Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Explaining LOST - 316

“316”

 

All righty, here we are for another week of LOST.  We start on a shot that we actually haven’t seen for quite a while: the opening of someone’s eye. This was used a lot throughout the first season and beyond noticeably the pilot where Jack was discovered in the jungle wearing a suit and then proceeds to go out and rescue his friends. This week we start with…Jack waking up in the jungle wearing a suit and proceeding to go out and rescue his friends. Great, they have officially run out of ideas. Yet instead of a small bottle of alcohol Jack has a ripped piece of paper that says “I wish…”, which of course has me instantly playing selections from Into the Woods in my head. What? I’m alone in that? Anywho, Jack runs through the woods because he hears Hurley scream for help. Jack seems delighted. I don’t think it’s because he hates Hurley, but because he’s back where he belongs or at least where he wants to be: the hero. The hero who jumps off waterfalls. Hurley is downing sorta and Jack helps him move a few feet to the left so he can stand. What a hero. Kate however is discovered on the rocks without a single scratch. She awakes and doesn’t look so thrilled to be back to the island.

Meanwhile 46 hours earlier, they are all still in the church. Ms Hawking leads them all to the back of the church. They go down a spiral staircase into the basement of the church. It’s a series of dark tunnels that are creepy damp. Ms. Hawking opens a large door with a new Dharma symbol on it. It’s the lighthouse symbol from a few weeks ago. Jack instantly identifies this place as the Chamber of Secrets. They turn on some lights to see an awesome room with a giant pendulum and a ton of computer-ish things. Ms. Hawking says this is how Dharma found the island. It is called The Lamppost, which is an allusion to The Chronicles of Narnia.

 The rest of the cast isn’t as impressed as we are with this cool room. Jack asks Ben if he knew of this place. He says no, but Ms. Hawking smiles and says that he’s probably lying. Ms. Hawking starts to explain a few things while of course being a little vague. She says that a group of scientists build this place on a select batch of electromagnetic energy that connects to other points on the globe. They wanted to use that to find the island, but they had trouble. So they stopped looking for where it was supposed to be and started looking to where it was going to be.  Jack thinks about how silly that sounds and asks for some clarification. Ms. Hawking says “this fella” (Notice how she never says the name. Hmmm) discovered that the island is always moving and that is why they were never rescued. This nameless fella and his nameless team also made some math equations to figure out where the island will be in time. This is when everyone in the room got headaches at the same instance. So apparently the island is only open for limited moments and their window will close in 36 hours.

Desmond catches on and questions why in the world they want to go back. Now I love this part. We see the rage built up with Desmond. He tells her that Faraday said that only she can help the people on the island. He rants about how she lost him four years of his life by saying he had to go to that bloody island. This is referring back to the Season Three episode when Desmond sorta went back in time to before he was on the island and how he tried to change the future but she said it was useless. So Desmond is storming around the Lamppost in a rather cool fashion. While everyone else is walking about the giant pendulum in the middle of the room Desmond keep walking through it. Perhaps alluding to the fact that he is special and how the rules don’t apply to him like Faraday says? Ms. Hawking says the island isn’t done with him yet. He thinks that’s silly and tells Jack that they are all just pieces in some big game that Ben and her are playing. He also gives the advice “Whatever she says to do, ignore it.” We keep having these bold statements from characters this season and a lot of them contradict. Gotta pick and choose and I always choose Ben. Yet there’s even more information in this one scene. Seriously. So Desmond leaves and Ms. Hawking informs the rest of them that they must be on this one flight leaving tomorrow that is heading to Guam: Ajira Flight 316. Now remember it was Ajira water bottles that Faraday and friends found in the longboats a few weeks ago. She says in order for the island to bring you back you must replicate as close as you can the circumstances on which you arrived there so get as many people as you can.

Ms. Hawking has even MORE information for Jack. She pulls him into her office and hands him a letter with his name on it. Turns out it’s Locke’s suicide note. Seriously? He’s already addicted to pills and suicidal. Does he really need more grief? Fine, let’s just give him the letter. Who knows? Maybe it’ll cheer him up. SPOILER: It doesn’t. Jack didn’t know that Locke killed himself and asked why. Ms. Hawking laughs at the face of direct questions. She says that’s not important, but what is important is that Locke will help them get back. He will be a substitute for Jack’s dead father. Not only that he has to give something of his dad’s to Locke. Seriously? I’m not for sugarcoating anything but Jack is seriously depressed right now. Let’s just bring up his dead father. Ms. Hawking isn’t interested in sugarcoating and says that he needs to believe. That’s why it’s called a leap of faith.

Jack leaves and meets up with Ben in the middle of the church. Ben asks what she said to him. Jack doesn’t answer. Jack asks who in the world is Ms. Hawking and why does she know all of this. Ben tells the story of Thomas the Apostle. Seriously. I can’t write this stuff. I really can’t, because this speech was fantastic. Ben talks about how Thomas was not remembered for his bravery going into a place where he would surely die. He was remembered for doubting the resurrection of Jesus and how he was not convinced until he touches the wounds of Jesus. Jack asked if he was convinced then. Ben looks at him and says, “Everyone is convinced sooner or later.” Ben then heads off because he made a promise to an old friend. More on that later.

Jack goes from a church to a bar and has a staring contest with his drink. Yet he can’t drink it because his phone rings. He leaves the bar and goes to a retirement home to see Ray his grandfather.  Silly Ray keeps trying to escape the retirement home to find somewhere better than there. They chat for a bit while Jack unpacks Ray’s bag. He pauses and sees the shoes in the bag. Turns out those shoes are Jack’s fathers. Some fantastic acting by Matthew Fox (Jack) has it seems to really hurt to ask to take the shoes.

Back in his apartment Jack tries to make himself another drink, but is once again interrupted. He hears a noise in his apartment. His method of investigation is to walk around slowly and turn on none of the lights. Oh it’s Kate. She is lying on his bed. Man she sure does love to commit crimes. She asks if he is still going back to the island. He says yeah. So she’s all me too. And he’s all “Where’s Aaron?” And she’s all “If you want me to come with you, you’ll never ask me that question again.” And the audience is all “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? THERE’S A MISSING BABY HERE! THAT’S HIS NEPHEW! THAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR EVERYONE TO KNOW!” Yet Jack agrees. Why does Jack agree? For Jack got lucky that night. Jack is a terrible uncle.

The next morning Jack is making some breakfast and coffee for Kate. She questions the shoes that Jack has out and says they aren’t good for the island. Jack laughs cheerfully despite not knowing where is nephew is. He says those were his father’s. He talks about how years ago when his father died he didn’t buy his father a nice pair of shoes for the funeral because he figured no one will see his feet. So he just put on some old white tennis shoes. That’s all he was worth to him at the time. And mystery solved. That’s why Christian Shepherd is walking around the island with white shoes and a suit. On to where Aaron is. Yet that important mystery is distracted because Jack got a phone call from Ben. Ben is extremely bloody and at the docks. He got sidetracked and needs Jack to pick up Locke’s body. Now let’s play a fun game of connecting the dots. Ben said he was fulfilling a promise to an old friend. He wound up at the docks. Who’s the old friend he knows? Charles Widmore. What promise did he make? That he will kill his daughter. Where is Penny right now? On her boat in the docks. Uh oh. Did he succeed? Who beat him up? Where’s Desmond?

Meanwhile, Jack goes to the butcher shop to collect Locke. There he sees Ben’s friend Jill. Yes. Jack and Jill. She takes him to the back room where the coffin is located. She leaves to get the van and then Matthew Fox continues some amazing acting. As he takes off Locke’s shoes and puts on his father’s. He tries to give the suicide letter back to Locke. I love how he closes the coffin and stares at Locke and says “Rest in peace.” Great stuff.

Déjà vu kicks in right about now when everyone gets to the airport. Jack is working out the details to get Locke to Guam just like he did with his father back in Season One. Kate arrives in the airport wearing big ole sunglasses. He moves on to security and then he sees Sun. He smiles again. Jack smiles a lot this episode. They both look over and there’s Sayid being brought in by a U.S. Marshall. Oh and there’s Hurley reading a Spanish comic book. Yes I recognized the comic book. It was a Spanish translation of a cool series called Y: The Last Man. Why do I know this? You’re still asking that question? That’s adorable. Anywho, it’s going to be made into a movie soon with Shia LaBeouf but I picked it up because it was written by one of the writers of LOST. Anywho, Hurley is upset at the ticket lady because he wants to make sure there are no other seats. He bought all 78 of them. I loved this moment when he looks onto the other people as he tries to help them. That’s when he sees Jack. Jack asks how did Hurley know to come here. I don’t even have to tell you what happens next. Wait a tic. I’m now worried about Ajira Airways. A crazy looking guy who was famously associated with one plane crash buys almost an entire plane’s worth of seats and this doesn’t set off any mental alarms. This doesn’t scream flight risk? Can you at least check his shoes or show that you’re trying? Bah, whatever.

They get on the plane and Jack is in row eight. (LOST number.) Sayid looks shocked and angry to see Jack. Hurley gets on next toting a guitar.  Then Ben walks in all beat up and wearing a sling, which is hilarious. This season was the longest he’s even been without being beat up. Hurley freaks out at Ben’s arrival saying that no one told him he was going to be there. Ben smiles his evil smile and asks who told Hurley to be here. The cause of a direct question spread like a virus and disrupted Hurley’s vocal cords enabling him to speak for sixty seconds. See I figured more people would be freaking out. Oh look, it’s almost all of the Oceanic 6 on the same flight. That would get anyone nervous. One of the stewardess comes by and saying that the security said that the envelope can’t be with the coffin and handed it to Jack. Heh. Fate is funny. Jack looks at the rest of the people on board and asks Ben what will happen to them. Ben looks surprised and says “Who cares?” Jack has this great slight smile as he wonders why did he expect anything different. And the plane takes off. The camera moves to everyone and it’s great to see all of their reactions to what is happening.

During the flight Jack goes over and sits next to Kate. He talks about how crazy it is that everyone is back together and he wonders if it means anything. What a reversal from how he was five years ago. Kate says that it doesn’t mean anything and that they aren’t together. Then the chill factor really amps up when they hear that Frank Lapidus is the pilot. Jack decides to say hi to his good buddy. Jack and the rest of the world is very disappointed to see that Lapidus has shaved his beard. Lapidus talks about how this is his new job and then he sees the rest of the cast. He has this great transition of realization and says the spiffy line “We’re not going to Guam are we?” 

The flight goes on and Ben is reading the book Ulysses while Jack is freakin’ out. Jack turns to Ben and asks “How can you read?” Ben says, “My mother taught me” and then smiles that Ben Linus smile. See it’s even funnier because his mother died in childbirth. Wow. Ben continues to say that he can read because it is better than waiting for something to happen. He asked Ben if he knew Locke killed himself. Ben says he didn’t and he glares when he says it. They discuss Locke and then Ben gives Jack some privacy so he can finally read the darn letter. Locke obviously isn’t a fan of my verbose style for all it says is “I wish you had believed me.” Then right when Jack finishes some turbulence occurs.  Once again we get a variety of reactions from our cast. Yet here’s where it gets odd. Yes here! We don’t see a plane crash. We don’t see debris. In fact we see that mysterious yellow light and that hum.

Then we see Jack waking up in jungle a la the beginning. They edit down the intro but seeing Jack make a leap of faith has more clarity to it. Kate is fine. They wonder where the plane is. None of them remember crashing. They don’t know where Ben, Sun, or Sayid are. Jack is starting to get into hero mode as he starts to make plans to search the island for survivors. I’m sure he was just about to tell Kate not to go into the jungle when they hear a noise. It’s music. Coming from the Dharma Bus. (Ohh, ohh, Dharma Bus!). Hurley appropriately says “Dude.” Then a guy come out of the bus wearing a Dharma suit and holding a gun and low and behold….it’s Jin. Ha. Of course it is. It’s also worth noting that the Dharma symbol on his jacket is covered up but it’s a new one.

L O S T

Now I really really liked this episode. One of the major themes of the show besides “It’s fun to abandon small children” has always been the balance of science and faith. We’ve had science—or at least science fiction—all season so far. Now we got into the faith. Now it finally clicked for me on how faith works on this show. It’s a new religion that only exists within the show. Yes the show talks about a lot of different religions but the characters have to have faith in the island and its mythology. Jacob is their God or whatever Jacob is exactly. Or maybe it’s just The Island they are worshiping. What just makes this an interesting balance is that I keep having doubts about this faith. The Others keep doing rather villainous things and this Jacob guy is almost too mysterious to understand if he’s good or evil.

To add more to this, we now see Jack transition from a man of science to a man of faith in what I saw as a very believable way. He always reminded me of Scully from The X-Files who saw all of this crazy stuff but never thought it was real. Once the island disappeared and people he cared about were gone, that’s when it became real. Also the last major element of faith tonight was the title of the episode and the number of the flight: 316. John 3:16 states “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” I think that connects well to the episode. Fun fact, this bible verse also helps most NFL and NBA teams win the games.

I also like to see them deal with fate and destiny, which has also been a big deal on this show. This was a huge part of this episode. Let’s just look at these characters. They basically relived the beginning of the show in different costumes. A US Marshall brought aboard Sayid, not Kate. Hurley brought a guitar case a la Charlie. Speaking of Charlie, when the plane started shaking Ben was in the restroom. Here’s a fun guess, but if Kate got pregnant from last night that means there’s someone on the plane who will add another to the Shepherd family tree. Sun was playing with a wedding ring a la Rose. Lapidus was flying the plane and we learned last year that he was supposed to fly Oceanic 815. It was so many things like this that made the episode so satisfying. 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Best Films of 2008

Here we are. After one long week of cinematic ramblings and pretty pictures, we are finally here to figure out what the hell my top movies of the year are. You may think, “Silly Austin. I’m sure I can figure out your top movies based on those prior lists. It’s probably a list of gay movies anyway.” First off, you’d be wrong. Second off, what? Anywho, here is my list. Now keep in mind there are just a few movies that I wouldn't mind seeing. Namely, A Christmas Tale, The Class, Waltz With Bashir, My Blueberry Nights, Trouble the Water, Wendy & Lucy, and the one I really really really really want to see: Let the Right One In. Do any of them have a chance of entering my top list? How the hell do I know? I haven’t seen them yet. (Though I wouldn’t be surprised if Let the Right One In does. The DVD comes out in March!) God, this intro is getting longer than some movies. Let’s just get into it!


Honorable mentions: Religulous, Iron Man, Doubt, The Wrestler, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall.


#20—Gran Torino

Clint Eastwood did it once again. He loves making movies under the wire and then releasing them right at awards season. No one even heard of Million Dollar Baby until like November. Then it won Best Picture! Will this win Best Picture? No, because it’s not nominated. That was a stupid question. Yet this movie did surprise me for a number of reasons. First off it’s really really funny. Second off, the character Eastwood creates can easily stand among his most iconic performances. Also the whole movie actually worked for me. Walt (Eastwood) had a very believable relationship with his young minister and the family next door. This is a very good and surprisingly enjoyable movie.

#19—Funny Games

That’s right. I’m putting it on my list. What is this movie? Well I’ve now seen this sucker twice because its crazy/awesome director made a shot-for-shot remake of his film. So is this placement for that film or its remake? Honestly I consider them interchangeable so I may place this one a centimeter ahead of the French version because I like these actors more. Anywho, this entire movie is a criticism of American movie going audience. (Us!) It’s shining a fascinating perspective on what we look for in terms of entertainment, in particular when dealing with violence. It really makes you feel guilty and brings up great questions. That said, my friend Pedro thought it was very awesome and loved the violence.

#18—Reprise

I have a lot to live up to with this list. If I don’t have obscure foreign films some of you will revolt. So here we have a very cool movie that reminds me of one of my absolute favorite eras of film history, French New Wave. It’s the story of two young authors and the different paths they have at a key part of their lives. The story is interesting, but what I really loved about this film is how it was set up. Its God-like narration, its editing choices, playing with concepts of the future. It was tipping the hat at European movies of the past while still seeming refreshing and new. Very fun stuff.

#17—Rachel Getting Married

Award season is goofy but apparently predictable. There always seems to be a movie that is getting a lot of attention for its lead actress and that’s it. Then I go ahead and like the whole movie more than the performance. This year that movie is Rachel Getting Married. Don’t get me wrong; Anne Hathaway is awesome. She easily has the showiest role, but the weekend the movie shows is really the best thing that happens. For Anne Hathaway does not play “Rachel.” The weekend should not be about Hathaway’s character, but it slowly becomes just that. That really is the conflict of this movie as Kym (Hathaway) and the rest of the families fight for who gets the proper attention. What results is hard to watch at times, but very rewarding.

#16—Frost/Nixon

Man, I really wanted to see this play. I still want to see this play. I’m becoming a big fan of Peter Morgan who wrote the spiffy screenplays for The Last King of Scotland and The Queen. So I had expectations for this movie. It’s going to be a crazy verbal deathmatch between two formidable opponents. Wit and insults will be on rapid speed. Wait, what? That didn’t really happen? Oh, then what is this movie about? A comparison piece between two intelligent men who are using this event to fight for the concept of relevance. Oh, actually that sounds really good. This would be up higher if they didn’t include very terrible mockumentary footage. Seriously, recut this movie and take out ALL OF IT.

#15—Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Yes! I went from a Best Picture nominee of a Tony winning play to Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Man, I’m awesome. Anywho, I loved this movie. This was one of my most anticipated of the year because I’m a big Kevin Smith fan and the buzz for this film was really high. The humor is high and it was nice to see Kevin Smith make a new cast of characters outside of his View Askew universe. Everyone felt real and because of that Smith was able to create some powerful scenes of emotion that you might not expect to see. This and Chasing Amy would be a great double feature.

#14—The Visitor

How cool was it that Richard Jenkins got nominated for an Oscar for this movie? Answer: Pretty darn. For years now, I have only seen Jenkins as the dead dad on Six Feet Under. (That’s not a spoiler. He dies in the pilot, but he’s on the show for five years. It’s like LOST, except…no that’s the only comparison.) I was looking forward to this movie and had proper expectations because of how good The Station Agent was. Now not all of this movie works for me. I think its politics is a little heavy handed, but that all takes a backseat to the wonderful character development of Jenkins’ character and the scenes he has to get him to where he is at the end of the film.

#13—The Reader

I didn’t really want to see this movie too much. I’m so sick and tired of WWII movies. I’ve bitched about this many times now, so I won’t get into it again here. Yet this movie surprised me. This movie is not about WWII or the Holocaust. That is simply a backdrop into this fantastic character study between two people and how they deal with the constant of shame. It’s very well acted; so much so that I say this has the best performance of Kate Winslet’s career, which is saying a lot. I think that is due to the complexity of the character, which is what drives this movie.

#12—Vicky Cristina Barcelona

I will always see a movie that Woody Allen writes and/or directs. That said, Cassandra’s Dream wasn’t that great. But luckily he had two movies come out this year! I went in knowing very little about this movie besides the fact that Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz kiss in this. So I was happily shocked when the movie really unfolded into this great character study on these individuals with these fascinating themes. Who are we as people? Can we change who we are? We can change our clothes, our hobbies, or even our location, but are we doomed by who we are as people? I found that to be a fascinating story to tell especially because this has been one of the few movies Allen has made outside of New York. With what the movie seems to say, I don’t know if he’ll ever leave the city again. Great film.

#11—Elegy

Heh, Penelope Cruz is in this movie too. I didn’t even mean to do that. Remember when Ben Kingsley was actually a name that got people to go to movies? You know, before he was in things like The Love Guru, BloodRayne, and You Kill Me. If I was Kingsley’s publicist, I would be pushing this movie to everyone in the world. For it’s really great. It’s based of a Philip Roth story and that is very evident in the intelligent writing and musings that are going on this film. This is a movie that seems like a very tired plotline of a professor and a student having a romantic affair. Yet none of it played out like I expected. Also Dennis Hopper doesn’t play a madman!

#10—Slumdog Millionaire

This is one of the rare crowd pleasers that aren’t automatically being ripped apart by cynical critics. (Except for you, Spout!). The movie has been labeled as a fairy tale, but is it? Are all movies that have an optimistic message to say, fairy tales? I question that label because this movie does not play out like a fairy tale. It shows the gritty realism of Bombay and also has M.I.A. music. The movie treats the audience with respect and a level of intelligence as it takes you through this very clever plot structure.

#9—Tell No One

I was so happy when this movie came out in America when it did. I heard Harlan Coben talk about this movie a few years ago when he was in Indiana. He wrote the original book of Tell No One and shocked a lot of people when the rights were sold to the French to be made into a film. Yet I thrilled to hear that news. For I had more faith in European filmmakers to handle its many plot twists with intelligence and patience with its pacing. The movie was even more rewarding because I saw it with a large group of people who had read the novel and we were able to talk about whether it was a fair adaptation or not. (We all ended up really liking the film and the book). I should probably tell you what it’s about. While at the lake with his wife, Alex Beck was knocked out and his wife was killed. Now several years later he receives an email that not only shows that his wife is alive, but that he must…tell no one. This should be coming on DVD soon. Rent it.

#8—Cloverfield

Hellz yeah, Cloverfield. Why can’t the rest of you comprehend how great this movie is? Maybe if I rank it above ALL of the Best Picture nominees, you will begin to understand. Now many have believed that this is just my LOST fandom seeming onto the screen. (Shut up, Mom!). Yet I truly believe this is inventive filmmaking and one of the most entertaining films I’ve seen in theatres for years. I went into the theatre not even knowing what the monster looked like. (SPOILER: Not smoke). I haven’t yet seen this on DVD but I do believe this will hold up well. If for some reason you dismissed this last year, have fun and rent this.

#7—The Band’s Visit

Hazzah! Another obscure foreign film that I haven’t mentioned at all this week sneaking its way onto my top list. Ah, you know you love it. So this movie was insanely critically praised. It’s about an Egyptian police band who are stuck in a small town in Israel. So from that sentence I figured this was going to be a political movie. Yet once again, the critics have backed a very optimistic enjoyable movie. This is truly one of the most charming movies I’ve seen in a while. If you’re disappointed by this movie, you’re soulless. (That should be the quote on the DVD box)

#6—Man on Wire

Typically documentaries don’t appeal to that many people. Sometimes it’s because the subject matter really only interests a select group of people. Some people can’t connect with talking heads. Yet this one is different. This one is truly thrilling. It plays off like a classic heist movie as Philipe Petit planned to set up a tightrope between New York’s twin towers and walk across. Not only is this illegal, but it is INSANELY dangerous. Yet this is a wonderful movie about finding what you’re passionate about and living life on the wire. Petit was a wonderful person to listen to and his insights on the whole adventure. Yes, it was an adventure because it’s truly unbelievable about what went down.

#5—In Bruges

Man, I love this movie. This was my first exposure to Martin McDonagh. J.C. has forced me to read his most famous play The Pillowman, which I also recommend. What was great about this movie is that he feels very theatrical in nature, but I don’t see this working on the stage. It starts off with the simple story of two hit men are sent to Bruges. One hates it there and one is enjoying himself. Yet it gets deeper as we learn more about these characters and why they are there. What I haven’t mentioned yet is that this movie is hysterical. It’s my nod for the funniest movie of the year and it’s all about the fantastic combination of cast and script. Oh, and racist midgets.

#4—Encounters at the End of the World

I’ve been a Werner Herzog fan for a few years now. I love his position on nature, because he truly hates it. Almost all of his movies are about how nature ultimately destroys man. So when I heard he was doing a movie on Antarctica, I laughed. Yet he swears early on that he is not going to make a stupid penguin movie. In fact he only has one segment about penguins and it involves one going mad and dying. He also brings up the question of gay penguins. The movie is filled with truly fascinating scenes like there where he finds the most interesting people and questions why are they are the bottom of the bottom. The answers are undeniably memorable.

#3—Synecdoche, New York

Another curveball, bitches! So I’m a Charlie Kaufman fanboy but this movie didn’t draw me in on its premise alone unlike Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation, or Being John Malkovich. So why did this work? For it got me to be invested in the main character’s problems. It’s amazing that he’s able to do this. He invents these incredibly complex and original scenarios. Here we have a man who is having a miserable life. He wife doesn’t love him and he is on the verge of dying. Maybe. He desperately is trying to understand life. He receives a genius grant where he can make whatever play he wants. So he thinks he can understand life if it puts it on the stage raw. So he gets an old airport hanger and makes a life size model of New York with actors playing everyone he knows including him. The movie is surreal, bizarre, and ultimately a very sad tale. I love movies that make you think and this one is worth the thoughts.

#2—The Dark Knight

I was the only person in the world who really didn’t want to see this movie. I really didn’t like Batman Begins and wasn’t that interested in Batman. Yet I went at midnight mostly out of curiosity. From the first ten minutes, I was truly shocked. This movie was intelligent…really intelligent. It treated all of its characters and audience with a lot of respect. But what it really succeed at was break down the entire concept of a superhero in such a powerful way that I feel sorry for any superhero movie to come after it. The movie questions everything about the concept and places everything in a realistic setting, even down to the look of Gotham. The movie succeeds at being an action movie, but the movie triumphs at being an actual character study.

#1—WALL-E

HELLZ YEAH, WALL-E! Up until a few weks ago The Dark Knight was my #1 movie and WALL-E was my #2. Yet I’ve now rewatched this movie a few times. I have seen this now three times and it each and every beat still works. There is truly nothing to change about this movie. It’s easily the ballziest movie to come out of Hollywood in quite a long time, but audiences truly embraced it. Hopefully this will serve as an encouragement for studios to take more chances. Some people have dismissed this movie for being too political (Shut up, Dad!) but it really isn’t. It’s not about global warming, but about people and the concept of truly living. The movie is beautiful and has many layers to it. Pixar has always been a studio that has made movies for kids but never ever talks down to them. That is why they succeed and always strive to make the absolute best movie they can with new stories and concepts that aren’t brought up usually in children’s films. The movie is a marvel and if you haven’t seen it…I’m sorry. If I didn’t have English class, I would put this the DVD in again. It’s that good.

That's my Top 20. Please tell me all of the many places I went wrong. I love to discuss movies almost as much as the movies themselves. Was there anything that I really need to see? What shouldn't I have left off? Why did I include Cloverfield? Let me know!

Top Five Clues in Television Shows

I have told several people that I am composing a Top Five Clues in TV Show list and each and every one of them responded the same way. “Clues? Wait, what do you mean?” Perhaps my friends don’t watch any shows that have a mystery in any way (Yet I would argue that The Hills is a criminal in nature, but that’s another article) or perhaps they don’t realize the fun and interactivity that some shows provide.  Today I’m going to profile the clues that I think are fun, subtle and intelligent. Starting with….

 

#5. Pushing Daisies – Narrowing It Down

Pushing Daisies is one of the cleverest and most inventive shows to hit the small screen in quite a long time. So of course it has recently been canceled. (This will be a common theme in this article.)  The show follows a pie maker named Ned (Lee Pace) who has a unique ability. If he touches anything dead, it becomes alive again unless he retouches it and then it is permanent. If the dead is alive for longer than a minute, then someone else must die in its place. So every episode Ned teams up with his cynical private detective friend (Chi McBride) and his recently alive again love-of-his-life (Anna Friel) to solve a mystery by asking the corpse who killed them. In almost every episode, the victim doesn’t know who killed him or his clue is too cryptic to provide an easy answer. Yet in the first season in an episode entitled “Bitches” a dead man says that his wife killed him. Startled by his direct answer, they return him to his peaceful rest, until they discover that he was a polygamist and they have to figure out which of his four wives committed the crime. It was a clever touch on the writers part and, as always, the solving of the crime is way too much fun.

#4. Alias – Big heart = Loving Heart?

SPOILERS FOR SEASON ONE FINALE. In the first season superspy Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Gardner) is a double agent for the CIA to help bring down the evil SD-6. Midway through the first season none other than Quentin Tarantino reveals there is a mysterious villain to both organizations named “The Man.” I caught up on this show on DVD so through the spoils of pop culture, I knew the identity of “The Man” from the very beginning. This did work in my favor so I was able to see the clues they laid out the denouement. Especially in the first season, Alias was jam packed with information. So many things happened in one episode, that a plot summary could take pages. So when the Q-esque character discovered “The Man” has an enlarged heart, no one took much note of it. Another part of the season deals with a doomsday prophecy of someone with descriptions that included an enlarged heart among other things. The CIA freaks out because Sydney matches all of those descriptions, but by the end of the episode they realize the prophecy can’t be talking about Sydney, but her KGB mother. Luckily she’s dead…or is she? She isn’t and it turns out “The Man” is actually a woman.

#3. Arrested Development – Cuter Forrest Gump

SPOILERS FOR SEASON THREE. I adore this show. Adore. I have yet to find comedy writing that is so clever and so layered. Don’t bother checking your TV Guide, it was canceled years ago. Luckily it was able to produce three seasons of genius as we followed the self-absorbed Bluth family. Michael (Jason Bateman) is often considered the only sane one on his family tree, but even he tends to be oblivious when it comes to certain things. The biggest blunder was not realizing the woman he was casually dating, Rita (Charlize Theron), was mentally challenged. The entire season was playing with the audience, having us think that she is mentally challenged or perhaps a secret agent trying to uncover all of the Bluth’s criminal actions. (Only this show could pull this off). Michael met Rita in a section of L.A. called Wee Britain, a spoof on places like Chinatown. While waiting for Michael to pick her up from preschool (He thinks she’s a teacher. She’s not.), she is sitting on a bench advertising that part of town, but she’s blocking the “it” in “Britain” to make the sign say “Wee Brain.” It is such as subtle joke/clue that I didn’t notice it until I saw the episode for a second or third time. Although this seems like the show is making fun of the mentally challenged, I swear that it isn’t. In the entire show there is no character who is sweeter and more sincere than Rita. It is her presence that reminds the audience how morally terrible the Bluths are, but also reminds us how fun it is to follow them.

#2 . LOST – Wonderwall

SPOILERS FOR MIDWAY THROUGH SEASON THREE. I love LOST. I think it’s one of the greatest achievements in storytelling and the best mystery show on TV right now. That said, I dislike LOST when I have to briefly summarize the show because I sound crazy. Here it goes. After miraculously surviving the explosion of the underground hatch on a mysterious island, it appeared that Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) is able to see visions of the future. He saves the life of Claire (Emilie de Ravin) twice before Hurley (Jorge Garcia) and Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) ask him what is going on. That is finally answered on the episode “Flashes Before Your Eyes” when we see what happened to him after the explosion via flashback. We see he had traveled back in England several years in the past. (More like Slaughterhouse-Five than Back to the Future). He is freaking out a little bit, as anyone should, for he has memories of being on the island. It isn’t until he sees Charlie performing the guitar on the street for him to seriously lose it. This is when the clue is placed. Charlie is playing the fantastic song “Wonderwall” by Oasis when Desmond is walking by. The line that Charlie sings as Desmond walks by is “Maybe, you’re going to be the one that saves me.” By the end of the episode back in the present on the island, we learn Desmond hasn’t had grave vision of Claire but of Charlie. Here he gives his haunting mini-speech. “I’ve tried twice to save you, but the universe has a way of course correcting and – I can’t stop it forever. I’m sorry. I’m sorry because no mater what I try to do you’re going to die, Charlie.” The reason I love this clue is because it’s very subtle, but rewarding. It further reminds us that every single time the show references a book or a song, it usually applies to the show’s mythology. It is also memorable because the clue is rich with emotion. Despite delving into sci-fi on occasion, LOST is a show about characters and their struggle with life and fate. The best example of that is Desmond and Charlie’s storyline in Season Three which really kicked off with this episode.

#1.  Veronica Mars – You dirty rat, you dirty rat…

SPOILERS FOR SEASON TWO. This show is the only show on the list that is a bona fide mystery show. It is also, I think, the greatest example of neo-noir as it follows a high schooler named Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) who has all of the essence of a great noir PI. She is an outcast in her society, she breaks the rules, gives amazing narration, and she has a real anti-social disposition. Season Two is the show’s opus. In the first episode of the season, a bus full of Veronica’s peers falls off a cliff and kills everyone. It was incredibly shocking and the rest of the season is about trying to figure who caused this to happen. The season is full of clues and misdirection and false leads. It’s miraculously plotted so much that I often felt overwhelmed on its first viewing. At the end of one episode, appropriately titled “Rat Saw God,” Veronica’s dad (Enrico Colantoni) found a dead rat was taped under a seat on the bus. Why the clue gets my #1 spot is because it successfully tricked me. Veronica automatically interprets the rat as a metaphor. That she ratted someone out and the bus was intended to kill her. There have been so many clues and so many threads in this mystery, the audience nods in agreement as we see where the story goes from here. Yet Veronica was wrong. It wasn’t until the very last episode as they confront the mastermind do we realize the rat was there entirely for its smell. For some students got off the bus early because of the horrid smell and that provided an alibi for the mastermind. It was incredibly subtle for the season finale doesn’t have time to go back to each and every clue and explain itself so they don’t even have time to mention this. It wasn’t until I re-watched this season with my family that I realized how they tricked me. The show is brilliant in that regard. So of course this was canceled as well. Oi.

 

Originally written for Pomp & Circumstantial Evidence. Learn more about that at www.magnacummurder.com

Top Five Mysteries For Film Buffs

Much in the same vein as PB&J and Cheerios, I believe that if you combine mysteries and movies you get a better product. That is why I’m a sucker to pick up any mystery that has a movie title pun or a celebrity actor detective. I’ve been burned a few times, but luckily I have found many more gems than duds. Thus, I was compelled to compose a Top Five Mysteries For Film Buffs list. Starting with…

#5 – Some Like It Hot-Buttered by Jeffrey Cohen

Some people read Louise Penny’s series and wish they could live in that small town. Others wish they could live in the cool tough world of Raymond Chandler. I wish that I could go to the theatre featured prominently in this series. The protagonist in this series, Elliot Freed, runs a theatre called Comedy Tonight that runs a double feature each night: one of a classic comedy and a newer release comedy. Freed runs into trouble when one of his few customers dies during a movie. (They first realized something was up when he didn’t laugh once during Young Frankenstein). The characters are a lot of fun and Cohen name-drops a lot of cool movies.


#4 – Murder on the Yellow Brick Road by Stuart M. Kaminisky

This series is an absolute must for fans of older Hollywood classics. It’s a pulp series following a tough guy named Toby Peters who has a tendency to be hired by the likes of Errol Flynn and Groucho Marx. In this one, he is hired by Judy Garland to solve the murder of one of the actors who played a munchkin. Kaminisky’s pulp descriptions are endlessly entertaining and work perfectly when Toby Peters interacts with a number of celebrities in each volume. (My favorite scene in this book is when Raymond Chandler takes notes on Peters for his own books.)


#3 – Groucho Marx, Private Eye by Ron Goulart

I admit it. I’m a Marx Brothers fanboy. Thus, I was very nervous and intrigued when I found this book. If you’re going to have Groucho be a main character, you absolutely must match his voice. Thankfully, Goulart pulls it off wonderfully. It’s all there. The ranting monologues, the smiling insults, the ADD personality. Oh, there’s even a mystery thrown in there as well. The entire series is way too much fun; the only problem is that they are often hard to find. Yet they’re worth it.


#2 – Kill Me Again by Terence Faherty

Faherty is high up on my list of one of the best authors I’ve ever read. As a writer, he makes very entertaining novels while an aura of intelligence throughout the whole work. One of my favorite of his novels is this one. It was the start of a new series that follows a former actor turned Hollywood problem solver. The latest problem comes from the set of a sequel to Casablanca. (True film buffs have already secured a copy of the book after that last sentence.)


#1 – Frames by Loren D. Estleman

So how did a book that, as of this writing, hasn’t been published for more than six months secure a prestigious number one spot on my list? For this has been one of my favorite books I’ve read in a long time. Valentino, a character that up until now has only been seen in short stories, finds an abandoned theatre. Inside he finds cans of film that may contain the only remaining copies of Erich von Stroheim’s Greed. (Film buffs ought to be drooling at this point.) The book is really funny and it uses film references as punchlines. Right now my most anticipated book is the upcoming anthology of Valentino short stories.


Originally written for Pomp & Circumstantial Evidence. Learn more about what that is at www.magnacummurder.com

Explaining LOST - This Place is Death

“This Place is Death”

 

First off, can we just all stop and look at how awesome that title is. When they announced the titles a few months ago, I was really excited for this one. So how does this start off? We see Sun sitting in the car watching people yell at Ben on the docks. Her phone rings and it’s her mom. Now I don’t know Korean, but I’m pretty sure she was saying “If you decide to randomly go back to a magical island and abandon your kid Ji Yeon, then you’re a bad mother.” Yet that is pretty much glossed over because Ji Yeon is just the cutest little thing.  Yet enough cute stuff, Sun’s gotta shoot somebody. Doesn’t care who, preferably Ben. Ben is reminding Kate that Aaron is still not her son; Kate’s confused. Jack is about to explain it to her but Sun’s gotta gun. The whole world’s come undone. Sun’s got a gun. She says “If it wasn’t for you, Jin would still be alive.” Considering she’s blamed everyone on that dock for Jin’s death at least once, it was a bit unclear on who she was talking to. That’s probably why Ben’s surprised that the gun is pointed at him. Ben has a great reason for not taking the blame: Jin’s still alive and he can prove it.

So can the show as we cut to Jin who’s in the 1980s on the island. Confused out of his mind. There’s a really cool pan shot as we see the French team and one of them listening to the radio signal that brought them there, a recording of the numbers. Yet that voice sounded really familiar….could that have been Hurley? Time travel is crazy. Anywho, Jin is trying to figure all of this out and he is smarter than Locke and realizes pretty fast that he has traveled through time. The Frenchies make fun of Jin but then decide to ask for his help to find the radio tower. Jin rather go find his camp, but decides to help find the radio tower first considering he doesn’t know how to get back to the camp. The actor who plays Jin this episode is great. We haven’t gotten to see the tough guy Jin for a while and you can really see his exhaustion as he treks through the jungle. Rousseau takes a breather as her baby kicks. There’s some cute dialog between her and her husband about guessing the sex of Alex. Then Jin swoops in and places a bet that it’s going to be a girl. Then Biff steals the Deloran and travels back in time to give his younger version an Almanac full of sports scores! I’m just kidding. Biff is killed by the smoke monster. Speak of the devil, Jin hears that crazy Smokey noises and knows there’s trouble.

So let me go off on a tangent real fast during this commercial break. I saw the movie Places in the Heart last weekend with Sally Field, Danny Glover, Ed Harris, and John Malkovich. It was really good, but it also had Terry O’Quinn in a small role. So I muttered “Heh, it’s Locke. LOST! I’m a nerd!” Yet then it got really eerie. There’s a couple scenes when everyone is picking cotton they play this noise to show how strenuous it is out there. Yet it’s the exact sound of the smoke monster. Tika, tika, tika, tika! For two minutes. It was rather unsettling. Then they did the scene again with the exact sound once more. Obviously Smokey doesn’t like cotton pickin’ either.

He also doesn’t like French people. Jin urges everyone to move, but the French people think they should to back and look for Nadine who’s gone missing. Jin obviously can’t stress “monster” enough. Then a tree gets ripped from the ground! Yet luckily they found Nadine…as she fell from the sky. Music gets awesome as they all start running through the jungle. Blonde Frenchie looks into the eye—eyes?—of Smokie and gets dragged by the feet into the jungle. They all start chasing him and one Frenchie grabs a hold of his arm as he is about to be dragged into this pit in front of a building. Much like a team building exercise, everyone is grabbing hold of this guy’s arm (Those who read my post last time know where this is going) and IT GETS RIPPED OFF! Now many people thought that was really violent for network TV. Was the squishy sound necessary? Yes. Yes it was. Don’t mess with the smoke monster. We hear Montand the One Armed Wonder call out from beyond the walls. In French he’s saying things like “It’s okay. It’s gone now.” Yet that’s stupid. He’s probably in the dark. It’s a smoke monster. It’s like being in a dark basement and saying “I think the shadow monster is gone now.” Yet the so called scientists can’t figure out that logic and decide to go into the mysterious pit. Jin convinces Rousseau to stay behind because she has a baby. Rousseau decides to help by arming her gun. What? It’s a smoke monster. Smoke. Monster. Yet that’s silly because we hear the noises for the flash. 

Jin is wondering what in the world is this madness as he flashes through time. The mysterious building looks exactly the same. There’s all of these hieroglyphs on the wall and oh yeah, there’s still an arm on the ground. No one even took the watch. Tisk, tisk. Jin decides to run through the jungle considering he’s insanely confused. He notices smoke off in the distance. (Good smoke this time). Someone made a fire on the beach. He find a little music box, which Sayid help fix back in Season One. He also sees two dead Frenchmen who have been shot. Yet who’s yelling in the distance. It’s Rousseau, again! She’s all upset because her husband is acting strange so she drew a gun on him. (Is this how marital squabbles are settled in France? Is their divorce rate down but their homicide rate high? Discuss.) She says that he’s not Robert, but he’s sick. The monster made him this way. Then he goes “It’s not a monster. It’s a security system guarding the temple.” Yeah like that’s going to make her feel better. But whoa! So it is a security system for the island, specifically the Temple, which we have heard about several times now. Back in Season Three when The Others were basically at war with the Oceanic survivors, Richard Albert took everyone besides Ben and Alex to the Temple. Also when Ben got word that the freighter people were on their way to the island, he sent Rousseau, Alex, and Karl to the Temple because he said it was safe there. That’s all we know about it. It’s not a Dharma station. Meanwhile Robert is saying sweet words to Rousseau, like I love you and the baby and all that jazz. Then he tries to shoot her, but it doesn’t fire. So Rousseau shoots him in the head. Back in Season One when she told Sayid part of the story of what happened to her, she mentioned to him that she took out his firing pin for his gun and shot him. Awesome. Then she sees Jin and since he disappeared, he must be sick too. Jin is having such a shity day. He runs through the jungle and then flashes in time again. And we wonder why Rousseau went insane.

The flashes seem much more violent and intense this time and they seem to be happening faster. Jin falls to the ground and gets up only to have another gun being pointed at him. But it’s Sawyer! Now some people have criticized this part, but I loved it. Sawyer and Jin get all giddy and hug each other. I thought that was great with both of their characters. These two really were friends throughout the season and Sawyer was convinced that he has lost everyone and he should be overjoyed to see that someone survived. After their manly reunion, Jin asks where Sun in and Sawyer looks sad.

Faraday fills in a plot hole by telling Miles that Jin must have been thrown off of the freighter by the blast and has been flashing while unconscious in the water. In a very enjoyable scene, Sawyer tries to explain time travel to a guy who barely speaks English. Jin gets understandably frustrated and walks over to Charlotte and asks her to translate since he learned that she spoke Korean last year. Sawyer figures Jin is talking about Miles and Miles responds awesomely that he’s from California. Then Charlotte explains that Jin wants to know how they are sure Sun is alive. Locke still won’t give any easy answers including a decent one for why Sun has to return.

Speaking of the spouse, Sun still has a gun on Ben back in 2008. Ben remains fantastically calm as she is wondering how he knows her husband is alive. Parallels! Ben says that a woman who can get everyone back to the island can prove that Jin is alive. Kate chimes in by saying that she doesn’t want to go back to the island and drives off with her non son. Sayid is tried of this drama and decides to bail. Before he goes he threatens to kill Jack or Ben if either of them approach him. Can we have Jason Bourne and Sayid just fight to the death? I would pay to see that. Anywho we are now down to two of the Oceanic 6. They are get into Ben’s van to see this lady for some answers.

Back on the island, they are trekking to the Orchid. Jin wants to go with Locke off the island but Locke says no. Charlotte is woozy. Faraday asks if she knows any other language. “Only Klingon.” Oh how Faraday’s geeky heart beats. He also mentions how it makes since that the Orchid will probably stop the flashes, but he doesn’t understand why the 6 have to go back. I find that really interesting because neither do I. I think that it has to do more about what is to come for the rest of the series concerning Jacob and…I have no idea what else. Yet Charlotte gets ghastly pale as the place flashes again and now they are in the dark. Charlotte is bleeding again and then it flashes again. She’s on the ground now looking paler than Conan O’Brien. Juliet and Sawyer also have nose bleeds. Charlotte starts speaking crazy Korean to Jin. Then she says “Don’t’ let them bring her back. This place is death!” I got chills just from writing that.

Meanwhile back in 2008, the best road trip since Easy Rider has been going on. Sun says “You said we’d be there in 30 minutes.” Ben replies, “I didn’t account for traffic.” Did I mention how much Ben is awesome? Jack decides this is the best time to apologize for leaving Jin behind. Sun wonders if this is just a way to convince her not to kill Ben if he’s lying. Jack says that if he’s lying he’ll kill Ben. Ben does the right thing and slams on the breaks and yells at Jack and Sun as if they were two kids misbehaving in the back of a van. I love Ben.

Back on the island, Charlotte is talking nonsense. She keeps saying stuff from what seems like her past like “I know more about Ancient Carthis than Hannibal, himself.” A history scholar I know on campus tells me that actually ties into theories of Atlantis. For the record, I don’t think that the island is Atlantis. Locke is bored and wants to keep moving and ditch Charlotte. Yet another flash occurs so everyone but Faraday and Charlotte start to head off. She says more madness like “I love Geronimo Jackson,” which is a band from the 70s that keeps coming up on this show. Seriously. It was one of the records Hurley found in the hatch and young Locke had it on his locker in junior high. Sawyer brings up a good point of asking Locke, what do they do if the Orchid isn’t built yet. Locke has no answer, but Charlotte does. She says “look for the well.” They have no other plan so they go with that.

They end up finding the Orchid in a possibly older state since the Season Four finale. Juliet says “Thank God. What are the odds that we would end up at the same time as this thing?” Then a flash occurs and the Orchid disappears which causes Sawyer to say, “You just had to say something.” Juliet blames herself. I blame Ana Lucia. Just because. Yet what do you know? There’s this old well a few feet from there. It’s surrounded by stone things and the well seems to go down a long way.

Meanwhile Charlotte still looks bad. Not like physically. I think she’s an attractive actress, but I mean like she looks bad. Like sick. Like really pale. Not that there’s anything wrong with pale. I’m just saying that… you know. Oh look she’s talking! She says that she’s been here before when there was the Dharma Initiative. She moved away with her mom and never saw her dad again. She said that her mom denied living on the island. Yet she remembers something from her childhood: a crazy man telling her to leave the island and never come back. That if she would come back, that she would die. Who was that masked man? She says it was Faraday. Time travel is fun. Now since his nose isn’t bleeding yet, that means he hasn’t been on the island as long as Sawyer, which means that, hasn’t happened yet. Just like the scene from the beginning of the season.

Locke says his goodbyes and starts to go down the well. Yet Jin says “No!” He doesn’t want him to bring Sun back. Locke promises that he won’t go see Sun to convince her to go back to the island. But if Sun finds him, Jin said to tell her that he is dead. He hands Locke his wedding ring as proof of his death. I do like Locke. He blows up a lot of stuff and is a wackjob, but ultimately he is a bit of a nice guy. He tries to do what’s right to the best of his ability and in that scene you can tell he really feels for Jin. So off he goes into the well to save Timmy who fell down there again. Yet sure enough when he’s midway down the well, a flash is about to occur. Yet here’s where it got interesting. The light came from the bottom of the well. Hmmm. Sawyer tries to grab the rope and Locke jumps and really hurts his leg. They all travel through time and Sawyer is left holding a rope that is just hanging from the ground. Sawyer is discouraged and they assume that Locke is stuck in the ground. Like Nicki and Paulo.

Meanwhile Faraday is talking to Charlotte. He thinks that his mother can help them, but Charlotte doesn’t make much conversation as she spits up blood and says “I’m not allowed to have chocolate before dinner.” Then she dies. The theme of life and death starts to wonderfully play as the camera zooms out showing Faraday crying. Powerful stuff even for a character I never really cared about that much.

Meanwhile Locke is in a lot of pain as something sharp has pierced him right through the leg. He’s in some underground tunnel thing. He calls for Sawyer, but no response. He’s all alone except….he’s not. A man walks up to him and it’s Christian Shepherd. Of course it is. Locke has seen him once before for that’s who told him to move the island in Jacob’s cabin. Christian said that Locke was supposed to move the island, not Ben. He seems to be very angry at Ben. He tells Locke to get all of his friends who left to come back. (This may include Desmond). He said there’s a woman in Los Angeles who will tell him how to get everyone back. Yep, it’s Eloise Hawking. He also confirms that Locke will have to die. Then he decides to be a jerk and not help him up. Now I get it. Yes, Locke has to sacrifice to do this. He will be difficult and he’s all alone. Yet he will still understand that if you help him over to the frozen donkey wheel. Christian Shepherd is a meanie. Speaking of, the frozen donkey wheel is off its axis. Looks like Ben slipped and broke it. It looks like that is what is causing the flashes for that mysterious yellow light is behind that wheel. Before Locke fixes the wheel, Christian Shepherd says “Say hello to my son.”  Yet of course Locke has no idea that Jack is Christian’s son, which he makes a point of saying. So Christian isn’t just some vessel for Jacob to communicate. It really is Christian Shepherd back to life. Mysterious.

Anywho, Jack, Ben and Sun finally arrive at the church. Ben reaches into his pocket and pulls of Jin’s wedding ring. He says that Locke gave it to him. Jack said “You said Locke never came to see you.” “That’s true Jack, I went to see him.” Ben is too awesome. See Ben could have given her the ring back at the dock, but he gets her to the church and basically tricks her into going back to the island AND ABANDONING HER CHILD. Speaking of abandoning their children, it’s Desmond! Now this is my favorite part of the episode. Desmond asks what they are all doing there. Ben tries to be all wise and say “I assume the same thing you are.” “You’re looking for Faraday’s mother too?” Then Ben just stares and then walks away implying that, nope that’s not what they’re doing exactly. They all walk in the church and there’s Ms. Hawking who’s Faraday’s mother! Wait, that wasn’t really shocking. In fact even my brother Brandon figured that out after the first episode. She’s a bit annoyed that Ben couldn’t get all of them, but apparently this will do…for now. Yet Desmond sells this scene because he remember her from Season Three when she was all creepy and wouldn’t sell him a wedding ring in the past. Yet all she says is “All right. Let’s get started.” I wish she would have said “Hello again, Desmond,” but alas.

So next week looks to be exciting. It’s odd because ABC switched up the episode order. Next week is called “316” and it’s written by the show’s executive producers, who typically only write premieres and finales or the occasional amazing episode. They wrote “The Constant” last years so I have big expectations for this next episode. What was supposed to air was an episode that I would imagine follows what happened to Locke once he got off the island, but for some reason they switched the order. I have a theory about why they did that but I won’t know until I see the episode. The way the timelines are working out it looks like Hurley will be getting out of jail next episode. It’s all tying together except Sayid is being troublesome. And murdersome.