Hornswaggler | The culture, the humor, a bit of the sports, not so much the politics, and the workplace distraction

Hornswaggle is an alternate spelling of hornswoggle, an archaic word that means to bamboozle or hoodwink. I take my pronunciation from the late Harvey Korman in "Blazing Saddles" --

"I want rustlers, cutthroats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, conmen, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswagglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass kickers, shit kickers and Methodists!"

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Wednesday, May 31, 2006


The writers really delivered on the season finale. Awesome.

Let's move right to the questions, but first, let's not move right to the questions: I like the fact that the writers hide clues all over the place and I'm amused by the show's wacky ad campaign that features real commercials from the fictional Hanso Foundation, but I think it's getting out of hand.

A flak from the Hanso Foundation named Hugh McIntyre even appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live after the final episode aired to claim that Hanso stopped funding the Dharma Initiative in 1987. WTF.

I have a life to live, people. I surfed for about 20 minutes yesterday and discovered that I had missed out on all kinds of crucial information regarding the Hanso Foundation that are part of "The Lost Experience," an interactive online game designed to make it impossible for a fan to pay casual attention to the show and still understand what the hell is going on.

Basically, they're making it such that if you're not following the online game, you're not part of the conversation, which is kind of annoying. I guess I'll get over it.

Let's return to the questions raised by the last episode:

Desmond is all about dramatic entrances and exits, isn't he? Earlier this season he just took off into the jungle -- "See ya next time around, Brotha!" -- until his boat brought him back to the island. In the finale, he ducks down into the crawl space to turn the key that "shuts off" the electromagnetic geyser underneath "The Swan" and tells Locke, "See you in another life, Brotha!"

Uh, Desmond, where do you think you're going? I can still see you down there, where you're stuck under the building. Plus, you're signed to be a regular next season, so we know you're going to survive. Plus, we like you. Locke has turned into a pathetic fool -- "Sorry Eko. Looks like I was wrong about the whole button-pressing thing. Sorry for killing everybody" ** -- and Jack, though he improved towards the end of the season, has gotten too high-strung ("When I want the guns, Sawyer, I'll take the guns. I'll take 'em right out of your hands, man!") and is more tool than badass. So, in short, Desmond, make yourself comfortable. Stay awhile.

-- ** Or did he save everybody? --

Interesting quote from Desmond in the finale: "This is all there is left. This ocean and this place here. We are stuck in a bloody snowglobe. There's no outside world, there's no escape."

This brings us to the question of just how "lost" the island is. We know that it's basically impossible to find, due in large measure, perhaps, to its unusual electromagnetic properties. If it weren't, then the Oceanic Flight 815 might have been found by now, and Desmond might have been able to sail away. How then, do the flights that are dropping those Dharma Initiative supplies know where to drop them then? Is it the case that, once you figure out how to find the island, you can reliably make your way back? How, in fact, did the Hanso and Dharma people find the island in the first place? Are they going to discover Amelia Earhardt's plane on the island, or what?

We know that Desmond's ex-fiance is looking for him, and she's using these researchers in the north (Iceland?) or south poles to do it. We also know that her father is Charles Widmore, who is identified on the brochure for his round-the-world boat race as an industrialist and philanthropist. We also also know, courtesy of the online game, that he is associated with the Hanso Foundation. My guess is: Widmore's daughter is using scientists from other Hanso projects (perhaps she's bribed them) to find Desmond and has asked them to give her a heads up if they discover any evidence of where he disappeared during the race.

One other question on the subject of finding/escaping the island. Do the Others actually know how to leave? Remember, they give Michael a compass reading to follow that will allow him to sail out of the island, presumably some kind of corridor that allows you to slip through a crack in whatever kind of electromagnetic (EM) bubble surrounds the place.

But this leads to a whole set of related questions:

1) If the Others know how to leave, why don't they?

2) Wouldn't the EM bubble mess with Michael's compass?

3) Are the Others really letting Michael and Walt go, or are they just tricking them?

4) Why, if Walt is so valuable to the Others, are they just letting him go after a few weeks? They've gotten everything out of him they can? I doubt it. (The Others' main interest in Walt is his paranormal abilities, specifically his seeming ability to appear in places where he's not. If you looked at the Dharma Initiative's earliest Web site, one of the areas of study was "remote viewing," which according to google has to do with predicting the future through ESP but could also relate to the capacity to be in two places at once or see things that aren't physically there. In fact, with all the ways in which the characters of this show have bumped into each other over time, it seems there is even more to this idea of remote projection -- either their lives have been guided by unknown forces, or they have been able to magically appear to each other at certain times.

One way or another, I think the Others have rigged a way to make sure they get Walt back.

Let's talk about the Others. Notorious BOB predicted that Henry Gale might turn out to be a leader of the group. I didn't see it coming, but I like it. Gale reiterated while the whole gang was out on the dock something to the effect of, "We're the good guys." The Others have also been going on and on about which of the 815 survivors are "the good ones." Good what? Morally? No. Good genes, good immune system? Who knows.

But let's tackle the question of who the Others are. The show's creators have hinted that the third season will be about "Us" versus "Them," but, the creators ask, "Who is 'us' and who is 'them'?"

They're clearly setting us up for the possibility that the castaways and the Others could be united in a struggle against a common foe. The question is, what sort of enemy would justify the Others' seeming brutality against our gang? The answer would appear to be: a very scary enemy.

This brings us to the Big Foot. The giant left foot along the shore near the Others' hangout, apparently the remnants of a rather large statue, is the latest evidence that this island has been inhabitated before. There is the Black Rock, otherwise known as the pirate ship, aargh, that is deposited on the interior of the island. Then there is the Stonehenge-looking structure on the bluff overlooking the Others' fake, or at any rate deserted, encampment on the beach. It appears to be the ruins of a stone hut of sorts.

Regarding the Big Foot, there are, to my mind, four possibilities: 1) Because it has four toes ("You just blew my mind"), the Losties have wound up in a parallel dimension where humans evolved differently (a la "The Simpons" Halloween episode with the toaster ["Stupid bug! You go squish now!"]). 2) It was placed there as a fake artifact to screw with peoples' heads. 3) It is a gratuitous homage to "Planet of the Apes." 4) Despite looking like something of, say, Greek, rather than, say, Polynesian origins, it is, in fact, what remains of an ancient statue.

But whatever the case with the BF, we can safely assume, especially in light of some comments made by producers about the Dharma Initiative representing the "tip of the iceberg" as far as what's going on on the island, that people set foot on the island long before Dharma got there. Which raises the question: Where were they when Dharma got there? Hiding? Slumbering, like the Balrag from "The Mines of Moria" in "Lord of the Rings"? Or did they infiltrate it? I'm getting too far afield.

I have to wrap this up for the time being. Five quick points.

1) Something is up with Charlie. He's acting a wee bit evil.

2) What happened when Desmond pushed the button that shut down the hatch? The button served to dissipate a build-up of electromagnetic forces. Desmond somehow unleased the forces. Won't the forces just build up again?

3) Why were Kelvin (the Kurgan) and his buddy, Razinsky, painting that map on the hatch in "invisible ink"? Were they hiding it from someone?

4) I'd like to know more about Razinsky. Seems like an interesting fellow.

5) Desmond said he was sure the blast doors would hold when Eko was trying to blow them up. How did he know?

.: posted by hornswaggler 12:38 PM

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