Sunday, July 24, 2011

LOST Redux: S3E03 Further Instructions

(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.)

Even John Locke dreams about Boone. I mean, he’s so damn pretty, can you blame him? He was looking extra pretty in that dream or hallucination or acid trip or whatever it was. You would think starring in a scary movie, (Pulse with the girl from Veronica Mars), would have had some adverse on his looks. Then again, hot girls have been getting killed off in scary movies for years and their good looks are preserved. For example, Paris Hilton got a pole stuck in her head in House of Wax…and I’m going to leave that sentence alone and let you all make the jokes.

Even John Locke does weed. Maybe the Ad Council can use that as a tactic. Don’t do weed or you’ll end up as loopy as John Locke. That tactic would stop me from smoking weed. Of course, I’ve never smoked weed in my life, so I’m not exactly the target audience. Are there any potheads, any stoners, in the audience? What’s your opinion? Or do you not care? Somehow, don’t ask me to tell you why, I’m leaning towards the latter. If you guys are anything like me though, you have to wonder if Locke smoked some Island Weed to go on his vision quest.

Speaking of vision quests, I’ll be your Louden Swain. I’m gonna drop to 168 and wrestle Shute (and maybe meet a non-80s Linda Fiorentino-esque girl along the way). Come along and follow my journey.


The flashbacks for this episode were the worst of the season and by far the worst of all of Locke’s. My initial reaction was to wonder when Locke became a redneck. Seriously, he was praying to God, driving a pickup truck, wearing a trucker hat, trafficking lots of shotguns and, well, that brings me to my second thought, but first, isn’t it bad form to say “hell” in a prayer? Did anyone else pick up on that when he was saying Grace? There is no way that is accepted form.

My second reaction was to wonder if there is anything John Locke hasn’t done. When he built the sweat lodge on the island, I didn’t know if he was mimicking stereotypical Native American tradition he saw in television in movies. The last time I saw a sweat lodge on film was my DVDs of the prematurely canceled by FOX Wonderfalls. I understood where he learnt the technique from in his second flashback film, but it also came across as a bit hokey. I felt as if the sweat lodge in the background was written in to explain where the knowledge came from. To a certain extent, I want to rebel against the idea that John Locke is a man who has had led a beyond full life. Part of me wants him to be that normal guy that knows things that he shouldn’t because he took the time to learn about them when everyone looked down on him. Instead, with each new flashback of his, we find out that the sad truth is he’s out of his mind.

I understand the point of the flashback. Locke had to learn to clean up his own mess by realizing his role of a hunter. He was a hunter from day one on the island and tried to turn himself into a farmer by not pushing the button. However, without getting too deep into the mythology of LOST (because that’s reserved for a latter part of the column) or the debate over Determinism and Free Will (because that’s tedious and largely academic), if it is Locke’s destiny to put his faith in the island, then by losing his faith he remained true to his God. The Hatch was man made. By not pushing the button, the result of his loss of faith, it was destroyed and the magnetism of the island was freed from its prison. In his perception, his faith slipped. In actuality, he never lost his faith. If it is his destiny to be loyal to the island, he did what he had to.

I understand how the flashback played into everything that I wrote in the previous paragraph. My problem is that the flashback felt tacked on. In other words, someone wrote the island plot and then asked, “Hey guys, what can we have Locke do in a flashback to compliment the point of him rescuing Eko?” “Have him grow weed and try to shoot a cop. The viewers will eat that kind of material up because they’ll never see it coming.” I’ll admit it that the kid being a cop was a nice twist. I didn’t understand why the cop at the beginning pulled over Locke and made him get out of the car for a broken taillight. I thought he was trying to catch him ridin’ dirty or white and nerdy, whichever. Then when the kid claimed Locke was his Uncle, I thought it was absurd the cop didn’t ask for his ID. The twist explained all those moments. However, with about 15 minutes left in the episode, or at least that was my perception of the time passage, the flashbacks ended. Maybe I wanted a little more from the story. Did that guy and his wife get arrested? Did the cop let Locke go out of charity? Maybe the writers are saving that story for Locke’s next flashback.

Oh yeah, consider this little tidbit. John Locke has worked at Wal-Mart and on a marijuana farm. The man has run the gamete of professions.


My number one comment on this episode is as follows: When I like Charlie better than Locke, you know something weird is going on. Locke is manipulative as heck. I understand that side of him. However, typically Charlie is annoying as heck and that’s a much worse sin in my eyes. If you’re manipulative you’re much easier to get rid of. Annoying people never get the hint.

The weird thing is there was only a couple times last night that Charlie didn’t get the hint. Locke tried to tell the guy to buzz off, but he didn’t. I didn’t feel sympathy for the guy because after their giant game of charades, Locke invited the annoyance by demanding that Charlie stand guard. Then the real fun began though. Thank God someone took advantage of a mute Locke, even if it was Charlie. The Has-been laid into Locke pretty hard and some of it was pretty funny. The best line of the night had to be Charlie saying Locke should punch himself in the face twice for violating his own zero tolerance policy.

For those keeping track, yes, I’ve made positive comments about both Jack and Charlie this season. Either LOST is that good this season or all this Southern hospitality is wearing off on me and I’m going soft.

Last night had to be the easiest acting job for the guy who plays Eko and has every letter of the alphabet in his name, huh? Be carried around for a few scenes, nearly get mauled by a special effects polar bear, facilitate one of Locke’s visions/delusions, and call it a day. If only my job was so easy. I don’t even get paid to write this column.

Is Desmond Jesus, John the Baptist, or a plotline written to compete with NBC’s Heroes? I’m not up on my Christian mythology, but didn’t John the Baptist foretell the coming of Jesus? Didn’t Desmond foretell Locke as the savior of the 815ers last night? Of course, Locke isn’t really the savior he thinks he is. Does he really think he could have stopped The Good Guys when Sawyer, Kate, and Sayid (and Jack) couldn’t? Regardless, my theory on Desmond is that being so close to the release of that much electromagnetism screwed up his brain and gave him the ability to see the future. Anybody out there want to try it out and see if it works in real life? Post your results as a comment. If it does work, don’t you dare reveal the ending to LOST or I will cut your head off with this little doggy.


Where to begin? Where do I begin? Once again, a Locke episode is mythology heavy. It’d be easy to criticize the writing as formulaic. At the beginning of every season, we’re guaranteed a Jack episode and a Locke episode. In the middle of them in season one, there was a Kate episode. Right after them in season two, we had a Michael episode. In the middle of them this season, we had a Jin and Sun episode. The strategy is simple. There are a few story archetypes (action, drama, romance, mystery, comedy) and the writers sprinkle them in a certain order with the drama and the mystery as their staples. Why are the drama and mystery their staples? Drama and mystery are the staples of LOST, duh.

I’ll touch on the mythology of this episode in random order:

I already mentioned that Desmond is now a prophet. I hope he wears the shirt for the rest of the series too. He looks like some sort of stoner Jesus. The religious allegory continues. Is Desmond Jesus though or simply a prophet? What about our Faithful Three of Eko the Priest, Locke the Destined, and Charlie the Estranged? Charlie’s journey on the island is obviously to return to the faith his rock star life took from him. After last night’s episode, he is well on his way. How can these three stay together though? Charlie hates Locke. Eko surely hates Locke after last season’s mishap. Does the island, which I still maintain is a mystical force, have a plan for these three?

Was the Locke and Boone scene a vision or hallucination of a guilty conscience? Put me down under the vision believers. The force of the island continues to manipulate Locke. Plus, that vision was full of way too much symbolism to ignore. The most interesting symbolism had to be Jack, Kate, and Sawyer going through the security checkpoint. If you believed the guilty conscience theory, you might say Locke is manifesting his fears that they are being put through the ringer by Prince Ben. However, subscribing to the vision theory I am going to suppose the following:

An airport security checkpoint is a test. To pass said test, you must meet all the requirements that earn you the title of safe traveler. To apply this test to Jack, Kate, and Sawyer, Prince Ben is testing the three of them to allow them access to the airport. We already know those three are being tested. What is the “airport” they are going to be allowed access to if they pass, the Good Guys? Of course, it’s important to note that Jack was being tested by Prince Ben who was wanding him and saying, “Sir, I’m going to have to take that.” in reference to his Sierra Mist. The testing of Sawyer and Kate is only inferred by their standing in the same line as Jack while waiting for the metal detector. On the same note, Prince Ben has been monitoring Jack from the closest proximity. He involved himself in Jack’s situation by showing him the tape of the Red Sox winning the World Series (I’m going to mention that as much as I can in this column). He only came into contact with Kate before her test began (if you consider her test beginning when she was placed in the cage) and has never come into contact with Sawyer during his test.

Oh yeah, Sawyer and Kate looked awfully cozy in that line (and as already noted were removed from Jack). Jack and Kate fans, you should now abandon all hope; unless you want Sawyer to die. The only way Sawyer and Kate aren’t going to end up together is if the former dies heroically to save the latter. And that would make many of us very very angry.

I’m not really talking about LOSTology anymore, am I? I guess I can’t think of anything important enough to mention anymore. The only other thing is where Hurley can mysteriously get a pie tin from and develop the reflexes to hold it up fast enough to stop a knife Locke threw out him, but I guess there are some things we’ll never know. Of course, I shouldn’t really be surprised the fat guy would be carrying around a pie tin (empty or whole), should I?


-Next week I’m predicting a Kate episode with an outside chance of Sawyer. If it’s Kate, we’ll probably find out the truth about her short marriage. In the flashback, she’ll let go of her husband because she’s not willing to put herself on the line to same him or the marriage from something. Then, she’ll admit she loves Sawyer to save him. If it’s a Sawyer flashback, as he’s tortured he’ll somehow come to the realization he doesn’t want to be punished anymore and he does want to live in stark contrast to asking to be tortured more in Confidence Man in season one. See how much the previews make me think? I hate previews. They allowed me to know Desmond was psychic before the end because I saw Locke’s speech about going to save Jack, Kate, and Sawyer in last week’s preview. I may have been able to predict that outcome anyway, but that’s not the point. The previews are still a type of spoiler.

-If you haven’t been catching South Park this season, start tuning in. The first half of season 10 was good, but this half is amazing. So far they’ve mocked World of Warcraft, 9/11 Conspiracy Theories, and female teachers “molesting” male students. Nice.

I’m out. Remember, if you come up with any ideas over the next week that disagree with what you’ve read here:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

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