For Fans of FX’s Justified

“Lost” blogger Jo Garfein is blogging about “Justified,” which started its second season last night. And in a crossover, Jeremy Davis (Daniel Faraday on Lost) is on Justified this season. Lots of Justified coverage here.

(LATER: And the other Lost connection is that Lost’s Mr. Friendly was the heavy in the first season of Justified.)

“Justified” is about the methamphetamine trade in Harlan, Kentucky. It’s sort of like “The Wire” with hillbillies.

I like the show. I’ve liked Timothy Olyphant since he played Sheriff Seth Bullock on HBO’s “Deadwood.” The writing and cinematography are good to great and there’s plenty of action.

The writers do a good job with characters. They’ll spend time developing memorable personalities for throwaway characters that only appear on one episode, so they must have talent to burn.

“Lost” Island Map

Here. Via Mark O’s Facebook.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

I heard bad reviews and never saw it in the theater. Finally watched it on TiVo Memorial Day.

Maybe it’s the Memorial Day warm fuzzies – I have warm fuzzies for movies I see at Saturday matinees, too – but I liked it a bunch. Tons of action, a huge cast of mutants to keep things interesting, and good FX and acting (though will.i.am should keep his day job). That the cast has two Losties is a bonus.

“Lost” Staffer on the Series Finale

Someone from Bad Robot’s take on the finale:

First …
The Island:

It was real. Everything that happened on the island that we saw throughout the 6 seasons was real. Forget the final image of the plane crash, it was put in purposely to f*&k with people’s heads and show how far the show had come. They really crashed. They really survived. They really discovered Dharma and the Others. The Island keeps the balance of good and evil in the world. It always has and always will perform that role. And the Island will always need a “Protector”. Jacob wasn’t the first, Hurley won’t be the last. However, Jacob had to deal with a malevolent force (MIB) that his mother, nor Hurley had to deal with. He created the devil and had to find a way to kill him — even though the rules prevented him from actually doing so.

[…]

But, from a more “behind the scenes” note: the reason Ben’s not in the church, and the reason no one is in the church but for Season 1 people is because they wrote the ending to the show after writing the pilot. And never changed it. The writers always said (and many didn’t believe them) that they knew their ending from the very first episode. I applaud them for that. It’s pretty fantastic. Originally Ben was supposed to have a 3 episode arc and be done. But he became a big part of the show. They could have easily changed their ending and put him in the church — but instead they problem solved it. Gave him a BRILLIANT moment with Locke outside the church … and then that was it. I loved that. For those that wonder — the original ending started the moment Jack walked into the church and touches the casket to Jack closing his eyes as the other plane flies away. That was always JJ’s ending. And they kept it.

JOpinionated’s Lost Episode Writeup

Only two episodes left.

Did you catch that wild episode of “Lost” last night?

It was just like an earlier episode. Freaky.

It’s sort of like the audience is now time-traveling. We time-traveled back to a previous “Lost” episode. That episode had died in an alternate timeline (the Smoke Monster probably killed it), but in the new timeline it was brought back to life after bathing in the spring at the temple.

Hey, after watching six seasons of “Lost” I’ll believe anything.

Lost – Mysteries of the Universe Part 3

Hat tip to DarkUFO. Check out that DarkUFO title card in the video, which is from this URL and is embedded in the video embed code above. I gotta try that.

LATER: The title image is a feature of the player at spoilertv, rather than YouTube. So if you want to use that player it works and is pretty straightforward, but if you want to use YouTube’s player you’re out of luck.

Lost – Mysteries of the Universe: The Dharma Initiative (Updated)

Via JOpinionated. Released at ComicCon, with more Web episodes to come.

UPDATE. Via DarkUFO here’s part two, which gets into the meat of the show.

This format – a fictional TV show about aliens and monsters focuses its attention on the secretive Dharma Initiative – is pretty smart. We get clues about Dharma, but the clues are sketchy, second hand, and probably interspersed with unreliable information so that the mystery isn’t spoiled.

I love the way it’s filmed. “Mysteries of the Universe” has the look and feel of trashy 1970s documentaries about UFOs, Bigfoot, and the Loch Ness Monster down pat. I’m guessing they used Leonard Nimoy’s “In Search Of” as one of their models. Great line from the narrator, after explaining that applicants for the Dharma Initiative must complete many rounds of interviews and undergo psychological exams and ink blot testing: “Why would a veterinarian be profiled in the same manner as a psychotic killer?”

“Lost” and “Land of the Lost”

Spooky:

Anyway, for a long time now I’ve been mentioning Land of the Lost in my recaps. I drew parallels to both shows containing a closed universe in S3 Every Man For Himself, and I talked about the mirrored universe references at the end of S4 after watching There’s No Place Like Home. I mentioned what could be construed as LOTL’s final episode “Circle”, and how it corresponded to the circular patterns we’ve seen throughout LOST. At times, the similarities between the two shows are almost uncanny.

  • The leader of the Sleestak was played by a really tall actor. His name? Jon Locke.
  • People in LOTL see characters who aren’t there. In Album Holly and Will see their dead mother. Turns out they’re seeing only what they want to see… once they deny it (Hurley counting to 5?) these things disappear.
  • In Elsewhen Holly runs into an older version of herself, from the future. She gives her past self a locket (just like Richard’s compass). She also gets a cut, that turns into a scar on her older version’s hand.
  • In Hurricane someone parachutes into the Land of the Lost.
  • In Hot-Air Artist a hot air balloon lands in the Land of the Lost.
  • In The Flying Dutchman an 18th century schooner is landlocked in the middle of the LOTL, looking uncannily like the Black Rock.

Word of the Day: Sobek (Mythology)

So in Wednesday night’s “Lost” season finale we finally saw the four-toed statue in its entirety, revealing its crocodile face. Reading today’s DarkUFO episode recap clued me in that this was a statue of Sobek.

From Wikipedia:

Sobek (also called Sebek, Sochet, Sobk, Sobki, Soknopais, and in Greek, Suchos) was the deification of crocodiles, as crocodiles were deeply feared in the nation so dependent on the Nile River. Egyptians who worked or travelled on the Nile hoped that if they prayed to Sobek, the crocodile god, he would protect them from being attacked by crocodiles.[1] The god Sobek, which was depicted as a crocodile or a man with the head of a crocodile was a powerful and frightening deity; in some Egyptian creation myths, it was Sobek who first came out of the waters of chaos to create the world.[1] As a creator god, he was occasionally linked with the sun god Ra.[1]

Sobek’s ambiguous nature led some Egyptians to believe that he was a repairer of evil that had been done, rather than a force for good in itself, for example, going to Duat to restore damage done to the dead as a result of their form of death. He was also said to call on suitable gods and goddesses required for protecting people in situation, effectively having a more distant role, nudging things along, rather than taking an active part.

That nudging things along part sounds like what we saw Jacob doing last night, or what Eloise Hawking has been doing for several seasons.

DarkUFO has a more complete wrapup here. JOpinionated has her episode reaction and thoughts on Jacob and the mystery man as embodiments of fate vs. free will.

It’s going to be a long eight months waiting for the next episode.

Previous WOTDSouth Pointing Chariot (Inventions)

jwz’s take on time travel

“If your story is not about time travel, but it has time travel in it, then your story sucks.”
— jwz

He expands:

For example. Stories that are about time travel:
Terminator, Back to the Future, Time Bandits, Bill & Ted, 12 Monkeys, Journeyman.
Their use of time travel is, at least, honest.

Stories that are not about time travel:
Star Trek, Stargate, Lost, Heroes.
Their use of time travel is a crutch or a gag, and all of their time travel episodes are stupid.

I think he’s onto something. I’ve often wished “Lost” hadn’t gone down the time travel rabbit hole beginning in season 2. It seems like it needlessly complicated a story that was already tied in knots. On the other hand Wednesday night’s season finale gave me some hope that time travel and repetition might be subsets of a much larger theme where they would make sense.

“Lost” theories

Theoriesonlost.blogspot.com, part of the Dark UFO Lost site.

I like the theory that Jacob is Jack.

1-The name:Jack can be used as a short name of Jacob

2-The visitors of Jacob cabin (Ben, Locke, Christian Shephard, Claire):The future version of jack will have a good reason to need these people Ben cause he is the only one of The Others which will meet jack in 2004 John Locke is the man of faith that make jack came back to the island in 2007 Christian is his FATHER and Claire is his SISTER.

Some Like I, Thoth

Bonus! Good Lost weekly recaps at 42 Inch Television.

Lost and Lewis Carroll

DarkUFO:

Speaking of Daniel, he has always been a bit of a White Rabbit / Mad Hatter hybrid for me.

  • In the S5 premiere, “Because You Left,” he scurries past Juliet and Sawyer as they traipse through the Jungle, and says “Excuse me, I’m going to need the two of you to pick up the pace. Okay? Thanks.”
  • In that moment, Daniel was incredibly reminiscent of The White Rabbit in the opening scene of “Alice.”
  • He hurries about, obsessed with time, yelling about being “too late.”
  • On the Rabbit, Lewis Carroll has said: “The White Rabbit is nervous and always in a hurry. However, he is confident enough about himself to contradict the King of Hearts. Because Alice follows him, he gets things moving again whenever he appears during the story. In a way, he is some kind of a guide through Wonderland for her, if only unintentionally.”
  • As far as the Mad Hatter’s connection with Daniel, the parallel also seems to live in the obsession with “Time.”
  • The Mad Hatter character in both “Alice” stories (who is never seen without his bow-tie, as our Daniel is never seen minus his precious neck tie) is said to have been inspired by Theophilus Carter, an inventor and servitor at Oxford. Maybe they could’ve just named the Daniel character “Oxford.”

Recaps for last week’s Lost

To get ready for Wednesday’s Lost episode here are recaps of last week’s episode, “316”:

And some things I’m wondering about.

Ben’s injuries

When everyone is leaving the church to get their affairs in order to return to the island, Ben says he has to keep a promise to an old friend. The next time we see him he’s covered in blood making a call from a marina payphone.

The prevailing theory is that the old friend was a sardonic reference to his enemy Charles Widmore. The promise was to kill Widmore’s daughter Penny in retaliation for his killing of Ben’s daughter Alex. The theory figures that the most likely character to be at a marina is Penny, who has lived on a boat with Desmond for the past three years. Ben in that case was presumably beaten up by Widmore’s goons or Desmond.

I noticed something when I re-watched the episode. Ben’s face is bloody and his hair is wet, but his clothes are dry and blood-free. Also, his face is bloody except for the area around his eyes and the top of his nose, almost as if he was wearing a mask, possibly a scuba mask, when whatever happened happened.

Locke’s death

I have a hard time believing Locke killed himself out of simple hopelessness. Heck, I have a hard time believing he killed himself, period. When Michael left the island he fell into despair and tried to commit suicide many times, but the island wouldn’t allow him to die. The previews for this week seemed to suggest the same thing for Locke, with car crashes and such, just like Michael. We’ve also been led to believe that Ben couldn’t simply shoot and kill Widmore when he confronted him in Widmore’s penthouse.

One possibility that’s going around is that Locke was bitten/chose to be bitten by a medusa spider and is in hibernation that looks like death, a la Nikki and Paolo. Maybe, but it seems like a longshot.

Or if you take the Jesus/Thomas/resurrection imagery they used a step further we might see Locke reborn through some mysterious property of the island. Possibly as Jacob? Locke was told he was their leader and Jacob was their leader.

As I recall the previews showed Locke and Widmore meeting each other in the present, some 50 years after their first meeting. That’s a rematch that should be interesting. I’ll take all the Widmore, Hanso, and Dharma Initiative backstory I can get to unravel the mystery of the island.

Miscellaneous

  • I can’t believe there was an off-island Dharma Initiative station. These people were branding their product before branding was cool.
  • Who’s the “clever fellow” who created the Lamp Post to find the island? And did Ben really not know about it?
  • Speaking of which, is Ben telling the truth lately, as some people are theorizing? We’ve certainly seen him gloss over the truth, but I’m trying to remember the last time we’ve seen him tell what we knew was a lie. In general he seems more contrite than before.
  • Last season Ben told Locke that whoever turns the wheel can never return to the island. If that’s true (a big if when Ben’s involved) why was he on Ajira Flight 316 trying to return to the island, and will he return successfully with most of the Oceanic 6?
  • If they’re now trying to recreate the conditions of Oceanic Flight 815, then does that mean that there was someone on 815 like Ben who had been on the island before? There could be lots of people like that, some of whom – much like Charlotte or Miles  – might not be fully or at all aware they had previously been on the island.
  • That’s the spookiest idea I’ve had about the whole episode – who of the Flight 815 passengers might have been on the island before? Zoinks, Scooby.
  • I was not expecting to see Jin hop out of that microbus. Dang. When in time are they?
  • It looks like our time in LA is coming to a close and we’ll spend more time on the island. Hallelujah. The off-island parts were usually too slow and had too much Jack and Kate.

Bonus! The Lost Tour of Oahu

JOpinionated flew to Hawaii and took the tour of the Lost set and related places. Sounds like fun. Pics and report here and here.

Word of the Day: Baba Yaga’s Hut (Mythology)

DarkUFO put together a poll of top Lost mysteries. One such mystery is What happened to Jacob’s cabin?

In comments bongzilla suggested Googling for Baby Yaga’s hut. Sure enough, that produced an interesting result at Wikipedia. I’m not saying Lost is following the legend faithfully, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the writers are borrowing pieces of the legend the way they’ve done with other legends and literature. Asterisks go to Lost connections.

Baba Yaga (Russian: ?????-????, Macedonian and Serbian: ???? ????, Bulgarian: ???? ???, Polish: Baba Jaga, Czech: Ježibaba (also: Baba Jaga), Slovak: Baba Jaga, Croatian: Baba Roga, Slovene: Jaga Baba) is, in Slavic folklore, a witch-like character who flies around on a giant mortar, kidnaps (and presumably eats) small children*, and lives in a house on chicken feet. In most Slavic folk tales, she is portrayed as an antagonist; however, some characters in other mythological folk stories have been known to seek her out for her wisdom, and she has been known on occasion to offer guidance to lost souls**, although this is seen as rare.

The name differs within the various Slavic languages. It is spelled “Baba Jaga” in Czech, Slovak and Polish (though Czech and Slovak also use Ježibaba). In Slovene, the words are reversed, producing Jaga Baba.***

In Russian tales, Baba Yaga is portrayed as a hag who flies through the air in a mortar, using the pestle as a rudder and sweeping away the tracks behind her with a broom made out of silver birch.**** She lives in a log cabin that moves around***** on a pair of dancing chicken legs, and/or surrounded by a palisade with a skull on each pole. The keyhole to her front door is a mouth filled with sharp teeth; the fence outside is made with human bones with skulls on top, often with one pole lacking its skull, leaving space for the hero or heroes. In another legend, the house does not reveal the door until it is told a magical phrase: Turn your back to the forest, your front to me.

In some tales, the house is connected with three riders: one in white, riding a white horse with white harness, who is Day; a red rider, who is the Sun; and one in black, who is Night. Baba Yaga is served by invisible servants inside the house. She will explain the riders if asked, but may kill a visitor who inquires about the servants.

Baba Yaga is sometimes shown as an antagonist, and sometimes as a source of guidance; there are stories where she helps people with their quests, and stories in which she kidnaps children and threatens to eat them.* Seeking out her aid is usually portrayed as a dangerous act.****** An emphasis is placed on the need for proper preparation and purity of spirit, as well as basic politeness.******* It is said she ages one year every time she is asked a question, which probably explains her reluctance to help. This effect, however, can be reversed with a special blend of tea made with blue roses.

There are indications that ancient Slavs had a funeral tradition of cremation in huts of this type. In 1948 Russian archaeologists Yefimenko and Tretyakov discovered small huts of the described type with traces of corpse cremation and circular fences********** around them; yet another possible connection to the Baba Yaga myth. [3][4]

Modern fantasy writers, such as Tad Williams and Elaine Cunningham use the character of the cabin on chicken legs in their works, as do Fritz Leiber (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser) and Mike Mignola in his portrayal of Baba Yaga in his Hellboy comics. The castle in Hayao Miyazaki‘s film version of Diana Wynne Jones‘ novel Howl’s Moving Castle also moves on mechanical chicken legs.

*Women can’t can’t conceive and deliver children on the island.

**Ben takes Locke to Jacob to seek advice. Locke returns later to find Christian Shepherd and Claire, and is told he has to move the island.

***”Jaga Baba” is sorta kinda like Jacob, but I admit this is a stretch, especially since the little we know of Jacob strongly suggest he’s male, beard and all. I think the name Jacob is more likely to be based on Biblical mythology, which Lost follows in a big way with regard to characters’ names: James, John, Benjamin, Aaron, Michael, etc.

****The Others apparently cover their tracks by sweeping them with brush.

*****Much like the Losties have difficulty re-finding the cabin, which seems to move.

******Ben seemed to seek Jacob’s advice reluctantly.

*******Ben emphasized that Jacob didn’t like technology, so they stopped using flashlights and switched to a lantern before entering his cabin.

**********Jacob’s cabin is surrounded by a circle of what looks like ash. Possibly unrelated, but the Barracks are surrounded by a circle of sonic fence that keeps out the Smoke Monster who seems to have some parallels to Baba Jaga, based on the description of her flying around in a mortar with her pestle as a rudder, though that’s once again stretching things. I’m much more comfortable thinking of Baba Yaga as a broad inspiration.

Previous WOTDPsychopomp