27 February 2010

The Ascension of Hugo Reyes

So I went, in my wayback machine, to the early days right after the crash. Hugo needed the manifest so he could compare it with the census he'd taken. (Of course, it was Hugo who alerted the survivors that they had a mole among them. Key.) James had the manifest, only he wasn't James then; he was Sawyer. Sawyer was a mean guy who hoarded all the goods he could get his hands on, and anything you wanted from him came with a price. So Hugo told Sawyer that he should just give up the manifest for free, "because, Dude, you could use the points." Sawyer gave it up with a comment about how Hugo knew how to talk to people. What did Hugo say? "It's a gift."

Later he conned Sawyer into being nice to everyone by telling him he was about to get banished from the beach camp, and let's not forget when he conned Sayid, Kate, and Miles when they came to the Barracks looking for Charlotte. Hugo knows how to talk to people, how to appeal to their better nature and make them see that it's in their best interest to do what he says. These are the qualities of a natural leader.

We've seen a couple of times now that Hugo is the one Jacob has chosen to talk to, dead though he is. Jacob appeared to Hugo shortly after the time-travelers had returned from 1977, just after Ben had killed him, and told Hugo that he had to lead everyone to the temple. This week, Jacob told Hugo that he had to take Jack out of the temple to the lighthouse, because someone was coming to the Island. Jacob works in mysterious ways, though, and it seems he was not altogether honest; he wanted Hugo to take Jack and get out of the temple because something bad was about to happen. Not Dogen, not Lennon, not Miles or Cindy or anyone else, Jacob made sure to protect Hugo and Jack. We've seen now for 6 years that Jack is a leader of men, and it's safe to say that he will lead the good fight against the Man In Black once the sides have been chosen for good, but doesn't every king need a viceroy? Doesn't every godfather need a consigliere, every captain a first officer? We've recently learned that although Ben made the decisions, it was Richard and Richard alone who talked to Jacob, who brought the word of God down from the mountaintop. Now that the Others have no leader (Dogen's position is unclear,) and Richard is on the run, hugo will have to step forward and take the advisory role Richard has played. That's my take on it, anyway...

(I stole the picture you see from Jorge Garcia's blog...)

19 February 2010

Better late than never...

Things have been a little hectic in la vida del toaster lately, and I tried to write a bit on Tuesday but couldn't really come up with anything. Tonight will be better.

I've thoroughly enjoyed the first few episodes of the final season, and I know the fan-verse is abuzz with what has been revealed, but I'm of the opinion that we've not gotten answers, just more bread crumbs. Candidates to become the next Jacob, fine, if that's what you want, but it doesn't answer the only real questions:

1. What, exactly, is the nature of the Island?
2. Who, exactly, are the Others, I mean what do they call themselves?
2a. What, exactly, is their purpose?
3. What are the whispers?
4. What, or who, exactly, are Jacob and his mysterious nemesis?
5. Who will Kate choose, Jack or James? (Bear with me on that one.)

All of these questions were laid out in the first season. (I know, we didn't know who Jacob was or that he had a nemesis, but we wondered what the monster was, and what was the mysterious force that seemed to push all the survivors onto that plane on that day. So many questions have come and gone since then, about the Dharma Initiative, the Hatch, Widmore, Rousseau, Faraday, and all the myriad characters we've met, and even the questions that remain are unlikely to be answered. I find it highly improbable that we'll get one BSG-style episode consisting of nothing more than expositional dialogue, let alone the two or three it would take to tie up every loose thread. More likely, we'll get a lot of action, conflict, and character development; as the story of the Island crescendos, so do the character arcs, and somewhere along the way we'll get answers to those big questions. Once we have those, we'll have to go back over everything again and put the pieces together, for I am sure that there are enough clues and easter eggs along the way, clues that we could never understand only because we didn't have enough information, so that we can find the answers to the little ones on our own. This has been the most engaging, thought-provoking, interactive series I have ever seen, and I am sure that, even after all is said and done, we will have to find most of the answers ourselves.

I realize that a lot of folks would not put the whispers on that list, but to me, they seem like the sine qua non, if only the transcripts of them I've read are accurate. Look them up on Lostpedia, they're gripping!

I further realize that most would think the resolution of the love triangle is trivial at best. Indeed, I have mercilessly mocked people for being so dumb that the biggest point on Lost they can discuss is whether Kate belongs with Jack or James, but I got a hunch a few weeks back after I wrote about Schrodinger's cat. We've heard numerous references to free will, the most recent ones coming from Jacob himself, reminding you that you have a choice, no matter what you've been told, and we definitely seem to be at a crossroads, more likely two crossroads: I assume that the time has come, after much preparation, for Jacob's replacement to be chosen, and there seem to be at least five viable candidates: Jack, Hugo, Sayid, Sun, and Jin, although it's possible that it is only Sun, or only Jin, or my long-shot bet, only Ji-Yeon. Who will be chosen, and how will the choice be made? This is the first crossroads, the second is this: which side is everyone on? Does Jack side with Dogen and the temple dwellers? Does James side with Smokey? Hugo? Sun? Jin? You see where I'm going now, right? The love triangle was not for nothing after all: Kate will have to choose, this time for keeps: Jack or James? Not a prediction, just an intuition.

Now, that being said, there are certain things we need to see, not for answers to questions, but closure to the story. We need to see Desmond again, just to make sure that he and Penny will live happily ever after. We need to see Widmore again; he needs to either find the Island or die trying. (I would love to see him on the Island in real time this year.) We need some closure for the kids: Walt, Aaron, and Ji-Yeon. We need to see a bit of what Cindy, Zack, and Emma went through after they were taken.

And finally, Ben Linus has been a little neglected so far this season, but we really need to see a proper ending to his story: he was the man, then he was brought low, then he came back in penitence only to be used by Smokey as a murder weapon. Is there any hope for Ben to find redemption? I hope there is; I hope that Ben can give his life, finally, for the Island he tried to protect for so long. (See, the only thing he ever said that I truly believed was what he told Michael on the dock: "We're the good guys.")

17 February 2010

09 February 2010

"Here I am thinking that free will still actually exists..." -Dr. Juliet Burke, deceased

Here I am, trying to hammer out a post for the most recent chapter, "What Kate Does," and I am drawing multiple blanks. I see the suggestion of free will, the constant reminders that each of us chooses our own destiny, and I see the parallel between Claire and Danielle, who lost their babies and went seemingly mad alone in the jungle. I see Aldo, formerly the guy who fell for the Wookie Prisoner Trick, getting his ass kicked by Kate, and I see Sayid, risen from the dead and now infected, or claimed, by the Monster-Man In Black-Nemesis. I see James, mourning his love, and once again I sympathize with him: it started a while back, and you may not see it on first reading, or even second, but James, since he killed Sawyer, is the only one of the main characters to have redeemed himself. Everyone else is still broken, but James has become a community leader, a trusted man, a husband in spirit if not in law. Remember when Kate escaped from the marshal? She paid no attention to his briefcase, but we remember what she went through to get that case on the Island, not because of the gun, but because of the toy plane. Maybe the plane wasn't in the case this time around, because she never buried it in the NKOTB lunch box that she never got caught stealing, and Jacob never bought her the lunchbox because he was dead. Maybe Jughead killed Jacob? Who knows? The point is that I can't really come up with a cohesive thread for this week's post, so I'll just leave it there.

Stay tuned for my upcoming interview with Iroquois Pliskin, author of VersusCluCluLand.

It's the same, everything is just a little bit different.

The language is clunky, because we have no real-world counterpart for what we see. We see two realities, side by side, each of them mutually exclusive, and we have no idea if one is more viable, more real, than the other, so we can't really say one is alternate. We've seen flash-forwards, and flash-backs, but what do we call this? How can we describe the relationship between the two? Well, a minor war broke out last week over there at Lostpedia; they're fighting over terminology instead of discussing their views of the story itself. As a life-long fanboy, first Star Wars, then Star Trek, and now any number of things, this quibbling over minutiae really pisses me off, because they're missing the point: it's the story, stupid! Sure, flash-sideways is an awful, awkward term, but it's what we've got. Deal with it.

Moving on, I just read an interview with D&C in which they discuss the parallel timeline and its differences to what we know. Yes there are differences, but it's not really crucial to our understanding to catalog them all and try to find out exactly where the timeline split. That being said, D&C want to bring our attention to all the things our people didn't think about as consequences to their action, like the Island being underwater. I won't tell you the whole thing, just read it for yourself. Also, check out this video from comic-con: a segment of America's Most Wanted, featuring our very own parallel Kate:

Also, I got my hands on something that I do not consider a spoiler, but some of you might: the names of the upcoming 3 episodes. I'll post them here and now, but in black text so you have to highlight them if you want to read: The Substitute, Lighthouse, and Sundown. That's all the info I have, and I wouldn't post anything more even if I did. I hate spoilers.

03 February 2010

Schrodinger's Eye-Land

Schrodinger's Cat is a physics story, which means that very few people can truly grasp the whole thing, but what it boils down to is this: When two possible outcomes exist, there exist 2 parallel universes, one for each possibility. Eventually one will collapse, but not until the other is observed. If you close your eyes and flip a coin, you split the universe in two, and it is only when you open your eyes and see that it came up tails that the other universe collapses and a single reality exists.

This is important to the story. How many times has a chapter begun on a shot of someone's eye opening? Tonight it was Kate, and what she saw was bleak. The survivors were thrown back to the future, all of them, and what they saw was bleak. Whatever happened, happened; it was all for nothing. They still built the Swan, and the plane still crashed. Out of 72 original survivors, now only James, Kate, Jack, Hurley, Sun, Jin and Sayid remain, and Sayid is nearly dead. Jack's plan didn't work and it got Juliet killed. Only Juliet wasn't quite dead; she lived long enough to almost tell James, after a teary goodbye and a bloody kiss, what she told Miles after she died: it worked.

In one reality, it certainly seems that way. We saw the flight of 815 again, with a lot of little differences and one big difference: it landed. The survivors had minor run-ins with each other, and there seemed to be the faintest sub-time recognition, but they went on their ways, and I'm sure we'll follow them as they are inexorably drawn to their destiny, because the universe has a way of course-correcting, you know, and I'm sure it won't be long before the passengers of flight 815 start shaking their fists at the heavens and screaming into the night: "We have to go back!"

So we have two possible outcomes, both of which, according to the cat, exist until the observer of the experiment opens his eyes and sees whatever happened. Juliet, near death, seemed to be aware of both, and tried to tell James what she had seen, but everyone else seemed to be aware of only one of the realities they were in. What I am getting at is a question: Whose eyes will open and collapse a universe? Who is the observer, if everyone is living their life and choosing their sides as if the coin had already been flipped? I have long believed that the main action in the story is being watched by some unknown party. Whether for scientific research, sport, entertainment, or some religious notion, I'm not sure, but I have an idea that the whispers we hear so frequently are the voices of those observers; the transcripts reveal clearly that whoever is speaking has some awareness of the people who hear them and their circumstances. Maybe they lost their feed when the bomb went off, or the House is still taking bets before revealing the outcome.

I have a feeling that the next time we see an eye opening, it will be the eye of the Man Behind the Curtain, and a universe will collapse, and the battle will begin.