Monday, October 16, 2017

How much could you theoretically win on Jeopardy?

There was a recent puzzle question that asked what was the maximum amount of money a contestant could win in a single game of Jeopardy!  This presumes one single contestant rang in first on every single question and answered each one correctly. I will attempt to answer that question here, using my amazing powers of ciphering.

Caveat: I have never seen a Daily Double (1 in the first round, 2 in the second) come up on the topmost question ($200 for first round, $400 for second) but I am not aware if there is an actual rule for it. I'm going to assume for the sake of argument there is no rule, and it's possible a Daily Double could appear in a top level question for both rounds.

Here we go:


Six categories, each containing five questions. The questions are worth:


I can calculate clearing a single category would award the player:


Setting one category aside that contains the Daily Double, answering five categories correctly would net the player:

$3000 x 5 = $15,000

Assuming the Daily Double in the sixth category is under the $200 answer, answering the other four questions would bring the total to:

$15,000 + $400 + $600 + $800 + $1000 = $17,800.

When the player chooses the last answer, the Daily Double, they will not receive the $200 but instead have the option to make it a true Daily Double and double their money. Which, of course, they will do.

$17,800 x 2 = $35,600.

Thus they will end Round One with a comfortable lead of $35,600. Let's set that sum aside for a moment.

ROUND TWO (Double Jeopardy!)

Dollar values are doubled in this round, so the questions are now worth:


Clearing a single category would earn the player:


Setting two categories aside that contain the two Daily Doubles, answering four categories correctly would net the player:

$6,000 x 4 = $24,000

Assuming the two Daily Doubles in the sixth category are under the two remaining $400 answers, answering the other four questions in the two remaining categories would bring the total to:

$24,000 + $800 + $1200 + $1600 + $2000 + $800 + $1200 + $1600 + $2000 = $35,200

At this point I will re-add the winnings from Round One to their Round Two total:

$35,600 + $35,200 = $70,800

When the player chooses the first Daily Double under the first $400 answer they will again make it a true Daily Double and double their money. Doubling their money with the first Daily Double would net them:

$70,800 x 2 = $141,600

Choosing the second Daily Double would double their money once again:

$141,600 x 2 = $283,200

They will end Double Jeopardy!


This is a simple doubling of their previous total:

$283,200 x 2 = $566,400

So, theoretically, a contestant that buzzes in on every answer first, answers them correctly, saves the Daily Doubles for the very last answer(s) and makes each a true Daily Double, then doubles their bet in Final Jeopardy would win that contestant in one day:


Tuesday, August 09, 2016

It's All About Me

This post is starting as a political rant, but really is a personal reflection. Bear with me, I'll get there.

I think I've discovered what Donald Trump actually wants to be. He doesn't want to be President. He doesn't really want to be a real estate magnate, or business tycoon, or thought leader. 

He wants to be a stand-up comedian. He wants to be Jerry Seinfeld, or Rodney Dangerfield. He wants to have people adore him, laugh at his jokes, think he's the funniest guy in the world.

When I hear Trump make those little aside jokes at his rallies - like today's 2nd Amendment riff - he doesnt actually mean them in the sense he's advocating gun owners shoot Hillary Clinton or any Supreme Court Judges she may appoint. He's not even really saying them as some kind of political insult or dig at his opponent. He says it, and many other things like it, because he enjoys the laugh he gets from the audience. His loyal, rabid, vapid supporters at his rallies. It's happened many times before -  the bit with the baby the other day, the crowd ate up his snide comments about letting the baby stay, then getting rid of it. And when you're someone who craves attention, acceptance and affirmation like Trump does, you keep doing it no matter what. You can't help yourself.

In not the first bully comparison, Trump acts like the young punk in school who had all the girls and all the sycophantic friends, who made a crude joke at someone's expense that all his cronies just laughed themselves silly. You can almost see his elbows flail as he cracks wise, desperately searching for some flunky nearby to poke in the ribs, "Amiright? Amiright?" He gets off on the attention, it feeds his desperately needy ego, and I think all things being equal if he could just continue to lead rallies day after day for the rest of his life and forget about all the rest, he'd do so. Once he's in the Oval Office, who's going to stand around and give him the multitudes of snide guffaws - the Secret Service? The Whiite House Press Corps? The roses in the Rose Garden? Trump needs his followers like Gaston needs his LeFew, someone to sing his praises endlessly.

Ok, political rant is over. I said that, to say this...

I kinda identify with that. Well, not that precisely. I don't stand around making crude, politically incorrect jokes about my enemies to the delight of my mulltitudenous hangers-on.  But I certainly do recognize and appreciate the need to be appreciated, adored, to be shown the things you do and say are specifically pleasing to others.

For years, I've considered myself to be a student of comedy and its construction. I consider myself to have a good sense of humor, and I'm not afraid to crack a joke from time to time. Especially at strategic moments in time when they will bring the most positive reactions. It's extremely attractive and can be addicting to a degree, the feeling that gets when a room erupts in laughter at a carefullly-chosen and timed remark you have made. It's instant feedback to affirm your cleverness, your insight, your wit and wisdom. I think all of us need that from time to time, and I find myself needing it more often than not.

Oh, I enjoy making the jokes for their own sakes - to lighten a mood, to make a commentary on a situation that needs a less serious tone, to bring humor to a serious situation. These are all good reasons to bring out a good zinger every once in a while. But it has become somewhat part of my reputation, and a reflection of my character. Good or bad, it's there on the surface but with possibly a surprising source within.

For years, I've tried to assert my creative side, in many ways. I perform onstage as a singer and as an actor, with limited successes. I don't necessary fail, but my efforts rarely are met with singular acclaim. Nobody is waiting outside the dressing rooms to specifically give me high marks on my performance. I' there, I do the job, I leave. Again, enjoyable for its own sake but rarely elicits an emotional feedback other than basic appreciation.

I've achieved what might be my most notable creative success in musical directing, at least due to the feedback I get from my musicians and others that I am actually doing a good job and making a difference in a production. Music Directors don't get a lot of acclaim by nature of the job and that's fine. When your peers recognize your worth, that's pretty much the highest acclaim you can find.

Directors themselves can be high profile, especially in the big leagues of Broadway and film, rarely so down in the trenches of community theatre. Other than grateful parents and appreciative kids, there's not a lot of opportunities for the kind of positive feedback somebody might desire, or need. 

Especially when you're in a life situation now where there are no more opportunities for any of those things. None. My work life requires me to be in Nashville 4 days a week, and home in Knoxville for 3. Which as all theatrical veterans know most all productions at least at some point in the rehearsal and production process require someone to be there for weeks at a time. Therefore, I haven't done a show in almost three years. And as my creative outlets have dried up, so have any real opportunities for true feedback and appreciation of talent.

I have tried my hand at writing, something I find frustrating because of the process. I have great ideas for stories, but don't have the discipline to actually put hand to keyboard and write it out. This blog post will likely be one of the longest things I've been able to keep interest in and write for a long time. I've started two short plays and one longer play. Sometimes I will write here and there, sometimes I'll even show off examples off my writing to friends and colleagues. Very little feedback or constructive criticism, so not only is there no opportunity to grow and improve my skills, there's little to no impetus to continue at all. There's no reason to believe that what I'm doing is good at all. So why continue?

I remember early on in the blogging craze, a blogger friend of mine responded to a similar lament I had about nobody reading my blog. They said they write for themselves and not for others. To them, what others thought about their posts - and indeed, whether anyone really read them at all - was irrelevant. What was important was that they wrote for themselves, that blogging was not only a creative expression but a personal one. That in writing out their feelings and thoughts, they were addressing a particular need of their own. The response or feedback or engagement from others was distantly secondary. And they were perfectly content with the process.

I've often thought about that, and how easy and therapeutic it must be to not have the burden of acceptance hanging over your head. To be able to write what you want, sing what you want, say what you want and not worry about being judged for it. But I can't find it in myself to get to that point. I'm not secure enough in my abilities and my own thoughts to put them out there just for the sake of making a statement about myself. If I don't have feedback, if there is no interaction, then the effort is pointless. I need that actualization that comes from the acceptance, the approval -  the distinct, deliberate approval and appreciation of others stemming directly from something I've created, to make a difference in my personal sense of worth and meaning.

Not to get too meta here, but even this specific blog entry I'm writing. As I sit here typing these words, I haven't yet decided whether to actually post it. If I do, maybe I'll get feedback and supportive words from my friends. Maybe nobody will bother to read it. If I don't post it and nobody ever reads it, does it exist? Does it have merit or worth if nobody but me ever actually sees it? Just because I wrote it, does anything I have to say mean anything without an audience to read it? How can I be certain that anything I say or do has any worth to it at all without a reflection on someone else? I can't be trusted to judge my own work -  do we grade our own tests? A+++ for Barry on the Calculus final! All 5's on the vocal juries! 100 points to Griffyndor! No, I don't think it can.

Therefore, for one brief agonizing moment I can empathize and be jealous of Donald Trump. He has found his platform where he can say almost anything and be loved for it. As sick as his words are, and as lost as his followers are, he at least has found his self-actualization. 

As for me, I'll take these words and stuff them in a can someplace where the only one that can see them will be me. Maybe I'll let them out to play sometime. Maybe not. You be the judge.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Good, the Bad, and the Not-So-Sure of "Star Trek: Beyond"

It's' the thirteenth movie in the Star Trek franchise, and the third in the so-called "Abrams-verse." Of course, JJ Abrams has long since moved on to bigger, more lucrative franchises, but this time around Justin Lim has taken the helm. Known for various "Fast and Furious" films, many were nervous the latest Trek film would be nothing but an action-adventure explosion-fest from beginning to end. Explosions abound, but let's leave the judgement to the end.

Obviously, spoilers abound. You have been warned.


1) The character portrayals (well, most of them) - Karl Urban and Anton Yelchin (RIP) continue to own their characters of McCoy and Chekov. The plot contrivance of splitting the bridge crew into various subgroups on the planet was well-conceived, as was each group slowly finding each other. It gave most every co-star moments to shine.

Chris Pine is growing on me as James T. Kirk, but there's still something about his physical build and the way he holds himself that just doesn't project a Shatner-esque confidence. His character has grown quite a bit since "Star Trek" (2009), in that he does now truly inspire the confidence and loyalty of his crew - all of them, not just the ones on the bridge. This Kirk is entering a career crisis that we know affected the original Kirk at the end of the original 5-year mission, so continuity holds there. I thought the resolution of his crisis and its references to his father were perhaps resolved a little too neatly (while setting up the next movie) but at least the arc was there.

Simon Pegg continues to improve his take on Scotty - he's taken it farther from the original James Doohan version, but I like this one just about as well. Oh, and Keenser was used minimally in this one, which is always a big plus. And he got himself a mini-me!

2) The Call-Backs - Multiple references to past incarnations of Trek abounded in this one, but thankfully weren't as obvious as random tribbles or old girlfriends. I had no clue of the inclusion of "Star Trek: Enterprise"-era ships, uniforms and bridge sets, which were a delight to watch. I kept wondering why they didn't just go ahead and make the Franklin be Archer's original Enterprise until the reveal at the end as to what happened to its captain. There was a MACO reference as well, which was cool. I noticed a few line callbacks, including "to absent friends" and "scotch was inwented by a little old lady from Russia" to the reappearance of an Enterprise NCC-1701-A. The death of Ambassador Spock was necessary and worked into younger Spock's plot line, so that was good, and the family photo at the end tied things back to the original cast neatly. Did anybody else expect younger Spock to find Ambassador Spock's ICIC pin, or maybe the Vulcan lyre in amongst his effects?

3) An Episode of Trek - there's been controversy with each of the movies that have been released, that they just don't feel like an episode of Star Trek. This one, maybe more than any other movie since possibly The Final Frontier, felt like an expanded episode of one of the series. That's a good thing. I'm not sure the actual plot held up as big-screen worthy, but we'll get to that. I enjoyed that the action was basically contained to one planet and one star base, and didn't span the entire galaxy.

4) The Action - to go along with the criticism of their not being enough episode-type structure to a Star Trek movie, there was also a lot of fear that with Justin Lim directing the movie there would be way too much reliance on straight-up action and violence. The movie did have that, but it was Star Trek action. I wasn't a fan of the kickboxing type fight at the end, but there was a good balance between combat and the rest of the movie.


1) Spock - Let me be clear up front: I didn't think Spock's character was portrayed badly, nor do I think he was written poorly. I did notice a difference in watching Spock this time around, that now I'm much more familiar with Zachary Quinto from his other acting jobs (such as American Horror Story) so I found myself thinking more and more, "hey, there's Zachary Quinto" playing Spock, instead of "hey, there's that new guy playing Spock." While I certainly wouldn't begrudge an actor keeping him or herself busy between Trek movies professionally, the more they make themselves visible in other roles the easier it is for me to be drawn out of the story during their first couple of appearances in the film. 

I did find it an odd choice to give Spock an injury so early in the story and continue to make it a hindrance to him for most of the rest of the movie. Watching a well man carry an injured man in a hostile environment is not a new plot point, but unless there's a good reason for it - to level a playing field, to deliberately slow a character from reaching a goal, etc - it just seems to slow down the storyline while we wait for the grunting and grimacing to finish. I do understand Spock and McCoy did have to have some character moments between them that might've been more difficult if they'd been constantly mobile, but I thought it was too much.

Spock is also feeling a pull to leave the Enterprise, in this case to help his people and, in McCoy's words, "make Vulcan babies." As the movie progresses he comes to realize his place is on the ship and at Kirk's side. Since the loss of Vulcan is obviously a character trait unique to younger Spock's history, his Starfleet decisions are much different. But the solution - fighting beside his shipmates, working closely with Kirk, the death of Ambassador Spock and a family portrait - seem to not really require him to come to the turnaround naturally. Spock has a crisis, events happen, crisis is resolved. Seemed a little empty and unearned.

I think Spock's character was underserved in this movie, and the evolution of his relationship with Uhura will be discussed later.

2) The Music - I don't have a problem with the score itself, I just realize I'm quite over Michael Giacchino's new, droning main Trek theme. We heard the traditional fanfare a couple of times (although it's never enough) but I finally realize what the new-ish theme reminds me of: militaristic sci-if movies like "Starship Troopers." Yes, I know James Horner's "Star Trek II" score also had a militaristic bent, but it was Star Trek II. 'Nuff said.

3) The Villain - Idris Elba is a fine actor - I look forward to seeing him in Stephen King's Dark Tower movies. I enjoyed his desperation at the end of this movie, once he's back in a Starfleet Uniform and you can actually see his face. But for the other 4/5 of the film, he's so covered in alien make-up, his lines are just run-of-the-mill Trek villain, his motivations are completely unclear, I actually had him in the running for worst Trek villain of all time. Thankfully, somewhere out there Eric Bana breathes a sigh of relief at not having to give up the crown. We're 0-3 (0-5 if you go back through "Star Trek: Insurrection") since we've had a memorable, worthwhile Trek movie villain. For some reason, the producers of Trek keep trying to find another Khan (even, strangely enough, finding another Khan) to stand toe-to-toe with Kirk or Picard or Kirk but keep falling short. I think that reason is worth more in-depth study, but to have not even a hint at a villain's true motivations for doing evil until the very end of the movie makes for a very uninteresting, cardboard adversary.

Did Kraal's bio-tech weapon seem an awful lot like Shinzon's thelaron radiation from "Star Trek: Nemesis"? Combined with his similarity to Shinzon's and Nero made for a bland, recycled villain.


1) Sulu and Uhura - This time both characters seemed to be defined mostly by their relationships: Uhura with Spock, and Sulu with his Significant Other. Uhura did figure out the frequency broadcast trick at the end but mainly served as a catalyst for advancing Spock's particular character arc. Sulu has the least to do, but we saw him in domestic bliss. While I think the relationships between all the characters was this movie's biggest strength and Zoe Saldana and John Cho continue to do a good job, not finding enough for these two to do didn't help their characters much.

One small thing about Uhura - it must be an established fact of this new timeline that this Uhura is very much unlike Nichelle Nichols' Uhura. While Simon Pegg's Scotty has evolved in a slightly different yet familiar direction, Zaldana's Uhura seems to have significant personality differences that Nichols'. It's not a bad thing, necessarily, just notable.

2) The Plot - Um....what? 

Why did Kraal hate the Federation so much he was prepared to commit genocide - supposedly they took him away from being a soldier, made him a captain, then when he got lost they didn't come find him? Really? Someone goes from crashing their ship in a nebula planet to genocidal maniac because of a vendetta against the alliance that gave him a ship in the first place and then for what ever reason, couldn't find him? This rationale requires Kraal to really have a low threshold for vengeance motivation. I think I saw that once before following the destruction of Romulus in the future...

Where did Kirk get the alien artifact he was offering to the little aliens at the beginning of the movie? Where did those other aliens get it? How did it happen to be the one piece of technology needed by the villain in the area that happens to have just set up the trap for Kirk? Where did this technology come from? Who built it?

Why did the soul-sucker technology change Kraal's appearance to look like a Jem'Haddar? Why did he transform back to human-ish at the end? Who were his henchmen - other crewmen from the Franklin? How did his mind and body become twisted in the first place? (Please, don't tell me, "Read the supplemental comic book series." 

Where did Jaylah come from? For what reason did Kraal capture her and her family, as well as all the other aliens on the planet? Why did Kraal decide to put this extremely complicated plan into motion? If he could use the alien tech to tap into Yorktown Station's database, why didn't he use it earlier on to get rescued?

Lots of plot holes that, admittedly, may make more sense on subsequent viewings. But not addressing some of these points during the movie tended to make the inner motivations of the adversaries muddy and unrealistic.

3) Jaylah - Not sure what to say about Jaylah. The purist in me wants more info on her species, but I know that's not relevant to the story. Overall I liked her, and hope we see more of her - she had a Ro Laren/Kira Nerys quality to her.  I also liked her "conquering personal fear" character arc, although I think the resolution wasn't really acknowledged. There was a specific bit with her and Kirk in the middle of the movie regarding her being afraid to return to Kraal's base. She does conquer her fear, but that feat doesn't seem to be acknowledged specifically by the movie or the characters. 

4) Carol Marcus - I thought "Star Trek: Into Darkness" made a big deal about Dr. Marcus joining the crew. Where was she? Maybe she was at home on maternity leave... Odd there was no mention of her.

5) Another Lost Enterprise - When I saw in the previews that it appeared the Enterprise was getting the stuffing kicked out of it, I was dismayed. But I have so little visceral attachment to this version of the Big E (as opposed to TOS, movies, TNG or even "Enterprise"'s Enterprise I really didn't care if this one survived or not. We all knew they'd get a Version A, a la the end of Trek IV, so the stakes really weren't there. Still wish the Franklin was actually Archer's Enterprise after all. Ok, let it go, let it go...

Overall I enjoyed the movie about as much as I enjoyed "Star Trek: Into Darkness," which was better than the 2009 "Star Trek." They're moving in the right direction, just taking their own time to get there. Another viewing might clear up some of my problems, so take them all with a grain of triticale.

Look for a full discussion with Mike on the All Good Things Star Trek Podcast next week -, @agtpod on Twitter.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Top 5 Burning Questions coming out of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Last night most of the civilized world saw the premiere of Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens.  Rather than do a review, I would like to pose my list of my Top 5 Burning Questions that were left after the end of the movie.

Obviously, massive *** SPOILERS ***

1) Who is Rey, and where does she come from?  To me, it seemed during the movie she would be revealed to be either Han and Leia's daughter, or Luke's daughter.  I think the chances of her being Han and Leia's are pretty slim now, but there's still the possibility of Luke.  From the intense Force-flashbacks she had after touching the lightsaber, to her quick-learned fighting ability, this would seem to be a logical possibility.  But daughter by whom?  Or is she a completely independent person who happens to be Force-sensitive, and will likely be part of Luke's new Jedi order.

But the other half to this question is why was she on Jakku?  She apparently was either stolen or left there at a young age, with a promise that someone would be back for her.  Who was it?  And why was that promise or mission so strong she felt so compelled to return there time and time again?  What is her purpose in the greater story?

2) What happened to Kylo Ren to turn him to the Dark Side?  All we really know is he was Han and Leia's son, Luke tried to train him, he turned to the Dark Side and Luke ran away.  There's a huge untold story there, and I'm not sure how much we'll be told in detail (at least within the framework of the actual trilogy).  He seemed very young to have risen to such a position in the First Order, and immature as well.  Obviously he has a volatile temper and is easily provoked.  What components of his character led him to reject his parents and mentor so utterly and go down a path that would lead to Han's murder?

The other half of this question is what exactly happened to Han and Leia that they split up, and were estranged from each other?  Was it Kylo's betrayal that caused their rift, or was it the reverse - their disagreements led to Kylo's feelings of abandonment and anger?  Now that Han is gone we may never get the full story, and I'm not sure of Leia's involvement in the ongoing story.  The answer to this question is likely a key aspect to Kylo's character so I believe it must eventually be addressed.

3) Who is Supreme Leader Snoke?  What is he?   Is he a Force-sensitive as it was hinted?  Where did he come from, how did he get to be Supreme Leader of the First Order?  Is he a Sith Lord, and Kylo is his apprentice?  Or is he something completely different that will be introduced into the mythology?  Does he really look like the creature that was in the hologram, or is there someone else "behind the curtain"?

Another part of this, is what exactly does "First Order" mean?  It's such an arbitrary phrase I think it has to refer to something specific.  How did it come to power on the ashes of the Empire?  I would guess there will eventually be books and other supplemental material to address this, but I hope they don't leave it so ambiguous in the next movies that it becomes a mystery that won't be solved.  How did it become so powerful that it could build a "Death Planet" without the New Republic even knowing about it until it was operational?  How much of the galaxy does it control?  How much does the New Republic control?  And if the New Republic is the legitimate government, why are their defenders called The Resistance?  Typically Resistance is synonymous with Rebellion, and the Rebel Alliance was "resisting" the established Empire. Why is The Resistance resisting an outside force?

4) How did Han and Chewie really lose the Falcon?  I know there was a story how it was stolen by this guy, and that guy, and that guy, and eventually ended up on Jakku.  But depending on what connection Rey is to the larger mythology, that can't be a coincidence.  I think it was left deliberately there on Jakku for her to eventually use to escape.  But it seems hard to believe Han and Chewie would abandon their beloved ship without good reason.

For that matter, how did they happen to be near the Jakku system just at the moment Rey and Finn needed rescuing?  I think Han mentioned something about this in the movie, but it seemed a very convenient explanation.

Again, what happened between Han and Leia to cause his self-imposed exile for so many years, going back to smuggling apparently but without the Falcon?  Hopefully this story isn't what it seems at face value.

5) Why is Luke really in exile?   What happened during the process of beginning to train a new Order of Jedi Knights?  Where are these other trainees?  Did Kylo kill them, similar to how Anakin and the Emperor purged the Jedi Knights, or have the scattered to the winds?  It seems out of Luke's character to run away and hide.  I get the feeling there is a lot more to this story than simple shame and guilt that would drive our heroic Jedi to flee.  If so, why leave behind parts of a map with R2 and Lor San Tekka/Poe Damaron/BB-8 that would help the Resistance find him?  I think his disappearance is part of a much larger plan that he has put together to either bring down the First Order, recover Kylo Ren to the Light Side, or train Rey in the ways of the Force.  Or there may be, and I hope this is the case, a stronger cause to create a new Order of Jedi that is nothing like what was there before.

Oh, and who was Max Von Sydow's character Lor San Tekka, and what was his connection to Luke?  He was there for so short a time to deliver the map portion to Poe we don't know anything about him.  He obviously had some kind of history, but he's dead so who knows if his character will be referred to again.  Why is Poe Damaron such a good pilot?  Is he Force-Sensitive as well?  His convenient disappearance/reappearance seemed very pat - there seems to be more to his story.   And while we're at it, how was Finn such a good lightsaber fighter out of the gate, without even knowing anything about the weapon?  And how was he so lucky, and able to break his conditioning?  Are they all Force-sensitives?

Those are my five burning questions (ok, with lots of corollaries).  What do you think?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

LOST AGAIN (S2E1) Series Re-Watch - Season 2, Episode 1, "Man of Science, Man of Faith"

Day 44

The first eye-opener of the second season is Desmond, in the hatch, although we don't know who he is yet.

And Hurley mentions his Chicken Shack gets hit by a meteor. Or rather, meteorite. It sounds like a non sequitur what he mentions it, but we actually see it happen in a later episode flashback.

The conflicts and rivalry between Jack and Locke that defined itself in the previous episode really puts itself into action here. Jack is a man of science, medicine, and logic. Locke trusts in faith, fate, and the island to tell him what he needs to do. This division more or less defines the rest of the series, as far as these two are concerned. At various times they divide the survivors into two camps, each following one or the other of them.

The theme of miraculous healing works on and off the island. Even years before the crash, Jacob was watching Jack and manipulating 

LOST AGAIN (S1E24) Series Re-Watch - Season 1, Episode 24, "Exodus, Pt.2"

Day 44

This weeks eye-opening is a baby. A baby? What kind of baby? A baby baby!

Sorry, let me start over.

This weeks eye-opening is a baby. Which baby? Looks like little turnip-head, although he's actually already awake and fussy.

Not counting the brief glimpse at the end of last week's episode, we see the Black Rock here for the first time. Of course, it's the centuries old slave ship that brought Richard Alpert to the island during a tsunami, crashing through the statute. We'll actually see the remnants of that statue for the first time later this episode. The Black Rock is the scene of many of the series pivotal moments, including the death of Locke's father and the flashback to one of the first appearances of the Man in Black.

"You've got some Arnzt on you." Best line of the series.

Danielle Rousseau's baby was taken from her 16 years ago. She nearly lost her sanity in the time since. When Claire is left behind on the island, and Kate takes her baby home, Claire nearly loses her mind as well.

We see Michael trying to get his mother to take care of Walt for him when they return to the States. Michael's mother will end up taking care of Walt after Michael is lost on the freighter.

It's worth commenting on how interesting it is to see the other stars of the show pass it and out of each others lives at the airport, waiting on the plane. None of them know each other at the time, but will come to know each other intimately starting a few short hours from then. It's interesting to think about the anonymous people that pass in and out of our lives every day. But for a few different circumstances, those people could be one's friends, enemies, or even lovers. We know the Candidates and the rest of the passengers were brought together for a specific purpose, but it's still true.

Sun's conversation with Shannon about whether they were on the island because they were being punished is one that is brought up many times by other characters. That idea fueled many fan theories about the island being a form of Purgatory.

For all the "bad luck" obstacles life, fate, or the Man in Black threw in Hurleys way, any one of them could have kept him off Oceanic 815. But he overcame them all and eventually became the one fated to take Jacob's place. In fact, nothing sums it up better than when Hurley says, "Please, for the love of all that's good and holy in the world, let me on this plane." Hurley is good and holy. Thus, the island.

Locke's story about why they were all brought together to the island is basically absolutely correct. He doesn't know about Jacob for the Man in Black, specifically, so he believes the island itself is responsible, but it's basically the same thing. The concept that the island demanded a sacrifice in Boone may not be incorrect in the abstract. If you consider Jacob and the Man in Black both to be two halves of the island's identity. Jacob chose to protect certain candidates, in the Man in Black decided to take one that was unprotected. Of course, Locke was an unwitting dupe in his plans.

LOST AGAIN (S1E23) Series Re-Watch - Season 1, Episode 23, "Exodus, Pt.1"

Day 44

It's interesting when you think about it, Walt really has very little time that he spends with Michael before they're separated. A week or so in Sydney, and a month+ on the island. And then he was captured from the raft. After they escape there's time, but not before then.

The excavated outside of the hatch area looks very much like it did in the past, in Dharma times, when the hatch was actually being constructed.

The scene where Sawyer tells Jack about his encounter with his father is probably the closest the two of them ever get on the series. There's always a mutual respect, in some ways, although of course they're never close. Their rivalry over Kate and both characters' general stubbornness keeps them from being close allies. But it's good to know and see Sawyer has a bit of a heart.

Michael has a line he says to Jin, "No, this one goes here, that one goes there." This is a memorable line Han Solo says to Chewbacca in "The Empire Strikes Back." Only Star Wars geeks would probably get the reference, but there you go.

I never quite understood The Man in Black/Smoke Monster's reason for causing such commotion when moving through the jungle. It wasn't a large creature like he was pretending to be, so why the theatrics? Scare tactics? Intimidation? Probably, but after a while the effect is lost when you never see it. And intimidation and fear weren't quite what he wanted - just death.

Dr. Arzt had a chance to save himself when he left the group to return to the beach. The smoke monster chased him back, but in light of what eventually happens to him, he probably would have rather taken his chances.

The launching of the raft is one of the most triumphant moments certainly of this series, and of any series I've ever seen. The music especially is gorgeous. Knowing what happens to the raft and the people on it tempers the moment with heartbreak.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

LOST AGAIN (S1E22) Series Re-Watch - Season 1, Episode 22, "Born to Run"

Day 43

Charlie tells Kate that when they are eventually rescued, they'll all be famous. He's actually correct. The six survivors are called the Oceanic Six. Only Charlie is not one of them.

I want senses when Locke touches his arm that they are trying to open the hatch. He mysteriously warns Locke against doing so. We know Jacob and the Man in Black control the actions of various people on the island, dead or alive. Whether one of them is controlling Walt, giving him special insight, or something else is never quite clear. It's also not quite clear why either one of them would not want the survivors getting into the hatch at all.

LOST AGAIN (S1E21) Series Re-Watch - Season 1, Episode 21, "The Greater Good"

LOST was a revolutionary television show that aired on ABC from 2004-2010. Utilizing unique storytelling techniques, an extensive mythology and capitilizing on the burgeoning social media scene to boost popularity, the LOST experience can now be viewed as a whole. I will be attempting to re-watch the entire series episode by episode, and will comment on each episode in terms of the complete story - foreshadowing, recurring motifs and character growth. I hope you enjoy the commentary and watch along with me.

Day 42

Walt is concerned about sharks attacking them while they're on the raft. There actually is a shark lurking nearby with the Dharma symbol tattooed on its fin.

Shannon holds Locke at gunpoint in the rain in the middle of the jungle, and fires the gun. Only a few episodes into the second season she herself will be shot by Ana Lucia, in the rain, in the jungle. Ana Lucia herself will be shot several episodes after that.

LOST AGAIN (S1E20) Series Re-Watch - Season 1, Episode 20, "Do No Harm"

Day 41-42

Kate being the one to deliver Claire's baby is full of subtext and foreshadowing. Kate eventually raises Claire's bab when they get off the island.

The same of Claire's delivery is also the moment that one of the candidates witness again as they travel around in time. I am ashamed to say I don't remember which one but I think it may be Jin.

Jack angrily tells Sun, "Don't tell me what I can't do." This echoes Locke's mantra. It's not unusual to see Jack and Locke exhibiting the same degree of stubbornness, but it's usually not so on the nose.

Jack's wedding to Sarah it's one of the very few times his father actually gave him decent advice.

Little Aaron was born about the same moment that Boone died. There were no references later on in the series about any connection between the two, but it would have been interesting. If Shannon hadn't died, they might've thought about it.

Jack learns about letting go in this episode, but I'm not sure if either he didn't learn it well enough or needed this experience to fully let go at the end of the series. I think it's the latter.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

LOST AGAIN (S1E19) Series Re-Watch - Season 1, Episode 19, "Deus Ex Machina"

Day 39-41

Locke's concept of faith is greatly examined in this episode. The dichotomy between faith and science is another one of those basic building blocks of the whole series. Locke trusts that a higher power gave him back the use of his legs, and the power is somehow tied to the island. He has no rational basis for this assumption, save that his legs do work and there is no rational explanation. When his faith is tested by his failure to open the hatch, he begins to lose feeling in his legs.

There are several moments in Locke's flashbacks over the first couple of seasons where we are teased into thinking that particular incident is what caused him to originally lose the use of his legs. Getting hit by a car is the first of these teases.

We find out much later that Locke's mothers belief in John's special nature is due partly to Richard Alpert's intervention when Locke was a child. Alpert was extremely long lived and was directed by Jacob to visit Locke in his childhood to determine if he was a candidate.

Locke's vision of the Beechcraft airplane crashing in the jungle was of course a real event on the island. They stumble upon the wreckage of the old plane in the next episode The plane itself was carrying Mr. Eko's brother and a load of drugs and crashed on the island several years prior. We will meet Mr. Eko next season.

It's kind of a shame we never got a flashback from Boone of his nanny, Theresa. But Boone doesn't last much longer anyway. So we never get to see exactly how she falls up the stairs. Too bad.

Locke's father turns out to be the "Sawyer" that our Sawyer is searching for, who brought about the death of his parents. This may be the most toxic cross-character relationship on the show.

Boone again says "we got to go back" when trying to help Locke walk.

Anthony Cooper tells Locke, "See you on the other side, son." This is fairly similar to Desmond's farewell to Jack, "see you in another life, brother." At first I thought it might be significant, but it's such a common phrase it probably is not.

The subplot about Sawyer needing glasses kind of slipped my mind, mostly because once he gets the glasses they don't last that long. He doesn't wear them very much in the future. But then, there's not as much time to sit and read so it would make sense.

Though Locke and Boone don't realize it, they and the Beechcraft or very close to another hatch: the Pearl station. It will be discovered a couple seasons later.

Boone makes contact with Bernard and the Tailies over the plane's radio. In an episode next season, we'll see Bernard receive Boone's transmission in a flashback. At the time, I remember wondering if there was some sort of parallel universe/time travel involved and they were talking to themselves. I guess they were in a way. 

Locke's life to this point has been a pattern of faith and betrayal, faith and betrayal. It's amazing that he's kept at it. But eventually his fate will be rewarded when he sees the light in the hatch.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

LOST AGAIN (S1E18) Series Re-Watch - Season 1, Episode 18, "Numbers"

Day 35-36

The significance of The Numbers are too widespread to even begin to list here. Their overall meaning is the numbers of each of The Candidates, as we will find out much, much, much later in the series.

I'm not sure living out the rest of his life as a demigod on the island is exactly the luckiest thing to happen to anyone, But I think Hurley probably ended up with the best deal of all the passengers all he wanted to do was help people with the money that he won, and with the island's powers he ended up doing just that.

Our first glimpse of the mental institution where Hurley spent so much time is in this episode. We see his "friend" Dave that he hallucinates later on the island. Who is not seen is Libby, who is later revealed to have also been a patient at the institution. In fact, her character had not even been invented yet.

Friday, July 17, 2015

LOST AGAIN (S1E17) Series Re-Watch - Season 1, Episode 17, "...In Translation"

Day 32-33

This weeks eye-opener is Jin, although he isn't waking up, he's just staring out at the ocean.

Sun and Jin are probably the characters that change the most from the beginning to the end of the series. There almost unrecognizable in the first season.

Big cross-character flashback: we see Hurley on TV in Korea. It goes quickly so you have to be sure to see it. We know now that it's reporting his winning the lottery – apparently it's big news even overseas.

We also see where Jin got the dog that he gives later to Sun. It was a gift from the Korean secretary to Mr. Paik.

Sawyer and Jin would become pretty close in their time working for Dharma together. Of course in the beginning of the series it's not uncommon to see a number of relationships go up and down. They would settle down into familiar patterns as the series went on.

There's an interesting parallel that I didn't see in this episode before. Maybe I'm just dense. Sun intervened by slapping Michael when Jin would have done much worse to him. Similarly, Jin intervenes by merely beating up the Secretary when the hitman would have killed him.

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait... Did Michael just fist bump Walt? Was that a thing in 2004? Hey, maybe you're getting old when you're not even close to sure when fads actually started.

Walt's question to Locke about whether his father was cool, is so full of ironic subtext that we'll find out later, it's not even funny. It's like asking a survivor of the Titanic, "So, was the ship nice?"

Poor Hurley. Everybody's got a girl but him. But at least he has his tunes. Until the CD player dies. At least eventually Libby will show up. But then she dies. Poor Hurley.

One of the main, most obvious running themes of LOST is the concept of characters having daddy issues. Jin is the only character we've seen so far who has a positive relationship with his father. Does no one else in the LOST universe grow up to be like their father? And while were on the subject, I feel the show lost an opportunity when it was revealed Jacob and the Man in Black actually had mommy issues. Maybe the rewatch will shed a different light on this, but it feels like the show needed to be brought full-circle by showing them having issues with a father.

LOST AGAIN (S1E16) Series Re-Watch - Season 1, Episode 16, "Outlaws"

Day 29-30-31

This week's eye-opener is young Sawyer. In his flashback. In Knoxville! I wonder what part of town the Ford family lives there. I'm just going to say, here, he lives in Fountain City. Because maybe me and Sawyer were buddies in elementary school and I just don't remember it.

"It'll come back around" is the phrase the jungle whispers keep saying. As I said in a previous entry, we know The Others are watching the castaways. But I seriously don't recall what the whispers meant and why they were whispering. Maybe it will become apparent again.

Do you know this about just occurs to me. Only three or four weeks have passed since the series started, and this is the 16th episode. Each episode we pretty much see all the cast members in different clothing. I know this isn't Gilligans Island, and they don't have an infinite supply of clothing. And I do know that they do wash their clothes quite often. But it seems to me, even with the ripening after a few days, if it were me I would probably wear the same clothes several days in a row before changing. I mean, what's the purpose? So what if you wear the same shorts and T-shirt three days straight on a desert island? There's probably three or four other people that will smell worse than you anyway.

I never understand "I Never." And I never played it in college. I played Pool of Radiance, Ultima IV, and D&D. Does that count?

It would've been interesting if Locke's story about his sister had included something about his father. It would've made Sawyer's conflict about killing the wrong man very ironic. Sawyer killed the man he mistakenly believed was responsible for his parents' death, when it was actually was Locke's father.

In the light of how Christian Shepherd ends up bringing Jack back into the light, and how much he pops up in the other castaways flashbacks and past lives, It would've been interesting to see him play even more of a role in the past. A very firm connector between all the castaways (or a large number of them ). Their "constant."

Claire is obviously pregnant with a manatee.

Sawyer jokingly calls Jack, "sheriff." Which is ironic because a few years later - in the past - sawyer will become sheriff of the Dharma station.

The whole with about the Red Sox never winning the series comes back around a couple seasons later when Ben shows Jack video of the Red Sox doing just that.

Monday, July 13, 2015

LOST AGAIN (S1E15) Series Re-Watch - Season 1, Episode 15, "Homecoming"

Day 27-28-29

it's funny, the episode' very first image is Charlie waking up as they bring Claire back into camp, but it's not an eye-opener scene. Funny that they would skip a perfect opportunity.

Amnesia – the most popular trope there is.

Ethan's casual cruelty and his seemingly superhuman strength… Are they products of his and The Others' affiliation with Jacob and/or the Man in Black?

Sometimes it's hard to tell whether the character' actually experiencing a memory, when we see a flashback during the episode, or if it's just insight into the past of the character. This is one of the rare instances we actually see the character (Charlie) react to the flashback that has just played. Specifically, Charlie remembers getting sick while trying to demonstrate the copy machine. He then reacts in disgust to the memory in the present. That doesn't seem to happen very often.

LOST AGAIN (S1E14) Series Re-Watch - Season 1, Episode 14, "Special"

LOST was a revolutionary television show that aired on ABC from 2004-2010. Utilizing unique storytelling techniques, an extensive mythology and capitilizing on the burgeoning social media scene to boost popularity, the LOST experience can now be viewed as a whole. I will be attempting to re-watch the entire series episode by episode, and will comment on each episode in terms of the complete story - foreshadowing, recurring motifs and character growth. I hope you enjoy the commentary and watch along with me.

Day 26-27

The next eye-opening is Michael, calling for Walt.

Locke tells want to respect his father. Very ironic, knowing the kind of relationship Locke has with his own father, as we find out later.

Michael is more of a jerk than I remember him being. This goes beyond inexperienced parenting, it's a real character flaw. At this point, knowing what he will do in the future to betray his fellow passengers, including killing some of them, he seems at this point much less sympathetic, even though he did it to ensure Walt's safety.

If Walt did actually cause that bird to fly against the window and kill itself in the flashback, is it possible he somehow also willed his mother to take Ill and die? Not on purpose, of course, but subconsciously because… I don't know. But it seems an interesting coincidence. Walt's "abilities" are never fully explained in the series.

LOST AGAIN (S1E13) Series Re-Watch - Season 1, Episode 13, "Hearts and Minds"

Day 24

Our next eye-opener is Boone, on the beach, spying on Sayid and Shannon.

The first major character flashback crossover is Sawyer appearing in Boone's flashback, in the Australian police station. Most of these crossovers involves supporting characters, and are more subtle, although this one is hard to miss.

When LOST first aired, the Boone/Shannon relationship was very odd. They were brother/sister, but there was a faint romantic undertone to their interactions. I have to say, on re-watch, I don't see it as much. Knowing they are not blood related, it may just be too difficult to have set that aside. But in fact I really didn't see much tension between them at all at this point. Maybe it was just in everyone's head.

Sayid's malfunctioning compass gives us our first hint of the island's special electromagnetic properties. We will see you eventually it's strong enough to bring down the plane and move through space and time.

I understand most of Locke's wilderness survival training was learned in preparation for his walkabout, but I wonder where in his Webelo manual he learned to make hallucinogenic healing salve.

I totally bought into Boons hallucination the first time I saw this. I really thought Shannon was dead. Sometimes I'm slow about these things.

Boone and Shannon's relationship was a lot more complex than I remember it being. I'm glad, I really only remember it being dysfunctional. Seeing it play out again makes it kind of tragic. I feel a little better towards their characters than I did before.

LOST AGAIN (S1E12) Series Re-Watch - Season 1, Episode 12, "Whatever the Case May Be"

Day 21-22

The waterfall pond makes its first appearance. We of course see you again much later as the location the Ajira 316 survivors appear.

The shows most indecipherable pairing starts here: Shannon and Sayid. 11 years later and I still can't figure it out.

I can't help but think the scene with Sawyer trying to break into the suitcase by slamming it on a rock reminds me of that commercial with the gorilla I think it may have been intentional.

That "fish movie" made with "computers," of course, is "Finding Nemo." Which, ironically, occurs a good bit in Sydney, Australia.