Sunday, July 10, 2011

LOST Redux: S2E15 Maternity Leave

(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.)

(Note: I don't have a copy of my column for S2E14 "One of Them" as I apparently saved over it with a copy of this column.)

Is anyone else as confused as I am? Seriously, folks, I’m not sure what show I’m watching anymore. Did I just see an episode of the real Truman Show or the Saw television series? Did we really just flashback to events that happened in the first season? The flashbacks reminded me of the second episode of the short lived Clerks cartoon where they did their clip show and flashbacked to things that happened in the first episode and earlier in that episode. Why are we walking like this?

Oh, and if Claire’s flashbacks for her second episode are about island events, what are they going to do for her flashbacks next season? Is she going to forget more stuff this season so she can flashback to it next season? Will she die, yes I said the ‘d’ word, before this season is up so the writers don’t have to struggle to produce an actual back-story for her? Most importantly, did the writers mess with the show format just to mess with my column format, which I had down to a science. I hate change. It makes me hoard all the guns and only give them to the woman I not-so-secretly love.

This episode was so mythology heavy I thought I was Roman or Greek for a few minutes. Then I realized I wouldn’t be brought to the bathhouse to be sexually abused by an elder male and thus I was still an American, meaning I can do that if I choose, and it wouldn’t be called abuse. What am I talking about? I have no idea! See, this is what happens when Ethan seems like a nice guy and Jack starts to make sense!


For the record, I would like to begin by saying there is no such thing as a good Canadian doctor. Why do you think all the Canucks cross the border for the health care? I’ll give you a clue. It’s not because Taco Bell is good for you because it isn’t.

I’m not going to delve too deeply into the flashbacks in this section because a lot, most, of it has to do with the mythology aspect of the show. The most intriguing part of the flashbacks was the character growth that may or may not have been earned. Through much of the flashback, Emilie de Ravin did a great job of portraying Claire as this sweet naïve girl. It seemed she trusted Ethan because Ethan portrayed it like he had her baby’s best interest at heart. (On a side note, did Claire forget the kidnapping too? If she didn’t, why would she trust Ethan unless he injected her with some type of drug that made her more trusting?)

At the end of the episode, she realized what Sun was telling her when she left Aaron behind. A mother should not be without her baby. Through risking her own life to investigate the Dharma compound, Claire matured to the point that she was fully ready to take complete responsibility for her baby and not give it up for adoption or to Ethan. Notice how her arc fits nicely with the psychic’s prophecy that no one else can raise her baby. Also, you have to wonder if by “no one else” the psychic meant “the Others.”


“I am Mr. Eko.” Eko is an enigma wrapped in a conundrum. I utterly enjoyed him shutting down Jack in their conversation. Jack continually underestimates everyone else and when someone not only outsmarts him, but also has the gall to confront him about it, he gets this priceless look of shock on his face. Speaking of which, people’s reactions to Eko tonight were priceless. The one I especially enjoyed was when he walked into the locker and Henry had that, “Oh shoot, they’re sending the big black man to beat me up” look on his face. I would imagine that’s the look many prisoners get on their face before they get, ahem, violated.

What I wonder about Eko, is if he was actually confessing his sins to Henry or if he was declaring peace with the Others. It doesn’t really make sense for Eko to participate in a Christian sacrament with someone who could be of any religion or atheist, so I am leaning towards the latter conclusion. In a way, I also think it was a test for Henry. Eko wanted to see how Henry would react so he could get a read on him.

My adoration for Sawyer grows in every scene he is in. You would think it would level out at some point, but no matter what scene he is in he always knows the perfect way to react. I absolutely loved when Kate said he couldn’t ask her why and he was basically like “Uh, yeah I do. Watch…why?” Why do people continually try to push him around rather than bargain with him? If you name your price, he will name his, and you will strike a deal. I think Kate is beginning to realize she can get whatever she wants from him, though, because he loves her.

Libby is a psychologist, huh? I think I read that predicted on a message board somewhere, so good job to whoever predicted that one. Either that’s the case or I read a spoiler and in that case, bad job to me for being an impatient loser and reading a spoiler. Whatever the case may be (LOST pun!), things are going to get muddled with her relationship with Hurley. There has been lots of foreshadowing that he was in a mental institution. Maybe she knows that somehow and that is why she has latched onto him. Did anyone else notice before Kate demanded Libby help (What’s with these people demanding things of each other?) Libby was hanging out with Hurley?

Henry became even more intriguing tonight. Now, I understand that it would be extremely easy to understand the Jack and Locke dynamic from overhearing their conversations, but something about the way he manipulated Locke made me think he knew a lot more. Arguably he could also learn they are essentially the two leaders of the group and deduce their individual personalities, but it would seem he would have to be a very astute person to do so, and how long can I go on believing that everyone on this island is a genius except Charlie and Hurley? Are all the background characters like Scott, Steve, Rose, and Bernard our Average Joes? Henry went right for the throat at the end of the episode, and one could argue he was trying to finagle his own freedom, but I am not so sure. Which leads me into my next section…


Ok, I think I have it. Before you go off on me about the realm of possibilities of what it could be, no, it is not Jew gold, and no, it is not just what we bring. In this case, I am using it to describe the solution to the giant LOST mystery, and when I say solution I actually mean solutions, so perhaps it is a bad word because it is singular, but “its” does not mean more than one it so I definitely couldn’t type that. Anyway, based on tonight’s flashbacks, I have narrowed the solutions down to two possibilities: either the entire “Dharma” group and the island, plane crash, and all are a giant charade, or the majority of everything we see is real and the island itself is an extremely important supernatural force to the world that the Dharma people are trying to fight and the 815ers are destined to play an important role in that battle.

The crux of my theory is, as always, what I consider to be the big questions of LOST. How do the numbers affect so many seemingly random events both on and off the island (the major example being the lottery? How did the 815ers cross paths so much before the plane crash? And finally, how does the Black Rock, a slave ship from an era before Dharma (which began in the 70s) fit into this gigantic puzzle?

To begin with my latter explanation (the supernatural force) we all know how I have explained the Black Rock before. The supernatural force on the island has had a Bermuda Triangle like effect for many a century and has caused many ships to crash on the island. These ships include Eko’s brother, flight 815, and the crazy French lady (oh, she’s crazy!). Dharma somehow learned of this force and sought to harness it (hence the name Dharma). The force did not like being harnessed by evil (for in fiction only evil tries to harness supernatural forces) and caused the incident to try and shut down Dharma. Since then, Dharma has been trying to fight back. They don’t like the 815ers on the island because, as scientists, they don’t like variables they can’t predict and thus are trying to control the 815ers. In this theory, the supernatural force summoned each of the 815ers (and controlled their lives) for a specific reason so they could fulfill the prophecy and restore balance to the force. I much prefer this theory to my other one because it is a much cleaner and, in my mind, a much more exciting answer. What’s cooler than fighting for the fate of the entire world? I’ll tell you what, the heroes unknowingly fighting for the fate of the world while the audience knows they are.

My former explanation is much more disheartening. The majority of what we are seeing is a charade put on by Dharma (because they are the force that controls everything, hence the name), and all of the 815ers are test subjects chosen to be part of an experiment. Maybe they were willingly chosen, maybe they weren’t. I don’t know. What I do know is this. The statistical probability of all the events that occurred both pre and post crash is damn near impossible. If a supernatural force isn’t controlling everything, then it has to be controlled by a natural force, and if a natural force is controlling it, the scope of what they control gets much smaller. Maybe all these people are part of a giant Truman Show like deal and the reason they are in each other’s flashbacks so frequently is that the world they live in isn’t as large as our world. In other words, they live in Dharma World. Or maybe they were all kidnapped and the flashbacks are false memories implanted by the Dharma crew as a mechanism of control. In this theory, everything on the island, from the hatch, to Desmond, to the crazy French chick (oh, she’s crazy) is part of the charade. This theory is much less enticing to me, but I fear it is far more probable. It offers easy answers to the numbers (controlled), the Black Rock (planted), and why Dharma and company would seemingly desert the facility from tonight but leave behind theatrical gel.

Now, I brought the previous paragraph to a conclusion on the theatrical gel for a reason. I don’t want you to think I’ve jumped on the “they’re all actors” bandwagon because I saw the word “theatrical.” What the Zeke costume does, though, is open up one giant door that essentially makes it impossible to analyze the motives of any character that was not shown to be part of the original plane crash. How exactly am I supposed to know that Ethan is actually a doctor and actually injected Claire with something? (Speaking of the injection, maybe what is unique about our 815ers is they are all immune to the sickness or maybe there is no sickness and it’s part of the Dharma charade…see?) How am I supposed to know that the crazy French chick (oh, she’s crazy) isn’t part of Dharma and manipulates the people? Notice how she brought Sayid to Henry who is now messing with the Locke and Jack dynamic. Looking at things from this perspective makes Henry’s knowledge seem much more ominous, does it not?

Of course, maybe the solution is somewhere in between my two ideas, and Dharma somehow controls the entire world and the 815ers are going to figure that out and restore free will to the planet. Whatever the answer is, I am going to find it very difficult to believe any of the characters are in earnest anymore. The 815ers try to manipulate each other, Dharma tries to manipulate the 815ers, and there is no way of telling if Henry, Desmond, or the crazy French chick (oh, she’s crazy) are liars or not. Are the writers for this show that cynical that they would create an entire series about deception or am I that naïve and everyone lies to me on a daily basis?

My head hurts and we return to the beginning of my column. I’m confused. How about you?


I’d like to end today with a few tidbits:

-If anyone knows the name of the book Locke gave to Henry and the name of the book Sawyer was reading, please post them as a comment so we may all have new reading material.

-When Jack asked Locke for another solution to getting the truth from Henry besides locking him up until he talks, my answer was simple: Jack Bauer!

-Sun asks Sawyer for a pregnancy test in the coming weeks? Why didn’t she ask him for a condom before she and Jin did it?

-When did Emilie de Ravin become a horror actress? First Santa’s Slay, now The Hills Have Eyes, and that whole scene in the new bunker felt like a horror movie. I really thought they were going to try and scare us.

-I read the Entertainment Weekly theory. I guess it’s similar to my supernatural force theory, except I don’t claim that the supernatural force is a trapped psychic who is obsessed with pop culture. What a crock.

-Did you read my column about the love triangle last week? I found more fairytale bias and it was on of all places. Concerning the LOST Season One DVD they said one of the major unanswered questions of the show is: “And will Kate ever give up her bad-boy fixation and hook up with Jack?” See, I told you. And all this time you’ve thought I was the crazy one.

-Oh yeah, one more thing. If you think I’ve gone off the deep end and became a crackpot well then:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

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