Lost Top Fives, Part 3
With the strike-induced hiatus causing massive withdrawals in fanatics of ABC's hit show Lost, I find my mind constantly dwelling on the show. For this reason, I've decided that I shall spend this week on a new set of top fives, all centered around Lost. Before I get right on into it, though, know that there are massive spoilers in store for you if you haven't been keeping up with the show. So, without further ado, here are my top fives for Lost.
Top 5 Least Favorite Minor Characters
I will admit that coming up with a list of least favorite characters on Lost is a lot harder than coming up with a list of favorites. For one thing, there may be a character that is totally dispicable, like Ben, but who is a perfect addition to the cast. A character can be a terrible human being and still be good for the show, so I had to think of characters who simply irk me whenever they appear on screen. Oftentimes, it is a combination of a poorly written character and a substandard acting performance that earns someone a place on this list.
|Artz had something to show her|
It’s good I can get this out of the way right at the start: Nikki and Paolo were clearly one of the Lost writers’ biggest mistakes. However, the idea of bringing background characters to the forefront and using them for clever storytelling is not, in itself, a bad idea. It could have worked, and worked well, but the writers decided to shove these characters at us at the most inopportune time—during that brief hiccup of a mini-season that started season three, when the audience was anxious to see what all the characters we knew and loved (other than Jack, Kate, and Sawyer) were doing—and they decided to make them rude, abrasive, and annoying characters.
The first time we see Nikki, who is more annoying than Paolo (but more fun to look at, at least), is when Hurley returns to camp. Keep in mind that, at this point, Libby’s grave hasn’t settled, and Hurley has just witnessed her murderer being set free, not to mention the fact that his friends were just kidnapped by the others. As the lovable Hurley sulks into camp with his sad puppy dog eyes to update the camp, Nikki pops out of nowhere and bitches, “And when were you gonna tell us this, Hurley?”
I could cite several more examples of Nikki and Paolo being abrasive and unwelcome, but the main fact is that their characters were awful and unpleasant. There were some redeeming qualities to them in the episode “Exposé,” many of which unfortunately wound up on the cutting room floor, but ultimately, the best way the writers could make up for giving us these horrible characters was to put them in the ground. Which they did.
|She was such a useful plot device she got a postmortem flashback, which was great for the writers since they didn't have to bother giving her present day self any character to go with it|
Later that same season, we are introduced to Naomi Dorrit, the helicopter pilot who crashes to the island with Desmond’s picture in her Portuguese copy of Catch-22. Her character delivers the bombshell that Flight 815 was found in the real world and that everybody on board is confirmed dead, something that rightfully surprises the survivors of Flight 815. She also provides a handy-dandy plot device, the satellite phone, makes several snap judgments about the castaways, and is unceremoniously murdered by John Locke.
Though not particularly fond of her at this point, she makes my list because of her appearances in the current season. She magically comes back to life in the season premiere, only to die again. This rebirth seems to only serve as a way to warn the freighties that the castaways aren’t trustworthy, but that plot point accomplishes nothing except some yelling from Miles in the following episode.
And, in that episode, Naomi’s corpse is given a flashback in which we are meant to believe that Naomi was sent to the island as a covert operative leader to accomplish some nefarious and unnamed deed that, clearly, she was unable to do. It becomes clear a few episodes later that, upon arriving at the freighter, she was completely unwary of the shifty-eyed and nervous spy who came aboard the ship, even showing him—without question—the conspicuosly large crate that was delivered for him.
All in all, I see Naomi’s character as a pointless means to an end, a one-dimensional plot device that doesn’t even make sense.
|Talk about your mixed signals...|
Danny Pickett is a belligerent, angry man who resorts to violence as a first resort. This doesn’t necessarily make him a bad character, but unfortunately it is the only thing that defines him. Sure, he’s an other who is married to the equally shallow Colleen, whom Sun kills with a trademark shot to the gut, but he is a belligerent, angry man even before Colleen dies. His whole mission in life seems to be to beat up on prisoners, and eventually he appoints himself Sawyer’s executioner.
Not only is this man horribly unpleasant and remorseless, but the actor who plays him doesn’t offer any shades of grey or intrigue to the character. He is a simpleton, and like most characters on this list, I find him to be a lazy writer’s means to an end, not an interesting character who could have contributed to the show.
|She's a much better angry bitch in Rescue Me|
By far the biggest exemplar of this is another other, Harper Stanhope, who appeared—almost literally out of nowhere—to move along the plot of this season’s underwhelming “The Other Woman.” She is supposedly a psychiatrist, but we see her being icy and mean to Juliet before Juliet even meets (much less sleeps with) Harper’s husband, Goodwin.
One of the things that annoys me about the introduction of this new character is that the writers didn’t need to come up with somebody new to achieve what the episode set out to achieve. They could have used Isabel, the “sheriff” who sat in judgment over Juliet in the third season. Finding out that Isabel was Goodwin’s wife would have been a great twist, would have added more weight to her scenes in the earlier episode, and wouldn’t have required selling the audience on this new character who is important but had never been mentioned before. Unfortunately, the writers decided that Isabel died during the beach raid at the end of season three, even though she isn’t seen in a single frame of that assault, so I guess they couldn’t use her.
Another thing that annoys me about Harper is that I know the actress who plays her, Andrea Roth, is capable of doing far more acting than the episode allowed. Her character is reduced to stony death stares and monotone demands, and there’s nothing about that that’s interesting.
But Harper is not my least favorite character to be introduced in the new season of Lost. That honor goes to Miles Straume, the shady, money-hungry ghostbuster with a bad attitude who is first introduced taking money from an old woman so that he can take more money from her dead grandson. He is as insulting and unpleasant as Sawyer (in fact, the show even addresses the fact that the character is something of a clone), but without the charm, haircut, or anger management. He spends every moment he is on the show bitching sarcastically about what’s going on, and it’s clear that even the other characters on the show don’t like him. The best thing to happen to him so far, in fact, is Locke shoving a live grenade in his mouth.
And the fact that he speaks to the dead makes his character that much more annoying to me. Sure, Lost is not known for avoiding the pseudo-scientific, but Miles is such a horror genre cliché that I don’t see how he possibly fits into the show’s style. It’s as if the character were written for The X-Files, but they never used him so somebody covertly inserted him into Lost.
Still, I suppose someone who talks to the dead could be useful on the show, since there are an awful lot of dead people on the island. But, naturally, the writers have not used him for this purpose. So far, he is nothing but a glorified hostage, delivering outdated information while trying to extort money and hold a grenade in his mouth.
I just don’t like him, either as a character or as an addition to the show, and I roll my eyes whenever he pops onscreen. That’s why he’s my number one pick as least favorite minor character.
Top 5 Least Favorite Major Characters
This list will be far more controversial, and I’d like to first address the fact that four out of five of my picks are women. This is not because I dislike women characters, but because I think the women on Lost are, for the most part, poorly written characters. The primary female lead, Kate, did not make this list, because for all her unrepentant craziness, she at least feels like a real person. Note that nearly all of Lost’s lead female characters, though, including Kate, are manipulative people. Claire is the only real exception, and I’d like to note that Claire is a very well-written character (her current lack of Charlie mourning notwithstanding).
|Do you really want to leave THIS GUY in charge?|
But there is one character on this list who is male, and that is Jack. Yes, that’s right, I put the main character of the show on my list of least favorite characters.
In the beginning, Jack makes sense. He is driven, angsty, hypocritical, and fatally flawed, but he is also, at his heart, a caring human being who is trying to do the right thing. He is tormented by his past, mostly concerning the things that happened between Jack and his father and Jack and his wife, but he lets himself be the leader without remorse. He gives speeches that occasionally bring people together, keeps things under as much control as he can, and is, all-in-all, a well-written character.
In the second season, his anger at Locke, which first appeared in the first season (with good reason), becomes almost irrational. This still makes sense, from a certain standpoint, as you can look at Jack as the angry scientist who not only refuses to have faith in things (like the button, or to drop that metaphor, God), but gets belligent towards those who do have faith. As this is the primary philosophical conflict of the second season, it makes sense for Jack’s character to take that road, even after it is revealed in the premiere that Jack once witnessed a bonafide miracle (the marriage that resulted from that miracle fell apart, of course, further justifying Jack’s anger at all things mystical).
However, in the third season, Jack’s character stops making sense. During the 6-episode arc at the beginning of the season, he is still the same and is even heroic in his actions after witnessing Sawyer and Kate’s naked snuggle session in the bear cage. But then, once among the others, Jack’s character short circuits. He stops caring about the castaways, growing more and more obsessed with getting off the island, playing football with Tom, and scoring some alone time with Juliet. Even after he returns to the beach camp, he is terribly distant and unhelpful to those he once lead, to the point that—with the exception of Kate—nobody comes to him anymore. So, in the end, he makes one last attempt at being a hero by hatching a plan that—though it miraculously works—makes absolutely no logical sense and seems motivated more by his selfish desire to get off the island than any need to help his fellow losties.
Strained, but not totally unsalvagable, Jack’s character goes into the fourth season joyful and cocky that he has managed to secure rescue. He tells Kate he loves her, only to go around kissing Juliet behind her back, and he is still so angry at Locke that he tries to kill him with a gunshot wound to the face, even though rescue is seemingly at hand. It is this last part that stretches Jack to his breaking point, because Jack has never been an unrepentant, cold-blooded killer—he lives with too much remorse to cross that line. Somehow, the caring side of Jack is gone, leaving only a character made up of flaws, and that no longer makes him a good, well-written character.
Perhaps the writers will redeem him, somehow, in future episodes, but for now, I think Jack belongs here, on this list.
|She's such a lying liar who lies!|
My next entry is probably just as controversial. Sun is something of a beloved character, and like Jack, I thought she was a well-written one in the first season. However, as the writers have added twist upon twist to her backstory, I find myself liking her less and less. What endears you to her in the beginning is her seeming innocence at the hands of a mysoginistic husband, but the writers did a masterful job of turning that dynamic on its head, showing how Jin is far more sympathetic than we ever imagined and how Sun is not as innocent as we believed.
When Sun finds out she is pregnant, she is urged by Jack to tell the whole truth (Jack, in true hypocrite fashion, tells a complete lie with his next line), and seems genuinely moved. However, once she tearfully spills the beans to Jin and lets him in on one of her many, many secrets, she not only fails to mention that Jae Lee might be the real father, but she out and out lies when she assures Jin that there never was another man. We don’t realize this is a lie until later, when we see her in bed with Jae Lee in a flashback, but once we know that, all our sympathies and tugged heartstrings from the earlier episode are revealed to be the manipulations of a lying woman.
Further, we find out Sun is actually responsible for everything that happened to Jin at the hands of her father. Every time we feel bad at how Jin treats her or sympathy for why she was unfaithful in their marriage, we are being manipulated by the lies at the heart of Sun’s character. What’s worse is that we see Sun judging him for how he behaves, when she herself is the reason he behaves that way. She cheats on him because of what she did to him, plans to leave him because she made him into something other than the man she married. She has absolutely no right to judge Jin or get angry at him for anything, because she has never told him the whole truth, and if she did, it would completely destroy him, because Sun-Hwa Kwon is the most unforgivable, manipulative succubus you can imagine.
Granted, none of this is a mark against the writers or Yunjin Kim’s amazing acting job. I just don’t like seeing her on the screen because I hate her so much now. If it weren’t for the fact that her character is still a natural fit for the show, I’d have put the bitch on the number one spot as my least favorite major character.
|She's almost as emotional as an umbrella|
I don’t have nearly as much to say about Juliet, because the reason she’s on this list is because I am tired of her. At first, her shady alliances and questionable behavior are wholly appropriate for the show, but as that aspect of her drags on through multiple dull flashbacks, her icy stares and emotionless exterior become less and less believable, not to mention her completely unexplained kung fu talents.
Whether she’s still working for Ben, wittingly or unwittingly, working with Jack to get off the island, or has her own secret agenda, I just don’t care anymore. Her character has faded completely into the background for me, and every time she pops up to deliver a line of dialogue, I want her to just shut up and sit back down.
|Her life is just so, like, hard|
Shannon is another character I was okay with in the beginning. Don’t get me wrong—I hated her guts—but she felt like a real character to me, and perhaps I loved to hate her. She even reminds me, to this day, of a horrible roommate I once had. But, unlike that roommate, Shannon is pretty hot and likes to lie around in a skimpy bikini.
Her character, though, is completely one-dimensional and irredeemable. This isn’t a problem in the show until the writers ask us to sympathize with her or understand why Sayid, a man who is deeply in love with the lost Nadia, would find her even remotely interesting. Shannon’s flashbacks reveal that she is terribly spoiled (surprise, surprise) and that she was denied the chance at a presitigious dancing internship because her stepmother was almost as much of a bitch as she was. Cry me a friggin river!
Let’s just say that, when Shannon died, I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to put up with her any longer.
|The only way I can explain her pregnancy is artificial insemination|
And that’s the most redeeming thing Ana-Lucia Cortez ever did. Ana-Lucia is the tough-as-nails female cop who likes the feel of a gun in her hand. She gets all crazy with power, is too chickenshit to hold on to any sort of hope, and nearly leads the tail-section survivors of Flight 815 to extinction.
In her flashbacks, we find out how she likes to take the law into her own hands, how she uses her gun and her power to deal with any situation that stresses her out, how she likes to run away from everything else, and how her mother likes ruining surprises. On the island, we see her torture an innocent man, bark orders at people, take a radio from lovable Bernard, shoot Shannon because of her own shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later cowardice, beat people up, fail to come up with any cohesive plan that doesn’t involve tying someone up, and pretend to be a hardcore badass even though she can’t possibly weigh more than a buck twenty.
Also, Michelle Rodriguez can’t act. She plays exactly the same cliché and annoying character in everything she appears in. She’s whiny and abrasive, and the few times she tries to act like a human being, it just appears fake. Maybe I’m wrong, Michelle, but I think you need to find another line of work.
Oh, and don’t drink and drive. That’s really, really not cool.
Top 5 Favorite Minor Characters
Okay, enough bashing. I feel bad after saying so many negative things about my favorite show, especially after all the grief I give people for being overly critical in fan forums. Let’s talk about my favorite characters now, the ones that I love to see on screen.
|"Aren't you from that movie, The Others?"|
In “Flashes Before Your Eyes,” the episode that introduces us to the time-travelling aspects of Desmond’s story arc, we see Desmond experiencing his own flashback-within-a-flashback (he’s telling the story to Charlie about what happened when he turned the failsafe key and went to the past). He vaguely remembers his future, but continues to do the things he remembers doing in the present (past?), including a trip to a jewelry shop to buy an engagement ring for his love, Penelope Widmore.
Originally, as he remembers it, he didn’t buy the ring, chickening out at the last minute and then breaking up with Penny. This time, however, he decides he’s going to buy the ring, and that’s when the woman behind the jewelry counter, known in the script as “Ms. Hawking,” calls Desmond by his name and tells him he doesn’t buy the ring. When Desmond naturally replies with a confused question about how she knew his name, Ms. Hawking delivers this awesome monologue:
Well, I know your name as well as I know that you that don't ask Penny to marry you. In fact, you break her heart. Well, breaking her heart is, of course, what drives you in a few short years from now to enter that sailing race -- to prove her father wrong -- which brings you to the island where you spend the next 3 years of your life entering numbers into the computer until you are forced to turn that failsafe key. And if you don't do those things, Desmond David Hume, every single one of us is dead. So give me that sodding ring!
She goes on to give Desmond an illustrative and philosophical lecture about the nature of fate and free will, and though Desmond does take the ring, he ultimately breaks up with Penny and throws the ring away, securing that future events still happen and paradox is avoided.
We later see her in a picture on the desk of a monk in Desmond’s past, and that monk says some of the same things, which indicates that somehow, Ms. Hawking and this monk are both related, are both carefully monitoring Desmond, and are both working to preserve the timeline in some fashion. With her enigmatic and mind-blowing character and the wonderful performance by the acting veteran Fionnula Flanagan, Ms. Hawking—regardless of the fact that she appears in only a single episode—is one of my favorite characters on Lost.
|"So... come here often?"|
“Ethan Rom” is an anagram for “Other Man,” which is relevant as Ethan Rom is the first “other” introduced in the show. He appears as a seemingly irrelevant minor character when he appears a few episodes before the discovery that his name is not on the Flight 815 manifest. Then, with the cat out of the bag, his demeanor turns ugly and he single-handedly kidnaps both Charlie and a pregnant Claire.
The losties persue him, but Ethan beats the living snot out of Jack, threatens to kill one of his hostages, and then, when Jack refuses to give up, hangs Charlie by the neck to a gigantic tree. Of course, Charlie survives, Ethan gets away with Claire, and a few episodes later, Claire inexplicably returns. Afterward, Ethan comes to take her back, and Charlie winds up shooting him several times in the torso, killing him.
Surprisingly, though, this is not the last we see of Ethan. We see him frequently, in flashback form, and his character has been revealed to be an important other, a surgeon who also occasionally leaves the island.
What makes him such an awesome character is not only his mystique, but the absolutely brilliant acting of William Mapother. He is ridiculously creepy, but oddly mesmerizing, and here’s hoping we continue to see him play a role on the show.
|It's all got something to do with a candle, a wick, and hollow wax...|
The next man on this list is even more mysterious. He only appears in short instructional videos for the Dharma Initiative or as host to a strange computer program in the Flame Station. Sometimes, he is sporting a prosthetic arm, and his name keeps changing to things like Mark Wickmund and Edgar Hallowax. In the Orchid video, which hasn’t actually been on the show, he identifies himself as an actor and freaks out when something strange happens with a numbered bunny.
All we know is that this man is the face of Dharma, as it is shown to its members. He guides them through their life and work on the island, and is likely one of the few people who knows what’s really going on with the Initiative. I’m guessing we’ll see more of this perplexing man, and I’m guessing we’ll eventually learn what’s up with the fake arm and rotating pseudonyms.
|She likes the little Cheech, if you know what I mean|
Hurley’s mother, the devoutly Catholic Carmen Reyes, makes me laugh harder than any other recurring character. Whether she’s answering calls from Jesus asking what color car Hurley wants, chiding Hurley about watching “those g-string mujeres,” or covering the ears of her golden Jesus statuette to explain to her son that she has needs, her delivery is always hysterically funny.
Besides, she’s married to Cheech.
Tom "Mr. Friendly"
|Now we know the others don't discriminate based on sexual preference|
When we first meet Tom, he seems like a friendly fisherman with a huge Z.Z. Top beard come to help rescue Michael and the other castaways on their makeshift raft. However, after exchanging a few cordial lines of smalltalk, he announces that they are “gonna have to take the boy.” He then kidnaps Walt while his cronies shoot Sawyer and blow up the raft.
In the second season, we see more of Tom, discover that his beard is fake, and learn that he is a spokesman of sorts for the others. He draws the line the castaways aren’t supposed to cross, after delivering the memorable lines, “This is our island,” and “Light ‘em up!”
In the third season, he seems friendlier than ever, probably the most friendly of all the others. Unfortunately, he gets a run-in with Sawyer who decides to shoot him in the gut. Even though Tom is technically a villain, I was sad to see him die.
Top 5 Favorite Major Characters
Of all these lists, this one was by far the hardest to narrow down. I listed all of my favorites before axing a few to make as concise a list as possible. Then, convinced I could whittle it down no more, I counted how many I had and discovered there were over a dozen. Therefore, while I forced myself to come up with a Top 5, there are many characters who do not appear here that are worthy of recognition.
|If I could be as smooth as this guy, I wouldn't be writing about some TV show on my blog|
Including an Iraqi, and a former Republican Guard at that, took balls when forming this show, considering the times. Immediately, the show brings the middle-easterner-on-a-plane post-911 stigma into the forefront, addressing it right away with Sawyer’s racist accusations that Sayid is responsible for the crash. After dealing with it, though, the show pushes it into the background, only bringing it up once or twice when we see flashbacks of Sayid in the airport or infiltrating an Australian terror cell.
But, unlike a more politically correct show like Star Trek (don’t get me wrong—I’m a great big Trekkie), the writers do not make Sayid the most redeemable of characters. He is a torturer and a murderer, and his past is not without its fair share of darkness. Though he is one of the good guys on the show, he is not always the most moral, and that’s what makes him interesting.
He’s the biggest bad-ass on the show—capable of killing a man in more ways than anyone should be—and also one of the smartest characters on the island, if not the smartest. He seems to always be able to piece together what’s going on, plan ahead, and act appropriately. Through his vast knowledge of electronics and engineering, he is able to act as the show’s Professor Hinkley, but through his experience in war, he is also the resident information extractor. In the future, he even becomes an assassin. Interestingly, though, he is also a romantic, motivated almost exclusively by his love for long-lost Nadia.
|He sure can take a pummeling|
Benjamin Linus knows all about Sayid Jarrah’s torture techniques. When he is first introduced—as Henry Gale—Sayid immediately questions whether or not he is “one of them.” With no better options open to him, Sayid convinces Locke to let him do his magic on Ben, and it is the first of many times that Ben gets beat up.
Still, no matter how many times he is captured by the castaways or beaten into submission, Ben always has the upper hand. He is the master manipulator and creepy megalomaniac who leads the others, and his powers seem to know no limits.
It is impossible to talk about how great the character is without mentioning Michael Emerson, the actor who plays him, as he embues Benjamin Linus with life. Any time he finds himself in a seen with Terry O’Quinn, who plays Locke, the two revel in their characters and their interaction in a way that is almost magical.
|I'm supposed to tell you that Mr. Eko let me live|
Another character who interacts well with Locke is Mr. Eko, the Nigerian warlord-turned-priest. He brings to the show questions of religious faith and the nature of forgiveness. His is a fascinating backstory, with some of the most brilliant effects work by the Lost crew. Somehow, they turned Hawaii into Nigeria, and made it believable.
But Mr. Eko, the frightening and wise, steals every scene he’s in. He can be brutally violent, but is also a poignant and thoughtful storyteller. He gives Locke a foil, gives Charlie a purpose, and gives Ana-Lucia something resembling a heart, but he also gives the writers a lot of ideas, connections, and stories to play with, making him one of the most fruitful and fascinating characters on the series.
|All that time travelling has got to give a brutha a headache|
Desmond is another great character. Introduced at the start of season two, as the answer to the burning question about what’s in the hatch, Desmond is a guy driven crazy by three years of button-pushing at the Swan Station. His backstory is a tragic one, as he has been denied the chance to be with his love, Penelope Widmore, either by his own machinations or those of her father, Charles Widmore.
On the island, Desmond becomes a seer of the future and an unwilling time traveller. He offers insight, though bleek and occasionally cynical, but always tries to act in a way that benefits those around him. Though he has trouble overcoming his own cowardice, he is not the coward he believes himself to be, as can be proved by his almost self-flagellistic sacrifices for the greater good.
Desmond is the most romantic of all the characters, and his story reflects that. Also, he is one of the many characters named after a philosopher. Without going into too much detail, David Hume was a Scottish philosopher whose theories laid the groundwork for the philosophies of causation, as well as offering insight into utilitarianism, the idea that a person will always work for the benefit of all mankind rather than just his or her self. He attempted to disprove the existence of God as well as explain how emotion and sensory perception are more important than reason, and one of his primary influences was John Locke.
|Definitely the best character on the show|
The real John Locke was a 17th Century Enlightenment thinker who believed that people are born with a clean slate, that people should hold power over authority, that individuals have rights to the fruits of their own labor, and that reason is the path to God. Locke is considered one of the most important philosophers of all time, and for good reason; his ideas inspired the American and French revolutions, and can be seen as the seeds of modern Western civilization.
On Lost, the character of John Locke isn’t all that different from his namesake. He spends a lot of time in the first season telling people that they have the chance to start over with a blank slate, uses reason and anectdote to come to a consensus about what his fellow castaways should do next, and has a strong faith in a somewhat pagan form of God. This makes Locke one of the deepest characters on the show, but he is also the most torn by his contradictions.
Locke is unfortunately an easy man to manipulate, as shown repeatedly by his con of a father, Anthony Cooper, and even moreso by the demon-tongued Benjamin Linus. In the first season, Locke becomes a warrior and prophet, and his character is by far the most interesting and provocative. In the second season, he has a major crisis of faith that forever changes him. In the third season, he becomes the hunter again, but this time he is driven by an almost psychotic need to keep people from leaving the island. In the current season, Locke is at his hardest to defend, as he has chosen to become a dictator rather than the democratic leader he should be.
However, Locke is absolutely critical to the future of the island, and I’m convinced his character arc is the most important on the show. His actions aren’t always easy to understand or justify, but in the end, I think he’ll be revealed as the true hero who knows more about what’s going on than anyone else. Unfortunately, his archetype and his nature suggests he won’t survive in the end.
-e. magill 04/16/2008
Check out the other installments:
Most shocking Moments
|PART 4:||Most Underwhelming Episodes|
Most Underappreciated Episodes