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'Lost' Wednesdays: 'Well, I guess I better put some pants on'

February 17, 2010 | 10:31 pm

118098_286_pre  So, somewhat predictably, much of the discussion of Tuesday's "Lost," "The Substitute," has focused on that scene where fake Locke took Sawyer to that weird little cave and showed him all of the names Jacob had scratched on the walls in what appeared to be sidewalk chalk. And while a lot of folks were wondering just what was up with Kate not being shown among the names listed, I was more intrigued by this eagle-eyed commenter at the AV Club, who plucked off the screen a long list of names that were probably only visible on an HD big screen. (To see the comment thread, where even more names are bandied about, go to the thread started at 10:52 p.m. here.)

galaxy of the lost notices:

10 - Mattingley

20 - Rouf 

70 - Faraday

90 - Troupe

119 - Almeade

140 - Lewis

195 - Pace

222 - O'Toole

233 - Jones

291 - Domingo

313 - Littleton

317 - Cunningham

396 - Grant

Unknown numbers (but on the ceiling):

?? - Chang

?? - Goodspeed

?? - Sullivan

Any of those names look familiar to you? Yeah, they do to me, too. I guess I had assumed that Jacob was assigning everyone one of the famous six numbers based on some sort of unspecified criteria, but it sure seems as though, instead, Jacob was just giving everyone assorted numbers, which means that the numbers we know so well have some weird element of psychic prediction to them. That, or Jacob should have been warning all of those Island trespassers away for years.

(Sidebar for complete "Lost" nerdery. If you don't enjoy such things or the sight of them makes you draw away in complete distaste, please skip down to the next paragraph. In the "Lost" online game designed to explain what the numbers were a few years back, the numbers were revealed to be something called the "Valenzetti Equation," and the DHARMA Initiative had been working to change one of the values, which would mean averting the end of the world. While I can't imagine the show digging that deep into its mythology -- the better to avoid frightening casual viewers off -- perhaps this has something to do with how the two timelines will intersect, with one of the alternate people -- one of the numbers in the equation -- taking the place of another. Could be!)

Anyway, back before I was a big "Lost" fan, back before I got in my head the notion that it might be fun to write about TV, I was really into "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." If you were a fan of that show and you're currently a fan of "Lost," then you owe it to yourself to read Movieline's list of ways that the final season of that show is proving to be similar to the final season of this show. And, seriously, the resemblances are uncanny.

Also, hey, did you see this? The Los Angeles Times and Show Tracker's own Maria Elena Fernandez was one of the special guests on "Instant Dharma," a weekly "Lost" recap show with AOL's Show Girl, Maggie Furlong. Be sure and check it out. And while you're on the lookout for good "Lost" videos, here's an online play of last week's episode, "What Kate Does," complete with commentary from the series' prop master, Rob Kyker. That should keep you busy, huh?

This week, my favorite "Lost" tweet is from @DavidinIndy, who points out some casting I completely missed (gotta get out those season three DVDs):

"#LOST trivia: The counselor who asks Locke what animal he thought he was is the 'fortuneteller' hired 2 fool Hurley in Tricia Tanaka Is Dead"

Cool!

Have you been wondering just where Jack works? We got a good look at his address on his business card in "The Substitute," and, sadly, it seems that he works at ... the Saban Theatre? Where there's an upcoming "Lost" event? Cross-promotion? On network television? Who would have thought?!

And now, before we turn to your comments, let's turn to Liz Ellcessor's awesome post on how last night's episode of "Lost" actually focuses on three versions of Locke: the alternate timeline version, the fake Locke version and the original version who died tragically. It's a smart read, and she's got some good thoughts on how the episode plays with the old tropes that pin masculinity to mobility and how that may be affecting Locke's opinions of himself. As always, great stuff.

And now ... your comments.

Writes joel:

"As for Ben, I'm wondering the same thing but then again, wasn't Ethan on the island at the same time as Ben (but much younger)? Are we to believe Ethan escaped with his Mother on the sub before the incident but in the original timeline returned? Because I thought the mythology was that he never left and became Ben's prodigy after the Purge. My memory is weak, so correct me.

"Our theory is that Richard, knowing about the bomb and afraid of the result, somehow got Ben off the Island. But how, where, and why?"

I've gotta admit that I'm still counting on the bomb being the thing that sent the Island to the bottom of the ocean, but as joel points out, it makes the timeline wonky in a way that the writers have to be aware of. I don't think this is some casual timeline impossibility (as we sometimes saw in the interlocking flashbacks). This is a trail of breadcrumbs we don't yet have enough clues to follow. But I'm enjoying trying to put them all together! (Later in the thread, jon lake has similar thoughts.)

Kevin Cassady, who has rather a different opinion of "Lost" than I do, says that Terry O'Quinn's talent meant that whatever the show would have given him, no matter how bad the writing, would have been made to look amazing in his hands. And while I disagree that the show is awful, I agree with Kevin that O'Quinn's a tremendous actor. I hope he finds many varied and interesting roles to come.

Finally, KarenJ points out that all of the characters in the alternative timeline are landing to a life where they're coming to terms with some of the problems they were never able to put behind them in the other timeline. She points to how Boone seems untroubled by his love for Shannon in the alternate timeline as perhaps a small way to figure out just what the producers are doing with this storyline. And while I hope that there's more to the flash-sideways storyline than that, it certainly does seem to be one of the goals of the plot device. It's a way to give these characters happy endings they necessarily can't have back on the Island.

And with that, we're done with "Lost" Wednesday for the week. Come back this weekend for the "Lost" weekend, and remember to send me your favorite fan stuff via e-mail and Twitter for that event.

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

Photo: Ben Linus (Michael Emerson) as a European history teacher? What a twist! (Credit: ABC)

Related articles:

'Lost': Locke gets in touch with his feelings

'Lost': Yunjin Kim tries her best to explain the new season

The 'Lost' weekend: John Locke wishes you a happy Valentine's Day

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