The 'Lost' Hour: Season 6, 'Sundown'

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Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly
Washington Post "Lost" bloggers
Wednesday, March 3, 2010; 2:00 PM

Join "Lost" bloggers Liz Kelly and Jen Chaney each Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET to talk about "Lost's" sixth and final season.

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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Liz Kelly: Welcome back. Jen and I didn't hide our disappointment in last night's episode, but from what I can see in the comments not everyone was as turned off as we were... in fact one commenter praised the episode as his "favorite of the season" for its deft portrayal of Sayid's slip to the dark side and, indeed, the turning of the tide in the island power struggle.

What say you, Jen?

Jen Chaney: I say that I am willing to look at the episode again and reassess it when the Academy Awards are over and I can focus my brain cells properly again.

How's that?

But enough about me and my issues. Let's chat. I want to hear what you all have to say about "Sundown."

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Arlington, VA: Shouldn't Terry O'Quinn grow a goatee? It would save a lot of time that would otherwise be spent on exposition.

Liz Kelly: And perhaps some nubby horns?

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Plano, TX: I think we'll look back on this episode as the one where we really understood what the sideways universe was all about.

It's not sideways, it's not flash-forward: It's Sideways/forward. The choices that the Losties make in this war indicate what happens to them in the alternate universe. Choose Flocke, you're damned to repeat the same cycle you were in (Re: Sayid and killing, Kate and running). If you chose Jacob, you'll find some resolution of your issues (Jack and his daddy-issues/son- issues). Thoughts?

Jen Chaney: I like that, and I think you may be onto something. The way Kate looked conflicted as she walked out with Flocke and his crew indicated she was taking a side, but still wasn't sure about it. And more than anyone on the show, I think, Kate has bad tendencies she really wants to overcome but just doesn't know how.

And I do think Jack's flash story from last week was a great example of how a character can really start becoming the person he wants to be, but back on the island he doesn't even know that yet. Which is inspiring in a weird way.

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Where are these people?: Since its clear you hated this episode, I'm going to talk about something else. Where is Richard Alpert?!? Has he left the island to gather reinforcements? And where is Desmond? We need him back. Jin? Sawyer?

Liz Kelly: The episode was totally temple-centric, which was disappointing.

So I'd add to "where's Richard" a "where's Jin?", "Where's Sawyer?" plea?

And I did see a recent interview which I, of course, can't find right now in which Nestor Carbonell said we'll be getting Richard's back story soon and that is is "weird."

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Massillon, OH: I just can't figure out how I feel about the episode. There was something so off about it that I can't get it through my brain. Maybe that was the point of it? The whole darkness taking over thing? I dunno.

Keamy saying "eggs," totally creepy. I'll never be able to look at an egg the same way again.

And just for the heck of it, David's mommy? Libby.

Jen Chaney: Libby ... that would be fascinating, wouldn't it? Another commenter on yesterday pre-cap post suggested Penny, which is also pretty intriguing.

And I agree, it's hard to put in words. But something about the episode was just off.

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Knoxville, TN: You were saying that Dogen's story before his death had no relevance. In fact, it explained why he did not kill Sayid when he saw the baseball fall, and was reminded of his previous, normal life when he did not kill people. Also, the moment when Sayid said that Jacob was dead and the Others were free reminded me of the moment when Dorothy killed the witch and freed all her slaves.

Jen Chaney: Like the Oz parallel.

I think Dogen's story was relevant to what happened right at that moment. Yes, as you said, we were able to understand why he did not kill Sayid.

But I was thinking in more broad terms. Why is Dogen crucial to the broader Lost narrative in general? Someone else mentioned, I think, that he shows us how many people Jacob may have touched, and that's he sort of a foil for Jack. Ok, fine. But that's not enough for me, personally.

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Sterling: I know you guys really hated last night's episode, but I loved it and here's why: the awesome fight seen with Dogen and Sayid. For the first time since his character was introduced, I found myself cheering Dogen and his lightning-fast moves!

Liz Kelly: I can't agree. The fight scene -- set as it was in the cheesy temple -- only added to the Disney feel for me. I was waiting for Captain Jack Sparrow to roll in with some ghost pirates and give Sayid a proper thrashing.

I do want to expand on something from the analysis, though. I said that it was pointless to have told Dogen's backstory, abrreviated though the telling was, because... like... who cares? I'm going to go ahead and flip-flop. The knowledge of how how Dogen came to the island and what he sacrificed (his son) in doing Jacob's bidding did end up making me invest some emotion in that character. Much like Nikki and Paolo, it seems the writers waited a little too long to make a character three-dimensional and likeable. In both instances, they waited practically until the moment before the characters were offed.

Jen Chaney: Well, Dogen could still come back to life. It's been known to happen.

I hear what you're saying Liz. It's good to know he had to make a sacrifice. And perhaps that sacrifice is related to the larger narrative in some way that will be important. (It certainly echoes Kate's decision to leave Aaron behind so she could return to the island.) I just don't see it yet, hence my frustration.

As for the fight scene, well-executed, but it felt a little been there, done that to me. Unless Sayid is going to shove someone into a steak knife that happens to be pointed upward in the dishwasher, I'm not that interested.

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Agree with Miles: First, let me say that psycho Claire is amazingly hot!

Second, do you think the writers saw how much the fans hated Dogen and Lennon (ala Nikki and Paulo) and therefore they killed them off quickly because of fan backlash?

Liz Kelly: No. I don't think so. When Jen and I interviewed Jeff Fahey in mid-January, he told us they'd already shot 11 episodes. So the Dogen/Lennon deaths were already well in the can.

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New York, NY: Hi! I saw in the comments that everyone was questioning why Kate looked so shocked at the end... wasn't it because she thought Locke was dead?! Or am I totally wrong and did I miss something where she already knew that Locke was MIB?!

Liz Kelly: She did look surprised, but in a shellshocked "I just saw dozens of people killed" kind of way. She knew Locke was dead back in Los Angeles before boarding the Ajira flight. I'm not so clear, though, on whether or not Kate knew John's corpse was in the plane's hold. In either case, yep, I'd chalk her shock up to finding him alive and something about his demeanor told her it wasn't time for questions.

Jen Chaney: Agreed. And I also think she realized she was making a choice to go to "the dark side," which is a hard thing for Kate to do.

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Alexandria, VA: I'm one of the dissenters who thought the episode rocked. It felt like a season finale of years past in that the action kept coming and I felt like it had me guessing the entire time. Two thoughts. First, Keamy threw me for a loop and I started to wonder whether the person coming to the island might be him... Second, I'm not entirely convinced that MIB is evil. I don't know why. I'm just not willing to commit to the black/white scenario yet.

Jen Chaney: I'm not willing either. Look, MIB has been pretty convincing in his arguments about Jacob trying to control people.

It's possible he is on the right side of things. We'll have to wait and see.

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Reston, VA: When the little boy spoke with FLocke, he told FLocke that he couldn't kill Sawyer. Samurai knows that he can't kill Sayid. Why? Some "rule" that hasn't been fully explained. If Dogen killed Sayid himself, how much do you want to bet that something happens to Dogen's son? The son that Jacob probably "rescued".

Since Smokey, and the Others, has killed people like it was going out of style, the "no kill zone" would seem to extend to only potential candidates.

If that is the case, it makes a scene in a previous season a little more interesting. When Ben confronted Widmore about Alex's murder, Ben said that Widmore broke the rules. Could these be the same rules that Smokey and Dogen are following? If so, then that could mean that Alex was, at one point, considered a candidate.

Liz Kelly: So you're saying that MIB (or Flocke) can't kill Sayid because of the same rule barring him from offing Sawyer? Interesting. Especially since Sayid is probably already dead.

Non sequitur -- I'm starting to think we need some kind of cheat sheet to keep up with some of the new terms we've been using this year. Whoever (or whatever) it is that Terry O'Quinn is portraying has been variously referred to as Esau, UnLocke, Flocke, MIB, Smokey, the Monster. Meanwhile, the action unfolding off the island has been described as sideways, alternate timeline, alternate reality, etc.

It confuses a girl.

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Alexandria, VA: If Sayid killed Dogen in the resurrection jacuzzi, could Dogen then be temporarily dead, instead of really dead? BTW, I loved the ep, thought it was nearly the best of the season. Lots of action and lots of Sayid make me happy.

Liz Kelly: Another vote for loving last night's ep. Jen, we've created a backlash!

That thought crossed my mind, too. It can't be coincidence that Sayid drowned Dogen in the very same waters in which he was essentially killed by Dogen and his men.

Maybe he'll Join Jacob as a member of the spirit crew now and we'll see them hanging out with Annakin Skywalker and Obi Wan at the Ewok celebration.

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Burke, VA: I have a question and I'm hoping that you can help me out with it. In the season opener Jacob essentially sent Hurley to the temple with the message that keeping Sayid alive was very important. We know that those in the temple presumably could save him using the magical pool. It didn't work however and the pool itself changed color. The implication seems that it lost its powers after Jacob died. If that's the case wouldn't Jacob have known that those in the temple couldn't have saved Sayid because the pool lost its powers when Jacob died? It just seems like some very poor writing to me.

Jen Chaney: Well, Jacob might not have realized it. Look, that guy is a wacky. He conjures up a lighthouses for the heck of it, he pops up in people's lives when they're supposed to do important things, like steal New Kids on the Block lunchboxes, his eyebrows always look sad ... I don't know what's up with that dude.

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I got my wish: About three weeks ago or so (whenever LA X aired), I complained that I hoped Smokey broke into the Temple and obliterated all these pointless Others.

Now that it's happened (in a frighteningly exact way as I pictured it), why do I feel so dissatisfied?

I think it's because this episode painted Flocke in a blatantly evil light, which I was hoping would not be the case.

The show is losing the allure of the moral grey-areas it once placed the characters in.

Liz Kelly: There's been some talk about this in the comments, too. A disappointment that MIB seems to have finally been revealed as 100 percent evil. Me, I'm not so sure. As we discussed a couple of episodes back, MIB appears to be trapped on the island and in Locke's body. He wants to go home, wherever or whatever that means. And not unlike some other characters, he's been willing to make some tough decisions in order to get closer to his goal. Does that make him any more evil than Jack, who was willing to risk the lives of everyone on the island (in the hatch explosion) to potentially reset the timeline?

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Washington, DC: You want a significance for Dogen's story? What about the fact that he is somehow keeping MIB out of the temple? Doesn't Lennon say something about how now that Sayid has killed Dogen that MIB can now come in? How does this jive with the ashes keeping out smokey?

Liz Kelly: Well, sure, that's a huge significance. Too bad no one bothered to tell us until after he was already dead.

Jen Chaney: Again, it's significance for the current freaky, temple-related plotline at hand, not to the narrative as a whole.

With only 10 episodes left -- as the promo last night reminded us -- I am looking for satisfying closure. Not answers to every little thing, but just satisfying closure. Introducing characters who, right now anyway, appear to be central is just odd at this stage in the game. Especially since their purpose and back stories are so unclear.

I am totally willing to accept Dogen's reason for being if we later learn why's he's integral. Until then, I find his presence a bit befuddling.

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Silver Spring: I'm thinking David's mom is Juliet's sister.

Liz Kelly: Or how about Libby?

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Last night ruled!: You guys are totally nuts. Last night's episode was fantastic!! You two remind me of jaded Deadheads circa 1986 who are pouting because they didn't hear "Dark Star" at the show... last night's episode literally made me gasp about 4 times: Jin in the closet, Keamy, Kate and Claire's reunion, non-Locke and Sayid's interactions, I could go on...the pace was fantastic, the acting was great, the sideways world became even more interesting... you two need an attitude adjustment!!

Liz Kelly: That may be true.

But you have to admit it would be a total bummer if the Dead left "Dark Star" out of their set list.

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Takoma Park: It's striking how we, the audience, are cracking under the pressure of this final season.

(Commentator "plathman" was the first to point this out, last week.)

Everyone's cranky and annoyed that each episode doesn't answer mystery X or Y or has too much action or not enough character development or too much emphasis on character A and too little on character B.

I really don't think the show has changed. I think we're freaking out that the end is near and time on this special universe is running out.

My question: Will you guys be offering grief counselling in the months ahead, or, as I suspect from your article today, will you be in as great a need of it as we are?

Liz Kelly: Well of course we're freaking out! As last night's end of show promo pointed out, only 10 episodes left! I think the problem is that in past seasons we were more forgiving of episodes that were filler-heavy because, as far as we knew, the writers had all the time in the world to complete their storytelling.

That's no longer the case. They've got 10 episodes to make with a plausible ending. And not just plausible, but worthy of the time they -- and we -- have invested in this show. I still think that is possible and that it will happen. But it is frustrating to think that instead of spreading the tension out over the season we may have to wait until the final two or three episodes for the good stuff.

And, yes, I do feel somewhat like a heel criticizing the writers who have entertained us so well over the past several years. It isn't as if I could do a better job. But they've set a high bar for themselves and so we're here demanding they live up to their own hype.

Jen Chaney: It is very easy to sound like Monday morning quarterbackers. Sure, we're freaking out. But as I said before, I just want a really good, enriching story every week.To me, that's what I expect out of any scripted drama, but especially one as phenomenal as "Lost."

And last night's didn't strike me as really good or enriching. To put it in a different way -- although I think this is kind of is your point, too, Takoma Park -- the fans want to be able to enjoy every one of those last episodes, without reservations. I have to think the writers and rest of the creative team are, understandably, cracking under the pressure, too.

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Parallel with Caddyshack?: Came across Caddyshack (not that I needed to since I know the whole movie) this weekend on cable. I think this quote from Judge Smails (RIP the great Ted Knight) pretty much sums up Lost, don't you think?

"The most important decision you can make right now is what you stand for -- goodness...or badness."

Jen Chaney: That is a pretty succinct little summary.

Another Caddyshack line that really puts all of "Lost" into perspective? "Noonan, mmmiiiiiss it."

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Richmond, VA: "And I agree, it's hard to put in words. But something about the episode was just off."

What's off about the episode (and the whole season) is that the choices the characters make are becoming less significant to the plot. It's all Deus ex machina now with either Jacob or Smokey directly manipulating events.

The last thing the characters had control over was setting off the nuclear device on last season's finale.

At this point, I wish that I could just watch the last episodes so it will be over and I can move on to something else.

Liz Kelly: Okay, that's an interesting take on what the problem is and you may be on to something. Last night's episode may have been a tour de force for Sayid, who struggled mightily with his inner demons and ultimately lost the battle. But if you step back just a few feet it becomes clear that the struggle was really just a symptom, or a by-product, of Sayid's being used as a pawn in the war between Jacob and MIB. All we needed was a chess board under his feet to make that clearer.

Tidbit: According to People.com, Naveen Andrews was apparently sick as a dog with the flu when filming this episode.

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Fort Bragg, NC: Why is everyone assuming that Kate has "chosen" to go to the darkside? Am I missing someting here? I think she is still just kinda floudering around with out any clear objective. And yes the look on her face was shock at what had just happened in the temple, and also John being MIB.

Liz Kelly: I don't think everyone is assuming that. As Jen said in the analysis this morning, she's may just be following Claire.

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Arlington, VA: Didn't Ben break the rule when he killed the candidate Locke? While I'm at it, Ben needs his mojo back. It's disconcerting to see him all fraked out all of the time, no?

Liz Kelly: I dunno. I'm kind of enjoying seeing Ben off his axis. Though I wouldn't count him out yet. That guy has more plans up his sleeve than, well, you get the point.

Jen Chaney: Not sure about whether that broke the rule.

I think he'll get his mojo back eventually. In L.A., for example, I'm betting he's the most manipulative European History teacher in his entire school district.

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question to all lost fans: Can someone please explain to me why so many Lost fans seem to be completely unconcerned that our beloved show has devolved into some kind of action movie with a paper-thin good guys vs. bad guys plot line? I think I've seen the slo-mo shots of wreckage and carnage to cement the idea of a bad guy in about 20 Arnold Schwarzenegger movies.

Yes, Lost is entertaining TV. The point is, Lost used to be entertaining TV that ALSO contained a depth, substance, and complexity that almost nothing else in TV land offers. It was a show about the real-life ambiguity of the human condition, where nobody really lines up perfectly as good or bad, set against a mysterious backdrop. Now it has turned into a show about two warring supernatural entities. Much of the appeal of Lost for me was in the realistic portrayal of characters, which now seems to be completely gone, replaced by cliches and tried and true movie/tv archetypes.

Lost was never 24, with heroic law enforcement fighting obviously bad terrorists. There are a million other shows out there that fit that bill, why wouldn't I just watch one of them instead? The irony is that Lost has now become just like the many shows that Lost fans themselves normally deride for being simplistic or "dumbed-down" TV. Damon Lindelof's defensive Twitter post is a prime example of this: (paraphrasing) "if you think Lost is bad, why don't you just go watch NCIS?" Well Damon, Lost isn't any better than NCIS right now. It's no more complex than an intense cop show about good guys trying to beat the bad guys.

Do so many of you really not care about this? Am I just wrong for expecting more out of a show that, in the past, has proven itself to be MORE than just average entertainment?

Jen Chaney: Well, I think Lost is a little more complex and nuanced than NCIS.

But some of the things you mentioned reminded me of something I've been considering: what is it about "Lost" that isn't working right now, and when did it happen?

It's easy to blame it all on the temple. But as you said, the off tone in the narrative may have begun during the season five finale, when we first met Jacob and MIB on the beach.That whole conflict has suddenly become the central force behind the show, and I'm not sure if it's for the better. I'll withhold judgment on that.

But that, to me, is where things started to feel off. And it's also why the L.A. narrative is more compelling to me right now. It's relatable, it's interesting to see how lives may have turned out differently and the events that take place there are far from the island, Smoky and all that other jazz.

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Beltsville, MD: Okay, now I'm imagining explosions all over the Island, and then Hurley popping up out of a giant gopher hole, shaking off the dust, and then the music starts: "I'm all right...".

Jen Chaney: Or maybe the Hurley bird could pop out

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Weirdtheoryville, US: I'm making one more pitch to point out the parallels of last night's episode with the Book of Revelations-Armageddon-apocalypse, etc. Those holding to the idea of the "last days" apparently believe in a Time of Tribulation, which is also referred to as "the time of Jacob's trouble" (from OT book of Jeremiah). During that time, Jacob gets disciplined but is ultimately "saved out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile."

Whatcha think?

Jen Chaney: Interesting. Certainly ties in pretty clearly from a thematic perspective.

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"If Sayid dies...": Someone posted something in response to the analysis that sparked a thought. Jacob's letter (when injured Sayid was first brought to the temple) said something like "if Sayid dies, we're all in big trouble." If that was true, why the heck would Dogen & Co. try to kill him? So confused about that.

Liz Kelly: The only way I can square that in my mind is to assume Dogen was lying.

Or that it is true, but Dogen knew it wasn't his job to keep Sayid alive... merely to test him.

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Have to say it: I've been enjoying the episodes this season a lot more than the aftermath and subsequent negatvity in all the chats, etc. That's been the main difference for me this year. It used to be that the overarching theme of the after-Lost discussion was on the things that we like, the mind-blowing moments, the overanalysis, etc. Now it's a fixation on what didn't "feel" right - people are even keeping a tally on answeres v. questions? Sorry to add to the negativity but we have lost our way, people.

Jen Chaney: I don't like the negativity either. But I also think people should be honest -- if they're not pleased with an episode, say so -- then we can all share our opinions.

I will say, at least from mine and Liz's perspective, "The Substitute" was quite pleasing and I don't think we saw nearly as much negativity in general after that episode aired.

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More random observations: First, Sayid's not done until he visits the guy who makes ABC's promos.

I think Dogen's story shows that Jacob isn't all that different from MIB in that he used the same sort of persuasion to get people to do what he wants them to do.

I think the magic waters stopped being magic when Jacob died; they had nothing to do with Sayid's "revival" (Miles had actual exposition about that). Jacob wouldn't have known that (Ben did not have to kill him) when he wrote the note to Dogen.

I suspect that when Ben made that remark about "he broke the rules" it was not because a rule had actually been broken, but because he had been lied to (by either MIB or Jacob) about what the rule was (specifically that Alex couldn't be killed). I expect he will end up helping Jack break the hold of both Jacob and MIB on the island.

Liz Kelly: All good observations, especially the first.

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Bethesda, MD: Someone in the comments suggested that Sayid is actually working for Jacob, but pretending to be on MIB's team...going with the whole Judas theme, but opposite. That would be a fun twist, no?

Liz Kelly: It would, but do you think Jacob would go as far as allowing his double agent to kill Dogen and Lennon?

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New Orleans: Ladies - the one thing that stood out the most for me from last night was Claire's ONLY response to Kate when Kate confirmed that she did indeed take Aaron off the island. Claire said something to the effect of "I'm not the one that needs to be rescued." This immediately triggered memories of Kate's conversation with Sawyer's baby mama wherein Kate realized that her taking Aaron wasn't to save Aaron....it was to save Kate. Thoughts?

Jen Chaney: Well, I read Claire's comment initially as her way of saying that MIB is coming, and I'll be fine but you, Kate, might want to start getting worried about that.

Also, Claire firmly believes Aaron is on the island. So she could have been balking at that, not to mention Kate's (unintended) condescenscion, that of course Claire needs rescuing.

Losts of ways to read that, really.

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Chicago: This season is beginning to feel like the end of the Matrix trilogy: hugely anticipated resolution of metaphysically-tinged narrative gets hijacked by trite Hollywood production. Likely because, in both cases, the writers have setup questions they themselves don't know the answers to.

Liz Kelly: Rut roh -- I hope this doesn't mean we're due for a cameo from Cornel West.

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This isn't helping!: I came to this chat 'cause last nights episode was broken and I thought this would fix it. It's not working. The chat seems as off balance as the episode. What's happening?

I'm gonna go break a lighthouse mirror.

However, Ben hauling butt outta the pool room when he realized Sayid was all goofy-bad, that was neat.

If you haven't seen this, it's very funny and should be read every week: http://neverseenlost.wordpress.com/

Jen Chaney: What are yhou, Jack Shephard? "I came here because I was broken and needed fixing."

I think we're all in a funk today. (Fine, maybe it's just me.)

I will say that I've seen Never Seen Lost blog, and it's indeed very funny.

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Liz Kelly: Okay folks, that's all for today. Here's hoping for a return to form next week.

Jen Chaney: Yes, we don't like being all negative either. Trust us. Hopefully a better episode -- and a happier chat -- await us at this time next week.

Thanks, all.

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Why This Season Feels Off: For me, at least, it is because the preceding seasons seem completely irrelevant. It's all about Jacob and MiB now. Dharma vs the Others? Psssht. The mysteries of the island? Psssht. The electromagnetic anomoly? Pssshtt.

If the writers try to pull a Lucasian spin of it "always being about the struggle between Jacob and MiB," I will vomit.

Liz Kelly: I've got to run, but I think this is a point worth considering.

Jen Chaney: Addendum to close: yeah, this is what I was getting at before. The introduction of Jacob and MIB may turn out to be a jump-the-shark moment. We'll see.

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