Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly
Washington Post "Lost" bloggers
Wednesday, April 7, 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: Welcome -- lots to discuss after last night's big "narrative shifting" Desmond episode.
And narrative shift is hardly an understatement. As we mentioned in the analysis, last night's ep was completely different from the rest of this season's offerings. If you ask me, season six could have started with last night's episode and we could all have agreed to let MIB and Jacob fade away into show history.
As one reader said in the blog comments:
Whatever theories gain strength each week are inevitably put aside in favor of alternate theories the next week! That's what I mean when I say we have no freaking idea what is really going on here.
True. It does seem as if last night's episode forced us to totally change our thinking about how the two worlds interact. I guess we just have to have faith that the writers make the right choices to successfully tie all these threads together in a way that won't leave us feeling utterly, umm, lost.
Jen Chaney: Last night's episode seems to have provoked more insightful discussion -- in the analysis comments and elsewhere on the Internet today -- than any other episode this season. No doubt about that.
Desmond-centric episodes have a way of doing that.
Without further ado, let's get started.
Old Town: After last night's episode, is anyone else picturing a finale featuring Desmond and Penny kissing on the dance floor at Eloise's fundraiser and bringing everyone back to life, ala Back to the Future? (So glad we can start to reference BTTF again!)
Jen Chaney: YOU'RE glad? Imagine how I feel!
Yes, it shall be a very special Enchantment Under the Sea finale of "Lost," with special guest appearances by Marvin Berry and Lea Thompson.
Liz Kelly: Wait, as I recall I'm supposed to be annoyed by "BTTF" references.
So this is me, rolling my eyes.
Quatch Cave: Liz, I was going to write, "If I didn't know better, I'd say that you planned your pregnancy around the last season of Lost," then I realized that I don't know any better.
Liz Kelly: Well, let's just hope junior holds out until after the season ends.
But, not to be totally cryptic (or transparent) -- I think this baby will always have a connection to the show.
Jen Chaney: Oh just tell them, Liz. You're having Josh Holloway's baby. Everyone's going to find out anyway.
P.S. Junior so better hold out.
Old Town: We've seen that at least three people in Sideways world have made the connection to their island past and now know that they somehow have an alternative/past life: Desmond, Charlie, and Daniel. Do we think that it works the other way around? Can on-island Desmond push the on-island Losties to connect with their Sideways world, much the way he was pushed by Widmore's experiment and by Charlie in Sideways? It might explain why he went so easily with Sayid - he needs/wants to get to everyone, so why not start with the first person who turns up?
Further, I feel that these connections need to be made to resolve/connect/merge the parallel timelines. Any thoughts on the quota for this to happen? Based on spoilers/cast interviews I've read and titles of upcoming episodes, I think we will lose lives, but I also think that, like Charlie, maybe they can die in one universe and live in another if a critical mass helps merge the timelines.
Jen Chaney: Lives will be lost, no doubt. Although I thought Desmond was a goner this week, so my ability to foresee demises may be questionable.
Re: your first point: so far no one on the island seems to grasp the presence of the sideways world. But sideways world people can, it seems, be knocked into remembering their island existences.
A commenter on another blog -- it might have been in a post on Dark UFO, or on JoPinionated, can't remember now -- pointed out that everyone had their flashes last night while in an altered state. Charlie while near-death, Desmond during an MRI monkeying with his head and Daniel while dreaming. It also seems that Jack has glimpses of that other world, but not as fully as the three experiences described last night.
For those reasons, I feel like the timelines are more likely to come together based on actions Desmond takes in L.A. rather than on the island. But it's possible he may have to do something in both places, I don't know.
Richmond, VA: What if they're not in a "pleasant prison," but the alt reality is where they get, as Eloise said to Des, "what you always wanted." Only it's still incomplete -- or even incorrect. For Des, he finally has the approval of Widmore, but he's without Penny. Locke has a relationship with his father and Helen is still in his life, but he's still unable to walk. Jack isn't as conflicted over his father's death, but is now struggling not to become his father in his relationship with his own son. Alex is alive and well, but Ben isn't her father. Sun and Jin are reconnected, but can't have a life together. Nadya is safe, but she's married to Sayid's brother.
Liz Kelly: I like this idea. Lots of people wrote variations on the same theme in the blog comments. That you are given your heart's fondest desire, but there's a price.
The thing is -- up until last night's ep -- none of the characters realized what they were missing. But now we have Des, Daniel and Charlie all starting to realize the lives they left behind.
Fort Worth, TX: Was anyone else completely thrown by the fact that the episode didn't open with the announcer saying "Previously, on Lost" and then show clips from before? I ran my DVR back to be sure I hadn't missed something. Talk about a creature of habit.
Jen Chaney: I noticed that, too. Perhaps another way to signal this episode was going to take us in such a new direction that what happened previously is now somewhat, though not entirely, irrelevant.
Liz Kelly: Agreed. Also, another way to devote as much airtime as possible to telling this week's story.
Numbers: I like that the numbers are making a reappearance. Like being on the panel at the top of the MRI machine Desmond was in. After the past 2 episodes, I feel like everything is really beginning to tie together. Do you think the real 4-letter word explaining the show is "LOVE"?
Jen Chaney: You mean LOVE and not WHAT???
No offense to Daniel Faraday, but I think love is a simplified version of what's going. I think it comes down to, more than anything, connectedness. You not only need a Constant to ground you, but you also need to realize that you are connected to everyone around you, and that actions you take can have consequences on so many others, far beyond what you can possibly grasp. It's one of the reasons why "Lost" is the perfect show for the Internet age: the links from one thing or person to another -- literally and metaphorically -- go on and on.
Angstrom: It's a joke. A rabbit named Angstrom. Rabbit Angstrom is the subject of a series of novels by John Updike.
Liz Kelly: Thanks. Many readers pointed this out in the blog comments. That's what I get for not reading Updike (yet).
My two cents: I don't think the awareness of the island timeline on the parts of characters (Dan, Charlie, Desmond) has been brought on by something on the island--mostly because we keep jumping back and forth in time in the off-island stories, and I can't keep track of what's concurrent with what, when.
I think it's being brought on by one of two things: either a near-death experience (Charlie, Desmond) or an encounter with someone they loved in the other timeline but don't know in this timeline (Dan, Desmond again, possibly Kate a few episodes ago.)
Either way, looking forward to a Hurley episode next!
Jen Chaney: Interesting point. When they encounter someone from the previous timeline, there is the potential for the island experience to bleed through. That's true.
I guess what I was trying to say in the analysis is that the bleed-through -- at least based on what I could gather from last night's episode -- seemed to happen for Faraday and Charlie at around the same time. Which made me think something else had to trigger the process, and that maybe yanking Desmond from the hospital was related.
But I could be wrong. As I said earlier, Jack seems to occasionally register that something is amiss and that isn't because of Desmond being kidnapped by Widmore, I don't think.
San Diego: Didja notice the painting of the balance scale in Widmore's office with the black rocks and white rocks balanced on the pans?
washingtonpost.com: Per Lostpedia, Jack Bender likes to add his own paintings in the episodes he directs. He painted the previous Widmore office paintings as well.
Liz Kelly: Did notice the painting -- again, another reference to this season's motif of light vs. dark/good vs. evil.
Interesting tidbit re: Jack Bender, Paul. Thanks.
Bubba Tampa, Fl: What do you suppose Eloise meant when she told Desmond him knowing about Penny would be a "violation"? A violation of what exactly? I know we're not supposed to quite understand this yet, but do you have any theories?
Jen Chaney: I think she meant a violation of "the rules," presumably the same rules Ben and Widmore used to so cryptically talk about.
In the sideways timeline -- at least last night's version --Des doesn't know Penny. If he tries to connect with her, as he did, he suddenly regains knowledge of life on the island. And, at least according to Eloise, that isn't supposed to happen. That, perhaps, is what will make our two worlds collide.
You guys never post my comments!: It was worth a shot ;-)
Anyways, I was wondering if either of you thought of "Jacob's cabin" and the figure in the rocking chair when you saw the shed with the chair in it where they conducted the "test" on Desmond?
As soon as I saw that room, the thought popped in my head that we might be seeing Desmond sitting in that chair, flickering out of reality, flickering into another chair and saying "Help me."
This of course did not happen at all, but I think the parallels are pretty solid. Gets me thinking once again about the MIB maybe having some connections to another Electro-magnetic event gone wrong.
Liz Kelly: I did indeed think about Jacob's cabin when we saw that wooden room with light leaking in through the wooden slatted walls. But my guess is that any commonalities end there.
Princeton, NJ: My takeaway from this episode: Faraday, Desmond are becoming aware that the sideways timeline they're in is an unnatural state and not their destinies, and Des will try to convince others on the flight of the same. But what do they do then? Seems tough for the writers to try and wrap such a concept in a few episodes. Great to see Penny again.
Liz Kelly: My assumption is that once the characters become self-aware, the sideways timeline will somehow disintigrate or implode.
I'm 100 percent sure that island Desmond is now completely aware of sideways world and what is going on there and is determined to bring it to an end. As Jen mentioned in the analysis, his next step will be to bring that same awareness to the rest of the Losties. Basically, to wake them up.
Again, going with the pleasant prison idea I talked about in the blog, could it be that with the Losties' consciousnesses trapped in this kinder, gentler world they are unable to make any real progress on the island -- rendering them ineffective and the perfect pawns for Jacob/MIB? If they wake up from that reverie, maybe they will stop being the playthings and again able to exercise their own free will and take control of their destinies.
Jen Chaney: As another question we're about to answer discusses, I'm not sure if the prison is entirely pleasant. But it does feel like the Losties on the island are in limbo, to some degree. Although Sawyer certainly has free will to try to con people, even if he completely stinks at it as far as Widmore and MIB are concerned.
But I agree that Des is on a mission to raise "awareness," and that that is indeed a lot of meat to process before the series ends. Will be fun to see how the writers manage to do it.
Sam: Clair had a flash of Island life when she blurted out "Aaron" in the sideways hospital.
Liz Kelly: Yep. Good call. Many of the sideways world characters have had flashes of their other lives. Clair with sudden certainty that her child will be "Aaron," Jack with his confusion about an appendix operation he doesn't remember...
Jen Chaney: Right. I think the difference is they didn't, as Dan and Charlie said, "feel it." They recognized something strange for a millisecond, but didn't have a wave of love or certainty or whatever wash over them enough to convince them they aren't living the lives they were originally on track to lead.
Allentown, Pa.: perhaps we didn't get a "previously on LOST" because whatever happened, happened.
Liz Kelly: I like the way you think, Allentown.
Hume, VA: Are we going to find out "Tis better to have loved and LOST than never to have loved at all"?
And why are some 'sideways' lives nearly the exact same (Charlie, Kate), while others are not (Sawyer, Jack)?
Liz Kelly: Good question. Charlie does strike me as a pretty different guy than our happy-go-lucky Charlie Pace of yesteryear. He's not of that world and he knows it -- so he has no fear of dying there and even seems eager to bring about his own demise.
As for Kate, I'm not sure we've seen enough about her sideways life yet to determine that it is exactly the same.
Rockville, MD: How can you crticize the Jacob-MIB story line when you don't yet know how it will all connect together? I think part of the problem with people this season is that they are expecting to see the end before it happens! If the LOST producers have taught us anything, it should be to expect the unexpected. I'm putting my faith in the show that everything about this season will make sense AFTER the final episode.
Liz Kelly: I get where you're coming from, Rockville. But you can hardly ask us -- or any other Lost fan -- to not think critically about the show. And, thus far, the Jacob/MIB storyline is the weaker of the offerings we've seen. Like Nikki and Paolo, the whole Jacob vs. MIB construct was dropped into the show a bit inelegantly. I'm not saying it isn't a valid thread, but I wonder if it has been somewhat over-emphasized or, leaned on, as a way to explain some of the show's mysteries.
Then we get an episode like last night's and it just throws things into even starker relief: This is the Lost storytelling we know and love, the kind that is multi-layered and nuanced and has a gazillion ties back to the show we've been watching for almost six years now.
Do I think LindeCuse will connect the dots? Yep. Do I think maybe we could have gotten to this point earlier in this last season? Oh yeah.
Alexandria, VA: "Re: your first point: so far no one on the island seems to grasp the presence of the sideways world. But sideways world people can, it seems, be knocked into remembering their island existences."
Not true (I don't think). Dying Juliet on the island (we think) did. (Almost) dying Charlie and Desmond in sideways world did. Daniel just needed to meet Charlotte, so that doesn't fit the near-death pattern, but I do think island-people can glimpse sideways-reality.
Jen Chaney: Juliet did, you're right. But again, altered consciousness: she was dying. I can't think of another on-island example of someone realizing the flash-sideways was happening, but correct me, everyone, if you remember something I don't.
As I said earlier, Daniel had his physics flash during a dream. Altered consciousness.
Now, once the memory shows up, it doesn't go away. But it seems like the brain has to go somewhere else briefly before the memories can come back.
not a deep thought, : but you can keep Sawyer. The smile and sigh after Penny agreed to meet for coffee. Too much! (sigh)
Jen Chaney: Definitely missed Mr. Cusick. Nice to see him again last night.
Liz Kelly: Agreed. A show with Desmond is definitely a better show.
Violati, ON: I was wondering if Eloise meant something other than breaking the rules when she talked about a violation, more like a violation of the laws of physics (since she seems to be the expert on the physics of whatever the heck it is).
In physics, a CP violation (for the charge and parity of a particle) has to do with why matter dominates over antimatter in the universe. Its opposite, CP symmetry, says that you can replace a particle, such as an electron, with an equivalent anti-particle and the laws of physics will still work, because the two particles are equal and opposite. Not entirely sure where I'm going with this, but it's something to think about.
washingtonpost.com: I love our readers.
Jen Chaney: I love them, too, Paul.
I like where you're going with this, even if I am too dense to fully comprehend it. (What can I say? I'm a Lost University drop-out.)
It's possible that the rules of physics and the rules of their current situation share pretty much the same properties. In order for sideways-timeline to exist it has to have a (hey!) Other that balances it out. That Other is what's happening on the island now.
If MIB makes that cease to exist, then sideways timeline ceases to exist. And then what? Maybe this is why Widmore thinks everyone will be a goner. When it may be that we actually just go back to square one again.
So help me, I actually had a dream a couple of weeks ago in which I figured out how Lost ends. And then of course, forgot to write it down. (I'm not smart like Faraday.) But I remember that the two timelines issue was resolved in the penultimate episode, and the last episode was a redo of the pilot, but with slight differences in what happened.
I realized that doesn't mean much, but I'm trying to make my subconscious look good here...
Amazing Grace, NC: What was the point of Amazing Grace tune that played in the last week's episode with regards to this week's Desmond episode?
Jen Chaney: To make us think Desmond was going to die so we'd be all prepared to cry, then realize we didn't need to.
At least that's my best guess.
Liz Kelly: Yep. A classic case of misdirection.
Or, if we look at the words of the song, this line stands out: "Was blind, but now I see." Which really is a pretty concise summary of last night's show. Desmond is fully aware of what is going on in both timelines now, so he is -- in a sense -- no longer blind.
Burke, VA: One thing we learned for sure last night is how important Eloise Hawking is. Even in this "alternate" reality she seems to be the one who is moving the chess pieces around. From last season we know that she gave her son Daniel the chance to change the course of the island, and she took that risk knowing it might kill her son. What I'm confused about is how Eloise fits into the Jacob v. MIB battle. Are her actions benefiting Jacob's side to keep MIB at bay or is it something else?
washingtonpost.com: And what about the poor Man wearing red shoes? Where is he in Sideways land?
Liz Kelly: Well, I guess we can hope (for his sake) that he's not buried under a falling scaffold.
Alexandria, Va.: Desmond has been told repeatedly that "the island isn't done with you yet." Do we really think the island isn't done with him, or is it really that Widmore, Hawking, etc. aren't done using him yet? In other words, does he really truly have to DO something on the island to move on with his life?
And, what is that something? Defeat MIB?
Liz Kelly: Or is it possible that while Eloise and Charles believe that the island isn't done with Des yet, that Desmond himself now realizes that it is he who isn't done with the island? Meaning he's the one in control, he's the one who is able to use the island to bring about some desired outcome -- and not vice versa?
Jen Chaney: Good point, Liz. Desmond showed us last night he is choosing to do this, not the other way around.
And yes, I think defeat MIB is basically it. Widmore said last night that Des is the only person alive who can withstand an electromagnetic disaster. So if MIB starts to cause one, Des will be the only with the ability to take action. What that action is exactly, don't know, but that seems to be his purpose.
Juliet: If Desmond destroys the sideways world, doesn't that mean Juliet remains dead? I don't want that.
Jen Chaney: Not necessarily. It may mean that both the sideways flash and the island world as we know it now get destroyed, as I said earlier. And then we get either the timeline we knew before. Or, perhaps, Door No. 3.
Liz Kelly: Door no. 3 meaning, you can get your Elizabeth Mitchell fix by watching "V."
Washington, DC: Heloise is aware of the two worlds. When she saw Desmond, she reacted with surprise. It's obvious she knew him. She also has a "special gift" so it makes sense.
Liz Kelly: Heloise? As in "Hints from Heloise?". So THAT's how she got all that insight.
Why do you hate Jacob and MIB so much?: Last night's episode was awesome for sure and was needed to start tying the two worlds together but I still think, as far as the best episode is concerned, it's still the Season 5 finale, where we first meet our Cain & Abel or whoever they turn out to be. I got the most goosebumps and excitement from the beach scene I've had watching any show to this day! Maybe you don't like their story line cause you're girls and only care about love and not cool stuff? :)
Jen Chaney: Hey, Sexist McChauvinist. Long time no speak.
I like the concepts that Jacob and MIB represent. My issue is that, especially on the MIB front, these guys entered the picture way late in the game. And suddenly, it seemed the whole show came down to their issues, which just felt jarring and weird.
The fact that we're girls is irrelevant. We talked about Watchmen in our analysis today -- don't call us uncool girls!
I am still hopeful that their story will play out in a satisfying way. But ultimately, I care more about our core characters than Jacob and MIB, that's all.
Liz Kelly: I would chime in, but it's hard to type while giving myself a pedicure.
Was that a goiter: Did you catch the tumor-looking thing hanging off the rabbit? I mean seriously: what was going on with the rabbit's neck? That was just gross.
Liz Kelly: I did see that. I chalked it up to the rabbit sitting with his neck all scrunched down and perhaps forcing some fat fold to protrude.
For anyone who missed it,
DC: I agree with the idea that the Sideways world is starting to fall apart. But it makes me very sad for those like John & Hurley, who have found a better life there.
Jen Chaney: Agreed. JOhn's still in a wheelchair, but is a much happier man with better relationships. And Hurley's got it totally made.
Which means something bad is bound to happen in next week's Hugo-centric installment.
As for Kate, I'm not sure we've seen enough about her sideways life yet to determine that it is exactly the same. : Please, LOST gods, PLEASE don't let there be another hour wasted on Kate to explain this. She kills people to break her toy airplane out of a safe deposit box - that is all I will ever need to know about her. The best part of the past few episodes has been Kate's increasingly obvious uselessness. I can't wait for Claire to off her.
washingtonpost.com: Liz, did you submit this?
Liz Kelly: Cross my heart, it wasn't me.
Geez, is it really so surprising that I'm not the only "Lost" fan in the world who is left mostly exasperated by Kate?
wedding ring: Desmond had a wedding ring on the plane before the 'incident', right? so their lives didn't change (on the plane) until that happened. Desmond was married to Penny when he got on the plane, but not married when it landed.
Jen Chaney: That is the logical inference, yes. But I still want confirmation that the ring was not a continuity error the first time.
Damon Lindelof? You here? Can you verify?
(He's so not here. I just thought it would be fun to ask.)
Da Bomb: What was the point of detonating the bomb if Desmond's job is now to destroy the Sideways world? How would Juliet's "It worked" fit in if Sideways is all wrong? The whole leaving and coming back would have been for nothing then if the island timeframe advances without past correction (lots of people would still be dead, including Locke, Charlie, etc.).
Jen Chaney: Juliet would think it worked because she somehow knew there was another timeline, and could see that people were leading lives,
Or maybe -- given her coffee comment -- she saw Desmond meeting Penny again and knew that meant everything would be all right.
And I am not sure if Widmore thinks Desmond's job is to destroy the sideways world. It appears Charles merely thinks he's avoiding catastrophe and doesn't realize how one world is tied to the other.
I'm also not sure if leaving and coming back really accomplishes anything tangible, aside from the lessons the characters learn as a result. I mean, they're constantly going to the island or from, heading to the beach or back to the jungle. It's not the destination, it's the journey ... or something.
Not the "Lost" Writers Office, Honest: OK, you know how it is when you, you know, that happens, but it doesn't happen, but it could have happened, only it didn't, but it might have, becaue you know, like, maybe it did happen, only it didn't.
Liz Kelly: Well, alrighty then. Apparently the "Lost" writers (or not, as the case may be) are now drunk.
Jen Chaney: I know exactly what you mean. This is your way of saying I imagined a comment this confusing and no one actually would have written something like this. Which is a huge relief, frankly.
McLean, VA: After watching last night's episode, I remembered that sometime during Season 4 (I think it was soon after "The Constant" aired) LindeCuse made a comment that "Lost" was ultimately a Desmond and Penny love story.
Liz Kelly: Indeed, one of them did say something along those lines. That was two seasons ago, though. And I'd like to think that if it really is ultimately all about Desmond and Penny, we would have returned to their story line earlier in the final season.
Jen Chaney: We've also heard that Australia is the key to game and that, apparently, Zoe explains the whole show. (Although the actress who played Zoe sorta said that, so I'll toss that one aside.)
I think Des and Penny are important, but that Lost is ultimately bigger than that, and I say that mainly because Desmond wasn't necessarily supposed to be a regular character. And the creators knew their ending -- or some form of it -- from the beginning of season one.
Liz's Dream: I believe it may be possible that both flash sideways can exist and then can converge. The question may be, in the end, there has to be a decision as to what happens and which reality will move forward and which will cease.
Jen Chaney: It was technically my dream, but I'm sure Liz will have a form of it eventually, too. Our worlds can't exist without the other's.
Farraday, U.K.: Dan's nighttime drawing screenshot showed an interesting formula: T = T' = T/Lambda
"Lambda" (a greek letter) means lots of things, but can mean decay (like radioactive decay). So I like the idea the sideways world has a finite life, or maybe even fades away over time.
Liz Kelly: I like that idea -- that no matter how hard Ms. Hawking (or whoever) works to keep sideways world up and running, it's demise may be an inevitability.
Dallas, Texas: Jacob has been mentioned since way back in Season 2 (?) so his story line was certainly not dropped in late in the game. And for those people that want a certain type of Elizabeth Mitchell fix, they should rent "Gia" with Angelina Jolie
Jen Chaney: Jacob has been, yes, But we didn't see him in physical for until end of season five. And MIB wasn't a gleam in anybody's eye until that moment, either.
The idea of Jacob? Not late in the game. The front and center presence of Jacob? Late in the game.
Jen & Liz defense league, VA: I for one would like to defend you guys on your opinion of the Jacob vs. MIB storyline.
The way it was introduced to the show, as such a seemingly last-minute add on, felt very ham-fisted. I agree that last night's episode felt like much more of a return to the concepts Lost used to be about.
I mean, over the course of 5 seasons, we had what, maybe 4 minute references to Black vs. White, and they all occurred in Season 1?
Jen Chaney: Well, as was said just a second ago, Jacob was an important, unseen figure, first mentioned back in season two. MIB, not so much.
Thanks for having our backs, man.
Liz Kelly: Okay, thanks as ever for joining in this week's show dissection. A lot to think about as we head into next week's Hurley-centric episode, "Everybody Loves Hugo" (which, as far as we know, does not include a cameo from Ray Romano).
Jen Chaney: Darn. Does this mean no Doris Roberts either?
Actually, as Liz knows, that title is a variation on "Everybody Hates Hugo" from season two, the episode where Hugo won the lottery. Which means, perhaps, that Hurley will lose everything next week, yet be much loved by everyone because of it.
Is it wrong if I keep predicting the death of a character every week from now on? Because one of these weeks, I'll have to be right!
And with that, see you here next Wednesday at 2. Thanks, all.
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