Saturday, 22 May 2010

Finale Predictions - There is a light that never goes out

Okay, I admit it. Lost ends this weekend, and for some strange reason I'm pretty excited about it. Despite it's continual decline into the absurd I feel somehow bound to this ridiculous melodrama, and pray for a satisfying finale. After all, "everything happens for a reason", as someone once said. So let's bypass last weeks awfulness, and instead look forward to two hours of bare-faced answers and awesomeness. Here are my predictions as to what will happen in The End. Don't worry though, I'm 100% spoiler free.

Jack dies

Jack's been the one regrettably constant thing in the whole show, and even confirmed a few years ago to be the only cast member who knows the final scenes of Lost. This pretty much means that he survives right through to the end, right? You can knock off Widmore, Alpert, the Kwons and probably many other principle cast members in these final weeks, but he's the one thing that'll be there at the end. Probably sitting on a beach. Or going on about his fucking tattoos again. But we also know that the show's creators initially intended him to be killed in the Pilot episode. They wanted to fool the audience, a la Psycho, into believeing that one person was going to be the main protagonist, only to have them bumped off. Kate was going to be the main character, and the show would have been a great milestone for women's roles in huge ensemble casts, or something. Instead, we got five years of some rubbish doctor obsessed with bossing people around.

So, maybe they're now thinking of pulling a similar trick, just one hour from the shows end? We've just seen him take on the role of being the new Jacob, something I'd thought they'd hold on for until the last twenty minutes of the finale. His journey is all complete. They can't have him just weaving and cooking fish on a beach for two hours, so what's going to happen? I think he'll get killed off very early on in the finale, and that the Jack who knows the final few scenes of Lost is in fact the one from the alternative timeline.

The Alternative Timeline takes place after the Original one

That cut on Jack's neck has been getting more prominent on both Original Jack and Alternative Jack for the past few weeks. Was it caused by something we've seen, or is it from an event we're yet to see? If it's just a cut Original Jack accumulated during one of his many recent scraps, then the following theory holds true. The Alternative timeline is going to be the result of what happens at the end of The End. That's why Jack wakes up with a slowly healing cut on his neck, and why his hair is considerably longer than on the original Oceanic flight. Something happens on island in the Original Timeline, and their existence is competely erased. Or, like when Juliet said from beyond the grave "It worked!", perhaps this is just where the characters go when they die.

One thing that doesn't fit with this theory is what the whole purpose of the concert is, with Desmond going round getting the band back together. It can't be just to tell them all that not too long ago they were living on a desert island and that they're all really great friends. The timeline is defintely going somewhere in the finale, which brings me to another theory.

The timelines meet, and only one version can survive

Everyone goes to the awesome concert in Dr Chang's museum, as Desmond had planned. He makes some big announcement, taking the stage. "You all know each other, brothers" or something. Everyone finds out they lived together for a few years being terrified on a magical island, and gets a glimpse of the other person they could be. For pretty much everyone though, these other lives do not sound too enticing a prospect. The Kwons are dead, as is Charlie, Sayid, Charlotte, Farraday, Widmore, Ana Lucia, Libby, Boone, Shannon, Michael. Pretty much everyone is either dead, miserable or currently enahbited by a two thousand year old spirit in the Original timeline, so why would anyone want to move there? Well maybe it's the other way around. Maybe the on-island timeline is now an impossible future, and everyone has to leave. Sawyer gets to be a cop, Hurley gets his girl, as does Hurley. Ben is a decent man, and Locke gets to live again. The only ones who wouldn't immediately jump across are Kate and Jack, and once again the reasons for that are to do with parenting.

Yes, as I said three years ago in the New York Post, this show is all about the absent fathers. And I think it's going to be the decision Jack has to make as to whether to stay and protect the island, or move across and be a father to his child, which will be the end of the whole show. Similarly, as Jacob pointed out in this weeks episode, Kate is now mother to Mad Claire's Aaraon. She's not going to jump at the chance to be a con on the run again.

Flocke/the Man in Black rocks up in the Alternative Timeline

I really liked The Lost World, as I'm a sucker for T-Rex's marauding down the streets of Middle America. I'd be really disappointed if we didn't get to see old Smokey transfer across to the real world and go rip up some strip malls before the show finishes. He's been talking about it for half this season, and despite it sounding like signalling the end of life as we know it, I'd quite like to watch that happen. I assume he'll turn up in the Alternative Timeline, because otherwise we really have no investment in the world he's pillaging. Besides, other than Widmore turning up from there a few episodes ago, we have no evidence to suggest that since the bomb went off the Real World exists in the Original Timeline. Anyway, here are some ideas as to how he'll turn up.

Jack's Dad's coffin will turn up at the concert. Inside will be his corpse, possessed by the the Smoke Monster.

Locke will go into emergency surgery. The person who comes out is Flocke.

Other things that we are going to see which will be exciting

We'll find out that Juliet is Jack's ex-wife and the mother of his child. She's the one ex-cast member who's been conspicuously absent from the Alternative Timeline so far.

We'll finally get to see who those people that chased Sawyer, Juliet et all on the outrigger during all that time-traveling nonsense in season five were. Remember that Sawyer shot and seemed to kill one of them? My bet is that he killed either Ben, Miles or himself. How very clever.

Someone will get made into another smoke monster, to replace Flocke. My bet is on Ben, but it could be Sawyer, who'd pull off the 'Do you have any idea how much I want to kill you'? beach chats a lot better.

Lots of people will die. There will be emotional fairwells, sacrifices and general melodrama. Lost is silly, but it's very good at this part of the bullshit.

There'll be some really bad CGI. Some kind of Time Gate through which people transferring timelines have to walk. Or another horribly rendered sub.

The end scene of the whole show will be Jack as Jacob, going around trying to recruit Kwon jr, Aaron and Sawyer's daughter as new candidates.

That's it folks. Now I'm going to switch off the internet until Wednesday so as to keep 100% spoiler free.

Namaste. And good luck.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Lost - s06e15 - It's all latin to me

I've neglected this blog again this season. Apart from last weeks awesome death-fest this whole season has been very poor. On island they're just been wandering across the island, getting into groups, then re-grouping, then walking across the island again, supposedly building up to some magnificent finale. But now, with just two weeks to go until the final episode the show is desperately revealing it's secrets, and it's at least interesting to see what poppycock the writers come up with. This week, the ultimate question to divide and upset fans: what is the mystical power that the island holds?

The answer, sadly, is a magical light that lives in the middle of the island. Not electromagnetism, or some other kind of vaguely scientific explanation. Magic. And you can get through it, to be reborn in smoke form, just by swimming in a little pond. That's right folks, you've been watching this show for five years, and this is your punishment. Anyway, let's ignore all that, in the same way Star Wars fans ignore Midichlorians, and instead go back to the very beginning.

Jacobs mum rocks up on mystery island, and starts chatting in Latin to the mum out of Juno. Then, inexplicably, they start talking modern American English! Jacob's mum has a slight accent, but still. Juno's mum is proper Apple Pie, Soccer-Mom American and yet we're supposed to believe this took place thousands of years ago? Pffftt. I know the show has had a not too healthy relationship with accents in the past, (Sayid and his cronies in Iraq speaking English with an accent while all Jin and Sun's flashbacks are subtitled, anyone attempting an English accent,) but in this case they didn't even seem to try. Do US networks not realise how old their own country is? The whole thing looks like a really bad TV drama recreating bible stories to children.

Fast forward a few years and Jacob and his brother are sitting about chatting and playing games, calling their mother 'mom' and maintaining their Twilight haircuts. Both of them are as believable at being un-civilized and ancient as the young Anakin Skywalker in Phantom Menace. This is the Disney interpretation of unkempt and olden timey. The Child in Black even looks like Mowgli. Emo-wgli.

Going back to the birth itself. Did everyone else assume that after Jacob popped out, Lady Virgin Mary was about to squirt a giant plume of thick black smoke from her miraculous tuppence? Or was that just me?

As adults, the magical pair seem slightly more believable, but still 100% U.S.A. They bicker and fight like teenagers fighting over the car stereo, but then isn't that quite likely due to their odd, secluded unbringing? It seems odd to think you'd mature much living your whole life pretty much alone. It's a good explanation as to why Jacob is so dull I suppose, but it doesn't give much credibilty to this overarching 'Jacob is God' theory. How could you get so wise being home-schooled by some mad woman? And what could she teach you, seeing as she doesn't want you to interact with anyone your whole life? Weaving?

Then follows some further awfullness about using a giant wagon wheel to stir magic with water in order to get off the island. The only tiny reassurance that this isn't being made up week after week being that when Ben finally does turn the wheel years later it does seem to leak some of that 'island magic' light. So at least they're consistent with their bullshit.

When adult Emowgli walks back through his descemated camp, it all seems very Star Wars. "Uncle Owen? Aunt Beru?" If he'd checked one of the corpses he might have figured out what going on. "these knife wounds are too accurate to have been made by my deranged old mother. It must have been some kind of smokey monster." Yes that's right, I believe the only way Juno's mum could have known so much about what happens when you fall into the islands giant glowing underwater vagina is if she'd experienced it herself. She is the smoke monster, hence why she has all those abilities to stop people harming one another. This is also the only way that camp of people, and their well, got destroyed by one single old woman.

Which begs the question: what is HER origin story? Damn you Lost, you're supposed to be telling us the answers, not dangling even more mysteries in front of us! I've watched five years of this garbage, and promise I'll watch just two more episodes. I've done everything you asked me to do, so why did you to this to me!?

The reveal that these two characters are season one's Adam and Eve was quite nicely done. I don't think showing the clip was too heavy handed either. The casual viewer hasn't seen that scene in five years, if at all, so it was nice to have a recap. Also, it reminded us of the Lost of old, back when it was good. Back when Kate still wore lipstick on a desert island.

So roll on the next couple of weeks, and further unsatisfying revelations. I look forward to finding out that the four-toed statue is actually Jack with a mask, that Walt grows up to be every black character that's ever been on the show, and that the Egyptians spoke with American accents.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

The thrill of the unknown

As the end approaches, and the chances of a satisfying ending grow ever slimmer, it's worth reminding ourselves why we bothered to watch this ridiculous television show in the first place. Mystery; both in the supernatural powers of the island and in the pasts of it's inhabitants. No clip better sums up this promise than the one below. John Locke knelt over the hatch door, berating fate for all it's dealt him in his sad and lonely life.

Despair, and questioning the very meaning for your existence. All with still only the slightest understanding of the details. Remember that at this point we still didn't know the reason for Locke becoming disabled, what the hatch was, and certainly no idea what this mystery force Locke was yelling at could possibly ask him to do. By being ambiguous, it made it inclusive, and something we could all relate to.

We now know that the hatch, and it's mystery illumination was nothing more than a man living down there turning on a light. That the estranged father was actually some evil con-man, who later threw Locke out of a window. And that John Locke's conviction that he was 'meant' to be on the island, along with us viewers' belief that he was 'special' in some way turned out to be a big red herring. Even worse, we have to watch the actor who once portrayed this exciting, intriguing martyr play an entirely different character every week, reminding us of what this final season lacks.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Special Commemorative Photo-packed issue - Others schmothers

Back in season one, when everyone still thought dinosaurs were the rumble in the mysterious island jungle, The Others were an unknown, formidable force. Rousseau coins the term when describing those who've supposedly taken her baby towards the end of the season. Locke sums up the nagging suspicion of the 815ers, stating "We're not the only people on this island, and we all know it!", much to the excitement to the viewer.

This was pretty much the pinnacle of excitement and mystery for The Others, and possibly the show. A career high, if you can call what they do a job. They are unknown, in both appearance and their history. They kidnap not only babies but characters with actual speaking roles. Our only physical reference for them is Ethan, who we know has adapted his dress in order to pass as one of the survivors. He seems to have almost super-human strength, apparently kidnapping two grown people, one of whom was heavily pregnant, and beating the shit out of Jack. Plus, he did bear a tiny resemblance to the actor's cousin Tom Cruise. Double scary.

At the end of the series, we're granted another vision of The Others, this time appearing on a boat out at sea. These 'sea-billy' Others looked like off-island versions of the kind of red-necks you'd get in 1970s horror films. Their leader talks calmly to Sawyer, despite the threats he's making, reminding me of The Hitcher. The gang seems to comprise women, and a mixture of ages, reminding us of Texas Chainsaw massacre. A calm family of kidnappers who appear from out of no-where in the mddle of the ocean. Terrifying.

This image of The Others as simple but formidable foes is furthered early on in season two, when Jin, Michael and Sawyer are captured on the beach. In silhouette, a bunch of primal island inhabitants weilding planks of wood with nails through them march towards them.

Soon after though this is revealed to be a bit of a bluff. These aren't the Others, just the survivors from the Tail section. They were being aggressive to our 815ers because to them THEY were The Others. It's all relative, and maybe The Others themselves will have that same perspective when we finally meet them. Fuck that though, they better be proper nasty really. We don't need this getting all ambiguous as the years go on. Thank goodness a few epsiodes down the line we're granted another glimpse of the elusive group, as Jin and Mr Eko hide in a bush.

According to Eko they walk bare-foot so as to not leave tracks. A child is amongst their group, probably one recently abducted from the Tail section's camp. Has he been brain-washed? Is he dead, and these people are now zombies? The Others now seemed at one with the earth, Elf-like, in their quiet, calculated steps through the jungle. Spooky.

Later in the season when Jack, Sawyer, Kate and Locke run off through the jungle to try and find Michael, and run into some more Others trouble. The bearded chap is back, and tells them not to cross a line and leave them alone. He seems to know the names of some of the 815ers too. Quite scary. With the command "Light 'em up Alex!" we see his group have them surrounded. Still quite scary.

Another bluff is revealed a few episodes later though, when fake beards and theatrical glue are found in the The Staff hatch. What little we've seen of The Others so far has been a ruse, constructed perhaps to protect the true nature of the group. We can now see they have a medical station, so perhaps they're a group of terrifying ex-Nazi scientists? Potentially very scary indeed.

The beginning of season three gives us the clearest picture yet of the actual Others, as it opens on a group of well dressed, presentable suburbanites arguing at a book club in a cosy little house in what will eventually be referred to as 'New Otherton'. Not exactly terrifying in an obvious way, but the potential for this being some brain-washed cult, functioning all very well in their living rooms, while atrocities occur just out of shot, certainly is.

But the reality was that there was no dark evil that lurked in the group. Yes, they were scientists, or some of them had been, but they were just run-of-the-mill surgeons, not exciting evil plastic surgeons. Ethan is shown in his hometown, and appears to be some handy-man. Quite how he carried off Charlie and Claire single-handedly in season one is never mentioned.

Ben is even shown drinking proper coffee, which means these guys are super sophisticated. To be fair Benry Gale is a lot more complex than the rest of his brethren, and we could spend a lot longer discussing his particular character arc over the past five years. Still, here, as a member of the ever-deteriorating group The Others, his actions are noted for their sophistication. Even if he probably calls it 'expresso'. Pfft...

Do these chaps really look like they're about to go off and swot up on their Latin, or perhaps head to a barbecue? How the fuck did these some-time primal, some-time intellectual group sink so low. All through season three, and most of the next two series, we've been subjected to the most ridiculous one-dimensional 'henchmen' stereotypes known to television. Look at these couple of bruisers in their cut-off leather shirts. You can just imagine the chap on the left saying "Hey boss, what's we goin' do once we wiped out these air-plane punks?"

And it jut gets even worse from there onwards. In season 6 we're shown The Temple, where The Other Others live. At this point, we could be expecting to meet the most terrifying villains of them all. Temples are mysterious, right? And Asian people DEFINITELY are, so this whole season is going to be one giant end-of-game Boss level with fifty evil Mister Miyagis to vanquish. No wonder the Others we know so far have become increasingly pathetic, it's because we're warming up to the big finale; lots of karate, some magical Chinese spells, and possibly some egyptian mummies. Here goes everything Lost, hit me with the ultimate in terrifying villainry!

Oh dear. Oh fucking deary me. Yes, a lot of the other characters the 815ers meet at the carboard Disney Castle Temple set are quite scary. One even speaks a terrifying, ancient language (erm, Mandarin) and wields a big stick. They're all aggressive to our gang, but it all takes place in an 'ancient' building that looks about five years old. And every scene is shot really brightly, adding to the contrivance. The whole set-up doesn't instill the viewer with a sense of dread, or peril, in the same way you can't really be scared when you're somewhere nice on a sunny day. To be honest, when I first saw these chaps I thought it was another bluff being pulled over the gang's eyes. How utterly ridiculous that the ultimate, elite group or inner-circle Others would look like extras on the Pirates of The Caribbean ride, complete with MDF set. But no, this IS it, unfortunately. Five year build-up, and heres the payoff.

Take this chap. The producers think they're being all very subtle and nudge-nudge about their references in the show. Ooh, let's call them lead characters 'Rousseau' and 'John Locke'. VERY clever. Then let's help a few more people who didn't get those ones and call someone Daniel 'Faraday'. Get it? Like in SCIENCE? And so now we have a man who looks like John Lennon, called 'Lennon'. Not just the round glasses, either. The hair, the beard, and the general 1970s dress. Did whoever came up with this realise just how popular The Beatles were? That it's one thing recognising Amelia Earhart inspires another woman in season three, but that with this chap they've given up any degree of subtlety?

Which brings us to the sad end of this sorry tale. Two rejects from Les Miserable stand between our original 815 survivors and freedom, or whatever it is they're striving for these days. Getting off or on the island? Being 'candidates'? Whatever it is, I don't think these chumps are going to cause them much bother. Are these really the mystical force we were supposed to be so scared of, creeping through the jungle like animals? Do you quake at the sight of them, in fear of their super-human strength? Or their magnificent knowledge and cunning? No, you see two lazily constructed non-speaking stand-ins, bought into horrible clarity because the show is now filmed in HD.

Thanks Lost, for continually ruining the brilliant set up of your original season. For always showing more, when sense would have dictated that you keep a few special mysteries hidden. Like a well-dressed, but ugly stripper. Sometimes it's the not knowing that's exciting.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Season 6 Episode 4 - Alternate Timeline - Michelle's Review

We look into John Locke's alternative life had he not crashed, we are reminded he once had a pretty wife a bit out of his league who takes it surprisingly well that he A) lied to her B) is a knife wielding psycho and C) has evidence that he's having an affair with a Dr. called Jack.

John is fired, hired by Hurley via Rose and becomes a teacher with a paedo looking Henry Gale who is a coffee pot dictator in this 'reality'. Alternative plot lines are DULL as, I think I'm meant to be impressed each time a character comes along I recognise from seasons ago. Instead it's like watching a 5 man play where the actors also play alternative characters when donning a moustache and top hat or fake boobs and lipstick.

We see a return to the 'I don't give a damn' Sawyer, which a recent poll of our lady Lostites showed that they prefer the hot-brooding-heart-broken-beer-stinkin' Sawyer to other versions. Although the Davidoff version is hot too. This week who he is so depressed after losing his 'love' Juliet (Juliet who frankly would have seduced anyone to leave the island and go play with her now not sick sister's child) he doesn't care that he's playing in the forest with a ghost/smoke monster/poltergeist/zombie. Despite Richard Maybelline's warnings.

I am a little bored now, just like how I was feeling when watching, falling down ladders, scribbles on walls, erm, only a few names are potential hosts or whatever Zombie Locke said. Erm, LOST **boooooooom**

(Fade to black.)

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Season 6 - Episode 3 - Dawn of the Dead-Boring

For the benefit of retaining any readers of this blog, let's ignore the 'flash-sideways' storyline of this episode. 'What Kate Does' in alternative LOST-land was in general as boring as what anything Kate does in the show. Don't mistake being attractive and yet not entirely one dimensional for an interesting character. Kate is either a tomboy stereotype or pathetically girly, and very little in-between. This week she literally went from a gun toting, cab-hijacker (and queue-jumper too, let's not forget that social crime) to apologetic pregnant lady-aider in the space of twenty minutes.

So yes, let's brush over that unnecessary water-treading. Let's instead focus on what tiny tidbits of mystery we were allowed this week. Most notably, ZOMBIES.

Ever since 2006 the show's creators have joked about the Mythical 'Zombie season'. Then, it revolved around the mysterious appearances of Walt around the island after his kidnapping. A fake script was even put up as an Easter Egg on the official site. Now, despite being quickly acknowledged and dismissed in discussion between Sayid and Hurley, it seems the joke has become a reality. Sayid raises from the dead, adding an apt nail in the coffin to any logical final solution to the show. He's been 'claimed' apparently, and his resurrectors quickly make plans to set this straight and kill him again. Quite what being 'claimed' involves isn't explained, but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with actually-dead Locke being possessed/cloned/inhabited by the spirit of Jacob's nemesis. In fact, they can probably tie a bunch of island mysteries up with this one.

Lots of characters have died on Lost. Some have come back as mysterious visions to more essential cast members. Yemi chatted with Eko, Hurley saw Charlie (albeit offf-island), Michael saw Libby, and of course Christian 'Jack's Dad' Shepherd has had a chat with pretty much every cast member, including Vincent. None have fully come 'back to life' though, they've merely appeared briefly as visions. Claire was one seemingly ex- cast member that divided opinion though. Her disappearance at the end of season four, supposedly with dad Christian, was confusing to many. She'd been acting oddly for a few episodes, with ghost-talker Miles apparently looking at her funny. Fans insist that at that point she was in fact a ghost walking amongst the Losties. They cite the explosion at the end of the gun battle in season four, where small-mouthed Keemy and his bunch of military stereotype friends stormed the DHARMA village, as the the cause of her demise. Since then she'd been acting very odd, and walking off with old Papa Booze-alot was just one of the many symptoms of her craziness.

Now it seems she's gone proper mad, as her hair is all unkempt. She's become the new Rousseau, and has even learnt how to make traps in order to purge the cast of any annoying B-characters. The very same Rousseau who spoke of a 'sickness' that took her crew back in the eighties when their boat crashed. Perhaps it 'claimed' them, and was the same disease that Desmond injected himself daily in order to fend off. Hmmmmmm...

My theory is this. Jacob's Enemy can possess dead people, and this explains any instances of 'visions' we've seen so far. He appeared as Christian when Flight 815 arrived, and he's continued to turn up in different guises as more and more people keep dying. He doesn't have to inhabit just one at a time, as he's a giant magical smoke monster and so that's not really a problem. As he tries to infect people with his spirit, they go a bit mad. He's the reason Rousseau's crew all shot each other, why Radzinski eventually shoots himself in the hatch with Kelvin, and will probably end up being the cause of the eventual fate of the Black Rock arrivals once we hear their story. Back on the beach in olden times eating the fish, fans have become fixated on Jacob's enemy being his Earthly equal. Perhaps he was just the latest incarnation, someone who had recently died on the island. Remember how Jacob's Enemy says how it always ends the same? "They come, they destroy, they corrupt". He is the cause of the corruption, and with the 815ers Jacob is trying to reverse the trend.

As an aside, the character who actually would make an awesome Zombie is Sayid, so I'm rooting for him to get fully 'claimed'. He's a crazy, torturing, gun-for-hire in real life, so imagine his appetite for tasty torturous braaaaaaiins once he goes full blown!!

But we'd better put that kind of stuff to the back of our minds, as there's at least fourteen hours before we'll be getting final confirmation about our theories. There are more immediate Island things to deal with; How will the two groups meet, now they're in the same timeline? Which ones of the new Other Others will continue on as fully-fledged characters, if any, seeing as it's so late in the game? Why is one of them the world's cheapest John Lennon lookalike, who is ACTUALLY CALLED 'LENNON'? What purpose does the alternative timeline have? Is it the afterlife? Did Juliet go there when she died and told Miles "It WORKED!" last episode? Tune in NEXT week for no answers to any of this, just more plodding about in the jungle, but hopefully some actual zombies.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Season 6 - Episode 1/2 - With great paradox, comes great responsibility

And so we arrive at the end of all things, with all it's Parallel Universes, Fountains of Eternal Life and Lost Cities of Atlantis. Lost has returned from it's extended Summer holiday, and appears eager to tell all to it's returning friends. We have confirmation that Un-Locke is the smoke monster, that Richard arrived a slave aboard the Black Rock, and that there are now multiple realities where a whole separate timeline of events are being played out.

Oceanic Flight 815 didn't crash, but Jack looks very confused, like he thought it would. He's talking to Rose, and Bernard is having a poo. However, his hair is longer, and one-time hatch dweller Desmond is sitting next to him. A full comparison of the differences in this opening scene is shown here. Woah, people posting Youtube clips trying to solve Lost, this season really is going to be mimicking it's former glory. Charlie is in the bathroom taking some heroin like it's 2004, but this time he's hinting at a suicide attempt. His hair is also shorter, but I fear that's more to do with his appearance being a short cameo than anything to do with alternate realities. He can't grow a floppy fringe for Flashforward during it's hiatus, or he'll lose his new-found villainy.

Anyway, nobody dies on the plane, and yet it's still very exciting to see. Locke chats with Boone, even though he's now in Vampire Diaries and could have told ABC to fuck off like Shannon obviously did. Kate and her cartoon jailer bicker and fight a bit, Hurley is a confident lottery winner and owner of Mister Clucks, and Artz over-eggs the first acting gig he's had since season 3. It's pretty much all fun for everyone in this reality, apart from Jack. You get the feeling he knows he's in an alternate realty, and has memories of the people around him. Later in the episode he speaks to Locke about his condition, who's sadly still paralysed despite having raved about his Walkabout tour to oblivious Boone. Jack has a crazy idea he can cure Locke, which must come from suppressed island memory as off-island he seems to kill everyone he operates on.

This reality is obviously quite different to the one we remember, and not just because of the actors they could convince to come back. As the camera leaps from the plane and down into the ocean, we see a badly-CGI-ed island, with all the familiar huts, sonic fences, four-toed statues and Windows 95 Screensaver-era fish swimming about. Let's assume this is the state of the island post Hydrogen bomb, and that none of the events off-island since 1977 have occurred since the island sunk. Faraday wasn't born, as Ellie would be dead. Desmond doesn't live there, as the hatch was never built. Richard Alpert, Jacob and Ben must be dead. But if that's the case, Jacob hasn't been back for his creepy trips to all the 815ers as children. How come their lives still lead to them boarding the plane if what we were shown at the end of last season was so significant? Also, did Hurley win the lottery with the numbers? If so, how? He can't have gotten them from his friend in the mental institute. Not only did he not stay there, but his friend couldn't have lived on the island.

Meanwhile, we have another more familiar reality to deal with, where everyone's acting like surviving a Hydrogen Bomb blast and landing thirty years in the future is entirely normal and that Jack's plan hasn't worked. Juliet dies again, and we've supposed to be impressed once more about how far Sawyer has come these past five years. He's sad and angry, which means somehow conveying two emotions at the same time. He says he'll kill Jack! Sawyer Maaaaaaaaadddd!!! It's clear why they're trying to force his character to revert to his pre-redemptive season one self. They sold this whole final season to fans as being a re-boot not only in possibly re-visiting the events immediately following Flight 815, but of everyone running through the jungle, not knowing what's going on. I'm sure we'll see Kate and Jack face their original demons once more, as the show returns to it's original themes in the coming weeks.

At the temple, we meet a new group of Other Others. I guess Ben's crew have lost a lot of their mysterious spiritual credibility in the past couple of years, what with all the book groups and generally being rubbish at fighting. So now the ragtag bunch of ex-hippies with goatees and denim cut-offs (have a look! They do wear them!) is upgraded to a load of Chinese people with guns. John Lennon is there too, dressed as the chap from Apocalypse now, but we don't know if he's magical yet. We know all Chinese people are though, and that most of them have the ability to live forever so it's no surprise they have a fountain of eternal youth in what must be the Temple's living room. They've all probably been living there bathing in it every night for the past thousand years, so God/Jacob knows what's in it. Richard Alpert's used it, Sayid's used it. Maybe Sawyer will give it a go and he'll infect the whole of the island with some sexually transmitted disease he's picked up from his conman days.

Forget all that hocus pocus though. The introduction of stereotypical Chinese people in Lost can only mean one thing: karate! After years of Sayid always coming out tops in season finales it seems we'll finally have a real challenge once Head Chinese-man has taught our 815ers how to fight properly, possibly after a montage scene where he gets them to re-paint the Temple, Mister Miyagi style. Not a bad idea. As my friend Henry pointed out, it does all ook a bit 'Crystal Maze'.

With a puff of flare-smoke, we get confirmation that the 1977 DHARMA folk have indeed returned to the timeline of Un-Locke, Richard, Ben, Sun and the recently deceased Jacob. Un-Locke beats Richard up a bit, mentioning something about 'chains', and is generally quite aggressive to the group we can now assume originally arrived on the Black Rock. It was very exciting to see Terry O'Quinn (Locke-actor) relax, and play the villain that's he's so often been hinted at becoming. I'm sure we'll see a lot more of this in the following weeks, before Original-Locke's inevitable ACTUAL re-birth in the Temple around episode 16, as he leads the ex-Others/Black-Rockers on some nasty quest against the 815ers.

Joining together the two groups after a season and a half does mean there'll be some exciting conflict. (Following Lost-lore, it'll be around episode 8, in that difficult mid-season section). Jin and Sun will re-unite at last. She's assumed him dead for three years, far outweighing the Penny and Desmond ordeal in the reconciliation stakes. She's definitely had botox during their time apart, and he's learnt a whole new language, so if she's not pregnant from his English-speaking seed by the end of season six there's definitely something affecting pregnant women on the island.

Oh yeah, what ever happened to that?