Thursday, November 19, 2009

4.02 Confirmed Dead

Follow along! The episode guide for “Confirmed Dead” is in Finding Lost — Season 4, pp. 18-27.

We’re introduced to the four freighter folk in this episode, and it’s weird to think that two of them – Charlotte and Dan – are already dead, and the other two are alive, albeit in two different time periods. Now in retrospect we know that everyone but Frank had already been on the island in one way or the other (Dan, as far as we know, was at least there in utero).

Fun things I noticed:
• I still wonder if Locke’s missing kidney was somehow orchestrated by the island… in other words, things were put in place to have the kidney removed so he could survive the gunshot. I guess this is destiny?
• Again, many people have pointed to the changing frames on the staircase, and it can’t be a simple prop error. The camera focuses on the frames and we see them closely, and then he mounts the stairs. He comes back down, looks toward the frames, and they’re all brass rather than wooden like they were earlier. Why? Did the timeline change somehow when he spoke to the ghost? Did the ghost change? Did Grandma spend her time reframing all the pictures while Miles was upstairs? There must be some significance to this, but something tells me we’ll never know.
• The way Ben jolts his head and says, “Karl…” in that way makes me laugh EVERY TIME.
• Just a reminder for anyone who hasn’t read my S5 book: The 1979 that Ben mentions as Charlotte’s birth date was a huge error at the time, and they hadn’t actually worked through that she would be in the DI in 1974 as a two-year-old. Oops.
• Does it seem strange that if Ben knew all along that the freighter was coming and Michael was sending him messages that he didn’t seem at all concerned about it in season 3? We never see him accepting transmissions off the island or concerning himself with the impending doom. You’d think he would have been mobilizing his troops. I guess the only indicator in S3 that he knew they were coming is that he was shipping his people over to the Temple to keep them safe. Clearly that must have been in anticipation of SOMETHING.

Things that have new meaning:
• Oh Dan… seeing his first real scene (aside from the three words he utters at the end of the previous episode) simply made me sad, knowing how this story ends. Dan, get back on that chopper!! :(
• Now that we know Charlotte was born on the island and was part of the DI, her smile at finding the Hydra station symbol on that collar makes a lot more sense (along with her joy when she lands in the water). We also know Tunisia plays an important role with Widmore and Ben, and so we could probably assume one of the Hydra polar bears were sent through the wormhole (did they have to turn the Frozen Donkey Wheel?) as an experiment. The question is: What happened to the island when the wheel was turned THAT time?
• It’s odd in retrospect to see Naomi arguing with Abaddon that the people he puts in front of her are the wrong people for the job, when we later see in “Some Like It Hoth” that she’s the very person who recruited Miles. If he was so wrong for the job and she didn’t want to babysit him, why was she so happy when he took the job then?


Marebabe said...

I liked how packed-full this episode was, and how briskly it moved along. You could really tell that the writers had an end date for the show.

I didn’t immediately pick up on this myself, but learned from later reading some science-y articles on the subject, but the wreckage of the Oceanic plane would’ve been broken into a million tiny pieces. I get why the writers went for the storytelling shorthand of having the mostly-intact plane on the ocean floor. Being able to instantly identify it moved the story forward very efficiently.

I’m very curious about the identity of the woman who was taking care of Daniel. Why didn’t they show her face? Are they going to ZING us with her identity in S6?

Here’s a goodie that was put in for us to discover on rewatching: When we first saw the people in the helicopter, frantically preparing to jump, Miles shouted to Daniel amid the chaos, “Hey, Genius!” Since this was our first introduction to the Freighter Four, we knew nothing about them, so this shouted line meant nothing when we first saw this episode. But after five seasons, we know all about Daniel’s smarts and Miles’ attitude. (Nikki, in your S4 book, you called it Miles’ “special brand of snark”. An apt description.)

Regarding the famously different picture frames, I’ll admit I didn’t notice them myself at first, probably because I was concentrating on WHO was in the pictures. I’ve always thought the boy looks a lot like young Eko, so I was always focused on that. Anyway, exactly HOW did the reality or timeline change, and did Miles notice the change? Did Miles purposely cause the change? I’m completely mystified on this one.

I love Frank’s wardrobe of Hawaiian shirts, especially the bright green one he was wearing the first time we saw him. And the phone number shown on the TV he was watching? I’m sorry to report that it’s no longer working. I tried it just the other day. ABC kept it in service for a long time.

Wouldn’t it have been great if Harold Perrineau’s return to the show could’ve been kept secret? Ben’s “I have a man on their boat” should have been completely mysterious. But alas, that cat was pretty much out of the bag from the moment Harold was seen at the Comic-Con preceding S4.

Marebabe said...

Nikki, in re-reading your post for "Confirmed Dead", I noticed that you named Charlotte and Dan as having previous ties to the Island. But so did Miles, as he was born on the Island, the son of Pierre Chang, back in the Dharma days. Right?

Susan said...

Nikki ROFL at "Did Grandma spend her time reframing all the pictures while Miles was upstairs?"

Miles: I didn't like him at first, but over the course of season 5 he has grown on me. First impression, he wasn't as annoying as Sawyer because he was mostly just sarcastic, but Sawyer spent his entire first mission complaining about everything.

Frank: YAY! I love Frank's character and I'm hoping we see more of him in season 6. One of the best lines of the show: "I saw a cow."

John has clearly spent a lot of time with Ben lately because he is learning how to manipulate people. He has Hurley and Claire doing exactly what he wants them to do.

When Sawyer tells Karl not to let Ben get in his head, I bet Ben takes that as a challenge because he immediately starts getting in Sawyer's head.

Nikki Stafford said...

Marebabe: Geez, you're absolutely right, of course Miles had ties to the island... I'll revise that.

The Question Mark said...

@ Marebabe:
"I liked how packed-full this episode was, and how briskly it moved along"...
I couldn't agree more. This episode gave us mind-bending flashbacks of FIVE mysterious characters, SIX if you wanna count Matthew Abbadon.
And the pace has been kicked up so much. When Dan leads Kate & Jack to the beach where Miles landed, that journey happens from one scene to the next, whereas in season 1, a trek like that may have taken one or two episodes to complete.

Also, the stakes of the story have been raised exponentially:
Season 1: "We need to find water..."
I love how intense everything has become since the good ol Shannon & Boone days of yore.

P.S.- The security word I had to type in for this post is "collisma", which i believe should be the term for when two people with extremely high charisma bump into one another.

Fred said...

@Nikki: the reframing of the pictures before Miles walks up the stairs and how they are different after ghe comes back down is a big problem in the show. (1) Did Miles actually alter the universe so that some sign of that was the different pictures? (2) Did the ghost of the murdered boy leaving the house/world change the world? (3) Is it really just a prop error, some continuity from shot to shot?

In Ben's barrack house, we see a set of photographs of children near the door. Knowing about the Miles episode, I went and looked carefully at the one with Ben's home. Nope, the pictures do not change, and it is quite clear the camera is focused on them as they are within frame when ben opens the door to Juliet, and in subsequent scenes.

So might it be that on the island, time does not change, but off the island time, the world, etc, can change? With the hindsight of 5 seasons of the show, we've seen how attempts to alter events on the island often result in subsequent inevitable events occuring. The case of Sayid shooting Ben and Jack refusing to fix him, resulting in the Ben we've all come to know is one example. And now we've come to think Juliet exploding the bomb is the cause of the Incident. So on the island, you can't change events. But off it it seems it is possible to alter things--and we may see that in Season 6. So what is going on? Why this discrepancy?

One idea is some people are variables (Desmond, Miles) and some are constants (Penny, Desmond). Constants are necessary for people who become unstuck in time--like Billy Pilgrim or Desmond or Daniel. But notice, Daniel becomes more sane on the island than when he was off the island (probably due to his experiments at Oxford, like his assistant Theresa). So being under the effects of mind time-traveling results in death unless you have a constant. But variables have access to future possibilities or perhaps to other dimensions (does Miles really see ghosts or some emanation of the dead being?). So far we've seen Jack see his dad, Hurley see dead people, Miles converse with the dead, and Ben see his mother. (Some of these may be the smoke monster). being a variable doesn't mean success at changing things. But it does imply "work to do," a phrase first applied to Jack, but could be applied to Daniel, Desmond and even Miles. Possibly Ben?

In any game you need a variable. In chess it is the Queen. All the other pieces have a prescibed patterned movement, but the Queen moves in any direction. Similarly, in cards, a Jocker can be a variable card. So when we see events change (like the picture frames) are we being told Miles is a variable, like when Desmond saw possible futures for Charlie? I think so, and I even think Jack is a variable.

Fred said...

Seeing the polar bear witrh the Dharma collar suggests the Dharma group knew about the frozen wheel. Probably the bears were brought in specifically for that purpose. But once the wheel was turned once, the island moved, and Chang and the scientists freaked out. First they had to recover the island's position (hence the Lamp Post station), and then they decided to re-appropriate the energy source of the frozen wheel for other purposes, namely to control time travel (as evidenced by the two bunnies appearing in the video Locke saw).

Talking about the two groups splitting up: jack's and Locke's, notice how Vincent goes with Locke's group. Any significance?

Marebabe said...

@Question Mark: I sense one of our weird tangents here, but you started it with your verification word, "collisma". D'you remember Sniglets? (This was a comedy bit from the 80's on HBO, I think.) They were made-up words that somehow made sense. Words like "fenderburgs" (ice buildup on the underside of your car) and "lactomangulation" (what happens to a milk carton that won't open until you get rough with it) are a couple of my favorites, words which are now part of my vocabulary.

Susan said...

Fred I'm trying to remember who we last saw taking care of Vincent. I do remember Sawyer feeding him but can't remember which episode. Maybe Claire was taking care of him and that's why he followed Locke's team.

From a story point of view, the writers probably included him with Locke's team so they could do the cool scene with Vincent running with Charlotte's radio thingy.

The Question Mark said...

@ Marebabe: that sounds like a pretty awesome skit! Was it on SNL something?
I have another cool security word that I'm gonna try and define:
HERDULS: raised wooden bars that several cows can attempt to jump over at the same time.

I never noticed that Dan & Chralotte (or as Sayid says in his awesome accent, Shar-Lot) are never seen on the Kahana. That does seem a little strange to me. You'd think Kevin Johnson would've run into them there at least once.

Fred said...

@Susan: Yeah, that sounds right. Vincent runs fast, and a radio collar on him would seem like the thing to do. Better than on some bunny. But then they'd have had to been at the barracks--later John kills the last rabbit. Ugh!!! Poor bunny, all that time traveling and this is your reward.

Marebabe said...

@Question Mark: I dug around in my memory (and my bookshelves) until I found the answer to your question. Sniglets originated on HBO’s “Not Necessarily the News” in the early 1980s, sort of the great-granddaddy of Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show”. Rich Hall was the comic who invented the concept of the sniglet, which is “any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, but should”. I actually have a little paperback book of sniglets, and here’s a couple goodies from the back cover:

Aquadextrous: Possessing the ability to turn the bathtub faucet on and off with your toes.
Snorfing: The little game waitresses love to play of waiting until your mouth is full before sneaking up and asking, “Is everything okay?”
Elecelleration: The mistaken notion that the more you press an elevator button, the faster it will arrive.

I think it would be a miracle if this little book were somehow still in print, but just in case, here’s the info that might help you track it down: Copyright 1984 by Macmillan Publishing Company. Sniglets, by Rich Hall & Friends. ISBN 0-02-012530-5.

My guess is that a used bookstore or eBay would be the best places to look for this book. (Before typing this reply, I checked YouTube for sniglets, but there’s not much there. There is, however, a very interesting bit about sniglets in Wikipedia.) Making up new words is an amusing hobby, and you have clearly grasped the basics. Have fun!

Austin Gorton said...

@Fred: regarding your discussion of the changing frames and variables, that sound you just heard was my mind being blown.

I've never much bought into the changing frames as being anything more than a (glaring) prop error, but your discussion of variables and off-island reality changing while the island remains the same is so intriguing, I'm starting to think there is more to the frames.

Marebabe said...

OK, back to the picture frames discussion for a minute. Here’s why I don’t think it could possibly be a continuity/production error: Let’s say that the props people did a nice job of fixing up the framed pictures for the first day of shooting. There, that’s all done. To later change the frames would be a very deliberate act, even if the backings came off the frames with a mere flick of the wrist. I’ve changed picture frames before, and I know perfectly well how you sometimes have to fuss and fight and finesse to get the backings off, and you sometimes have to wash fingerprints off the cover glass, and then you have to position the picture just so and put the whole thing back together. It doesn’t happen by accident. I’m absolutely convinced that there is meaning and intent behind the changed frames. WHAT meaning and intent? I’m open to suggestions. (Actually, I’m open to Damon and Carlton sitting us down and explaining, with absolute authority, what it means!)

Austin Gorton said...

@Marebabe: well, I always just assumed they shot Miles going up the stairs on the first day of shooting, or something, then several days later realized they needed/wanted a shot of him going back down the stairs, so the re-dressed the set and didn't pay enough attention to get it right.

Of course, you did point out that the PICTURES remained the same, which does suggest some effort went into changing the frames. It'd be one thing the pictures were in a different order on the wall or something.

Hmm, I'm definitely in the "that must mean something, or at least, was going to mean something at one point" camp now...

Virgina Katz said...

Why is Dan crying when he sees the fake Oceanic plane? Does he think his own mother is going to kill him and this just solidifies that knowledge? Is this something that there has already been an established answer too and I just missed it? If so, I'm sorry for not paying enough attention.

I also wondered about the woman behind Dan. It seems like there are too many questions still awaiting answers for them to go back and address everything.

I loved this episode; it was fast and full of new people and Sawyer calling Lock Colonel Kurtz was so funny!

Marebabe said...

@Virginia Katz: FASCINATING! All I've ever read concerning the fact that Daniel is crying when we first see him has been along the lines of "Hmm, wonder why he's crying?" Not only is your guess the first solid speculation I've seen on the subject, but I think it's an awesome (creepy) guess! Like, maybe buried deep in his brain is the knowledge of how he is going to die, but he just can't put his finger on it yet. But it's still enough to really disturb and upset him. I'm on board with this theory.

Fred said...

@Teebore & Marebabe: I've just seen a screen capture of the wall of the stairs Miles goes up and Miles goes down. Not only is there a different frame around the picture of the dead boy, but all the surrounding pictures have changed too! If you go to Lostpedia: Mrs. Gardner's grandson, at the bottom of the page they have the screen shots of the wall with the pictures--a lot are changed between the two scenes.

crazyinlost said...

@Marebabe-I assumed (I know, not a smart thing to do) at first that the woman in Daniel's house was his wife, since she has a wedding ring on, but now, after seeing this scene several times, and knowing what we do from S5 (i.e. he loses his mind from his time travel experiments), I now assume (I just can't help myself) that she is just a paid caregiver.

@Susan-Hurley was the last to have Vincent. When he goes up to Locke in the rain, he has him with him, 'cause when the rain stops, Vincent shakes himself off.

Marebabe said...

@Fred: A lot of things changed? True that, you said it, absolutely right. Thanks for the hot tip on Lostpedia. I went and had another look for myself, and it is, once again, amazing and perplexing.

@crazyinlost: One should never assume anything! ;) I agree that the mystery woman is a paid caregiver, but the fact that they didn't show her FACE is the part that's bugging fans (like me). We all want to know, WHO IS SHE?

Susan said...

Thanks crazyinlost, so Vincent probably followed Locke's group because Hurley was with them.

Unless...there's more to Vincent than we realize and he's up to something! j/k

crazyinlost said...

@Fred-there is a blatand inconsisitancy on the island-Ben's painting of the woman in his barracks house. You can find it @ Lostpedia under Ben's Painting. There are definitely 2 paintings.

Now onto the observations.

Daniel freaking out trying to get his gear off after he lands, then as soon as Jack and Kate show up, he's perfectally calm? What's up with that?

Daniel's a really bad liar...must be why he just fesses up in the end.

"It was Walt, only...taller."

They find Miles on the cool alien-planet looking beach. Neat

What is the vacuum-like thingy Miles uses to talk to the grandson?

I love Frank doing water tests on the little toy plane in the fish tank. Which way will it fall? Up or down?

Will we ever find out why Frank wasn't on that plane?

"Mooo"...need I say more?

Why is Charlotte wearing a bullet proof vest? I had totally forgotten about her being shot.

"That's not Naomi! It's just meat!"

Susan said...

crazyinlost brought up something I forgot about -- Miles's ghost contraption. So what does everyone think, real ghostbusting device or camouflage to cover up what he really does?

Marebabe said...

@Susan: Real ghostbusting device? Venkman: "It's technical. One of our little toys." ;)

It really could be that its only purpose is to provide white noise, which would make it harder for anyone outside the room to listen in on him. I'm totally guessing here.

Rebecca T. said...

@Marebabe: Wouldn’t it have been great if Harold Perrineau’s return to the show could’ve been kept secret?

Now see, for those of us who didn't have the chance to watch it live and hadn't gotten into all the intensity of REAL Lost watching, his return came as a complete surprise. My sister and I were so shocked. It was fun :)

Miles annoyed me when I first saw season 4, but he's become one of my favorites in season 5 and so rewatching it has given me a totally new appreciation for his snark. :D

@Susan: I agree with you about John becoming like Ben. It becomes very pronounced from the end of season 3 and progresses through 4. Crazy manipulators!

@The Question Mark: Also, the stakes of the story have been raised exponentially:
Season 1: "We need to find water..."


and Collisma? Nice :D

I really think that Daniel's crying has something to do with his time travelling experiments. don't know exactly how, but that's my guess.

I cannot see that scene about "taller Walt" without thinking of that parody video, I think the Fine Brothers, with ginormous Walt and Michael running around yelling, "Walt! Walt!"

Sawyer: "His mouth put a hole in your gut?" ::snort::

I like the idea that the polar bears were used for experiments and that was how the Lamppost station got established, etc. Nice theory.

When they see the chopper, Juliet gets the BIGGEST grin on her face. But she will never even set foot on it.

crazyinlost said...

@Susan, SonshineMusic-yes, John is becoming a great manipulator. He learned from the best. But as I have watched next weeks ep "The Other Woman" he is STILL, and I guess forever being manipulated.

Anonymous said...

Found this on lostpedia regarding the picture frames incase anyone was still curious. "When Miles heads up the stairs to have his discussion with the ghost, the pictures on the wall are in wooden frames. When he comes back down the stairs, the frames of the pictures have changed to (synthetic) brass. Additionally, the picture the camera centers on is bigger in the second scene. It also appears that the photos, not only the frames, surrounding the focal point photo have also changed, most notably the photo to the left of the focal point photo: In the first scene, it shows a young man entering a car; in the other scene, it appears to be something completely different. On February 11, 2010, this discrepancy was confirmed to be a continuity error by script coordinator and writer Gregg Nations. [1] Among fans it had been debated if this was significant or an error."

The Rush Blog said...

Locke never learned how to manipulate other people from Ben. He already knew how to do that. See the second half of Season One.

It’s odd in retrospect to see Naomi arguing with Abaddon that the people he puts in front of her are the wrong people for the job, when we later see in “Some Like It Hoth” that she’s the very person who recruited Miles. If he was so wrong for the job and she didn’t want to babysit him, why was she so happy when he took the job then?

Because Abaddon had ordered her to recruit Miles. Naturally, she is not going to express her skepticism in front of the four recruits.