The 'Lost' Hour: Season 3 Review -- "Par Avion," "The Man from Tallahassee," "Expose"

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Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly
Washington Post "Lost" Bloggers
Thursday, November 12, 2009; 3:00 PM

Join "Lost" bloggers Liz Kelly and Jen Chaney this fall to discuss "Lost's" third season. 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, Nov. 12th chat watch the season three episodes "Par Avion," "The Man from Tallahassee" and "Expose."

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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Jen Chaney: I'm going to be honest, "Lost" Nation. I'm in a funk today.

First of all, Liz is under the weather, which means I'm flying solo. Second of all, the reveal of the next piece of Lost viral art happens today at 6 p.m., when there is pretty much no way I can be online. Why?? (And when are they going to do one of these in D.C.? We are the nation's capital, after all.)

But I will rise above my funk -- and, presumably, stop addressing you in Stephen Colbert-fashion as "Lost" Nation -- so that we can discuss this week's trio of episodes in the season three rewatch: the one where Claire looks goth in flashbacks, the one where we learn why Locke was in a wheelchair and the one where Nikki and Paolo bite it.

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Carrollton, GA: Trying to follow "Lost" is like trying to understand what a dog thinks.

Jen Chaney: If you're suggesting that analyzing "Lost" is a pointless venture, I disagree. Even if we never "figure it all out," just having all these conversations -- and getting to meet so many intelligent and insightful people online, both in this chat and elsewhere -- makes it worthwhile in my book.

Also, for the record, I totally understand what my dog thinks. Right now, for example, he's lying in a papasan chair at home thinking, "When is someone coming home to let me outside so I can finally pee?"

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Woodbridge, VA: Just a comment about next season - I hope we find out how Claire's mother recovers from her coma, i.e, is a visit from Jacob involved perhaps?

Jen Chaney: Yes, the first episode in this week's batch -- "Par Avion" -- reminded us that Claire's mom was indeed still in a coma during Claire's pregnancy. Which is why when Mrs. Littleton later sees Aaron, she doesn't recognize that he's her grandson.

I agree, I hope we get some insight into how she snapped out of that coma as well.

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Seattle, WA: I actually thought "Expose" was rather entertaining, but it seemed more like an episode from an anthology series like "Twilight Zone" somehow thrown into the "Lost" Universe. Other than Billy Dee Williams' awesomeness, and the Edgar Alan Poe like ending, was there anything else we could take from that episode?

Jen Chaney: I agree, it did have a bit of a "Twilight Zone" or "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" vibe about it.

In terms of what else to take away, I initially wondered if the info about Billy Dee Williams' character on "Expose" being The Cobra was supposed to be a nod to who the central figure on "Lost" is. Of course, now we know -- sort of -- Jacob's identity so it doesn't seem particularly relevant, but when it first aired I thought that might be a hint of some sort. Now I think it was just the writers messing with us, and taking advantage of the opportunity to put Lando on the show.

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Lexington: Sawyer: "Who the hell's Nikki?"

Did anyone else catch that hint of a smirk when he said that?? It moved my island! :)

Jen Chaney: You'd have to be fast asleep not to catch that smirk, my friend! And yes, still makes me laugh even if it is a blatant attempt to win back frustrated fans.

(P.S. Thank you for trying to put "It moved my island" back in regular rotation. Together, we can all keep that catch phrase in business.)

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Again with the freakin' lists: Mikhail told Kate she wouldn't understand because she's not on "the list." (And that she's angry weak and frightened.) I think in an earlier Season 3 episode, Mr. Friendly mentioned that Jack wasn't on the list either. That confuses heck out of me, since I thought the list was of the people who were taken hostage by the Others?

Jen Chaney: Tom did say Jack wasn't on the list previously, that's right.

I believe the "list" they keep talking about is a list that -- allegedly anyway -- came from Jacob. It almost has the aura of a rundown of chosen people or something.

You probably noticed that Mikhail also started to say something about Locke being "different," but got cut off and didn't get to finish his thought. Locke must be on the list. I also wonder if Walt -- who also seems to be "touched" with some sort of special powers -- was on the list, too, which is why they nabbed him off the boat, but eventually cut him loose because, as Mrs. Klugh implied, they couldn't deal with him.

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Cap Hill, DC: Can you give me a quick and dirty on this viral art thingamajig? What's it doing? I thought the viral art thing was the posters? Clue me in!

Jen Chaney: Sure thing!

The "Lost" team has asked 16 artists to create prints that are homages to the show. Every week, more or less, they reveal a series of clues that tells us when and where the URL for the next piece of art will be announced.

So you can go to these actual sites -- sometimes they are stores, sometimes they are cupcake shops, sometimes they are bars -- and get some giveaway stuff and see the new URL in person. Or you can get the URL online once the damoncarltonandapolarbear site is updated.

Just a fun way to celebrate the end of the show. And I've gotten semi-obsessed with it. I've purchased two prints so far, but it's gotten harder and harder to get them as the game has progressed. Only 300 copies of each print are available for sale, and as more people find out about the game, more people are trying to buy at the same time.

So, you know, my publicizing it this way should really help my chances.

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Best. Line. Ever.: "Pardon me for not knowing they had a sonic weapon fence."

These three episodes reminded me of how good some of the dialogue has been on this show, and how funny it could be. Now it feels a little like we're hurtling towards the finish line and those kind of moments are fewer and farther between. (Not that I'm complaining, just feeling a little nostalgic.)

I also thought it was almost as funny watching Sawyer try -not- to use nicknames as it is hearing the nicknames that he'd actually come up with.

Jen Chaney: The dialogue between Ben and Locke in "The Man From Tallahassee" is pretty great, too. "Why do you think you understand the island better than I do?" "Because you're in the wheelchair and I'm not." Zing!

Re: the Sawyer nickname ban -- that totally reminded me of my favorite "Moonlighting" episode, the one where David loses a bet to Maddie and can no longer sing or use his usual "Do bears bear? Do bees bee?" catch phrases. I'm probably the only person in this chat who remembers that, but I wonder if the "Lost" writers took a page from that.

Comedy-wise, you can't go wrong with a good, juicy bet.

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Portland, OR: (spoiler warning) In later episodes, we see John's life saved by Jacob after his fall. We also see Widmore's right-hand man (Lt.Daniels from the Wire) rehabilitate John and get him to walk. It points to them knowing early on that he'll be a factor in the island's future. Does it show us anything about a Jacob/Widmore alliance or a Jacob / MIB feud playing out in John Locke's life?

Jen Chaney: I think the second thing you said may be right; that Jacob and MIB have been fighting over Locke for longer than we might have thought.

I think the question is: why Locke? What is John's completely history with the island? We know that he wasn't born there. (Spoilers ahead newbies...) What's interesting to me is that time traveling Locke eventually goes to Richard and tells him that Locke will eventually lead his people. And that -- if memory serves -- is what makes Richard track Locke down as a child and attempt to lure him to the island.

In other words, Locke was fated to come to the island. But he made his own fate by talking to Richard and putting the wheels in motion.

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Burke, VA: This chat should be renamed the "V" hour as that's the new cheddar on the block.

Jen Chaney: Well, we can't just abandon "Lost" because "V" premiered. But if people want to mention it now and again, that's fine.

I'm already behind, having DVR'd this week's episode but not actually watched yet....

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I've purchased two prints so far...: Oh, did you get the Locke wheelchair one? That's my FAVORITE, but I didn't learn about it until after it was sold out.

Jen Chaney: No, I didn't and I love that one, too! Olly Moss, the artist behind that print, also designed an awesome T-shirt that's filled with movie spoilers. His stuff is very cool.

The ones I got were "The Crash" by Eric Tan, which I love almost as much as the Locke-meets-Hitchcock one. And Rousseau's Transmission by Dan McCarthy, which is very cool as well.

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N. Canton, OH: Hey Jen...no question. Just thanks to you and Liz for continuing to do these chats during the off-season. I know the chat is a bit slower than during the regular season, but it's nice to have a distraction at work. Thanks for keeping them up!

Jen Chaney: Thanks to you for participating, N. Canton. We aim to distract!

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Austin: I have to say I liked The Death of Nikki abd whathisname. I don't think the episode advanced the story any and the ending was more a Twilight Zone ending than anything else, but I liked the retribution aspect of burying alive an evil person. If nothing else, we did get closure with those two characters...although maybe they'll bring them back in Season 6, you know, if None Of This Really Happened...

Jen Chaney: It's Paolo. PAO-LO. Please. Show some respect.

Seriously, Liz and I were IMing about this yesterday, and we both agreed that they they really weren't in the show that much. And we learned next to nothing about their characters until "Expose." Maybe if we had understood their backstory or purpose earlier on, we might have connected with them instead of resenting them.

As far as bringing them back, the writers have said they won't. But I'm not sure. They technically were not dead when they were buried. And they were buried underneath sand, which is easier to dig your way out of than hard earth. Plus didn't Locke tell Paolo that nothing on this island stays buried?

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Washington, DC: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42.- Hurley's numbers

THEORIES & HINTS

Go to Mapquest.com or some similar site, and take a look at their maps by latitude and longitude. Note the position of 4.815, 162.342. It's in the Pacific Ocean, near Tarawa Island.

Jen Chaney: I think this has been mentioned before. Still, interesting little sidenote. Thanks!

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recent dialogue: "This don't look like LAX."

My heart breaks for Juliet having been dragged down the hole and winding up fighting aliens.

Jen Chaney: Oh, don't let it break too much. Elizabeth Mitchell got another gig, so she's doing all right.

And she'll still be back for an eensy bit of "Lost's" last season.

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Quantico, VA: Spoilers - Remember the last season's "what happened, happened" episode? I thought it was interesting that even though Daniel explains that the future can't be changed, why then did Charlotte remember him telling her to leave the island as a child if he doesn't do that until a later episode? Granted, he is in the 1970's at that time, but it still happened after she died.

Jen Chaney: Okay, this question is hurting my brain a little bit.

Let's back up. As I remember it, Daniel told Charlotte to leave the island when she was a little girl in the '70s. He told her that after he time traveled.

Charlotte remembered it in the "Lost" present (so 2005-ish, I think) during a pause in the island moving. So in her personal timeline, it had already happened, which is why she remembered it. But in Daniel's personal timeline, it hadn't happened yet. So he was all like "Whaaa?"

Liz isn't here today so I have no one else to verify whether I am making sense. But hopefully that sounds right to someone out there.

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Agreed about Expose: I agree that Expose feels like it's almost a stand-alone episode, but wouldn't move your island if Darlton hid a really vital clue in that episode somewhere? I'll admit it doesn't seem like there was anything important there, just sayin'.

Jen Chaney: It would totally move my island. Like, what if Billy Dee Williams turns out to be the key to the whole game, instead of Australia?

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Locke on the list: But when McPatchy gets cut off, he seems to be saying that he thought he knew what Locke was supposed to be, but he hasn't turned out to be exactly what McP thought. Foreshadowing, I guess? Too bad we didn't hear the rest of that.

Jen Chaney: Right. I thought he was suggesting that Locke is supposed to be some leader, and now that McPatchy actually has met him, he just seems like some bald dude who's obsessed with computer chess.

We didn't hear the rest on purpose, of course. Hate it when that happens.

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Austin Paolo: So John's comment is setting the stage for their fabulous comeback...if the writers, knowing how much the characters were disliked, bring them back (maybe Paolo can wear a red shirt) so they can bump them off again. A little harsh?

Jen Chaney: So they die twice? Because of course correction?

They were always meant to be on the show, then killed off of it, no matter what. They cannot avoid their fates. I kinda like that.

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N. Canton: I think everyone hated Nikki and Paolo because they just showed up in an episode out of the blue acting like they'd always been there. If the writers had at least eased them in by showing them in the background in a few episodes, it wouldn't have been so awful. As it was, Season 3 seemed to be moving so slowly and then these 2 yahoos showed up, stealing screen time from the characters we wanted to see.

Jen Chaney: Exactly, we talked about this a few chats back. They just show up, uninvited, and act like they're BFFS with everyone. Which is irritating.

Although, worth noting, totally not the fault of the actors.

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Silver Spring: I, for one, think its all gonna come down to Nikki and Paolo. They are gonna be the ones shaking the snow globe at the end of the show.

Jen Chaney: So you're holding out for the "St. Elsewhere"-style ending, huh?

I'd love to see a polar bear shaking a snowglobe that houses the island. That would be deliciously surreal.

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Arlington, VA: I missed last week's chat. I just wanted to say that I really liked "Trisha Tanaka's Dead." The only reason I can articulate is that all the guys has SUCH a genuine good time together. I loved Charlie's grin when he said "Why not!" and got in the VW bus. And Sawyer calling Roger Workman "skeletor" just cracked me up. It was a silly, feel good kinda episode and it made me actually _care_ about the guys. Now I know why everyone misses Charlie.

Jen Chaney: I enjoyed that part of the episode, too. The Hurley flashback was a little over-the-top. I mean, I was right there believing the bad luck until the meteor struck.

But once they started chugging Dharma beer, all was right with the world.

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The John Locke I remember: Seems like Mikhail was starting to say the Locke he remembered was paralyzed. I wonder if that just means that Mikhail ran one of those off-island missions in Locke's pre-island life (ala Alpert), or whether it's a nod to a possible re-set after season 5?

Jen Chaney: Actually, I think you may be right that Mikhail was going to acknowledge Locke's paralysis. And he could very well have known that information without running an off-island mission. After all, they've been keeping track of Locke and his off-island upbringing, as chatters mentioned earlier.

So surely whoever is supervising this list that McPatchy has access to would know about Locke's condition.

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Jen Chaney: Well, that about does it for this week.

Please join us next Thursday at 3 to discuss the episodes "Left Behind," "One of Us" and "Catch-22."

Hopefully Liz will be feeling better by then. As I understand it, the effects of the spider bite will definitely have worn off within a week.

Thanks for all the questions and comments. Namaste!

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