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'Lost' Wednesdays: 'I'm sorry you had to see me like that'

February 3, 2010 |  8:32 pm

117580_410_pre Welcome to the first "Lost" Wednesday here at Showtracker. If our Tuesday recaps are going a little more heavily into the nuts and bolts of the show (though hopefully not all as long as last night's write-up, because that just about killed me), these Wednesday posts will share reactions to the latest episode from both critics and fans, popular theories about just what might be going on and some friendly joking about some of the show's more ridiculous moments. Think of this as a place to hang out and talk about this show we all love so much. And make sure to comment on every Tuesday's post, as I'll be highlighting some of my favorite thoughts and theories from those comments in these posts.

But if you haven't seen Tuesday's season premiere yet, you'd best turn away. Because we'll be spoiler heavy below the jump.

First of all, I'd like to direct you to a bunch of other critics who'll be writing up the show every week, all with their own ridiculously comprehensive takes on just what's going on. I won't be linking to them every week, but if you're not reading Alan Sepinwall, Maureen Ryan, James Poniewozik, Noel Murray and Myles McNutt on this show every week, you're missing out. And don't forget to read the Los Angeles Times' own Mary McNamara on season six. All of these reviews pick up on tons of stuff I blanked on, especially a number of things that were different between the Oceanic 815 of the pilot episode and the Oceanic 815 of "LA X." (And I love Ryan's theory that the resurrected Sayid is Jacob's new avatar of justice, whereas Locke is Smoky's chosen one. At the very least, it would mean more scenes where Sayid beats someone up, and those are always fun.)

Maybe it's because I haven't seen the pilot recently, but I absolutely missed that Rose and Jack have had a role reversal from that episode, with Rose now attempting to calm Jack where he calmed her in the pilot. Similarly, there are lots of other little differences between the two, and if some enterprising fan makes a YouTube video of the differences between the universes, I'll be sure to link to it in my next post. 

No one seems to have arrived at anything approaching a conclusive theory of what's going on here -- though this rather old blog post is remarkably accurate for when it was written -- but the consensus seems to be that both timelines are real and that they might converge at some point. Indeed, showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse seem to suggest as much in their interview with Entertainment Weekly. (And if you like speculation about where the show is headed, Jeff Jensen's recaps there are a must.) If you've got a great theory in this regard, link to it or, better yet, post it in comments!

"Lost" has always enjoyed name-dropping philosophers, and last night, it brought up the Danish writer Soren Kierkegaard again. I could rant at you about the very little I remember about Kierkegaard from my college existentialism class, but I think it's better to let my friend Luke de Smet over at tell you about it. (I've written for that site in the past, but Luke's ramblings are all him, man.)

Says de Smet:

"If (season three) referenced Kierkegaard to deal with themes likes faith, obedience and sacrifice, this final season seems to want to bring up his most important theme: choice. It was bound to happen – a popular television program isn’t going to get away with outright fatalism, but after that clip show went on about Juliet’s 'free will,' it really seems like they want to drive this point home. It makes perfect sense that Hurley should be its vehicle, as he’s the one character willing to create his value in life, rather than waiting for it from outside sources."

Heady stuff! And if you don't get it, don't worry. "Lost" has never required that you read all of the philosophers and authors it name-drops, just that you maybe Wikipedia them when you're bored at work.

And here's another cool thing I completely missed, from Twitter user @tristiac:

"just noticed that Kate takes Jack's pen on the plane when she bumps into him which is why she has it later and he doesn't"

Yeah, I missed that too. But it makes a good deal of sense, and it's a neat little wrinkle that ties the two characters together, even in the new reality. Another tweet, from renowned "Lost" blogger Jo Garfein, known as @jopinionated on the Twitter, wonders just why the characters (and the show in general) didn't resurrect Juliet if Sayid could be. I get that dead is dead, and Elizabeth Mitchell has a new show, and no one would believe she could come back, but if I were there, I'd have totally tossed her in that magical pool just to see if it worked, y'know? (I also like Garfein's friend who says, "It's like 'Sliding Doors' ... with Jesus.")

And the gang over at A List of Things Thrown Five Minutes Ago, in their review of the episode, links to this YouTube clip of "Apocalypse Now," showing how it seems to have visually influenced all of those scenes between fake Locke and Ben. I was wondering if that was what they were going for, but it's been a while since I've seen that film, and I live in constant fear of being proved wrong.

But, finally, let's turn to your thoughts and comments on last night's recap:

Tom says that when he saw the plane land in L.A., he thought all of the characters on board were less interesting for not having spent time on the Island. But then he wonders if Hurley used the same, cursed numbers to win the lottery. And that's an interesting question! How could Hurley have gotten the numbers if the Island's at the bottom of the Pacific? We have to assume, then, that the numbers are bigger than the Island itself, which is kind of a crazy notion, since Jacob and Smoky are seemingly confined there. Or maybe Hurley's just destined to be a lottery winner no matter what happens.

Zoonart wonders if the show is going for a Buddhist theme here, saying that the goal is to not have to come back to the Island after all. Given the show's religious name-dropping, that seems very plausible.

Mark found the sudden shift from loving Sun and Jin in 2007 (well, loving once they find each other again) to strained Sun and Jin in 2004 jarring. And it's another good reminder of how far all of these characters have come since they crashed on the Island, to be sure. But he also wonders if Sun is just pretending to not speak English to escape a husband she no longer loves, a divorce by customs agent, if you will. My wife thought the same thing. I'll admit I don't quite see it, but it's certainly there in the subtext. Future episodes will come down on one side or the other, I imagine.

Aristides links to this YouTube video of Lindelof and Cuse on Jimmy Kimmel's show. Around the 1:40 minute mark, the two drop what appears to be some very interesting confirmation of Locke's relationship to the Man in Black, though it still doesn't really explain everything.

Finally, MichelleD says that one of the best things in any drama is to have the audience know something is coming that the characters don't. "Lost" has used that effect very well before -- most notably in the flash-forward season of season four -- and it makes sense that they'd try to use it again here.

Remember: Post your thoughts and theories here or on the recap. Feel free to just toss out any ideas you're mulling over or just talk about what you loved about the episode last night. Just keep spoilers out of it, and you're OK! And if you have something you'd like to see me link to or write about, feel free to send it to me on Twitter or via e-mail.

OK, OK, one more link. Mark Lisanti's "Mad Men" power rankings were among the best things about the last season of that show. Now, he's doing "Lost" recaps that are funnier than anything else out there that's written about the series. Be sure to check out his first one here. An excerpt:

The Island

2004: Under water.

2007: Still lousy with castaways, Others, Smoke Monsters, suspiciously god-like beings locked in eternal battle with one another, and, presumably, the odd polar bear.

Advantage: 2007

The English Language

2004: Everyone seems pretty happy with it.

2007: Angry Temple Keeper “doesn’t like the taste of it on his tongue.”

Advantage: 2004!

See you all Friday!

--Todd VanDerWerff (follow me on Twitter at @tvoti)

Photo: Michael Emerson's Ben Linus learned some uncomfortable truths in last night's season premiere of "Lost." (Credit: ABC)

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TV review: 'Lost'

'Lost': What ifs and might have beens

'Lost': It's a fan's world after all