26 April 2009

Makes a lot more sense now...

Dharma is back!! Remember the "Dharma Wants You" ARG game that suddenly lost its funding last summer? This is the video shown at the Comic-Con in San Diego. You may consider it a spoiler, so watch at your own risk. I include it only because it has already been released to the general public by TPTB, so I do not consider it a spoiler, but it definitely gives you an idea of what we may see in the next couple of weeks. Here it is:

17 April 2009

wait, there's more...

What about the real Henry Gale?

If Dharma was wiped out, why is Dharma food arriving on the PRD in 2004, at least 12 years later?

When the Others wiped out Dharma, did they have agents in Ann Arbor, killing all the off-island Dharma people?

Can we trust Locke's dream-hologram vision of Horace when he says that he's been dead for 12 years?

What lies in the shadow of the statue? If you look at the bottom center photo of the collage, there's a statue that casts a very tall shadow on the building. Who is in that building? His picture is bottom right; his name is Alvar Hanso, the money-man behind the Dharma Initiative. Alvar's great-grandfather was Magnus Hanso, the captain of the Black Rock, the slave ship that shipwrecked on the Island over 100 years ago. Possible the statue was still standing, and the Black Rock ended up directly in its shadow?

16 April 2009

Other Than The Obvious Star Wars Reference?


It's been a while since I wrote about the happenings on that mysterious Island. This season seems not to lend itself to much speculation. With all the jumping around in time, theorizing seems so pointless; better to just enjoy the ride. Until now, that is. Now that our people, the few who are still alive, are stuck in 1977, they have joined the Dharma Initiative. We've heard 2 different explanations for why you can't change the future. Mrs. Hawking told Desmond way back in "Flashes Before Your Eyes" that he could not change the future he saw, that despite his foreknowledge of Charlie's death, and no matter how many times he would try to save Charlie, Charlie would die. Desmond saw the future and was unable to change it, so we know that the timeline is mostly fixed in terms of what will happen; everyone will fulfill their destiny regardless of their attempts or those of others to change it.

The past is a different story, right? If you could go back in time and kill Hitler, you would, wouldn't you, and so doing save the world a lot of unnecessary grief and pain? Problem is, what if you go back in time and kill your grandfather? Then he can't have kids, and you will cease to exist, in which case you will not go back in time and kill him, in which case he will exist and you will be born and go back in time and kill him, in which case you will never be born, and so on to infinity. This is called the Grandfather Paradox, and it makes a basic assumption: that when one travels backwards in time, they somehow step out of the natural flow of time and show up somewhen they have no right to be, where it is possible to alter the past and have an effect on the future to which one will eventually return. Enter Daniel Faraday. I told you last year that you had to listen to Daniel, and I hope you took my advice, because he was right when he said that you cannot change the past. It is not like Desmond, who kept saving Charlie, only to see his life in danger again. When you are in the past, you are not some interloper who has to be careful not to step on a bug lest you doom the entire earth; you are a person who is playing the role you have always played. Sayid always shot little Ben; if the 815 survivors had seen the 1977 Dharma photo on their first day on the Island, they would have recognized themselves, and still would have ended up there, doing exactly what we are seeing them do now. It's hard to conceptualize, but so much easier than dealing with all the paradoxes we've seen on multiple episodes of Star Trek. Our people are in the past; to an outsider, Sayid shot little Ben 30 years before he crashed on the Island, but for Sayid, in the linear timeline of his life and perceptions, he shot little Ben after spending 108 days on the Island, then 3 years off it as one of the Oceanic 6. Get it? They cannot change the past, because their involvement in the Island's history was written before they even arrived. Those are the rules.

However, rules were made to be broken. Desmond, who spent 3 years sitting on top of an electromagnetic anomaly, and was at ground zero when it imploded, seems to be an exception to the rule. Daniel, realizing that Desmond was special, knocked on the Hatch door during one of the time flashes; the date was sometime between 2001 and 2004. He told Desmond to seek out his, Daniel's, mother at Oxford University. The rules as I have outlined them above say that Desmond should have recognized Daniel when Daniel came to the Island on the freighter, but that's not what happened. Desmond woke up sometime in 2007 or 2008 and remembered the conversation outside the Hatch door. I'm not certain, but I think it has something to do with the fact that Desmond never travelled physically through time; his consciousness jumped back and forth throughout different periods in his life. Physical time travel keeps one anchored to the unchanging timeline, unable to effect any changes, but when your consciousness moves and inhabits your body from 5 or 10 years ago, you float above or outside of the timeline. This is all very confusing, and I hope it will be explained more thoroughly.

The important thing for us to remember, though, is that our people who are back in 1977 are witnessing the building of the Swan, the Orchid, and some of the events that will lead Ben Linus to Purge the Island of the Dharma interlopers. We know, or we've been told, that the Swan was built to study the unique electromagnetic properties of that sector of the Island, but at some point, there was an "incident." After the incident, a protocol was put in place whereby 2 men would stay in the Swan for 540 days at a time, entering the code and pushing the button every 108 minutes. Knowing that there are a new group of people on the Island now, people who seems to be unaffiliated with Ben, Widmore, or the "Others," knowing that both Widmore and Ben wanted Locke and the Oceanic 6 to get back to the Island, presumably because a war is coming, we can assume that our people will somehow travel forward in time, go back to the future. I am pretty sure that the Incident is nothing less than the event which will send our people back to where they will belong. How exactly this will happen I will not pretend to know, but I have some questions:

1: Whither Radzinsky? We know now that he designed the Swan, and that he was down there pushing the button as late as 1991, when Kelvin joined him after the 1st gulf war. We know that Radzinsky killed himself sometime after that. Was he locked down in the Swan when the Purge happened? Did he kill himself when he found out about the Purge? Why did he edit the Orientation film? Why the fiction of a disease and the shots every 9 days, when it didn't keep Kelvin, Desmond, or even Radzinsky, inside? ( I keep thinking that one of our people will end up taking Radzinsky's identity somehow and ending up as that brownish-red spot on the ceiling)

2: What about the Others? We know nothing about them. Why did they kidnap all those 815 survivors? Why were they interested in Walt? We've seen them as hillbillies, we've seen them using the Dharma medical station, the Hydra Station, the US Army camp, we know they operate a company called Mittelos Bioscience off-island. Now we are getting hints that they are related somehow to Ancient Egypt: the statue, the hieroglyphics, the appearance of the monster with the God Anubis on the walls of Smoky's lair under the Temple. I have the feeling that the Egyptian thing is just the latest layer of costume hiding the true nature and origins of the Others.

3: Did Ben Linus know about 815 before it crashed?

4: Was the runway on Hydra Island constructed with foreknowledge of the arrival of Ajira flight 316?

5: Have the core values of the Valenzetti equation been changed? This, supposedly was the core mission of the Dharma Initiative. Hurley's lottery numbers have been overtaken this year by 3s, 6s ,and 9s in prominence as background details to the action.

6: Where the frak are Rose and Bernard? Are they Adam and Eve?

7: The love quadrangle. Will there be any end to it, why should we care, and why did the producers see fit to make an already overcomplicated, not very interesting plotline, more complicated by putting Juliet and Sawyer together? (But I totally called it. Right here. )

8: What lies in the shadow of the statue? Who are these people, asking this question? We have seen 1 code question used before, by the Dharma Initiative. "What did one snowman say to the other?"(Smells like carrots!)

9: What about all the peripheral characters who seem too important not to explain? People like Libby, Claire's and Eko's psychic, Sun's father, Walt, Ji Yeon, Christian, Magnus Hanso... we need to know how they fit in.

Pretty soon, the story will reach the point where they need to stop laying out mysteries and start answering questions. 21 episodes remain in the whole of the series; that is really not many, considering how much story we've been promised by all these little details. Until next time...

08 April 2009

Badasses don't die.

Can I just tell you how excited I am that Zachary Quinto is playing Spock in the new Trek movie? The answer is very frakkin excited. The Toaster is psyched for this one! First he was Adam, the selfish, bratty foil for rookie agent Kim Bauer in the excellent 3rd season of 24; now he plays Gabriel Gray, aka Sylar, in NBC's (mostly) disappointing "Heroes."

In fact, Sylar is the only reason I have not given up on Heroes altogether. The rest of the show is crap, mostly. Sylar's story has always been the story of a bad man getting badder by the minute, except for the brief time this season when he found out that he didn't have to kill to take someone's powers. He usually just sliced off the top of his victim's head, fiddled around inside the brain, and presto: he had taken someone's superpower. This year he found out he could take someone's power by finding empathy somewhere in his dark heart for one whose power he covets. That lasted long enough for him to find true love, until the Hunger found him again and he killed her. More recently he took an apprentice and hit the road in search of his real father; he first found a diner. It was boarded up, abandoned. Sylar had a flashback to his childhood: His father had brought him to the diner in order to sell him for a little extra cash. Once the transaction concluded, his father got up and left. The little boy obviously didn't understand; he went running after his father. He got to the parking lot just in time to see his father kill his mother in the car and push the body out the passenger side door. The juke box was playing "The Chain," by Fleetwood Mac. It was a brilliant, chilling scene, alone worth the price of admission to an hour of my Monday night. I could go on, but I don't want to ruin it for you. Check Sylar out.

And the man who makes it happen is Zach Quinto; it's so easy to picture him as our favorite Vulcan. The studied, quiet intensity Nimoy brought to the character of Spock, the calm center, is the same thing that makes Quinto's Sylar so scary. And the eyebrows! They won't need to do much makeup for that one, I tell you. (Also, have you heard Heather Nova's cover of "We Can Work It Out?" It's wonderful.)

Anyway. Star Trek opens soon, with SHAUN OF THE DEAD as SCOTTY! JJ Abrams directs; you know him, the guy who created Lost, and Alias, who gave us Cloverfield, the best shaky-cam monster-destroys-New-York movie ever. Run, don't frakkin walk, to your internets and lock down a ticket for this flick, I tell you, it's gonna be the runaway hit of the summer. This one has the potential to be as widely popular as The Voyage Home was at Christmastime in '86. That is all.