Tag Archives: Dharma initiative

Lost: A Show About Science or A Show About Faith? – Thoughts on the END of Lost’s Series Finale “The End”

Last night, I wrote a blog entry, in which I discussed some of the lighter aspects of Lost‘s generally feel-good Series Finale, “The End.”  In it, I, more or less, completely refrained from discussing the show’s controversial ending, and promised to tackle that issue exclusively in another post.  Well, I’M BAAACK . . .

One Man of Science.  One Man of Faith.  The Island wasn’t big enough for both of them . . .  or was it?

In the last season of Lost, there was much talk and broohaha about this image, and all the ideas it represents . . .

Light versus Dark.  Black versus White.  Good versus Evil.  Heaven versus Hell.  And while that dichotomy was certainly central to the battle between Jacob and the Man in Black . . .

 . . . our Losties, for the most part, resided somewhere in between.  Much like the rest of us non-television characters, their morality was covered in shades of grey.   For them (and for us), the REAL battle for control of Lost island was one that was a lot less clear cut, making it a lot less certain who we should root for.  And, ultimately,  it was this battle, that took center stage during the final half of the Season finale. (After they, you know, got rid of that pesky Black Smoke thing  . . .)

Jack v. Locke – The Man of Science versus The Man of Faith

Although Lost undoubtedly featured many characters and their respective stories of redemption, at its core were the journeys of two men.  When we first meet Jack Shepard, he is the quintessential Man of Science.  He’s a surgeon, and about as left-brained as a person can get.  There is not a creative or artistic bone in this man’s body.  So, understandably, when it comes to matters of faith or destiny, he’s a complete Doubting Thomas.  For him, if an explanation doesn’t appear in a medical reference book, it just plain doesn’t exist.

John Locke, on the other hand, is a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants, Man of Faith, guy.  He’s Mister “Nobody tells me what I can and can’t do.”  A guy who sees absolutely nothing wrong with signing up for a “walkabout,” despite being completely incapable of “walking about.”  Upon crashing on the island, he suddenly regains use of his legs, and, thereafter, becomes convinced that the Island is his Destiny.  He is absolutely certain that some higher power has brought him to the Island; and that he is, therefore, meant to remain and do great things there . . .

For the first Four Seasons of Lost, pretty much up until Locke’s “death,” we watched these two men battle it out with one another, arguing for the righteousness of their respective ideologies.  Neither man would budge an inch with respect to his position.  However, upon REAL Locke’s death, at the end of Season 4, things change for Jack Shepard.  During the last two seasons of the show,  Jack slowly evolved from a Man of Science into a Man of Faith. 

First, after escaping the Island as part of the Oceanic Six, he returns to it, believing he is meant to rescue the others who remained thereon.  In Season 6, when the Losties are once again ready to escape the island, this time on a boat, Jack jumps ship, convinced that the island “isn’t done with [him] yet.  Then, in the penultimate episode of the show, Jack LITERALLY drinks Jacob’s Kool Aid, and agrees to remain on the island, throwing away his promising surgical career in order to “protect” what, for all intents and purposes, was a Giant Lightbulb . . .

Scientific Answers versus Mystical Answers  – The SHOW About Science versus The SHOW About Faith

When it really came down to it, I think Lost‘s journey as a show, was similar to Jack’s journey, as a character.  Lost started out as a Show About Science (Science Fiction, perhaps, but, science, nonetheless).  In the show’s early seasons, many of the Island’s mysteries were explained through quasi-scientific means.  Flight 815 was initially thought to have been brought down, as a result of the Island’s unique electromagnetic properties, which were inherent to the Island’s location, but were also exacerbated by a Hydrogen Bomb buried beneath its surface . . .  These electromagnetic qualities also allowed the Island itself, and its inhabitants, to move freely through the time/space barrier and . . .  basically . . . time travel.

Those all important numbers, which Hurley chose in order to win the lottery, and which Desmond was forced to repeatedly punch into a computer screen to prevent the Island’s destruction . . .

Were part of the Valenzetti Equation, derived by members of the Dharma Initiative, to determine the exact point in time at which all human life would cease to exist.  The Dharma initiative itself was, more or less, a scientific research group, which took advanage of the island’s unique electromagnetic properties in order to experiment with various facets of human life, from a woman’s ability to give birth . . .

 . . . to psychology, subliminal messaging, and mind control . . .

Then, Season 6 came around, and like Jack Shepard, Lost had to go and get all “Faith-y” on us.  Island mysteries, like “why the plane crashed,” which had once been explained by science, were now explained as being part of the “Master Plan,” in a battle between the God-like Jacob . . .

 . . . and the Devil-like Man in Black . . .

 . . . for control of the Island, and, by extension, the souls of its inhabitants . . .

Supernatural, and biblical-type reasoning was now used to explain Island mysteries such as why MIB couldn’t escape the Island, why Richard Alpert wouldn’t age . . .

 . . . why Jacob and MIB couldn’t kill one another, how Locke became Flocke . . .

 . . . and who Adam and Eve were . . .

The Last Ten Minutes of the Finale Episode of Lost – Flash Sideways of Science (Time Travel) versus Flash Sideways of Faith (Purgatory)

So, I guess, it shouldn’t really have surprised me (but it DID!), that the final Lost mystery, the reason behind the Flash Sideways, ended up being a faith-based reason (preparation for the afterlife / purgatory) . . .

 . . . as opposed to a science-based reason (an alternate universe created as a result of Juliet’s detonation of the hydrogen bomb at the end of Season 5).

And, I have to say, that the fact that this promo picture, released just before Season 6 began, didn’t give the religious implications of the finale away to me, makes me more than a bit mad at myself . . .

I guess, when it really comes down to it, how you felt about Lost’s final moments (MULTITUDE of unanswered questions notwithstanding), really comes down to which side of the Man of Science / Man of Faith debate YOU fall under.  Me, personally?  I’m a bit more of a “science” girl.  So, I was a little disappointed that the Flash Sideways World did not, in fact, end up being the hydrogen bomb-created alternate universe I had initially envisioned. 

Plus, Flash Sideways World just seemed so PERFECT!   And because I’d truly grown to love these characters, having spent six years with them, I really wanted this world to exist FOR THEM!  Because, without it . . .

Ji Yeon would REALLY be an orphan . . .

David Shepard would COMPLETELY cease to exist . . . Oh, and most of the Losties would already be DEAD!

 . . . including THIS GUY!

But, putting my personal feelings aside, the fact that the Flash Sideways World ended up being purgatory makes sense, BECAUSE everything was so perfect there.  In essence, Flash Sideways World gave our main Losties the oppportunity to redeem themselves from wrongs they felt they had committed during their actual lifetimes .  . .

Jack Shepard had a bad relationship with his father, who degraded his worth constantly, and always chose his work over him, so in Flash Sideways World Purgatory he was a supportive and understanding father to his son . . .

During his lifetime, Sawyer was a con artist, who shunned justice.  So, in purgatory, he was a detective, who fought hard to protect it.

Sorry! I know technically I should have found a “cop uniform” pic of Sawyer, but I just couldn’t help myself . . .

On the island, Kate unknowingly abandoned Claire, and ended up raising her child, Aaron.  But in Purgatory, she guides Claire through the birthing process, and allows her to raise her own baby . . . And, as for Claire, she gets to keep her kid, and not become a skanky haired wackadoo.  YAY!

In the real world, Sayid’s murderous lifestyle resulted in the death of the love of his life, Nadia.

In Purgatory, he lets his brother marry Nadia instead, and, in doing so, probably spares her life.

In the real world, Desmond loved Penny Widmore, but her father’s disapproval of him kept the two of them apart.  In Purgatory, Desmond works for Charles Widmore, and has gained his utmost trust and respect . . .

In Purgatory, Hurley isn’t a loveable loser who won the lottery and STILL can’t accomplish anything.  He’s a loveable WINNER, who get’s the girl and is rich enough to employ the ENTIRE CAST OF LOST!

Purgatory Ben is a kindly history teacher who saves Alex’s future, by sacrificing his own personal success to ensure her entrance into an Ivy League college, instead of . . . you know . . . GETTING HER KILLED!  And Purgatory Locke is a pretty nice guy too, and Ben’s BFF to boot!

And, as I mentioned before, Jin and Sun, actually get to raise their kid Purgatory World.  Plus, they successfully ditch Sun’s Asshat Dad.

Matthew Fox probably explained the whole “purgatory thing”  best, in his post-finale interview with Jimmy Kimmel, when he said something to the effect of: “There’s a school of thought that, after you die, you go to a sort of ‘waiting place’ in which you encounter everyone who was important in your life.  Once you have reunited with, and reconciled with, these people, you can truly accept your own mortality and . . . move on.”  (And you just KNOW Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse fed him those words, because Matthew Fox may be smart, but not THAT smart!)

I’ll have to admit that when Christian Shepard (and if THAT’S not a “Man of Faith” name, I don’t know what is) . . .

 . . . . appeared in that Non-Denominational (or, rather, ALL Denominational) Church / Temple, OUTSIDE of his own coffin, and replied to Jack’s question of “How did you get here?  Aren’t you dead?” with . . .

 “How did YOU get here?”  . . .

I screamed at the television . . .

“YOU PROMISED THEY WEREN’T DEAD THIS WHOLE TIME, J.J. ABRAMS!  YOU LIAR!  I JUST WASTED SIX YEARS OF MY LIFE FOR YOU!”

But then, when Christian explained that, “Everything that happened on the Island was real . . . Everyone dies eventually . . . Some of these people died before you, some long after you .  . .” I calmed down a bit . . .

And in the penultimate scene of the show, when Jack stumbles out from the cave, lays down on the ground next to doggie Vincent, watches his fellow Losties successfully escape the Island on a plane, and, subsequently, CLOSES his eyes in death, just as he had opened them so many times during the LIFE of the show, I thought to myself, “What an appropriate ending . . .”

But then they HAD to show me this . . .

While the producers didn’t go as far as I feared they would, by showing me a heap of dead bodies lying amongst the wreckage, they showed me enough to make me wonder if I was being f**ked with.  And I couldn’t help but be reminded of ANOTHER intriguing, but unnerving, Open-Ended Series Finale that left me with more questions than answers . . .

(Special thanks to njean666 for this fabulous clip)

They never make it easy for us, do they?

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Lost’s “The Package,” a.k.a “That Snoozy, Filler, Jin/Sun Episode” – Cliff Notes Version

 

Congratulations Yunjin Kim!  Not only did you, apparently, get hitched a couple of days ago, you also got this week’s entire episode of Lost to yourself (well .  . . HALF of the entire episode).  You are officially having the BEST WEEK EVER!  Yay you!

Back by popular demand (or, rather, back as a result of my own recapping laziness), below please find some of the questions that were answered during this installment of Lost.

1) This episode was called “The Package.”  That’s kind of a generic name for an episode, don’t you think?  I mean, last week’s episode title was in Latin.  And the week before, the episode was about HOT SAWYER.  So who even cared what the title was?  What WAS “The Package” supposed to be, anyway?

This . . . was the package . . .

I’m serious!  The package was a PERSON!  It was Desmond Hume!  What?  You thought I was making a joke, just so I could list “Shirtless Desmond” in my tags, and get more hits on my blog?  No way, Jose.  (Not that I WOULDN’T do that . . . I just didn’t do it this time.)

2) So, that guy Charles Widmore, that girl Zoey (who everyone says looks like Tina Fey) and the rest of the people who arrived at Hydra Island on the submarine, what is THEIR DEAL?  Why are they here?

If Charles Widmore was telling the truth when he spoke to Jin tonight (which I am not entirely convinced of yet), the crack team that I lovingly refer to as “Team Subbie” is here to prevent MIB / Smokey from leaving the island.  According to Widmore, if MIB gets free, Jin’s daughter, Ji Yeon (who Jin hasn’t yet had the chance to meet), Widmore’s daughter, Penelope, and Sun will somehow cease to exist.  If true, this would mean that, in terms of goals, Team Subbie is actually aligned with . . .

What the heck Desmond Hume has to do with all this, I still have no idea . . .

3) So, is Kate one of Jacob’s “candidates,” or isn’t she?  MIB certainly seems to think she’s important . . .

Kate used to be one of the candidates.  But, for some reason, is no longer on the list.  However, MIB needs Kate to help him get all of the CURRENT candidates off of the island.  According to MIB, this is necessary in order for HIM (or IT) to leave the island.  This idea sort of jives with what we learned in Ab Aeterno.  Jacob’s original purpose, and that of whichever candidate ultimately becomes his replacement, is to keep MIB, and his evil Smokey powers from leaving the island.  No Jacob, and no Jacob’s replacement = no more island prison for MIB.

4) What about Crazy Claire?  Was she ever on Jacob’s list?

NO!  (That was an easy one . . .)

5) One of the candidates on Jacob’s List is “Kwon.”  No one seems entirely sure whether that last name refers to Jin or Sun.  Seeing as this was a JIN AND SUN episode, did we get any closer to figuring this out?

You would think so, wouldn’t you?  Unfortunately, Lost writers are still sort of playing “hide the ball” on this one.  However, there were some hints given in the episode that would seem to suggest that JIN is the candidate. 

First, there was Widmore’s extreme interest in getting Jin to the Hydra.  Second, during this episode, the writers highlighted the fact that Sun’s maiden name was “Paik,” not “Kwon.”  (Note: In flash-sideways world, Sun and Jin are lovers, but not married.)  Third, Widmore’s cryptic comments about Sun “ceasing to exist” if MIB escapes the island; coupled with the flash-sideways images of Sun, shot and bleeding from the stomach, don’t bode particularly well for her . . .

But, then again, this is Lost, so all of this may end up meaning absolutely NOTHING!

6) Speaking of Lost stuff that initially SEEMS important to the overall mythology, but ends up meaning NOTHING, what was the deal with Room 23 — that place from back in Season 3, where Ben imprisoned Carl and forced him to watch that bizarre brain washy video?

Yeah, this was a bit of a cop out on Lost’s part, if you ask me.  The Room was mentioned during this episode, seemingly, only to be explained away in a few hastily written sentences.  Widmore inexplicably decided to keep Jin in Room 23, during this episode.  When the familiar video images pop on the screen, and majorly freak out our poor Korean gangster, Zoey explains that the “Dharma Initiative” used the Room to “experiment with subliminal messaging” . . . LAME!

7) In Sayid’s episode, Sundown, his flash-sideways world featured Jin bound and gagged in a restaurant freezer.  Was that explained tonight?

“Why is everybody always picking on ME?”

Good question, Jin.  And, yes, as it turns out, in flash-sideways world, Sergeant Keamy . . .

was hired by Sun’s daddy to kill Jin, for, literally, screwing, with the boss’s daughter.  Keamy never got a chance to do this, however, because RAMBO SAYID shot his ass before he got the chance . . .

I’m still not entirely sure, why all of this had to go down in a restaurant, though.  Seems kind of random, to me  .  . .  What exactly do you have against RESTAURANTS, Lost writers?  What did they ever do to you?

8 ) Remember that awesome patch-wearing dude Mikhail, who never EVER seemed to die, no matter what anybody did to him?  Why does he have to wear an eyepatch all the time?

OK . . . OK.  This was a bit of a stretch.  Of ALL the questions posed by the show Lost during the course of six seasons, I highly doubt that THIS was the one that was keeping you awake at night.  However, you have to admit, it was pretty cool of the Lost writers to pay homage to “Patchy” again, after all this time. 

This guy is AWESOME!

If you recall, in the original timeline, Mikhail was a hard core Other who just WOULDN’T die!  The dude was blown up, beaten up, shot and/or electrocuted, in every SINGLE episode in which he appeared, but he just kept coming back for more.  In flash-sideways world, Mikhail is a multi-lingual emissary of Keamy, and by extension, Sun’s father. 

Toward the end of the episode, Mikhail is shot dead by Jin, but also sustains an eye injury.   Mere coincidence?  Or, is there, perhaps, some real and lasting connection between the flash-sideways world inhabited by the Losties, and the original timeline?

Well, that’s all I got, folks.  Tune in next week, when we will hopefully be treated to much more Shirtless Desmond Hume and his super sexy Scottish brogue . . . oh, and maybe, get some more questions answered too.

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Lost and Zombies – A Recap of “What Kate Does”

You know how when you were a little kid, and you were absolutely certain you were going to have a snow day, so you stayed up late and skimped on your homework in anticipation of the big event?  Well, unfortunately, I am no longer a student.  And, as for a snow day, it could be the Apocalypse, and they still wouldn’t close my office.  Yet, I have decided to embrace my inner naughty girl and stay up late to type up this Lost recap. 

So here goes . . .

Kate in Flash-Sideways Land

“Curiouser and curioser .  . .”

When we last left Kate, back in alt-2004, she had just landed safely at LAX, given U.S. Marshal Edward Mars the slip, and hijacked a taxi that contained within it a very pregnant Claire.  In the episode’s opening scene, Kate holds the taxi driver at gunpoint and directs him out of the airport.  (By the way, I loved the random Midnight Cowboy reference inserted into this scene by the infamous dead-in-another- timeline Lostie, Doctor Arzt.  “Hey, I’m walking here!”   – Classic!)

Soon after the trio makes a getaway, the cowardly taxi driver jumps out of the cab and heads for the hills, leaving Claire to fend for herself.  (Even in Alt World, chivalry is apparently dead.)  Kate then forces Claire to give up her purse, and kicks her out of the cab. 

(Bad Kate!  Claire is so taking down your medallion number.  You will NEVER drive a cab in this town again!) 

Next, Kate heads to a car repair shop and pays the auto mechanic $200 to remove her handcuffs.  I’m not exactly sure where she got the money, seeing as most people don’t exactly carry cash on the way to the slammer.  Plus, Runaway Claire seemed pretty poor, so I doubt this money was hers.  However, I digress . . .

Later, as Kate is digging through Claire’s purse, she finds a stuffed whale, some baby paraphenalia, and a polaroid of the pregnant Claire, which presumably Claire planned to give to her adoptive parents so that her son would one day know his biological mother.  Struck with feelings of guilt (or deja vu), Kate drives the cab back to the bus stop where Claire is waiting.  Once there, Kate learns that Claire was supposed to be picked up at the airport by her son’s soon-to-be adoptive parents, but they never showed. 

Kate offers to give Claire a ride.  Genius Claire then agrees to get back in the taxi cab with the lunatic escape prisoner who held her at gunpoint and stole her purse.  Only on television will such acts of “bravery” NOT  leave you with a bullet lodged in your skull.

“Way to go, smarty pants!”

When Kate and Claire arrive at the home of the prospective adoptees, a nervous Claire asks Kate to go into the house with her.  Kate reluctantly agrees, and the two knock on the door.  A disheveled woman, eyes puffy from tears, explains that her husband has just left her and that she cannot raise a baby on her own.  Claire responds by going into labor right on this woman’s porch.  That’ll teach you to call first, before canceling your baby adoption plans!”

The most helpful convict ever, Kate drives Claire to the hospital and checks in with her, using an assumed name.  In ICU, Claire is cared for by none other than . . .  DR.  CREEPY MC-OTHER, ETHAN ROM!

There’s nothing McDreamy about this guy . . .

Dr. Creepy McOther tells Claire that she is far enough along to give birth.  However, if she doesn’t want to do that just yet, Creepy McOther can shoot her up with a lot of drugs and somehow postpone the birth.  If you recall, Creepy McOther kidnapped Claire on the island and shot her up with drugs there too.  In her second “super smart” move of the evening, Claire chooses the drugs . . . again.

NOOOOOOOO!  DON’T DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As if to protest her AWFUL decision, the baby heart monitor starts going haywire.  “Is Aaron going to be OK?”  Claire inquires frantically.

Instantly, both she and Kate flinch, as if recalling that, in alternate timeline, Claire’s child is actually named Aaron.  This is clearly a weird situation.  After all, in this timeline, Claire would have no reason to name her baby, as she planned on giving it up for adoption as soon as it was born.  Spooky! 

Eventually the monitors calm down.  Soon after, a couple of federal agents come looking for Kate, who is hiding nearby.  Claire covers for Kate, and the obviously-not-too-bright agents take their leave without asking too many questions.  Apparently, the agents and Claire share an IQ.

Kate thanks Claire for her generosity (or stupidity, depending on how you see it).  She then tells Claire that she should keep the baby.  Claire responds by offering Kate her credit card to be used during the remainder of her time on the run.  Quite a good team, these two.  In fact, they remind me of another female duo I used to know and love . . .

And we all know how that ended . . .

Jagged Little Pill

Back in the present day island world, Sayid has just come back from the dead, and Miles and Hurley have a few questions for him.    Miles wonders if Sayid saw the infamous white light.  Unfortunately, Sayid only remembers being shot and nothing more.  “You aren’t a zombie are you?”  Hurley inquires.

“No, I’m not a zombie,” Sayid answers straight-faced.

“OK.  We’ll be in the food court,” replies Hurley, before he and Miles exit stage left.

Could I just say, that these two have the best television bromance since Boston Legal’s Alan Shore and Denny Crane.  If they had their own show, I would totally watch.

Hugo “Hurley” Reyes and Miles Straume star in “We See Dead People.”  Coming Soon . . .

Mysterious Other-Others, Lennon and Dogen, also have some questions for the undead Sayid.  Unfortunately, they are interrupted in their interrogation, when a very angry Sawyer holds them and their minions at gunpoint.  Turns out our hot and tormented friend wants to blow this popsicle stand . . . and fast.  Knowing that Sawyer means business, Lennon and Dogen let him go, but then send two of their cronies out into the jungle to retrieve him.  To protect Sawyer and ensure his safety, Kate and Jin offer to go with these two men.

Kate gives the Others the slip and soon finds Sawyer at the Dharma cabin where he and Juliet played house with eachother in the past.  A heartbroken Sawyer confides in Kate that he feels responsible for Juliet’s death, since she wanted to leave the island and he hadn’t let her.  Had she left the island when she wanted to do so, she may have lived.  He then pulls out a ring and tells Kate that he had planned to ask Juliet to marry him.  Sawyer tosses the ring into the river, while a conflicted and still lovestruck Kate looks on in anguish . . .

Back at the temple, Lennon and Dogen take former torturer Sayid and . . . torture him, by prodding him with a burning hot poker and submitting him to some weird electroshock-type therapy.  “Why did you do this to me?” Sayid inquires.

“It was a test.  You passed,” explains Lennon.

After, Sayid leaves, however, Lennon and Dogen make it very clear that Sayid has, in fact,  failed the “test.”  Lennon then tells Jack that Sayid is “infected.”  He asks that Jack give Sayid a large silver pill to “save him.” 

A distrustful Jack asks Lennon what is in the pill, but answers are not forthcoming.  When Jack confronts Sayid about all this, Sayid agrees to take the pill if Jack thinks he should, because Sayid trusts Jack.

Still uncertain as to the right path, Jack confronts Dogen once again.  In a bold and impulsive act that is decidedly un-Jack, the Good Doc takes the pill himself.  A frantic Dogen heimlichs the pill out of Jack’s mouth instantly, and quickly explains that it contains poison.  “Why do you want to kill Sayid?”  Jack asks incredulously.

According to Lennon and Dogen, Sayid has a sickness, and once it enters his heart, the old Sayid will be completely “lost.”  When Jack asks how they know this, Lennon replies, “Because the same thing happened to . . .”

(Now at this point, I expected Lennon to say “Ben.”  After all, when Kate and Sawyer brought the young Ben to the temple to be healed from his bullet wound, Richard Alpert explained that once healed, he would “lose all innocence.”  So, it would make sense for Lennon to use Ben’s name.  But instead he says . . . )

 . . . “your sister.”

CLAIRE???????

Remember a few seasons back when Claire was rescued from a massive explosion at the Dharma compound with nothing but a splitting headache?  She then abandoned her baby in the middle of the night, and was never seen or heard from again, until an eerily calm, almost ghostlike, version of her appeared to Locke in Jacob’s cabin.  Suddenly, everything started to make sense . .

AHA!

In the final scene, the Other minions find and recapture Jin in the jungle.  Chip-On-His-Shoulder Minion looks as if he is about to shoot poor Jin, when shots ring out.  Both Other minions instantly fall down dead.  Jin looks up, confused, as an emotionless, gun-wielding, Claire steps out into view . . .

So what did you think?  Are Sayid and Claire really zombies?  Are the Losties ever going to get off the island in the present day?  Would you watch a buddy crime investigation show staring Miles and Hurley?

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