Tag Archives: Lost

LOST Kill Count

1 May

Some statistical analysis for the Losties out there.  Kind of.

For the last six months, I’ve been re-watching LOST (yes, all of it), and recently finished up season five.  Meanwhile, two astonishingly illegible post-its have been taped to my desk.  Their purpose?  Tracking the violent acts of characters in the show.  Here’s what I have so far–I typed out the numbers because even my tallies are hard to read (let’s remember I literally failed handwriting in 2nd grade):

Wait… Jack killed someone?  Saint Jack Shephard?  Son of Christian Shepherd (oy vey, what a name)?  It’s okay Jack fans, whatever strange folks you must be, don’t freak out–it was way back in Season 1 when Sawyer shot the marshal and… well… kind of missed and Jack had to smother him out.  As you can see, Sawyer became a much better shot as time went on.

No surprise that Sayid is one of the deadliest castaways–he almost never fails.  But then, he’s a trained assassin, or, as Hurley famously says: “He is my friend. Be he also has this double life where he does crazy ninja moves and spy stuff.”  I can’t even remember who that 1 attempted kill was, but the tallies don’t lie.

The rest of the numbers hold few surprises either–Juliet’s a cold fish; Keamy’s friggin terrifying; Smokey’s a monster, literally; Sawyer’s a badass, and Eko too.  The beard cutting thing, though, that was a little weird.

But probably you’ve already noticed the most glaring exception from the list, by far the most dangerous individual on the Island.  That’s right, it’s–

And let’s not forget that this is just seasons 1 through 5; I’m pretty sure Ben gets some more kills in season 6 (Widmore, for example).  Pretty much the only way you can escape Ben Linus is to be a kid (Charlie Hume), have a kid (Penny Widmore, Danielle Rousseau), or stay out of his way.  And stay away from Juliet.  This count doesn’t even include the deaths he masterminded.  Anyone remember Goodwin?  I didn’t think so.

Word to the wise.

More Miscorrection! (Panacea final verdict)

30 Apr

I’ve been a fan of B.C. Young’s LOST-esque Miscorrection series for some time now, and was thrilled to be able to read a copy of episode 4, Panacea, before it’s released.  So here’s what’s what:

Recommendation: When episode 3 (Felix Culpa) aired on the Kindle, I said that it was the most sophisticated installment yet.  But happy day, Panacea has surpassed it.  Young’s style is ever more self-assured and innovative.  Use of flashbacks gives the story depth, and builds up suspense as the main plotline moves forward.  Subtle twists enter the tale in Panacea, along with a couple great “aha!” moments.  But of course, as was both the best and most frustrating thing about LOST, for every answer we get there’s another question.  This is science fiction most certainly, but after reading Panacea I’m going to add “mystery” and “adventure” to the genre tally.

B.C. Young’s Miscorrection series has, as always, the Scattering’s full cyber-stamp of approval, and remains my favorite short story series to date.  You can’t buy this kind of entertainment for $0.99.  Oh wait, yes you can.

Reading Time: At roughly 1200 locations on the Kindle, Panacea is weekly tv drama length, meaning a read-through will take between 45 minutes and an hour.  Longer for me, because I went back to reread Felix Culpa first and see if I could pick up any clues.

Availability: The book’s not out quite yet, but the author is kind enough to give all of us Internet denizens a free peek on The Time Capsule: Miscorrection: Panacea Excerpt

The book will be available for the Kindle, the Nook (eww, gross), and on Smashwords in very early May (meaning, before May 3rd at the latest).

Make sure to check out the first 3 episodes of Miscorrection on Kindle TV before you jump into this one.  It’s like my grandfather once said: “I tried to watch that Lost show you like last night, but I didn’t know what was going on.  They were in a church talking about time travel.  Is that right?”

And if you care what I think, here are my previous reviews:

Kindle TV (Sunrise, Arrogation)

Happy Mistakes (Felix Culpa)

General John Locke? (“Harsh Realm” tv series)

7 Mar

So, apparently, before he was telling people they can’t tell him what he can’t do, Terry O’Quinn had a starring role in the 1999 sci-fi series “Harsh Realm.”  I haven’t actually watched more than the youtube clip from the pilot below, but I was kind of put off by… well, you’ll see:

This was brought to my attention by a fellow Lostie.  I’ll have to wait until next time I see him to find out what he thinks of the series as a whole–I was too busy laughing at a mustachioed O’Quinn playing a character named “General Omar Santiago.”

Don’t get me wrong–he’s a brilliant actor (and got robbed at the Emmys after LOST’s final season).  And still… I don’t think I’ll ever stop laughing.

Get LOST in the Miscorrection series

28 Feb

I’ve twice reviewed B.C. Young’s fantastic science fiction serial Miscorrection–so far three installments (or as I like to say, three “episodes”) have been aired, er, published.  Young’s stories are pieces in a larger dramatic arc, one that’s beginning to take shape after the latest story, Miscorrection: Felix Culpa.

As a promotion for the series, Young announced on his blog that on March 1st only, he’ll be giving away Miscorrection: Arrogation (second episode)  free to any reader who can solve a puzzle–and considering the clues he’s already given, it should be easy as boar hunting for anyone who can count from 4 to 42:

At midnight on March 1, 2011, I will post details on how you can win a coupon code to download Arrogation free from Smashwords. But I don’t want to just give away the code. Let’s make this fun!

If you are reading this now, there’s only one thing I ask. Spread the word! Tell your friends and family about the free offer and the puzzle they will need to solve. Redirect them to this post here so that they have the details. Tweet it, Facebook it, text it, email it, talk about it, StumbleUpon it, Diggit, and well, I think you get the picture. I want as many people as possible to take part in this, and as many as possible to benefit. I’m opening the hatch on this so that everybody wins!

This promotion will last only one day. It begins at 12:00 a.m. March 1, 2011 and ends at 11:59 p.m. March 1, 2011. If you play the numbers correctly, you can’t lose, and they will not bring you bad luck.

Let’s see how many people we can tell about this. I don’t want anyone to be lost in this.

Considering how subtle the subtext isn’t, read this is an opportunity for a free book.  It’s the second in the series, but if you haven’t read Miscorrection: Sunrise yet, don’t sweat it: if you like Arrogation, you won’t lose out by going back.  It wasn’t until about season 4, after all, that LOST started getting completely incomprehensible.

So check out The Time Capsule for the puzzle before Ben Linus strangles you, or something.

Happy Mistakes (review: Felix Culpa, Miscorrection series)

9 Feb

Remember Kindle TV?  It’s back!

For eight years, I wondered what was going through Laura Bush’s head.  All those speeches, all those political events, fundraisers and campaign stops and banquets and–it’s enough to make your head spin.  Especially when your job is to stand beside the president, smile, and be perfect.  Political stripes aside, Laura Bush was the prototypical political wife in that tedious tradition.

And in “Felix Culpa,” third in B.C. Young’s Miscorrection series, that traditions extends far into the future (sorry Michelle).  Of course, far into the future the president’s wife needs a rictus of galactic proportions to satisfy her husband’s constituents… on six planets.

Poor, dear Adalyn, First Lady of the universe.

Hers is the dominant perspective in Miscorrection: Felix Culpa. Through the framework of not-just-another tedious press interview, readers learn about Adalyn’s past, as well as gain insight into some of the events and characters we last saw in “Sunrise” and “Arrogation.”  (Recall: Karhath terrorists and their internal power struggles, strange blue lightning snatching people up into thin air, and a boy and his grandfather mysteriously saved by a suicide bomber from one of a series of Karhath attacks.)  I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that I had an “ah-ha!” moment when I learned the president’s name.

In Miscorrection: Felix Culpa threads are weaving together, suspense is really starting to build, and Young’s writing style has reached a new level of self-confidence.  Last time I reviewed Miscorrection, I commented that Young had “clean, uncluttered first-person prose.”  Ditto that with “Felix Culpa,” but add this soundbite: Let’s wipe the word “amateur” right off the table.  “Amateur” writers can come off sounding stilted and stiff in their description and dialogue (characters in the 20th-odd century probably aren’t going to sound like Shakespeare, or robots for that matter), but this time the voice of our narrator Adalyn cuts through the loud and clear.  Perfect grammar and mechanics is commendable; comfort with colloquialisms is capital.

Wedded to style is story (isn’t that what people say about presidential candidates–style or substance?), and Felix Culpa has both.  B. C. Young, a J.J. Abrams fan–as all science fiction writers and reviewers must be, according to the Intergalactic SF Code of Ethics–continues to build an intricate plot structure (not to mention the tiny LOST reference for fellow travelers at location 307) in his series.  The political stakes are high, the personal relationships are complicated, and the metaphysical implications are about as classic SF as you can get.  That’s right: I’m talking about Fate with a capital F.

Felix Culpa, for those who have not taken Others 101 and thus do not know their Latin (for shame, people), means “happy fault.”  Traditionally, the term has been used in Christian theology in relation to the supposed “Fall” of Adam–it sucked for Adam and Eve, sure, but because it brought sin into the world God had to send Jesus to save us, thus making the fault a blessed one with a happy ending (insofar as public execution is a happy ending).  Hallelujah!  Of course you don’t have to be Thomas Aquinas to bandy about the term.  Laypeople use “felix culpa” to indicate any error or mistake that happened to have happy circumstances.  All’s well that ends well, or whatever.

Miscorrection: Felix Culpa is all about that sort of happenstance.  When a gushing female reporter asks First lady Adalyn how she met her husband, and how they fell in love, the tale begins with as simple an event as a first day of school that happened to turn into a murdering spree and terrifying hostage situation.  In which Adalyn and [insert future president’s name here] were thrown together.  Mix in a potentially psychic history teacher and we have a classic case of Coincidence or Fate?

I guess we’ll have to wait for part four to find out.

Recommendation:  B.C. Young quoted Orson Scott Card (see Ender’s Gameee) as an influence on his philosophy of writing.  Three times removed, I’ll quote the quoted quote here:

“My goal was that the reader wouldn’t have to be trained in literature or even science fiction to receive the tale in its purest form … a great many writers have based their entire careers on the premise that anything the general public can understand without mediation is worthless drivel.”

And that’s plainly not true.  Let’s call it the Democratization of Science Fiction: this series is accessible to anyone, and that’s exactly who I recommend it for.

Reading time: 45 minutes, tops.  As has been said before–reading a good short story serial is like watching a good tv series.  Especially when you can spot the LOST reference at location 370.

Miscorrection: Felix Culpa is available as an ebook on Amazon for $0.09.  I’d say grab it off the shelf before someone else does, but the magic of ebooks is that there’s always enough to go around.  Just be sure to check out Sunrise and Arrogation first.

Note: If you buy the book (and really, I do hope so), you’ll find a little reference to the Scattering’s first review of the series as a motivating force in the completion of part three.  I was astonished, gaping at the screen of my Kindle and laughing incredulously.  Well I meant every word, and I still mean every word, but don’t worry–I can still say mean things.  Even after reading that forward, if the story had been dreadful, I’d have said so here

What is John Locke doing in Fallout: New Vegas?

31 Jan

Disclaimer: I don’t know anything much about gaming.  The University of Alabama had this thing called PixelCon last weekend that involved LARPing and Mario-inspired artwork and Wii, and I was so confused I was afraid to walk down that side of the street.  But Kate the Lostie began playing Minecraft this Christmas, and I ended up watching the Yogscast on youtube (“The Shadow of Israphel” series, by the way, is my new LOST).

And that’s an interesting parenthetical comment because while watching Simon, Lewis, and Hannah’s play-through of Fallout: New Vegas, I spotted this NPC:

I can only surmise that this is an alternate universe in which Flocke did get off the Island and bring about the apocalypse.  For real, just compare–

Please Internet, don’t fail me now.  Can anyone tell me whether I’m crazy, or is this some sort of mysterious Lostie easter egg?

Kindle TV (review: Miscorrection series)

25 Dec

I always say that LOST is a lifestyle, but maybe it’s a writing style too.

I don’t watch movies.  Unless they’re musicals.  Or feature Matthew Broderick.  Or both.  The point is–two hours isn’t long enough to tell a really good story–three hours was barely enough to satisfy us Tolkien fans back in the Ohs.  Television programs, on the other hand, if they’re not cancelled before their time (*cough, Firefly, cough*), don’t have that limitation.  A good tv series is like a novel–eventually, it has to end, but going episode by episode is much more like chapter by chapter.  Read: LOST.

My dearly beloved older sister Kate the Lostie gave me a beautiful shirt with Benjamin Linus’s face plastered on the front for Christmas today–a testament to just how much I love (present tense!) the show.  I don’t know if he has any LOST apparel in the closet, or an awesome Dharma Kindle like mine, but author B.C. Young does confess being a part of the perfervid fandom:

I’m a huge LOST and J.J. Abrams fan. The type of storytelling from LOST and Abrams is what I am aspiring to write. These are short stories, but overall, they tell a much bigger story.

His short stories “Miscorrection: Sunrise” and “Miscorrection: Arrogation” were released in sequence in May and July 2010 (part 3 is forthcoming)–like the short story serials of the Victorian era, or better yet, like episodes in a tv series.

Each story is between 400 and 500 locations on the Kindle–which, I’d estimate, would be 40 or so pages in the physical world.  In any case, it’s 45 minutes tops for each, exactly the amount of time I’d spend on Hulu catching up on Fringe.  And with technological terrorists, mysterious “events,” and internal power coups, the plot’s kind of reminiscent of that Abrams show too.

B.C. Young prefaces each story with a mild-mannered caveat emptor:

I think it’s fair to let you know that I am not a writer.  I have no degrees in English or real training in writing techniques.  With that being said, I do have a story to tell.  Over the past three to four years, I had developed a story in my mind.  Finally, I decided to write it down.  Fortunately, Amazon has allowed for someone like me to self publish.

Caveat unnecessary.  I know English majors–and trust me, a degree doesn’t guarantee talent.  The cultural snobbery toward self-published authors, in fact, is probably the work of creatively frustrated English majors themselves.  We don’t need no artistic aristocracy.

The Internet’s proving to be increasingly democratic: digital self-publishing lets self-effacing (maybe too self-effacing in Young’s case) new writers to tell stories.    There’s nothing like starting a new book.  Except, maybe, starting a new tv series.  Thanks to Internet self-publishing, we can do both at the same time.  With authors like B.C. Young writing in serial, Amazon’s something like the Hulu of science fiction.  If you don’t love that, get thee to an English department–and stay there.

B.C. Young may call himself an amateur, but he writes in  clear, uncluttered first-person prose.  In “Sunrise,” Young begins to set the stage for the unfolding story arc–slowly revealing aspects of society and its dangers on one of humanity’s six colonized planets.  In “Arrogation,” the pace builds and we get inside the head and headquarters of one of the leaders of the mysterious Karhath zealots and their sinister schemes for the solar system.  Now I’m just waiting for the next installment: I joined the Miscorrection fan page on Facebook for updates.

“Miscorrection: Sunrise” and “Miscorrection: Arrogation” are available for $0.99 as ebooks on Amazon.  Not bad, considering I paid $1.99 an episode to watch The Walking Dead with Amazon Video on Demand this fall.

“Sunrise” on Amazon

“Arrogation” on Amazon

Oh, and Merry Christmas–even if the Christians did steal the pagan Winter Solstice.

Flashback to FlashForward (finale recap)

31 May

Despite all the hype as a potential successor to ABC’s cult science fiction drama LOST, the infant FlashForward ended up airing its series finale just days after LOST’s own.

Irony’s a bitch.

Like LOSTFlashForward presented viewers with a Byzantine plot, philosophical puzzles, and Dominic Monaghan.  Unlike LOST—and the reason why, I’m convinced, FlashForward didn’t get another season—it wasn’t a character-driven show.  However engaging the storyline and mysterious the subject matter, a show still has to hook us on an emotional level, something Mark Benford and his lackluster FBI cohorts just didn’t manage to do.

The series did have some high points, however.

Physicists, it seems, are hot in contemporary science fiction (you can make anything plausible with reference to quantum mechanics).  Losties got twitchy Daniel Faraday with his endearingly spasmodic hand movements, inevitable skinny tie, and at-times-inaudible science-speak mumbling.  FlashForward brought us Lloyd Simcoe and Simon Campos—the first one being as romantic as Faraday but considerably less socially awkward, and the latter being absolutely effing terrifying.  The most engaging subplots of the show generally involved these two—Simcoe and his relationship with Olivia, and Campos’s teeter-tottering between sociopathic scheming and genuine inner turmoil.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these were the most emotionally fraught storylines, either.

In the penultimate episode The Countdown (1.21), in fact, Lloyd and Olivia have a short phone conversation that might just sum up the entire reason FlashForward failed.  When Olivia decides to drive off with Charlie the night of the blackout to get away from Lloyd (who desperately needs her to be with him at her house, mainly so he can solve an important equation he was supposed to write in lipstick on her bedroom mirror), we get this:

Lloyd: Certain conditions have to be met!

Olivia: Don’t make this about fate, don’t make this about free will.

In other words, make it about the characters.

Well alas alack, it’s a trifle late for that now.  But since the show has gone the way of other sadly misbegotten science fiction (see Dollhouse and Firefly), at the very least a series recap is in order for FlashForward to rest in peace.

The Countdown brought up an interesting idea that probably would have been expanded upon if the series were to have continued: two people having mutually exclusive flash forwards about each other.

After enduring a lengthy speech from global blackout mastermind and sharp dresser Hellinger, Mark seemed to have resigned himself to his own death.  And after being thrown out of the FBI for snapping and beating the crap out of the interrogee turned interrogator, Mark laughs like an hysterial madman when he shows up at a “Flash Forward Day” party (ironic, isn’t it?) and gets a flask pushed on him by another man who’d seen himself quitting drinking.  At this point, Mark’s thoroughly frustrated by his own impotence.  And yet, he can’t entirely give himself up to The Universe.  As Hellinger says:

All of this is so futile, but your faith is admirable.  That board in your office—how much time have you spent on it?  How much time have you spent looking at it, all on faith.  But deep down you must know what that board really is—it’s nothing but a scrapbook of your failures.  A freed Nazi, a failed trip to Somalia, dead birds—but you keep believing, you keep fighting, because that’s what you do.

All this in a condescendingly contemptuous tone, naturally, made all the worse by an upper-crust British accent.  British accents always make me feel inferior.

So when a stranger in a bar says that his flash forward involved talking to Mark—a major departure from Mark seeing masked men with rifles searching him out in his office—the strain might have been just a little too much.  Benford snaps and beats the crap out of his second guy in forty-two minutes.  And gets thrown in jail.

As for everyone else—

At the end of the second-to-last episode, some futures are coming true and some have already shattered:

Nicole starts feeling guilty for hiding her information about Keiko’s whereabouts from Bryce (and thus fears getting drowned and liking it), so she confesses; Bryce, naturally, is angry and shocked, and rushes off to find his illegal immigrant lover.

Aaron’s saved his daughter Tracy from Jericho and learned from a captured Jericho interrogator (Aaron can do some serious Jack Bauer strategic finger-jabbing) that the private defense firm hadn’t killed anyone—as Tracy had thought.  It had been yet more blackout beta-testing, and Tracy was a target because she’d been in the radius but remained awake.  Except, since she did die after all, I guess we’ll never know why she was important (kind of like Walt and the Others…).

Olivia and Charlie are ditching the physicist and his son, the latter two of which are understandably pissed.

Demetri admits to his fiancé that he slept with Janis so she could get pregnant—while he though we was about to get murdered—and then has the gall to ask, “Please marry me.”  Zoey stalks off to Hawaii with her parents.  There goes one escape from the inevitable.  So the once-again-fatalistic Demetri teams up with a guilt-ridden Janis and a vengeful Simon Campos to sneak into the particle accelerator and see if they can figure out whatever crazy system Hellinger used to cause the first blackout—and so stop the next.

End act one.

Future Shock (1.22), the season/series finale, opens with just an hour and eighteen minutes to the time seen in the blackout: April 29th, 10:00 pm.

Let’s start with the good news—Tracy’s alive after all!  That was sure unexpected, and it might even be touching… if I actually cared about her and Aaron.  Bryce meets Keiko as hoped for, and Nicole, though she was drowning, isn’t actually murdered but saved y the sinister man above the watery abyss.  Janis’s baby’s still healthy, and a boy And from Lloyd, another great scientist pick-up line: “You’re part of the equation, and I can’t do it without you.”  (That equation on the mirror, by the way, is Dillan’s.)

Meanwhile, in a creepy octagonal (or something) room filled with large computers and flashing panels, Simon tries in vain to find a file on the computer before the time on the clock runs out and the electromagnetism is released from the Swan hatch and—

Sorry, more flashbacks.

In any case, because of Simon’s physicist inside jokes and because Olivia agrees to recreate the circumstances of the flash forward and ends up looking deep into Lloyd Simcoe’s eyes—“I fought it, and resisted it, and… the future happened,” she explains—Lloyd solves his math problem and discovers that the next blackout is… sometime in the next two days.  In fact, it’s in twelve minutes. Which is shockingly convenient, considering the episode needs to wrap up the entire series and answer that pressing question of another blackout in, at this point, thirteen minutes too.

But there’s worse—Hellinger’s been messing with Mark the whole time.  As it turns out, he has men on the inside (besides Janis), and they’re all ready to shoot up a re-instated Mark Benford just as he figures out the time of the new blackout and channels Jack Bauer in a super intense gunfight.

During all this, Hellinger’s cronies–presumably–activate the accelerator in secret.  Remember all those doomsday predictions about the LHC back in September?  It’s like that.

And just like that, Simon gets a conscience as he tries to shut down the hackers—“I’m not going to let them do this to me—to use my mind, my machine!  Millions of people, Demetri!  Millions of people don’t deserve to die,” he says at gunpoint, in an impassioned tone (see image above).  It would be redemption for the evil scientist… if it were a little less hurried.

In fact, it’s not even clear whether Simon did turn into a good guy at all.  Back a couple episodes, Simon Campos and Hellinger had a major battle of British accents in a seedy hotel room.  But while Simon does demonstrate his contempt for the men he’s been unwittingly working for his entire life, we never do actually hear him answer the Big Guy’s ultimatum: Join us and finish your great scientific work, or die in ignominy.

The finale includes a pretty long scene with Simon hacking into the mainframe–and the only assurance that it’s Hellinger’s men comes from… Simon.  No corroborating evidence (no wonder Demetri’s so close to shooting him).  If he really was not working for the enemy, he failed to stop the blackout with all his rapid keyboard pounding.  Personally, I think he wanted to fire that NLAP particle accelerator up again.  He warned Demetri to take a seat for his safety, and despite his talk of saving millions of lives, his first words were–“I’m not going to let them do this to me—to use my mind, my machine!”  They could be Benford and co.  “I,” “me,” and “my” are pretty self-explanatory.  He values his mind and his work.

Maybe he was still working for the enemy. Simon Campos has a good track record for lying, anyway.

And so the second blackout does happen, though with ten minutes forewarning to world governments, which, I guess, saved a couple million.  The flights that couldn’t be grounded in time, however, might end up on a mysterious island run by the mysterious Hurley and his ambassador Ben.

As for our protagonist—Mark Benford is last scene running toward a window (fourth story at least, I’d guess) in the exploding Los Angeles FBI hq.  His daughter, however, comes full circle with her flash forward: while first she saw her father being reported dead, on April 29, 2010 Charlie sees a much older self (in 2015) telling someone, “They found him.”

All in all, FlashForward gave us a neater tying-up of ends than LOST and a pinch of ambiguity in the end, but neither the story the creators intended, nor the depth of its older sibling, nor nearly as much sobbing by fans.

Though, I will miss that kangaroo.

LOST Live at UCLA–the stars, the music, and “What They Died For” (6.16)

14 May

Last night, LOST producers, writers, and of course the stars themselves came to UCLA for “Lost Live: The Final Celebration.”  The event, which packed Royce Hall’s balconies with hyperventilating fans, was the last live event of the entire series—and I was lucky (and absolutely ecstatic) to be there.  But for LOST fans who didn’t get the chance, here’s a walk-through of the evening, in as much detail as I can recall in this hazy euphoric state.

Summary: the writers and producers, twenty actors, and Michael Giacchino make hundreds of enraptured fans chafe their hands applauding before premiering episode 6.16, “What They Died For,” five days before it airs on tv.  Don’t fear–no spoilers here.

The whole event was very hush-hush.  Even some of the most dedicated Losties at UCLA had no idea anything was being planned.  Publicity was nil, and word of mouth limited.  Probably because LOST fans who did manage to find out somehow (like my friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, looks a lot like Evangeline Lilly, and so will get the codename Kate) kept their lips sealed.  Kate has a lot of friends who watch and theorize about LOST as obsessively as she does, but she decided not to tell any of them about the secret event planned for May 13.  She only let two people know, neither of them on campus—one Lostie from (who also wishes to remain anonymous, but apparently has a goal of featuring on a third-tier science fiction blog, and so will get the codename Census Man), and me.

I was in Tuscaloosa until about a week ago, and so couldn’t really do much harm.  Nor would I want to, considering the fact that the more people who knew about Lost Live, the harder it would be for us to get tickets.  Cruel and disloyal to the fandom?  Yes.  Do I care?  No.

I was walking across the UA campus in the dark, thinking of how I almost missed the entrance for the altos in Regina Coeli during the just-finished University Chorus concert, when I turned on my phone and found I had seven missed calls.  Seven.  I had a handful of messages too, each one more frantic, from Kate—who said in an almost incomprehensibly fast and high-pitched voice that she had something very exciting to tell me.  Knowing Kate and myself, I figured it had to be something to do with Lost.  Maybe she saw someone from the show?

Obviously, that was a tragic underestimation.  What we knew about the show was this—the penultimate episode of the series would be aired five days before showing on tv, Michael Giacchino would be there conducing his beautiful LOST music with a live orchestra, and Carlton Cuse, Damon Lindelof, and Michael Emerson (!) would be there.  It’s quite understandable that, after arriving hours early to get tickets (and finding herself only the fifth person in line), Kate told the man at the ticket book that she loved him.

The tickets, Kate texted me, looked like Oceanic boarding passes.  Very cool.  Our seats, however, were in the very back left corner of the balcony, which was less cool.  Kate considered bringing binoculars, but unfortunately, I had left my opera glasses back in a Tuscaloosa storage unit.

May 13 arrived, with Kate texting me even more incessantly—a picture of a “Lost University” sign being hoisted up on the façade of Royce Hall (mis-sized, it didn’t fit but hung there in a lopsided sort of way, as though the University had just been shaken by strong electromagnetism); a middle-aged lady professing her love for Jack; and my favorite, “omg there are some weird people here.”  I didn’t have the heart to tell her that included us as well.

When I met up with Kate, she had on a Dharma shirt, and Census Man had pasted a Dharma Initiative logo onto a white labcoat.  We found ourselves peering over the heads of a crowd of fans standing on one of the uppermost levels of a nearby parking structure—which gave them a view of the back of Royce Hall, where all the official press were photographing and interviewing each new star who pulled up.  I spotted Michael Emerson’s bespectacled head above the cameras, and Census Man and I saw Jacob at the same time.  His profile and face at three-quarters was unmistakable.*  Kate thought she saw Shannon, but it turned out to be Charlotte—with long blonde hair.  Little Ben Linus, looking considerably taller but still with his round glasses, broke away from the pack and faced us directly on the balcony, waving.  Jorge Garcia did the same shortly after, proving once and for all that he’s possibly the nicest LOST actor ever.  Remember your fans, folks!

We had left our phones and wallets in the car, since no recording devices were allowed and metal detectors were set up at every entrance.  We knew it was about 7:11 pm when we entered the building, but as we waited with the rest of the restless fans inside, Kate and I realized that we had absolutely no way to gauge the time (who wears watches anymore, anyway?).  Supposedly, we had nineteen minutes to wait, but it felt like forever.

Finally, the house lights dimmed, and an ABC bigwig with a prepared speech came out to introduce the event.  He looked slightly flustered, considering he couldn’t get through a sentence (literally) without all the audience breaking out into applause.  Finally, he brought out Cuse and Lindelof, who received a standing ovation and all sorts of cheering.  After making a joke about killing Jin and Sun (which didn’t get very many laughs), they introduced twenty of our favorite Lost characters in the flesh, starting with:

Little Ben Linus

“Sawyer’s baby mama” Cassidy

Dr. Leslie Arzt

Matthew Abaddon

Richard Alpert

Rose Nadler

Penny and Desmond

Dr. Pierre Chang (among his many other names)

Charlotte and Daniel Faraday

Michael and Walt

Boone Carlyle (Lindelof insisted—“he’s not at all attractive, not attractive” as girls screamed)

Daniel Dae Kim’s poor deceased Jin

Ethan Rom, the original Other

Titus Welliver, the nameless Man in Black himself

Benjamin Linus (Lindelof: “the evilest bastard” on the show)

Hugo “Hurley” Reyes

James “Sawyer” Ford

Twenty actors total, some of them completely unexpected (Dr. Arzt?) and some of them completely unexpected (Daniel Dae Kim, Henry Ian Cusick, and Josh Holloway).  By the far the loudest applause went to Boone, Desmond, Jin, the Man in Black, Hurley, Sawyer, and grown-up Ben Linus.  Although really, we were thrilled to see everyone.

The actors filed offstage, but Kate and I noticed that Michael Emerson was holding a rolled-up piece of paper in his hands, so we knew there’d be more to come.  Cuse and Lindelof introduced Michael Giacchino by explaining how, by the end of the first season, they’d begun to write him into the script.  A notable example: “They [the actors] don’t talk.  Just Michael’s brilliant score.”  Lindelof revealed that he’d coined a word for the composer’s music, which really is so brilliant that any Lostie could recognize the show blindfolded just by the score—“Giacchinius.”  Let’s see if that catches on; I’m all for it.

Cuse and Lindelof explained that Giacchino had only conducted the LOST orchestra for a live audience one other time, and that was in Honolulu.  But we got to hear—musicians who have played on the show and also some very talented students from the Colburn Conservatory (our tickets went toward scholarships for Colburn).

Giacchino conducted as a slideshow of memorable images from the series ran.  The arrangement included: LOST’s main theme, “Hollywood and Vines” (or as I like to call it, that music that plays whenever someone decided to march their people across the Island like Moses), “Oceanic 6” (the sad one that played to pictures of Sun holding her daughter crying, and made me want to cry too), “The Temple of Boom,” “Life and Death” (also a tear-jerker, since no one likes to see Charlie drown), “The Tangled Web” (otherwise known as the Jacob theme), and “Parting Words,” which ran with the clip of the raft launching.  Giacchino darted offstage as we gave him a very long, very enthusiastic standing ovation, and then came back on in a Dharma jumpsuit with the embroidered label: CONDUCTOR.  They played one last song, the theme from Up, which won the composer an Academy Award in 2009.

Between each number, one of the actors would come out and read a “message in a bottle,” letters written by the extra crash survivors we don’t know anything about—or as Lindelof called them, the “socks” (short for sockpuppets).

First was Daniel Dae Kim, reading Patrick’s letter to his wife Joanna, who had always said she’d bring her Gabriel García Márquez books to a desert island.  Patrick had wanted Steven King, but of course what he really misses now that he’s there and apart from her is the sound of her laugh, or how she hummed when she walked the dog.

Hurley read a letter from Robin to her father, who’d left her when she was two.  She makes an interesting comment—that sometimes she feels like she’ll suddenly meet him as she’s walking through the jungle (we in the audience murmured knowingly).  But if she doesn’t, she says, she wants him to know that she’s a “good kid,” with a shelter that holds out the rain better than anybody else’s.

Michael Emerson came out to read third.  We applauded him before he began, as we had everyone else, but some people on the far right side of the balcony were cheering even as the rest of the clapping died down.  His face was projected on a large screen for us proles in the back, and his expression was priceless—for the first minute of it, he was completely still and serious, staying in character.  But as the applause continued (the right-corner people weren’t alone for long), and a blonde violinist behind him started laughing, Emerson cracked and smiled.  We all love him.  And he proved us right, reading a somewhat angry letter to his mother—“You should have hugged me more!  And I hated that cat!”  When we learned it was from Neil (aka, Frogurt), we laughed even harder.

Penny read a letter to Jason from Meredith.  Meredith spends her time wondering if she’d have been a good mother—like Jason had told her.  She says everyone spends all day long watching Claire’s baby sleep, and that his breathing sounds like a cat purring.

Richard Alpert read a letter from Nick, an ex-atheist, to his grandfather.  The city lights of LA had kept him from seeing the stars, but now that he can, he realizes that both they and God are up there watching him.  Nestor Carbonell read a second letter, from a father to his daughter Isabelle.  He said that he’d always pestered his own grandfather about not giving many details about a trip to Antarctica, but that now he realizes how hard it is to explain that sort of terrifying beauty.  But if he ever gets off the Island, he’ll find a way to find the words.

(The readings, Cuse and Lindelof told us, had only been given once before.)

Next, some of the writers and producers came out, along with Bryan Burk—the sound guy, and we finally learned that he was inspired to make the tik-a-tik-a noise of the Smoke Monster after hearing the click of a receipt machine in a New York taxi.  Three of the writers were asked to introduce the episode we were about to see, “What they died for.”  One said that it would be funnier than some of the more recent ones—“We kill Sun and Jin again!”  And again, no one really laughed.  Too soon.

But the episode was absolutely fantastic, and at parts absolutely hilarious.  I don’t want to give any spoilers away (how can I, when I’m still digesting myself?), but I’ll say a few things:

There’s nothing in the world like watching a new episode premiere in a theater packed with obsessive fans like yourself (this was infinitely better than even a Harry Potter movie premiere).  Every time Desmond or Ben came on screen, we cheered, and each time the screen blacked where commercials would normally be, we cheered.  We cheered when people died, too—and be warned: the deaths are totally random and unexpected.  By far, the best episode of the season… of the series?  Maybe it was the atmosphere, but I can’t wait to watch it again Tuesday night.

To end the evening, we exited Royce Hall to be greeted by some Dharma Initiative folks namaste-ing us and handing out Dharma Water–Vitamin Water with a special label I shall treasure always.

And finally, I figure I can include a list of some of the questions answered in this episode (I won’t include the answers)—

Why were the Candidates brought to the Island?

Why was Kate’s name crossed off the wall?

Who is going to succeed Jacob?

What was Widmore doing on the Island? (accordingly, why did he bring Desmond?)

Is Ben Linus good or bad?  (well, we still don’t really know that—but we do know he’s a bamf.  Ben had more amazing one-liners than anyone else in the episode)

So long live Lost Live!

*As it turned out, Jacob didn’t come on stage with the other actors.  I was terribly confused, because it was totally him on the balcony.  Kate doesn’t believe me, and Census Man coined a new term for this mystery man—Facob, like Flocke, but better.  I still don’t buy it; driving through In-and-Out after the show, I saw Facob walk into the fast food joint with two black-suited guys who looked like security.  I’m convinced it was Jacob.  We made eye contact.  That makes me a Candidate, right?  Right?

To Jack– Love, Kate

28 Mar

Just something for the LOST fans: