LOST: “The Shape of Things to Come”

I’m going to apologize up front for the poor quality of tonight’s LOST post. Script Frenzy is sucking up all my free time and energy. Rather than neglect LOST entirely, I’ve decided to just do a half-arsed job. So there you go. Spoilers and such about tonight’s episode after the break.

Links and miscellanea:

  • Apparently, Josh Holloway was in Turkey recently, filming an ice cream commercial.
  • Doc Artz has the highlights and full audio of a Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof conference call about the remainder of the season.
  • The Washington Post had this Q and A with Henry Ian Cusick.
  • The season has been lengthened by an hour to accommodate a three-hour season finale. But we’ll skip a week between the first hour and the last two. Confusing enough?
  • Want to watch the cast of LOST say “What” for two minutes? Well, you can anyway.
  • I like this one a little bit more: What if LOST had a cheesy theme song like the kinds we used to enjoy in the ’70s and ’80s?
  • A video podcast has been posted answering fan questions, but very few answers were forthcoming. It was mostly just dodging.
  • An audio podcast was also posted over a month ago. In that podcast, they revealed the code name for this year’s finale: “the frozen donkey wheel.” Seriously. They also reveal that the oceanic Six are indeed Jack, Kate, Aaron, Sayid, Hurley and Sun. There is also an interesting, though probably not very reliable, discussion of apparitions, characters, and hallucinations on the show.
  • Here’s a piece on Matthew Fox and his acting ambitions.
  • ABC has launched an online interactive game, Lostscape, based on the show.
  • The Onion’s A.V. Club has an interview with Cuse and Lindelof.
  • Here’s a nice feature about Jeff Fahley (Frank Lapidus).
  • TV Squad runs down nine ways to die on the island. My favorite: buried alive, of course. Though getting Arzted would have a certain appeal.

Observations and speculations:

Wow. What an intense episode. I think we’re beginning to feel the effects of the strike-shortened-and-condensed back half of season 4. I have a feeling that the show is going to be very brutal and breakneck from here to the end of the season.

  • I’ve to wonder just how good of a doctor Jack is if he can’t correctly diagnose what’s wrong with his gut. Or, I suppose, he knew how severe it was, but hid it from Kate. He’s got another doctor there with him on the beach (Juliet), why not appeal to her?
  • Believe it or not, I called the Risk game right before it was shown. It was a nice moment. I hope they writers find a way to include humor like this now and then in the coming episodes.
  • The speculation about who shot Karl and Danielle was put to rest early. I still think Danielle may be alive. Remember, Locke took a bullet to the gut and didn’t die. I have Danielle pegged as one that the island won’t let die (an Island Immortal, if you will). This group likely also includes Ben and Charles Widmore. I look for Danielle to appear at a key moment and make a surprise attack in the war.
  • I don’t know what “Code 14-J” means, exactly, but I do think it means that the “numbers” from the first season have now been entirely abandoned.
  • Ben ended up in the Sahara the same way that the polar bear did, I surmise. The island apparently has “portals” to other geographic locations on the globe, and one of these is in Tunisia. I suspect that the subject also travels through time, perhaps without knowing when exactly he or she is going to end up. Note that Ben lied to Sayid about how he got off the island (claiming to have taken Desmond’s boat to Fiji and chartering a plane). That’s clearly not what happened.
  • When Ben lands in the Sahara, he is wearing a coat with the name “Holliwax” on it, which is also one of Dr. Marvin Candle‘s aliases. The jacket bears a DHARMA insignia I’ve never seen before—sort of a swirly thing, like maybe a coiled snake.
  • The body count is really starting to accelerate. In addition to Alex (a dramatic death), we have the freighter doctor and three redshirts in Othersville (the last of which was actually wearing a red shirt). Presumably, the Smoke Monster took out at least some of Keamy’s team.
  • The alias that Ben uses at the Tunisia hotel is “Dean Moriarty,” which, as we’ve already discussed is the name that appeared on the passport in Ben’s Othersville bunker. As previously mentioned, it’s a reference both to a character in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and also Professor Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes’ arch-enemy. (Does this mean Charles Widmore is Sherlock Holmes? I’m not yet convinced that Widmore’s the ultimate villain here, though Ben is trying to convince everyone that he is.)
  • Sayid apparently married Nadia, his long-lost love and former torture victim, and lived with her for a short time in Los Angeles after he got off the island. It is there she was killed by Widmore’s man, according to Ben—though this may have been a ploy to get Sayid to work for him. Recall that the last time we saw Nadia, she was getting her house inspected by Locke in (I think) California. Then he returned to his hometown of Tikrit to bury Nadia’s body.
  • Jacob’s an odd guy. Apparently, he’s very picky about who he speaks to. Ben needs Locke to communicate with Jacob, and Hurley to find his cabin. Weird.
  • Sawyer is very loyal. He risks his life to save Claire, then initiates a Mexican standoff to try to get Hurley back to the beach. It’s a personal characteristic that would have been hard to anticipate during season 1, when he was only looking out for himself. I like that his character is built around that contradiction.
  • I’m guessing that Keamy’s men knew that Miles was planning to double cross Widmore. That’s probably why he’s not anxious to get back to them. Personally, I’m really looking forward to Miles meeting Jacob. That should really cause some fireworks. I’m also assuming that meeting Jacob was the purpose for which Widmore brought Miles (the “ghostbuster”) to the island.
  • I like the melodrama of Charles Widmore and Ben Linus as the kings in a global game of chess. Apparently, they had an understanding, or a “rule” that family members were off limits. Maybe Ben miscalculated by telling Keamy that Alex wasn’t actually his daughter. Perhaps that was why Charles said that Ben was the one who killed Alex.
  • Ben’s secret chamber has a very ancient archeology look to it. Something very ancient on the island, some stone hieroglyphs, are related to the Smoke Monster, and perhaps Jacob. I’m sure that the fansites are going to dissect that stone chamber door in detail.
  • Sayid fell for some pretty transparent reverse psychology: “No, Sayid. Don’t get involved. Don’t become my personal assassin. Don’t do my nefarious bidding. After all, I can take care of the people who ruined your life all by myself. No really. Don’t help me at all. Just go back to whatever it was you were doing.”
  • Ben apparently has the ability to summons the Smoke Monster. That doesn’t necessarily mean he knows what it is. By the way, one of the most awesome Smoke Monster appearances yet.
  • Bernard gets cool points for knowing Morse code.
  • Do Farraday and Charlotte Lewis know that the plan was to kill everyone on the island? I hope we find out a little bit more about their perspectives. It seems that several of the freighter people don’t know the whole story.
  • The final scene with Charles Widmore and Ben Linus was great. The tone has really shifted, though. This scene would have been awfully hard to see coming after the first season. Here’s some of what we learned from that scene: Widmore has some kind of prior claim on the island, and believes Ben stole it from him. How is it that Widmore can’t find the island? What does it move around? Ben says he can’t kill Widmore. Widmore may have the protection fothe island.
  • By the way, Widmore has the same kind of scotch at his bedside table, MacCutcheon, that he drank with Desmond when Desmond last saw him before ending up on the island.
  • Now Desmond and Ben’s fates are in opposition. Does Ben realize that? Does Ben know anything about Desmond? It will be interesting to see how that plays out.
  • Why is Penny so hard to find? The last we saw her, she was living in some swanky London apartment, where she had stayed for several years, hoping that Desmond might call her on Christmas Eve. Was Widmore bluffing?

I don’t know about you all, but I thought that episode was fantastic. I can’t imagine very many people have that much to complain about, but feel free to gripe in the comments if you wish. I’m too tired to go back and correct all the typos in this post right now, so I’ll just ask you to cut me some slack.

See you all next week.

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22 thoughts on “LOST: “The Shape of Things to Come”

  1. By the way, Widmore has the same kind of scotch at his bedside table, MacCutcheon, that he drank with Desmond when Desmond last saw him before ending up on the island.

    Also, I believe, the brand Charlie used to get Desmond drunk and get information out of him.

    I don’t know what “Code 14-J” means, exactly, but I do think it means that the “numbers” from the first season have now been entirely abandoned.

    Except that Alex entered 1623 as the code at the electric barrier fence.

  2. Jacob’s an odd guy. Apparently, he’s very picky about who he speaks to. Ben needs Locke to communicate with Jacob, and Hurley to find his cabin. Weird.

    I think that’s because Hurley was the last to actually see the cabin. And Ben knew that because Hurley was telling Locke the cabin was “that way” when Locke was first taking them to it.

    I’m guessing that Keamy’s men knew that Miles was planning to double cross Widmore. That’s probably why he’s not anxious to get back to them. Personally, I’m really looking forward to Miles meeting Jacob. That should really cause some fireworks. I’m also assuming that meeting Jacob was the purpose for which Widmore brought Miles (the “ghostbuster”) to the island.

    I hadn’t thought of that. Very interesting. Is Miles a good guy? Is Jacob a good guy?

    Now Desmond and Ben’s fates are in opposition. Does Ben realize that? Does Ben know anything about Desmond? It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

    The Penny/Desmond story has always been the center, at least since Season Two. What I don’t like about the trajectory of the show is that it has gone away from the more mystical aspects of the first season, and also shifted from the importance of the Oceanic survivors. After all, that’s how we are introduced to the story, through them. At this point, however, so much is focused on Ben—who is a bad guy—that they are really heading away from where they started the show. This is a criticism I have of the writers for Alias too. For both shows, these writers add too many layers and then shift from the original concept or focus.

  3. Sayid fell for some pretty transparent reverse psychology: “No, Sayid. Don’t get involved. Don’t become my personal assassin. Don’t do my nefarious bidding. After all, I can take care of the people who ruined your life all by myself. No really. Don’t help me at all. Just go back to whatever it was you were doing.”

    Good! That made me LOL. I was thinking the same thing. It’s pretty immature/short-sighted of Sayid, I think. I wonder if something happens on the Island between I-hate-Ben Sayid of last week and I’m-willing-to-work-for-Ben Sayid of this week to make Sayid “trust” him?

  4. Wow! I’m totally impressed with your insight. I’d forgotten about the whole scotch thing but you’re right. I think that Danielle is still alive too. She’s reappeared suddenly before in the show, I’m pretty confident she will again. If for no other reason than to revenge her daughter’s death. And I agree that Ben making the mistake of panicking and saying that Alex wasn’t his daughter was the reason for her death. Family members are off limits in this weird richman’s game. So, I’m a little slow but that makes me appreciate you pointing out the whole polar bear in the desert thing. They must have been using the polar bears as “lab rats” in their teleporting experiments, before Ben tried it himself.

    Thanks for the great post. I’ve got so much to chew on!

  5. Fantastic episode, but here are my Comic Book Guy complaints.

    - The scene where Sawyer was dodging bullets was wayyyy too improbable. The attackers killed 5 people at range with pinpoint accuracy, they fire a thousand rounds at Sawyer who is doing nothing but hiding behind a picnic table and running behind a picket fence. Maybe it was island protection.

    -I didn’t quite buy Sayid being convinced so easily by Ben that the bald dude killed his wife. Ben just told him the guy was driving away fast from the crime scene, and that is enough for Sayid to kill him no questions asked? Perhaps Sayid is so enraged it doesn’t matter.

    Did anyone notice the mysterious tattoo that was on Jack’s forearm when he was grabbing medicine, but then wasn’t there later? I haven’t seen a screen grab for this, so i assume that it was a stand-in…

  6. Why not expect Alex to be brought back to life?

    I thought that Sayid’s leap to accept Ben’s story about the driver was a bit much, too. It seems his training would give him better thinking even in times of stress.

    That said, when he is in Tikrit and seems to accept the accusation, I guess it seems more probable.

  7. ESO –

    Even though his training would take control, he seemed to be wrapped up in a lot of emotion about the whole situation. He said something about searching 8 years to find the love of his life, and now she’s dead.

    Perhaps his irrationality stems from that or from everything irrational that happened on the island?

  8. The more I think about it, the more I think Ben set Sayid up. We know what Ben’s modus operandi is: find out what is the most important to someone, then use it against them. Even if Ben wasn’t responsible for Nadia’s death (which certainly isn’t that much of a stretch), he probably saw the news about her death as a wonderful opportunity.

    Interestingly, that was the same strategy that was used against him when the freighter commandos kidnapped Alex. Ben’s lapse was directly related to the fact that he was emotionally vulnerable due to his feelings for Alex.

  9. I loved the Alex death scene, it really raised the stakes and it was cold blooded. I also loved it because they are starting to weed out some of these fringe characters that don’t do much.

    How are Farraday and Charlotte walking around free? They have been beyond sketchy and admit they aren’t there to help. Wouldn’t somebody put their foot down and attempt to get answers?

    The intersection of Santa Monica and La Brea with the photo light made me chuckle. That light is a huge pain in the butt. The green is way too short and I see people get busted at that light nearly every day. Those are huge tickets too.

    So what does “the doctor is fine” mean? Is he still alive on the boat? Is life on the island ahead of life off of it? I don’t remember if Farraday’s experiment is consistent with that.

    Sawyer dodging bullets made me laugh. They were shooting with about 100% accuracy before that, and with what they were shooting, a picnic table wouldn’t have helped him.

    I’m afraid this show is right on the edge of getting too weird for me. I’m all for different stuff, but this is soooo far from what we started with. I think I may draw the line a teleporting.

  10. I’m afraid this show is right on the edge of getting too weird for me. I’m all for different stuff, but this is soooo far from what we started with. I think I may draw the line a teleporting.

    John, this is actually one of the first seasons I’ve watched during the TV season. The previous 3 seasons I’ve watched on DVD, and I think it’s not only a lot easier to watch because things come together, but you can really see the writers direction with where they’re going. I do the same with 24

    Teleportation and time travel MIGHT detract some people, but I think that’s because we’re now seeing more emphasis on the sci-fi area (which hasn’t really been there) compare to the character-driven shows of season 1/2

  11. It appears logical that Ben will send Sayid to kill Penny, right? And Sayid would probably recognize her from the photo? That could set up an interesting conflict down the road.

  12. I agree, I watched the first 2 seasons of Lost on DVD and watched all but 1 season of 24 the same way. I like it much better. But I don’t want to wait. And I want to discuss the episodes when they are relevant, so it is my own fault I guess.

  13. Sayid was set up from the get-go. I expect that Ben is responsible for his wife’s death.

  14. A few thoughts.

    I think Sayid was set up but I don’t think Ben killed Sayid’s wife. The big question is why she was killed.

    I think Ben appeared where the Polar Bear was found. There’s some kind of teleportation on the island (which is how Locke’s dad ended up there).

    It appears that those on the island can’t die off the island (but they can get old as we see with Widmore). So who was in the coffin at the end of last season?

    How did the head mercenary survive the smoke monster?

    I think the reason Ben’s daughter was killed was because Ben denied she was his daughter. That’s why Widmore says Ben was responsible. I think the “rule” was no attacks on family members. But it was a weird scene.

    Some people have mentioned missing the more mystical stuff. What do you want to be the island is responsible for Jack’s appendicitus? Otherwise, given what happened to everyone else, he should have been getting better not worse. I think next week with be a Jack-centric episode and we’ll be getting more about ghost-dad. My guess? Jacob is Jack’s father.

    So did everyone with Locke die except for Claire, Hurley, and Sawyer? (And Ben and the psychic guy, but they don’t count)

  15. Clark,

    So did everyone with Locke die except for Claire, Hurley, and Sawyer? (And Ben and the psychic guy, but they don’t count)

    Excellent question. There were a large number besides just Sawyer, Hurley and Claire who decided to go with Locke. The writers must be really hurrying to have forgotten about them so suddenly. Or Locke is a really poor leader who can’t watch his flock and really is only doing all that he is doing in self-interest. If that is the case, why would he make the effort to convince the Losties to follow him for safety?

    My feeling is that the writers are cutting way too many corners here.

  16. I got the impression we were supposed to believe they were all shot except for those who stayed near Ben. But it wasn’t clear if they all were.

  17. Oh, regarding Sawyer not being shot. Think of Michael not being shot. I think that when the Island wants someone safe they are safe.

  18. We saw one of the other Oceanic survivors right before he got shot. Total Red Shirt – it was the only time since they’ve taken up refuge in Othertown that we’ve seen a person outside of the core group. He appears simply to set the shoot out in motion. I was distracted for a few seconds thinking, “who the heck was that guy??” Bit weak on the part of the writers.
    Do we think that Ben is part of the Oceanic 6 or not?

  19. Not. We already know all the Oceanic 6. Ben gets off the island via the transporter that presumably brought Locke’s father to the Island.

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