Sunday, July 10, 2011

LOST Redux: S2E19 S.O.S.

(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.)

I quit. No, not column writing. You people aren’t that lucky. I quit life. It’s no longer worth living. There is nothing left to achieve. In one episode of LOST, the cure for cancer was revealed AND a generic sitcom plot device was use. As Rose and Bernard used the term “remission” about twenty times (because we don’t say anything directly in the LOSTiverse), Jack and Kate swayed in the air, ensnared in a Crazy French Lady Trap (Can you imagine the slogan? The only thing crazier than she is her traps!), their mouths inches apart. Couldn’t you feel the tension? I could. I peed myself cause of it. Or maybe that was a result of my giddiness that this episode wasn’t a Jack flashback…


I’m going to go ahead and make an audacious claim. I mean, hey, why not, right? I think this episode was one of the best written episodes of the season, if not the best written episode of the season. I also think the acting was top notch as well. Of course, my perspective could be skewed because of how happy I was to see a new character’s flashback. I’m still waiting on Libby’s first flashback episode.

I believe this episode’s flashback technically belonged to Rose, but it told a story about two characters in a way very similar to the way Hearts and Minds was Boone’s flashback last season, but told Shannon’s story as well. (On a side note, how weird is it to think about them? They’re almost like old friends you’ve forgotten about!). From the beginning of this flashback, the writers toyed with us and I loved it. Immediately they played on our preconceptions of the relationship between Rose and Bernard and wrote some very clever dialogue. I know this paragraph is dripping with admiration, but they way Bernard was helping Rose seemed like a married couple squabbling right down to the “I’ll call AAA”/”Why, so they can get a tow truck?” exchange.

I’ll admit that I thought Rose and Bernard had been married for a very long time, maybe they were even high school sweethearts. The end of the scene caught me off guard. I thought that Rose was accidentally going to go in reverse and run Bernard over. I quite enjoyed when Rose asked Bernard out too. Their awkwardness due to their mutual attraction was so cute and you knew one of them was going to speak up. In retrospect, Rose probably thought, “I’ll be dead in a year anyway, what the heck.” Sometimes you forget old people are the same as the rest of us and not just senile Bingo addicts who suck away the Social Security fund.

I also enjoyed the five month jump in time. A lot of the flashbacks recently, perhaps because the initial stories of the characters have been told already and the writers are searching for new back stories, have been told over a confined period of time, a day, a week, a month. Maybe the reason I liked this episode this much is because it was another origin story. When Bernard dropped to one knee, we learned the core secrets behind his and Rose’s character. He was ready and Rose was sick.

Then, another twist and a reference to the beginning moments of the show. Suddenly, Rose makes a lot more sense. When she said “You’re in my spot” to Locke, you had to know something was up. Her faith came into focus. I wondered how she could mock a faith healer earlier in the episode (though I’d mock a faith healer too if he looked that much like Patrick Stewart. Seriously, when that guy walked into the room I thought he was Patrick Stewart.) and been one of the characters on the island with the most faith since (time wise). Ironically, one of the most stable and caring characters, shares a trait with the highly unstable Locke. They both have an enormous amount of faith in the island. Although, I wonder if Rose has faith in the island or feels gratitude towards God for bringing her to the island (even though it was Bernard’s need to “do something” that started the chain of events that would culminate with her crashing on the island). At least we know why she was sure Bernard was alive now.

Rose and Bernard’s relationship highlights one of LOST’s great strengths. LOST is one of the most genuinely romantic television shows, heck, one of the most romantic forms of entertainment I’ve ever seen. Somehow, the writers and the actors seem to walk the line (Cash style) between realism and fantasy. You actually feel for Locke and Helen. You actually feel for Boone. You fight with Jin and Sun. You smile when Bernard still wants to propose to Rose even though she’s dying. You know Bernard is going to decide to stay on the island for Rose, yet you’re still excited when he tells her he’ll stay…because that IS something Duncan McLeod would do.


The LOSTmuda triangle’s power has grown again. The battle of wits, and hearts, between Jack, Kate, and Sawyer took another epic turn this week. And, maybe it’s me, but I feel like Jack’s become more of a player (and not in the traditional “play” girls and leave them sense). All these move countermoves with Sawyer and Kate have given his character more of a rub then it has Sawyer or Kate’s characters. Dare I say it? Jack has grown more than a lot of the 815ers?

In a lot of ways, Jack has moved away from that whiny, torn character from the beginning of the first season. Maybe the change is a factor of him having come to peace with his father’s death. It’s easy to understand why he was such a wreck at the start of the series. Now, even though he still seeks to control everything, he makes quicker more firm decisions and sticks to them. My one question from this episode though is, why did he make sure Locke pushed the button? It would appear he is fear of something bad occurring is greater than his belief that nothing will happen at all.

As for he and Kate, it’s almost as if he has stepped back from being in awe of her. He is disillusioned with her and isn’t afraid to purposefully hurt her emotionally (haha Kate, you were Jack’s second choice, though when it started to rain I’m sure Jack was glad Sayid “I turn into a shaggy dog when it rains” Jarrah didn’t agree to go on the journey). Sure, last season he started to understand her with that whole key trick with the key for the case, but I think the kiss this season was a turning point for Jack. He realized how unstable Kate really is. He learned that he can’t control her (though even I know you can’t control any woman). His response to Kate’s “I’m sorry I kissed you” comment of “I’m not” felt more like a zinger than it did an admittance of enjoyment. And was it me or did Kate seem like she wanted to kiss him after that? Did Jack suddenly become a forbidden apple for her? These two are finally starting to get over their first impressions of each other. Jack is letting go of his need to keep Kate and Kate is beginning to notice the flaws in Jack’s character. Has it ever been more apparent that these two are going to rip each other’s clothes off and then realize they aren’t right for each other?

And Sawyer, poor poor Sawyer is left alone to feed the dog his food. Am I reading too much into a couple throwaway scene or did Sawyer ask Kate to help him catch clams as an excuse to spent time with her and didn’t he look dejected in the scene where he fed Vincent? Sawyer never asks for help from anyone except Kate. I think it’s obvious why. And that final scene where he sat alone oozed sadness. Or maybe I was projecting onto him.

Let’s switch gears. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Character (formerly known as Henry Gale, henceforth only referred to as The Character) owns John Locke. I don’t understand how Locke can flip out so much over what The Character told him and thus I got as much pleasure out of that smile when Locke was banging on the cell door as The Character did. Yes, I understand that Locke’s whole belief system was being called into question by the possibility of the button being worthless, but make an assessment and go with your decision. Locke is slowly degenerating into the mess he is in his flashbacks.


So, apparently, in the LOSTiverse, really magnets heal everything from cancer to broken bones. I think we can pretty much confirm that the island has healing powers, and perhaps that’s why Dharma was started there (as some have speculated), and that’s why scrapes, bruises, and Sawyer’s gun shot wound healed so quickly. Though you have to wonder why no one has noticed the quick injury turnaround and made mention of it to, at the very least, Jack.

Super island powers aside, this episode showed us another divergence between Jack and Locke. Locke was sick and Jack was not. Yes, it was obvious before, but now it is even more important. We can confirm three people, Locke, Rose, and Jin, who were healed in someway by the island. Charlie was also arguably healed by the island, as a drug addiction is a physical dependence. Notice how Rose, Charlie, and Locke have all been associated with some type of faith.

Once again I am intrigued by Eko. How did he end up on the island? Was he too sick? His faith is clearly different from Locke’s, how will that fit into the Locke and Jack dichotomy without creating a new sect on the island? His “there are different ways to be saved” comment is much more important with Rose being “saved” by the island. Is Rose the middle ground that inevitably bridges Locke and Eko?

Another thing I wonder about is Aaron getting sick. If everyone on the island is getting healed, why is Aaron the only one who has gotten sick? He is clearly the only character we have seen come down with an illness while on the island. If I’m wrong, correct me. Perhaps his rash was the sickness the crazy French lady (oh, she’s crazy) is always ranting about, assuming she isn’t part of Dharma.

This episode also brought me back to my column awhile back about who was supposed to be on the plane and who wasn’t, if all the events on the plane were manipulated by Dharma. What specifically intrigued me was Jack’s comments of “they didn’t want you” and “they didn’t want me either.” In that old column, I claimed that Kate was one of the people who wasn’t supposed to be on the plane because of she ended up on it because of a choice of her own free will (to do a good deed). I also argued that Jack was possibly not supposed to be on the flight because he forced his way on (to do an arguably good deed). Jack saying they both weren’t wanted by the others felt like confirmation of both of them not being part of the plan

Of course, we now know why Bernard and Rose were on the plane and can make suppositions about them as well. Bernard was not supposed to be on the flight. He decided to bring Rose to Africa to try and heal her. His choice was clearly a selfless (though he was arguably being selfish trying to preserve his new found love) gesture. Rose is more interesting. While it’s true she was on the flight because of her love for Bernard (they were on their honeymoon), Bernard did force her onto the flight in a way. However, Bernard is not an agent of Dharma, at least I really really really hope not, and Rose chose to go on the honeymoon. I would say Rose wasn’t supposed to be on the flight either.

This episode, more than a lot of the other recent ones, made me feel like this show was more than Dharma manipulating these people. Yes, I think there is an edge of Dharma setting up shop on the island and wanting to defend their territory (and perhaps picking some of the 815ers as test subjects), but there is also a very definitive faith in a higher power based edge to these stories. I mean, come on, Eko is building a church.

I’ve said it before and I said it again, I think part of the ultimate resolution of this story is the irony that the doctor Jack (the man of science) doesn’t put his faith in Dharma while Locke (the man of faith) puts his faith in Dharma. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this show come down to, in very crude terms, “God’s Warriors” versus “Dharma’s Warriors.”


-This week’s column is a little shorter, and a lot less in your face, than usual and for that I apologize (both for my brevity and for those clicking on over to witness some Repunklican attitude). Still, I think I gave you all some useful fodder to fuel your fire for the next week. Maybe all we need to do this week is sit back and revel in the sweetness of Bernard and Rose’s romance.

-Is it me or does Michelle Rodriquez get hotter every week? When Jack left her behind in the hatch I was kind of wondering what he was thinking because she kind of seemed like she wanted it…and I say “it” I mean “wanted to go” (or do I?).

-Oh, yeah, Michael’s back. He looked like he was in a cheesy B horror movie or something. Maybe that leaked script page about the zombies was real after all. Wouldn’t it throw us all for a loop if the writers created a completely wacky ending for this show? In all seriousness, there were a lot of hints about clones in season one, I wonder where that has gone.

-Alright, I’m done. Thanks for reading and, as always, before you start to think for too long, remember, no matte what you come up with:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

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