West Side Story (1961)

I like musicals.  I did not know much about West Side Story outside of the typical.  Street gangs singing and fighting with each other.

So when Fathom Events showed West Side Story, the winner of 10 Academy Awards that year, I wanted to see it.

I have to say… I was disappointed.

First, the pre-show told me that Tony was played by the same guy who played Ben Horne and Russ Tamblyn, who was Riff, played Dr. Jacoby, both in Twin Peaks.  I spent much of the movie trying to see Jacoby and Ben in the face and movements of Tony and Riff.  It was a bit of a distraction.

Secondly, I kept waiting for songs that I recognized and I was surprised that I did not know very many.

While I thought the acting was wonderful and the dancing was amazing, I had some definite problems with the movie.

I did not buy the relationship between Tony and Maria (Natalie Wood).  They met one day at a dance and then were in complete love five minutes later.  Then, Tony kills her brother in the rumble after telling her that he was going to stop it from happening.  He came back to her after, she called him a murderer, and then they had sex.  What?  She was ready to kill herself at the end of the movie over his death when she met him one day before.  Since I had trouble buying their relationship, that makes everything else in the film not work.

Rita Moreno was tremendous, but I was unbelievably uncomfortable with the dance scene that was heading towards the Jets preparing to rape her in Doc’s shop.  In today’s world with the issues of immigration, the way they spoke to her during this scene made me hate these characters.

Some of the dance/music felt like the wrong tone for what was happening on the screen.

I was really bored in the first half of the film.  I will say that, after the intermission, I enjoyed the second half better.  The rumble scene was very solid.

The music and choreography was great but I keep going back to my problem with Tony and Maria and I just could not get past it.  After one day I just can’t believe that they would be that much in love to survive Tony killing her brother.

I am glad I saw it, but, for me, West Side Story is…

overrated

 

LOST S1 E18 “Numbers”

Image result for LOST s1 e18 NumbersImage result for LOST s1 e18 Numbers

 

 

 

 

 

4 8 15 16 23 42

Hugo “Hurley” Reyes is one of my favorite characters on LOST so it was way overdue to have a flashback episode featuring him.  However, little did I expect that Hurley’s flashback would forever be so ingrained on LOST mythology because the episode introduced the numbers.

4 8 15 16 23 42 repeated several times on Rousseau’s notes surprised Hurley.  Those numbers were the same numbers that he used to win the lottery.  And they seem to have placed a curse on him and everyone around him.

Hurley picked up these numbers during his time in a mental institution from a Connect 4 player named Leonard.  Leonard worked with a guy in the military named Sam Loomis and they picked up a transmission repeating those numbers.  We find out that the transmission was coming from the Island and it is also what attracted Rousseau’s boat to the Island.

The numbers are one of the most enduring mysteries of LOST and I believe that they are the one thing that is not sufficiently answered.  I believe that they never really had a good answer for the numbers so once they started using them, they could not stop.  The riddle of the numbers is like a MacGuffin, always being chased- especially by Hurley.

The interaction between Hurley and Rousseau during this episode is one of the best moments of the show, and should be considered one of the best in the first season.  Even crazy Rousseau is put at ease with Hurley’s friendly and kind nature.  Hurley gives Rousseau a big hug as well when she agrees that the numbers are cursed.  Hurley was so happy to find someone who believed him.

The episode does a tremendous job of creating a ominous and sinister tone surrounding those numbers as we discover the terrible things that happened to Loomis after he used them and the fact that Leonard wound up in the mental institution repeating the numbers to himself.  Hurley has lots of things happen as well.  His Grandpa Tito died.  His mother breaks her ankle.  The new house Hurley bought his mother catches on fire.  Lightning strikes the preacher at his Grandpa’s funeral etc.  It is enough to make anyone wonder.

And Hurley was fresh out of the institution himself.  While we do not know why he wound up there (yet), we learn he was there.  Hurley is also fairly sensitive to anyone calling him crazy.

There have been a lot of theories about what the numbers meant over the years,but I am not sure that anything specific has ever been explained.  It might just be one of those LOST mysteries that will never be fully revealed.

LOST S1 E17 “In Translation”

Image result for In translation Sun and Jin

Typically Sun and Jin’s flashback episodes were my least favorite of the series, mainly having to do with the need for captions at the bottom of the screen.  However, “In Translation” was a definite exception.

This episode recounted the events from “House of the Rising Sun” but from the perspective of Jin.  It showed how Jin got involved in Sun’s father’s business and how it dragged the kind-hearted man into the world of organized crime.  You understood and connected more with Jin here than you did in the previous viewing here.  The storytelling of seeing first how Sun saw these moments to be balanced how Jin saw them is a fascinating technique.

We also get the big reveal to the remainder of the survivors of Sun being able to speak English.  The raft that Michael had been working on ending up on fire and he blamed Jin.  To be fair, Jin’s hands were burned and he was acting as if he were guilty.  When Sun exclaimed for Michael to stop attacking Jin, the whole group came to a sudden halt.  Hurley dropped a funny line with “Didn’t see that coming.”

Locke came into the situation and blamed the Others for burning the raft, but he already knew who had done it.  John asked Walt later over a game of backgammon why he burned the raft.  Walt said that he liked it on the Island and he was tired of moving.

The romance of Jin and Sun goes through many ups and downs on the Island and it is one of the main story points.  They are certainly at a low point here as Jin leaves Sun alone and goes to help Michael to start rebuilding the raft.

Sun, on the other hand, feels free enough now to go to the beach in a bikini, something that Jin had reacted to negatively earlier in the episode.  Jin has always had a problem with Sun showing too much body, going as far as having her button the top button.  Sun’s freedom here is an important step to the eventual reunion between husband and wife.

The Shannon-Sayid love story started here, picking up on parts from previous episodes and, taking advice from Locke in his “wise man of the Island” act, Shannon decided that everyone gets a new life on this Island and that she would not be concerned with Boone’s thoughts.  It appeared that Boone’s revelations in “Hearts & Minds” was short lived.  Maybe John needs to tie him up in the jungle again.

LOST S1 E16 “Outlaws”

This one was really good.

We dive into the past with Sawyer, aka James Ford, and what brought him to Sydney.  He had been pointed in this direction in his effort to find the man who conned his mother and father out of their money and led to his father’s murder-suicide of James’ mother.

The episode started off with a frightening scene of little James being told to hide beneath the bed by his mother as we hear pounding on the door.  Just the thought of what that little boy had to listen to and live through really humanizes the redneck asshole that Sawyer becomes.

Then, he was sent to Australia by an old accomplice, Hibbs (played by the one and only Robert Patrick).  Hibbs told Sawyer that he had found the man whom had stolen his childhood and sent an angry and vengeful Sawyer on his path.

Sawyer found the man working at a shrimp shop, but he does not kill him at first.  Sawyer winds up in a bar where he encounters Christian Shepherd, Jack’s father.  The two of them talk over drinks and Christian uses the phrase “that’s why the Red Sox will never win the series.”  Christian convinces Sawyer to stop drowning his sorrows in alcohol and to go take care of the business.

So Sawyer does.  He goes and shoots Frank (played by Jeff Perry, who would go on to be Cyrus Bean in Scandal) only to find out that Frank never went by Sawyer and that Frank owed Hibbs money.  Hibbs sent Sawyer after this guy expecting that Sawyer would kill him, which he does, but not for the reasons he thought.

Meanwhile, on the Island, Sawyer is being harassed by a boar that seems to be targeting Sawyer’s things.  Sawyer takes off after the boar, looking for revenge.  Kate tags along, hoping to get the gun back from him.

While in the jungle, Sawyer hears the whispers and they sound as if they are saying, “It’ll come back around” which was the last thing that Frank said to Sawyer before he died.

The whole Sawyer vs. the Boar Island adventure was remarkably entertaining and gave us insights into Sawyer, Kate and even Locke.  Locke showed up midway through with a sweet story about his step-mom and how she believed her dead daughter was reincarnated into a Golden Retriever.

Kate and Sawyer had played a drinking game of “I Never” which started fun and really became personal as they continued.  It was revealed in the game that both of them had killed a man, further connecting these two outsiders.

Sawyer’s story is one of the more tragic ones on LOST and the things that happened to James Ford really shaped who he would become.  But among all of the tragedy, you can see the good man inside of Sawyer and you can relate to everything he does.

 

LOST S1 E15 “Homecoming”

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To me, this episode of LOST was a tale of two parts. The Island material was tense and taut and full of excitement while the flashback felt like a waste of time and a distraction.

Ethan returned, cornering Charlie in the jungle and demanding that Charlie return Claire to him.  Ethan stated that if he did not return Claire, that Ethan would kill somebody in their camp each and ever night that she was not brought back to him.

This clearly caused tension among the group, with the survivors setting up a perimeter with guards posted to keep watch.  However, that did not keep Ethan out as he was able to enter their camp on the beach via the water and kill Scott (not Steve).

Meanwhile, flashbacks looked at Charlie, between gigs as Drive Shaft, trying to find a girl he could steal from to fund the heroin addiction.  However, Charlie fell for a girl named Lucy, and tried to make it work by getting a real job.  As I said, not as compelling as the Island adventure.

Jack broke out the guns from the Marshal’s case and he, Sayid, Kate, Sawyer and John set up a plan to capture Ethan.  They needed bait… and that would be Claire.

‘And the trap works, with Jack being able to subdue Ethan in a fight while the others surrounded them.  Unfortunately, before Ethan could answer any questions, Charlie, who had picked up Jack’s loose gun, shot Ethan multiple times in the chest in retribution for what he had done to Claire (and Charlie being hanged from a tree).

I enjoyed most of this episode, but there were a couple of things that did not go over well.

  1. Claire has amnesia.  This is a tired old plot point to keep where Claire was taken secret for a longer period of time.  It is very cliche and seems like a lazy way to do what they wanted.
  2. Ethan’s death itself was just a way to keep viewers from knowing information.  I didn’t hate it, but it could be frustrating to some.
  3. The flashbacks were meant to show where Charlie’s feelings of being unable to protect someone came from, but it felt way too forced.  The flashbacks were a waste of time.
  4. Again, the focus is on the drug problem in the flashbacks and was played for more humor than anything else.
  5. Nothing is really done or mentioned about Charlie’s straight up murder of Ethan, who was subdued and captured.

 

Poor Scott, RIP.

LOST S1 E14 “Special”

Image result for LOST Walt and the polar bear

Let’s talk about Walt.

“Special” refers to the young son of Michael (one of the bigger jerks on the series) named Walt.  “Special” is actually quite a good episode as we focus on the father/son relationship and the tragic background of Michael and how he is prevented from being in his son’s life.

However, much like “Raised By Another,” this feels incomplete after seeing the whole seasons because there is a story that is set up involving Walt that never gets to be fully played out.

The reason was the actor who played Walt, Malcolm David Kelley, was written off the show in the early part of season two because of the fact that the actor was nearing puberty and would begin growing at a rate that would not work for the show.  The show was not progressing as quickly in story time as it was in real time and Walt shouldn’t be growing as much as he would be.

Because of this, the psychic powers that Walt displays in this episode and some of the future ones (especially involving the Others) was underdeveloped, and, unfortunately, feels that way.

Damon Lindelof, LOST writer and executive producer, on the DVD of season one said “We sort of have ideas. ‘Gee, Walt’s reading a comic book about polar bears, and a polar bear shows up.’ Or, ‘Walt is reading a book about birds, and a bird flies into the window.’ I know what I mean by it, but I think when the audience starts getting disconnected is when you tell them what to think, which is: Walt is psychic.”

The episode did involve an intense scene involving a polar bear (special effects notwithstanding) trying to get to Walt with Michael and John Locke desperately trying to save him.  Michael also becomes the first character to be struck by a vehicle (in flashback).  There were many other examples of characters being struck by a vehicle (mostly a bus) as the show moved on.

Another standout point was the return of Claire from the world of the Others.  She arrives back right at the end, being discovered by John and Boone.

Much of Michael’s behavior can be explained by the flashback in this episode.  He had such a jealousy over Walt and Locke’s relationship because how Walt was taken away from him a a child and is raised by Brian, Susan’s new husband.  I’m sure that was a tough thing to deal with, losing your son’s love and the place in his life to another and Michael is afraid of that happening again.  Especially since Walt does not seem to be interested in anything Michael has to say.

Still, Michael is anything but patient with Walt and certainly shows his hot temper.

The raft is mentioned for the first time here as well.

I wish we could have explored the abilities of Walt in more detail as he is shown as someone that Brian was scared of and later the Others wanted no part of Walt.  Walt’s story is not sufficiently handled, though there is not much you could do.

LOST S1 E13 “Hearts and Minds”

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Boone and Shannon pulled the old “Greg and Marcia Brady” in LOST episode 13 of the first season.

In one of the creepier (and not in a good way) episodes, we discover some tidbits about Shannon and Boone. For one, the are actually STEP- brother and sister. They are not related by blood, but that does not make the fact that they spend the night prior to boarding Oceanic Flight 815 having sex with each other any less weird.

Boone, who had been helping Locke excavate the Hatch, wanted to tell Shannon what they were doing and, because of that, Locke tied him up and drugged him so Boone would go on a vision quest allowing him to learn how to grow and continue to survive on the Island.

The vision quest led to Boone imagining that he had seen Shannon killed by the Monster.

When this first aired, I had sussed out the fact that this was an illusion to Boone and I was right about how Locke drugged Boone with the paste he put on the head injury.  When Shannon was killed in the episode, I knew that it wasn’t real.  Ironically, at the time, I remember thinking how TV shows did not kill off main characters and that Shannon was a main character.  Of course, Boone dies just a few episodes later.

This episode does make us wonder about the motives of John Locke.  He looks to be a darker force than we had seen him before.  When Charlie says that the one person he would put his faith in to save us all was John Locke, that was meant to be a statement that the audience found contradictory.  There is more effective character development in this episode fro John Locke than for Boone.

There were some things that we saw in “Hearts and Minds” that would become staples of LOST movie forward.

  •  This was the first time when our main survivors are shown to have crossed paths prior to the Island as Sawyer is shown being arrested in Sydney while Boone is reporting Shannon’s boyfriend to the police.  Many characters are shown to cross paths outside the airport/airplane as the seasons progress.

 

  • Kate became the second person to discover the truth of Sun being able to speak English.  Sun is also shown in her garden, which becomes more important as the series goes on.

 

  • Sayid discovers the magnetic anomaly that messes up the compass.  Sayid dismissed it as a broken compass, but we know this is a major piece of the story moving ahead.

 

  • The Sayid – Shannon relationship started to pick up as well.

 

There was a hilarious scene between Hurley and Jin where Hurley is trying to catch some fish, but steps on a sea urchin.  Hurley panicking and begging Jin to pee on his foot as he points to Jin’s crotch area as Jin is desperately confused is one of the funniest things we have had on the show up until this point.

This was one of the season’s weakest episodes so far and it shows that Boone and Shannon were not as beloved as many of the other survivors on the Island.  Neither of these characters would last for too much longer.

 

LOST S1 E12 “Whatever the Case May Be”

The twelfth episode of LOST focused on Kate and her attempt to retrieve a briefcase that She and Sawyer discovered while swimming in a pond.

The story was a bit of an excuse to look closer at the character of Kate, as most of the episode is dedicated to her.

Kate is quite the contradiction among the survivors because we know that she was the fugitive that was being escorted back to the US by Marshal Edward Mars.  Mars constantly warned Jack and us, the audience, how dangerous Kate was, yet we had no idea why Kate was being so dauntingly pursued by him.

Then, Kate is shown on the Island as an extremely likable, competent and friendly person.  She hit it off immediately with Jack and she is regularly shown as one of the top heroes on the show.  We got a definite switch in what we have seen with Kate during this episode as the liar and sneak came out strong in an attempt to get this briefcase back from Sawyer.  This is the first time on the Island where we see the type of person Kate could really be.

In the flashback, we see how Kate was involved in a bank robbery with a group of men, calling herself “Maggie.”  The robbery, for Kate, was all just a way to get into a safety deposit box that was in the bank.  Kate shows off some real bad ass skills and some coldness when things came down to what she wanted.

Yet, she was still contradictory because she refused to allow the other bank robbers to do anything to hurt the bank manager, going as far as shooting them to keep the bank manager safe.

Back on the Island, Jack has started to get wise to Kate’s lies and her deceptions.  Kate had told Jack that the key to the case was in Mars’ wallet, so they had to dig up the body and find it.  However, the key was not in the wallet.  Jack saw through Kate’s attempt at sleight of hand, and caught her with the key.

In the end, getting the case back from Sawyer (where Jack pulled some darkness of his own in what was most likely a bluff), they opened it up and there was a toy airplane inside (along with guns and ammo).  The airplane is what Kate wanted and, when pressed by Jack, Kate admitted that it belonged to the man that she loved and killed.  She broke down in tears after this, but Jack was not comforting her at all.  Jack most likely was still not sure what, if anything, she said was true and what was a lie.

Trying to make sense of the Kate that we know compared to what is being told to us is fascinating, and Evangeline Lily does a remarkable job of playing the character.  She is effervescent and gorgeous while still showing off how bad ass she can be.

By the way, Sawyer trying to break into the Halliburton case was very funny.  I loved the little scene of Michael and Hurley laughing at Sawyer’s attempt to pick the lock.  Again, it was little moments like this that really solidified this as a great show.

Other things that happened besides the Kate specific stuff included Sayid asking Shannon to translate from French some of the writing on the maps that Danielle had written.  This still played into Shannon’s overall feelings of being worthless, something that Boone is continuing to tell her.  Obviously, these comments are hitting home on Shannon even though I do not think that Boone realizes how much they hurt her.  Eventually, Shannon went back to Sayid and told him that she recognized what was written as a song “La Mer” from an animated movie she watched while in France.

The other bit included a very sweet interaction between Charlie, still suffering from nearly dying last episode by hanging, and Rose, who called Charlie out on his depression.  Charlie’s pain and frustration over being unable to protect Clair really is emotionally powerful in the little screen time it is given.  I felt myself tearing up a couple of times as Charlie recounted his pain.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

I saw a double feature of the Jurassic World films tonight.  The first Jurassic World (the fourth of the franchise) was a fun film, but I found it less entertaining than I did on first viewing. I saw some flaws that did not bother me the first time.

Then the second one started.

And I wished I was watching that first one again.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is not a good movie.  I was very disappointed with it.  Yes, the dinosaurs looked good.  The CGI was great and the film was shot exceeding well by new director J.A. Bayona.  But that is about the end of the positives I can say.

No, there is another.  Chris Pratt is always entertaining.  He is playing basically the same character that he always plays, but he does that very well.  Also, Bryce Dallas Howard was better than she was in Jurassic World.  Plus, she did not run anywhere in heels.

The rest of the film was brutal.

It seemed to jump into horror movie cliche world with jump scares and with characters doing stupid things because it was needed for the plot to work.

The storyline was needlessly convoluted with plotlines that felt like they were tossed in for no reason.

Three years since the events of Jurassic World finished off the theme park, Isla Nublar, the island where the dinosaurs remained, suddenly became an active volcano (which would have caused trouble for the amusement park as well).  A debate began about whether or not the dinosaurs should be saved or allowed to go extinct once again.  Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is on the pro saving team as she has been working for dino rights.  Ben Lockwood (James Cromwell), the old partner of Hillard, contacted her with a plan to rescue the dinosaurs and take them to a new island sanctuary.

Lockwood has Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) organizing everything and he suggests to Claire that she talk Owen (Chris Pratt) into returning to help save his old friend Blue the velociraptor.  There are military guys along led by Ken Wheatley (Ted Levine) and they aren’t going to turn on our heroes…wink wink.

That is not a spoiler, by the way since it was shown in the trailer, as too much of this movie was.

After the first half of the movie on Isla Nublar, the film heads off to Lockwood’s estate, in what looked like a castle for the second half of the film.

The first half of the movie on the island was okay.  There were still people who were doing stupid things, but at least it was somewhat entertaining.  The second half at the Monster House was considerably less entertaining and had many more rolls of the eyes.

Another character that we were introduced to was Lockwood’s granddaughter Maisie (Isabella Sermon).  She was here because there needed to be a kid involved in a Jurassic World/Park movie or else they take away your writing card.  Then, he story is just SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO STUPID!  Her story comes completely out of left field and then is never touched on again.  Her inclusion in this movie, with this ridiculous plot point, makes zero sense.  The young actress Isabella Sermon was fine as the character, acting wise, but the writing of that character is so inane that it really felt shoehorned in for some odd reason and felt as if she was in the wrong movie.

The writing here is really below expectation.  The plot is slow and derivative.  The dialogue is tough to listen to.  The characters do so many stupid things it was painful.

There were several scenes that felt as if we had already seen them in this franchise, and the reason we had already seen them was that they were, in some cases, shot for shot repeats.  There is a fine line between nostalgia and lazy writing and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was stomping into that direction.

And that ending… SPOILER… I guess I am just going to wait for Blue to learn how to talk, gather all the dinosaurs together, and become the leader of her people.  There is a distinctly Planet of the Apes feel to the end.  I will say that I did not hate the end, but it did feel a bit unlikely.  END OF SPOILER.

Oh, and Jeff Goldblum returned as Ian Malcolm, speaking in front of Congress about whether or not the dinosaurs should be saved.  Now, if you have seen the trailers for this movie, you have seen almost the entirety of Goldblum’s appearance.  So if you are going to see Goldblum bring back his iconic character, just pull up the trailers on YouTube and you can save yourself some money.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a dumb movie with excellent special effects and a reasonably engaging lead actor and actress.  There can be some enjoyment watching the movie, if you aren’t bothered by a lack of plot, storytelling or logical/intelligent characters.  I was bored with the film is several spots because I usually need more than just the spectacle.

2.3 stars

LOST S1 E11 “All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues”

This Jack-centric episode ended with one of the most intense moments from the show yet.  I remember watching the episode for the first time and really thinking that Charlie was dead.

Jack, Locke, Kate and Boone take off after Ethan, who had taken Charlie and Claire captive, dragging them through the jungle.  Jack’s obsessive desire to be a hero was compounded by his guilt over the fact that he did not believe Claire when she claimed that she had been attacked at the caves.  Jack was going to find Charlie and Claire and no one was going to stop him.

This is just one more example of Jack and his hotheadedness.  Doing this rewatch, I think it is apparent that Jack’s own behavior is what really drove Kate into the arms of Sawyer.

We also discovered that Jack had turned in his father Christian for operating under the influence of alcohol during a surgery where the patient died.  This was what Jack had done to his father that his mother alluded to in the previous Jack-centric episode which sent Christian running off to Australia.

The other major event that happened at the end of the show was Locke and Boone’s accidentally finding the Hatch which becomes John’s own obsession for the remainder of the season.

The scene with Charlie hanging from the tree is one of the most dramatic and tense scenes from the first season.  From when Kate and Jack cut him down to when Jack was pounding on his chest, the scene was very well done.  It was very emotional and, as I said it, I could not believe what I was seeing.  You can feel the anguish from Jack and Kate as they raged and cried over the fallen Charlie.

And when Jack paused and the camera zoomed out, it really felt like Charlie was dead.  Jack’s resuming of CPR was very feral.  Then, when Charlie came around, the joy in their faces were perfect.

I felt for Charlie, who had to face the fact that Ethan took Claire and Charlie failed to protect her as he said he would do.

LOST S1 E10 “Raised By Another”

This episode, along with the previous one, started to dive into the mysteries and the mythology of the Island, and this one focused on Claire.

Watching this with the knowledge of what was to come, this feels like a storyline that was dropped or changed by the people in charge and, if I were to say there was one character who was shorted in LOST, Claire would be the one.

We see Claire’s flashbacks to when she discovered she was pregnant.  She was not thrilled but her boyfriend Thomas convinced her to give it a try.  However, that little weasel only made it about three months before he took off.  I do not think he ever returned to the show in anyone else’s flashback either.  Thomas was quite the loser.

Claire and a friend had gone to a psychic named Richard Malkin who seemed to have a terrible reaction to Claire’s future.  He refused to continue the reading.  After Thomas left, Claire went back and asked him to finish the reading.  He had said he reacted poorly the last time because he saw something “blurry.”

This time, Malkin insisted that Claire be the one who raised the baby.  He said there would be “great danger” if anyone else raised the child.  Claire was freaked out by him, but he would not stop. He would call Claire in the middle of the night to try to convince her not to put the baby up for adoption.

When Claire discovered that she could not give up the baby, she went back to Malkin looking for help.  He told her that he had set up a nice couple in LA that could raise the child without any dangers, but Claire had to go tomorrow.  He got her a seat on Oceanic 815.  After hearing the story, Charlie wondered if Malkin knew the plane was going to crash and if he did this so Claire would have to raise the baby.

The problem is… later on in the series, we return to Malkin during a Mr. Eko flashback and he admits to being a fraud.  So, if was not a real psychic, what was all of this Claire stuff?

I personally believe that the show made a change in the plans for the baby (who would be named Aaron).  Maybe there was some contractual issues, because Claire would disappear for quite a time during the show’s run.  Her development does not feel as if that was what the writers had originally intended.  And truthfully, Aaron does become more important of a character in LOST than Claire was, but not with the strange, impending danger foretold by the psychic.

This episode also showed us the first “Other” on the Island.  Ethan Rom, who popped up an episode ago, was revealed to not have been on the plane (thanks to Hurley and his Census).  Ethan had “attacked” Claire in her sleep and tried to do something with the baby, but Jack believed that Claire had dreamed this.

The very end of the episode featured Ethan standing in the jungle in font of Claire and Charlie in one of the creepiest moments of season one.  The Others storyline was brilliantly woven into the series to provide a human challenge/danger for the survivors to deal with.  It was revealed wonderfully by Sayid, who returned to the camp after his interactions with Danielle, saying “We are not alone.”

LOST S1 E9 “Solitary”

The ninth episode of the first season of LOST went into the mythology of the Island for a bit and introduced us to several major factors that would carry throughout nearly the entire series.  And Jack, Charlie, Michael and Hurley played some golf.

This episode was a Sayid-centric episode showing us Sayid in action during the Gulf War as a torturer for the Republican Guard.  I have to say the inclusion of an Iraqi army character in the show is just brilliant and to make him as deep and complicated as Sayid defied all stereotypes.  It would have been easy to make him a villainous, evil character but Sayid is not that, although he may believe that he is.  In his flashbacks, we see Sayid reconnect with a woman he had known as a young girl, Nadia.  But Nadia had been captured by the Republican Guard as a traitor and Sayid’s job was to get information out of her which was something Sayid did not want to do.

Meanwhile, on the Island, Sayid, who had left the camp to be alone after torturing Sawyer last episode, finds a metal cable that leads into the water from the jungle.  He followed the cable in the jungle and he gets captured by the French woman.

Danielle Rousseau.  She would become one of the biggest mysteries of the series and a beloved side character from the LOST community.  Danielle is clearly a little off-balanced…maybe I’d go as far as to say crazy.  She believes that Sayid is one of them and she tortures him to try and get him to tell her where Alex is.

There are a bunch of things introduced in these scenes with Danielle and Sayid.  These include:

* The Others, people whom Danielle claim are here though she has never seen them.  She hears them whisper.

* The sickness.  In the message when she said that “it killed them all”, Danielle was referring to the sickness.  She was shipwrecked with a science vessel and the mysterious sickness apparently infected all of her crew.  She then killed them all, including her love, Robert, to prevent the sickness from spreading off the Island.

* That when Sayid mentioned the “Monster” in the jungle, Danielle said, “There’s no such thing as monsters.”

* Danielle mentioned Alex, which turns out to be her child.  We would later find out that Alex is a young girl stolen from Danielle as a baby by Ben Linus.

 

The golf course was some of the most fun scenes of the season so far.  Seeing the survivors just let loose and enjoy themselves. It furthered the competitive relationship between Jack and Sawyer as well.  We also see Ethan for the first time from out of nowhere and we never give him a second thought since there have been plenty of background characters who have yet to be introduced.  Why would one unfamiliar face mean anything to us.  Heck, Sullivan and his hives appeared here for the first time too.  Of course, Ethan will play a huge role going forward as one of the Others.

LOST S1 E8 “Confidence Man”

One of the more uncomfortable episodes of LOST as they took a step unexpected by having Sayid torture Sawyer.

It was revealed early that Shannon was suffering from asthma and she was missing her inhalers since the crash.  Boone saw Sawyer reading the novel Watership Down, which he said was in his bags, which was where the inhalers were.  So if Sawyer had the novel, he had the inhalers.

Both Jack and Kate tried to get Sawyer to give up the medicine, but he would not listen.  In fact, he said h would give the medicine if Kate kissed him.  It all seemed juvenile until Shannon had a major attack.

Because of this attack, jack and Sayid decided that desperate times, yada yada yada.  Turns out that Sayid was more than just a “communications officer” during the Iraq War.  He was a torturer.

The scenes where Sayid took bamboo and shoved them under Sawyer’s fingernails was extremely uncomfortable to watch.  Sawyer’s cries of anguish was as tough to watch as it was for Jack to listen to.

The episode was a Sawyer-centric episode, looking at how he was a confidence man (CON MAN) back in the real world, scamming rich women and their husbands out of money.  We discovered how much Sawyer hated himself as well.  He had become the man he was searching for. Literally. Sawyer’s real name is James Ford.

Turns out, the letter he had been reading was a letter than James had written to a con man- actually named Sawyer- whose con had led to James’s father to commit suicide after killing the young boy’s mother.  James wrote the letter blaming “Sawyer” for the death of his parents.  However, as he grew older, James found himself doing the exact same thing as “Sawyer” so he adopted the persona of Sawyer.

Sawyer has a hatred of himself, and he goes out of the way to push people away from him.  He sees himself as a bad person, much like the man whom he blamed for killing his parents.  It is one reason why Sawyer has acted the way he has on the Island, staying at length from any other survivors.

Confidence Man is a solid character story giving us background information on Sawyer as well as Sayid, who leaves camp feeling guilt of his own over his role in torturing Sawyer.

Oh, and Kate did kiss Sawyer in a very seductive manner.  After the kiss, Sawyer revealed that he did not have the inhalers after all.  It was all just a way to continue to look like an asshole.  Fortunately, Shannon was helped by Sun using eucalyptus.

 

 

LOST S1 E7 “The Moth”

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You All Everybody

You All Everybody

Drive Shaft’s big hit, You All Everybody, debuted in its full in this episode as we get a Charlie-centric episode called “The Moth.”

We know that Charlie is a junkie, addicted to some form of drugs.  He had given those drugs to Locke in the previous episode and he is starting to go through withdrawals and it was affecting his attitude.  Charlie was feeling useless and confronted Jack about it.  Problem was… that was the moment when an earthquake came, trapping Jack inside a cave.  Charlie was able to get out.  The group of survivors immediately went about trying to dig Jack out from the cave.

This had turned to be one of my favorite episodes of the early part of season one.  I liked Charlie, knowing him as Pippen from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and I connected to Charlie’s story.

Charlie went to Locke and asked for his drugs back.  Locke told him a story about a moth and how they had to struggle to escape from their cocoon.  Locke said that the struggle was nature’s way of strengthening the moth.  Locke told Charlie that he would let him ask for his drugs three times, this being the first, and on the third time, Locke would give them to him.

Back at the cave, Charlie returned and they had a a small hole dug through but no one was small enough to crawl through it.  Charlie volunteered.  He was able to crawl into the cave with Jack just before the tunnel collapsed again.

Inside the cave, Jack and Charlie engaged in some witty banter, a trademark of LOST.  Jack had a separated shoulder that Charlie had to put back in place.  Charlie spotted a moth and follows it out of the cave.  Is this irony or part of the magic of the Island?

Charlie asked for his drugs back for the third time from Locke, who gives them back only to see Charlie toss them into the fire.

Charlie becomes one of those beloved characters on the Island (except for a stretch during season 2) and this is truly the start of that.  Dominic Monagham was the biggest name celebrity on LOST when it started so the focus on Charlie makes a lot of sense.

We had side stories involving Sayid trying to triangulate the signal of the French woman, which seemed to work until someone hit him in the back of the head and destroyed his machine.

We also see more about Sawyer and his tendency to gain some form of retribution against those he believed caused him harm.

 

LOST S1 E6 “House of the Rising Sun”

Image result for lost house of the rising sun

We got our first look at the marriage of Jin and Sun in this episode, entitled “House of the Rising Sun.”  The episode begins with Jin brutally attacking Michael for apparently no reason.  Jin was reacting to a watch that belonged to Sun’s father, a watch that Michael had found on the beach.  Jin assumed Michael stole it and reacted violently.

The flashbacks introduced us to Jin and Sun in love and hoping to convince her father that they should be married.  Sun did not believe her father would do this, but Jin convinced him.  How was not revealed yet, outside of Jin agreeing to work for Sun’s father.

We do not know anything for sure yet, but one particular scene with a blood covered Jin makes us infer that Sun’s father was not a nice person.  Jin working for him was pulling Sun away from him and she planned on sneaking away from them before they loaded the Oceanic 815 flight that was fated to crash on the island.  However, Sun changed her mind prior to leaving and stayed with Jin.  This showed how deep their relationship was despite the troubles they were facing.

And… we discovered that Sun could speak English!  And Jin did not know.

Jack decided that it would be smart for the survivors to move from the beach and take up residence in the caves where they had found the fresh water.  Many of the survivors disagreed and the camp split into two groups.

Meanwhile, Locke realized that Charlie was a drug addict and he approached the former Drive Shaft member with a proposition.  Locke said that the Island would provide for him if he did something for the Island.  Locke wanted Charlie to give up his drugs and the Island would return his guitar.  Charlie gave Locke the bag of drugs he had and Locke pointed out that Charlie’s guitar case was above them.

I had never been a fan of the Jin-Sun-centric episodes since they were in Korean and that meant that I had to follow along with the subtitles.  Still, the story develops extremely well over the years.  At this point, I did not understand why Sun chose to stay with Jin, because he was being shown as such a rotten man, foul tempered and controlling.  But once we learned more about these two, we would fall in love with the always separated couple.