Archive for April, 2009

Next: “The Variable” (Episode 5×14)

Friday, April 24th, 2009

If the size of the post-thud headache is a reliable metric in evaluating the quality of an episode, “The Variable” may take top prize for Season 5. Jen and I are still trying to sort out the possibilities and impossibilities presented tonight. The man who preached emphatically that you can’t change the past finally returns, now emphatic that you can. Even our characters recognize the insanity of undoing everything that’s happened (essentially erasing the entirety of “LOST” to date). But just as Daniel Faraday gets rolling, he’s shot dead. By his mom. A mother who knew, in 2007, that he was sending his memory-addled son to that very fate.

My theory, such as it is? Faraday’s Jughead plan was doomed to failure, and will ultimately not change anything. But his death, his mother’s sacrifice, will instead be the key, the real “incident” that sets everything else in motion.

Why is Faraday wrong? Because he ended up telling Charlotte to leave the island, even though he didn’t want to, thereby closing the loop on one of his own “whatever happened, happened” moments. Because his supposedly radical conclusion — that people, and free will, are the key variables — is undercut by the fact that we’ve been shown that the meddling of our Losties in 1957 and 1977 were always part of the island’s history. And because, I think, we see him realize, with his last breath, what his mother was up to. He was never meant to go to the island to be healed or to save anyone. He simply had to die.

He simply had to die… for the first time. I’m struck by Eloise Hawking’s conversation with Penny, where she says with an obvious sense of wonder, “For the first time in a long time, I don’t know what’s going to happen next.” And she later tells Charles Widmore about sacrifice, about how she sent her son to the island knowing full well he would be killed (by her). Sacrificing her son, it seems, was something she only just barely found the strength to do. Something she’d never done before, which somehow allowed her to always know the future.

Yes, it’s still an attempt to change history, or change destiny, and I’m still not convinced it can be done. But if I ever suspected that Widmore and Hawking were playing at a wholly different level than any of the other characters, I’m convinced of it now. I only hope that whatever Hawking wants to change, it’s not erasing everything we’ve spent the last five years dissecting. That might be a bold move for the end of Season 5, but one that would ultimately be disheartening.

No question, the big questions raised in “The Variable” are worthy of a long conversation. But character wise, story wise, plot wise, it was… merely a good episode. One of those “set up” or “bridge” episodes, if you’ll pardon the expression. It brought a mix of reveals and confirmations, as we suspected Widmore might be Faraday’s father, and that Widmore planted the fake wreckage (meaning Miles’ chat with the dead guy in “Some Like It Hoth” was a fake out). The dramatic stakes were raised, once again via the separation of our Losties into two groups. We see things spiraling out of control, Faraday’s “four hour” countdown conveniently making the rest of the season a near real-time experience.

I was mostly disappointed in Faraday’s story. It simply felt rushed. We flew through his life, from his youth (torn away from the piano) to his graduation, through his experiments and expulsion from Oxford, to deciding to getting on the freighter. Theresa was but a mere blip, and the whole “Memento”-esque memory condition seemed awkwardly shoehorned in. (We did get our hint last season, though, via his memory test with Charlotte.) I mean, this is not the first time we’ve had an intriguing character with some key knowledge and connections… who ends up dying just when their significance begins to emerge (and at the end of a paint-by-numbers flashback episode).

Jen doesn’t want Faraday to be dead, but frankly, he better be. Another Ben-like resurrection at this point would be downright comical. I’d like to think we’ll still learn more about Faraday and his experiments (perhaps in flashbacks for Hawking or Widmore). His still unexplained tears at the sight of the fake wreckage suggests to me that, in true “Constant” fashion, a part of Miles’ scrambled brain was already in touch with his future self.

Notes and Notions:

  • Jaters rejoice? Sawyer asks “Freckles” to come with him to the beach to start over, and Juliet immediately gives up the code to the sonic fence. Sawyer asks if Juliet still has his back, and her response is only to ask if he’s got her back. If they’re going to go back down that path, I only hope they save it for Season 6.
  • I liked how young piano-playing Faraday told his mother that he could “make time.” Or how he, back on the island, knew when Dr. Chang would arrive at The Orchid, “right on time.”
  • We still haven’t seen Jack’s “moment,” but it was amusing how he noted that it was lucky he was a janitor when they suddenly needed the keys to the gun safe. As one of our listeners noted weeks ago, maybe that was always Sawyer’s plan.
  • Speaking of moments, Jack’s little speech to Kate about hers was pretty anvilicious. We know the both of them have yet to fulfill some grand plan, but to have that spelled out so melodramatically was jarring.
  • Tonight brought a great reminder that some of our Losties spent some time in the 1950s, with Hurley’s line, “Like, Fonzie time?”
  • Sawyer’s still got it in the nickname department. “Twitchy” suits frantic Faraday just fine. Bonus points for the straight-faced delivery of the line, “Your mother is an Other?”
  • Not to be outdone, Miles tells Faraday, “I thought you’d gotten rich inventing the DVD or something.”
  • Any numerologists want to sort out the significance of 141717?
  • Locations: Oxford was, again, St. Andrew’s in downtown Honolulu. The Indian restaurant where Daniel got his notebook was Grand Cafe on Pauahi St. Can’t place the “Marina Medical Center.”

We definitely need help untangling this 100th episode of “LOST.” Please comment below, e-mail, or call the LostLine at (808) 356-0127.

Trans: 2009-04-18: “Some Like It Hoth”

Friday, April 17th, 2009

This episode of “The Transmission” takes a look at the thirteenth episode of Season 5, “Some Like It Hoth.” We recap the story in under eight minutes, then spend some time discussing it in greater depth. Then, we turn it over to You All Everybody, our brilliant listeners and readers. Then, in the Forward Cabin, we take a quick look at upcoming episodes.

Get iTunes | Subscribe to MP3 | Subscribe to Enhanced Podcast (AAC)


  • 0:00:45 Introduction
  • 0:01:19 “LOST” in 8 Minutes
  • 0:08:47 Discussion
  • 0:27:52 You All Everybody
  • 1:07:10 The Forward Cabin
  • 1:10:52 Closing

Check out Jim (a.k.a. @jwatari) and his official “LOST” T-shirts! (He bought four different styles!) Get yours!


Got a comment about something mentioned in this podcast, or about the podcast itself? Have at it below. Otherwise, we encourage you to continue the main listener discussion about “Dead Is Dead” on the previous post.

To download this LostCast, click the “Pod” icon below, or cut-and-paste the following URL:

Subscribe Download 1:12:12/66MB MP3 — Technorati: ,

Next: “Some Like It Hoth” (Episode 5×13)

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

After aligning herself with the minority in being disappointed in last week’s episode, Jen said tonight that she loved “Some Like It Hoth.” We both agreed it was hardly a deep, rich exploration of characters and mythology. It was a generous helping of fan fodder, chock full of little epiphanies and truly golden one-liners to keep us grinning throughout. Wrapped in the comfortable and traditional flashback structure, we finally get some of Miles’ backstory. We cross a few items off the “mystery” checklist. We get a glimpse of the coming “war” and the likely collapse of our survivors’ DHARMA ruse. And at the closing thud, Dan Faraday returns, likely with a hell of a story to tell… in two weeks.

First, the fun stuff. The unlikely buddy team of Hurley and Miles was as great as we’d imagined (and as was hinted during the time travel debate a couple of weeks ago). Miles was the straight man, but still wickedly wry. And Hurley was in top form. From stopping global warming to pre-writing “The Empire Strikes Back,” from possibly bringing us the closest to a “fart joke” we’ve ever seen on this show to his gleeful meddling between Dr. Chang and Miles, Jorge Garcia has never been more funny, and perfectly in sync with “LOST” fans. Was it a bit much? A touch of pandering? Jen doesn’t think so… though I can see how a grumpier fan looking for more forward motion might have felt a bit annoyed.

I thought Miles’ journey was well presented, though necessarily compressed. Tortured by his ability as a child, he grew to exploit it. He was also, like just about everyone on “LOST,” simmering with daddy issues. (Jen and I agreed, young punk Miles was wonderfully depicted.) Bram’s pitch in the black van didn’t penetrate his armor, but Hurley’s “Star Wars” metaphor at the DHARMA van did. And the scene where he sees his father reading to him was powerful. Dr. Chang has consistently been depicted as a grouch (and a “douche”), a reputation that even guarded Miles must have been familiar with. So to suddenly see him genuinely happy, perhaps only when he’s with baby Miles, said a lot. When Dr. Candle comes out to tell older Miles that he needs him? When Miles’ voice falters? Yeah, they got me.

Did Dr. Candle throw his wife and son out, or off the island? I’m thinking no. Perhaps she fled with baby Miles. But from what?

As for the reveals? They were doled out with great efficiency. Miles is Dr. Chang’s infant son. It’s possible to see yourself in the past (but physical contact may still be a problem). Miles wanted $3.2 million from Ben as he was trying, for the second time, to double his money from Widmore. Widmore was genuinely investigating the faked plane wreckage… though whoever was behind it is still unclear. And is that mysterious person or group behind trying to talk Miles out of joining Naomi’s expedition? Because that entity is also behind Ilana’s mission in 2007 (linked by the brilliantly-named Bram).

“The Reconstituted DHARMA Initiative” of the futurepresent is as good a theory as any.

It was a fun ride. But the path ahead looks to be a deliciously treacherous one. First of all, Kate is back to form, flapping her gums and toppling the first domino of doubt that’ll likely lead to our survivors’ expulsion from the DHARMA Initiative. And, yes, Daniel Faraday is back, returning from Ann Arbor as a Swan-assigned DHARMA scientist. How and why he ended off island will be almost as interesting to explore as what he’s ultimately up to. We only know he arrived, broken, in Othersville in 1974, and sometime later got inside The Orchid just as the frozen wheel was discovered. Is he trying to change something? We’re told “whatever happened, happened,” but if anyone’s going to break that particular rule, it’s him.

  • Favorite Hurley moment? His interaction with Dr. Chang where they discus polar bear feces. Favorite Hurley line? “It all could have been avoided if they just… communicated.” No truer words are there for “LOST” — or for just about any dramatic story.
  • I can’t wait for Jack to find his moment, to be “activated” a la Ilana… because his shuffling around is seriously getting on my nerves. The scene where he delivers his intel to Sawyer then quietly walks out left me scratching my head. And his defense of Kate to Roger was pretty weak. What could he have said to chill Roger out? How about, “She had a son, but lost him. She doesn’t ever want to talk about it. She just feels deeply for Ben, and for you.”
  • Lots of numbers in this episode, including (finally) the numbers, being stamped into the hatch. There was the $1.6 and $3.2 million, of course, and the 3:16 on the microwave in the opening scene. Mr. Vonner was found dead in apartment four. They also clearly showed Miles’ older, bedridden mother lived in apartment 7… but earlier it seemed as if she came running from an apartment a few doors down from apartment 104.
  • Music was prominent in this episode, too. Albert Hammond’s “It Never Rains In Southern California” and Captain & Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together.” Plus a reference to Miles Davis. Dr. Chang loves country (hence “Shotgun Willie” in the opening scene of Season 5).
  • Locations: The apartment complex and the taco stand are both in Aiea, makai of Pearlridge, next to Pearl Kai Shopping Center.

Please comment below, e-mail us at, or call the LostLine at (808) 356-0127 by Friday, April 17.

Trans: 2009-04-12: “Dead Is Dead”

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

This episode of “The Transmission” takes a look at the twelfth episode of Season 5, “Dead Is Dead.” We recap the story in eight minutes, then spend some time discussing it in greater depth. Then, we turn it over to You All Everybody, our brilliant listeners and readers. Then, in the Forward Cabin, we share a couple of post-Season 5 filming notes.

This podcast is brought to you by, the leading provider of spoken-word entertainment. Get a free audiobook of your choice when you sign up today. Just go to:

Get iTunes | Subscribe to MP3 | Subscribe to Enhanced Podcast (AAC)


  • 0:00:45 Introduction
  • 0:01:14 “LOST” in 8 Minutes
  • 0:08:52: Sponsored by
  • 0:10:07 Discussion
  • 0:33:06 You All Everybody
  • 1:11:25 The Forward Cabin
  • 1:15:19 Closing

Got a comment about something mentioned in this podcast, or about the podcast itself? Have at it below. Otherwise, we encourage you to continue the main listener discussion about “Dead Is Dead” on the previous post.

To download this LostCast, click the “Pod” icon below, or cut-and-paste the following URL:

Subscribe Download 1:16:39/70MB MP3 — Technorati: ,

Next: “Dead Is Dead” (Episode 5×12)

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

In terms of character drama, tight writing, memorable performances, and the general art of quality television, “Dead Is Dead” was not the strongest episode of Season 5. But who are we kidding, this was a Ben episode with the smoke monster. With a token mention of the whispers, even. For the mystery and mythology of “LOST,” this week’s episode was a feast. It filled in a few blanks: we see how Alex was taken, we see the exile of Widmore, we see why Ben preempted a suicide with murder, and we see what went down at the dock. And it definitely laid the groundwork for the future: the “smoke monster” is the ultimate judge (and can conjure corporeal people) and it wants Locke to succeed, but Ilana has been “activated,” or something, and something big is afoot.

Doing things in service of the island, and what the island wants, were definitely the themes of the day. Was Alex supposed to live or die? Ben’s sparing Danielle and taking Alex seemed to be the right and compassionate thing (the same compassion that gave him pause on the dock, long enough to let Desmond get the jump on him). Yet if Alex was supposed to live, and Ben caused her death, you’d think the smoke monster would have judged Ben more harshly. Given that Charles Widmore, at his exile, calls Alex’s survival into question, I like the idea that perhaps Alex was always fated to die on the island. Hence Ben only prolonged the inevitable before she reached the end of her path.

But then again, if Alex was fated to die, why does Ben say her death broke “the rules”? And that Widmore was the one who broke them? After all, one of the personal epiphanies Ben apparently has in this episode was that he, not Widmore, killed Alex.

Speaking of “rules,” apparently Widmore’s leaving the island regularly and fathering a child with an outsider is grounds for exile. Who’s the “outsider”? If “Ellie” is Eloise Hawking, she’s an insider, and the mother of Daniel Faraday. So the child is Penny, and the outsider is… someone else. Have we met Penny’s mother somewhere, and just don’t know it?

I like that we see more hints that Ben’s reign as leader of the Others was not all that great, in the island’s eyes. Way back in Season 3, Alpert tells Locke that many of the Others are frustrated with Ben for getting distracted from their greater purpose. Tonight, we hear more of the same. Locke smirks at Ben for leading his people from behind a desk. And Locke also lectures Ben for moving the Others from the jungle to the cozy domestic comforts of Othersville, something the island wouldn’t like. Basically he got distracted by the trappings of “modern life,” and lost touch with the “native” way.

Ben’s knack for lying while sounding completely earnest is deliciously confounding. When he’s seeding Caesar’s mind with doubt about Locke, you’re cursing him, yet at the same time cheering for him for being so good at being bad. The question is, was he surprised to see Locke alive again or not? Jen and I think he was genuinely shocked, and for now we’ll believe him when he tells Sun that “dead is dead,” and that seeing Locke resurrected truly does scare him.

Is future Ben really surprised to see the photo of Jack, Kate, and Hurley in the Dharma Initiative? We haven’t seen young Ben interact with them, but the only way he’d truly not know they were there is if he doesn’t get returned to the Dharma Initiative until after our friends have left. I wouldn’t think the Others would hold onto Ben so long, so that would suggest something happens soon to break up the “Class of 1977.”

It was good to see the return of Confident Locke. I’m somewhat with Ben, though, in questioning how quickly he came to know everything and be so sure of himself. I guess coming back from the dead can do that. But Locke has waffled so many times between resolute and unsure. Is Ben truly going to follow him now? Or, more to the point, could we stomach seeing Ben rattling Locke to his core one more time?

So what lies ahead for Locke? “Reuniting Sun and Jin” would seem to be the next thing on his to-do list. Is that task one of the things that Ghost Alex had in mind when she told Ben to follow Locke’s every word? Or is there a bigger job ahead? I like the idea that, somehow, reuniting Sun and Jin is actually more important than anyone can imagine, that whatever it entails is entwined with Locke’s greater destiny. I just haven’t figured out how.

And obviously Ilana and friends and their mysterious crate will stand between Locke and Ben and Frank and Sun and whatever they have to do.

Notes and Notions:

  • Who is Ilana and company working for? Widmore seems the most likely guess, even though he told Ben there was no way back on the very day Ajira 316 left Los Angeles. If her coded question references “the statue” we’ve seen, it would have to be someone with a deep understanding of the island’s history. Someone who set them up with whatever’s in the crate to do something big.
  • No question the island’s most ancient artifacts are Egyptian in influence, if not origin. The hieroglyphic representation of the smoke monster visiting Anubis was a nice touch. Does this confirm “the statue” was Anubis?
  • We definitely didn’t expect to see Ben shooting Caesar so suddenly. They can’t really be done with him, can they? Jen thinks they are, just to defy our expectations.
  • What’s up with Ilana’s henchmen? Two new guys suddenly get face time and lines? Somehow their introduction seemed more jarring than all the new faces in the Dharma Initiative we saw in the 1970s.
  • The way Ben hesitated upon seeing Charlie on the boat reminded Jen of how Sawyer reacted when he suddenly realized there was a child involved when he was pulling the very first con we’re shown in Season 1. The preservation of young innocents is definitely a theme we’re revisiting, ever since children were taken from the 815 survivors in Season 2.
  • Kudos to the production team for attempting to have a single actor portray the same character across several decades… but Ben’s mid-30s wig tonight was among the worst we’ve seen in a show that’s suffered from a lot of bad wigs (see Jack, Kate, Sun, Boone…).
  • Ben was sent to kill Danielle, but didn’t when he noticed baby Alex. But why take baby Alex? He asks Danielle if she wants her child to live, so I guess he knew things outside the world of the Others weren’t a safe place for an infant. And I guess the whispers were one manifestation of that threat.
  • Keeping track of how many canoes there are and where they end up is becoming a fun puzzle game. Three canoes were hidden on Alcatraz. Frank and Sun take one, Ben and Locke take another. Then Frank returns. That’s two canoes on Alcatraz. We know two canoes end up at the old beach camp on the main island eventually… so how do they get there? Frank makes a break for it, Ilana and friends follow, then chase him around in the jungle long enough for the time jumping team to steal one and get shot at? And keep in mind, that time jumping team includes a Locke, but not the resurrected Locke of Ajira 316. My head hurts.

What did you think? Please comment below, e-mail us at, or call the LostLine at (808) 356-0127 by noon on Friday, April 10.

Trans 2009-04-05: “Whatever Happened, Happened”

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

This episode of “The Transmission” takes a look at the eleventh episode of Season 5, “Whatever Happened, Happened.” We recap the story in eight minutes, then spend some time discussing it in greater depth. Then, we turn it over to You All Everybody, our brilliant listeners and readers. Then, in the Forward Cabin, we cover (really!) the last week of filming for Season 5.

This podcast is brought to you by, the leading provider of spoken-word entertainment. Get a free audiobook of your choice when you sign up today. Just go to:

Get iTunes | Subscribe to MP3 | Subscribe to Enhanced Podcast (AAC)


  • 0:00:45 Introduction
  • 0:01:36 “LOST” in 8 Minutes
  • 0:08:44: Sponsored by
  • 0:09:52 Discussion
  • 0:29:46 You All Everybody
  • 1:09:28 The Forward Cabin
  • 1:13:45 Closing

Check out Geoff (a.k.a. xforce11) and his official “LOST” T-shirt! Get yours!

Official "LOST" T-Shirt

Got a comment about something mentioned in this podcast, or about the podcast itself? Have at it below. Otherwise, we encourage you to continue the main listener discussion about “Whatever Happened, Happened” on the previous post.

To download this LostCast, click the “Pod” icon below, or cut-and-paste the following URL:

Subscribe Download 1:15:33/69MB MP3 — Technorati: ,

Next: “Whatever Happened, Happened” (Episode 5×11)

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

“Evangeline Lilly was very good in this episode.” Those are eight words that I never thought I’d hear come out of Jen’s mouth. But I have to agree. This was a character-driven episode, another conventional flashback setup, but I dare say I liked its execution and the performances at least as much as last week’s Sayid story. And considering the grief we’ve given Kate’s character over the years, that’s saying something. Her loaded conversations with Cassidy, her compassion for young Ben and disdain for Jack, and her confession to Carole Littleton were adeptly handled. For the first time, I believed how deeply Kate felt for Aaron… and thus how devastating it was to give him up. Giving Aaron to Carol and resolving to return for Claire, says Jen, are perhaps the two most selfless things she’s ever done in this series.

The brief scene in the supermarket, where Kate goes from fear to nearly seething rage to overwhelming relief? Evangeline sold it. (Of course, probably every parent can identify with that kind of panic.) And I’ll confess it got a little dusty in the living room when Kate said her final goodbye to sleeping Aaron.

Tonight’s episode also prompted Jen to retract her declaration on last week’s podcast that Roger Linus is the worst dad ever. His brief (and somewhat creepy) interactions with Kate tonight humanized him. Basically I was happy to see characters behaving in ways I’d expect them to behave: Cassidy was skeptical and spiteful, which she should be, given how Sawyer’s actions looked from her perspective. Roger was worried and remorseful for his parenting, as any dad would be with a son near death.

And Jen and I agree that the conversations about time travel between Hurley and Miles were fantastic. They alone would’ve redeemed the episode, which fortunately didn’t need much help. The dialogue was clearly and wonderfully directed at us fans. I felt like I’ve been having the exact same conversation with friends each week. I loved the way Hurley triumphantly says, “So your theory is wrong!”

Only Jack, in Jen’s book, continues to frustrate and disappoint. Frankly, I can’t bring myself to type the things Jen said about him. Fortunately, both Kate and Juliet challenged him on his motives and his lack of initiative, and the hits landed so soundly that I’m confident that this shiftless “new Jack” is headed toward a reckoning. Hopefully one that will kickstart his character into the reluctant but effective leader and hero of Season 1.

Like in most character flashback episodes, though, there was limited forward motion in the “present.” But what we see is pivotal, and again, well played. We now see that it was the intervention of our dear 815 survivors that literally brought Ben to join the Others. And, in fact, Sawyer and Kate come to this chilling realization the moment Richard Alpert explains what lies ahead for the boy. And where does Alpert take young Ben? Why, to The Temple, of course.

And the 30 second scene in the “future” that closes out tonight’s episode was brilliant. Ben wakes up to see Locke watching him. Both Ben’s shock and Locke’s confidence were palpable. Things can only get better from here.

Notes & Notions

  • So, Hurley asks why Ben doesn’t remember Sayid. And Alpert later explains Ben will forget everything. I guess that’s the official answer to one of the biggest questions out there, but it’s not really satisfying. It was a lot more fun thinking Ben always knew Sayid shot him.
  • A listener recently praised how much the actors on “LOST” convey, merely through their faces. I felt that this week. In Evangeline Lilly’s performance, of course, but also in Elizabeth Mitchell’s scenes as well. Her confrontation with Jack, for one, but especially when she realizes just who could help young Ben.
  • Locations: Cassidy’s house is on Kuhana Place in Waipahu. Interestingly, I know the nephew of the couple that live there. Having 75 people swarming your home over several days is not as fun as it sounds. The supermarket was Times Supermarket on S. King Street. Interestingly, they had put up a “Tim’s Supermarket” sign up and filmed some exterior shots, so I guess they cut those out.
  • Music: Kate continues to affirm that Patsy Cline is her leitmotif. (So Jen says. I had to look it up.) And once again, “Catch a Falling Star” reappears. That song has inexplicably followed Aaron from before the day he was born.

Please comment below, e-mail us at, or leave a voicemail on the LostLine at (808) 356-0127.