Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly
Washington Post "Lost" bloggers
Wednesday, March 31, 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.
Liz Kelly: Some interesting discussions spawned by Charles Widmore's remark that MIB's release from the island would cause everything to "cease to be." Basically, we're questioning whether Widmore really meant that the world would end if MIB were released. Or did he mean something a bit more nuanced?
From longtime reader Chasmosaur1:
I still think the "flash sideways" world is like the duplicate bunny from the outtake of the Orchid orientation film. Some sort of duplicate from incremental time travel (or whatever the "Casimir Effect" is). Bring entities from the two worlds together, and kaboom. Which is what MIB doesn't understand - his world is out of phase and if he brings it together with a different reality, bad bad things will happen.
And from Dr_Bob:
I wonder if Widmore's plan to destroy the island and sink it to the bottom of the sea is what we saw in the season opener and all the sideways stories are in fact what happens to everyone as a result of there never being a Jacob/MIB brouhaha. We are seeing the ending epilogue throughout this season, that's still my prediction.
I should note that we don't know that's Widmore's plan. Jen and I just put that out there as an option. But I like where Dr. Bob has taken the idea.
Finally, from Producer Paul, another spin:
I think it was significant that Widmore said everyone Jin loves will "cease to be" rather than "will die." That's comic book 101 for a villain from a parallel world/another timeline is trying to overwrite the "real world" to make his version become reality. I think MiB might be from the Sideways world, and those stories are what will happen to the characters if he gets free. Of course, what I can't reconcile is why the characters that have bad things happen to them in LA X end up siding with MiB (like Sayid) while the ones that have good things happen to them (like Jack) are opposing him.
Which has me thinking that maybe the previous world (the flashbacks we've seen for five seasons) was actually MIB's reality -- the world where jack was a drug addict, sawyer a criminal, kate a killer, etc. And Sideways World is the world free of MIB's influence, so the characters are (mostly) in better places: Hurley is a happy philanthropist, Sawyer is a cop, Kate never killed her dad, Jack isn't a drug addict, etc...
Jen, what'cha think?
Jen Chaney: Wow, this is a lot to process. I also like Dr_Bob's theory, although I need to think it through a little more.
And the cease to be comment is interesting, too. Although I am not sure Kate is in a better place, or that Sawyer is entirely. Yes, he's not a lowdown dirty con man, but he's clearly still tortured over his parents' deaths.
Maybe sideways world is best described as evidence that MIB's theory is wrong. It's a place where people really can change and better themselves.
Portland, Ore.: I know we're running out of time, but I hope they give at least some backstory on Ilana before the end, what happened to her and how she knows Jacob. Most of the other islanders hadn't ever seen him, but she knew him by sight at the Russian hospital. And I loved the look on her face when Richard came back to the beach.
Liz Kelly: According to an interview with New York mag's Vulture blog last week, we will be getting our Ilana questions answered soon.
Quote: I liked the continuation of Miles quote better, when Frank said "hey, let's not talk about bacon..."
Liz Kelly: I missed that. I must've been too busy writing down what Miles said.
Jen Chaney: Yes, that was funny. As was Frank's later observation that Miles, the guy who can hear dead people, probably shouldn't make comments about things being ridiculous.
Seattle, WA: One of the most powerful things about last night's episodes, I thought, wasn't Sun/Jin, but Jack's talk on the beach with Sun. The inspiration-in-the-small-things aspect and the lingering shot of him offering Sun his hand truly made me think that he was the candidate to repalce Jacob, as these are/were Jacob's fortes.
Jen Chaney: I think Liz and I are on that same page, too.
Liz Kelly: Most definitely. We touched on that in the analysis, too.
Cleveland, OH: So, in sideways LA, Sun is injured and pregnant. Will Juliet be her OBGYN?
Jen Chaney: This has been mentioned by others, too. And I love the idea. Elizabeth Mitchell is supposed to return at least once later this season. And that would make a lot of sense.
Liz Kelly: Yes. Please don't let Sun also be treated by Ethan (as sideways Claire was in an earlier episode this season).
My people: I find it interesting that MIB keeps referring to his rag-tag group as "my people" or "our people". Most of them are just there because they don't have anywhere else to go, or are biding their time like Sawyer and Kate. The only two who are truly loyal at this point are Claire and Sayid, both of whom have clearly lost it. I think MIB's deluded faith in "his people"s loyalty is going to be his downfall.
Liz Kelly: That's a great point. I noted that last night while I was watching, too.
I think his insistence in calling the folks who are (for now) hanging with him -- like Jin who was on his way out of Camp MIB when he got the tranquilizer dart to the neck -- just adds to the evidence that MIB is not as in control as we had previously thought.
Here's another thought, though. He could be referring to Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, etc. as "my people" not meaning that they are his followers, but that they are his pawns. Which would fit in nicely with the chess analogies we've been making since the end of season five.
Jen Chaney: And taking that a step further, MIB is in Locke's body. And Locke often had an inflated sense of his own importance, which grew out of the insecurity he had as a child. I think MIB and Locke have that in common.
MIB has spent centuries trying to escape his island prison. He thinks what he is doing for the good of all people, which are, of course, his.
Lost: I only watch it so I can know exactly how many seconds there are until "V" is on.
Liz Kelly: Thank you for pointing this out, if only because that annoying "V" promo on the bottom right of the screen was big enough to cover up a big portion of the notepad on which Sun was scribbling notes to Jack. I mean, we knew what she was saying, but it was still annoying.
Sun Fan: We've had weeks of shirtless Sawyer, so thank you producers for giving us shirtless Sun!
Liz Kelly: And a shirtless Jin!
By the way, Daniel Dae Kim told People.com he wasn't given much notice about his shirtless scene:
"Without a lot of time to hit the gym I was like, 'All right then, I guess what you see is what you get."
Worked for me.
Jen Chaney: They are a handsome, handsome couple. No question.
Two things that bothered me: 1. So there are no hit-men type people in Korea who would kill Jin? Paik flies them both across the world for this? A lame way to bring Keamy back into the story.
2. A hit on the head and you lose a language? Very soap opera. I have a feeling they are setting up for some critical moment where Sun has to, but can't, tell somebody something VERY important because she's lost her English.
I did notice that neither Jin or Sun speak English in LA, which may mean she never did have a plan to move to America, at least not a concrete one. Her whole purpose for learning it in the first timeline was for her escape.
Jen Chaney: And she also learned English from Jai, which led to their affair. That probably isn't their arrangement now.
On your second point: we didn't talk too much about Sun's alleged aphasia. It was a little soap opera, which is why the writer made sure Miles more or less pointed that out by making one of his trademark sarcastic comments. I'm willing to give the soap opera aspect a pass if the bump and the lack of English has some larger narrative point (shows how our parallel narratives are connected, for example).
Liz Kelly: Hold up. We don't know that LA Sun can't speak English. We just know she hasn't spoken it yet.
Fairfax, VA: I'm wondering if we shouldn't consider Desmond as our "constant." Is it possible that the drugged Desmond on the dock (love that alliteration) is neither "island" Desmond or "sideways" Desmond but both at the same time?
Liz Kelly: Yep.
Like Daniel Faraday said, Des exists outside the usual rules of time travel.
Jen Chaney: And he exists outside those rules because he turned the fail-safe. I think that's what did it.
I missed something.: I swear you blink during the show or skim a post or two you miss something crucial.
So Kate DIDNT kill her Dad in the sideways timeline? Why was she running from the law? What did she do? I think I must have totally been sleeping that episode.
Liz Kelly: Oof. I misspoke. I'm going on like 3 hours sleep. She is indeed a fugitive in SW. So scratch that.
Bob from Denver: What if Desmond isn't from the island timeline but from the sideways timeline? Might be interesting to hear what he has to say.
Liz Kelly: I think Jen hinted at this in the analysis this morning when she wrote that as far as we know Desmond may not even be married to Penny.
I'm still convinced Des is there under duress, but one thing did give me pause: The fact that Widmore's lackeys were calling Des "Mr. Hume." Seemed awfully civilized. And, unless I'm misremembering, he wasn't shackled.
Another issue: What was with that look between Des and Sayid?
Jen Chaney: I just watched that bit again. Desmond is definitely not shackled or handcuffed. He's just all flopsy because of whatever sedatives they shot into his system to get him to the island. (Definitely has some bandaids or bandages on his arm.)
And the look seemed to be one of recognition. Desmond seemed even more shocked to see Sayid, as if he remembered from "another life, brotha" and was surprised to see him. Which is understandable, what with Desmond being drugged and in a weird place and suddenly seeing some dude emerge from the water and all.
New Orleans, LA: Were y'all upset that Ilana wasn't rocking the vest this week?
Liz Kelly: I didn't even notice, so I guess not.
Zoe...: ... Is totally "dirty Liz Lemon." I was thinking the same thing all episode! I keep expecting her to bump into "future husband" Wesley on the Hydra Island.
washingtonpost.com: You mean Wesley (ha ha ha) Snipes?
Liz Kelly: That would be a Lizaster!
DC: In the episode "Ab Aerterno," Richard buries his wife crucifix at the foot of a very large, beautiful tree, which happens to look exactly like the "Tree of Life" symbol.
The Tree of Life is an example of an Axis Mundi which is a cross-cultural symbol of a connection between earth and heaven. Other examples are a tower and a column of smoke.
Furthermore, the name Ilana in Hebrew means "tree".
Liz Kelly: Well, thank you for sharing. I like it when we learn things here.
Jen Chaney: SO you think Ilana might be a connection between heaven and Earth, or the afterlife and the here and now? We still don't know anything about her or how she was recruited by Jacob. So I guess anything is possible.
Flashbacks are MIB Timeline, Flash-sideways are non-MIB timeline...: Could the opposite also not be true? Again, I can't help but feel every week that it's just -too easy- to assume that MIB is bad and Jacob/Widmore is good. For instance, we are so convinced that MIB is bad that we now think that Widmore is good?
I'm just not buying it. This is a show that has played with our notions of morality, and blurred the line of good and evil for six years, and now we are just going to accept that "the guy in the white shirt is good and the guy in the black shirt is bad."
Not me, not yet. What if the flashbacks, etc. (the "bad" things) are the status quo, and the flash sideways (the arguably "Good" outcomes) are what happens if MIB gets off the island?
Jen Chaney: Hey, that's also equally possible. You're absolutely right.
I haven't ruled out that MIB might be good. He just makes it hard to see him that way when he keeps telling lies and slapping chicks and killing people and stuff. He's a lot like Ben Linus, his mentee, that way.
Liz Kelly: I'm with Jen. I think we've been increasingly open to the possibility that MIB is not entirely evil. Sure the guy has done some rotten things, but in his mind he has good reason.
And as for Widmore, you're right -- the fact that he's opposing MIB doesn't make him a good guy. And we shouldn't take him at his word. He may have some sinister reason for wanting to keep MIB on the island.
Washington, D.C: Answers are an overrated commodity; especially when they come at the expense of entertainment. I will not need to have every single question raised by Lost answered in order to enjoy the rest of the season. I can point to two of my most enjoyable TV experiences. The first is the original "Prisoner". Last year when actor/creator Patrick McGoohan passed away, I reflected on how much that show entertained me without answering many basic questions. Our hero was trapped on a mysterious "island". For two seasons we didn't know who the captor was. Was it the Russians, the British, aliens, or combinations thereof? The finale teased us with answers, but there was no traditional resolution. The ending in no way diminished the joy of the journey.
Years later, "South Park" raised the mystery of Cartman's father. The show played the ultimate prank on those demanding "answers". The preemption of the resolution to the "cliffhanger" was one of the best TV moments in the past 20 years. Part of me longs for Team Darlton to show a two-hour "Terrance and Phillip" episode on May 23 just to enjoy the reaction of the disappointed "completionists". If you haven't been enjoying the journey, you probably won't enjoy the destination.
Jen Chaney: Terrance and Philip. Nice. I would love to see Jacob and MIB sing a rousing version of "Shut your bleeping face, Uncle Bleep-a."
THAT would be quality television.
DC: I was struck by your comment that Widmore's plan may be to sink the island. Its worth remembering that MIB essentially told Sawyer that his powers don't work over (or assumedly under)water. So MIB is vulnerable to water, ash, and sound.
Liz Kelly: Ooh, good catch. We may be onto something here.
Jen Chaney: Hmmm ... so MIB is vulnerable to water, ash (or earth), sound (which one could arguably say is air) ... that's three of the four elements. Which makes me wonder if MIB is the equivalent of the fifth element, in mythological terms.
R. Kelly, Chicago: Anyone else think "The Package" was a reference to R. Kelly's "Trapped In a Closet?" where everyone is trying to figure out what "The Package" is? And Widmore's "package" of Desmond was quite literally "Trapped In a Closet!"
Liz Kelly: Well, while I'm sure Damon and Carlton are huge fans of R. Kelly's marathon R&B opera, in a word: No.
Jen Chaney: I'll be contrary and say: yes. Why? Because I'd really like to see the entire cast of "Lost" take a pause from the action and throw a massive, champagne-flowing party, all captured in slo-mo and set to the tune of "Ignition (Remix."
What I would not give to see Sawyer sing: "Let me hear that ... BEEP BEEP."
Donnie Darkoville, Va.: Last night's episode -- with Mikhail being shot in the eye -- provided yet another whiff of Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko (2001), in which Frank, the time-traveler in the rabbit suit (rabbit!) is shot in the eye by the lead character and speaks to him from a parallel universe.
I've read that Lindelof and Cuse have mentioned Donnie Darko as an influence, but it's really starting to show this season, what with the flash-sideways universe hearkening Kelly's Tangent Universe (caused, by the way, by a plane crash).
In Darko, Donnie must fulfill his destiny to close the tangent universe, which was made up of anti-matter, before it collapses and comes into contact with the matter in the real universe and everything goes kablooey!
So, do we think that MIB might be some sorta smokey anti-matter?
Liz Kelly: A good theory. I'll put this out there.
I would be more convinced if LindeCuse included some Echo and the Bunnymen or Tears for Fears on this season's soundtrack.
Seriously, though, I would urge anyone who hasn't yet seen "Donnie Darko" to rent it without delay. Even if it doesn't have any bearing on "Lost," it was a groundbreaking movie. (Just make sure you don't rent the stinky sequel "S. Darko.")
Jen Chaney: Ditto on both points.
As Liz and I said earlier this season, all the business with Jack looking in the mirror in "LA X" reminded me a lot of "Darko," too. I almost expected him to stick his hand in the mirror in the airplane restroom and plunge into some sort of liquid parallel universe.
Providence, RI: So anyone else think there may still be hope for Sayid? I keep thinking about how he's Judas in the Lost Supper promo picture from the beginning of the season. And I thought it was interesting that he realized last night that he couldn't feel anything. It suggests that he thinks he should be feeling something...
Liz Kelly: I agree. I saw a glimmer of hope for Sayid after that exchange, too. Maybe what he needs is to get away from the influence of MIB. Which he may now have a chance to do since he's over on Hydra island.
Of course there is still the whole matter of him having actually died which may complicate things.
I think the best case scenario for Sayid is that by the end of the season he regains his humanity, but sacrifices his life in order to save his friends.
Washington, D.C.: I submitted before the chat, but my computer went wonky so I don't know if it went through, so sorry for being repetitive. Don't you think Sun was being very wasteful of the paper? They're on an island, she doesn't know how long she'll have this English/aphasia problem and she's writing HUGE in sharpie on the only pad of paper she has? Not a big mystery of the island, but it made it hard for me to pay attention to anything else in that scene.
washingtonpost.com: lol, I had the same thought.
Liz Kelly: Are you two kidding me?
Silver Spring: I want to point out that we do NOT know for certain that Desmond was THE package. We didn't see him come out of the locked cage. It was only inferred that he was, in fact, the package. Further, if he was drugged, why would he need the padlock treatment. Even further, if a drugged out Des required the padlock treatment, why wouldn't he be shackled too?
I'm thinking some major misdirection is going on...
Liz Kelly: I'm still convinced Des is the package.
And maybe he was locked in the room not to keep him in, but to keep someone else -- such as MIB or one of his henchmen (Sayid) -- out.
Tree-hugger: Sun was definitely wasting paper -- and it bugged me, too. At the rate she was going through that pad, she'll only be able to 'say' 10 things.
Jen Chaney: And they really don't have a very good recycling program on the island, either.
As some of you know, I hate to say good things, ever, about "Love Actually." But the communication through notes reminded me of that scene in that movie, which was, admittedly, effective.
And I thought it was effective last night, too.
dre7861: Liz and Jen - Nice analysis! Jen, I for one like your tomato theory but like Liz you can expand your theory outwards. Sun planting her garden but only one stubborn tomato surviving could also be a symbol for all the seeds (clues) the writers have planted but of all the theories only one will survive. Or maybe it can symbolize the viewers where the bad tomatoes gave up on the show while us stubborn but good tomatoes stuck with it.
One thing that struck me about this episode, like all the episodes this season, is how much it mirrors the first season. Witness the mirror image from the first season of Sun knowing English and Jin none with now in the last season Jin able to speak fluent English and Sun not because of her aphasia. In fact mirrors seem to be a strong leitmotif this season. We had of course the mirror in the Lighthouse but the characters in the flash sideways seem to pause for meaningful looks into mirrors as did Sun last night and I believe Sawyer did as well.
This mirroring reminds me of something from our Lost Book Club. Remember when we read The Watchmen where there is a lot of plot mirroring from front to back. In fact in the middle chapter centering on Rorshach the panels and visuals mirrored from front to back with the center pages marked by a huge X with Veidt in the center - a case of X marking the killer.
One last musing for today - All this season as the secrets of the Island got more and more metaphysical and spiritual in nature there was a part of me that was "worried" that Damon and Charlton were getting ready to Scooby us at the last minute and make the answers more science in nature. The show has played both the faith and science aspect so well together that I almost expect them to course correct to a more scientific or science fiction ending. This could be the conversation change that Damon was hinting at. But I think with "Amazing Grace" playing in the teaser (that reminded me of Spock's funeral in ST: The Wrath of Khan when Scotty play the song on his bagpipes( the title being "Happily Ever After" and the show centering on Desmond I think we all might be crying in our haggis by this time next week!
Jen Chaney: Wow, so much thought-provoking stuff in here, I don't know where to begin. You're a good tomato, dre7861.
I really love your observations about the mirrors and connecting that back to Watchmen. I'll have to look again at my copy of that tonight and ponder all of that. And the tomato, as Liz hinted, also could easily be a metaphor for the love between Sun and Jin. Which also, to borrow Jack's words, refuses to die.
As far as things getting a bit more sci-fi-ish, I am not sure. I think things are going to get more emotional and character-driven as we go near the end. I have no doubt that some of the explanations re: the island's properties and what's happening with the timeline will be very much in the sci-fi mode. But I expect the core plot developments, and the ones everyone will be talking most about, to involve the emotions of the characters. And I agree about the crying in the haggis.
I'm stocking up on tissues before next Tuesday. I'd advise you all to do the same.
New York, NY: Since it would tie into one of your possible theories re. Widmore, I am surprised that you have not addressed Keemey's discussion with Jin in the fridge, in which he seemed to say, "...just in case you find out what is about to happen to the island...can't have you freaking out..."
I re-watched the scene a few times, and am convinced of that reading, as it was the collective view of a live blog I watched last night.
Making it deliberately hard to hear/discern was diabolical though.
Your gals' thoughts?
Liz Kelly: Thanks for bringing this up. I can't rewatch right now, but is that what Keamy said? I thought he said "in case you find out what is about to happen" (full stop). If the "to the island" was indeed there, that would be the first indications that a sideways world character is even aware the island exists.
But why would Jin freak if he did find out, anyway? In sideways world, Oceanic 815 never crashed so Jin wouldn't even know about the island. Everything Jin cares about right now -- in sideways world -- is in L.A. Sun.
Liz Kelly: Just re-watched that scene. It does indeed sound like Keamy could be saying "Just in case you figure out what's about to happen to the island, can't have you freaking out." But at Jen's suggestion I also rewatched with closed captions on and the line came across as "Just in case you figure out what's about to happen to you, I can't have you freaking out."
Maybe Jen has some insights?
Jen Chaney: I can't find the link now, but late last night on Dark UFO, there was a debate about this. And the conclusion was that he said, "In case you find out what is about to happen to you" -- someone watched with subtitles and that's what the subtitles said.
I understand the confusion though, because it is hard to make out the audio. And I heard island when I watched it again, even though I didn't hear it the first time. I hate it when they do that, too. It's such a short trip to drive a Lost fan crazy, isn't it?
Reston, Va.: Hi Ladies: I don't know what it is about us this season, but I'm just not tracking with you. You've hated episodes that I loved, I wasn't down with episodes that you loved. What happened to us? I won't say that this episode was stellar. To me, it was meh, except for a few choice moments. Can I add just one little gripe? 2nd week in a row with a ridiculous amount of sub-titles. It completely limits my ability to multi-task while I watch the show. Now I have a pile of socks I need to pair up tonight because I had to keep my eyes glued to the screen last night.
Jen Chaney: It's not you, it's not us.
Seriously, I think this is a really weird season and everyone is reacting very differently to each and every episode. Perhaps because expectations are so high, or we know the answers we're getting are the "final ones." Anyway, we welcome disagreers and dissenters so we hope you'll stick with us even if our tracks are not the same.
But honestly, you should know better than to sort socks during "Lost." I mean, really. The only multitasking permitted at this point is note-taking. Or maybe reading Twitter feeds during commercials. Sheesh.
EVERY ONES FAVORITE RUNNING THEORY: Interesting theory heard last night resolving the age old question of Christian Shephard:
MIB last night said he can't travel across water.
Christian Shephard appeared to Michael on the freighter.
So... MIB can't equal Christian.
Liz Kelly: And MIB has journeyed over to Hydra island. So he clearly can travel across water. Just not in the smoke monster form.
By the way, Mr. Liz was singing "Smoke on the water" for about a half an hour after last night's show ended. So annoying, he is.
Jen Chaney: That's weird. I was hearing bagpipes and trying not to cry.
oh my gosh Jen: thank you so much for putting that image of Sawyer in my head, but seriously, I don't know if I can go on living without seeing that now! And now I will have "Gimme that beep beep" stuck in my head the rest of the day! And Shirtless Sawyer, not that that's a bad thing . . .
Jen Chaney: I demand an "Ignition (Remix)" "Lost" music video. Do you hear me. ABC? Do you hear me??
Liz Kelly: Alrighty, thanks for a thought provoking hour of chat. We'll see you back here next Wednedsay after we've all had a chance to watch "Happily Ever After." Which seems to be shaping up to be a big-time game changer or a tear jerker or both. Bring it on!
Jen Chaney: I wish we could stay here all afternoon with you guys. I'm not kidding. The sadness of this ending is beginning to sink in.
Man, I need to stop listening to those stinkin' bagpipes.
Anyway, we'll see you all here next Wednesday. When, according to Damon Lindelof, this conversation will have radically changed.
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