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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spoilers for "Exposé"

I apologize for the late post this week. I had hoped to get a short podcast up before this week's episode, but at this point I wouldn't be able to make that happen until tonight, and by then this week's episode will already be airing on the east coast.

If it's any consolation, my podcast feed contains my guest cohosting appearance on Curt Yanko's Black Rock Podcast from this past Saturday, and I talked with Curt about most of the things I was going to say in my own blog and podcast this week. I'll post detailed show notes later for those who would rather not listen to the full 1.5-hour show.

If you really need your spoiler fix before tonight's show airs, here are some juicy morsels to chew on:

(The remainder of this post contains SPOILERS, some potentially major.)
  • This week's episode, Exposé, will contain Nikki and Paulo flashbacks. At least one flashback will be pre-island while they were in Australia, but the remainder of the flashbacks will take place on the island.

  • The executive producers seem fairly confident that we'll be more satisfied with Nikki and Paulo's characters after this episode. However, they also state that many fans may claim that the writers have finally "jumped the shark" after this episode airs. Wikipedia explains what "jumping the shark" means: "Jump-the-shark moments are typically scenes that finally convince viewers that the show has fundamentally and permanently strayed from its original premise. In these cases, they are viewed as a desperate and futile attempt to keep a series fresh in the face of a decline in ratings. In other cases, the departure or replacement of a main cast member or character or a significant change in setting changes a critical dynamic of the show." That doesn't sound good, but so far I think the writers have (for the most part) proven that they can be trusted to move the show along in a direction that will be pleasing to the audience.

  • Boone Carlyle, Shannon Rutherford, Ethan Rom, and Dr. Leslie Arzt will make guest appearances in Nikki and Paulo's flashbacks.

  • Sun will finally find out that Charlie was the one who pretended to be an Other and attempted to kidnap her.

  • This week's episode of LOST will not revisit the plot line about Anthony Cooper or "the box."

  • At least one person will apparently die in tonight's episode. My speculation based on last week's preview is that it will be Nikki.

  • In last week's preview, Sawyer said something like "they were Others"—could he have been referring to Nikki and Paulo? That would be an interesting plot twist. Perhaps when Nikki dies, they'll find a list or something in her pocket. Another bit of supporting evidence is that Ethan is one of the people in their flashback, and yet another is that the revelation would certainly seem to fit with the episode title. It's just speculation, but if it's true that Nikki and Paulo are Others, it sure would help fans appreciate their characters a lot more. (To give credit where it's due, my wife's the one who started putting the pieces together on this one.)

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

"Par Avion" Discussion and Spoilers for "The Man From Tallahassee" and More

[Listen to this episode!] [Subscribe to the MP3 feed via iTunes]

A brief synopsis of this week's podcast episode: Josh and guests Big-O, Curt Yanko, Amanda, and Master Nak discuss "Par Avion," lots of great spoilers for the upcoming episode "The Man From Tallahassee," plus bonus spoilers on what is yet to come in Season 3.

This week's episode is longer than usual; please send me feedback about whether you prefer the usual short episodes or the more in-depth discussions of the show: thelostmeister at gmail dot com.

More detailed show notes—and some additional things that I forgot to mention in the podcast—are coming soon! Subscribe to the blog feed and stay tuned.

*UPDATE , 20 March 2007*
Here are some more complete show notes from the 17 March podcast.
  • We now know that Christian Shephard is Claire's dad
    • Until Claire met her dad, she apparently thought that he had died when she was 2
    • For some, the fact that Christian Shephard was Claire's father was a big revelation, while it seems that many long-time fans expected it because of a scene from "Two for the Road"
  • The level of exposition on the show (that is, spelling things out so the viewers will make connections more easily) is increasing
  • An analysis of the conversation between Kate and Mikhail
    • What are the qualifications for being on "the list"?
    • Is Jacob "Him"?
    • Mikhail indicated that he knew Locke previously, and that he was paralyzed
      • Did he know Locke personally, or did he just have information about him like Juliet had about Jack?
  • Who are island natives among The Others?
    • Ben claims to be
    • We know Juliet was recruited
    • Mikhail claims he was recruited
    • What is the timeline for the purge? Was Juliet recruited by the DHARMA Initiative or by The Others? It sounds like Mikhail was recruited by The Others.
  • Was Kelvin the *real* last surviving member of the DHARMA Initiative, or was he an Other?
  • What sources of information on the show can we really trust?
    • Probably not Mikhail; we know he lied about at least one thing
    • Definitely we can trust flashbacks, e.g. Juliet's
    • Possibly Karl, who rebelled agaist the Others and seemed to be speaking truthfully
  • Is there any significance to Claire's mom being a librarian?
  • Is Claire's mom still alive? Christian is dead, so would her life support still be funded somehow? Would the Australian government fund it since it's against the law to pull the plug?
  • Locke stole C4 explosives from The Flame
    • This indicates he intentionally blew up the hatch, whether by entering 77 or manually
    • Locke's destroying the hatch is similar to when he knocked out Sayid in Season 1 when Sayid was trying to do the triangulation in an attempt to communicate with the outside world
    • Why would Locke spoil everyone else's chance of leaving the island? If someone came to rescue them, he wouldn't have to leave the island.
  • Christian sang to Claire when she was a baby
    • We can probably assume this was "Catch a Falling Star"
      • Does this indicate that Christian might have connections with The Others? When Claire was in The Staff, the mobile in the baby's room played "Catch a Falling Star."
  • Jack played catch with Tom
    • This was probably the first time Jack "had fun" with The Others - he kind of hesitated before spiking the ball
  • The Barracks seems to be the "Otherville" we saw in the first episode of Season 3
  • Danielle did in fact go with Sayid and the group beyond the pylons
    • This contradicts her claim that she avoids dangerous situations involving The Others
    • Where is Alex right now?
  • Mikhail said it's currently possible for them to leave the island via the submarine, but that they wouldn't be able to find their way back
  • Locke doesn't know about Claire's sea bird plan or Penny Widmore's apparent plot to find the island
NOT discussed on the podcast:
  • Mikhail: "The man who brought all of my people here" - Who are "all Mikhail's people"? All of The Others? Are other Russians on the island?
SPOILERS discussed in the podcast:
  • From last week's U.S. preview for the next episode:
    • We'll find out how Locke became paralyzed
    • Locke's true agenda will apparently be revealed; we see him aiming a gun at Ben, who is lying in his bed
      • I assume that Locke is angry because Ben conned him into thinking that he didn't enter the numbers in the Swan station, which led Locke to begin to lose faith in the island and ultimately destroy the hatch
    • Ben: "I know you spent four years in a wheelchair and I know how you ended up in it"
    • Locke says he's not there [at the Barracks] for Jack
    • Locke appears to be looking down a hole, possibly the entrance into the submarine
    • Locke has his hands in the air as if in surrender, and behind him a submarine (the only submarine, the Galaga?) blows up
      • Was this sub the only way The Others had of leaving the island?
  • The official ABC synopsis for the upcoming episode, "The Man from Tallahassee": "Ben tries to persuade a determined Locke to call off his destructive plan by offering him some of the secrets of the island, and Kate's reunion with Jack does not go off as planned when she discovers that he has made a deal with 'The Others.'"
  • Tom, Alex, Richard Alpert (Juliet's recruiter—why is he in this episode??), and Anthony Cooper (Locke's dad) are all in the upcoming episode
  • I theorized that we'll find out eventually that Anthony Cooper is "the real Sawyer"—that is, the man who conned James "Sawyer" Ford's parents
  • Sayid is going to meet Alex
  • On March 28th, Boone and Shannon will be back!
  • According to TV Guide, in an episode that will air in mid-April, Jack will reunite with the other survivors on the beach!
  • On April 11th, we may see connections between Juliet's role as a fertility doctor and Sun's baby (does Juliet go to the beach with Jack?)
  • Cassidy, the mother of Sawyer's daughter, shows up in a flashback other than Sawyer's
  • The love triangle between Kate, Jack, and Sawyer isn't over
  • There will be at least 2 more deaths before the end of this season
    • Most likely not Jack or Sawyer, according to TV Guide
    • Charlie may be one of the ones to die this season; Dominic Monaghan has indicated that he wouldn't be upset if he left the show, indicating that he sees it as a job
      • The executive producers hinted that Desmond saving Charlie multiple times may result in other kinds of changes
SPOILERS that were NOT discussed in the podcast:
  • From the Canadian promo for "The Man from Tallahassee":
    • Locke says "This is going to be more complicated than we thought."
    • Kate says they need to rescue Jack, and Sayid says "He may not want to be rescued."
    • Jack tells Kate "Get out of here. Right now."
    • An Other forces Kate to the ground, someone asks her "Who else is with you?" Jack instructs Kate, "Just answer the question," and an Other cocks a gun aimed at her.
    • Locke aims a gun at Ben, who is in bed, and he says "I'm not looking for Jack. I'm looking for the submarine."

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"Enter 77" Insights and "Par Avion" Spoilers

[Listen to this episode!] [Subscribe to the MP3 feed via iTunes]

Mikhail Bakunin (who has commonly been called "Patchy" by fans) claimed that he was "the last surviving member of the DHARMA Initiative," although he quickly conceded that he was lying when Sayid called his bluff. However, Mikhail later told Sayid that everything else that he said about the DHARMA Initiative was true. Could one of those truths be that there are no surviving members of the DHARMA Initiative? Or is it possible that any remaining members have been assimilated by The Others? (More speculation about this later.) Mikhail also said that the "hostiles" (who we can probably assume are The Others) were on the island for a very long time prior to the DHARMA Initiative—which jives with Ben's claim that he's been on the island his whole life—and he claimed that the two groups went to war against each another.

It is unknown whether the glass eye found in the Arrow Station belongs to Mikhail, although it wouldn't be surprising.

Some fans speculated that Mikhail's cat, Nadia, may have been the same cat seen in Sayid's flashback (or at least a mysterious manifestation of the same cat, much like "Kate's horse"). However, a closer examination of the cat's markings reveals that it is not the same cat. Nadia, by the way, means "hope" in Mikhail's native Russian language [source], while in Arabic (with which Sayid would be familiar) Nadia means "delicate" [source].

We finally learned in this episode what "the cable" that leads from the jungle into the ocean is for. According to Mikhail, it leads to an underwater sonar system used for submarine navigation.

In the Russian conversation between Ms. Klugh and Mikhail, she ordered him to shoot her. Among other things, she said: "You know what to do. We cannot risk it. You know the conditions. They captured us. We will not let them to get into the territory." I believe we'll soon find out about this "territory" that Ms. Bea Klugh died trying to protect.

According to Dr. Marvin Candle's instructions, entering 23 in the Flame Station computer would initiate a supply drop. Do the supply drops take place at regular intervals regardless of whether someone manually requests them? If there is not an automatic drop schedule, does this indicate that Mikhail manually initiated the supply drop in the episode "Lockdown"? If so, did he do it because he knew that Ben would use it to his advantage to gain Locke's trust? Did he do it to enable Ben to pretend that he didn't really push the button, thus causing Locke to lose faith in the button and cause the Swan Station to implode? Or are the supply drops mentioned on the Flame Station computer completely unrelated to the supply drops at the Swan Station? My own speculation is that the supply drops are one and the same, for two reasons. First, Mikhail's alcohol had the Swan Station logo on it. Second, in "Tricia Tanaka is Dead," the writers made a point to show Nikki and Paulo discussing the fact that they were starting to run low on food; I don't think they would have taken the time to make a point about this unless it was significant to the plot.

When Locke entered 77, the Flame Station exploded shortly thereafter. Why wouldn't Mikhail and Ms. Klugh have removed the explosives from the station? For their own safety and to ensure that The Others would continually have communication with the outside world, it seems like it would have been in their best interest to ensure that the station was kept intact. Some have speculated that The Others planted the explosives themselves. I wouldn't rule this out as a possibility, especially since Ben lied to Locke about whether he pushed the button during the lockdown in the Swan Station. What was Ben's motive for tricking Locke into thinking that he didn't need to push the button? Was it part of The Others' agenda to let the hatch get destroyed? If so, was it also part of their agenda to con Locke into destroying the Flame Station? While I certainly think it's possible, I can't imagine why The Others wouldn't have just destroyed the stations on their own.

So far there has not been any conclusive evidence to prove whether Dr. Marvin Candle (from the Swan and Flame Stations' video segments) and Dr. Mark Wickmund (from the Pearl Station's video) are the same person, although the real-life actor is the same. Since we've been told explicitly by the producers that we "will never, ever hear the word 'clone' on LOST," it's doubtful that they're clones, and with different last names, it seems questionable whether they could be twins. Additionally, while there were twin Others on the boat when Walt was stolen, Damon Lindelof has stated that "twins have nothing to do whatsoever with the mythology of the show." So what's the deal with Doctors Candle and Wickmund? The Pearl Station seems to have been an experiment on its inhabitants, based on the fact that the pneumatic tubes simply dropped all the logs into a pile that was exposed to the elements and was never actually collected by the DHARMA Initiative. Since we've now seen Dr. Candle's image in two different hatches, the first hatch having proven conclusively to have had a legitimate purpose in spite of what the Pearl video claimed, perhaps "Dr. Wickmund" is merely a fictitious identity used by Dr. Candle in the Pearl video.

A lot of fans are starting to suspect that Danielle Rousseau hasn't been completely truthful with the Flight 815 survivors. For example, Danielle claimed that the reason she was alive was that she avoided confrontations with The Others. In stark contrast with this claim, in Season 1 she went out of her way to capture Sayid thinking he was an Other, and in Season 2 she caught Ben Linus in a trap and confronted him. Why would she go out of her way to capture them if she didn't think it was safe to confront them? Also, Jack from the Jay and Jack podcast pointed out that when Danielle captured Sayid in Season 1, Sayid had been following the cable from the beach. We found out in this episode that the cable led to the Flame Station. Surely sometime within the 16 years Danielle has been on the island she would have followed the cable and found the Flame Station, but she told Sayid that she had never been there before. To give her the benefit of the doubt, maybe part of the cable was buried and thus she couldn't follow it all the way, or perhaps she was afraid it was a trap and stayed away from it. However, another indication that Danielle may be a liar is that she stole Aaron in Season 1 and took him to the black smoke, and we were left to wonder whether The Others really started the smoke and just never showed up to collect Aaron, or whether Danielle started the smoke and lied to the Flight 815 survivors about it. It's possible that all of these questions about Danielle's integrity are red herrings, and in the end Danielle may still prove to be a more or less faithful friend to the castaways.

In a recent interview with Damon and Carlton, several interesting pieces of information were revealed. (Some minor spoilers are ahead.) First, Damon said that the revelations about the Hanso Foundation that were uncovered by Rachel Blake in The LOST Experience are officially canon. Carlton explained that it's no coincidence that Hurley's imaginary friend and his absentee father, David, both had the same name. Carlton said that Dr. Marvin Candle from the Orientation films will not have his own storyline, although Damon stated that "we might be seeing Marvin Candle somewhere other than a DHARMA film at some point before all is said and done." (Perhaps he was recruited or assimilated by The Others?) They revealed that Season 4 of LOST will begin around the beginning of 2008, and that rather than splitting the season into two segments, the plan is to have each episode air a week apart with no breaks in between. When asked whether it would be possible for fans to figure out the overarching mysteries of the show at this point, Carlton said, "I don't think so," and Damon said that fans might be able to figure out some pieces at this point, citing that some fans have come "alarmingly close" to figuring out what the smoke monster's "origins were, how it functions, what its purpose is, but they weren't able to go to the next level... what does that mean in the grander scheme of what the island is?" Damon also revealed that "the real hardcore intel about the island is going to start to reveal itself toward the end of this season as we learn more about The Others."

The remainder of this post contains spoilers.

The official ABC synopsis for this week's Claire-centric episode, "Par Avion," is as follows:
Claire becomes suspicious of Charlie when he exhibits peculiar behavior after she comes up with an idea that could get everybody rescued. Meanwhile, tensions mount between Sayid and Locke as they continue their trek to rescue Jack.
Christian Shephard is my FatherThis week, the list of guest characters may be spoilerific in and of itself; one guest appearance will be made by none other than Christian Shephard, Jack's father. Fans have speculated ever since the Season 2 episode "Two for the Road," when Christian confronted a blonde Australian woman about seeing his daughter, that he might be Claire's father. We'll find out for sure in this week's episode, in which we'll meet Claire's parents. When USA Today asked actress Emilie de Ravin whether Christian Shephard was Claire's father, de Ravin only smiled and said "You'll see." Order your "Christian Shephard is my Father" gear now! ;o)

Mikhail will return in this week's episode. However, since he is not listed in the credits for next week's episode (while Danielle Rousseau is), it's possible that Mikhail will either die or escape in "Par Avion."

There's a spectacular scene which appeared briefly in the preview trailer at the end of last week's episode. At some point in their journey, Sayid and the gang come to a series of mysterious obelisks, about twice the height of a human, that appear to be spread out in a line as far as can be seen. This might be the entry to "the territory" mentioned by Ms. Klugh in the Russian conversation.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

"Tricia Tanaka is Dead" Notes, Assorted Theories, and "Enter 77" Spoilers

[Listen to this episode!] [Subscribe to the MP3 feed via iTunes]

In "Tricia Tanaka is Dead," Hurley finds a Volkswagen bus with a DHARMA logo on the front, tipped on its side in the middle of the jungle. In the vehicle is the dessicated corpse of a man, apparently named Roger, who was a "workman" in the DHARMA Initiative. It is not clear how Roger died or how the car got tipped on its side (although both of these questions may correlate with all the alcohol in the vehicle). It also seems rather strange that Roger's coworkers never came to look for him—he was apparently a DHARMA employee, driving a DHARMA vehicle. Inside the van is a map that appears to detail a road leading from the Swan station to some other part of the island. It would appear that the road passes through a mountain range.

Hurley is determined to get the vehicle running. Based on my (admittedly very limited) knowledge of how cars work, I was extremely doubtful about whether it was possible for the car to run after having laid on its side in the jungle for several years. In hindsight, I'm surprised that none of the four men thought about the possibility that fluids would have leaked out of the car or at least degraded over time. According to Jared on this week's Black Rock Podcast, there should have been no way that the car could have run. While many people saw this episode as very light on mysterious elements, I see this as a definite mystery of the island. Hurley being able to put his faith in the car starting, and then it actually happening against all probability, seems to strongly counteract the theme of hopelessness from the recent Desmond episode. Whereas Desmond was told that he could not ultimately change the course of the universe, and he believed that Charlie was doomed to die "no matter what I try to do," now it seems as though Hurley may have broken the curse of the numbers through his faith. Based on everything we've seen in Hurley's post-lottery flashbacks—and based on logic—the car probably should have crashed and Charlie probably should have died, but the car started miraculously at precisely the right moment.

Kate thinks she needs to save Jack, even though Jack explicitly told her not to come back for him. Perhaps part of the reason Jack said this was because he hoped he'd still have his ticket off the island after saving Ben's life, but certainly another reason is that Jack didn't want anyone risking their own lives to save him. It's interesting how Jack seems to feel the most fulfilled when he's saving other people's lives—or at least that seems to be when he feels he's living up to his potential. Jack set himself up as a martyr, putting his own life on the line to save Kate and Sawyer, and then he did the same for Juliet.

Here are a few theories not specifically related to "Tricia Tanaka is Dead" that I've been considering lately. A reader suggested the possibility that Karl was lying about never having heard of The Brady Bunch, but I believe that Karl was telling the truth and had honestly never heard of it. Why? Because I think that Karl has lived on the island his whole life, like Ben.

The question could be asked, if Ethan was The Other's surgeon, and Ben already knew before the crash that he had a tumor, why would he send his only surgeon into a dangerous situation? If fan theories based on Episode 1 of Season 3 are correct, and Ethan and Juliet had or were developing a relationship, it wouldn't be surprising if Ben was jealous about it since we know from Tom that Ben and Juliet have "got history." Perhaps Ben intentionally put Ethan in harm's way to spite Juliet, or perhaps he did it so he could be with her, similar to the story of what David did to Uriah in the Old Testament (see 2 Samuel 11).

A caller to both the Lost Community Podcast and Jay and Jack's podcast pointed out that the symbol on Cadbury creme egg candies is almost identical to the mark that was branded onto Juliet's back—an eight-pointed star with one ray longer than the rest. Since Cadbury creme eggs are most often sold around Easter, this symbol might have been an "Easter egg" joke by the writers.

For those who will be tuning out to avoid spoilers, don't forget to add me on MySpace and take my short podcast listener survey!

The remainder of this post contains spoilers.

The official ABC synopsis for this week's Sayid-centric episode, "Enter 77," is as follows:
Locke, Sayid and Kate investigate a strange structure and its mysterious inhabitant. Meanwhile, Sawyer competes in a ping-pong competition to get back his belongings.
The "strange structure" may be the Flame Station, which we're supposed to see for the first time this season. The "mysterious inhabitant" is the guy fans have been calling "Patchy," the guy with the eyepatch that Nikki and the gang saw on the monitor in the Pearl Station. We'll see Ms. Klugh again for the first time this season, and we'll also see the return of Dr. Marvin Candle (it will be interesting to see if he has yet another name in this episode). Other guest appearances include Danielle Rousseau, Paulo, and Nikki.

An audio clip from this week's Official LOST Podcast reveals that the "strange structure" (which Kate calls a "house") has a very large satellite dish that Sayid believes can transmit thousands of miles, and Danielle says that she's never been there before. Sayid decides to enter unarmed, and Danielle keeps her distance, believing that some of those who enter the building may not come out alive.

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