Monday, January 26, 2009

The Last Temptation of Hurley, or Hugo Reyes and the Hotpocket of Doom

Peggy: I am officially calling for these episodes to be re-titled "Poor Hurley."

Mark: Yeah, Hurley's being pulled like saltwater taffy, isn't he?

Peggy: It was epic in its awesomeness. Seriously, there was soooooomuch to love here: Hurley's on-point description of everything we've seen so far, nevertheless coming off sounding just as crazy as it does when we try to explain it a non-believer; Hugo's mom: "I believe you, Hugo." And Jorge Garcia's facial expression as Ben took him up on the mountaintop and promised him the world: no more lying, no more crazy, those you love safe, rescuing those left behind, and all you gotta do is kneel down and worship me. DAMN that was fine.

Mark: Why do people keep trying to mess with Sayid? Haven't they seen ANY of the previous shows?

Peggy: Not only can he snap necks with his ankles of steel, dude's DISHWASHER is lethal. What do you think caused the falling out between Sayid & Ben? Simple growing mistrust or something more? I'd love to believe that Ben was behind Nadia's murder & Sayid found out, but I just can't jigger the timeline to make it happen.

I love Hurley & Sayid pulling out of the gas station as Kate & Aaron were pulling in--a flashback-style interaction in the...flashpresent? Damn, but that's going to be a) confusing and b) difficult to talk about.

And how very Hurley that, despite his angry words to Sayid aboard the Searcher, he not only helps Sayid, but trusts him over Ben, who's telling Hurley they're going to do exactly as he wanted to do anyway.

Mark: At any other time in the show's history, Sayid's "do the opposite" advice would have served Hurley in good stead. Now, though, it just puts him at odds with what the ISLAND said he shouldn't do (and how about THAT li'l cameo? And that tossaway line? "Libby says Hi.") I love this show!

Peggy: That cameo was, I swear, put in specifically for me, just so that, right as I launched into a loud, self-righteous, oh, of COURSE they can bring Michelle Rodriguez back despite all her real-world drama, but not Cynthia Watros, oh NOOOOOOOoooo, they could shut me right up with "Libby says Hi". Reason number infinity why I am Lost's bitch.

Mark: Cathy correctly deduced that the island was being moved temporally, rather than physically. I hadn't counted on the complexity of the issue, though. If this whole season is one big time travel mystery that weaves in and out of the past five seasons, I will consider this to be the most brilliant show on television.

Peggy: The TWOP folks pointed out Locke's suspiciously gimpy leg when showing Femi's plane to Boone, God's Friggin' Gift To Humanity. Now, I simply refuse to believe that Ethan shooting Locke in the leg was planned way back in Season 1, but I could certainly believe that TPTB looked back at Season 1 & wrote this scene with the previous one in mind.

Mark: Cathy is predicting that Jin is alive, as well as Michael. For that to happen, there would have to have been some time travel shenanigans to pull them off the boat before it went blooey. We'll see.

Peggy: I suspect we'll see Jin, and maybe Michael, but I don't know whether they'll be alive. But the chronology has now kind of caught up with Taller Ghost Walt, so Walt will probably turn out to be the teenage son that Jeremy Bentham had. Do Walt, Desmond, & Lapidus count in the whole everyone has to come back to the island thing?

And while we're on that, are they even really supposed to go back to the island? Richard says Locke has to die to save the island, not the people on it, and while Ben has certainly proven loyal to the island, he has a, shall we say disregard for the lives anyone who he doesn't feel is integral to the island's health. Do we trust Creepy!Island Claire & Christian when they say that Aaron on the island is exactly where he is supposed to be, or Shadowy!California Claire who warns Kate not to take Aaron back? Was Ana Lucia right when she told Hurley to not get arrested? Is his defiance of Ben a major mistake? I hope not, because I love Hugo. But it's an interesting conundrum: is the enemy of my enemy my friend? Of course we know that Ben is a lying liar who lies, but we still don't know if he's right or wrong. I love that.

Mark: Loved the Faraday cameo at the beginning of the show. So, we're going to see him go into the engine of the island, I think. But, riddle me this, Batman: if the guy said we shouldn't poke a hole in the rock, for fear of the energy getting out and "god help us all", isn't that what Ben did in the last episode of last season? Blow a hole in the wall to get to the big dial? So, we're at "God help us all" now, with the island in flux, right?

Peggy: Or it will be "God help us all" in that seemingly arbitrary 70 hours. Daniel has clearly jumped around in time enabling him to write the Magic Journal of Answers. They seem to go out of their way to imply that he doesn't read ahead (he's always shocked by what he reads), but both reading ahead & being unstuck in time certainly explain his mental state & crying jag when we first met him. He sees the news of 815 being found and some part of him realizes that it's all starting (and apparently can't be changed. Unless you talk to Desmond and he does something, which apparently counts as Desmond breaking the rules, not you.). I love that they make such a huge point of there being Rules for all this time travel stuff, then instantly say," oh, except for that guy."

So much coolness:

The one-liners:

It points north, John.

Why is there a dead Pakistani on my couch?

You're someone who makes the hard choices, Kate.

Libby says Hi.

Maybe if you ate more comfort food, you wouldn't, like, kill people all the time.

The theories:

the whispers we always hear are the voices of the unstuck in time (via TWOP)

the island didn't move, the vector to reach it did, & when it did, the island went back to being invisible to everyone outside of the loop (via TWOP)

Did pushing the button have something to do with keeping the island anchored to one particular place & time? (via TWOP)

How far in the past was that opening? Long enough for Candle's baby to be Miles? It's been implied that Charlotte was previously on the island, and we know that Daniel has, so if Miles has, too, what about Lapidus? (or, according to the fabulous Norman Conquest at TWOP, "I assume that Miles will grow up to become Pierre Chang/Marvin Candle et al. Aaron grows up to become Frank Lapidus. Charlotte grows up to become Miss Hawking. Ji Yeong grows up to become Chang's wife (explains the resemblance to Sun, no?) And Daniel Faraday is his own grandpa..." Heh.)

The moments:

Hurley's dad watching Expose, Nikki's old show.

An Abbadon sighting!

A Vincent sighting!

Rose & Bernard (Neil soooo deserved that. Snapping at Rose? Not on my watch, Frogurt.)

And Neil handing Sawyer his red shirt then promptly dying? Priceless.

Flaming arrows. Who shoots flaming arrows (and do they have anything to do with the Arrow or Flame Dharma stations? or pirates from a land-locked pirate ship?)?

Who tries to cut Juliet's hand off? Dharma? Rousseau's crazy crew? Widmore?
Random crazy military guys?

Scary Time Travel Prophecy Lady returns, and may be Daniel's mom (does this mean it's okay for Des & Penny to be together now, since he pushed the button & saved the world, or does this signal yet another wrench in Des & Penny's story?).

Sun & Kate's scene. I love Scary!Sun, and totally think she sent the goons, knowing that Kate would respond by running away. I think it's significant that she asked if Kate would do anything to keep Aaron, not keep Aaron safe. And using Jin's death like that? Dirty, dirty, dirty pool, and completely awesome.

And still to come, Smokey! And Desmond-spawn! I can't wait!

Mark: I am stoked about this new season!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lost Musings

I've just watched the season premiere of Lost, and it was epic in its awesomeness. But while I digest which parts I really want to talk about (The Last Temptation of Hurley, or Hugo Reyes & the Hotpocket of Doom), I had a more general thought.

I read a couple of message boards, and I follow the Lost threads at Television Without Pity pretty faithfully during the season. There are some terrific theories to be found there, and, bless their hearts, they do a lot of the heavy lifting of finding screencaps or catching tidbits that I missed to help further my discussions with Mark. But sometimes you see a post along the lines of "God, I hate how [character X] was acting tonight. It was totally off-base," and this response:"Well, [producer, writer, or showrunner of the moment] created that character, so they would know best. It's their character, not yours."

I see the logic of this, I really do. But as a semi-recovered Xena fan who had some serious issues with how that all went down, I think I have to disagree.

On the one hand, yes, of course, they created that character out of whatever font such creations come from. The character would not exist without them, and would not be the same character if someone else had created it. And if these creations were hermetically sealed in that mythological mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnall's porch, I wouldn't have a leg to stand on here.

But they're not sealed away. They've been set loose on their own, for better or worse, and that's how we encounter them. Think about it. If a different actor played the part, it would be a different character. If a different writer wrote that episode, it would be a different character (the difference might be minute, but it would be there). If a different director directed that episode, it would be a different character. Is it too much of a leap to posit that we, the audience, have a claim on these characters, too? After all, with a different audience, there would be different feedback, and the plot & characters would spin off in a different way.

And Lost in particular caters to their audience. They tease and drop hints in places only the truly rabid would notice. They create real-world games to amuse the faithful in the off-season. They interact with fans via email, blogs, videos, and message boards. And I believe that this interaction has an influence, however small, on the final product. Remember Nikki & Paolo? Remember the awful attempts to ret-con them into the show's mythology? TPTB may deny it, but when it was clear that Nikki & Paolo were a terrible mis-step, they were summarily 86'd via an arachnid ex machina so ridiculous it was never referred to again.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that my take on Character X is right and its creator's is wrong. But I am saying that other interpretations of the events of the show and how the characters carry them forward have some validity, and we have every right to spit nails if, say Demon & Curse keep saying things like, "Jack is the man Kate should be with; he'd be good for her," or if Libby disappears off the face of the earth with no explanation of her connection to Hurley or if Rousseau is killed after promises of backstory but before any backstory is given.

The showrunners have the final say on how the events will turn out. We can't control that. But we can certainly look at that final product and make our own decisions about what it all means, even if our conclusions don't always agree with theirs. The beauty of Lost is that it encourages and expects a level of participation from its audience, and that's one of the reasons I keep coming back, even when characters or events or creator commentary infuriate me.