Sunday, July 10, 2011

LOST Redux: S2E11 The Hunting Party

(At the request of a reader, I will be reposting old editions of my LOST column as they no longer appear on the internet. I will not be making any edits to them, so please be aware that they represent a moment and time--my thoughts and analysis after watching an episode's initial airing.)

No control and no alcohol make Jack build an Army!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, close the windows, lock the doors, hold onto your hats for you are about to be transported to a zone more alive than the dead zone and more lit than the twilight zone. You are about to enter…The Midside.

Hello and welcome to the first ever edition of The Midside, LOST style. What is the Midside? It is exactly as it sounds, that side that is inbetween the in and the out, the middle. When you are in the Miside, you are inside enough to know what’s going on, yet outside enough to maintain your emotional distance in order to honestly assess the situations. It is a place few dare to venture and even fewer care to reside in. For your information, you can count me in the fewer. Who am I? I am your host, Jayemel, the world’s only Repunklican (and the only person who was defacto banned from The Fuselage only to end up with his own column).

Since this is the first edition, some exposition is needed, a little explanation of how things will work in the Midside. First off, I will not recap what happened in the episodes. If you missed the most recent episode, or you’re not on pace with the American airing schedule, do not read my column. You will be, well, lost. Second off, each which my column will be divided into three sections discussing different aspects of the most recent episode, the flashbacks: What Would Duncan McLeod Do? (a nod to one of my all time favorite series that used the flashback device before LOST, Highlander), a section on the actions of the characters that I found interesting: Hey, at least it builds character., and a section discussing the mythology of the show: LOSTology.

Stop yawning! I know you’re bored with all this explanation, so let’s get on with it.

What Would Duncan McLeod Do?

This week we learnt the story behind the not-so-good doctor’s ill fated marriage and I have to say, from the beginning, I was not surprised. Think about it this way. A hot Italian chick comes in and asks you to try and save her dying father. She doesn’t even care if you fail, just as long as you try your darndest. What do you do? Well, if you’re a female reader you surely say, “What a chauvinistic pig!”, but if you’re a male reader you nod your head and say, “Yeah.” I mean, really, did anyone not predict Jack would hook up with Gabriella who was ten times hotter than Sarah? It was a perfect parallel for how he married his wife. He comforted a woman in her most dire state and thus won her affections. It is the one thing Jack is actually really good at (besides that whole surgery thing). Sarah even saw the writing on the wall.

I don’t know if Sarah’s intentions were left unclear on purpose, but I still wonder how devious she was being. First, I wonder what the point of the whole pregnancy test results scene was. Initially, I thought it was just to show Jack’s apathy. However, I soon realized that if Jack was spending so much time at the hospital when did they have time to make a baby? Yeah, yeah, you don’t have to explain the birds and the bees to me. All I’m saying is look how tired Jack was in that scene. Look how Sarah was just leaving as he came in. They didn’t seem to spend much quality time together. Maybe Sarah never took a pregnancy test and wanted to see how Jack would react, to see if he wanted to have a baby or to see if he would question how she could have gotten pregnant. I think that scene pushed her to decide to leave Jack. Second, I wonder if Sarah really was seeing another guy. We’re watching LOST, so probably, but maybe Sarah needed to give Jack a reason to stay away because we all know he can’t stay away from a problem, especially one he created. Either way, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Sarah or her mystery lover.

It’s always interesting to see how the flashbacks are juxtaposed with the events that are happening in island time. I found it intriguing how Jack’s flashback apology occurred at around the same time he apologized to Kate. Did that parallel symbolized a rebirth in their relationship or is Jack letting go of Kate the way he let go of Sarah? It’s interesting to note that Kate pushed away from her kiss with Jack the way Jack backed away from his kiss with Gabriella. Maybe Jack knows that and that’s why he is treading lightly around Sawyer. He certainly doesn’t seem as combative with the Southerner as he has been in the past. It’s almost as if he is reluctantly conceding. The triangle is certainly starting to feel like a V at this point.

Hey, at least it builds character.

Two actions taken by characters caused me to get into quite the discussion with one of my friends following the episode. First, Kate refused to curtail to Jack and followed the hunting party (It’s the episode title. Get it?!) into the jungle, putting an apparent hitch in their raid. Second Sun checkmated Jin into staying behind at camp. Right now you may be asking yourself, what do these scenes have to do with each other? Well, calm down, I’m going to tell you, duh.

“Kate can’t be submissive for one second,” my friend told me. “Submissive? Why should be submissive?” I replied. You see, in my friends eyes, Kate was being selfish and defiant, doing what she wanted and not thinking about the consequences for her friends. My friend said because of Kate’s actions, The Others (who I will discuss later) were given the leverage to disband the hunting party. I think The Others would have had other tricks up their sleeves had Kate not followed, but that’s another point entirely.

I countered my friend’s submission point by turning to the Sun and Jin argument. Rather than Sun and Jin discussing their disagreement and coming to a compromise, Sun essentially made Jin choose between her and Michael by yelling, “I am your wife!”. My friend says that Jin was submissive in that moment, realizing that marriage is 50/50 and giving Sun what she wanted when she gave him what he wanted by letting him go on the raft, but I think the scenario was 100/0. Sun did not care about Jin’s friendship with Michael. All that concerned her was what she was feeling, not what Jin was feeling. Jin was smart enough to be the bigger person and let it go. The same analysis applies to the Jack/Kate altercation. Jack only thought about what he wanted, not what Kate wanted and thus commanded her to go as Sun commanded Jin to stay (they just have different ways of commanding). Kate, however, could not be the bigger person and thus nearly got herself killed.

The broader point is that all these people are still self absorbed. It’s the reason no one ever tells anyone else about the weird stuff they see. Charlie isn’t thinking about how he hurt Claire. He’s worried about if she’s thinking about him. Sawyer just wants to shoot the dude who shot him (although I can sort of understand that). Ana Lucia sulks on the beach off by herself. The only one who doesn’t seem self absorbed is Rose, who always seems to keep her perspective (By the way, where is she? We need more Rose!).

In a refreshing moment of honesty, which Locke tends to have from time to time, Mr. Clean called Jack out on his quest for Michael. I enjoyed seeing Jack squirm as Locke asked him what the purpose of his little mission was. Jack had no proper response, but had to go on anyway. Locke’s critique is why I have so much disdain for the character of Jack. He always has to tell everyone else what they should be doing. Yeah, Michael wants to save Walt and it’s probably not smart to ruin through the jungle to do so, but so what? Michael can do what Michael wants with Michael’s life. Michael. Jack needs to loosen up and let someone else takes the reigns for awhile. Which leads me to my closing point for this section…

Who is Jack to decide to build an army without anyone else’s consent? Part of me hopes he is going to call a meeting and everyone will just be like “Um, nope” and walk away. Furthermore, why go to Ana Lucia with the idea and not Sayid, the trained solider? I refuse to believe the conversation was poor writing. There are two reasons I can think of as to why Jack would go to Ana Lucia and not Sayid. 1. He has a crush on her, aww, and thus she comes to mind first. 2. He knows Sayid wouldn’t be as gung-ho about the idea as Ana and would most likely want to, um, I don’t know, gather intelligence first? Jack isn’t dumb, he’s just the most self involved of all our heroes (except maybe Charlie).


Zeke speaks. Captain Gorton, as he is known on the interwebs, trapped our heroes like rats in a maze and basically called them rude houseguests, claiming ownership of the island saying, omgwtfpolarbear, Alex! I know, that’s exposition, but it was necessary, but it’s for a reason. What I want to know is, if they own the island why don’t they shower? The question sounds like a joke, but seriously, if they own the Hatch, why not use it? If they owned the hatch, wouldn’t that mean Desmond was one of them. It got me to thinking about appearance of characters.

Ethan was clean. Goodwin was clean. Zeke and company are others and very dirty. The marching feet are others and were very dirty. There is no reason to believe any of these people are connected, except that they are all unknown to our heroes (who are others to the others). What if there was an existing political schema on the island before flight 815 crashed? What if there was an existing political schema on the island before Rousseau’s expedition crashed? What if there was an existing political schema before The Black Rock crashed?

What I have just done is taken you back in time island wise. Let’s take that timeline, add Dharma between Rousseau and The Black Rock, and pretend the two people in the cave, Adam and Eve, really were an Adam and Eve of some sort. So, since the beginning of the island (perhaps the beginning of time?) people have been crashing on the island into an existing political schema, the first most notably being The Black Rock, some time in the late 1700s-early 1800s. Perhaps those people were integrated into the island’s population (or killed off).

Enter Dharma and the hippies they aligned with. The scientists find this magical island and start experimenting on it, hatches and all. Then the incident happens. What is the incident? The existing islanders attack the Dharma Initiative and cause considerable damage. Some of the scientists, the hippies that they are, having learned of the native islanders, denounce the imperialism of Dharma and join the natives, taking what they can as they do (ex: the boat). The rest retreat and the button is created to sustain what is left of the DI (or perhaps contain a virus that the natives used as biological warfare).

Since the incident, a battle has raged between the natives and Dharma for control of the island. Dharma, with the world at it’s disposal, seeks out people like Desmond, Ethan, and Goodwin (and perhaps the 815ers) to aid their cause. They need someone to push the button, man other stations they have on the island (someone has to keep the “security system” going), and fend off the natives in other ways. Enter Flight 815. A new variable has been entered into the equation that neither side has control over. Dharma and the natives need control.

Ethan and Goodwin are sent in as spies to the camps of the survivors, to guide our heroes in their direction and take the children before the natives get them. The natives acted too fast for Goodwin to do anything and Ethan kidnapped Claire as a preemptive strike. But what is the obsession with children? What is so special about Walt? Walt seems to be clairvoyant. He can seemingly predict the future. Maybe the children represent the future to the natives. Maybe they can’t reproduce and need the children to keep their society alive. Maybe Dharma knows that and that’s why they are trying to get the children first, to end the natives.

Either way, things are going to change on the island thanks to our heroes. The reason you tell a story is because the events in the story are the one time things are different. It’s like The Matrix. There were five other ones before Neo, but Neo was the one time the one felt love in the capacity he did and it brought about a peace for all, the programs, machines, and humans. Perhaps something similar will happen here. The wisdom of Locke and Ecko will unlock the true secrets of the island and save the island (and humanity). Perhaps our heroes were handpicked by the island (through Dharma?).

Yeah, those paragraphs had a lot of perhaps and maybes, but isn’t that what makes LOST so fun? What I do know is the following. Zeke was interested in two things and everything else was a diversion. 1. He was placating our heroes through intimidation. 2. He wanted the guns. Everything besides that is just my speculation (even if it is damn good speculation.

Freddy Adieu

Thanks for taking the ride. I hope you enjoyed the Midside. It’s the only place in the world where the final scene of the episode actually went something like this:

Jack: “No control and alcohol make Jack go something something.”
Ana-Lucia: “Build an army?”
Jack: “Don’t mind if I do!”

See you next time, folks, when we are somehow supposed to muster sympathy for a has been one hit wonder exbassist drug addict. Hey, I don’t write the stuff, I just watch it. And remember, if you disagree with anything you’ve read here:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

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