Thursday, February 22, 2007

“Lost” – Stranger in a Strange Land

Dear Lost,

Have you been reading my diary? Because how else would you know how to pack an episode chock full of every single aspect of the show that I hate. Not only was it a Jack back story – and the TENTH one at that – but it could not have been about a more pointless topic. Did anyone ever ask how Jack got his tattoos? Of course not, because everyone knows that the actor, Matthew Fox, has them, therefore the character he plays will have them, too. After all, it IS a fictional television program we’re all watching. And there’s a laundry list of about 1000 things that warrant an explanation above Jack’s tattoos. What’s next, and story about why Hurley’s fat, or Charlie’s British?

In addition to being pointless, the back story had no payoff and featured Bai Ling, who’s one of the worst “actresses” working in Hollywood. Also, why did those Thai dudes beat the shit out of Jack? It might have helped to explain that. Here’s how I would have handled that whole back story:


Jack sits on the beach, bobbing his head and acting emotional about something. The NUMBERS are prominently displayed in random places for no reason. Libby crosses, looks to camera, then crosses off. Hurley waddles over eating a jar of mayonnaise with his bare hands.

Hey dude. What’s up with the tats, dude?

Oh these? Well, I was bumming around Thailand
for a while, and I met this crazy Thai broad that I ended up banging.


Totally. She gave me this tattoo, then her
brother beat the shit out of me for no reason.

Damn. Bitches be crazy.
(they fist bump)
So what do they mean?

Something like, “He walks among us, but he is not one of us.”

What the fuck?

I don’t know. I was wicked drunk when I got it.

Do I have their voices down or what!

All right, you get it. I hated the back story. Let’s chat about the main stories. Jack is moved from the aquarium to the polar bear cage in order for Juliet to move into his old abode. In a moment I couldn’t even believe I was seeing, Jack actually mentions to Mr. Friendly, aka “Tom”, about how the Others kidnapped Claire, hung Charlie, and did a bunch of other horrible things, to which Tom replies by tapping his “glass house” and saying, “I’ll get you some stones.” What does that mean! Jack survived a fucking plane crash, and when other survivors were systematically kidnapped and killed with no explanation, he got pissed. How dare he!

So then, while Jack is asleep in the bear cage, he awakened by a group of people. Among them are Cindy, the flight attendant of 815, and the kids that were kidnapped from the Tailies. Boy, if I were Jack I would have a bunch of questions for her, one of them being “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE!” After getting a bunch of cryptic nonsense responses, Jack just dismisses them entirely. At this point I, myself, have adopted Jack’s head-bobbing, neck vein-bulging fury.

Then Jack and Juilet have a moment – Alex tells Jack that she’s going to be executed for killing douche bag – and Jack saves her life by getting Ben to stay her execution and brand her instead. Luckily she can cover up that nasty scar with a sexy lower back tribal tattoo. And Jack knows a crazy bitch in Thailand that could give her a deal.

Oh, and Kate and Sawyer make it to the big Island, argue, Sawyer gives Karl a talk about women, and we CUT TO: Karl and Alex gazing at the same constellation while cheesy music plays.

Back Story: 0
Island Story: 2
Total: 2 (a new record!)

Here’s some crap that might be more interesting than anything that went on in the episode:

  • Matthew Fox’s actual tattoo means something completely different from what they said it means. It actually means, “Eagles high, cleaving sky” and is from a poem penned by fun-loving Chinese dictator Mao Zedong. So basically the writers, who go out of their way to make sure that the fans have to freeze frame every scene so they can analyze that shit in the background, were just hoping that none of them understood Chinese. Good thing it’s only spoken by a quarter of the world’s population.
  • Oh yeah, it’s Chinese, not Thai, like we were supposed to this it was.
  • Here’s some screenshots that are totally uninteresting, like how Juliet’s brand might be an upside-down Scientology symbol. And I thought I couldn’t hate it anymore than I already did.

Now that we got that business out of the way, let’s talk about the Oscars. Last year I got 7 of 8 major categories, but this year I have no idea. It’s an absolute toss up for a bunch of categories, but here goes:

Locks: Cars for Animated Film, Pan’s Labyrinth for Foreign Film, Children of Men for Cinematography, An Inconvenient Truth for Documentary.

Most random nomination: Click for make-up?!

Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls. Wasn’t a huge fan of the movie, but that scene where she belting out “You’re gonna love me” gave me chills.

Supporting Actor: Eddie Murphy for Dreamgirls. His pompadour gave me chills. Although the scene where the Jackie Earle Haley jerks off in the car in Little Children was my favorite scene of the year (narrowly beating Borat’s naked wrestling).

Actor: Forest Whitaker. He was pretty badass in Last King of Scotland. And I haven’t seen any of the other four performances.

Actress: Helen Mirren. Unbelievable in The Queen. And she’s amazing hot for an old lady.

Original Screenplay: This one I really have no idea. I thought Little Miss Sunshine at first, but then I thought the academy may lean towards Babel. I’m gonna say it’s going to Little Miss Sunshine because Babel’s gonna win some other stuff.

Adapted Screenplay: Again, no idea. Children of Men was one of my favorite movies of the year – so I would love to see it get something major besides Cinematography. Notes and Little Children were both awesome scripts. Borat’s not Oscar-worthy. The Departed may win a lot – and it was a decent-enough script. I need help, people, what do you think? But for now I’m going to say… Little Children.

Director: Scorcese. It’s Marty’s year, too bad it’s not for a better movie.

Picture: I have no clue. Either The Departed will win everything, or Babel will. Or those two will split the vote and Little Miss Sunshine will win everything. I would be annoyed if Iwo Jima won because I wasn’t a fan of that one at all. But then there’s The Queen, which despite being a glorified Movie of the Week, I thought it was amazing and engaging. But for now I’m saying… The Departed.

I would love to hear you thoughts. I need some wisdom for my various office pools.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

"Lost" - Flashes Before Your Eyes

"Lost" - Flashes Before Your Eyes

"No matter what I do, you're gonna die, Charlie."

Let me kick off this week's recap but saying that I really enjoyed this episode. That may be because it was completely different from all the other previous episodes that I have somewhat despised this season, but either way this Desmond-centric ep was enough for Lost to redeem itself to me. But don't worry, I have faith that I'll be bitching about the show soon after tonight's Jack-centric episode. I wonder if Jack's stubborn qualities put a strain on some personal relationship he has?

All right, let's do a quick recap. And you can click on the links to see screen caps of stuff you may have missed. The teaser starts on the island with Charlie and Hurley ransacking Sawyer's tent, which is filled with mac and cheese, Nabokov literature, and Fijian porn. Desmond walks in on them and tells them to follow him to the jungle. There they see Locke and Sayid who tell them that Eko was "killed by the island" and Locke needs them to do some damage control so everyone doesn't freak out when they hear the news and murder Locke for being absurdly vague. Suddenly Desmond gets a weird look on his face and goes darting off back to the beach. At the beach, he dives in the water and rescues a drowning Clarie (who now has bangs for some reason). After reviving her on the beach, Hurley comes to the realization that Desmond "sees the future, dude."

So, the dynamic duo hatch a plan to get Desmond so stinking drunk and singing Scottish folk songs that he'll drop his guard and come clean about seeing the future. At first Desmond refuses, but after seeing the kind of whiskey, MacCutcheon 60, he agrees. So after a round of singing "Shagging the farmer daughter, guv'nor", Charlie asks Des how he knew Claire was drowning. At first Desmond dodges the question, then he walks away after Charlie asks about the lightning. Once Charlie calls him a coward, Desmond snaps and attacks him.

Flashback to: The Hatch, and the events leading up to Des turning the fail safe key. After he turns the key, we see his life flash before his eyes. Then we come upon that familiar shot of the single eyeball, but this time it belongs to Desmond, and he's covered in red paint. Moments later we find out that he's in his and Penny's flat in England, but now he's in 1996.

As Desmond readies for a job interview with Penny's father, a known rich douche bag who hates Desmond, he's reminded of he life on the island - it's 1:08pm, the microwave sounds like the computer for the button, Penny says if Des doesn't get the job "it's not the end of the world." This continues later when Desmond hears a delivery man say he's has a parcel "for (4) 815," and when Des is in Mr. Widmore's office, the painting he has hanging up has a polar bear, and Buddha, and "NAMASTE" spelled in reverse. As expected, Mr. Widmore ain't much of a fan of Desmond, especially after he refuses the job and asks for Penny's hand in marriage. In fact, he goes as far as to say that Desmond isn't worth a swig of his MacCutcheon whiskey.

Outside the building, Desmond sees Charlie play his guitar (and horribly, I might add). He's singing Oasis' "Wonderwall", and sings the lyrics, "Maybe, you're gonna be the one who saves me." Desmond flashes back (or forward) to the hatch and recognizes him as Charlie from the island. Desmond starts remembering and freaking out. He ends up predicting the rain, and realizes he has to seek the help of his bearded and bespeckled Indian friend, Donovan. I'm still partial to Mohinder Suresh for my Indian British-accented professors. Desmond asks him the question that, for some reason, makes people in movies and TV shows display looks of immediate concern... "What do you know about time travel?" So Desmond tells his whole story to Donovan over a pint, and Donovan understandable thinks he's full of shite. However, once the song "Make Your Own Kind of Music" - which we all remember from the premiere of season 2 as the song Des played in the hatch right before Locke blew the door off - it triggers his memory, and he comes up with predictions about who wins the "football" match and how the bartender will be cracked in the face with a cricket bat (presumably for stealing old Gulliver's kidney pie). But once that doesn't happen, Desmond goes home to his loving Penelope who tells him he's a good man.

The next day he's off shopping for wedding rings sold by Ms. Hawking. After he says he'll take the ring she showed him, she says "You don't take the ring, Desmond." She then goes on to map out the next years of his life - from breaking Penny's heart, to sailing around the world, to landing on the island and pushing the button until he's forced to turn the fail safe key. And she says that if he doesn't do those things, everyone will die. "Lost" has had a few "holy shit" moments in the past, but this was one of my favorites.

Thankfully, Desmond and Ms. Hawking take a stroll so she can have some chestnuts and explain to him (and to us) exactly what the hell is going on. She points out a man wearing red Converse shoes as a bold fashion choice. After Desmond accuses her of being his subconscious, the man with two red shoes gets hit by a ton of bricks. Desmond asks why she didn't warn the man of his eventual fate, and she responds by saying that the man would have died the next day - that the universe has a way of course-correcting. I mean, didn't he see Final Destination in his future/past life? Desmond is supposed to go to the island because pushing the button is the only great thing Desmond will ever do.

Desmond calls bullocks on her and takes the ring to give to Penny. They meet by Big Ben, and a photographer takes their picture in front of a marina scene. It happens to be the picture that Desmond took to the island. At that point, he realizes what he has to do, and break up with Penny. She's heartbroken and calls him a coward. And he tells her that they're not supposed to be together. Poor Desmond.

He strolls back into the pub and gets a pint of the cheapest beer. Then the Mama Cass song comes on again, and Desmond realizes that he had the wrong night in his predictions. After he realizes that he can changes things, the man with the cricket bat walks in, but after Desmond warns the bartender to duck, he's the one who gets cracked in the face. That brings up right back to a naked Desmond in the jungle post-exploding hatch. He visits the hole where the hatch was and sees the picture of him and Penny and prays to go back to be with Penny so he can change it. At this point we see the images that lead us back to the scrap with Charlie. Hurley breaks up the fight, and Desmond keeps repeating that "you can't change it." He calls Charlie a "good man", then Charlie makes Des tell him what happened.

Desmond says that his life flashed before his eyes after he turned the key. But back on the island, the flashes didn't stop. BUT, Desmond wasn't saving Claire - he was saving Charlie. Charlie was about to be hit by lightning, and Charlie was the one who tries to save Claire and drowns. But the universe has a way of course correcting, and Desmond can't stop Charlie's fate forever.

Score (Out of 20)
Back Story: 9.5
Island Story: 8
Total: 17.5

Why can't they all be Desmond stories? Enjoy tonight's.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

“Lost” – America Gives It the Benefit of the Doubt

Oh, how I’ve missed all of you. And I can only imagine how much you’ve missed my weekly musings on America’s favorite fourth or fifth favorite show. I know I left you all pretty abruptly at the start of this 3rd season, and gave you all Lost “blue balls”. But that was only because I working hard to help cancel another sitcom. And by the time I was finished, and said show was officially “shelved”, Lost was already elbow deep in a ridiculous seventeen month hiatus. But another reason was because I was so furious at the sheer absurdity of the stories (Locke’s vision quest, Eko killed by the smoke monster, etc.), that I couldn’t in good conscience devote the time it took to write these recaps without having an overwhelming desire to kick my own ass. It would be like writing a recap exposing the plot holes to an episode of Dora the Explorer.

So the hiatus is over both for Lost and myself, so let’s dive right into the episode that finally answers the many questions posed by the cliffhanger of episode 6…which was… is Jack going to do something with Ben, I think… and they’re on another island… fuck it, let’s just do this!

“Lost” – Not in Portland

This episode starts off with a Juliet back story. After passing our old friend, Ethan Rom, in a dank, flickery hallway, Juliet visits her sister, Calamity Jane from Deadwood. She shoots her up with some form of mystery liquid (haven’t seen that since Desmond was juicing back in the day), then we reveal that we’re not on the island at all – it’s Miami!

Cut to the operating room on Dharma Island #2 where we last left Jack 91 days ago. He’s just made an incision in Ben’s kidney and is letting him bleed out so Kate and Sawyer can run away. Jack tells Kate to get safe and radio him with the story he told her on the beach when they first crashed. Kate reluctantly agrees, and then her and Sawyer lay some smack down on that super-douche, Pickett. Juliet calls Jacks bluff and orders the other Others to get back Saywer and Kate – even kill them if they have to.

Back story scene 2 involves Juliet back on the mainland and snooping around some medical facility for a refill of her mystery liquid. She’s forced to hide when some bogus dude wanders in with a completely disproportionate hot chick in tow. Turns out this guy is Juliet’s ex-husband, Edmund, and agrees to turn a blind eye for the moment so he and his new “research assistant” can get freaky next to the beakers.

Cut back to Jack and Juliet squaring off in the OR. Juliet spills the beans that Sawyer and Kate won’t make it to the other side of the island because they’re on a smaller island, 2 miles off shore and completely invisible to the inhabitants of the other island for at least two seasons. Jack retorts by spilling that Juliet wanted Jack to kill Ben during the surgery. Juliet leaves the operating room confident that Jack won’t let someone die on the table. Then again, none of his other patients had been holding him captive in an underwater prison.

As Kate and Sawyer traverse through the jungle, they reach the beach where Kate finally sees that they’re on a separate island. (Did anyone else find this reveal in the beginning of the season to be completely anti-climatic? They keep harping on it, too, as if the more they talk about it, the most powerful it’ll become even though it looks like I could swim between the two islands.) Nevertheless, Kate radios Jack for a boat. But before she can get a response from him, BOOM – a bullet shatters the radio right out of her hand.

Now, I remember the Others at some point being totally sweet fighters. I mean, Ethan was bad-ass and used to kill and kidnap people, and Mr. Friendly could snare a castway with a boomerang at 50 paces, and there was a time where I would believe that the sort of marksmanship I just witnessed was somewhat believable. But after the radio is smashed, Sawyer and three armed Others empty their clips at each other from about 20 feet away on an open beach, and no one hits a thing. Maybe this was Lost’s homage to John Woo movies. Luckily for Kate and Sawyer, not everyone on the show is a horrible shot, and the rebellious teen Other, who may be Rousseau’s daughter, Alex, pelts an Other right between the eyes with her trusty sling shot and helps Kate and Sawyer elude their captors by hiding in her fort.

Back in the OR, Ben wakes up from his surgery because he must have sensed that the plot was dragging, and they must have used Dharma’s do-it-yourself home anesthesia kit. He asks for Juliet, which leads up to her back story scene. Back in Miami, Juliet is summoned to Edmond’s office, and he tells her that he wants “in”. “In” to what still remains a mystery to us, but Edmond’s read her notes, so he knows what’s up. And he knows she’s using Calamity Jane as her guinea pig, so Juliet must be developing some kind of anti-“mother fucking cocksucker” serum. But Edmund tells her that with his help, the two of them could win prizes, drink champagne, and help people – in that order. Talk about an offer she can’t refuse!

Back on Island #2, Friendly tells Juliet that Ben’s looking for her. Then we check in with Kate, Sawyer, and Alex (who throws a little sass back at Sawyer). Alex tells them that she has a boat, but before she let’s them use it, they have to save her boyfriend, Karl. In the OR, Jack’s a little shocked that he’s talking to Ben while he’s looking at his exposed spine and organs. But thankfully Juliet breaks up the awkward moment, and Jack let’s them have a moment alone (3 minutes, to be exact, and to call back to Michael and Walt’s episode, “Three Minutes”). We don’t hear what they say to each other, but after the conversation, Juliet says that she wants Jack to put Ben under and finish the surgery. Why? Because Juliet is going to help Kate and Jack escape.

Back from the commercial break, we join Juliet watching a slide show of some overtly pleasant-looking private facility in Portland. Mr. Alpert (played by the ever-suave Nestor Carbonell) is doing is best to lure her into coming to work in Portland – after all, she DID successfully impregnate a male field mouse. Oh, so that’s what she does – pointless fertility research! Well, her research must be super-pointless because Alpert is jocking her pretty hard. When she mentions she couldn’t go because her ex is basically extorting her into staying, she lets it slip that the only thing that would help is if Edmund were hit by a bus. After leaving in a flurry of distraught tears, we cut to…

Bad-ass Juliet scanning the monitors for the whereabouts of Sawyer and Kate. She looks at the 6 screens that cover the 2-3 square mile island, and luckily they pass right in front of one of the cameras. She sees Alex with them, and realize that they must be going to see… Mac from ‘Always Sunny in Philadelphia’? He plays the young Other, Aldo, who happens to be guarding yet another section of dilapidated Dharma real estate while casually reading Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” – maybe this was punishment for banging Dennis’ Mom? While contemplating the event horizons of black holes, Aldo is surprised to see Alex with Kate and Sawyer as prisoners. Aldo lets it slip that Ben is Alex’s father (?), and while radioing in for backup, he falls victim to the “Wookie prisoner” technique, and Sawyer spears him. After securing Aldo with a rifle butt to the dome, Sawyer and Kate follow Aldo’s direction to the cell where Karl is being held (cell #23, of course). Although it would seem from the outside that Karl is rolling his face off in a sweet rave, he’s actually being subjected to the PG version of Clockwork Orange “re-education”. There’s all sorts of weird audio and visual shit going on, but it all looks like pretty groundbreaking stuff.

Pickett and the Others find Aldo passed out, but Juliet catches up with them and tell them that Ben gave the order to let Kate and Sawyer go. Pickett refuses to believe her, and we flashback to Juliet and Calamity Jane. Jane tells her that her research does work, she’s pregnant! I guess she must be a male and/or field mouse. So they weep and sob together, and Jane says that all she needs to do is cure her combination of AIDS, Cancer, and Leprosy and she can raise her child! More tears. Now that the research works, Juliet has to tell Edmund. She does, and he promptly gets hit by a bus. That’ll teach him to be a smarmy douche in Lost world!

Back in the OR, Jack finishes the surgery with a queasy Mr. Friendly assisting. In one of the all time biggest Lost cock-teases, Jack asks Friendly why they didn’t just take Ben to a facility off the island, and Friendly starts to say, “Well, since the sky turned purple…” But then Jack screws up and nicks an artery! Aaahh! Let the man finish explaining!

So Kate and Sawyer reach Alex’s boat with Karl, but Pickett’s got them in his sights. Lucky for them Juliet blows him away before he can get off a shot. Juliet tells them to go, but Alex has to stay – Ben’s orders. So Alex says goodbye to Karl (more tears), and Juliet lets Kate radio to Jack that she’s okay. He makes her tell him the story he told her on that first day, which is juxtaposed to Jack fixing his similar fuckup on Ben. Again, more sobbing. Jack makes Kate promise that she’ll never come back for him – more tears. Kate and Sawyer push out the boat and sail off to the gigantic island right in front of them.

Cut to Edmund’s gross-ass corpse. As Juliet signs for the body, she sobs.

Back in the OR, Juliet and Jack share a moment while gazing at Ben’s body. Jack asks what Juliet and Ben talked about, and we go back to Juliet sobbing over Edmund’s body. In pops Mr. Alpert and his underling, Ethan, and they “express their condolences” while pitching the job to her one last time. AND they know about her man-sister being pregnant. When Juliet asks if her sister can come, they respond by saying that they’re not quite “in” Portland, but actually thousands of miles from Portland in the middle of the ocean. Sold!

Juliet tells Jack that she’s been on the island for three years, and (welling up with tears) if she helped him, Ben would let her… go home.

So, there you have it – the culmination of my 3 month bitter and angst-fueled expectations. Did I like the episode? Ehhh, not really. What was with the sob-fest? I haven’t seen that much crying in an hour since the 4th quarter of the AFC Championship. Even in the “Lost” script template in Final Draft, F11 is the shortcut for “HE/SHE SOBS UNCONTROLLABLY”. It was way too much heavy drama for my tastes.

AND, they focused the entire hour on the one story that sucked the most during those first 6 episodes. And when you boil it down, we’re really no further into knowing what they are doing on the island. It has something to do with fertility – ok, we knew that when pregnant Claire was kidnapped by Ethan. And now we know that it may have something to do with the pointless brainwashing of random idiots.

But whatever. I assume that this story was broken before the outcry of “Foul” from the collective fan base. And there are still people who worship the show even after the writers admitted that they want to figure out an end point for the series so they’re not spewing garbage onto the page every day. Plus now that we know Lost is mortal after all when Criminal Minds beat it, and CSI: New York (Street…on the Radford lot) beat it last week after it was moved to 10pm so as not to get endlessly dick-punched by American Idol, this series could be done sooner than you think. The writers should figure out an end point and know when to quit. Otherwise they’ll suffer from 24-itis, which, in it’s 6th season, is the dumbest f@*king show on television.

Speaking of 24, I’ve been doing some serious monitoring of chatter – Internet chatter, that is. And here’s what I’ve found out about this episode of Lost and the series in general:

  • According to the massive article in Entertainment Weekly by Jeff Jensen (who must have taken a short break from endless fellating the show to actually writing about it), we’ll find out about…wait for it… Jack’s tattoos! And in case you thought that wasn’t awesome enough, the talentless Bai Ling is somehow involved. I can’t wait. Also we supposedly find out about why Locke was in the wheelchair, even though I thought they had planned to wait for season 12 for that one. In next week’s, we’ll see the stewardess Cindy and the kidnapped kids from the tail section, and in three weeks we get to see the connection of the Others to the Dharma Initiative. We also see a new hatch – Dharma Flame, which probably involves some gay storyline. (Yeah, I went there.)
  • Tonight, we’re supposed to have a Desmond flashback device that the producers say will either “blow people’s minds or chase them away for good.”
  • The Michael/Walt story won’t be touched until Season 4.
  • “None of the big questions are going to answered until the end of the series,” says Carlton Cuse, the show’s executive producer. He added, “We will continue to pull stories out of our collective asses until we are staring down the barrel of cancellation, at which point we will give our duped audience some half-assed all-encompassing explanation of everything.”
  • You all knew that rave room had a tons of stuff for geeks to freeze-frame, slow down, play backwards, etc. Here’s what happens when you play the audio backwards:
  • - And here’s what Mac was reading in “A Brief History of Time”:
  • - Cheech Marin plays Hurley’s Dad??:
    Check out the smoke-show that plays Tricia Tanaka (and I’m sure she will be crushed under Hurley’s massive weight)

Score (out of a possible 20)

Back Story: 4

Island Story: 5

Total: LAME