Wednesday, March 31, 2010

LOST The Package, first thoughts

Only 6 episodes left. Can you believe it? I honestly don't know what I'm going to do when this show is over. It has been an awesome ride, and I really don't want it to end, but I suppose I had better start preparing myself.

Anyway, on to last night's episode...

Although it wasn't a surprise, as I was pretty certain ever since we saw that locked room two episodes ago, it is always nice to see familiar faces again.

The reveal of an injured and drugged Desmond brought up an interesting dichotomy. If we decide that the Man in Black/Smokey/Locke-less Monster is the bad guy (and a lot of people are not too sure of that, thinking that perhaps Jacob is actually the bad guy, I disagree, but admit it is a possibility), than Widmore wants the same thing that we do... Locke left on the Island.

I find it hard to root for Widmore, especially when he drugged my favorite LOSTie and brought him back to the Island that he swore he would never come to again. It definitely makes me wonder if Penny knows where her husband has gone.

But I did love that he gave Jin the camera with the pictures of Sun and Ji Yeon, although I have no doubt that there was ulterior motive to being that "generous" to Jin.

We talked a couple of weeks ago about the theory making the rounds that the Flash Sideways were an epilogue world where our LOSTies would live happily ever after after finishing whatever they were supposed to do on the Island. I have always thought that that theory was bull, and I hope that after this episode it finally goes away. It certainly has to at least lose some traction considering that Sun is shot in the abdomen where she is carrying Sideways Ji Yeon. Doesn't seem like an epilogue Jin and Sun would hope for.

Some things that were interesting in the Sideways world where the fact that Krazy Keamy is apparently as hard to kill in the Sideways timeline as he is on the Island, and it wouldn't surprise me if Mikhail isn't dead either, took him forever to die on the Island to. You know, I totally didn't recognize him until Jin shot his eye out (You'll shoot your eye out, You'll shoot your eye out!), then I was all, "Mikhail!"

Over on the main Island, Sayid reveals he feels absolutely nothing, and Locke-less Monster doesn't seem all that surprised. Just something to keep an eye on as we learn more about the dead inhabited by darkness.

Also, we learn from the Locke-less Monster that he can only escape the Island if all of the candidates go with him, so any thoughts that Richard and Ilana have about destroying planes and subs aren't necessary, they just need one of the candidates to remain.

My theory, that candidate will be Jack, who stays along with Kate, and as I have said since we met them in season 1, they will become the Adam and Eve skeletons.

Until Next Time, Looks like next week might be Desmond centric, which should be outstanding!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

LOST Ab Aerterno, first thoughts

Looks like my thoughts from last week gained some traction this week.

We'll start there after this epic, epic episode.

Perhaps Jughead does play a role in the split, but I maintain that the split doesn't happen unless Jacob is dead. Remember, Jughead didn't go off until after Jacob was killed.

Jacob tells Richard that the Island is a cork keeping evil inside. When Jacob gives the bottle to Esau/The Man in Black, Esau doesn't remove the cork to free the wine that represents himself (and interesting that wine is used to represent him, considering that wine in Christianity represents the blood of Christ), but instead breaks the bottle. Making Jacob the bottle in this analogy.

The Island is the cork, but Jacob is the bottle, and Esau frees himself by destroying the bottle, by killing Jacob.

The implications of this is rather huge.

At the end of the episode, Hurley tells Richard that his wife said one more thing. "You have to stop the Man in Black. Stop him from leaving the Island. Cause if you don't... We all go to Hell."

My friend Kristen tweeted a few things during the episode that I found interesting, especially since I was in class and had no idea what she was referencing. Well, I felt pretty good about the last thing she tweeted as the show was ending and as I was on my way home to watch it...


But what interested me was this tweet...

"I'm gonna be REALLY ticked off if #LOST is going where it seems to be going...."

As soon as the episode ended, I called her to see if what I assumed she meant from that tweet (not knowing exactly where it occurred within the episode) was what she meant from that tweet.

It was.

She sent it after Esau told Richard that they were in Hell and that he was dead, confirming what Richard believed he had been told by his deceased wife.

Of course, the episode continued, presumably moving on from this explanation (which at this point would seem unfair), and Kristen would be able to send her OMGOMG tweet.

Now, here's the thing.

I think that this explanation is actually a true one.

I think that the show with this line actually gave us an answer.


Just not for the Island.

I think that the answer provided is for the LA X Timeline, for the Flash Sideways world.

If LA X is of a world without Jacob, a world where the cork is at the bottom of the ocean, then it is a world where the evil has escaped into the real world. It is, as Hurley described it, Hell.

So, while many people have been theorizing that Sideways World, LA X Timeline, is an epilogue post-Island, I now say to them that I believe it is the exact opposite. It is Hell, that which our LOSTies must try to avoid, try to keep from becoming the true reality. That is what the show is now about, keeping the cork in the bottle, keeping the monster trapped on the Island.


There is more to get to from this episode.

We got some answers,specifically how and why Richard was brought to the Island, how the Statue was destroyed, and how the Black Rock got to the middle of the Island (which by the way was waaaaaay simpler than I think anyone theorized, and while some people might be disappointed by that, I think it is pretty funny, good job LOST).

There was some interesting Smokey stuff in this episode as well, and even though we know a whole hell of a lot more about Ol' Smokey than we did prior to this season, it seems to me that Darlton are holding to their promise that we will learn something new each and every time Smokey makes an appearance. I now think that it is safe to say that dead people appearing to their loved ones on the Island when they aren't really on the Island are definitively courtesy of Smokey.

When Smokey does his whole Photography Flash thing, he is somehow getting into the mind of the person he's flashing so that he is able to project back to them someone from their past.

I will reference Eko and Smokey presenting him with his brother Yemi after Eko confronted the Smoke Monster earlier without getting killed.

Pretty much the exact same thing happens in this episode to Richard.

There are more similarities as well. Eko felt guilt for Yemi's death, Richard felt guilt for Isabella's. I think that that is important for a few reasons.

One, the show is clearly on some level about redemption. I don't think anyone would argue that redemption is not an important theme in the show.

Jacob and Richard have a talk about redemption. When Richard is offered the job, Jacob asks what he wants, he says he wants his wife back, Jacob says he can't do that, then he asks if he can be forgiven of his sins so that when he dies he doesn't go to hell, Jacob says he can't do that either.

But just before this part of the conversation, Jacob has something else to say about redemption. He says that he brings people here because Esau "believes that everyone is corruptible because it is in their very nature to sin. I bring people here to prove him wrong. And when I bring them here... their past doesn't matter."

Although Richard doesn't hear it, Jacob is saying that regardless of what sin occurs, or has occurred in the past, he believes that people are capable and ready to do what is right, "to help themselves, to know the difference between right and wrong without me having to tell them". Why should Jacob have to step in? In other words, Jacob is saying that he has given humanity the access to free will, in order for them to prove Esau wrong, he believes that they should do it without his interference.

Later, of course, we see Jacob taking a slightly different path. He still is big on free will, but he definitely does some stepping in.

However, he never does so with coercive power.

I'm not sure how many of my readers are familiar with Alfred North Whitehead and Process Theology, and it might just be because we spent a majority of my Kazantzakis class tonight discussing Whitehead and Process Thought, but it seems to me that Jacob is definitely in the mold of the Process view of God. There is also a lot of other stuff going on, including a very Dualistic thing happening, that whole Good and Evil aspect which doesn't really fit with Process Theology or most modern Christian theology at all, but as for the core of who Jacob is and how he acts, I think that Process Theology might have some interesting things to say.

Process thought in a nutshell is responding to and arguing against the idea of God as the Unmoved Mover, the idea put forth famously by Aristotle, the idea that God causes motion and change, but is unmoved and unchanged by anything.

In Process thought, God is very present with us, God changes with us, God is active with us.

However, God is not the omnipotent God of classical theism. Alfred North Whitehead says in his book Process and Reality that God does not have coercive power, but instead has persuasive power.

Whitehead explains the issue of our understanding of God’s power as being related to the power of Caesar. “When the Western world accepted Christianity, Caesar conquered; and the received text of Western theology was edited by his lawyers.” Whitehead argues, “The Church gave unto God the attributes which belonged exclusively to Caesar.” Because Caesar’s unlimited power was of a coercive nature, the belief became that God’s power must also be coercive, and unlimitedly so. However, Whitehead argues that this is incongruent with God. Instead, God's power is persuasive.

So, we've seen Jacob change, like the God of Process thought, and we've seen Jacob persuade those he has chosen as opposed to forcing them to follow through with his plans, and he has repeatedly talked about his belief in the free will of those that he has chosen.

What I guess I'm saying is that I am now fully on board with Jacob being the God-type character of the show. What his having been killed says about that... well, in this post I've already quoted Whitehead, I suppose we'll leave Nietzsche for another time.

What is interesting, however, is how Richard falls into this. Jacob and Richard in their talk discuss how Jacob doesn't want to step in to which Richard replies that Esau therefore will. Jacob asks Richard to do that for him, be his representative to Jacob's chosen people. If Jacob in this scenario is God, does that make Richard the Jesus-type?

I certainly think that that argument can be made.

After all, Jacob literally baptizes Richard just before this discussion, he says that he is unable to redeem people of their sins perhaps intimating that Richard will be able to do that in Jacob's place, and then he gifts Jacob with everlasting life.

Seems like a fit to me.

I don't think that LOST is strictly, however, a Christian show. I think that there are a lot of Christian themes throughout the show, but there are also a lot of Hindu, Buddhist, and classic mythic themes being played out as well (including a lot of the Egyptian myth, such as the statue, the hieroglyphics, and Richard's home, the Canary Islands, named after the original inhabitants who worshiped dogs and mummified them, something that has distinct ties to the Egyptian god with a dog's head, Anubis, the Egyptian god of the afterlife, who was replaced by Osiris, and if power struggles between leaders of a place that is often tied to the afterlife isn't LOSTian, I don't know what is). The point is that there is a lot more than just Christian themes going on here, so I don't think that we can take the Jacob is God and Richard is Jesus comparison too far, but I definitely think that the show wants to make the case that those archetypes work for Jacob and Richard at least to some extent.

Another thing that really struck me about this episode is the fact that it greatly resembles the Darren Aronofsky film The Fountain. You probably know Darren Aronofsky from the films The Wrestler or Requiem for a Dream or maybe even Pi (which also has a lot of themes in common with LOST), but chances are good you haven't seen or even heard of The Fountain which is a shame, because it is one of my favorite movies of all time.

Without giving too much away, The Fountain is about a character named Thomas (played by Hugh Jackman) and his wife Isabel (yes, Isabel, played in the movie by Rachel Weisz who bears a bit of a resemblance to Mirelle Taylor who plays Isabella in this episode). In the movie, the two characters are together in three distinct time periods, the year 1500, the year 2000, and the year 2500. In 1500, the characters are (like Richard and Isabella) in Spain. In the year 2000, Isabel is dying and Thomas is trying with all his might to cure her (like Richard and Isabella). And in 2500, Thomas is attempting to reunite himself with Isabel and has found a way to have everlasting life (like Richard, still searching for Isabella). It is too big a coincidence to ignore, so I will share with you the themes of the film and let you make of that what you will.

The idea of the movie is that death is an important part of life. That ultimately it is death that makes us as humans special. Jackman said of the movie, "The moment Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge, of good and evil, humans started to experience life as we all experience it now, which is life and death, poor and wealthy, pain and pleasure, good and evil. We live in a world of duality. Husband, wife, we relate everything. And much of our lives are spent not wanting to die, be poor, experience pain. It's what the movie's about." The same could be argued about LOST.

Aronofsky says of the film, "If [Adam and Eve] had drank from the tree of life [instead of the tree of knowledge] what would have separated them from their maker? So what makes us human is actually death. It's what makes us special."

Pretty interesting stuff when you compare it LOST. And anyway, it is a fantastic film and very worth seeing if you haven't seen it before.

One last point that I'd like to make, although you probably noticed it yourself, when Esau sent Richard to kill Jacob, he did so with the exact words and actions that Dogen used when he sent Sayid to kill Esau. Interesting.

Until Next Time, thanks for sticking with me through this massive post. I wonder what we're all going to do when LOST ends? Probably better not to think about it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Top Ten Films of 2009

Of course, this year, the Oscars themselves made a Top Ten list, as this year, there were 10 Best Picture nominees instead of the usual five (Thank you Batman).

Since the Oscars usually only name five best picture nominees, and therefore my list doubles that amount, this year I might go ahead and give you a Top Twenty.

If they can double their faves, I suppose that I can also.

If I wrote a review for the film, it is linked through the title!

So, here you go...


20.  The Hurt Locker

This movie won best picture, but it finds itself on my list at number 20.

Sure, I enjoyed it, and Jeremy Renner is masterful, but I don't really think it was worthy of being named Best Picture, and probably didn't deserve to be nominated.  For the most part, the movie is amazing, and everything you would want out of a best picture winner, but there is an entire section of the film that bothers me.  Renner's character goes off of the base to avenge the death of a local kid he believes that he knew.  It turns the film into something different, something that this movie wasn't really about; it almost completely derails the feel that the film had spent so long building up.  I suppose it was meant to give you a little more insight into Renner's character, but it actually made me like him less.  Everything else he does in the film makes me sympathize with him in the way that the movie wanted me too, but that portion did just the opposite.  It didn't fit, and moved this film all the way down to number 20 on my list.

So, hopefully that'll teach 'em.

19. District 9

Another movie that I really did enjoy, but that didn't quite win me totally over as it wasn't quite sure what type of film that it wanted to be.

It starts out as a very smart sci-fi film that has some interesting things to say on how we treat each other, and it becomes an exciting shoot-em-up action flick.  The mock-umentary feel at the beginning of the film and the more basic action flick in the second half don't really fit together in my opinion, and detracts from what is otherwise a very good film.  Seeing as this was the first film from the director, perhaps some of the pacing issues and uneven feel of the film can be forgiven.  However, since there is another first time director on this very list much, much higher, we can't cut Mr.Blomkamp too much slack.  Instead, he will have to be satisfied with number 19 on my Top 20.

18. The Blind Side

Without question a great feel good story.  Even the freaking previews get me choked up.  As did the first time that I heard Michael Oher's story as he was being drafted. The film does a great job telling that story, and as much as I am not a huge fan of Sandra Bullock, she is fantastic as the woman who went out of her way for a young man who really needed someone to believe in him.

17. The Hangover

An outstanding comedy that doesn't pull any punches.  Bradley Cooper is amazing, but then, I've known that from way back.  I loved him as Will Tippen on Alias.  Zach Galifianakis steals every scene that he is in.  This film is highly quotable, which is part of what makes a great comedy.  You can't help but laugh again when you are talking with your friends about it long after the movie has ended.

16. (500) Days of Summer

I've had a bit of a thing for Zooey Deschanel for quite some time.  She really blew me away in the recent Sci-Fi channel miniseries Tin-Man, an update of The Wizard of Oz.  So it is no surprise that she is so easy to fall in love with in this movie.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt was great as well in this unconventional love story told out of order after it has already ended.

15. Julie & Julia

Any movie that is about a person who found fame blogging already has a head start in winning me over.  The strange story of a woman who cooked her way through Julia Child's cookbook coupled with the story of how the cookbook came to be published is a fun and intriguing way to intertwine two stories that aren't as unconnected as they might at first seem.  Amy Adams is clearly an actress to keep an eye on as she continues to perform very well in interesting roles, and, of course, Meryl Streep is, as always, amazing.

14. Fantastic Mr. Fox

I might not have thought to combine the story telling visuals of Wes Anderson with the dark yet whimsical tales of children's author Roald Dahl, but after seeing this movie, let me assure you, they fit together perfectly.  The film is without question a Wes Anderson film, and as true to his sensibilities as Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, but it is also quite true to Roald Dahl, and as true to his sensibilities as any reading you have ever done of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  It is a perfect marriage.  Also the music is unbelievable.  It is worth seeing the movie for the soundtrack alone!

13. Fanboys

There was actually quite a while where I thought that I might have to put this movie first on any best of list that I did.  I absolutely loved it and felt that it was made with me in mind.  It is a story that is unabashed in its love for Star Wars, uncompromising in its comedy, and unashamedly emotional as well.  I don't want to give away too much, but suffice it to say that if you grew up loving the original Star Wars films, you will love this movie too.

12. A Serious Man

A bit different from the usual Coen Brother fare (if you can call anything that these eclectic filmmakers do usual).  A Serious Man is the Coen Brothers modern day take on the book of Job and the theology contained therein.  This is not a happy movie, but then, life itself is often not so happy go lucky either, and any contemplation on the injustices of being unfairly targeted to the point to where it seems even God must be against you despite your assurances that you have always been a faithful (or serious in Jewish parlance) man is worth digesting.  When it is contemplated by Joel and Ethan Coen, you quite simply can't go wrong.

11.  Funny People

Another film that spent quite a lot of time in my top spot, Judd Apatow abandoned his usual comedy for a dramatic piece about life and the lengths we go to to avoid facing its realities.  I think that had this film been marketed for the drama that it was instead of the comedic piece that it was advertised as, it would have gotten some series Oscar buzz.  Adam Sandler gives what I believe is his absolutely best performance.  Seth Rogen also impressed me greatly with his performance.  It is a sign of what a great year 2009 has been for film that a movie that spent a long time as my number one movie of the year ends it at number 11.

10. Zombieland

Stylistically, this movie is perfect.  Told from the perspective of the least likely Zombie apocalypse survivor ever, Zombieland succeeds as a hilarious comedy as well as a fun zombie romp (much like Shawn of the Dead, I wonder what it is that makes Zombie movies work so well in satirical films?).  Woody Harrelson reminds me why I like him so much, as he steals every second of the movie that he is in.  Abigail Breslin proves that she will have a career beyond just being that cute little girl from Little Miss Sunshine, and Emma Stone joins Amy Adams as actresses to keep a serious eye on.  Both character driven and zombie-filled, Zombieland was way better than it probably had any right to be.  It also has the best comedic cameo of all time.

9. Sherlock Holmes

Though Guy Ritchie has been slacking some from the promise that he showed early with Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, he does an excellent job bringing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's incredible creation to life on the big screen.  The story feels like a Sherlock Holmes story, Robert Downey Jr. continues his unbelievable hot streak of bringing iconic characters to life, and Ritchie 's somewhat frenetic pace is kept enough in check to fit the film perfectly.  I, for one, can't wait for the next installment from Baker's Street.

8. Up

A movie that I have seen numerous times, and that I love more each and every time that I watch it.  The almost silent-film-esque opening is worth the price of admission by itself.  A story that is so incredibly emotional and yet at the same time filled with such a child-like sense of wonder, it is amazing to me sometimes when most movies are just cookie cutter retellings of old stories that something so original can still be made.  It helps when you are PIXAR and have never made a bad movie.  You get a little bit more leeway to be original when you can't do any wrong.  That trend certainly didn't stop here.

7. Star Trek

A movie that filled me with trepidation all the way up until the moment that I saw it.  Other than a few moments that were a little more cheesy than I would have liked (such as Kirk's puffed up hands), this movie was completely true to Star Trek.  It doesn't lesson my desire for a new Star Trek series on TV following the TNG, DS9, Voyager timeline, but I also can't wait for the next film in this universe with this cast.  I'm sold and ready to Boldly Go once again.

6. Watchmen

While many considered the graphic novel to be unfilmable, Zach Snyder actually did an amazing job in capturing everything that the comic was about in a way that applies to our more modern sensibilities and in relation to the current craze in making comic book movies.  It so easily could have gone wrong in so many ways, and yet I have a love for the film that might outstrip the love that I have for the graphic novel on which it was based.  Rarely can you even begin to think that the movie is better than the book, but this film certainly has a  case to make, although you can't take away anything from the book since each and every scene is lovingly recreated from the template that is Alan Moore's masterpiece.

5. Coraline

Each year, I notice some trend in the really great movies of the year, and this year it might have to be adaptations.  Literary works are notoriously hard to translate well to the screen, and yet so many have been successfully made this year.  Dahl's work is put perfectly to screen by Wes Anderson, Doyle's troubled genius gets a fantastic reboot thanks to Downey and Ritchie, Alan Moore's "unfilmable" book becomes a breathtaking movie thanks to Zach Snyder, and now, Neil Gaiman's work is once again brought to spectacular life (the last time was two years ago with the very underrated Stardust), this time by Henry Selick and the stop motion animation that he perfected with A Nightmare Before Christmas.  Coraline is a hauntingly beautiful story that is full of thrills, chills, and just the right amount of emotion.

4. Where the Wild Things Are

Continuing the amazing adaptation theme, a short picture book is an unlikely source to turn into a fully engaging feature film, and yet Spike Jonze (director of Being John Malcovich) and Dave Eggers (best known for his memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) do just that with this film.  The performances are unbelievable, the Wild Things are brought to perfect life, and the work of Max Records as Max is unbelievable.  It is literally one of the best acting performances that I've ever seen.  The movie itself is not what I would call a kid's movie, but rather a movie that is exactly about what it is to be a kid, and that can be a scary thing.  But also hauntingly beautiful when it is survived.

3. The Road

I haven't read the Cormac McCarthy novel that the movie is based on, but the movie blew me away.  Incredible cinematography that really captures the mood right off the bat, performances that are so very raw and intense, and a story that cuts right to the bone, this movie hits on every cylinder.  It certainly isn't a "feel good" film, but it definitely does a perfect job in capturing the love between a father and a son, and giving a realistic portrayal to a world that has "moved on" as Stephen King might say.

2. Moon

Like District 9, this is a sci-fi feature film from a first time director, yet Duncan Jones doesn't make any mistakes in his tale about loneliness and humanity.  Set on a base on the moon in the near future manned for three months by one individual and a robotic assistant, the film doesn't get old or tiresome at all, and instead is perfectly paced and completely gripping.  This is in large part due to the amazing skill of Sam Rockwell as Sam, the laborer finishing up his stay at the moon base.  His performance is without question the finest of the year, and one of the best acting jobs I've ever seen.  Duncan Jones's superb film also places him instantly in amongst the young directors whose films I will see immediately upon release, joining Alfonso Cuaron, David Fincher, Darron Aronofsky, and Christopher Nolan.

And the number one film....

1. Avatar

James Cameron's incredibly imaginative and immersive world changed film forever.  It proves that with modern cinema is now capable of anything.  While some are critical of the somewhat unoriginal story, the imagination of everything else in the film makes up for any stale story elements.  And personally I didn't see the story as stale, I saw the story as a classic tale that added to the realism of what easily could have been an unrealistic world but instead thanks to the imagination and technology of James Cameron was utterly believable and that made Pandora a place that I almost felt like I could step through the screen to join.  Movies will never be the same again, and that is what cinema is all about.

Until Next Time, this was a fantastic year for cinema, and if the Oscars are going to force ten best picture nominees on us, the least that Hollywood can do is make sure that there are enough good films to fill them out with enough left over for discussion!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

LOST Recon, first thoughts

Time for some wacky theorizing!

That's the mood I'm in after this Sawyer-centric episode (and it was good to see Sawyer after these last few Sawyer-less episodes).

After all, this episode seemed to prove one thing, it doesn't seem that it was Jughead that split the timeline.

Think, if Juliet detonating Jughead is what split the timeline, then I doubt that Frank Linus (Ben's dad) would be talking all wistfully about how they should have stayed on the Island. I mean, I can buy that after he shot Sayid, he grabbed a recently returned young Ben and they hightailed it off of the Island, but under the circumstances (the craziness going on and the fact that Ben had just been shot) I doubt they would view the Island with that sort of wistfulness.

But I think something even more revealing is the fact that Miles (also Sawyer's partner in the LA X timeline)talks about his father working at the museum (with C.S. Lewis aka Charlotte). There is no way that Miles's father could have survived Juliet setting off Jughead, therefore, there is no way, in my opinion, that the LA X timeline was created by the bomb.

So, what else could have split the timeline?

Or is the timeline not split at all?

Time to talk about one of the prominent theories making the rounds right now.

This theory views the flash-sideways not as an alternate universe the way that I've been explaining and dealing with them, but as what they are calling an "epilogue". Proponants of this theory believe that we are viewing what will happen when the LOSTies figure out how to finally get away from the pull of the Island.

So, you can run with that if you want, but personally, I don't buy it at all.

I still think that somehow the timeline was split, something happened that caused an alternate reality to be created and that these two realities are running concurrently (and bleeding into each other as well since only one can survive).

But instead of Jughead being the cause, I think that Ben killing Jacob is what caused the rift.

Imagine that Jacob is somehow outside of time, imagine that somehow Ben killing him when he did kept Jacob from doing something pre-1977 that then created this new timeline.

In the original timeline, Jacob touched Sawyer when he was writing the note. Not only that, but he gave Sawyer the pen that he used to write the note. That note could have been what caused Sawyer to become the con-man that he is in the Island timeline, obsessing over that note, over the name Sawyer. If there was no Jacob to touch him, no Jacob to give him the pen to write that note, perhaps Ford (because he isn't Sawyer in this timeline) waits until after he becomes a cop to try and find out who Sawyer is.

And perhaps Jacob had more to do with the situations that our LOSTies were in then we originally thought. Perhaps Jacob kept the real Sawyer, Anthony Cooper, Locke's dad, on his life of crime, which led to Cooper throwing Locke out of a window. It seems to me that something has turned Locke's dad away from his life of crime, because in the LA X timeline, there is no ill will between Locke and his dad.

It seems to me as if perhaps the whole Jughead situation was actually a red herring and actually had nothing to do with the splitting of the timeline. It was Jacob's death that caused our LOSTies to get ripped back from 1977, not Jughead. It was Jacob's death that caused the split, not Jughead.

Or I could be totally wrong and it could be something else we don't even know about.

Until Next Time, I hope that the previews aren't lying when they say we'll get some Richard reveals next week. The title is Ab Aeterno which is Latin for "Since the beginning of time" or "Since a very long time". Have to admit, that does sound like Richard!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Fifth Annual "My Thoughts As I Had Them During the Oscars" Post

So, now that I am past the craziness of this last week plus and can see the beauty of Spring Break in front of me, allow me to get caught up a bit with my blogging.

To start, here is my fifth annual, "My Thoughts As I Had Them During the Oscars" post.

The fourth annual can be found here with links to the first three if you doubt that I've been doing this for five years.

Told ya...

So, without further ado,


-Wow, a Harold and Kumar reference, you honestly don't think that you'll get those while watching the Oscars.

-It seems a little unfair, speaking as a straight man, that Neil Patrick Harris is dancing with those scantily clad ladies. I mean, he doesn't even like the ladies!

-Guess they didn't think that Steve and Alec could handle a musical number to open the show.

-Damn Helen Mirren. Best joke involving the title "Dame" ever? Perhaps.

-Okay, we get it, Merryl Streep is here.

-SEE! It goes to show what I've always said. You can never go wrong with a reference to The Jerk.

-Because the fact that she was formally married to James Cameron is all that matters about her. You guys know that she directed an Oscar nominated movie too, right? And is nominated for Best Director herself? No, it's all about the fact that she used to be married to James Cameron.


-Okay, Best Supporting Actor... WHAT A SHOCK!!! Oh wait, no it isn't.

-I hope that is the end of Tarantino's wins tonight.

-I have to admit, even the preview for The Blind Side makes me tear up.

-"I want to explore it now! This is not food!" Man I love Dug. Not even going to lie.

-Okay, Best Animated Feature, and... not a surprise, I can't wait for a category with some suspense.

-I do like that Pete Doctor has an Ellie-Badge on.

-Does anyone else think that this presenter, Miley Cyrus?, looks a lot like Hannah Montana? I wonder if anyone has ever seen them both in the same place at the same time.

-It's a little strange not getting the Best Song Nominees performed live. Don't think I like this way.

-And we are 3 for 3 with zero surprises or suspense.

-"I love you more than rainbows"? Really? And you won an Oscar for your ability to write lyrics?

-Captain Kirk?

-The description of Best Picture Nominee Inglourious Basterds, and look, they chose one of the two scenes in the whole movie that actually had the Basterds in it.

-Hey, in Shannon's sermon today, we time traveled back to 1981! Now the Oscars are taking us back to the 80's by having Matthew Brodrick and Molly Ringwald together on stage!

-John Hughes will truly be missed.

-"Those weren't pillows!" If only Steve Martin were so funny tonight.

-Okay, I'll say it, Logoland looks kind of awesome!

-After the weirdness that was last year's show, they seem to have gone completely the other way. There is no excitement at all thus far.

-Ben Stiller.

-"Aren't you a little short to be a Na'vi?"

-That last one was a Star Wars reference in case you didn't catch it.

-Best Makeup... And Star Trek FTW! Should've gotten a Best Picture nomination, but I'm glad it won something.

-Best Adapted goes to Precious! First real surprise of the night, I was anticipating an Up in the Air win. Of course this was also the first category where there was any real chance at competition.

-You know, if everyone stands up, we can't tell who it is that we're supposed to be clapping for.

-Why lamps for Best Supporting Actress? This set design is weird this year.

-Seriously, how much money do you think you would have made if one year ago you had said to someone, "I bet you that at next year's Oscars, Mo'Nique wins an Oscar." Seriously, you would have banked.

-At least Mo'Nique's speech injected some life into this show. Very boring so far.

-Off topic, because this is a commercial, but they really need to rename "Dancing with the Stars". These people can't be considered Stars.

-Avatar wins its first Oscar of the night! Really hoping that it can win Best Picture.

-Sarah Jessica Parker's hair looks terrible. It is really throwing me off.

-I kind of enjoyed the Costume Designer's speech. "This is for you. But I'm going to take it home tonight."

-Make up your mind, Oscars. You can either say that Horror films have gotten no award recognition since the Exorsist(1973), or you can show clips of Silence of the Lambs(Best Picture 1991) in your Horror montage, but you can't have it both ways.

-Time to find some new narrators. That is everyone's homework. Don't get me wrong, I love Morgan Freeman, but there have to be more than one person in the world who can narrate something.

-The first head to head match-up between Avatar and Hurt Locker is Sound Editing, and it goes to Hurt Locker, not looking good for Avatar.

-And again in Sound Mixing. I was hoping for a split to keep up the suspense, but it is looking like a Hurt Locker night.

-So... most boring Oscar's ever?

-Trying to do homework during commercials, but I have to say, this coke commercial, where someone puts a coke bottle into recycling and it comes right out as a brand new coke is really kind of gross if you think about it.

-And she was worst actress of the year in last night's Razzies too! Don't forget that when you're introducing Sandra Bullock.

-The Cinematography Oscar goes to Avatar. I'm still getting the feeling that it is going to be a Hurt Locker night.

-Demi Moore! Or as the kids know her, Ms. Ashton Kutcher

-Always my favorite moment of the Oscars, and James Taylor can only make it better.

-Dr. No died? I had somehow missed that.

-Larry Gelbert was an amazing comedy writer.

-Um, where was Farrah Fawcett?

-Okay, I've seen dancers that were more extraordinary.

-I'm just saying.

-How did they not play any of the main theme from Fantastic Mr. Fox? Just a terrible job in selecting which part of the score to play there.

-A score that also deserved a nomination? The Road. It was hauntingly beautiful, just fantastic. It, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Avatar were my favorites this year, but I won't complain about Up winning.

-Michael Giacchino also did a great job with the Star Trek score this year. He also does a great job weekly on LOST. (And by the way, I'm glad I was able to fit LOST into this post.)

-Sometimes I really don't get the pairings. Gerard Butler and Bradley Cooper together for special effects? Really? Why?

-If Avatar didn't win for Special Effects, I honestly would probably never have watched the Oscars again.

-Seriously something exciting needs to happen soon. Very, very boring Oscars so far.

-Okay, that Modern Family promo was HIGH-LARIOUS!!! If only the cast of Modern Family could have hosted the Oscars this year.

-So a friend of mine (who happens to be gay) just answered my "Most boring Oscars ever?" text by texting back, "Anytime Bradley Cooper and Gerard Butler are on stage at one time is fine with me." So at least that question was answered. It was to secure the gay vote.

-Hurt Locker wins for editing, and yep, I can safely say it is a Hurt Locker night.

-Did someone tell Keanu what the teleprompter said, or did he learn to read.

-What? I'm just wondering.

-Again with the lamps. Seriously, what is up with the lamps?

-I talked about this last year, but I really think that this "let's talk forever about each actress and actor up for Best Actor and Actress" thing is really unnecessary.

-I mean, the whole night is already pretty much a celebration of them, do we really have to spend all this extra amount of time having people talk specifically about how great they are?

-Honestly, actors and actresses are already egotistical enough. Couldn't this time be spent in celebrating less known aspects of filmmaking?

-If we're going to announce all of their names, what did we just spend the last 20 minutes doing? Ugh. And the worst part is, we have to do it all over again with the Best Actress Category.

-On the plus side, the Dude is now an Oscar winner.

-And his speech is very Dude-like. Is that the first time Groovy was ever used in an Oscar speech? Probably the first time it was used non-sarcastically at least.

-He just said, "Love, man"

-Yes, the Dude Abides.

-Come on, Sean Penn, say, "Commie-lovin, homo, son's of guns" in announcing the winner. You know you want to.

-Never thought Sandra Bullock would win an Oscar. Just never thought it would happen. Congrats. And congrats on winning the Razzie this year for Worst Actress also! Nice bookends.

-Showing the real family from the Blind Side makes me cry too. Just so you know.

-Babs. And this just became my friend Shannon's favorite Oscars ever.

-First woman to ever win Best Director. Congrats. And it is about time. Here is to many more in the future. (Unless I am up for the award, of course)

-I'll talk more about I don't think that The Hurt Locker deserved Best Picture when I finally release my Top Ten Movies of 2010.

Until Next Time, very boring Oscars and I thought that the Steve and Alec experiment was a complete failure. Oh well, see you next year.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

LOST Dr. Linus, first thoughts

Move over Man Behind the Curtain, Dr. Linus is my new second favorite episode of the series. (Behind The Constant, of course. Pretty sure that episode will never be topped.)

So, last week I was talking with my friend Justin about the fact that I felt that the characters in the LA X timeline were basically the same personality wise as they were in the original timeline. Sure, things were different in their lives, but who they were was basically unchanged. They could find changes in themselves in those timelines, but who they are is who they are. Kate runs, but will risk herself to help others in need. Jack has issues with his father and worries about how his childhood has molded who he is now, basically believing that he is unworthy. Speaking of unworthy, and what brought this whole conversation up in the first place, is the fact that Sayid believes that he is basically a flawed person. That while he wants to be good, due to his past he is unable to be good. So, I felt, that when he told Nadia in the LA X timeline that they couldn't be together because he wasn't worthy of her, that was what he truly believed. Justin thought something else was going on at first, but then when I made my argument, he bought it as well.

Then this week happens.

Momentarily I was shaken, because Ben would have made that power play on the Island, Alex's chances at Yale be damned.

In fact, in far more dire circumstances we have seen him make just such a call.

But this time, he didn't. He traded his own power play. and what was probably better for the school over all, in for Alex's future.

So as I thought about the episode

(And let me step back for a moment and tell you how I nearly didn't get to see this episode because I have been so busy these past couple of weeks that my DVR has not gotten the attention it deserves and it happened to fill up last night, meaning while I was in class until 9, whereas LOST comes on at 8, when I got home my DVR informed me that it had not recorded anything that it was supposed to today, LOST included. Luckily, my friend Emily, who was supposed to watch it at my place, had it on her DVR and the night was saved, so major props to Emily for impromptu hosting a LOST night. Thanks!)

and had preliminary discussions with my friends after watching it, I realized that what was happening wasn't a failure of my theory from last week, but was instead more of a vindication of a theory I've had since the season premiere.

We are getting to a point where the bleed through of the timelines is affecting our characters in more ways than just deja vu.

It should have been clear from the point that a cut that Island Jack had was bothering LA X Jack.

It could explain why Sayid shot Krazy Keamy in what appeared to be cold blood. Sure, it could be argued that there was some justification but it could also be argued that he knew what Keamy was capable of, and that the darkness of his Island self was bleeding through to his LA X self.

And it certainly explains Ben, who like Napoleon has lost the one thing that ever really meant anything to him (power) and is being forced to truly deal with his sacrifice of Alex for the Island that never really believed in him in the first place (Miles tells Ben that Jacob hoped until the very end that he was wrong about Ben which means that he never trusted Ben and explains why he never appeared to him, and while that might have been the correct feeling to have in regards to Ben it still means that the Island that Ben sacrificed so much for and truly believed in despite his selfish and power hungry actions didn't really ever believe in him).

Ben has hit rock bottom, and I truly believed him when he made his confession to Ilana. Sure he is the biggest liar on the show (perhaps in the history of television) and as big a con man as Sawyer ever was, but I think for the first time we saw the truth of Ben Linus. He had nothing left to hide behind. His soul was bared. And he is redeemed.

And because his Island self has taken this redemptive step, the bleed through to the other reality allowed him to take it as well, and make a different choice in regards to Alex and the "Island" being played in this reality by the school.

The moment that I believe this connection between the realities was made was in the moment that Artz said to Ben, "You're a real killer." The truth of that statement (a reality away) allowed Ben's subconscious to connect to Island Ben and feel the anguish and pain that resulted from his constant power struggle to the detriment of one of the few people that he ever loved, his "daughter" Alex. It made it literally impossible for him to choose power over Alex in the LA X timeline.

A few other things from this episode, we are gearing up for a Team-Jack vs Team-Locke set up again on Island just like in the past, and once again Team-Jack is gearing up at the Beach while Team-Locke is taking over an old Dharma/Others stronghold.

Speaking of the Beach, something tells me that it is the only safe place left on the Island. When the Locke-less Monster went to invite Ben, it stayed in the grass, off of the Beach. (I'm capitalizing Beach as it pertains strictly to the original LOSTies beach camp, I don't think that it is true of any other beach area on the Island). We've never seen Smokey (in full black smoke regalia) on the Beach throughout the history of the show, I believe that Smokey has no power at the Beach camp. Not sure why, and not sure if this theory is true at all.

We see a new book for the LOST library as Ben goes through Sawyer's tent. It is The Chosen by Chaim Potok. Interestingly, the book is about two young boys and their friendship, one is the son of a Rabbi, expected to one day take his father's place except that he desires to study philosophy, and another who wants to be a Rabbi. With the one boy's desire (against his father's will, very LOSTian) to move into secular studies, and the other boy's desire to study religion, I am reminded of the idea of a Man of Science and a Man of Faith, Jack and Locke originally and perhaps still in the LA X timeline. I still think that these two seemingly opposing ideas must work together in order to accomplish whatever it is that the LOSTies are supposed to accomplish, and the book seems to hint at that as well.

Also, of course, there is the fact that the book is called The Chosen, and we get confirmation this week that what Esau/Locke said in regards to the candidates is true. So some of our LOSTies are literally eligible to be Chosen for this new role. We are also told that there are six possibilities. This is after Ben tells Ilana that Sayid is lost (no pun intended) to them, so I will go ahead and take him off of my list for the moment (as we know that he is actually off the list). Ilana says that there are six possible candidates.

Hurley, Shephard (presumably Jack), Kwan (possibly Sun, possibly Jin), Ford (aka Sawyer), we know for sure, Locke and Sayid can be crossed out. We know from the wheel in the lighthouse that Kate is still a possibility (her name was not crossed off) even though she isn't one of "the numbers". So who is the sixth? (weekly question topic!)

So, Richard doesn't age because he was touched by Jacob. Hmm... so were Jack, Kate, Sun, Jin, Sawyer, Hurley, Locke, and Sayid (although it didn't work out as well for the two of them.) Similarly to when Michael tried repeatedly to kill himself, they are all presumably unable to do so, and we've actually seen Jack fail at it a couple of times on the show, although he was kind of counting on failing at it this time. They can still be killed by others (little o-others), but not by themselves, and apparently won't age either. Interesting.

Also, confirmation of something that I think most of us picked up on from the season premiere, that Richard came to the Island originally in chains on the Black Rock.

I loved some of the little jokes in this episode, the callback to Artz blowing up in the Black Rock scene, but also in the fact that he had a stain on his shirt in the exact spot that in the other timeline he was a stain on Hurley's shirt, and also Miles knowing what happened to Nikki and Paulo, and his digging up the diamonds.

Another possible weekly question from this episode is whether or not Widmore's arrival to the Island is a good thing. After all, Jacob presumably sent Hurley and Jack to help him get to the Island (as well as to get them away from Smokey's attack on the temple). We've seen the redemption of Ben, is the redemption of Widmore to follow?

Until Next Time, thanks for waiting patiently for the post! Should be early next week as it is Spring Break and I can watch LOST at its regularly scheduled time!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

OSCAR Preview and Prediction Post!

I can't believe that the Oscars are tonight!

Let's take a look at the major categories and let me go ahead and spoil it for you beforehand.


Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

This isn't really too much of a race, with wins in most of the award ceremonies leading up to the Oscars, Jeff Bridges seems like a lock to win Best Actor this year. If there is to be a surprise it will probably come in the form of Jeremy Renner who was one of the best parts of the under-watched and quickly canceled Unusuals last year on ABC. If Renner wins this award, then it will be a HUGE night for Hurt Locker. There seems to be a lot of push behind this movie, and it wouldn't be too shocking if it ends up running away with everything. We'll know after this award whether to expect that or not.

If I were in charge, Sam Rockwall would be winning for his performance in Moon. (Just Moon, not New Moon, he wasn't in that.) I also would have nominated Max Records for his amazing performance as Max in Where the Wild Things Are. Moon and Where the Wild Things Are were two great movies that are getting no recognition at all tonight, and that is disappointing especially considering that these were two of the greatest performances of the year.


Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

You can never count out Meryl Streep, in fact, they should probably go ahead and change the name of the catagory to Closest Actress to Being Meryl Streep, so obviously she has a real shot after her fantastic performance in Julie and Julia. However, my money is actually on Sandra Bullock for her fan pleasing turn as an extrememly loving mother in The Blind Side. If Bullock wins, she will have the distinct honor of winning Best Actress at the Oscars and Worst Actress at the Razzies in the same year. And, honestly, how could we not root for that to happen?

On a side note, I knew that she wouldn't be nominated since her character was computer generated, but Zoe Saldana was terrific in Avatar and did so much to help bring a completely computer generated character to life.


Matt Damon, Invictus
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

This is not even close to being a contest. I knew the second Inglourious Basterds was over that Christoph Waltz was going to win Best Supporting Actor. Personally, I hated the movie, but he was fantastic and I enjoyed every moment that he was in. He stole the film totally and completely and 100% deserves the Oscar he will win tonight.


Penélope Cruz, Nine
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Mo’Nique, Precious

How strange that on a night when Sandra Bullock will most likely win an Oscar (just after winning a Razzie for Worst Actress) we will also witness Mo'Nique win an Oscar? Could you have come up with someone less likely to win an Oscar? Probably, but still at this point last year if you had said that Mo'Nique was going to win a Best Supporting Oscar in one year's time, everyone would have told you you were insane. Everyone. Myself included. But tomorrow, she will ever be known as Mo'Nique, Oscar winner.


Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman, The Messenger
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, A Serious Man
Pete Docter, Bob Peterson & Tom McCarthy, Up
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

I'm holding out hope for an Up or an A Serious Man win here, but I would be shocked if it is anything but The Hurt Locker. The screenplay is actually one of the few things I found lacking in The Hurt Locker. While I feel that it is a tremendous movie, I felt that the story (and more specifically some of the places that the story needlessly goes) detracted a bit from the outstanding direction, acting, and cinematography. However, this film has won the imaginations of the voters and therefore will probably walk away with this Oscar despite there being other more worthy candidates in the field. And personally, I think that this would have been another place where Moon should have been nominated at which point I would also give it the award.


Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci & Tony Roche, In the Loop
Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell, District 9
Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious
Nick Hornby, An Education
Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air

I can tell you definitively which of these won't win, In the Loop. The others are all Best Picture nominees, and one of them will walk away with this award in consolation since none of them have a shot at Best Picture. I would put my money on Up in the Air.


Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog
The Secret of Kells

Very pleased that Up got a Best Picture nod, but I'm wondering if this category is going to be short lived. I think that it might disappear if we continue to get 10 best picture nominees, because the best animated film will probably often find itself nominated for Best Picture and the Academy might think that is honor enough and dismantle this category completely. We only have this category because people were upset that Beauty and the Beast didn't get a Best Picture nomination. Since we got the 10 nominations for Best Picture because people were upset that The Dark Knight didn't get a Best Picture nomination last year I am now envisioning a world where they just added a new category instead of doubling the number of films nominated.

This year the nominees for Best Genre Picture are...

Star Trek

Tell me that wouldn't be an awesome category.

Anyway, back to the Animated movie category. Up is going to win.


Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, Avatar
Lee Daniels, Precious
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

It will be Kathryn Bigelow, and it will mark the first time ever that a woman has won Best Director. I don't really think that there is even any suspense in this category.


The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man
Up in the Air

It all comes down to Avatar and The Hurt Locker. Like I said earlier, if Renner wins Best Actor, you can go ahead and turn off your televisions secure in the knowledge that The Hurt Locker won Best Picture. If, however, The Dude wins Best Actor, then Avatar remains in the running. I think that conventional wisdom is that The Hurt Locker is going to win, but I have a feeling that the night will ultimately belong to Avatar. I wouldn't be surprised if Hurt Locker won, because like I said, I think a lot of people are making that prediction, but Avatar is a once in a life time Movie Experience and I think that voters are going to end up voting for it because of that. I can't wait to find out though! And at least it won't be Slumdog Millionaire this year.

Until Next Time, a few other predictions, Fantastic Mr. Fox will win Best Score and "The Weary Kind" will win Best Original Song. See you after the show!

Josh Man

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

LOST Sundown, first thoughts

First off, it was not, despite the title, a Sun-centric episode, but was instead a Sayid-centric one.

The first words out of Sayid's mouth in the Island timeline were, "I want to talk to you, I want some answers." Yet ironically (a favorite literary device in the LOST world) we get very few answers in this episode of LOST.

With only 10 episodes to go until the show is over (I'll wait while you shed some tears, it's totally understandable, I had to do the same thing right after writing that) I figured that each episode would be heavier on the answer end, and there have definitely been some move towards that in the last few episodes, this one, on the other hand, was pretty light on the answers, I'm not going to lie.

We did get some answers on who Dogen was and why he came to the Island. The story, of course, is very reminiscent of how Juliet was convinced to stay on the Island. His memory of causing the life-threatening injuries to his son kept him from being able to kill Sayid when he had the chance despite his belief that a darkness had infected Sayid and that when it reached his heart would make him so different that "everything [Sayid] once was will be gone".

Instead he tried to manipulate Sayid into dying at the hands of Esau the Locke-less (Smoke) Monster, which just played into Esau's hands allowing him his way into the Temple, formally the only safe place left on the Island.

Throughout the history of the show, manipulation has played a large role in getting things done, especially since the introduction of Ben. But Jacob has done many of the same things as now too has Esau.

Dogen describes Esau as Evil Incarnate, but thus far it hasn't been 100% clear who exactly is good and who is evil as all of them seem to trade in the same manipulation and often outright lies. (Although we have yet to catch Jacob in an outright lie) We do know that Ben has lied and often, and Esau has lied at least to Claire, since we know that Aaron is not with the Others like she has been told. It also seems to me that Esau can't really deliver to Sayid what he has promised either.

Sayid has been manipulated perhaps more than anyone else throughout the history of the show. I am reminded of his work for Ben, culminating in the 10th episode of season 5, He's Our You. Ben knew all the right buttons to push to get Sayid to do what he wanted. Of course for Ben to be able to push those buttons, Sayid had to be alone, Nadia had to be dead, and Jacob was there when that happened, the implication being that Jacob allowed for her to die. This death, allowed by Jacob, allowed Ben to push Sayid's buttons, which caused his return to the Island.

Then, in tonight's episode in the Island timeline, Sayid is manipulated by Dogan into trying to kill Esau and by Esau into killing Dogan and Lennon and allowing Esau's way into the Temple.

The question is whether or not Sayid really had any chance at killing Esau or if Dogen really hoped that this would cause Esau to kill Sayid.

I'm not sure on the answer to that, after all Dogen told Sayid that if he allowed Esau to say anything it would be too late. When Sayid sees Esau he waits until after "Hello Sayid" to stab him. Perhaps allowing him even that much was enough to take away Sayid's opportunity to kill him.

Sayid is also being manipulated in the LA X timeline. His brother wants Sayid to clean up his mess with a loan shark (hello Krazy Keamy). After Omer is beaten up, Sayid wants to go and avenge his brother, and Nadia convinces him to leave it alone, that Omer should have to clean up his own messes. Then, Krazy Keamy presses the issue, putting Sayid into a position where he feels he has no choice but to react violently. (And a difference in the two timelines is revealed, it seems in this timeline unlike the Island one, Krazy Keamy isn't that hard to kill).

Sayid is always being manipulated, so it shouldn't seem too much of a surprise that this episode had a lot of manipulation, highlighting the manipulation that we've seen throughout the history of the show.

Before I get to the other main difference in the timelines revealed in this episode, we see that by the end of the episode that the looks on Claire and especially Sayid seem to mean that what Dogen fears has come to pass, the Darkness has reached their hearts. Sayid at the end of the episode looks completely evil. Despite the evil that Sayid has done throughout the history of the show we have never seen that level of an evil look from him before. It was very scary, and nothing like the Sayid we knew before, as if everything our friend once was is gone. From the moment that Ben tries to get Sayid to go, saying that there is still time, to which Sayid answers, "Not for me" every time we see Sayid's face, it is with an expression of evil very unlike the Sayid we have always known.

And speaking of expressions, the one that Esau has when he sees Kate emerge with evil Claire and evil Sayid seems to be one of momentary dismay. I don't think that he wanted her to join them. Worth keeping an eye on.

Okay, on to LA X before we close this out. The big difference in the timelines for Sayid is that Nadia is married to Sayid's brother, and not single as she was in the original timeline. We learn that it was Sayid who pushed her towards his brother because he didn't feel worthy of her.

While the same was true in the other timeline, there was a time when Sayid felt that he was unworthy of Nadia, he never pushed her towards his brother, and when getting on Flight 815, he was on his way to find her in order to be with her.

Speaking as we were earlier of the episode He's Our You, the beginning of that episode has a moment with Sayid and his brother Omer as boys. Their father tells Omer, the older brother, that it is time for him to become a man and to do so he must kill a chicken. He is unable to do this and Sayid does it for him. This is reminiscent of the scene from Eko's childhood when Eko's younger brother was told to kill a man and in order to protect him Eko shot the man in his brother's place. There are of course differences in the two scenes. Eko killed the man to protect his younger brother, Sayid killed the chicken to help his older one. I feel like Sayid lost respect for his older brother that day as their father basically told Omer that he would never never be a man. Perhaps in the LA X timeline, instead of losing respect for his brother there, he, like Eko, believed his brother to be the better man and more deserving of happiness, hence his pushing his happiness (Nadia) towards his brother.

Until Next Time, while it wasn't the Sun episode we were anticipating, there was the moment where Sun found out Jin is still alive and back on the Island in her time, which is nice, and there was the moment in the LA X timeline where we discover (along with Sayid) a tied up Jin, which begs the question, instead of working for Widmore (as Krazy Keamy did in the original timeline) is Krazy Keamy working for Paik? Now I really want a Sun or Jin centric episode, but am okay with waiting for a little while since next week's appears to be a Ben-centric, and those never disappoint.