Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Case of the.... Lost - Episode 5-6 Revisited

For the past several weeks I’ve been practically pleading readers to send me e-mails in order to make this column more interesting and interactive. Well, I don’t know if it was a supremely engaging episode or if people responded to the questions I posed in my original episode review, but I’ve never had such a turnout of reader feedback. I truly do appreciate everybody who sent me a message with their thoughts and theories, as it really does make this column easier for me to write, and I would think more enjoyable for everybody to read. So thank you, and keep ‘em coming!

Click the "Read More" link for the full column.

The first e-mail comes from first-time e-mailer Creed. He’s got some great comments, which I will respond to individually:

The date on the photo was 9/23/56 - sadly, only one of THE numbers was used.

I figured it had something to do with the 50's (since we know the military had been there at some point), but when I saw September 20-something, my mind immediately jumped to the day the plane crashed, leaving me to wonder if the government had known full well that our survivors were on the island. That's still a possibility, I suppose, but not one that can be made through this photo.

And while admittedly the name 'Chris Benoit' popped into my head while pondering Aaron's fate, likely the answer is far less sinister. Claire's mother should still be in town, perhaps Kate took her to the child's only other known relative for safekeeping. That's my guess.

I, too, figured that Kate left Aaron to be with his real grandmother. I do have to wonder, though: Is that the end of the Aaron story? What was the purpose of him leaving the island and pretending that he's Kate's son if the story ends in such a jumbled fashion? I'm not judging quite yet, but it's a head scratcher.

I don't think Sayid was arrested on a legitimate charge, I think Ben pulled some strings to have him arrested on a trumped-up charge by federal agents as an excuse to get him on the plane. Brilliant, I say. When some of the people (Kate, for example) were so freaked out about travelling back to the island, I thought Ben should just use tranquilizer darts and not wake them up until they were on the boat heading back (this, of course, was before 316 aired...) The return was inevitable, stalling it out was getting annoying, so I'm VERY glad they just wrapped it up and moved on.

Hurley is anyone's guess, perhaps Ben got to Kate before she arrived at Jack's, causing her to take care of Aaron and go convince Hurley he needed to get out. Not as though the big guy couldn't make bail, but since he doesn't trust Ben - and possibly not Jack - it would have to be Kate, Sun or Sayid who convinced him to leave. Or.. maybe.. Charlie talked him into it, hmm?

I think you're spot-on right about Ben "arranging" for Sayid to get arrested to ensure that he'd be on the flight. I think that's the perfect explanation. Hurley was legitimately shocked to see Ben on the flight, so I don't think Ben got to him. Kate's sudden change of heart was a bit curious. Did it have to do with her promise to Jack that she's always with him? Or did she suddenly feel guilty about leaving people she cares about, like Sawyer and Jin, behind?

Actually, that's something to consider. Just a few episodes ago, we saw a tearful and apologetic Kate pouring her heart out to Sun about how terribly she feels about leaving Jin on the freighter. Now that Sun knows he's alive, maybe SHE got to Kate, and called her out on what she had said. This might also explain why she felt so somber, and why she was so emotionally distant from everybody on the flight.

As we've seen from Heroes, stalling an inevitable story can be extremely dangerous. I was just intrigued by the story of these characters being back in civilization, and (as far as I can tell), that's a story point they can never really return to. I thought they had done a fantastic job with it, as I'm also sure they'll do a fantastic job with the return. I haven't a clue where the story is going, so I'm certainly not going to say that they did it "too soon." I just wouldn't have minded if they held it off a bit longer.

The consoler to Jack, by the way, was Ana-Lucia at the end of Season 1, "Exodus".

I just KNEW it was a character that ended up on the island, I just couldn't for the life of me remember which one. I think this confirms that the consoler from this episode got flashed to the island as well.

I believe besides the Oceanic Six, that odd fellow behind Jack and the 'federal agent' with Sayid might have showed up on the island. (And no, while he looked really familiar, that actor/character has not appeared in previous episodes, I checked to be sure.) I suspect we'll find Sun, Sayid, Ben, Faraday and the others will show up at some point... perhaps they are simply scattered in different locations rather than times, like the tail section people in Season 2. Oh, and I hope, in my poor little dark heart, that we see a return of a different kind for one John Locke...

As indicated in last week’s Revisited column, I would imagine that Locke is now a prophet, similar to Christian’s role. However, based on the previews next week, he seems a lot less cryptic and spiritual. It's almost as if he's, like, literally alive again. I have heard some people theorize that Locke was bitten by one of those paralyzing spiders to fake his death, but I don’t buy that. Aren’t they supposed to only last for a day or so? Locke has been in that coffin for over three days, I believe.

Ben tying up a loose end may have been his visit to Kate, though my money for the blood and injury are that someone employed by Charles Widmore tried to stop him and failed.

Now, for something to think about. We've just put all of our important people back on the island. For several of them, we now have unaccounted-for time and experiences that happened before they got there. Meanwhile, we have our original characters on the island who've apparently joined the Dharma Initiative. Do you know what this means?

We're going back to the beginning of the show, in a way. Back to a time when we were discovering the island, back when we were learning about characters and their backgrounds through flashbacks, to their time prior to coming to the island. And occasionally flashback for people ON the island to explain their time prior to meeting the new arrivals.

And suddenly, seeing Jack 'wake up' in the middle of the jungle, just like in the first moments of "Pilot", has a much deeper significance, wouldn't you say? :)

For a while, people had argued "did we ever actually see the plane crash?" Suggesting that, perhaps, these characters were PLACED on the island, and that they never actually crashed at all. That certainly does add a new level of intrigue to the whole theme of an eye opening and the person waking up in a strange place.

Of course, we've now actually seen the place crash a number of times. Nevertheless, I think the idea of Jack "waking up" in this latest episode is absolutely significant, as is the fact that he "woke up" in the Pilot. By the way, some viewers noticed that there were some disparities in the dialogue between the opening and closing scenes. I had assumed that this was similar to what Heroes often does: They give you an “abridged” version of the scene, before giving you the longer version, which may feature different dialogue altogether. Of course, Lost is a lot more self conscious, so perhaps there’s something to this.

Also, it was observed a few episodes ago that the voice reading out the numbers when Rousseau and her crew landed on the island belonged to Hurley. I haven’t verified this, but with the Oceanic Six (or at least Jack, Kate, and Hurley) arriving during the Dharma Era, this is a distinct possibility.

I've been saying this for a while, but it's very interesting that it appears that these characters are going to be playing an active role in creating the drama that they must endure later (earlier?) in their lives. What I find most interesting, though: If they are in the Dharma Era, and Ben DID flash to the island, it seems entirely probable that he's going to meet his former self (or, at the very least, be on the island at the same time as him). This could have very interesting consequences.

The next e-mail comes from long-time contributor and former InsidePulse writer Andy Campbell, which I have edited somewhat to eliminate redundancies with the previous e-mail:

Hell of an episode, eh? A few thoughts:

I think Ben is all bloody because he killed Penny and got roughed up by Desmond. He said he made a promise to an old friend, and had to tie up a loose end... well, he promised Charles Widmore that he would kill his daughter since Widmore indirectly got Ben's "daughter" killed. That gives Desmond a reason to go back to the Island... to kill Ben.

A lot of fans have been predicting that Ben killed Penny (and possibly baby Charlie) and that Desmond roughed him up. I’m sorry, but if he did kill Penny, there is absolutely no way in HELL that Desmond would nearly beat Ben up and break his arm. Desmond would rip him to shreds. If Ben did get to Penny (and that’s a big “IF”) my guess is that Widmore’s goons got to Ben. If that’s what happened, then yes, I do believe they will use this as the motivator to have Desmond return to the island.

One thing I will say, though: Despite his injuries, Ben did appear to be oddly content. Possibly even a sense of accomplishment.

I am also guessing that Jack got Kate pregnant the night before the flight, and thus she is acting as Claire's proxy on the flight.

I’ll admit that I didn’t initially think of this possibility, and I’m totally into it. Yes, I do believe that Kate is pregnant and acts as Claire’s proxy. Interesting factoid: If Kate is pregnant with Jack’s baby, her unborn child – much like Aaron – has ¼ of Christian Shephard’s DNA. I’d say that’s a pretty accurate talisman.

Also, if I'm not mistaken, Ben headed to the bathroom just before the crash (like Charlie did originally), and Jack read Locke's letter (as Sawyer read his "Sawyer" letter originally).

I don’t recall if Ben leaves to go to the bathroom (I know he excuses himself, but I’m not positive if that’s where he goes), but you are correct about Jack/Sawyer re: their letters. Great observation – and I love the idea of Jack being Sawyer’s proxy. Oh, the irony.

My one issue with the whole "proxy" idea, however, is that it’s already been established that proxies are necessary, even for people who never left the island (the federal agent, Charlie, Christian, etc.) So, theoretically, shouldn't 50 somewhat people on that flight be transported to the island, should they bear any coincidental resemblance to one of the many no-name red shirts that were killed throughout the last four seasons? If there's an actress on the plane, shouldn't she be sent to the island (since Nikki was an actress)? I understand that with Hurley purchasing all of those empty seats, we won’t have 60-somewhat people sent to the island, but still. In the Lost universe, Jack and co. weren’t the only Oceanic survivors on that island (just ask Artz). I guess one could argue that the proxies only apply to people directly related to the Oceanic Six, but I do hope this is explained in some capacity.

Since they are now in the 1970s Dharma era of the Island, maybe it will be that a young Charlotte learns Korean from Jin and/or Sun.

Yeah, a lot of people seem to be reading into the whole Jin/Charlotte connection. I wouldn’t mind if this happened, but I’m just not sure what the purpose would be. Like, why would they teach her Korean in the first place? Just so that she can translate for them later in life?

Next up is regular reader Dan:

Who do you think built the station to find the island? Did the handwriting on the chalkboard match Daniel's? Also, I thought it was strange they didn't need Aaron on the plane. Maybe Kate is pregnant.

I didn’t notice the handwriting on the wall – anybody want to offer their assistance here?

It is a bit odd that Aaron wasn’t necessary, but maybe the Powers that Be (Ben? Ms. Hawking?) decided that Aaron was an acceptable loss in order to get Kate on the plane. Perhaps Kate made a deal with them: She’d shack up with Jack and get pregnant, allowing her unborn child to take his place. If that’s what she did, this would bring up an interesting moral dilemma, as she’d essentially be knowingly putting her ACTUAL child in danger in order to keep her fake son safe.

Of course, there are many fans out there who are wondering why characters like Walt didn’t need to be on the flight, either. I’m reserving judgment until we see this week’s new episode, but what I find most interesting is the fact that I fail to see how the Oceanic Six returning will fix anything. Truth be told, Jack and crew leaving had nothing to do with the time travel trippiness that put their lives in danger. It was Ben not setting the donkey wheel in the lock (Locke?) position. And whose fault was that? Well, Locke’s. He was the one who relayed Jacob’s order, and he was the one who delegated it to somebody else. How does the Oceanic Six even fit into this equation? Like I insinuated, I’m sure we’ll find out this week.

This message comes from Kyle, who commented on my blog:

For what it's worth, while Locke and Sayid at least are a safe assumption, if you were talking about previews for next week, I believe that was supposed to be previews showing Locke's time off the island, and don't confirm if him, Sayid, or the Marshal actually did make it or not.

I think it’s safe to say that all of the major players – as well as the new side characters that were introduced – end up on the island. The question isn’t so much if, as much as “when” (to sound like a cliche).

Now, let’s take a look at some interesting comments left on the EW website:

Loved the literal refrences
Jack literally taking a leap of faith into the water in the opening scene.
Locksicle literally walking in Christian's shoes, Doubting Thomas literally poking Jesus's wound where Jack had his apendecomy.

Nothing super deep here, but I thought these observations were great. Sometimes all of us are paying so much attention to those minute details that we miss the more explicit examples of symbolism. I am especially fond of the way Locke has become Christian’s proxy by literally filling his shoes.

One moment I thought very intersting was the morning after with Kate and Jack when Kate asks Jack (refering to his dad's shoes) why he holds on to something that makes him so sad...
Yes and then she left, and on the plane told Jack that they weren't together. Since arriving home, Jack appears to have only made Kate sad, and something tells me that emotinally she's let him go.
I also thought it could be an allusion to the island itself, to Jack's wife, or even to Jack's daddy issues. In fact, the line really sums Jack up nicely. He holds on to lots of things that make him sad.

This observation doesn’t really require any additional insight, I just thought it was a very poignant point. Jack is most definitely a flawed hero and undoubtedly has a Messiah complex. He’s constantly placing himself in unhappy or unpleasant situations so that he can save somebody. When he was removed from this situation, his life essentially fell apart. He does hold onto things that make him sad, because as his dad noted in one of the earliest episodes (I’m paraphrasing here), Jack needs to have something to fix.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got tonight. Thank you so much for the overwhelming feedback, it really did help me with this column. Enjoy the new episode!

Also: Watch the latest episode of Lost! Untangled:

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