Sunday, July 10, 2011

LOST Redux: S2E12 Fire + Water

(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.)

Driveshaft dresses as babies? Locke hits Charlie? Jack says, “Hittin’ that.”? Libby throws herself at Hurley? I think the sickness has finally taken over. Either that or the writers could think of no other way to make a Charlie episode interesting besides creating the most absurd scenes in the history of LOST. Sure, the central question of the episode was if Charlie was using again, but now that the credits and previews (a hiatus again?!) have rolled, I wonder if I’m the one who was using…and I’m Mr. Often-mistaken-for-straight-edge Repunklican.

Come along with me as we journey into the Midside to cheer as Charlie takes Ana Lucia’s place at the top of everyone’s most hated list. And maybe, just maybe, this curmudgeon will feel a tiny smidgeon of sympathy for the recovering drug addict turned serial kidnapper.


Yes, I type the section title in all caps. No, I’m not e-yelling at you. I figured that capping out (yo) the section titles would make it easier for you, the reader, to skip between sections if you wanted to, perhaps, revisit a section you particularly enjoyed (If you can pick a favorite, I know it’s hard) or if you only wish to read about the character who had a flashback in the current week (this means you, teenybopper Charlie fans). Now, since this isn’t a column on column formatting, but a column on LOST, I will be moving on from this ever-so-exciting topic.

“You all everybuddies. You all everybuddies.” It’s a satire of marketing, get it? I seriously hope it wasn’t simply an excuse to dress Driveshaft up in adult diapers and have them dance around like a boy band. The dancing actually puzzled me. I thought Driveshaft was supposed to be one of those British “The” bands that are so popular of late. Now I’m getting a Simple Plan vibe. Charlie is becoming Emo.

I know, I know, I started in the middle of the flashback, but it was for a reason (because I don’t do anything without a reason). The enduring image of the flashbacks for this episode is a down-on-their-luck Driveshaft dancing around in a giant crib dressed as babies. It’s not even because it was a funny moment, it wasn’t. I didn’t laugh, at all. The reason I remember it is because of how ridiculous it was, especially with a drugged out Liam twirling worse than a five year old ballerina. Then, Charlie waddles off the soundstage in pursuit of the director only to get the band fired from the endorsement gig because he won’t kick out his brother. I think that scene was supposed to symbolic of Driveshaft breaking up too because for the rest of the episode all the characters seemed to be operating under the assumption that the band was dead while I was sitting there thinking, “Wow, you’re writing more music? Shouldn’t that be expected considering the label will want a new hit soon?”

My point is that Charlie flashbacks are boring. I understand the point of this week’s flashback, I really do. Liam’s relationship with his daughter Meghan (who he dropped and turned into Sloth) mirrored the way Charlie conceived of his relationship with Aaron, as well as the entire plot being a parable about Charlie’s desire to have a family to take care of. My problem with the episodes is I don’t care about what happens to Charlie because he is a stupid idiot moron turdface. His brother is a major drug addict and everyone around him is basically telling him to do something about it and rather than doing something about it, Liam sells his prized Andrew-McMahon-wannabe piano and I’m supposed to feel bad about it? Um, Charlie, if you had checked Liam into rehab he would have never sold your piano and you could continue to compose your completely crappy music.

Kate is a devious murder, but you can see where she’s coming from. Jack has a God complex, but you can see the line where his talents and self image blur. Sawyer is a vengeful jerk, but you can understand the emotional trauma he has suffered in life. Hurley is uneducated and socially awkward, but you can see yourself going crazy if the numbers went wacky on you too. Charlie, however, continually shoots himself in the foot by not taking control of things that are well within his control and then I’m supposed to turn around and care about him? Nope, I’m sorry, no way, no how. Come on people, even the most three understand characters on the island, Locke, Eko, and Jack, have distanced themselves from the has been rocker.

When a character has a flashback episode, it is supposed to be a cathartic process. They overcome an issue and are somehow redeemed in the eyes of the audience. Heck, Collision even changed many people’s tunes about Ana Lucia. However, for our Sisyphusian castaway, the hill keeps getting steeper.


Besides Charlie Pace, the character to receive the most screen time was Mr. Don’t-tell-me-what-I-can’t-do John Locke and boy was it a doozy of an episode for the baldheaded wonder. When Locke followed Charlie to his stash, I wasn’t surprised. I was surprised when he took the statues, forcing Charlie to kick the habit. What happened to the Locke from last week who said Michael can run into the woods and get himself killed if Michael wants to run into the woods and get himself killed? Is there a little liberal inside John Locke who feels sorry for Charlie because “his actions are out of his control because he is physically dependant upon a mind altering chemical substance”? No, I don’t know what’s up with John Locke, but I do know that he throws a killer right hook. He opened up Charlie’s face to the point that he needed stitches with one punch! I did feel sympathy for Charlie at that point. The beating was wicked! Of course, Locke was picking on a man half his size. You don’t realize how big chrome dome is until he’s standing next to Claire (who you also don’t realize how young she is until she’s standing next to Locke.) Oh yeah and Charlie jealous of Locke? She’s close to 18 and he’s close to 40. She’s just looking for a father figure. Pull your head out of your, um, hoodie, Charlie!

Is it just me or is Eko a lot less intimidating now that we’ve seen his backstory? I know he used to be a fierce warlord who ruled his country with an iron fist, but take away that mystery and he really does seem only like a priest who is trying to help his flock. I couldn’t believe how happy he seemed when Claire walked into the “Not if I baptize you too.” Although, I do have to wonder how much he manipulated Charlie with the whole “Aaron is in danger” baptism warning. Eko is very smart and knows Charlie is a loose cannon, so he probably understands it’s not very smart to use the word danger around Mr. I-believe-you-have-my-stapler-jump-to-conclusions-mat Charlie unless you want him to flip out. Don’t forget that Claire told Eko that Charlie is very religious awile back either. Finally, it also almost seemed like Eko had intended for Chalie to burn down the bush by the way he was shifting through the ashes. (Did anyone else catch how Sayid was the first one to see the burning bush as he was doing, well what was he doing anyway and with who, Sceve?)

Hurley, Libby, Sawyer, when did LOST become Degrassi? When did Sawyer become so friendly? I was literally shocked when he was playing cards with Hurley. Then he went out of his way to force Hurley to talk to Libby. Of course, he still did it with Sawyer style which shows there is more to his wit and sarcasm than the belligerence he chooses to portray himself with. Anyway, Hurley and Libby shared a moment at the washer and dryer, mainly thanks to Libby leading Hurley around the metaphorical dance floor. I have to say, I was impressed with her self awareness with the whole “asking for validation” comment. It had a certain charm to it. Also, I enjoyed when she took her top off even if I didn’t actually see anything. Just kidding, but come on, she was basically throwing herself at Hurley. I guess it’s safe to say he’s forgotten all about Ms. Mighty Ducks back at the record store.

Finally, in the unintentionally humorous television moment of the year, Ana Lucia asked Jack why the hunting party turned back. And, by the way, before we get too deep into this paragraph, this conversation and Charlie’s line about everyone assuming he’s doing drugs when wacky things happen to him, but no one blinks when wacky things happen to others PROVE that these people do tell each other what’s going on, only we’re not shown those conversation. Anyway, Ana Lucia asks what made them turn back. Jack says Zeke had a gun to Kate’s head. Ana Lucia then asks, “Are you hittin’ that?” and say it’s natural to bump uglies with someone when you’re stranded on a beautiful island after a plane crash. Oh, is it, Ana? Forget about the plane crash, how about the fact that there is a mysterious black cloud of smoke that apparently kills people randomly roaming around, a hatch where you have to push a button every 108 minutes or we’re all forced to watch Daredevil starring Ben Affleck and Darkness starring Ana Paquin in alternating sequence for the rest of enternity, and, oh yeah, perhaps more than one group of mysterious “Others” trying to KILL you. Is it still natural then?

At this point, I’m chuckling, and then Jack replies, “No, I’m not hittin’ that.” I laughed for about the next twenty minutes uncontrollably, which is more entertainment than I’ve ever gotten out of a Charlie episode, so I guess that’s good. I can hear the PC Police’s siren blaring, though. “Oh no, the made the Hispanic inner city chick talk in slang! That’s racist!” It may not be racist, but it sure is obvious. No female says, “Are you hittin’ that?” unless she wants you to not be “hittin’ that” and most probably wants to hit you (in a way unlike the way Locke hit Charlie). To that scene, all I have to say is: why can’t it be that easy in real life? The triangle’s not dead, it’s simply sprouted another character and become a square. And, as John Mayer tells us, there’s No Room for Squares.


Not much happened as to the mythology of the island this week, but I do want to touch on a couple of ideas. First off, I’m sure the main question people will be asking is: If Charlie wasn’t using, is he the first of the 815ers to show major signs of the dun-dun-dun sickness? I’m not quite so ready to make that jump. Charlie could have been using and we’ll see him detox again now that Locke stole his dolls (which the bald eagle kept for whatever Lockean purpose he has). Also, Charlie’s not even close to the first character to have hallucinations. As Charlie reminded us, Kate saw a horse she saw of the island. Sawyer chased a boar with a vendetta. Jack chased his Dad through the jungle to the rape caves (what ever happened to them by the way?). Could this episode have been a major example of the sickness affecting one of our characters? Yes, it could have been. However, who is to say there is even a sickness, the crazy French lady and the quarantine sign on the inside of the hatch? There’s too many questions and right now, I’m going to say that the answer is that Charlie is crazy.

The most interesting sort of mythological development is one none of you may agree with, but I don’t care because I’m the one writing this column and not you. I’m sure most of you caught the rebirth of the turn around shot from Tabula Rasa that made John Locke seemed absolutely demonic. Well, it’s safe to say that he seemed to be that way again tonight. My perception of Locke varied between that and him being extremely protective of Claire. However, my point is not to discuss the way Locke acted, as I already discussed that point. If you missed it you either need to scroll up or go back to second grade and learn how to read again.

The way Charlie bounced between Eko and Locke, seemingly being manipulated by both, almost seemed as if the God and the Devil (you pick which is which, but pick the black man and you’re a racist) were using him as a pawn. First, he’d go to Locke and Locke would mess with him. Then, he’d go to Eko and Eko would mess with him. By the end of the episode, they both had what they wanted and Charlie had nothing. You see, since the dastardly duo met in the Hatch, I’ve thought they were the two players, one light, one dark, that Locke mentioned way back at the beginning of our journey. This episode only strengthened that resolve for me. The pawns that were firmly in Locke’s corner, Charlie, Claire, now seem to have mixed loyalties and Locke’s closest ally is Jack. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself this question: Who seemed like the leader of the island in this episode? You want a hint? Ok, if you insist. It wasn’t Jack even with his parental, “Will this happen again?” speech. For the moment, the island seems to belong to Eko and Locke, forget what Zeke says.


Well, that’s all from your Midside neighborhood Repunklican this week. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride. I know I have. This episode was at least the best Charlie episode yet, although that’s not saying much considering how low the bar was set by The Moth.

The one final thing I do have to say is…another hiatus already? We get three episodes and then a break? I hope it’s not a long one. Oh well, House, which has been on hiatus, is new next week, anyway. Two of my favorite shows on television and they never seem to be new in the same week. House, by the way, is an excellent show, especially if your favorite LOST character is the same as mine, Sawyer.

Thanks for reading as always, remember, if you disagree with anything in The Midside:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

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