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'Lost' Wednesdays: 'Maybe you should be the principal'

March 10, 2010 | 11:50 pm

 Pretty much everybody who was anybody in "Lost" blogger world liked "Dr. Linus," largely because they liked the performance of Michael Emerson and the way the show mixed around the back story of Ben to present a new history for one of the series' best characters. Well, there were some people who were shakier on the hour, but for the most part, it was the most warmly received episode of "Lost" since the Locke-centric "The Substitute." The weeks of episodes being deeply divisive seemed mostly over for one episode, and all was (mostly) well in "Lost" fandom.

Once again, though, we don't have a lot of time for links, since you guys came up with some good comments and thoughts on the post and in my e-mail. And that's the reason we're here, right?

Let's turn to Twitter first, where @WWOFTBBNR (and good luck figuring out what THAT means) asks: "When are you thinking the Sideways timeline split from the original? Last night confirmed no Jughead in the sideways." I guess I should be looking over my Lostpedia more closely, because I'm not sure if this necessarily confirms that fact or not, but if it does, I'm wondering if, somehow, the Jughead bomb didn't still exist and then exploded at some point before when it did last season but after when we first saw the bomb early last year. (Remember how unstable it was?) You'll have to help me with my "Lost" history, though.

I only got one e-mail this week, but it was a good one. Reader Tom Snee points out that if you take the initials of the actor who played Principal Reynolds -- W.A. for William Atherton -- combined with that last R from the character name of Reynolds spells out W.A.R. Now, I think that's probably reading a little too much into things, but it's certainly an interesting way to look at it. The "Lost" guys are such fans of big character actors that they must have had Atherton in mind for a while now to play someone, so maybe they played this little inside joke on the audience.

I like the first comment from Alex because he describes Emerson's acting skill as "RIDONKULOUS," which strikes me as entirely accurate. But he also points out, as I did, that some of the writing is a touch heavy-handed in the episode. Obviously, I don't disagree, but I think the writing on "Lost" tends toward the heavy-handed fairly often. The question, then, is whether the actors can sell it, and someone like Emerson usually can. (Just as Terry O'Quinn usually can.) Alex also thinks that Lapidus' status as the original pilot of Oceanic flight 815 will come back into play, and I can't imagine it won't.

Brad's got some basic arithmetic questions:

"OK, I have some math questions. Ilana tells Kwon there are only six candidates left. Who are the six candidates and do they all correspond to one of the six 'numbers'? Is she including Sayid? I would assume not since Ben already told her he killed Dogen. And Locke is out. So that leaves Jack, Hurley and Sawyer for sure. And either Jin or Sun. Is she including both Jin and Sun in her total? If so, that's only five. But that accounts for all the 'numbers'. So who's the sixth? Is it number 108. Or is it Kate? As you mentioned in an earlier blog, she was listed at 51 on the dial at the lighthouse. Does that mean she's not a candidate? Or if she is, what makes those other numbers special? Either way, I'm thinking this doesn't bode well for Kate. Are we to believe she's already joined Flocke? Or is the fact that she hasn't been assigned one of the numbers make her special and therefore the favorite to succeed Jacob?

"And where the heck is Desmond?"

I think to get to six, you pretty much have to include Sayid, which is interesting, since it would hint that maybe the sides are more fluid than they seem to be at present. However, I'm uncertain who the sixth person is. It probably has to be Kate, unless it's, somehow, Claire (which seems unlikely, since Littleton was crossed out). Or could it be Ben? Or Desmond (and I agree, Brad, it's time to have our favorite time traveler back)? The mind boggles.

The TV Obsessed points out the biggest thing I neglected to comment on last night: Widmore was back! I, honestly, have no idea how they're going to cram yet another element into the show's universe at this point, but Widmore is definitely a loose thread they need to wrap up. It'll be nice to see the guy back on the Island (as an old man) just to see what happens. Everything is progressing so orderly-like at this point that I am interested to see just what a loose cannon like Widmore will toss into the mix.

Larry takes issue with my classification of the episode as the best since "The Constant" (everybody's favorite "Lost" episode, pretty much). He thought it moved too slowly, outside of a couple of elements. Though his suggestion for an episode full of Richard-centric pirate adventures definitely has me intrigued.

A number of you pointed out that Atherton, who, again, played Principal Reynolds, is a pretty famous character actor from the '80s. And, naturally, I recognized him from his roles in such films as "Real Genius" and "Ghost Busters." (Writing that sentence made me feel a little like Troy McClure.) I was just thinking he might turn out to be someone within the world of "Lost," which doesn't seem to be the case (though Mr. K points out that there was a Reynolds on the wall of the cave a few episodes ago, which might mean that Reynolds is an important character we're meeting off-Island first, a la Desmond).

Mocae asks what I think the significance of Chaim Potok's "The Chosen" turning up in Sawyer's old tent might be. I have to admit I think this is just a cheeky joke about the various "candidates," but I suppose it could be something else. I haven't ever read the book in question, so if any commenters have, please share your knowledge of it beyond just the Wikipedia plot summary.

Greg is surprised I didn't mention the reference to Jacob's "gift," which seems to be what made Alpert seem as though he never ages. And, yeah, I probably should have brought it up, but at the same time, this is something we don't really understand, just yet, and yet it also seems like something we'll get an answer about very soon. We've been promised a Richard episode very soon, and I can't imagine leaving that episode without knowing just what Richard meant by this statement.

CK says he's annoyed with how slowly this season is answering questions. And while I hear that point of view, I can't exactly agree with it. I was discussing the season so far with my friend Chris Dole, who blogs about the show at (where I also occasionally write), and he made me realize that every season of this show has roughly the same pattern: a slow burn of a start that starts to build up a real head of steam and ends in a giant finale that makes you think the show can never top itself again. I suspect we're doing the same thing this season, and I'd implore all who are impatient for answers to give this season a few more episodes before voicing the exact same complaints again.

I think Joe's on the same page as I am:

"I really liked this episode as well. The story felt more calm and motivated (with the temple-plot conclusion), which left room for almost each character to contribute something valuable. Even Sun got a nice line ('Please help me with the tarp'), and it wasn't even a question! In fact, most of the actors stopped being vehicles for asking questions and enjoyed the luxury of actually playing characters.

"In a way, this episode sort of puts an end to question-asking for a time, which I'm happy for. The temple-leader Dogen is dead; Ben was once again revealed to know nothing but the manipulation game (and was even weak at that, too, in both worlds); and Richard, once thought to be the one person outside of Jacob/Smokey with answers, has a storyline that concludes with the line, "OK, Jack, you seem to have all the answers: so now what?" I'm hoping this will all lead to characters acting out their motivations rather than just figuring out how to do so. In addition, the characters are now in two camps, which should significantly reduce cutting between scenes and speed up that action. So yay, Lost!"

And then there's Scott, who points out that a few weeks ago, the Man in Black tempted Sawyer by saying there was nothing worth protecting on the Island, and this week told Ben that he'd need someone to guard the place and who better than Ben? Hmmmmmmm ...

And that's all for this "Lost" Wednesday! Remember to send in your e-mails and Tweets for the "Lost" weekend!

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

Photo: Alex (Tania Raymonde) persuades Ben to help her in the alternate timeline on "Lost." (Credit: ABC)

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