Sunday, July 24, 2011

LOST Redux: S3E02 The Glass Ballerina

(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.)

Is there any moment you wish you could experience again? If given the chance, you’d gladly accept the opportunity to bear witness to the scene one more time because we all know the limitations of memory. I’m not suggesting that you want to waste your life reliving past glories or dwelling on past mistakes. I’m not suggesting that you want to pull a Bill Murray in Groundhog Day and relive the same day over and over again (or a Taye Diggs in that new show apparently). What I am suggesting is that it would be dishonest if any one of us answered that question with a negative. Part of the human experience is to idealize moments, either realistic or fantastic, and chase those moments until we experience them firsthand. There are a fortunate few of us who actually succeed and experience such a realistic ideal moment. Usually it’s fleeting. The old cliché of it being over before it started almost always applies. Afterwards, we idealize those moments so much that they become as fantastical as those moments people never experience. Last night, through a ridiculous twist of fate, I relived one of those moments that I, that an entire Nation, have idealize since we first bore witness to the miracle two years ago.

The Nation I am referring to is Red Sox Nation. Over the past two years, we have turned the World Series Championship we thought we would never witness into myth. The futility of our beloved Sox since that victory has furthered the tale. It was beginning to seem like our only hopes to witness another World Championship rested on the arm of Tom Brady and the brain of Bill Belichick. Well, it seemed that way until last night. Then Prince Ben mentioned the Red Sox winning the World Series and wheeled a television set into Jack’s torture chamber. I’ll admit that I laughed along with Jack. If I were in the same situation of him, I would have reacted in the same fashion. It’s kind of cool someone found a way to get more mileage out of that joke. Then, we all know what happened next. Prince Ben pressed play on the remote and we all watched the final out of the Boston Red Sox 2004 World Series Championship.

For me, two years ago is literally yesterday. I remember where I was when I first considered the Red Sox might come back from three down against the Yankees and win it all. The televisions over the lanes at Bowl-O-Drome in Ithaca were showing the game and Jay and I discussed the sheer improbability of the possible title run. I remember where I was when during the final out of the World Series. My always accommodating roommate Adam allowed me to pull him away from his computer and force him to watch because, as I explained, “One day his kids would ask him where he was when the Red Sox won the World Series so he had to watch it.” Now, another moment has been added to the list of associations. Last night, my heart was beating as fast and I yelled as loudly as I did when the Sox first won. It was like we, yes, we, Red Sox Nation, won all over again. It made it that much more enjoyable to watch Jack squirm as his world view was once again shattered by the wonders of the LOST island. I don’t know if this show can surprise me ever again because…

Ahem, let’s move on, shall we?


I’m still trying to get a grasp on the flashback. Of course, I’m probably distracted. Besides my rabid fanboyism and completing a take home midterm, I may have forgotten to invest brain power in dissecting the Jin and Sun back story. Of course, my lack of analysis may also have something to do with how strange the opening scene was.

What exactly was the point of showing Sun deny breaking the glass ballerina figure to her father, to establish her as a liar? If so, I have a major problem with how the writers went about doing so. What child wouldn’t lie with the choice Sun’s father presented to her? Lie and the maid loses her job or tell the truth and face the wrath of an obviously hardass father. What child wouldn’t take the former choice? What exactly made Sun’s father believe she would somehow feel sympathy for the maid and not lie, especially considering that their family is obviously wealthy so she probably had a sense that maids were easily replaceable? Ok, maybe as a child I would have told the truth, but we didn’t have a maid and my penchant for honesty punished me more than it saved me.

The flashback continued with the return of the Golden Child. What I suspected last season was confirmed. Sun was indeed having an affair with the Golden Child…so much for the hopeless romanticism of LOST. Did Sun cheat on Jin because she was dissatisfied with their relationship since they got married or are the writers simply running out of ideas to keep the couple apart? At the beginning of the episode, it kind of seemed like they were reverting to season one with Jin seeming like the asshole husband who controls his wife. However, I’m starting to wonder if Jin is the Korean Rodney Dangerfield and all he wants is some respect. I’d get scared too if my wife or girlfriend was suddenly deciding to go along with Sayid the Pimp’s plans over my requests.

We now have an interesting question of the timeline to consider. Last season we were led to believe, through the recuperative powers of the island, that Jin was healed and impregnated Jin. The possibility now exists that the Golden Child is indeed the father of Sun’s child. All we have to figure out is how much time passed between when he jumped off the balcony (guys who kill themselves over women are bitches) and when Flight 815 crashed. Where do I stand on the issue? While Sun did seem a bit remorseful at being pregnant last season, I believe Jin is indeed the father. Not only is Sun not showing (which, and maybe I’m wrong, if she was pregnant for 70+ days, she would be), but the way the scenes were written and played last year left no doubt in the viewer’s mind. If they were to make the Golden Child the father, they would be revising history and pulling a move best saved for Grey’s Anatomy. Pregnancy plotlines and stories about unfaithful partners, anger me, especially when they are coupled together. Ephram impregnating the babysitter Madison made me stop watching Everwood and I thought the first two seasons were brilliant up until that story. Everwood was a show on The WB, not a pornography, no matter how much like a porno someone impregnating the babysitter sounds.


This week our scope of 815ers inched out a little bit more. There was a lot less Jack, and a lot more Sayid, Jin, and Sun. Sayid actually received a lot of screen time for a character who wasn’t having a flashback episode. I don’t even believe he is typically in Jin and Sun episodes that much. This episode may have been the episode where the three have had the most interaction.

The most interesting thing about Sayid is how easily the other characters bow to his leadership. There Sayid was executing a dangerous plan that placed Jin and his wife in danger, all without telling Jin a thing and asking Jin’s wife to lie to him about it. Jin discovers Sayid is lying, because apparently he understand English better than we all realize (they should make him speak it already), and what does he do? He demands a gun and goes along with the plan! Where’s the angry Korean who tackled Michael over a watch? Then the plan nearly results in Sun’s death and does result in the loss of the boat and what does Jin do? He grovels to Sun! Maybe I’m too accustomed to Sawyer reacting the way I appreciate to allow for the other characters to act within character. Either that or Sayid is the man. I’m going to go with the latter because I’ve said Sayid is the man since day one. My bet is he eventually makes the plan that ends it all. Define plan, it, and all however you see it.

The other pair we were graced with was Sawyer and Kate. I’ll get the obligatory swooning out of the way. The two so obviously love each other. Yes, that kiss by Sawyer was strategically placed in order to suck the guards in and attack them. Don’t be so naïve though. You and I both know Sawyer would perform one action to achieve two ends. He was stealing a kiss from Kate. Of course, who’s to say he didn’t think he might die at the hands of his captors and was possibly kissing her goodbye? Now that is romantic! Take that Jin and Sun! Kiss the girl, get the key. They never taught me that in the Obsidian Order.

I am now convinced that Kate and Sawyer’s “world” is set up with one purpose: to wear them down. I don’t see any need for The Good Guys to force Kate and Sawyer to break rocks and wheelbarrow them into a pile. It is tough manual labor with seemingly no outcome. Look at little deeper at the rules of the situation. Kate is dressed exactly how she doesn’t like to dress and forced to endure the ogling of not only Sawyer, but whomever else is pretending to be a prisoner or is perhaps a real prisoner (who’s to say the other people aren’t from the tail end of the plane). Sawyer is forced to follow the commands of someone else, not be distracted by the woman he loves (though he was sly enough to sneak in a bit of staring time and that I can’t blame him for), and, perhaps the toughest task for him, keep his mouth shut. If he acts out, such as he did, he’ll get beaten and tasered causing him to weaken even further. Of course, if I were Sawyer I would have gladly taken a taser to the stomach to break the foreman’s nose like he did. That guy was asking for it. You know he’s a pussy without guards, guns, and taser to back him up.

Similarly, Jack’s torture chamber is set up to wear him down as well. He is placed in a room where he has no control. Furthermore, he is forced to watch other people flaunt control in front of him through a glass wall. How is his torture different from Sawyer and Kate’s? All of them are alpha people. They assume control in the situation, either because they believe it’s their God given right, for personal gain, or because they can’t stand the thought of someone else having power over them. Jack, however, is opposite of Sawyer and Kate in the sense that he does not manifest his control physically. He manifests it mentally. When his mind goes, his body goes with it. Notice how weak and defeated he looked at the end up the episode as he leaned against the corner when Prince Ben sauntered in. Then they tortured him further by smashing his world view. Jack is close to cracking, but what is going to happen when he cracks? What plans to The Good Guys have?


This episode featured two important developments in the mythology aspect of the show. First, and more importantly, we finally have a timeline and all those time travel theories can be put to rest. The 815ers have been on the island for 60 days. Their flight crashed on September 22nd, 2004. By my rudimentary method of counting on my computer’s calendar, the date is therefore November 30th, 2004. The 815ers only have 24 shopping days left until Christmas! Did anyone else find it interesting that one of the top three things that happened over the 69 days since they crashed was Christopher Reeves dying? A Presidential election is an event of huge importance. The Red Sox winning the World Series is nearly a cataclysmic event. Christopher Reeves dying doesn’t seem to be on the level with those two events. Of course, Reeves as Superman was before my time, so perhaps I am merely demonstrating my youth.

The other development was the scene where Prince Ben listened in on Sawyer and Kate’s discussion in the cage. Is it surprising that he would sit in a master control room and monitor all the goings on the island? No, it is not surprising at all. What we have here is a little confirmation. We now know how he manipulated Locke so easily. He probably logged many hours observing him. Hey, Prince Ben has been watching LOST as long as we have. I am sure there were camera and microphones in the Hatch. We saw the feed being sent to The Pearl last season. Therefore, Desmond is also a known quality on the island. The place where I don’t believe there are cameras is the beach. Who knows though. Maybe the monster is nothing more than advanced video technology that can fly around and film. Maybe the entire island is a complicated set and every tree and rock has a camera in it. We can safely say though that Prince Ben is a watcher, though he is no Joe Dawson, and I have to ask the logical question: Who watches the watchers?


I really don’t have much to say in the farewell section this week. I’m looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend and an easy Clemson victory over Temple before I dig in and pen another five page paper. Next week we finally see what happened to Locke, Eko, and Desmond, so there’s something for the rest of you to look forward to.

I’ll leave you to your own devices now. Thank you for browsing over to another edition of the critically acclaimed (by FHM) Midside. As always, if you think Sawyer and Kate aren’t in love and inevitably Sawyer is going to be killed in an escape that only frees Kate then you’re straying dangerously close to incurring my wrath and:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

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