DarkUFO - Lost

Lighthouse didn't have action. It didn't have gunplay, or chase scenes, or anything resembling an explosion. Aside from Claire putting an axe through Justin's chest cavity, it was devoid of violence or punishment. Yet this episode did have something else - something that at this point in the story most of us are willing to trade all of these past LOST staples for: great acting, season one nostalgia, and more big answers. Things I Noticed:

Chicks Dig Scars

LAX_Jack's storyline provided some big reveals, starting right off with another scene in which shirtless Jack checks himself out in a mirror. Once more, the catalyst of running water is included. Again the mirrors on LOST reflect back the truth: Jack sees his appendectomy scar and begins vaguely remembering how he got it... on island, of course. Even after asking his mother, Jack doesn't seem to remember a procedure that would certainly stick out in the mind of any nine-year old boy. And of course the reason Jack doesn't remember this event, is because the LAX_appendectomy never really happened.

This makes the flash-sideways scenery nothing more than another trumped up extension of LOST's storytelling. Like the flashbacks of past seasons and the off-island world of the Oceanic Six, these are experiences that have been completely tampered with. Locke's alarm clock from last episode sounded exactly like the 1-minute warning horn of the Swan's countdown timer, just as Desmond's microwave sounded exactly like the 4-minute reminder beep. MacCutcheon's whiskey even makes another encore appearance, and this should be getting pretty routine by now.

Accepting on-island coincidence is easy to do - we've seen all kinds of magical things happen on LOST. But for the diehard skeptics, I invite you to explore the possibility that even the off-island stuff isn't real. There's a chapter in my book called "The Flashbacks Aren't Really Flashbacks", and there's a really good reason for that. Here in season six, it's looking more and more like the same thing goes for the flash-sideways of the alternate LAX timeline.

So who's manipulating all these experiences? It's hard to say. But if we're willing to accept that Jacob's been pushing and manipulating his candidates all of their lives, it's not that big a stretch to think that most of what we've seen so far - flashwise, anyway - has been altered, fabricated, or modified to fit each character's predetermined role on the show.

Imagine for a moment that Jack's not a doctor because he went to medical school, but because his flashbacks make him a doctor... that Sayid tortures people because his flashbacks make him a torturer. Sawyer the con man, Kate the fugitive, Charlie the drug addict... you could say all of these people are products of their environment, but if their environment is manipulated, then who are they really?


Black and White with No Red in Sight

There was an amazing number of black and white references this episode, and most of them were in LAX_Jack's world. All throughout his home we saw black and white, especially amongst the paintings, photos, frames, and wall hangings. Ditto for Jack's black and white office. And the icing on the cake? All those various shots of piano keys.

Figuring out Jack's color is tough right now. Like Sawyer, he's walked both sides of the fence. He's been a man of science and a man of faith, and he's also someone who walks "among us but is not one of us". I suppose all of these references could be pointing out that Jack's final role has yet to be determined, or that maybe he's being played by both sides of LOST's game.


See You On The Other Side... Of The Daddy Issues

Reflections were rampant during The Lighthouse, but there was no bigger reflection than getting to see that Jack had a son. David is a dark, brooding kid who has separated himself and his life from his father's own busy world. He's so much like Jack it's almost ridiculous... but more on that later on.

I thought the kid who played David did a tremendous job. It was a tough role, and he really pulled it off. Matthew Fox had some great scenes with him, and his acting was extremely believable. I don't usually comment on stuff like this, but everything this episode was very well done.

There were many interesting things about Jack's interaction with David. For one, it seemed the more out of touch he got with his son, the further removed David became. I'm not talking about mentally or emotionally removed either - I'm talking about the scene where Jack returns to find that David is utterly and completely gone.

Again, I was reminded of Aaron here. In the Oceanic Six storyline, Aaron pulled a similar disappearing act. The more Kate needed him, the firmer he became. But once she doubted herself or her ability to keep him, Aaron seemed to very quickly disappear. Jack has doubts like this all throughout this episode, even telling Hurley he'd make a "terrible father".

Another strong parallel between David and Aaron occurs as Jack picks up the book Alice in Wonderland. As Jack smiles in recognition, you have to wonder exactly what he's recalling. "I used to read this to you when you were little" could easily be him remembering reading the book to Aaron, as he and Kate played house together two seasons back. How many times has Jack read the book, and to how many of his young sons? Very good question.


I Appreciate Your Honesty... But Like WTF Is Going On?

Again, more water and more mirror-imagery. At the temple, Jack stares down into a distorted reflection marred by droplets from the rain, trying to figure out what comes next for him. As Dogen approaches the rain is suddenly gone, and the water behind them is glasslike and calm. Did the rain conveniently stop, or did it only exist in Jack's mind's eye? That's up for you guys to decide, but I'm putting it out there.

Dogen's conversation with Jack lacks the disdain or mystery of past discussions our heroes have had with the Others. There's no smug superiority (Mr. Friendly, Mikhail, etc...) and there's no rampant deception (Ben). Instead, two guys are casually talking shop while trying to figure things out. As per the rules, Dogen knows far more than he can ever say to Jack... but at least he's cool about it. As Jacob says later on, sometimes you can tell people to do something, and other times people need to stare at the ocean and work things out.


What Can You Say, The Guy Likes To Fish

I'm not sure if Jacob was fishing in the brown toilet-water of the temple spring, but it sure looked that way. Again he appears only to Hurley, this time providing something we don't often see during LOST: direct and pointed guidance. More and more, we're getting to understand that Hurley is special. He's not just special in that he can see and speak with the dead, he's special in that the 'dead' are somehow allowed to help him along directly.

"You can do what you want", Jacob tells Hugo, and this is important. Unlike most of LOST's characters, Hurley's path is not predetermined or set in stone. In many ways he's a variable - one that's able to do his own thing. I don't think this is solely because he's a candidate, either. I think it's more because, as Dave once said, Hurley is the one player who's "not even in the game".


Just Past The Mess Hall, Make a Right at Hieroglyph Hallway

As Dogen approaches Hugo while he searches for the secret passage, we notice another interesting aspect of the "rules". Without even realizing it, Hurley is able to Jedi mind-trick Dogen into doing exactly what he says. As he suggests "Why don't you go back to the courtyard", Dogen must reluctantly obey. I think this is because Hurley is a candidate. Just as Jack ordered those two guards to move aside during the season premiere, the direct command Hugo gives Dogen must somehow be followed. Candidates have that power, or so it would seem.


Sayid Needs a New Shirt - Or Five Minutes With a Sewing Kit

Nothing's more obvious than the bullet-hole in Sayid's tank top. If he really wants the temple-dwellers to stop staring at him, he shouldn't be flaunting this glaring reminder that he's just hours away from going zombie-sick on everyone within arm's length.


What's Kate Doing? Oh Yeah... She's Getting WATER

Jack and Hurley's encounter with Kate: totally strange. I wasn't really sure what was off about it until I went back and watched it a few times in a row.

I can understand Kate's agenda - after all, she did promise to find Claire. But the way she cheerily spoke to Jack and even laughed during their encounter seemed just plain 'off', especially considering what's been going on lately. Her final words were weird also: "Just go. Jack, I hope you find what you're looking for". That message wasn't very Kate-ish... it was more like something Rose might say. Dunno why it stuck out for me, but it struck me as somewhat out of character.


The Circle Is Almost Complete... You're a Great Surgeon and a Shitty Father

Jack shows up at his mother's house to help look for his father's will, but there are much deeper reasons for his arrival. Jack's here so his mom can school him in the ways of self-realization, making him an overall better father. He's here to show us that "Good for you" Jack doesn't have an alcohol problem in the ALT, and so we get a nice fat glimpse of the old Shephard residence, enabling us to better recognize it later on at the lighthouse.

We're seeing a very distinct pattern in the LAX timeline, and here it is in a nutshell: the circle can be broken. People can change. Mistakes don't need to be repeated, over and over again. Some examples so far:

* Kate Austin is a fugitive on the run, only looking out for herself. She glances into a garage mirror and... BANG! Kate heads back to bring pregnant Claire her stuff, help her through false labor, and befriend her during a major crisis... all at great risk to her personal safety. Cue Claire's credit cards and a makeover shopping spree.

* John Locke is the same angry and defiant cripple he's always been. Still struggling against his paralysis he calls Jack's number, looks into a mirror and... BANG! Locke suddenly hangs up the phone and embraces his condition. Helen loves and accepts him for who he is, there's a nice tearful hug, and everything is unicorns and rainbows.

* Jack Shephard is a workaholic surgeon neglecting a son he only sees once a month. He looks in the mirror and... well, you get the picture. With some help from his mother Jack realizes the error of his ways, eases up on young David, and opens his loving arms to his son. Time for ice cream and some hair-rumpling.

This is some exciting news, actually. It may be proof that Jacob is right. People don't always have to fight, corrupt, and destroy. By stopping to take a good look at what they've become, people can actually reverse bad behavior and start making positive changes to their lives. Maybe broken people can be fixed after all.


Maybe We Went Back To Dinosaur Times!

Jack and Hurley's journey to the lighthouse was a long string of amazing scenes. Even something as simple as finding Shannon's asthma inhaler sent me reeling back to a much simpler (never thought I'd say those words when describing LOST!) and more mystical time in the show's history. Hurley mentioning Shannon's name got me almost misty-eyed, and seeing them arrive back at the caves was extremely nostalgic.

"My father led me here", Jack says, finally understanding what we've known all along. Water, shelter... these things weren't provided by Jack, but rather by whatever entity or apparition happened to be controlling Christian Shephard back during White Rabbit. Nothing that's happened to the Flight 815 survivors has been by coincidence or chance, something John Locke explains to Jack very early on in the show. All along, it's been this way. All along, our characters have followed a path not really their own.

Upon seeing the Adam and Eve skeletons, you have to wonder if Jack was led there to find them in the first place. And did Christian bring them to the caves for another reason: the extreme amount of water located around there? Again, water has always been a catalyst for some very bizarre stuff.

As for Hugo and Jack, we didn't often get to see these two characters alone together, and they have a cool dynamic. Hurley's childlike openness seems to bring out a very honest side of Jack - one that we don't ever get to see. Around Sawyer, Kate, and everyone else, Jack is always very guarded. Here, we get a more personal glimpse into his character as he and Hugo discuss fatherhood, his failed relationship with Kate, and their past together on the island.


Hey, Check It Out - A Humongous Lighthouse!

Jack: "I don't understand... How is it we've never seen it before?"
Hurley: "Guess we weren't looking for it".

Here's a phrase you've heard me say before: "placed into being by requirement". Charlie's guitar, Locke's knives, Jack's sewing kit, Rose's husband, Yemi's crashed plane, the black rock's dynamite, a shitload of heroin, the Swan's washer/dryer, Christian's coffin, the food drop, Sun's pregnancy test, the marshal's Haliburton case, Anthony Cooper, Jacob's cabin, IM chats with Walt, batteries, radios, guns, canoes, explosives, medicine, a spinal surgeon, Aaron himself... and now, a giant stone lighthouse.

The end of LOST is near. Answers are bigger, and they're right in front of our eyes. The reason we never saw the lighthouse until now is because our characters never needed the lighthouse until now. So was it always there? Shoot me, but I say NO.


David Is Jack. (I Know, I'm Pretty Far Out There This Week)

In this new alternate timeline, we've learned that anything goes. By the same token, all throughout LOST we've learned that people are not always what they seem. Put these two things together, and you have my initial thoughts on David, Jack, and the all-important conversation we saw with Dogen.

As Jack approaches the site of his son's piano audition, he passes a sign for the Conservatory that reads "Welcome all candidates". This is because Jack is a candidate. David isn't just an equally gifted reflection of his father... he's an actual representation of Jack himself.

Listen to Dogen talk to Jack about his son David, and how it's unfair that he's under such a tremendous amount of pressure. "It's hard to watch, and not be able to help". This simple statement is one of the fundamental principals of LOST. It's almost as if Jacob is speaking through Dogen here, looking on helplessly but hopefully. Jack and the other candidates are like his children: he can only sit back and watch as they walk their paths in life, unable to do much of anything to help. He can only push or nudge them in the right direction, but he cannot directly interfere.

Dogen's final statement, "How long has he been playing?", is much more than an innocent throwaway line of dialogue. It's a direct reference to just how long LOST's game has gone on, and how many times Jack himself has been through the loop. Iteration after iteration, Jack has been playing damned near forever. Yet perhaps this time through, maybe he's come further than ever before. As the dark man told Sawyer last episode, "it would be a shame to turn back now after coming so far".

David is Jack's direct reflection. To say what's real or unreal is getting irrelevant at this late stage in the game. Suffice it to say that the Jack of this timeline - much like Kate and Locke - is finally learning. My guess is he's gaining the important knowledge needed to go back to the island, where he'll eventually win the war against Flocke and his recruits.

Claire, The Sickness, her Skeletal Baby, and a Very Big Axe
Alright, I'll come clean here and say I totally hate this storyline. I don't know where they're going with the sickness, or why it took until season six to start telling us about it. If the writers never talked about it again, I'd just as well assume the quarantine was designed to keep Desmond or Kelvin in the hatch, pressing the button. But here we have batshit crazy Claire, mocking up a skeletal baby and putting an axe into poor Justin's sternum... so I guess we should probably talk about it.

I would've preferred it if Claire were mute, memory-wiped, or caveman crazy. Instead, she remembers Jin. She remembers Aaron, and she knows her baby is missing. So why, by Tawaret's great nipples, is she keeping a Blair Witch version of Aaron? Either you recognize that your kid has been kidnapped OR you think your kid has a weak appetite and a possum-skull face... but you can't have it both ways. The skeleton thing seemed cheesy and unnecessary, and it turned me totally off.

I guess they're showing us how fully immersed Claire now is in Danielle Rousseau's role. She's hunting, trapping, and killing the Others, all while trying to find out where they're keeping Aaron. She's created a Rousseau-like headquarters, and has adapted some Rousseau-like qualities. Yet considering her agenda, you'd think Claire would be thrilled to see Jin right now. You'd think she'd ask where everyone else is, and how they could help her get her baby back.

But hey, didn't you hear? Claire is CRAYYYZEEEE now.

Important things to take away from this scene: at some point Claire has been captured by the Others, and she was branded. She was probably branded by Dogen, and he did it on her arm. Knowing how Sayid was branded in the same place he got shot, we're left to wonder if Claire herself was wounded in the shoulder. If so, maybe the sickness requires a wound before it can take someone down.

Claire's special friend is also revealed to be Flocke. This puts the dark man back at Jacob's cabin, manifesting himself as Christian Shephard a few seasons ago. Maybe he's responsible for the sickness, or maybe he just used it to his advantage in order to befriend Claire. I'm not sure which it is, but perhaps Sawyer wasn't the dark man's first recruit after all.


Jack's Getting 21 Years Bad Luck

As if there weren't enough reflections this episode, the lighthouse scene was almost a mirror image of the candidate cave. Here, Jack gets pretty much the same reveal that Sawyer did last episode. He finds out that Jacob is ultimately the architect of everyone's time on the island, and that each person is assigned one of the all-too-familiar magic numbers.

Hurley's reaction to all this is none too shocking. He seemed iffy and almost sheepish as Jack asked him when Jacob was going to show up. In short, I think Hurley knew. He knew Jacob wasn't coming, and that he'd most likely tricked Jack up into the lighthouse for some mirror-shattering carnage. Hurley felt bad, and it showed.

Seeing the names listed as degree marks on the lighthouse wheel put Jack in a very angry place, and rightfully so. Time after time, Jack has sought scientific answers when many people around him were demonstrating blind faith. Jack's struggle to champion free will culminated in the detonation of Jughead, and the crushing guilt laid upon him after Juliet's death. Yet now, after all his assertions that things could be changed, it seems as if everything Jack fought for was all for nothing. Someone else had set the deck, and they were responsible for these failures... not him. These were failures Jack had already taken, time and time again, upon his own heavy shoulders.

Jacob's ultimate blueprint for who should live and who should die is spread out before Jack, crossed-off names and everything. As he turns the wheel to number 23, Jack sees the horrible truth: someone else has been tampering with not only the on-island events, but with history itself. We see the church at Sawyer's parents funeral... ... the pagoda where Jin and Sun got married... and eventually, the house where Jack himself grew up. Going all the way back to Boone, here was evidence that every death or loss on the island was part of some other asshole's master plan.

It was interesting to note Kate's name on the wheel, at number 51. Even more interesting, her name was not crossed out. This reinforces my opinion from last recap: that although she's not assigned one of the big six numbers, Kate is still a candidate. In fact, she's a secret candidate, because the dark man knows only about Locke, Reyes, Jarrah, Shephard, Ford, and Kwon.

So who's coming to the island? Who's number 108? The name on the wheel reads Wallace. Before I'd even seen the name, my money was on Desmond. Even afterward, I still like the idea that Desmond is on his way. He'll arrive by boat, just as he did the last time he came to the island, just as the Oceanic six had to return by way of an airplane.

The closing conversation between Jacob and Hurley re-emphasizes how significant Jack is to LOST's overall ending. As Dogen mentioned when speaking about David, Jack has a gift. Jacob sent him to the lighthouse, via Hurley, to understand how incredibly important he is. In Jacob's own words: "Jack is here to do something".

Right now, staring out to sea, Jack still doesn't realize his significance. Jacob can't even sit down to explain it to him. Jack needs to look out over the ocean for a while, before he finally realizes his goal. Yet while he might be spinning his wheels and aimlessly smashing things in the on-island world, LAX_Jack is making definite progress toward bettering himself. In the end, I'm betting that's going to be very, very important.

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