Sunday, August 14, 2011

LOST Redux: S3E15 Left Behind

(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 get it. I feel like I’ve reached this supreme level of understanding in relevance to LOST. I am enlightened. I am the Buddha of this analysis crap and you are my pupils. Ok, well, I feel everything except that last sentence. I’m way too skinny to be Buddha.

Seriously though, Expose exposed so much to me. Yes, that sentence was redundant. While watching Left Behind, everything made so much sense to me. I understood why the characters were doing and saying what they were. I understood what the writers were attempting to do. I understood even the most ridiculous actions that seemed to make no sense at all. Heck, I understood the black smoke…ok, so I still don’t understand the black smoke, do you? I didn’t think so! So stop complaining. Even the master isn’t masterful 100% of the time.

If I’ve crafted the previous two paragraphs with any skill at all, you should be wondering how I can understand everything so easily. It all comes down to one simple four word phrase:

Everything is a con.

I’m serious. I know, some of you don’t believe me, but think about it. Last week, what were we shown? Nikki and Paulo were conning everyone constantly. Throughout the series, what are we never shown? No one ever tells anyone else what’s going on. These people have trust issues because they’re all a bunch of liars. They only tell their closest allies anything at all. And why do they not tell almost anyone anything? The more people that know what you know, the more worthless you become and the more power others hold over you.

I’m not only talking about cons going on between the characters too. The writers have been conning us from day one. We’ve been distracted by the so called mythology, so we couldn’t see what’s really going on. Of course, a smart person would take the opposite side of me and say, “Jay, maybe they’re just distracting us from the mythology this season by displaying all the conning.” Maybe so, but it’s like I said. These people have been lying and scheming against each other since day one. And they just so happen to have a con man in their midst them? It’s all too coincidental for me.

Fear not, though, as I will never con you. I always shoot from the hip and call it like I see it. Why do I act that way, you ask? It’s way too much time and energy to con and, honestly, I’m as lazy as they come. Forget the lazy Mexican jokes, they’re obsolete. Bring in the lazy Jayemel jokes.


…and we return to form. There was something very comforting about the show returning to typical flashback fashion on a Kate episode. Kate’s stories have a way of combining the action of Sawyer’s stories with the drama of Locke’s stories. In one scene, we’re shown Federal Marshalls tackling a supposed criminal, while in the other scene with have a conflicted bathroom confession.

It’s hard when you agree with two people. In the aforementioned bathroom confession, I thought both Kate and her mother made good points, or at least I could understand their point of view. If someone one of my parents was with was a drunk and abusive and I did something about it, even murder, I’d be hurt if they turned me in. I’d feel like they were taking the drunk abusive person’s side as Kate did. On the other hand, Kate’s mother was right. She committed murder and while it was admirable the way she wanted to protect her mother from the jerk, murder should not and can not be condoned.

I also recognize the flaws in both side’s arguments. As was basically pointed out by Kate’s mom, you don’t deal with a bad person by becoming a bad person. Yes, he was a drunk and abused is wife, but murder is worse than abuse. If someone slashes my tires, should I respond by popping the hood of their car and dismantling their engine? No, there was certainly a better way Kate could have dealt with the situation, but that statement is obvious. As for Kate’s mom’s argument, I have a problem with the phrase “in cold blood.” If you’re murdering to protect someone, is it really in cold blood? defines “cold blood” as “a state of mind marked by premeditation and deliberateness.” In that definition, Kate’s crime was in cold blood. However, I am reminded of the distinction US law makes between premeditated murder and a “crime of passion.” I’m not lawyer, but is a crime of passion only committed in the moment, as in if Pickett had punched Sawyer to death outside that cage, it would have been a crime of passion? Can’t a premeditated murder be a crime of passion, as in Kate’s case? Or is the argument I’m discussing a temporary insanity plea? Kate was temporarily insane due to her anger and thus she planned the murder. Of course, we all know that Kate wasn’t really temporarily insane, but you understand my point. I feel as if Kate’s mom didn’t give her enough credit as her daughter. I think that Kate felt that way as well. Now I see where her bond with Sawyer stems from. Kate was “left behind” by her mother as Sawyer was “left behind” by his father.

It kind of annoys me when parents in action movies or intense dramas pull the “I’m not going to tell the cops you’re here” card on their criminal children. I don’t think it’s cheap writing or anything, it just seems awfully hypocritical of the parents. It seems especially hypocritical in the case of Kate’s mom. Although, I guess she doesn’t have much of a choice if the Feds follow her or not. I mean, you can’t really say, “Hey, US Government, stop following me.” I see this paragraph degenerating into a discussion of the Patriot Act, so we’re not going to go there.

The further inclusion of Cassidy in the plot intrigues me. I think that she is one of those characters and one of those plots that was unplanned, but has since been integrated into the show. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see her end up on the island at some point. Maybe Kate and Sawyer will finally get together and stay together and then she’ll come along and cause some friction.

Speaking of Sawyer, did anyone pick up how Kate was interacting with rivals for her love interests on the island and in her flashback? She was fighting with Juliet and receiving aid (and offering aid) to the woman carrying Sawyer’s child. Which brings me to another point, I understand that no birth control works 100% of the time besides abstinence, but I get so annoyed in TV shows and movies when the girl gets pregnant after the guy leaves her. Why can there never be mistake pregnancies during the relationship? It implies that the two had sex at or around the time of the breakup and the woman got pregnant to try and stay attached to the guy. Heck, I think that in real life, as in the case of the best quarterback in the NFL Tom Brady and Bridget I-can’t-remember-how-to-spell-her-last-name. What’s the lesson here? Guys, if you’re in a sexual relationship and the girl has any inkling you’re going to break up with her at any point, don’t have sex with her anymore. Heck, even if she doesn’t know and you plan on breaking up with her, don’t have sex with her anymore. It seems bad luck happens more often when you’re on you’re way out than any other time.


When I said everything is a con, I meant everything is a con. This episode was a perfect example. The “A” Plot (as is the going term) involved Juliet running an intricate con on Kate. What was the con? Well, I take back my use of the word “intricate.” The con was actually pretty simple. Juliet exploited Kate’s emotional investment in Jack to turn her into a crying mess.

First, Juliet worked up a bond of trust with Kate. She acted like she was in the same situation as Kate by handcuffing herself to her and claiming she was “left behind” by The Good Guys as well. Then, she created a rivalry between herself and Kate by revealing intimate information only Jack would know. By saying she didn’t need Jack to say that Kate broke his heart, Juliet insinuated she had some typed of close relationship with Jack. Kate, having previously taken out her frustrations on Juliet by dislocating her shoulder, was so emotionally and physically drained that she couldn’t control her collapse. Next came the killer blow.

Somehow, Jack was still passed out from the gas. While Kate and Juliet had enough time to trek across the island after waking up, Jack was still slumped on the floor. The fact that Kate didn’t recognize this discrepancy proves she was emotionally broken down. All she cared about was making sure Jack was ok and then apologizing to him for not allowing him to get home (even though I believe it was never possible for him to). The truth is that Jack wasn’t passed out at all. He was waiting for Kate to come to him.

What was the point of this con? Kate now feels she has to earn Jack’s love again. She has always equated Jack loving her to her redemption and worthiness of society. Now, she has once again placed herself on a lower level than Jack. She sees herself as doing something to him the way she did something to her mother. Just like she had to return to her mother to find out the truth, she had to return to Jack. The only problem is: Jack’s a big fat liar now.

Jack being in on the con explains why they didn’t simply plan to go get everyone and return to The Good Guy Village. Ben never planned for The Good Guys to leave for good. The entire situation was a big con to get the 815ers to leave their village alone. Now that they believe it’s abandoned, and with Jack as leader telling them what to do, they won’t return to The GG Village. The Good Guys can rehabitate it and go about their business as useful. Meanwhile, they’ve also planted two moles in the 815ers camp.

I’m really curious as to what Sayid went through during the episode. Did they try to con him or just leave him locked up in the backyard? I guess the best way to con Sayid is to keep it simple. They probably left him chained to the swing set while everyone ran away. Then, Juliet and Kate returned. He had the situation explained to him and had no choice to believe what happened was true. Of course, he still didn’t. He wanted to leave Juliet behind and Jack vouched for her. I wonder if he’ll figure out that Jack has been compromised as quickly as he figured out Michael had been compromised.

Seriously, everything is such a con that even Hurley is conning people. His whole plot with Sawyer reminded me of Survivor. Sawyer was doing some last minute scrambling to try and keep himself on the island. However, here’s the difficulty I have with the plot line. Sawyer’s a con man. His entire job is to make people like him so they’ll give him stuff. Although, I guess you could argue that he runs small cons and the romance angle and making a woman like him in the romance angle is a lot different than making nice in general. I still question, however, if Sawyer was using Hurley’s advice as a way to build relationships with people. Although, that thought is negated by the honest of Sawyer’s reaction to Hurley when he learned it was a con and his conversation with Charlie. Of course, maybe those scenes were just so people didn’t figure Sawyer out.

The more interesting notion to consider is that the writers had Hurley say they needed Sawyer as leader an episode before the “real” leader Jack returns. In reality, the action makes sense. They don’t know when Jack, Kate, Locke, or Sayid will be returning. However, LOST isn’t reality, it’s a story, so why show us this story? Notice what the other important element they tried to build up was, Sun’s disdain of Sawyer. Sure, it was a nice gag for the voting con, but why else show it?

I believe we are finally going to see the divide of the 815ers that was foreshadowed in Season One. Ironically, the two leaders are going to be Jack and Sawyer, rather than Jack and Locke as was always anticipated (although, down the line, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Locke join Sawyer’s side due to the connection they have over Cooper being on the island). Some of them are going to figure out that Jack and Juliet are not to be trusted or, even if they are to be trusted, not trust them. Others are going to go back to the old routine and listen to Jack. What I’m interested to see is who falls where. Will Juliet be able to con Sayid into trusting her? If so, she definitely won’t con Sawyer. There’s no way to con both Sayid and Sawyer.

What about Charlie and Hurley? As shown this episode, Hurley has a lot of weight in the decision making process. Ok, that sentence was unintentionally insulting, but my point is that Hurley holds power in an important way. Leaders need followers. Followers decide who they want to follow. It’s a basic rule of Survivor. You have to build a trust in your followers so they will continue to stay loyal to the alliance. Jack has always been the leader because people like Charlie and Hurley trusted him. Will they continue to or defect to join Sawyer? Heck, it’ll be interesting just to see Sawyer’s reaction to Jack’s return. At the least, he’ll probably tell Hugo to get bent again.


There is a plan. Remember a few weeks ago when I asked what good a fence was that could be climbed over so simply? Well, the fence wasn’t for people. The fence was meant to keep out the Black Smoke. We can, of course, infer a few things. First, I’m an idiot. When I said, “maybe the fence was made to keep out” I should have thought of the Black Smoke. I hope you did. It’s so obvious. Of course, most of the mysteries of LOST are obvious once you know the truth. Second, whoever originally built the fence (whether The Good Guys, Dharma, or another group) did not control the Black Smoke as they constructed the fence to keep it out. Finally, The Good Guys do not control the Black Smoke. If they did, they wouldn’t need to keep the fence up all the time. Of course, you have to ask yourself just how deceptive The Good Guys are. Maybe they only had the fence up before because they knew Kate, Locke, and Sayid were coming because Locke blew up The Flame. It’s possible, but The Good Guys not controlling the Black Smoke is much simpler.

The other interesting mythological development was the flashes that the Black Smoke caused at Juliet. The only other character we’ve seen face such flashes was John Locke. Locke is currently involved with The Good Guys. As previously mentioned, I believe Juliet is still involved with The Good Guys. Are the flashes some kind of warning system or signal of a type of reading in the person? Here is where the argument over what Eko saw in the Black Smoke takes place. Just as Eko saw pieces of his FLASHbacks, was the monster taking flashbacks of Juliet? Then we can turn to a discussion of Desmond. “Flashes Before Your Eyes” insinuates “Your Life Flashes Before Your Eyes.” Does Desmond have a similar human version power of the Black Smoke’s apparent mind reading powers? Whatever the answers to these questions are, I know it’s significant that there were FLASHES of light on Juliet, every episode features a FLASHback, Eko saw HIS FLASHback in the Black Smoke, and Desmond has FLASHES before his eyes.

And if you still don’t believe there’s a plan, I don’t know what to tell you. Oh, wait, yes I do: Expose!


I’m having a difficult time balancing my life and LOST. No, I don’t have a disregard for my life. Rather, the problem is that everyone I know is like three or four episodes behind. The one person that isn’t didn’t even see the intricate plan of Expose! Unfortunately, I’m being sucked back into the internet LOST community, well, message boards at least. Let me say, I read some awful stuff on there. People think Hurley is a leader, Sawyer is still bad, and ask really dumb questions such as “How could Jack talk to his dead dad?” Does no one pay attention when they watch this show?

LOST keeps getting better and better. I’m sure we’re being set up for another mind blowing finale like Live Together, Die Alone. Although, I don’t know if anything can be more mind blowing than that episode. And if you disagree that LOST hasn’t lost it, then I only have one thing to say:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

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