The Token Bad Guy: Osama bin Laden is Dead

From Ben Linus to bin Laden, evil has a name.

Now that President Obama announced that Osama bin Laden is officially dead, it makes me think about how there always how to be a “bad guy”, both locally and world-wide.

In Judd Apatow’s Jewish comedy (a franchise he has specialized in for the past decade, based on a strategic formula including Seth Rogen and/or Paul Rudd, a good dose of bromance, a classic soft rock soundtrack, mostly ad-lib dialogue, a heavy and almost dark dramatic element somewhere in the plot line, a running time of at least 2 hours and 15 minutes, an unpredictable ending but no “twist”, and constant references to reproductive organs) Funny People, there is a scene where Adam Sandler’s character is babysitting his ex-girlfriend’s two young daughters. As they play, one of the girls takes him captive like he’s a dragon, while the other has come to rescue him. He looks up at them and says to each one, “Are YOU the good guy or are YOU the good guy?”

While in cartoons and children’s own made-up playtime storylines the antagonist often takes pride in knowingly being evil, in real life the Bad Guy usually doesn’t realize that he’s the Bad Guy. It amazes me that there always has to be a handful of countries in the world that serve as a current Bad Country. It’s been England (watch the movie The Patriot about the Revolutionary War). It’s been Germany (the Nazi’s). It’s been Russia (watch Rocky IV) and still kinda is.

Why can’t the evil leader of a country think to himself: “Oh no! I’m ‘that guy’. I’m the bad person that’s causing problems with the rest of the world. I need to start with the man in the mirror and change my ways”. From what I’ve read about Adolph Hitler, in his own mind he simply was carrying out an ultimate version of Charles Darwin’s concept of “survival of the fittest”. He was only advancing what he saw as in the inevitable. He wasn’t a sadistic tyrant, not the way he saw it. He didn’t see himself as the Bad Guy.

From each holy war ever fought in history, down to the elementary school bully, the true villain is doing what is right according to his own view. The Bad Guy is dead wrong, yes. But he doesn’t see it that way.  While obviously I don’t have the potential to become a radical tyrannical leader of threatening foreign country, I still can find myself in a similar scenario as North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, by simply being the Bad Guy on a much lesser scale in everyday situations and not realizing it. If only Bad Guys always realized they’re the Bad Guy… well, it might help a little.

“We’re never gonna win the world, we’re never gonna stop the war. We’re never gonna beat this if belief is what we’re fighting for.” -John Mayer (“Belief”)

*Some bad guys, like this one, may or may not repent of their evil ways in the end.

LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 16- “What They Died For”

 

I can’t always be right- Ben is definitely ultimately a bad guy, at least in reality.  Ben is doing his best to keep his promise to Widmore that he will kill Penny. 

So I was wrong about Ben, but I still think the finale will end in modern day 2010, which so far has never been seen on LOST, only up to 2009.

Desmond in alt-reality is starting to make a lot more sense now.  He ran over Locke to jog his memory of reality and his gathering everyone he can for a reunion which somehow will serve a purpose of changing reality, despite living in alt-reality.

Two minor questions were answered.  Why does Faux Locke walk when he can fly?  He likes the feeling of having his feet on the ground as it reminds him of being human.  Why was Kate’s name crossed off the list on the cave wall?  She became a mom to Aaron, that’s the only reason.  But by her coming back to the island, she technically put her name back on the list, as Jacob offered to change it back.

Though I already knew it in the back of my mind, Jacob confirmed why he chose the candidates: They are all flawed, alone, and looking for something- just like Jacob.  As is the newly orphaned Ji Yeon who will replace Jack as the island’s protector.

Well, I’m pretty excited about the LOST party I will be attending Sunday night.  Now I understand how the rest of America feels when the Super Bowl is on.  As far as my expectations, I have a feeling the finale will evoke the same feel and emotion as the episode “The Candidate”, where Jin and Sun died.

It will be sad, yet it will be the only way for the thing to end properly. And all of our questions will not be answered.  Just the main ones.  The unanswered ones will help keep LOST alive by all our theories that will continue to be born, keep LOST alive in our hearts.

I wonder if at the end of the finale on Sunday, if the screen will say “FOUND” instead of “LOST”.  Probably not.  Too predictable.

LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 15- “Across the Sea”

Biblical Esau losing his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup

I refuse to refer to Jacob’s twin brother as “The Man in Black”- I will only refer to him as “Esau” until I am given an actual name from an upcoming episode, if that even happens.  To me, the struggle we see between Jacob and Esau on LOST is at least 50% familiar from the Biblical book of Genesis.  So that’s why I call “The Man in Black”, Esau.  Here are some comparisons:

In the Bible, Jacob and Esau were twins, like on LOST. 

In the Bible, Jacob was smooth-skinned and Esau was hairy.  On LOST, Jacob dresses in white, Esau in black.  They are physically opposites in both instances. 

In the Bible, Jacob was his mother’s favorite.  On LOST, the mother favored Esau.

In the Bible, Jacob took Esau’s birthright.  On LOST, Jacob took Esau’s destined role as the island’s protector. 

The greatest thing I learned from watching “Across the Sea” is this: Jacob and Esau are not the original “eternal life” cursed inhabitants of the island.  The woman who raised them (the stepmom from the movie, Juno) had been cursed before them, evidently from drinking what I am currently calling The Fountain of Youth, making her (and eventually Jacob) the protector of the island. 

By drinking the water, a person gains eternal earthly life.  And apparently a person once a person does that, they can only die if someone who hasn’t drank from The Fountain of Youth or is The Smoke Monster kills them.  That is the “loophole”.  The only way to lose eternal earthly life after drinking from The Fountain of Youth.

Going back to the Season 5 finale, Ben killed Jacob.  And Ben had never drank from The Fountain of Youth and he definitely wasn’t The Smoke Monster. 

And of course that’s why Juno’s stepmom (the lady who killed Jacob and Esau’s real mother, who was evidently Spanish, like Richard) thanked Esau when he accidently stabbed her to death.  Because he freed her from having to live forever on the island.  Though it meant she could no longer be the protector of the island, she had at that point already given the water to Jacob and he drank it.  Perfect escape for Juno’s stepmom.

So who was the first person to drink from The Fountain of Youth?  Mysteries…

After Esau lost his human body by becaming The Smoke Monster, he decided to take on the form of his now dead body by default.  That’s why he appeared to still be alive in the Season 5 finale as Richard’s slave ship was coming up in the distance. 

I predict that Jacob and Esau had been playing their “I’m trying to kill you” game for a decade or two before Richard arrived, because they were both familiar that the fact that men come to the island to destroy and that it always ends the same.

Jacob reading Everything That Rises Must Converge

I will close with notable quotes from “Across the Sea”:

“It’s inside of every man but they always want more.”  -Juno’s stepmom referring to the light that turned Esau into The Smoke Monster.

“If the light goes out here, it goes out everywhere.”  –same thing

“One day you can make your own game and make up your own rules.”  -Esau to Jacob

“I needed you to stay good.”  -Juno’s stepmom

“I’m special, mother.”  -Esau

“Promise me you’ll never go down there… It’s worse than dying.”  -Juno’s stepmom warning Jacob about the light that turns people into The Smoke Monster.

LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 12- “Everybody Loves Hugo”

I’m getting a little nervous.  After last night’s episode, I can’t help but think that there are so many questions that will not be answered in the next few weeks.  It raised more questions than answers.  Here’s what I did learn from “Everybody Loves Hugo”.

1)     The “whispers” on the island are from the people who died there but can’t “move on” because of the wrong doing they committed while they were still alive on the island.  Despite the writers of the show promising that the island is not really purgatory or hell, it’s hard not to see it that way.

2)     Desmond has the ability to interact between both reality and alt-reality.  He ran over the real Locke in alt-reality after Faux Locke threw him down the well in reality.  Unless alt-Desmond was simply carrying out some shady dirty-work orders of his boss, Mr. Widmore and that ultimately Desmond’s attempted murder of Locke was to show the balance between the two realities, being that Locke had a near-death experience when he was thrown out of the window.  Of course Jacob saved his life in reality.  Will someone save Locke’s life in alt-reality?

Desmond, Charlie, and the Widmore’s aren’t the only ones aware of alt-reality.  We can now add Hurley and Libby to that list.

I don’t know why, but Ilana always annoyed me.  Ben Linus’s response: “The island was done with her.”  It’s funny how dynamite typically gets rid of annoying characters on the show.

LOST Recap: Season 6, Midseason- “Ab Aeterno”

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

After going on a LOST recapping hiatus since this season’s premiere episode, I came out of hiding to praise the job well done of the long awaited Richard-eccentric episode.  I feel so relieved, excited, and passionate about LOST again.  Because the show has finally stepped back into its former mystique while at the same time taking a giant step forward.

It’s not that I wasn’t a fan of the flashes-sideways.  They were cool.  I liked learning where the characters would have ended up had things gone differently.  But after a few episodes, the game started getting stale.

Yes, I get it.  James and Miles would have been buddy cops.  Ben and Dogen would have known each other through a high school.  Kate would have still ended up helping Claire.  Jack would have meet Locke and offered to help him gain his mobility back.  (And I’ve read an interview with one of the writers that said Hurley and Libby have a baby together in an upcoming flash-sideways.)

The first half of this season, to me, has felt more like a group of forsaken bonus episodes.  I feel like last night’s episode was the first real episode of the season.

Last May when I did my Season 5 finale recap, I predicted that Richard came to the island as a Spanish explorer in the 1600’s and was killed by the Smoke Monster.  So I was a little off.  He was a Spanish slave in 1867 from the Canary Islands (Spain) who became shipwrecked on the island.  I also predicted that the whole premise of LOST was a game between Jacob and the man I still refer to as Esau.  It now clearly appears that is indeed the case.

On a side note, the actor who plays Richard, Nestor Carbonell, is a Spanish-Cuban American who does not actually wear eyeliner, despite popular assumption.  He just has really thick eyelashes.

While some Losties are disappointed that the six seasons of the show have all led up to a moral chess game between two spiritual beings, I think it’s the only plot that the series could have that is grandiose enough to pull this all together.

Because just like real life, when all it’s all over with, it will be apparent that we were all participants in a sci-fi story alongside a spiritual war.  Yes, our life matters and is real, but ultimately we have a spiritual audience watching us and even influencing our personal decisions.  Brilliant.

Read “SCIence + FaIth = Sci-Fi” http://wp.me/pxqBU-1N

As for who and what exactly Jacob and Esau are, here is my guess.  Jacob is an angel and Esau is a demon.  Here is why they are not God and Satan.  When offering to grant a wish to Richard, Jacob says he can not raise the dead nor absolve Richard’s sins.  God would be able to.  But as an angel, Jacob is restricted by what God allows him to do.

Jacob’s gift of everlasting earthbound life is interesting.  It keeps Richard from going to hell, but makes his earthly life a form of hell by keeping him trapped on Earth while still not reuniting him with Isabella.

“Ab Aeterno” (the name of the episode), which is Latin for “since the beginning of time” or figuratively “since a very long time ago”, was by far the most blatantly Christian episode to date:

Richard learned to speak English by reading the Bible and carried around his wife’s cross necklace.  When Richard was shown to us in the prison, he was reading the 4th chapter of Luke which tells about Jesus being tempted in the wilderness by Satan to turn the stone into bread (the lust of the flesh), to worship Satan in exchange for the domain of the world and all its glory (the lust of the eyes), and to attempt to commit suicide knowing that God would save him anyway (the pride of life).

This concept was later reiterated in 1 John 2:16- “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”

I wonder if this was intentionally (and loosely) played out with Richard through the episode:  Esau granted Richard the lust of the flesh when he freed him from his chains and gave him food and water.  Hurley enabled the lust of the eyes to Richard through his vision of Isabella.  Jacob granted Richard the lust of the pride of life by giving him earthly eternal life.  That could all be a coincidence, but maybe not.

In other Christian elements, Jacob asked the priest, “What can I do to earn God’s forgiveness?”, which is a pointing towards the need for God’s grace.  Also, there was the use of the word “sin” by Jacob when he quoted Esau, “Everyone is corruptible because it is in their nature to sin”.  Explicitly New Testament Biblical.

So far, Jacob has not yet been able to prove his case to Esau, that a person can ultimately choose good over evil.  He continues to bring people to the island to find someone who will be his representative of righteousness (symbolizing followers of Christ), since Jacob himself refuses to force his will upon anyone.  And of course that’s another obvious reflection of God and his relationship with humans: The granting of free will.

Esau/Billy Joel

As for my predictions for the last half of the season:

Ben Linus: I stand by my belief that he is ultimately good.

The Smoke Monster (Esau): It is a “soul train” that collects the spirits of those it kills, so that it can take the human form of them once they are dead.  Sometimes it “takes pictures” of their good deeds when it flashes the light at them to decide whether to collect them (by killing them) or keep them alive, like it did with Eko in the first season and with Richard back in 1867.

The List:  Jacob touched 7 potential “saviors of the island” back in their past including Kate (as well as Locke, Hurley, James, Sayid, Jack, and Sun/Jin), but for some reason Kate’s name wasn’t written on the cave ceiling when Faux Locke took James there: Kate somehow disqualified herself.  Also, no one knows whether it’s Jin or Sun that is on the list because only their last name shows up- but I predict it’s their kid instead, not either of them.

The Flashes-Sideways:  Not what actually happens, only glimpses.  The island is reality.

I will close with a few other quotes from the season so far that really stood out:

“I am not a zombie.” -Sayid

“John Locke was a much better man than I’ll ever be and I’m sorry I murdered him.” -Ben Linus

“I’m the smoke thing.” -Faux Locke (I like this name for him best because it rhymes with “Mohawk”.)

Read LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 1- “LA X” http://wp.me/pxqBU-vo

LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 1- “LA X”


“When I die, what do you think will happen to me?” -Sayid


The anticipation… Such a big deal! Like being a kid… So exciting!

Yet now that the 23 millions of us have seen the first two hours of the final season of our favorite show ever, we’ve got our homework cut out for us. Watching LOST is a serious event. The whole time I’m taking notes, scene by scene.

Our predictions about the two different Last Supper promotional photos featuring the LOST cast were accurate: There are two main different timelines going on. No more flash forwards or flashbacks. It’s like those Choose Your Own Adventure books.  We are now dealing with the narrative device referred to as “flash-sideways”.

But by the finale, does only one of these destinies become the real one?  The writers of the show aren’t saying.  They don’t want to acknowlege either of the realities as the alternate one.  Until the finale episode, all we can do is just enjoy seeing what would have happened had the plane never crashed.  Because we’ve always been curious anyway about that.

There are two main parts from the episode that keep bouncing around in my mind.

The first: Who is in Sayid’s body now? Jacob. He told Hurley (in the new unknown year with the temple and the new Asian dude with long hair) to take Sayid to the temple (even though Jacob died an hour before in 1977). Sayid died at the temple (or was murdered by the men that were supposed to save him), then soon after comes back to life. That’s no coincidence.

In one of The Lord’s Supper parodies, Sayid assumes the role of Judas and John Locke represents Christ. Prediction: The new Sayid will betray the new Locke. In other words, Jacob will deceive Esau by making him think Sayid is still alive.

There is much irony in Sayid’s asking of what will happen to him when he dies. He was assuming and referring to his soul’s judgment to hell. But for us viewers, we now see this was a foreshadowing that the thing that would happen to him when he died is that Jacob would take over his body.

Going back to the fact that Jacob told Hurley to take Sayid to the temple in 1977, this solidifies a theory and anwers a mystery that we’ve been wondering since the 2nd season.  After a person has died on the island, and after Esau (or Jacob) takes the form of their body, they can appear as that person at any point in the past, but not in the future. Dying as that person prevents them from living on in present day.

When Jacob appears to Hurley and he had already been dead for an hour, remember that he was killed by Ben in the future.  Therefore he was able to go back in time and instruct Hurley to set up the takeover of Sayid’s body.

Pretty clever, yes?

The second thing bouncing around in my head is this: What year are Jack and Co. stuck in on the island? Based on the temple’s structure and the clothing, I assume sometime in the 1500’s, at the latest. I call this timeline “The Turban Times” because of the burgundy turbans worn by some of the temple mongers.

We’ve been introduced to two new bad guys. I think they’re bad guys. The Japanese dude with long hair. Until I learn his name and until I learn his actual ethnic background, I will call name him Emperor Miyagi. And his weird looking scientist friend, Dr. Hooknose. Both of them appear to be up to no good. But right now we’re still trying to sort out who’s good and who’s bad.

I hold true to my predictions that somehow in the end Ben Linus will end up being a good guy. Based on the fact that Benjamin in the Bible was righteous. Even the good guys are at least a little bad on LOST.

In closing, I have a feeling that the Egyptian cross, the ankh, will continue to have a major symbolic meaning for this final season. It is the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character for “eternal life” and represents the deities of the afterlife. The ankh was believed by the Egyptians to protect them against sickness, infertility, and a loss of psychic powers.

When it’s all said and done, the struggle on the island will all come down to Jacob and Esau’s struggle for eternal life, which they attempt to maintain through the appearance of the bodies of those who have died on the island. Sort of like on the movie The Skeleton Key.

And those who for whatever reason made their way to the island are forever exposed to the game of Jacob vs. Esau. That is, unless the alternative timeline proves to be solid. I have a feeling it won’t.

Read my recap from last night’s episode:

LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 14- “Across the Sea”