The Wife:

We don’t usually do news here, but since I’m trying to decide what shows I can and can’t watch next year (thus, can and can’t cover) because of grad school, I figured I’d help you all out by sharing my handy-dandy season schedules for the major networks here at Children of St. Clare.

I’ve listed everything by hour, as most networks are running hour-long shows these days, so two half-hour shows are listed in the same box with the time the latter show starts in between them. If a show runs longer than one hour, I’ve indicated the length and listed it in the hour in which it starts. Asterisks (*) indicate new shows, and I’ll have some snap judgments on those shows following these graphics:

falllineupMTWRF

And here’s the weekend schedule for the fall, which, as you can see, is largely blank:

FallineupSS

In January, the networks will change to their midseason schedules:

midseasonlineupMTWRF

And here’s the weekend midseason schedule

midseasonlineupSS

Now, on the midseason schedule, you may notice some funny little symbols after the network names. Here are those footnotes:

  • # ABC has not yet announced its midseason lineup. The have, however, three new shows on deck: V, Happy Town and The Deep End, as well as returning shows Lost, Wife Swap, True Beauty, The Bachelor, Better Off Ted and Scrubs. Timeslots all to be determined.
  • + CBS has not yet announced its midseason lineup, but has the following shows for midseason replacements: Miami Trauma*, The Bridge*, Undercover Boss*, Arranged Marriage*, Rules of Engagement, Flashpoint
  • = CW’s midseason debut is Parental Discretion Advised, timeslot to be determined.
  • Additionally, Fox has Hell’s Kitchen scheduled for Summer 2010, and has Kitchen Nightmares on deck to fill holes in the schedule.

Now, for my snap judgments . . .

NBC: While we all know by now how I feel about Jay Leno, I can honestly tell you that the only one of their new shows I will definitely watch is Joel McHale’s comedy pilot Community, joining the NBC Thursday comedy block in 30 Rock‘s spot until it returns at midseason. Community has a good premise (McHale finds his college degree is invalid and must go back to community college to make up the credits), and has both McHale and Chevy Chase, who turned in a good performance as the villain at the end of Chuck season 2. I am overjoyed that Chuck is returning at midseason, as I think a 13-episode run will give us only the most super-concentrated awesomeness Chuck has to offer. I do not need another medical show in my life, so I’m declining Trauma and Michelle Trachtenberg’s nursing show, Mercy. 100 Questions looks so much like Friends that it is entirely out of the question for me. But then there’s Day One, which has a nice pedigree of coming from the people who work on Lost, Heroes and Fringe. It could be awesome, or it could be hokey, but I think it’s the only other promising thing NBC has to offer us.

ABC: I am delighted that ABC has given a permanent slot to Castle, allowing Nathan Fillion to prove he is charming, rakish and shouldn’t be a showkiller! He and Adam Baldwin have broken their own curse! Other than that, though, I am extremely concerned at how unimpressive the new shows debuting for fall seem, compared to the stuff ABC has on deck for midseason. Not a single one of the Wednesday night comedy block shows looks palatable. Hank looks downright abysmal, The Middle looks, well, middling, Modern Family falls flat and Cougar Town is trying way too hard. I might DVR Eastwick because I like Rebecca Romjin and Lindsay Price, but I have no emotional ties to either the previous film or the novel upon which it’s based to grab my immediate attention. I watched a clip from The Forgotten and I can tell you right now that I think it’s going to be the most dour procedural on television, and I certainly don’t need that in my life. I am, however, intrigued by Flash Forward because I like both time travel and Joseph Fiennes. But what sounds really interesting are the midseason shows. The Deep End is about law students and, out of all the ABC clips I watched, it certainly has the most character, pizzazz and joy. It also has Tina Majorino, looking the prettiest she’s ever looked. I will give that a shot when it premeires. I will also give hardcore sci-fi reboot V a shot, as we certainly don’t have any shows on network TV currently dealing with alien invasion, and I’m really jazzed on the trailer for Happy Town, which seems like its going to be a slightly more normal Twin Peaks (in that its a small town mystery), only this time, with Amy Acker!

FOX: I’m wary of a fall edition of SYTYCD, but I do see the benefit of it giving FOX a consistent schedule so that things don’t get shitfucked when Idol rolls around at midseason. Perhaps, if this is a success, going forward we’ll have to find a new totally awesome summer reality competition . . . maybe one for actors? OR MAYBE WE CAN MAKE A TRIPLE THREAT SHOW BECAUSE I WOULD TOTALLY WATCH THAT????? (Please, FOX?!!!!) Fox is actually my favorite of the networks so far, actually. I’m happy to see they’ve renewed Dollhouse and paired Bones with Fringe, which makes for a really rockin’ Thursday. Also excited to see Sons of Tucson with Tyler Labine as it looks pretty funny from the promo.  Human Target looks pretty fun, too. And you best fucking bet I will be watching Glee. The only thing I think I’d really pass on, here, is Past Life, and that’s just because I’m not really interested in seeing a show that solves crimes using past life regression (although one of my favorite X-Files episodes has exactly that conceit). So, rock on, FOX. You are my winner for next season.

CBS: I will be skipping pretty much every new show on CBS this year as they continue to build their police procedural empire. However, I will give a try to the new Monday comedy Accidentally on Purpose, even though it’s based on the memoirs of a film critic I don’t like very much, the Contra Costa Times‘ Mary F. Pols, who can’t seem to see the good in anything at all. The show is set in San Francisco, though Pols lives somewhere in the Walnut Creek area in reality, I assume, and Jenna Elfman plays the fictional version of Pols’ film critic who accidentally gets pregnant by a younger, one-night stand and decides to keep the baby, and it’s daddy. I generally like Jenna Elfman and, of course, adore Grant Show, who will be playing her boss. I will also give Three Rivers a shot, because it stars Moonlight‘s Alex O’Laughlin and its about organ donation, so there’s a chance I could see him repeat at least part of his horrifying performance in Feed, a film in which he kidnaps obese women and feeds them their own fat until they die. (How he would repeat part of that performance, I don’t know, but I’d like to see CBS try.)

CW: Will I watch a show produced by Ashton Kutcher about teenage models called The Beautiful Life? Yes, I will. Will I watch a show about teenage vampires called The Vampire Diaries? Indeed, I would probably watch something like that, as long as it sucked in a good way and not a bad way. Melrose Place? I have even less of a connection to that show than to 90210, so I’m not inclined to watch the reboot — especially since Ashlee Simpson’s on it. But, hey, I might need some mind-numbing crap to counterbalance all my grad school reading, so perhaps. I’ll give Melrose Place a perhaps, a perhaps perhaps, even, if I choose to continue watching 90210, making my Tuesday nights just like 1992. I am, however, surprised that CW axed the Gossip Girl spin-off, as even though I didn’t like the backdoor pilot, I did think the show had potential. I’m also surprised they axed Jason Dohring and Minka Kelly’s legal show, Body Politic, if only because I was hoping both former Moonlight vampires would have jobs come fall, but I guess it just wasn’t in the cards for Josef Kostan nee Logan Echolls.

So, as the curtain on this TV season falls, you can look forward to me actually writing about Mad Men this summer, as well as many, many articles on SYTYCD. After that, I’m going to have to see what my fall schedule is like and compare it to the above fall schedules to see what I can really watch and what I can, in turn, cover.

I’ll make you guys a chart of all that later.

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The Wife:

I’d be lying if I said that the pilot of Ryan Murphy’s Glee was perfect. It was far from it, but so much of the show is so winning that it’s easy to overlook its few flaws and fully embrace it. It’s not a silly musical in the slightest. Ryan Murphy has always treated music with much more respect than that, even when he’s being ironic or cheeky during surgeries on Nip/Tuck. On that show, the surgery music is used to dig deeply into something as seemingly superficial as plastic surgery. Sometimes it’s funny (such as the use of Don McLean’s “Vincent” during a surgery in which Rosie O’Donnell as Dawn Budge gets a transplant ear grown on a mouse’s back . . . it’s a long story), and sometimes it’s incredibly moving (to this day, I can’t hear Leo Delibes “Flower Duet” without thinking about conjoined twins Rose and Raven Rosenburg, who died after their separation surgery and asked to be put back together when they were buried).

On Glee, the music functions as it should in any great musical: it’s intended to give us an insight into the characters, and I can think of no better example of this than Lea Michele’s (Broadway’s Spring Awakening) audition song for the new glee club, “On My Own” from Les Miserables. I hate Les Mis, but to hear Rachel Berry sing it while hearing about her backstory was the most sublime use of that song. You see, despite the fact that Rachel’s two gay dads raised her to be an overachiever and to strive to be known in the world because “being anonymous is worse than being poor,” she’s lambasted by her peers for being talented, for being different. She posts daily MySpace videos of herself singing in her bedroom, all of which receive comments from her peers basically suggesting she should kill herself (cyberbullying that would probably destroy someone with less self-confidence). She also often has things thrown at her, because for as much of a type-A personality as she is, Rachel is, in fact, on her own. She might be a little cocky and a little dogged in her quest to be special, as evidenced by her claim that the former glee club director molested the boy he gave Rachel’s solo to, but there is something in her that deserves to be recognized for who she is. And there is a tremendous sadness in the fact that no one sees her specialness but her . . . and her two gay dads.

Glee: what this show will be filling me with Wednesday nights at 9 in the fall.

Glee: what this show will be filling me with Wednesday nights at 9 in the fall.

So with the former glee club director out of the picture and the club in danger of being shut down, Matthew Morrison’s Spanish teacher Will Shuster decides he should take over. After all, Will sees that these kids need a place where they won’t be bullied, and where they can cultivate their talent. But as usual, the activities in which the popular kids reign get more funding, especially The Cheerios, the cheer team coached by Jane Lynch, which receives the bulk of the school’s budget because they keep winning national competitions and bringing the school a lot of press, which ultimately means more funding. So Will is allowed to operate glee club, recently renamed New Directions (which is weird for me, because that’s the name of a counseling center that a friend I know from high school theatre works for), on a $60 budget, which struck me as incredibly realistic given the dire nature of arts education in America, by which I mean, the lack thereof. But even that $60 budget eventually gets cut and Will is asked to run New Directions with his own $60, something that is, for him, very difficult because he lives off his teaching salary and his wife’s 12-hours-a-week job at Sheets and Stuff.

We meet a lot of characters over the course of this hour-long pilot, but even though there are some of the glee kids we don’t know all that well, I’d say that Jessalyn Gilsig’s Terri is the least well-drawn. Terri is obsessed with an idea of womanhood that allows her to contribute little to her marriage and spend all of her time crafting and decorating. She’s largely just a stand-in for the thing that’s holding Will back from what he really wants from life. But that said, I think Jessalyn Gilsig, as always, turns in a brilliant performance of very little material. I mean, this is a woman who nearly suffocated her own daughter in a cargo hold (on Heroes) and, more importantly, a woman who got fucked off a building (on Nip/Tuck). I am certainly not used to her playing someone demure, and she creates a sort of quiet insanity in Terri that makes her seem both utterly unreal and yet absolutely the kind of woman who thinks her life should be what she sees in magazines. She is deeply shallow, and I think there’s something exceptional about placing a character like that amongst so many other deeply real people. She’s a wonderful contrast.

[Husband Note: Gilsig also did wonders with the quite poorly written role of teacher Lauren “The Nun” Davis on Boston Public, as well an incredible job as the oblivious sister-in-law-party-girl-way-past-her-prime on Friday Night Lights. She’s not the best actor, but she’s a serviceable television performer, and that’s good enough for me.]

Because Terri won’t give Will an extra $60 a month to run glee club (as she’d rather spend it on trinkets from Pottery Barn and crafts), he tries to drum up more membership around the school, taking guidance counselor Emma’s (the lovely and talented Jayma Mays) advice to recruit a few popular kids into glee club, and the rest will follow. He tries to get a few Cheerios in the club, but Jane Lynch’s Sue refuses to give up her girls, setting up a rivalry between the glee kids and the cheerleaders that I’m sure will continue throughout the series. But then, by a stroke of luck, he catches football star Finn singing in the shower, and blackmails him into joining glee club by “planting” some weed from the Chronic Lady (the former glee club director’s new profession: dealing weed) in his locker and telling him that he can spend six weeks in detention (which Will is now running, unpaid, due to budget cuts) which will go on his permanent record, or he can join glee. There was a moment in this scene that I truly loved because it was very representative of how Glee likes to play with cliches from high school movies. Will tells Finn that if he chooses detention, it’ll stay on his permanent record and they’ll take away his football scholarship. Finn asks, incredulously, “I got a football scholarship? To where?” And because that’s just something Will said because he heard it in a movie, he continues on, “You could go places, son.”

With Finn in the club, Will takes New Directions to see the current national show choir champions, and Emma decides to chaperone, as Terri has already turned Will down for some crafting-related outing. Emma, who clearly likes Will, is something of a germaphobe, a trait Jayma Mays does not play up for comic effect, but rather allows into the open with a kind of reserved sadness. In addition to cleaning surfaces in the teacher’s lounge with disposable gloves before she eats off of them, she brings her own food, even to public events, ands he and Will have a conversation about the state of his marriage to Terri over a peanut butter sandwich prior to the choir concert. Over that sandwich, which he says he never gets to eat because Terri is allergic to nuts, he confesses that he’s not entirely happy with his marriage. There’s just something about his relationship with Terri that isn’t working, but he rationalizes that it’s okay because he does love her, and he does want to have children with her, even if they aren’t totally happy. If you want to know why they’re not happy, look at the scene in which Terri makes Will do a puzzle with her in her craft room while she tells him it’s important for him to have a creative outlet, while in the same breath telling him that she doesn’t want him to run glee club because they don’t make enough money with him teaching. She’d rather he be an accountant, the epitome of jobs that lack creativity.

The rival choir puts on a ridiculous performance of Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab,” which is stunningly choreographed and sounds great, but is obviously wildly inappropriate for a high school choir to sing and is incredibly funny if you absolutely don’t ever take your mind off of the lyrics. You just can’t do choreographed lifts when you’re singing a line like, “I’m gonna lose my baby / so I always keep a bottle near me.” (On the other hand, though, I think you absolutely can sing “I Kissed a Girl” for a glee club audition, because that’s just funny.) Clearly, a performance of that caliber is intimidating, but that’s not all of the problems facing New Directions. Finn’s teammates find out that he’s been lying to them about where he had to go when he missed practice. They are not pleased that he pretended his mom was having prostate surgery, and pelt him with paintballs. (“Chicks don’t have prostates. I looked it up.”) Finn eventually stands up to his football teammates when he finds that they’ve locked the wheelchair kid in a port-a-potty, telling them that, like Troy Bolton in High School Musical, he’s not going to choose between being a jock and being a singer. He’s going to do both. “Because you can’t win without me, and neither can they,” he snarls.

And when Terri announces that she’s pregnant, Will quits, following his wife’s suggestion to apply for a job at an accounting firm, leaving his newly formed club without a mentor. Emma tries to talk some sense into him, setting him up with a guidance appointment with her when she catches him filling out an accounting application at H.L. Mencken (oddly, named after a writer and literary critic for the Baltimore Sun who had some interesting ideas on elitism within social classes, rather than a traditional class or race-based social hierarchy . . . I must miss Lost a lot if I’m looking for these kind of references on other shows). Emma shows Will a video of the year the school’s glee club won nationals. It was 1993, and Will was in that choir. And he was happy. She asks him if providing money for his wife and child is really the same thing as providing them happiness, but being a man of his word, he heads off, presumably never to return.

Meanwhile, Rachel and Finn have taken over New Directions and have recruited the jazz band to help them stage their first performance, with Mercedes doing costumes, Rachel choreographing and Finn doing vocal arrangements. As Will heads down the eternal hallway, he hears them singing strains of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” another instance of perfect music choice. Not only does it serve as a ballad for these kids who just want to believe they’re good at something, but for soloists Finn and Rachel, those opening lines serve as portraits of themselves. Never before have I been teary-eyed hearing someone sing, “Just a small town girl / Living in a lonely world” or the phrase “S/he took the midnight train goin’ anywhere” until last night. They took that song, and made it transcendent – enough to make me believe in the beauty, sadness, humor and joy of this little show and enough to convince Will not to leave, but to remain with New Directions.

This is a show about lonely, sad people, trying to find something that actually makes them happy, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t made happy by music. So even for those of you who don’t really like or get musicals, know that Glee is simply about people trying to find happiness, and that happiness is achieved through music. I also take that last song as something of a plea to those of us who watched Glee and everyone at FOX, executives who clearly believe in taking a risk like this enough to promote it now and schedule it for Wednesdays at 9 p.m. throughout next season, picking up on SYTYCD results shows and Idol results shows as a built-in audience. FOX wants us to believe in Glee, and I do. Your Journey-infused plea has not fallen on deaf ears, Ryan Murphy.

I believe, I believe, I believe. Oh, I believe.

Some other notes:

  • “I’m Beyonce! I aint’s no Kelly Rowland.” – Really, Mercedes? Because you seemed so happy to be asked to do costumes later in the episode. Are you sure you don’t want to host The Fashion Show on Bravo?
  • For as much of a monster as I think Jessalyn Gilsig’s Terri is, she’s really funny. Two winners from her: “If my diabetes comes back I can’t get pregnant” and “Don’t go in the Christmas Closet!”
  • I’m told the first episode aired in the fall will be a re-edited pilot. My first edit: eliminating the references to MySpace and replacing it with something more culturally relevant. Like the word, “Facebook.” Or maybe even “YouTube” in some cases.
  • Spring Awakening fans, that last line was for you.


The Husband:

I honestly thought we were going to wait to review this show until the fall, but as it stands, here it is.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to find many parallels, mostly in tone and narration, between Glee and Alexander Payne’s biting 1999 high school satire Election. Not only do we get some wonderfully insightful yet overly self-centered internal monologues from our main characters at only the most opportune times, and also revel in both the show’s insistence on clichés and its subversion of them, but Cory Montheith, the actor who plays Finn, bears a striking resemblance to a young Chris Klein. (You know, before Chris Klein started sucking.)

This is quite a show, just from the pilot, what with its heightened emotions, its parody of high school affectations, its very focused jokes and, of course, the usage of Journey. True, there were some considerable lulls, and I thought the Finn transformation happened way too early, but there is definitely something special about this show. A dramedy of the highest order, I hope it helps brings even more respect to the musical form.

And on that, some might argue this isn’t a musical. Yes it is. It’s just not a “traditional musical.” People don’t have to break out into song, but simply have the music define much of the piece itself. And Ryan Murphy, as my wife pointed out, is very specific about his song choices, so “Don’t Stop Believin’” as sung by Finn and Rachel, knowing what we know about them, defines who they are, amplifies their backstory, and fits perfectly into this world. Sounds like a musical to me. Definitely as much of a musical as Cabaret.

The Wife:

Please bear with me, as I’m trying to process everything that happened in “The Incident” as I write this. Finally, we meet Jacob, ye most mysterious of island god-figures, and in addition to being a great weaver of the tapestry of fate (which is what I believe he is, as the metaphor of fate as woven exists in several ancient mythologies, as well as in Wanted), he’s also Mark Pellegrino and cooks up some mean orange roughy on hot-ass rocks. He also has a friend, a friend with no name who seems to be slightly at odds with Jacob as they sit, looking out at the clipper ship on the ocean that will undoubtedly be revealed to be the Black Rock and will likely carry one Richard Alpert, helper to island gods and island leaders.

Jacob’s unnamed associate asserts that he knows that Jacob brought the Black Rock here, specifically to prove him wrong about, I assume, humanity. Since I just went back and watched this intro, let me give you the rest of their conversation from this point:

Dude: “They come. Fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same.”
Jacob: “It only ends once. Anything that happens before that, it’s just progress.”
Dude: “Do you have any idea how badly I want to kill you?”
Jacob: “Yes.”
Dude: “One of these days, sooner or later, I’m going to find a loophole, my friend.”
Jacob: “Well, when you do I’ll be right here.”
Dude: “Always nice talking to you, Jacob.”
Jacob: “Nice talking to you, too.”

It seems pretty clear to me that my husband is right about the battle of the gods that’s taking place on this island, with Jacob and this other dude trying to prove something to one another about human nature (I think). To facilitate that argument, Jacob has started bringing people to the island, setting up a tropical microcosm in which to prove his point. I think Jacob is trying to prove that there is some inherent goodness in humanity, hence why we spent the first season of this show examining how being marooned on a tropical island with total strangers can somehow serve as atonement for sins of the past. And just as he brought the Black Rock to the island, so, too, he brought the castaways, as seen through a series of flashbacks:

  • Kate: Saved her from juvie as a child when she and young Mackenzie Astin stole an NKOTB lunchbox. He makes her promise that she’ll never steal again.
  • Sawyer: At the boy’s parents’ funeral, Jacob gives young Sawyer a pencil to finish the letter he will carry with him until the day he kills Anthony Cooper. Sawyer’s uncle tells him that what’s done is done.
  • Jin and Sun: As the only white man at their beautiful wedding, he reminds them to never doubt their love for one another, a compliment to Jin’s moving vows, which promise that he and Sun will never be apart because that would be like the sky being apart from the earth.
  • Locke: When his father tosses him out a window, Jacob is nearby reading Flannery O’Connor’s Everything That Arises Must Converge (perhaps a subtle nod to assure the viewers that, yes, everything brought up on this crazy-ass show will make sense in the end). He revives unconscious Locke with a touch and tells him everything will be okay.
  • Sayid: Jacob distracts Sayid while crossing an L.A. street while Nadya gets hit by a car and dies, and I gasped out loud because it was so horrifying.
  • Jack: After his father gives him hell during his first surgery, Jack tries to get an Apollo bar out of the machine. It gets stuck and he confronts his father. Jacob makes Jack feel better by getting a second candy bar and giving one to Jack. “I guess it just needed a little push,” he says, which isn’t just about the candy bar.
  • Ilana: As she lies wounded in a Russian hospital, Jacob comes to ask her to help him.
  • Hurley: When he gets discharged from jail, Jacob is waiting to share a cab with him. He asks Hurley why he won’t go back to the island, to which he replies that he’s cursed. Jacob suggests that his ability to talk to the dead is a blessing and tells Hurley he has a choice to be on A316 and leaves him Charlie’s guitar. (Or the guitar that will replace Charlie’s on the plane.)


This is not the order in which these Jacob flashbacks occur, but I listed them in this way because the first three people didn’t seem to follow the path Jacob set for them. Kate still became a criminal. Sawyer lives his life with the goal of killing the real Sawyer. And Sun and Jin do doubt their love. But, as with the rest of the people Jacob visited, they do come to the island. They do, ultimately, end up where Jacob wants them. Because Ilana is part of this group, I believe this lends some credibility to the theory that Oceanic 815 was not the plane that was supposed to come to the island, but that Ajira 316 was. However, I can’t totally buy that O815 was never meant to be because it allowed so many people to redeem themselves and atone for their pasts: for Jin and Sun to save their marriage, especially.

Look how happy they could have been if they had just listened to that nice white man!

Look how happy they could have been if they had just listened to that nice white man!


So what about that H bomb and Jack’s quest to reset history and erase everyone’s stories of redemption? Alpert, Sayid, Swayer and Eloise puzzle over how to transport a giant bomb across the island, and Sayid finds instructions in Faraday’s journal that indicate they only need to use the core. Sayid, who can now add dismantling atomic bombs to his ever-growing skillset, removes the core and carefully wraps it. Richard moves a wall in the tunnel that leads into the cellar of a Dharma house (just like Ben has a secret closet that leads to his Smokey-calling device; also his magical Schrödinger’s cat box in which he kept Anthony Cooper). Eloise insists that she wants to lead the way because she will not hesitate to kill any Dharmites that get in the way. Richard reminds her that she’s pregnant, and then knocks her unconscious, instructing Jack and Sayid to go on without them because he has helped them as much as he can. Because of all the hullabaloo going down in Dharmaville, Sayid and Jack try to hide in plain sight by donning Dharma uniforms. This works, until Roger Linus recognizes Sayid and shoots him right in the gut, despite Sayid’s protest that he’s kind of carrying a nuclear device. (Roger Linus douchebag points just keep on adding up.) A giant shootout ensues, and Jin, Hurley and Miles swing by in a Dharma van just in time to pick up Jack and Sayid, which pleases Jack to no end. Sayid, who is pretty certain he’s going to die, tells Jack that he just needs to stay alive long enough to rewire the bomb to detonate on impact.

As for Kate the Romance Ruiner, she informs Juliet and Sawyer that Jack is planning to blow up the island and erase history. Sawyer seems totally fine with this because Kate returning to the island totally fucked up his great life as LaFleur. But Juliet decides that they can’t let everyone die, so she engineers an escape from the sub and the three of them row back to the shore after instructing the sub captain to stay on his course and get away as quickly as possible. Once on land, they begin their quest to stop Jack by running in to Vincent, who takes them to the fantastic little island cabin where Rose and Bernard have been living for the past three years. (Best use of “Son of a Bitch” ever: Bernard, upon seeing the trio for the first time since the flaming arrow attack.) Rose and Bernard want nothing to do with this whole crazy stopping Jack plan. They’ve been living happily in the jungle and show great disdain for all of the fighting factions amongst their former people. My theory: when whatever happens at the end of this episode happens, Rose and Bernard become Adam and Eve, the skeletons in the cave from season 1, each of which held a white and a black rock. I don’t know how that would work, necessarily, but I like it, especially because Rose and Bernard both agreed that they’d be totally fine with dying should someone fail to stop Jack. Kate, Sawyer and Juliet head off on their way, despite Rose and Bernard’s assurance that none of this really matters, and stop the van.

Son of a bitch! Its those damn meddlesome kids again!

Son of a bitch! It's those damn meddlesome kids again!

Meanwhile, Locke, Ben, Alpert and the others continue on their path to Jacob. Alpert marvels at how Locke is alive, given the recent information he receive that Ben had strangled him to death. Alpert tells Locke that he is immortal because of Jacob, which Locke reckons is how he came to be alive again, as well. He also mentions that he plans to “deal with” the rest of the Ajira passengers once he’s done killing Jacob. Ben informs Locke of his promise to his dead daughter, who instructed him to do whatever Locke says, no matter what. Locke grins from ear to ear upon hearing this, because now he won’t have to convince Ben to kill Jacob. Ben will simply do it. Ben tells Locke what he already knew: that Ben was faking his conversation with Jacob the first time he took Locke to the cabin. He admits that he has never seen Jacob, the man who gave him orders for all those years as leader of the Others. “So yes, I lied,” he mutters. “That’s what I do.” He asks Locke why he has to be the one to kill Jacob, and Locke simply says that after all his years in service to the island, he got cancer, saw his daughter die and was banished – shouldn’t that be reason enough?

As for Ilana, Bram and the rest of the Ajira passengers, they’ve taken an unconscious Lapidus on their journey to whatever lies in the shadow of the statue, along with a giant-ass box. Lapidus wakes up to hear Bram dismiss him as unworthy of being some kind of sacrifice, and they show Lapidus what’s in that thar box, leading me to squeel, “What’s in the box!? What’s in the box?!” at every commercial break. Bram assures Lapidus that he and his cronies are the good guys as they cart that box to Jacob’s cabin. Ilana enters and finds the place trashed. She tells everyone to burn it down because Jacob’s not there (but his dog man portrait is; so much for the Jacob the Dog Man theories) and someone else has been using it. When Bram questions her motives, she hands him a piece of the tapestry Jacob had woven and pinned to the wall.

Sawyer takes Jack aside and requests five minutes to convince him not to change what had happened by telling him that last year, in 1976, the other Sawyer killed his parents. At any time during his tenure in Dharmaville, he could have taken a sub off-island and stopped it. But he didn’t because what’s done is done. Sawyer urges Jack to admit why he’s doing this, and Jack says he wants to erase time because he fucked up his relationship with Kate. Sawyer casually reminds him that if what he does works out, he won’t even meet Kate and she’ll spend her days in handcuffs. So Jack and Sawyer solve this the only way they know how: a super bloody fistfight, later broken up by Juliet, who now believes that they have to allow Jack to do what he wants to do. Why did she change her mind? Because Sawyer bothered to look at that freckled homewrecker when she descended into the sub. Just because they love each other, Juliet says, doesn’t mean they should be together. “If I never meet you,” she tells him, “then I never have to lose you.” (This revelation was mitigated by a flashback to her parents divorce, and was the only flashback not involving Jacob in this episode. Doesn’t that strike you as odd? It strikes me as odd.)


After the fight, Kate and Jack reenact their first meeting on the island as she cleans his wounds. She tells him she came back to save Claire and Aaron, because if Jack’s plan works, then Aaron would never be away from his mum. Even though she planned to give him up for adoption, she never would have gotten on that plane and maybe, just maybe, she’d have had a choice about what to do with her son. Hearing Kate’s belief in his plan, Jack insists that nothing in his life has ever felt as right as what he is about to do. So while Phil alerts Radzinsky to Sayid’s presence, Radzinsky remains on the warpath, insisting that he must keep drilling at the Swan site, no matter what the cost. Pierre Chang, who has tried his damnedest to get as many people off the island as possible, tries to convince Radzinsky to stop drilling, but he won’t do it. Jack takes the bomb, ready to drop it as close to the site of electromagnetism as possible and as he heads off, Miles suddenly points out to his companions that maybe, just maybe, Jack is going to end up causing the very thing he’s trying to prevent. “Maybe that little nuke IS the incident?” he questions. “Glad you guys thought this one through.”

With Hurley driving the Dharmavan, everyone in the group pulls up shooting to give Jack and clear path to the drilling site. As he drops the bomb, they all brace for their imminent death . . . but nothing happens . . . until suddenly anything metal gets sucked down the drill hole, including the drill itself, which collapses and crushes Pierre Chang’s left arm (thus confirming the theory that he would lose it in he Incident, which is why his left arm looks strangely immobile in all the Dharma videos). Phil gets impaled with rebar, which made me really happy.

I was going to try to be serious about this, but, holy wow, is not the most awesome, hilarious still youve ever seen?

I was going to try to be serious about this, but, holy wow, is not the most awesome, hilarious still you've ever seen?

Worse, though, is that a metal chain wraps itself around Juliet’s waist and drags her down into the hole. Kate, a woman she spent some time handcuffed to once, tries to save her, but loses her grip as Juliet calls out for Sawyer. He begs her to hold on, but the pull is too strong and she lets go, assuring him that he loves her and I AM SO COMPLETELY SAD IN THAT MOMENT I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF! Why wouldn’t it have taken Kate!? No one likes her!

Richard leads Locke and crew to the statue, where he says Jacob lives now, but as Locke leads Ben in, Richard protests and insists that no one but the leaders get to see Jacob. To which Locke suggests that, since he’s the leader, he’s sure Richard can make an exception. After they enter, Ilana and her crew arrive at the statue. She calls Alpert “Ricardos,” and asks him what lies in the shadow of the statue. Richard responds, in Latin, “”Ille qui nos omnes servabit,” which, according to the good folks at Lostpedia, is Latin for “He who shall protect/save us all.” Because he passed her test, she reveals to him, and us, the contents of the box. Just like last season, it’s Locke’s corpse, which prompts Sun to ask: if that’s Locke, then who the fuck just entered Jacob’s house?

The answer is that Jacob’s frenemy from the opening sequence, his rival island god, found his loophole. As Not-Locke urges Ben to do as he says and kill Jacob, Jacob insists that Ben has a choice. He can kill him, or he can simply leave. But Ben, finally in the presence of the man he worked so hard for without any recognition, becomes a simpering, wounded child and wonders aloud why this is the first time in his 35 years Jacob isn’t ignoring him. (Although, I would venture that it’s not the first time, being as Ben was brought back to life and all.) So Ben does what any mild sociopath would do and stabs the shit out of Jacob, allowing Not-Locke to incinerate him in his own fireplace as Jacob whispers, “They’re coming.”

E tu, Ben?

E tu, Ben?

But finally, before I ruminate on some stuff, there’s one more piece of information that’s necessary here. It seems the bomb didn’t detonate at all, as Juliet lies at the bottom of the Swan pit, only a few feet away from the bomb. And so, desperate, I think, to be sure that what was supposed to happen happened, she reaches for a rock and smashes it against the bomb as my television screen went white and the title card appears.

We’re left here with the big question: can you change the past or not? I believe still as I have always believed that what’s done is done, whatever happened, happened and so Juliet’s sacrifice was entirely the way things were supposed to go down. I’ll spend the rest of today reading the opinions of those who say otherwise, though, because that would be a really interesting turn of events. However, because I believe that Jacob wanted to prove human goodness to his unnamed assassin, these events serve as a proof of that. I think this Incident is the thing that’s supposed to send everyone back to 2007 (except for Juliet and Sayid, who I think are pretty much dead). And next season, everyone will have to unite in a front against Not-Locke and fight against the new island god. There are, of course, multiple ways to interpret Jacob’s last words, but I take them as a warning to Not-Locke about those who follow Jacob, those who will avenge him in his name.

I do not, however, have any thoughts on what exactly Not-Locke’s loophole is (other than borrowing the image of a dead body) or its necessity in convincing a follower to kill Jacob. As always, a riveting finale, which is everything I’ve come to expect from Lost and it’s only a bummer that I have to wait until 2010 (dude, how weird is it that next year is 2010?) to continue the journey. Now I’m going to go write about something easy, like Top Model. Because Lost makes my brain hurt.

The Husband:

Lost did something incredible this year.

Despite the awesomeness of the time travel and the paradoxes it created, the philosophy getting thrown down hard over the last 16 episode, the tragic and unflinching hand of fate, the battling timelines and the fact that it’s amazing that we as audiences can accept that we can follow Richard in two concurrent timelines 30 years separated without thinking it’s even remotely weird, it did one thing that I consider amazing.

It turned Sawyer into the show’s greatest tragic figure.

Whats done is done.

What's done is done.

Sure, I loved Sawyer before, playing an incredible foil, both dramatic and comedic, to Jack’s honor, Locke’s faith and Kate’s “goodness,” and he was responsible for just as many badass moments as the one and only Sayid (to quote Drew McWeeney over at HitFix.com, “I love how Sayid’s so badass he can just walk around the jungle with a hydrogen bomb slung over his shoulder”). His backstory, true, was indeed tragic, but had been so clouded by dark revenge, seemingly from the moment his own personal Incident occurred, that the emotions were buried under so many layers of hate.

Here’s something I wrote for the eight episode of this season, “LaFleur”:

But what I loved was that it gave Sawyer, for once, his first uplifting storyline of the entire series. We’ve been smacked with his terrible life again and again – his dead parents, his bloodlust on his search to find the original Sawyer, his destructive cons, and all the bad decisions he’s made on the islands – so it’s just such a breath of fresh air to see a happy, productive, non-thieving, non-growling James Ford/James LaFleur. His redemption as a person, or as much as what can be called redemption, drove my emotions in this episode more than most of Jack’s entire arc, and that’s impressive.

Hell, I teared up twice during the last ten minutes of the episode, first when he and Juliet kiss and the second when Sawyer spots Kate Austen coming out of the blue VW van only moments after revealing that he couldn’t even remember her face anymore. And these tears are for the guy who stole items out of people’s luggage for bartering purposes in s1. Come on, man. Give some respect.

In short, he evolved into an honorable and overall good human being. A leader. A decider. A lover. A faithful man. And a potential family down the line after having fucked up everything with Cassidy and Clementine back in the real world.

But here’s Jack to fuck everything up, playing a part in destiny’s cruel game. And every step moves Sawyer and Juliet closer to the collapse of their relationship, disallowing Sawyer from any semblance of happiness no matter how hard he fought to make it otherwise. And no moment is worse than Juliet’s hand slipping from his, as she plummets down into the Swan hatch, where a hydrogen bomb waits for her. Sawyer was given everything he ever asked for, and it’s been ripped away. And there’s no question that he’s going to rage against this next season. He may not have believed in destiny before, but he might now.

I am completely in the dark about what next season entails, and I like it that way. I avoid spoilers, I avoid little nuggets of clues, and I tend to even avoid most speculation. Just give it to me good in 2010, and I’ll be happy.

The Wife:


You guys all remember that car accident whence the Observer allegedly saved Walter and Peter? Well, he actually only saved Walter. Because Peter did done died. And he has no memories of his early childhood at all, because the Peter we know was stolen from another dimension to replace the son Walter lost in this life. Snoo! I thought I’d just get that big revelation out of the way because it was super good. We’d long been discussing that Peter might be a clone or a cyborg like Nina Sharp, but because there’s more than one of everything, he’s actually just his other self. At least, this is what I believe we are supposed to infer from the coin he doesn’t remember flipping, his grave and Walter’s lengthy discussion of how he started looking into parallel dimensions after he lost something very dear to him.

But before that revelation, Nina Sharp, shot at the end of the last episode, is rushed to surgery, requiring lots of specialists because she’s more cyborg than we previously thought. After analyzing the audio recorded by the security camera during her shooting, Olivia et al realize that it was David Robert Jones who shot her. He removed something from her arm, a super cell, powerful enough to make whatever he’s doing unstoppable. Olivia is ready to chase down Bell, but Nina assures her that Bell is not the enemy in this case. Jones worked for Bell 15 years ago, and was fired, so she posits that these actions, The Pattern, are Jones’ way of getting back at Bell. Nina tells Olivia that if she stops Jones, she will arrange a private meeting for Olivia with William Bell.

I know there's a pattern here, but what is it?

I know there's a pattern here, but what is it?

Meanwhile, Jones and his crew are out trying to open up other dimensions, using the super cell to power a device that rips open windows to other worlds. Only it isn’t totally working right, ripping things in half that try to enter or exit. (See: truck missing its back half, soccer player missing half of his body.) Olivia starts doing some hardcore paranormal research and realizes that The Pattern really does form a pattern, a series of incidents radiating out from the places in which Jones tested his ability to break down soft spots in the fabric of the universe. Conveniently, if you rearrange the way you look at those patterns, they form a new one, pointing to Jones’ next target: Reiden Lake.

Walter has been missing while all this has gone down, taking some sweet mind trips with The Observer to graveyards and beach houses and whatnot. The Observer reminds him of Peter’s otherworldly origins by giving him the coin the boy used to flip, asserting that there is more than one of everything. He tells Walter that he should now know what he has to find, and Walter goes searching his old beach house. Peter eventually catches up to him there, remembering at the least that they used to go there when he was a child, and Walter tells his son about all his old acid trips with Bell and how they thought they were seeing other dimensions and spent their lives trying to find ways to access them without LSD. In a box, he uncovers Peter’s other coin, as well as a plugging device that will stop any rifts between dimensions from opening.

I stole you from another dimesion when you were a child, don't you remember?

I stole you from another dimesion when you were a child, don't you remember?

Walter and Peter meet up with Olivia et al at Raiden Lake, where Jones is already working on opening a hole to get to the other side. Peter manages to shut down the hole just in time, which is extremely helpful, as the transporter made Jones impervious to bullets, but not impervious to being sliced in half by straddling two dimensions.

Nina sends Olivia to NYC to meet with Bell, after informing her that Bell’s research with Cortexafam was to allow gifted children to travel in and out of other dimensions without widening soft spots. Bell, it seems, has been hiding out in another dimension this whole time, and after Olivia waits for about eight hours to meet with him and he never shows, she hops in an elevator and leaves. But during the 15th and 16th floors, something weird happens: suddenly, other people appear, and then disappear, and when the doors open, she’s welcomed into a bright, white hallway and taken to Bell’s office . . . which happens to be in one of the Twin Towers . . . in another universe where 9/11 never happened. (But Obama is still president, if the New York Post on Bell’s desk is to be believed.)

This was a great season finale, and I’m very excited for the possibilities for next season. I think there will be a greater focus on the mytharc of The Pattern and interdimensional travel/alternate realities. If there’s one thing J.J. Abrams does really well, it’s peering into alternate realities or altering the time line, and I can see Fringe doing very well down that route.

Questions still unanswered:

  • Why, exactly, is Nina Sharp a cyborg? I mean, I love her even more now that I know she has Kevlar ribs, but since I’m so into cyberpunk now, I’d love to learn more about that.
  • What happened to Peter’s mother?
  • Why did the folks at ZFT do so much experimentation with hybridity and diseases? Are these experiments also to prepare soldiers for the war against people from other dimensions?
  • Everyone seems very fearful of other realities, but if Bell is hanging in one where 9/11 didn’t happen, that somehow doesn’t seem so bad to me. Where are the horrible realities filled with people with no orifices and swamp monster chimera thingies? (Husband Note: The Post did mention a New White House, which may indicate something horrible happened to the old one.)

There are definitely more questions still unanswered, but I’m sick currently and am amazed I was able to lucidly discuss that episode at all. Anyway, I’ve enjoyed geeking out with you all about Fringe, and I think we can all agree that the show has gotten to a really good place and can only get better during its sophomore season.

Until then, I leave you with my favorite Walter line this week:


“We’re trying to plug a hole in the universe. What are you doing here?”


The Husband:

Even in this post-Lost television landscape, I was still damned surprised that Fringe got away with such a slow burn during its premiere season. Did they really do that good of a job keeping me away from learning about these alternate dimensions, a maaaaajor game changer, and how they related to The Pattern? Did they actually trust in the intelligence of its viewers to keep 20 episodes in mind, many standalone and seemingly unimportant?

Between this finale and Star Trek, I am genuinely impressed with what Kurtzman and Orci cooked up. Yeah, the dudes who wrote the fun-but-dumb-as-a-bag-of-hammers Transformers figured it out, along with help from the justly maligned Akiva Goldsman, the man who helped turn the Batman universe into a peacock explosion of neon, codpieces and puns about ice.

And what of alternate realities? Is this show now going to become Sliders? (I actually never watched Sliders, but I do know two things about it. 1. It starred the O’Connell Brothers and my beloved Sabrina Lloyd. 2. It was about jumping between dimensions. Good enough, right?)

And hey, to that jackass that gave me shit for my negative review of The Mentalist pilot and gave me some numbers that the Mentalist pilot scored more viewers than Fringe, I’d like to point out that as of last week, Fringe surpassed that CBS crap to become the highest-rated new series of the 2008-2009 television season. Premiere numbers are one thing, but returning viewers are another, and so Fringe proves that it has legs and drawing power. There’s nothing better than word-of-mouth, especially those words that brought back a good deal of viewers once Fringe realllly got cooking several episodes in. Suck it, hater.

And so, I will leave you with how I began writing about Fringe – with a haiku!

Alternate worlds are

Tricky. Good: David Lynch films.

Bad: James Wong’s The One.

(Wife’s note: Maybe one day I’ll tell you all about the time I spent Easter in James Wong’s living room. I usually don’t get to name drop like my husband the former entertainment journalist does, but I’ve been to James Wong’s house. And that’s fucking awesome.)

The Wife:

Even though they were in two different time periods, this episode felt very much like the Jack vs. Locke leadership quests in season three. Only here, Jack, desperate to try and change the past so that the 815ers never crash on the island, puts himself in Faraday’s place to carry out the instructions in his journal. Locke, on the other hand, is at once following the timeline and, perhaps, totally destroying it in his final act in this episode: leading the Others to Jacob’s cabin . . . so they can watch him kill Jacob.

In 1977, Widmore rounds up the nearby Jack and Kate after Faraday is shot, and Eloise meets with them in her tent. She wants to know why Faraday needed to find the bomb, telling them of how she remembered meeting a man who told her to bury the bomb when she was 17. Jack tries to convince her, and Kate, that they need to follow Faraday’s plan and reverse what is about to happen on the island. Because Jack is a total moron and I’ll never understand why Kate was attracted to him in the first place, he rambles on about how great it will be to have erased all the misery of being stuck on that island from their lives, not realizing at all that he’s basically telling her that he wishes they were never together. (A fact that still doesn’t seem to sink in, even when Kate protests that the 815ers time together “wasn’t all misery.”) Way to go, Jack. You are a fucking dumbass and you are never sleeping with Kate, like, ever again. Eloise, however, seems more keen to follow her dead son’s journal and agrees to take Jack to the bomb, which is now buried under Dharmaville, it seems.

Jack, youre a bitch. And I am done with your bitch shit. You will never, ever tap this again, understood?

Jack, you're a bitch. And I am done with your bitch shit. You will never, ever tap this again, understood?

Jack just can’t seem to shake that hero complex, even though we’re all well aware that the real leader of the castaways in the 1970s is Sawyer, who has his own trials now that Ranjinsky has taken up torturing him in front of Juliet in order to get information about where Kate took young Ben Linus. Sawyer refuses to divulge any information, so Phil takes it into his own hands to get Sawyer to talk by busting Juliet’s lip. (At which point I had a flashback to the scene in Mad Men where Jimmy Barrett takes Betty Draper aside and quietly, metaphorically punches her in the face by revealing the affair their spouses are having. Patrick Fischler is really good at making women hurt.) In greater Dharmaville, Hurley is busy stealing food to bring on his trip to the beach with Miles, Jin and, presumably, Sawyer and Juliet. Dr. Chang catches him and follows him out to meet with his companions, checking the veracity of Faraday’s claim. Miles tells his father that Faraday has been right about everything so far, and that it would be best if he followed the slain physicists instructions and got as many people off of the island as possible.

Chang heads down into the security station to get Horace to call off the imminent drilling at the Swan station, but Ranjinsky steps up and declares himself to be in charge, and when he’s in charge, everything will be completed on schedule. Sawyer tells Chang to get all of the women and children on the island on that submarine, and promises to tell them whatever they want in exchange for a place for himself and his Juliet on that vessel. Ranjinsky agrees to this deal, and demands that Sawyer give him a map to Hostile territory.

Meanwhile, Widmore tries to prevent Ellie from taking Faraday’s friends to the bomb. We don’t get to hear their conversation, so I’m just inferring all of that from hand gestures. Another thing I’m inferring from hand gestures: did anyone else notice the way Widmore held his hand to Eloise’s stomach during that unheard conversation? Because I did, and now I think that she must have been pregnant with Daniel at this time, thus carrying her son at the very moment she would shoot him. But whatever Widmore might have said to her, she goes on anyway, taking Richard Alpert along with Jack and Kate. Once they get to a stream, Eloise tells them that they have to swim through a passage in order to get to “the tunnels,” and Kate refuses to go. Eloise’s bodyguard/red shirt shoots at Kate, but he is felled by a stealthily concealed Sayid. (Well, played, Sayid! We kind of forgot you were just roaming around in the jungles, being the new Rousseau and shit.) Jack explains to Sayid that they’re going to change the timeline by detonating Jughead, and Sayid, smugly informs them that he already has changed the timeline by killing Ben Linus . . . at which point Kate bursts his smug assassin bubble. Jack tries one last time to convince Kate to help him change things, but she’s not having any of his newfound Faraday Fervor, and informs him that he’s starting to sound an awful lot like his old crazy nemesis, John Locke. So she leaves to return to Dharmaville, while Ellie, Sayid, Jack and Richard swim to the tunnels, which appear to be an extension of the Temple.

There’s an interesting similarity here in the entrance to the tunnels being through water to the pool of water Ben drains below his house. Some astute folks have noted that water seems to act as a barrier for the Smoke Monster (as in smoke cannot pass through water, so, if you want to keep Smokey at bay, fucking put a moat around your shit), so this part of the Temple, the tunnels, appear to be an No Smokey Zone. Can we not trust Smoke Monsters with hydrogen bombs? (Probably not.) I am, however, curious about two things now. 1.) How far do the tunnels go? Is there a subterranean system of catacombs under the surface of the island, connecting virtually everything? 2.) Was this really the safest way to bury a hydrogen bomb? I’m pretty sure Faraday would have preferred to have the thing literally encased in concrete, not just casually resting on its side in a subterranean lair. But what do I know. I’m not a time traveling physicist.

Kate continues her bubble bursting when she returns to camp and Ranjinsky orders that she be put on the submarine, totally ruining Sawyer and Juliet’s plans to have a happy life off the island when they disappear once the sub docks. Elizabeth Mitchell’s “aw, hell no!” face is so amazing, and I definitely wouldn’t want to be stuck on a submarine for God knows how long with Kate Austen, either. I feel for Juliet. She and Sawyer had a good thing going, and then the A3 showed up and totally ruined everything. And now that bitch your man used to pine over is all up on your love submarine? That shit’s no good, yo. That shit’s no good.

Does this remind anyone else of that song from Peter Pan? Because thats all I can think of right now.

Does this remind anyone else of that song from Peter Pan? Because that's all I can think of right now.

As for John Locke, he’s taking his “I’m the leader” business very, very seriously, becoming almost as cocksure and manipulative as his comedy partner, Ben Linus. He drags Richard Alpert away from his fun-time activity of building ships in a bottle (I think there’s a beautiful metaphor there, but I’m not sure what it is yet) to go and visit Jacob. Alpert is astounded to see Locke alive, and he promises to tell the immortal Other all about his resurrection on the way, but not before Sun can interrupt this reunion and as Alpert about Dharmaville ’77. He tells her that he does, indeed, remember meeting everyone in that photograph “very clearly, because I watched them all die.” Ominous portents of certain doom aside, Locke assures Sun that he’ll find a way to keep everyone from meeting that fate, which seems to pacify her enough. (She’s not so lady vengeance on the island, is she? Where is the Sun with the balls to stand up to her dad and, maybe, shoot Ben Linus? I miss that Sun.) So Locke leads Ben and Alpert out to the biplane that night and gives Alpert very detailed instructions about how to remove bullets, giving old men who think they’re special compasses and, most importantly, telling said old men they have to die in order to bring all of their friends back to the island. Ben is very impressed by watching Locke watch himself get set on his path to destiny and asks how he knew exactly when to be there, resulting in my favorite Locke and Linus Comedy Moment of the evening:


Locke: The island told me. Didn’t it tell you things?

Ben: No, John. It didn’t.


Seriously, the hilarity in that is entirely up to Locke’s smarminess and Michael Emerson’s brilliantly sarcastic line reading.

When they return to camp, Locke insists that he speak to everyone there, and Alpert acquiesces, because his capacity as an advisor seems to be “let the leaders fuck shit up however they want.” John, like Nietzsche, has a “God is Dead” moment where he announces to the camp that he questions Jacob’s capacity as an omniscient leader, and even his existence. He intends to take everyone to Jacob’s cabin so that they can witness whether or not Jacob exists. En route, he tells Ben that they’re not going to see Jacob to fulfill his promise to Sun of reuniting with their friends in Dharmaville ’77, but to kill Jacob.

I’ve long said that Locke’s resurrection has made him a kind of deity figure, someone semi-omniscient, perhaps on the level of Richard Alpert, but now I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve been wrong about that and Locke’s resurrection has actually changed him into a non-believer, merely enacting things he knew would come to pass to mock Ben and the giant cosmic game that ultimately got him killed. If he is able to kill Jacob, the island’s mysterious God-like figure, would that destroy the cosmic order of the island, thus fulfilling Nietzsche’s nihilist philosophical stance with a lack of cosmic or moral order (since it’s a human invention, anyway)? And can a man that cannot be seen even be killed, anyway? This new Locke is puzzling, and I don’t really know how to read him or his actions anymore, but I have a feeling that whatever he’s set off to do cannot be good.

The Husband:

While I’m not surprised that Hurley, when put under pressure and questioned by Dr. Chang, couldn’t keep up the façade that he belonged in 1977 and declares that he was born in 1931 (dunno where he got that number), I am surprised that he was unaware of the Korean War. Dude watches a lot of television, so I would assume that he’s seen his share of M*A*S*H. Oh well, you can’t have everything.

And so the mindfucker just got mindfucked, as John Locke sent Richard Alpert to talk to injured alterna-Locke, and the deity situation on this show becomes increasingly more complicated. Are we going to have a battle of the Gods next season? Is all of this going to look like the climax of All Dogs Go to Heaven?

I also hope that characters stop proclaiming that they can change the order of things — I’m looking at you, Jack — because I’m under the impression that last week’s The Lamentable Death of Faraday episode pretty much solidified this as being a fool’s errand. So next week should be the last mention of this, o the show’s going to start repeating itself and annoying those of us who pretty much understood the time travel concept from the get-go. (Thank you, once again, time paradoxes put forth in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.)

The Wife:

We still don’t know exactly what Daniel Faraday was off doing in Ann Arbor, but we do know that because 1977 is the present for the Freighties and O6ers, they can die.

And my beloved scruffy physicist is dead. Shot by his own mother. Which is, like, totally harsh, dude.

We do know, though, that during his time in Ann Arbor, Faraday got to thinking about his whole “whatever happened, happened” hypothesis and returns to the island thinking that he might be able to actually change the future. He tells Jack and the rest of the A3 that they “don’t belong here,” and proceeds to sneak into the construction site of the Orchid station to vainly warn Pierre Chang against releasing the island’s electromagnetic energy. He warns him that one day, an incident will occur at the site of The Swan, which he knows because he’s from the future. He also informs Chang that Miles there is his son, all growed up, which Chang doesn’t seem to have much of a reaction to other than cementing his assumption that Faraday is batshit crazy. Faraday explains to Miles that he’s just playing agent of destiny, telling Chang all of these things so that he does what he’s supposed to do (i.e. get people off the island prior to, possibly, what is known as “The Incident,” which we’ll learn all about in the finale – two of those people being his wife and son). He later sets little Charlotte on her path, telling her that she needs to leave the island on the submarine with her mommy and not return. (I greatly appreciated the detail where she announces she isn’t allowed to eat chocolate for dinner, which was my favorite part of her dying ramblings. It really cemented that her mind collapsed back to this moment when she was set on her “destined path.”)

With Phil tied up in the closet, Sawyer and Juliet realize that their time amongst the Dharma Initiative has to come to an end soon. He provides the A3 and the Left Behinders with a choice: they can get on the sub and leave the island without incident, or they can go back to the beginning and disappear into the jungles. Jin refuses to leave if there’s even a chance that Sun is on the island, and Faraday bursts in, wanting to know how he can find the Hostiles. He needs to talk to his mother, he says, and get her help in getting everyone back to their correct place in time. Juliet gives Dan the code for the fence (141717) and Sawyer sends Jack and Kate to steal a motorpool van and take him out to Hostile territory. Once they’re out the door, Sawyer and Juliet send Hurley to pack a bag and, hand in hand, the LaFleurs begin to pack up the life they’ve made together.

Worst. Mod Squad. Ever.

Worst. Mod Squad. Ever.

Once Dan, Kate and Jack hit up the motorpool, they’re stopped by Ranjinsky, who is rightfully suspicious of their activities and starts a shootout with them, grazing Faraday’s neck with a bullet, which, once the trio are safely off to the fence in a Dharma Jeep, having distracted Ranjinsky et al with explodeys, causes him to ruminate on the fact that the things happening to them in 1977 constitute their present, so they are not infallible, in a nice bit of foreshadowing. He explains that he’d spent a lot of time thinking about what is constant with time travel, but never about the variables. People, he supposes, are the variables. People like himself, Kate and Jack, trapped in a time in which they do not belong. If that’s true, then perhaps they can change things before they start to happen. There will be an incident involving a release of energy, which causes Dharma to build The Swan to contain that energy by pressing a button every 108 minutes which, one day, Desmond David Hume will fail to press, releasing a burst of energy that brings down Oceanic 815 and sets the castaways past in motion. But if Faraday can prevent that incident from occurring by detonating a hydrogen bomb (Jughead, which he conveniently told the Hostiles to bury), he might be able to stop all of that from happening.

Ranjinsky and his men head to LaFleur to report what just happened to them and find that he’s packing to leave. Once they discover Phil in the closet, Ranjinksy holds the two hostage and threatens to shoot them as the alarm sounds over Dharmaville, putting everyone on high alert. Faraday enters into Hostile territory brandishing a gun and demanding to see Eloise. Alpert tries to calm him down, seeming to recognize the scruffy physicist but not quite sure from where until Daniel tells him he helped him bury a bomb in 1954 (which really freaks Alpert out, presumably because he thought he was the only person in the world that doesn’t age). But before Alpert can help Daniel get to that bomb, he’s shot in the back, by his own mother. As he dies, he mutters: “You knew. You always knew this was going to happen. Yet you sent me anyway.”

In fact, Eloise had been pushing Daniel toward this destiny all along. Although he loved music as a child, she pushed him toward mathematics, citing his natural ability for numbers, demonstrated by the fact that, even as he plays music, he knows exactly how many times the metronome has moved since he began. I really loved the following exchange between Eloise and her young son, which I found eerily prescient and indicative of Daniel’s character arc for this episode:

Daniel: I can do both. I can make time.
Eloise: If only you could.

At Oxford, Faraday’s mother tried to push him away from girlfriend/lab assistant Theresa Spencer, warning him that every woman in his life will get hurt, but covering by suggesting that they’ll come to that state by always feeling like they’re second to his work. (Not, you know, because their minds will time travel and then collapse, leaving Theresa in a coma and Charlotte, well, dead.) Later, to commemorate the receipt of his doctorate, Eloise gives Daniel the beautiful leather journal we’ve seen him cling to throughout his tenure on Lost. Its inscription reads, “No matter what happens, remember that I will always love you.” That day, he also receives a $1.5M Pound Sterling research grant from one Charles Widmore, the research that eventually puts Theresa in a coma and turns Daniel into a gibbering mess of what he once was when he tests his theories on himself. Widmore pays him a visit after the crash of Oceanic 815, which the then-addled Daniel feels strangely, emotionally connected to, and tells the young scientist that he faked the wreckage and that people from that flight are still alive on a mysterious island that, if Daniel can help him find it, will heal him and make him capable of doing research again. Although he isn’t sure he can do what Widmore wants him to do, Eloise convinces him to go along on Widmore’s journey, promising him that it will heal his broken mind.

Totally invariable: my love for Daniel Faraday.

Totally invariable: my love for Daniel Faraday.

The exchange between Faraday and Eloise at his childhood piano and her inscription in his journal, I think, are really the touchstones for this episode. As I mentioned before, Daniel’s childhood wish that he can “make time” ends up being exactly what he tries to do before being shot down by his own mother figuratively (in that childhood exchange) and literally in his final scene in Hostile territory. She goes to visit Desmond and Penny in hospital to explain to Ms. Hume how her son is responsible for Des getting shot in the groceries (which, by the way, do not stop bullets – Des is just totally badass and fought Ben through the pain), which is, I think, her way of admitting her own responsibility for the hand she had in Faraday’s fate. Later, after Penny has gone in to talk to her husband (who is A-OK thanks to that grocery shield), Eloise runs into Widmore outside the hospital. He tells her he won’t go in to see Penny because he had to sacrifice his relationship with his daughter to do his work, a claim which angers Eloise so much that she feels the need to defend her actions toward her son, because while Widmore may have sacrificed his relationship with Penny, it was Eloise who sacrificed her son. She guided him on the path of his destiny, which was ultimately to be shot by her own hand. (By the way, Widmore is Faraday’s dad, in case you were wondering. And he is rather unmoved by this whole situation.) Yes, Daniel’s dying words were correct. She knew. And yet she sent him anyway because that’s how things had to happen. Death was Faraday’s present, but there was no way he was going to be able to change the island’s past – Eloise was always going to stop him. Whatever happened, happened.

This, along with Eloise’s sweet, but sad, “If only you could,” feeds in to Lost‘s greater themes about fate and destiny, in adding more proof that they are constant. But I’m struck here by the similarity between Eloise and the Virgin Mary, both of whom lived their entire maternal lives knowing that their sons were born to die as sacrificial lambs for God, Fate or the Greater Good. I’ve never thought of Eloise as sympathetic before or even really relatable (even though she is played by the wonderful Fionnula Flannigan). But here, in seeing her relationship to her son, I think I finally got to know her, and I do believe that the cold, manipulative face of the Agent of Fate is indeed tempered with a heavy amount of maternal sadness. That “if only you could” is as much mourning her son’s eventual death as it is mourning her own inability to prevent it, in spite of the fact that, as a loving mother, she should do what she can to protect her son, to be a Warrior Mother like Kate.

I may not have been moved to tears by “The Variable” as I was by its clear partner “The Constant,” but I think it’s a pretty brilliant, poetic and moving addition to the Lost canon. Yet another stellar episode in a stellar season. I will be forever haunted by the image on young Daniel’s futile protest of his destined path, wanting to sit at that piano and make time, as he unconsciously counts the movements of the metronome, keeping time the way it is and was, not the way he wants it to be.

The Husband:

A terrifying, tragic episode in a season of slow burns and emotional catharses. While many of the episodes this year may not be the most exciting or adrenaline-pumping, they are the most intellectually stimulating, not only for their deep dive into metaphysics and time travel but also their storybook-like acknowledgement of destinies both spiritual and scientific. As Faraday struggles to get a grasp on the past, present and future, doing everything in his power to rationalize the impossible, we as viewers see a different plot of a desperate man railing against what he knows in the back of his mind is incapable of being changed. The bright, brilliant man who has helped the Losties so greatly with his exposition and knowledge of the island and all of its physics-related qualities now becomes the helpless pawn in a game he is all to familiar with, and it’s startlingly upsetting.

The worst moment, in terms of pity, comes when Daniel approaches young Charlotte and proceeds to tell her what we already knew, that one day a strange man came to her and told her to never come back to the island for fear of death, and it’s Faraday’s sadness that truly makes the scene incredible. Nothing he could say to Charlotte could make her not return to the island, because we all know she will. Faraday knows it too, but it’s as if he thinks that if he believes it enough, he can change both their destinies. Alas.

I’m not sure if I can handle Faraday being dead. If there’s any other character in this show that I would love to be resurrected Locke-style, it would be him. But if this is the last we see of him, we know he went out on a great episode overflowing with emotion, information and the cruel hand of fate.

The Wife:

Our DVR was getting close to capacity, so this weekend was very procedurally focused for me. But before I start talking about Criminal Minds, I’d like to suggest that you all visit Matthew Gray Gubler’s personal website. I discovered it a few months ago, and even though I already harbor a fairly well-known crush on the good Dr. Reid, I am now head-over-heels in love with the actor behind him. Gubler has worked with Wes Anderson, used to be a fashion model and is also an artist, drawing some truly strange and macabre little watercolors and sketches. You’ll either love him more for this website, or become slightly afraid of him. Either way, you should check it out. He’s amazing.

4.17 “Demonology”

An episode about exorcism that I no longer really remember, sufficient to say that it took place in Georgetown, which is funny because that’s where The Exorcist was filmed and also funny because I happen to know that a linguistic consultant for the show sometimes guest lectures at the school.

I do remember, though, that this was a good character episode for Prentiss, who is rocked by the death of her friend, a friend who stood by her when she had an abortion in Rome at 15 and helped her walk into church with her head held high, despite what everyone in the room thought of her. Some very good work by the multi-talented Paget Brewster in this episode, but nothing else stand-out.

(Husband Note: I do, however, remember the presence of Walton Goggins as one of Prentiss’ old friends, and that I could not take him seriously because of how pathetic he as a character became during the final season of The Shield. I hate to typecast actors, but he was so good as the show’s truly tragic, wretched second lead that I can’t see him as anybody else. Sort of like how Dylan Baker will always be a pedophile.)

4.18 “Omnivore”

Besides Matthew Gray Gubler, you know who else is amazing? C. Thomas Howell.

First of all, dude works like a motherfucker. He may have never been a star, but when I see someone with 127 credits to their name since the age of 11, I’d say they’re living the dream that only a lucky few get to experience: being a working actor. Tommy is perhaps best known for his work in The Hitcher and the movie that should have made him an 80s teen star, Soul Man (but kind of didn’t because he was kind of in blackface . . . just watch it . . . it’s not as horrifying as it sounds, but why anyone thought Tommy would make a convincing black man, I’ll never know). But I know Tommy best for somehow beating Hal Sparks on VH1’s Celebracadabra, a short-run series where “celebrities” learn magic. Look, I love Tommy, but Hal Sparks had that shit in the bag. In any case, Tommy is a totally likeable human being . . . which just goes to show you how good of an actor he is in this episode of CM.

(Husband Correction: He is definitely known the best for Red Dawn and The Outsiders, but yes, we are in agreement that C. Thomas Hwell is the muthafuckin’ man.)

I am hurt and confused that The Wife does not remember my brilliant performance in Red Dawn. Wolverines? No?

I am hurt and confused that The Wife does not remember my brilliant performance in Red Dawn. Wolverines? No?

Given that he had top billing of guest stars in the episode, it was not at all a surprise to me that his character, George Foyett, was actually The Boston Reaper, a serial killer that had made a pact with the police 10 years ago to stop killing as long as he was no longer pursued, a pact that would soon expire. Foyett was the Reaper’s sole survivor, and that’s because Foyett, a hebophile (someone who is sexually aroused by teenage girls), had murdered a girl he was allegedly going to propose to and then inflicted 67 stab wounds into himself to throw the police off his trail, all the while being able to assume another identity (his own, non-killing identity) and profess the “real” story about the Reaper to the media, thus gaining the kind of fame serial killers like to have.

Once the team figures out that Foyett is the killer, they arrest him, only to find out that he has engineered his own escape from jail – the arrest and escape were something he had been plotting in the ten years he lay dormant, all to feed into his own legend and narcissism. Frankly, I think that was a great twist and it opens us up to another episode with C. Thomas Howell in the future. And that’s only a good thing, because I now cannot get the image of Tommy with blood running down his chin out of my head. And that’s disturbing, because it was kind of sexy.

4.19 “House on Fire”

And that truly brilliant Boston Reaper episode was followed by something of a non-starter involving a serial arsonist in a small town, all because the town drove away a due whose “love map” went all wonky when his parents died in a fire, thus giving him an unnatural attachment to his sister. Lost’s Sam Anderson guest starred as the town doctor, basically playing another version of Bernard, and Michael Rooker had very thick facial hair as the town Sheriff, which really threw me off because I’m used to a clean shaven Rooker.

The best part of this episode, though, was Garcia having to play profiler by digging deep into the victim’s pasts to find any connecting threads at all. She’s excellent at digging, and there were some good character moments for her here when she realizes that she likes to pour through information, not the minds of people.

4.20 “Conflicted”

I never really did “Spring Break” the way MTV wants you to do Spring Break, so I have a hard time picturing people voluntarily going to warm locales just to drink a lot and have random hookups. I can, however, picture a scenario like the one in this episode where Alpha male Spring Breakers are being raped and murdered, presumably by a male-female partnership.

And they’re right – except that the male/female partnership are the same person, hotel housekeeper Adam Jackson and his alter personality, Amanda, who surfaces to protect Adam. And when Amanda is arrested, she becomes the dominate personality, locking Adam away inside her.

I should note that in addition to guest star Roma Maffia (Hey there, Liz Cruz!), this episode also featured Jackson Rathbone as Adam/Amanda. I thought that Rathbone was incredible in this role, because that Amanda was definitely one fucking crazy bitch, and I am now even more impressed because I should have known him from Twilight. He plays Jasper, and he seems to be one of the most hated things about the movie as it always looks like Jasper is getting an enema. Rathbone is a good actor, I’m just pretty sure that working with material from Stephenie Meyer is nowhere near as good for stretching one’s acting abilities than twisted shit in a guest spot on a procedural. Or maybe Jason Alexander is better at directing actors than Catherine Hardwicke? Either way, I’m now looking forward to the later movies in the series where Jasper actually has things to do.

Sorry, I just got a flash of that one time I created an army of vampires during the Civil War.

Sorry, I just got a flash of that one time I created an army of vampires during the Civil War.

(Husband Note: I just had a fun time calling the episode out on its bullshit, as the “Texan island” where the episode took place was just Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles, right the fuck next to the airport. Had the camera moved slightly to the right in some shots, I would have seen my clearly SoCal alma mater. I don’t know a whole lot about the islands off of Texas in the Gulf, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t look like an episode of The O.C.)

4.21 “A Shade of Gray”

A sociopathic child incapable of feeling remorse kills his little brother and his parents hire their cop friend to make it look like it’s part of an ongoing serial kidnapping case to get the BAU involved. All I could think of is that this is all probably guest star Gretchen Egoff’s fault, because she should have made that little sociopath a pizza sandwich.

Oh, man, I miss Journeyman.