Just as our LOST season picks up even more momentum, we’re slapped in the face with the reality that it’s already more than half over. That totally sucks. What doesn’t suck though, is how much good information we’ve been given so far… or the fantastic reveals the writers have come through with week after week, more often than any other season. Things I Noticed:
The 815’ers have an ass-kicking breakfast bar
They may not be as comfy as Locke’s camp, but it looks like Jack’s side of the island got the bulk of the Dharma flakes. As each episode goes by, that little breakfast bar gets better and better. Looking closely, I think I even saw Charlotte working a blender.
It was nice to at least see one character from that camp willing to sidestep the usual bullshit and demand some direct answers. Last week I wanted to strangle Jack when he once AGAIN let Juliet dodge questions and lead him blindly across the island without pressing her for answers. But Sun’s attitude this week was refreshing. It took her all of 10 seconds to realize Daniel was clueless before making a beeline for the backpacks, maps, and prenatal vitamins. Sun acts, while everyone else reacts.
Sun on the Run
Packing her toothbrush and other toiletries, Sun was definitely heading somewhere before labor pains (or Nikki’s acting skills) sent her to the hospital. And she wasn’t packing a let’s-give-birth suitcase either - it was more of a little weekend travel handbag. Either she was running to or from something when little Ji Yeon started kicking his way out. . . so where was she going? I’m not sure, but she was interrupted two times this episode while putting on lipstick: once to double over in pain, and once when Hurley knocked on the door. I think the ghost of Jin likes her au natural.
Ransom Notes and Lima Beans
Michael’s (presuming it’s his) block-style bank holdup note was pretty slick, but the cans of Lima beans were equally important. At first, I thought Lapidus was just trying to slip Desmond and Sayid a can-opener, prison-break style. But nah – they weren’t handcuffed and the room was chock full of other good weaponry and tools. Then I got to thinking that maybe Frank attributed the boat-wide sickness to the food everyone was eating. Sure, as viewers we know better, but think about it – people going crazy left and right… blowing their brains out below decks… if I were Frank I wouldn’t be touching anything that didn’t come straight from a can. More proof I think, that he’s totally in the dark – even on the mission they’re about to fly off on.
Crouching Dragon, Hidden Panda
Everybody Loves a panda!!! Especially when you really, really need one. Because that’s when a panda is most likely to be there for you, right? Right. Because as far as I’m concerned, the panda sure as shit wasn’t there the first time around.
What the hell am I talking about? I’m talking about the fact that Jin can walk straight up to a store clerk who happens to be standing in front of a giant panda and somehow NOT see it. He asks for a panda and the clerk whisks him off to an aisle of plush dolls to uncover the secret hidden ‘last’ panda. And after Jin loses it in a Mr. Bean-esque series of trips, drops, and fist-shaking mishaps… he returns to the store only to discover a second giant panda resting next to a dragon on the shelf behind the clerk –right where a dragon (and only a dragon) existed just a minute ago.
As so often happens on LOST, sought-after things are miraculously provided. From Sun’s pregnancy test to Charlie’s guitar, from Jack’s dynamite to Ben’s spinal surgeon… all things come to those who need them. The phenomenon goes by many names: suggestive manifestation, the magic box - this time I think it’s more along the lines of course correction. Jin was in desperate need of a damned panda and poof – there it was. Think I’m reading too much into this? Think I’m talking out of my ass? 9 out of 10 people do. But then again, those are the same people who still think the picture frame changes in Miles ghost-hunter flashback can be chalked up as ‘set error’.
So a doctor walks into a waiting room and says ‘Thank you for your patients’
Doc Ray is sent to retrieve Sayid and Desmond. For interrogation? For torture? No. He’s bringing them to the bridge so the captain can provide some answers. Ha! C’mon, we’re four seasons in now and a lot smarter than that.
Captain Gault’s mission becomes obvious this episode: to lay the groundwork for what will become Charles Widmore’s “story”. That’s the only reason he would voluntarily provide answers. He freely offers up the name of his benefactor, drags Sayid and Desmond into his quarters, and goes to very great lengths to ‘tell it like it is’. For some reason at this point it becomes important to impart upon Sayid/Desmond that the crash is staged, Widmore is good, Ben is bad, you guys should really want to kick his ass, etc…etc…etc… Even over-eager Doc Ray gets in on the act while leading them back to their new brain-stained quarters: “He’s pretty forthcoming, right? Right?” Yeah, right. Except that Sayid’s sarcastic retort tells us that he’s already caught on.
I don’t believe for one minute that Ben is behind the ‘staged’ jetliner at the bottom of the ocean, or the hundreds of rotting bodies, or the big elaborate cover-up (nor do I believe that Ben’s totally innocent either). It doesn’t take a “Don’t trust the captain” note for me either – I simply don’t believe Gault. Either he’s lying outright, or he’s been duped into believing and perpetuating that story by Widmore. And since so far we’ve seen nothing but a ship of fools – unknowing fools or crazy ones – I’d like to think someone on the freighter is in at least part of the loop.
The 2007 Bassmaster Island Invitational
Sometimes it takes a little scene to make a big impact. That happened this episode, as Bernard’s little fishing speech really struck a chord. “We’re the good guys, eh?” Wow. Deep, because all this season we’ve been pitting good vs. evil – the island vs. the freighter – Widmore vs. Ben. It got me thinking hell, maybe they’re all bad. Maybe the only good ones are the 815’ers, as Bernard points out. Maybe everyone else just plain sucks.
I knew High School English would be good for something
Before the start of this season, we all had sinister images of the evil freighter crew dancing through our heads. Yet when we finally got on board, they were nothing like we expected. Instead we found a ghost town of very strange characters. Those not dead were either crazy, going crazy, or just plain indifferent with the exception, so far, of the captain (and maybe Doc Ray).
As I watched trance-like Regina toss herself over the railing, the chains strapped to her body starkly reminded me of something – something to do with high school. Ten minutes later I had it: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The freighter was the ship from the story, stuck dead and motionless upon an endless ocean. The island was the albatross, chained around the crew’s necks – they’d spent too much time there and now they were doomed. They can’t move, they can’t flee, and they can only suffer for their folly.
The most chilling part of this episode was not seeing that future Jin was dead. It wasn’t when Kevin Johnson emerged from the shadows and Michael’s face came into view (although that was awesome). No, the most chilling part of the episode was when doc Ray was leading them to the ‘quiet part of the ship’. Desmond responded with ‘but this ship is not moving’, and with a shrug the doctor replied: “Well if you say so…”
Yikes. We’ve always assumed the freighter was moored out in the real world. We know that the ship’s proximity to the island is responsible for the cabin fever, the suicides, and the increasingly bizarre upside-down reading habits of those on board. But what if the freighter is close enough to the island that it’s becoming affected, both time-wise and space-wise, by the same phenomenon that sent Desmond back to 1996? What if it IS moving, if not literally but figuratively? As idle as a painted ship, upon a painted ocean.
Hurley Rocks a mean suit
As sad as the whole Sun/Jin story was this episode (and as much as I loved watching Juliet get the snot slapped out of her), the only real mystery there is what happens to Jin. I think our best guess at this point is that whatever happens to him happens to Claire, Sawyer, Rose, Bernard, and everyone else who didn’t either hitch a ride home on the wave of fame (the O6) or sneak back on their own accord (Ben). But a little side mystery popped up when Hurley asked Sun if ‘anyone else was coming’. When she replied no, he said ‘gooood’, as if relieved. Was he hoping not to see Jack, Kate, Sayid, etc? Or more likely, was he hoping not to see the ghost(s) of the other people left behind, the way he saw Charlie.
Course Correction, Jake Gyllenhaal, and my own Wild Conjecture
Okay, theory time. So I don’t believe Ben staged the plane crash, but then again, I don’t think Widmore did it either. And I’m pretty sure Oceanic Airlines can get no good press out of gruesome footage of a body-filled wreckage. So just who DID stage the crash of flight 815?
Answer: No one. The plane really did crash.
This is hard to grasp at first, but the more LOST plays out the more sense it seems to make. I think most of us agree the plane was brought to the island for its own purposes - whatever they might be. On the island virtually anything goes, which is why so many necessary people survived the crash. This is the magic of LOST.
But back in the real world, if we believe in the path of fate, the plane was supposed to crash. The people on board were supposed to die. That event played out, as a matter of the universe course-correcting itself, with the plane even sinking to the bottom of the ocean in the same three parts it broke into when it was torn apart in the air. In that one split second the plane existed in both universes: both the LOST universe, and the normal one.
On island, everyone is given a tabula rasa, or clean slate. See you in another life – and it truly is another life. The island and its inhabitants have their playlists and go through their motions, with the ‘surviving’ members of flight 815 looking on incredulously and playing their parts. Meanwhile, off-island, certain things that were supposed to happen cannot now happen… because the elements necessary to course correction are no longer in that universe. Let’s take Ms. Hawking’s man with the red shoe, for example. If you pushed him out of the way of his construction death, the universe would find a way to kill him tomorrow as a matter of course correction. But if he were suddenly gone from the universe tomorrow – the way flight 815 vanished – the universe would be screwed out of doing that.
I’m not going to beat the Donnie Darko horse again, but I will give it a quick kick. In that movie the universe got all messed up because a plane’s engine fell through a wormhole and existed in two different timelines simultaneously. I propose that flight 815 has done just that. The wreckage exists in the normal world, but it also exists scattered across the beach on LOST island. There’s no way I believe that anyone - Widmore, Ben, Bill Gates, The Wizard of Oz, or Bob the Builder with a giant Australia-sized crane actually went through the trouble of painstakingly recreating that crash site. That IS the crash site, because the plane actually crashed. And I’ll bet one day we’ll hear the black box recording to prove it.
On a final note, I’ll predict that when Frank Lapidus is looking at the decaying body of the ring-less pilot on the news, he’s really looking at a universally-course corrected version of himself in the cockpit of that plane. Because according to fate, he was supposed to be piloting flight 815. According to fate, he’s already dead. Ohhhh……