A Reading Problem

I have a problem. It’s not a big one, like “what am I going to do with my life” or “if I propose to this girl, will she say yes” or anything like that. It doesn’t have the capacity to ruin lives or marriages or continents, but it is worrisome. So, it is more of an issue than a problem.

I’ve already briefly discussed this issue on this blog before, but it continues to grow.

The truth is, I own too many books. And I keep buying more. I would have to take months and months from work just to put a dent in my pile. I have a stack of books by my bed, another on the floor, and shelves on my bookcase stacked sometimes two-deep with books that I haven’t read.It is not that I do not intend to read them, as I bought them for that purpose. And it is not that I don’t have the time, as I do. It is just they are multiplying faster than I can read them.

But I do have a theory as to the cause behind it.

When I was a kid, I absolutely loved to be read to. My parents and sister would read my brother and I books every day, as it was one of the only things that would calm us down. I loved the escapism aspect of books for the same reason I love movies and video games, as it takes you away from everything and plops you down into a world where anything is possible. If you want to read about former president Taft fighting werewolves, there is probably a book about that somewhere. Or what about a killer clown hunting children over decades? Or a story about a boy wizard embracing his destiny? Or a true story about a free man being sold into slavery? Anything you could want to read about probably already exists in some form or another.

But, for all my love of reading and knowledge, I learned to read books later than other kids.

I can’t remember the exact age, as I was pretty young, but as other kids were learning how to read, I simply didn’t. It wasn’t a problem or anything, I just wasn’t engaged with the idea. I loved being read to, especially before bed, but I had no real interest in doing so myself. That is, until I discovered science – specifically dinosaurs.

I remember learning how to read using a book about dinosaurs, as well as the other standard books we all used to learn how to read – Fraggle Rock, Robert Munsch, Berenstein Bears, etc. But dinosaurs were what stoked the fire. And the more I read, the more I wanted to read.

As my dad once told me, “You learned to read late, but once you did, you didn’t stop.”

I flung myself into books and soon I was reading along with the other kids, then surpassed them. I progressed onto young adult books while in grade 3/4 (I still remember reading the novelization of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York when I was around 8 or 9). Then, in grade 5, I was the only kid in my class who was reading an “adult” book for my book report.

And what was that first book suited for adults that I was reading when I was only 10?
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.

From that point on, there was no stopping me.

I spread out from Crichton to medical fiction, as it was what I was familiar with at the time. After reading a few more novels, I spread my wings to horror and Stephen King. I devoured King’s books so much that I started having to specially order his lesser-known books from the bookstore so that I could read them. After that, I proceeded to fantasy and science fiction.

Now I read a little bit of everything, as my tastes are extremely eclectic, but there are some books that stay with you, no matter how many times you read them. There is a trend on Facebook where you list the “10 books that have stayed with you,” and I’m going to list them here and attempt to explain why.

1) Animal Farm by George Orwell
2) Dracula by Bram Stoker
3) The Stand by Stephen King
4) Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
5) Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
6) The Dark Tower by Stephen King
7) Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
8) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
9) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
10) Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

1) After reading it more than 15 years ago, Orwell’s masterpiece still remains at the top of any list I create about books. The main reason is because Animal Farm taught me about layers and subtext. On the surface, it seems simple – farm animals can talk and are unhappy with the way theyare treated, so they rise up and take control of a farm. But, in reality, it is a satirical look at Stalinism and greed. And you do not haveto be aware of the subtext of the Russian revolution to enjoy it, as it is simply a great read.

2) I have detailed my affection for Dracula in an earlier post (http://thedavidmanly.com/the-dreadful-facts-of-life/), but it comes down to the fact that this book showed me why classics are so revered, opened my eyes to the horror genre (of which I am still a huge fan), and demonstrated that not everything needs to follow traditional narrative flow. Add those to the fact that it is a good read, and you’ve got yourselves a keeper.

3) Even though I had been a fan of Stephen King’s for years, I didn’t read The Stand until first year university. I had wanted to read it years and years before, but never could find it in stores or even special order it. But I did find it in a bookstore one day, and devoured it. It is probably one of the few books that I would describe as “epic.” It is told from a variety of different perspectives, features an intimidating villain (who, unbeknownst to met at the time, was tied into King’s other works), and tells a story about what people do at the end of the road.

4) Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Don’t Panic. Towels. Zygons. Marvin the depressed robot. The Infinite Probability Engine. Deep Thought. 42. Super-intelligent mice. ‘Nuff said.

5) Like The Stand, the Lord of the Rings (LotR) trilogy helped introduce me to the “epic” genre of novels. I remember reading this trilogy and then immediately reading it again, just to make sure I understood everything.LotR not only had a pretty good story, but also an impressive amount of history andbackstory that you are not even aware of while reading the main series. Reading the Appendices at the end ofReturn of the King is like reading a completely separate story into itself, which links back to the main story in subtle ways. It is one of the most detailed series I have ever read, and I still marvel at the care and effort Tolkien put into creating such a rich world.

6) I started reading the Dark Tower series after The Stand, as King was planning to release the last few entries into the series, soIwantedto be caught up in time for their release. As a whole, it is not a perfect story and has a lot of meandering, but it hits some incredible heights, and Roland the gunslinger is a hell of a character. And it ends in a way that only the Dark Tower series could … because Ka is a wheel, and its only purpose is to turn.

7) My sister Sara bought me my first ever Sherlock Holmes book – The Hound of the Baskervilles – so you can blame her for my Sherlock fandom. I have read all the stories and books many times, and even dressed up like the great detective on Halloween on more than one occasion. Personally, I like Holmes because, as brilliant as he is at some things (and there are a lot of them), the humble Watson is superior in others. Many of my forays into “classic” literature stem from reading Holmes, and my collection of the stories/novels is one that will always be nearby if I ever feel the need to be outsmarted by the smartest man in the room.

8) Frankenstein was probably the hardest book for me to come up with on this list. But I chose it because it was the first horror book I read after Dracula, and started me on a path to read all the “classics,” such as The Wolf-Man, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, The Island of Doctor Moreau, Doctor Faustus (another sister suggestion), The Portrait of Dorian Gray, etc. And reading those books greatly influenced my own writing, as my novel “The Black” draws its influence from those books, as well as science fiction.

9) The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is not the best or even the most well-written book series. But, what the series does have is an impressive amount of world building, a thick mythology and a lot of character development. There is a reason why the adventures of a boy wizard has touched so many people and become a world-wide phenomenon. I really enjoy the books, and still read them to this day. I still remember reading the last book in only a few hours, as I couldn’t wait to find out how it ended. I then passed it to my brother Daniel, who also read it incredibly quickly, before passing it back to me, so I could read it again for a second time later that afternoon – taking my time, so I could relish the experience, having already known how it ended. And there aren’t many books out there that filled me with that amount of passion and enthusiasm.

10) Jurassic Park, for being the first adult book I ever read, deserves to be on this list. However, it also tapped into my childhood obsession with dinosaurs (which I have written about on this blog more than a few times), and there is nothing so powerful as revisiting something that you lived, breathed and ate as a kid. Jurassic Park will always be one of my most influential books, no matter how many I read.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some reading to do.

But, now I am curious, what are your most influential books that you have read?

Blast from the Past 11 – It ends the way it began

Here we are – the final Blast from the Past post focusing on the TV show that is still being talked about years after the last episode aired.

LOST – Views from a Veteran – Season Six: Episodes 9-16

“There’s always a choice, brotha”- Desmond in “Happily Ever After”

Well, fans of the television show Lost, break out the cake and candles, as we are done! The epic saga of re-watching every single episode of Lost is finally complete.

The way this series ended leaves a lot of room open for debate, as not every little question was answered. We did not find out what the deal was with Walt, why Aaron was so special, what exactly the “rules” were, why Desmond was immune to time-travel, etc…

But for the most part, they really do not matter. However, for a show that spent so much time focusing on questions that never were answered, it does seem a little bit cruel. For a complete list of (most) of the unanswered questions, check out this video!

But, other than the huge list of unanswered questions, there are things about the final half of season six that were very well done.

Firstly, the use of Desmond in the flash-sideways timeline was a brilliant move. By having Desmond interact with most of the castaways created a much more sensible story than what was present in that universe (which we now know was the afterlife).

Secondly, the “awakenings” of all the characters was very touching, as we were shown flashbacks to some of their most important moments in the series. I have spoken to many people about the Lost finale, and they agree that while it was a little much at some points, they were necessary payoff for the characters. If you didn’t feel even a pang of emotion from any of them, you are officially dead inside.

That said – some of the awakenings hit an emotional cord much, much better than others. Case in point: Sun/Jin vs. Sayid/Shannon.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the episode entitled, “Across the Sea.”

Very much like the episode “Expose,” the opinion of fans for this episode was polarized. Honestly, I did not like the episode when I watched it live – it felt like a bit of a cop-out for the third last episode of the series.

I wasn’t that interested in the childhood of the MiB and Jacob, but I wanted to know how they manipulated the situations of every character on the series to further their own goals. I wanted to know more about the secrets of the island and why the MiB was turned into the monster, not about the MiB pining for civilization and the revelation that the key to the island is a mysterious golden light.

But, that is what is so good about Lost. No resolution on countless storylines allows people (like you and I) to discuss and analyze the show. After all, the enjoyment of television is being able to talk to others about it, and Lost DID that.

You will notice that I have not mentioned the finale in great detail, and that is because in the next part of this post is an exploration of the finale in GREAT detail, as well as the exclusive Lost DVD extra epilogue entitled “The New Man in Charge.”

Now, it’s time for the finale batch of “Lost-isms!” After a total of 123 episodes. Here are the final results:

We now have a grand total of 31 fights, with Ben & Sawyer and Sawyer & Sayid in the lead with three fights each, and Jack & Ethan, Sawyer & Jack and Sawyer & Pickett tied for second place with two. Bringing up the rear, with only one fight each are: Michael and Boone, Sawyer and Charlie, Charlie and Sayid, Sawyer and Ana, Jin and Mr. Eko, Mr. Eko and Sayid, Locke and Charlie, Locke and Mr. Eko, Ben and Sayid, Sayid and Mikhail, Kate and Mrs. Klugh, Juliet and Kate, Mikhail and John, Juliet and Charlotte, Ben and Jack, Locke and Jack, Ben and Keamy, Desmond and Ben, and lastly, Sayid and Dogen.

Keep in mind, for the fights, both characters had to throw a punch and connect at least once.

Ben has been beaten up nine different times, while Sawyer has said “Sonofabitch” on 36 separate occasions. But, neither holds a candle to Desmond saying “brother” a grand total of 49 times!

Finally, I will now end with the complete list of “Sawyer-isms”:

“Doc” took a commanding lead and is now the champion after being said an impressive 50 times! Coming in second is “Freckles” with 37 mentions. Coming in at a much distant third are “Sweetheart,” and “Hoss,” at eight.

Fourth spot belongs to “Boss” and “Chief” with Sawyer saying them both six separate times, while fifth place belongs to “Blondie” with five mentions.

The “Sawyer-isms” that are tied for sixth are “”Enos” and “Chewie” after being said four times, with seventh place belonging to “Sister,” “Frogurt,” “Dharmaville” for being said on three separate occasions. Meanwhile, eight spot belongs to all the nicknames that were said twice – “Sweetcheeks,” “Hero,” “Sunshine,” “Mohammed,” “Tattoo,” “Daniel Boone,” “Zeke,” “Sheena,” “Red,” “Chesty,” and finally, “Smokey.”

Tied for last place are all the other nicknames that Sawyer only uttered once. There are over 100 of them, so I don’t want to bore you with listing all of them (however, if you want the list, let me know and I can send them to you). Some of the best of the rest are: “Lardo,” “Mr. Miyagi,” “Captain Falafel,” “Stay-Puff,” “Croc Hunter,” “Sulu,” “Ponce de Leon,” “Mr. Clean,” “Tokyo Rose,” “Cool Hand,” “Moonbeam,” “Doctor Giggles,” “Captain Bunny Killer,” “Skeletor,” “Taller Ghost Walt,” “Bruce Lee from the Freighter” and “Quick Draw.”

 

A Finale Analysis

“I didn’t pluck any of you out of a happy existence. You were all flawed. I chose you because you were like me. You were all alone. You were all looking for something that you couldn’t find out there. I chose you because you needed this place as much as this place needed you” – Jacob in “What They Died For”

For the re-watch of the finale, since I already knew the ending to the story, I was able to keep an eye out for some references that didn’t occur to me during my initial watch, but gently hinted at the stepping stone answer.

Firstly, the ending has been discussed by countless people and will continue to be debated for a long time to come. People have praised it, and people have chastised it, but you all have to appreciate what they did. This is my attempt to explain it to those of you who are confused (I will get to the rest of the episode in a bit).

I’ve been told lots of random theories about the ending from friends, and this is my take on what makes the most sense.

Jack – “There are no shortcuts, no do-overs. What happened, happened. Trust me, I know. All of this matters.”

The quote speaks volumes. Just like they did with the nuclear bomb explosion at the end of the last season, they could NOT simply re-do the timeline and forget everything that we had seen on the island. Everything that happened on the island was important to their growth as individuals.

One of the most important things to realize about the flash-sideways is that TIME is RELATIVE.

Just because we were seeing them all together at the same time as the “present” time on the island, it does not mean they were happening simultaneously. With the flash-sideways universe (much better name than purgatory or way-station or stepping stone in my opinion), time no longer matters to you. When you die, time ceases to exist.

While Jack died in the forest, many survivors of Oceanic flight 815 lived many years and died at their own time. One example clearly illustrates this from when Ben and Hurley were talking at the church.

Hurley – “You were a real good number two.”
Ben – “And you were a great number one, Hugo.”

This hints that they lived many years after Jack’s final moments on the island, perhaps even centuries after. On the complete series box set (as well as the season 7 DVD set), there is a special feature (about 10-14 minutes long) about the Ben and Hurley years on the island.

The extra does not go into great detail, but you do finally get to see the final Dharma orientation video for the Hydra station, as well as answers to a few questions. I contemplated spoiling it for you here, but I decided against it. If you are a fan of Lost who has seen all the episodes, you owe it to yourself to watch it. Is it the greatest epilogue? No, but it’s good enough

Another note on the ending of the show – I would have preferred someone else in the Deus Ex Machina role, other than Christian Sheppard. I believe Desmond, as our guide through the time-space continuum, would have been an amazing fit. I can understand that Jack’s dad was an important character and helped connect many other character storylines throughout the show, it seemed like a bit of a cop-out.

But, that said, the conversation between them in the multi-faith church (did you notice all the faith symbols scattered across the room and in the stained glass window? See the picture above) had a lot to cover and I thought they did it relatively well. It involved a lot of careful wording to let the audience know what was going on, and while they painted with broad strokes as to not focus on any religion too much, it was a little heavy handed at times.

Here’s the entire church conversation between Jack and Christian for you to examine:

Christian: Hello Jack.
Jack: I don’t understand. You died.
C: Yeah. Yes I did.
J: Then how are you here right now?
C: How are YOU here?
J: [realization hits] I died, too.
C: That’s OK. It’s OK, son [hugs]. I love you son
J: I love you, too, Dad. Are you real?
C: I sure hope so. Yeah, I’m real. You’re real, everything that’s ever happened to you is real. All those people in the church. They’re all real, too.
J: They’re all dead?
C: Everyone dies some time, kiddo. Some have been before you, some long after you. (emphasis added)
J: Why are they all here now?
C: There is no now, here.
J: Where are we, Dad?
C: This is a place that you’ve all made together so that you could find one another. The most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people. That’s why all of you are here. Nobody dies alone, Jack. You needed all of them, and they needed you.
J: For what?
C: To remember, and to… let go.
J: Kate… she said we were leaving.
C: Not leaving, no. Moving on.
J: Where are we going?
C: Let’s go find out.

What I think you need to take from all of this, is that the theme of this season was all about letting go and moving on. Think about that for a second: Letting go, and Moving On.

Every main character from season one let go of their personal baggage and was able to move onwards. Below, you can see just how exactly the “main” Losties who were at the church in the end, were main characters from season one onwards.

Sawyer – Killed the real Sawyer and found love
Sayid – Embraced who he was and found redemption in love
Kate – Finally stopped running, and found love
Hurley – Found his purpose (helping people) and found love
Locke – Finally accepted that which he could not change and accepted help
Jack – Embraced his destiny and his true purpose, and yes, found love
Charlie – Embraced his destiny and found love
Claire – Embraced motherhood and found love
Sun – Became a more independent and self-sustaining woman, and re-affirmed her love
Jin – Realized that work was not all the was to his life, and re-affirmed his love
**I am not including Shannon or Boone, as their story lines were not as prevalent as the others**

Do you see a pattern there? Love.

While every character may not have necessarily found romantic love, I think it is more about finding a connection. To be “woken up,” it needs to be done by someone who had a profound impact upon your life.

These awakenings caused millions of people to cry. Therefore, here they are in order (for those interested).

1) Sun and Jin remember in the hospital
2) Sayid and Shannon in the alley
3) Kate, Charlie and Claire giving birth to Aaron
4) Locke in the hospital moving his toe
5) Sawyer and Juliet at the vending machine
6) Locke and Ben outside the church (not an “awakening,” but still very moving)
7) Hurley and Ben outside the church (also not an “awakening,” but very emotional)
7) Jack and Christian

Desmond – “No one can tell you why you are here but you”

Now, here are a few unanswered questions from the finale that were quite obvious to me upon viewing.
– Did everyone, when they were “awakened,” remember their deaths?
– Was Richard indeed aging (remember the grey hair?) because of Jacob passing on his duties to Jack?
– How did Lapidus survive being struck by a large door underwater in a submarine, make it to the surface on pontoons and wait for rescue for a day or two?
– How did Boone “awaken”?
– How did the cave turn the Man in Black into the Smoke Monster, if he was unconscious (or dead) and all that was down there is a pool with a cork in it?
– If Eloise in the flash-sideways universe knew that it was a type of purgatory, why didn’t she leave when she “awoke”?
– Why didn’t Miles, Farraday or Charlotte “awaken”?
– Why after Jack and Smoke-Locke’s battle did it suddenly stop raining?
– Why didn’t Jack bless the water in the Oceanic bottle before giving it to Hurley (like Jacob did for him, and his mother did for Jacob)?
– Wouldn’t Richard be more terrified by being on an airplane for the first time in his life?
– Why did Kate change from her dress at the concert (and the one she was wearing in the car with Jack), to another one in the church?

Hurley – “It takes as long as it takes.”

But with all the answered questions from the finale, and all the countless mysteries that were left unsolved, what did I think?

I believe that Lost ended the only way it could have – by focusing on the characters. Every main character had a few moments in the massive finale, and saw their personal stories get resolved before moving on.

Do not get me wrong, I love science fiction and was thrilled when they introduced time-travel, alternate universes, etc… into the show. But, what you always must remember is that Lost is a show about people. Granted, the people are in rather bizarre situations on an island with killer black smoke monster that can assume the form of the deceased.

One final note – for those who watched in the U.S. or did not see ads for what was coming up next on television, your probably saw something like this:

It was released that the producers or creators of the show did NOT plan this photo montage to occur. The final shot was supposed to be on Jack’s eye, and that was it. Fade to black and roll credits. However, ABC executives, in order to give viewers a chance to collect themselves and think before the news popped on, decided to place images of the Oceanic flight wreckage on the screen. These shots, however, led some people to believe that no one survived the initial plane crash and the entire thing was a lie.

It was not their intention, just an ill-fated decision by ABC executives. Everything that happened on the show still happened.

With all the good, bad and mysteries left unexplained, Lost was still a very impressive show. But, it was not perfect and they did stumble quite a few times … remember Jack’s tattoo episode?

Still, it was a hell of a ride.

Thank you all for reading these, and if you’d like me to do more series re-watches/re-caps, let me know in the comments below!

Starting next week … the novel returns!

Blast from the Past 10 – The beginning of the end

Notice how the only character NOT facing the audience is Locke? How very interesting. Source.

Notice how the only character NOT facing the audience is Locke? How very interesting. Source.

The highly anticipated final season of Lost arrived with big expectations from the fans – would every question be answered? What characters would live/die? Would we finally find out what the island is or isn’t? Turns out, as with everything else, the answer was: Kind-of.

LOST – Views from a Veteran – Season Six: Episodes 1-8

You can let go now” – Rose in “LAX – Part 1”

This is it folks, the much debated final season of Lost!

I will get into the actual ending of the season later, and I will have most of the final post devoted to the final episode and what it meant for the series. But, before we can get to that, we still have the entire season to watch.

This season began much like the first season did, with Jack on Oceanic flight 815 to Los Angeles from Sydney. But, for the careful observer, things were a bit different: Jack only got one bottle of alcohol from the flight attendant (while he got two back in season 1), Jack had a cut on his neck (which we do not learn about until the finale – Smoke-Locke cut him with a knife), the island is underwater, and Desmond was on the plane.

Does that mean that re-setting the time-line with the nuclear bomb actually worked? Sadly no, everything is still the same. The flash-sideways are actually glimpses of the castaway’s limbo, or afterlife, where they all are waiting to move on. As mentioned previously, this will be discussed, at length, in the final post.

There are a few things that have happened during the first half of the season that actually hint at the nature of the flash-sideways, and I will tell you about two.

The first one was in the premiere, when Juliet says, “We could get coffee sometime … we can go Dutch.” While seemingly meaningless babble at the time, as it ends up, this is exactly what Juliet says to Sawyer in the flash-sideways when they find one another.

The other, slightly more obvious hint is in the episode “Recon,” when Sawyer is on a date with Charlotte. When she asks him why he became a cop, he says, “I guess I got to a point in my life, when I was either gonna become a criminal or a cop. And … I chose cop.”

By saying this, Sawyer lets us in on how his life could have been different if he just made a different choice. After all, Lost is fundamentally all about the difficult choices we/the characters need to make in our/their lives.

This season also finally has gone into a bit more of the mythology of the island, with Richard’s path finally being described in “Ab Aeterno,” The Temple (and its inhabitants) being shown, the introduction of “candidates,” the lighthouse where Jacob observed them all, the spring that can heal, the notion of the MiB corrupting the souls of Sayid and Claire, and the cave where Jacob recorded and wrote down the names of all the candidates.

As for the plot of the first half of this final season, the survivors have pretty much split into 2 separate factions – Those with the MiB (Sayid, Claire, Sawyer, Jin and Kate), and those against him (Jack, Hurley, Sun, Ben, Richard, Lapidus and Ilana). Meanwhile, Widmore is back on the island with Desmond it tow, to apparently help save the island from the MiB.

The season is dedicated to answering some difficult questions, as well as setting up all the characters for a (hopefully) satisfying finale. It is hard not to discuss too much here, so I will save much of the discussion for the final post.

It’s time for the “Lost-isms” for the first half of season six!

We now have a grand total of 31 fights, with Ben & Sawyer and Sawyer & Sayid in the lead with three fights each, and Jack & Ethan, Sawyer & Jack and Sawyer & Pickett tied for second place with two.

Ben’s beatings have stayed steady at seven, while Sawyer saying “Sonofabitch” has been said on 31 separate occasions. But, Desmond saying “brother” still holds the lead with an impressive 40 times!

Finally, as always, I will now end with the top “Sawyer-isms:

“Freckles” and “Doc” are still tied with being said a total of 35 times. Coming in second is “Sweetheart” with eight mentions, with “Hoss,” “Boss,” and Chief” tied for third with six mentions each. Lastly, the fourth spot belongs to “Chewie” and “Blondie,” for Sawyer saying each of them four times.

“That man who sent you to kill me believes that everyone is corruptible because it is in their very nature to sin. I bring people here to prove him wrong. And when they get here, their past doesn’t matter” – Jacob in “Ab Aeterno”

Blast from the Past 9 – What is dead may never die

We finally get some firm information regarding Jacob and the Man in Black, but it was not what everyone expected - nor did it end that way people thought. Source.

We finally get some firm information regarding Jacob and the Man in Black, but it was not what everyone expected – nor did it end that way people thought. Source.

While not quite as influential and well-done as other seasons, season five laid the most work for the series finale and the culmination of the series as a whole – for good or bad. But it had some good moments and answered quite a few questions along the way, which was not the norm for this show.

LOST – Views from a Veteran – Season Five: Episodes 8-17

“Dead is dead. You don’t get to come back from that, not even here. So the fact that John Locke is walking around this island, scares the living crap out of me” – Ben in “Dead is Dead”

The second half of season five united the three scattered storylines from earlier in the season into a more manageable two. We now had Ben, Lapidus and Sun in the present, and Jack, Kate and Hurley joined up with Sawyer, Miles and Juliet with the Dharma Initiative.

I remember that when these episodes aired, people were rather taken aback with the relationship that began between Sawyer and Juliet. But, I actually really enjoyed them together, and even though they were together for a short amount of time … it really humanized Sawyer, and made Juliet infinitely more likeable. And besides, as we know from watching the finale, they are soul mates!

The rest of the season had some great moments, such as Sawyer being the head of security in “Dharmaville,” Ben being ‘judged’ by the monster, and, of course, Sayid shooting a young Ben Linus to change the future. But, in reality, the shooting helped turn him into the manipulative man that we all know and love to hate.

But, all those little revelations and surprising moments pale in comparison to the explosive finale where we finally get to meet Jacob and the Man in Black, as well as learn that the John Locke wandering the island is not the real Locke. When Locke was revealed to be in the crate and that it was the MiB/Smoke monster walking around pretending to be Locke for the entire season was quite a surprise.

It is interesting that the MiB’s one desire – to find a loophole and finally kill Jacob – was one massive con involving the need to deceive Richard, Ben, Locke, Jack and practically everyone on the island at this point.

That is not to say that there were no problems this season, as there were a few. Namely, the introduction of Ilana and her group served no real purpose other than transporting Locke’s body from the crashed Ajira flight to the foot of the statue. It is very difficult to connect to a character that just barks orders and has little to no real personality on the show. Luckily, in season six, she interacts a lot with Ben, and actually humanizes herself. That is, until she handles dynamite from the Black Rock and explodes like Dr. Arzt.

The last few episodes of the season actually departed from the previous notion about time-travel in the series, from “whatever happened, happened,” to that “you can change the future because of free will.” This was a very interesting debate about if everything is pre-ordained or not, and it leads to Jack becoming a true believer in destiny. This allows him to transform into the man that will sacrifice himself for the island at the end of the series.

As we all know, the explosion did not destroy the energy, but was in fact the “incident” which caused the Swan station to be built. And the last few moments of the finale, with Juliet dying and exploding the nuke, was probably one of the most heart-wrenching moments on the show, and Elizabeth Mitchell did a great job portraying that.

One last thing, as it always bugged me, was Ilana’s question to determine who was working with Jacob was the question, “What lies in the shadow of the statue?” The answer, according to what Richard said, is “He who will save us all.” Meaning, most likely, that Jacob is the true savior of the island.

Finally, because I know you all are looking forward to it, it is time for the “Lost-isms” total at the end of season five!

We now have a grand total of 30 fights, with Ben & Sawyer and Sawyer & Sayid in the lead with three fights each, and Jack & Ethan, Sawyer & Jack and Sawyer & Pickett tied for second place with two.

Ben has been beaten up on seven different occasions, and Sawyer has said “Sonofabitch” a very impressive 28 times. But, none hold a candle to Desmond having said “brother” a total of 40 times!

And, as always, I end with the top “Sawyer-isms, with some significant changes in the line-up:

“Freckles” and “Doc” are tied with Sawyer saying them both a total of 34 times. Coming in second are “Hoss,” “Boss,” “Sweetheart,” and Chief” with six mentions each, and the third spot belongs to “Chewie.” Finally, bringing up the rear and tie for fourth with a total of three mentions each are “Dharmaville,” “Frogurt,” “Sister,” and “Blondie.”

“What’s done is done” – Sawyer in “The Incident Part 2”

Blast from the Past 8 – Time travel’s a bitch!

In season five, LOST began to dig in its heels about science fiction and the nature of destiny. Source.

In season five, LOST began to dig in its heels about science fiction and the nature of destiny. Source.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been fascinated with the nature of time-travel, specifically paradoxes. In a much, much earlier post, I tried to explain what makes a paradox in my post entitled: “We have to go back!” “Back where?” “BACK, to the FUTURE!!”. So, you can imagine my joy when this came right to the forefront of LOST’s fifth season.

LOST – Views from a Veteran – Season Five: Episodes 1-7

“Time travel’s a bitch” – Sawyer in “The Little Prince”

While episode seven does not technically reach the “half of the season” reviews I have been writing, I decided that since it was such a large game-changer, I will factor it into the next post.

Now, to the first half of season five!

This season takes the science fiction aspect of Lost and amps it up to around 11. This turned many people off of the program, as Lost was more of a multi-genre style of show for its first four seasons. But, after season four’s “The Constant” aired and introduced of time-travel, Lost officially came out and said that it was a science fiction television show.

This season also was split into two very distinct parts – the survivors on the island slipping through time, and the Oceanic Six attempting to get back to the island. These “flash-sideways” that some poeple called it, are still considered a flash-forwards, as the Oceanic Six elements are taking place three years ahead of when the island was first moved. While it is possible the survivors time-skipped into the future, for the vast majority of the time, they remained in the past. Flash-sideways were not introduced until season 6.

When this season aired, I remember quite enjoying the sci-fi aspect becoming front and centre, and them addressing so many staples of science fiction. The main one that they address is the notion of a paradox. If you could go back in time, could you change the events to alter the course of the timeline?

Daniel Farraday, the absent-minded expert on time-travel, rightly says no in a very easy to understand way – “If it hasn’t happened, it can’t happen.” And Sawyer, who encounters a heart-breaking moment with seeing Kate delivering Claire’s baby, comes to the sudden realization that he can’t alter history. “What’s done is done,” he says, with such emotion that would not have been possible from Sawyer in the first few seasons.

Many of the characters have changed since we first saw them back in season one, and are slowly becoming the individuals that we see at the end of the series. The most obvious are Jack and Locke. Jack, whom was the rigid man of science, has slowly begun to shift to the man of faith he needs to be to accept Jacob’s offer and defend the island with his life. Locke, on the other hand, finally embraced his destiny to be a keeper of the island, only to be manipulated by forces beyond his control. Thankfully, that Locke reappears in season 6 in the flash-sideways reality.

It is interesting, especially in this season, knowing that Christian Sheppard is an avatar of the MiB, and how he manipulates Locke and other characters to meet their eventual fates. And, if he wouldn’t have done so, he never would have been destroyed.

So, in effect, he was the architect of his own destruction. But, that’s a discussion for season six, not five.

And now, because you demanded it, it’s time for the various “Lost-isms” for the beginning of season five!

There have now 27 fights, with Ben & Sawyer in the lead with three, and Jack & Ethan, Sawyer & Sayid and Sawyer & Pickett tied with the second place with two fights each.

Sawyer has said “Sonofabitch” 25 different times, while Ben has been beaten up five times. Meanwhile, Desmond has said “brother” an incredible 40 times!

Finally, as always, I will now end with the top “Sawyer-isms:

“Freckles” still maintains its commanding lead with Sawyer saying it 32 times, with “Doc” trailing behind with 27. Still tied for third are “Boss” and “Hoss” with five references, and “Chief,” “Sweetheart” and “Chewie” tied for fourth with four mentions each.

“I help people get to where they need to get to” – Matthew Abaddon in “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”

Blast from the Past 7 – Finding your constant

Desmond is not the only one that needs a constant, but Faraday it is revealed, needs one too, in "The Constant." Source.

Desmond is not the only one that needs a constant, but Faraday it is revealed, needs one too, in “The Constant.” Source.

 

LOST – Views from a Veteran – Season Four

“You’ll understand soon that there are consequences for being chosen. Because destiny, John, is a fickle bitch.” – Ben in “Cabin Fever”

Ahhhhh, that’s the stuff, ain’t it? Lost has begun its rise from the ashes of the past season. As you know from my past reviews on season three, it was not all bad. But, this season showed a huge leap in quality.

But first, I am sure you have noticed that this post is covering the entirety of season four. Well, I decided to mash it all into one review, due to the very short length of this season. The producers were able to craft such a small and fast-paced season, because Lost finally had its end date. I believe that this fact allowed the creators to craft the story they wanted to tell a lot more easily.

This season was a season of rebirth, in many ways. Not only did we get a brand-new style of telling the story (the flash-forward), but also renewed hope and attitudes from the survivors on the island, as rescue looms. There were also brand-new characters introduced from the freighter that (with the exception of Charlotte) became a vital part of the last two seasons: Daniel, Miles, Charlotte and Frank.

This was a very interesting season in many ways, as you got a look at how six survivors were adapting to life without the island, and becoming almost warped versions of themselves. Jack, the leader, has become an alcoholic with no direction; Hurley has gone from a happy-go-lucky guy, to a depressed man in an insane asylum; Kate has moved from embracing who she was, to hiding it once again; and Sayid has turned from a man of honour to an assassin working for Benjamin Linus. But, knowing what we know about their respective arcs within the show, you can see why the producers needed to bring these characters on their respective journeys.

Season four also amped up the science-fiction aspect of the show with the game changing episode “The Constant,” which is my favourite episode of the entire run of the show.

The episode focus on Desmond’s consciousness becoming “un-stuck” from time, and needing to find a some sort of anchor for his mind to hold on to – his true love, Penny. People may say that the Jack and Kate arc is the central love story of the show, but I respectfully disagree. Penny and Desmond are the true heart of the show, and if you did not get the tiniest bit emotional when Desmond and Penny talk over the phone at the end of “The Constant,” you’re dead inside.

With the addition of time-travel into the show’s expanding mythology, the mysteries began piling up. But there is one that I specifically want to address that is seen throughout the season.

In the episode “The Other Woman,” Juliet runs into her former therapist, Stanhope. Before she appears, you hear the whispers of the dead trapped on the island, so it would seem that she is one of them. But, she tells her to stop Daniel and Charlotte from turning on the gas at The Tempest station, and Jack can see her.

Now, if Juliet had killed Daniel and Charlotte, the gas would have killed everyone on the island, including the remaining candidates. Therefore, I believe she was a manifestation of the MiB. And that it wasn’t just her! The smoke monster had his smokey fingerprints all over this season by using Christian Sheppard (as well as Horace Goodspeed, and even Claire in Kate’s dream) to help kill or prevent the candidates from becoming the next Jacob.

There are plenty more mysteries in the season that have yet to be answered, such as why is there a line of ash surrounding Jacob’s cabin? Who was The Economist? How did the island prevent Michael from dying? How (and why) did Jack’s appendix get sick and require surgery? And much, much more.

This season also gave us some amazing character moments, most notably for Sawyer and Benjamin Linus.

Sawyer has gone from a no-nonsense rogue in season 1 to a much more take charge and protector in these past four seasons. To see his ultimate act of sacrifice, all you need to do is look at the scene in the helicopter during “There’s No Place Like Home – Part 2.” Sawyer, to give everyone else a chance to get back home, jumps out of the helicopter, and thanks to him, the “Oceanic Six” are able to return home. But, before he left, he told Kate something that could not be heard.

But, thanks to the wonders of DVD, I was able to determine that he, I believe, said “I have a daughter in Albuquerque, you need to find her. Tell her I’m sorry.” For the first time, we finally see Sawyer care more for someone than himself. You must admit, that’s huge.

And there’s Ben.

The man who you love to hate, and always has a plan finally got pushed too far and experienced something we had never seen – shock. When Keamy killed Alex, the look of genuine surprise, sadness and anger on his face was a sight to see. This finally permitted Ben to accept that he must move the island, even if it meant sacrificing everything he ever held dear. By turning the odd “frozen donkey wheel,” Ben showed that even the less than good characters can undergo a personal transformation. I must acknowledge the brilliant actor Michael Emerson for being able to convey all the emotions in those two scenes, Alex’s death and pushing the wheel, without saying a single word.

Finally, what you all have been looking forward to: The “Lost-isms” for season four!

There have now been a total of 26 fights, with for the first time, a new champion. With a total of three fights, Ben & Sawyer now take the lead, with Jack & Ethan, Sawyer & Sayid and Sawyer & Pickett tied for second two fights each.

Seems like Sawyer enjoys getting into fights, eh?

Along the note of violence, Ben has been beaten up five times, Sawyer has said “Sonofabitch” 21 times, and Desmond said “brother” a mind-boggling 38 times!

And lastly, as I end every review, I will now state the top “Sawyer-isms:

“Freckles” has now taken a commanding lead with Sawyer saying it 32 times, while “Doc” is slowly falling behind with 27. Still tied for third are “Boss” and “Hoss” with five references, and “Chief,” “Sweetheart” and “Chewie” tied for fourth with four mentions each.

“Every equation needs stability, something known. It’s called a constant. Desmond, you have no constant.” – Farraday in “The Constant”

Blast from the Past 6 – One step back, two steps forward

What can be said about the end of season three that hasn’t already been said already? That one episode, “Through the Looking Glass” probably was the single-most “game changing” episode in LOST’s history of extremely important episodes.

But was one great episode enough to redeem an entire season?

LOST – Views from a Veteran – Season Three: Episodes 14-24

“On this island, the rules are a bit different” – Mikhail in “D.O.C”

Charlie passing a message on to Desmond in "Through the Looking Glass." Source.

Charlie passing a message on to Desmond in “Through the Looking Glass.” Source.

Season three of Lost finally is over, and while the vast majority of episodes were not very good, there were a few that were pure gold. Before we get to the good, we must first discuss the bad and the ugly – namely the issue of Nikki & Paulo, and the episode “Expose” must be addressed.

As mentioned in my previous post, most fans simply hated the fact that two characters were suddenly introduced into the main cast and had fostered relationships with so many characters. The fact was, we needed to see the characters interact with each other. Now, you may be saying that the season 2 “tailies” were introduced in a similar way, and you would be technically correct.

However, all the tailies were treated with suspicion and fear by the characters we already knew and by us, the viewers. That is the key to introducing new characters on a show like this, by introducing us to them along with the characters on the show, and not simply expecting a relationship.

But, with all I disliked about “Expose,” the creators really did solve the problem in an interesting way. Nobody that I knew expected that Nikki and Paulo would “die” and be buried alive!

As for the rest of the season, the episodes did slowly get better, starting with the episode “Catch-22” about Desmond, and continuing onto Ben’s “The Man behind the Curtain,” Charlie’s “Greatest Hits,” and the amazing Jack-centred finale “Through the Looking Glass.”

The ending of season three was one of the best season finales on the show because they completely changed up the formula. Not only did Charlie die after showing Desmond that the freighter was “not Penny’s boat,” but it was revealed that what we thought was a flashback, was actually flash-forward! When I saw that episode originally, I could not believe it. With one fell swoop, the showrunners breathed new life into a slowly stagnating show.

What also greatly helped them was that Lost received its official end-date just as the season was wrapping up, so the producers and writers could slowly plan arcs for all the characters and get to some sort of resolution. Did they succeed? Well, you will have to wait until my season 6 reviews for that!

One of the things I have noticed is that with all the secrets that were revealed during the final 3 seasons, there are still many, many left unanswered. There are some that do not matter, such as how Jacob cured the cancer of Juliet’s sister, or what happened to young Ben’s girlfriend (the one who gave him the doll). But, there are other questions like why don’t the rules of time-travel apply to Desmond, or who/what is Walt? Should they have been answered? Probably, but like life, not everything gets wrapped up in a neat little bow/

Since these questions and many more continue to remain mysterious and unanswerable, might as well get on to the various “Lost-isms” for the last half of season three.

There have now been a total of 22 fights, with Jack & Ethan, Sawyer & Sayid and Sawyer & Pickett tied with the top spot of two fights each.

Ben has been beaten up on three separate occasions, Sawyer has said “Sonofabitch” 18 times, and Desmond has said “brother” an impressive 34 times!

And as always, I will now end with the top “Sawyer-isms: “Freckles” has now taken the lead with being said 29 times, while “Doc” is still in contention with 27. Tied for third are “Boss” and “Hoss” with five references, and “Chief,” “Sweetheart” and “Chewie” are tied for fourth with four mentions each.

“I like you better since you got back, Jack. You’re almost an optimist” – Rose in “Greatest Hits.”

Blast from the Past 5 – LOST in Time

Season three of Lost continued to expand upon the mythology of the show, but suffered from a barrage of issues. But, it was not without its positives, though they were few and far between.

LOST – Views from a Veteran – Season Three: Episodes 1-13

You are not on the list because you are flawed. Because you are angry. And weak. And frightened ” – Mikhail in “Par Avion”

Desmond and Eloise Hawking from Lost episode 308: "Flashes Before Your Eyes" - Source

Desmond and Eloise Hawking from Lost episode 308: “Flashes Before Your Eyes” – Source

We have finally reached season three of Lost, which if you have been reading these posts or following me on Twitter (follow me at: @davidmanly), you know that it has not been easy. I love Lost, but season three had so many problems that even watching the episodes again, I still remember the disappointment.

First off, the first six episodes were aired in the normal timeslot, which was then followed by a 13 week break until the episodes resumed. In my opinion, it was a stupid move that had many people forget about the show and lose interest.

As well, the shows themselves obtained a significant dip in quality, as the flashback method of storytelling was getting old. This is shown most clearly in some of the worst episodes, such as “Par Avion,” which focused on Claire learning that she and Jack were siblings and trying to use a seagull to carry a message, and my vote for the worst of the series, “Stranger in a Strange Land.” That episode, which had the flashback focusing on how Jack got his tattoo, was pointless (and most fans tend to agree with me on this) and signaled that the producers had really run out of ideas. The creators and producers have even acknowledged and admitted this.

The producers also introduced us to Nikki and Paulo, two characters that we had not been introduced to or cared for, but were instantly supposed to accept them as regular cast members. That is not how you introduce new characters, and the fans reacted. In fact, the fan outcry was so strong that the creators solved that problem in the episode “Expose” but burying them alive.

But, those bad episodes in the first half of the season did serve a purpose (as well as a few in the second half), as it allowed Lost to have a season six end-date planned. This allowed the producers, creators and writers to craft a satisfying end arc for the show.

Therefore, even though season three is not the best work of the show, it only went up from there as the seasons progressed. In fact, there are a few hints of the brilliance to come, as in the midst of the bad episodes came one of my favourites – the Desmond episode entitled, “Flashes Before Your Eyes.”

The episode, which had Desmond travel back in time to 1996 and attempted to change the path of the future, was the show’s first attempt to demonstrate that it could pull of a science fiction story with heart. Not only did they achieve that, but they also introduced Eloise Hawking (a character we’d get to know in the later seasons) and cemented Desmond and Penny as the best couple on the show. In creating that episode, Lost set the stage for the great finale of this season, as well as the best episode of the series – “The Constant” from season 4.

As you can probably tell, season 3 of Lost has many problems, but once we watch the last few episodes of the season – wow. A true return to form, but you’ll have to wait for the next post for me to go into further detail about that!

But now, the various “Lost-isms” for the first half of season three!

There have now been a total of 19 fights, with Jack & Ethan, Sawyer & Sayid and Sawyer & Pickett tied with the top spot of two fights each.

“Sonofabitch” has been said by Sawyer 15 times, Ben has been beat up twice, and Desmond has amazingly said “brother” 28 times!

As always, I end with the top “Sawyer-isms: For the first time, we have a tie for first place! Both “Doc” and “Freckles” are tied with each being said a total of 26 times. Much farther back and tied for second are “Boss” and “Hoss” with five references each. And lastly, “Chief,” “Sweetheart” and “Chewie” are tied for third with four.

“The universe, unfortunately, has a way of course correcting. That man was supposed to die, that was his path. Just as it’s your path to go to the island. You don’t do it because you want to. You do it because you’re supposed to!” – Eloise Hawking in “Flashes Before Your Eyes.”

Blast from the Past 4 – Down The Rabbit Hole

On to the second half of season two, where we dive further into the secrets of the hatch and learn that the mysteries of the island go deeper than an underground hatch.

LOST – Views from a Veteran – Season Two: Episodes 12-24

“You wanna change? Then change” – Libby in “Dave”

Welcome back fellow veterans (and other Lost fans), to the exploration of the second half of season two.

In this season, we delved more into the background of the characters to discover what made them the way they are on the island. However, the flashbacks were already getting quite tiresome and, at some points, the main story just seemed an excuse to showcase a particular flashback. This problem becames further exemplified in season three, where some of the worst episodes of Lost reside.

A flashback episode is successful when the character it is focused on becomes more relatable, or more understood because of it. In this season, there were only a few examples of flashbacks that truly brought the characters to life more than their story on the island. For example, in “One of Them,” you finally learn where Sayid learned to interrogate, and in the finale, “Live Together, Die Alone,” Desmond’s background is brought to light.

This season also saw the series take its first careful steps into the realm of science fiction with the Dharma Initiative, electromagnetism, the healing properties of the island and even time-travel!

I know that you are thinking, that time travel wasn’t even introduced until season three. And yes, you are right, but there was a subtle hint about time-travel in the episode entitled “The Long Con.” At the very end of that episode, Sayid and Hurley were listening to a radio playing some very old music. The producers have confirmed that the radio station, WXR, is from the 1940’s, and was the show’s first encounter with time-travel.

As you all know, my goal with these posts are to identify the connections between the larger mysteries of the show and how the series ended. In the episode “Dave,” it is not beyond the realm of possibility that Dave was a construct of the MiB trying to get Hurley to kill himself (since he could not do it himself). But, like all things with this show, it raises more questions – like why couldn’t the MiB kill the candidates?

There are many more questions that we have yet to receive explanations for, and I will not go through them here. But, I will briefly discuss one mentioned in the episode “Three Minutes.”

In that episode, Miss Klugh tells Walt that she doesn’t want to send him back to “the room.” During season three, there were a series of mobisodes online (included on the fourth season DVD), that were essentially deleted scenes that spanned the first three seasons of the show. In one called “Room 23,” Juliet and Ben discuss an alarm going off in a room that supposedly houses Walt, as well as the fact that the Other’s are scared to go near the room, and that there are a large number of dead birds outside. All that is known about the room is that the Dharma Initiative (as well as the Others) performed psychological experiments there, shown in season three with Alex’s boyfriend Karl in the episode “Not in Portland”.

The second season of Lost also had one of the most shocking moments in the entire run of the show, when Michael suddenly killed both Ana Lucia and Libby in order to get his son back. I remember watching that episode live, and everyone’s mouths there just hit the floor in sheer surprise, as no one could have seen that coming.

And now, the part that you have all been looking for to – the final count of “Lost-isms” for season two!

There have now been a total of fourteen fights, with Jack & Ethan and Sawyer & Sayid with the top spot of two fights each.

Sawyer has now said “Sonofabitch” 12 times, and Desmond has said “brother” an impressive 19 times already!

The last category I will introduce is one I will call “Ben beatings,” as Benjamin Linus gets beat up a hell of a lot of this show, so I thought it would be nice to count the violence against him. So far, he has been beaten only once, but that will quickly change.

Lastly, the top “Sawyer-isms: “Doc” still has the top spot with 22 mentions, with “Freckles” close behind with 15. And we have a three-way tie for second with “Hoss,” Chief” and “Chewie” with four references a piece.

Coming soon will be the first half of season three, where many loyal viewers abandoned the show due to its bizarre schedule and lack of an engaging story.

“We are stuck in a bloody snow globe” – Desmond in “Live Together, Die Alone.”

Blast from the Past 3 – It’s Not Your Island

On to season two of my “Views from a Veteran” series, which I am christening “Blast from the Past,” where things go from bad to worse for the LOST-ies.

The show really started to pick up steam in season two, but with its new-found popularity and meteoric rise, the show began to crack and splinter. Many of the things we loved about the show – the surprises and never-ending mysteries – still loomed, but the luster had gone and more and more issues began to pop up.

**

LOST – Views from a Veteran – Season Two: Episodes 1-12

“Why do you find it do hard to believe?”– Locke in “Orientation”

The second season of this show picked up right where the previous ended off, with the opening of the Hatch. This  event really allowed the writers to begin sinking their teeth into the greater mythology of the island, with the introduction of the Dharma Initiative and  the man who spent years underground pushing a mysterious button – Desmond.

While initially introduced as a side character, viewers enjoyed his time on the show and the writers therefore integrated Desmond into the show. And, through him, “Lost” had some of its greatest episodes, as well as embraced itself as a science fiction show in the later seasons.

Desmond was the first case of the audience having a say in the show, but not the last. This type of fan-fueled reaction happened a few times, most notably with Benjamin Linus becoming a series regular because fans loved him, and Nikki & Paulo being killed off due to fans despising their sudden appearances. But, these happen later on in the series … so let’s stick to the first half of season two.

With the opening of the Hatch and the introduction of the Dharma Initiative, one of the largest themes throughout the series came to the forefront, that of a man of science (Jack) vs. a man of faith (Locke). This was shown through the discussion of whether or not to continue pushing the button inside the Hatch based solely on pure belief. As we all know now, it turns out the button WAS important and that Jack does eventually become a believer, even saying in the finale that Locke was right all along.

We are also finally introduced to the people in the tail section of Oceanic Flight 815, who have been tormented by the infamous “others” since they crashed. One of many questions still left unanswered after the show ended was why did the others kidnapped people from the tail section? Were they some of Jacob’s candidates, or was Ben simply looking to take away individuals who he deemed worthy enough to join him?

Also, how did Walt communicate to Michael through the computer inside the Hatch? The producers of the show have said that it was Walt speaking through the computer, but they were mum as to how or why. A possible explanation is that it was achieved through Walt’s abilities, but since those have yet to be explained, the question still lingers.

The last question that I will ask here is why in the episode “The 23rd Psalm” did the smoke monster (AKA the MiB) leave Eko alone? Since the monster was able to kill him in season three, it would seem that Mr. Eko was not a candidate for Jacob, so why not kill him right off the bat?

The answer is one that I can make an educated guess on, however. It is known that the actor, who played Mr. Eko, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, was fairly vocal in his protests against living in Hawaii to film the show and wanted a larger increase in pay as compensation. He wanted to quit the show, so the producers brutally killed him off in episode five of season three as a solution to the issue.

The producers have said that they had a four season arc planned for the character that focused on him finding his spirituality on the island and becoming another force against the MiB. But, when the actor didn’t want to continue, there was not much they could have done. Therefore, that was likely why he was not killed in season two; he was a candidate until the producers had to kill him off at the actor’s request, which at that point, they wrote him out.

Finally, part one of season twos “Lost-isms” that I have been counting. You will notice that I have made a change to the counts of the fights and “Sawyer-isms.” From now on I will only name the top spots for each category. However, for the final post about the second half of the finals season, I will post the entire count. Sound good?

There have now been a total of twelve fights, with Jack & Ethan and Sawyer & Sayid have the top spot with two fights each.

Sawyer has now said “Sonofabitch” a total of nine times.

And here we have a brand new category – how many times has Desmond said “brotha’?” In the first half of season two, he has said it a total of ten times.

Lastly, the top “Sawyer-isms: “Doc” manages to hang on with 12 mentions, with “Freckles” closing in fast with 11. And we have a two-way tie for second with both “Chief” and “Chewie” with four references.

Bringing up the bottom in fourth with three mentions was “Hoss.” And lastly, at the back of the pack with only two mentions each are: “Sweetheart,” “Sweet cheeks,” “Hero,” and “Mohammed.”

Stay tuned soon for the second half of season two!

“This is not your island. This is our island” – Mr. Friendly (aka Tom) in “Hunting Party.”