Wednesday, March 31

The "V" Clock

So it seems as though people are pretty ticked off about the omnipresent "V clock" that ran in the corner of the screen for the entirety of last night's episode. I sympathize, since I can't stand any of the "cute"/translucent corner advertisements that are run during what seems like every show I watch now.

But I'm not hear to bitch and moan about it. I'm just curious as to who thought that this specific stunt was a good business idea? In effect, what that clock was saying was "Don't worry - you won't have to wait much longer to watch 'V.'" Only, no one was worried. Those of us watching Lost were tuned in to ABC for the express purpose of watching Lost - not to sit around agonizing over the wait for banal lizard people. "V" isn't the Superbowl, and Lost isn't the pregame. It certainly isn't as if the commercials we got at every break weren't ample reminder that Morena Baccarin's eerie haircut would be among us again soon.

So, the clock serves absolutely no "positive" purpose whatsoever. It is, all annoyance aside, just really terrible advertising. It doesn't cater to anyone. It doesn't fulfill a need or effectively evoke a need. It just serves to irritate people. That strikes me as being a bad marketing decision. So who thought this was a good idea? And what was the reasoning?

What do you think? Do in-show corner-of-the-screen ads bother you? Did last night's experiment in giving everyone what no one wanted send you into a frenzy of pissy Tweets? Or, like me, were you just left wondering how this was justified as smart or effective advertising?

Tuesday, March 30

Lost: Season 6, Episode 10 Discussion

Insta-Reaction: That was a very solid episode with no real answers, but some very tantalizing suggestions. Widmore is a Jacobian? Possibly. Desmond as weapon? Maybe. Sayid as a Hollow Man, in the manner I theorized about earlier in the season? Seems likely. Anti-Locke is going to use Ajira flight to leave the Island? Seems that way, but who is going to pilot it? After all, Anti-Locke doesn't seem to care about Frank at all, and he knows that Frank's the pilot.

Near as I can tell, nothing in this episode disproves the Second Snake theory, and I enjoyed the turns that the off-Island story took tonight. I'm betting that there are going to be two points of controversy among fans after tonight - Sun's sudden and bizarre Ephesia (sp?) and the lack of Answers. This isn't bothering me at all at the moment, actually, since I'm increasingly sure that we're going to get direct answers to only the "major" questions, leaving the audience to connect the dots on many of the minor questions. What did you think?

Original Post:

As of today there are eight episodes and nine hours of Lost left to go.


That said, I'm really looking forward to seeing the story advance for the on and off-Island castaways, and I'm hoping that revelations about Smokey, the MiB and the "infections" are forthcoming.

Following the episode I'll be here with an Insta-reaction (which will be slightly delayed, since I'm heading to a friend's place to watch it, and there will be beers). Looking forward to your comments, thoughts, criticisms, etc.!

E-mail: P-Zombies and "Infection"

This post refers to a discussion between myself and "Our Mutual Friend," regarding the connection I proposed between the idea of philosophical zombies (p-zombies) and Sayid's "infected" condition. To get context for this post, please visit this link.

The E-mail exchange between Our Mutual Friend and MMorse:

From: Our Mutual Friend
To: MMorse


I'm enjoying your Lost recaps a lot - a little more than I'd care to admit to friends - so congratulations on having at least one German reader. However, unfortunately you're on a bit of a wrong track when it comes to philosophical zombies and how they relate to Sayid's "condition". A genuine p-zombie is ex hypothesi absolutely (!) indistinguishable from a non-zombie. You could perform as many experiments and interrogations as you'd want without ever being able to determine whether he has qualia or not. (Kirk's thought experiment about slow zombification is known to be either inconsistent or incoherent, so that won't help!) What a p-zombie is decidedly NOT is emotionless, cold, without a conscience et cetera.

The whole argument revolves around the notion of epiphenomenalism or the idea that conscious experience (= the redness of red or QUALIA in general) is causally ineffective. If consciousness doesn't supervene on the physical, i.e. if zombies are logically possible, then science is screwed. Sayid isn't just losing qualia - he acknowledges the change, it has physical consequences! He's losing his moral compass, his conscience. Also, if it turns out that Locke-ness is in fact just a mad philosopher who robs his minions of phenomenal content, there's gonna be a shitstorm of epic proportions in the non-metaphysical parts of the fanbase...

From: MMorse
To: Our Mutual Friend

Thanks so much for your email, and for the informative download of Zombie info. Clearly your knowledge of, and level of comfort with, these concepts puts mine to shame!

That said, and speaking on a symbolic/metaphorical level, I'm not certain that the distinction you're making here precludes Sayid from being a metaphorical zombie. My understanding of the concept includes the idea that the person in question (Dan, in the example I'd posted in the column) would acknowledge the changes that were occuring inside of him, would express dismay (as Sayid does in the episode) and would recognize the accompanying loss of sensation (see the example again as it relates to both the physical experience of pain and the emotional experience of anger).

The test that Dogen administers to Sayid specifically seems designed to measure his experience of pain in some way, and seems to me (again, strictly symbolically) to reference the numerous tests that a doctor might perform on a potential p-zombie (as in the example). As you say, according to people much smarter than I, such a test would not (or maybe it's more accurate to say 'could not'?) indicate any change in him. And indeed, from what we see of the test there is no change in Sayid. But, given that this is a fiction, and that it deals openly with scifi concepts, despite the apparent lack of 'evidence from the test, Dogen seems to understand that something has changed, that 'darkness' is growing within Sayid.

Metaphorically, can't this darkness be seen as the kind of senses-deadening zombification that the Stanford encyclopedia and the author of the paper linked to also refer to? Aren't there more similarities between the symptoms of Sayid's condition and the notion of the p-zombie as described by the authors referenced in the column then there are differences (again in the metaphorical sense - as you say, if it turns out that AntiLocke is literally some kind of rogue philosopher/human alchemist, it'll probably tick some folks off)?

I'd love to hear your thoughts, and I thank you for reaching out and sharing your knowledge. Recieving intelligent comments like yours is one of the best things about writing for Chud.

From: Our Mutual Friend
To: MMorse

I appreciate your response! Your basic point seems clear: the zombification of Sayid is quite apparent. But I suggest that he's turning into a much more terrifying entity than the (relatively harmless) p-zombie. Here is why.

First, let's take something as fundamental as experiencing pain. One has to differentiate between two aspects of this process. On the one side there's a mainly functional component: Whenever a bunch of C-fibers in your hand is stimulated accordingly, your afferent nerves will transmit a small electrical current towards your brainstem which will be relayed to parts of your brain (e.g. the amygdala and so on). This is where your higher-level cognitive apparatus kicks into action. You quickly move your hand, you say "ouch", you learn to avoid, say, hot surfaces (if that's what burned you). Maybe you decide to consult a doctor or put your finger in cold water. All of this functional processing is impressive but can/could be achieved by a sufficiently advanced robot or computer. Now, on the other side, there's a further aspect - the phenomenological one. The functional process of experiencing and reacting to pain is, as you know from experience, accompanied by the raw sensation that is pain; so-called pain qualia. That's just what it FEELS LIKE to be in pain. Your robot can function just like you without actually FEELING pain as you do. Qualia are perfectly natural as we experience them on a daily base but utterly mysterious once we think about them. Why are they necessary? Why does being a human being feel like anything? Why are we not just robots?

Anyway, once we separate the two levels of experience (functional and phenomenal), it becomes a little more evident why Sayid is no zombie in the qualia-related sense of the word. A p-zombie is an atom-for-atom physical copy of a "real" person that is functionally isomorphic to a regular Joe without experiencing any qualia. Those guys don't really exist (I think) and they may even be physically impossible, but you can imagine them. Now let's have a look at this zombie-dude. He seems normal. That is, if you decide to punch this person in the face - let's call him Kenny - he will take the blow, say "ouch", his neurons will fire just like ours, he will react, learn, punch you back, develop a grudge against you et cetera. To cut a long story short, there's EX HYPOTHESI nothing that would tell us from the third-person perspective that he's in fact a fucking zombie! Otherwise he wouldn't be a proper p-zombie. It's just what we are stipulating to prove our point. A p-zombie isn't a real thing - he's a logical possibility.

So you're quite right: Lost is a scifi show dealing with (often pseudo-)philosophical concepts. But I'm not sure your metaphor is apt. Sayid undergoes a decidedly more radical change than Kenny. He loses functional stuff as well. After all, this tormented Iraqi tells us that he doesn't feel anything; he doesn't give a shit about Claire offering Kate the old knife treatment; he does Anti-Locke's presumably evil bidding. That's not the Sayid of previous seasons, it's a functionally non-equivalent person, ergo (again ex hypothesi) quite the opposite of Chalmers' zombie buddies because we can easily tell that something has changed.

Second, about the thought experiment you mention: What Kirk is going for in the case of Dan is that some people (with Dennett being the most prominent proponent) flat out refuse to believe that p-zombies are a consistent suggestion, i.e. that they are at all possible. Such philosophers claim that imagining Kenny (or any other p-zombie) is like imagining a square circle, or 4 being a prime number, or a fat thin person - but without being as obviously self-contradictory. Now, this is where Dan the zombie comes into play. If his story is coherent and gradual change into a proper p-zombie is possible, then zombie-fans win. If not, then we (the zombie-opponents) need to give a coherent argument regarding the point where the gradual zombification goes wrong. At least that's the idea. What Kirk forgets is that his p-zombie is more like a Sayid-zombie: He's not functionally equivalent to a regular person as he notices that he's turning into a qualia-less bastard. But that's all details and shit.

What's important here is this: Kirk's thought experiment does NOT describe an actual zombification. A proper zombie is indistinguishable from a normal person. He doesn't behave differently, he has (functional) emotions that guide him, he processes pain and love and stuff just as we do. But there's no phenomenal experience behind it. So Sayid may be a p-zombie - but in any case he's much more than that. He's becoming a REAL ZOMBIE (which, dramaturgically, is way more compelling).

I ABSOLUTELY love the fact that you brought up p-zombies! Modern philosophy (of mind) is highly fascinating stuff. However, in this context using such a technical concept for the sake of a metaphor seems a bit shaky. If there's anything unclear or if you think I'm on the wrong track, please let me know.


Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to write back just yet. But I thought that it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on this back-and-forth. Our Mutual Friend is clearly far more well-versed in this topic than I am, and he makes a number of good points. I’m left admiring his knowledge but still of the opinion that Sayid’s condition metaphorically resembles the hypothetical p-zombie state as it’s described in the column for The Package. What do you think? And why? Your comments are always read, and always appreciated.



Monday, March 29

Ab Aeterno (S6, Ep. 9)

The Back to the Island Column for "Ab Aeterno" has been eaten by a boar for your reading pleasure on

If you enjoy what you've read and you wish to share it with others, I encourage you to do so - but please give credit where credit is due. Conversely, if you hate what you've read, feel free to give derision where derision is due. I'm "equal-opportunity" that way.

The Proof Is In The Pudding

A gentleman who goes by the name "David" in a very nice-looking forum called "Losties Unite" has decided that it'd be fun/ego-inflating to take credit for my writing:

I'm not the sort of person to anger easily, but this genuinely angers me. If you're going to blatantly steal my words, do yourself a favor and don't copy them wholesale from the site that you found them on, and don't then claim to actually BE that person. It makes it pretty easy to prove that you're full of it. I'm posting this so that the rest of the Losties Unite crew can see that "David" prefers copying and pasting the original work of other people over attempting to compose his own.

My best to the rest of that site's fans, who seem like good people.

Friday, March 26



I started with a splitting headache, and ended up with a disappearing document. Which, as you might imagine, does not help with the aforementioned headache. Somehow, every word I've written on Ab Aeterno has up and vanished. This has never happened to me before, so I suppose I'm overdue. But it's immensely frustrating. You'll be able to read the column on Monday morning, and there ought to be an explanatory post up on Chud sometime today letting folks there know what the deal is.

Again, thanks for your patience. I'm off to apply a baseball bat to my hard drive.

Original Post:

Due to a combination of work-pileup and a SKULL-CRACKING headache, this week's Back To The Island column will be available to read tomorrow morning on It was either deliver a column I considered substandard, or take some extra time. I chose the latter. Thanks for your patience.


Wednesday, March 24

Push The Button.

Which button? The "Send" button.

Starting today, I'm soliciting contact information from you regarding my forthcoming book (on Lost's themes, allusions, references, etc). It contains both information from my columns as well as brand new info and all-new text from yours truly. I've been working on the manuscript for a few weeks now, and I'm liking what I've got so far quite a bit. If you're a fan of Lost I think you'll want this on your bookshelves.

If you'd like to show some support for this site, for the columns on Chud, or for my writing in general, please shoot me an email at, let me know that you're interested in potentially purchasing the final product, and provide me with a working email address. YOU WILL NOT BE BOUND BY THIS IN ANY WAY. Doing this will not "force" you to buy a book somewhere down the line. It will simply give me a means to connect with those of you who wish to potentially purchase it, once pricing and size (this book is not small, people) have been determined.

I hope that you'll drop me a line. Thanks for reading!



Too Much Information 13: Revisiting The Question Jar

We're now officially halfway through the final season of Lost.

Back in November of 2009 I listed out the questions that I thought Lost "must" answer, along with a bunch of questions that I didn't mind the show's writers answering or not answering as they saw fit.

So, how's the season stacking up against that wish list so far? Let's take a look:

1) What is the importance/purpose of the Island?

From the original column: "I don't know that I need a detailed explanation of what the Island actually is/what it contains, so long as we're told more-or-less why the Island is so darned important to characters like Jacob, Ben and Widmore. Not important in the personal sense (the Island is Ben's home, so of course it's important to him), but in the larger, mythology-inclusive sense of the word."

Ab Aeterno gave us the potential answer to this question last night: The Island is a kind of metaphorical (or possibly even literal) "cork," keeping "evil" bottled up and unable to escape. Is this the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me Island-God? We don't know for sure. But with eight episodes left until the finale, I suspect that it's more truth than not. WHY the Island does this, the consequences of not doing this - these questions are far from answered. But the Island's importance/purpose? Apparently answered.

2) What is Jacob's goal?

From the original column: "Why was Jacob popping up at certain points in the lives of certain castaways? What is the practical meaning behind his half-veiled conversation with the Man In Black? What is Jacob working to accomplish, if anything? And why?"

Part of this question has been answered. We know that Jacob was popping up in the castaways' lives because they're Candidates. What we don't know is what Jacob hoped/hopes to accomplish on the Island, but it seems practically certain that we'll know soon.

3/4) Who/what is the Man in Black? What's the deal with the Island's apparitions and visions?

From the original column: "If I'm right in my rampant speculation, questions 3 and 4 are connected - the Island's strange 'ghosts' and the Man In Black are one and the same."

I was right - at least as regards 98% of the Island's spectral population. We still don't know if Christian was also an MiB "avatar," but signs point strongly to "yes." Complicating things are the off-Island apparitions and Hurley's ability to see "friendly ghosts," like the spirit of Isabella. So, most of this question has been answered: The MiB and a majority of the Island's apparitions are one and the same. I believe that my "Well of Souls" theory may help to explain the rest of the question.

5) What is the Temple?

From the original column: "The show has built the Temple up to be a place that's central to the mythology of the Island. We've seen that the Smoke Monster lives in its ancient spaces, that Ben was somehow made well inside of it, that the Others retreated to it for safety when the Island was raided by Widmore's men. What is the Temple? What does it 'do'? Why is it important? Why is it hidden?"

We got our answers - the Temple contains a spring which heals and, thanks to the existence of Dogen, is a safe haven from the Man in Black. We still don't understand just HOW Dogen's life made the Temple a safe haven, nor why the spring was muddied, nor why it was a safe place from Widmore's men (who had rocket launchers).

6) What happened to Rousseau's crew?

From the original column: "This isn't a major mystery, in and of itself, but it's one that seems to be linked to the Smoke Monster, the Temple, the Others, and potentially Room 23. Rousseau's companions changed after following Montand down the Smokey Hole - they became sinister, deadly. Were they brainwashed? Possessed? Infected? ....Enlightened?"

We've gotten answers on this as well. Rousseau's crew apparently was infected - by the same "sickness" that seems to have claimed Sayid and Claire. Symptoms include sudden violence, duplicity, and an aversion to soap.

7) What are the motivations of Widmore and Hawking?

From the original column: "Season 5 muddied the already muddy waters of motivation for both Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore, as well as their relationship. If Hawking is working 'for the good of us all,' why has she kept in contact with Widmore who, according to Ben, is not a good man? If Widmore is actually on the side of 'good,' then what's with his involvement in getting Locke to return to the Island? And why is he employing Abbadon? Why is Widmore trying to recapture the Island? Why is Hawking so concerned with returning the castaways to its shores? And why does she appear in a photo with Desmond's monk friend?"

This remains unanswered. With Widmore's arrival on Hydra Island, however, we should expect some clarification soon. As for Hawking's role/motivations? Perhaps they'll be linked to Widmore's.

8) Why did the Others take Walt?

From the original column: "We don't need the actor who played Walt to return in order to discover why he was important for a little while there. Why did the Others grab him? How and why did they know he was 'special'? Why did they subsequently let him go?"

This has yet to be answered. I believe I came up with a plausible answer to this question in my Rewatch Column for "Lost: Missing Pieces" (scroll down to the commentary on "Room 23").

9) Who are Illyana and the 'shadow of the statue' people?

From the original column: "They're clearly working with Jacob to some extent. Are they Others? Are they anti-Others? How do they know the answer to Illyana's riddle? And what does that riddle actually mean?"

We know who Ilana and her people are now - they're glorified bodyguards.

10) What's up with the fertility issues on the Island? And why is it a (mostly) cancer-free zone?

From the original column: "In the column for "One of Us," I pointed out that both the absence of cancer and the pregnancy difficulties involve a mysterious force preventing the growth of new life within the human body. What's the reason for this?"

If you believe the word on the virtual street, the question of Island fertility will not be directly answered in the final season. Which feels, to me, like an enormous cop-out. If it's the case that they don't plan to address it directly, I hope they've left it implicitly answered in some way. My thoughts on the similarities between pregnancy and cancer might provide a possible explanation.

11) What are the core tenets/beliefs of the Others?

From the original column: "What does the word 'good' really mean to the Others? Why do they seem to require the murder of a father figure in order to claim leadership? Why is their society structured as it is? Why are they required to learn Latin? Why do they give their dead viking-styled funerals? What is their self-percieved purpose on the Island? Their actual purpose?"

We've gotten answers to some of these things, but in subtle, quiet ways. It's been all-but-confirmed for us that the Others are Jacob's "worshippers" or "priests," and that Richard acts as the gatekeeper between the Island's God-figure and his "faithful" people. As for their beliefs, we've gotten very little.

12) What are The Whispers?

From the original column: "They seem to be connected to the sudden appearance of Others, they involve key members of the cast, and they seem to comment directly on the action when they're heard. What are they?"

Still unanswered. But I'd expect them to get around to this one as we near the show's end.

Expect another TMI column soon, as promised.

Tuesday, March 23

Lost: Season 6, Episode 9 Discussion

Insta-Reaction: Now that's more like it. When Lost's writers compared their story to The Stand, they weren't mucking around. The mythology of Lost leaps like Van Morrison, directly Into The Mystic with this episode and while I loved it, I have a feeling that this episode is going to fiercely divide viewers - either you're on-board with a struggle between "evil" and "good" or you're not. Those of you wanting a purely scientific resolution to this show are probably feeling a little disappointed right now (and now that I've taken a look at Chud's message board at can see that this is definately the case there). But with respect, Lost has made the "two sides: one dark, one light" theme explicit from the beginning. moaning about that now seems a little belated. In addition, while the conflict between these two men has taken on mythic/religious overtones, we know explicitly that both these figures are/were men.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Ricardo Alpert, loving husband, accidental murderer, deathrow convict, shipboard slave, Island arrival, Jacob-rep, and man of teetering faith. The way in which Lost has chosen to dramatize the struggle between "sin" and "salvation" in this season is extraordinary, and offers us a surprisingly complex look at human morality and the pull of opposing forces on the conscience and (if you believe in it) the soul.

As of tonight's installment I've made my peace with the whole answers thing. Lost seems committed to doling out their answers the same way that they always have - in small bites. Those bites are seeded into episodes that focus on the journeys of these characters, and in episodes like this one, those journeys are a portion of the answers themselves. There's a lot of interesting stuff going on in Ab Aeterno, and coupled with an enormously admirable performance by Nestor Carbonell, that makes it the best episode of the season as far as I'm concerned.

Your thoughts?

Original Post:

"I was set up 'from everlasting' (in Latin, 'Ab Aeterno'), from the beginning, or ever the earth was." -Proverbs 8:23

Ab Aeterno is the title of tonight's episode, and it has the potential to be an hour of revelations. Leave your thoughts on the episode here - I'll be by after it airs to give you my Insta-Reaction. One observation: the Bible quote above refers to God being set in Heaven "from everlasting, or "from eternity." This can also be seen to refer to Richard's condition, as he's been set on the Island for what has seemed an eternity, to serve Jacob's purpose. Also interesting: The wording of the King James translation ("set up from everlasting," as opposed to "furnished," or "appointed," as other translations have interpreted) reinforces the notion of being "set up," as in conned - a subject that Lost has been fascinated with "from everlasting." Many more thoughts to come in this week's Back to the Island column, out Thursday on


Edited to add: Apparently the episode runs six minutes long, so set your Tivos and DVRs accordingly.

Friday, March 19

Lost: Interesting Ephemera

If you're like me, you enjoy learning about the process of creating stories, whether those stories are told in books, on television screens, on stage, on movie screens, or elsewhere.

For instance: Did you know that Jack was originally supposed to have died in the first episode of Lost? Did you know that Michael Keaton was considered to play Jack? Did you know that Hurley auditioned for the part of Sawyer and the show's creators enjoyed him so much that they wrote a new role for him?

Reader Edward tells us that "in the middle of Season 3 there was a tremendous division in the writer's room as to the direction of the show. One half wanted the show to be more SciFi, and the other group wanted to focus more on relationships and keeping the show more mainstream. This conflict is what got the producers to set an end date, in order for both camps to focus their plot lines and desires toward an ending."

An Anonymous reader tells us that "the actress that plays [Sun] originally auditioned for the part of Kate. She was another one of those actors who auditioned, didn't get the role but impressed the casting so much that a role was written for her."

That's the kind of stuff that I enjoy learning, and I suspect that some of you do too. Do you have any interesting tidbits or trivia about the show? Anything you've learned from podcasts, articles, commentaries, or interviews that you think is fun/funny/fascinating/infuriating? No one has the time to trawl through all of the material that's out there, and there's a good chance that you know something fun/interesting. Share it here, and help to enrich your fellow fans.

Too Much Information Is Coming

Tune in early next week for the newest edition of Too Much Information, where I'll be talking about Season 6, Science and Faith, and Mirrors. Past columns can be found right here on the main page, in the sidebar directly to your right.

Thursday, March 18

Recon (S6, Ep. 8)

The Back To The Island column for "Recon" has been discovered in a sock drawer for your reading pleasure on

Please feel free to Digg it if you dig it!

Tuesday, March 16

Lost: Season 6, Ep. 8 Discussion

Post-Show Insta-Reaction:

On a scale of one to ten, Recon is a solid 5. Maybe 6, if credit's assigned for what's implied over the course of the episode.

Lost is sometimes criticized for being a show about "people who walk places." The castaways squabble on the beach, walk to the caves, resume squabbling, walk to, oh, say, the Black Rock whilst squabbling. This complaint never made sense to me until tonight, where there were a number of wordless marches through the jungle, or snippets of conversations that seemed almost purposefully circuitous.

I appreciate a good tease as much as the next guy, but you've either got to give me some red meat on the bone - some answers, please - or distract me with something shiny and cool. I don't feel like Recon managed either of those things very successfully. This may he one of those "better on DVD episodes," but I suspect it's more like the Sawyer-goes-to-prison episode. Beefcake for the ladies, another con within in con, MORE new characters....Anyone have a theory on why Sawyer was so sure Widmore wanted to kill Anti-Locke? I can't help thinking that Widmore has something different in mind. Perhaps he wants the MiB's job?

Not a bad episode, but nowhere near what I expect from the show this season. That's not meant to sound snotty or entitled. It's just an honest assessment of my expectations. So far, the season's been meeting/exceeding them. This one kinda let me down.

Original Post:

Tonight's episode of Lost promises to drop us back into the midst of the Man in Black's ominous Island insurrection. Will we learn his plans? Will Kate be "infected"? Will the Island's secrets be revealed? Will we see Sawyer? One thing is certain.

There Will Be Jackface.

Lots and lots of Jackface. Maybe not this episode, but surely the next. Celebrate the Jackface while it lasts, people. Celebrate it like the last unicorn.

Celebrate mad-eyed, poison-pill-popping, Jackfaced unicorns with us here every week! Sign up to follow this lil' blog by clicking HERE.

My Totally-Legal Entreaty To You: My Clever, Resourceful Audience

So, I'm looking for a few things. A few things that, apparently, I can't purchase/rent through my usual channels. There's a reason for my quest - and it involves both this blog's primary subject and what will be, I think, one feature of my post-Lost site. I need your help. Can any of you suggest a means to procure the following:

1) Fantasy Island, the reboot/remake starring Malcolm McDowell.
2) The Lost Islands - apparently an Australian television series from the 1970s.
3) The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfieffer - a short-lived American sitcom about Abraham Lincoln's black valet.

Anyone know where I might be able to get my hands on these? Shoot me an email and let me know.

With thanks,


Monday, March 15

Where's Sawyer?

It's been a while since we've seen Sawyer on the show. He popped up last during The Substitute where he appeared to be Anti-Locke's first recruit. So, what's he been up to since then?

Leave your thoughts on what our favorite con artist has been doing in the comments section. The person with the best theory and/or the theory that's closest to the truth will win a to-be-determined prize. Extra points will be awarded for originality and accuracy.

Get yer thinkin' helmets on!

Friday, March 12

Dr. Linus (S6, Ep. 7)

The Back to the Island column for "Dr. Linus" has been forgiven for your reading pleasure on Chud's experiencing some technical difficulties this week, so the page order is screwy. Start on page two (linked here), read page three, then circle back to page one. It's a bit of a pain, I know, but it's out of our control at the moment. Thanks for reading.



Tuesday, March 9

Lost: Season 6, Episode 7 Discussion

Insta-Reaction: Mario Van Peebles should direct EVERY episode of Lost. "Dr. Linus" was a terrific episode, as all Lost's Ben-centric episodes arguably are.

The biggest question I have now, walking away from tonight: Have Jack and the other candidates been made effectively immortal through Jacob's touch? Jack's had appendicits, Sayid was shot and killed, and Sawyer almost died in Season 2. Is it just that they can't die by their own hand? And does this mean that Michael was touched by Jacob at some point as well, given his supernatural inability to die in Season 4?

Favorite moment: the confrontation between Ben and Ilana. "I'll have you" might be one of my favorite lines in the series.

The column for this episode will be up on Thursday afternoon. In the meantime, let me know what you thought!

Follow That Bird

So, as some of you are already aware, I've got a Twitter account. Starting tonight I'll be 'tweeting' (ugggggh) my thoughts about the episode as it airs. This is sure to be scintillating*. If you're not already following me, you can chain yourself to a virtual stranger by clicking the link in the sidebar. You'll recieve occasional Back To The Island-related updates, and some random ephemera from time to time.

So, join my tiny Twitter army! If Glenn Beck can manage over 200,000 followers (!) then I think I can manage 50. Do it for Lost! Do it for America!

*For the purposes of this post, the author chooses to define "scintillating" as "potentially amusing, but most likely a waste of your time."

Mario Van Peebles Is Lost

Maybe I got a little distracted just now because its "Lost day." Maybe, because I was feeling excited, I jumped online and decided to see who the writer(s)/director of tonight's episode would be. When I jumped to AICN for that information, I got this (no spoilers, I promise):

"Written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz and directed by Mario Van Peebles."

Mario Van Whaaaaaaaaaaaaa-?

Surely not THE Mario Van Peebles - one-time possible hot-new-commodity in Hollywood? Director and star of the inimitable "Posse," co-starring Stephen "I punch people in the face for Jesus" Baldwin?

That's the sort of funny/weird/interesting-and-useless information that I enjoy, and I needed to confirm this nugget of bizarre Trivia Gold. Who better to confirm this than one of the actors? And according to Jorge Garcia's "Dispatches from the Island" blog, back in November of 2009 he had the opportunity to work with Van Peebles.

Mario Van Peebles, aka Kane from "Highlander III," is apparently directing tonight's episode of Lost. Which just plain tickles me. You shouldn't worry - Van Peebles has shown himself to be a capable, assured director. But if you're around my age, this news ought to bring a goofy, bewildered smile to your face.

Edited to add: IMDB lists the director of this episode as Bobby Roth. This somehow depresses me. I want some Van Peebles!

Edited to add II: According to this interview, Van Peebles HAS directed an episode of Season 6. Will that episode air tonight? Roth or Van Peebles? One thing is certain: Van Peebles is coming, Kate! He's coming, and you can't stop him!

Monday, March 8

Deftones: Lost, Now Found

This is only very, very tangentially-related to Lost.

I've been a fan of Deftones, a hard-rockin' band from Sacramento, CA, for a long time. Their blend of the aggressive and the atmospheric, of new wave and hardcore, of intelligence and impenetrability, makes them one of the more arresting rock groups around. Deftones' bass player has been in a coma for over a year, and they've subsequently delayed and then cancelled the release of an entire album of material out of respect for their comrade in figurative-arms. This May, they're returning with a (temporary) new bassist, and another album's worth of songs.

That album is titled "Diamond Eyes," and according to the album's track listing, Deftones are fans of Lost. Take a gander at Track 11:

01. Diamond Eyes
02. Royal
04. You’ve Seen the Butcher
05. Beauty School
06. Prince
07. Rocket Skates
08. Sextape
09. Risk
10. 976-EVIL
11. This Place Is Death

If you've never heard Deftones before, and you're not naturally, totally averse to the genre of Metal and/or the sound of a man alternately screaming and singing, might I recommend picking up the album "White Pony" and giving it a spin? You'll enjoy it.

(And if you're interested in performing a small but significant act of kindness, you can contribute something to the "One Love For Chi" fund, which has been set up to help pay for the ongoing medical expenses associated with maintaining the Deftones' bassist in a "minimally conscious state.")


Sunday, March 7

Lost: The Detox (Week 4)

Each weekend I'm briefly covering some of the non-Lost related media I consume. Eventually, this feature will evolve into a separate site, which I hope you'll consider bookmarking. This week - the good, the bad and the ugly.

1) Fringe - I've begun watching JJ Abrams' latest television program on the recomendation of a friend, and while it's not nearly the show that Lost is, much of what I love about Lost is present here: the continually-unfurling "mythology," the sense of unfocused, all-inclusive dread, the makeshift family created by the show's main characters. Nothing creeps me out like "body horror," a specific subset of horror devoted to the ways in which our bodies can betray us. Take that, add a healthy dollop of X-Files-esque governmental and corporate paranoia, and you've got the basic world of the show. I'm 2/3's of the way through season 1 on DVD and I'm convinced its the optimal way to absorb it. While the basic procedural aspect of the show is somewhat repetitive (something awful happens to someone in the pre-credits sequence, usually killing a number of bystanders in the process, the Fringe team is brought in, they solve the case, some hints about The Pattern are revealed), that repetition isn't as annoying when you're able to pass straight through a subpar episode to a fantastic one. John Noble's performance as a troubled, formerly-incarcerated genius is reason enough to recommend the show. I never thought I'd see the day where Pacey from Dawson's Creek would act (and act well) in a show I enjoyed, but that day has arrived.

2) Mister B. Gone - I used to be quite a Clive Barker fan. At one point I even had the priviledge of meeting the man, and found him as kind and as welcoming as his early novels are cold and frightening. But Barker hasn't written a novel worth reading in some time, and while I still hold out hope for his legendarily-delayed Scarlet Gospels, Mister B. Gone further suggests that Barker's best days are long behind him. I didn't bother finishing this book, which is rare.

3) Another friend recommended ABC's remake of "V," so I gave the show two episodes worth of time to interest me. Not only did it fail in this simple task, it pulled off the difficult feat of making me feel hate for it. This is a perfect example of how to fuck up a story. First, assume your entire audience is filled with gibbering Gibbons without higher brain functions. Then hit that audience over the head repeatedly with your plot, as if bludgeoning them for having the gall to want to be treated as humans, not Gibbons. Then add a zesty mix of hammy overacting, awful effects, and a haircut that makes the stunning Morena Baccarin look like a ten year old boy with a rare bone disease. I loathed "V," and have subsequently exorcised it's malevolent spectre from my Tivo utilizing a bottle of holy water, a copy of the King James Bible, and a hammer. I cast thee out, "V." Ne'er darken my doorstep again.

Thursday, March 4

Sundown (S6, ep. 6)

The Back to the Island column for "Sundown" has been drowned in a dirty pool for your reading pleasure on

Tuesday, March 2

Lost: Season 6, Episode 6 Discussion

Insta-reaction: Holy. S***.

Lost's final season turned an enormous corner tonight, upending the established rhythm of the season with a kind of focused ferocity. From Sayid and Dogen's extended throwdown to the Monster's destruction of the Temple to the alternatively tragic and yet utterly badass story of Sayid's off and on-Island existence to the looks on both Ben and Sayid's faces when they meet by the spring.... Sundown is probably my favorite episode of the season thus far. That was stellar television.

What did you think?