The 'Lost' Hour: Season 5 -- Episode 15: 'Follow the Leader'

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Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly
washingtonpost.com Staff
Thursday, May 7, 2009; 3:00 PM

"Lost" bloggers Liz Kelly and Jen Chaney attempt to get to the bottom of time travel, love quadrangles and all things related to the ABC's cult favorite every Thursday at 3 p.m. ET. Liz and Jen, both obsessive "Lost" fans, have been writing their weekly dueling analysis of the show since 2006. 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.

For episode analysis, discussion transcripts and more, visit washingtonpost.com's Lost Central.

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Would it move your island to have us take your question first during today's "Lost" Hour chat? All you have to do is send out a link to the chat to your Twitter network including @celebritology in your Twitter message (Ex: Discuss last night's Lost - http://tr.im/k35n @celebritology #lost). Then Submit your question on The Post site, and include your Twitter username for verification. Check back at 3 p.m. ET to see if your question was selected to start the session.

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Jen Chaney: Wow, you guys have a lot of questions today, so we won't even monkey around with a long intro. We've got some chatting to do.

Let's fire up this CGI sub and get going.

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Oklahoma City, Okla.: I don't know about you two, but I was a little surprised that Chang was just blown off by Radzinsky. I was really thinking that Chang was higher up the ladder than him.

Jen Chaney: I kind of thought so, too. And technically, he may be. But Stu seems way nuttier and much more willing to beat the snot out of people. So that may trump his place in the Dharma hierarchy.

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Jacob: Remember the first time Locke and I met, I asked him to "Hyelp meeeee" in my really really old voice? Locke just wants to kill me because that's the kind of help I need - I've been stuck on this island for 1,000,000 seasons!

Liz Kelly: Thanks for clearing that mystery up. And here I was worrying we wouldn't get any answers this season.

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Silver Spring, MD: Just to get it stuck in your heads again...

"MacGruber, he's gotten divorced and he's filed for bankruptcy

MacGruber, unprotected sex with hookers is a nightly occurrence

MacGruber, he's a raging alcoholic

MACGRUBER!"

Liz Kelly: Thanks. I'm now banging my head against the wall. Jen can tell you. We're actually in the same room this afternoon. A conference room here at post.com.

I'm working on a laptop and Jen is working on a computer hooked up to an overhead projector, so her screen is looming like some kind of Dharma schematic on the wall in front of me.

I just wanted everyone to have a visual.

Jen Chaney: Yeah, this big screen is kind of giving me a headache. It makes our chat look so IMPORTANT. And blurry.

"MacGruber"? Not the cure for the pain. But I do appreciate the comedy.

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Liz Kelly: Oh, an announcement: Thanks to Jen's hard work, we're skedded for an interview tomorrow with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse for a piece we hope to run in the paper next week.

We don't have tons of time blocked out with them and we have scads of questions in our heads, but we'd love to deliver one particularly tough question from you guys to them.

So consider this a call for submissions.

Jen Chaney: If you could ask Damon and Carlton one question, what would it be? May be the best inquisitor win.

And when I say win, I mean you win the chance to have us ask a question that may or may not appear in the story we're writing. So exciting!

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Oklahoma City, Okla.: I'm totally using "I was the first featured comment on the Lost Hour with Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly" as a pickup line.

Jen Chaney: Good luck with that, Oklahoma. I think that's a first-class ticket to a meaningful relationship.

Liz Kelly: I think you should try it out at next week's "Lost" Happy Hour.

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Columbus, OH: Jen, You said " If they don't tell us where Vincent is, I think the "Lost" writers should fully expect to hear from the ASPCA." Well, Carlton Cuse was at Ohio State on tuesday night doing a Q&A and then we watched last nights episode a night early (which made yesterday so long since you weren't there to move my island and straighten me out) Anyway, he was given the Vincent question and apparently, we shall see said Lab very soon - to the relief of everyone. My question for you wonderful ladies is...does Lost make the case to network executives that smart, narrative driven mysteries, in the vein of Twin Peaks and X-Files, are a viable option in the reality TV era? Lost is a compelling narrative that is so much better when you do not receive the satisfaction of sticking in the DVD and watching the next episode. I enjoy the serialized storytelling and reading/sharing the experience with you two, Doc Jensen, etc.

You have to appreciate the "move my island" reference. Cheers.

Jen Chaney: We appreciate all "move my island" references, Columbus.

To your question about serialized TV -- I think a lot of the network execs started to draw that conclusion when "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" were hits back in 2004. Since then a number of serialized dramas -- "The Nine," "Jericho," etc. -- have come and gone with little fanfare, which I think leads execs to think that those sorts of shows are by no means a sure thing.

I do think we're going to see more shows that run for finite periods of time, e.g. we know this will only run for a season or three seasons or whatever. We talked about that very issue in the chat last week. As the "Lost" writers have proven, knowing when your end will be can be really crucial to charting out story arcs that keep viewers engaged. Also makes it less likely for a show to jump the shark.

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Washington, DC: What about the theory that Locke and Jacob are one in the same?

Liz Kelly: That's an interesting theory except for the fact that EW has published a little tidbit about an actor from Dexter (whose name escapes me) that will be playing Jacob in the finale.

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Oberlin: Dust off your C.S. Lewis when you think about diving under the pool. Characters Digory and Polly must jump into a pool to explore new worlds, one of which is the nascent Narnia, a blank slate that the lion Aslan/Christ awakes by singing. Lost is drenched with biblical references this season.

Jen Chaney: Oh, nice reference. Thanks for the Narnia call-out.

Liz Kelly: Very nice catch!

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Charm City, CK: In case you are interested, the Sat night episode of Charm City Cakes (Food Network) features them doing the cake for the "Lost" 100th episode party

Jen Chaney: I had a feeling there would be a "Lost" "Ace of Cakes" episodes after seeing that Charm City made the cake. So setting my DVR!

Thanks for the head's up.

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Lake Ridge, Va.: I think I've figured out the ending to "Lost." In the final episode of the series, after changing the past Oceanic 815 will land as scheduled in L.A. but the Losties will discovery that apes now rule the world.

Liz Kelly: Damn them all to hell!

Jen Chaney: I can't even think of "Planet of the Apes" without thinking of the "Simpsons" musical version starring Troy McClure: "Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off."

So I hope they both discover apes and break into song. "Buffy" had a musical episode, surely "Lost" deserves one, too.

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When Am I: Among much of the speculation, way back when we got that brief glimpse of Jacob a few seasons ago, was that the outline of Jacob's face resembled Locke. If we recall, Jacob begged Locke to "help him." Last night, Locke indirectly interacted with himself by sending Alpert to heal him and tell him what needed to be done. What are the chances that Locke really is Jacob and is able to interact with the past from the future?

Jen Chaney: Thank you for bringing this up again. I was one of the people vocally insisting that Locke was in that rocking chair, based on the fact that I rewound that scene from "The Man Behind the Curtain" approximately 87 times.

It sounded completely absurd at the time, but you're right, it seems much more likely now. I just hope the Jacob reveal -- whoever it is -- is a heart stopper.

If it turns out to be, like Jakob Dylan or something, that would be disappointing.

"What? I told you my name was Jakob. And now, here's an acoustic version of 'One Headlight.'"

Liz Kelly: Are we forgetting EW's Michael Ausiello's claim that "Dexter's" Mark Pellegrino will appear as Jacob in the finale?

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A stupid but important question!!!!!!!: Please remind us again who are Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse? (Please don't revoke my Lost Hour Pass, I have a feeling I should know this).

Liz Kelly: They are the all important show runners -- basically the brains behind the entire operation. Without them, "Lost" would not be the cultural juggernaut we have come to know and love.

Jen Chaney: In other words, they are the men behind the curtain.

We won't revoke your "Lost" Hour Pass. Actually, that would be an awesomely open-ended question to ask them: Who ARE you guys?

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Help!: There's something wrong with the link to your Lost Central page, and I simply MUST read your analysis of last night's terrific episode. Can your producer please help??!!

washingtonpost.com: It's working okay for me, but here you go: Television: 'Lost' Central

'Lost' Dueling Analysis: 'Follow the Leader'

Liz Kelly: There you go... Paul to the rescue.

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Question for LindeCuse: What the hell!?!?!?!

No really, how about: We've seen some "winks" to the audience this year - shirtless Sawyer, comments about Alpert's eyeliner. I'm guessing that you follow some of the online blogs and fansites. Which are your favorites? Have you ever incorporated theories from the sites into the show? If so, which ones? Have you found many theories that are on target for what you're planning?

Liz Kelly: I like this one, but will like it much better if they cite "Lost" Central as one of their go-to sites.

Jen Chaney: That's, like, five questions. But these are good ones.

Thanks.

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Portland, OR: So why didn't everybody on the sub have to be sedated this time? When the new Dharmas were arriving Sawyer said they had to pretend to be groggy like they were coming out of sedation, so why didn't they have to drug the people being evacuated? Maybe just not enough time?

Jen Chaney: I think they only drug people when they're coming to the island, so they won't remember how they got there or feel whatever funky effects they might experience because of the island's "special properties."

Still, this raises an interesting point about exactly what happens to people who try to leave the island through non-donkey wheel means when they are coming from the past, as Sawyer and Juliet are. Is it even possible for them?

Liz Kelly: The preview for next week showed Sawyer, Kate and Juliet back on island. So maybe not.

Though we know Daniel Faraday successfully left and returned.

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Stuart, FL: We, Stuarts, certainly don't receive too much love from popular culture (Stuart Smalley, Stuart Little, Stewart from "Beavis & Butt-head," and any number of other slimy Stuarts in sitcoms across the ages), but, at least, Stuart Radzinsky is going to take a stand and not be trifled with.

However, why so crazy paranoid? This version of the "Others"/Hostiles don't seem to be in the habit of kidnapping Losties in their sleep or wearing scary fake beards. In fact, they seem to be simply a rather disorganized group of campers. Any ideas?

Also, if the original "incident" released electromagnetic energy, how did they "contain" it the first time around, i.e., how did they contain it enough to build the hatch and the 108 minute timer? The energy released...however, no women and children were there, the Dharma folks werent wiped out (since that didnt happen until Ben Linus later)...so, what happened?

Jen Chaney: I had a feeling I'd get some negative responses from the Stuarts of the world. For the record, I personally know some very nice Stuarts. I just couldn't let the opportunity for humor pass by. (I know, it was a cheap shot.)

Radzinsky, being the brains behind the operation, may believe he has discovered something scientifically significant. And he wants to keep it secret from any spies or infiltrators. At least, that's my guess. He's been very focused on building that Swan Station from the first time we saw him onscreen earlier this season.

Re: The Incident,

this Lostpedia page

will refresh your memory. Essentially, they covered it in concrete by building the Swan and instituted the entering of the number every 108 minutes in order to contain it. That process was what contained it.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Hi. I have a week old question, please help! What did Sawyer do that led up to him taking that dude hostage, and keeping him tied up in the closet? It seems like I missed 10 minutes, and all of a sudden I'm in the dark for this huge storyline! Thanks so much!

Liz Kelly: First of all, I highly recommend the episode synopses on Lostpedia. They aren't exhaustive, but they do a pretty good job of getting most of the details in for each episode.

As for Phil being tied up in the closet -- Sawyer detained him after Phil let on that he'd seen the security camera videotape of him (Sawyer) and Kate taking young Ben Linus to the sonic fence. Sawyer knew that his cover was blown and tried to contain the leak. Sawyer may always have a plan. That doesn't mean those plans always work.

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Question: Please ask if there will be a definitive, beautifully boxed set of DVDs, for the entire LOST series. And, by definitive, if there will be multiple DVDs devoted to back-story creation, sources of inspiration, and "pop-up" episodes that cue the clueless viewer into all of the richly, multi-layered geekiness that has created the magnificent TV series.

Jen Chaney: Well, I think the DVDs that already exist do a pretty marvelous job with extras. But Lindelof already said during one podcast that it's very likely there will be a complete series box set once the whole show is complete.

Speaking of which, there may be some "Lost" DVD giveaways at our Happy Hour on Wednesday. Just in case you needed extra incentive to show up.

Liz Kelly: Well that settles it. I'm coming.

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Rockville, Md..: Please ask the dynamic duo if they wouldn't mind doing a storyline with Juliet and Kate as love interests! I think this would provide for a plethora of storylines going into the last season.

My serious question to them: Just how far in advance did they work out details to the smallest degree? Example: season one episode with Christian wearing sneakers and explaining the reasoning in season five!

Liz Kelly: Your first question: Maybe they'll save that for the Playboy channel remake.

Second question: Good one. We'll put that on the list of possibles.

Jen Chaney: Yeah, I was thinking of asking something along the lines of that second question, too. The detail issue fascinates me.

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Dexter, Mich.: What is up with Richard remembering Jack, Kate etc. from 1977 and seeing them die but not remembering them from when he helped them get in the helicopter and leave the island?!? Do you think that's a clue?

Liz Kelly: Yes, that was an ambiguous moment in the show. We know Richard Alpert knew who Jack et al were, but Jen and I can't remember any instances of Richard having contact with any of them other than Locke.

I can't imagine he wouldn't have known who they were and what they looked like. After all, he was Ben's right hand man at that point.

So I would have expected him to respond to Sun with something more like: "Sun, I do remember Jin -- from the time you spent on the island after the crash, but also because I saw him die here in 1977."

Jen, what am I missing?

Jen Chaney: Well, the other weird thing about that is that he pointed to Hurley, Jack and Kate and said he recognized them. He didn't note Jin specifically.

I remember Richard having limited contact with everyone, except Jin. Someone can refresh my memory if I am wrong, but I don't think Alpert and Jin really ever crossed paths.

But maybe they did in '77 and we just haven't seen that moment play out yet.

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all time classic: The banter between Hurley and Dr. Chang was an instant classic. I couldn't stop laughing.

Liz Kelly: Agreed.

Jen Chaney: Ditto.

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Planet of the Apes: I thought the rifle-carrying Hostile on horseback was very reminiscent of the army gorillas in POTA.

Troy McClure:

"Rock Me Dr. Zaius."

"I hate every monkey on the tree, from chimpan-A to chimpan-Z."

Jen Chaney: "Oh my God, I was wrong! It was Earth all along!"

Liz Kelly: Rock Me, Dr. Zaius.

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Question for LindeCuse: Please ask them if they would have had a different story line if none of the actors aged. For example would Michael's son have been more central to the storyline?

Jen Chaney: Ooh, that's a good one. Thanks.

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the guy in the chair...: was a prop guy that works on LOST...it wasn't Locke...it wasn't the true "Jacob" - it was just a guy sitting in a chair, cuz they needed a guy sitting in a chair...

Jen Chaney: Okay, fine. But maybe it was supposed to look like Locke? Perhaps?

(Don't burst my bubble, dude...)

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Philly: I have found a hole in Jen's "Locke-is-in-the-altered-future theory." During that scene, future-jumping John is leaning against the Nigerian drug plane which is lying on the ground because Boone put it there! You will recall that the plane was initially on the top of the hill. But Boone climbed up on it causing it to fall and crush him to death. This suggests, at least to me, that Oceanic 815 did crash on the island, even in this possibly altered future...

Liz Kelly: True, though Jen did allow for possible slight variations. Meaning, yes, Yemi's plane did crash on the island, but something else knocked it from the top of that cliff wall. So different action, same net result.

Jen Chaney: Exactly. If anyone listened to the LindeCuse podcast from last week, they mentioned that the scene from "The Variable" where Faraday explains his time travel theory to Jack and Kate was supposed to be longer, but was cut for time. And he originally throws a stone and a rock into the water to demonstrate the difference between tiny ripple effect-type changes vs. totally life-altering ones.

It's possible that some tiny details changed but, as Liz said, overall effect did not. I totally accept that I may be very wrong about all this, by the way.

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Farmington, Conn.: I think that Locke is going to "Kill Jacob" only in a metaphorical sense. I think he's hoping that Jacob doesn't appear in order to reveal to the hostiles that Richard and Ben were frauds, and that Jon is their true leader.

Liz Kelly: I'm not sure I necessarily agree with you, but I did wonder last night if Locke was dissembling again when he told Ben he planned to kill Jacob. I just have an easier time believing he would lie to Ben than to Sun. And it would be particularly satisfying if Locke is just toying with Ben to keep him off his true trail.

Jen Chaney: Locke is lying to someone about his intentions. It's just not clear who.

I am not sure I agree about him not wanting Jacob to appear, though. Locke seems to take great pride in the fact that he can hear him and the island communicates with him via Jacob. (See his conversation with Ben last night -- "Jacob totally talks to me more than he talks to you." "No, he doesn't. And the island loves ME more.")

I think Locke would be crushed if he realized Jacob was nothing more than an empty chair.

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NotDoc, VA: When Locke and the Others were marching along the beach, I kept expecting to hear "height-ho, heigh-ho, Its' off to Jacob we go" or the whistling march theme from "Bride on the River Kwai."

Also, I'm thinking more and more that the "incident" was actually the detonation of the H-bomb, and that Faraday may have made up the stuff about the impending accident in order to get the H-bomb detonated and the "proper" events set into motion.

Liz Kelly: That's an interesting take. Whatever happens, as Jen mentioned in the analysis, we should all be on alert for the typical season-ending game changer.

Jen Chaney: So Faraday's a liar, too?

You know, I don't know how many more duplicitous, unreliable narrators I can handle on this show. That's a very interesting theory, though.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Richard's comment to Ben about the new Locke being trouble seemed out of character. Or maybe expressing character that he hadn't had before. I know he seemed disappointed when junior Locke didn't recognize the compass, but I don't really recall him ever having much personality before.

Jen Chaney: Or confiding in Ben. They seem to have had a "troubled" relationship themselves.

I thought it was funny when Ben told Sun he's been an advisor for a "long, looong time," as if Alpert has been passed over for promotions time and time again.

Liz Kelly: Actually, that's interesting, Jen. Maybe the reason we're seeing this new side of Richard is because in the past he felt like something of an equal partner with whoever was in charge -- Eloise, Widmore, Ben -- but he's sensing that won't be the case with John Locke and it's causing some of his baser impulses to surface.

Jen Chaney: Maybe so.

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Charlotte, NC: Is anyone else knocked out by how much Island Eloise looks like Penny Widmore? Richard's "let's just say it's complicated" explanation of the relationship between Charles and Eloise sets up all kinds of theories--I believe the money now is on their being blood relatives--but I especially like the thought that Eloise could be Penny's mom. Anyone else getting on board with this?

Liz Kelly: Now that you mention it, 30-something Eloise does bear a striking resemblance to Penny.

(Which is pronounced "pen-nehy," of course.)

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whatever happened happened: There seems to be an increasing probability that "The Incident" is not Dharma drilling into a pocket of energy, but Jack Shepherd blowing up Jughead, which releases the pocket of energy. He thinks he's changing the past, but he is only fulfilling his destiny. He was always supposed to blow up the bomb.

Jen Chaney: In other words, there will still be an Incident, the details will just change this time.

I think that's a highly possible conclusion to draw, especially since Jack always thinks he's got things figured out and then turns out to be wrong and has to confront his guilt.

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Jin in the picture: If the picture is entirely of new recruits, would Jin even be in it, since at that time, he's been with Dharma for three years? That would explain why Richard didn't specifically indicate him in the photo when describing who he remembered.

Jen Chaney: No, he wasn't in it. But that just amplifies my point. How would Alpert even know that he knew Jin? Why wouldn't he say, "Yeah I know those people, so if your husband was with them, then he probably was here, too"?

Unless he encounters Jin circa '77 in the events we will see next week, which is totally possible.

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Rockville, MD: When Eloise and Charles were talking, did anyone else hear him say that she shouldn't do it (go to the bomb) in her condition? I swear I heard that and am thinking that she's currently pregnant with Daniel.

Jen Chaney: No, I didn't hear that. Now I will have to rewind.

That would certainly further explain her particular alarm about shooting her son. She would know for a fact at that point that she's supposed to have a child.

Liz Kelly: I didn't hear it, either.

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K Street: Submitting early due to meetings ...

So I think we're now in a giant time loop - witness Locke's telling Alpert to tell Locke to go back to the island ... so he can go back to the island to tell Alpert to tell himself, blah, blah.

There's a concept in philosophy called the Eternal Recurrence (or eternal return), which says that the universe is a loop, that it is recurring, always has recurred and always will recur. Time is cyclical, not linear. And per Schopenhauer, it's not a matter of "reincarnation," it's literally rebuilding matter - it's a physical phenomenon.

Wikipedia explains, "the universe is limited in extent and contains a finite amount of matter, while time is viewed as being infinite. The universe has no starting or ending state, while the matter comprising it is constantly changing its state. The number of possible changes is finite, and so sooner or later the same state will recur."

Stephen Hawking has shown models by which time travel would be possible in this scenario.

Neitzsche got in on this theory. Not only that, but the concept itself has its origins in (wait for it) ANCIENT EGYPT. They used the scarab (dung beetle - yum!) as a sign of this eternal renewal.

Q: Have we seen scarabs in any of our hieroglyphs on Lost?

Also: Stephen King's Dark Tower series (and the producers are huge King fans) hints at eternal recurrence.

Liz Kelly: Lots of food for thought there. LindeCuse are both big King fans and fans of the "Dark Tower" series in particular. In fact, I believe Damon Lindelof (along with J.J. Abrams) plans to adapt "Tower" for the big screen once "Lost" is put to bed.

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Let's Go Caps: So I was at the Caps/Penguins game on Monday, and they have this ticker on the Jumbotron that displays text messages from fans. I'm telling you this because I saw one message that said "Ovechkin moves my island"

Liz Kelly: Jen, you belong in Wikipedia. Or at least Lostpedia!

Jen Chaney: That is FANTASTIC. My plan has worked!

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What a great Q&A: In order to try to get my questions taken, I'm resorting to blatant flattery, although I doubt it will work with two such intelligent ladies of impeccable integrity. Thanks for another great job, you guys move my island. Also, your producer seems to choose the best questions, and always with the timely contributions. Amazing!

My idea for a question for Darlton:

(1) Can you guys just admit you screwed up the whole time travel paradox thing, that there's no way of making it coherent, and that the millions of work hours suffered by dedicated losties trying to figure it out may be largely responsible for the failing economy?

Liz Kelly: I think that question would really endear us to them. Maybe we should start with it, Jen.

Jen Chaney: It's the perfect way to warm them up.

"One of our readers believed you caused the economy to collapse. Explain."

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How would Alpert even know that he knew Jin?: He didn't say he knew Jin. He didn't say that Jin died. He only said he saw Kate, Jack, and Hurley die.

Jen Chaney: I thought he strongly implied that he saw all of them die, including Jin. At least that was my interpretation.

Liz Kelly: He did. And I assumed he was referring to Jughead's detonation.

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Manchester, U.K.: I always enjoy reading your analyses and had a comment relating to time-traveling. While your thoughts on "when" Locke and co. are interesting, it stuck me that when the donkey wheel was "skipping," Locke had actually traveled at least once into the "future," and not always in the past as we have assumed so far.

I thought that was pretty significant; So if Locke really wanted to, he could have not sent Richard to tend to his wound which would then possibly had changed the process and perhaps the outcome of what has happened since. I think it's great that "Lost" is pushing us to think of time not in the linear- sense as we are so accustomed to in Western culture.

Jen Chaney: Thanks for this (and for following us all the way from the UK!).

Your point made me think about Locke's motivation for wanting to keep the timeline the same. And it seems like he wants to preserve it for selfish reasons: he knows that if it plays out like it previously did, he will die, (seemingly) resurrect and return to the island a changed and (allegedly) better man.

On the flip side of that, Jack doesn't want the timeline to play out the way it already did. And I actually think that's for less selfish reasons. Sure, he wants to avoid his own pain but he also noted that maybe all the people who died would actually live longer lives.

So who is the enlightened one here? This whole show always comes back to John vs. Jack.

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Ellicott City, Md.: What has happened with the Others? When the show started, they seemed omnipotent, appearing wherever they wished, and all that murmuring in the background. Now, Sayid sneaks up on them and takes two of them out? Didn't even seem difficult.

Liz Kelly: Well, think of it this way: The unknown is always more terrifying than the known. So in a way, the portrayal of the Others early in the show was realistic in a sense that there were these people lurking in the jungle who seemed rather menacing. And they had the advantage of knowing the island and its secrets.

Now, of course, the Others have been revealed as a group as diverse as any other and, at least by 2004, largely under Ben's thumb and, at his bidding, they spent their days scaring Losties. That's changed.

As for the voices, I think we now know those presage Smokey or manifestations of Jacob/the island, not the Others, per se.

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Ft. Washington: Can one of you lovely ladies kindly kill Kate for me? She doesn't belong anymore! She lost Jack. She lost Sawyer. She lost Aaron. She's just wandering around on the island with no purpose other than to be a buzzkill.

washingtonpost.com: And she won't even go swimming anymore!

Liz Kelly: Down Paul, down!

Jen Chaney: She seemed pretty freaked about the swimming, didn't she? I wonder if she had a mental flashback to swimming underwater and finding those dead bodies. Maybe she thought, "You know, I don't need to find any more weird stuff under the sea, thanks."

I think Kate did serve a purpose because recently by being the force pushing to save Lil Ben. What her longer-term purpose is from here forward, I don't know. But I don't feel nearly as annoyed by her as everyone else seems to, so I'm fine with her sticking around until the end. (Sorry, Liz and Paul, but I must tell the truth.)

Liz Kelly: I'm fine with her sticking around to the end, too. She's kind of a love-to-hate for me, so I'd miss having her to kick around.

I thought she balked at taking the plunge for the exact reason she stated: She wasn't going to help Jack and she didn't want to go one step further with him.

Though the old Kate would've tagged along and somehow sabotaged the plan, right?

Jen Chaney: Yeah. I mean, she clearly had reservations about Jack's plan. I just detected something else under the surface, so to speak, that made the idea of getting into the water even more unappealing to Kate.

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Definitely preggers: I watched Lost with closed-captioning and Widmore definitely made a statement that Elly should not make the trip "in your condition" (while putting hand on her mid-section).

Liz Kelly: Thanks for confirming that. Definitely a good detail to have.

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Locke, Ben and death: Maybe I'm looking too deeply into things, but last night after Richard said, "I think John's going to be a problem," Ben responded, "Why do you think I tried to kill him?"

TRIED to kill him?

I thought Ben DID kill him -- we saw Ben strangle Locke, we saw Locke in a coffin, and Locke even admits he was killed by Ben. Then why did Ben use the word "tried" -- is it because Locke has been resurrected on the island or has Locke actually never died?

If your theory about Locke, Ben and Sun living in an altered 2007 is true, maybe Locke never really died. He returns to the island as much alive as he left it...and, bonus, at with all of his limbs in tact.

I wonder if Ben knows something we/Locke doesn't know (shocker, I know!). After all, to quote dear Benjamin again, "Dead is dead. You don't get to come back from that."

Liz Kelly: Or could Ben merely mean that he thought he'd finished Ben off but that it obviously didn't stick?

This is a show in which most lines are carefully formulated, so you could be on to something. Although Ben went pretty far with the whole dead gag seeing as how Locke was on view in a funeral parlor and all -- which connotes that he was embalmed. It would be pretty difficult to pawn off a merely comatose or drugged guy on a mortician.

Though, hmmm, embalming was invented by the ancient Egyptians (a culture that has come up again and again this season) to preserve their bodies for the afterlife.

Jen Chaney: I like your theory. Like Liz, I'm not sure about the whole embalming thing.

Also, I think Ben said tried because it clearly didn't work. More importantly, though, his comment to Richard is at total odds with what he previously told Locke, that he killed John suspecting he would resurrect on the island.

Again, it's Ben. No idea what the truth is. I'm not even sure he knows anymore.

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Richmond, VA: Jack clearly doesn't have a very good memory. If 815 lands as planned, not only do Kate and Jack never meet, but Kate does not pass Go and goes directly to jail for probably ever for being an arsonist, murderer and fugitive. Jack knows all this and still has the balls to look at Kate and say that their current existence is more miserable than what Kate has to look forward to if Jack and Daniel's clever plan pans out?

I've gradually hopped off the Kate-is-pretty-alright train over the past season or so, but come on, Jack should know better than to suggest everything will be wine and roses for all involved if the plane never crashed onto Mystery Island.

Liz Kelly: I think Jack realizes that life won't be sunshine and buttercups if 815 had never crashed. He knows Kate will likely be incarcerated. He'll still be a guy with daddy issues bringing said dead daddy back home in a box. And he and Kate will likely never meet.

But, as he pointed out to Kate -- there has been a lot of bad since that crash: not only the people who perished in the crash itself, but the deaths of many after the crash -- Libby, Boone, Shannon, Ana Lucia and several of the Others.

Jack is a changed man and I think he's actually trying to put the greater good before his own desires.

Jen Chaney: The question is whether that really is for the greater good. But as I said earlier, at least Jack appears to be thinking of how his behavior will impact other people.

Locke seems to be focused on nothing but Locke right now.

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By George, I think I've gotten it: I think I may have finally figured out this whole time travel thingy and I'd love to know what you think of these observations:

Say you are in 2007 and you decide to go back in time to . . . say 1977 . . . If you are successful, you will share that time and space with the version of yourself that already and properly existed in 1977 - assuming that you were born before 1977.

There is no version of you that is in 2007 or any later year because you jumped off of the timeline in 2007.

Contrary to the Back to the Future theory, if 2007 You were to go back in time and do something that prevents yourself from being born, 2007 You would not disappear the instant that act was completed.

Rather, 2007 you would continue to live the new timeline that you've created from that point in time forward.

Assuming again that you were born before 1977: Let's say that 2007 You goes back to 1977 and does something to change the future. If 2007 You is successful, the new future will be changed for both 1977 You and 2007 You (who is now in 1977).

Both of You (1977 and 2007) will then live out the new timeline from 1977 forward unless - important caveat - 2007 You (who is now in 1977) figures out a way to leave 1977 and go to some other year.

But here is the tricky part - whatever year after 1977 that 2007 You goes to, 2007 You will be sharing that time and space with the version of You that exists (or comes into existence) that year as a result of the new timeline.

What does this mean for the Losties? It means that if 2007 Jack & co. (who are now in 1977) are able to do something in 1977 that alters the future, that altered future will be experienced both by 2007 Jack & co. and 1997 Jack & co.) - the versions of Jack & co. that were already in existence in 1977 when the 2007 versions journeyed to that year.

In other words, if 2007 Jack & co. prevent the Incident, they will not disappear from 1977; they will not cease to exist. If Oceanic 815 never crashes in the new timeline, it will not be 2007 Jack & co. that experience a safe flight from Australia; it will be 1997 Jack & co. - the versions of Jack & co. that were already in existence when they changed the timeline in 1977.

At best, in the year 2007, 2007 Jack & co. will be observers (albeit 30 years older) to the new timeline they created in 1977 in which Oceanic 815 does not crash. Assuming, of course, that 2007 Jack & co. live until 2007 and aren't killed in a nasty 1977 incident involving electromagnetic force and/or a hydrogen bomb.

As Farady said, even though they journeyed back in time to 1977, their existence is completely real and they can all die.

Liz Kelly: My head is spinning, but this is good food for thought as we wrap up today's show. Thanks for this and all the other thoughtful questions and comments. Oh, and for the LindeCuse questions, too.

See you here next week for the final chat of the season.

Jen Chaney: I can't process all of this right now either (there are a LOT of 7s in that comment), but good to contemplate for later.

Before you join us back here next Thursday, you locals should not forget the Lost Happy Hour, Wed. night, 5 to 7/8 at The Reef in Adams Morgan. Hopefully we'll see some of you there, then here.

Adios.

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