To battle through the doldrums of the week, several TMZ staffers compete in a weekly tournament of a game we invented called Dartball. I had never won a Dartball tournament until February 1 -- the day after "Lost" premiered. I have now won four in a row, meaning I am undefeated for as long as "Lost" has been on this year. Coincidence? For all you "Lost" Diary newbies, here's how it goes: I gather with a group of friends watching "Lost," writing what happens on the show as it happens, and throwing in my two cents along the way. I am watching tonight's episode of "Lost" alone as Ari and Lauren had plans, and I had to bail on my friend Stacy because my car wouldn't start after my basketball game tonight, so it's currently sitting outside a 76 gas station on Santa Monica Blvd. Good times. Let's roll ...
9:00 -- Whoa, no previously on "'Lost'" -- that's weird.
9:02 -- It's Desmond flashback time (you can tell by the hair). It's interesting to see we're back to doing flashbacks again.
9:03 -- Wait, Desmond is dreaming about being on the island? Um ...
9:04 -- "Who are you? How do you know my name?" -- Desmond
9:08 -- "Your perception of how long your friends have been gone, it's not necessarily how long they've actually been gone." -- Faraday. How could Jack not press him more on this?
9:10 -- Desmond is clearly suffering from the "side effects" that Faraday spoke of.
9:11 -- Great, are we in for another trippy Desmond flashback? I don't think my brain can handle it.
9:12 -- Desmond is back in the military and having flashes about being on the boat -- which he is currently on. Does anybody have any Advil?
9:13 -- Now he's back on the freighter. Side note: tonight's episode was written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse -- so you know it's going to be a doozy.
9:14 -- "It's happening to you too, isn't it?" -- guy who looks like Tom Hanks in "Philadelphia" but towards the end when it got really bad.
9:18 -- Could you imagine if it were Sayid that went nuts? They'd all be screwed.
9:19 -- Sayid finally calls Jack on the phone, tells everyone Desmond's "condition" and now Faraday is explaining that people can get "confused" going to and from the island. Am I going to need my scientific calculator for this episode?
9:20 -- Desmond's new friend was "just on a ferris wheel."
9:22 -- Back in the Army again, Desmond is calling Penny and she wants nothing to do with him.
9:23 -- Sayid and the Lawnmower man break into the sick bay so that Desmond can talk to Faraday -- and the doc rang the alarm. Causing a ruckus on the boat is not a good idea. Just a guess.
9:24 -- Desmond thinks it's 1996. I was a freshman in college that year, so if it were 1996 I would be totally fine with that.
9:25 -- Faraday just instructed Desmond to, in 1996 mind you, come and find him. After 25 minutes, this episode is an A for sure. WTF is going on? Although, what Desmond is going through does suggest why Faraday is on the mission in the first place.
9:29 -- Faraday is giving Desmond things to say to his past himself so he will believe him when he finds him. More Advil, please.
9:31 -- 1996 Desmond has found 1996 Daniel Faraday and spit back to him all the things he was supposed to say. If anyone is curious, "Back to the Future II" is on HBO on 3/8 at 12:30 PM ET. Just saying ...
9:33 -- Faraday's lab is only like a 5 on the Creepy Lab scale.
9:35 -- Faraday's rat experiment is somehow linked to what is going on with Desmond, since Faraday's rat just ran a maze he hasn't learned how to run yet.
9:37 -- So Tom Hanks in "Philadelphia" guy is Minkowski, the Communications Officer, who tells Desmond that Penelope has been calling the boat. I am starting to realize that I will be of no help as this episode goes on -- I can only ride it as best I can and hope to make some sense of it when it is over.
9:44 -- After a lot of explaining, and some science and what have you, Faraday basically tells Desmond to find Penelope. Did Desmond really need him for that?
9:45 -- Desmond and Sayid are going to break into the communications room, with Minkowski, to call Penny.
9:46 -- "Looks like you guys have a friend on this boat." -- Minkowski. Michael, perhaps?
9:47 -- A journal belonging to the first mate aboard the Black Rock, which was lost at sea, is up for auction. Really? On top of all that I am trying to figure out here you throw the Black Rock at me too? Come on!!! And it belonged to Tovard Hanso!!! Seriously? I can't handle this anymore!!! Make it stop!!! And it's lot 2342!!! Why can't I stop using exclamation marks!!!???
9:48 -- And Penny's dad just bought it.
9:49 -- Penny's dad is back to belittling Desmond, and I kinda find it funny.
9:50 -- I wonder who Penny is with in 1996?
9:51 -- Minkowski is out like a light, bleeding from the nose and grunting, "I can't get back." Not a pretty picture for Desmond, is it?
9:52 --- RIP Minkowski.
9:55 -- 1996 Desmond is out like a light on the floor of a bathroom. It sure seems like the point of this episode is for 1996 Desmond to find 1996 Penny -- but what will he really find when he does? Or better yet, who?
9:56 -- 1996 Desmond is begging 1996 Penny for her number so 2004 Desmond can call 2004 Penny. Easily the most ridiculous sentence I have ever written.
9:57 -- 1996 Desmond just told 1996 Penny that he will call her on December 24, 2004. No joke -- the hairs on the back of my neck just stood up.
9:58 -- Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring ...
9:59 -- "Penny?" -- Desmond
10:00 -- If you're not choked up right now, I'm sorry -- we can't ever be friends.
10:01 -- "If anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be my constant." -- Faraday's journal
Let's get the easy stuff out of the way. This episode gets an A+. It was one of the pantheon, other level, top notch "Lost" episodes of all-time. I will be floored if I get even one email or IM from a friend of mine who didn't flat out love it.
But that's not what this is about. I could sit here and try to decipher what went down in tonight's episode -- and I would fail miserably. I don't think I could come up with any theory that will help explain any of this. I'll leave that to you guys on the message boards.
What this episode is really about is television. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times -- I look down on people who look down on television. In the last year, have any of you seen a movie that topped tonight's episode? "No Country for Old Men" or "The Constant" -- what would you rather watch? Not even close, is it?
Tonight's episode of "Lost" was great, and it reminded me why I love the show -- but more than that it reaffirmed my love of television. It reminded me why I invest years of my life in certain shows. Anyone can sit in a theater for two hours, that's easy. Television is work and "Lost" is the kind of job that makes your wife leave you because you're always at the office and you never have time for her.
But it's all worth it, right?
I choked up at the end of this episode just like everyone who has a pulse who watched tonight's show did. But I'll be honest with you -- I am kind of choked up again right now when I think about the power of television. I always say that my dream job is to be a television critic, but I don't want to call it that. I am a television advocate -- and right now, at this exact moment as I write this (11:43 PM PT) I am reminded again of why.
You and I are going to spend the bulk of our Friday reading and posting comments on this site and asking everyone we know that watches the show, "Oh my God, did you see 'Lost' last night?"
Let's see the movies do that.
Over at thelostdiary.com, I do a question-and-answer column every week. I imagine this week will be good, since I have plenty to discuss this week. But don't feel like you have to ask a straightforward "Lost" question. Have fun with it. Click here to send me a question.