Wednesday, June 23, 2010

BTIES: NPB comes down on Canned Unicorn

Since April 1, thinkgeek has had unicorn meat—"The New White Meat!"—for sale at their site. The National Pork Board took legal exception to the adaptation of their slogan for the promotion of a competing product and hit thinkgeek with a cease and desist.

I wonder if the Pork Board's legal representation specializes in faerie and related matters...? Property disputes with Smurfs and Gnomes? Paternity suits with Olympians? How many firms can pull a "unicorn" file from their records?

Keep on keepin on~

Monday, June 21, 2010

LOST: The End - Wuzzon with the Island...

6.17 & 6.18: "The End"

Here it is. A long overdue ramble on events in LOST1 (on the Island) from the series finale. Before it aired, I half-jokingly explained to friends that the finale would be just like the pilot, only in reverse. Not so far off, if you allow for some liberal interpretation. But also, not that much of a gamble, given how this season has been about mirrors and mirroring events from previous seasons.

I still have not re-watched the finale since the Brattle screening. For whatever reason, I'm just not feeling it. While putting this ramble together I referred to a Lostpedia transcript of the episode to help walk me thru the finale events. All-in-all, key concepts in the Island endgame were satisfying enough, but their execution could have been tighter and some of the dialogue, frankly, better written.

I wonder how the finale would play with all of the LOST2 scenes edited out. Or perhaps with all of the Island events played first, and then the afterlife events, "in order," as "ending" and epilogue, which really is what they gave us in LOST2.

* For random visitors to this post, LOST1 refers to the original, living (they did NOT die in the plane crash, people!) reality and LOST2 refers to the sideways/alternate reality (aka the Heart-powered afterlife).

Yes, I DO wish it could've gone differently in a lot of ways, but I won't bring that into this discussion. Maybe I'll eventually motivate to go fanfic with some of my ideas...



Jack is the new Protector. Jacob is apparently... gone.

Jacob told Jack where the Heart is and he figures out that it needs to be protected from Locke-ness.

Sawyer figures out that Locke-ness needs Desmond to destroy the Heart.
JACK: Jacob didn't say anything to me about Desmond.
SAWYER: Doesn't sound like he said anything about anything.
HURLEY: That's kinda of true, dude. He's worse than Yoda.
SAWYER: All right. Y'all head to your heart of the island and I'll go get the magic leprechaun out of that well.

HURLEY: I've got a bad feeling about this.
Not ten minutes in and they're already giving us two Hurley STAR WARS references. I'm thinking that this is how badly the creators feel they need to hedge things. Anyhow...

Sawyer leaves to retrieve Desmond while the others go on to the Heart. Ben and Locke-ness capture Sawyer at the well. Locke-ness doesn't have Desmond, but plans on using him to destroy the Island and the Candidates along with it.
SAWYER: We're not Candidates anymore.
THAT sounded like a dangerous mis-step at the time. Those words SHOULD have given Locke-ness cause to grin, transform into the monster, and then take a wack at Sawyer in an attempt to kill him. Of course, he would fail, but he could change back over Sawyer's unconscious body and inform Ben, "The Rules still apply. You're still a Candidate, James.

Instead, Ben takes yet another wack to the face and Sawyer makes his escape.
BEN: When you said you were going to destroy the island, I thought you were speaking figuratively.
LOCKE-NESS: Because I said I'd leave you in charge once I was gone? I'm sorry if I left out the part about the island being on the bottom of the ocean. That being said, you're welcome to join me on my boat. Because once we get Desmond to do what we need him to do, I'm going to sail away from this godforsaken place and watch it sink.
Turns out Desmond was helped out of the well by Rose and Bernard. They got flashed back along with everyone else and continued their Island retirement. Unfortunately, after years of peace on their own, their decision to help Desmond brings Locke-ness to their home. Desmond agrees to leave with him as long as the monster promises never to touch Rose and Bernard.

Desmond knows why he's been brought to the Island. First, from Widmore's actions, he knows his value as a person who can survive massive, deadly, amounts of EM radiation. Second, from the apparent crossover flash to LOST2 he experienced. He believes that he will have to sacrifice himself in a gambit involving a very bright light, and that sacrifice, in that bright light, will end up delivering him into LOST2.

Miles finds Richard, battered, but alive (hooray!). They still believe that the plane is the only way off the Island, and that it needs to be destroyed to save the world from Locke-ness.

Sawyer catches up w Jack and company, confirms that Locke-ness plans to destroy the Island with Desmond's help, but that he didn't have Desmond. Jack tells him that it doesn't matter if Desmond is with him or them, they'll all end up at the Heart anyway...
SAWYER: Then what?
JACK: Then it ends.
Jack's group and Locke-ness's meet on the way to the bamboo forest. To her credit, Kate doesn't blink before grabbing Sawyer's rifle and opening up on the monster. I hafta say, I like that. Like Han Solo in Cloud City when the doors open and he sees Vader standing at the head of the table. Doesn't think twice, just draws.

Now I hafta go kick myself in the ass for comparing Kate to Han Solo.
LOCKE-NESS: You might wanna save your bullets.
Locke-ness recognizes that Jack is the new Protector. He delivers one of those LOST lines that's as much for the audience as the characters...
LOCKE-NESS: Jacob being who is, I expected to be a little more surprised. You're sort of the obvious choice.
Locke-ness believes that Jack will try to stop him, but Jack reveals that he's not going to. Instead, he wants to go with him to the Heart, where Locke-ness THINKS he's going to destroy the Island. Jack informs him that he's not going to destroy anything, because...
JACK: I'm gonna kill you.
LOCKE-NESS: How do you plan to do that?
JACK: That's a surprise.
LOCKE-NESS: Okay. Then let's get on with it.
A funny-at-the-time line that is just kind of annoying afterward.

They continue on and arrive at the bamboo forest. Jack admits to Sawyer that he's basically making this up as he goes along. He believes that he can, that he will, beat Locke-ness, and that Desmond is the key to that happening. Jacob wouldn't have brought him back to the Island if all he could do was destroy it.

He's a Believer in Jacob. I hafta say, it's good to see him have so much conviction, but how frickin sad and tragic is his life's story now that it's come to this?

Locke-ness says it should just be Jack, Desmond, and himself the rest of the way, to the Heart of the Island. When Jack and Locke-ness are getting ready to lower Desmond into the waterfall cavern of the Heart, Desmond tries to explain to Jack how none of this, what happens on the Island, in this life, matters. Jack disagrees...
DESMOND: This doesn't matter, you know.
JACK: Excuse me?
DESMOND: Him destroying the island, you destroying him. It doesn't matter. You know, you're gonna lower me into that light, and I'm gonna go somewhere else. A place where we can be with the ones we love, and not have to ever think about this damn island again. And you know the best part, Jack?
JACK: What?
DESMOND: You're in this place. You know, we sat next to each other on Oceanic 815. It never crashed. We spoke to each other. You seemed happy. You know, maybe I can find a way to bring you there too.
JACK: Desmond, I tried that once. There are no shortcuts, no do-overs. What happened, happened. Trust me, I know. All of this matters.
I was really glad that Desmond actually spoke these words. An acknowledgement within the story of his EM-induced crossover, AND what he thinks about it. That it's the better and real life. That THIS life, full of pain and disaster and monsters, is some kind of workaday slog of an existence, less real somehow. It sounds so wonderfully WIZARD OF OZ, doesn't it? "And YOU were there, and YOU, and YOU!"

A quick jump over to LOST2 for something that felt a little Wrongo to me. Hurley and Boone set Sayid and Shannon up for some enlightenment. Sayid and Shannon kiss, and kiss again, and so on, while Boone and Hurley divert their eyes (or don't) by the humvee. Think Boone's a little jealous? Or is he into it? Ick.

Meanwhile, back in LOST1, on their way over to Hydra Island, Ben and Richard discover Lapidus floating in the water, hanging onto a bunch of lashed together life vests from the sub. (I'd told JB that Lapidus would make it, pretty much exactly like this, a couple hours before the finale—I mean, that plane's still there, and it needs a pilot, right? and it's Frank, this is what he does =) Together, the three of them drop Operation: Blow Up The F@ckin Plane and launch Operation: Fly The Plane The F@ck Outta Here!

Once they arrive on Hydra Island, Claire confronts them, expecting them to be agents of a very-disappointed-in-her Locke-ness. Instead, Richard tries to convince her to join them. She declines and sulks away into the jungle.

Back at the Heart cavern, Jack and Locke-ness lower Desmond into the Island's very first hatch. The episode planted that notion in my mind with Locke-ness's dialogue and a very nice camera move up the waterfall at Jack and Locke-ness, echoing the camera move up the Swan hatch shaft to Jack and Locke. Both are pretty much Desmond's POV, too. I totally appreciate how Locke-ness's dialogue offends Jack so...
LOCKE-NESS: This remind you of anything, Jack?
JACK: What?
LOCKE-NESS: Desmond...going down into a hole in the ground. If there was a button down there to push, we could fight about whether or not to push it. It'd be just like old times.
JACK: You're not John Locke. You disrespect his memory by wearing his face, but you're nothing like him. Turns out he was right about most everything. I just wish I could've told him that while he was still alive.
LOCKE-NESS: He wasn't right about anything, Jack. And when this island drops into the ocean, and you drop with it, you're finally gonna realize that.
JACK: Well, we'll just have to see which one of us is right, then.
And at the bottom of the waterfall cavern, bathed in light and filled with a somewhat familiar droning (Swan hatch, anyone?), Desmond is waved on in by some skeleton dudes and approaches the brightest part of the light. It's focused in a circular pool, surrounded by stones with marks on them, all placed in a design, possibly functional, possibly ritual. In the center of the pool is a roughly man-sized stone.

Y'know, I think this might be the chamber next door to the cavern where the Shadow Men created the First Slayer... =)

In the pool, Desmond screams, apparently wracked with pain. He pushes on into the center and grabs the stone and drags it out of position. The stone functions as a plug for the pool. Removed, the water in the pool drains and the flow of water into and out of the pool stops or dries up. The bright white light fades... and is replaced by a red glow emanating from the hole. Evil, anyone?

What up w the skeletons? Who are they? How are they? Given what we've seen about the Heart so far, those skeletons must belong to people who died before entering the cavern, or before the pool was fully energized. Otherwise, those individuals would have been transformed into smoke monsters and their lifeless bodies ejected from the cavern, a la Esau's.

Anyhow, as the red glow fills the chamber, the Island begins to rumble. Up above, at the top of the cave, Locke-ness is quite pleased.
LOCKE-NESS: It looks like you were wrong... Goodbye, Jack.
Locke-ness turns to exit the cave when Jack takes a shot at him, out of rage and frustration.
JACK: Damn it!
Locke-ness stops in his tracks, shocked at the sight and taste of the blood in his mouth. Surprise! (You're human and mortal and thusly beat-to-death-able, Locke-ness!) Jack smiles...
JACK: Looks like you were wrong, too.
His line there really should've been, "Surprise!" but, whatev. Maybe that would've been too corny, altho given what else the finale gets away with, "too corny" is a tough call to make.

So, Jack seizes the opportunity to attempt to choke the life out of Locke-ness, and Locke-ness retaliates with now-classic Island-fu—a rock to the noggin—and knocks Jack out. Locke-ness then scarpers.

I LIKE that there is a logic to the circuitry of the Island. Well, at least as far as this simple circuit of Esau's abilities and the Island's power. You put out the Heart light, Esau loses his inhuman / superhuman abilities.

What would have happened to him if he'd been in monster form? Lucky for everyone the rain kept him from transforming, eh?

What's going on in the Heart, tho? Unplugged, is it still the Heart? Is the Heart a product of the interaction of things? Is it man-made?

A stab at the "sciencey" aspect of the Heart. It seems like the natural, untouched-by-man, state of the Heart is a subterranean source of raw energy. In its pure form, it seems volcanic in nature, creating heat and pressure that require release. The Heart chamber is a kind of power station, akin to a dam or a wind farm, converting one form of energy into another. The man-made pool and stone plug are a kind of induction device that draws off a great portion of that volcanic energy, converts it into the EM energy we're familiar with, radiating some of it immediately, but also somehow charging the water with it, and distributes it throughout the Island and perhaps the world via subterranean waterways.

The Island itself, along with the snowglobe I'd wager, are all in this same circuit as well. The Island is an impossible construct, right? Existing in a pocket dimension that is adjacent to our normal everyday reality but only at a certain angle and certain location. And, that location can be changed, in time and space. Impossible. To maintain these impossibilities requires power. Power supplied by the Heart. And thusly, the Island begins shaking and quaking itself apart. If the snowglobe could be made visible, I imagine we'd see some LANGOLIERS-like cracks spiderwebbing their way across its surface.

In the disaster movie that ensues, Ben pushes Hurley out of the path of a falling tree, getting pinned himself as his reward. A demonstration of Ben's selflessness, kindness from a self-proclaimed Good Guy to one of the only truly Good Guys he's probably ever met. Hurley rallies Kate and Sawyer to help get the fallen tree off of Ben when Miles radios in, letting them know that they're at the plane, repairing it, and that they have an hour to join them for take-off.

I don't remember seeing them free Ben. How'd that happen, anyhow?

Meanwhile, Jack has recovered and tracked Locke to the cliffside where the Elizabeth is anchored. They go all Kirk vs. the Gorn in a rainy MATRIX REVOLUTIONS showdown and ultimately, Locke-ness gets the upper hand. An upper hand with a knife, stabbing Jack in his side.

I have yet to confirm this with any medical experts, but I actually kinda marvel at this move. I believe that if Jack hadn't had his appendix removed three years earlier, on the Island under the care of Juliet and Bernard, this might have been a killing stroke. Not only a knife in the gut, but a burst appendix of toxic fun! As it is, it still comes pretty close, setting Locke-ness up to finally give Jack that close shave that's been bothering him all season in LOST2 (and don't forget his confusion over his appendectomy scar).

Before Locke-ness can finish the job, a bullet hits him from behind. Leave it to Kate to shoot someone in the back, right? And what zinger does she have prepared for this moment?
KATE: I saved you a bullet!
A callback to Locke-ness telling her to save her bullets. Not terrible, but, well... Eh. No doubt Sawyer had a dozen better—Bring a knife to a gunfight? Smoking's bad for your health! Eat lead, you son of a bitch!—but whatev, it's Kate's moment, let her ruin it like all of her others.

It's not a kill shot. If I was a betting man, I'd say it was in just the right place to paralyze a man, rendering his legs useless, another mirror move compared to the pilot. Jack delivers the coup de grace, shoving him off the top of the cliff with a kick. We get a look over the side and see Locke-ness's still form on the rocks below.

On the audience reaction side, I didn't feel that there was a great moment of Victory, y'know? I had no desire to stand up and cheer for the win. What happened? A crappy fight scene, I guess? There should've been some banter, some Island-philosophical trash talking, Jack making comparisons of the Monster to Locke, and Locke-ness using the memories of Locke and Christian to push Jack's buttons. I mean, COME ON! Locke-ness has the knife in Jack's gut, and then at his throat, and not even ONE "Jack, you just don't have what it takes?!" How do you miss that?

So! Ding-dong, the Witch is dead! Unfortunately, Oz is still unplugged and sinking. Kate doesn't get why it's still doomsday if they killed the monster, but Protector Jack gets it.
JACK: Because whatever Desmond turned off, I need to turn it back on again. But if it doesn't work, if I don't get it done you all need to leave now. You need to get on that plane.
Kate and Sawyer make for the Elizabeth to get to Hydra Island and the getaway plane. Ben chooses to go down with the Island. For logistical reasons, Hurley sticks with Jack as well.

Brother Jack makes a point of telling Kate to get Claire on the plane. Do you remember Charlie's message to Jack, delivered by Hurley while at Santa Rosa's? Something like, "You're not supposed to raise him." Then Jack and Kate kiss each other goodbye and "I love you."


On Hydra Island, Frank's just about done w repairs to the Ajira plane. Did he weld a metal panel over the windshield? He sends the Immortal and the Ghostbuster out with a flashlight and a roll of duct tape to fix some landing gear hydraulics. Cuz, hey, why not? And Miles gets one last zinger in before the final curtain call...
MILES: I don't believe in a lot of things but I DO believe in duct tape.
Back at the Heart of the Island, Jack explains to Hurley that he has to go down into the cavern alone, and that he has to pass the mantle of Protector on to him. Hurley is in touching denial, not wanting the responsibility almost as much as he doesn't want Jack to let himself die...
JACK: It was only supposed to be me so I can do this. But if someone has to take care of the Island, if someone has to protect it then... then it should be you. Hurley... I believe in you.
HURLEY: Alright, I'll take it. But it's only temporary... As soon as you get that light back in, I'm pulling you up, and I'm giving it right back to you, deal?
JACK: Deal.
So, Jack is Protector for a day for a very specific Protector project: kill Esau (and keep the Island from sinking). Hurley is meant to be the head of the next Island administration. A kinder, gentler, Protector. I know Hugo's the sweet kind-hearted sensitive and empathetic underdog choice, and I genuinely like him for Protector, but I really think that Sawyer or Lapidus would've made for a really great down-to-earth no-nonsense no-frills Protector. Of course, I would've said that about the other two no matter which guy Jack chose.

Anyhow, Jack performs the (Martian =) water sharing ritual with Hurley and...
HURLEY: Is that it?
JACK: Now you're like me.
Only, y'know, not an insecure ex-drug-addict. =)

Protector Hurley and Ben lower Jack down the waterfall, with a little boisterous help from some quaking Island tremors. At the bottom, Jack finds Desmond beside the now-dried-up pool. The once-plugged hole in the center glows an angry volcanic orange-red. Jack wakes Desmond, who's despondent at the outcome of his efforts...
DESMOND: The light... I put it out. It didn't work. I thought I'd leave this place.
Desmond expected to be zapped back to the sideways/afterlife, as he was in Widmore's EM shack. He believed that the Island and the reality outside of it wasn't real. I can't quite suss out more than that from what he's said, like, if the Island and its reality, LOST1, on and off the Island, isn't real, then what exactly does he think it is? A dream? And how much of LOST2 *did* he experience during the seconds that he passed out in the EM shack? It seems like he may have only lived the events we saw in "Happily Ever After," from baggage claim at LAX to the stadium, when he faints in front of Penny. I say that because the Desmond who unplugged the Island doesn't refer to or appear to know about how his LOST2 self played afterlife cupid and helped get the band back together. Blerg. I still really like the idea that he lived everything from LAX baggage claim to the chapel scene before regaining consciousness in the EM shack.

Desmond explains to Jack about how he removed the plug from the "drain" in the center of the pool, and tries to steel himself for the task of replacing it. Jack insists that it's his job, not Desmond's, helps Desmond over to the waterfall wall, and ties the rope around Desmond so that Ben and Hurley can pull him back up instead of himself. And of course, Jack finally gets to say it to Desmond...
DESMOND: Jack you can't. Even if you turn it back on it'll kill you. It has to be me.
JACK: Desmond, you've done enough. You wanna do something? Go home and be with your wife and son.
DESMOND: What about you, Jack?
JACK: I'll see you in another life, brother.
And whether, as Protector, he knows it or not, Jack's right. He then turns back to the dried up pool. Jack rights the stone plug and drags it back into place, covering the "drain," and collapses. Exhausted, he lies at the side of the pool as water begins to trickle back into it. As the flow of incoming water increases, the glow of the Heart returns and grows to its former brightness. Soon the pool is filled again, and Jack is in its waters, laughing.

Above, Hurley and Ben see the light shining again and begin to pull up on the rope, believing they're helping Jack up, but actually retrieving Desmond. Hurley is crushed. Ben sees to the unconscious Desmond as Hurley ponders the future, and we get to witness the birth of the Reyes-Linus administration...
BEN: I think Desmond's gonna be okay.
HURLEY: Jack's...gone...isn't he?
[Ben nods and Hurley breaks down in tears.]
BEN: He did his job, Hugo.
HURLEY: It's my job now... What the hell am I supposed to do?
BEN: I think you do what you do best. Take care of people. You can start by helping Desmond get home.
HURLEY: But how? People can't leave the Island.
BEN: That's how Jacob ran things. Maybe there's another way... a better way.
HURLEY: Will you help me?
BEN: I'm sorry?
HURLEY: I could really use someone with like, experience. For a little while. Will you help me, Ben?
BEN: I'd be honored.
A few words here are supposed to imply some sweeping Island truths. That the Rules, or at least some of them, are mutable, created, modified, or even struck from the Island books by the Protector. There's got to be a baseline set of axiomatic Rules established by the Island and governed by its superphysics or whatever, but apparently, Rules that determine human behavior and capabilities in relation to the Island can be set by Hurley, and were set by Jacob.

This. Is. Crazy. This really just can't be true, or accurate, can it? The ISLAND has Rules, and within those Rules, I can believe that the Momster, as Protector, could bestow upon her adopted sons immortality, a restrictive bond to the Island, and protection from death at each others' hands and/or machinations. And I can believe that within those Rules Jacob manipulated people from near and far and granted them gifts of various kinds. What I cannot believe is that Jacob willed into existence the specific Rules which Esau ultimately learns to exploit in a decades-long master plan to kill him.

No. Yes, we are led to believe that because young Esau told young Jacob, one day, he would be able to make his own rules and people would have to listen to them, that grown-up Protector Jacob is somehow responsible for the capital-R Rules. No. He established a loose society with certain traditions and practices that work within the Rules, he visited certain people and granted them gifts, gave them nudges at forks in their roads, but he didn't write or re-write the Rules themselves.

I'm honestly not even sure that what Hurley says makes sense—People can't leave the Island. Both Ben and Hurley have witnessed and experienced arriving, leaving, and returning to the Island. If Desmond had known the correct "golden heading" (325 degrees?) he actually could have left on the Elizabeth after running off from the Swan.

All I'm choosing to take away from this exchange, as momentous and ominous in construction as it is, is that Hurley will treat visitors and threats to the Island in his own way. As Ben says, it's Hugo's nature to take care of people. Jacob's was always to observe and learn from a distance. A significant change in motivation and policy, but the Rules will be, and should be, as they always have been.

I mean, come on... Imagine a Protector basically re-designing the effect of the Island on its visitors. Using the power of the Heart, Jack should've just wished Smokey to be human and then put him on the Ajira plane with everyone else. Or if Jack just couldn't see that option with his Protector-sight, Hurley, as Protector, could probably use the power of the Island to bring Charlie back, or Libby, and Eko, and Ana Lucia. Well, who knows? Maybe he does, and learns an important lesson about how sometimes people come back wrong.

But no. That won't happen, cuz frankly, it shouldn't.

Meanwhile-ish, over on Hydra Island, Sawyer and Kate arrive, encountering a despondent Claire on the beach. Kate urges her to join them, but she resists...
CLAIRE: Look at me! This Island's made me crazy... I... I don't want Aaron to see me like this. I don't even know how to be a mother anymore.
KATE: Listen to me, none of us do. Not at first. But you're not alone. Let me help you. Come on, let's go.
A nod in the text to LOST's mother issues. It's funny, when I think of LOST's motifs, daddy issues is at the forefront throughout the series. Mommy issues...? We meet moms, a mom is one of our main characters, but we don't really think in terms of mommy issues until this last season, with a character who pretty much owns the mommy issues home game, Crazy Mother, aka the Momster, right? Or maybe that's my own chauvinistic patriarchal bias?

Or perhaps it's really about parent issues. Eh, that's too big to tackle just now...

Yeah, so, Kate social workers Claire into joining them on their run for the jetway, and in fact, they rush out of the jungle right onto the runway in front of the plane as Frank revs it up for take off. The late arrivals are brought into the plane. Everyone grabs a seat and a couple people grab hands as Frank punches it. We get a bit of a LANGOLIERS by way of Robinson Crusoe scene, of the plane racing down the crushed rock runway as the earth cracks apart beneath it. I gotta say, this was a moment where I let myself get sucked into the suspense. I KNOW they're going to make it, but I get sucked in anyway. Maybe it's Pavlovian training, exposure to similar scenes in my lifetime thus far of TV and film storytelling. Is every one of these scenes really just the Millenium Falcon blasting out of Mos Eisley? Or Flash, Dale, and Dr. Zarkoff blasting off under a red sky to fight Ming the Merciless?

Anyway *SPOILER ALERT* they make it! The plane takes to the air just clearing the trees at the end of the UFO runway.

Back on the Island, Jack finds himself in a small pond outside the Heart of the Island. I'm not sure exactly where this is relative to the waterfall cavern, and how he arrived here, but my mind connects the dots as follows...

Jack is in the pool as the water and the Heart's energy return to full strength. He passes out. The rising water carries him out of the Heart's reactor cavern through one of the subterranean waterways that flow through and beneath the Island, and this one surfaces at this small pond, depositing Jack thusly.

This for me also explains why Jack is NOT a smoke monster, although when I realized he was going down into the cavern himself, I was *really* hoping for it to happen. It could've gone somewhat positive, resulting in the creation of a full-powered Protector (like the Momster), or, seriously dark, with the transformation process driving Jack slightly mad, perhaps amplifying his desire to "fix" people into an on-the-surface philanthropic mission, but hiding a deeper god complex, with the smoke monster power to back it up.

Alas, not to be. Jack's encounter with the Source is not the same as Esau's. He is not exposed to the Heart's energy the way Esau was. Esau entered the Heart at full strength, as did Desmond (remember how he was screaming in pain, even with his resistance/immunity?). Jack, however, was exposed to the Heart as it was re-powering up, and then swept away by the flowing water, never experiencing anything close to the pain that Desmond apparently did.

Jack picks himself up and begins staggering thru the jungle, then back into the bamboo forest, all the while trying to keep pressure on his wounded side. We see the white tennis shoe hanging from a branch, three years after the crash of Oceanic 815, six seasons after the pilot. We know now that it was one of the shoes worn by Christian's corpse. Jack arrives at small clearing in the bamboo and collapses, apparently exactly in the spot that he came to after the crash. Jack is lying on his back in the bamboo forest when Vincent announces his arrival with a bark. He sniffs and greets him and then lays down beside him. Eyes on the sky, Jack sees the Ajira plane fly directly overhead and smiles. All of this is intercut with glow-infused slow-mo greetings and reunions in the LOST2 chapel, and when we come back for the final time, we're close on Jack's eye, which closes for the last time.

For longtime fans, I gotta say, a pretty perfect ending, visually and emotionally. I can imagine that that scene was written at the same time as the pilot, but with a lot of frickin question marks in between the two on the white board. Having Vincent appear to keep him company... Touching emotional blackmail. =)

So, who's left on the Island? Protector Hurley. Number Two Ben (Ha ha, he's poop! Y'know, no one else chuckled at that at the Brattle. I'm so immature =). Brother Desmond. Rose and Bernard. Vincent. They can all work together to outfit the Elizabeth so that Desmond can rejoin his family. Perhaps once he's back in the real world, he'll help take over Widmore Industries with Penny? I'm pretty sure Rose and Bernard will keep their retirement home w Vincent, while Hurley and Ben begin placing enigmatic classified and cragislist ads, quietly advertising their new not-for-profit Fantasy Island venture.

And who's on that plane? Sawyer. Kate. Claire. Richard. Miles. Frank. THAT is going to be an interesting landing, eh? Maybe Eloise and Penny have contracted a certain order of monks to build a smashed rock landing strip in their vineyards? Anyhow, once Sawyer fixes everyone up with the proper fake credentials... Sawyer will get to know and be a father to Clementine. Perhaps he and Miles go into security and/or ghostbusting in a professional way. Claire is reunited with her mother and Aaron, who, fake psychic or not, is no longer raised by another. Kate writes children's books under "Joan Heart" working days as a social worker specializing in domestic violence cases and nights as a guardian angel to those cases. Can we really believe that she doesn't keep orbiting Sawyer as part-time lover, and vice versa? No, they continue to get caught in their own little net, but when it happens, I'd like to think it's more about need and a kind of mourning. Seems like a more sophisticated romantic plot than LOST's usual fare, but whatevs. I mean, in the LOST2 epilogue, they're reunited with their apparent one-and-onlys, right? Sawyer w Juliet and Kate w Jack. Kind of a sad realization for the survivors, tho, donchathink? That they've already loved and lost the loves of their lives? It's just a lot of meaningless sex for Sawyer and Kate til the end of their days...

Yeah, tragic.

And, Richard becomes a successful actor in primetime sitcoms and dramas, and late in his career begins shilling Pearl Station Cream and other Widmore Industries age-defying products. And Frank, a man with a gift for getting people where they need to go, gets hired on by Hurley and Ben to fly "da plane, da plane!"

All in the new ABC LOST spin-offs—FANTASTIC ISLAND and LOST ANGELES, coming this fall!


Keep on keepin on~

Thursday, June 17, 2010


site | trailerI dig it mucho. From the description of the film, the unlikely criminal shenanigans—the recruiting of Hasidic Jewish youths as international drug couriers in the late 90s—seem like they would be the at the scandalous forefront of this film, but it's really a bittersweet (aren't they all, if they're good?) coming-of-age teen/tween misadventure. Lately at the movies my mind keeps tagging whatever I'm watching with other films I've seen that seem to resonate with it in theme, genre, and/or style. The two that hit me while watching ROLLERS: THE WACKNESS and ADVENTURELAND. Very good company in my book.

Eisenberg is well cast as Sam Gold, the restless 20-yo offered ever wilder walks on the wild side by his worldly-wise neighbor, Yosef, right hand man to an international drug smuggler, Jacky. Ari Graynor as Rachel, Jacky's can't-stop-being-sensuous girlfriend, well, can't stop being sensuous. As inevitable as her breaking down of Sam's orthodox standoffishness, awkwardness, and naivete is, it's still remarkably sweet.

There was this one moment for me in the film when Sam is returning to the states from a courier run, he's on the plane, just... I dunno... thinking, I think. Somehow, in a second, he becomes this Man, an adult. Granted, the actor's gotta be 20-something, but you know what I mean, right? His youthy, mealy-mouthed, mumblecore self just dissolved away, replaced by the face, the presence, of a man. I don't know if it was just my perception alone or my response to the work of the filmmakers, but it was uncanny. Quick as it appeared, tho, when he turned to the window, or the light changed, or something, it disappeared, and youthy Jesse Eisenberg was back.

I would still like to see Jesse and Michael Cera in a nice guy UFC smackdown. Literal or figurative. Or maybe they're alternate universe versions of one another. They could be the two Frys in live-action version of "The Farnsworth Parabox!" Heh.

I've gotta see about tracking down some of the music. How do DJs know what "lounge" is and is supposed to be like? It just seems to know what it wants to be somehow. There were quite a few Ibiza-like tracks playing at clubs and party scenes (these guys were running ecstasy) that had that French lounge vibe that I really like but haven't really gone digging into.

Keep on keepin on~

BACK TO THE FUTURAMA in just one week! =)

Welcome back... to the WOrrrld of the FYOO-TURE!~


Keep on beepin on~

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Apologies & WTF?: AIR DOLL | Kendall Square | Theater 2 | Thursday, June 10, 9:30pm

I want to write something kinda sharp and biting about the state of moviegoing, an extrapolation from my experience tonight at the Kendall... But, I'm just not feeling it. And maybe a case for something like that isn't really in what happened tonight. Perhaps tonight was just a minor cluster that happened to me and me alone.

Well, me and at least one other moviegoer (sorry).

So, I'm just gonna tediously replay what happened and didn't happen...

So, I went to the Kendall for the last scheduled show of AIR DOLL tonight, the 9:30pm show. Online listings noted that it was a limited engagement ("Must End Thursday, June 10!") and digitally projected ("Digital Projection, One Week Only"). I really wanted to see this for its quirky premise (I'll include the listing blurb at the end of this post), direction by Hirokazu Kore-eda (AFTER LIFE), and of course, its air doll star, Bae Doona (THE HOST, SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE). The DVD starts up and right away things look wrong. The picture is stretched wide (or squashed short). I like my movies and television, but I do not have a command of proper aspect ratios for the different formats of each. I don't know what (mis)combination of source and projector settings would produce this effect—the picture filled the wide screen properly, but its content was distorted. In any case, a couple minutes into it, I made my way to the other side of the theater, where, before the lights went down, I saw another patron sitting on the aisle, and asked if she thought that the picture looked stretched. She told me she wasn't sure, and I told her that I thought it looked off and that I'd go talk to someone about it. I left the room and approached the woman usher who tore my ticket and the projectionist, who was standing nearby against the wall. I asked if they could check the aspect ratio of the film. She couldn't be sure, but the projectionist assured us that it was displaying as intended. I couldn't believe it. Like I said, I don't have the jargon down, and I ended up pressing him by asking, "So the picture's displayed correctly, at 100%?" and he told me yes.

He wasn't budging. The woman took him at his word. I retreated back to theater number two. Tried to let the visuals and story and quirkiness of the film make me forget the distortion... Wasn't happening. After another couple minutes of trying to endure Bae Doona's carnival-mirrored features and figure, I couldn't. I left to go talk to someone and found the woman and the projectionist again. I asked if they would just have a look at the picture and tell me it's correct. The projectionist seemed a bit put out by my insistence that it looked off. He talked about how it's the last screening of the film, like that mattered somehow. I told him—I know, so you've had it at least a week... and it's played like this the whole time? No one's said anything about the picture? And he answered—No, no one's had any problem with it.

That is frickin sad. The Kendall Theater in Cambridge has apparently been projecting this film in a distorted form for a week and not a single moviegoer said anything.

Frickin sad.

The projectionist (I'm sorry I don't know either of these persons' names, I go to movies at the Kendall often, but y'know, I keep my head down and try not to get in anyone's way) explained that the manager set the projector up just so and the settings apparently are not to be adjusted.

The woman was game enough to humor me and check out the picture. I think she saw what I saw, but had to defer to the projectionist. I explained to her that I couldn't watch the rest of the film because the distortion was so distracting and she told me I could get a refund at the ticket desk.

So, I went back to my seat to get my stuff, was frickin annoyed that I still had a bag full of popcorn and most of my barrel of Diet Coke still to go. Blerg. Right then, the woman in the audience I'd queried when I left to ask about the picture the first time was making her way to the exit. I wish I'd caught up to her to ask what she thought and also to apologize—I think that my asking her about the picture sort of "broke" an otherwise decent movie experience for her.

Then again, I hope she carries my snobbery with her to the rest of the movies she sees. =)

In the lobby, the projectionist explained again about how the settings were adjusted as per the manager's directions. He lamented the fact that people didn't see anything wrong with the picture. I know that people DO get used to screwed up aspect ratios, trying to fill their wide screen TVs with standard TV pictures, but for what was up there on the big screen in a darkened theater to be acceptable? Frickin sad.

I don't know what to make of the projectionist's defensive attitude. I want to think that he was given crappy orders and was told he had to follow them, but I really wonder if he noticed. I mean, for a WEEK this went on and he didn't bring it up.

Granted, no one else apparently had a problem with it so y'know, maybe it's just squeaky wheel philosophy in action, right?

Have I mentioned how frickin sad that is?

Frickin sad.

So, I ended up at the ticket desk asking for a refund/replacement. Of course, AIR DOLL was one of last movies to start up tonight, and everything else was already rolling. I looked at my ridiculous sized popcorn and soda, reviewed the options, and decided I'd try my best to save this outing and see the rest of MICMACS again (I saw it at the Boston premiere as the IFFB closing night film)! I had my heart set on AIR DOLL-ness, but I really can't complain about the cinemagickal filmmaking of Jeunet and the troupe he gathered for MICMACS.

To the woman whose AIR DOLL experience I may have ruined with my question: my apologies.

To the other patrons in theater two: could you really not see/sense/recognize the weirdness of the picture?

To the Kendall manager: REALLY? C'mon, REALLY?

The premise of Air Doll seems silly at best, salacious at worst: an inflatable sex doll comes to life. But in the sensitive hands of internationally-acclaimed director Hirokazu Kore-eda (Still Walking, After Life, Nobody Knows) the story becomes a magical meditation on what it means to be human. Lonely middle-aged waiter Hideo (Itsuji Itao) relieves his solitude with the company of an air doll: he chats with her, dresses her, and has sex with her every night. One morning after he has left for work, the doll suddenly comes to life and, dressing up in her maid outfit, goes out to explore the world with the wide-eyed wonder of a small child. Beautiful Korean star Bae Doona (The Host) is mesmerizing as the come-to-life doll, fearlessly naked both physically and emotionally. Mimicking the speech and actions of her neighbors the air doll learns to fit in, and soon lands a job working at a video store, where she begins to fall in love with a sympathetic co-worker (Arata). Yet every night she goes home and pretends to be a doll for Hideo, who has not noticed any change. Her soul is pure, but one of the first things she learns as a human is deceit. "I found myself with a heart I was not supposed to have," she says.

Keep on keepin on~

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

BTIES: Clients From Hell

Let me give you a SAM-pol!
The Forbidden Fruit

Client: Hey, just one final question before I send the deposit. Do you use a PC or a MAC?

Me: I use a MAC.

Client: That is a problem. Do you have access to a PC? I am not a supporter of Apple products.

Me: No, I don’t have access to a PC, but this will have little to no effect on the work itself.

Client: I am a Christian and Apple products are sinful, I do not want our website to be created by a product made by this corrupt group. You need only look at their logo, an apple with a bite taken from it. Do you not know the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? If I allowed you to create my website on a MAC I would be just like Adam, taking a bite of the forbidden fruit.


“Take my advise, destroy your mac and repent for when judgement day comes. It shall be you who is cast to hell for your sins.”

Me: [Block Contact]

Thanks to Sister MP for sharing! Remember: Joy shared is joy doubled; Misery shared is pretty frickin funny.

Or something. =)

* Later that day... Came across a post in defense of clients. =)

Keep on keepin on~

BTIES: graphjam: chances of being called a fag...

Thanks to JP for the visual aid! =)

Keep on bleepin on~

Friday, June 04, 2010

BTIES: Adidas and Steven Karp fix "Greedo shoots first" for the World Cup

More weird than awesome, and to my eyes, the execution is a bit clunky. Still, it gets huge points for Daft Punk. Altho... Maybe they were already in there? Still, also, pretty cool to finally learn the identity of the third black man in the galaxy. =)

Thanks to JT for the intercepted transmission! =)

Keep on keepin on~

Thursday, June 03, 2010

LOST: The Monster Manual

This is a go at collecting in one place most of the smoke monstery goodness I've collected, compiled, and sussed out as a fool for LOST. Up front I'll tell you two of my conclusions that will no doubt polarize fan-theorists...
  1. Crazy Mother was a Momster.
  2. Smoke Monsters can psychically project "ghosts" over long distances and even off-Island.
An earlier post explains the reasons behind conclusion one. The second is a kind of catch-all theory explaining the appearances of people in places they can't be. And to my mind (granted, with its fuzzy memory =), it fits the data. I'm still a little shakey on the long-distance projection part of it, but wanting to roll with it, allowing for the possibility that a smoke monster doesn't need to leave the Island to target the mind of someone whom it's had the opportunity to scan up close and personal.

Do feel free to let me know of a show detail, or some Darlton revelation (I make a point of dodging all broadcasts of info from the showrunners), that might help knock down or shore up any of the points that follow.

Allright. Here we go...


A living human being is transformed into a smoke monster when exposed directly to the source of the Island's exotic energies, located in the subterranean pool of the Heart of the Island. When the Heart's energies interact with a living human, the products are:
  1. The inanimate / lifeless human body.
  2. The soul-consciousness of the human being, forced from that body.
  3. A black smoke-like creature.
(Note that by soul-consciousness, I mean an individual's non-corporeal being and identity, all the aspects of his or her spirit, will, thoughts, experiences, morality, and memories. Basically, just what it sounds like, allowing for both a spiritual and psychological POV.)

The Heart's energies blast the human's soul-consciousness from its body and burn it into the smokey vessel. The individual has not died, but lives on as what we've come to call a smoke monster. The trauma of the transformation process has the potential to shake the sanity of anyone who undergoes it. A prolonged existence in the form of a smoke monster would certainly take its toll on one's sanity as well.


Hieroglyphics in the Temple's subbasement depict a smoke monster facing Anubis. This implies that a monster was active on the Island when Egyptians lived on the Island, although castaway settlers of later cultures and eras may have adopted and assimilated their written language and building techniques for themselves.

(Note that I call Jacob's brother Esau. When he's "stuck" in Locke's form, I also call him Locke-ness.)

Jacob and Esau's Crazy Mother was both Protector and smoke monster. Given some of the artifacts we see in her home with the boys, as well as her gift of the Senet game to Esau, it's *possible* that she is the monster depicted in the Temple hieroglyphics, meaning that she was long-lived enough to have been Protector-monster when Egyptians settled on the Island (or a later derivative or fusion culture). Although her boys never see her in smokey form, her words and the evidence of its power hint at it. She carries Esau out of the well, fills it in, and dispatches the village of shipwreck survivors. She also warns the boys against entering the Heart of the Island, describing the experience as "worse than death."

Esau is the most recent Island monster, transformed when, out of anger and despair over the death of the Momster, Jacob sends his unconscious brother into the Heart of the Island.


Scanning the living. A smoke monster can scan any living person and read his or her thoughts and experiences up to that point in life.

Scanning the dead. A smoke monster can scan the remains of any human being on the Island and read his or her entire life's thoughts and experiences.

Corporeal doppelganging. A smoke monster can duplicate and take on the physical form of any dead human being on the Island. Together, with its scanning ability, this allows a monster to convincingly pose as any individual whose remains are on the Island and unmolested by fire.

  • Crazy Mother every time Claudia or her sons sees her.
  • Christian appearing to Jack on the Island.
  • Yemi appearing to Eko.
  • Christian leading Claire away from Sawyer and friends and guiding her after the Oceanic Six leave.
  • Christian appearing to Sun and Lapidus.
  • Locke appearing to anyone on the Island after Ben kills him.
  • Alex appearing to Ben when he seeks judgement by the Island.
Phantom projection. This is a psychic, extrasensory ability and not a physical one. A smoke monster can construct an apparition or ghost of a person based on the information and memories about that person gathered from scanning other individuals. The monster's apparition is projected into the psyche of a single desired target or recipient, and is experienced as a dream or hallucination. Only that person can see or hear this phantom. The phantom cannot interact physically with the world or the target, although a target may believe he or she experienced the smell or touch of the person, just as they would if it was a hallucination or dream.

  • Claudia appearing to Esau and leading him to the Roman castaways.
  • Isabella appearing to Ricardo on the Black Rock.
  • Ben's mother appearing to Ben on the Island.
  • Eko's Nigerian victims appearing to Eko.
  • Christian appearing to Jack in L.A.
  • Libby appearing to Michael on the freighter.
  • Christian appearing to Michael on the freighter.
  • Claire appearing to Kate in L.A.

Most of these Rules have been derived from the behavior, actions, and words of beings associated with Jacob's era as Protector. As a result, some Rules may be Island Rules while others may be Rules and situations specific to Jacob's era. Where possible, examples or anecdotal evidence of the rule in action follow each rule description.

A monster is invulnerable to conventional physical attacks. (Ultimate fighting, knives, bullets, rockets, hot pockets.)

A monster is vulnerable to sonic attacks. (The DI and Widmore sonic fences. What? No sonic rifles?! I SO wanted a FORBIDDEN PLANET encounter from season 6, w sonics replacing energy zaps! =)

A monster is vulnerable to EM energies, especially those similar to the energies that created it in the Heart of the Island. (Esau never turns the wheel himself once its been built, and he never returns to the Heart himself to destroy the Island.)

It has been implied that a monster's voice can give him power over the average individual and/or render any and all attacks by that person harmless. Those who have been touched by or follow the Protector may have a resistance or immunity, but it's not a certainty. (Directions given to Sayid by Dogen. Claimed Claire's remark that Jack joined Locke-ness as soon as he let him speak to him.)

The world at large knows nothing of smoke monsters, so it seems that as a species, they are unable to leave the snowglobe dimension of the Island.

A monster cannot travel in its smoke form over a significant body of water. It can only take smoke form over terra firma.

A monster's ability to change from smoke to human or human to smoke is impeded by contact with or a coating of water. (Have we ever seen the monster and a monster doppelganger in the same rainstorm? Jack shoves Locke-ness into the water at Sawyer's direction and Locke-ness does not turn into smoke.)

A monster cannot directly kill a Protector. (Esau's first proxy assassination attempt via Ricardo. Later, Esau's loophole.)

A monster cannot directly kill a human who has been touched by a Protector. (Esau vs. Jacob's Candidates.)

A monster cannot directly kill a human who is a follower of a Protector while that Protector lives. One becomes a follower (aka Hostile, aka Other) by participating in a ritual similar to baptism, but in waters charged with the Protector's energy / life force. During Jacob's time, this was the pool in the Temple. (Esau can't harm the Others until after Jacob dies.)

A monster cannot cross an unbroken closed curve of a very particular and/or specially treated ash. The exact nature of this ash has not been revealed, but it seems to be governed and powered by the Protector's gift to one of his lieutenants, the Temple Shaman, Dogen. Once the Shaman is killed, the power of the ash as a barrier to a monster vanishes. (Esau can't get past the ash and enter the Temple until Sayid kills Dogen.)


A monster is immortal but can be killed under certain conditions. There are two known deaths of monsters.

Esau killed the Momster. Some conditions that are unique to this event:
  1. The killer was born on the Island.
  2. The killer is Infected. (* See ESAU IS NOT EVIL, NOT EXACTLY.)
  3. The murder weapon is steel and iron.
    • The killer loves the monster.
    • The monster loves the killer.
  4. The monster is ready to die.
    • The killer surprises the monster.
    • The monster doesn't speak until after the killing stroke.
Since this is the only known successful mortal attack on a smoke monster, it cannot be determined which one or combination of these conditions are responsible for its success.

The efforts of Desmond, Jack, and Kate killed Locke-ness. The steps leading to his death:
  1. The Heart of the Island was unplugged by Desmond.
  2. This de-powers Island-governed abilities and gifts, including Esau's smoke monster abilities.
  3. Esau is trapped in his copy of Locke's form, as vulnerable as the real, human, Locke would be.
  4. Jack and Kate succeed in killing him in this human form.
Regarding step 2, Esau couldn't go smokey in the rain, but what would have happened to him if he'd already been smokey when Desmond pulled the plug? Alas, never to be known.

Once dead, both Momster and Esau leave behind genuine human corpses.


When the Momster confronts Esau in the well, he is adamant about using the Heart's energy to leave the Island. To this she says, "Then I suppose this is goodbye," and then, "I'm so sorry," at which point she smashes Esau's head into the rock wall, apparently knocking him out.

I took that head crack to be a mortal blow. Basically, Momster Kelvined him. (OK, I guess that should be "Humed" him, but "Kelvined" sounds more like the act to me. =) The body that she puffs out of the well is dead. I think it's worth noting that before she cracks his skull, she gives him a heartfelt farewell hug, and then tells him "sorry," which we've only heard her say once before—when she kills Claudia.

When we see Esau wake up later, on the ground outside the un-well, it's after Infection has set in and resuscitated him. Dogen would say that the scale inside of him has begun tipping toward Evil. How Infection manifests itself in each person is unique to the individual. In Esau, it lowers his inhibitions against violence and killing (of the two brothers, Jacob is the first to throw fists) and intensifies his obsessive nature. This is the state of his mind and soul when Jacob sends him into the Heart of the Island. Once transformed into Smokey, Esau ultimately becomes a shameless schemer and killer, justifying and/or rationalizing his destructve acts as the means to an end—freeing himself from his unjust prison sentence on the Island.

With this perspective on the Island and the people who inhabit it, as far as any of those people are concerned, he IS evil. But, I do not believe that he is capital-E evil, the embodiment of or vessel for some pure and ancient cosmic force for corruption, death, and destruction. Esau as a smoke monster is an obsessed, frustrated, and pissed-off man who happens to have superhuman powers.

I've got a pretty thin theory about capital-E evil, but I'll save it for later. Hopefully I'll hunker down and put it together some other night, but right now it's time to crash. Bleah.

Thanks for reading any and hopefully all of this madness. Stupid frickin show!

I miss it already.


Keep on keepin on~