Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thoughts From My Tortured Brain While Reading C.S. Lewis Classic, The Great Divorce

Years ago, when I was teaching at Tilton, a guy working there told me I would like C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce, seeing how I love Dante, Milton, and William Blake.  Now that I will never talk to the guy again, I finally got around to reading it and more than anything else, it sort of made me freak out.  In undergrad, when I read Dante, I was at a totally different place in my life, things were good, life was easy, I didn’t have to worry about money, I was surrounded by people who loved me, etc.  Now though, reading something sort of similar with this book at a time when I am working a job that I absolutely loathe and dread going to, living in a city where I know few people that I have come to associate with a type of hell, I couldn’t help allegorizing The Great Divorce into being about me and my life. 

Well, I guess that was sort of the point, like it was with Dante, but man does it make me feel sort of weird.  First off, I mostly read the book while riding the bus to my shitty job and in the book souls are taken from a bus from Hell/Purgatory, depending on how one looks at it, up into a Heavenly realm.  Once there, the ghosts that were on the bus are met by angels that they more often than not knew in life.  Everyone has a Beatrice to guide them through Heaven as Dante did, but they haven’t made it in yet.  They must choose to let go of the lives they lived on Earth and drop their egos and they have to do it right then because every moment contains all moments when you are beyond time.  Again like with Dante, there is always a choice involved, and those that choose good will always find it. In Lewis’s words: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it.  Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.  No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it.  Those who seek find.” (75).

Ok, this is more or less why the book unsettles me, I seriously don’t like the way things are going right now with the nature of my mindless, droning work that forces me to be social in a way that makes connection with anyone there impossible and just makes me feel lonely along with everyone else there.  I keep applying to other jobs but I haven’t had any luck.  Then there is where I am living, here in the South where I know no one hardly and few people love me, and I want to get back to the Midwest so I can be closer to my family but there is my female companion who I love greatly to think about and we have this place here and they want us to sign a year lease or get out and we don’t want to spend another year here in these crappy jobs but we can’t move anywhere without something lined up and so on and so forth.  I feel like I am one of those ghosts making up excuses why I can’t just leave it all behind and get out.  But there are seriously so many things to consider.  In any case, I don’t like feeling this way and keep comparing my situation with those in Lewis’s conception of Hell.  This isn’t exactly suggesting a great state of mental health but I am hopeful and what not, but every time I think it can’t get any worse and something’s gotta turn out right and what have you, oh, it does get worse, like with this thing about having to move out.  And I have to say, the prospect of not finding a better job somewhere else and having to move to another place here in this godforsaken city is so depressing that I can’t think about it for more than a few minutes at a time without totally freaking out.

Another way that Lewis’s conception of Hell resembles the one described by Dante is that Hell is more or less a nothingness and the deeper you go through into the depths of it, the less and less the souls there become.  It is like a negation of humanity which is how I and others I have talked with working service industry jobs feel in these often times degrading positions.  Lewis makes this idea most effectively when he details an account of a husband who has come up from Hell and meets his wife who is among the happy angels.  The man is sort of a duo, one part is that of a giant and the other that of a dwarf that seems to sort of control it, but in actuality, it is the other way around, the dwarf is trapped behind this giant that serves as an incarnation of the man’s sin which he refuses to let go of and that for which he is damned.  As he comes closer and closer to letting go of his affliction, the dwarf grows bigger, but then when he turns away and goes farther and farther into this persona, the dwarf shrinks until it is eventually too small to see.  Then all of the sudden, when the dwarf is completely overshadowed by the giant, poof, they disappear, back into Hell.  When the narrator asks his guide why the wife doesn’t go into Hell to try and get him out, the guide responds, “There’s not room for her… For a damned soul is nearly nothing: it is shrunk, shut up in itself,” (139).  Hell, as Lewis tells it, is just some little particle, the size of an atom or something, when compared to Heaven.  That’s great and all, but I am of course still freaking out, even more so because I feel like I am that guy making excuses and what not for why I am choosing to stay in Hell.

So, what am I supposed to do when I feel like I am in the gutter?  What answers does this book offer?  Well, it basically says that all of our times, no matter how bad, will be looked at as part of the whole process when we experience the eternal bliss of God.  Great, this is starting to sound more like “Mind Cure” or worse yet the kind of religion Marx talked about rather than Dante.  But then I got to thinking about it and I no longer think about it that way.  I guess now I try and see it as more of a parent consoling you when you don’t make the team or something.  While they are raising you, assuming you had as wonderful a childhood as I did I guess, your parents disciplined you and also made you feel better when you were down in the dumps.  What you end up remembering about your development and upbringing then is of warmth and love and protection and so on and so forth rather than those times when things were tough. 

I also like the stuff Lewis writes that deals with the forms of “false religion” that end up making people feel hollow and ultimately let them down.  Thankfully, by this he doesn’t mean something like Buddhism or anything, but refers to things like philosophy or literature or family or grief or country etc.  In what I find to be one of the most moving passages, even though I am someone who has pretty much lost all faith, and makes me reconsider the halt I called to my spiritual studies/quest, Lewis writes, “There is but one good; that is God.  Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him.  And the higher and mightier it is in the natural order, the more demoniac it will be if it rebels.  It’s not out of bad mice or bad fleas you make demons, but out of bad archangels.  The false religion of lust is baser than the false religion of mother-love or patriotism or art: but lust is less likely to be made into a religion,” (106).  This is the sort of thing I have often struggled with, like when I was studying theology, I was getting lost in my own mind and felt no connection with what I was studying whatsoever.  I also see the dangers in loving something or someone one in this transient world more than anything else since we always lose it in the end.  This is one of the things I like about Zen so much since it focuses on how there is something that isn’t right about this world—i.e. All is Dukkha—and those things that we cling to are what causes our suffering in the end. 

So, in this “review” I am clearly, uh, working through some issues here.  But I guess what The Great Divorce has sort of done is make me see this as an opportunity to make a change and dedicate myself to bettering my lot.  And if it turns out I am stuck here for a while, I guess I will just have to stay positive and make the most of what I can.  I am trying to change my attitude about the whole thing because if it doesn’t get any better for a while, then I have to learn to deal.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Reasons Why I Hate Kate Austin of Lost

Last week’s season finale of Lost, The Incident, pissed me off through the one medium of the show that always pisses me off—Kate.  After getting past all the mystical shits and unpredictable events that always make up a Lost season ending episode, what you’ve got to notice is the predictable reactions from the show’s weakest character, Kate Austen.  In it I saw Kate fucking Austen being Kate—which is to say she was incredibly annoying and all acting like she knows what she’s talking about and generally slowing down the story and getting in the way and getting a more interesting character killed (although not so interesting in this episode)—and I don’t think I can take much more of her crap.  When the show ends, I have two things that must happen for me not to be seriously disappointed.  The first, previously mentioned, is that the real Locke had better be ruling the Island when shit comes to a close, and the second, is that Kate had better die. I am fed up with her whole sanctimonious, self-righteous bullshit—using her sex to get the shit she wants, slapping any number of men, just letting cooler people die, etc.—and I can’t wait for the show to hold its little tribal counsel and finally vote her off the fucking Island.  The only episodes of Lost I have hated were episodes that focused on her.  She’s manipulative and stupid and self-absorbed and boring and pointless and makes others around her seem like tools. It’s like she is Meg Griffin.  A while back I found someone’s assessment of Kate’s character which came in the following four phrases, which are spot on:

1. I’m pretty.

2. What should we do, Jack?

3. Shut up, Sawyer.

4. I’m coming along whether you want me to or not!

Yeah, Kate in a nutshell.  So with that finale, I am finally prompted to write out my Ten Reasons Why I Hate Kate Austen.  Here goes.

1. She’s Fickle- We can never be sure whom she is going to sleep with this week or how her sexual escapades will end up because she is constantly changing her mind about what the hell she is doing using her sexual allure as like a female executive trying to sleep her way to the top.  She makes out with Sawyer one minute and then beats him down with a suitcase or slaps him across the face or whatever.  Then once she gets off the Island she hops in bed with Jack and they were supposed to get married even, but she is sneaking around doing things for Sawyer.  When Jack gets all fussy and points out that he has repeatedly saved her and what not she says she doesn’t want him acting like that around her “son” and Jack utters a serious burn with “you’re not even related to him.”  Woo, ultimate face.  So now she hates Jack for speaking the truth and the wedding is off.  For Christ’s sake Kate, either pick Sawyer or Jack, quit bouncing back and forth to whichever one is more useful at the time.  She is always turning these leader types into heartsick idiots that she walks all over when she wants something.  She’s like a parasite befriending Sawyer for the shit he hoarded when they first crashed and then sidled up to Jack because he was the leader and saw the power of his position as her opportunity to be the Island’s Lady Macbeth or something.  It pisses me off that she keeps using everybody for her own personal gain and just keeps on lying to them to get it.  I pity the both of them for mainly just having to deal with her bullshit.  Next season, look for the reemergence of Skate (Sawyer + Kate = Skate) since Kate pretty much did nothing to help Sawyer help save Juliet (See Reason #2 for more on that), her competition, and hey hey, he’s now single again and Jack has sort of spiraled down the down the drain and lost his faith in humanity.  But maybe the existential Jack will grow on her.  Who knows with her.

2. Gets People I Like Killed (Or Seemingly Killed)- As hinted in Reason #1, she keeps on getting more interesting characters killed for absolutely NO reason whatsoever.  In the Lost time-line, the first death she was responsible for was that of her abusive father, which was justified I guess, but I don’t care about that.  Then came her childhood sweetheart Tom who she got killed when she was escaping from the law by busting through a barricade and he got hit by a bullet meant for her.  What does she do, nothing, she just leaves.  Again I don’t care; there isn’t anything of interest that has to do with Kate’s back-story.  But then once she gets on the Island is when the her getting people killed starts to drive me crazy.  There was the guy who was extraditing her back to the states who was dying anyway, maybe, and I assume Kate practically begged Sawyer to “end his pain” by giving him a quick death but only makes it way worse by shooting him in the lung instead of the heart.  Around the same time, she as well as Jack and Charlie let the pilot of 815 go walking around outside of the cockpit with the Monster making noises, failing to warn him that there might be danger.  He then gets eaten by the Monster and we later see him up in a tree all mutilated and all—yeah, I acknowledge this one might be a stretch, but the rest are not.  When they find Charlie in the jungle pretty much dead, having been hanged in a tree by Ethan, who was a serious bad ass, all she did was stood there and cried.  Way to help out, Kate.  Great effort there just standing there in the way and crying while Jack has to do everything.  But Charlie lived that near-death-experience.  Then there was the most infuriating one where she was supposed to go get Jin from the inside the freighter but instead stood around on the deck with her thumb up her ass.  Ten minutes after Kate was all, oh don’t go, Sun, you’re holding Aaron and pregnant and stuff, I will go get Jin for you, you get on the chopper, we see Kate finally try to go down into the freighter.  What was so goddamn important Kate, that’s what I’d like to know?  But Jack stops her saying something about him not leaving without her and they all look down at Jin as the ship explodes, again an inspired performance from Kate.  Way to make the extra effort there.  That made their flight back toward the Island pretty awkward.  So when Sun said to her old man, that she blames two people for the death of her husband and one of them was him, I figured the other one must surely be Kate for dicking around and not doing what she said she was going to do.  But frustratingly this turns out to be false and Sun and Kate are great old friends back on the mainland.  What the shit?  If I were Sun I would be pulling me some hair and punching the so called tough girl in the face instead of taking care of her stolen kid.  But Jin somehow survived, we think, but he could just be an incarnation of his form as the counterpart to the Locke imposter or something.  We shall see about that next season.  Then there was the death of my second favorite character (Locke being the first), Daniel Faraday, which she just let happen as she always does.  When Kate and Jack go along with Faraday on into Crazytown as he was about to go into the Others’ camp where he gets shot and killed by his mother, then pregnant with him, Jack was about to stop him but Kate was all “no Jack, don’t go.”  Thanks Kate, thanks for stopping Jack from ending the whole Infinite Jest-ish “the woman who kills you is always your next life's mother” thing.  Yeah, that was awesome.  Ugh, fucking Kate.  And then there was the season finale, when Juliet was dangling there above that electromagnetic hole with Sawyer trying to pull her up and Kate did what Kate does and just stood there.  Nicely done.  I mean did I expect anything more from her than to stand around awkward doing nothing when lives are at stake.  No, not really.  She was predictably unhelpful.  That bitch.

3. She’s Annoying- First, there is that whole bit about her trying to be the tough, strong, kick-ass-and-take-names female on the Island but then she does things like cry over a toy plane. Its like we get it Kate, you are a fugitive, but that doesn’t make you a hard ass.  Give up the act and stop making everyone’s life harder by trying to prove you’re a free spirit who doesn’t need anybody’s help.  Because Kate, if anyone does, its you.  Just stop.  Its getting embarrassing how everyone else keeps having to save you.  Also, she is ALWAYS interrupting people, suggesting that she feels what she has to say is way more important than whatever Hurley and Miles are saying.  What Kate has to say is rarely that important or interesting.  I can’t really remember any positive contribution she has ever made to life on the Island.  All she does is whine and lie and make a mess of things.  Its like to get anything useful or truthful out of her you have spend an entire episode twisting it out of her when she could have just said or done whatever in the first minute or so.  This is connected to another annoying fact about her, which is that she is a busybody, always butting into people’s business (like she did when she screwed everything up by talking to Ben’s dad) and asking about their pasts and all that but won’t say anything about hers.  When we finally figure out what she is doing it is always something really stupid, again I reference the goddamned toy plane, that really infuriated me.  I guess she did get some information out of Miles but that was only for her own personal gain (See Reason #4). 

4. She’s Unbelievably Self-Centered- She is unable to think about anyone but herself, ever, and is the most egocentric character in the show.  The only thing she really ever did was pull some bullshit con to take Miles to Ben but that was done only to get information about herself.   Always begging to be included and whining when being left out, she just has to tag along no matter who protests for whatever sound reasons so as to not to miss out on any of the action.  But she never follows orders so even when she is ordered not to come along, of course she follows the group anyway which always ends with her getting captured and her needing to be rescued thus ruining whatever mission the group is on.  Sneaky bitch.  She is a manipulative liar that lacks all empathy and care for others showing no conscience whatsoever in doing stupid things that she thinks she must do to survive.  Her megalomania is such that she couldn’t even get over herself when delivering Claire’s baby, Aaron, saying, “I’m scared too.”  Why is that do you think?  Maybe because she is a sociopath, I mean she does steel that baby later.

5. She’s Got The Worst Backstory- Her whole ridiculous pre-Island life was basically a way to give her character cause to whine for the entire run of the show.  It doesn’t make her look tough or anything and her flashbacks don’t really make any sense when you think about them long enough.  A fugitive from law being chased by the whole world it seems for blowing up some douchbag?  I think not.  I just want to grab her by freckled arms and scream “We get it, you’re a victim, you’re the way you are because your dad (that you thought was your step dad) beat your mom, but you blew him up. And instead of being grateful that you blew him up your mom betrayed you and still made you stand trial when you got back from the Island, but hey, she got over it and you didn’t go to jail.  Seriously, we get it.  Poor Kate.  Now stop bitching about it every other freaking episode, we aren’t going to forget it so you can stop reminding us all the time.” 

6. Gets Away With Everything And Constantly Whines- Which brings me to the obvious fact that she gets away with everything.  No one seems to care that she is constantly ruining whatever people are doing to better their lives on and off the Island.  She didn’t get in any trouble for murdering her old man, ducking the conviction by clinging to her stolen child and with the help of Jack and that incredibly dumb story he told in court that made her into some kind of a hero, which she isn’t, that was so lame and impossible it just made me want to throw up; no one lets the Others kill her for sneaking around when she should have stayed put; people defend her when her actions screw up their lives directly, as was the case when her erratic behavior tipped off Ben’s dad to the fact that she knew more about all that was involved in the shooting of little Ben than she let on, having Jack, Juliet, and Sawyer stick up for her, resulting in the end of Suliet (Sawyer + Juliet) and the comfortable life they had developed with the D.H.A.R.M.A. Initiative; etc.  She manages all this simply by putting on a pouty face (her only face) which affords her anything she wants.

7. Steals Babies/Screws up Children- Another thing she got away with was steeling Aaron away from the Littleton family to use him for all her emotional needs, for shame Kate.  How does the media not follow up on the apparent problems with the time-line/pregnancy stuff?  I think that would have been something that people would have noticed when they captured her.  In any case, Kate was well on her way on her mission to screw up a little kid before she finally did the right thing and gave Aaron to Claire’s mom while spilling the beans, as she always does, on the real story of Flight 815.  So when the blond lady who looked like Claire from behind appeared that she was running away with Aaron to live amongst the crazies or wherever, for a second I thought she would lose him, which would serve her right, and we would be rid of Aaron, at least for a while.  Yeah, he is a little kid… but he has to be the most irritatingly bad child actor ever, way more so than those Olsen twins on Full House, which is no small feet.  For a while I thought he had Down syndrome.   Every single time he says “mommy” or “juice box” I have to fight back the feeling that I am about the spill the groceries all over the couch and coffee table in the living room where I watch TV.  So why all of the sudden did she give Aaron over to an actual blood relative?  So she could basically watch him for a while as she goes back to the Island to find Claire and bring her back to raise her son.  Yeah right, she was tired of playing house like (in one of her painful-to-watch flashbacks) when she married Captain Hammer (from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog) only to drug and run out on him when things got difficult. 

8. The Producers Have Serious Kate Love- Cassidy was right about Sawyer and his motivation for jumping off the chopper, the reason he deplaned in such a dramatic way wasn’t to save the woman he loved, oh no, it was to get away from the succubus that is Kate.  Yeah, Sawyer had the right idea.  Get a clue Lindeloff/Cuse.  Not even your own fictional characters can stand her.  But they have themselves some serious love for Ms. Austen.  

It would be great if they would get over her apparent hotness like everyone else and realize there is no use for Kate and kill her off which they won’t.  She’s a criminal with a heart of gold just like every chick in Brisco County Jr., Cuse’s first show, staring one Bruce “Jack of All Roles” Campbell, which is pretty awesome, yeah yeah, we understand that you love this type of female character…but this has got to stop already.  Jack, who seems more annoyed with her than anything else, was willing to go back in time and take incredibly drastic action by blowing up the Island either erasing the 3-years he knew her which she of course is against because that would mean her going to jail since her celebrity status couldn’t possibly save her or killing him.  Whatever happens, or doesn’t, its clear that Jack is hell bent on removing her from his life by any means necessary.  Her only merit was as one in a boring love triangle (or square I guess) that was the worst part of the show.  Any episode that focuses on her ends up sucking, therefore, they should have done the thing that talked about doing where Vincent had a flashback, which would have been awesome, I love that dog, but instead we got Kate overload.  Boo.  It isn’t so bad, I guess, that she is irrelevant as far as the story goes but the screen time she gets is unreal.  The episodes without Kate are almost always great but these are few and will probably disappear as the two camps, in 1977 and 2007, start to bridge the time gap.  Like that kid in your neighborhood growing up that was an asshole and everyone hated but always found out when and where you were hanging out or the guy trying too hard to get laid at a party, Kate never goes away.

9. She Lacks Self-Awareness- This, I think but cannot prove, is one of the reasons her mother hates her.  First of all, she killed her dad because she could tell her mother really loved him and took it upon herself to end the relationship.  Of course she didn’t see her mom turning her in coming because she can’t tell what people think of her.  All she sees is this persona she has constructed and follows that without looking back, ever.  On the Island, she believes her place is that of a strong semi co-leader instead of the wimpy, annoying, crying waste of space she really is.  She has always been weak link of the show/the Islanders with her whining and inability to make a rational decision for herself basing her actions on her unreliable emotional state at that exact moment.  It’s like she never developed the ability to look at the facts as they are when doing something and not just follow her impulses.  That is probably why she can’t help but jumping into bed with Jack and/or Sawyer seeing as how she can’t really function without a man around to manipulate first, including stolen baby Aaron.

10. Fucks Everything Up- This is her main problem, this constantly turning things into shit for everyone while offering no help in fixing things.  Usually the Losties are correcting some mistake she made or was in some way responsible for while she just sort of stands around all pathetic.  When she didn’t cause whatever new development, she is more than likely working on her own agenda that opposes what the majority has decided is right.  The most predictable part of Lost is that Kate will defy everyone with her ridiculous horseshit and do what she wants consensus be damned.  Like when Kate, in her ever-stupid-way, rushes to save the young Ben that Sayid tried to kill in order to spare their past selves that are confusingly in the future from the manipulating maniac he grows into.  Pretty much everyone agrees that Ben’s death here would be a good thing and they should just let him die, but oh ho, not Kate, who doesn’t think any child should die, after all young Ben is a victim too.  Not even if you know that he’s eventually going to kill a bunch of your friends, the entire D.H.A.R.M.A. Initiative, and a bunch of people who may or may not deserve it, not to mention tried to take the baby you rightfully stole and then telling those incredible lies that is just one series in a long and proud career of manipulation that gets you and the few friends that the adult version of this dying kid has yet to kill trapped-once again-on the this crazy patch of land that happens to be a time machine to boot that you flings you back some thirty goddamned years in the past.  Really Kate?  Fucking really?  Well, if anyone were to snatch away the hope that Sayid gave them by nearly de-mapping some asshole little kid who grows into a mass-murdering genocidal maniac, it would have to be Kate.  

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lost's Season Finale Was An Incident

Holy shit.  If you haven’t watched the season finale of ABC’s Lost yet then stop reading now for God’s sake and watch it! Its on ABC’s website and surfthechannel.  Here be Spoilers.   This episode, The Incident, Parts 1 & 2, changes everything.  Or does it?  (FYI- Theories for the most part will be below my review in footnotes.)

The episode begins with some Mennonite looking guy, Rita’s dead ex-husband Paul from Dexter, in an old timey outfit spinning up some tapestry with ancient Greek writing on it.  We then see this guy catching and making up his lunch, which looked delicious, when some yuppie looking dude wearing a black shirt, khakis, and sandals—your typical island garb.  The man in black has come to watch the approach of a ship, presumably The Black Rock, which the Mennonite, who in the first of the episodes bombs that go off turns out to be the ever mysterious Jacob, evidently summoned somehow to prove his neighbor (who I will refer to as the Adversary from here on out) wrong.[i] The Adversary doesn’t appreciate the approaching ship peoples, saying “They come, fight, they destroy, they corrupt. It always ends the same.”  Most of the rest of their conversation I have reprinted below, I am sure all of it will prove important:

Jacob: It only ends once. Anything that happens before that, its just progress.

The Adversary: Do you have any idea how badly I want to kill you?

Jacob: Yes.

The Adversary: One of these days, sooner or later, I'm going to find a loophole, my friend.

The next thing we see is the statue, still completely intact, which depicts an ancient Egyptian looking god-type-thing with the head of what might be a crocodile.  Hmm.  Wonder what that was all about.  First of all, when did that scene happen? and, hey, doesn’t the statue look like the cave painting Ben saw underneath The Temple when he was getting his “judgment” on ala Monster a few episodes back?  And what was that?  Loophole you say?  Progress?  But most of this stuff gets forgotten for the moment with the revelation that the guy who has brought the ship there is none other than this Jacob character we have heard so much about.  That trickster.

But now, with hind site, lets take a look back at the discussion line-by-line.  First, there is the line about the people who are just about to dock and come to the Island to fight and destroy and corrupt.  This implies that the Island is peaceful until these people come.  I am thinking that they are the only two on the Island at this point and this is where everything gets set into motion.  Probably when the Others first show up on the Island and when Richard becomes the seemingly permanent fixture of their jungle-running tribe.  But then he says the bit about it always ending the same way which implies they have done all this before, either in the past or literally they have already done this specific thing since all the time traveling stuff means they could be participating in that loop-on-a-skipping-record thing that Faraday tried to explain to Sawyer post backhand to the face, a smack that was called for, but left him and the audience saying “wha?” with the appropriate head rubbing, our minds having been blown. When I start thinking about it, like when reading philosophy, this starts to happen, and is right now, my head is like swimming trying get a grasp on this whole abstract business.

Then we get the whole “It only ends once. Anything that happens before that, its just progress,” and that is when the “Holy Shits” start to get uttered.  So this line, yeah, it is HUGE. Now wait a minute, isn’t this answering the mystery everyone on the show and watching at home has been trying to figure out all season long?  It would seem so and that you can change things when you have an apparently unlimited number of tries.  But do they have infinite lives like they are using a cheat code on a video game or does something determine when all this ends will be the question that the final season will hopefully/need to answer.  This coupled with the last few lines, the wanting to kill Jacob but not being able to unless he finds a loophole stuff, I take to mean that these two are actually going through some kind of power struggle and all the time warping and cycle of events are all part of some sort of game of cosmic backgammon being played out by beings with much significance who must adhere to a determined (by who? God? I will throw up if that happens) set of rules.  Sort of like the chess match going on between Widmore and Ben, they having this same no killin’ each other rule and all, on a much larger scale.

Throughout the rest of the episode we see Jacob inserting himself into the past of the Oceanic Six and other Losties at key times in lives.  For example, when Sawyer is pinning the infamous letter to Anthony Cooper his writing utensil quits working and Jacob gives him his.  Because of this act, Sawyer’s uncle catches him and reads the letter, telling him to move on because “What’s done is done,” presumably ending little Sawyers quest for vengeance.  It seems he is changing the past events that we know happened to them in some instances, this being one, Kate being an other, telling her not to steel any more, and Sun and Jin being a third, visiting them at their wedding, providing them with solid marital advise, saying they shouldn’t take their love for granted.  His Korean was flawless by the way.  But at other times, its more like he is bringing about events that we know took place, like Nadia, Sayid’s wife, being killed in an attempt on Sayid, which he survives with Jacob’s aid, and it appeared he brought Locke back to life after his fall that paralyzed him.  And then when he comes to the hospital bed of Ilana who has her face bandaged up like a burn victim, it seems he is possibly directing future action since in the scene depicting 2007 we see no signs of scaring.  But then again he could have healed her or something in return for the “help” he asks from her.  In the course of the episode he also visits Hurler in a cab after he was released from jail, which explains why he joined the other five on Ajira Flight 316, where they talk about seeing dead people and such and Jacob leaves a guitar case carrying a guitar one can only assume but who knows.  Charlie’s maybe, I don’t know, its significance was hinted at but its contents were not. The apparent results from Jack ’s flashback though aren’t that clear, Jacob visiting him after his first surgery, mentioned in season one, when he sliced a girl’s dural sac and gets all panicky before the old man, Christian, tells him to count to five and what not.  Serenity Now!  Walking away, pouting after he doesn’t get his Apollo Bar from the vending machine, Jacob stops him and gives him the candy, saying “Maybe all it needed was a little push.”  I suspect this was to get Jack to be more forgiving of his father so he wont turn him in when he performs surgery bombed that would stop him from drinking himself to death in Australia.  But I don’t know about all that, it is an awfully long stretch.  Then again, maybe they all were.  Maybe none of this changes anything.  Who knows.  Juliet was the only other flashback of the episode, which gets discussed later, and was Jacob free.

The next development in the episode was the whole blow up the Island gambit that seems sort of stupid and anti-logical and all.  But it does make for some good TV watching.  Or sort of does.  First there was the getting out of the sub part of the story since she wants Sawyer to stop Jack from detonating Jughead, which answered the question of how Kate was going to fuck up everything in this episode.  The next thing I write about on here is going to be about How Kate Austen Fucks Everything Up on Lost.  God I hate Kate.  She sucks at life.  Once Kate—annoyingly on the sub why exactly?—convinces Juliet who knocks out the guy passing out pills—or party favors as I like to call them—they go back to the Island and who comes running up to them on the beach but the cutest dog on TV ever Vincent who is being cared for by Rose and Bernard who haven’t been seen since Frogert got shot by a flaming arrow incident.  Now they are living out their days chilling in a cabin in the jungle while Bernard perfects the professor look by growing an awesome neck-beard.[ii]  They are done with all the Island craziness and are living out their days pretty magnificently, we should all be so lucky as to get stranded with the one we love on an island with a super cool dog.  Damn, that would be sweet.  I want to do that.  I would give up anything for that.  I sort of hate Rose and Bernard.

What followed didn’t make all that much sense and was sort of weak plot/logic wise.  Ok, earlier, Kate had infuriated me when she miraculously talked Juliet into helping her despite the whole we-are-a-team bullshit conversation her and Sawyer just had.  But guess what, Juliet is incredibly fickle, uncharacteristic of her, being more Kate’s department in her bouncing back and forth from the beds of Jack and Sawyer, and she just up and changes her mind in the most unconvincing Lost moment ever aired.  After Sawyer finally repeatedly punches Jack in the face, Juliet is all like “Have at it Jack, lets burn this mother fucker down.”  Huh?  She has become a proponent of the reset thing now all of a sudden because she thinks Sawyer still loves Kate and, as we see, she has had issues since childhood with this sort of thing since her parents sat her and sister Rachel down telling them they are getting divorced, saying something like they love each other but aren’t meant to be together.  Horse shit.  That is just dumb.  I guess Jacob’s absence in her flashback was supposed to mean something but then again maybe he was there waiting to spin some of that didactic bullshit but little Juliet wouldn’t come out of her room.  In any case, with the Island’s pending nuclear holocaust and all, Miles finally asks the obvious question I and probably everyone else has been asking since Faraday showed up acting (and looking) like the fucking Unabomber, what if Jack is about to cause the much hyped incident instead of preventing it.  Well, should’ve probably thought of that sooner, because now Jack and company have gotten themselves into the longest, lamest shootout in television history. 

But the shit gets done, Jack drops the fucking bomb down the hole.  Everyone awkwardly waits for blast…  And waits…  Then, nothing.  Shit, no reset button on this Island.  Dr. Chang tries to stop from drilling into the pocket of energy that Radzinsky is hell bent on unleashing but shit has already hit the fan and electromagnetic force starts pulling shit down the hole.  A toolbox hits Jack in the back of the head in hilarious fashion knocking him out Jack really takes a beating this episode), Phil takes steal rob to chest, Chang’s arm gets pinned (explaining his dubious motionless arm in the Swan video) so son Miles gets him loose and calls him Dad, and Juliet gets a chain wrapped around her waste and gets sucked down the hole where she grabs onto some pole before plunging in.  Sawyer manages to grab her and they have a puke worthy semi-awkward last moment together where she professes her love to him, saying “I love you,” to which Sawyer says “No you don’t” I guess in reference to her letting go but it seemed like it was to the I-love-you comment with his poorly worded sentence.  Though I can’t really prove this, I blame Juliet’s death on Kate as I do the deaths of Jin (though it did turn out he’s alive) and Faraday among others, more one those in the next post.  So when Juliet is dangling for her life and Sawyer grabs her, Kate grabs onto Sawyer instead of climbing down there with him and actually like puling her up or anything.  Oh, nice effort, Kate. Way to help out.  Again she proves worthless.  But instead of Juliet going splat on the rocks and shit at the bottom of the hole, she survives, though, as you can imagine, she is royally fucked.  Despite her injuries and what have you, she gains consciousness and manages to bang on the H-bomb with a rock.  After hitting it eight times, one of those magic numbers, we are made to believe it explodes as the screen turns white and the L-O-S-T comes in in black, the negative/reverse of the usual black on white as the season ends.  This was sort of lame, the way it happened, but the possibilities are ones to get excited about.  I can’t believe I have to wait till January of next year to see how all this plays out. 

But there are more and better things to be discussed about the finale.  Back to the future, in 2007, we have some interesting developments coming to life (literally) on the Island that has for the most part lacked much action (though know what I do now, I have got to rewatch the stuff that takes place after the second crash).  We have these new people who seem guard Jacob and/or the mysteries of the Island and are kind of like the weird cult in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade guarding the secretes of the Holy Grail that Indy kills for the most part after visiting the catacombs of Venice.  This is not the only time this episode reminded me of that awesome flick, the other being the Sawyer-grasp-fail with the subsequent Juliet falling bit that was nearly identical to Elsa slipping out of Indy’s hands when she is trying to steel the Grail out of that cave thing.  They are there to deliver a metal box to the Others/Jacob and something else, it is implied, that is yet unknown.  How they are conveniently there on the Island is also a mystery.  When they wash up on shore, the recently kidnapped Frank wakes up as they are saying something about him being a candidate, for what though is frustratingly unknown.[iii]  They then show him what is in the box, which freaks him out, saying they are going to use it to “show people what we are capable of,” making everyone think it is a weapon.  But this has happened before and Lost is not that simple of a show. 

After we see Locke trekking his people toward Jacob so he can thank him for bringing him back to life by killing him, a job he convinces Ben to do, we see what is in the box they have brought an awfully long way—it contains—the BODY OF JOHN LOCKE.  Holy shit.  What the fuck?  Oh, shit, now I see.  Oh no. NO!!!  By the time everyone realizes that the guy leading them who is with Jacob right then is not Locke, it is too late to do a God damn thing about it.  It turns out the Locke imposter is none other than the Adversary we saw at the beginning of the episode and he has indeed found his loophole.  This revelation caught me completely by surprise, and there were so many clues!  There was the time when Ilana was about to open the Locke crate but stopped when distrustful Ben sidled up and the time when he knew exactly when the time-traveling Locke would show up explaining it by giving the old lame “the Island told me” excuse which seemed sort of weird and beyond his previous range and when Ben talked to I think Locke about his apparent resurrection and said that “dead is dead” and then the moment between Richard and Ben when Richard wondered if Locke wasn’t the great leader he had previously thought thinking now that he will only cause trouble with Ben saying that this is the reason he killed him and then when Richard tried to figure out how or if Jacob brought Locke back from the dead having spent God knows how long on the Island and seeing all of its amazingness but never seeing anyone being brought back from the dead which Locke totally deflects by comparing it to Richard’s lack of aging saying it had something to do with that which was also bullshitty but in a Lost sort of way.  And these are just the ones from memory.  The clues were right there the whole time.  But I didn’t pay them too much thought until the big spoiler went down.  It was such a game changer that it took me a minute to realize what it meant, at first I was under the impression that Locke had somehow been totally recreated whole, but then the reality of what was going on set in and it sucks since Locke practically is the Island having so much faith and reverence for it and all but it was quite a good and unseen move.

The whole Locke thing makes me sad to think about.  I have long said that when the show comes to an end, if Locke isn’t practically worshiped by the Others I would be highly disappointed.  After this episode, it doesn’t look like that is going to happen.  Earlier in the finale, we find out that Ben has been lying to Locke and everyone else about talking to Jacob this whole time.  So the obvious question is was the cabin Ben took him to really Jacob’s or was it the Adversary who has now overtaken the Locke persona.  Which begs the question of why the circle of ash surrounding the cabin had been broken.  This is why the whole thing turns out to be really, really sad and screwed up, it might have been the Adversary who was pulling the strings this whole time: getting Locke to lead the Others, acting as the ghost of Christian Shephard to get him to get Ben to move the Island, again as Christian to get him to turn the wheel getting him off the Island telling him he had to be sacrificed, and having Richard go talk to the real time-traveling Locke and give him that compass and tell him he has to die to the Oceanic Six back to there just so he can achieve his loophole, its possible that he may be responsible for the reappearance of all of Locke’s visitors including Horace and Walt, and so on and so forth.[iv]  So maybe John’s destiny was never in his control and he was being manipulated by the Adversary to take part in his death-game against Jacob.  Shit if that is true this stuff is really twisted.  But then again it could have been Jacob talking about sacrifice after all, after his talk with Hurley it seems that he too can take other forms, Jacob knowing that the final outcome depends on the Adversary taking over Locke’s form.

And now it makes sense that Locke didn’t want to get his friends back … those aren’t his friends.  Now we get why Locke just up and stops giving a flying fart about wanting to get his friends that he died for back, those really aren’t his friends.  So with the Monster having already ensured that Ben do Locke’s bidding, confronting Jacob with a pathetic monologue that is basically summed up in his question “What about me?”  Jacob goes and gets himself killed with his poorly chosen answer of “What about you?”  And Ben stabs him to death more or less because he was pissed that Jacob had never talked to him, the Adversary having found his fucking loophole.  The silence when it comes to Ben thing though may not hold up if Jacob can take on other forms like his like counterpart.  In that case there are probably numerous instance of Jacob coming to Ben for a little chat, though the only one I can definitely remember was the one with his dead mom in season three.  In any case, the stabbing thing already happened last year when Ben’s rage got the best of him and killed Keamey.  Maybe Jacob knew Ben would act in the same way and blame him for the death of Alex making his death a sacrifice.

 But before he croaks, Jacob manages to squeak out “They are coming” before the Adversary humorously kicks the dying Jacob into the fire.  The comment though gets to the guy posing as Locke and he sort of freaks out (hence the kick into flames).  Ok, what the hell.  Several things to consider while waiting for season six, Lost’s endgame.  First off, I take this warning or whatever it was from Jacob to be pointing to the “coming war” that Widmore mentioned a while back in the season, and Jacob and the Adversary are stand ins for abstract concepts that favor/represent opposing ways of life and they are the warlords or gods or whatever who pull all the strings.  The they in the comment I believe refers to the team from the plane but it could refer to another as of yet unknown party since we really don’t know anything about these new Island dwellers, though you just know these newbies—Ilana, Bram, some other dude—are going to be of super significance, claiming to be “the good guys,” and all that. 

BTW, where does Widmore fit into all this if at all?  The whole Hanso Foundation, are they ever going to cover that?  For some reason I don’t think so.  And what of Ellie’s motives, what the hell are they exactly and whose side is she on?  Richard told Sun he saw them all die, so presumably they died back in 77’. However, Radzinsky survived the explosion and he was right there with likes of Sawyer and Jack and Kate having had his jeep fipped over in the electromagnetic pull.  Unless Kelvin Inmann is the most unreliable character ever, Radzinsky lived to save the world by pushing the buttons every 108 minutes.  Chang who I guess got a little farther away survived too albeit minus an arm. So what happened to Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Miles, Jin, Hurley, and Sayid? I don't think they died, but they are flashing in time again… Or maybe they are fine and Richard was referring to the purge as the time when he saw them die.  Thanks for the heads up btw Richard.  Perhaps it was the 77’ Seven Jacob was referring to when he said “they're coming.”  Whatever the case, there is no way the show can just allow them to reset everything with a whole season left, can they? As I gather, the final outcome of the show, which we will see in 2010—ugh, so far away—depends on whether or not one can change the past.  I guess we’ll see if the throw the bomb down the well thing makes it all go away or if they caused the incident.  Whatever happened as a result of the nuke exploding via rock pounding, Jack is going to be pretty disappointed I think.  Hopefully I won’t be though.

[i] Right now, I have this crazy notion that these two are Aaron and Charlie—Desmond and Penny’s boy—but this will likely change and is probably wrong since pretty much all of my theories have proved to be way off with a few notable exceptions.  I am more confident in the Aaron being Jacob part than in the Charlie thing, this basically resulting from the fact that he is close to Aaron and him being spawn of Widmore who may or may not be evil. It hurts my brain thinking about it too much.  I just want to go record if Aaron is actually Jacob or whatever.

[ii] After this encounter, I almost certain that Bernard and Rose are the Adam and Eve that the Losties found in the cave way back in season one, and they died during the purge when the Island was gassed and everyone not in a hazmat suite was killed.  They said that they had been dead for 40-50 years, however, everyone knows that hotter climates accelerates the decomposing process and would make the 25-30 years since the purge plausible for the date of death.

[iii] I assume they mean membership of the Others.

[iv] My theory is that this guy is actually the Monster, which we see can change forms like he seemed to when posing as Yemi just before the Monster killed Eko.  Also, the Locke/Adversary and the Monster are never at the same place at the same time.  Like, for instance, notice that when Ben goes into that little chamber to summon the Monster, the Locke form shows up but falls into the basement of The Temple Locke goes to find some rope and poof, the puff of smoke appears.  Then when it goes away after taking the form of dead daughter Alex telling him to do all that Locke says or get destroyed, which makes getting him to do the dirty deed of offing Jacob conveniently easy, Locke isn’t again seen with the rope he went to go find until the Monster is clear out of there.  Nor was the Locke figure around when Christian Shephard was instructing in the barracks.  I’m just saying, it all seems mighty suspicious.