Sunday, May 31, 2015

MAD MAN'S REGRETS posted an article referencing a "find" from a writer's discussion panel that may shed light on the problems associated with getting all the loose ends of Mad Men tied up by the finale.

As Slate reports "more often than not, the most satisfying stories are those that end neatly—every plot resolved, each character’s arc completed. In this regard, Mad Men, which aired its final episode on May 17, surely frustrated many of its longtime admirers. Over the course of its seven seasons, the series accumulated more plots and characters than its creators could manage."

Many fans, including casual ones caught up in the season ending hype, found the the show’s meditative, introspective conclusion at bit baffling considering the expectations.

The writers and show runners had a full season to plan and execute their final scripts to cover as many loose ends as they wanted to cover. But many fans left the finale frustrated by its major omissions.  Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican tweeted a picture of what he described as Mad Men show runner “Matthew Weiner’s ‘Wish List’ of plot points to cover before the finale.” 

If it’s real—and Slate believes it is —the list offers insights into the creative process behind one of television’s most critically acclaimed shows.

Some open or unanswered character plots sting most for Mad Men’s fans. Weiner, too, wondered about the fate of Sal, Sterling Cooper’s art director, who is forced out of the firm after rejecting the advances of one of its most prominent clients in Season 3. For some—especially those who held out hope that the closeted Sal would find new freedom in the post-Stonewall climate of the last episodes—his failure to reappear was a major disappointment. Likewise, the list suggests that Weiner had intended to return to Sal’s tormenter, Lee Garner, Jr., though he never returned after the fourth season. Just as Mad Men denied Sal redemption, it refused to allow its viewers to witness Lee’s comeuppance.

As Slate concluded the wish list calls attention to the ways Mad Men’s closing episodes couldn’t please everyone so fans should be glad that some loose ends weren’t tied up. The theory is that in life, people come and go and get lost or forgotten. If approached with the sentimental question years after someone was gone ("what ever happened to so-and-so?") makes the story a little more real.

But these side stories are still a distraction to the main final question: what really happened to Don Draper? The biggest omission of the finale was Don's alleged return to the Advertising World to create iconic TV spots. But did Don's road trip actually change him? Or was he still conning the people close to him? The long journey of a main character has to come to some meaningful conclusion. The Mad Man finale did not do it.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

BAD ENDINGS's Culture section had an interesting article on why so many popular television shows have crappy finales.

It is more probable than not a successful show will have a terrible end. 

 Rolling Stone critic Rob Sheffield, was quoted as saying “Series finales always suck, and everyone knows it, but TV shows still feel obliged to keep attempting them. The idea that a show needs a finale is just one of those daffy ideas America took to heart in the 2000s, like MySpace, the Zune… or the concept of Paula Abdul judging a singing contest. It was a confused time.”

There are a few conflicting concepts at play when a television series ends. First, the creator may have run out of ideas (or the show's quality has run its course). Second, the networks cancel the show prior to aligning all the story lines into one final climatic conclusion. Third, some creators are "too clever" for their own good. They try to make out--of-the-box statement pieces to cement their own TV legacy instead of being true to the show and its characters.

The bigger the show the bigger the expectation for a great ending.

The Mad Men finale was the latest foray into the show ending autopsy. While many die hard fans loved the finale, many critics found it troublesome, confusing and outright sappy bad. Shows with cult-like followings like Mad Men, which only drew 3 million viewers, want to get a big sendoff for their invested time in the series. As a result, creators and writers know that fans will over-analyse the finale on the internet for days and weeks afterwards. 

As the article points out Series finales are inherently difficult to master since long running shows have created hundreds of hours of television, aired over several years, with complex plots, conflicts and character bubbles so to merge all the elements down to one episode, one final scene is problematic.  Viewers expect more from their finales but they rarely get what they’re hoping for: closure.

Despite such confusion, there are some elements that can help finales rise to their inherent challenges, or at least survive them, with a series’ legacy intact.

The M*A*S*H finale, the most-watched broadcast of scripted television in the US ever, attracted 106 million viewers, was a terrible mess. The premise was fine; the hospital unit was being torn out as the war was winding down. But the show's sledgehammer message that "war is bad" through Hawkeye's sudden mental breakdown then his attempt to say goodbye to his colleagues was like a student rushing to the school to find that he had missed his high school graduation. 

As bad as M*A*S*H's send-off was, the Seinfeld finale make nos sense at all.  Seinfeld, the self-proclaimed "show about nothing," was a stunt that did nothing but put a resume item on all the various supporting cast members. The unbelievable premise was the main characters on trial for, essentially, being terrible people – that is, for violating a ‘Good Samaritan Law’ in a small town far from the show’s New York setting. Waves of a less than a minute repeats of minor characters saying how bad the characters were to them was essentially a clip show without any funny bits.  So many viewers despised the Seinfeld finale – perhaps because it made them uncomfortable in having to question why they liked characters who may indeed have been terrible people. Others thought it was a dumb ending that did nothing but diminish the comedy standard it tried to create in the 1990s sit-com arena

The current trend was to leave the audience in the dark, literally.  The Sopranos cut-to-black ending found fans within the writing industry as being a bold and shocking end to an acclaimed series, but fans were outraged by the stunt. Did Tony and his family get whacked? Why did the creators leave the story line open to individual interpretation? Many compared this ending to reading a long book only to find that the last chapter was removed.

LOST had similar critics who thought that the series creators did not fulfill their promises to give the viewers the answers to the main mysteries that cultivated a rabid internet community of theorists. It also sparked backlash that the producers had lied to the fan base in the early seasons that the show was not about purgatory, but the ending seemed to put that in real doubt.

The Mad Men finale also had similiar gripes. But the shows creator did come clean and say that yes, Don Draper's character created the iconic Coke commercial seen as the closing sequence. However, this is intellectually dishonest because a real person actually created that advertisement and his name was not Don Draper. The show runner's post broadcast statements actually make the finale seem even worse since it made Don go back to NY to his old job when his character clearly "killed himself off" by reverting to his old name and leaving behind his old past. But that attempt to create "a happy ending" palatable to the fan base should not be the core for a writer.

 The Mary Tyler Moore Show planned its own end date in 1977, resulting in a finale many would argue sets the standard for all future television endings. It combined these approaches: it gave smart viewers something to think about like Seinfeld or The Sopranos – in a softer, sweeter manner that also provided satisfying closure.  In that show’s finale, the entire staff at the TV news station where Mary has worked for the whole series, WJM, is fired. As they all clean out their desks and move on, we see how office mates often function as families, and were becoming especially important to single, working women like Mary in the ‘70s. Such insights, undercut with the melancholy of a real goodbye, earned the finale every right to some tearjerking.

It’s even possible that inconsistent shows with long runs, like Star Trek: The Next Generation and Battlestar Galactica, were enshrined as "classics" in hindsight simply because of their strong finales. ST:TNG ended with the Captain making an appearance at the senior staff's weekly poker game which signaled the final bond between the characters. It showed that during the series each character had risked something during their space exploration, but in the end they could come together in friendship.

But the greatest TV finale with the most memorable twist was The Bob Newhart Show. Newhart, a dead pan comedian who had a long TV career, was the focal character running  a small New England B&B resort.  He had a quirky cast of characters as he tried to run a vacation inn. But that series finale put in a strong memory most people have of Newhart is of Newhart waking up in bed beside Suzanne Pleshette, who had starred as his wife in his previous series, and realizing he had merely dreamed the entirety of the later show. It was so genius and unexpected that it will survive the test of time.

So it is possible for popular television series to have brilliant finales. It takes writers who are true to their vision, realize what their audience wants, and have the guts to make a truly memorable, non-cliche finish to a long run.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


A couple of years ago a nurse named Bronnie Ware, who counseled patients in their final 12 weeks, published a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Yahoo Finance decided this week to update the list with one more item.

The top regrets people had at the end of their lives:

1.“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

2. “I wish I didn’t work so hard.”

3. “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”

4 . “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”

5. “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

6. “I should have saved more money for my retirement.”

Monday, May 25, 2015


Despite all my rage, I'm still just a rat in a cage...
Despite all my rage, I'm still just a rat in a cage...
Someone will say what is lost can never be saved...
Despite all my rage, I'm still just a rat in a cage...

Smashing Pumpkins.

This chorus could sum up LOST.

All the main characters led not "great" lives. They have had professional triumphs, but led painfully lonely personal lives. They may have had criminal pasts or mental issues which led to painfully lonely lives.

One could see the analogy of dropping broken spirited individuals onto an island to see how they interact with each other.

Daniel used a lab rat to experiment with conscious time travel.  In the end, it ruined his and his girlfriend's minds.

The analogy could go further to explain that the whole LOST experience could have been the tortured lost mind of Daniel after subjecting himself to his own experimental backlash.

The conflicting science in the show is the conflicting scientific principles colliding in Daniel's fragile mind which could not explain how his girlfriend was permanently injured. The idea of his step-father, Widmore, being an evil incarnate or his mother being a controlling soul trying to isolate him from the real world may have been phobia and paranoia of a comatose mind. For Daniel broke away from both his parents by imagining himself going back (in time) to an island to "rescue" plane crash victims.

Except, there were plane crash victims to save. Daniel's mind experiments may have unlocked a portal to an alternative universe or dimension which he could interact with the lost souls of Flight 815 as they journeyed through the after life. Daniel in essence was a hitch hiker on others cosmic journey in time and space. The afterlife has no physics or rules so it was hard for an analytical mind like Daniel's to cope with this new reality. A reality that his mind recognized but the other people he had mental contact with did not. The main characters were not aware that they were dead until the end. But instead of being upset by the news, the characters seemed surreal and content by their fate. They did not question how or why they died, or even where they were - - - - it was like a burden was lifted from each of the them with a large sigh of relief. Their experiment or journey was over. They were no longer rats in a cage for survival. They could move on to an eternal retirement.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Many of my friends who were die hard Mad Men viewers felt that the show's conclusion was great. There were several vocal writer-critics of the series end. They did not like the new justification for acclaimed series ending on ambiguities like the Sopranos or even LOST.

But reading more the of back story on lead character Don Draper, I find it hard to connect the dots to the ending. Yes, the McCann advertising agency in real life created that brilliant Coke ad. However, the ad executive who actually did it was trapped in an airport observing fellow passengers passing the time during the delay. The majority of people felt the ending of the iconic commercial was done by a returning Draper to the agency. But that assumption does not follow from what we saw from the Draper character prior to the end.

I had not realized at first that Draper was a con man of sorts. He assumed the identity of a fallen comrade in the Korean war in order to get home. Once back into the states, he assumed this dead soldier's name (and some reputation as being a Purple Heart hero) in order to run away from his troubled past life. These are familiar themes and plot lines in LOST.

In Draper's own mind, his past including his name, was killed in Korea. By erasing his past in such a manner, he was free to become the man dreamed of becoming: a highly successful person with all the rewards of the age - - - wine, women and song.

But big secrets are like one's shadow - - - always there to haunt you when you least expect it.  Apparently, his past would crop up during the series, but he always managed to charm his way to keep it a secret so he could continue his path to wealth and fame.

Part of the cost of keeping such a secret was the divorce to his first wife.

Part of the cost of keeping such as secret was keeping around an associate more ambitious than himself.

Part of the problem of keeping such a secret is that over time it will wear you down. At some point people like you, respect you, love you not for the real you but the illusion that you had created: Don Draper, dapper great advertising giant.

So when his NY ad world collapses around his illusion (with his second divorce, and his small agency being taken over by a heartless giant), Draper reverted to back what he did in Korea - - - he found a way to run away from his problems and responsibilities. In essence, the last couple of episodes was all about Draper killing the Draper persona.

You can tell by the evidence that he started calling himself his old nickname, Dick. It shows that he had discarded his NY life and the fraud that continued to eat at his soul. He could not go back to his hold Dick Whitman life because he killed that off a long time ago (he was officially dead). So this character had now created a man without an identity or purpose; a body without a soul.

So as he wandered out west, bouncing in and out of bed and in and out of trouble, Draper really did not care what would happen to him. In his final phone call to Peggy, to say goodbye, he meant it. He was never coming back to McCann or his old life. It was over. Peggy sensed suicide and she was partially right: Don killed his identity to assume a new one unrelated to his past - - - some new age. transcendent loner.

That is why is it not realistic to believe that Draper suddenly changed his mind to return to NYC and create the iconic Coke commercial of total world peace through soda. That type of illusion was too great for even him to swallow.

This explanation is part of the tone of some viewers who felt "underwhelmed" by the finale. They thought that something unexpected, visual, striking and horrible would happen to Don. Negative expectations are still heightened expectations to viewers. But there was nothing truly negative as most of the story lines were wrapped up in a happy bow. Don's character sitting on a California bluff doing nothing but chanting is the exact opposite of what most viewers wanted to see in the end. But in one respect it is a full circle character arc where the Don persona of being the high profile, respected and wealth ad man is tossed aside to return to a second Dick persona of being a faceless loser and loner who is dropping out of society.

Monday, May 18, 2015


Having only seen the last 2.5 episodes of Mad Men last night (on the recommendation of many), I cannot personally conclude whether the ending was good, bad or indifferent since I don't know all the background stories of the characters (though I had a basic understanding through articles and reviews throughout the years). 

I did observe the New Hollywood thematic plot lines for a large ensemble cast woven into a premise of 1960s nostalgia. Advertising is the illusion to elicit dream fulfillment. Don, the golden boy advertising wunderkind, seemed to have had it all, twice, and lost it because of his personal demons, career pursuits, work stress and the gnawing fear of failure in a high pressure profession. One theme may have been you have to sacrifice everything to get to the top.

But I found two redemptive themes in the finale. First, the cliche that it is always darkest before the dawn as represented by Peggy's story. Our generation had the iron spike of work ethic pounded into our skulls. We were supposed to work hard, focus on the tasks at hand, and advance our careers to the top of our field. Success was measured by titles and bank account balances. But Peggy's story ended with a better reality check: that life is not about just work. You don't have to sacrifice everything for a career. And what may be missing in your life may be right in front of you if you stop and really think about it. Work, like life itself, is better shared with someone who cares about you.

Second, I believe in the principle that every person has one great financial opportunity in their lives. This principle can also be applied to one's own personal life. The problem is that people don't realize the opportunity when it comes along, or are too afraid to take the risk. In Pete's case, he never thought of the Lear job as an opportunity since he was dead set on his advertising career path (to be the next Don Draper). But once he realized it was an opportunity, he was given a second chance (another opportunity) to have the family life he always dreamed he would have, but far away from the corrupt action of NYC. If Pete did not make that realization and put his feelings on the line for his second chance, he most likely would have wound up like Don.

Now, another feature of New Hollywood series writing is the "non-ending ending" to a major character. The creative staff may do this in order to allow the fans to finish the story with their own theories and opinions. Don's story has that non-ending end vibe. He was the anti-hero. For a man who knew the human psyche so well to tap it to make impulse purchases, he could not control his own impulses. He was the focal point of what was good and bad in his generation. Many will think that he had a transcendental awakening on his road trip journey of self-discovery, but I saw it as a selfish guy running away from his responsibilities and problems. We never see him get back to work so it is speculative leap to conclude that Don's spiritual retreat galvanized his creative soul to make the iconic Hilltop Coke commercial (in reality, the idea for that spot was from an ad executive stuck in an airport in Ireland who observed a group of diverse people in the waiting area laughing and joking while drinking soda.)

It also harks back to the LOST controversy, where the final credits rolled over the airplane debris on the beach. Many thought that was the final clue to the mystery that the show's characters died in the plane crash and the plot was all based in purgatory (which TPTB still deny).

Instead of going back home to support his family with the struggles of his ex-wife's impeding death, Don pushed farther west, away from those responsibilities. It is more probable that he wanted to drop out of society, get away from the material culture his subconscious helped create; to be a loner so he would never get hurt again from the pain of meaningful relationships. When he told Peggy goodbye, he meant it. The advertising industry's Great White Whale was going to beach himself to never return to his past. Is that the great redemptive moment for this character? Maybe. Maybe not. There was a segment of the culture that did decide to "drop out" to become part of the Lost Generation.

Many loyal viewers liked how Mad Men ends. Prior to the show, there were many fan theories on how the show could end (including Don jumping off a roof like in the opening sequence.). But that open ended non-conclusion to Don's story line allows fans to project their own ending to their favorite character's journey. I still think that is a writer's cop-out in some respect.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


"Computers will overtake humans with AI at some within the next 100 years. When that happens, we need to make sure the computers have goals aligned with ours." - - - Steven Hawking.

Hawking is one of the great scientific minds of our generation. But he is one of a growing number of scientists who are cautioning humanity on the technology trend and future dependence on artificial intelligence.  He is also a true believer in the law of unintended consequences.

Currently, industry has focused in on "mechanical" artificial intelligence programs, those computers which run machinery instead of trained human workers. The idea that computer controlled machines can do more delicate or detailed work than the human eye is debatable, but the potential cost saving of robotic assembly has been proven.

There are the Terminator fearists that believe that advanced AI systems will find their own "consciousness" and turn on their human masters. The Borg in Star Trek could be considered a flawed computer code turning humans into machines. It is probably the dependence on technology that is most worrisome to scientists because it signals the dawn of "less human intelligence" in the general public.

Think of it this way: if computers are going to do the work for you, solve your problems from making a pot of coffee in the morning to building an entire smartphone in less than an hour, then humans won't have to think about doing any physical work. Humans mental capacity to apply knowledge into a tangible thing (such as making a smartphone) will atrophy. With everything given to us, there would nothing we would give to society. Such were the grotesque human sloths in the movie WALL*E.

One of the better examples of this kind of cause and bad effect is LOST's smoke monster. Since the island could flash between time periods (we only saw it flash to the past, and then back to the present) it is possible that the smoke monster was some form of future technology that got transported to the island. Since it was advanced technology from the distant future, it would be viewed as a mystery, supernatural or magic (as would you handing your smartphone to an 1880s merchant).

There is an analogy that our current technological dreams can manifest in our future technological nightmares.

How would the world be different if Nazi Germany perfected the nuclear bomb prior to the end of World War II? Would half the world now be speaking German?

How would the world be different if the Roman crusades in the Middle East had armored tank divisions against horse drawn Calvary of the Muslims?

How would the world react if a spacecraft landed in Washington D.C. and astronauts from the Mars colony said they have come home after 100 years in space?

One has to put context in the present. But in order to do so, one relies upon the past for experience but also the expectation of the future. As one could say, "the present is the future past."

One cannot readily untangle the twisted time threads in LOST's story lines. The jumps made little sense. The resulting paradoxes never explained or corrected. One cannot say that elements of an unknown future controlled the events on the island. Or that past civilizations were allowed to fully develop in the island cocoon to greater technological advances they we could imagine.

Friday, May 15, 2015


The Bear Cage passion play was the most illicit carnal scene in LOST.

After Kate was kidnapped by the Others, she was told to wash up, put on a summer dress, and meet Ben on the beach for wine and a light meal. It was at this meeting that Ben looked to charm, seduce and use Kate.

We think that Ben's first purpose was to find a new ally in Kate. He knew her background. In some ways, they were compatible: they both had father issues, broken homes, issues with authority, the need to control, highly manipulative and willing to play dirty. Many believe that this beach meeting was an awkward attempt by nerdy Ben to make a pass at Kate. In order for Ben to rule his kingdom, he needed a queen. His last attempt, his try with Juliet, ended in failure. A failure so bitter that Ben sent Juliet's lover, Goodwin, on a dangerous spy mission which would eventually lead to his death. Ben showed Juliet Goodwin's grave and cursed "you are mine." However, the only thing that came from that was an uneasy truce.

With Kate, he could literally find a new partner-in-crime. Ben possessed the one thing that Kate wanted: freedom and the lack of accountability for her actions. Ben could manipulate events in such a fashion where those dreams could come true (and perhaps he did during the O6 arc where Kate basically got no punishment for any of her crimes).

We don't know the full extent of the beach meeting, the proposed deals or what the final response was between the two parties. It seemed that Ben was rejected, and Kate thrown in an uncomfortable choice. She had feelings for Jack (who knew and kept her secrets) but was attracted to the bad boy, Sawyer. When Ben found out about her magnetic connection with Sawyer, he pounced - - - basically pitting Jack and Sawyer in a deadly love triangle.

Ben needed Jack's surgical skills to operate on his tumor. He knew that Jack would not cooperate with him. He tried to lure Jack into cooperation by having Juliet get a professional friendship started between them, then push it towards a pseudo relationship. Ben knew from the beginning that Juliet would play along with the game while at the same time try to double cross Ben. Ben wanted Juliet and Jack to bond so he can control them as a couple. If Jack fell for Juliet, Ben had the leverage to make Jack do his bidding.

Ben made Kate make a choice of who would live and die between her potential lovers. Would she choose Jack, who represented her future, or Sawyer, who represented her past?

Looks and actions can be deceiving; when Kate returned to the Bear Cages after rebuffing Ben's advances, she looked at the forlorn Sawyer in a new light. She must have realized that Ben knew Jack was more valuable to the Others than an independent troublemaker in Sawyer. Perhaps her true feelings swelled up inside her. Maybe it was a small spark of human kindness. But Kate did something she would not have done in the past without some reward - - - climbed into Sawyer's cage and made love to him.

It was a passionate, wanton display of lust that was captured by the security monitors for Jack to see.

This also fit into Ben's grand scheme - - - for if Jack had any romantic feelings for Kate, they were shattered by her shagging his obstructionist rival.

But was Kate's fling with Sawyer true love or pity sex for a condemned soul?

Afterward, Kate and Sawyer were put on a work gang building the runway. Jack began to get closer with Juliet in a way to plot against Ben. So in one respect, Ben's plan was coming together. He had separated the castaways into two groups so they would not work together. He put Juliet and Jack into one joint venture against him; something that he knew about and could out flank.

But Kate's relationship with Sawyer never went any deeper to full, complete romantic love.

In the cages on Hydra Island, Pickett asked Kate if she loves Sawyer and she responds that she does.  After the camp split, Kate went back to the Barracks for a little while, and she and Sawyer spent the night together. As Jack, Sayid, Hurley, Sawyer, and Kate leave the island on the chopper, Sawyer whispered something in Kate's ear, to her confusion. He kisses her and jumps off the chopper and into the ocean.

Prior to the Oceanic 6's return to the island, Sawyer tells Horace that he had a "thing for this girl once", but after three years, can barely remember her face. However, upon seeing Kate, he is awash with nostalgia, but it is short-lived as he reminds a worried Juliet that "nothing's changed", and that he's with her [Juliet]. After a young Ben gets shot by Sayid, Kate and Sawyer attempt to save his life by bringing Ben to the Others.

After Juliet's death, Sawyer leaves the main group, choosing to go at it alone. Kate, worried for his well-being, follows him back to the Barracks. She apologizes for Juliet's death, and starts to blame herself for the death by returning to the island.

Kate and Sawyer appear to be star-crossed lovers by their own choice. When Sawyer winds up back on shore after the helicopter escape, he drinks with Juliet on the beach. When the world goes strange (flash back in time), Sawyer becomes closer to Juliet than he ever did with Kate. So was Sawyer merely using Kate as a companion, or did he ever have true feelings for her. We could assume he did because he sacrificed himself to save her (in the helicopter).

So why did they not complete their romantic bond when both of them left the island in Frank's Ajira plane? Sawyer had lost his Juliet. Kate had lost her Jack. Both had lost their "spouses" after living with them for some time. Kate's relationship with O6 Jack fell a part before they returned to the island. Sawyer's love for Juliet was cruelly taken away from him - - - and he blamed Jack.

We don't believe Sawyer and Kate got together in the post-island mainland since they did not wind up with each other in the Sideways afterlife. So what was the Bear cage sex supposed to represent? Animal instincts? Fear released as passion? A way to make an terrible situation bearable?

One would have thought that the shared island experience, the good and the bad, would have made Sawyer and Kate a close couple in the mainland. They could have lived together happily ever after since their pre-815 personal baggage had been resolved on the island, for good and ill.

When rules of law and order breaks down, humans tend to fall back to their primitive survival modes. They tend to get selfish, self-centered and looking for instant gratification since the rules do not apply anymore. The island was a test ground for the animal tendencies of man when society's rules are suspended and there is little to no responsibility for one's actions. Kate and Sawyer thrived on that aspect of the island. So why could they have not found happiness together post-island?

One explanation would be that Kate never cared for Sawyer. That her "deal" with Ben was to become Sawyer's lover to control him. Kate would be the "double agent" that Ben needed in order to get inside the 815 camp and isolate its power-leaders. Kate stayed with Sawyer for a short time in order to get something she wanted - - - freedom and escape from the island. But Ben would not grant (or could not it seems due to Jacob's candidate power) Kate her freedom while the 815ers posed a threat to his dictatorship. So if you believe Kate was just acting with Sawyer in order to con him into submission, well played Kate. But in the heat of conflict, danger and near death experience - - - we think that Kate really did have true feelings for Sawyer, and his shelter puppy dog looks, to give Kate's heart a jolt of compassion and passion.

For unwritten in her back story is one of abuse. If it was sexual in nature, it could show why Kate's attitude towards sex was more for the manipulation of men than finding romance and stability in her life. She fled Florida when she felt her husband would find out about her past. She fled the island instead of going after Sawyer after he jumped from the helicopter. She got rid of Jack after she got a wrist slap from the court system in the O6 story arc. She never saw men as being a necessary part of her being. She never connected a physical relationship with love, but with power or self-preservation. So Kate's animal instinct for survival difficult situations encompassed much of her relationships with the men in her life. So much so that it clouded her feelings and ability to find and nurture true love.

Kate's passion for Sawyer was real, but it was lost. It may have been the first time that she took charge of her sexual desires and threw herself on a man she thought would be soon dead. She may have thought Sawyer was the one chance for survival and escape. But Kate never saw far enough ahead in a traditional viewpoint of marriage, home and family to have the bond that true soul mates find in their relationships.

Likewise, Sawyer had no basis for truly caring about any woman. His entire pattern was to love them and leave them. He feared stability because that meant he would lose his freedom. It would cramp his style. He could no longer run wild. He would be trapped in his old man's life - - - a dreadful, suicidal life. So Sawyer consciously kept all the women in his life at bay. He would use them, then throw them away. He needed to be constantly in motion, like a shark in the ocean. It was only when he was trapped with Juliet that he found some comfort in a "normal" relationship in a "normal" home life. At that point, Sawyer believed that he would never return to his past. The 1970s Dharma was going to be his life, forever. And Juliet was the best part of it.

How three years with Juliet changed Sawyer to the extent that he was a new man is not out of the question. Animal instincts can be tamed by the right woman and under the right circumstances. In Kate's situation, she also had a three year window of normalcy with Jack and Aaron - - - the suburban housewife, that she would learn to abhor. So it is possible that deep down, in the same comfortable situations of a classic American home life, Sawyer and Kate would not have been compatible.

So the Bear Cage may have been just what it seemed: instinctive animal passion brought upon by the stressful circumstances of captivity, danger and possibility of impending death.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


NBC fall schedule includes a Big Mystery show with a dangerous premise.

Blindspot is billed as a vast international plot explodes when a beautiful Jane Doe, completely covered in mysterious, intricate tattoos, is discovered naked in Times Square with no memory of who she is or how she got there. The FBI quickly realize that each mark on her body is a crime to solve, leading them closer to the truth about her identity and the mysteries to be revealed.

Now, one would think that this is a unique and intriguing premise to a television series. A lead actress who does not know about her past must unravel the clues while dangerous people are chasing her. It sounds a little like Orphan Black.

But it really sounds more like East of Eden, a Japanese anime series. In East of Eden, ten missiles strike Japan, but cause no casualties. This apparent terrorist act is referred to as "Careless Monday" and is eventually forgotten by the populace. The series begins three months later when a young student named Saki visits the White House in Washington DC as part of her graduation trip. When she gets into trouble, a mysterious young Japanese man appears completely naked except for a gun and a cell phone, and rescues her. The man has lost his memory, but learns that he has a bunch of fake passports at his apartment; he chooses the Japanese one which names him Akira. While he and Saki return to Japan, they learn that a new missile has hit.

Akira discovers that his phone carries 8.2 billion yen  in digital money, and that he is part of a game, where twelve individuals are given 10 billion yen to "save" Japan in some way.

Whether Blindspot is going to run the course of mystery-terrorism drama to weird amnesia game show is unknown. But here is why a show creator needs to have a detailed, fixed story line to drop a huge mystery as the beginning point to a series: it has to be believable and have answers be the story engine to move the plot to a satisfactory conclusion.

In LOST, the big premise, the mysterious island, was the hook to get viewers into the show, but despite what was promised in Season One, the creators did not have a set story fleshed out to the conclusion. That is why a shotgun approach to adding new mysteries and twists and turns to tangential science fiction issues to fill each weekly hour did not hit a home run the fans expected from LOST.


We have gone on a little tangent, from excuses the mind gives us to this post on what people think makes them happy.

The University of Bolton (UK) decided to re-run an experiment that  originally took place in 1938.

Back then, an ad was placed in the Bolton Evening News, asking readers to respond to the age-old question, “What is happiness?” Ten options were offered where participants were instructed to rate the importance of each one. 

The  psychology professors followed in the same questions in the 1938 test.

A total of 226 people responded in 1938 and the top three happiness factors, in order, were: security, knowledge and religion. 

Eighty years later,  the top three happiness factors, in order, were: humor, leisure and security.

It is an interesting comparison:

Only "security" tops both lists.

In 1938, we must remember was in the midst of world turmoil. The Nazi build up in Germany, and the echos of the Great War (WWI) was still in the minds of the European nations. So security was in the forefront of everyone's mind. Also in 1938, "knowledge" as in education was the one true means of bettering oneself. The class system still had some tangled roots in England and the whole of Europe. The last 1938 element was religion, which is where many people find solace and comfort and meaning in their lives. In essence, the 1938 participants identified body, mind and soul as the means of their happiness.

Today, the news is filled with even greater world turmoil than in 1938. More nations have nuclear arms. There are terrorists attacking innocent people all over the globe. The news is mostly negative and depressing (if people actually read or view it which is decreasing among the young who are more preoccupied with technology and social media).  In industrialized modern nations, the poverty level has been raised to a point where many people are not dying on the streets. But street crime and random violence is still occurring in the streets (especially in the US). So personal security is still an issue today. But having humor to be the number one avenue to happiness is intriguing because it denotes an immediate endorphin rush. Like Pavlov's dog, humor is a button that needs to be pushed in order to bring on a laugh or smile. Some would say obsessive seeking of humor alone would mean that a person is extremely selfish, self-centered and possibly aloof to the people around them since modern comedy implores cruelty, irony and other people's misfortunes as punch lines.  More readily apparent is leisure as a means of happiness since hard working people need rest and relaxation in order to recharge their inner batteries. But leisure can only be obtained by a safety net of steady income, adequate savings, belief in good prospects ahead, in the sense of a societal normalcy and acceptance of one's life. The study found that religion came in last place in the current survey results.

The study offered a few quotes from the respondents:

Enough money to meet everyday needs and a little for pleasure.” (1938)

I would like a little home, not many possessions … congenial and satisfying companionship, the availability of good music and books.” (1938)
Knowing that my rent is paid on time and I can afford to eat healthily.” (2014)

Engaging in my hobbies, spending time that is free of worry … Simple things like enjoying a nice meal or receiving care and affection.” (2014)

The real interesting pull back from the study that the authors found was that the despite the  cliché, money still doesn’t seem to buy happiness after all. 

“People are realizing they can’t count on money,” said the researchers. “Just because you have a college education doesn’t mean you have a job. Just because you have a job doesn’t mean it’s going to last or you’ll be able to have everything you want with that money. So the average person has learned that just because you work hard, have an education or have training doesn’t mean you’ll have money—or even enough money. But let’s be honest—some people’s leisure activities are going to be expensive, so they’re going to need the money!”

The authors see a shift in priorities from the two studies as a favorable one. “These findings fit with everyone I speak to now. People are all about figuring out what truly makes them happy. And I think this is a really positive spin.” 

It is the desire of every human being to find happiness.  To be happy means a feeling or showing pleasure or contentment; having a sense of confidence in or satisfaction with (a person, arrangement, or situation);  satisfied with the quality or standard of someone or something. The elements of happiness in one's life is needed to balance out the bad times that everyone encounters on their journeys.

Monday, May 11, 2015


Business Insider had an interesting article about the 14 lies our mind tells ourselves which actually hurts us by constantly tries to convince us not to take actions we know are good for us, and stops many great changes in our lives.

It is such a true statement most people do not realize that it is happening to them.

I stumbled across this article by accident. It fits in extremely well into this year's personal motto: "No Excuses. No Regrets." 

The BI author's proposition is that the cowardly mind’s excuses and rationalizations is self programmed because the mind wants comfort, and is afraid of discomfort and change. The mind is used to its comfort cocoon, and anytime we try to push beyond that comfort zone very far or for very long, the mind tries desperately to get back into the cocoon. At any cost, including our long-term health and happiness.

The article then details 14 "mind" excuses which stops a person from acting outside the sheltered norms:

1. I can’t do it
If something seems too hard, we default to decide not to change. It is a manifestation that we don’t believe in ourselves.

2. He/she can do it, but that doesn’t apply to me 

We look for reasons other people can do or accomplish things  but we can’t — a negative reinforcement that we are somehow "different" for an unknown reason.

3. I need my ___
W fill in the blank with a variety of crutches: I need my coffee, my cheese, my soda, my TV shows, my car, my shoe collection … these are things we convince ourselves we can’t live without, so we can’t make a change like exercising, eating healthier, starting a hobby, reading a long book, taking a vacation, or  simplifying our lives. If one really examines those excuses, they are justifications for all  lies. The only things you really need are basic food, water, clothing, shelter, and other people for social needs. Everything else is not a real need.

4. Life is meant to be enjoyed
Everyone agrees with this statement  but the problem is this is used to justify all kinds of crappy behavior. Might as well scarf down junk food because it tastes good, because hey, life is meant to be enjoyed, right? No. You can do without junk food and still enjoy life. You can exercise and enjoy it. You can give up pretty much anything and still enjoy life, if you learn to see almost any activity as enjoyable.

5. I need comfort
As young children, they cling to a security blanket because it gives them the sense of relief and comfort. However, as we grow older we have can push ourselves into uncomfortable situations so that we can learn to believe in ourselves.

6. I don’t know how
This may be true, but everyone can learn. Start with a little at a time, and learn how to deal with this new change. If the problem is that you are a social wall flower, you can do some research online. There are various websites that examine social anxiety.  Ask people how they dealt with it. This is easily overcome with a little effort and practice. In fact, if you do it now, and learn a little at a time, then you’ll be able to do away with this pesky excuse.

7. I can do it later
You can always put off to tomorrow what you can accomplish today. But why should your later self be more disciplined than your current self? A habit of procrastination and actually making is less likely that your future self will be more disciplined. Unless there’s something more urgent or important that you need to do … don’t let yourself slide just because you don’t feel like it. It will lead to more stress and pressure as you create a personal traffic jam of uncompleted tasks or goals.

8. One time won’t hurt
This is so tempting, because it’s kind of true — one time won’t hurt. Assuming, that is, that it’s only one time. One bite of chocolate cake, one missed workout, one time procrastinating instead of doing work. Unfortunately, it’s never actually just one time. One time means your brain now knows it can get away with this excuse, and the next “one time” leads to another, until you’re not actually sticking to something.

9. I don’t feel like it
Feelings can be a defense mechanism. There is an internal resistance to doing something that we think is hard, difficult, new, or potentially hurtful. Letting the excuse of “I’ll do it when feel like it” dictate your life means you’ll never go out and meet new people, learn about new things, write that great American novel you dreamed of as a kid, never build a business, never create anything great, never have healthy habits. It is easy to create a plan that’s doable, and then execute it.

10. I’m tired
Everyone gets tired on a daily basis. It is the biological cycle. We allow that cycle to macro-manage tasks into pigeon holes. When you get home from a long day at work (they call it work for a reason), you may not feel like cooking, cleaning or exercising. You would rather "rest,"  but this is usually the mind trying to weasel out of something uncomfortable. There’s a difference between being exhausted and needing some rest, and being the little tired we all feel every afternoon. One way to combat this is to multitask - - - for example, exercise while watching TV. You may trick your mind that watching TV is relaxing while you accomplish something important off the couch.

11. I deserve a reward/break 

Daily life presents us with many risk and reward situations. But not every completed tasks deserve a reward.  But if you don't curb this rationalization your rule, you’ll always be on a break. You’ll always be giving yourself rewards, and never sticking to the original plan to get a more meaningful reward such as a job well done is its own reward.

12. Wouldn’t it be nice to stop?
This is our mind wanting to run from discomfort, and of course it’s true — it would be nice to stop if you’re pushing into a discomfort zone for too long. The thing is, the implication is that it would be better to stop, because it would be nice … but that’s a lie. It would be easier to stop, but often it’s better to continue pushing through to the end goal. 

13. The result you’re going for isn’t important
Your mind is already sabotaging a goal that you have set for yourself. 
If you stick with a process that will be better for you in the long run, then you will be better off. But if you let yourself go just because you are uncomfortable and at this moment care more for your comfort than the goal you set out for, you’ll have lots of problems. The goal isn’t important, but learning to stick to things when you’re uncomfortable is extremely important. For example, if  you’re trying to run a marathon, in the middle of it you may think “It’s not that important that I finish this" because of the pain and effort required to finish. And while the result might not be that important, the truth is that the process and the goal is very important to bolster one's self-worth, self-esteem and peace of mind.

14. I’m afraid
Now, this is the most honest excuse there is — most of us don’t want to admit we’re afraid to pursue something difficult. But it’s also a weaselly way out of discomfort — just because you’re afraid doesn’t mean you can’t do something. For example,
Deipnophobia is the fear of dinner party conversations. How do you overcome that fear? You go to parties where you know a few good friends and learn to mingle. When trying something new, everyone worries about failure.  The fear of failure is an early learned experience. Failure has negative connotations in society. But some of the smartest, richest and happy people on Earth will tell you that before success they failed over and over again. It is learning from failure that breeds success. And confidence is the one trait that can extinguish many or all of the mind excuses which holds us back.

Sunday, May 10, 2015


The BBC recently reported that computers have a problem with a number, a large number, specifically the number 2,147,483,647 – which is the maximum positive value of a 32-bit signed register. A computer calculating a value higher than that number crashes. The resulting disaster could shut down a guidance system, a launch sequence or orbital probe or in the case of the European Space Administration, the loss of a rocket.

LOST was keen on hyping the Numbers as a key component to unlocking the series mysteries.



If you multiply the Numbers you get 7,418,880, which is within the range of the highest maximum value in computer science.

But as one number it would be 4,815,162,342,  which is OUTSIDE the range of the highest maximum value in computer science.

But if you did not input the Numbers every 108 minutes, the Hatch containment field would fail and the island would experience the purple flash (time-space disruption).

There was never a clear connection between the Numbers and the main characters since the Numbers were used as the countdown timer  "prior" to the assignment by Jacob of the Candidates.

But in a circular view, that is not true. When Desmond used the fail safe key, the island purple flashed sending several of the Candidates back to 1970s. Those Candidates, already being on the island, would have been assigned their Number.

But not all the Candidates were in 1974 Dharma. Jack and Kate were thrown back in time to meet up with  Sawyer, who was a security officer living with Juliet, with his crew of Hurley, Miles and Jin. Daniel Faraday then arrived at the island from the Dharma HQ in Michigan.  Sawyer tried to recruit Jack to operate on young Ben, who had been shot by Sayid. So in the 1970s, before "the Incident" at the Hatch which would later require the countdown timer, Hurley (4), Sawyer (15), Sayid (16), Jack (23) and Jin (42). Locke (8) was the only missing "Number" prior to the Incident.

But Locke himself had bounced around as far back as 1954, and met with Richard Alpert. So his memory could be considered a presence in the 1970s Dharma.

So the Numbers, as a representation of Jacob's Candidates, were used as a "fail safe" device to hold back the electromagnetic energy. As such the Candidates, through their Numbers, were used as part of a "shield" mechanism to hold back the energy. For what purpose? We can only assume that if the energy was not contained, MIB could be "released" or "escape" the island which would lead to the destruction of the universe.

But with the Incident happening essentially AFTER Desmond used the fail safe key which set in motion the Candidates going into the past which would later create the Hatch protocols BEFORE the Incident,  we have a serious time travel paradox.

But if the spiritual spell casting background of ancient Egypt is a guide, the Numbers could cast a spell on the smoke monster to keep it at bay. MIB's adoption of Locke's physical form and memories must have been its attempt to break "the code" or barrier of the island so it could leave.

But then the fatal blow to MIB's plans was caused not by the Numbers or the Candidates represented by them (even though Jack (23) fought MIB in the end), it was Kate (51) who delivered the final death blow by shooting Flocke on the cliff.

So what were the Numbers/Candidates symbolic of? A fatal computer error in the universe? A pathway to parallel time travel universes to avoid a paradox? The gateway code to time-space? Or a spiritual spell to keep demons at bay?

Friday, May 8, 2015


In the past two posts, we have had our "draft" of characters to be on the Light Team and the Dark Team.


Jack, Locke, Daniel, Dogen, Iana, Mars, Ana Lucia, Goodwin, Kate, and Danielle.

Field leader(s): Jack, Ana Lucia
Mission specialist(s): Daniel
Survivalists: Danielle
Athletic/Military: Iana, Goodwin, Kate
Intangible: Dogen, Mars

MIB'S DARK TEAM members:

Ben, Sayid, Jin, Sawyer, Mr. Eko, Keamy, Patchy, Ethan, Naomi, Kelvin.

Field leader(s): Ben
Mission specialist(s): Sayid, Ethan
Survivalists: Mr. Eko
Athletic/Military: Jin, Keamy, Patchy, Naomi, Kelvin
Intangible: Sawyer

We have gone through a sports-like "preview" of the strengths and weaknesses of both teams, finding that there was a slight overall edge to MIB's Dark Team.

So how would an actual island war game work?

In the actual series, there were several aspects and statements that "war" would be coming to the island, propositioned by the conflict between Ben and Widmore. In Season 6, this battle seemed to shift as a conflict between Jacob and the smoke monster with MIB's sole goal "to leave the island." But it left the island, the world as we would know it would be destroyed. But we were never told how or why that would happen.

The island was a special place. Despite what Jacob said, it could give people "immortality."  It could also alter time and space. It could teleport people to different times and places. The island itself was a weapon. It could give death and rebirth.

As such, the key to controlling the island would be the Light Cave where the mysterious "cork" kept the island from blowing up and destroying the universe. Whoever controls the cave controls the power.  So in one respect, it could be like the childhood game of "find the flag."

Jacob and MIB both knew where the Light Cave is (MIB came screaming out of it after Jacob killed his brother). But the Light Cave itself is hidden in stealth mode for any other person. In that way, it could be a shifting place since it sits on the unique EM properties that control time and space (as well as the fact that the island is constantly moving).

So in one respect, Jacob's main goal in the game is defense - - -  keep MIB's forces from finding the Light Cave. In order to do so, he needs a team member(s) to figure out where the cave is to divert the enemy away from it. Therefore, Jacob's early pick of Daniel makes perfect sense.

Likewise, MIB's main goal in the game is offense - - - find, attack and seize the Light Cave from Jacob. As a result, MIB has stacked his team with paramilitary soldiers capable of recon, mission planning, dark ops, extreme combat and battle toughness to charge at opposition lines.

The game could be a violent "hide and seek" as squads of the team members criss cross the island trying to find the cave. Jacob's team could have missions to "bait" MIB's team into traps, pitfalls or ambushes to diminish their numbers. Likewise, MIB's team could be stalking, trailing and trying to gather intelligence to find the Light Cave.

Throughout the island, the old Dharma stations could be critical tools in helping either side with their mission planning and goals. The Flame communications station could be critical in getting messages to distant teams since normal radio signals get jammed by the island's EM fields. The Hatch could be important station for logistics and supplies (since it can trigger food drops). There could be battles just to obtain these stations just like in most World Wars where the occupation and holding of territory was critically important to victory.

If LOST was ever rebooted, I think this "alternative" island story premise would be compelling enough to bring back old fans and possibly create a new, younger viewership who have grown up on battle simulation games.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Last post we picked "teams" for a battle of island survival.


Jack, Locke, Daniel, Dogen, Iana, Mars, Ana Lucia, Goodwin, Kate, and Danielle.

Field leader(s): Jack, Ana Lucia
Mission specialist(s): Daniel
Survivalists: Danielle
Athletic/Military: Iana, Goodwin, Kate
Intangible: Dogen, Mars

MIB'S DARK TEAM members:

Ben, Sayid, Jin, Sawyer, Mr. Eko, Keamy, Patchy, Ethan, Naomi, Kelvin.

Field leader(s): Ben
Mission specialist(s): Sayid, Ethan
Survivalists: Mr. Eko
Athletic/Military: Jin, Keamy, Patchy, Naomi, Kelvin
Intangible: Sawyer

So, if the series was about a rough and tumble, no rules, winner-take-all survival contest on who would control the island, who would win?

If you were going to write a preview story for an NFL game, a writer would look at the strengths and weaknesses of both teams. How the coaches view strategy. And which teams can exploit another's weakness.

If it was a game of "hide and seek," Team Jacob's Rousseau and Kate would be excellent hiders/seekers. MIB's team has no real stealth operatives except for Naomi. It is interesting that it is female characters who best fit this strategy.

If this was a game of "brutal strength," each team could lock horns in drawn out matches. Jacob's best "fighters" would be Ana Lucia, Goodwin, Iana, Mars and Danielle.  MIB's strongest fighters would be Keamy, Sayid, Patchy, Mr. Eko and Kelvin.

If it was one on one, ranked bouts:

Ana Lucia vs. Keamy.  It would be a brutal prize fight since pound for pound Ana Lucia is a pit bull.

Goodwin vs. Sayid. Also a close contest with Goodwin having the size, but Sayid having extensive combat experience.

Iana vs. Patchy. Again, a closer contest than one would imagine since Iana seems to have the background in hard, unwinnable situations as Jacob's Girl Friday Hunter while Patchy seems to throw himself into danger and miraculously survives.

Mars vs. Mr. Eko. It would seems clear that Mr. Eko's size, strength and meanness in a street fight would take down Agent Mars. If there was some strategy, traps or weapons, Mars could close the gap but Eko still would be the favorite to prevail.

Danielle vs. Kelvin. This match in some ways happened on the island. Both of the them were long term island inhabitants. Danielle kept away from the Others, baited trapped and killed some of them. Kelvin's position in the Others camp is less clear. Was he a hold over from Dharma (unaware of the purge) or a recruited ex-military from Ben's Others? Either way, both combatants have a roundabout tactics to ambush their prey.

That leaves "tactics and strategy," or leadership in game planning. Who has an advantage in that area?

Team Jacob's brain corps consists of Jack, Locke and Daniel. Daniel has the scientific background to potentially exploit the islands' natural energy sources. Locke has the survival-hunting skills to operate the base camp. Jack has the power position to make life and death decisions, but he has no background in war strategy. Locke, having been an avid gamer, is more suited to be a field general.

Team MIB management team consists of Ben, who had been a proven, driven, hard-nose and brutal dictator who also had a keen sense of strategy, manipulation and cruel traps. He is a cold blooded villain. Sawyer is also a person who can "think" a series of actions to get to "a solution," such as conning a woman out of her life savings. Sawyer can iron out the details, and put a plan into motion.

Clearly then, Team MIB has a much stronger leadership team to devise and implement battle strategies in the field.

Then it comes down to the "intangibles," Team Jacob's spiritualist Dogen vs. Team MIB's medical researcher Ethan. Both men have a killer streak in them. When cornered, they will strike like a cobra. Ethan has a much bigger build than Dogen, but he seems to have martial arts in his soul.

So in a game of island war, it would be a very close battle. On most fronts and one-to-one bouts, the teams balance out as a wash. It would be a close contest but Team MIB (Evil) would seem to be the slight favorite to capture the island.

Monday, May 4, 2015


Now that the NFL has concluded its mega-show called the Draft in Chicago, let us take that concept and apply it to LOST.

We will have a school yard pick em between two teams, good (light) and evil (dark). The team captains will be Jacob (light) and MIB (dark).

The game will be "Survivor."  (Whether it is the CBS show format, Westworld, or the various cable drop zone battle of the wild shows is up to you.) With a random number generator picking, Light (94) gets the first pick over Dark (80).

What does each team need. Well, each team has a manager picking his teammates. So you need a field leader, a mission specialist, survivor skills, strength and what scouts call "intangibles."


1. LIGHT: Jack Shephard, Surgeon.  Jack is an obvious pick because he has several of the skill sets that Jacob likes: he is a leader, he has medical skills, and he can follow orders.

2. DARK: Benjamin Linus, Psychopath. Ben is an obvious choice for MIB. Ben has a deep seeded hatred based upon his daddy issues which has transformed himself into a mad man seeking power and control over others. His iron will, easy execution and mental manipulation gives him the dictator leadership skills that keeps people in line when things get tough.


3. LIGHT: John Locke, Pseudo-Survivalist. Locke is a reach by Jacob with this pick, but since Locke has been a follower most of this life, he should fit into the program. As a self-taught outback survivalist, Locke does bring the hunting and camp skills needed to be bring some stability to camp life.  However, Locke's unstable mental issues including self-esteem and anger could be burdensome for Team Light.

4. DARK: Sayid Hassan Jarrah, Iraqi Guard. Another natural selection by MIB. Sayid's training as a torture specialist in a combat zone would be useful in interrogation. His military background includes multiple knowledge bases including electronics, communications, hand to hand combat, and ambush training.


5. LIGHT: Daniel Faraday, Scientist. A surprise pick by Jacob. Daniel is well versed in time-space theoretical physics. The island, the battleground, has unique electromagnetic properties which need to be both protected and harnessed for paramilitary purposes. Daniel's knowledge could be useful in devising a strategy to contain the Dark forces.

6. DARK: Jin-Soo Kwon, Gangster. Jin also fits into the Evil team. He was an enforcer for his father-in-law's gang. He is a natural follower. He has military training. He is strong. He is loyal. The one negative is that he does not speak fluent English. But Jin fits into a militaristic squad that MIB is forming to take on Jacob's team.


6. LIGHT: Dogen, Spiritualist. Another "reach" as scouts would say, but Jacob's selection of Dogen is interesting because the former banker has expertise in the spiritual realm of the island as well as knowledge of magic (including resurrection) and poison spells. In a supernatural world, a man with some understanding of the unique properties would be useful. Dogen is also a loyal follower who can manage other subjects.

7. DARK: James Ford, Con Man. "Sawyer" drops in the draft because of his own "unpredictability." He is not a team player. He is an avenger, quick to anger. He is not adverse to killing a man. But he is actually a true wild card, a survivalist because he only thinks about savings himself. He can manipulate others to his will, which could undermine missions, but his likeability and humor could keep diverse opinions in balance. In football terms, he is like a million dollar, strong arm quarterback with a nickel brain.


7. LIGHT:  lana Verdansky, Bounty Hunter. Iana told Sayid that she was a bounty hunter hired to capture Sayid to avenge a family a  person he killed as an assassin. Iana has a history with Jacob. She is a loyal subject, a born leader with some tough street smarts. In her backstroy, she is a combat survivor.

8. DARK:  Mr. Eko (referred to as Father Tunde), Drug Lord. Mr. Eko was a fierce, violent and ruthless Nigerian drug lord. He demanded absolute loyalty of his men. He killed innocents without hesitation. He is a strong man with a stronger will. If there is a profit in it for him, he will take chances.


LIGHT: Edward Mars, U.S. Marshall. His background in law enforcement shows that he knows about the difference between right and wrong. He has excellent intelligence gathering and tracking skills. He is adapt at firearms and operations. He can be ruthless and unrelenting to a task. He likes to finish things that he starts.

DARK: Martin Christopher Keamy,  Mercenary. He is as twisted as Ben Linus, but Keamy actually enjoys killing people. He is a loose cannon, who can follow orders from his superiors. He thrives on doing "the dirty work." Can be reckless at times, but can lead the point on any mission.


LIGHT: Ana Lucia Cortez, Police Officer. Jacob doubles down on law enforcement officers with the pick of Ana Lucia. She is a strong willed, hard nose, very tough woman who can be a hot head at times. She has her own strong opinions on how things should be done, but she will demand more of herself than people she works with on a mission. She has strong leadership skills when times are tough.

DARK:  Mikhail Bakunin, Soviet military. "Patchy" is another paramilitary choice by MIB. He was the man who had multiple lives. He is a communications specialist who also has assassination skills. He can follow orders, and at times goes outside mission tasks in order to get the job done.


LIGHT:  Goodwin Stanhope, Spy. He claims to have been in the Peace Corps, but he has spy skills and the ability to keep his cover by killing anyone who may compromise his position. Has hand to hand combat skills so he probably has military background. He is a loyal follower.

DARK: Ethan Rom, born Ethan Goodspeed, Surgeon. Ethan is not above doing harm to a patient as part of medical experimentation/research. He is a strong willed person, whose quick anger can kill (as he tried with Charlie). He fits the good soldier-dirty mission criteria that MIB seems to favor.


LIGHT:   Katherine Anne Austen, Fugitive Runner. Kate falls in the draft selection process because she is an anomaly. She is a selfish manipulator of men. She has no problem killing in order to keep her freedom. She lacks respect for authority. She will con, cheat and set-up anyone in her way. However, she is street smart enough to keep one step ahead of the law. She has unique tracking skills and is willing to go on any mission.

DARK:  Naomi Dorrit, Mercenary.  She has military, dark-ops training skills. She is multi-lingual and has parachuting combat training. She fits the good soldier mode of being able to plan missions and execute formulated strategies. She can work behind the lines.


LIGHT: Danielle Rousseau, Explorer. With his last pick, Jacob goes with a person familiar with stress, loss and survival. Danielle was on a marine expedition with her husband, a scientist, so we don't know whether she was a co-scientist or along for the ride. However, when she was abandoned, we saw that she has inherit survival skills. However, she is a loner, a trapper and semi-paranoid. She is more about self-preservation than being a team player. She does have a strong sense of right and wrong, but is willing to avenge against those who have harmed her.

DARK: Kelvin Joe Inman, Soldier. As a U.S. soldier in the Iraqi war, Kelvin recruited former enemies to turn on their homeland. He was also a liar and manipulator of people below his command. He will accept his assignments, but will think of ways to lessen his load. He is more suited to rogue missions than group attacks. He has a mean and tough streak.

So how did the team captains do?


Jack, Locke, Daniel, Dogen, Iana, Mars, Ana Lucia, Goodwin, Kate, and Danielle.

Field leader(s): Jack, Ana Lucia
Mission specialist(s): Daniel
Survivalists: Danielle
Athletic/Military: Iana, Goodwin, Kate
Intangible: Dogen, Mars

MIB'S DARK TEAM members:

Ben, Sayid, Jin, Sawyer, Mr. Eko, Keamy, Patchy, Ethan, Naomi, Kelvin.

Field leader(s): Ben
Mission specialist(s): Sayid, Ethan
Survivalists: Mr. Eko
Athletic/Military: Jin, Keamy, Patchy, Naomi, Kelvin
Intangible: Sawyer

Those characters who did not get picked: Hurley, Claire, Sun, Juliet, Charlie and Desmond. Juliet had the most viable skill set, medical, but that was already taken by stronger characters. Claire and Sun bring little to the table if the game is war. Hurley, Charlie and Desmond would be considered Red Shirts on any team.

Friday, May 1, 2015


This is an ancient Egyptian symbol that was found throughout the LOST series, including in the Temple where the original smoke monster hid and where the Others hid from it. The symbol, an ankh,  is called the Key of Life.

Originally, the Ankh was viewed as just meaning "life," but others believe it meant the creation of Life itself. In the context of LOST, the island was once called the place for life, death and rebirth which the latter two elements infer an afterlife then a new external life after death.

Many scholars believed that the Egyptians believed in a set of gods symbolized by various hybrid man-animal forms. But a newer approach believes that during the course of many different dynasties, modern interpretation clouded the real story of the ancient religions.

Inscriptions in the Hibis Temple shows that the Egyptians knew of one creator but acknowledge they had used several names and several stories but the one arose out of the primordial ocean.
Amun,  Atum,  Khepri, or Re were actually different names for a single god. This changes the view of the Egyptian culture and aligns it clearly with most modern religions.

Further, new theorists believe that the different names are merely elements of the god. The Ankh not only is a symbol of Life but the elements that create life. Wherever the Ankh is translated in Ancient Egypt Literature  it can be re-translated with the following insight:  The Ankh is the Life Code; The Egyptian’s so-called “Infinities or Chaos” Gods: Amen/Amenet, Nun/Nunet,Kuk,Kukhet, Heh/Hehet – the Ogdoad; The Meaning of Life is no longer just a flat definition but a multi-dimensional definition of the scientific and possibly spiritual definition of how life was created itself.

This is not that far off from some of LOST's formula themes, including the Valenzetti Equation which proposed the doom and destruction of mankind and the Numbers being symbolic of keeping the the island's electromagnetic properties in check in order to save mankind from destruction.

The new interpretation of the Ankh symbol representing 8 scientific and spiritual elements as the foundation of Life itself has merit to the understanding of the island symbolism. The island was not a normal island. It moved. It had supernatural and spiritual elements. It had unique properties. It had immortal beings and unusual smoke creators who could shape shift. It could recreate memories of people.

The Ankh takes the shape of a cross with a loop on top, resembling a key. In the ancient language of Egyptians, the ‘ankh’ meant ‘life.’ It is considered one of the earliest and most popular hieroglyphic symbols from ancient Egypt. It is said that the loop on the ankh symbolized the feminine or the womb, while the cross symbolized the masculine or the penis. When the two are put together, life is formed. Many believe that the Ankh is also a symbol for water and air, which are life-giving elements. Because of this, many water vessels were formed in the shape of an Ankh.

Used as an amulet, the Ankh was believed to be able to grant the wearer long life and health. Ancient Egyptians even put ankhs in tombs to give energy to the resurrected spirit. It is said that the symbol can even carry on its power to anyone within a certain proximity to it. As such, it is believed to be a conduit for life or power that stems from the universe. The Ankh can also be used as a strong protection against evil, decay and degeneration.

We can see various elements depicted: man + woman = life; water, air (life giving elements); health (immunities and spiritual energy); and power from the universe (nature).

But one modern theorist has a different formula which adds elements to science expressions:

This formula touches upon numerous LOST themes and elements. Some felt that the island was itself a wave, since it could travel through time and space (along with wormhole and event horizon applications). The dark and light theme was in the forefront of the Jacob-MIB plot. The separation of the light and dark creates an evolutionary train of events which some could consider the spiritual awakening of the soul to transform into an afterlife being.

Evolution was never a major theme in the series, but if truly the Big Question unanswered was "What if Life?" then one can think that since life itself is an evolutionary path (genetics, fertility, physical and mental traits) was LOST more a commentary on the current evolution of mankind? The main characters did have focal points on the sins of a modern industrial world. What was lacking in most of the series was a moral and spiritual link to a better life. It is a far stretch to try to get that lesson out of the conclusion of the show, but it is at least something new to think about.