Thursday, March 20, 2008

TV Guide - Harold Perrineau Gets Lost and Found

by Shawna Malcom
Harold Perrineau is back on the island — and ready to talk about why he left.

"It only goes about five feet deep," Harold Perrineau says, nodding in the direction of the swimming pool in his backyard. "If I stand in it, part of me's still above water."

From the hint of relief in his voice, you'd think a shallow pool was a major selling point when Perrineau bought the unassuming Los Angeles home more than a year ago. You wouldn't be entirely wrong.

As the T-shirt- and jeans-clad actor, 44, settles onto a sofa in the family room, he admits he's not a big water guy. He doesn't swim and he's prone to seasickness. So it's not hard to imagine Perrineau's anxiety when he found out his hotly anticipated return to Lost (Thursdays at 9 pm/ET, ABC) would take place on a ship in the vast Pacific. "My first day it was like, jump in a speedboat, drive 20 minutes out in the rain, step on the freighter," Perrineau says with a laugh. "I was sick all day."

Nausea aside, the actor is relieved to once again be part of the Lost crew. His character, Michael, hadn't been seen or heard from since motoring off the island in the Others' boat with son Walt at the end of Season 2, leaving fans to wonder what the holy smoke monster had happened to them. "It was time to come back," Perrineau says. "Even if Michael was going to die, I [wanted] him to finish, as opposed to just disappearing."

When the character finally resurfaced, pushing a mop aboard the mystery freighter in the March 13 episode, he was very much alive — if very much pretending to be someone else.

Perrineau's off-screen Lost journey has been nearly as dramatic. By the time Michael — desperate to get his son back from the Others — shot and killed Ana Lucia and Libby near the end of Season 2, Perrineau wasn't hiding his displeasure with the evolution of his character. "Michael's been such a decent guy," he told TV Guide at the time. "To suddenly be the executioner, I don't know how happy I am about that." Still, when he ultimately left, Perrineau says now, "I was a little bummed out. I'd put my heart and soul into the show."

From the start, Cuse and fellow exec producer Damon Lindelof insisted Michael would eventually return. "He was always coming back on the freighter," Lindelof says. "It was just a matter of [when] we were gonna reveal the freighter." The initial plan was the third-season finale, but Perrineau chose to sign on to the CBS pilot Demons instead.

Reports at the time blamed the lack of a Lost deal on Perrineau's outrageous salary demands, something the actor — who starred in the horror flick 28 Weeks Later and wrote and recorded a song called "Stay Strong" in support of the U.S. troops in Iraq last year — denies. "They were not throwing money at me," he says. Instead, he claims he didn't want to again uproot wife Brittany and daughter Aurora, 13, to Hawaii, where the ABC drama shoots. (Demons shot in L.A.) "I was actually making less money on Demons [than Lost]," Perrineau says. "I just needed some stability for my family."

When Demons didn't make CBS' fall '07 lineup, Perrineau was once again available and, this time, the Lost deal came together quickly. Regardless of what came before, "I'm really happy to be back," he says. "It's been like going home to family."

His immediate family, meanwhile, will stay in L.A. while Perrineau returns to Hawaii to shoot the rest of Season 4. His wife is pregnant with the couple's second child and due in less than two months. "We're gonna have a little girl," he says quietly, "and I'm looking forward to meeting her."

To make sure he doesn't miss the blessed event, he's got a plan: "When I have downtime from the show, [I'll] get on a plane. Fly back and forth to make sure the baby hasn't come. It's gonna be crazy."

But at least there won't be any boats.

Doc Jensen LOST:XXX

Note to readers: The second page of Doc Jensen's article marked off here by a line of ***s is Doc's speculation regarding an occurrence teased in last week's trailer for tonight's episode. If you consider the promos spoilers or don't want to engage in such speculation skip that section. If you do want to speculate, read away. Anything not related to that specific promo tease has been redacted.


Doc Jensen
Doc Jensen sizes up the odds for XXX tonight's XXX episode. Plus: Speculation on the Oceanic 6

By Jeff Jensen

XXX is the eighth episode of Lost's fourth season and the last episode that was filmed before the Writers Guild of America went on strike for three months. The good news is that the strike is over and the show is back at work; at present, cast and crew are shooting the ninth episode. The bad news is that we'll have to wait until April 24 to see it. (Curse you, post-production demands!) The slightly worse news is that when our mutual obsession comes back next month, it will air at 10 p.m., a brutal time slot for people like me, whose glittering mental carriage morphs back into a moldy pumpkin at exactly 10:01 p.m. So relish this, the last installment of the year to air at a sane hour. It promises to be a dynamite chapter in the unfolding Lost saga, according to executive producer Damon Lindelof:

''Yes, you'll find out a lot about XXX. But you'll ALSO learn XXX''

The promise of additional intrigue about XXX? Curious. I want to see this thing NOW (which for me is Monday morning, not your present Thursday time-space coordinate, so you can understand my impatience).


Deathwatch ODDS!

Handicapping killability — how tasteless am I? (Don't answer that.) But hey: Death is important, according to ABC, and so we must dutifully give ourselves over to excited speculation over which Lost actor is about to become unemployed. . I'm leaving out all the flash-forward future figures like Oceanic 6 and Ben. And I'm not going to include any of the Freighter Four, because it's too soon to off them...although I do wonder if Frank Lapidus' possibly mutinous late-night chopper errands will run him fatally afoul with crusty Captain Gault. So who's left?

SAWYER: 10,000-1
WHY? Because all outrageously handsome men who cause our wives to swoon must die.
WHY NOT? Because said wives would take up sledgehammers and storm the offices of Lost's producers and threaten Kathy Bates-style horror upon them until they brought Sawyer back to life. And anyway, he probably has a story or two left to tell.

LOCKE: 1,000-1
WHY? His flashback story seems complete. He doesn't seem to figure into the flash-forward future. And [insert your own strained reach in logic here; make sure you use the word seem].
WHY NOT? Actually, I think Locke has more history to unpack and plays a key role in the flash-forward future. Regardless, he's intrinsic to the overall Island-set saga of Lost. When the Island goes, Locke will go with it. I don't think either will be disappearing for exactly 40 more episodes. Besides, I still think he's Jacob.

WHY? He might have the time-travel sickness. Are his days numbered?
WHY NOT? The former Hatchman has more secrets to spill. Plus, it would be an ice-cold end to the fan-fave DesPen love story. Moreover — and with all due respect to you Jack-Kate time-loop theorists — he and Penelope are my picks for the Adam and Eve skeletons, so at some point in time he's gotta travel back to the past.
THEN AGAIN... Given how quantum leaping in the Lost-verse is a consciousness projection affair, maybe his death would help facilitate my Adam-Eve time-loop conjecture. Okay, then: 20-1!

WHY? The French Lady has been lurking in the background all season instead of slinking off into the jungle as usual after the premiere. The sneak peek clips released to the Web this past week XXX; is Alex's mommy due for a heroic death? Or is it vice versa: Will Alex meet an untimely end, serving as a catalyst for a new chapter in her troubled mother's dark Island life?
WHY NOT? Again, Rousseau is another character with too much valuable intel; if she dies, how would we get it? As for Alex, well, you need to keep her alive to react to the death of my top choice.

CLAIRE: 17-3
WHY? At some point, Baby Aaron has to transfer custody from the Charlie-grieving Aussie momma to Kate. Might her death be the catalyst? Also: a whopping 40 percent of Lost fans think she's the one, according to a deathwatch poll over at
WHY NOT? It would be more emotional and dramatic if Lost was setting up a story line in which Kate must find some way to facilitate a mother-and-child reunion in the flash-forward future.

WHY? Rose does have cancer; maybe she isn't as healed as she thinks. (If so, does that portend bad news for Locke's legs?) But maybe it's Bernard: In retrospect, that fishing-boat heart-to-heart last week with Jin might have been a setup for his tragic end.
WHY NOT? Because it's rude to kill your elders.

JIN: 5-2
WHY? One interpretation of last's week episode was that at some point in the near future, Jin will bite it...
WHY NOT? ...but another interpretation is that the Oceanic 6 are merely pretending that Jin — and the rest of their castaway friends — are dead, victims of the 9/22/04 crash of Oceanic 815.

KARL: 2-1
WHY: If you're asking ''Who's Karl?'' then you've established one reason why he's a good candidate for goner-dom. For the record, he's the Room 23-tortured boyfriend of Alex. And he seems to be the kind of guy who's bound to blunder into a bullet or machete swipe or deadly jellyfish sting sooner or later.
WHY NOT? Ummm...because he's got blackmail pics of Damon and Carlton?


*No, not the Kate Winslet movie — I mean Aaron!

Last week in my recap of ''Ji Yeon,'' I declared that the mystery of the Oceanic 6 lineup was over. Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Aaron, and now Sun — these are the castaways that wind up making it off the Island and shocking the world with the fact of their miraculous existence. You didn't need to be a fake doctor to make this quasi-brilliant diagnosis: the producers have told us in interviews over the past few weeks that by the end of episode 7, the O6 IDs would all be revealed — and episode 7 was last week. So, mystery solved. Right?

Wrong! Some of you are convinced that the matter isn't resolved — that twists await, that there's one and maybe even two more members of the O6 still to be revealed. Many of you suspect that Sayid isn't really part of the O6 team, even though he said he was Oceanic 6 right before he shot that Italian guy on the golf course. But since I don't think that Sayid could get away with lying about something like that — the O6 are super-celebs, after all — I believe he was telling the truth. I think you Sayid doubters are over-thinking this — and I admire that, as over-thinking things is my bread and butter. But I think you should prepare to give up on your theory: A little birdy tells me XXX.

Then, there is Aaron. It seems a whole mess of you are just like flash-forward Jack: You can't quite accept the fact of Kate's so-called child. The argument against Aaron rests on the following two assertions:

1. Aaron was not a ticket-buying Oceanic 815 passenger, as he was still gestating inside Claire's tummy (or Kate's, per the O6 cover story), so no one in the outside world would reasonably include him among the Oceanic 6. The knee-jerk reactionary part of me wants to flame this stinky piece of overly literal thinking into smoky little embers. Seriously?! That minuscule inconsistency fries your logic grid?! Think this through: In the off-Island world, every single passenger on Oceanic 815 has been declared dead. Remember, that salvage vessel found the wreckage and 324 corpses at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. Moreover, the video of this discovery was international news. EVERYONE saw those pictures. EVERYONE beheld the terrible reality of rotting airline passenger flesh. Now: Imagine the reaction when five of these passengers are subsequently discovered ALIVE — and with a baby, no less! It's a killer story for the media, and speaking as a journalist, it just makes sense to me that the reporters who would tell that story would give this bunch of miracle people a punchy group name. And sorry, ''Oceanic 5 (Plus One)'' just doesn't have a good ring to it.

2. Aaron isn't Oceanic 6 because Kate's claim that Aaron is her baby wouldn't stand up to scrutiny. She wasn't pregnant before the flight, and if the Oceanic 6 leave the Island soon, that means she'll have only been missing for five months — not enough time to bring a child into the world. Another common sense-challenged argument. The only person who could have possibly known that Kate wasn't pregnant prior to the crash was the now-dead marshal who nabbed her in Australia. But are wanted women immediately given pregnancy tests upon being captured? I doubt it. As for the rest of the argument, our sci-fi fixation of the moment, time travel, neatly nullifies it. Think about this: If the Oceanic 6 moves forward in time when they leave the Island — like, say, one full year — it gives Kate the extra months required to support her cover story.

There's a THIRD argument out there for why so many of you don't believe/don't want Aaron to be one of the Oceanic 6, but it's an argument that most of you are too ashamed to voice. I say most, because there is at least one reader who's got enough stones to give this shockingly unsentimental and possibly even hideously inhuman sentiment public voice. His name is Christopher Lastrapes, and this past week, he wrote to say:

''Part of me just doesn't want to accept it's Aaron — mainly because I really don't care about Aaron. [Emphasis mine.] So I'm still trying to figure out who it might be. Maybe Ben is assuming the identity of someone on the plane. He certainly has the means, and might be able to find someone on the flight who had little or no connections in the world. Or now, maybe Michael. I just don't want to call this case closed just yet.''

Chris, I admire your frank baby-hating honesty. But it's time you and the rest of your Aaron-denying kind face facts: The kid is Oceanic 6. And the mystery is settled.


''Jeff: When you get a few free minutes, please check out the site I dedicated to my new time loop theory on Lost ( It gets over 10k hits/day and there is an active message board with over 500 posts regarding the theory. I'm very curious to hear your thought on it, being the avid Lost fan that you are!'' —Jason Hunter

Wow, what a little self-promoter this Jason Hunter is! But I think all of you should check out his theory nonetheless. It's an extraordinarily elaborate, creative, and well-researched piece of work, and an expression of Lost fandom that I absolutely admire. Try to look past the fact that it is also a brain-cramping crush of information, speculative thinking, and leaps in logic. Just admire the beauty of its head-shaking insanity. Similarly, I encourage you to check out two other theories currently getting a lot of fan attention, one of which I don't quite understand and one of which seemed to have a lot of promise for several weeks and could still be relevant in some form, but needs refinement due to recent Oceanic 6 revelations.

That's it for this week. Even though Lost will be MIA until April 24, I'll be back next week with a new column that will process the revelations of tonight's episode and put some big-picture perspective on Lost's so-far-sensational fourth season. And make sure you come back tomorrow morning for our recap of XXX. Until then, send your reactions and theories to

Theoretically yours,
Doc Jensen

Thursday, March 13, 2008

TV Guide - Interview with Elizabeth Mitchell

Elizabeth Mitchell: Lost's Juliet Kisses Jack and Tells!
By Matt Webb Mitovich

It was a genuine, tender moment that all but made up for the somewhat silly "Stop the nerve gas!" antics that preceded it. Lost's Juliet, haunted by Ben's obsession, shared a rain-soaked lip-lock with Jack. Elizabeth Mitchell shares with us what's ahead, names the episode she deems "perfect" and talks about returning to work after the strike. What was with that bait-and-switch you did for the TV Guide cover shoot? I saw you and Naveen [Andrews] and thought, "Oh, Sayid is going to pop up in Juliet's flashback or flash-forward" and... no such thing.
Elizabeth Mitchell: You know, it was more wishful thinking, wasn't it? I called it "a little fantasy episode." It was a hot photo shoot, though.
Mitchell: It really was! Naveen and I have known each other for a long time, so we're comfortable together and we were able to play. It was very film noir-ish, and we both enjoyed that tremendously. Let me pull out this quote you gave me a year and a half ago: "I don't know what kind of past Juliet and Ben have, but it definitely is complicated and intricate."
Mitchell: Yeah! [Laughs] I guess so! And you were probably just pulling that out of your bum!
Mitchell: Well, I knew it was something really, really bad. But I didn't anticipate standing over the body of my dead lover with a stake sticking out of his heart, and having Ben claim responsibility. That wasn't in my imagination. I thought it was an interesting twist. Can we talk about the ill-advised decision to engage in an extramarital affair on a small, isolated island? I mean, people are going to talk.
Mitchell: It's the same thing as, "You should never have an affair with anyone you work with," and of course that never happens. [Laughs] I get this weird feeling that at the end of the day, it's going to come down to Juliet sacrificing herself to save Jack.
Mitchell: Well, I think that Juliet loves Jack. I've always said that. If she did do that... It certainly seems very likely to me, something along those lines. She's also tied up with [pregnant] Sun, so who knows, but it's a possibility. She's very rabid about the people she cares about. My mom said that this morning: "You know what I like about Juliet? I like that she likes the people she cares about so much." I said, "Well, that is lovely. It is good." Let's talk about Juliet's kiss with Jack. Are we going to get any more of that?
Mitchell: I think we are, actually. I knew that was coming because there was all this stuff with Jack and Kate. That's the fun for them, creating these "triangles." And when they went back into the Jack and Kate connection, I thought, "It seems like they're going to pump up the stuff between Jack and Juliet," and that's what happened. [Pauses] I was very happy that Jack kissed her. I thought that was a particularly good scene for Matthew [Fox], in that he came across as a very strong and very leading man. I really enjoyed how he played that. His whole face changed when she said that she cared about him, and I thought that was fascinating. I've always liked them together, but I also liked Jack and Kate together, in the first season. But in watching Jack and Juliet, I hate to say the word, but there's such a maturity to them in the way they complement each other. So we'll see where that goes. Are you able to still watch the show as a fan?
Mitchell: Yeah, I am! It's kind of fun to watch it now. The making of the episode was such a struggle because there was so much emotion, that to sit back and watch it as a fan was much nicer. I didn't realize what a build there would be to the kiss. I didn't realize how we are so sucked into our romantic archetypes that when Jack steps forward and takes care of Juliet, something in me went, "Ohhh!" My sweet husband was in Washington, and he said he stood up and started clapping: "He did it! He did it!" [Laughs] He was really excited. Lost really gives you two different kinds of episodes: the "real" episodes, like last night, and ones like the week before, which are a whole different kind of entertainment.
Mitchell: I have to say, that Desmond episode was as perfect an episode as you can get. I freakin' loved it. I don't think he had a bad moment as an actor, the writing was A-plus.... It was fantastic in every way. And the speed! It was like a roller-coaster. I felt like ours was more of a "Sit back and take a deep breath" episode. Are you able to shed any light on what Juliet's therapist meant when she said, "Of course [Ben likes you]. You look just like her." There are theories that it's a childhood crush, or perhaps his late mother (glimpsed in the May 2007 episode "The Man Behind the Curtain").
Mitchell: No, I'm not [able to shed light]. It could be a love-of-his-life kind of thing, or it could be his mother. You never know with Ben. It could be someone we haven't even met yet. We actually did a reader poll at the start of the season, asking which character people want to learn more about. Ben and Juliet placed Nos. 1 and 2.
Mitchell: Oh, that's so nice. They created an amazing and complicated woman, and they made her very much a woman. I was very proud — proud is an odd word to use — but I was proud of the creation of her and the way they did it. It was very brave, I thought. Is there a sort of "letdown" for a Lost actor after you get "your" episode for the season?
Mitchell: [Laughs] I'm so flipping hard on myself that for me it's a relief! Other people's episodes are a heck of a lot easier to watch. This is like pulling nails. I suppose there is [a letdown], but at the same time I'm a story dork. I'm a book reader, a comic-book reader, so I'm always interested in what happens next. I actually just got the script for [Episode] 409, and I was sitting here reading it just completely entranced, and it had very little to do with me. That's the kind of show it is. I was already a fan, so to be on the "inside" of it is kind of crazy. Are you excited to be back at work?
Mitchell: Yeah.... Aren't you excited the strike's over? Um, yeah!
Mitchell: It's nice, isn't it? It's exciting that people are watching Lost and getting intrigued with it. That makes me happy. The TV Guide cover story featured "Burning Questions from the Cast Members." Did you have any that didn't make the cut?
Mitchell: I don't! Do you have any? Well....
Mitchell: I'm always curious what people are curious about. Me, I'm just going to sit back and see what happens next!

Doc Jensen - 'Lost': XXX

Doc Jensen figures that the ex-castaway is Ben's freighter spy, but has theories on how that came to be. Plus: Lindelof talks Numbers

By Jeff Jensen

At exactly the 30-minute mark in tonight's episode, the strike-shortened fourth season of Lost will reach its halfway mark. At the 31-minute mark, we'll have seen more Lost this year than we will see for the rest of the year. And by the 60-minute mark, we'll have just six more episodes of Lost left until the show waddles into its cave for another nine-month nap. This kind of thinking makes me kinda sad. Didn't this season just start, like, yesterday? As Kool and the Gang taught us long ago, we should cherish the time we have. So I invite you to savor this, our sixth-to-last tease of the year, an enticing tidbit about ''Ji Yeon,'' tonight's ... installment of Lost:


For several weeks now, all of us (or enough of us to create the impression of an ''all'') have assumed that our old friend Michael. ... Wouldn't it be awesome if the spy actually turned out to be Sayid's lost love, Nadia? Or Charlie's ex-junkie rocker brother, Liam? Or even — my crazy conjecture of the week — a returned-from-the-dead Libby, resurrected via the magic of course correction?

Still, I don't want to get your hopes up. All signs point to Michael. But how? Think this through, my fellow Lost theorists: Michael's return to the Island would defy storytelling logic. According to the well-researched timeline housed at, Michael and Walt left the Island 67 days after the crash of Oceanic 815 — in other words, late November 2004. But the freighter has been offshore since mid-December. Surely it took longer than just a couple weeks for Ben to get Michael in position.


First thing's first: Yes, you got me — it's Obi-WAN, not Obi-WON. But you know, it SHOULD be Obi-Won, don't you think? ''Wan'' is just so...wan. Still, I goofed, and so to atone for my fanboy sin, I'm making it up to you in the form of some scoop from Damon Lindelof about the Numbers — complete with a cool, fact-checked Star Wars reference. Wizard! But first, some other burning questions — and answers:

''Doc: Harold Perrineau is the spy...but maybe he's actually the grown-up Walt! The vector that Ben sent them on may have caused them to lose 15 years. Thoughts?'' —Bill

Bill: Good one! Let's make that Possibility Number 3!

''My theory is that Ben's spy on the boat is...Ben. Here's why. We don't know that the freighter and the Island are happening at the same time. Maybe the freighter is in the future. Also, when Ben tells Locke who the spy is, he tells him to sit down — which you would definitely say if you were telling someone you can travel through time. People keep saying Ben is right where he wants to be — that is, in captivity — so no one can see when he goes catatonic as he time travels. It would explain how he knows so much of what's going on even though he's a prisoner. What do you think? Maybe this is impossible, but it would be fun.'' —Will

Will: Your last sentence sums up my reaction — probably impossible, definitely fun.

''In 'The Constant,' when Charles Widmore was in the bathroom with Desmond and turned on the faucet, he very purposely used a towel so that he wouldn't touch the knob directly. Later, when Desmond touched the faucet directly with his hand, he was 'transported' to another time. Do you have any theories on the significance of this?'' —Maria S.

Maria S: Your curiosity about Widmore's curious bathroom routine is shared by a number of readers. I can't quite recall Chuck's paper-towel act (he's probably just a big germaphobe), but I definitely saw what other people saw: that Penelope's papa left the water running. Many have suspected that Widmore was keenly aware that Desmond was time-trippin' and somehow knew that by leaving the water on for Desmond to turn off, it would trigger another quantum leap. Maybe water serves as a kind of activation for cross-time consciousness transfer, at least for Desmond.

But here's another idea. I think Widmore knows the future — some or all of it. He's used this foreknowledge to build his financial empire. Now, the example of Desmond has shown us that those who have flashes of the future, and wish to facilitate that future, become slaves to predestination, because in order to get the desired outcome, you must make sure that the flashes play out in real life EXACTLY as you see them. So maybe the reason Widmore left the water running was simply because that was the way it HAD to happen, per his knowledge of future events. Even if I'm wrong about applying this theory to the bathroom business, I think the theory itself holds: Papa Widmore knows the future, and it drives everything he does.

''Jeff: I am convinced that Harper, as she appeared in the jungle, was indeed a manifestation of Smokey/the Island. What is your opinion on this matter?'' —CS

Clay: You are not alone. Many of you e-mailed suggesting the possibility that Harper could be the Monster. Was Harper's profession a clue? Harper was an all-knowing psychotherapist — and Smokey has the power to probe minds. I have long argued that Smokey is capable of taking human form, and more, that he/she/it has more on its cloudy mind than just killing castaways. Smokey could be manipulating our heroes toward various ends, much like the Island's other resident evil, Ben. Which suggests a possibility: Is Ben a manifestation of Smokey? Or, put another way: Is Smokey a manifestation of Ben? Tune in next week when I put some more flesh on this theory.

''I was wondering about The Numbers. Are we going to find out the meaning behind them?'' —Amy

Amy: A couple years ago, Lost staged an alternate-reality game called ''The Lost Experience'' that, with great fanfare, provided an answer to this mystery. The Numbers (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42) are values in a mathematical formula called the Valenzetti Equation, which was designed to estimate the date in which (cue dramatic music) the world as we know it will come to an end. The Dharma Initiative was trying to harness the powers of the Island to change the equation so as to prolong the life of the world. Now, we've also seen how the Numbers play an almost supernatural role in Hurley's life. However, ''The Lost Experience'' didn't address that. Personally, I have become content with accepting the Numbers as a thematic idea — an inexplicable but dramatically potent manifestation of fate, fatalism, and freaky phenomena that defies easy understanding. But I can understand why other fans might want a more concrete explanation. So: Will the show ever give us specific Numbers resolution? I ran the question by Damon Lindelof, and here's what he had to say:

''There will be more ON the Numbers, yes. But explaining WHY and HOW they are magic is like trying to explain why some magic kids are born to two muggles. The Valenzetti Equation USES those numbers, but trust me, they were around LONG before the early '60s. But for fans waiting for an advanced dissertation on the mythic significance of the numbers, I direct them to Qui-Gon Jinn's speech to Shmi Skywalker regarding midichlorians and pose the following question: Happy now?''

Point taken!

And with that, we bring another Doc Jensen column to a close. I spend my Thursdays returning e-mail, although I answer older e-mails first, so be patient. Send your theories and questions to And I'll be here tomorrow morning to recap tonight's episode.


—Doc J

Thursday, March 6, 2008

'Lost': A Desmond Fact-Check Jensen/Still wondering if you really understood last week's time-space-heavy ep? Doc Jensen confirms some details with Damon Lindelof. Plus: a theory on ''the sickness,'' and a crazy new connection

''THE CONSTANT'' Once Desmond's 1996 self scored Penny's phone number, his 2004 mind got rebooted...complete with time-travel memories

A dollop of tasty info designed to whet your appetite for tonight's episode of Lost, the sixth episode of this fantastic fourth season, a Juliet-centric flashback outing called ''The Other Woman.'' Executive producer Carlton Cuse was gracious enough to spill the following:

''Finally! Ben's gonna tell us who sent that damn freighter!''

Whoa! Now that's a big-time tease for you! Thanks, Captain Cuse!

You know, wouldn't it be a fiendish twist if we find out that the man behind the freighter is none other than... Ben himself!? That's what reader Tom Champoux thinks. A fan of both Lost and The Usual Suspects, Doc Champoux sent me an e-mail arguing that Ben is pulling a ''Keyser Soze'' — creating a fictitious big bad to further manipulate our heroes and advance his big-picture agenda. ''I think he hired the freighter folk through some Kobayashi butler,'' writes Champoux, whose theory could explain the mysterious identity of Matthew Abbaddon. Regardless, he says, ''I think Ben was being honest when he told Michael at the end of season 2, 'I'm one of the good guys.'''

Tom, I like the crazy/scary/morally ambiguous way you think.

Yes, Doc Jensen is capable of making mistakes. (What do you mean you already knew that?!) Last week, in this column, I said that tonight's episode would involve a trip to the Orchid, a Dharma station that was introduced into Lost mythology last summer via a bizarre orientation film released to the Web. I was wrong. You will NOT see the Orchid tonight. However, you will see a new Dharma station, rumored to be called ''The Tempest.'' Guess it's time to bone up on our Shakespeare, huh?

My apologies for the inaccuracy.

With clarifications from special guest Damon Lindelof!

After last week's time-tripping Desmond episode, I promised you guys some more analysis of ''The Constant'' due to the fact that I watched it while suffering through a crunch of flu-induced fever. As it turns out, it's probably good we spend some more time with it, anyway, given the intensity of passion and interest that many fans continue to have in the episode, arguably the best single outing since season 1's ''Walkabout.'' And to help us understand the story's noodle-cooking intricacies, I have some crucial insight from exec producer and ''Constant'' co-writer Damon Lindelof that I think you'll wanna know. To wit:

In ''The Constant,'' Desmond became ''unstuck in time'' after flying through a thundercloud crackling with strange electricity. He experienced something like time travel, though not bodily time travel; instead, his consciousness shuttled between two different time periods, Island present 2004 and Desmond's past 1996. But here's the tricky twist: Desmond's Island-present mind wasn't the one doing the time traveling. When Desmond got hit with Island magic, his consciousness got knocked off-line and was replaced by his 1996 self. It was this older Desmond consciousness that toggled between present and past throughout the episode. Once Desmond '96 completed the errand of getting Penny's phone number so he could call her on Christmas Eve 2004, Desmond's present-day mind came back online, but rebooted with the new memories created by his time-travel adventure. I know: tricky stuff. But I had the chance to run all this by Damon Lindelof — and he says this interpretation is correct.

Desmond had the time-warp blues, but freighter freak Minkowski had Marty McFly Mania: Due to his own exposure to electromagnetic magic, he began psychically commuting back to a pleasant day on a Ferris wheel. He died desperately trying to zip-line back to this happy day one more time. Coldly poignant, I thought. Notice: Unlike Desmond's time-travel story, Minkowski's present day consciousness was making the trip. Lindelof says this difference was designed to make a very important point: ''As Faraday explains in the episode, the effect is random. Sometimes a person can be displaced by minutes, other times, years. And the direction of the effect is equally unpredictable. Our way of demonstrating this was to give Minkowski a wildly different experience than Desmond was having.'' Lindelof says none of this is arbitrary; exposure to electromagnetism or radiation plays a role. But he adds: ''Looking for specific rules for how all this works will lead you down the path of insanity.''

To be clear, Desmond's past was different before ''The Constant.'' Before his time-travel adventure, Desmond never met Faraday at Oxford, never got Penelope's digits. As a consequence of changing the past, Desmond's personal history has been ''course corrected'' by The Powers That Be, beginning from the moment he walked away from Penny's apartment. Lindelof says this interpretation is also correct. But here's a Big Question: since scoring Penelope's phone number, has Course-Corrected Desmond lived his life knowing that on Christmas Eve 2004, he MUST be on a freighter in the South Pacific in order to make a call to Penelope if he wants any chance of having a future with her? Lindelof says this is indeed a matter we should be mulling. Perhaps in the future, Lost will give us an episode that replays Desmond's backstory (getting the boat from Libby; killing Kelvin; meeting the castaways) from the point of view of this knowingness.

[And with that, our friend Damon leaves the column to attend to other important matters — running a show, raising a family, shopping for cool T-shirts. We thank him for his input. From here on, the analysis is purely mine. Sorry.]

It ain't the weather Doc Jensen's convinced that Sayid, Desmond, and Frank's chopper attempted to pass through a very nasty wormhole

Desmond's ''unstuck in time'' nightmare began when Frank flew the helicopter into that monstrous thundercloud. The chopper was buffeted by intense turbulence. Lightning flashed. Frank pulled up and out of trouble. So what was that weird weather all about? Well, I don't think it was a passing storm. In, fact, I really don't think you can call it weather. As I explained last week, I think the Island is located inside the mouth of a wormhole, a possibly volatile anomaly in the time-space fabric. The chopper was passing over the rough-and-tumble boundary that exists between the anomaly and the outside world. (That wormhole has seriously blistered lips.) Another way of thinking about this is to think of a curtain hanging around the Island at a certain point offshore. This curtain extends from the sky to the ocean floor — hence, why The Sub also encounters turbulence when traveling to and from the Island. (See: Juliet's backstory in ''One of Them.'')

The problem with wormhole theory is that wormholes don't stay open on their own. Theoretically, they require a constant (and literally astronomical) supply of energy to stay in business. This past week, (which frequently ruminates on the science of Lost) speculated that this could have been why The Button had to be pushed every 108 minutes — to harness and discharge wormhole-sustaining electromagnetic energy.

Of course, now that the Hatch is gone, does that mean the wormhole is closed? Here's my theory: I think the failsafe key protocol (initiated by Desmond in the season 2 finale) called for one last blast of energy designed to keep the wormhole open for an extended period of time so that final business could be conducted. But when that time elapses, it's hasta la vista time-space anomaly. And maybe, bye-bye Island, too.

The chopper left the Island at dusk, but didn't arrive at the freighter until afternoon the next day, even though the flight lasted about 30 minutes. This bit of weirdness inspired the following question in my mind: Do different trajectories away from the Island lead to different points in time? Lapidus flew a trajectory (A) that took just 30 minutes; the chopper landed about 18 hours later. If Lapidus had flown a slightly different trajectory (B) that took roughly the same time, perhaps he might have arrived sooner. Or even later. Or possibly never. Why might this be important to season 4? Because if I'm right — if every different route away from the Island leads to a different point in time — then you have to wonder about those coordinates Ben gave Michael and Walt at the end of season 2. The question isn't just ''Where did Ben send them?'' — it could also be ''When?''

For a couple weeks now, we've been trying to figure out the significance of Daniel Faraday's rocket experiment, which seemed to establish a 31-minute time differential between the Island and the freighter. However, ''The Constant'' suggested (at least to me) another possibility: it could be that the Island and the freighter are in synch, and that the rocket gained the extra time while flying through the turbulent perimeter of the anomaly. This is all to say, I think we need to reconsider the idea that ''time passes more slowly on the Island'' until we get more data.

I tip my hat to Lost blogger Vozzek69 (at and some of my own readers for catching this one: It seems most likely that the time-travel illness that killed Minkowski is the same mythical ''sickness'' that killed The French Lady's fellow scientists wayyy back in the day. I really love this idea. I was never fond of the idea that ''the sickness'' was a Dharma hoax. It just didn't feel right. But this — this feels right. And if it is right, I love it even more for the way this answer was basically left for us to puzzle out, as opposed to having some dude explain it all to us. I expect that in the coming episodes and seasons, more Lost mysteries will be resolved this way.

But enough of this stuffy science stuff! Let's kick some old-school, pop-nutty Doc Jensen lunacy:

DEACTIVATE! Obi-Won Kenobi and Charlie have more in common than a steely gaze
Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed: © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.


Over the years, many connections have been made between Lost and Star Wars. But I got to thinking the other day: If Lost really did correlate to the original Star Wars trilogy, then season 4 — the middle of the Lost saga — would obviously correspond to The Empire Strikes Back. And it does! Think about it:

Hoth, hideaway home to ragtag rebels fleeing the big bad Empire people = The Dharma Barracks, hideaway home to ragtag castaways fleeing the big bad freighter folk.

Boba Fett, dangerous bounty hunter hired to bag Han Solo for Jabba the Hutt = Miles Straum, dangerous bounty hunter hired to bag Ben for mysterious master.

Cloud City, a distant locale that seems to offer hope for our heroes but actually houses hidden dangers = The freighter, a distant locale that seems to offer hope for our castaways but actually houses hidden dangers. It even has its own...

Lando, an old friend to our heroes but actually working (against his will) for their hated enemy = ''Ben's spy,'' an apparent friend to the castaways (probably responsible for opening that door for Desmond and Sayid in ''The Constant'') but actually employed by big bad Ben himself. (If the spy is Michael, as I believe it is, then we'll have the ''old friend'' connection that makes the Lando link complete.)

Obi-Won Kenobi, dead guy who deactivated the Death Star's tractor beam in the last movie and in Empire appears to Luke as a ghost and urges him to go to Dagobah = Charlie, dead guy who deactivated the Looking Glass's jamming device last year and in season 4 appears to Hurley as a ghost and urges him to return to the Island.

R2D2, heroic and very cute robot who can fix broken computers, spaceships, and other electronic stuff in a jiffy = Sayid, heroic and handsome, who this season alone has already worked on Frank's helicopter and fixed the phones on the freighter. C'mon. You know it's true!

And finally, a not-yet-confirmed link, but in the spirit of bringing this column full circle:

Space Slug, a giant worm that lives inside a hole in an asteroid and nearly gobbles up our unlucky heroes = The Wormhole, a giant anomaly that contains the rock that is the Island; it has gobbled up our unlucky castaways, but we know that six will get out. XXX

May the force be with you! = Namaste!

—Doc Jensen

I spend my Thursdays returning your mail personally, so write anytime at

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

TV Guide - Lost's Killer Season

This is the newest TV Guide article, from 3/5. It goes along with a cover shoot featuring Naveen Andrews and Elizabeth Mitchell. The cover itself has a spoiler to Thursday's episode, so I can't post the photo here.

Lost's Killer Season
by Shawna Malcom

Lost's Elizabeth Mitchell and Naveen Andrews are both trying to fit comfortably inside a phone booth when their TV Guide photo shoot suddenly takes a playful turn. The actress — the show's Other-worldly Juliet — wraps one leg around her costar, exposing a long stretch of skin through the slit in her show-stopping black gown. "I'd like to have a gun strapped to my leg," she says with a giggle. "Or a nice, shiny Hitchcock knife."


Not since Year 1 has ABC's Emmy-winning drama been this consistently thrilling. The flash-forward odyssey of the Oceanic Six — the survivors who made it off the island and back to the future — has infused the series with renewed urgency and richer emotional resonance. "It's heartbreaking to see these characters we love so hopeful [about] getting rescued," Mitchell says, "because we've seen that things after the fact haven't turned out so well."

That's an understatement. Besides sleek-suited assassin Sayid, Hurley's back in the loony bin, Jack's a suicidal pill-popper, and Kate's playing mommy.

According to executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, Lost rediscovered its focus when they secured a 2010 series-end date. "Working that out," Cuse says, "was immensely liberating." With that target in sight, the duo finally felt they could make like a Camaro-driving Hurley in this season's premiere and put the proverbial pedal to the metal. These days, when it comes to mapping out plot twists, Lindelof says bluntly, "We're no longer stalling."

Especially since returning to work in February after the writers' strike. The producers' first order of business was to condense what were supposed to be the season's final eight episodes into what Lindelof calls a "lean, mean" five. Those installments begin airing April 24 (in a new post-Grey's Anatomy time slot at 10 pm).


TV Guide - Lost Burning Questions Answered!

Here is the TV Guide article from 3/4. I have left in the non-spoiler answers, as well as all of the questions (thought people might be interested in what the cast is asking). Enjoy!

Lost: The Cast's Burning Questions Answered!
by Shawna Malcom

[SPOILER] But what other intel are producers willing to spill? To find out, we turned to no, not viewers but to Lost cast members themselves for their own burning questions.

Jorge Garcia (Hurley): "Is Ben in the coffin?"
Carlton Cuse: Come on, Jorge!
Damon Lindelof: Seriously! [To Cuse] He's just trying to make sure it's not him. It's process of elimination. The next question is, "Is it Michael?" [Laughs]

Yunjin Kim (Sun): "Is Aaron actually one of the Oceanic 6?"
Cuse: We're not officially saying yet. We want the audience to engage in an active debate about who the Oceanic 6 are.

Josh Holloway (Sawyer): "Is it Jack's turn with Kate?"
Cuse: [Laughs] That doesn't sound very romantic, but I guess we get the underlying meaning.

Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond): "It's 2004 on the boat. What year is it in Penny's world? What year is it when the Oceanic 6 get home?"
Lindelof: What's fundamentally interesting about all the time-jumping is that we want it to make sense when people watch the show 10 years from now. We don't want it to seem dated.

Evangeline Lily (Kate): "Did Michael reach the mainland? Go home? Come back to rescue us?"

Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet): "Why did Juliet become such a badass? Who trained her — the Others?"
Cuse: I think there was probably some martial arts in New Otherton.
Lindelof: She probably went out shooting with Friendly back in the day, which is why she can handle a firearm so well. But the real inspiration for Juliet being a badass was Elizabeth herself. When she read for the part, she had this huge cast on her arm and was talking about her days of kickboxing....
Cuse: And then she beat Damon up.

Holloway: "Sawyer needs a freakin' haircut! Since I'm living with Hurley, can he cut my hair?"
Lindelof: [Laughs] That episode's a casualty of the strike.
Cuse: But yeah, Josh can have a haircut.
Lindelof: Josh might've forgotten, but this is a recurring request from him. He's like, 'My hair's getting long, can't Kate cut it?' So we did an episode [in Season 2] where Kate cuts his hair. I love how Josh chooses who's going to be his barber at any given time!

Cusick: "Did Jack's flash-forward in the third-season finale take place after the events of Sayid's most-recent episode?"

Naveen Andrews (Sayid): "Damon spoke once about going back into Sayid's childhood. It didn't sound like bulls--t at the time. Has he abandoned that?"
Lindelof: I love how he phrases it — "It didn't sound like bulls--t at the time" — [implying], "But it certainly seems like bulls--t now." [Laughs]