The 'Lost' Hour: Season 1 and 2 Review -- "The Long Con," "One of Them," "Maternity Leave"

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Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly
Washington Post "Lost" Bloggers
Thursday, September 17, 2009; 3:00 PM

Join "Lost" bloggers Liz Kelly and Jen Chaney this summer to discuss "Lost's" first and second seasons. Each week, we'll assign a few episodes to watch. Then join Liz and Jen each Thursday at 3 p.m. ET to talk about what happened and how those early shows tie in (or not) to "Lost's" looming final season.

For the Thursday, Sept. 17 discussion, watch these season two episodes: "The Long Con," "One of Them" and "Maternity Leave."

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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washingtonpost.com: Liz and Jen are running a few minutes late today. They'll get underway shortly.

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Liz Kelly: Afternoon. Welcome to this week's chat where we'll discuss lots of people doing lots of bad things -- Sayid flexing his torturous muscles again, Sawyer going against his best instincts to turn the camp against him, Charlie getting further away from the right path and more.

Though, I'm sure what we'll spend the most time on will be the introduction of a guy named Henry Gale, who as we now know, turns out to be quite a storm.

As for the quote of the week, my nominee:

Sawyer upon finding Hurley cracking out on Dharma Ranch dressing: "Whaddya got there, Rerun?"

Good times.

And, without further ado, welcome back, Jen -- who spent last week doing glam stuff with glam people at the Toronto Film Festival.

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Alexandria, VA: Explain this.

http://gallery.lost-media.com/displayimage-980-557.html

Liz Kelly: Hmmm, that is interesting. Jen or someone else may have a more definitive answer, but if I had to guess I'd say it's not a screen grab, but a production shot that has William Mapother (Ethan) talking to a Claire stand-in while the real Claire heads to the set.

If it weren't for the date added (Mar 01, 2006) I might have thought it was something in the works for the upcoming season.

Jen Chaney: Yeah, I'm not sure what to make of it either. We welcome other theories, though, so bring 'em on.

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Alexandria VA: I think Ana-Lucia would be a more sympathetic character if the writers would have toned her down during the period between the time the Talies let Sawyer an' them out of the pit and she shot Shannon.

Her whole "when I say jump you say how high", "forget about going after Micheal" and "leave the redneck to die" attitude made her so unlikeable that by the time she accidentally shot Shannon she was a lost cause.

Jen Chaney: Yeah, she was definitely hard to like. They tried to show her vulnerability -- e.g. the scene where she breaks down and cries in Eko's arms -- but she's so harsh in other scenes that it's easy to forget she has a heart.

If Ana Lucia is meant to be the Tailie equivalent of Kate, then I think Kate -- sorry, Liz -- is a much more empathetic character. Flawed, but empathetic. Ana Lucia is just kind of a jerk. Although I did like it when she said to Jack: "You hittin' that?" That was pure class.

Liz Kelly: See. I like Ana Lucia. Always did. Still do. She's a tough girl who has been hardened by her experiences as a cop and by a very gruesome personal tragedy. So she's entitled to some of that cynical bravado, I think. And sometimes the only way to survive is to stifle one's softer side. It's a defense mechanism. And Ana Lucia felt responsible not only for herself, but for all the Tailies. She may have made some bad decisions, but there wasn't really a handbook with the right moves handily written out for her. And I'm not sure Bernard or Libby would really have had the stomach to deal with the Goodwin situation.

I don't see her wrong moves as any more egregious than Jack's, another hothead.

Jen Chaney: You're right, Liz. It's not that her behavior is more egregious. And I know it's a defense mechanism. But she's still annoying.

Wow, how interesting. You hate Kate and I hate her "other," Ana Lucia. You're the Lostie yin to my Tailie yang. Or something.

Liz Kelly: Eenteresting. I can deal with that.

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Carroll, OH: Any idea what Ben might have been doing when caught by Rousseau? Or did he allow himself to be deliberately captured? Also why did she not recognize him as the man who took Alex?

Also how great was it to see that sly smile from Michael Emerson for the first time after Jack rescues "Henry" from Sayid?

And the interrogation of "Henry," particularly the part about "Henry" not remembering the details of burying his wife moved my island as far as Sayid. This really solidified him as one of my favorite characters in the show.

Jen Chaney: Oh, man. Was I the only one who was just so darn happy to see Michael Emerson show up? As good as the show was before his character arrived, something just seems missing sans the great Benjamin Linus.

I think the answer to your question is that he deliberately got caught. He sent two of his men -- Ethan and Goodwin -- to do some investigating and they both bit it. So he took matters into his own hands and invited the world's most cockamamie air ballooning story ever. (BTW, I love the fact that he described the happy face on top of it. Not sure if that was intentional, but called to mind the same sort of imagery from "Watchmen.")

And yes, Naveen Andrews was wonderful in that confrontation scene. I also took particular note of the fact that Locke says that their encounter "needs to happen." Perhaps that's because of what happens between Sayid and Ben circa 1977?

Liz Kelly: I was happy to see Ben, too. Like seeing an old friend. One you don't trust and wouldn't fall asleep around, but are happy to meet again anyway.

And the happy face reference totally had to be a Watchmen reference, don't you think? It isn't the only pop culture ref he dropped in these eps. Remember the moment when John brings him a book -- Dostoyevsky -- and Ben says, "Don't you have any Stephen King?"

And, as we now know, both Watchmen and Stephen King were big influences on the writers.

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Burke, VA: Jen, since you just got back from the movies I'll ask you a movie related question. Which cast member has the greatest potential of becoming a big movie star? I say none, but I do think Michael Emerson might get some interesting roles when "Lost" ends after the season.

Jen Chaney: If you asked that question a couple of years ago, I would have said Matthew Fox because he was getting a number of film roles for a while there ("We Are Marshall," "Speed Racer") and he hosted "SNL." I still think he has a future in movies, but not necessarily as a big "star."

It's tough with "Lost" because it's such an ensemble show that you can't really pinpoint one breakout star. I think a number of the actors -- Dominic Monaghan, Naveen Andrews, Terry O'Quinn, Emerson -- have experience in motion pictures and will probably continue to toggle back and forth between film and television.

What do you think, Miss Liz?

Liz Kelly: I agree with you -- there's not really one person in this cast that I see having a breakout film career. I think your friend Evangeline Lilly may have some ideas about making a leap to the big screen, but I can't see her landing with anything other than a big thud.

As for the rest -- Dom Monaghan, Naveen Andrews will always be knocking around, I think. I just can't predict how the rest will do.

I know I wouldn't mind seeing Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson break big. They've both got some serious chops.

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Arlington: So I may be a few years late to the game, but I just began watching "Lost" on Netflix and Oh. My. God. I am completely addicted. I spent most of Saturday in front of my laptop watching episode after episode. Now I understand all the fuss.

Jen Chaney: Congratulations, and welcome to the community of the "Lost"-obsessed! We are always happy to have new members.

Liz Kelly: I remember my first time, too, and I envy you.

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Re: Claire and Ethan: If I remember correctly, it's Claire remembering what happened to her when she goes with Danielle and Kate to the Dharma station to get vaccine for Aaron. Could be wrong though.

Jen Chaney: I have to plead the fifth on this. I'm a little behind due to my Toronto trip, so I haven't rewatched "Maternity Leave" yet. I know, shirking my duties...

Liz Kelly: I watched and I remember Claire remembering her moment on the log with Ethan, but I don't remember her watching herself ala a time-travelling Locke watching himself as Alpert removes his bullet.

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Mt. Pleasant, Washington, D.C.: Any buzz on the new shows featuring Lost veterans Sonya Walger (Penny)and Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet)? I guess this means we won't be seeing them in any Season 6 episode (except in flashbacks).

Jen Chaney: I haven't heard much concrete, but I have gotten the sense that "Flash Forward" (the Walger/Dominic Monaghan show) might be decent.

Liz Kelly: I've heard good things about "Flash Forward," too -- that it's smart in the same way "Lost" is. I guess we'll find out when it starts airing next Thursday evening.

Another interesting tidbit: According to Wikipedia, "Flash Foward" was originally developed at HBO and they've got a pretty solid track record for original programming.

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Locke mystery: Through these discussions I have started to believe that Locke might have been influenced by the man in black (though I still have a problem with the corpse) but that still leaves me with this question. In all these early episodes Locke's attitude toward the Others is one of curiosity and non belligerence. He seems more interested in studying them and making contact with them. How would this fit in function with Locke being the man in black (or at least partially)? Why is it necessary for Locke to meet them and became their leader if he is indeed the man in black? Couldn't Locke just go on a trek to Jacob's statue with a drugged up Charlie and kill Jacob right then and there? Or is our theory that the man in black's pull on Locke becomes stronger as the seasons progress?

Liz Kelly: Well, okay, to start at the end of your question. No, I don't think Locke could have trekked to the statue and killed Jacob at that point because the man in black needed Locke to be dead in order to fully possess his body.

I'm a little fuzzy -- must be the rain fouling up my synapses -- but last season MIB says something about having found and exploited the one loophole that would allow him to successfully move against Jacob. I assumed that loophole was assuming the physical appearance of John Locke -- who obviously had to be dead for that to happen. But that opens up other questions, like why couldn't MIB have killed Locke on island and taken possession? Why did it have to involve Locke leaving?

And re: Locke wanting to meet the Others -- I think that was truly John Locke himself -- the John Locke who believed he was special -- that wanted to make contact with people he believed to be somehow like him. If MIB was interfering at all, it wasn't full time at that point.

Or I could be completely off base. Which is likely.

Jen Chaney: I can't even discuss this MIB stuff anymore without a. getting a headache and b. inadvertently thinking of the theme from the movie "Men in Black" by America's hero, Will Smith.

I don't believe that MIB is having an impact on Locke yet for the reasons Liz stated: he needs to be dead for MIB to take over his body. I think that's confusing -- which you allude to in your question -- is that Locke seems to be at once mystified by the Others, but also to know the island intimately at the same time. And it's hard to understand how he can be/do both at the same time.

Which is why my brain shuts down after I think about this for too long, and I start singing Will Smith songs to myself.

Jen Chaney: By the way, I meant to say "what's confusing," not "that's confusing." Stupid brain.

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Vienna, VA: I'm still trying to decide if "Henry's" apparent fearfulness in the hatch is entirely an act, or whether there is something about the Swan that has kept the Others away from it for all of these years.

They never bothered to get rid of the Dharma occupants, even though that would have been pretty easy considering one regularly went out on their own. In fact, they never even followed Kelvin, because if they had, they would have known about Desmond's sailboat. And, if they knew who Desmond was, why weren't they concerned with his connection to Widmore?

Maybe the Others wanted someone in there pressing the button, but then why did they appear to pay no attention when the hatch imploded?

Even after the events in Season 5, the relationship of the Others to the Swan remains a bit of a mystery. Was it an important place on the island, or just a waste of time by Dharma?

Liz Kelly: That is an interesting question... why did the Others never disturb Desmond in his little hidey hole? Jen -- do we know anything about this?

Jen Chaney: Hmmm ... Dharma clearly considered the Swan important. But given the radioactive/electromagnetic issues, perhaps the Others just decided to avoid the area entirely, which is why they never bothered to realize Desmond was there. Otherwise, you're right, they would have been aware of Desmond and, by extension, the presence of a possible Widmore mole.

Liz Kelly: I'm sure all will be explained in season six. Along with everything else. Right? Right.

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Lost actors in movies: Evangeline Lilly has a small role in "The Hurt Locker".

Jen Chaney: Ah, good point. I think she could certainly continue to act in films as well. Just not sure, again, whether she'll emerge as some big star in a Clooney-coming-off-of-"E.R." kind of way.

Liz Kelly: A ha.

Ahahahahahaha.

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Burke, VA: When Rousseau says that something is wrong with Aaron do you think she's alluding to the forces that influenced her fellow travellers (Smokey) or does she just have an extra sense of when people need help?

Liz Kelly: Well, Rousseau thought her fellow travelers turned against her because of some kind of sickness. When we watched this the first time we assumed the sickness must have involved a fever and a rash, much like poor little Aaron experienced.

We know now that their sickness was more of the "I'm possessed and homicidal" variety, so I'm not sure, but I think this may be a by-product of the story changing gears in subsequent seasons.

Jen Chaney: Yeah, some of the Rousseau narrative dots don't quite connect. Shouldn't she recognize Ben? How has she managed not to see the Others for so many years?

And why the heck can't she fix a freaking music box, for God's sake? It's not rocket science.

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Evangeline Lilly dig: Liz, you just had to get a dig at Evangeline Lilly in there didn't you?

Liz Kelly: Hey, I yam what I yam.

Liz Kelly: And if you look back over the summer's chats you'll see that I have repeatedly praised Evangeline's work in these early shows and admitted to liking Kate at this point in the story.

Jen Chaney: Well, that's true. But you're a Kate-ist, Liz. We all know this. In fact, it's become part of your charm.

Liz Kelly: This may be the only prejudice that could possibly add to someone's charm.

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Alexandria VA: My only confusion with Sawyer's gun con was how did he get the guns into his tent? You would think someone would notice him moving the guns into the tent. Then again it never made sense that he got away with stealing all the stuff from the plane.

Liz Kelly: Sawyer's just that good.

Speaking of which -- that reminds me of one of my least favorite moments of the entire series: the scene of Sawyer smooshing the tree frog in his hand. Gr-osssss.

Jen Chaney: That established the fantastic buddy-comedy aspect of the Sawyer/Hurley relationship, though. That squashed frog and Sawyer's need to refer to Hurley as Babar brought them together.

Think of it this way, Liz. Without that frog, there would be no subsequent "Xanadu" moment.

Liz Kelly: Hmmm. Let's see. Frog vs. Xanadu. I'll take the frog, please.

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Lord of the Flies: Perhaps this is an obvious question but have Lindelof or Cuse ever stated that Lord of the Flies is an inspiration for the show? Inevitably there has to be a Jack v. Ralph showdown at some point only for everyone to snap back into reality at the end.

Jen Chaney: "Lord of the Flies" references have been made in the show before, so certainly I think it's an influence.

If such a showdown is inevitable, who do you think is "Lost's" Piggy?

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MIB's Loophole: I thought it was that MIB always wanted to kill Jacob (didn't he say as much during that opening breakfast scene with the Black Rock rolling up to the Isla?) - but that he was somehow not able to kill Jacob himself, so he had to set things up so that somebody like Ben would do it for him...

Liz Kelly: Yes, but I think that somehow also involved MIB being able to come back to the island or enter the statue in a different body, or guise.

Jen Chaney: "Here come the Men in Black ... clap! clap!"

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John Locke/MIB: Don't forget in "The Long Con" we see Hurley reading the manuscript of "The Bad Twin," which made me think of MIB inhabiting John Locke again.

Jen Chaney: Ah, yes, good call. Contrary to everything you might think after reading that book, it might actually be meaningful to understanding "Lost."

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The Others/Desmond: The Others were under total control of Ben and perhaps Ben had a reason to leave Desmond alone. It's plausible to assume that Ben wanted the Losties to discover the hatch but I have no idea why.

Jen Chaney: I think the answer to this question depends on how much of a truly bigger picture Ben has of the situation. Desmond needed to be left alone in the Hatch so he could fail to press the button and bring down the plane. And that needed to happen so the Losties could come and eventually go back in time to cause their version of the Incident.

Does Ben know all of this, though? At one time I would have said yes, but by end of last season, he just seemed out of sorts.

Liz Kelly: He did indeed. But I think that at the moment the plane came down we can safely assume that Ben still had things under control. Or thought he did.

And, being practical, if Ben wanted the fail safe pressed to bring down the plane, why leave it to chance? Why not take over the Swan and have one of his minions do the job?

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Liz Kelly: Thanks for joining us on a rainy afternoon (at least in D.C.). For next week, come prepared to talk about "The Whole Truth," Lockdown" and the fabulous "Dave."

Jen Chaney: And I will come fully prepared this time, I swear.

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