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Lost Season 5 Episode 14: The Variable

Now this is what an episode of Lost should be like. As much as I enjoyed the breather provided by Laurel & Hardy Miles & Hurley, tonight’s episode was the kind of fast-paced thrill ride that the best episodes of Lost always are. Let’s recap and analyze…

We begin in 2007, as Desmond is rushed into the hospital with Penny and Charlie by his side. Penny and Charlie are in the waiting area as Desmond is operated on, and Eloise Hawking walks up. She apologizes to Penny and says it’s her son’s fault that this happened. The look on Penny’s face was great as she said, “Your son is Benjamin Linus?” Eloise sets her straight and we cut to 1977 Dharmaville.

Daniel is getting off the submarine and we get our only true comedic moment of the night–Miles says, “Once you left for Ann Arbor, I figured you got rich and invented the DVD or something.” In addition to the big laugh he got from me, Miles confirmed my suspicion that Daniel had just been working for Dharma off-island all along. Daniel shows Miles the “Class of 77” photo to explain why he’s back, then asks to see Jack. Once they get to Jack’s place, Jack tells Daniel that Eloise is the reason he came back. After Daniel guesses correctly that Eloise told Jack about his ‘destiny’, he promptly bursts Jack’s bubble and says his mother was wrong.

Flashback to Young Daniel playing piano.  Eloise explains to him that destiny is about using your gifts to their fullest, and apparently not about playing the piano. When Daniel says he can make time, she responds, “If only you could.”

Miles and Daniel head to The Orchid, so Jack goes to Sawyer who reveals a bound-and-gagged Security Phil in the kitchen cabinet. Not to digress too much, but for some reason I was really pleased to see him locked in the cabinet. I’m sure Patrick Fischler is a fine character actor, but I just can’t stand him in this role. Although, I guess that may be the point of the character–if so, it worked.

Daniel and Miles arrive at The Orchid, and they see Dr. Chang arrive shortly after them. We are then treated to the scene from the season premiere, only this time from Daniel’s point of view. After the part we saw on the premiere, Daniel actually approaches Chang and tells him he only has six hours to evacuate the island. Daniel’s “proof” isn’t very convincing though, since it consists of telling Chang “I’m from the future!” Chang is also unconvinced when Daniel tells him that Miles is actually his grown son. I thought Dr. Chang was going to buy it for a minute, but then Miles slams the door shut with a quick denial. Once Chang leaves, Daniel tells Miles he just had to make sure that Chang does what he is “supposed to do”.

Flashback to doctoral graduate Daniel, who is with Theresa (pre-brain melting) when Eloise appears. Eloise makes it obvious that she is not happy with Theresa and takes Daniel to lunch. After Daniel tells his mother about his $85.1 Million grant from Widmore, she pisses him off by telling him to stop wasting his time on Theresa. Eloise hands Daniel a gift, then leaves the restaurant. The gift is Daniel’s journal, complete with an inscription:

“Daniel,

No matter what, remember I will always love you.

Mother”

She also left Daniel with the check, which I think was pretty weak. I thought it was interesting that Eloise considered a relationship with Theresa to be as worthless as playing the piano. I think it’s interesting that Eloise doesn’t even entertain the possibility that these other pursuits could be an intricate part of nurturing Daniel’s genius. 

Back in ’77, Sawyer is presenting the gang with two options: 1) Steal the sub and leave the island, or 2) Go into the jungle and ‘back to square one’. A knock at the door brings Miles and Faraday (or Twitchy if you prefer) into the conversation, and Daniel presents option 3) Let’s go talk to The Hostiles since my mom is one of them. His reason? Daniel says she can get them all back where they belong. My first thought on this was that our people are going back to 2007 where they ought to be.

Another flashback, this time it’s Daniel crying at the fake Oceanic 815 wreckage on the ocean floor. Widmore pays Daniel a visit and offers him a new opportunity. Daniel has some kind of mental disorder thanks to an experiment on himself, which he says he tried first before trying it on his research assistant Theresa. Apparently Daniel’s brain only got partially melted. Daniel tells Widmore that he doesn’t understand why the wreckage is making him so sad, so Widmore decides to cheer him up by admitting that he staged the entire thing. Widmore then tells Daniel that the island will heal his mind and memory. When Charles tells Daniel that he needs shouldn’t waste his talent, Daniel says that sounds like something his mother would say.  Charles says they’re old friends.

At Casa del Lafluer, Sawyer asks Daniel, “Your mother’s an Other?” Sawyer then proceeds to argue against Daniel’s plan, making it extremely clear to me that he really does like the life he has built with Juliet, and he does not like the idea of leaving Dharmaville. Juliet gives the sonic fence code away, so Jack, Kate, and Daniel decide to head for The Others. Sawyer tells the rest of the gang to get their stuff so they can head back to the beach, adding that once they’re done chasing The Others, Jack, Kate, and Daniel will know where to find them. As they head toward the motor pool, Daniel takes a quick side trip to talk to -no surprise here- Young Charlotte. Before they can get away clean, Radzinski shows up with his black jumpsuit gang.  A gunfight ensues, with both Daniel and Radzinski getting incidental wounds.

A final flashback to melty-brain Daniel as Eloise encourages him to take Widmore’s job offer, saying it’s ‘important’. Daniel just wants to know one thing, “If I go, will it make you proud of me?”

Back in ’77 at the sonic fence, Daniel confirms what Miles told us a few episodes ago–they are currently in their own present time, which means any one of them could die. Back in the village, Radzinski shows up at Sawyer’s house, and just when we think Sawyer’s bullshit artistry will save them, Phil is discovered in the cabinet. Things don’t look good for Sawyer and Juliet, but I just can’t believe they won’t find a way out of this.

In the jungle, Daniel explains his new theory to Jack. In a few hours, Dharma drills into the energy at The Swan, causing what we will come to know as The Incident. That causes them to build the button, which Desmond will one day not press, bringing down Oceanic 815. While his previous theory focused mainly on the Constants, Daniel is now focused on the Variables, by which he means people. He now contends that their free will and reasoning mean that they can break the cycle–unfortunately his brilliant plan involves destroying the energy by detonating the hydrogen bomb we saw at the beginning of the season.

In 2007 with Penny, Eloise tells her that for the first time in a long time, she doesn’t know what’s going to happen. Cue a nurse to tell Penny that Desmond is out of surgery–he reminds Penny he promised never to leave her again. As Eloise leaves the hospital, Widmore approaches and explains he had to sacrifice his daughter, and Eloise quickly reminds him she had to sacrifice her son as well.  Charles then confirms what I had suspected since the 1954 skip on the island–he is Daniel’s father. This earns him a nice slap from Eloise.

Approaching The Others campsite in ’77, Daniel tells Jack and Kate to wish him luck, then enters the camp alone with his gun drawn. He trains his sight on Richard Alpert and demands to speak to Eloise Hawking.  Richard tries to tell Daniel that she’s not there, but Daniel keeps waving the gun. The camera is tight on Daniel and Richard when a shot rings out. As the camera pulls out, we see that it’s Daniel who has been shot–by Ellie. as she stands over a dying Daniel, he says, “You knew. You always knew, but you sent me here anyway.” Daniel’s face goes blank. LOST.

The last scene was a total brain melting moment for me.  It’s not that I thought Daniel was invincible, I just enjoyed him so much that I wanted him to stick around. I really wasn’t prepared for him to die tonight, but at least they told his full story before killing him. I know that the Island sometimes brings people back, but I don’t think that’s going to happen with Daniel. He shared his full plan with Jack, so now it’s up to him to carry it out. At this point, I can’t wait for old lady Eloise and Charles Widmore to get their payback for sending their son to be killed by Young Ellie. It seemed clear by the look on Richard Alpert’s face that Daniel’s death was not necessary.

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April 29, 2009 Posted by | Drama, Science, Scifi, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lost Season 5 Episode 14: The Variable

Lost Season 5 Episode 13: Some Like It Hoth

As much as we have learned about the Oceanic passengers, Desmond, and some of the Others (Ben & Juliet) over five seasons, we still haven’t learned much at all about the Freighties – Penelope, Faraday, and Miles.  I understand they’ve only been with us for about one season now, but I think we all know that they must be pivotal in the endgame that is starting to unfold.  At least if we didn’t know before tonight, we know now.

The episode opens with a woman looking at a mediocre apartment, who we quickly find out is Miles’ mother.  She assures the potential landlord that he is a well-behaved young man, then gives Miles money for the candy machine.  Not surprisingly, young Miles ends up in another apartment with a corpse instead of a candy bar.  The scene ends with Young Miles shouting at his mother, “I can hear him!” so now we know that this is an ability Miles has had since childhood.  

Cut to ’77 and Miles is working in the security office when Sawyer calls and asks him to erase the pylon security tape to cover up for him and Kate.  Miles is about to pull the tape when Horace arrives with a mysterious black bag that he needs delivered to Radzinski at Grid 334.  Horace tells Miles that he’s bringing him into the circle of trust since Lafleur is MIA.  Miles goes to Grid 334 and Radzinski greets him by aiming a rifle at him and asking why Lafleur didn’t come–Miles says, “Horace sent me instead, I’m in the circle of trust.”  Personally, I don’t know how anyone could say this line without cracking up.  I really feel like ‘circle of trust’ is a comedic phrase for all time thanks to Meet the Parents.  At any rate, Radzinski takes the mysterious black bag, unfolds it, unzips it, and two Dharma workers bring out a body to fill it.  Dirty hippie Radzinski won’t say what happened or why it looks like the guy was shot, but we all know Miles can just use his powers to find out anyway.

Back to the mainland and teenage Miles is visiting his dying mother.  He wants to know more about his father and she tells Miles that he is dead.

In Dharmaville, Miles gets orders from Horace to take the body to Dr. Chang at The Orchid.  When Miles goes back to the van, he finds Hurley loading coolers into the back with the body.  Oddly, Hurley doesn’t notice the body and just tells Miles he wants to carpool, adding that maybe they could prevent global warming since it hasn’t happened yet.  I have to say that while it seems a bit out of place at times, I really love the comic relief that the Miles-Hurley conversations have been adding lately.  It’s also nice to see the writer’s providing a bit of fan service with some of the topics they have been discussing, like time travel paradoxes and now Star Wars.

Kate comes back to the infirmary and lets Juliet know that they left Young Ben with The Others.  She barely gets this out when Roger comes in and sees the empty bed.  He starts freaking out, as you would expect, and Juliet is immediately apologetic and emotional, swearing that she only stepped out for 10 minutes and when she came back he was gone!  As soon as Roger leaves though, Juliet’s emotion vanishes.  She simply looks at Kate and says, “Well, here we go.”

We rejoin Miles and Hurley on the way to The Orchid, and Hurley accuses Miles of farting in the van.  He has Miles pull over so he can check the food, and then discovers the body.  Miles explains that the guy was working in a hole when a filling ripped out of his tooth and exited his head through his brain.  Hurley starts asking about Miles’ power, and then tells Miles that his secret is safe because he also talks to dead people.

Off island, grown-up Miles is selling his ‘service’ to a grieving father.  When the father explains there is no body, Miles demands more money to contact his son, then tells the father what he wants to hear.  As he leaves, Miles is approached in the street by a pre-stabbed-in-the-back-by-Locke Naomi, who invites him to a restaurant to discuss a possible job.

In ’77, Kate tries to ease Roger’s fears, and only succeeds in arousing his suspicion.  Hurley and Miles are finishing their dead people conversation as the approach The Orchid–Miles tells Hurley you can’t have a conversation with the dead and Hurley says, “you’re just jealous because my power is better than yours.”  If we believe that Miles has a legitimate ability, then perhaps this confirms that Hurley is not talking to the dead after all.  Does this mean Hurley really is hallucinating, or just that the island is giving him visions?  It wouldn’t be the first time, since it previously showed him Jacob’s cabin.  After their conversation, Hurley and Miles arrive at The Orchid, where Dr. Chang chastises Miles for bringing someone along, then threatens Hurley with polar bear shit detail on The Hydra island.  Dr. Chang also indicates that the experiments on the other island are absurd, which tells me they must have nothing to do with his own work.  I noticed that Miles wouldn’t make eye contact with Dr. Chang during this scene, but before I could finish my thought, Miles was telling Hurley that Dr. Chang is actually his father.  

2004 Miles and Naomi arrive at what she call ‘his audition’.  Miles quickly explains that the dead guy was delivering something to Widmore, then references photos of empty graves and a purchase order for an old airplane.  Naomi is impressed and offers Miles $1.6 million to join the expedition to an island to capture ‘a murderer’.  At least now we know why Miles asked Ben for such a weird amount in order to look the other way.

Janitor Jack is cleaning at the Dharma school when Roger appears and asks if Jack knows anything about Kate.  Jack let’s Roger know that Kate would never hurt his son (at least not in 1977) and basically tells Roger he should sleep of his drunken haze before thinking about reporting anything to Horace.  Back in the van with Hurley, Dr. Chang, and Miles, and Hugo is asking Chang a bunch of questions, mainly to mess with Miles.  Just as Hurley is suggesting they all have a beer together sometime, Chang tells Miles to stop the van.  He gets out and opens a camouflaged gate, revealing the construction site for The Swan.  When Miles and Hurley are about to leave, they spot to workers putting a serial number on the door of the hatch.  Miles is intrigued when Hurley correctly guesses the final number (42) on the hatch.  When Miles asks how he knew, Hurley says it’s because that’s the hatch that crashed our plane.

2004 Miles is enjoying a fish taco when he gets grabbed by some guys in a black van.  They try to get him to skip to freighter job, and also ask if he knows what lies in the shadow of the statue.  Miles doesn’t know, and try to get him to come with them so he can find out the answers to all his questions.  Miles says he will if they double his money and they just drop him off instead.  When Miles asks what team they’re on, they respond, “The one that’s gonna win.”

On their way back to Dharmaville in ’77, Hurley tells Miles that there will be an accident at the hatch and they’ll have to install a computer with a button you push to keep it from happening again.  This leads to the big confrontation where Miles reveals what Hurley has been scribbling in a composition book for the entire episode–it turns out to be a screenplay for Empire Strikes Back, which Hurley thinks he can send to George Lucas to provide some help, and perhaps a few edits.  At Casa de Lafleur, Sawyer returns to find Jack waiting to fill him in on the Roger/Kate situation.  Sawyer thanks him and after Jack leaves, Security Phil appears with the pylon video tape.  The idiot comes inside and tells Sawyer that he hasn’t informed Horace yet, so Phil gets cold-cocked.

2004 Miles returns to the grieving father and gives him a refund, telling him that he should have told his son he loved him before he died if he needed him to know.  This sets up the cutback to ’77 where Hurley tells Miles that he should give his dad a second chance.  Hurley compares Miles to Luke Skywalker, and why it would have worked out better if he hadn’t freaked out when Vader broke the paternal news to him.  This leads us to my bet for what must be Jorge Garcia’s favorite line of the series, “Let’s face it, ewoks suck dude.”  After receiving this bit of wisdom, Miles walks away and looks in the window of the Chang house to see his father reading a story (about polar bears) to his infant self.  Miles is getting teary-eyed when we see Dr. Chang get a call and come outside.  He asks Miles to come with him to pickup some scientists who have just arrived from Ann Arbor on the submarine.  Once they arrive at the dock, Miles goes down to the sub and find himself face to face with Dr. Daniel Faraday, who offers, “Hey Miles, long time no see.” LOST

This was definitely a critical episode that gave us some excellent back story on Miles and Dr. Chang, and also gave us more information about The Swan.  What I’m most excited about it that it disproves completely the theory that Sun was the infant child in the Chang house.  I never believed the theory that a person could not exist twice in the same time, since Locke/Sawyer/Juliet/Sun had been hopping through several points where they already existed.  I’m glad to see this definitively proven tonight.  My theory is that the landing points in time for the Ajira passengers are based on their role in the endgame–in other words, which side they will end up on.  I thought at first that it could be the Widmore vs. Linus war, but I think we’re going to see Richard Alpert’s group vs. Everyone Else.  One thing is for sure, next week we aren’t going to see anything new, but it looks like we should have a great Faraday-centric episode to blow our minds in two weeks.

April 15, 2009 Posted by | Drama, Scifi, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lost Season 5 Episode 13: Some Like It Hoth