Archive for the ‘Notes’ Category

Something Nice Back Home

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

If last week’s episode was a taste of action adventure, “Something Nice Back Home” brings us back to the character drama. There was a heap of ‘shipper fodder and a dabble of mystery, and in between a substantial serving of connecting the dots. Jack and Kate play house and bliss out, only to have it all go to hell (starting the descent into “we have to go back” Jack from the end of Season 3). And why? Ominous warnings from a Hurley who’s become accustomed to visits by Charlie but doubts reality, and hauntings by his dad. Claire’s dad, as well, and his comfy T-shirted appearance on the island is perhaps this week’s most confounding moment. Was he there or wasn’t he? Did Miles see him, or just “see” him? And why nab Claire and not Aaron?

I was reminded immediately of Claire’s last abduction in Season 1, and the fact that it never was fully addressed until Season 2. Meaning I’m not exactly holding my breath for all the answers to this mystery. Still, given that Christian Shephard has haunted us since the pilot, and has surfaced (in blurry profile) in Jacob’s cabin, his role in “LOST” is clearly pivotal.

Aaron’s fate, as well, finds us looking back this week, with Charlie’s message from beyond the grave. Jack’s not supposed to raise him, he says, the same message Claire got from the psychic in Australia before boarding the plane. Interesting that Jack’s fitness to be a father, and his insecurities, appear to be the tipping point for his downward spiral.

Of course, Kate’s mysterious mission for Sawyer couldn’t have helped. And what could that promise have been? The last selfless sacrifice we saw Sawyer make was for dear Clementine, his presumed daughter with Cassidy. Her phone conversation (“I can stay for an hour”) sounds more like a babysitting emergency than a playdate. But if she is meeting with Cassidy, surely she’d remember meeting her before?

For those holding out hope for Danielle and (maybe) Karl, Miles discovery of their bodies is about as definitive an end as you can get. It was nice, though, to see Miles’ abilities get a workout. In addition to giving us some hope that the stories of the dead could still be told, there were certainly hints that Miles was picking up something special from Claire and Aaron. His odd request to hold the baby suggests he’d probably get a brainload of information from physical contact. But Sawyer wasn’t having any of that… to hilarious effect.

“Back off, Donger.” Jen’s favorite line of the night. Mine? Daniel asks what’s powering the medical hatch. Charlotte replies, “Add that one to the list.”

As for the whole appendicitis detour, it certainly can’t have been introduced for dramatic effect. After all, we know Jack lives. Still, I thought it was well played for the characters’ sake. Jack the control freak had to surrender fully to Juliet. Juliet came to terms with Jack’s love of Kate, and gave it over to her. Bernard revealed even more hidden talents (Jen’s quickly promoting him up her list of most interesting characters). And finally, the ever wise Rose asks the most important question: “Why now?”

Yes indeed, people get sick, but not on the island. His falling ill is as mysterious, then, as Ben’s spinal tumor.

Notes and Notions:

  • Jack steps on a Millenium Falcon. The “Star Wars” shout-outs are almost getting to be too much.
  • Jack’s reading “Alice in Wonderland,” a book oft invoked in “LOST,” cited in “LOST” analyses, and the source of at least two episode titles: “White Rabbit” and “Through the Looking Glass.” But… not the most conventional choice for a toddler.
  • Am I the only one somewhat surprised to see Keamy and a fair number of soldiers still alive after the epic thrashing by the smoke monster last week? There better have been thirty of them.
  • Lines were drawn several times between “Keamy and Friends” and Miles, Daniel and Charlotte. Miles says he “didn’t sign up for this,” and is generally becoming a more likable character. And Daniel, standing up to Charlotte, says they’re scientists who don’t want to see anyone hurt.
  • The Daniel and Charlotte relationship also got a little more interesting. As was Charlotte’s grasp of Korean, which Jin picked up in a smile. Reminiscent of when Kate discovered Sun’s grasp of English. Was it just me, or did she also smile after Jin told her to save Sun?
  • Mysterious forces are delivering different messages. Charlie tells Hurley to tell Jack that he can’t raise Aaron. But Christian Shephard (or “Christian Shephard”) separates Aaron from the person we’re told should raise Aaron. Which is it?
  • By this point in the future, has Jack already figured out that Claire’s his sister (and that Aaron is his nephew)? When he snaps at Kate he says, “Your son? You’re not even related to him!” And he is? Deliciously ambiguous.
  • The timeline was tough to unscramble. We know the flash-forward sequences tonight take place after the trial, but presumably before the end of Season 3. And the newspaper he reads is a pretty explicit marker, too. Folks at The Fuselage have already pegged the story as an article from the New York Times published on August 31, 2007.

The Shape of Things to Come

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

“That was intense,” a breathless Jen said at the closing thud. It certainly was. The practical result of squeezing eight hours of planned plot into five six post-strike hours of broadcast was evident tonight, as “The Shape of Things to Come” barreled through five deaths (though three were socks), the smoke monster, Sayid and Nadia, Ben vs. Charles Widmore, and Ben vs. Time and Space. Not a single scene dragged, and at worst a few seemed rushed, and for once a character’s “who what now?” confusion (Sawyer, in this case) seemed perfectly reasonable. Tonight I think we were given the juiciest morsels yet when it comes to the overarching conceit of “LOST.” There are power brokers and pawns, there are rules and regrets, we’re seeing deeply personal stakes in the love of a parent for a child, and yet also the edges of a conspiracy that spans the globe.

Is the battle between Ben and Widmore a game? Albeit one of real life and death? The injection of the board game Risk (and Hurley’s assertion of Australia’s importance to victory) is surely significant. Ben gives Charles notice of his next move, one of revenge, but it’s obviously not his last. The Island seems to be the prize, and in their conversation some interesting reveals. Widmore says the island was always his, that everything Ben has he took from him. And Widmore calls Ben “boy,” reminiscent of many an epic story where a master is usurped by his protegé. Widmore also says, “The hunt is on, for both of us.” So both powerful men had once possessed the island, but lost it. And I suspect the next grand arc in “LOST” will be finding it again.

And we still don’t exactly know what’s so great about this island in the first place.

This episode also teased us with more time travel talk. When Jack asks Daniel when he last saw the dead doctor, Daniel says, “‘When’ is relative.” And indeed, someone on the ship reports the doctor is just fine. More audaciously, we find Ben in the middle of the Sahara Desert in a ski parka, shuddering and injured, as if he’d just suddenly appeared there from someplace cold and… sharp? His first questions to the first person in Tunisia (that he doesn’t kill) are about what day it is, and what year. If I were in a wacky theory mood, I’d say the next Ben episode will find him in the arctic, battling for his life with a polar bear.

Speaking of Ben, what a badass. Taking out two heavily armed Turks with a baton, moving about under clever aliases (Dean Moriarty), dressed to the nines, dapper and deadly. Yet in this episode, we also see Ben make a grave miscalculation, betting on his impeccable information and powers of persuasion with Alex’s life. Her death was as big a shock to Ben as it was to us, sudden and unsentimental. In that moment, the full scale of the tragedy hits: Ben did love Alex, perhaps more than anyone. And yet the last thing Alex hears is her father asserting that she meant nothing to him.

And how about that smoke monster? Summoned by a Ben who clearly decided to pull out all the stops, it tears through New Otherton like an unholy cross between a tornado and a rabid pit bull. Releasing it to dispatch the murderous freighties was probably a step too far (and I wonder if it will be a looming danger for the next few episodes), but Widmore broke the rules first. Right? Keamy pulled the trigger. But I think even Ben knows he’s not faultless in her death.

Notes and Notions:

  • Ben’s parka had yet another DHARMA station logo on it, a swirly spiral of some sort. More interestingly, it bore the name “Halliwax.” Halliwax is one of the names used by orientation video host Marvin Candle, most recently in “The Orchid” video. This station will surely be a big part of the next chapter in “LOST,” and will probably factor into how (and when) Ben gets around.
  • It was simultaneously heartening and tragic to hear that post-island “Oceanic Six” Sayid apparently found and wed Nadia, but that she was killed in L.A. Given the backward timeline we’ve seen with flash-forwards, though, I hope we’ll soon see that reunion and some happy moments. Though, of course, they’ll be bittersweet.
  • Sayid spent eight years looking for Nadia, both before and after the crash. I guess Shannon was a forgotten footnote, after all.
  • Of course the episode opens with Kate eyeing Jack on the beach. “Wet Kate! Take a drink.”
  • It was nice to see Sawyer step it up. He risks his life to rescue Claire, and ultimately gives up on Camp Locke and takes Claire and Aaron back to the beach.
  • Both Ben and Locke want to see Jacob, but Hurley is key to finding him. The showdown between Sawyer and Locke over Hurley was great, and Hurley making the call to end the standoff was even better. Now we see why Hurley later tells Jack he regretted not staying with him.
  • On Claire, the writers are just messing with us now. Her house explodes, but she miraculously survives. Her next line, after blearily calling out for Charlie? “I’ll live.” Ha!
  • Where is Penny? Perhaps with Desmond? Perhaps back on the island, in fact? That may be why Widmore is so sure Ben will never find her.
  • Have we yet seen Sayid think with his heart instead of his gun? Or is that just further foreshadowed with tonight’s discussion of Nadia’s death?
  • The episode was titled, “The Shape of Things to Come,” a book by H.G. Wells.
  • Anyone know what song Ben was playing on the piano?
  • Locations: The Tunisian hotel was the downtown YWCA. I’m surprised at how much they showed, considering how distinct the architecture is and how much we saw of it when it played a mosque in Australia for a Sayid flashback. Iraq was on a back lot at Honolulu Community College. (Photos here.) The Sahara desert was a rock quarry, I’m guessing in Waianae. Not sure where London was.

What did you think? We’d love to hear from you! Comment below, or call the LostLine at (808) 356-0127.

LOST Mind Games

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

Lost Mind GamesJen writes: I am a puzzle freak. Word puzzles and Sudoku are my specialties, but really, I just love any kind of puzzle. So when we got an email from a “LOST” fan named Anne Dawson who published a book full of puzzles, I could hardly wait to get my hands on it. The back cover copy was especially enticing: “‘LOST Mind Games’ not only plays with your mind but actually gives you a way to challenge your LOST knowledge.” Sign me up!

Turns out that Anne published this book on her own. She’d been creating puzzles for her nephew for some time (see Q&A below) and collected them all in a single volume.

This is not your average LOST trivia book. This is for hardcore fans. It’s for really scary-smart hardcore fans who have watched all three seasons on DVD. Twice. I thought I knew everything there was to know about this show, but even I learned a couple of things. Did you know Jack’s mom’s name? I didn’t either.

There are five basic sections in “LOST Mind Games.” The first is Rebus puzzles. The second section consists of grids of nine letters in which are hidden character names and places. There’s a section of find-a-quotes. Then we have what seems to be at first a set of basic word searches, but it’s really slightly more complicated than that. And then, my favorite part: matching. The matching section is where those repeated viewings of the show really come in handy. The questions are fiendish and clever and, for me, well worth the price of a copy.

You can buy your copy today at Amazon. If you like it as much as I did, be sure to post your own review at Amazon or as a comment here!

In fact, I loved the book so much, I wanted to talk to the person who put it together. I put together a quick Q&A and sent it over to Anne, and she was gracious enough to reply with her thoughts.

Tell me about your family.

I am married, no kids. I have a very large extended family. Two brothers and two sisters and lots of nieces and nephews. And a tremendous number of first cousins. We spend a great deal of time together and always have a great time. Any family gathering includes the LOST fanatics who can’t discuss anything else except what has happened on the latest episode.

Some people find this hard to believe but my entire family all vacations together on the Jersey shore. That includes 4 generations ranging in ages from 2 to 79. It is not unusual for us to have 50+ of our “immediate family” together at any given time. And there is usually at least one LOST discussion going on at all times.

How did you come up with the idea for the book?

My 16 year old nephew and I were deep into a LOST discussion on the beach one day last summer and we started talking about LOST’s visual clues and their meaning. I asked him if he was familiar with Rebus puzzles (the type of pictographs puzzles in Chapter One of my book). So I started drawing a few Rebus puzzles that were LOST related. And he just went crazy over them.

One thing led to another, and I continued making LOST related puzzles and mind games for him well into the Fall. But by that time, I was doing them in various software programs and instead of being hand-drawn, I created them all on my computer.

Also, I had expanded my designs to include some of the other formats in my book, like the hidden name squares, the hidden quotes and the distinctly shaped Search & Select puzzles. (By the way, Charlie’s Guitar is my favorite in the Search & Select chapter.)

My nephew was the one who suggested that I put together a collection of the mind games for a book. By October I realized I had created over 100 mind games and that maybe it was time to start thinking seriously about a book. I got a big group of family and friends together and showed them what I had done so far and the group consensus was that I should go for it.

Are you a puzzle person? What kind of puzzles do you like?

I have always been a puzzle person. And while I’m a fan of crossword puzzles and trivia quizzes, I really prefer puzzles and mind games that challenge me to use out-of-the-box thinking. I started making my own puzzles and mind games when I was a Teaching Assistant at Rutgers University. I used to make them for the undergraduate students that I taught. They were always a big hit. But I hadn’t made any of them for years before I started making them for my nephew.

I have to say that I was also a little disappointed by some of the LOST trivia challenges that are out there. Like most lost fans, I love the interactive nature of the show. You know, how it sends LOST fans scrambling to seek out answers.

The one thing I really wanted to do when I put this book together was to create an interactive format. Something that wasn’t merely a regurgitation of facts, but that made you actually sit down and think about what you have seen and heard and then apply that info to solve some unique mind games. Something that would be a lot more satisfying than just picking A, B or C as the answer.

How difficult did you find the publishing process? How long did it take?

Well, first I sat down and created the balance of the over 200 puzzles and mind games. That was my biggest challenge.

I wanted to be sure that they were original enough and challenging enough to satisfy the LOST fan base. Which, as I’m sure you know, can be a very demanding audience. I also wanted to be sure that the information that I included would be intriguing enough to all attract all LOST fans, no matter which theory about LOST they might be inclined to believe.

I also hit the internet pretty hard and did my homework to find out about how to go about getting a book published. I discovered that I had several options including: Traditional Publishers, Print-on-Demand Publishing and Self Publishing.

Each option had its own advantages. But the deciding factor for me was that I knew that I wanted a few things to happen to satisfy me.

I had completed all of the mind games by the end of December 2007 and I wanted to get the book to market as soon as possible and I was adamant that I wanted to be able to have a really nice paper stock that would make the illustrations nice and vibrant, that would hold up to the heavy ink needed for some of the drawings (without making them too visible through the back of the pages) and probably most importantly, a heavy enough paper so it would hold up to erasing (when necessary) without poking a hole in the paper.

Traditional publishing would have taken many, many months to accomplish and from what I’ve learned it would have meant that I would have given up some of the control over many of the creative aspects of my book. I did not want that to happen.

Print-On-Demand is a wonderful option for any first time author, but it would have limited the types of paper that I could choose from and, after I requested some paper samples, none of them met my expectations.

So I turned to Self-Publishing. It was the best option for me. It was quicker and it gave me complete control over every aspect of my book. And because of my day job, I am familiar with printing.

I already had the majority of the mind games on my computer and I am actually quite proficient in a number of software programs. So I sat down and after many, many long hours I actually type-set the entire book myself. Yup, from start to finish. I contacted several printers for samples and quotes and I chose a wonderful company in Southern California to work with.

Controlling all aspects of the book, including the cover design and the entire layout has been a wonderful experience. And I couldn’t be happier with the the end result.

The book is currently available exclusively on Amazon.com. And although I am speaking with several other book sellers and distributors (because it never hurts to explore all your options), I may just stick with Amazon because they are so easy to work with.

The matching questions are surprisingly difficult. How did you come up with ideas for them?

I wanted to create some of the Mind Games to cover specific topics. For instance, LOST books or music or even Sawyer’s nicknames. They were some of the Mind Games that took me the longest to complete. They took many hours of fact checking.

Everyone looks at that kind of game and thinks, how hard can this be?

I wanted to be sure that while they seem like anyone can complete them at first glance, that they were some of most challenging mind games in the book. Especially because you have to be careful as you work through them. The first answer you think of may not be the correct answer. But there is only one way to complete each Mind Game in that Chapter.

Remember the comment I made above about carefully choosing the paper, well, I knew that these would absolutely have to hold up to erasing without poking holes in the page!

Do you have a Lost-related forum or website of choice?

There are so many great ones out there and way too few hours to visit them all. I’m not a big poster but I am a lurker on the Fuselage, the ABC Forums, and a number of the fan run sites. I’m impressed that so many fans have such great ideas. I listen to as many podcasts as I can. I just love listening to all the different theories. And I am amazed by the details that people pick out.

I also have to give a big thank you to some of the great websites that I used to check all my facts against. LostHatch, LongLostList and LOSTisaGame. I can’t believe how much time they all put into collecting facts about the show. Want to know how many times a polar bear has been shown, or who was reading what book? Well, you can find the answers at those sites. I know, Lostpedia is also a good resource, but I find that the way that those other sites are organized can make fact checking a bit easier, at least for me.

So, what’s your personal all-encompassing theory about the island?

This is the toughest question since I actually like a few of them out there. I like the idea of portals caused by magnetic vortexes, I also like the mirror theories, the idea that Widmore and Paik are behind it all, and a few others. So instead of just picking one all-encompassing theory, I’d rather state that my biggest hope is that the theories about Jin and Danielle still being alive are true.

The Season So Far

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

We’re midway through the hiatus, and taking advantage of the break to regroup and reflect on the fourth season of “LOST” to date. (As well as burning our way through our Netflix queue and revisiting other friends like “Battlestar Galactica”!) Jen and I are contemplating another “hiatuscast” to bridge the gap to Episode 4×09, mixing it up with a little “LOST” music, a “LOST” book review, and some filming updates. But of course we’d especially want you to be a part of it. So, please tell us: How do you like the season so far? Favorite episodes? Favorite moments? Any thoughts on the latest batch of new characters, or the evolution of our old friends? Comment below or call the LostLine at (808) 356-0127 before 8 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 11, and we’ll do our best to get it in the show!

Meet Kevin Johnson

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

An unusually structured episode gave us one long flashback bookended by brief and somewhat maddening scenes on the island. We begin with Locke calling a Town Hall meeting and becoming Captain Obvious (“Um, we like knew that forever ago,” Hurley says, a hat tip to fans). And we end with Ben sending Alex to safety, but an ambush takes out her mother and boyfriend. In the middle, we see the lost months between Michael’s escape with Walt and his return on the freighter as Kevin Johnson. On the conspiracy side, Widmore is fingered as the man behind the fake wreckage. On the supernatural side, “The Island” is ascribed the intent and ability to keep Michael alive as he’s still got work to do, and Libby shows up in visions. (more…)

Ji Yeon

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

We love when “LOST” unleashes a clever twist of storytelling. But tonight, that twist was in service of one of the most tragic reveals we’ve ever had on this show. It was beyond bittersweet, it was heart-wrenching, to go from “Oh!” to “Oh god no!” in the same moment. Finally, Sun and Jin have separate off-island stories, but the space between them is the worst kind. I got a lump in my throat when Jin forgave Sun and said he’d do whatever it takes to protect his wife and child, and sure enough we learn that Jin dies not six months after those words are spoken.

And we are certain, at this point, that Jin is dead. If his fate wasn’t sealed by his words to Sun, look no further than Sun’s graveside introduction of Ji Yeon. Indeed, so beautifully was this crafted, I’d be mad if the writers find a way to wiggle out of it. Because the prospect of now watching Jin’s last few days on the island over the next few episodes, knowing what we know about his fate, will probably be one of the more memorable periods for any character on “LOST.” [What did you think? Comment or call the LostLine at (808) 356-0127.] (more…)

Hawaii Filming

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

A quick note to the curious few who listen to “The Forward Cabin” and its spoilers… “LOST” production has resumed in earnest this week and I’ve just posted a short note and several photos from an impressive location shoot in Honolulu. I won’t be posting filming updates here at “The Transmission” very often, so be sure to bookmark Hawaii Blog if you crave them. If you don’t, pretend you didn’t see this and blame Locke’s brain paste.

The Other Woman

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

“The Other Woman” gave us an island flashback, and a little more insight into the pre-crash world of the Others. Charles Widmore is officially tied to the freighter, Ben’s creepiness leaps into another dimension, and Hurley is feeling lucky. But we still don’t know who Ben’s man on the boat is, and considering how much the writers are clearly trying to milk that particular mystery, I’m beginning to think we’ll be downright mad if it is Michael. We will allow that “The Constant” was a tough act to follow, but as huge fans of Elizabeth Mitchell, it’s a pity “her” episode reduces her to fretting and catfighting. And for all the jumping around we did, it didn’t feel like we got very far. [Tell us what you thought! Comment or call (808) 356-0127.] (more…)

The Constant

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Only writers as brilliant as those behind “LOST” could give us an hour of television like this. No other episode has gone as far as “The Constant” in giving us a look at some fundamental theories behind the series, and yet at the same time pack an emotional wallop that reminds us that it’s the characters, not the mysteries, that are at the heart of the show. The truly mind-bending realizations Desmond has as his consciousness jumps between 1996 and 2004 will probably give us weeks of material to dissect and analyze. But, honestly, all I wanted to do was watch that final phone call between him and Penny over and over again. (more…)

Eggtown

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Tonight’s episode wasn’t as dense or thrilling as weeks past, but it still closed with a single word, a single name, that scored a palpable hit. Aaron, Claire’s baby, is one of the Oceanic Six… but calls Kate mommy. And so my head spins with possibilities. Kate must be claiming Aaron as her biological son, hence her refusal to let her mother see him. The rest of the Oceanic survivors must also be keeping Aaron’s true parentage secret. And something must have happened to Claire, as seeing her son is apparently too much for Jack. (more…)