Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jacob's Cabin: Much to chew on in 'The Variable'

[caption id="attachment_321" align="alignnone" width="250" caption="Daniel is unsure why he's so upset upon seeing the wreckage of Oceanic 815"]Daniel is unsure why he's so upset upon seeing the wreckage of Oceanic 815[/caption]



Written by Chris Monigle


I'm going to begin with mathematics, ladies and gentlemen. When Faraday said that he always looked at the constant instead of the variable, I knew that would be the place to start off. Before I dive into mathematics, I'm going to outright declare this: nothing is going to change. Changing the past isn't going to be the big deal as much as what the attempt to change the past will mean. I still buy the concept of 'whatever happened, happened.' If the plane never crashes, we don't have a series. It's that simple. You mine as well just bring Joop into the mix. Season Five had to reach this point though. The point when the characters would attempt to change what has happened but that's the thing: whatever happened, happened. This recap might get a little confusing as I weave my way through what we saw in 2007 and 1977 and in this episode as a whole. 

To begin with: variables, constants, and mathematics. And I know I'm in over my head with this stuff. I mean, I'm an English major, folks. I'm going to look like a complete fool but I've come this far so here goes. In mathematics, a variable doesn't necessarily mean change. It means dependence on the values of other variables in the expression in which the variable occurs or dependence of the value of the expression on that of the variable. And a constant is a fixed point. The definition is in the word. In algebra, one needs variables to determine the constant value of the expression (I hope to Pythagoras I am right). So with that said, I understand what Faraday means by our favorite castaways being the variable. In theory, our favorites castaways can determine the constant value of their future existence but there's an inherent paradox in that theory precisely because their existence in 1977 depends on the already fixed constant. In other words, they, as variables, are dependent on the other variables (these other variables being all of the moments which led them to the Island. The Island is the constant.) I don't think they can be change this fixed point because it's a huge paradox. I think that made sense. I understand it. Moving on...

A very worthy 100th episode for the series. I like how they're asking the fans to completely re-evaluate everything they've come to know in the 100th episode of the season, an episode which usually brings together the previous 99 episodes. Instead, we are faced with possibility that the previous 99 episodes will be irrelevant if they do indeed change the past which I do not think they will. As I wrote yesterday, I think the Oceanic 6 will be directly responsible for the Incident, for the need to push the button, and they will be why they end up on the Island in 2004. Yes, I know about electromagnetism and all of that but there's no way it's going to be that cut-and-dry.

As for the episode itself, and the central story, let's turn the focus to everybody's favorite scientist Daniel Faraday. As a boy, Daniel told his mother that he would 'make time' for his piano playing. Faraday is trying to make time. The death of Charlotte is the reason why. LOST is always going to return to its characters and their story. He wants to change Charlotte's fate. We learned of the fragile relationship between he and his mother. From an early age, she was determined for Daniel to become the person that he has become, and at the cost of their relationship. The most interesting aspect of the Faraday flashback was his reaction to the wreckage of Oceanic Flight 815 which we first saw in season four's 'Confirmed Dead.' He's upset and he doesn't know why. We do not learn why he was so upset. But we can take everything we know so far and make an informed guess. But I'm not going to make an informed guess at this present moment. It may mean nothing but I doubt it. I'm going to hold off on this for the time being. Anywho, Faraday stepped all over the concept of destiny from the get-go, calling his mother a liar, and claiming that the Oceanic 6 (well the four lucky enough to experience the fun of Dharma) are not supposed to be in 1977. STEVE brought up the fact that Jack essentially believes everything now that people tell him. But it really seems that our favorite castaways are merely pawns of some game between former Others. Ms. Hawking apologized to Penny for Desmond being a casualty of this very game. Destiny, though, was present throughout this episode. Bear with me now, folks:

--I dare say Ms. Hawking raised Daniel the way she did so that he'd eventually end up pointing a gun at Richard in 1977 and be shot by his own mother. Why? Because Daniel can not change what has already happened. Hawking seems to know everything of what's to happen. We saw an example of this when Desmond was with Ms. Hawking in 1996 despite being unconcious on the Island in 2004 after the Hatch explosion. Ms. Hawking always knew she'd have to shoot her son because she knew he'd end up on the Island and back in time wanting to change the course of the future definitively and that can't happen. He'll be healed I think but he won't be able to detonate Jughead and the Hatch will need to be built. Overall, changing the future is too much course-correcting for the universe.

--We saw the scene between little Charlotte and Daniel in which he tells her to not come back. That happened. Charlotte's death is absolute.

I'll need to re-watch to go further into this. There's some other things like Daniel, Widmore, and The Island but I don't want to write a novel. Back to the story of this episode:

We saw Daniel as a broken man pretty much and he reminded me of Locke. His mind was handicapped due to all of the radiation used when he experimented with time-travel, he ended up hurting the woman he loved because of his obsession with science and experimentation. Locke was a broken man who destroyed his relationship with Helen because he could not get over the anger he felt towards his father. His father pushed him out of a buidling. Locke fell 8 storeys and was paralyzed until he was healed. Daniel's mind was broken, like Locke's back, until the Island healed it. The Island is a place of miracles. On the Island, Locke has realized his destiny just as Daniel has realized his. The episode brought up the themes of LOST: free will vs. destiny, science vs. faith. Faraday has abandoned sciene in a way because he is just hoping he can change the future to undo the death of Charlotte. 

Overall, a very good episode. It further developed Daniel's character and the intensity is beginning to build towards the finale. There's a lot of things to chew on from this episode. Eddie Kitsis and Adam Horowitz delivered in this 100th hour of LOST. Here's some other thoughts:

--We saw the guitar with Hurley once again. Charlie connection, right? I think one of my favorite scenes in LOST is in the season four opener when Hurley talks to Charlie. Hurley's just a big teddy bear. He's great. Another scene I love is when Hurley's talking to Jack. Jorge Garcia delivers this line brilliantly: "And then I saw Charlie..." 

--Jack was great tonight especially when he knew Kate was not where or when she needed to be for being back on the Island. She's gotta find my girl, guys and gals. She's gotta find Claire.

--I hope we see more of the 2007 stuff. It's extremely interesting. I know we will. There's only three episodes left.

--I didn't like Miles stepping on Daniel's feet tonight. But I loved the exchange between Sawyer and Miles about Daniel still being crazy. FANTASTIC!

--I hope Sayid's hanging out in the caves. I was hoping that Sawyer would suggest that everyone just hide in the caves. I really

miss the caves. They were so cool. They created a great atmosphere in that first season. I'm looking forward to seeing Sayid


--I usually don't write about the previews but I've got to say: wandering around in the Temple is going to be awesome.

--Richard Alpert is so cool. He's by far the sanest Other ever. RICHARD! RICHARD! RICHARD!

--I suppose I should write about the revelation of Daniel's parents but it was pretty much figured out by everyone weeks ago. But it's cool you know.

--Things are about to get ugly for Sawyer and Juliet. It's going to be intense. The end of this season is going to be intense, you know?

Anywho, that's about it for 'The Variable.' ONTO THE LOST RANKINGS!


I was too harsh on Kate last week. I made some changes with my rankings. Daniel falls to 12. It's not for any particular reason. It's just the harsh nature of the rankings. Jack falls to a shocking 11 for STEVE. Richard nears the top five for me. But yeah, check it out:


RANKED: 4/29/09


1. Locke

2. Desmond

3. Sayid

4. Jack

5. Sawyer

6. Richard

7. Ben

8. Jin

9. Hurley

10. Juliet

11. Kate

12. Daniel

13. Sun

14. Miles

15. Frank

16. Widmore


1. Desmond

2. Sawyer

3. Kate

4. Sayid

5. Locke

6. Ben

7. Miles

8. Jin

9. Richard

10. Frank

11. Jack

12. Sun

13. Juliet

14. Widmore

15. Hurley

16. Daniel

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.