It was good. A solid episode. But at the same time, I think any mediocrity of There’s No Place Like Home can be attributed to the fact that we already know where most everyone needs to ‘end up’ by the close of this season’s finale. This episode was a necessity – a pre-finale – and I think it was the best it could be, what with everyone zipping around the island (and ocean) in frenzied dashes. Knowing what’s coming next, this episode was like watching two great players setting up the pieces for a really kickass chess game… one that we unfortunately have to wait two weeks to watch. Things I Noticed:
Aaron Picked his Nose and Ate It
I pray to God I’m the first one who noticed this, because I really want credit for it! Right after the Oceanic chick says “see you on the ground”, she walks away (in high heels on a grated floor?) That’s when Aaron surreptitiously makes his move. It’s lightning-fast too, you’ve got to be quick or you’ll miss it. So go back and watch carefully – somewhere within that one scene is the key to unlocking the entire plot of the show.
From the very first minutes after the crash, Jack took charge. And in the very last minutes before the rescue plane touches down, Jack’s still giving out final orders. With everyone else too shell-shocked to care, that doesn’t seem so farfetched. But what seems a little off here is Jack’s bizarre yet adamant insistence that everyone stick to whatever story the five of them concocted. Because if you think about it, whatever happened to separate them from the island must’ve been disastrous. Sun should be grief-stricken and bleary-eyed from Jin’s death. Jack should be wracked by guilt for having let everyone down. None of them should really give a shit what the world thinks happened to them at this point. So what gives?
Either they’ve already got suitcases stuffed with money beneath their seats or they’ve got some other reason to be quiet. The 815’ers owe no allegiance to Oceanic, nor would they immediately care what kind of bad press they’d get. And while the story is way too strange to tell truthfully, I still think there’s an underlying reason for their silence. I think there’s a little more to it than just a really fat Oceanic settlement.
Umm… Oedipus much???
At the airport, Jack’s mom looks exactly like Kate. So much so, it’s just got to be intentional. Add this to the long list of look-a-like sightings peppered throughout the history of the show, and what does it mean? Who the hell knows, but after the ‘Jack and Kate play house’ episode it’s kinda creepy.
The rest of the rescue scene was pretty straightforward. Sun’s happy to see mom but can’t look her father in the eye. And Hurley’s inclusion of Sayid into his family’s loving embrace was meant to slap more emphasis on Kate and Aaron being totally, utterly alone. Since we know that Sawyer ‘chose’ to remain on the island, we can assume Kate had that choice also. And whatever happened to the island must’ve been really bad, because Kate chooses almost certain motherhood from a jail cell over staying behind with him.
Fine! Don’t go Bleeding to Death!
Awwww, is poor little Juliet is ultra-pissed that she doesn’t get to be one of the cool kids? Dunno about you guys, but I sure enjoy watching smug little miss “I have all the answers but refuse to give them out” go from a once-mysterious island power to one step above putting on a red shirt. Hahahaha! Now shut up and make us some sandwiches.
Hey, I DID steal my Dad’s keys!!!
I’ll get some heat for this, but I’m gonna do it anyway. I want to point something out. Ben sees a pile of rocks, pauses strangely, and stares at it for a moment. Only afterward does he kneel and move the rocks aside to reveal a Dharma box. And when he opens it… it contains three very distinct items – one for each of them. Hurley gets tossed the crackers, Locke grabs the binoculars. Ben gets exactly what he wants too – a signal mirror. And oh look, there happens to be someone (presumably from his group) on the hilltop, all ready to be signaled. How very convenient, right?
Right. Because if you need something, the island provides. The island always provides, especially when time travel is involved. What if I were to tell you guys that somewhere on this island there was a box… and whatever you imagined, whatever you wanted to be in it when you opened that box, there it would be. Hmmm. And crackers too! That was very nice of Ben, don’t you think? I sure do.
Daniel and Charlotte… Finally Stepping Up?
As annoyingly covert as they’ve been these past weeks, it was refreshing to see Daniel step up to the plate, and Charlotte step up just through the act of not protesting. One mention of the Orchid station and a change of shorts later, Daniel decides it’s time to see what happens when members of the freighter crew stop being mysterious and start being REAL. His offer to ferry people back and forth the 80 mile round trip to the S.S. Soon-to-be-Vaporized seemed genuine enough (and hey, let’s not even stop to gas up or anything like that). He raises his hand in Charlotte’s concerned direction as a way of telling her he’s now choosing people’s lives over any type of protocol. Perhaps this influences her to keep the promise she made to Jin, when inevitable craziness goes down in the finale.
The Circle is Now Complete…
Jack’s hell-bent attempts to make good on his promises have moved past borderline obsession and into full-blown mania. I imagine him as an old man, smashing a brick through the window of a Dairy Queen at midnight, grunting through clenched teeth: “I promised these grandkids I would get them ice cream!” as a grey-haired Kate shakes her head, looking out for cops. It’s gotten to the point where it’s totally comical - I don’t even know why anyone even argues with him anymore.
And for the first time ever on LOST, Sawyer looked like complete crap. He looked exhausted, pained, and totally despondent over the loss of Claire. In many ways, he exhibited some very Jack-like traits in that scene. For his whole life Sawyer has only had to look out for one person – himself – and now he’s unselfishly tasked himself with watching over blondes and babies. He’s also just now realizing that it’s a lot harder that it looks. He follows Jack into the jungle for what initially seem to be Han Solo-ish reasons, not wanting to give Jack all of the hero points. But in reality, I think we can all agree that Sawyer truly cares about Claire and Hurley. The survivors have been on the island long enough to develop some very strong bonds, but Sawyer’s feelings go beyond simple companionship. At this point, he feels responsible for his friends. At this point, he’s taken on an extremely Jack-like quality (breathe Jack-haters… b-r-e-a-t-h-e…) that I think will end up being the reason he ‘chooses to stay behind’. I think, in the end, Sawyer will not be able to leave Claire behind to an unknown fate.
In any case, it was good to see Sawyer and Jack working together again. Despite their differences they’re two of the show’s best characters and they share many things in common. Plus it would be great if some of our heroes could stomp through the jungle and actually kick some ass… maybe accomplishing something other than getting captured for once. Cross your fingers.
Jin – Stop smiling like That!
Crap. Looks like Jin’s got that calm, placid, semi-creepy “I’m at peace with everything in my life” smile that people on LOST always get just before they’re killed off. When the girl in the red shirt got into the boat I half expected everyone to be like “Whoa, WHOA… back off there, skippy!” But it was kinda cool that they actually showed two or three of the not-so-cool-kids getting on the super dinghy too. I would’ve expected a riot to break out if a potential rescue boat showed up and only the main characters jumped into it. These people are only fish-food at this point, but they don’t know that. And hey, wouldn’t Jin beat the piss out of Michael on first sight? I didn’t get that.
You Guys Already Know This, but…
I was pretty psyched up to see Christian’s funeral, but it turned out to be nothing more than a vehicle to bring Claire’s mom and Jack together. Here Jack finds out the shocking truth – Claire is his sister! We knew this long ago, so all we really had to watch here was his reaction. And react he did. Either Matthew Fox completely overacted this scene or Jack was perilously close to passing out from the revelation. His reaction seemed natural at first, but then it seemed to get a little odd to me. It actually reminded me of when the narrator of Fight Club found out he was really Tyler Durden. If there was ever a situation where LOST would be resolved by someone ‘snapping out’ of a dream or something along those lines, I’d image it would be similar to what we saw in that church – an event like this shocking them out of the LOST world and into the real one. Not saying that’s the case here, just covering some speculative bases.
I also thought Jack’s choice of words interesting. He says “I loved you dad” instead of “I love you”. It seems more accurate that way, as Jack wasn’t too fond of the man his father had become at the end of his life. When he says “I miss you” I think Jack’s referring to the pre-vodka Christian Shephard. That’s the father he does miss.
The Oceanic Press Conference / Spanish Inquisition
“Was your husband one of the other two people who died on the island?” After Sun said no, how come no one else asked who those two people were? That didn’t make much sense to me, as that would seem to be monumentally more important than Hurley’s diet. Either way, this begs the question: Why would any of the O6 even mention that two other people survived the plane crash? Wouldn’t that make things more complicated? Unless of course, Oceanic found a pair of bodies. In that case, they’d have to make stuff up about people surviving the crash and subsequently dying prior to rescue.
The press conference was more of a grilling than a question and answer session, with the most important line coming from Sayid. When asked if there could possibly be any other survivors, he answers “absolutely not”. Think about this for a minute. If there were even a remote chance that anyone on the island could possibly still be alive, Sayid would be giving out latitude, longitude, and leading the charge back to that place – Oceanic settlement or not. This can only mean one thing: the island is GONE by the end of the finale. Gone to the point of no possible way of going back there for anyone. Gone to the point where even hell-bent Jack and Sayid would just look at each other, shrug, and head back to Hawaii.
Widmore Shops for C-4 at the Price Club
When Keamy uttered the phrase “torch the island” he wasn’t kidding. Judging from the eight-three crates of explosives Widmore jammed into the hull of his ship, he certainly had enough to do just that. The primary protocol is fleshed out at this point, a plan which obviously failed when Ben refused to surrender the first time (and when the smoke monster arrived). We find out that the secondary protocol involves intercepting Ben at the Orchid station, but Keamy adds his own little modification. To keep the freighter from sailing off with him, he adds a pulse-triggered radio link between himself and the explosives that will vaporize the ship if it gets out of range. This also has a nice little secondary protocol of its own: the explosives also go off if Keamy’s heart stops beating. Life insurance rocks.
Richard Alpert owns Stock in Max Factor
No season of LOST would be complete without a nice little rifle-circle ambush by the one, the only… the original Others! Richard emerges from the jungle, apparently on Ben’s orders, hands raised non-threateningly. There is an air of tension. There is unnecessarily heavy eye makeup. We’re meant to think the Others are up to their old tricks again, but in reality I think they’re here to protect Kate and Sayid. Maybe they’re taking them someplace safe. Or maybe they’re all joining forces to purge the island of the testosterone-fueled freighter jocks. Go Others!
Mama Said Knock You Ouuuut!
Last episode we watched John Locke receive Jacob’s orders (or did we?) This episode we watched Ben once again yank the baton from John’s hands and run with it. At this point each needs the other for specific goals, yet I don’t think either one of them is revealing the entire truth. Ben tells Locke “That’s none of your business John”, and I’m pretty sure Locke hasn’t yet told everything that happened inside of Jacob’s cabin either. No one’s being ‘entirely truthful’ here.
Once at the greenhouse, Ben examines the situation as if weighing all possible options. Perhaps he even somehow knows the results of those options. When the timing seems right, Ben offers to be a diversion so that Locke can access the underground Orchid station. He walks straight up to Keamy and is summarily knocked right the hell out.
My theory here: Ben wanted to be unconscious so he could commune with the island and find out what to do next. Kooky I know, but there’s actually some evidence of this. Last week I went over examples of how the island’s most instructional visions and revelations seem to happen during unconsciousness. I believe the island made Jack sick just so it could communicate with him. We should also remember back to just before Ben was going under the knife, and Jack was about to put him under. Ben almost seemed to look forward to it. The weird way he said “See you on the other siiiiide…” - it seemed like he knew something the others did not, or was going someplace he needed to go.
Sun. . . Pregnant Castaway or Super-Savvy Investment Tycoon? You Make the Call!
Okay, I can believe a lot of things. I can believe in smoke monsters and time travel. I can believe in magic boxes and load-bearing walls. Yet all of that is made ironic by the one thing I refuse to believe: that Sun’s Oceanic settlement (arriving rather quickly, huh?) shows up in a lump sum large enough to buy out an established billion-dollar corporation - who somehow hasn’t protected themselves against such an action - over the course of a single morning. And no, the ‘five separate banks’ line doesn’t make it even remotely more believable for me.
That being said, I forgive the great writers and producers of LOST because I think I know where they’re going here. Not only does Sun get revenge against her bewildered pop, one of (the two?) people who she feels are responsible for Jin’s “death”, but it also puts her in a position of near unlimited resources. Which reminds me of another strong woman in such a position: Penny.
Here’s what I think: Jin’s not dead. Sun doesn’t believe him to be dead, refuses to believe he is dead, and/or “knows he’s alive” the same way Rose knew Bernard was. Sun’s going to try and find the island and get back to her husband. To do this, she’s going to use her dad’s evil empire, and we’re going to see it all happen next season. This is purely my own speculation, but I make it from the nonchalant way in which she grieved Jin, coupled with the fact that the O6 “have to go back!” to the island. I’m guessing that Sun might be the only one of the O6 (aside from Aaron) who never even needed convincing of this, which brings me to my final observations:
You’ve had the Power to Go Home all Along!
Did I have to beat the Wizard of Oz horse? Probably not. But with this season almost over, and with everything we know about the future lives of the Oceanic Six, it’s important to point out the common thread that runs through each of their lives: the island wants them back.
Each of the Oceanic Six step off the rescue plane to a Tabula Rasa. The island is a horrible memory, but they try to wipe the slate clean. Almost immediately, for every one of them, it’s puppy dogs and ice cream. Hurley’s welcomed back to a happy family. Sayid is reunited with and marries the love of his life. Kate gets away with murder, rocks a beautiful house, and goes about being a new mother to Aaron. Sun’s got a powerful new company and is about to bring Jin’s baby into the world. And with Jack’s career back on track, and no third party competition, he finally gets his hands on Kate’s ass. Life starts off pretty good for everyone... at least until the island gets re-situated.
Slowly, one by one, the island pulls them back. It starts with Hurley – visions of Charlie driving him to eventually disbelieve the very fabric of flash-forward reality itself. Hugo was really the only one who tried to stay a purist, too. We saw him try to denounce his lottery winnings and settlement money, content to drive his shitty old car and throw down a bucket of Mr. Cluck’s. He knew his newer enmities were tainted by the numbers, and Hurley wanted no part of them. Yet it didn’t matter. He ended up in Santa Rosa anyway, haunted by the island.
Hurley’s visions are what end up corrupting Jack’s perfect world. With the seed of doubt planted, the island uses images of Christian Shephard as a crowbar to pry the rest of Jack open. Alcohol, drugs… as Jack spirals down, he brings Kate with him. And on the other side of the world, Sayid’s own utopia is destroyed in a gunshot. Everything that started out so well on Hawaii ends up worse than it ever was.
Since last season’s finale, my theory on getting back to the island has been that the O6 have to do it all together or it will not work. Jack and Hurley are now ready. Kate still might take some convincing. I’m pretty sure Sayid’s willing to do whatever it takes, which leaves us only with Sun. And Sun, I think, has been ready to go back to the island all along. I think her owning her father’s company will play a big part in the O6 finding and getting back to the island… wherever the hell Locke parks it next.