Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Midside: S4E10 Something Nice Back Home

No, not something nice back home, not something nice on the island, not something nice at all, wherever it occurs, whenever it occurs. What am I referring to? The utterly painful imagery that the opening of this episode was. You see, I turned into ABC about five minutes early. Rather than continuing to play my new Wii, I figured that I would just wait for LOST to start, because if I kept playing, I would surely lose track of time and miss the opening to the episode. What I found on ABC was the end of Gay’s Anatomy.

Yes, I know the changing of the word Grey’s to Gay’s is neither mature nor clever, but that condition is what makes it perfect to describe the shallow show. Surprisingly, I handled the small bit of suffering well. I decided I was going to begin this column, and every subsequent column, with a Gay’s update (the main character was told by the character with a spin off not to let the doctor the both love stay with a third woman I never had the [dis]pleasure of seeing, I’m more confused writing that summary than I ever am watching LOST). However, the opening five minutes of LOST were so jarring, that my idea was obsolete. I would begin the column how I am beginning it now. (This is all so meta.)

First, we were greeted with the realization that this episode was a Jack flash forward. Ok, I could deal with that too. From last week’s previews, I had a pretty good idea it would be a Jack episode. There are always Jack episodes, and sometimes they don’t suck. Then, Jack gets out of bed and puts away some unknown woman’s underwear. Great, just what I need, another Stranger in a Strange Land. Jack tries to have a romantic relationship and screws it up because he’s too much of a douchebag. PUT IT ON ME! Is that some kind of S&M thing, Jack? Yawn, we’ve seen it before.

To make matters worse, Jack opens the newspaper and what is one of the biggest headlines, at least the one my eyes were drawn to? “Yankees bludgeon Sox in series.” Initially, I was confused. Are the flash forwards an alternative universe? The Yankees are still a good team, but they haven’t really pulled anything over the Red Sox since the 90s. Then I remember two series in Boston that the Yankees swept the Red Sox, one in August 2006 (5-0) and one in August 2007 (3-0). The 2006 series would fit more with the use of the verb “bludgeon” in the headline and with the supposed date of the Through The Looking Glass flashforward (April 2007). Regardless, I’m thoroughly convinced someone on the writing staff is a Yankees fan and has been inserting Yankees references this season because they can’t deal with how good the Red Sox are now. Remember how they also made Frank a Yankees fan. It’s annoying, but also funny in a way. If that’s how Yankees fans need to make themselves feel better, I’m cool with it. We’ll just keep winning World Series. Now, let’s just hope the Celtics can pull out Game 7 against the Hawks.

Then the worst of all happened. After trying to conceal who the woman in Jack’s house was by disguising her voice in the shower, she emerged from the shower to show us she is Kate. I was floored. Has this been the plan from day one? The scene was clearly a throwback to the awkward Hatch shower scene from season two. Regardless of if it was planned or not, it was still good writing…and I was still incensed. I take my friend on the west coast “NOOOOO.” It was the first time I sent her a semi-spoiler, completely breaking my LOST code, but she later told me it prepared her for the episode, so I think I did a greater good with the move. I, on the other hand, was forced to suffer through nearly an entire episode of Jack-assery.

PUT IT ON ME!

Look, I’m not saying Jack doesn’t have his moment. My dislike for him doesn’t solely come from his intentions. Sometimes, he does have good intentions (although, the road to hell is pave with good intentions). The main problem with Jack is his ridiculously obsessive nature. He can’t let anything go. Ever. Sometimes, the inability to let things go makes a good leader. Bill Belichick is as obsessive as they come. When it comes to the Xs and Os of football strategy, he doesn’t let anything go. At the end of every practice, the team runs through situations, preparing themselves for every possibility. Nothing can slip through the cracks. But you know what his obsessive nature has cost Bill? His wife. A positive public opinion. The ability to do anything else with his life. He eats, sleeps, and breathes football and probably not much else, if anything at all.

For those of you keep score out there, yes, I did just compare Jack, a character I hate, to Bill Belichick, a coach who I deeply admire for his commitment to the game and what he has done for the Patriots franchise. Hey, this is The Midside. What’s fair is fair. Jack isn’t all bad.

No, he’s not all bad, but he’s still the biggest Jack-ass on the island. I mean, he needed an appendectomy and he refused to be knocked out. He needed to use a mirror to see what was going on! It’s not as if the surgery was complex. He wasn’t having open heart surgery. Although, it would be funny if he was and he refused to be knocked out for it. I WANT TO FEEL IT WHEN YOU CRACK MY RIBS! No, it was a common routine surgery and he couldn’t let Juliet, an accomplished doctor, do her thing. He couldn’t trust her to take care of business. He can’t ever trust anything. Say what you will about Belichick, but at least he trusts Tom Brady. Who is Jack’s Brady? If he truly loved Kate, it would be her, but, clearly, she’s only his nurse.

I don’t even know how to describe what occurred over most of the episode, the flashforward and on island time. Suddenly, Juliet feels as if Jack was kissing her to prove something to himself (that he didn’t love Kate), rather than actually kissing Juliet. I suppose the assertion makes sense in a way. The Jack/Juliet kiss did kind of suck, but so has every Jack and whoever kiss, except for in this episode.

I’m not going to complain about seeing Kate in her underwear. Heck, at times, that was the only thing keeping me going in the episode. I just have to ask, who walks around like that, especially in the middle of the day? The whole thing seemed like some fantasy in Jack’s head, which I suppose was Hurley’s point in their little meeting. It wasn’t real. And here’s where the end of the episode saved everything for me.

It was inevitable that Jack was doing to degenerate into his doucebaggery. He always does. It’s a regular as the sun rising and setting. However, what the writers didn’t have to do was make his douchebaggery be the end of the relationship, but they did. From day one, I’ve been saying that Jack and Kate is based on a lie, a flash premise. It’s about their own shortcomings (what they wish they could seem themselves as), rather than what they are. Kate wishes she was “good enough” for a doctor. Jack wishes he was “good enough” to save Kate. Well, this entire episode was them wishing they were good enough, and actually loved each other enough, to have a family together. But, the family was literally based on a lie. Aaron isn’t their son. Jack acknowledged this when he screamed, “You’re not even related to him!” Then, he wouldn’t let the whole “who did Kate do a favor for?” thing go, proving that Sawyer is still the elephant in the room. Remember how Kate had to leave Mal in I Do because she just couldn’t have that perfect life? The same thing happened her. Mal was a cop. Jack is a doctor. Life was the way it’s “supposed to be.” Supposed to be doesn’t work for Kate. It doesn’t work for any of these characters. That truth is one of the guiding principles of the show.

The final scene of Through the Looking Glass is starting to make a lot more sense. I still don’t know if Jack was right and they do still have to go back, but Jack does need to go back. The island is the only place where life makes sense for him. But we knew that. What we now know is why Kate was crying. She was crying because she finally realized that she can’t have that “supposed to be” life. She had the guy who wouldn’t become a douchebag (Mal in I Do) and now the other guy, who she had built up in her mind, is a douchebag. He’s addicted to pen medicine, a drunk, and wishing planes would crash. And if he does go back, you know who Kate has to face? Herself, and that’s the scariest thing of all to her.

(Note: I know Kate’s husband’s name was Kevin, but the same actor played Captain Malcom Reynolds in Firefly/Serenity, so I choose to refer to him by that name.)

THE REST OF THE TRIBE

Speaking of Kate refusing to face herself, I don’t want to absolve her from guilt in the fight with Jack. She should have just told him what she was doing. My friend insists she didn’t tell Jack because she still loves or has feelings for Sawyer. The logic goes that if there were no feelings, there would be nothing to hide, but since she did hide the events, there is something to hide. Her not telling Jack only spurred him on. She should have known better than to egg him on in that manner. It was like when he demanded Sarah tell him who the other man is. Now I wonder if the whole Jack/Sarah relationship was written with that intentional parallel in mind. Although, I have to say, hey Jack, you know who doesn’t have another man? Juliet.

Juliet is without-a-doubt the one who Jack belongs with. He needs someone to control his obsessions and she can. Would anyone else have the balls to tell Bernard to knock him out? No, but she did. (And, by the way, I like the Bernard is around more now.) She is also the awesome version of Jack. Sure, she gets emotional, misses her sisters, and gets frustrated with herself, but you know what she does that Jack doesn’t? She shuts up and takes care of business. When something needs to be done, she does it. I admire that quality.

In the other plot line of the episode, it’s interesting to see Sawyer and Claire finally get some interaction and it’s completely necessary. Following this episode, I was considering what has happened to Sawyer since he stayed on the island. The main question in my mind was, who does he hang out with? Who does he spend his time with? Yes, he’s a solitary guy, but you can’t be alone all the time. Thus, this storyline with Claire is as much out of necessity as it is a choice. When Sawyer stays on the island, he will essentially be left with Claire, Locke, Rose, and Bernard to hang out with. He definitely will not go anywhere near Locke. Rose and Bernard are a bit out of his age bracket. Well, of course, then there’s another consideration.

What’s going to happen with all of Widmore’s people? I’m not so sure all of them are going to leave the island. Clearly they are a part of whatever game or plan or whatever is going on now. The writers were very careful this week to show Daniel and Miles having sympathy for everyone who wasn’t them. Frank went out of his way to protect them. Frank and Daniel are probably the two most likely to stay, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Charlotte and Miles stayed as well. Also, while we’re talking about these four, what’s with the random Charlotte and Daniel storyline? I’m not sure I care enough about them enough to want to hear about possible romantics between the two.

Well I’m also raising random asides, they’re really playing up the “Let’s have Jin say ironic things because we know he is going to die” thing. It’s sort of clever in a way. It’s also sort of lame. If he says, “I’ll do anything to get you off the island” I might die myself, from laughter.

LOSTOLOGY

Some of you might be wondering why I didn’t talk about Claire in the last section. Some of you are probably also wondering where Claire has been this entire season. Not to denigrate her personhood or steal her identity or anything, but she has been more of a prop than a character so far this season. I’ve heard a bunch of people ask why she hasn’t mourned over Charlie yet. Here’s the thing, besides her scene with Kate in Eggtown at the clothesline, she hasn’t had a part. Lately, she’s been the damsel in distress that Sawyer has to save. Why are the writers doing this? Not so ironically, it has to do with Jack.

In this episode, Jack’s dad made his triumphant return. Is he really dead? It’s impossible to say at this point. It’s interesting to see him on the island and re-consider Jack’s comments in Through the Looking Glass. Was Jack not just crazy and knows Christian is alive? On the other hand, the island has conjured dead people before (Yemi for Eko, Charlie for Hurley), so is that what it is doing for Claire and Jack in this episode? I don’t think so because I still maintain that Christian is Jacob.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that as Claire finds Christian, Locke, Ben, and Hurley are on their way to see Jacob. I also think it’s interesting to consider the subtext in Jack and Hurley’s flashforward meetings. Clearly the two share something that no one else does. Remember when Hurley apologized to Jack for going with Locke? I assumed it was in the split, but what if he was referring to when he volunteered to lead Locke and Ben to Jacob’s so that Sawyer, Miles, and Claire could go free. If Christian really is Jacob, Hurley apologizing for that reason would make complete sense.

Christian being Jacob also brings further clarity to Claire and Jack’s storylines. Is Jack supposed to protect Claire and Aaron? Is that his destiny? I think so. Now, re-consider Jack yelling, “You’re not even related to him” at Kate and his refusal to face Aaron after the trial in Eggtown. Does that line mean “You’re not related to Aaron and I am”? Did he not want to face Aaron because he knows the kid is his nephew and a responsibility given to him by his father? If Jack finds out his dad is Jacob, he’ll surely find out he and Claire are related.

Of course, while all of what I said is starting to make sense, but I have to wonder what the heck any of it has to do with Ben and Widmore. Is Ben really just a pawn and the game or whatever is between Jacob and Widmore? Or is Widmore a pawn too and there is no game, but Jacob planning world domination? And, damn it, where’s Richard Alpert?

FREDDY ADIEU

In closing, I am no longer going to make predictions, but say what I would do with the storylines. I’m not doing so because I think I’m as good as the writers, but because the rhetoric of saying I’m saying what I would do is inherently more honest than making predictions. What would I do over the last three episodes then?

Locke flashforward – He, Ben, and Hurley go to Jacob’s cabin. We don’t see Jacob, but he tells them to find Claire. Also, in the flashforward, there is some insane revelation at the end that won’t be touched on until next season, like Locke and Widmore are best buds.

Sawyer flashforward – In the flashforward, Sawyer is leaving in peace, looking after Claire, who doesn’t seem quite right. The flashforward ends with Claire saying something weird. In island time, Sawyer returns to the beach, has an awkward reunion with Kate, and assumes leadership while Jack is incapacitated, saying they have to go get Claire.

Claire flashforward- In the flashforward, Claire finally flips out. In island time, Claire finally flips out. Jack takes over the search for Claire and everyone meets at the temple. Jack finds out his dad is Jacob. The helicopter comes back and the six get off the island. Sawyer tells Kate, “There ain’t nothing out there for me, Freckles” and watches her leave. The episode ends with Sawyer trying to console Claire over Aaron being taken and Charlie dying. I’m not sure what the flashforward will be about.

And, as always, if you disagree with any of that then:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

Jayemel can be reached by email at jmlesniewski@gmail.com.

1 comment:

Patrick said...

You know what else I thought was weird, which might explain the Daniel/Charlotte love-line setup: Why does it matter that Charlotte can speak Korean? Furthermore, why is that a threat to Charlotte? Why does she care if people know she speaks Korean? When Jin, acknowledges it she gets all weird and freaked out, who cares? If they don't develop this I'm gonna be pissed. Couldn't she be like, "yeah I speak Korean and no f**k your wife I don't care about her or any of you, peace". But I guess what I'm saying is, maybe the Daniel liking Charlotte line between Jin and Sun was just a setup line to reveal the bigger issue: Charlotte knows Korean, do you think we might get a Charlotte flashback? I doubt a flashforward but a flashback explaining her significance to the Island and why she knows Korean might make sense, hell maybe a flashback episode for all the Widmore characters, I mean we've kind of seen one for Daniel, we know enough about Miles from that creepy ghost-ridding performance he used to do, maybe its time we figure out who Charlotte really is. Just a thought, and oh as an aside, I think I'm going to make a new semi-anonymous blog sometime this week, look for a link coming your way sometime soon possibly