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Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 03/21/2008

'Lost' Dueling Analyses: Meet Kevin Johnson

By Liz Kelly

In which Jen Chaney and I debate the merits of last night's mid-season cliffhanger -- such as it was. Many spoilers follow. So if you haven't yet watched last night's episode, please avert your eyes.

Michael (Harold Perrineau), totally played by Ben. Again. (ABC)

Liz: It is possible that by the time "Lost" returns to TV on April 24 I will no longer be steamed about last night's bait-and-switch. How LindeCuse thought it would be in any way acceptable to promo the fact that someone was going to die, spend almost the entire hour on Michael and then kill off Karl and Rousseau in the last two minutes is just beyond me. Talk about getting Scooby-Doo'd.

Jen: You know what? I was not wild about last night's episode either. I think it was important to spend time telling us more about Michael's, aka Kevin Johnson's, backstory. But that's virtually all that happened. Lately the story lines have traveled on multiple tracks and I missed that element last night. Frankly, there was more drama over on CBS, where Duke almost -- almost -- lost to Belmont.

Liz: Maybe it was because this episode was SO hyped: Someone will die! Libby returns! We find out where Michael was! It just didn't live up to the legend. Though it did contain some interesting little details. I enjoyed getting to know Mr. Friendly a bit more. And, my -- who knew? Mr. Friendly has a "friend" in New York.

Jen: They don't call him Mr. Friendly for nothing. The Libby return was hugely, monumentally anticlimactic. She comes back to haunt him for killing her? Really? That's all you got? I wanted more and I am hoping we'll get more when the show returns April 24. Let's not forget this was the last show before the strike and perhaps things were a bit, um, rushed.

Liz: Yes, and that could explain a lot -- why this episode wasn't fully formed and why the Karl/Rousseau death scene seemed almost tacked on as an afterthought. We did get a few details, though nothing earth shattering:

We have Friendly and Ben accusing Widmore of planting the 815 wreckage. Which bookends well with last week's assertion by Capt. whathizname that Ben planted the wreckage. And we know that Walt and Michael did make it all the way home when Ben sent them off on heading 325. And, we know that "Lost" Madness champion to-be Sayid Jarrah is not a man to be trifled with.

Much more after the jump...

Jen: Yes, but we don't know how Michael and Walt got separated. We can infer from last night that Michael told Walt about that pesky killing-two-women thing. And that drove a wedge between them. But the details remain murky. Here is what I want to focus on: Why the island won't let Michael kill himself. I think this dovetails nicely with that time loop theory you found, no?

Liz: Right. I wanted to talk about that, as well. The theory, which was sent in by a chatter during yesterday's Celebritology chat, is a pretty persuasive argument for the island's time machine-gone-awry model to explain everything.

And, one part of that is that you can't really change your fate by time traveling. You merely cause it to manifest in a different way.

Jen: Right. The whole course correction concept. I have read elsewhere a theory that the Losties are all living in the past, which is sort of what this insanely detailed explanation says. Once you go back in time a bit, you have to catch up to real time and this is why some people are no longer sick, disabled, etc.

Liz: Exactly. But, eventually, your fate will catch up with you -- good or bad. And, confusingly, while you're in the past a future you is still out there living -- which is why you can't, say, shoot yourself in the head.

Jen: The other thing I like about this theory is that it mirrors the way so many of us watch the show: Via DVR. You rewind the show after you miss the first 10 minutes so it takes a while to catch back up to real time. I have to wonder who put that timeline together. It seems so detailed that I wonder if there is a mole on the writing staff.

Another thing we learned last night: Contrary to my theory, Widmore did not get the bodies from The Purge. (Wah-wah. So much for that epiphany.) He evidently dug them up in Thailand. If this in any way means that Bai Ling figures back into the plot, I will be very, very upset.

Liz: Wait -- hold on, Jen -- this is assuming Widmore really is responsible for planting the wreckage. What about Ben? Because it would sure make sense for Mr. Friendly to have easy access to those docs if they were actually Ben's, and not Widmore's. In fact, I wanted to look at this receipt for a Boeing 777. I mean, really, would a savvy businessman like Widmore buy it using his company's name?

Jen: Yes, I thought it was weird that Widmore put his company's name all over the docs, too. It also came with a Post-it note that said, "I am Charles Widmore and I am doing something horribly illegal. Love, Me."

Liz: And we have to remember that Capt. Gault last week accused Ben of planting the wreckage. At this point -- I think that question is still up in the air. Hmm, bad pun.

Also, one nagging question: If the bodies were dug up from a Thai cemetary and too deep undersea to be recovered, how does that explain the footage Lapidus saw on the evening news of a decidedly causasian pilot he said was not actually the pilot?

Jen: Well I still don't know why they would show a corpse on the evening news. That still doesn't make sense to me at all. But that aside, the notion that the corpses are buried too deep for anyone to get to them seems incorrect. Maybe Ben is setting up Widmore to take a fall and leave the island alone. Could it be that Widmore is one of the good guys?

Liz: Speaking of "good guys" -- Ben again last night used that term to describe himself. I couldn't help thinking of Inigo Montoya in the "Princess Bride" saying, "I do not think that word means what you think it means." Though it certainly worked to drive home Michael's crisis of conscience -- he committed morally wrong acts in order to do what he thought was right -- save Walt. And Ben, being the genius manipulator he is, continues to use it against him.

Jen: Just verified a little nugget. Friendly was staying at the Hotel Earle, which used to be a famous New York hotel. Its most famous occupant was Bob Dylan who, apparently, lived in room... 305. What does it mean? No idea. Maybe that the times they are a changin'?

So, re: Ben. Are you saying that my often irrational theory that he is working for some greater good has totally been blown out of the water? Because it sounds like that's what you are saying.

R.I.P. Karl (Blake Bashoff). We hardly knew ye. (ABC)

Liz: Yes, and I'll go one further by saying that he set up Karl and Rousseau. My surmise is that the remaining Others, awaiting their evil king at the sanctuary, were under orders to kill Karl and Rousseau on sight. Alex, of course, was always safe.

Jen: It appears that way. I still want to believe there is more to Ben than pure evil, though. It can't be that simple.

Liz: I think he may have started out with good intentions, but become twisted along the way. That theory site we mentioned earlier, by the way, includes Ben. It speculates that he was brought to the island to replace his mother, who died before fulfilling her destiny. But we'll let folks catch up on all that and talk about it at 2 p.m. ET in the chat.

Jen: That's fair. I also am not willing to assume Rousseau is dead. She got hit, but she may not be dead. I thought we had a flashback coming from her one of these days.

Liz: Right. Though I think poor Karl is deader than a doornail.

Jen: Agreed. Karl = Toast.

Liz: Another question I have: Ben asked Michael to disable the ship's communications room and engines to prevent them from reaching the island. Did he not realize they had a helicopter on board? And would merely disabling them really stop them? Eventually, they would be rescued and Widmore would just sent another ship. Right? So, Ben's saving the freighter folk for some future fate. Hence the list he requests from Michael.

Ben is such a little listmaker.

Jen: Maybe he assumed they wouldn't know which bearing to fly and that they couldn't possibly reach the island, 'copter or no.

This is a side note: I find it interesting that Daniel, a scientist, and Danielle, also a scientist, share such similar names. There may be a connection, or one may represent a flip side of the other.

Liz: I also find it interesting that Danielle, who had been in the Others camp for days, complete with hot and cold running water, still looked like Georgette of the Jungle. I think she represents a flip side of personal hygiene.

Jen: Yeah. And that she was gullible enough to do what Ben asked her with so little question. I guess her paranoia about outside forces made her willing to take a chance to save Alex.

In keeping with the "Empire Strikes Back" themes in this season's arc, I like that Karl said, "I have a bad feeling about this" right before he got shot. It was very Han Solo of him.

Liz: : Unfortunately, Karl doesn't share Han's talent for staying alive.

So, Jen, do we know anything about the return episode on April 24 -- aside from the fact that it will be pushed back to 10 p.m.?

Jen: I don't know much yet and have tried to stay spoiler free, which should last for ... another five minutes. The month-long hiatus will be hard, but at least we have the chat in a few hours to anticipate. Not to mention the exciting conclusion of "Lost" Madness.

By Liz Kelly  | March 21, 2008; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  Lost  
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