Tag Archives: Man of Science

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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Everybody Loves My Inappropriate Sense of Humor a.k.a My Thoughts on Lost’s “Everybody Loves Hugo”

“WILL ALL YOU CRAZY DEAD PEOPLE SHUT THE F UP?”  Charlie and I are trying to make a Burp Remix of ‘You All Everybody,’ and I can’t hear myself think!  Now I know how Dr. Dolittle feels . . .”

If Desmond-centric episodes represent the “Thinking Man’s Lost,” Hurley-centric episodes are the “Funny Man’s Lost.”  They generally never cover a lot of ground, storyline-wise, but rest assured, there will be a lot of laughs along the way.  Except . . . you may just find yourself feeling a bit guilty about what you are laughing at . . . (fat jokes, food jokes, jokes about people exploding into smithereens . . .)

Oh, and did I mention watching Hurley-centric episodes of Lost are a TERRIFIC excuse to get wasted?

So, here’s what I liked about the episode:

1) Ilana Goes Boom-Boom (and Bye, Bye)

Does it make me a bad person that I giggled a bit when Ilana got blown up by a randomly-placed stick of dynamite, just as she was self-righteously lecturing the Losties about following Dead Jacob’s orders?  The girl may have been Jacob’s “Candidate Protector.”  However, when it really came down to it, she ended up being nothing more than a glorified redshirt on this show. 

Did you notice how NONE of the Losties seemed remotely upset by her demise?  Talk about INSENSITIVE!  I mean, I can laugh, because I don’t really know the girl.  She’s just a random TV character to me, and a BORING one at that.  (BTW, I’m sure the actress –who is alive and well, by the way — is a lovely person . . .)  But . . . THESE GUYS?  Not even kindly HURLEY shed a tear for this one.   Maybe these uber self-absorbed folks are in HELL after all?

2) Rich Hurley, Poor Hurley – Same Difference

I loved that the writers didn’t go the typical route, and make Hurley a douche in flash-sideways world, just because he was lucky and financially successful there.  In fact, Rich Hurley was EXACTLY THE SAME as Poor Hurley, and BOTH are awesome!  I also loved how, despite all of Hurley’s great philanthropy and the accolades he received at that museum dedication ceremony made by DR. MARVIN CANDLE  . . .

Good one Lost!

Hurley’s mom still only cared about the fact that he didn’t have a girlfriend.   So typical!  Despite his immense success, Hurley was still just as insecure and nervous around girls, as always . . . ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE!

Speaking of girls . . .

3) Hurley and Libby Sitting on a BEACH, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!

These two were FABULOUS together, during this episode!  I loved how Libby was on a field trip away from the mental hospital, when she confronted Hurley about “knowing him in another life.” And yet, even though he didn’t remember her (at least, initially), he STILL wanted to go on a date with the loony lady!  I also loved that these two literally crazy kids FINALLY got to have their “Beach Date,” complete with an assortment of cheese (“Because everyone likes cheese,” says Hurley), and a surprisingly sexy kiss.  Said kiss was SO INTENSE, it brought back all of Hurley’s Lostie memories.  Kudos to Desmond, for making good on the promise he made during last week’s episode, to bring about the Losties’ awareness of Island World, by promoting generalized lovey-doveyness.

Speaking of Desmond . . .

4) Desmond go down the HOLE, Locke go under the CAR . . .

How PISSED did MIB look, when Desmond told him that he wasn’t afraid of him?  You just knew right then that Smokey was up to no good!  And of course, there was that WELL Smokey was showing Desmond.  If we’ve learned anything from our Lost writers, it’s that they will NEVER pass up the opportunity for a good Alice in Wonderland reference.  Down the rabbit hole, anyone?

(Speaking of scary children’s tales remade by Tim Burton, did you catch the Willy Wonka tunnel speech, in next week’s previews?)

Still gives me the chills!  No wonder Willy Wonka scared the stuffing out of me, as a kid!

So, it wasn’t particularly surprising that MIB threw Desmond down the well in Island World.  What WAS surprising, however, was that Flash-Sideways Desmond appeared to REMEMBER it!  So much so, that he didn’t have any qualms at all about running a wheelchair -bound Locke over with his car!  (Odd that the seemingly omniscient Desmond never caught on – – as everyone else on the island seemed to, instantly upon meeting him — that Nu-Locke and Old Locke weren’t the same person . . .)

“Peggy Bundy is going to be PISSED!”

By the way, did you catch how flash-sideways Ben TOTALLY thought Desmond was a major pedophile, because he found him parked in the high school parking lot, leering inappropriately?

5) Hurley takes charge!

It is HIGH TIME these Losties took Hurley, seriously!  I loved how Jack and the rest of Team Jacob (well . . . except for Miles, Ben and Richard Alpert) were willing to follow Hurley on his mission to talk to MIB, and prevent the other Losties from using the plane to leave the island.  Jack didn’t even seem to mind that much that Hurley had lied about “seeing Jacob” to get the others to go along with his plan.  Old Jack would have totally kicked his ass . . . It looks like our Man of Science has become a Man of Faith, after all!

“You’ve come a long way, BABY!”

6) From a Whisper to a Scream . . .

“There’s no place like the island, there’s no place like the island, there’s no . . . CRAP!  I’m still here!”

So, first we thought the “whispers” in the jungle were the Others.  Then, we thought it was the Smoke Monster, NOW we FINALLY know its the collective voices of dead people with “unfinished business.”  Sound familiar?

No wonder they won’t leave Hurley alone!  As far as Big Answers go, this one’s a bit cliche.  However, it DOES dovetail nicely with the rest of the Lost mythology, at least in terms of consistency.  After all, when you think about it, the WHISPERS were always heard right before a character was either about to DIE or be faced with his or her own mortality . . .  All, in all, I give the “answer”  a “B”

What I didn’t like:

1) That was it?!!!!

ONE ANSWER?  There isn’t much time left, Lost writers!  You MIGHT want to be more forthcoming with the info, in the near future!

2) Glee Robber!

OK, OK!  I guess it isn’t really Lost’s fault that the first half-hour of the season premiere of Glee coincided with this episode.  But the untenable TV conflict still made me mad enough to throw a slurpee at some ABC execs . . .

See ya next week, Losties!

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Benjamin Linus is My New TV Boyfriend! – A Recap of Lost’s “Mr. Linus”

Just look at that come hither stare . . .  Who knew history teachers could be so sexy?

WARNING: This recap might not be particularly snarky.  After all, I am in love (with Benjamin Linus!).  And one of the side effects of falling in love is a complete loss of one’s sense of humor . . .

Who would have thought that the most uplifting, feel-good, episode of the entire Lost series, thus far, would belong to a character that will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the best television villians of all time?  For all those women out there (myself included) who have always dreamed of roping in and taming a bad boy, this episode was the ultimate fantasy come true.  If Michael Emerson does not win an Emmy for his performance in “Mr. Linus,” the entire Academy of Television Arts and Sciences deserves to suffer the wrath of Smokey!

And when it comes to the Emmys, Smokey does NOT mess around!

But in order to truly understand the full extent of Benjamin Linus’s current redemption, both in flash-sideways world, and in real time, we should probably go back and revisit the single worst moment in the character’s entire life: the death of his adoptive daughter, Alex Rousseau.

At the time, Benjamin Linus and his band of Others were living at the island Barracks.  Things were going peachy for Ben, until his nemesis, Charles Widmore, sent over his head minion, Army Drill Sergeant from Hell, Martin Keamy, to ensure Ben’s surrender and departure from the island.  By way of collateral, Keamy kidnapped Ben’s adoptive teenage daughter Alex, and brought her to Ben’s house with a gun to her head.  Keamy told Ben to either surrender immediately or watch his daughter die.  Ben thought Keamy was bluffing, and stayed put.  He wasn’t.

A Principal Without Principles . . .

Back in flash-sideways world, Ben and his father left the island, presumably before all the sh*t hit the fan down there.  Now Ben is a reluctant European History teacher at a high school, desperately seeking more excitement from his humdrum life.  In his opening scene, Ben teaches his students about Napoleon’s exhile to Elba, an obvious metaphor for Ben’s own meteoric rise and fall as “The Chosen” One on Lost island.  

I love when Lost gets all “literary” on us.  You can bet that this episode’s shout out to the above-referenced book (apparently the castaways on-Island library offers both this tome and porn), will send hard core Losties racing to their nearest bookstores in search of clues . . .

“Elba was where Napoleon faced his greatest test.  Exhile wasn’t the worst of his fate.  It was the truly devastating loss of power.  Sure, they allowed him to keep the title of emperor.  But without his power, everything was meaningless.  He might as well have been dead,”  Dr. Linus tellingly, instructs.

Flash Sideways Ben’s only joy comes from being able to run the school’s History Club, and tutor its student members, especially Alex Rousseau (who, in this timeline, is a precocious teen with aspirations to attend Yale).  That is until the school principal cancels the club, citing “budget cuts.”  (Really?  How “expensive” is some lame club where all students do is get together and talk about history?)

When Ben vents his frustrations to his colleagues, former Flight 815er Doc Arzt and new “Substitute” John Locke, the latter suggests that Ben take on the principal position for himself.    The opportunity to do this arises, when Alex admits to Ben that she saw the Principal engaged in illicit activity with one of the school nurses.  With Doc Arzt’s help, Ben hacks into the Principal’s computer and finds e-mails implicating the Principal in the aforementioned naughty conduct. 

Ben confronts the Principal with aims to blackmail him and usurp his position.  However, the Principal warns Ben that, if he does this, the former will take revenge on Alex (just as Keamy did — on a significantly smaller scale, of course) by single-handedly ruining the young girl’s chances of attending the principal’s alma mater, Yale.  This time, Ben chooses Alex.  As a result, he doesn’t get to be principal . . . but at least he gets his History Club back?

And thus, our Flash-Sideways World Ben has redeemed himself.  Something Flash-Sideways Sayid was unable to do last week . . .

Ben and Team Jacob, BFF (Best Friends Forever For Now)

If last week’s Lost episode focused on Smokey and his dastardly team of crazies, this week’s episode spotlighted the above-referenced opposing team, led by Ilana, the Candidate Bodyguard.

“And Iiiiiiiiii, eeeee iiiii, will always love Jacccob!” 

(Yeah, I’m not really a fan of Ilana’s, so far.  The character is a bit like the above song, only one-note, and a highly annoying one at that.)

When Miles “I Communicate with Dead People” (or, in this case, Dead Ash) Straum conveniently leaks to Ilana that Ben killed her “father figure” Jacob, she gets a little pissed off at our boy.  So pissed off, in fact, that she chains his leg to a stake and forces him to dig his own grave.

Speaking of death wishes, Richard Alpert, he of the guy liner and the never-aging face . . .

finds himself exhausted, from a life of serving Jacob, and always looking so damn pretty day in and day out.  His solution, therefore,  is to off himself, a la Bill Murrary in Groundhog Day.

Yeah, it didn’t work for him either . . .

Apparently, one of the rules of Lost island, is that, if you are Jacob’s candidate, you can’t end your own life.  Someone else has to do it for you.  I guess this would explain why former candidate Michael Dawson couldn’t shoot himself in the episode “Meet Kevin Johnson” but was able to die later when the submarine he was on exploded. 

Richard Alpert must have watched “Meet Kevin Johnson,” because he commandeers Jack and Hurley to light his ass on fire with a stick of dynamite.  Hurley bails on the plan, but Jack stays and sets the dynamite aflame.  Jack tells Richard that both of them are meant to be on this island . . . alive.  Therefore, he is certain that the stick of dynamite will not explode.  He is right . . .

Meet Jack Shephard – Man of Science  Man of Faith

While Jack and Richard are busy NOT blowing themselves to smithereens, Smokey is visiting Ben, offering him a means to escape Ilana’s clutches and join the Darkside.

Smokey tries to entice Ben, by offering him the opportunity to govern the island once again.  After all, just like Napoleon, Island Ben has always been a man driven by power.  Ben takes Locke’s advice and makes a break for it.  But he soon finds himself at a standoff with a Ilana. 

Instead of shooting her, as old Ben would likely have done without so much of a thought, a tearful Ben explains to Ilana how his anger over sacrificing his daughter to serve Jacob and the island, ultimately, caused him to kill Jacob, an action he deeply regrets.

When Ilana asks Ben why he has chosen Team Smokey, Ben admits that Smokey is “the only one who will have him.” 

The line is one of the most endearing of the evening, as it paints Ben as an outsider – one who, deep down, just wants to have friends.   Ilana must have agreed with me, because, instead of simply letting Ben go, she replies, “I’ll have you.” 

(Don’t you be taking Ben from me, Ilana!  He’s MINE now!  All MINE!)

At the episode’s conclusion, Jack, Hurley, and Richard, reunite with Ilana, Sun, Lapidus, Miles, and, of course, Ben.   And thus, Team Jacob is born.

Team Jacob is definitely the underdog in this matchup.  After all, there are no supernatural powers in this group (not aging is cool and all, but it doesn’t really help you in a fight, unless your opponent is one of the Golden Girls . . )

Yet, my money is still on Team Jacob.  I think they will be the Cinderella story of the season.  How about you?

Oh, and I almost forgot, in the last few seconds of the episode, something EVIL made its way through the ocean toward the Losties . . .

No, not that.  It was just Charles Widmore in a submarine.  Still, pretty scary, no?

Well, that’s all she wrote, Lost fans.  What did you think?  Are you ready to start the Michael Emerson Emmy campaign with me?  Is your money also on Team Jacob for winning the Lost ultimate showdown?  Do you think Charles Widmore will fight for Team Smokey, or does he have his own agenda to accomplish on Lost island?

Only time (travel) will tell . . .

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