Friday, April 25, 2 p.m. ET
The 'Lost' Hour
Friday, April 25, 2008; 2:00 PM
Has "Lost" got you a mite confused and ready to hurl at the next mention of smoke monsters? Or do you have the fate of the Oceanic 6 and the Jack-Kate-Sawyer-Juliet love square all figured out? Who got Scooby Doo'd this week? Are you a new viewer, adrift on an unfamiliar isle or an old hand ready to bare knuckle some quantum physics? In either case, we're here for you and armed with more mediocre puns and pop culture references than a hunky con man than you can shake a stick at and ready to explain exactly what it is that Cheech Marin and Bai Ling have to do with any of the above.
Post.com "Lost" bloggers Liz Kelly and Jen Chaney will attempt to get to the bottom of these matters every Friday. Liz and Jen, both obsessive "Lost" fans, have been writing their weekly dueling analysis of the show since 2006.
A transcript follows
When not debating the merits of Sawyer's hotness, Liz Kelly writes the Celebritology blog and Jen Chaney acts as movies editrix and DVD columnist for washingtonpost.com.
Visit washingtonpost.com's new Lost hub.
Liz Kelly: Oh boy -- I'm all verklempt at the thought of Henry Ian Cusick being on the other side of a keyboard somewhere answering our questions. What a good sport -- and my mind's already trying to pre-figure this whiz-bang surprise season ender he mentioned.
But, being a professional, I will rise above my fannish impulses and kick this discussion off with a rousing Huzzah to one Jen Chaney, who not only booked Henry Ian's live discussion, but also spoke to him at length for a truly insightful Q/A earlier this month.
Jen Chaney: Ian Cusick is finishing up his chat as we speak, the best possible segue into this little discussion. Not only is he a good sport, he is terribly nice. And he types for himself -- we LOVE actors who do that.
Thanks for the huzzahs, Liz. But now it's time to talk about even more important things, like how Ben can disappear behind freaky walls and make the smoke monster appear.
Bethesda, Md.: This sounds minor, but in the context of Lost, almost nothing is. Did you catch what exactly Ben had behind his back when talking to the doorman at Widmore's apt building. I thought it was the barrel of a silencer on a gun, but on a freeze frame, that doesn't appear correct. Anyone catch it? Maybe it's already on Lost Easter Eggs, but I thought I would post this anyway.
washingtonpost.com: It was an expandable baton. (Like JLo used in "Out of Sight.")
Liz Kelly: The same baton Ben used on the guys in the desert at the beginning of the show. And I'm not sure whether I should be glad or a little worried that producer Paul had that link handy. Oh, and the granular knowledge of J.Lo's character in "Out of Sight."
Jen Chaney: Yes, Paul has both impressed and frightened me all at once.
That opening scene -- the one where Ben knocked out the two dudes on horseback -- was SO cinematic. It really felt like something out of a big, sweeping FILM (with all capital letters) as opposed to a TV show.
Montgomery Office Park, Md.: What is the song that Ben is playing on piano?
Jen Chaney: Oh, man! I was wondering the same thing and could not identify it. If Liz can't either, I am guessing (hoping) someone out there can.
Liz Kelly: Someone over at the Lost.com forums says it was "Prelude in C# Minor" and it's by Sergei Rachmaninoff. I honestly wouldn't know unless he'd been playing something like "Sweet Georgia Brown."
But one thing I did actually like about last night's episode was the reliance on dialogue and plot movement to carry the story forward, rather than cryptic clues. I love me some Easter Eggs, don't get me wrong -- but I think the show sometimes gets mired in the details and wink-wink homages. We had a few last night -- the "Poltergeist" line delivered by Ben, Ben's heiroglyphics -- but not an overwhelming, distracting amount. Me like.
Los Angeles: The finale of this show is going to be Sayid fighting Desmond and then Desmond gets the upper hand and cuts Sayid's hand off but he won't strike him down. Then Ben decides to just kill Desmond with lightning from his hands. Wile Desmond struggles against that, Sayid gets up and throws Ben down a giant exhaust shaft. So cool.
Liz Kelly: Now why does that sound so familiar.
Hmmmmmm. Where does Billy Dee Williams come in?
Jen Chaney: And more importantly, at what point do the Ewoks enter into it? I demand the appearance of Ewoks!
Silver Spring, Md.: No fair! I thought Doc Jensen and/or LindeCuse said we would find out last night whether Rousseau was dead or not. Did I miss something?
Jen Chaney: They did say that. And I assume that Alex's statement about her mother and Karl being dead was the verification.
Cleveland: The previews for next week's episode mentioned that Jack has appendicitis. Juliet muttered something about it bursting. I envision open-air surgery with Kate as scrub nurse to Dr. Juliet. Seems like it might be a useless subplot. But, with Jack's two leading ladies trying to save his life, it might provide some good drama.
Oh, and I'm the one who mentioned the "Mole" subliminal messages in Liz's chat yesterday. I saw at least one last night, too.
Liz Kelly: I said it in today's analysis, but I'll repeat it here: I'm thinking Jack's illness is going to be a subplot so we can continue to concentrate on Ben as the prime mover for the remainder of the season. Do I know this to be the case? Know.
Jen Chaney: Freudian slip, Liz? You said: Know. Did you mean: I know, or no? The readers will want to no.
I mean, know.
I mean ... huh??
Liz Kelly: 14J! 14J!
I meant "no," of course. Because I know very little. As you know.
I'm gonna stop (k)now.
U Street: Jen and Liz, If you could have any celeb guest star on "Lost," who would it be? I think a strategically placed Harrison Ford cameo would rock!
Liz Kelly: I dunno. I'm over the bejeweled, chest-waxing Harrison Ford. I think someoene more obscure or meaningful would be cool -- like Rutger Hauer or Peter Weller.
Jen Chaney: That is such a good question.
I agree, someone meaningful where the presence of said actor would add a layer to the story or character he/she plays.
This isn't obscure really, but how sweet would it be to see Philip Seymour Hoffman go head to head with Michael Emerson? Like, Hoffman circa "M:I III" vs. Ben Linus? J.J. Abrams directed that movie so it could happen!
Bolton, Mass.: I submit a renaming: Jack Shatner, based on his awesome acting.
Jen Chaney: Oh, Bolton, that is just uncalled for. I genuinely mean this: I think Matthew Fox is a good actor. Bust on me if you want, but I do.
I'll stand by that from his "Party of Five" days even.
Liz Kelly: Ya, I don't think Matthew Fox has quite reached Shatnerian proportions yet. Remember, Jack is a character -- and that character is a cocky, sure of himself over-achiever who often leaps before he looks. Don't confuse the character with the man.
dre7861: Did you catch The Watchmen allusion at the beginning of the episode? When Ben wakes in the Sahara he starts to vomit just like Laurie Jupiter did whenever Dr. Manhattan teleported her. Could the Island be like Dr. Manhattan -- an all-knowing, all-powerful being which controls time and space -- but more importantly is the Island alive and a thinking entity?
Liz Kelly: I spaced on the "Watchmen" tie-in, but I trust you. I can definitely say, though, that bile seen in HD on a 52-inch TV is grody.
Jen Chaney: THAT is interesting. I didn't even think about that, but good call dre.
Liz, your TV is two inches bigger than mine. I feel so inferior.
Washington, D.C.: Tania Raymonde is one seriously smoking hot babe. Sorry to see her go.
Jen Chaney: It is sad. But unlike Ben, I did think she would get killed. They don't mess around on that show and Ben was so confident in that scene, I thought -- she's so a goner.
Liz Kelly: Wait, I thought we'd determined that Tania was "pretty but almost ugly."
Jen Chaney: Some people said that. Others clearly disagree. Either way, I felt for her character. Definitely didn't want her to die.
washingtonpost.com: Not to abuse the system, but your producer has questions too:
-- When did "I do what I have to to survive" Sawyer get so selfless? And develop a man-crush on Hurley?
-- Why didn't Ben just unleash the smoke monster right away? He didn't know Alex was the hostage, and he said any of his people would be willing to die, so it couldn't have been to protect any Others.
-- Is it wrong that I laughed when the third Red Shirt got shot? Sawyer did tell them to stay inside.
Liz Kelly: Ah, post.com, here you are hogging the chat again. Actually, this may be the first time, but the "again" just sounded so good.
First off, re: Sawyer -- he's displayed flashes of heart before, especially in his protective, warm fuzzies for Kate. So I'm not surprised to see him going to bat for Hurley. He's like a Han Solo character -- wants you to think he's heartless and just out for a buck, but ultimately can't deny his inherent goodness.
-- My thought on why Ben didn't unleash Smokey before Alex died is because use (or non-use) of Smokey was governed by these rules which Ben says Widmore changed or broke by killing Alex. He felt Smokey was off limits until Widmore showed that nothing, not even calculated collateral damage.
-- No, I laughed, too. Or, rather, I rolled my eyes. One of my biggest pet peeves is having extras introduced to up a body count. It was beneath "Lost" and harkened back to the unfortunate hijinx of season 3.
Long Beach, Calif.: Jen, I think you glossed over something in your dueling analysis. It wasn't just that Ben manipulated Sayid's grief to turn him into an assassin. Ben specifically said, earlier this season, when Sayid was reluctant to continue killing, "remember what happened last time you thought with your heart instead of your head?" seemingly indicating that an action of Sayid's led to something disastrous.
Liz Kelly: I'm not sure we glossed over it -- we did touch on the conflicting (seemingly) accounts of how Sayid ended up in Ben's employ. But now that you mention it that statement does ring true. My surmise would be that in some future episode we'll find out that Sayid made a large mistake in killing the guy who Ben claims killed Nadia. And that Sayid will be in some jeopardy because of it -- jeopardy from which only Ben (conveniently) can rescue him.
Jen Chaney: Or maybe Ben's statement was referring to the fact that Sayid thinking with his heart is what made him become a killer for Ben. That's still unclear. But I agree with Liz, as I said in the blog, that I don't think Ishmael killed Nadia. If we know anything, it's that Ben lies to get what he wants.
I agree, that scene from "The Economist" was important. Thanks for reminding us of it.
Mclean, Va.: Where is Henry Ian Cusick? I thought he was joining (not that you ladies aren't entertaining by yourselves!)
washingtonpost.com: Here you go: Talking With Henry Ian Cusick
Liz Kelly: Make sure to read it after we're done here, tho!
Silver Spring, Md.: I was so desperate for some Lost over the hiatus that I actually played the mostly-meh xBox game. I have no idea if it's considered "canon," but if it is the ending of the game definitely points to the time loop theory.
It didn't reveal too much else about the island, but the "flashbacks" were vaguely about the Hanso Foundation's experiments with chemical weapons and ESP.
Liz Kelly: Interesting. Any other good stuff you learned via the game?
Jen Chaney: Yes, please share. They don't make it for Wii, which is heartbreaking.
Silver Spring, Md.: Hey you two amazing Lost Gurus, glad that lost is back, glad to have you back,
I want to bring up a more MACRO level question I have about the show.
Time travel. Darlton said, even before The Constant aired, that they wanted to create a variation of time travel that eliminated paradoxes, such as the ability to encounter your past or future self.
I thought that the concept of "mental" vs. bodily time travel was brilliant and that Darlton would stick to this concept alone. That is why I was totally flummoxed by Ben's questioning as to the year.
When Ben first arrived in Tunisia I thought that he had teleported in, not time traveled. We have enough other examples of teleportation -- The Black Rock, the drug plane -- for me to accept it as something at work. But my feeling is that that if Darlton veers from this mental time travel, to bodily time travel, they will be messing with logic that they have already set up in the show, and violating the notion of avoiding paradox.
Jen Chaney: I am not sure that bodily time travel and mental time travel cannot coexist. But I think you raise a very good point about course correction.
For the same reasons you mention, I have assumed that, say, future Jack cannot go back to the island run into, say, past Jack. But maybe I am wrong. I do think that might make things too complicated.
The whole time travel issue is still a little confusing, as far as how it works in the context of the show. Hoping we get more clarity on that before season's end.
Charlotte, N.C.: Given the mad skills Ben showed in Tunisia when he Indiana Jones-ed those two guys, isn't it a little odd that he gets beat up so often on the island? Poor Michael Emerson has been in "I lost a fight" make-up since his first appearance!
Liz Kelly: Speaking of looks -- I loved the question in Henry Ian Cusick's chat asking him how many more buttons Desmond is planning to lose off that shirt.
The collapsible baton must be a favorite of writer Brian K Vaughan. One of his characters in "Y: THE LOST MAN" also used one. Certainly an effective little tool.
Liz Kelly: I'm not the only one slipping. I think you mean "Y: The Last Man." Which I keep meaning to read, by the way...
Alexandria, Va.: Didn't Sayid just take Ben's word about who killed his wife awfully easily? I mean, I get he was in mourning and maybe not thinking too clearly, but I really would have thought he knew better than to trust Ben...
Jen Chaney: Yeah, I had that thought, too. He did take him at his word pretty easily. Also didn't seem to question what the heck he was doing there as much as I might have thought. And don't get me started on why Sayid didn't look at him and say: "Dude, seriously, what's with the hat?"
But it's hard to say what impact grief -- especially at the moment of Nadia's funeral -- might have had.
It's also worth noting that marrying Nadia surely must have felt like a way for Sayid to truly redeem himself and close the book on his past life as a torturer. When she died, that may left him feeling like, "Screw it. What does it even matter? Give me a gun." And of course, Ben was there at exactly the moment such emotions were bubbling.
Liz Kelly: Yes, I think Sayid might've been willing to believe anyone who pointed at some random stranger and said "There's the man you want to kill." He had that much rage in him and, as Jen says, Nadia's death probably changed his outlook on life and morality. He needed, in that moment, to avenge her -- whether it was justified or not.
I was more skeptical, like Jen, of Sayid's easy acceptance of Ben in Tikrit and Ben's ability to move through what seemed to be a pretty traditional neighborhood without anyone even batting an eye. I mean the idea that he could just belly up to a bar and quaff some tea while average Iraqis happily ignored the white man in their midst is just ludicrous.
Alexandria, Va.: What do you think of the idea that Alex was Ben's "Constant", which is what he meant by "you changed the rules"?
Liz Kelly: Hmm. Let me think about that one. But that would pre-suppose that Alex exists somewhere in Ben's off island wanderings as well and we never saw any evidence of that. Although we certainly know it's possible.
No, I don't think that's it. If that were the case, Ben would have been worried about his impending bouts of narcolepsy and orifice-bleeding, no? Instead he was galvanized to travel to London and obviously sees himself being around long enough to chase Penny -- both geographically and through time.
Jen Chaney: Yeah, I don't think that's the issue, as appealing as the idea is. I think the issue is that Alex was the only person he truly, truly loved. And he believed he could control everything and turns out he can't.
Not to get all Freudian, but I also have to bring up Ben's mom and the notion that he felt responsible for her dying in childbirth. (Thanks to Uncle Rico/Ben's dad, who kept saying: "It's your fault your mom died." Yeah, that's quality parenting.) So to then be responsible for the death of his daughter, even if she wasn't blood? That's a tough, tough pill to swallow.
Washington, D.C.: Wow. I am still in total shock about Alex. I always thought that Ben was in total control of everything. It didn't seem possible that she'd be hurt if he was involved. I believed that Ben was invincible. When he said "they changed the rules" I felt like Ben could just as easily have been speaking about the writers. This was the most upsetting death for me. It's one thing to have people attacked by mythical smoke monsters, but having a 16-year-old girl killed point blank execution style is another. Did either of you think she'd actually be killed?
Liz Kelly: That's a really interesting insight about Ben actually talking to the writers. How meta.
They have, in a sense, changed the rules. No character is sacred at this point and everyone is in play and at the mercy of bringing this show to a satisfying end. So Alex is sacrificed to feed the mythology. She won't be the last.
Jen Chaney: I did think she'd be killed, as I may (or may not) have said earlier. The stakes were too high in that scene for it to end any other way.
That phrase about changing the rules also reminded me of last season's "game changer." Apparently the season finale this year will bring yet another game changer in terms of how the story is told. So the writers are always changing the rules of the narrative, too. Very good point.
Fairfax, Va.: I was TOTALLY shocked that network TV would show video of a teenage girl being shot in the head at point blank range...while her father callously looks on. I mean, am I that much of a prude that I just handle that?
Yes, I know this is make believe. Still.
Liz Kelly: Is this somehow more objectionable than "Rock of Love" or "TMZ on TV?" I don't think so.
This violence was not gratuitous -- it was obviously integral to the motivation of the Ben Linus character. It was also relatively blood-free as TV violence goes. We saw her get shot, but we saw no entry wound, no splatters. And, this show is on at 10 p.m. It's for adults and I'm going to go out on a limb and say that most adults can discern between gratuitous gore and good story telling.
Jen Chaney: Yeah, I didn't think it was too out of control. Especially for the 10 p.m. hour.
Re: Ben: Why did Ben say he couldn't kill Widmore? Is Ben really dead?
Liz Kelly: Good question. I can't believe we didn't touch on that in our intro.
Jen, what do you think? At this point the field is wide open for possible reasons:
-- Because something bad will happen to Ben if Widmore dies.
-- Or, as producer Paul points out, the timeloop theory. On its most basic level: It just isn't meant to be in one time, so fate won't allow it to happen in another.
-- Widmore exercises some kind of mind control over Ben. Or, similarly, Ben needs the rivalry he has with Widmore.
Jen, what do you say?
Jen Chaney: I think I am with producer Paul on this one. Michael can't kill himself off-island. Jack can't kill himself off-island. And Ben can't kill Widmore off-island.
Apparently, though, he can kill random dudes in the desert. Widmore also could be like Richard Alpert: No birthdays means no dying. Maybe the two were on the Black Rock together?
Liz Kelly: That's a good theory, Jen, about Widmore being on the Black Rock. Perhaps he's the original captain. He does say that Ben stole the island from him, I think. Which makes it sound as if Widmore at one point was in control but somehow had it wrested out of his grip.
Alexandria, Va.: Lost actor I'd like to see? Forget Harrison Ford. Bring on Brad Dourif.
Liz Kelly: Yes, he was great on "Deadwood."
I miss that show.
Jen Chaney: Never got into the Deadwood. I just thought it was cowboys cussing. And I can get that at home if I make my husband wear a cowboy hat.
I'd like to see Patricia Clarkson as Juliet's long-lost other sister. Love her.
Denver: Any guess as to what happens to Rose, Sawyer and Bernard and the other Losties not part of the Oceanic 6? If the show is moving "off island" I hope that doesn't mean we will see less of them!
Jen Chaney: That's a possibility, I think. I suspect we'll go back to the island, but that the island won't be our frame of reference.
During the teleconference call last week with LindeCuse, I asked about how the narrative would shift. And Lindelof said that we now think of island as "the present" as far as the narrative is concerned. And we flash forward or back from there. But next season, off-island will be present, if that makes sense. He said that now we know where the WOOSH (the sound effect that accompanies flashes) takes us. But next season, the WOOSH takes us somewhere else.
Does that make sense?
Liz Kelly: Woosh.
Travelin' Ben: Tell me what you think. When Ben went into his secret room, did he (1) summon Smokey, or (2) travel to Tunisia in October 2005, have all of his future adventures, and arrive back in time to rejoin the Losties, or (3) both?
Liz Kelly: My assumption was that he summoned Smokey. I think his trip to Tunisia happens -- in the island chronology -- sometime after the trip to visit Jacob.
Jen Chaney: See, I thought he did both. I could be wrong, but if changing the rules means time travel, Ben knew exactly which courses had to be corrected to get one step ahead of Widmore.
It is a little confusing, though. Liz, we really need to map out a timeline, right after I get a brain transplant so I can make sense of it all.
Columbia, Md.: Sayid's comment to Ben about searching for Nadia for 8 years just got me to thinking about all the flash forwards that have been happening this season. It made me think about Kate's trial and Aaron being so much older. Are we to believe now that most of those flash forwards happened eight years after they left the island and Desmond waited that long to take revenge on Widmore? Our time continuum has been messed with here.
Liz Kelly: Well, eight years after the island would conflict with Ben's learning the year in Tunisia was 2005. I'm guessing Sayid is factoring in the time he spent searching for Nadia before the crash as well.
Sawyer the Protect, Or: It's not just Hurley -- he has definitely taken an interest in Claire (coinciding with the latest Kate split, I must admit), and even wanted to go get Rousseau and "the kids" until Ben said he had sent them to safety.
Jen Chaney: He also wanted to play happy homemaker with Kate. While it may seem random, I think all of this builds on the fact that Sawyer is content on the island.
If others are still searching for redemption or completeness (see Jack, Kate, Locke), Sawyer seems to have found it. So maybe that's why he's a nicer guy sometimes.
Washington, D.C.: Okay - I am so confused!!!!!! Normally I think I follow pretty well, but last night has me befuddled!!!!!!!
Liz Kelly: D.C., take a breath. If you DVR'd it, I'd watch again before next week's show, then read the analysis again. It'll sink in.
Midwest: So, Henry Ian Cusick said in his chat that Desmond and Ben have not yet met. Weird for me to realize that. I tend to lose track of who knows who, who appeared when, etc. Any other obvious non-relationships like that that we can throw out there?
Liz Kelly: Well, the only one that's coming to mind is that Jen Chaney never met Boone (Ian Somerhalder).
Jen Chaney: And that, truly, is a darn shame.
Cusick also said in our previous conversation -- read here and here -- that Desmond probably had never met Michael. Coupled with the fact that he has never met Ben, I think this raises some interesting questions about Desmond. Either it's just coincidence that his character hasn't come in contact with certain other characters or there's some kinda weird "Sixth Sense" thing going on.
Silver Spring, Md.: I thought last night's episode was great, but I have to take issue with Locke. People are dying, you have to escape to the jungle, you have to flee for your life, your whole plan (or lack thereof) is falling apart, your crew is splitting up, and the first thing you do is whine to Ben "You lied to me" about the smoke monster. I want to know about the smoke monster too, but, Hello Locke! Ben is a Liar! I couldn't believe Locke acted so incredulous that Ben lied. I think Locke will have a downfall episode soon, I feel like his descent from island stud hunting boar to dithering, unsure Locke is almost complete.
Liz Kelly: Ya, I'm really not liking Locke this season. He's a man who has lost his way and that's just never attractive.
I think, though, I liked him even less at the moment when he pulled a gun on Sawyer.
Beltsville, Md.: Sawyer's man-crush on Hurley is because Hurley can beat him at ping pong and horseshoes.
Jen Chaney: And also Hurley is awesome. And loves "Xanadu."
Liz Kelly: I'm not going to add to this.
Alex getting shot: Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think we actually saw the moment the gun went off? I thought I heard the gun shot with the camera on Ben and a split second back to see Alex falling over with the gun pointed at her. Subtle but less startling then watching them actually shoot her.
Liz Kelly: I think you're right, though I'd have to go re-watch that moment to confirm and, well, we both know that's not going to happen.
Jen Chaney: I would also have to confirm. And we all know I'm nerd enough to do it.
That said, I do think Alex is dead, if you're suggesting she might have survived.
Silver Spring, Md.: Okay, a bit more info about the "Lost" game, with obvious spoilers:
You play a whole new character named Elliot, who was a photojournalist. It takes place over the first two seasons, and the presentation is similar to the TV show: broken into episodes, with a quick dramatic hook at the start of each one before that familiar noise and the title appears.
It's mostly about exploring the island and occasionally solving puzzles or talking to other castaways who never have anything interesting to say and whose voice actors sound nothing like the originals.
But in the flashbacks you learn he and a rival journalist/ex-fling named Lisa were investigating a shipment of nerve gas. They traced it to an Australian businessman named Savo who's tied to the Hanso Foundation. There are other little clues and letters you can find talking about how the foundation is using it to somehow investigate ESP, but obviously causing fatalities in most test subjects.
Back on the island he's seeing ghosts of Lisa (his actions got her murdered by Savo the day before flight 815), encounters with Smokey, etc. At the end of the game he gets a boat and sets sail off the island...only to see Flight 815 breaking up in the air overhead. He blacks out and wakes back up on the island, only this time Lisa is there and alive, and then the credits roll.
Liz Kelly: Hmmm, so perhaps he was jolted back in time?
Jen Chaney: Well now I don't need it for the Wii!
You know what's weird? When I said in the blog this a.m. that I think I might know the last scene of the show, it was something very similar. Except not this Elliot guy, obviously.
Lindelof has said they already know what the last scene of the show will be, unless something drastic happens to change it in the ensuing episodes.
Rockville, Md.: I feel like last night's episode set us up for the following chain reaction:
Ben tells Sayid to kill Penny.
Sayid, now a shell of his former self, is conflicted but knows that it's still a way to get to Widmore.
Des finds out about this, is none too pleased.
Des talks Sayid out of it, Ben finds out, and is himself none too pleased.
Somehow or another, Sayid will die. I'd say Ben isn't likely to kill him unless directly threatened. I think either Widmore kills Sayid himself, or Sayid commits suicide. Either way, unless this happens at towards the end of the final season, I can't see Ben or Widmore dying (there goes a big dramatic conflict in the whole story). And despite his otherwise horrible luck, Des is invincible. As for Penny, she's probably a goner, likely by Ben's doing.
Liz Kelly: Right. That's certainly the direction my brain started moving in as soon as Ben vowed to kill Penny. I think it will go a step past Sayid, though, ultimately -- all the way to Ben himself having to make the decision to give in to his blood lust or allow Penny to live.
Again, I'm getting chills. Biggest. Sap. Ever.
Jen Chaney: No, I am the Biggest Sap Ever. Liz, you didn't cry when Jin (maybe) died. You're made of stone, girl!
Seriously, I don't even want to walk down that path. Want things to unfold further first.
re Alex being killed: yeah, I thought watching the scene that she'd be killed, too. But I thought Ben knew she'd be killed (or at least accepted the possibility) and was consciously making the choice to let it happen, daughter or not. What surprised me was that after it happened, he obviously hadn't thought it was even possible.
Liz Kelly: I think he took a big risk and perhaps hoped it wouldn't happen -- which is really out of character for Ben. Usually he ensures his control of every situation. But in this instance, he believed he did have control of the situation because, hey, he always does. Pride comes before a fall.
Adams Morgan, D.C.: I love your analysis -- keep it up!
Ben definitely seemed off his game last night. The reveal about his competition with Widmore almost had an Anakin Skywalker/Obi-wan Kenobi vibe to it. With Widmore's interest in all artifacts Hanso, I think there is a deeper connection between Widmore, the Island, Ben, and possibly Dharma.
Jen Chaney: Liz got the mentor/mentee vibe from that scene, too. Interesting. And there is unquestionably a deeper connection. What it is specifically? Still unclear.
Des never met Ben or Michael?: Really? Where was he when Ben was being held prisoner in the hatch?
Jen Chaney: He was out of the picture, really. I need to revisit season two to remember exactly, but remember: Des was not a regular until season three. So he was only in a couple of episodes.
I feel like they must have crossed paths, but he and Michael didn't, I don't think.
Liz Kelly: If I recall correctly, Desmond was a drunken loner for much of season 2. He was probably passed out against a tree trunk when that whole Ben thing was going down.
Sawyer: Jack and Sayid aren't around, and Locke is more or less nuts, and certainly doesn't have anyone's interests but his own in mind. Sawyer steps up when no one else is around to pawn responsibility off on.
I'm pretty sure he's done it before -- taken over leadership roles when no one else is around who wants to do it -- although I'm having a hard time remembering exactly when, or the details.
Liz Kelly: He has -- in fact, he was elected de facto group leader when Jack was locked up by the others last season. He, of course, stepped aside when Jack returned.
RE: Guest Stars: The only obvious choice to rival Ben's creepiness, would be Crispen Glover.
Liz Kelly: Crispen isn't so much creepy as he is just wildly unpredictable.
Washington, D.C.: If Ben is able to travel through time at will, why couldn't he go back and prevent his daughter from getting killed?
Liz Kelly: Taking the time loop theory again, you can't change fate by traveling through time. It will self-correct -- which is why Charlie ultimately had to die, no matter how many times Desmond (Des!) saved him. Ultimately, it self corrects. So that makes me think Alex was always meant to die. Ben, I'm guessing, would not agree. He was utterly stunned.
Interesting Point, Md.: So Desmond has never met Ben...but Ben told Sayid he got off the island using Desmond's boat "the Elizabeth." So Ben knows of Desmond I guess, but they have never met? Does Ben know about Penny and Desmond?
washingtonpost.com: Did Desmond ever find out that Libby was on the island? You would think at some point he would have said "hey, whose graves are those."
Jen Chaney: I don't think Des knows Libby was there. At least not yet.
Again, I need to verify about the Ben/Des thing. But if anyone would know, it's Cusick. And he implied that he and Emerson have not gotten to work together much, if at all.
Liz Kelly: And I think it makes sense that Ben would know about Desmond without having actually met him. I mean, my god, the man rattles off the vitals of (seemingly) perfect strangers.
Celeb cameo?: Easy! Ricardo Montalban.
Jen Chaney: Smiles, everyone, smiles!
Alex getting shot, part two: No, no, I have no doubt that Alex is dead. I'm just sayin' how they filmed the shot made it okay for primetime, non-cable TV.
Jen Chaney: Oh, sorry. Gotcha.
Pittsburgh: When Ben was with Locke and the boaties were on their way, Ben told Locke the safest place was with him. Why, then, did he send Alex away? I'm not implying that Ben meant to have her killed, but still curious.
Jen Chaney: I think he wanted to save her. This is a good question, though: Is he really trying to save Locke, or have him killed? I mean, he did try to murder the guy and leave him in a pile of rotting corpses.
Liz Kelly: I think Ben needs Locke for some specific reason, much like he needs Hurley to lead the way to Jacob's cabin.
Ben is the man:
Who else but Ben would have a secret room with a secret room?
Jen Chaney: And a secret time machine! Hidden behind a wall of hieroglyphics!
Liz Kelly: That Ben. He's the Martha Stewart of covert ops.
Mclean, Va.: Regarding Ben asking what year it is -- one possibility might be is that he asked because he knows that time flows differently on the island than it does in the rest of the world, so when he "teleported" off, he needed to get his bearings.
Thus, while time travel is a factor, it doesn't mean that he (or others) (or even Others) are able to move back and forth in time at will. Instead, their movement in time is random, depending on the relative times at their start point and end point.
Jen Chaney: Hmmm ... something to ponder. That Oct. 24 date is very interesting, as Doc Jensen pointed out today. A lot of stuff happened on that same date in history, including the last flight of the Concorde.
Desmond: I think Desmond was on the sailboat trying to get off the island when Ben was prisoner.
Or, yes, maybe drunk against a tree.
The island can do that to you, ya know.
Jen Chaney: He did drink quite a bit back then, didn't he? Oh, those were merry times.
Reston, Va.: I found it interesting that Miles didn't seem to know Keany and his men or have any idea what they're up to. Aren't they supposed to be on the same side? He seemed terrified during the firefight. Keany must not have been arrived via the boat or Miles would know him. So how did Keany get there? If Keany and Miles' group were both sent by Widmore, wouldn't there have been some coordination between the two groups?
Liz Kelly: Wait -- but we saw Keany on the freighter in some of the earlier episodes, right? I think Miles may just be saying as little as possible to avoid the appearance of colluding with Keany's crew.
And I would assume that Keany and his men were ferried to the island by Lawnmower Man Jeff Fahey in that mysterious copter trip we were wondering about a couple of episodes back.
Jen Chaney: But Keany was still on the freighter after Fahey left, wasn't he?
I didn't get the impression Miles didn't know him, necessarily. But he may not have fully grasped the amount of pain they planned to inflict.
If nothing else, he would have said: "Hey, aren't you that dude Russell Crowe killed in '3:10 to Yuma'?"
Alex's Death: I hear you -- her death wasn't bloody. But come on, a teenage girl on her knees begging and pleading for her life while Daddy looks on -- the sound of a shot to her skull coming from the large paramilitary-type behind her -- while her lifeless body slumps to the ground. To me, that is much more troubling then any of other (dozens) or murders and deaths we have experienced together on the Island of Horrors.
Jen Chaney: More disturbing than other deaths on "Lost," that's fair. But have you ever seen "CSI"? Some of the commercials for those shows are even more disturbing than that moment.
Liz Kelly: Seriously, I think you're being a little oversensitive. Am I condoning violence on teens? No. but I think context is everything and, in this context, the death was done tastefully. This is not reality by a long shot, but I think the producers of this show have proved by now that gratuitous violence is not their M.O. So if they felt that we needed to experience Ben's horror at seeing Alex in that position, well, I trust them on it.
Charleston, S.C.: Did anyone else get a "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" vibe when Ben said, "they changed the rules," ala George when he killed off his and Martha's fake son? Martha keeps crying, "you can't do that, it's against the rules." Is this further evidence that it's all a game between Ben and Charles?
Liz Kelly: Yes, and possibly further proof that "Lost" is all about the literary references.
Jen Chaney: Indeed.
Washington, D.C.: The Rachmaninov is probably not a "throw away." I was reminded of a 1954 film, "Rhapsody" starring Elizabeth Taylor. She goes to music conservatory to follow a violinist she loves. The violinist loves music more than her. Meanwhile a maniacal pianist loves Elizabether, er Louise Durant, more than music. She has to choose -- there will be consequences.
Every little detail on "Lost" seems so well-thought out and pregnant with possibilities. Pun fully intended -- as we try to work out the Widmore-Ben relationship.
Jen Chaney: What a wonderful pull. I need to check out that movie.
where did Ben go?: I don't think Ben's sequence in Africa occured when he left Sawyer/Locke after Alex got killed because when he woke up in the desert he already had what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the arm, which didn't happen (to my knowledge) before he went into his special secret time travel room.
Jen Chaney: Oh, that's a very good observation. And they made a point of showing the wound, too.
Said it before, say it again: We need a timeline.
Liz Kelly: As much as I'd like to keep this crazy train rolling, I'm about to lose control of my bladder.
Till next week!
Jen Chaney: We do not want to make Liz wet her pants. That would be wrong.
Thanks for such great questions, insights, etc. You change the rules of our game every week -- in a good way.
Lastly, I just want to second the nomination of Cripin Glover for a guest spot on the show. Why? He was in "Back to the Future." A flux capacitor pseudo-reference strikes me as absoltely crucial. He's also batpoop nutty, as Liz said, and that's a good thing.
Until next week!