Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Pompatus of Lost: 2.21--? and the Nigerians

Previouslizzles: The Hatch went totally bananas, shutting doors, initiating blacklights, revealing grafitti--it was like Red Alert at the Pink Floyd factory. But Henry Gale, he helped Locke. But he never entered the numbers! He never pushed the button! And he did it (or rather, didn't do it) to make you feel bad, Locke! To make you question everything you purport to...ahhh, feh. Also, Hurley forgot the blankets, so Libby had to die. Also, Ana Lucia died. Look for her in the Honolulu Women's Correctional Facility's summer musical, Bells Are Ringing!

Lights up on the beach where the celebrated raconteur Eko is building his church out of the trees he likes. Suddenly Ana Lucia is standing before him, which we know (or at least we hope) cannot be possible. I mean, Manchurian Michael saw to that, right? That Ana Lucia was dead dead dead? Troubling us no more? Eko explains that the idea for the church came to him in a dream, to which Ana replies, "A dream like this one?" So, phew, she is dead, and we are taking Eko on a trip to Mindfucksembourg. Ana is all bleedy and weird, and she tells Eko that he has to help Locke.

But before Eko can make his "Whaa?" face, he suddenly finds himself in the Hatch, and his brother, the late and lamented Yemi, is at the controls of the Cursed Number Computer. He tells Eko that Locke needs to take him to the question mark. And bring his axe. That there would be many distractions, but that he should stay focused on the important work of finding the truth about the mystery. Huh. There are those who wish Yemi had delivered the same message to the writers.

So, Locke and Eko are going to go on a little adventure together! Whew. Look, people, I'm not sure I'm up for it this week. Seriously. May as well admit it now, there's NO WAY I'm going to be able to keep up with, let alone do justice to the quality and sheer unbeliveable density of Eko and Locke's dialogue. Hope you understand if I can't recap their verbosity with sufficient comprehensiveness.

Meanwhile, back outside the Hatch, Locke and Jack and Kate and Sawyer return, engaged in a bit of a spat over who left who where and did or did not give a gun to and for that matter why does it feel like one of us has recently gotten laid--and not by our left or right hand or by that trick Jin taught everybody with the sea urchin that's supposed to be the saving grace of lonely Korean fishermen, when all of the sudden Michael comes out, shot by his own hand, and running game like a madman. He's telling all kinds of lies: Henry escaped, Henry shot Ana and Libby, he got shot in the arm, he didn't let Henry get away, he remembered your birthday, he won't ever come in your mouth, The Others are pussy weaklings that an army of midget French Quakers could take in their sleep, etc.

They go in and the quarrelsome foursome survey the sight. That's when Eko arrives having completed the first phase of Do What The Wonderful Dream Told Me To Do: find Locke. But he finds so much more! Henry: gone. Ana: dead. Libby: dea-yuh-wha? She coughs! She squirms! She looks around furtively! Oooh, snap! Mikey, you are so busted!

We return from the soft embrace of commercials to find Eko quietly praying over Ana Lucia's body, casting out whatever vile demons may yet remain and so forth, and Locke doing his patented stare into the middle distance. I can't wait for these two to go looking for the question mark together! I bet they'll sing songs and tell ghost stories! Genius doctor Jack obviouses that Libby is in shock and needs help. Mike is all: "Really? But she'll probably die, right? Well, let's start by severing her vocal cords and cutting her arms off. It'll distract her brain from the gunshot wound."

There is an argument over what to do next: should they go after Gale? Eko says they should, and that he will go, and that Locke should come because of his dope tracking skillz that he picked up at the Learning Annex prior to his aborted Outback walkabout. He'll bring his axe. Now, Locke's recently been pinned under a door and is on crutches, but genius MD Jack, recalling an article he was reading on the plane in the Journal of Crazy Panamanian Medical Schemes that said major orthopaedic trauma should not be an impediment to patients who want to go stumbling through unfamiliar jungles filled with diabolical natives and black smoke stompy monsters in search of armed murderers, says it's okay with him. And so Chatty and Talksalot are off on their adventure.

We head to Flashbackistan to find Eko in a confessional in a Catholic Church in Australia. The man he is talking to is playing at the old dramatic trope, "I'm Not Really Here For a Confession Monsignor", something every actor learns in the second year of their MFA program, provided they have mastered "But That's Not My Husband in the Hammock" and "Of Course! Those Are My Balls in the Spinach Dip!" The man has come to tell Eko that he has secured him forged documents to America, and provides helpful exposition that Eko is not actually, currently a priest.

But hold on there, Eko! The head priest tells Eko that he's got to stick around and investigate a miracle, thus playing at the old screenwriting trope, "From Time To Time, Catholic Priests Must Go and Investigate Miracles", something every screenwriter learns in the second year of their MFA program, provided they have first mastered "Nobody Notices The Neighbors Are Gay" and "Wow! You Mean the COP is the Serial Killer? I'd Never Have Guessed!" Essentially, some woman's daughter drowned and was dead and then after a while was all not dead anymore.

Back in the Jungle, Eko is forging ahead while Locke straggles behind, uncertain of what is going on. He tells Eko that he hasn't seen any sort of tracks since they left and wants to know what the hell he's following. Eko tells Locke that he wants him to help find the question mark. And that he's brought his axe. Locke won't do it. Eko carefully mulls a lengthy expository speech weighing the pros and cons of finding the question mark, but he suddenly gets the signal from the director that they have to wrap the scene up. So, against his better judgement, he takes all of the words he was going to say to Locke and attempts a forceful head-to-head integration of ideas. And Locke goes down.

When Locke comes to, Eko explains that Ana Lucia came to him in a dream, and, unlike the dreams I have of Ana Lucia, which involves a failure to orgasm followed by switchy silverfishy eels that come streaming out of Michelle Rodriguez's neck, he was told to get Locke's help to find the question mark. Locke is all: you crazy! But Eko asks him: "Have you ever followed a dream? Have you ever swung on a star? Carried moonbeams home in a jar?" Locke doesn't answer, but as we remember, he did follow a dream, and the dream was a Hatch, but the dream was a Hatch Deferred.

And what happens to a Hatch, deferred? Does it dry up like a slain boar in the sun? Or fester like a sore and then run like Shannon ran when Locke tied her up for the black smoke stompy monster to find? Does it stink like the rotting meat of dead Boone? Or crust and sugar over--like Dharma Initiative Brand Syrupy Treet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load of past regrets about losing your dad or you kidney or your girlfriend or your legs? Or does it explode? You know. Like Arzt?

We head to Flashbackistan. Eko is having a discussion with the medical examiner, who tells Eko that the girl resurrected while receiving her autopsy. To prove his point, he plays Eko this horrible tape of the event that begins like a de rigeur Agent Scully style autopsy and soon becomes filled with plasma curdling screams. He gives Eko the tape and tells him he never wants to hear it again, and I don't blame him. That was fucking disturbing.

Back in the jungle, Eko complains that the map Locke drew is inexact. In Locke's defense, I don't know who died and made him Amerigo Vespucci. But, thats when Eko steps on a statue of the Virgin Mary. I'm not sure what a priest is supposed to do after that...throw some shards over his left shoulder? Anyway, they've stumbled upon the Beechcraft. Locke tells Eko that the plane fell because Boone made it fall, creepily clinging to the idea that Boone's death was the sacrifice the island demanded. Eko kind of gives Locke a nice WTF did you just say headspin, but Locke drops the subject. Eko suggests that they go to sleep and wait for further instructions from Dreamland. And, in keeping with the pairs deft way with the English language, this whole scene was, naturally, performed in perfect rhyming Gilbert and Sullivan style recitative.

Back at the Hatch, Jack's running out of treatment options. He's tried nothing and he's all out of ideas. The only thing he can do for Libby is provide palliation, but in order to do that, he's going to need some of that sweet, sweet heroin. Gonna send Libby to her maker on a white horse! Sawyer agrees to go, but Jack makes Kate go with him, giving Sawyer the choice of watching Libby die in great pain or show kate where the guns are. Pretty cold, doc. I'm guessing the Others just added another chit to your Naughty column. Meanwhile, Michael looks in with a vulpine expression on his face.

On the way to Sawyer's Secret Stash, Kate asks Sawyer how Ana happened to get his gun off him, causing Sawyer to stammer, "Err, I dunno, there I was, totally saving my pent up sexual secretions for you when Ana came up to me and...yadda yadda...got the gun, I guess. Well--what a funny story that was! I bet you couldn't help but notice that it wasn't my sperm that killed Ana! No, siree, Freckles. It was the gun. Gosh darned ironic, if you ask me." They come to Sawyer's beachside tent, and, as it turns out, SAWYER'S STASH WAS IN HIS TENT THE WHOLE TIME! Holy shit, what a motherfucking twist that was! But, before too much time can be spent marvelling at the sheer M. Night Shamalamadingdongness of it all, Hurley ambles up to them to ask if they've seen Libby. Damn. Even Sawyer looks a little broken up at the news ol' Hugo's about to receive.

Back in Boone Falls (to his Death, thank you, John Locke), Eko awakes. It's past sunrise. No doubt Locke and Eko are sleeping in after spending all night debating Superman theory into the wee hours. Eko sees Yemi in the woods, and Yemi tells him to follow him and be quiet so John doesn't wake up. Eko does so--and an astute Paul Vodra points out that when Eko walks toward Yemi, he walks with a pronounced limp. Yemi climbs the face of the cliff and tells Eko to follow, which he does, a little haltingly. Yemi, like most motherfuckers in dreams, climbs totally well. I hate that about dream people. In dreams, I can't drive for shit for some reason. I always hate it when I have to get behind the wheel in dreams because I know what's coming: steering wheel's gonna be ridiculously splashy and my reaction time is going to dulled hashish steez.

Eko climbs to the top, and is about to surmount the edge of the cliff when he suddenly loses his grip and falls, screaming, to the ground below. Only suddenly we cut back and learn that it was actually Locke dreaming he was Eko! And getting a nice taste of Boone's final moments, to boot. Nice touch, writers. Anyway, the real Eko is shaking Locke awake, and when he does so, he uses his super intuitive powers to suss out that Locke was dreaming of Yemi. He tells Locke that he met his brother in his dream. Locke tells him that Yemi told him to follow him up the cliff face.

We head to Flashbackistan. Eko comes to the house of the young girl who died and then was not dead anymore. The girl's mother, who had previously wanted the news of the miracle broadcasted on the Huffington Post, comes out to meet Eko outside and protests that it's not a good time to meet their miracle daughter. Just then, her husband comes out and orders her inside. It's the psychic that gave Claire all the dire warnings about her baby. Only now he's claiming that he's a charlatan who does fake readings to make money and that his wife is a zealot that wants to spread the news of this supposed miracle to spite him.

Clearly, he's trying to come off as a fraud because between Claire and her baby being all filled with dire-ass Nostradamn, and his daughter coming back from the dead, he's having none too nice a week playing the friendly sort who took money off young girls who basically wanted to play MASH. He tells Eko that there was no miracle, and Eko, happy to have a quick chance to get off the case, tells him that he will report back and say that no miracle occurs. But as Eko is walking away, he looks up and sees the daughter staring down at him. Cree-pee!

Back at Boone Falls (THDTYJL), Eko takes his axe (remember? he's carrying an axe!) and starts to climb the roots that spill down the cliff. Locke watches him climb, worried that they might not be able to continue their conversation from the night before. Locke yells up, "Be careful!" And the screenwriters can't resist having Eko nearly slip and fall immediately after the suggestion of caution. But Eko proves to be a better climber than the Locke-in-dreams version of himself, and he gets to the top, where he sees...NOTHING. But! When he turns around to look down at Locke, he sees that on the floor of the clearing is a large, marked off question mark!

Eko, descended from the cliff, examines the ground and discovers that it has been salted to prevent growth, leaving the question mark as a permanent feature of the landscape. Eko surmises that it must have been left to be seen from above, and the downed Beechcraft is now precisely where the dot should be in the punctuation mark. Sorta makes you want to revisit Season One and see if Boone notices the mark as he was plunging to his death. Anyway, Eko and Locke, despite having three functional legs between them, scooch the plane off the mark. Using the axe--which thankfully, he brought, Eko tests the ground and hits metal. Another Hatch. Wiping some shizz off of it, they discover the hatch is shut and some swiveling bars need to be moved to allow entry. They strain at it for a minute and then realize, "Hey! I just bet this here axe might come in handy again!" And lo! It does! The bars are quickly dispensed with, and, after some brief physical exertion the doors are opened, revealing a very deep drop.

I guess Locke's legs are fine now, because somehow, he manages to get all the way down the ladder into the New Hatch. I guess it was the healing power of the hours of riveting conversation he and Eko have had. New Hatch is basically the island Entertainment Center, with a wall of televisions and a pair of comfy looking chairs. Locke, hoping to catch the latest episode of the Sopranos on demand, turns on the television, but the only one that works is broadcasting live shots from the Losties' Hatch, and Locke's all: Damn. This show just isn't very good without that Terry O'Quinn.

Eko gets the lights on, and Locke pokes around. He sees another computer, prompting "> PRINT LOG? Y/N." Locke, feeling sorry for the poor computer's OS that's been waiting around for God knows how long to get an answer to this question, obliges it and presses Y. The dot matrix printer, armed with what I guess is the most durable toner in the known world--probably the first thing Alvar Hanso invented and it's made from the spinal fluid of psychic babies--roars to life and starts printing a record of something that was done every 108 minutes. Eko finds all these notebooks stacked in another part of the room with copious notes taken inside. Locke also finds a pneumatic tube for sending messages. You don't see those, anymore. Except at banks and really old hospitals. But pneumatic tubes are cool.

What's even cooler was the system by which the White Castle in Commack, Long Island, dispenses food. You pull into the drive through and place your order and put your money in a tray. The tray slowly rises up, goes over your car, and down inside the White Castle. Then, the White Castle Girl puts your food on the tray and sends it slowly up and back over your car until it settles at the driver's side window. It's "cool" because this is a comically incredible amount of exertion to get your sliders out to your car, all of which could by easily circumvented if the good people at the Commack White Castle would come outside and paint different lane markings for the drive through that would allow the driver's side of the car to come right up to the drive-through window, instead of beign turned around the other way, far away from the window.

But, digresscakes. The real awesome find is the Orientation tape for this new Hatch. Somehow resisting the implacable urge to pour out all the things they have to say to each other about this new find, Locke and Eko settle down to watch the Orientation tape. Eko even turns the lights out. He'd pop some corn if it were available, but, sadly, all of the Dharma Initiative experiments with popcorn ended in failure.

So, the tape:
--Marvin Candle appears in it, except he's not Marvin Candle this time, he's Mark Wickman.
--Mark Wickman has both his arms.
--Maybe one of these guys is the bad twin.
--This Hatch is called the Pearl because the idea for this Hatch came to Alvar Hanso after ingesting hallucinogenic oysters and not, as many of you presume, because the station was dedicated to Earl "The Pearl" Monroe.
--Mark Wickman instructs the viewers that they are supposed to watch the other hatches and record their observations from a psychological perspective, thus making it seem more and more like the Lostie Hatch, is, indeed, nothing more than a life-sized Skinner Box with a compelling backstory and a great record collection.
--the movie is shot from inside the Pearl
--there is one of those unfortunate splices in the film that causes a critical fact to not be revealed, in this case, when the instructions are given about taking a ferry back to the barracks.
--overall, the movie is much better than the Basic Instinct sequel.
--Dr. Wickman is the Dharma version of Edward R. Murrow, signing off: "Namaste, and good luck."
--You really have to admire the way the Dharma people adhere strictly to the Dogma 95 conventions!

So the movie ends, and Eko wants to know if Locke wants to watch it again, you know, so they can better co-chair the Losties' weekly meeting of the Cinema Society. But Locke has had enough, big time--his belief that the island had something big and wonderful in store for him crumbling all around him. Hey, you know, as a consolation prize, he can effing walk! So, let's not go around saying that La Isla Encanta never did nothing for you, John!

Eko starts to gather up all the notebooks, telling Locke that it was now more important than ever before to push the button. Locke responds by insisting that the only thing they've learned is that they are like mice in a cage with no cheese. But despite all his rage, Eko remains constant, telling Locke that "We push the button because we believe we were meant to." That's when John finally has the crybaby self-pity attack he's been waiting to have ever since he met up with his crazy-ass mom. "I was never meant to do anything!" he snits, wanly.

The wan snittal propels Eko back to Flashbackistan, where we continue to flesh out the Lostie reunion at the Sydney airport. Eko is preparing to embark for America when the Drowned Daughter of Psychic Mystery and Wonder comes up to him and tells him that while she was hedging between dead and alive--sizing up afterlife condo prices and trying to determine if she should try to hack it out with her fraud psychic dad (or is he?) and kooky Catholic mom--she ran into Yemi and they kicked it for a minute or two, and Yemi wanted Eko to know that he was a good priest and that he had faith in him. Eko's reaction to all this Jon Edwards-walking-beyond-the-threshold shizz is to freak out majorly at the Drowned Daughter of Psychic Mystery and Wonder, which attracts the attention of Libby and her Clinical Psychiatry.

Back at the Pearl, Eko finally launches into something like a monologue as he tells Locke about the chain of coincidences that followed from his brothers death to obtaining his cross on the island to the dreams and the discoveries they have been led to. Eko believes that pushing the button may allow the dreams and the instructions to continue. He challenges Eko to say it's all meaningless, and then issues his newly minted raison d'etre: "I will push the button!" Whereupon the USA Women's World Cup Soccer team enters to individually state, "I, too, will push the button."

Back at the Original Hatch, Jack has administered his eightball and is waiting for Libby to join Ana in drunk-driving heaven. Hurley asks to talk to her, and, true to his Never Look Tragedy In The Face Without A Quip nature, tells Libby that he's sorry he forgot the blankets. But it is so, so sad. Hurley's going to totally go over to Sayid's club for People Who Have Lost Their Love of Two Weeks and Thus Have Nothing Left to Live For.

Just then, Libby stirs. Jack comes into the room to see what's up, and with a look of pain and horror on her face, blurts out, "Michael!" Now, as P. Vo points out, when the dying Boone said Locke's name, Jack immediately leapt to the conclusion that Locke was behind Boone's death. Now, with Libby agonizingly attempting to let him know that Michael's the killer, Jack's all: "Oh! Hey! Good news, Libby! Michael's just fine! Yeah, he's nicked pretty good in the shoulder but he's here and he's alive and we're already making some swell plans. My diagnosis is that Michael's going to live a nice long life and that we'll grow to have some wonderful memories!"

So, realizing that she's dealing with a moron, Libby croaks. Guess we'll have to read about how she came to be in the mental hospital in the fan fiction.

This prompts a classic Lost montage: As we hear the timer in the Hatch start to tick down to number time, the camera pans over the gathered Losties, each of them faintly crying 96 tears for the lost Libby, who'll now never get to have skinny/fatty sex with Hurley--well, unless Hurley's got some proclivities that are a little on the grody side. Everyone except Michael, who makes traitor-face at the camera and the timer ticks down to zero.


jordan said...

driving in dreams: when i drive in dreams, i always have difficulty slowing down
pnue! ma! tique!: truffaut's stolen kisses and that one simpsons episode

Anonymous said...

These recaps are genius. Thank you.