The 'Lost' Hour: Season 5 -- Post-Season Recap
Thursday, May 21, 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.
washingtonpost.com: Liz and Jen are struggling with the donkey wheel, and will start in just a few minutes.
Liz Kelly: Hi folks, we're running a bit behind, but we're here and ready to take another run at discussing last week's two-hour finale. Let's jump right in, shall we?
Jen Chaney: Yes, let's.
Milwaukee: There's an interesting parallel going on now between "Lost," "Fringe," and the movie "Star Trek." All three are dealing with the concept of alternative realities. All three are J.J. Abrahms projects. Hmmm.
Jen Chaney: J.J. does like his time travel, doesn't he? I actually think this is an even larger trend than that. "Terminator Salvation" -- and the whole "Terminator" mythology -- deals with issues of time travel and trying to alter the past to change the future.
And -- clearly on a less, um, serious level -- "Land of the Lost" has a time travel thing going on, too. So let's just call this a new high point for time travel in pop culture.
Liz Kelly: I'm so conflicted about seeing the "Land of the Lost" reboot. I just loved that show as a kid and I'm not sure I want that impression shattered. This is the same reason I refused to see the "Willy Wonka" remake despite my appreciation of Johnny Depp.
Lahaina, Hawaii: Jen, Liz, HELP. Last night I started shivering uncontrollably, and I realized that I needed my Lost fix.
So, because you lovely ladies are easing my addiction (like a nicotine patch for Lost, or Lostine patch...) could you also riddle me this?
What are the MAJOR questions that we need answered next season. By my count we're looking at: 1) Who is Richard, when did he arrive? 2) Are Jacob and EvilGuy deities, aliens, Egyptian gods? 3) Did the bomb go off? 4) Did they change the time line? 5) Is Sayid dead for realz? 6) Can evil guy appear as anyone who had a corpse on the island (Christian, Claire, Yemi, Locke) or is he just Evilocke? and of course 7) How does it all end and what does it all mean?
You guys rock!
Liz Kelly: Thanks -- and thanks for the concise run down of what we need to know going into next season.
I'd add a couple more to that list:
-- Who are Ilana and co?
-- Who actually died? Sayid? Juliet? Jacob?
Jen Chaney: A few more from me:
--Is Claire dead and if not, where has she been keeping herself?
--Is Aaron a figure of significance or just a cute kid who likes to wander off in grocery stores?
--What's the deal with Evil Guy/Esau?
Smart Donkey : Do you think Lost will wrap up neatly in the final season or will there be room for a feature film kind of ending ? Do you all have any insider info that you're hiding from us and if you did would you tell us ?
Liz Kelly: When we asked Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse the same question Carlton replied thusly:
I think we would be naive to think there won't be interest in exploiting ["Lost"] and doing other things with the franchise downstream. But right now our intention is to finish the show, and finish our story when we finish the show.
I interpreted that to mean that they aren't writing the final season with a view to a feature film sometime in the future but, at the same time, they aren't totally closing the door on it.
And while, as mentioned in the Q&A, a movie adaptation worked well for "Sex and the City," it isn't always the best idea. I seem to recall the "X-Files" movie falling flat a couple of years ago.
Tucson, Ariz.: Regarding the fact that No. 2 apparently cannot kill Jacob himself: Wasn't there a scene last season in which Ben visited Widmore in his bedroom and they had a discussion about how they could not kill one another? I thought that was an interesting connection.
washingtonpost.com: The reference to No. 2 totally made me think of "Austin Powers."
Liz Kelly: I think you're right about that Ben visit. I believe that was when Ben made reference to Widmore having "changed the rules." It wouldn't be the only parallel between the Ben vs. Widmore, No. 2 vs. Jacob story lines.
But I've been going through a big upheaval in my opinion of Ben for the past few days. I'm thinking he may actually be a somewhat righteous man who has been put through some terrible tests of faith by Jacob.
Jen Chaney: Wait, wait, wait ... wha????
Is Liz Kelly -- THE Liz Kelly -- now saying that Benjamin Linus is a good man? Even though Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse just told us that he's kinda like Darth Vader.
Although, they did say that I am right about Ben ... but that was only after I said they should just say, "Jen is right."
Liz Kelly: The guy has done a lot of bad things, but I think it was all in what he saw as service to Jacob. He was tested. And he failed. Hence the reason he was never allowed to visit Jacob and the reason Jacob seemed to be filling up with tears when he said, "What about you?" to Ben.
Seattle: Who is Jacob's blackshirt buddy? and how long have they been on the island anyway?
Liz Kelly: He's only been identified as "No. 2," though many on the Web have been labeling him "Esau," as in biblical Jacob's brother.
Jen Chaney: I prefer to think of him as another character created at the 11th hour to drive us all crazy with new theories during the hiatus. But maybe I'm oversimplifying.
Future show: Maybe they'll do a spin-off like "Frasier" that just focuses on one character. I'm thinking "Hurley."
Liz Kelly: Right. And Hurley could live in Seattle with his dad (Cheech Marin) and -- oddly -- David Hyde Pierce as his long-lost cousin.
22046: Since I usually watch the show a day late, I never get to participate in this chat. I'm so excited for today, it almost makes me forget my sadness at no new Lost...
There was something a chatter said last week about Rose possibly thinking Juliette was pregnant that I wanted to comment on...when I saw how Juliette rested her hand on her belly after Bernard offered her tea, I thought she was pregnant too. In retrospect maybe it was just a meaningless gesture, since Juliette seems gone for good (?). And also, silly, since it made it seem like she was saying "ah, no, no tea-- caffeine is bad for my developing baby," which contextually seems illogical.
Jen Chaney: Yes, it would have been a random time for that information to be introduced. But after watching the episode again while not simultaneously trying to convince my son to go to sleep and take notes for our analysis, I took note of the belly-touch, too.
It wasn't as deliberate as the moment when Widmore gestured toward Ellie's growing belly, so I am thinking we may be seeing more there than was intended by the actor or the writers. But I could be wrong. Liz, your thoughts?
Liz Kelly: I didn't get the sense that she was pregnant, though I do think that belly touch could be interpreted that way. I'm wondering -- could it have been a red herring thrown in by the writers just to further scramble our brains?
Also, I can't remember if we talked about this last week -- but was anyone else annoyed by the Juliet flashback in the finale? It was totally out of step with the other flashbacks (which were all Jacob-related) and didn't really do much to advance the story. I think it could've been left on the cutting room floor.
Jen Chaney: It was out of synch because of the lack of Jacob, that is true.
It seemed like it existed just to put more emphasis on Juliet's pyschology, that she wouldn't want to be in a less than romantic partnership with Sawyer because of what she observed in her own parents.
Top 10 things to do to keep your lost fix: ....while we wait through 9 months of anticipation.
Thoughts? I think we should start a list.
Also--the more I think about it the more I've decided that the Ace of Cakes 100th Episode Cake was awesome.
And that Jacob is not dead--that he's got something up his sleeve(s).
Liz Kelly: We have some ideas. Stay tuned.
Jen Chaney: I just want to add that the "Ace of Cakes" episode was indeed fantastic. How cute was it that Hurley asked them to make cake-Sawyer wear a shirt? And how doubly cute was it that Josh Holloway was so grateful to him for doing that?
Garden City, Long Island: You guys are great. Two observations:
1. For all the joy about Rose and Bernard's reappearance, I think the best thing about it was how LindeCuse revealed that when Sawyer asks Jin if he searched Grid X and Y in "LeFleur" he was referring to Jin's search for Rose, Bernard, et. al. and NOT the Jack, Kate, Locke and company. This was nagging at me b/c it seemed to be bad writing, to have Sawyer keep complaining that "we were happy" before Jack and co. came back to 1977 amidst him having been eager enough, seemingly, about their return.
2. So what does Season 5 mean now re: the Oceanic 6 story. Were they ever SUPPOSED TO come back as Jack says and we fans have believed as a matter of course since Season 3's end? Or was it all something they (wrongly) CHOSE to do at the behest of being tricked. It has never made sense and seemed like bad writing as to why they really came back. Because Locke's whole explanation that "bad things happened on the island" after they left didn't ever seem all that true (i.e. lots of bad things happened the day they left but after that, basically, Charlotte died). And we know that if the island's skipping was the bad thing, then Locke's turning the wheel (and not the return of Jack and co.) fixed that.
Further consider, that as we discover Jack and co. were really tricked into choosing to come back. And this twice over. First, they were, in a sense, fooled into coming back by Ben who killed Locke precisely to trick them into coming back; so it was Ben's manipulation that led to pushing Jack over the edge and rallying the troops to all come back. And, second, as we learn by implication from Season 5's finale, they were tricked into coming back by unLocke; b/c even if real Locke rather than Ben had killed real Locke in that hotel room, it still wouldn't matter because in "Follow the Leader" we learn that real Locke got the whole idea that he might have "to die" to bring Jack and co. back from a Richard Alpert who, himself, got this notion FROM UN-LOCKE a few minutes before he ran out to nurse time skipping real Locke's wounded leg.
Jen Chaney: Wow. Just ... WOW.
I'm going to focus on the second part of your question/comment because it is simply awesome.
First, very good question. Was Jack's drug-addled contention from the finale of season three -- "We have to go back!" -- really valid? I think we still don't know. I suspect the answer is yes and that every part of the "Lost" journey will turn out to be crucial to these characters' finding their sense of purpose. (Theme of next season is Destiny Found, no?)
You're right that they were tricked into coming back to the island, in a sense. But I would argue that there is some free will involved here (at least seemingly). Kate chose to go back after dealing with her guilt about Aaron. Ben and the Locke attempt at persuasion had no impact on her. Jacob was the one who talked Hurley into it. And Sayid went back at Ilana's behest, so only Jack and Sun fell for Ben's manipulations.
Locke, as you rightly point out, was apparently convinced indirectly to do what he did by his own evil twin. Which is just MESSED UP.
Lost in Fort Worth, TX: Will no doubt reveal my vast ignorance here, but why is the device called a Donkey Wheel? It's always referred to that way in our blogosphere, but was that what it was called on the show? I've always wondered.
Jen Chaney: LindeCuse referred to it as that -- the cliffhanger last year was called the frozen donkey wheel.
And I think the wheel does indeed look like one of those old wheels that donkeys had to push around. There is probably a more official name for what they are, but I'm going with donkey wheel.
Wash, DC---Please Read!: OK, at the risk of being tiresome, I wanted to draw your attention to a comment I sent yesterday. It was long and you may have just glanced at it, but I think I've found something important that relates the plotline of "Lost" to Kabbalah.
Here are some key quotes from an online article (on the www.chabad.org website) entitled, "The Cosmic Twins:"
"The Kabbalists see Esau and Jacob as the embodiment of the cosmic twinship of Tohu and Tikkun. ...
"Our sages tell us that before G-d created our world, He created an 'earlier' state of existence -- the world of Tohu ('Chaos'). But this was a world of 'much light and scant vessels.' As a result, the vessels burst and the light escaped. G-d then created 'our' world -- the world of Tikkun ('Correction'), constructed with 'broad containers and scant light' that allow it to function and endure....
"Esau is the raw, untamed energy of Tohu. He is a destructive force ... far more powerful than the constricted and defined energies that animate Jacob's correct and orderly world. The challenge, as we said, is to bring together the cosmic twins in a way that exploits the best of both worlds: to marry the immense energy of Tohu with the focus and control of Tikkun.
"The struggle to achieve this synergy is the life-history of the biblical twins, and the essence of human history as a whole."
This Kabbalist belief tracks really closely with the plotline of "Lost," including the blinding light, the powerful force on the island, the struggle between Jacob and "Man No. 2" (Esau?), the idea of course "correction," the possibility that Locke's body is merely a "vessel" to contain the raw power of Esau, etc., etc.
OK, I shut up now.
Liz Kelly: Interesting. Some definite parallels.
But if we follow this to the word -- that would mean we're heading toward there somehow being a balance struck between Jacob and Esau (or No. 2), yes?
Gainesville, Va.: Some time back, it was rumored that a current or recurring "Lost" actress had been signed for Season 6, but not Season 5. Any word on which character that might be? Claire? Cynthia?
Jen Chaney: I have to think that was Emilie Ravin, who plays Claire. I can't remember now if I actually read that or if we all just surmised that, but I don't think Cynthia Watros is returning. So that makes more sense.
Liz Kelly: In fact, here's an exchange from TVGuide.com that has Emilie talking matter of factly about returning to the set:
TVGuide.com: Having been involved in all these projects as of late, will it be harder to go back to Lost for its final season?
De Ravin: No, I'm really looking forward to going back. I've had a wonderful time being able to express myself creatively in different ways [during this Season 5 absence]. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again and, being the last season, I'm thinking it's going to be pretty exciting.
Bmore: I think that Juliet's flashback was meant to show that she didn't have the touch of Jacob on her side, and that she is now therefore dead...
Liz Kelly: Others have mentioned this. I'm skeptical, though. It seemed to me like it was only inserted to put Juliet's later comments to Sawyer about infidelity in context.
Atlanta: Let's assume that the evil guy is also the smoke monster or can control it. Suddenly everything Smokey has done has to be seen as crucial to his long-term plot, right? What does attacking the pilot way back in the pilot do for him? Killing Mr. Eko and Keamy's crew?
Liz Kelly: Well, like many "bad guys" before him, maybe No. 2 gets a thrill from killing -- so the pilot's death doesn't need to have moved the story forward -- No. 2 was merely having a little fun.
Jen Chaney: Well, killing Eko meant that he relieved Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje from his contract on the show, which is what the actor wanted. Smokey's very practical sometimes.
LOST and Star Trek: PLEASE PLEASE take my question -- Have you ladies seen "Star Trek"? I saw and I feel like there were couple of things in there to kinda poke fun at the LOST fan club. Not that I was offended but I just thought it was playing off of a lot of questions we 'chat' about with you gals. For example, (SPOILER ALERT for those who haven't seen it) when the present Spock (PSpock) comes in contact with past Spock (PaSpock) towards the end of the movie. PaSpock asks how PSpock convinced Capt Kirk to sworn secrecy and PaSpock said somethign to the effect "by lying to him that I can't be in the same time as the future me." Also, in response to the questions that lay after finishing "Star Trek" a lot of talk was about if you could change the future and this article laid out the principles of time travel -- Rules for Time Travelers -- which mean nothing to me unless endorsed by you two.
SPOILER ALERT II - this article totally DISSES "Back to the Future" series. Have a great long weekend!
Jen Chaney: I didn't think "Trek" was laughing at us so much as laughing with us. If that makes any sense.
I'll take a look at those rules. I don't care if "BTTF" breaks a few time travel tenets. I will stand by its Zemeckian genius until the day I die.
Ohio: How did Jacob get Charlie's guitar case?
Liz Kelly: Dude, he's Jacob. He was able to leave the island at will and pop up in the lives of the Oceanic 6 decades ahead of the crash. I'm guessing getting the guitar case wasn't too strenuous.
Question I want answered: Why the lists and the kidnapping of the kids and other Losties in Seasons 1 and 2?
Liz Kelly: Yes, that would another nice thing to add to our own list of questions we'd like to see answered in the final season. Letting it drop would be some pretty messy storytelling.
Jen Chaney: I'm also not entirely sure why the Others had to wear those silly costumes either. They made Tom wear that scraggly beard. Totally disrespectful.
Liz Kelly: Agreed. And they made those kids walk barefoot through the jungle toting toys that needed some serious antibacterial dousing.
from left field: Regarding Aaron, I seem to recollect but cannot completely recall, that in the Claire background episode years ago the psycic she went to see told her that the baby would be evil. Is that right or am I just making that up? Maybe he has a role in all of this?
Jen Chaney: No, the psychic just said she had to get on the flight and go to L.A. Which Claire took to mean, "I have to go to L.A. and give up this baby for adoption." In reality, it may have meant that she just needed to be on the plane.
But before he said that (I think) he said the baby couldn't be raised by anyone but here. So there were all kinds of mixed messages there.
Baltimore: OK, I know this is from like 2-3 yrs ago, but I've always wondered about the deeper connection between Libby and Hurley - how she got to the mental institution, ending up on the plane, etc. Was that ever explained, or will it be?
Liz Kelly: Nope -- unless LindeCuse changes their mind, they told us they won't be revisiting Libby's back story. And although that kind of sucks, they made some sense. None of the Losties -- including Hurley -- know Libby was in that mental institution with him, so why would they be interested in knowing her back story?
Jen Chaney: She did play an instrumental role in getting Desmond to the island, though. So I personally am still a little interested in knowing more.
I understand LindeCuse's point, though. Maybe they can do "Libby: The Graphic Novel," and explain it all for us that way.
Adam & Eve: I was one of those who thought - like Doc Jensen - that the skeletons the Losties found in the caves during the first season would turn out to be Bernard and Rose. But I don't think so anymore. I just recently rewatched the episode from the first season and when the bodies are discovered, Jack says that the bodies had been there for at least 40 or 50 years based on the decomposition of the clothing. This was in 2004. When we last left Bernard and Rose, they were in 1977. Even if the died that year, that would put them in the case for 27 years. So barring some other funky time travel move - like say all of the people on 815 who are in 1977 getting transported back to the 50's - Adam & Eve aren't Bernard and Rose. But they might be Jack and Kate . . .
Liz Kelly: Hmmm. But that would only make their skeletons 30 years old in 2004, right? Perhaps it's someone from a bit further back -- say Ellie and Widmore in some kind of alternate ending?
Jen Chaney: If there can be two Locke bodies -- a dead one and one inhabited by Esau/No. 2 -- it's possible there could be dual versions of everyone. And that would mean Adam and Eve could be Jack, Kate, Rose, Bernard, Juliet, Sawyer...
I kind of hope not because that seems a little ridonkulous. But anything is possible.
Bolling AFB: After all is said and done, who will be Lost's most iconic character? Ben, Locke, Jack, Hurley???
Liz Kelly: I have to go with Ben if we're talking iconic. He's taken what was meant to be a short-term stint and turned himself into one of the show's central characters. His acting is a delight to watch and never, never hammy.
Liz Kelly: And as for his character -- well, I'm thinking he's one of the first we've had in a very long time whose essential nature (good or bad) has been so hotly contested. Again, that's a tribute to his nuanced acting.
Jen Chaney: Agreed with Liz here on all counts, but I am not sure Ben would be the most iconic though. That title implies that if you showed the person's face to anyone, they would immediately recognize the person as being associated with "Lost."
I am not sure there is one iconic character. The island might be what's most iconic, and the whole ensemble in general.
#2 = smokey makes sense: when you consider that smokey morphed into Alex, who was the one who convinced Ben to follow NotLocke, who was conspicuously absent during that scene.
Liz Kelly: Yep. Sure does.
Anonymous: Juliet and the whole fertility storyline needs to hash out doesn't it ?
Liz Kelly: Indeed. We do still need to know why women had trouble carrying to term on the island. And why kids were so important to the Others.
Cleveland Park: I just found out SciFi Channel is running an original "Land of the Lost" marathon on Memorial Day!!!!! Yipeeeeee!
Jen Chaney: Breaking news from the world of Sid and Marty Krofft. Thanks, Cleveland Park!
Liz Kelly: I know what I'm doing on Monday. Or what my DVR is doing.
Silver Spring, Md.: Given that this is a six-year TV series, LindCuse must have taken into account the possibility that character arcs could change because of changes in the actors' lives, availabilities, criminal convictions, etc. Nikki and Paolo aside, to what extent do you think they have modified, or will modify, the story in reaction to fan response? In other words, would they "save" beloved but possibly doomed characters like Hurley or Desmond/Penny, or will "what happened, happen?"
Jen Chaney: Honestly, I don't think they would. We know they've had a broad outline of an end game in place for a while (apparently since season one ended). And they've always been pretty faithful to the narrative they had planned, with the exceptions of Nikki/Paolo and Eko, I would say.
If they saved characters because they and the fans liked them, I think Faraday would still be with us.
Liz Kelly: Agreed. There was word earlier this season that one of the actors who was slated to die (we have to assume it was Jeremy Davies) didn't find out until the morning of shooting his death scene that he was going to die.
That strikes me as a pretty dispassionate devotion to their vision.
London: Ladies, do you have an opinion on how (shabbily?) the producers/writers have treated their female characters during this odyssey?
From IMDB, I count 13 female characters that have appeared in more than 10 episodes. Of these 13, eight appear to have died (Shannon, Ana-Lucia, Libby, Charlotte, Danielle, Alex, Nikki, and Naomi) and two seem mostly dead (Clair and Juliet). That's an 80 percent hit-rate... compared with only(!) 36 percent of the male characters (counting Locke as having died -- at least temporarily -- died and Vincent as not). Of the remaining three, Kate's character can hardly descend any further, poor Sun didn't even get a real script this season, and then there's Rose...
Surely they could give us one significant female character that both actually lives and makes a worthwhile contribution?!
Liz Kelly: Enh. I'm not sure I can get too worked up about this. Remember, who lives and dies isn't always guided by what would be best for the storyline -- sometimes it depends on actors who don't want to return or make demands the network isn't prepared to meet. And I don't know that we should be giving characters like Nikki and Naomi equal weight as some of the others. There have been plenty of short-lived male characters, too -- Keamy & co., Frogurt, Doc Arzt, many Others.
I'm more inclined to praise LindeCuse for giving women some seriously meaty roles in this saga.
Jen Chaney: Yeah, I agree with Liz here. Although I do agree, as I mentioned last week in the analysis, that Sun did nothing in the last two episodes but ask questions. But she totally kicked butt earlier in the season, so it evened out a little.
In addition to the male/female thing, "Lost" also deserves immense credit for giving us such ethnically diverse characters. That may be one of its more lasting TV legacies.
Washington, DC: I think the real question for next season is what exactly is in Charlie's guitar case?
Jen Chaney: I think what's in Charlie's guitar case, is the suitcase from "Pulp Fiction." And what's in that is the weird box from the YouTube video "What's in the Box?"
It's like a Russian nesting doll of pop culture mysteries!
Dallas: I think Libby was in the mental institution because of her husband David's death. I think she went off the deep end in grief, was institutionalized for her depression, recovered, met Desmond, gave him the Elizabeth for his yachting contest, then went to Sydney and ended up on Oceanic 815.
Jen Chaney: Can you tell the same story in graphic novel form, though? Because I'm kind of liking that idea.
Minneapolis, MN: Most iconic? Has to be Sawyer - that beatiful face will evoke Lost forever.
Jen Chaney: Yeah, but does that one character define the show? I love Sawyer, but I think this is a case where the show is defined by the sum of many parts and cannot be summed up by one person/entity. I mean that as a compliment.
Liz Kelly: Okay, thanks for joining us for one more discussion -- this time truly the last one about season 5.
But, as we've hinted here and there over the past few weeks, we'll be re-watching (and chatting about) seasons 1 & 2 over the summer. We don't have dates nailed down yet, but stay tuned for word soon about the viewing schedule and when chats will resume. We plan to kick this off in June, so get your Netflix queues updated now.
Jen Chaney: Indeed. You can visit "Lost" Central to find out the latest. We do hope you'll keep coming back over the summer so you can stave off those "Lost"-deprived shakes our previous reader mentioned. Those are just unpleasant.
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