resurgence in the popularity of VW buses? Let's try to tackle these questions together in today's discussion. After all, if we can't dissect "Lost" together, then we're going to die alone.

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Ratatouille Commercials:: Did anyone else sense that the commerical interruptions were excessive last night or was it just the complexity of the material? Especially during the final hour? Is Disney trying to make me get a TiVo?

There was one commercial I particularly enjoyed -- the LOST-themed one for Ratatouille -- clever promotion campaign. Last week, there was a Grey's Anatomy one with the tag line -- he's the one with the real gray anatomy.

Liz Kelly: There was also a really funny Staples commercial last night, too. (At least I think it was Staples) -- it involved a woman telling an office full of people that Staples would give them 10 percent off the items they buy the most and went through a succession of wacky stuff that people buy.

Jen Chaney: I noticed that the commercials seemed more excessive than usual. I tend to rewind as a I watch so I can double check things, so I managed to skip past a lot fo them, though. I did like the "Ratatouille" one, very clever.

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College Park, Md.: I really enjoyed last night's season finale! Walt came back, Locke is alive, and Hurley's hippie van finally showed its importance. But, why would Locke not shoot the phone, or even Jack? Why did he walk away?!

Liz Kelly: Good question. I had the same thought when Ben was telling Jack that Naomi was not who he thought she was and that the people on her ship meant everyone on the island harm. If I were Jack I'd say, "Okay, who are these people and why do they want to kill everyone on the island?" I'd certainly pose that question before letting Sayid, Bernard and Jin get shot (which he thought they were at the time).

Jen Chaney: Now, Liz, that's actually using your head and asking a reasonable follow-up question. Jack doesn't have time for that, especially when there's only a half-hour left in the episode.

In all seriousness, I think his anger toward Ben has blinded him to the point where he doesn't think very clearly. Jack's whole plan to drag Ben to the tower to embarass, then kill him is a pretty dark and significant departure from the good-hearted Jack we met when the show started. And perhaps it's one of the many reasons why he is a guilt-ridden, broken man in the flash-forward. You know he walks around thinking to himself, "If only I had listened to Liz Kelly and asked better questions, everything would be fine!"

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Bethesda, Md.:

Upon canvassing some of the usual nerd sites I read, I was suprised by the almost universal praise for the episode-ending swerve. I was expecting the fickle Sci Fi fandom to be wailing and moaning and saying the show "jumped the shark."

I'm just annoyed we now have to wait nine months to even start to get answers to questions like "Who was in the casket?" and "Why was Jack talking about his dad like he was still alive?"

Liz Kelly: I think the show did the exact opposite of jumping the shark. They slayed the shark. There is no shark to jump because they have given this show a renewed raison d'etre for the next three seasons. The only danger now lies in audience drop off due to a long hiatus. "Lost" won't be back until January '08. That's a long time and an extended hiatus wreaked havoc on "Sopranos" viewership. Too bad "Lost" can't go with the "Battlestar Galactica" model of giving us a mini-series or movie-length episode to tide us over.

Jen Chaney: The hiatus makes me nervous for the same reasons Liz mentions. But with the network committed to three seasons, I personally could care less how many people watch the show. Sure, I'd like it to do well, but I care more about it maintaining its quality. I think all the fans in nerdland (and I count myself as a citizen) probably care more about that, too, which is why they're applauding the twist. The natural end to a show about people getting lost on an island would be a rescue. But the show is about more than just that.

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Minneapolis, Minn.: Yeah, it was a jaw-dropping episode. But honestly, raise your hand if your favorite moment was either Hurley coming to the rescue or Ben saying, "Okay, maybe I overreacted"...

Liz Kelly: Despite it's cruelty, I also couldn't help getting a little lift out of Sawyer's "I didn't believe him" after he shot Mr. Friendly.

Jen Chaney: The Hurley thing was awesome, but here are my three favorite moments, or greatest hits, as it were: Rose saying she would punch Jack in the face if he referred to living together and dying alone again; Rousseau casually but firmly elbowing Ben in the face; and Charlie's emotional final moment, when he made the sign of the cross and floated to his final resting place. Interesting that Charlie was also in an enclosed place -- namely the plane's bathroom -- when the flight went down. Back then it was because he needed to get a fix; at the end of his story, he was fixing things for everyone else. Shoot, pass me a tissue...

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Baltimore, Md.: In your analysis earlier one of you said:

"Why would Ben leave the island even if rescuers showed up? I would think he and Locke would just stay. We obviously need to know more about the circumstances of the rescue to really answer some of these questions."

But who's to say there even WAS any rescue? Ben made clear that the people on the other end of the satellite phone were not rescuers but rather "people who are looking for this island," presumably not for benevolent reasons. And so even if we assume that the scenes with bearded Jack were a "flash forward," we don't know how far into the future we were seeing. We don't know what happened between the time Jack placed the call on the satellite phone and Jack and Kate (and as far as we know, only Jack and Kate) got off the island. Could have been years later.

We don't even know that we were seeing the same Jack and Kate. Bearded Jack's father is alive; island Jack saw his father's dead body at the morgue (if I recall correctly). Off-the-island Kate is not in prison as she should be and was driving an expensive Saab. On-the-island Kate is a fugitive for murder who comes from poverty. I think what we saw in the bearded Jack scenes were flashes of a distant future.

So much else to say but I have rambled enough.

Jen Chaney: I was the one who wrote that, B'more, and what you said further gets at what I was implying. We have no idea what happened in between Jack's call and his near-suicide attempt. I am not making any assumptions about that missing chuck of time right now, but I hope they address some of that next January or I might start taking Oxycodone myself.

Liz Kelly: I'm with you, Baltimore. At this point we don't know that there aren't two (or even 200) different Jacks in alternate universes all spinning down separate trajectories.

So future Jack he may be, but maybe only one possible future.

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Washington, D.C.: Why did the writers keep trying to force new characters into the show? It seemed that Ana Lucia, Paolo, Jack's girlfriend in Thailand, etc., all watered down the plot.

Liz Kelly: Well I don't think that Bai Ling was meant to be a new character any more than some of the other random characters we've seen in flashbacks, like Kate's parents, Sawyer's girlfriend (the mother of his child) and Jack's ex-wife.

Nikki and Paolo are a different story. I think at the time -- way way back at the beginning of the fall 2006 six-episode arc -- producers saw Nikki and Paolo as a way to explain the show to new viewers. They would be on hand to ask the basic questions that viewers just joining the show in season three would ask. As we know now, that backfired miserably.

For evidence that the producers are capable of elegantly inserting a new character into the show we need look no further than Naomi -- who seemed organic to the plot and believable in her role.

Jen Chaney: I would add McPatchy to that list, too. He just appeared this season and now you can't imagine life without him, can you?

I believe Lindelof and Cuse -- LindeCuse -- said in one of their podcasts that there was a plan for Nikki and Paolo. But they abandoned it and killed them off because of fan backlash. I wonder what they originally intended for them, other than to stand around going, "Where are you guys going? Can we come?"

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Arlington, Va.: Did you notice that Jack was using a RAZR phone in his "flashbacks?" I don't think those came out until late 2004. At first I thought it was an oversight ...

Liz Kelly: Well, it was a flash-forward, methinks, so he could totally have a RAZR. I'm sure the producers wouldn't overlook a detail like that.

Speaking of Jack, Mr. Liz points out to me that the bearded flash-forward Jack is the spitting image of Clutch lead singer Neil Fallon. He's right. Jack could totally fill the 9:30 Club with the population of Dundalk, Md., now.

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Laurel, Md.: That was a nice little allusion to "It's a Wonderful Life" where Jack is standing on the bridge ready to jump and then he rescues someone else. It was also a good clue that we were watching a flashforward rather than a flashback.

Liz Kelly: Laurel, that's an interesting observation. I hadn't thought about the parallels with Capra's classic. All we needed was a bloody lip and some snow.

Jen Chaney: Yes, that is a fantastic observation, especially since that movie celebrates the notion of community, something that clearly matters very much in the "Lost" universe.

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Reston, Va.: Okay I know everyone thinks Bernard is a sweet, old man but was anyone else really hoping he was going to bite it after he started singing like a canary when captured? He was way out of his league w. Sayid and Jin -- what were they thinking letting him stay behind?

Liz Kelly: Like Rose said, he's a dentist, not Rambo. I'm willing to give him a pass. His heart was in the right place. He was trying to save Jin's life.

Jen Chaney: Let's just say this about Bernard: He lost his wife once when he found out she had a fatal disease. He lost her again when they were separated during the plane crash. He didn't want to lose the chance to be with her a third time. If you were him and loved Rose, you'd go all canary, too.

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Downtown: Another favorite moment -- when Sayid, hands bound, flat on the ground, trips the "other," puts his feet around the guy's neck and then with a flick of the ankles, "SNAP!" That is SO Sayid, and the reason why I love his character -- he's the mercenary with a heart of gold!

Liz Kelly: I loved that moment, too. I said to Mr. Liz, "That Republican Guard training comes in handy sometimes."

Jen Chaney: He was terribly graceful about it, wasn't he?

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Washington D.C.: Do you think Sawyer is going to have a nervous breakdown?

Jen Chaney: It's possible. Anything is possible at this point, isn't it? Liz and I might even end up in an episode of "Lost" next season, depending on how severely the time-continuum is ruptured.

Liz Kelly: Well, if it involves being one of Sawyer's dalliances, I'm there.

Anything is possible. I think Sawyer's in a very volitile place right now. He's killed his father setting himself off on his own journey of self re-discovery and, thus far, I don't think he likes what he's found.

But don't count the old Sawyer out just yet. We saw flashes of him last night when he tried to prevent both Kate and Hugo from following him to the beach (no matter that he came off as a huge jerk while doing so).

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Loved the finale!: I, too, questioned if they were really in the future because Jack said his dad was alive. But we obviously know he's dead because in the first season he said he was transporting dad back to L.A. for the funeral. But LOST always surprises me so who knows.

And why didn't Charlie try to swim out if the window is open? He can hold his breath so why not try to swim to the top and take out Cyclops other eye??

Liz Kelly: In a couple of interviews posted today on EW, we learn that Charlie didn't swim out because he had accepted death as his destiny. Basically, he chose death.

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Alexandria, Va.: Oh. My. God. I have always loved LOST and I have declared my commitment to the show until the end of its run, no matter what, but last night just took it to a whole new level for me. The acting, writing, everything about the entire two hours was the best since the pilot, in my opinion, and then the game changer at the end completely blew my ever-lovin' mind. It's like a whole new show! Switching from flashbacks to flashforwards - absolute genius!

Oh, and yes, Charlie could have tried to save himself by leaving that room before the bomb went off, but don't you remember how he used to write "FATE" on his fingers? I think he honestly believed that he had to drown in order to save Claire, and considering the way the stories on that island play out, can you blame him? Yeah, I got a little misty when I heard "Wonderwall" today on the radio. I'm gonna miss Charlie.

Jen Chaney: Thank you for remembering the fate on Charlie's fingers. His demise has been written on the wall -- or the hand --right before our eyes since day one. Completely agree. It's not that he couldn't physically get out of that room. He bought into fate and accepted what he believed his to be.

Everyone is thinking all Jack Shepard about the situation, when they should be approaching it from a position of John Locke-ness. (Given my attachment to the Locke/Jacob doppelganger theory, I hereby declare that I will occasionally refer to Jacob as the Locke-ness Monster.)

Liz Kelly: I think Jen is getting giddy. Locke-ness? Is there an emoticon for eye-rolling?

Good point about the "FATE" on Charlie's fingers, though in an interview on EW, Damon Lindelof or Carlton Cuse says that they didn't know where else to take Charlie's character. They didn't want him to get stuck in a cycle of going back to heroin over and over again, so they knew it was time for him to go. It does sound like Dominic Monaghan successfully lobbied, though, to have his character's death be part of an important plot point. And as pointed out in this morning's blog analysis, Charlie's role has been so good over the past few shows that I really wanted him to stay. I wonder what will be next for Dom -- perhaps "The Hobbit" prequel?

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Washington, D.C.: I have to say that Dominic Monaghan really brought it for these last few episodes. It makes me really mad and Cuse/Lindelof that they wasted him for so long.

Jen Chaney: He was wonderful, I completely agree. I suspect he'll have the opportunity to show off his acting chops elsewhere.

Liz Kelly: Absolutely.

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Chicago, Ill.: This may be a minor question with all that happened last night, but what did McPatchy say to the two women when he showed up in the Looking Glass? I rewound it twice but still didn't understand. It sounded like something about Canada.

Liz Kelly: Mikhail said he thought they were on location in Canada, which someone in the blog comments suggested as a good catch phrase to use when you see someone unexpectedly.

Example: Jen, what are you doing at this happy hour? I thought you were on location in Canada?

(belly laughs)

Jen Chaney: Yeah, the fact that they were allegedly on assignment in Canada sounded like a classic Ben fib. I've decided that Ben literally is Napoleon Dynamite, especially since Uncle Rico is his father: "Yes, I was born on the island. I also have a hot girlfriend from Oklahoma, you friggin' idiot. Now let's go visit Jacob. GOSH!"

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N.Y., N.Y.: Were all of Jack's flashes post-rescue (it appears so but I'm in denial) and do we think this means the next season will start off post-rescue, off the island? Thanks!

Jen Chaney: That's what I'm thinking at this point. Although J. pointed out that next season also could focus on that freighter.

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Re: commercials: Whatever happened to the Dharma commercials that we grew to love and obsessively pore over? Did they just end? Or aren't the producers trying to involve us anymore with vague commercials and too-involved online games?

Liz Kelly: Dharma seems to have taken a backseat over the course of this season. We found out what the Dharma Initiative was -- well, basically -- and found out that it was a benign force on the island and totally wiped out by the Others. So we find that their quaint little ads don't mean as much as we thought they did.

For an island that no one can locate on a map, there sure are a lot of people who find their way there, eh?

Jen Chaney: The ads were part of the Lost Experience. But there's no Experience this summer, hence, no ads. From a business perspective, I'm guessing ABC/Disney didn't want to spend the money on a bunch of ads, what with the ratings down somewhat.

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Chicago, Ill.: WOW! The only people at work today who weren't blown away were either pansy singing-competition watchers or people who were spoiled. I know it takes a lot of determination, but it's much better to be unspoiled in my opinion.

While I could sit here and speculate -- is Ben really evil (my wife and I argued about that last night) I really just wrote to cheer again for Sawyer killing Mr. Friendly, saying, "That's for taking the kid off the boat." AWESOME. I cheered. That scene still gives me nightmares. I don't care if the people on the freighter are evil, so are the kid-stealing-blindly-following-Ben weirdos.

I do hope it ends with Jack having a better life. I know I'm in the minority, but I still love him.

Jen Chaney: Let me address each part of your question separately.

1. I get that "American Idol" is a guilty pleasure. People are entitled, even though I find that show pretty excruciating to watch. However, I think that 20 or 30 years from now, when people look back at American culture in the post-9/11 era, "Lost" is going to stand out as the show that captured something important about the national mood and mental state during this time. If the creators succeed in wrapping up the show compellingly, I think it will go down in history as one of the greatest shows of all time, period. In short, if you have access to a television and are not watching it right now, you a colossal bonehead and need to rectify the situation immediately.

2. The Sawyer scene was awesome, but I'm not sure that we're necessarily supposed to cheer that development. Sawyer's blood seems to be running colder by the minute, which is not a good thing to my mind. I also don't believe Mr. Friendly is evil. That's all a matter of perspective, isn't it? Kidnapping Walt is bad, no question, but there may be more to the story that explains the motivation.

3. I also heart Jack. I can't help it. Matthew Fox is too cute to foster any resentment on my part, although he totally gets dissed in the movie "Knocked Up."

Liz Kelly: I (hearted) Jack much more as scuzzy/pill-popping Jack. I think I need my head examined.

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Washington, D.C.: I don't understand how or why Penelope was the live feed -- what's that all about?

Liz Kelly: Yah, that struck me as a little contrived. As if she has sat there 24-hours a day for the past several months (years?) broadcasting live non-stop.

Jen Chaney: I'm more inclined to think it was a coincidence, albeit a pretty fantastic one. Charlie unjammed the system during one of the moments she was trying to make contact. Again, this would be in keeping with Demond's visions, which seem to be leading him closer and closer to Pen.

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NYC: When people called Jack a double hero was that because he rescued the mother and child or because he was also known for rescuing people on the island and people in the car crash?

Liz Kelly: Good question.

Jen Chaney: I think they meant he had saved two people. BUT, the double reference ties in nicely with Liz's suggestion about there being doubles or dual universes, courtesy of "The Talisman."

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NYC, by way of Bethesda: Ok, you awesome lost analyzers...lets connect some of your concepts to the always thoughtful Doc Jensen. He affirms that Future Jack's references to his father being were merely the ravings of a hopped up addict. I saw this theory in other places as well, but the chorus on the message board responded that this didn't really make sense. At first I was on Doc's side, but am not sure now. A major question is: why is Kate a free woman? Surely, shortly as she was rescued, once her identity was known, she would have been taken into custody for her crime. Also, with all of the time shifting issues of the show it doesn't make sense that the characters will emerge into the reality that they left from. So, it seems, they return, to a different world. In the one we saw last night Jack's father didn't die and Kate didn't commit her crime. But obviously they have memories of what their lives would have been like had those events happened. So, it seems they emerge into a reality that is in some ways better, but in other ways worse. Jack is now an addict, rather than without his father. There must be something wrong with Kate's life that replaced the negativity of being a fugitive. The island is making some commentary on trials and tribulations in life: that they can't be escaped.

Jen Chaney: Interesting. I also initially thought the references to Jack's dad were the result of his being all drugged-up. But now I'm more inclined to believe it's related to time shifting.

Another interesting point about Kate: She told Jack she had to "get back to him." Who could she have to get back to? My initial hypothesis is Sawyer, who I think could be her baby's daddy. Our astute colleague Maura McCarthy also wondered whether Kate was referring to her son, assuming she is/was indeed pregnant. A third possibility: She is referring to her stepfather. If their pasts have been altered in some way, then maybe she never set the house on fire and killed him, which would explain why she is not in jail. And maybe her stepdad lived and became ill or something, forcing her to take care of him.

Liz Kelly: Oooh, good point about it being her son. I like that.

Could also equally be someone in a position of power over her. Someone who is keeping her secret only if she sticks around. See, this is the genius that was hatched in last night's show. Things can go anywhere from this point.

Also, we need to consider that whoever it is that transported Kate off the island could also have arranged either a. Full amnesty or, b. A brand new identity.

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Just wondering ...: ... when the man at the funeral home asked Jack whether he was friend or family of the deceased and he said, "neither," who could that possibly apply to from the Island? Locke? Ben? Michael? Waaaaalt?

Liz Kelly: See, I thought Jack said "either." Jen?

Jen Chaney: I thought neither, but now I'm not sure. And you know what totally stinks? I accidentally hit delete on my DVR when I meant to hit do not delete, so I lost my copy of the episode. Why??? Why???? Waaaaalt????

If neither is the right answer, then that applies to Ben. I don't think Jack ever considered him a buddy.

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Washington, D.C.: Okay, did anyone else catch the guy at the end, when Jack is on the phone, the guy on the other line says his name is "Rakowski" or something like that? Isn't that the guy who was in the hatch before Desmond and his partner(Inman? Can't remember his name) But Rakowski is the guy that painted the map on the door and then 'shot himself'?

Liz Kelly: Actually, he says "Minkowski." Luckily, guest blogger J. Wood was on hand to explain that Minkowski was in reality a mathemetician who "developed a new view of space and time and laid the mathematical foundation of the theory of relativity."

Jen Chaney: I mean, obviously Liz and I already knew that. We just thought it would be nice to let J. explain it since he rarely comes up with complex insights like ours'. (Example of such an insight: "Boone is so hot. Why did he have to die?")

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Silver Spring, Md.: I expected the code Charlie had to type in would be the 4,8,15 ... Oh well, someday we'll know what they symbolize. Maybe. (sigh)

Liz Kelly: Oh, but we do... As Jen pointed out in this morning's analysis.

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Thank goodness for the long hiatus...: ...since unlike SOME people I don't get paid to blog about Lost. (Insert jealous snit here.)

Coupla things. When Jack mentions his father to the new Chief of Surgery, the guy looks at him like he's, well, lost it. Ans wasting yet more business time trying to read those screen shots of the obituary I'm seeing "Jo" as the first 2 letters of the dead guy's name. I'm not sure the part other folks have mentioned is a name, a town, or something entirely unrelated. But the "Jo.." I'm putting my money on John Locke, ladies.

Last but not least, I was (yes, Jen, I admit it) a Charlie hater. But the writers MADE me a Charlie hater, then had to go and redeem him. Curses, foiled again.

Jen Chaney: Actually, one of our other readers has a fascinating theory about the deceased that doesn't involve any of the Losties we currently know. If I can find that question or blog post, I will put it out there. It made my head hurt, but in a delicious way.

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UghUghUghUgh: Matt Fox is a TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE actor. He has two faces - Intense Jack, and Very Intense Jack.

Liz Kelly: That's not fair.

He can sometimes adopt sort of an arrogant, PO-d look that isn't quite so intense.

Jen Chaney: I totally disagree. I think he hasn't demonstrated his range as much this season, but I think he is pretty talented. He was quite good in "We Are Marshall." I also thought he was wonderful in "Party of Five."

Yes, you can stop laughing at me now. I love that show. And what was Fox's name on that show? Charlie. You just think about that for a while. (I have no idea what that even means...)

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Washington, D.C.: My favorite part of the finale was when Rousseau finally meets her daughter Alex face to face and the first words out of her mouth are, "Will you help me tie him (Ben) up?" What could have been really sappy was pretty amusing!

Liz Kelly: Yes, that was a heart-warming moment. I'm still wondering, though, who Alex's father is. When he said "Alex, this is your mother" and Rousseau gave him that "Eat sh**" glare, I could almost see those two as estranged lovers.

Jen Chaney: The elbow to the face also made me see them as estranged lovers.

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Detroit, Mich.: You may be the wrong people to ask, but do you know if the show is in ratings trouble? As far as I know, it's still a top 20 show, and ABC signed the Cuse-Lindeloff team to a long term deal, including letting them set the end date of the show three years in advance.

How does that translate into cancellation?

Jen Chaney: I don't think there's a threat of cancellation at all. The number of viewers has definitely dropped this season, which may have raised some concern. Our own Lisa de Moraes has written quite a bit about that.

But you're correct that it's still a top 20 show and that the remaining three seasons seem to be pretty set.

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Washington, D.C.: Did Mikhail swim away before the grenade blew up, or was he still holding it?

Liz Kelly: We don't know. I wouldn't be surprised to see Mikhail surface again in a future show. He takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

Jen Chaney: Mikhail could swallow the grenade, stab himself in his working eye, guzzle some arsenic and jump off a cliff and he would still live. The dude is unbreakable.

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Re: Kate's freedom:

A popular theory I've read today is that since they (if we believe Naomi) were all declared legally dead, Kate would have "double jeopardy" protection. I don't buy it (since you could blame her for the death of the U.S. Marshal), but it's out there.

Liz Kelly: Hmmm. I thought that only worked the other way... or at least that's what I learned from the Ashley Judd movie.

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Arlington, Va.: Future Jack's beard and shades?

Totally late-era ("L.A. Woman") fat Jim Morrison.

Liz Kelly: Well, except for the goofy denim jacket with the zippers all over it, a la '80s era Merry-Go-Round. This one.

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Bethesda, Md.: After I realized it was a flash-forward, I decided that the person in the coffin was Sawyer. Who else would it be that nobody would be at the funeral, it would be at a cheesy funeral parlor in a bad part of town, and Jack would expect Kate to be there?

Liz Kelly: Any character could have been in that coffin. Whatever a character's circumstances were before the flight seems to have little bearing on where he/she will end up post-island. Once succesful surgeon Jack is now a pill-popping bad dude and Kate, who was a fugitive before the island, is a polished urbanite piloting a gleaming Volvo (or was it a Saab). So, really, could have been anyone.

I still think it was Ben, tho.

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Washington, D.C.: So what do you think about the theory that the next few seasons will be 50 percent island and 50 percent future scenes? It would be an interesting way to stretch out a short period of time on the island while seeing everyone deal with their "redemptions." Also, which other backstories that we've seen could possibly really be futurestories -- maybe Hurley and Libby in the mental hospital?

Liz Kelly: Ahhh, Libby. I'd like to see her come back if only to give Hurley a little love.

Jen Chaney: I'd like to see Libby again, too, but I don't think the mental hospital could have been post-island. Hurley said repeatedly while on the island that he used to be in a mental hospital. Now, I know that the notion of time is vaporous at best, but I have to believe that was in the past.

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Pirates of the Lost: I think Mikhail held the grenade to the window and is going to come back next season with a hook hand!

Liz Kelly: Thanks for that.

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Washington, D.C.: Have you seen the screen shots of the death notice in the paper? It looks like it says things about a man from New York being found dead in a loft -- first name looks to start with a J, but the last name doesn't look similar to anybody we know's last name. Also, it says something about The Tower and loud noises, and a beam ...

Liz Kelly: Yep, and they are very hard to make out.

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Diversions ...: I love how people get caught up in the purposeful diversions ...

Locke's father and purgatory comments ... "Do you know where we are..." diversion.

Jack's comment about his father ... diversion.

Almost everything Ben says ... diversion.

People need to stick with what they know or can support.

Next season will be about the time between the call and the plane ride.

Liz Kelly: Okay, thanks for setting us straight.

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Liz Kelly: Jen, here's that alternate coffin theory from the comments section of the blog:



Okay, I may be getting way ahead of myself here, but when I looked at the screengrabs (zoomed in) of the newspaper clipping, it looked like it said something about the body of J____ (fold in the paper) ___entham. This made me think of Jeremy Bentham, the English philosopher (certainly not the first one on the show). Bentham was perhaps best known for his concept of the Panopticon. From Wikipedia:

"The Panopticon is a type of prison building designed by English philosopher Jeremy Bentham in the late eighteenth century. The concept of the design is to allow an observer to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) prisoners without the prisoners being able to tell if they are being observed or not, thus conveying a "sentiment of an invisible omniscience." In his own words, Bentham described the Panopticon as "a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example."

Sounds a bit like the island, especially all of the hatches. Also, it would be funny if the character in the coffin were named Jeremy Bentham because he requested that his body be preserved after death. It's still on display in London.

Jen Chaney: Thanks, Liz. This was the theory I mentioned earlier about who the deceased may be. Very interesting stuff.

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Washington, D.C.: Wait a minute here. We know what the numbers stand for? That link isn't working. Please tell

Liz Kelly: The numbers, according to J. Wood:

Each one represents a factor in the Valenzetti Equation (and Valenzetti shows up on the blast door map). Those factors are things like how fast we're using fossil fuels, what's the rate of world population growth, the rate of attendant disease with that growth, etc., all leading up to how much time we have left before we extinguish ourselves from this planet.

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Laurel, Md.: Jack's obsession with getting back to the Island may be an homage to another Capra classic, "Lost Horizon," not to be confused with the 1973 film "Lost Investment."

Liz Kelly: Thanks, Laurel. And thanks for the clarification.

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Once Lost ...: The show is done. As soon as they revealed that it's possible to get off the island the really important drama-driving plot point is eliminated. All the other questions are only curiosities to either obscure or answer the question of "will there be an escape?"

The show has jumped the Dharma shark.

Liz Kelly: I don't agree with you. I think physically getting off the island may be somewhat irrelevant. It's where they end up once off the island that matters.

Jen Chaney: I totally disagree, too. Will they escape is a very simple, surface question. The show is really exploring some deeper things about life, which means that getting off the island, even if only for 50 percent of the time, is crucial.

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Greenbelt, Md.: Not to be mean, but matter-of-fact.

"Anyone could be in the casket."

A. Unlikely it's Hurley -- He wouldn't have fit.

B. Jack probably would have called Hurley a friend.

C. Unless in this universe, Hurley were still working at the Chicken Shack instead of a multi-millionairre, I'd think he be at a nicer funeral parlor, and that there'd be plenty of people showing up wondering if they'd be in the will.

Liz Kelly: Hey, we don't know when this was. Hurley could've lived on Subway subs for three years prior to his death.

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Columbia, Md.: As a former history and English major, I love the philsopher feast on the Island. But I keep waiting for a character to show up with the last name "Hobbes" -- probably as an adversary to Locke. I'm wondering if that will happen next season. Could that person have something to do with the origin of the island and could the monster basically be Hobbes' leviathan?

Liz Kelly: Make sure you check out J. Wood's Lost analyses over at Powells.com. I think he may be right up your alley.

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Arlington, Va.: I think I like Juliet just for her snarkiness. That whole exchange with Sawyer about building the runway for the aliens was really good.

Liz Kelly: Yes, that was fabulous. She's got the deadpan delivery down. Anyone care that she and Jack kissed?

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Washington, D.C.: Some people have mentioned and I'm pretty sure that Jen and Sun were sitting behind Jack on the plane in the opening sequence. Has anyone seen a still of that? Also, when Jack shows up at the funeral parlor the message he gets says he dialed a 305 area code which is Miami. I imagine he's trying to call Julliet.

Liz Kelly: No. There was an Asian woman sitting behind Jack, but it was not Sun. I think that she may have been put there to foster that idea, though. To make us think of Sun.

Liz Kelly: And, haha, I think you mean "Jin" and Sun. I can guarantee that it wasn't Jen.

Jen Chaney: That's where you're wrong, Liz. I was on the plane. And ... I'm an Other! I'm the Snake in the Mailbox!

Da naaaaaa!

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Marietta, Ga.: Let's examine some evidence on the Others from the Losties point of view:

1. Stole Claire

2. Stole Walt

3. Stole other children

4. Tried to kill Charlie

5. Sent spies in to camps

6. Threatened multiple Lostie's lives (Kate, Sawyer, Jack)

7. Put Kate and Sawyer in cages

8. More and more ...

Why shouldn't Sawyer be geeked to kill one? Especially after seeing them holding their friends on the beach, arguing about whether or not to kill them.

Maybe, as some hypothesize, they have other motives, but I don't blame the Losties for being vengeful, and don't think poor communication is an excuse.

Did I mention this was an awesome episode?

Jen Chaney: Why, yes, you did mention the awesomeness.

I'm not saying that The Others are innocent, or have never done anything wrong. Not at all. I do think this relationship is a metaphor for how quick people rush to judgment about those who are different from themselves. It's the danger of mob mentality. You could make a similar list of evidence on the Losties from the Others' perspective:

1. Invaded our island

2. Started eating all the really good mangos.

3. Killed Ethan

4. Killed seven of our people using the "Boom Goes the Dynamite" Plan

Etc. I also could make some analogies about how all of this is very relevant to our current political climate. But I'm not going to.

Liz Kelly: True, but in true schoolyard fashion, I'd like to say that the Others started it. They were the ones who crept into the Tailies camp the day after the crash and attempted to drag off the folks on their list.

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Lost-ville: Pirates of Lost -- re: Mikhal's hook hand. Perhaps he could have the hook as an homage to the fiercely loyal Buster (to his mom)from "arrested development". ... HA!

Jen Chaney: I don't know you at all. But the fact that you connected "Lost" to "Arrested Development" in a single sentence makes me want to be your best friend.

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Washington, D.C.: Never asked a question or commented before, as I find your discussions extremely well done and illuminating regarding the show. I am sure you are both still processing the events of last night and I can actually say I am glad for the long break we have to work things out and prepare ourselves for the continuing saga to restart. My question to you is do you feel the show can maintain momentum and "customer satisfaction" if it continues to use flashforwards from here on out? Essentially I cannot imagine an ending for our favorite Losties that does not involve some sort of cathartic positivism. I don't think anyone wants a Disney ending, but I feel it would be incredibly disappointing for the majority of viewers to witness the ordeals of these amazing characters only to find in the end they remain "lost" after all. Though this is a good lesson for high school students and college freshmen I feel that most mature persons know of this "truth" already and would be much better served by a story that showed if you are brave enough to face your darkest fears (a la Charlie) that you will find some peace in the end, whatever form that peace may be in (enlightened death, prospects of a new future, obtaining the ever so elusive feeling of happiness). Sorry for the length of my havering, take care. -Malcolm, a concerned but still hopeful Lost fan

P.S. These are the times when I miss Joss Whedon's TV shows the most, the best type of comfort food for the soul.

Liz Kelly: I still think there are some basic questions remaining from past seasons that we need to see answered and that will partly continue to drive some of the interest:

-- Will Penny find Desmond?
-- Who is it that wants everyone on the island dead (according to Ben)?
-- Who is Richard Alpert, really?
-- Who is Jacob?
-- Where is the island?
-- Was Walt really back last night or did Locke imagine him?

It goes on and on...

Jen Chaney: I agree that I think the ending of the story has to be positive but not shmaltzy. I think "Lost," in the end, is an optimistic tale so I fully expect an ending that will fulfill that.

And Liz is right, so many more questions to answer. I, for one, don't mind that. It does continue the interest, at least for me.

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False sense of security: How about this: Now that everyone thinks that, since we see Jack and Kate in the future, we can never really be in suspense over whether their lives are in danger, because we know they survive. I predict that one of them is the next to get the axe.

My alternate theory is that the Losties will be rescued in Episode 1 of season 4, just to prove how irrelevant the question "will they be rescued or won't they?" is to the show. The rest of the show focuses on the time-cycling and alternate past/present/future stuff.

Liz Kelly: But we don't know that this future is the one that will stick... meaning what they do following Jack's off-island call could change that future. See, there's pljenty here to work with.

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Arlington, Va.: The flashforward couldn't be THAT far in the future, could it, if Sarah (Jack's ex) still is listed as his emergency contact?

Liz Kelly: And who was he supposed to change it to? He seems to be pretty alone in the world.

Jen Chaney: This also could have been me, but I thought the woman he saved -- as shown in the hospital bed -- kind of looked like Julie Bowen (Sarah). I don't think it was Sarah, but I thought the similarity of appearance and the fact that Jack previously saved Sarah after a car accident was pretty striking.

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Liz Kelly: Okay, I hate to say it, but I think it's time to wrap this up. Jen, maybe a chat is in order when the DVD is released this fall?

Jen Chaney: Clearly, since we still have so many questions -- and I mean the ones in this chat -- left unanswered.

Let's make that happen come fall. Thanks so much, everyone, for your really smart insights and comments.

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