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Mistress of Lostie Island
08 May 2008 @ 07:42 pm

Original Airdate: 1/5/2005
Written By: Damon Lindelof, Jennifer Johnson
Directed By: Jack Bender
Character: Kate
Days Twenty One-Twenty Two

Whatever the case may be, this episode is first and foremost about trying to dig up secrets that just want to stay hidden. We open playfully on Kate and Sawyer having sexy jungle banter. Despite Sawyer's professed motive of protecting Kate from the same menace that kidnapped Claire and almost killed Charlie (not to mention the mysterious pilot-eating monster), we're not feeling the danger. Perhaps it's the bright sunlight, or the pretty people, or the waterfall that mysteriously appears out of nowhere, leading to more sexy (and naked) jungle banter. In any case, we're all in for a little shock when Sawyer and Kate discover those two bodies hidden at the base of the waterfall, and just like that, we're back. This small moment of pleasure, which Sawyer so gleefully points out to Kate is something they deserve, is now over. They're brought back to earth abruptly, especially Kate, as more than just the sight of the dead bodies is troubling her. Her secrets go much deeper than what could be buried under a waterfall. This little surprise at the base of the waterfall is just the first of the secret keepers in this episode, and Sawyer and Kate the first seekers. Kate is of course the focus. Her simultaneous quest to open the Halliburton on the island mirrors her plot to get into the safety deposit box in her flashback, both of which turn out to contain the same object. But what is it, and why is it so important to her? Other quests to obtain information from a locked source include Sayid's desperate attempts to decode Rousseau's ramblings and thus obtain information that might help them to find Claire, and Locke and Boone's quest to open the door in the floor of the jungle, or what we now commonly refer to as "The Hatch." But I'll get back to those later. First, to Kate, Jack, and Sawyer.

When Kate and Sawyer first find the Halliburton she doesn't hesitate to claim it as her own, perhaps forgetting the possible difficulty she'll face in trying to get it open, or the difficulty in having Sawyer there with her. So when he confronts her, accurately, about it not being hers, she doesn't lie and admits it isn't. She then goes on to do something rather strange, considering her knowledge of Sawyer. Maybe she thinks she's fooling him, lulling him into a state of denial where he believes that she doesn't give a rat's ass what's inside that case, but she's not fooling him and we all know it. This is only the first of many deceptions and yes, cons, that we see coming from Kate in this episode. Maybe that's why she just lets him have it: she knows you can't play a master at his own game and expect to win. And so the next time we see her, she's lost in thought on the beach, watching Sawyer like a hawk, waiting for her moment: to catch him unawares. This is desperate behavior, here. She has no sense of planning whatsoever; she's just flying by the seat of her pants, hoping against hope that she'll be able to get it away from him. Clearly, she was lying about not wanting it. The proof eventually ends up, kicking and head-butting, caught in between Sawyer's legs. And after a failed attempt to steal it away from under Sawyer's nose as throws it futilely down a cliff, she eventually gives up and heads to the next possibility: Jack.

Now, Jack isn't Sawyer. He can be conned. What's more, he has an authority over Sawyer that Kate just doesn't have. This is the point in the episode where Kate's other main tactic, and the other major motif of the episode, becomes clear. I've talked before about the importance of being
"of use" on this show, something that applies to Shannon a little later on, but on the other end of the spectrum is using someone, or being used, in order to achieve an end. So when Kate goes running to Jack, professing that her desire to get the case from Sawyer has everything to do with keeping guns out of his hands, she knows that he won't turn away from that, even if he may suspect that something is in it for Kate, which he does. He can't take the chance that yet another burden of guilt could be put upon his manly shoulders; he can't fail anyone else, and Kate knows it. What's more, I suspect she also has an inkling of the power she herself holds over him. Kate is a woman who isn't afraid of using her sexuality to get what she wants, if she deems the end result worthy enough. She certainly wants that case open badly enough, and its contents safely in her hands, to do almost anything. She can't risk her secrets being exposed, so she spins a story out of the facts that she knows Jack won't refuse. Why? Because she knows that Sawyer will listen to Jack, for whatever reason, and because she needs Jack to get the case open. Kate tells Jack that the case belonged to the Marshal, and that he kept the key in his wallet, which Jack buried with his body. For whatever reason, just having the case away from Sawyer isn't enough; she needs what's inside, just like she needed so badly to get inside that bank vault.

The first scene of Kate's flashback starts off innocuously enough with Kate sitting in a bank waiting to be approved for a loan. The bank's manager asks her some friendly questions about her life: her name, her job, why she's in town, etc. She lies about all of them. This really doesn't surprise us as an audience. We know from
Tabula Rasa that Kate is on the run for committing an as yet unknown crime, and that she's presumably in the habit of using fake names and occupations in order to avoid detection. What we didn't know was how good she was at it; she charms the pants off that banker, smiling and flirting, and later, even bleeding for her cause. The performance she gives inside that bank is worthy of Sawyer; it's no wonder that he is so strongly attracted to her. In many ways, they're very much alike. But for once, Sawyer isn't the one using people. Kate is. She starts with the bank manager, getting into his good graces so that later she'll be the perfect victim for the bank robbers. So that he'll feel sorry for her because of their connection and give up the vault keys; so it will mean something to him if she's killed. "I don't know how to use a gun!" Yeah right, Kate. Sure. What's more, once inside the vault, it's revealed to us that Kate, nee Maggie, has been using her co-conspirators as well. She want to rob the bank at all; she just wants the contents of one safety deposit box that would have otherwise been unavailable to her because her name isn't on the signatory card. She even has the second key. In her favor, she does seem to know the bad guys from the good guys, despite using them both with equal abandon, and shoots the would-be robbers when they threaten to kill the manager. And all of that, the lying and scheming and bank-robber kissing, for one little item. Lying to Jack doesn't seem all that bad in comparison. In fact, it's bad enough that Jack knows about Kate's fugitive status. Even though she once offered to tell him her crime, I think it would devastate her if Jack knew just exactly what sort of person he was falling in love with. All the hairy, scary details. She doesn't even want to face them herself.

We shouldn't be all that surprised then when, after digging up the Marshal's body and pretending to drop the wallet because of maggots, Kate palms the key. Jack certainly isn't, and his suspicions are confirmed. Kate is hiding something, and it must be pretty bad. Sawyer tells him later, "I know you think you're doing her a favor. But however she talked you into doing this, she lied, brother." And just this once, Jack believes him. The funny thing about Jack, though, is that it doesn't matter. He made a promise to Kate, and he's going to keep it. Both Sawyer and Jack spend this entire episode trying to get the case open. Sawyer, for his own curiosity, and most likely as some sort of warped bonding attempt with Kate, and Jack because Kate asks him to. Both of them, however, are in essence trying to do the same thing: in the process of opening the case, they both hope to get Kate to open up as well, and spill her own secrets. It's interesting to note that even Jack stoops a little bit to manipulation in his confrontation with Sawyer. I don't believe that Jack would actually hold back Sawyer's medicine for one moment; that would be too much guilt for him to bear, and we've already been down that road once before. But Sawyer recognizes the tactics, saying, "That's a nice story, Jack. And, even if it were true I don't think you could do it." He's right, but he gives up the case anyway, I think most likely because he thinks he's not going to get the damn thing open anyway, and why not let Jack have a useless go at it. Of course, he doesn't know about the key in Jack's possession. And none of them, not even Kate herself, are fully aware of the other thing that Jack holds in his possession: Kate's trust.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: being on the island is very good for Kate because it forces her to stay in one place, confronting her fears, and most importantly, forming relationships with people. Building trust. It's Jack she's closest to, as evidenced by this episode, but there's also Sayid and Charlie, and one might even argue, Sawyer. Being on the run for so long, it was most likely impossible for her to form anything more than a casual relationship. Anything else would be based on a lie. It's a pretty small island; there isn't anywhere else for her to go, or anyone else for her to trust. So when Jack hands her the envelope marked 'Personal Effects,' she can either run away a very small distance and alienate him, or she can choose to tell him the truth. She chooses the latter, or rather, a version of the latter as she pulls a tiny toy plane out of the envelope. "I want the truth, just this once. What is it?" he asks her, but what he's really asking her is 'What does it mean?' Through tears, she says, "It belonged to the man I loved." "The truth!" he insists. "It belonged to the man I loved," she repeats. "Stop lying!" he yells, convinced she's copping out. "I'm not!" she practically screams, and we can tell that she isn't. And then: "It belonged to the man I killed!" And she collapses, sobbing on a rock. He just walks away. It's really hard for me to get Jack in this moment. If somebody had just unburdened their soul to me of one of their deepest, darkest secrets, and they were obviously visibly upset about it, I don't think I could be as cavalier about it as Jack seems to be, even if he did have to drag it out of her. He obviously senses it's the truth, so whether or not he's angry at her for the revelation, or for taking so long to tell him, either way he isn't happy about being dragged into her shit. 

I can't help but wonder what Sawyer's reaction in this scene would have been. Certainly, it would have been markedly different. Earlier, he told her: "I don't really care what it is. What's burning me up is why it means so much to you." With Sawyer, whatever the case may be, he ain't judging. It's Kate he cares about, for whatever twisted reason, and finding out her secrets is just another way to get closer to her. For Jack, I think it's about trust, specifically Kate's lack thereof, but I also think it's about righteousness. For all his preaching about starting over and her crimes not mattering, it makes him angry when he's reminded of her fallibility, when she's forcibly removed from that pedestal he keeps her on. She puts on her pants one leg at a time, Jack, just like the rest of us.

Jack isn't the only one being a jerkface this episode; Sayid's right up there with him. Early on, Shannon asks Boone what he and Locke have been up to in the jungle for the past four days, and Boone tells her that he's trying to be helpful, that the others see them as a joke, and that Shannon is useless. This hurts Shannon, because Boone knows just exactly where to hit to make it hurt the most. So here's Shannon, beautiful sun goddess, still hurting from Boone's timely blows, when up comes Sayid with an offer to save her soul. Come with me, Shannon. I need your help, Shannon. You're the only one that can speak French, Shannon. Yes, he is offering her a chance to be of use, but in the process, he is using her. She even tries to warn him, telling him that her French isn't very good, and that she doesn't believe she'll be of any help to him. But she goes anyway, and he lets her come, because she needs to be of use, and he needs to use her. It's interesting to me the way that this show, and this episode in particular, equates unlocking secrets and hidden mysteries with being useful. Sayid, like Jack, isn't the type to sit around when someone needs rescuing, so even if there is nothing to be done, Sayid will find something to do. And he has these maps, these crazy-ass Rousseau maps that probably are just another reflection of her batshit crazyness, but he has to try, because if there is even a slight possibility that they might save Claire, save all of them, then he has to take it. We see him grow ever more frustrated with Shannon as she brings up nonsense phrase after nonsense phrase from this map of secrets, and we see him gradually losing faith in her, believing in the "joke." And as he loses faith, she loses it too, in herself, in him: "Okay, a) I told you that my French sucks, and b) this isn't my nonsense, okay? Did you ever think that after 16 years on mystery frickin' island your friend might not be quite adjusted?" But he just glowers and says, "This was a mistake." Yes, Sayid, it was a mistake for you to expect her to deliver you a miracle, and it was an even bigger mistake to blame her for you failure to produce answers.

Which leaves us with Boone and Locke. Before asking Shannon for her help, Sayid tells Jack, "Perhaps some things are best left untranslated," and he's right. Boone and Locke are on a mission to uncover the secrets of the island: a holy mission, filling them with purpose, with useful definition. After all, what could this hatch mean? People! They are not alone, and have never been alone, and if only they could get inside, reveal all of its secrets. Then they could save us all; from The Others, from the smoke monster, from ourselves. But Boone and Locke are acting alone, and in secret. Is it necessary that in order to uncover the deepest secrets, you must then become their secret keeper? Because that's what these two are doing. They've found a treasure chest, and they're keeping its possible treasures to themselves. In Boone's case, this is simply because he wants to be special, to have an identity apart from his sister. He wants to be The Hero. But Locke's got a different agenda, even now. He feels a connection to this place, has from the very start, that the others just don't feel. This is his secret alone to uncover, his and the pliable Boone's, but how far will he go in order to keep it? These two could probably benefit from the advice that Rose gives to Charlie; they all could.

It's worth noting that Rose is the only person not searching for something. Instead, she sits and watches, and what she sees is Charlie in pain. What she understands is how to help him. Charlie is so past the need to be useful that the only possible person on this island who could feasibly help him is Rose. Rose, who pulls him out of his head, reminding him that they're all human and that they all suffer. Who is he to sit on the beach and mope when everybody else is helping them move on? The tides on their beach have mysteriously started rising. The fuselage will soon be buried in sea water, and if they stay, they will, too. What Rose is asking Charlie to do is to simply stop wallowing in the rising tide and get up and join the rest of them, those who do not blame Charlie for what happened to Claire, but who are too preoccupied with the business of moving on, up the beach, to babysit a man who refuses to do the same. She tells him, "You know what I think, Charlie? You need to ask for help." Reach out to someone; remember that you are human. "Who's going to help me?" he asks. No one but yourself, Charlie. Rose tells him later that it's God that will help him, and she's right, but in more ways than one. "It's a fine line between faith and denial," she says, "And it's a lot nicer on my side." 

No man is an island, John Donne said. Even though they may be on an island, our Losties are not alone. Instead of wallowing in his own guilt and grief, healing for Charlie can only begin when he moves on, buries the past and puts it behind him. When Kate sees that toy airplane and acknowledges out loud, yes, I killed a man, and I am sorry. When Jack buries the Marshal back in the dirt of the jungle. Yes, bad things happened, and bad things will happen again; but if you ask for help, if you live together, you won't die alone. This is something that neither Kate, Sawyer, Boone, Locke, Sayid, and even Jack need reminding of right now, because it's a hard thing to remember: that if you don't ask for help, you won't get any, but if you do, you just might be saved. It's also a fine line between asking for help and using someone, between asking humbly with your hands raised, and taking someone else's dignity to preserve your own. Earlier when she left him, Shannon said to Sayid, "Yeah, haven't you heard? I'm completely useless." In that moment Sayid understood the difference: you can only ask so much of a person before it becomes taking, and then who knows what part of them you will be taking from. Luckily for Sayid, Shannon has found herself again. She remembered the lyrics. As she sings "Beyond the Sea" in French, we feel hope: that somewhere indeed, beyond that bright blue sea that surrounds them lies their salvation. For the girl by the fire who can't escape her past no matter how far she runs; for the man with the weight of an island on his shoulders, who has to learn that he can't save everybody; and for the boy in the shadows, smouldering with mysterious jealousy. It's there for them all.

Some quick, final thoughts. That waterfall is like a little present from the island to Kate and Sawyer: a demented present. I found Sawyer absolutely hysterical this entire episode; Josh Holloway sure knows how to milk a scene for everything it's worth. It's interesting to me the way that these characters so frequently blame the wind: Sawyer does it when he's following Kate around ("What? Do you smell blood on the wind?") and Sayid does it with Jack, denying the whispers he heard
back in the jungle ("It was the wind playing tricks"). It was also the wind who kidnapped Claire, made Jack cry, and makes Hurley say "Dude." Get it together, people. This island shit is weird; deal with it. I love Sun's one scene in this episode when she overhears Kate telling Jack about the case. It makes you wonder what else she has been privy to because nobody thought she could understand them. The way that Kate reacted to the dead body smell and the maggots reminds me of how I am when I have to scoop my cat's litter. Charlie's neck scar is looking particularly gruesome; it's a nice complement to his bleak attitude. I'd forgotten how strange and sweet Shannon and Sayid's relationship was at the beginning, all the way through, actually: It's nice. I can't help but think that Michael's advice to Sawyer about breaking into the Halliburton is incredibly useful. Yes, extreme impact can open something that is locked tight, but it can also destroy in the process. Much better to use cunning and finesse, both of which basically sum up Kate's entire attitude towards her past. Whatever the case may be--a Halliburton, a map, a door in the jungle, a safety deposit box, a troubled fugitive--the Losties probably would have been better off leaving well enough alone.

Questions Raised

1. What man did Kate kill/love? And is that murder the crime that she was being prosecuted for?
2. Why did Kate want the case so bad?
3. What is the significance of the plane?
4. Why are Locke and Boone hiding their findings from the group?
5. Why does Boone become so angry when he sees Shannon and Sayid together?

Questions Answered

1. Kate wanted the case because of the miniature airplane that was inside it, an airplane she once robbed a bank for, and which reminded her of the man she killed.

Mythology

1. The strange shifting of the tides.

Motifs/Themes

1. Guilt
2. Redemption
3. Being 'Of Use' vs. Using Others to Get What you Want
4. Faith
5. Starting Over/Moving On
6. Buried/Hidden Secrets

Death Count

n/a

Sawyerisms

1. To Kate: "Come on, Freckles, after all we've been through on this damn island, don't we deserve something good?" (recurring nickname use #7)
2. To Kate: "Something you wanna tell me about this little suitcase, Freckles?" (recurring nickname use #8)
3. To Kate: "Well, Freckles, I know you wanted it, just didn't know how bad." (recurring nickname use #9)
4. To Kate: "Whoa, easy, sweetheart."
5. To Jack: "But however she talked you into doing this, she lied, brother."

Character Connections

n/a

Songs

1. "La Mer," Charles Trenet a.k.a. "Beyond the Sea," Robbie Williams (more famously, Bobby Darin), at the end of
Finding Nemo

Somewhere beyond the sea
Somewhere waiting for me
My lover stands on golden sands
And watches the ships that go sailing

Somewhere beyond the sea
She's there watching for me
If I could fly like birds on high
Then straight to her arms I'd go sailing

It's far beyond a star
It's near beyond the moon
I know beyond a doubt
My heart will lead me there soon

We'll meet beyond the shore
We'll kiss just as before
Happy we'll be beyond the sea
And never again I'll go sailing

I know beyond a doubt
My heart will lead me there soon

We'll meet I know we'll meet
Beyond the shore
We'll kiss just as before
Happy we'll be beyond the sea
And never again I'll go sailing

Together we'll be just you and me
Beyond the sea




A little present from the island.



Some things should stay buried.



The beginning of one of the sweetest, and strangest, relationships on television.



A cackling hyena, playing with its prey.



Pissing contest, take one-hundred.



Leaving it all behind; starting something new.



A beautiful sunset.



Rose, the only one who can really help Charlie, despite what she tells him.



What guilt looks like.


Lines of the Week

"I was protecting you!"
"From what? Southern perverts?"
"Oh, of course. I don't need protecting. I can take care of myself. 'Me Kate. Me throw rock'." Sawyer, trying his darndest to get in Kate's good graces.

"If you wanted to play rough all you had to do was say so." Sawyer, showing his playful side.

"There's no reason to be happy. Things are awful." Charlie, with his most depressing, and yet oddly hilarious, comment ever.

"Charlie! Nobody blames you." Rose, seeing to the heart of the problem.

"Because I needed to bury him." Jack, understanding about closure.

"Yeah. Haven't you heard? I'm completely useless." Shannon's real problem.

"I know you think you're doin' her a favor, but however she talked you into doin' this . . . she lied, brother." Sawyer, once again showing Jack that he understands Kate on a level that Jack just can't comprehend.

"It's a fine line between denial and faith, and it's a lot nicer on my side." Rose, giving Charlie some advice that everybody on the island could benefit from.
 
 
Current Mood: mellowmellow
 
 
Mistress of Lostie Island
24 January 2008 @ 04:17 pm

Original Airdate: 12/8/2004
Written By: Javier Grillo-Marxuach
Directed By: Stephen Williams
Character: Jack
Day Sixteen

Some famous cowboys: Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Wyatt Earp, Buffalo Bill, John Wayne, Will Rogers, The Lone Ranger and Tonto, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, and everything Clint Eastwood has ever made. And then of course there's the modern day incarnations of the cowboy, including Back to the Future III, Han Solo, and the entirety of the Firefly universe. American culture is especially permeated with images of the cowboy and his noble quest of ruggedness. But what is a cowboy? A peaceful herder of cows? A manly man's man capable of facing down the barrel of a gun without so much as breaking a sweat? Or a man on a quest, a knight errant, with a score to settle and guilt on his mind? That last one fits our hero perfectly.

As I've said before, Jack has somewhat of a hero complex. His need to do the 'right thing' at all times errs a little on the unhealthy side, but this is precisely what makes him such an effective leader. His need to save the Marshal, his guilt over not being able to save Joanna, and his guilt over what he did to Sawyer in order to get medicine for Shannon all pale in comparison to the guilt that he feels this week. The guilt he feels on Claire's behalf is different from the others because of his role in denying her the week before. Unwilling to believe something that he had no proof of, he turned to science and his own sense of reason for the answers. Both led him to the conclusion that Claire was suffering from hallucinations, and both led him to ignore the ever growing sense of danger that was beginning to haunt the group from within. As he tells Kate in the jungle, "I didn't believe her." He trusted his own reason and practicality over her very real, and justified, fear. And so, the fact that he may have prevented hers and Charlie's abduction is eating away at him. But it's more than that: his own sense of reason, his moral compass and the lens through which he views the world, has failed him, collapsed. Just as it did with his father.

Here's where the "daddy issues" come in. I've already established in my review of
White Rabbit that Christian was simultaneously Jack's role-model and an incredibly destructive presence in Jack's life. Jack followed his father, whom he idolized blindly, into medicine and then watched as his father failed him. Maybe Christian was once a good man like Jack, worthy of being idolized by his son, or maybe it was simply the case that Jack grew up and is now finally able to see his father as a person instead of an idea. And what he sees isn't pleasant; it's heartbreaking. In his father's alcoholism, in his failures as a doctor and as a father, Jack doesn't just lose his father's love and respect, he loses a whole way of life, a system of codes and ethics, and ways of being that he's based his entire life upon. Jack is called in to surgery by a concerned nurse, and his heart breaks a little when he it then becomes his duty to clean up what he sees as his father's mess. His father has broken the rules, performed surgery under the influence, and Jack believes this is the reason the patient dies. Later, in Christian's office, Christian tells Jack of the sacrifices he's made, that people die in surgery all the time, and that if Jack turns him in, wrongly, he'll be betraying "the greater good." More importantly, he'll be betraying his father whose whole life is medicine. Even while Jack was growing up, Christian's career was more important than his son. It's hard to tell whether or not Christian believes what he's telling Jack, or whether he's just spinning a tale he knows will win him a get-out-of-jail free card. "It'll never happen again," Christian says. And Jack wants to believe him, he really does. But the guilt is on his hands now; he bears the sins of his father.

That's what it's all about, really, those "daddy issues":  we all have something to prove against the sins of our fathers. And in Jack's case, the stakes are pretty high. At first Jack is willing to let his father's indiscretion slide by; the patient is dead, and turning his father in would ruin him. But the guilt keeps piling on: while Christian tells the review board, "By the time I was called in, the damage was irreversible," Jack just can't ignore it anymore. He's seen the husband of the woman who was killed: another stab in the gut. But the final blow comes in the review board when he learns that the patient was pregnant. Suddenly, he just can't take it anymore. He has to choose between protecting his father and doing the "right" thing. He can't take the blood on his hands for one more second, and he justly believes that preventing his father from practicing such destructive medicine is the right choice. So he speaks up, and in washing the dead woman's blood from his hands, he puts on his father's instead.  In the office when Christian was pleading with Jack to sign the statement of release he told him, "They'll strip me of my license." And Jack looks at him, a mixture of sadness and something hard, something undefinable, says," Yes. Yes, they will." And in that moment, we know what he is going to do, even before he does. It may not be easy for him, but Jack isn't one to let the blood of innocents remain long on his hands.

It's interesting, then, to note that this episode opens with that very image: Jack, with blood on his hands. This time, it's Sayid's, but the parallel is clear. He didn't believe Claire when he had the chance, and now she and Charlie have been taken. This blood mirrors the blood on his hands in the middle of surgery, when he fails to save the pregnant woman. Claire, who is also pregnant, is now on his hands as well as that dead woman. He failed to save her, let his father mess up, let his father walk all over him his whole life, but now it's time to take control. And in the end, this cowboy on a mission, with anger and desperation in his heart, finds Charlie hanging from a noose, bloody and bruised. And he tries to save him, banging on his chest, and with each passing moment he's reminded even more strongly of every other person he failed to save. Unlike the woman at the beginning, whom his CPR failed to resuscitate, Charlie is saved by Jack's sheer force of will. "I'm not letting him do this," he pants desperately to Kate, "Not again." And we're not sure if he's talking about Ethan, or his father. But it doesn't really matter, no matter the situation, those daddy issues will be with him. He's a cowboy through and through.

It's fitting that Jack has Kate to accompany him in the search. "Just give me something real," he tells her. So she tells him about her father, how they would go hiking together. "Being in the woods was like his religion," she says. And while we know differently from future episodes, in this one it seems like Kate is the only cowboy with nothing to prove. Just the thrill of the chase, and the lure of adventure. The connection between nature, the woods, and religion is interesting, though. Kate's father sounds like Locke, with his all encompassing belief in the island, faith in the power of faith. Jack didn't believe Claire because it didn't make sense; he had no proof. Even after Claire and Charlie are taken, his first question is, "how can one man drag off two people, one of them pregnant?" How, not why, as Locke points out. This is the first indication of many to come that The Others are on the side of nature, also. It's the "why" that's important, Locke tells him. All he had was his trust in science, a science that was telling him Claire's fears were nothing more than hallucinations, a science which led him to choose it over the words of his own father. Was he right to do so?

In their own ways, everybody is a cowboy in this episode: Locke and Boone, Jack and Kate, Hurley with his "warrior" comment, Sayid and Sawyer in their grudge-match...but the most notable is Michael. "A lot of us," meaning Michael, "don't want to just sit here waiting for news." Even Walt wants in, saying that he could use Vincent to sniff for clues. The Walt and Michael situation is a perfect microcosm for what's happening in the episode as a whole. Here's Walt, with daddy-issues of his own, helpless to do anything but wait. And here's Michael, the only father on the island, with daddy-issues of his own. But unlike the rest who are fighting against the memories of their fathers and the burdens left behind, Michael is fighting to prevent those memories from taking hold, to prevent Walt from seeing him as nothing but a man who stood by and watched as other people saved the day. And it's Michael's bad luck that Locke humiliates him in front of Walt, and, adding insult to injury, Walt takes Locke's side. When Michael says he's "getting sick of being treated like a second class citizen" in comparison to Jack or Locke, what he's really telling us is that he's sick of not measuring up. So when Walt rubs it in, saying that Locke is a "warrior," that he can "hunt, he can track stuff, and he's the only one who brought knives, so if it were me, I'd listen to him." And Michael, idiotic, competitive Michael retorts, like a spoiled child fighting over a toy, "Well, I don't want you to." It's not about what's best for Walt, it's about Michael wanting Walt to see him as the perfect father, the perfect man. But with Locke standing in the way, providing for Walt in ways that Michael never has and never will be able to, he's threatened. And he should be, because it's becoming ever more clear that Walt is indeed special. Those weren't just lucky rolls when he was playing backgammon with Hurley, and in this game of good and evil, nature vs. nurture, and faith vs. science, Walt seems to be on the winning side.

Speaking of Locke, we know of his daddy-issues from future episodes (it seems like everyone has them on this show), but for now he is driven by something else. After he and Boone separate from Jack and Kate, It's almost like the island is leading him somewhere. "It's going to start raining in one minute," he tells Boone. And he's right. And of all the places they should end up, they drop a flashlight on a mysterious piece of metal in the ground, altering the course of the show forever.

Some quick, final thoughts. I absolutely loved Locke dismissing Michael's attempt to form a rescue party: "Good idea..." Ethan knowing more about tracking than Locke is a frightening thought. I don't think anybody was surprised at Kate's newfound tracking skills. The whole exchange between Boone and Locke hits just the right chord for me, talking about their jobs, etc. Locke gets Boone: the young man, itching to prove something. Once again, we are shown that Sawyer gets how things work on this island with his comment about Sayid and karma. Though we don't understand it now, Hurley telling Walt that he'll get his $20,000 isn't a joke; Hurley can afford it. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Ethan is one scary mother-frakker. Speaking of Ethan, it's interesting that he is the first Other that we encounter. It gives a really sinister vibe to the rest of them. Was he just "off" or are they all that violent at heart? We as viewers look at everything we see of The Others from now on through the lens of Ethan. The first time I saw this episode, I really thought that Charlie was going to die; that whole sequence is just painful to watch, those tears of Kate and Jack's extremely well-earned. Walt telling Sawyer that it's stupid to lie about your name was a very fitting moment; what else has Sawyer been doing his whole life but lying about his name? And, in a final note of irony, Kate telling Shannon, "If there's anyone on this island your brother's safe with, it's Locke," is very, very wrong. Because we all know what happens.


Questions Raised

1. Who are The Others?
2. Why did Ethan take Charlie and Claire? Did he just want Claire? If so, why is she important?
3. Why was Walt raised by a different father? Is there more to Walt than what he seems?
4. How did Ethan physically manage to subdue Claire and Charlie?
5. What mysterious metal object did Locke and Boone find in the jungle?

Questions Answered

1. Ethan only wanted Claire, not Charlie. He was the one attacking her in the night; it wasn't a dream.

Mythology

1. The Others!

Motifs/Themes

1. Guilt
2. Faith/Belief vs. Science
3. Blood--Literal and Physical
4. Savages vs. Civilization (Cowboys vs. Indians)
5. Weakness vs. Usefulness

Death Count

n/a

Sawyerisms

1. To Walt: "All righty, Tattoo, where do you think he came from?"
2. About Jack: "Dr. Do-Right doesn't trust me with his anti-biotics."

Character Connections

n/a

Songs

1. "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues," Senses Fail:

My fathers sins are out tonight(x2)
I haven't seen him in years(x2)
My mothers sins are out tonight(x2)
I haven't loved her in years(x2)

(Chorus)
(Let's hear a toast)Here's a toast for(for loneliness)loneliness
(Sometimes it just)Sometimes it just makes so much sense
(For every night)every night I(I drink alone)drink alone
(I'm happier)happier than I could have ever known

My family's sins are out tonight(x2)
My skin is on the run(x2)
My private sins are out tonight(x2)
My skin is on the run(x2)

I'm not waiting(x2)

(Chorus)
(Let's hear a toast) Here's a toast for (for loneliness) loneliness
(Sometimes it just) Sometimes it just makes so much sense
(For every night) Every night I (I drink alone) drink alone
(I'm happier)happier than I could have ever known

I'm not waiting(x2)

I'm betting dreams upon my paper wings
Because flying isn't just for kings
I take the stairs to the very top floor
I paid the super to leave open the door
A perfect sunset is sinking in the sky
I know my body is ready to fly
I start the countdown back wards from ten
When I reach one my family name will end

Falling down as windows pass I start to cry
And curse the day my parents laid
In a bed of hopelessness where love was made
Please mark my grave unknown

(Chorus)
(Let's hear a toast)Here's a toast for(for loneliness)loneliness
(Sometimes it just)Sometimes it just makes so much sense
(For every night)every night I(I drink alone)drink alone
(I'm happier)happier than I could have ever known

Here I lie
Here I lie

2. All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes, Pete Townshend. From the inside jacket of the album:

"A natural leader emerged...the most remarkable thing about him was his eyes...Somehow they arrived alive. Somehow they found the broken bottle trail without help. All stars, great and small, shine under God...All the best cowboys have Chinese eyes."



Creepy, creepy Locke. This shot, right before the opening sequence, gives the
entire rest of the episode its tone.




Kate, sensing something extra in Jack's heroics.



Hating what he's being asked to do--and doing it anyway. The guilt is written
all over his face.




Entering the jungle...



...and entering a shit-storm.




Ethan FREAKS ME OUT.



And now Jack is the one lying down: the victim, with blood on his face
instead of his hands.




God, this shot is scary. Scary, but beautiful.



Tears of joy...



...and Jears of joy!!!

Lines of the Week

"This doesn't make any sense, how can one man drag off two people, one of them pregnant."
"The question isn't how, it's why." Jack and Locke: Man of Science, Man of Faith.

"So a tribe of evil natives planted a ringer in the camp to kidnap a pregnant girl and a reject from VH-1 Has-Beens. Yeah, fiendishly clever." Yes, Sawyer, that is exactly what happened.

"You're either a taxidermist or a hitman." Boone, with an amusing assessment of Locke.

"Well, well, well. I don't know if you Islams got a concept of karma, but I get the sense this island just served you up a heaping platter of cosmic payback." Sawyer, once again proving he's a lot smarter than people give him credit for.

"Back home, I'm known as something of a warrior, myself. " Hurley, with a somewhat puzzling comment.

"I know I have been hard on you...but that is how you make a soft metal into steel." Christian, lying his way to freedom.

"Just give me something real, anything." Jack to Kate, looking for something to cling to.

"Maybe he was already on the island, before we were." Walt, saying what nobody else wants to believe.
 
 
 
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
 
 
Mistress of Lostie Island
11 January 2008 @ 05:16 pm
Original Airdate: 12/1/2004
Written By: Lynne E. Litt
Directed By: Marita Grabiak
Character: Claire
Days Fifteen - Sixteen

For Sayid, it's been five days; for the other Losties, it's been a week; but for you, dear readers, it's been five months. Five long months of life without these reviews. I'm sure you cried yourself to sleep nightly. Or maybe screamed bloody murder like Claire does in this episode. "Raised By Another" is really the first episode that introduces a little something else into the mix: a creepiness that isn't able to be categorized.  Throughout the episode, there is a faint air of menace surrounding Claire and her pregnancy. Part of us as the audience wants to believe that it's all in Claire's head, and that nobody has been attacking her in the middle of the night. But the other part of us knows that's just wishful thinking. We see the bags under Claire's eyes get more pronounced as the episode goes on, and we see what her dreams are doing to her. Something is eating her up from within, and it's really difficult to put your finger on it. And none of the Losties get to see inside her dreams.

So let's begin there: we open on Claire's eye. Claire's closed eye. This is a first, I think. We've always come in on an open eye: Jack, Locke, Sun...So what could this closed eye mean, this closed eye that opens so forcefully into Claire's ridiculously blue eye? This closed eye that isn't even real, because she's dreaming it. She gets up from the ground and wanders into the jungle, confused, feeling the place where her baby used to be. She hears a baby crying. She finds Locke, or what looks like Locke, sitting at a table in the jungle, pulling cards from a deck with sounds like sharp metal. She asks, "What's happening?' "You know what's happening," he replies, the red lamp shining on his face. "But, I don't understand, why.." He interrupts her,"He was your responsibility, but you gave him away, Claire. Everyone pays the price now." He looks up, and we see that he has one black eye and one white eye, opaque and frightening.
It's about right and wrong. She leaves Locke and finds a cradle in the middle of the jungle, above it a mobile of Oceanic planes. But underneath the covers, she finds only blood, and wakes up screaming. Oh, God, the woman can scream. But this is the moment, and everything in this episode relates back to it. "He was your responsibility...everyone pays the price."

I've said before that the island gives people what they need, what they deserve. So what is it about this dream, and the revelation she makes at the end of the episode, that she needs so desperately? And what does it all have to do with Ethan Rom? First, there's Claire, who is pregnant, and her boyfriend Thomas tells her that he loves her. He tells her, when she is at her most confused and vulnerable, why can't we do this? Why can't we have this baby together? And she is relieved: she won't have to go it alone, like her mother before her. Then there is Claire, pregnant and alone after Thomas has split. Abandoned, like her mother before her. And then there is a third Claire, the Claire on the island who tried to give up her baby and failed. Who took the advice of a strange man and flew to L.A., and ended up crashed on island, with nothing in between her and her baby. She has to raise him now; she has no choice. Her life is unraveling. And Claire, who was going to abandon her baby, must now face the consequences. He is her responsibility. Her father left, Thomas, she was going to leave. They are stuck on the island and her baby is coming. It's about the stuff looming on the horizon, about the men who hide in the dark that you don't even know are there.

In her dream, she found blood in the cradle, and she wakes up the next night claiming that a man has attacked her. And nobody believes her. None of them can see what's looming on the horizon, not even Claire. She sees Locke in her dreams, but I think it's really the island, warning her of the danger that is to come, and the responsibility she needs to face. To avert the danger that is to come. The danger that the psychic told her would befall her baby if she were to let anyone else raise him. But all she feels is guilt: guilt over wanting to abandon her baby, guilt over taking this flight and listening to the psychic. She tells Jack and she tells Charlie that she's tired of people telling her what to do. Thomas, the psychic, the adoption people, Jack, even Charlie. To her, they are people who see her as nothing more than an object: somebody to be used, to be rescued. "I don't need to be rescued!" she tells Charlie. But what she's really railing against is her own guilt, and her fear that she isn't going to be a good mother. She doesn't trust herself, she doesn't trust Charlie, because she trusted her instincts once before when she listened to Richard Malkin and took Flight 815 to L.A. But he was wrong, or so she thought; they were just empty promises. This is why she won't let Charlie in; when he tells her he won't leave her, it means nothing to her, because they all said the same thing: her father, Thomas, the psychic. And they were all lying.

So when Charlie suggests that Richard Malkin knew about Flight 815's crash before it even happened, that he knew the only way he could get Claire to raise the baby herself was to take it out of her control, she is inexplicably relieved. It's not her fault after all: he knew. Everything she believed is still true, because he was lying. This adds a whole other level to the show; if in this universe it's possible for a psychic to predict a plane crash, then other, much more scary things are indeed looming on the horizon. And if he was right about the plane crash, he was right about the baby. Will we ever know what crisis was averted, if it was? Was he even lying about that? Did he have some other motivation in pestering her so desperately? "Everyone will pay the price," he said. Locke tells Hurley on the beach that he was looking for something in Australia, but that he didn't find it; it found him. Were they all destined to be on that plane? And it's Locke who questions even Hurley, "Who's checking on you?" He claims it's a joke, but it's the truth. Is Locke the only one who can see it?

After Claire is attacked, Hurley approaches Jack with a scary thought: who are all these people they are living with? This new civilization they're living in not only doesn't have rules, it doesn't have doors. Everything is open and unprotected. "People come and go," says Kate. There are no borders or regulations. Who knows what menace is lurking, invisible in the light. And then we know: Ethan Rom, not on the manifest. Ethan Rom, with his creepy-ass eyes, standing in front of Charlie and Claire. Ethan Rom, cut to black. It's about the menace within, the things we don't know.

Some quick, final thoughts. Thomas is a turd. I loved Kate sinking in the sand. "Dear Diary, still on the bloody island. Today I swallowed a bug. Love, Claire." Hurley being freaked out by Locke: "I know I already talked to you, but I just wanted to get away from him for a second." I loved Charlie's panicked behavior: counting with "one sugar plum fairy," his accidental confession. Those pens not working for Claire? Destiny. $6,000 is a lot of money. What could have possibly been so scary for a stranger to just give it to you? Why did he care so much? This episode raises more questions than I can even keep track of.

Questions Raised

1. Did the psychic know that the plane was going to crash? If he did, how did he know? Had he met another Lostie and seen the plane crash in their future?
2. Why is Claire's baby a danger if she does not raise it herself?
3. Where did Ethan come from and why has he been infiltrating their camp?
4. Why is Hurley's nickname "Hurley"?

Questions Answered

1. Hurley's real name is Hugo Reyes.
2. Claire was on the plane on the advice of her psychic, who had supposedly arranged an adoption in L.A. for Claire's baby. He paid for the ticket and promised her $12,000--$6,000 upon arriving in L.A.
3. Locke is from California.

Mythology

1. Pregnancy--why is Ethan obsessed with Claire?
2. Where did Ethan come from?
3. Claire's dream.

Motifs/Themes

1. Eyes
2. Black and White
3. Responsibility
4. Destiny
5. Abandonment
6. Danger From Within
7. The Unknown

Death Count

n/a

Sawyerisms

1. To Hurley: "Well, gosh. You sure know how to butter a man up, Stay Puft."

Character Connections


1. Did the psychic Richard Malkin meet another Lostie previously and foresee the plane crash?

Songs

1. "Catch a Falling Star"--

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Never let it fade away
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Save it for a rainy day

For love may come and tap you on the shoulder
Some starless night
Just in case you feel you wanna hold her
You’ll have a pocketful of starlight

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Never let it fade away
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Save it for a rainy day

For love may come and tap you on the shoulder
Some starless night
And just in case you feel you wanna hold her
You’ll have a pocketful of starlight

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Never let it fade away
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Save it for a rainy day

For when your troubles start multiplyin’
And they just might
It’s easy to forget them without tryin’
With just a pocketful of starlight

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Never let it fade away
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Save it for a rainy day

Save it for a rainy day



Living is easy with eyes closed.


It's about good and evil. It's about Locke and his crazy eyes.



Claire--about to learn she's not in control of her own destiny.



The island is really doing a number on poor Claire. Look at those bags forming under her eyes!


Our very own Beach Bunny.



Signing away her destiny.



Sitting in the jungle...



...while Ethan approaches.


Lines of the Week

"He was your responsibility, but you gave him away, Claire. Everyone pays the price now." Dream Locke, hitting Claire where it hurts and hinting some really creepy shit.

"Look, if I was a cop and some woman got attacked, we'd canvas, right? Knock on doors, find witnesses. But, we don't even have doors." Hurley, making a good point.

"Reason for travel? The reason you were in Australia?
"I was looking for something."
"Looking. Uh huh. Right on. So, did you find it?"
"No, it found me." Hurley and Locke, with some revealing information about destiny.

"You don’t like me Charlie, okay? You just want to rescue me, because I’m – because of this. But I’m fine, okay. I don’t need rescuing." Claire, to Charlie, revealing more than she knows.

"There is no happy life. Not for this child - not without you." Richard the psychic, to Claire, being really creepy.

"It's just, I think about you...in this place. How hard it must be for you without your family here and your friends. And I think, we could be friends. I could be your friend. We don't have to do each other's hair or anything. I just mean, that, you know, if you needed someone to talk to about anything, I'm here." Charlie trying to reach out to Claire.

"Name: Shannon Rutherford. Age: twenty. Address: Craphole Island." You have to love Shannon at least sometimes.

"If I can kick drugs, I can deliver a baby. (Claire looks at him.) Let me explain! I'm a drug addict. I was a drug addict. I, I'm clean now." Awkward, emergency confessions ala Charlie Pace.

"I mean, all he wanted was that no one else was to raise your baby, right? Maybe he knew. I mean, if he wanted it bad enough, if, you know, if he had the gift, and I believe some people do, maybe he knew, Claire." Charlie, being really right, and taking a huge burden off of Claire's shoulders.

"We're not alone." Sayid, scaring the bejeesus out of everyone, but too late for Claire and Charlie.
 
 
Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
 
 
Mistress of Lostie Island
09 August 2007 @ 03:32 pm
Original Airdate: 11/17/2004
Written By: David Fury
Directed By: Greg Yaitanes
Character: Sayid
Days Twelve - Thirteen

I'm afraid I'm going to have to start this one off with an apology, too. August has dawned and with it comes my last semester as an undergrad. Which means I will be incredibly busy and might not want to spend my only day off taking five to six hours writing reviews of Lost. This isn't to say that I won't try my darndest to keep up, but these things take time and energy and I have to be in the right mood, etc.

And with that said: Sayid. A favorite professor of mine likes to tell his students that the best papers are often written when the literature is confusing as hell. When something is confusing or you don't understand it as well, he posits, you tend to have better insight and more independent ideas than you would over something that you know backwards and forwards because you have to stop and really think about what you're saying. This is my not so subtle attempt to say that while I may not completely understand Sayid, I still have important things to say, dammit.

And so we find Sayid, alone, sitting on a beach. Two days have passed since we last saw the Losties. This is the first instance that the show has skipped time, presumably because nothing exciting has happened to them. This is a good thing, really. Even on freaky-ass islands with polar bears and crazy French women, there has to be some down-time. It's also pretty sad for Sayid, who doesn't seem to have made it very far in two days. He's still on the beach, alone. That's the crux of this episode, really. Being alone.

"Solitary" refers to several things. First of all, solitary is just another world for lonely, or the state of being isolated physically or emotionally from others. But there are two types of loneliness: forced and self-imposed. A person being held in solitary confinement has no choice but to be alone, whether they are innocent or not, it is a punishment of somebody else's making. Nadia is held in solitary confinement by the Republican Guard. Then there is the self-imposed solitary. Sayid, in his guilt, has forcibly removed himself from his group. In essence, he's placed himself in solitary confinement until he can find some sort of healing for his actions, both recent and ancient.

And then there's Rousseau. Alone for sixteen years, after having killed her fellow party members upon their becoming "sick," and after losing her child in some unknown manner, she's possibly as solitary as one can get. Even her music box, the only thing of meaning she possessed, is now broken. She has lived on the island in fear of The Others and The Sickness, the strange animals and the Monster. But she is smart and crafty, hardy. She possesses a strong will to survive. And she certainly knows her way around booby traps. So when Sayid shows up after this long period of solitary confinement, of course she believes the worst of him at first. That he is one of The Others, whom she believes responsible for the death of her friends and child. That he isn't to be trusted. But Rousseau isn't stupid. She may have believed this at first, but it soon becomes apparent to her that Sayid is telling the truth. She tortures quite well, after all. But still she keeps him captive.

Mysteriously, Sayid understands her. He does not hate her, his captor. Even she questions his motives, wondering why he still wishes to help her, to fix her music box, after she has tortured him. But even Rousseau does not know how alike she and Sayid are. Both are good with mechanics, both have suffered extreme losses, and both have cut themselves off willingly from those around them because of those losses. The parallels are three-fold here. Sayid was exactly in Rousseau's position not two days earlier, trying to get medicine out of Sawyer. And just like Sawyer, who did not have Shannon's asthma medication, he is not one of the Others that Rousseau fears. He knows nothing about her sufferings. She is torturing him in vain, and she knows it, because she has been alone for far too long. In Sayid's flashbacks we see him torturing a young man named Falah, threatening him with death, telling him in no uncertain terms that he knows that Falah knows things, that Falah will tell him what he needs to know, or Falah will pay the price. Not five minutes later we see him talking to his superior, telling him that Falah knows nothing. NOTHING! And yet he bullies the man, making him feel small and weak, continuing the torture. And he does this because it is his job, because staying in good favor is more important than what his true feelings about his actions are. That is, until Nadia comes along.

Nadia is real to him, a piece of his past. He can't just look at Nadia, turn off his humanity, and do his job. He sees a person, a beautiful woman before him. And he is conflicted. She confronts him about the game he is playing, saying that he keeps "playing it, pretending to be something I know you're not." And so when Nadia is deemed of no more use by his superiors, Sayid realizes that he must save her, not only for her sake, but for his as well. Because she saved him. In
Confidence Man, Sayid told Jack that he had promised he would never torture again, presumably because of this incident with Nadia. He couldn't pretend his victims weren't real anymore; he couldn't ignore that his actions had consequences, and that those consequences were sucking out the humanity from his soul. This is something he forgot in his torturing of Sawyer, because Sawyer was an easy scapegoat for all his feelings of helplessness at being stuck on the island, unable to get to Nadia. In trying to find her, the person who taught him to be a human again, to love, he had begun to lose his humanity again. And it is his humanity that he finds in Rousseau's dank shelter. Because Rousseau needs him just as much as he needed Nadia. It really makes you think about the way that captors need their prisoners, the way that bullies need their victims.

"You can't. You have to stay. It's not safe...You need me. You can't leave," she tells him, a note of pleading in her voice. Because it's the other way around. She tells herself that she needs to protect him, to keep him safe, but in reality she only wants to keep him so she won't be alone again. Because she doesn't know how to be with people anymore after sixteen years of loneliness, she has to resort to keeping a friend prisoner for company. It is then that Sayid realizes just how much he needs the other Losties, that he can only atone for his actions by being a real human again, needing people and interacting with them. Running away into the jungle, even as extreme as it sounds, was the easy way out. He was ashamed of his actions, and looking at Sawyer's face, and Jack and Kate, would mean having to be forcibly reminded of those actions, of what he'd lost in losing Nadia, every day. It's that whole nifty "live together or die alone" thing, again.

In his final confrontation with Rousseau, he realizes that while he may have been taking part in body the activities of the island, his heart wasn't in it because his heart was still with Nadia out in the great unknown: "I know what it's like to hold on to someone. I've been holding on for the past seven years to just a thought, a blind hope that somewhere she's still alive. But the more I hold on, the more I pull away from those around me. The only way out of this, this place, is with their help. Come with me. You don't have to be alone, Danielle." It's not even about long lost love for Sayid. It's about hope and trust and faith; Nadia saved him in a way that someone who is just your lover cannot. She saved his humanity. Rousseau is holding on to the memories of her fallen comrades and her missing child so hard that she can't connect to real people, to Sayid, and Sayid recognizes this. Rousseau tells him that she wants someone to talk to, to touch, but she can't have that without coming out of solitary, something she is not yet willing to do. She may have been forced into loneliness by circumstance, but she is openly choosing it now, because she doesn't know how to do anything else. Sayid may have learned a great deal in his interactions with her, but she is just as alone as ever.

It's interesting to note that Rousseau was named after the famous philosopher
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, most notable for his Theory of Natural Man. Rousseau posited that man in his natural state was a benevolent force, motivated to survive on his natural reason and amour de soi, self-love, and that this only occurs in conditions of relative solitude. When forced together in the artificial construct of society, as Rousseau put it, man developed amour propre, or pride, as he was forced to compare himself to other men. He also feared material goods and the acquiring of knowledge as a corrupter of society, saying that they interfered with true friendship, replacing it with fear, jealousy, and suspicion. Jean-Jaques Rousseau was not a progressive, to say the least, and our very own Danielle Rousseau seems to fit into his mold quite nicely. She rejects the society of the Losties and the Others (and any other castaway she may have encountered in sixteen years) in favor of solitude. But she has not flourished. She is unhappy and wild, yearning for company, but fearing it at the same time.

This brings up another point. When Hurley expresses his concerns to Jack that the Losties need something else besides the ability to survive, he is dead on. It's not enough to simply survive. To be human, we need fun and companionship, and a sense that things are going to be okay again. Jack is so busy worrying that forgets something true: that people feel safe when they are having fun, being normal. And what better way of being normal than a little game of golf? Hurley's a freaking genius. But really, it's about quality of life. Sure, it's possible to survive on bread and water, but would you want to? Living on a dangerous island is not good for the human psyche. It's not enough to survive,
you have to deserve it. This is the same thing that Jack and Sayid talked about last week; they're not savages yet. The Losties need a little balance in their lives in order to stay sane. It's the same thing with Rousseau's music box. Until it broke, it was a source of comfort for her, a reminder of her own humanity and the memories she shared with her husband. In my opinion, this philosophy-de-Hurley is much more true and useful than stinky old Jean-Jacques Rousseau's. The golf course brings the Losties together. Even Sawyer, exiled in his very own confusing solitary, feels drawn to the gathering. "One outcast to another," Kate tells him, "I'd think about making an effort." And she's right. Yes, as Jack points out in the beginning of the episode, nobody wants to be around Sawyer. But that's because he makes it very, very hard for them to like him. He goes out of his way to cause trouble, and then sits lonely amid the mess he's made. And of course, the other Losties are surprised when he shows up, but not bothered, because he's being pleasant for once, trying to fit in.

When I said the golf course brought the Losties together, well, I meant almost all of them. Because Locke is still off in the jungle, throwing his knives. And Walt, rebuffed by his selfish father, finds him there. This is major hinting at what's to come; both Locke and Walt have a special connection to the island, and neither really have anything to get back to. Locke is able walk here, flourish, free from his wheelchair. Walt has lost his mother and his home. The island welcomes them. Michael, on the other hand, has taken SO many steps backward in his relationship with Walt in this episode. He makes a brief effort after having abandoned Walt in the caves with a sleeping Claire, promising to let Walt golf, but then as soon as it's his turn, he abandons Walt yet again.  He is acting incredibly selfish here, sending Walt the message that his own personal happiness takes precedence over Walt's. Michael seriously needs to grow up.

Some quick, final thoughts. Man, Kate is PEEVED at Jack in the beginning. I love how Sayid follows the cable into the jungle and doesn't even stop to think about why in the world it would be running into the water. Sayid is stealthy like a panther but still manages to be caught by crafty Rousseau. Whatever happened to hypochondriac Sullivan after this episode? Do we ever see him again? I love Hurley's face when he finds the golf clubs, it's like he's found a bomb or something. This island sure does know how to give people what they want...Sayid asked for penance for his torturing crimes against Sawyer and VOILA! Out comes Rousseau to torture him in turn not two days later. Instant absolution, island style. I love the transition between Sayid being tortured by Rousseau ("Stop, Stop!") to Sayid torturing Falah ("Stop!"). The vomit splash is disgusting. Locke and Ethan hunting in the jungle together, "Ethan has some experience." That is the understatement of the year, Locke, buddy. Also, Ethan's face makes me want to smack him...his eyes are all close together. CREEPY. I love Hurley's mad giggle when he shows everyone the golf course...and Charlie's subsequent victory dance. He looks like a demented monkey. Michael does have his uses; it's interesting that he was an artist. I had a big hearty laugh when the camera panned away from Jack and Michael, up close and personal and full of tension, talking about golf clubs. I love the tension that's created by Sayid telling Rousseau that Nadia is dead early in the episode; it makes us think that he kills her at the end, when he is really going to set her free. Another great transition comes when Jack hits the golf ball and we immediately see a knife that Locke has thrown hit a tree. Great editing. Locke doesn't want people right now, he wants the island.

And then we come to the whispers. The episode ends abruptly and seemingly without closure as Sayid hears the whispers in the jungle that crazy old Rousseau told him about. I suppose the point in leaving us here is that we are meant to realize what a creepy-ass place this is. Rousseau may be crazy, but she's right. Rousseau serves as our first intro to the magical mystery tour of Craphole Island. Here's a
transcript of the whispers that Sayid hears:

Male Voice- "Just let him get out of here."
Male Voice- "He's seen too much already."
Male Voice- "What if he tells?"
Female Voice - "Could just speak to him."
Male Voice-
"No."

Very mysterious, and I'm not even going to try to figure out who was saying those things.


Questions Raised

1. What is the cable that Sayid found?
2. What is the Black Rock?
3. What infected Rousseau's team?
4. Who are the others that she speaks of as carriers?
5. What are the whispers that both Rousseau and Sayid hear in the jungle?
6. What happened to Alex?

Questions Answered

1. The French woman from the transmission is Danielle Rousseau whose companions became "sick" and whom she killed because of that. Her child, Alex, is missing or dead.
2. Rousseau's presence indicates that there are others on the island, not including her former party.

Mythology

1. The Black Rock
2. The mysterious sickness.
3. The Cable.
4. The Others: who are they?

Motifs/Themes

1. Being Alone vs. Being Together
2. Hope
3. What Makes us Human
4. Being worthy of Survival
5. Live Together or Die Alone

Death Count

n/a

Sawyerisms

1. To Jack: "Easy, Jackass."
2. To Jack: "How'd I score a house call, Dr. Quinn?"
3. About Sayid: "That damn Arab."

Character Connections

n/a



Sayid, alone on the beach, day two of his self-imposed exile.


"You shut your mouth when you're talkin' to me! Or I keel you!" Well, that's not really what he says, but that sure is what Bully!Sayid is implying.


Jack: "You are even more useless than I thought."
Michael: "What is this, man!?!?"
Charlie: "NEAT."



"Dudes", Hurley reigns triumphant.



A broken music box: the only company Rousseau has had for fourteen-plus years.


This shot is absolutely gorgeous, a little box of despair.


Rousseau, showing her bountiful affection for her new BFF, Sayid.


Jack, laughing. Whut?!?!


All together, forgetting for an afternoon that their lives "suck".


Lines of the Week

"I'm here because no one else wants anything to do with you." Jack to Sawyer, being cruel but right.

"He wasn't looking for anything. He left because of what happened...for what he did."
"It was an accident."
"Yeah, well, accidents happen when you torture people, Jack." Kate and Jack, Kate being the right one, Jack being in denial.

"We're surviving here, Hurley. And that's my main concern is keeping us alive. Things could be worse." Jack, being really wrong.

"HOW!?!" Hurley's response to Jack's wrongness.

"You think I'm insane."
"I think you've been alone for too long." Sayid to Rousseau, being very right.

"All the stuff we gotta deal with, man... this is what you've been wasting your time on?" Michael, being very wrong about the purpose and usefulness of Hurley's golf course.

"Dudes...listen. Our lives suck! Everyone's nerves are stretched to the max! We're lost on an island, running from boars and monsters...freakin' polar bears! Look, all I'm saying is if we're stuck here, then just surviving's not gonna cut it. We need some kind of relief, you know? We need some way that we can...you know, have fun. That's right, fun. Or else we're just gonna go crazy waiting for the next bad thing to happen." Hurley, being incredibly right.

"I've been going crazy trying to make everyone feel safe. I haven't been sleeping because I want everyone to feel safe. He builds a golf course, and everyone feels safe." Jack, admitting that he was wrong, but possibly not quite getting why.

"Please I don't wish to hurt you."
"You already have." Sayid and Rousseau, talking about two very different things.

"You'll find me in the next life, if not in this one." Nadia to Sayid, Sayid to Rousseau. It's about hope.
 
 
Current Mood: draineddrained
 
 
Mistress of Lostie Island
31 July 2007 @ 01:13 am
Original Airdate: 11/10/2004
Written By: Damon Lindelof
Directed By: Tucker Gates
Character: Sawyer
Days Nine - Ten

Before I begin this review, I must take a couple sentences to apologize for my absence. It has been too long since my last review. I sat down to watch this episode not two days after I finished my review of
The Moth, took notes and everything, but I put off writing the review, because then something happened. I was distracted by the release of that book. You know the one I mean. I will not take the time to gush here, although I feel in my soul the need with every passing second, because I know from reading my friends list that some of you do not appreciate the love and the joy that is to be found there. While I may disagree with you and pity you immensely, nevertheless the fact remains that I was sufficiently distracted by depression, by endings, and by the fact that all other stories seemed to pale in comparison to the herculean monster I had just spent the weekend reading not once, but twice. I found myself lethargic and uninterested in creating anything of my own words, for how could anything so paltry that I write ever compare to the glory and splendor? Alas, I fear I am making some of you want to vomit, so I shall cease my crazy talk and get to my review of this episode, one of my favorites, and I hope that this apology has been at the very least, somewhat amusing.

And now, to Sawyer. Oh, Sawyer, how I love thee. How I used to hate thee! I remember the first time I saw Lost that I hated Sawyer with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns. I hated his accent, I hated his stupid hair, and I most of all, I hated his attitude. And then I saw this episode...and I was lost (pun!). I'm going to confess my love for Sawyer right here up front so that you may be forewarned. I have confessed that I don't understand Sayid as much, and maybe that's why I don't have very much, er, affection for him. But I understand Sawyer completely...or at least, to put it less arrogantly, I can relate to him. Which is probably another reason for putting off this review: I wanted to do it justice.

For another change of pace, I'm going to take this episode chronologically. Normally I begin with the centerpiece of the episode, or some sort of thematic tie-in, but as the centerpiece of this episode is finding out what's really motivating Sawyer, he's the mystery, it's best to take it in order. We come into this episode with certain expectations. We assume the worst about Sawyer because all we've seen of him so far is what he's let us see. But we learn a few things about our Mr. Sawyer. We learn that he's a confidence man, we learn that he has a tragic past, and we learn that he is a very complex character, indeed.

It begins on the beach with Kate walking alone, carrying bananas. She soon comes upon Sawyer who, without shame, walks out of the water in nothing but a smile (and a lascivious one, at that). The first thing that strikes me upon re-watching is how willing he is to bare himself physically before her when he is so unwilling to let her, or anyone else, see his real motives. It's like he's got some sort of mental disconnect between his mind and his body. Like everything he does is a show put on for everyone's benefit, but mostly for his, but at this point in the episode, the why has yet to be determined.

Kate says to him, "You sure know how to make a girl feel special, Sawyer." We then immediately cut to Sawyer in bed with a woman, who looks like she does indeed feel VERY special. That, my friends, is what we call irony. Because Sawyer does know how to make girls feel special, so special, in fact, that he can earn a living off of it. But we still don't know this yet. As Sawyer sweet talks Jessica and spills the briefcase money, we sense that something's up, but we can't put our fingers on it. Why is Sawyer being so nice? Even in the past, it seems, what's important to Sawyer is material possessions. Money. And then we cut to him on the beach, confronting Boone about going through his stash, after which Jack confronts him. Sawyer hoards things...why does he do this? His stash is tangible. He can touch it, hold on to it, make it his own. Even those books that he's always reading mean more if you stop to think about it. All Sawyer really has in his life are possessions. Possessions (and fictional characters) do not judge you, you don't have to share intimate secrets and emotions with them. They are there for you when you need them and you never have to justify yourself to them. Sawyer, who can't seem to make a genuine human connection to save his life, finds solace in these physical items. What's more, they provide a connection to the other Losties. They need him, they need his stash, and who doesn't want to feel needed in some way?

And then we learn that Boone is FREAKING OUT because Shannon has asthma and needs her inhalers. Well, it turns out that Sawyer's "bunny" book belonged to Boone and thus he must have the inhalers, too. Jack and the others automatically assume that this is the case; we as the audience assume it, too. Sawyer certainly doesn't deny it, but he's not giving, which pisses Jack off mightily (I'll come back to Jack later on). So Kate is sent to deal with the troublemaker. She confronts Sawyer, telling him she knows he's a human being somewhere inside that jackass exterior, that she knows he's really a good person inside. And we believe her...we can see it, too. So what does he do? He asks for a kiss, and when she refuses, telling him even he's not that despicable, he lets her know just what kind of a person he really is: a murderer, a liar, responsible for killing a family and orphaning a little boy. A confidence man. And she is surprised, really surprised, can't even look him in the face. And he is brimming full of anger and triumph, knowing he's showed her a disgusting image of himself. "Now, how bout that kiss?" he asks her, knowing full well that he's just shocked the hell out of her, a monumental task considering who Kate is.

But here's the thing, we know what happens...he didn't do it. He's the victim...he's the little boy who's parents were killed because of what a man named Sawyer did twenty years before. A man whose name and mantle our young "Sawyer" took up. So what are his real motivations? Why would someone possibly feel the need to take on that much blame? To make everyone hate him? The answer is simple: because he feels guilty. Here's a boy whose parents were killed by deception and anger. How could anyone growing up under those circumstances turn out normally? He had no role models for normality, for functional behavior. Instead, it was easier for him to take up the guise of the man who had ruined his life, to construct a pretend life over and over again, to relive that damning moment in his history over and over again, but this time as the victor. In this episode, we are only shown one of his cons and it is not specified when in time this con occurs, but we can assume that this con was different than the others. Because he drops it as soon as he sees the little boy, obviously seeing himself. When he sees that little boy, the illusion is broken. He can no longer see what he's doing as a show, but for what it really is.

I'm going to stop here for a moment to talk about the idea of a confidence man. Most people never use the whole phrase "confidence man," instead opting to go with con-man. The use of the whole phrase as the title of this episode is important. First and foremost a confidence man needs to gain the trust of his prey, their confidence, hence the name. To do this, he must be a great actor, willing himself into being someone else for hours, days, and even months at a time. The deception never ends; there are no cameras that shut off and his audience never gets up to leave. Sawyer the con-man is the greatest actor in the world. This is the perfect occupation for a man with an identity to escape. It's much easier living in someone else's skin than trying to inhabit your own. And this is something that's become a part of him. As I said earlier, everything's a show with Sawyer; he always keeps things hidden up his sleeve, and never shows all his cards to anyone except himself, which is why he's so unnerved by Kate's finding out about his true past. She's seen past his disguise, gotten a glimpse of the real him, a him he strives to hide even from himself. "Don't you pity me," he tells her, because then he'd have to pity himself. What's more, his behavior indicates that he doesn't feel he deserves her pity. You have to ask yourself, why would a person spend all of their time putting on such a horrible show? If he's such a good actor then why can't he make the Losties like him? Why can't he woo Kate without insulting her?

The answer is that he chooses to make the Losties hate him because it would be too hard to form relationships with them; he doesn't know how. True connection to real human beings is a skill he's lost with the pretending. He doesn't feel he deserves to be liked so he strives to be hated. As for Kate, he tries, he really does. But every time he tries to reach out to her he displays his lack of skill at real human connection and she dismisses his attempts as nothing more than a pissing contest with Jack. That is, until she learns about Sawyer's history, about why he's the way he is. And then something curious happens: she begins to understand him, where he's coming from, because they're two peas in a pod, really. She sees that underneath his asshole behavior, he's still that angry little boy whose parents were killed in front of him and because of her dark past, this darkness attracts her a little to him. This is definitely one thing Sawyer has going for him over Jack: he can understand the darkness in Kate, where it comes from, and Jack cannot.

The most interesting thing to me about Sawyer being a confidence man is that he's anything but confident. A confident man does not need to pretend or make money by conning it out of others. A confident man would have no need to be a confidence man, would gain no pleasure from it. Sawer has to trick people; he can't ever let them see the real him, his real emotions, because he's not confident, he's emotionally stunted. Even those nicknames that he uses, like his possessions, are indications of this. Saying somebody's name is like touching them. It's intimate and full of respect. Calling somebody "Doc" or "Freckles" is a way of distancing himself emotionally from them, most likely because he has so much emotion he doesn't know what to do with it. (Trust me on that one.) Moreover, why else do you think he calls himself Sawyer? At this point we don't know his real name, and letting the Losties know it would be unthinkable. It would be like knowing the real him.

This lack of confidence is shown in heartbreaking detail through the elaborate way in which Sawyer obtains a kiss from Kate, conning it out of her. He knows he could never get a kiss from her the normal way so he takes advantage of the fact that everyone believes him to have the medicine. He knows that no one will believe that he doesn't have it; he's the bad guy, after all. So, if all these people are going to believe the worst of him, something he already believes anyway, why not make use of it? Why not gain a little something in the process? Even then, you can see in his face when she finally tells him, "Okay," that he never really expected her to. You can see relief and expectation and anticipation all cross his face as he slumps back against the tree. It's a fantastic moment, really. And so she kisses him to get the medicine, and because she wants to deep down. She kisses him for that little boy who lost his innocence, and for the man that he's become. She doesn't do it for Shannon. It's interesting to me that Sawyer never specified what kind of kiss he wanted, she could have given him a quick one...but she gives him a soft, gentle, and passionate one...even though she can't look at him as she does so. And he latches on like a dying man, like a man who hasn't been hugged or truly loved in a very long time. And indeed, for all we know at this time, he hasn't been treated with true affection since his mother died.

Even Sawyer, however, can't see Sayid and Jack's actions coming. When Jack first badgers Sawyer about having the medicine, he is really frustrated, telling Kate that he wants to kill Sawyer just so he can feel better. This brings up an interesting point. "We're not savages," he tells her. And this is important to Jack: to be a good person, to be a human being and not an animal. They may be living in the jungle, but he and Sayid both recognize that in order to survive and to maintain their humanity and goodness, they have to maintain standards. Both men feel incredible animosity towards Sawyer for different and equally important reasons, but that does not by any means justify their actions towards him in this episode. You can see in Jack's face as Sayid begins to torture Sawyer to get the medicine that he knows their actions are wrong. He can barely look at the pair...but he doesn't stop Sayid. Part of him, the part that he told Kate about that morning, gives in to his primal urges. It's interesting to me that he allows the torture to happen after he told Kate he didn't want to be savage not an hour before. The end doesn't justify the means as he learns later, but right then, he wanted that to be the case. Both he and Sayid immediately recognize their mistake, Sayid feeling so guilty that he has to leave the Losties to regain his sense of himself. He was ready to take out Sawyer's eye, for Pete's sake. You can't just walk away from that. It's fascinating to watch Sawyer in all of this. He's the victim, but he looks righteous throughout, triumphant, as if he expected this all along, but he doesn't say a word of either his guilt or innocence. Pride, anger, and spite keep his mouth locked tight (except for the screaming). Sawyer is their scapegoat, and both of them realize it in the end.

Some quick, final thoughts. I love that Shannon was embarrassed about her asthma...and I love that Boone understands that about her. I love that Kate understands that Sawyer's just one big act even before she knows why. It's interesting to me that Locke is wrong for once; when Sayid asks him about Sawyer, Locke tells him what he wants to hear, and Sayid is all too willing to believe that Sawyer would attack him. The whole peanut butter thing with Charlie and Claire is too cute for words, Claire's reaction is a perfect balance for the extreme darkness of Sawyer's storyline. Also, when she says "Chalee", it makes me happy. When Hurley tells Jack that his calming Shannon down was like a Jedi moment, that's the biggest praise he can give him. Even though Kate can't look at Sawyer as she's kissing him, he can't look at anything but her. Sawyer looks really stupid with his hair slicked back. And one last thing about Jack: even though he's preoccupied with saving Shannon and torturing Sawyer, he still has time to be jealous. Kate says to him, "He (Sawyer) says we have a connection." And Jack responds, "Do you?" And when Sawyer tells him that Kate kissed him, his eyes almost pop out of his head.


Questions Raised

1. What is Sawyer's real name?

Questions Answered

1. The piece of paper that Sawyer has been seen reading since the pilot was a letter that he wrote as a boy to the confidence man who killed his parents.

Mythology

n/a

Motifs/Themes

1. Savages
2. Civilization
3. Deception, Cons
4. What makes a "bad guy"?

Death Count

n/a

Sawyerisms

1. To Jack: "Well, it's about time, cowboy."
2. To Kate: "Freckles, I got so many answers to that question..." (recurring nickname use #4)
3. To Hurley: "Stop what, chico?"
4. To Sayid: "You know what I think, Ali?"
5. To Boone: "Son."
6. To Boone: "Take your hand off me, boy."
7. About Sayid and Jack: "I just got tortured by a damned spinal surgeon and a genuine Iraqi."
8. To Kate: "You're just not seeing the big picture here, Freckles." (recurring nickname use #5)
9. To Kate: "Tell him to let go, Freckles." (recurring nickname use #6)

Character Connections

n/a

Songs

1. "I Shall Not Walk Alone", The Blind Boys of Alabama
:

Battered and torn
Still I can see the light
Tattered and worn
But I must kneel to fight

Friend of mine
What can't you spare
I know some times
It gets cold in there

When my legs no longer carry
And the warm wind chills my bones
I reach for Mother Mary
And I shall not walk alone

Hope is alive
While we're apart
Only tears
Speak from my heart
Break the chains
That hold us down
And we shall be
Forever bound

When I'm tired and weary
And a long way from home
I reach for Mother Mary
And I shall not walk alone

Beauty that
We left behind
How shall we
Tomorrow find

Set aside
Our weight in sin
So that we
Can live again

When my legs no longer carry
And the warm wind chills my bones
I reach for Mother Mary
And I shall not walk alone


Kate walks alone...unaware of the peep show she's about to experience.



"Now, how about that kiss?" This shot is really beautiful. Kate looks down in shame, unable to meet Sawyer's gaze. Sawyer looks at her in fear, and in a sick sort of triumph. He's won, he's proven to her that he's the bad guy...for now.



The single hottest kiss ever committed to film...not gonna lie, I get a little excited every time I watch it.



Look at that smile...and all for peanut butter. It's small moments like these that make all the torment worthwhile. She looks like a little kid.



Sayid, ever the gentlemen. These two just seem to understand each other.



This shot is just really freaking cool.



Sawyer, alone, just can't bear to let it go.


Lines of the Week

"Hell of a book. It's about bunnies!" Sawyer, ever the one for simplification.

"Yours? What makes it yours?" Jack to Sawyer, making a very good point about the ethics of possession.

"I'm gonna kill him."
"That's not going to help us get the medicine."
"Maybe not, but it'll feel good." Jack and Kate, on the nature of catharsis.

"We're not savages, Kate. Not yet." Jack, on why he won't give in to his basic urges.

"Baby, I am tied to a tree in a jungle of mystery. I just got tortured by a damn spinal surgeon and a genuine Iraqi. Of course I'm serious. You're just not seeing the big picture, here, Freckles. You really gonna let that girl suffocate because you can't bring yourself to give me one little kiss? Hell, it's only first base. Lucky for you I ain't greedy." Sawyer, with possibly my favorite lines in the entire series.

"You've been waiting for this, haven't you? Now you get to be a hero again, 'cause that's what you do. You fix everything up all nice. Time to let go, Freckles. We already made out. What else I got to live for? Hey, Jack, there's something you should know. If the tables were turned...I'd watch you die." Sawyer, still putting on a show.

"I became the man I was hunting. I became Sawyer. Don't you feel sorry for me." Sawyer, realizing he's let too much slip to Kate.

"I've worse things to fear than what's in the jungle. What I did today - what I almost did - I swore to do never again. If I can't keep that promise, I have no right to be here." Sayid, feeling remorse, and understanding that what he did makes him no better than a savage.
 
 
Current Mood: awakeawake
 
 
 
Mistress of Lostie Island
17 July 2007 @ 06:56 pm
Original Airdate: 11/3/2004
Written By: Jennifer Johnson, Paul Dini
Directed By: Jack Bender
Character: Charlie
Day Eight

This is is the second week in a row that the episode has been named after a song. This time, it's Aimee Mann's
"The Moth". "The Moth" is a song full of longing, flirting with danger and temptation, all of which (big surprise) are thematic elements of this episode. Like the proverbial moth to the flame, Charlie is drawn the rock and roll life of temptation, casual sex, and drugs, all of which we see him admit he feels bad about. The moth is drawn to the flame for warmth and pleasure, but if it gets too close, it gets burned. And Charlie is in great danger of being burned by the very activity he loves: playing his music. "We walk away," he tell Liam, if it gets to be too much. "It's about the music." And he really believes that, really feels that. It is just about the music for Charlie, and about the fame and being a rock god, for Liam. Charlie is the talented one, he writes the lyrics, he composes the music. He has a passion for his craft. We saw this passion in House of the Rising Sun when he found his guitar. What's more, we see it in the very first shot of this episode, Charlie's hands lovingly strumming his guitar. It's all he has left.

All of that, however, is under the surface. This episode also takes a much more literal view of the Charlie-Moth metaphor. As Locke tells Charlie, moths are plain and overlooked in comparison to the flashiness and weak beauty of butterflies, but they are strong and of practical use. Of use; that is important. Charlie is obsessed with being useful. As far back as
the Pilot when he tells Kate that he's the obligatory coward on their trek, we can see that Charlie has issues with his self-worth. We see little hints of it in other episodes as well, but all of this is brought to a head this episode because his crutch is gone, his heroin stash. Now as he begins withdrawal, he regrets giving in to Locke; the pain is too much for him. Rather, he thinks the pain is too much for him and that he can't handle it. Locke, on the other hand, knows that he can do it, knows that he has the strength in him.

Charlie's first flashback is of him in confession, telling the priest about how his new rock and roll lifestyle has led him to sin. The priest tells him that everybody has their temptations, "but giving in to them, that's your choice." Right then, Charlie has to make a choice between his music and his sense of right and wrong. If he picks music, as he does, he runs the risk of losing everything, which he does. It's extremely hard to walk away from temptation, the ultimate of which is the drugs. But right then, as Liam approaches him, it's all about the music and the optimism. He even gets Liam to promise that if things go wrong, they will walk away from it all. And that sounds so easy from a distance, of course we'll do the right thing when the time comes along. But being a moral person takes strength, and right then, Charlie does not have the strength to deny Liam, or himself. Unfortunately he also doesn't have the strength to resist his downfall. He seems to have held onto his morals through to Drive Shaft's fame, but as soon as Liam questions him, as soon as he loses faith in Liam, he loses faith in himself.

When Liam tells him that Drive Shaft is all he's ever good for, that he has no other purpose in life, he's making a throwaway comment. But Charlie takes it to heart, because it's something he's feared his whole life: that he would never be good enough. He confesses his sins eagerly to that priest, wanting to be good, to be good enough. Charlie lives to please. Even on the island, his wit and eagerness to make friends with the others give him away. He wants to be liked. But his conflicting desires, like a moth to a flame, draw him away from that. It seems to me that this desire to be a good man, to be a religious man, stems from that need: to please, to be good enough in the eyes of others...even God. But Charlie's problem is that he never focuses on developing an inner sense of what's right and wrong: what's right for him, who he is as a person. God and morals mean nothing if you don't internalize them, and Charlie has not done so. I read somewhere once that one of the oldest stories in the book is to have a person and then take away everything he's got: his family, his life, his beliefs, his hopes, his dreams, etc. And when he's lost everything, hollowed to the core, what's left is who he truly is. What's left after you've taken away everything? In Charlie's case, nothing.

This is Charlie's problem, people keep taking things from him and he doesn't know how to get them back. Locke takes his drugs, Sawyer takes his duty (telling Kate about Jack being trapped in the caves), Liam took his glory in the concert by singing Charlie's chorus, but most of all Liam took his optimism and his music and gave him drugs to fill the void left behind. Simply put, Charlie doesn't know who he is; he's lost. And people who are lost will do almost anything to fill that empty void of identity. In Charlie's case, in his withdrawal haze, he sees himself as useless, as a burden and in the way of everything because that is how he believes the others see him. Jack tells him to "go take care of yourself, man. I don't need you right now." Hurley comes bearing the guitar case, only to tell Charlie that he doesn't want to hear about Drive Shaft, but that the case is "in the way." And after Charlie tells the others about the cave-in, they leave him on the beach, forgotten. Speaking of the cave-in, it is extremely telling that the cave crashes in upon Charlie's screaming, "You don't know me, I'm a bloody rock god!" Like the previous scene in which Liam has just crushed Charlie's dreams and he reaches for the heroin, in the cave with Jack, feeling hurt and rejected and alone, Charlie reaches for the only thing he can, the illusion that he has held onto: that he is nothing more than a rock god, and that Jack should respect him, dammit! But the cave comes crashing in all the same; Charlie brings it down in rage. If the other Losties were to turn around at that moment, in the very midst of his self-loathing and tell him how amazing he was, it still wouldn't help because he needs to believe it. He needs to know, deep down inside, where no one can take it away from him, who he is and what he is made of.

This is where Locke comes in. With his mystical, magical, island wisdom, Locke can sense all of this. He can see that Charlie is like the moth. The easy way out for him would be to burn the heroin, just like Charlie suggested, but that will not help Charlie in the long run. Burning those drugs to take Charlie's temptation out of the way would be just like helping the moth out its cocoon. Certainly the moth would be free of its burden, but the struggle would be gone, and without the strength that the moth would have gained from that struggle, it would die in the harsh elements. If Locke had burned the heroin himself, Charlie would have never had the chance to do it himself, to grow as a person. And like the last temptation of Christ where Peter denies Jesus three times, Locke gives Charlie three chances to ask for his drugs back. The strength, the inner strength that Charlie gains from freeing himself from his cocoon, will enable him to live in the world, a free and whole person.

It is no surprise, then, that Charlie fights for the chance to save Jack. It is also not surprising that Locke points that Charlie's alone on the island, he has no one to care for. He needs the others to believe that he can save Jack so that he can believe it. That is why he is surprised when Jack tells him that he isn't useless, and he realizes that the none of the others think so, either. The only person thinking that Charlie was useless was Charlie, so when he sees that moth and breaks free of the cave, it's an obvious reference to the earlier literal cocoon. When he tells Jack that the cave reminds him of confession, the episode has come full circle. "I'm here to rescue you," he tells Jack. Only this time, he's not asking for anyone's forgiveness but his own.

While Charlie is all bothered about things being taken from him, Sawyer is the one doing the taking. In the beginning of the episode, Kate accuses him of being a parasite, taking from everyone else and never giving anything in return. And Sawyer certainly is a pack-rat with loner tendencies. He's the embodiment of "every man for himself". But while she may be right about some things, Kate doesn't understand Sawyer. She's still painting him as the bad guy, when he's just as lost as the rest of them. Yes, he is a taker, it's in his blood...but sometimes people only take because they don't know how to give. I'll get into this more next week, but Sawyer is emotionally crippled, and in his own mangled way, he is trying to reach out to Kate. She has nothing but cruelty in answer. He jumps at the chance to tell Kate of Jack's plight, most likely thinking that she will be grateful for his kindness, but when she expresses nothing but disdain for his presence, he changes his mind, his feelings hurt. Instead, he tags along on Kate and Sayid's mission, trying to be of use.

There it is again, "of use". Kate sees Sawyer as a taker, but when he tries to contribute, she mocks him.  Both she and Sayid admit they don't trust him to do his job.This is the exact opposite of Charlie's situation. Sawyer knows he's a valuable asset, but no one else seems to want to acknowledge it because of the barriers he's erected around himself. A wall of impenetrable emotion surrounds Sawyer on most occasions, but he really cares for Kate. You can see it in his eyes and in the slight twitch of his face when she lashes out at him. His most true emotional moment comes when he lowers his pride and asks Kate what she sees in Jack (of course, he does so somewhat crudely, calling attention to Kate's "loins"). He really wants to know because he wants her to care for him as much as she cares for Jack, but he doesn't know how to deal with emotion. Sawyer's whole persona is a defense mechanism, which we find out the cause for in the next episode. He holds back information from Kate when she hurts him, and he lets that same information slip when she hurts him again. But she doesn't see true emotion when he speaks, she sees a pissing contest, incredulous that he would even try to compare himself to Jack. She's missing the point.

Other characters are surprisingly "of use" in this episode, Michael being the most notable. Even Walt is impressed by Michael's command of the cave-in and his expertise in structures. In fact, Michael is downright lovable when he's sure of himself and not being all whiny. The other character who finds herself taking care of an unexpected burden is Shannon. In Boone's rush to be useful in the cave, he leaves Shannon with his own task. We of course, think that she will fail as she, like Charlie, has to fight to prove herself to Boone. It's sort of ironic that the two people most of the Losties would vote least trustworthy are the ones who end up with the other two flares: Sawyer and Shannon. And they both come through in the end, Sayid none the wiser.

Some quick, final thoughts. Sawyer has a funny sense of manners that I really enjoy: "All you had to do was say please." The gutted boar was absolutely disgusting. The shot of Jin's handcuff was a nice reminder; he'll be stuck with that for awhile. I absolutely loved Sun rebelling against Jin, telling him "it's too hot" to wear modest clothing. Damn straight! It's a wonder to me how they all don't just run around naked. When Kate tells Sayid that some things happen for no reason it's a direct contradiction to what she said earlier to Jack about having faith in rescue. You can't have unshakable faith and believe in the chaos of the universe at the same time. Sawyer confronting Kate about Jack really does break my heart; I really am convinced that he'd forgotten he hadn't told her about Jack. Locke is just crazy enough to think creepy-ass moths are beautiful. I loved Michael telling Hurley that Jin and Sun were Korean; it's appropriate that he is so race-conscious (and Sun-conscious) and it was insensitive of Hurley to generalize. When I saw that Shannon and Sawyer had the rockets, my first thought for Sayid was, "you're doomed". I love the sense of desperation and apology in Kate's actions when she thinks Jack might die. It's really, really sad that that's how it ended between Charlie and Liam, "I have a plane to catch." Hurley saying, "Dude, you rock," to Charlie was very appropriate.



Questions Raised

1. How did all the Losties survive such a horrific plane crash? Was it just luck?
2. Who hit Sayid with the stick at the end of the episode?

Questions Answered

1. Charlie was on Oceanic Flight 815 on his way back from visiting his brother in Australia. He was on his way to L.A. to get Driveshaft back together.

Mythology

1. There is another person on the island besides the Losties, and they hit Sayid with a stick. KIDNAP!

Motifs/Themes

1. Temptation
2. Choice
3. Us vs. The Animals: what makes us human?
4. Weakness vs. Usefulness
5. The Importance of Character and Strength over Temporary or Shallow Beauty.
6. Hands

Death Count

1. One wild boar.

Sawyerisms

1. About Jack: "Heard the Doc here was vacating the premises." (recurring nickname use #3)
2. About Jack: "Still upset about your little break-up? You and Jack-o?"
3. About Sayid: "Her and Mohammed headed into the woods about ten minutes ago."
4. To Charlie: "Don't sweat it, amigo."
5. To Sayid: "Golly, thanks, boss!"
6. About Jack: "What is it about that guy?"
7. To Kate: "The difference between us not that big, sweetheart."

Character Connections

n/a

Songs

1. "You All Everybody", Drive Shaft: Charlie's famous song.

* "The Moth", Aimee Mann: Thematic reference, not actually in the episode.

the moth don't care when he sees the flame
he might get burned but he's in the game
and once he's in he can't go back, and
beat his wings 'til he burns them black
no the moth don't care when he sees the flame
no the moth don't care when he sees the flame

the moth don't care if the flame is real
cuz flame and moth got a sweetheart deal
and nothing fuels a good flirtation
like need and anger and desperation
no the moth don't care if the flame is real
no the moth don't care if the flame is real

so come on let's go ready or not
cuz there's a flame I know hotter than hot
and with a fuse that's so thoroughly shot
away

the moth don't care if the flame burns low
cuz moth believes in an afterglow
and flames are never douzed completely
all you really need is a love of heat
no, the moth don't care if the flame burns low
no, the moth don't care if the flame burns low

so come on let's go ready or not
cuz there's a flame I know hotter than hot
and with a fuse that's so thoroughly shot
away



Charlie's hands are way more important than his eyes.


Charlie, lost in the jungle. I always think he looks so sinister with his hood up like that. Like some kind of misbehaved child.


Jackasses have feelings, too. And Sawyer's are hurt by Kate's cruelty: "There's nobody you miss and no one misses you."


The good times; it was about the music.


Real moth and Charlie-Moth...and Locke is messing with them both.



The story so far: Kate pretends Sawyer doesn't exist and he watches from afar.


Charlie's world, come crashing down. What now?


Breaking free of his symbolic cocoon-cave. Fly free, little moth, fly free!


Lines of the Week

"You're mad at me."
"No, I just don't understand why you won't come with me...us." Jack to Kate, with a telling slip of the tongue.

"It must be exhausting."
"What's that?"
"Living like a parasite. Always taking, never giving." Kate to Sawyer, with unnecessarily cruel jab #1.

"Nobody you miss and no one misses you." Kate, with unnecessarily cruel jab #2, telling him why she thinks he acts the way he does on the island.

"Sometimes you just get lost in it." Charlie, referring to temptation and the frivolous life of fame.

"We walk away." Liam, lying.

"Locke's out in the jungle killing stuff. Who knows where he is." Hurley with his ever present affection for crazy Locke.

"No, it's much more beautiful than that. That's a moth cocoon. It's ironic, butterflies get all the attention, but moths spin silk. They're stronger, they're faster...You see this little hole? This moth's just about to emerge. It's in there right now, struggling. It's digging it's way through the thick hide of the cocoon. Now, I could help it - take my knife, gently widen the opening, and the moth would be free - but it would be too weak to survive. Struggle is nature's way of strengthening it." Locke, revealing his point to Charlie.

"Hell, gimme a couple band-aids, a bottle of peroxide...I could run this island, too."
"You're actually comparing yourself to Jack?" Kate to Sawyer with unnecessarily cruel jab #5,253,978,346, and she pays for this one.

"Face it, if you're not in this band, what the bloody hell use are you?" Liam, setting Charlie up for years of self-doubt. It's the day the bloody music died, folks.

"I'm here to rescue you." Charlie to Jack, finally being of use.
 
 
Current Mood: busybusy
 
 
Mistress of Lostie Island
07 July 2007 @ 11:08 pm
Original Airdate: 10/27/2004
Written By: Javier Grillo-Marxuach
Directed By: Michael Zinberg
Character: Sun
Day Seven

To begin this review, I'm going to pick the most obscure, throwaway part of the episode: when Kate and Jack find the black and white stones in the cave. I'm starting at this seemingly random point because, aside from their obvious good and evil symbolism and possible future plot use, those stones are indicative of a major theme in this episode, or at least a major technique used to illuminate other themes. Let me clarify: this episode is about opposites. Contrasts.

The episode opens with a close-up on Sun's eye (need I say any more about that?) indicating that the forty-three odd minutes we're about to witness will be told from her perspective. However, because we know so little about Sun at this point, we automatically associate her with her husband and thus it becomes obvious what we won't be getting in this episode: Jin's point of view. This may seem like a moronically obvious statement to make but considering what we've seen of Sun and Jin so far, it's pretty important. Until now, Sun has been the repressed wife, domineered over by her controlling husband and cut off from the rest of the Losties. We've seen her only in contrast to the others, most notably Kate, whose bare body and freedom
in the pilot contrasted starkly to Sun's lack of cleanliness and ability to move freely within the group. We've also seen Sun express a desire to mingle with the other Losties. She, like Jack, thinks of everyone being in the same boat. And finally, we witnessed her and Michael having some strange moments together, i.e. her caring for Walt and Michael accidentally finding her bathing in the jungle. He seems to be the only person she's made any sort of connection with on the island mostly due to language barrier and otherwise to Jin's controlling hand. Jin, on the other hand, expresses no desire to mingle. He only seems to care to stay to himself and keep his wife with him. In fact, we as the audience even begin to wonder why Sun, whom we are inclined to like, is even with this man. They seem to be complete opposites. In this episode, all of this is brought to a head.

In the opening shots, Sun is gardening. She is gentle and kind, we can see this just by looking at her. She is also looking longingly at the other Losties, yearning to join in. We can see it on her face. And of course, as we learn later, she can speak English so her sense of longing must be that much more, knowing what's going on but being unable to do anything about it. Then there is Jin who attacks Michael violently and seemingly at random. We are given no indication (other than a possible jealousy factor, which doesn't really make sense) of his motives. He is harsh and violent and when he is handcuffed to the wreckage, we are relieved. Cut to the first flashback. We see Sun, radiant in a pink silk dress, and Jin, serving the party guests. Surprisingly, he is gentle and kind and when he presents her with a flower, telling her he wishes it was a diamond, and we begin to understand why the two of them were married. But what happened between then and now? How is it that his personality and behavior could change so drastically? He seems the very opposite of himself. Of course we can't know the whole story as this is Sun's episode and even she doesn't understand all of it. Not yet, anyway.

The turning point is obviously the day that Jin sold his soul to Sun's father for the chance to spend his life with her. Sun, so obviously rich where Jin was so poor (opposites again) is naively sheltered from the world that her father inhabits. Jin, a hard-working, honor-bound man, is naturally inclined to work determinedly at whatever job he is employed in. It makes sense that he should do this for their marriage. He too, as an honest and hard-working man, is naive. When he tells Sun that his arrangement with her father is only temporary, he seems hopelessly wrong. We know, because we can see what he has become in the future, that something goes wrong. His belief in the temporary nature of his arrangement is hopelessly full of dramatic irony. We then see glimpses of the gradual fading of their relationship, of how his work came between them, of how they both changed, and finally, how Sun learned English and planned her escape.

And this is where it becomes complicated. By marrying Jin, isn't Sun in a way responsible for the way that things turned out? This idea is connected to the title of the episode.
The House of the Rising Sun is a famous folk song in the U.S. about a brothel in New Orleans, the Rising Sun. More importantly, it's about corruption. Here are the lyrics to the most famous version of the song by a group called The Animals:

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I'm one

My mother was a tailor
She sewed my new bluejeans
My father was a gamblin' man
Down in New Orleans

Now the only thing a gambler needs
Is a suitcase and trunk
And the only time he's satisfied
Is when he's on a drunk

Oh mother tell your children
Not to do what I have done
Spend your lives in sin and misery
In the House of the Rising Sun

Well, I got one foot on the platform
The other foot on the train
I'm goin' back to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chain

Well, there is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I'm one

The obvious implication here when you stop to think about it is that Jin's behavior towards Sun, while deplorable, is not without cause. By bringing him into her life, she ruined him, corrupted his innocent nature. The very things she loved about him were taken away by the steps he took to procure their marriage. One might even surmise that she loved Jin because he represented the qualities that her father lacked: compassion, kindness, etc. and that by bringing him into her life those qualities were erased and he became the very thing that she despised. This is complicated, because Sun certainly is a victim, Jin was not without choice. He could have chosen to communicate with his wife, but he did not. Instead he chose to trade his happiness for money and security. But Sun is not entirely innocent, either. Her life, like the Rising Sun brothel in the song, is full of the corruption of wealth and power. Jin, so poor and unwordly, was innocent and free. So can't there be a happy medium between the two? Isn't it possible to be well-off and decent at the same time? Those black and white stones suggest differently. In fact, what those stones suggest is that the island may be the only place in the world where Sun and Jin can find reconciliation.

On the island it doesn't matter how wealthy you are or how powerful. On the island it doesn't matter what race you are, not really. Even though the characters still fixate on these societal issues (Michael telling the others that where he comes from Koreans don't like black people, Hurley calling Sun and Jin Chinese), most of them have failed to realize that living on this island is like living in a brand new society, a society in which the old rules and regulations don't apply. That $20,000 watch that Jin was so angry about on principle has no worth (as Michael points out hilariously) on the island. The island is the perfect place for Sun and Jin, two people who come from very different worlds, to finally live in harmony the way they wanted to in the first place. They have the chance to focus on their relationship instead of honor, duty, and obligation to unkind people and discriminatory rules. Isn't it unfair that Jin had to sell his soul in the first place? That's why in the end, when Sun has a chance to run, she doesn't. Of course, she loves him and she remembers the good times. But I also think that a part of her realizes that Jin isn't completely bad, that he is acting out of circumstance, and that he might be just as lost as she is.

Which brings me to Jack and Kate, Adam and Eve, and the great island chism of 2004. Jack is one of those few people who understands the implications of their situation, of living in a place without rules. When Sayid accuses him of attempting to start a new civilization, he's not wrong. That's exactly what Jack's trying to do. Jack has abandoned the false hope of rescue for the unflinching pragmatism of survival. And the island is split in two: those who follow him, and those who still hold on to that false hope, Sayid and Kate among them. I must confess that Sayid's motives seem unclear to me. He's a smart guy, surely he'd see the sense in Jack's ideas. But I think that there is something in the outside world that he wants very badly, enough not to see reason, and also, I still think that he's conflicting with Jack over those important decisions. Kate is much easier to read, however. Settling in the cave, "digging in", is completely against her nature. And while she is safe and free from criminal prosecution on the island, she is not free to roam as she wishes. The beach is a place of permanent instability, a strange stasis that appeals to Kate. When she says that she doesn't want to be Eve, she's rejecting the sense of belonging that comes with staking out territory. She's rejecting Jack and all that he represents.

Speaking of old Adam, his actions make you wonder what exactly is tying him to the island. Here, I think that Jack is very similar to Jin. His sense of purpose, of duty and honor to the well-being of the other survivors, is tying him to the island, if nothing else but from sheer necessity. I've said on numerous occasions that Jack is a selfless being, his own needs and desires are buried deep. Nowhere is this more obvious than where Kate is concerned. I said above that Kate rejects Jack, but Jack also rejects Kate. In the jungle when Kate thinks he's checking her out, he's really just thinking strategy, and when Hurley confronts him about playing Adam and Eve with Kate, we realize that Jack's mind is elsewhere. He has an obligation to the Losties, they are his priority, and not his wiener. This selfless inaction costs him Kate's heart in the third season; his absence and preoccupations leave the way well open for Sawyer. But once again, I'm getting ahead of myself.

But while I'm at it, let's hit that Adam and Eve metaphor real quick. Adam, Eve, and the Garden of Eden. Jack, Kate, and an island paradise. The parallels are almost too much. It's the ultimate new beginning. But it also smacks of sinister intentions...Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden because they sinned. What happened to these two people, why did they die? Will Kate and Jack share a similar fate? Third season finale, anyone? And that's as far as I'm taking that one for now.

Finally, we come to Charlie and Locke. The simplicity and wisdom of Locke's actions and words (when he's not acting like a crazy person) appeals to me very much. He intrinsically senses in Charlie deception, a secret, and reaches out to help him. He uses logic, common sense, and kindness to persuade Charlie of his situation. He talks of choices, but what he's really talking about is honor. Charlie's supply of heroin is finite (for now) and he will run out. So isn't it better, Locke argues, to choose willingly to do the right thing and grow as a person rather than be forced into a situation? To quote Harry Potter, "It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high."* Locke is asking Charlie to walk into this battle with his head held high, and Charlie accepts because the reward means too much to him. Drugs give him physical satisfaction, but his guitar and his music represent much more. And when Locke tells him to look up, and his guitar is hanging there, we see that once again the island has worked its creepy magic through Locke.

Some quick, final thoughts. I love Sun with long hair, she's so graceful and elegant. Charlie really was on top of it this episode, the writers really had some fun with his wit and inappropriate sense of humor. Everything he was saying I wanted to write down and stick in the Lines of the Week. Jin is CRAZY. Why didn't he just ASK for the damn watch back instead of punch first, ask questions later? (Okay, okay I know he couldn't ask...but you know what I mean.) Charlie's amusement and mystification with Locke is one of my favorite parts of the show: "the great white hunter", "you old git". Jack calling finding the cave "luck" cracks me up. That guy just loves his coincidences, his rational explanations. I totally sympathize with Charlie and his irrational fear of bees. Jack wears tightie whiteys; that seems very fitting to me. He's a very no-nonsense, plain white underwear kind of guy. I can't help feeling that the bees were just an excuse to get Jack and Kate to take their shirts off. That puppy is so dang cute. Adam and Eve, 40-50 years dead, are too old to be the French woman's people. Did the casket that Jack broke in
White Rabbit belong to Adam or Eve? Sun's situation is a reminder of the simultaneous freedom and hindrance that is language. Sawyer doesn't give a damn about where he stays, he made his decision because of Kate. He lurrrvves her.


*Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Arthur A. Levine Books, Scholastic, Inc. New York, NY: 2005.

Questions Raised

1. What' s up with Jack's tattoos?
2. Who are Adam and Eve?
3. What exactly does Jin do for Sun's father (why did he have blood on his hands)?
4. Why couldn't Sun and Jin be together before he sold himself to her father?
5. What was the business trip Jin was on that brought them on Flight 815?

Questions Answered

1. Sun was on the plane because she was accompanying Jin on a business trip but she was supposed to leave him in Australia while he boarded a plane for LA. She couldn't do it, however, and boarded the plane with him.

Mythology

1. There have been people on the island for at least fifty years according to Jack's estimation of Adam and Eve, which is longer than the French woman's transmission, meaning there have been other groups of people.

Motifs/Themes

1. Race, the Melting Pot.
2. Wealth and Corruption vs. Simplicity
3. Freedom
4. Obligation and Duty
5. Honor
6. Pragmatism vs. False Hope
7. Redemption
8. Communication and Language

Death Count

n/a

Sawyerisms

1. To Sayid: "A little louder, Omar. Maybe then she'll understand you."
2. To Kate: "Well, well, well. If it ain't the belle of the ball."
3. About Jack and Sayid: "So what's it like having both the doctor and Captain Falafel fighting over you?"
4. To Kate: "Just call 'em like I see 'em, Freckles." (recurring nickname use #3)

Character Connections

1. Sun's 11:15 deadline came when Jack was pleading with the ticket agent to let him have his father's casket on the plane.

Songs

1. "Are You Sure", Willie Nelson: This song is just way too appropriate for me not to post the lyrics.

Oh, look around you
Look down the bar from you  (as the camera shows jack and others drinking)
The lonely faces that you see
Are you sure that this is where you want to be  (the cave or the beach?)

These are your friends
But are they real friends (who can the Losties trust?)
Do they love you the same as me
Are you sure that this is where you want to be

You seem in such a hurry to live this kind of life (can apply to Kate)
You've caused so many tears and misery

Look around you, take a good look
And tell me what you see
Are you sure that this is where you want to be

Don't let my tears persuade you, I had hoped I wouldn't cry
But lately, teardrops seem a part of me

Oh, look around you, take a good look
At all the lonely used-to-be's
Are you sure that this is where you want to be



Seriously, I am almost wet myself when I saw that this episode opened with yet another eyeball.


Do you think Jin would let her wear this now?



All she can see now is love.



Creepy dead guy in the cave, in much the same vein as the creepy doll from last week. Did I mention I really like the creepy aesthetics of the cave?



Remember Locke holding up the backgammon pieces in the Pilot? Yeah, it's like that.


Big man, little man. "You don't know anything about me!"



"Whatever your father tells me."


I'm sorry, I love Sawyer. How Kate waited until the third season to jump his bones, I'll never know.


"I want you to look up."


Lines of the Week

"If you guys are done verbally copulating, we should get a move on. There's a whole beach of people waiting for us to get some drinking water for them. And the great white hunter's getting restless." Charlie, in top verbal form, with some amusing observations about Jack, Kate, and Locke.

"It wouldn't be an irrational fear of bees if I could just pull myself together, would it?" Charlie, with a very valid point.

"It's temporary." Jin to Sun, being very wrong about the extent of his commitment to her father.

"Where would they come from?"
"Didn't you guys shoot a polar bear last week?"
"Yeah."
"Where'd that come from?" Jack's catching on pretty quick, even if he doesn't want to admit it.

"It was, uh, it was full of bees."
"I'd have thought C's, actually." Charlie in response to Kate, being a perverted smart-ass.

"You'll see it again."
"Oh yeah? What makes you say that?"
"Because I have faith, Charlie." The Great White Hunter, and his mysterious dialogue, to the Drug Addict.

"Is there a reason you didn't consult us when you decided to form your own civilization?" Sayid, with a revealing question for Jack.

"Remember when all you had to give me was a flower?" Sun, realizing that she liked it better when Jin was poor.

"We don't need to bring the water to the people, we need to bring the people to the water." Jack to Kate, who doesn't look very enthused.

"You don't know anything about me, do you?"
"You don't know anything about me!" Michael and Walt, finally saying the awkwardness out loud.

"So, what's up with you and Kate? You guys going to move into the cave together?"
"Sorry, am I in high school?" Hurley and Jack, playing with the Adam and Eve metaphor.

"I do it for us." Jin, laying the guilt on.

"You speak English!?" Michael to Sun, with something we're all thinking.

"What I know is that this island just might give you what you're looking for, but you have to give the island something." Locke to Charlie with his thoughts on the creepiness of the island's tests.

"And I figured, hey, why let a $20,000 watch go to waste? Which is ridiculous because time doesn't matter on a damn island!" Michael, trying to knock some sense into Jin and being pretty funny in the process.


A Note to My Readers: I am in the process of collecting icons for all the characters and I still haven't found the right ones for everyone. I still need icons for Ana Lucia, Ben, Rose and Bernard, Mr. Eko, Hurley ( no one makes good Hurley icons!!!), Jin, Michael, Walt, and Sayid. I've found acceptable icons for these characters, or none at all, but I want beautiful ones, ones that I fall in love with. For example, this Sun icon is beautiful. And my Charlie icon by
royal_iicons makes me want to cry. If you guys could help me out, that would be awesome!
 
 
Current Mood: fullfull
 
 
Mistress of Lostie Island
01 July 2007 @ 10:34 pm
Original Airdate: 10/20/2004
Written By: Christian Taylor
Directed By: Kevin Hooks
Character: Jack
Day Six

As I was watching this episode, I couldn't help thinking about The Matrix. Follow the white rabbit, Neo! Follow the white rabbit! Er, I mean, Jack. Follow the white rabbit, Jack! Alice in Wonderland references are very efficient ways to represent a character being out of his ordinary world, falling into a "wonderland". In both Jack and Neo's cases, those wonderlands were negative places to be. Jack has found himself trapped on an island and now he's seeing a man, an impossible illusion, just as Alice sees a talking white rabbit with a pocket watch at the beginning of her adventures. This is not the last time Lost references Alice and her wonderland, either. The big question regarding the Christian Shephard white rabbit is who sent him? Well, I'm going to pick my answer: I think it was the island. I've said in previous reviews that I believe the island will help these characters to repent, to overcome their particular hurdles. I've even had a few comments and emails talking about the idea of "tests". Well, this is Jack's test.

The very first scene indicates something important about Jack: he seems to have been born a hero, it's a part of his very being. When I say "hero", I don't mean like Superman or even that he wants people to idolize him. Just the opposite, in fact. What I mean when I say hero is that Jack's motivating force is the desire to help others, to do the "right thing". He admits to his father that those boys didn't attack him, he willingly joined the fight because he could not stand by and watch as others were wronged. He was capable of helping, of "saving" the other boy, so therefore in his mind, that is what he must do. In
Tabula Rasa, I argued that it was very important to save the Marshal. In this episode, he saves Boone from drowning, but lets the woman Joanna die because he had to make a choice. He didn't see Joanna, only Boone, and he believed that he had to save Boone. Because Joanna died, Jack blames himself. He sees his actions as failures. All of this seems to be connected back to his father.

In his monologue, Jack's father talks about making decisions, about the power and the responsibility. He tells young Jack that the only way he can deal with failure is to separate himself from it, to tell himself that he is not a hero and that he's there only to do a job. That way, if he fails, it's not his fault. It is impossible to see yourself as a failure if you have no expectations, and Christian Shephard is a man without expectations. He is a cynical alcoholic. We don't know what Jack's father was like before he became jaded; perhaps he was like Jack. (In fact, some might argue that the third season finale is an indication that Jack and his father are more alike than they at first seemed.) And Jack has learned this lesson well, or rather, not learned it. It's a fine line understanding whether Jack is the way he is because he idolized his father or because he hated him, possibly both. Either way, here's man with a young son, telling that son (by words and actions) that there are no heroes, only selfish men. That his bourbon and Carol Burnett are more important than the job. In doing so, he's managed to simultaneously make in Jack somebody who wishes to do good, to save others and be the hero, but who believes that heroes don't exist. Jack is conflicted. He does not wish to be the leader for the Losties because he believes he will fail. Because his father told him that he would. (Because his father failed.)

Christian Shephard let his failures overcome him; the "pressures" that Jack's mother talks about were too much for him, and he turned to drink. And Jack is following in his father's footsteps. If Jack wants to be different from his father than he has to understand something: that it is impossible to save everyone all the time. All that a leader can do is the right thing, and hope that it turns out for the best. What Christian says about choices, about not making them, is very important because it is our choices that indicate who we are. Making choices, making decisions....these actions have consequences. Jack's father had the power of life and death over that little boy on the operating table and the decisions he made, for good or bad, affected the outcome. The only way that he could deal with the guilt was by ignoring it. Jack realizes in the end (thanks to some prodding by Locke) that somebody has to be the one to make those decisions, to hold that power and responsibility in their hands. When Claire tells Charlie that she feels everyone treats her strangely, like "a ticking timebomb of responsibility waiting to go off," she's not wrong. Locke touches on this idea, also when he tells Jack that nobody wants to talk about the strange things that go on. People don't like thinking about things that will bother them. In general, people ignore looming responsibility or threats, whispering along the sidelines. But somebody needs to say these things, somebody needs to bring them out in the open, into the collective consciousness.

This is where Jack's ending monologue starkly contrasts to his father's. Jack talks of working together, and he finally says what everyone else has been thinking alone, that they might not be rescued, and instead of sitting around ignoring the issue, they need to start thinking ahead. None of the Losties wanted to acknowledge this fact; they were too frightened. It was up to Jack, the leader, to bring it out into the open. "If we can't live together, we're going to die alone", he says. And indeed, Jack's father does die alone, wallowing in his own failures. Jack only believes he doesn't have what it takes because his father told him so, but the others can clearly see that he does have what it takes. All that he needs now is to let go of that memory of his father and understand that his father was deeply flawed and not the source of all wisdom. He loved his father so much that he believed what he was told, and when he came to hate his father, to despise what he stood for, he never understood something important: that fathers can be wrong. He needs to shape his own destiny and stop letting his father's skewed views affect his judgement. On the island, Christian's ghost haunts Jack literally, just as Christian and his beliefs have haunted him figuratively for his entire life. Like the white rabbit, Jack followed his father into medicine, he followed him to Australia, and now he follows him through the jungle, finally letting him go. The death of his father is an opportunity for Jack, just as coming to the island was for Locke and his paralysis. He now has the chance to become that hero, the true hero who takes responsibility and understands that even "heroes" aren't perfect, that he always wanted to be.

I'm going to pause right now to say that this episode, and Jack and Christian's juxtaposition, their characterization, is fantastically complex. I've tried my darndest to make sense of it, and I think I have, but I know I've missed something. This episode is a clear example of fine television writing. It is highly entertaining and engaging and one can enjoy it shallowly, but deep beneath the surface lies a complex interweaving of themes and motivations. We are shown just enough about Jack and his father to begin to understand them, but we want more. We understand that these extremely faceted characters are too much to explain in just one episode, and it intrigues us.

I know that I'm always contrasting other people to Jack, but really, it's so easy. Locke, once again, is contrasted. When they are sitting in the jungle, having their little heart to heart, talking about hallucinations Jack tells him scientific explanations. Locke challenges Jack in response to think outside his box, that maybe there isn't a scientific or rational explanation for his "hallucinations". Jack finds this extremely hard to believe. Similarly, we have Boone. Boone feels guilty about surviving over Joanna. He goes to Jack, letting out that guilt and blame all over Jack, "I run a business! Who appointed you our savior? What gives you the right...?" The very fact that Boone has to assert his manliness, tell Jack that he runs a business, shows that he's not mature enough to handle the responsibility. When he takes the water, saying that "someone had to do it", he's going about things all wrong. He deals in secrets, Jack deals in openness. Boone cannot handle the guilt over Joanna's death. Jack is learning how to deal.

Which leads me to the water. Water in this context means many things. It means survival, life. It also means nourishment both literally and figuratively. The lack of water symbolizes the Losties dwindling supply of hope. Sun's lips are parched, Claire faints. So when Jack brings back news of fresh water he's not only saving their bodies but their selves, their sense of hope. Maybe we can survive on this island. And with Jack as their leader, uniting them, they are not as lost as they would be alone. When Sawyer tells Kate that water doesn't have value, he is dead wrong. Water is everything, it is the basic molecule of our very existence and without it, the Losties would perish. He had it right the first time when he told Shannon that her money was no good on the island. Things only have as much value as people assign them and right now, money is much less important currency than water or food or even bug repellent.

Finally, I need to talk about Sun and Jin. Little by little, we are being given glimpses of this couple, and we don't like what we see. To us, Jin seems overbearing and Sun repressed. This week, Sun asks Jin when somebody is going to tell them what to do. Like the others, who she wants to join, she is looking for a leader, somebody with answers and solutions. But Jin is solitary, he trusts no one, and he refuses the idea that anyone but him could provide for his wife. This is how Jin sees himself, as a provider. And not of emotional well-being, either, but of money and necessities. Meanwhile, Sun is suffocating. "We'll be fine, we don't need anyone else. I will tell you what to do," he says. This is exactly the attitude that Jack believes will get more people killed.

Some quick, final thoughts. Joanna is the first Lostie down. Why couldn't Michael take five seconds to explain to Walt why it is bad to drink seawater? Sawyer is reading Watership Down, a book about animals living in a very strange and sinister community with each other...coincidence? I love that Shannon is still wearing hoop earrings. As if anybody else cares what is on her earlobes. I forgot how mystical Claire is, that's not something that's really portrayed in later episodes. If you look closely, you can see that Jack's dad is wearing white shoes, a nod to the white rabbit idea. I love Claire wearing Converses, it seems so fitting. After the beginning bargaining scene with hoarding-Sawyer and Shannon, we assume that he is the one with the water. It's great when it turns out to be Boone. Charlie's tattoo, "Living is easy with eyes closed", reminds me of Claire. She doesn't scare him because he embraces responsibility. Every time somebody says "the others" I laugh. It's interesting to me the way that people use that word: other. It gives a feeling of not belonging. And in fact, it's not until The Others come along that our Losties begin to feel like a community. They have something to rally against. I love Sawyer gloating over the fact that he's not the most hated anymore. Locke saving Jack is almost like a gift from the island to Jack...because Locke is the island's bitch. I think the dolls in the cave represent Jack's lost childhood. I forgot that Jack's father's body is missing. I really miss the cave, I think they need to go back there in season four.



Questions Raised

1. What did Jack do to his father that was so bad as to cause him so much guilt?
2. Why was Jack's dad in Australia?
3. How is it that Jack saw his father, his dead father, on the island?

Questions Answered

1. Jack was in Sydney to bring his father home, which becomes escorting his father's dead body home for the funeral.

Mythology

1. Jack's "hallucinations". Will anyone else have them?

Motifs/Themes

1. Water = Life = Salvation
2. Eyes...again.
3. Making decisions.
4. What makes a leader?
5. Fear and its causes.
6. Live Together, Die Alone vs. Every Man For Himself

Death Count

1. The drowned woman, Joanna.
2. Jack's father, Dr. Christian Shepard.

Sawyerisms

1. To Shannon: "You're in my light, Sticks."
2. About Jin: "I traded Mr. Miyagi my last water for a fish he caught."
3. To Kate: "Besides, water has no value, Freckles." (recurring nickname use #2)

Character Connections

1. Jin was standing behind Jack in line for Oceanic Airlines at the airport.


 
This is the third episode out of five that has opened with a variation of this same shot...now, you tell me I'm crazy!




Boone is way too pretty to be the leader. Look at those lips and that porcelain skin. He better be wearing sunscreen.


The Daddy Hallucination. Jack is losing his mind!!!!!


Jacks' role model...what an upstanding guy!!!


A really pretty shot. Jack, reaching for something he can't have.


I just really like the coloring on this one, the mood.


The episode's big moment: the daddy that Jack's been following around for thirty minutes is dead! Also, on a more serious note, this is just a really beautiful shot.


Creepy doll in the water.


The money shot. Also, it took me forever to actually capture the fire falling onto the ground.



Lines of the Week

"You go after him now and he'll give you nothing. But if you wait, a rat will always lead you to its hole." Sayid, with a cruel but accurate description of Sawyer.

"I had a boy on my table today. I don't know, maybe a year younger than you. He had a bad heart. It got real hairy, real fast. And everybody's looking at your old man to make decisions. And I was able to make those decisions because at the end of the day, after the boy died, I was able to wash my hands and come home to dinner. You know, watch a little Carol Burnett, laugh till my sides hurt. And how can I do that, hmm? I mean even when I fail, how do I do that, Jack? Because I have what it takes. Don't choose, Jack, don't decide. You don't want to be a hero. You don't want to try and save everyone because when you fail... you just don't have what it takes." Dr. Christian Shephard, the anti-hero.

"I'm not a big believer in... magic. But this place is different. It's special. The others don't wanna talk about it because it scares them, but we all know it, we all feel it." Locke, telling Jack something he doesn't want to hear.

"You're not going crazy, Jack. Crazy people don't think they're getting crazy. They think they're getting saner." Locke, possibly describing himself.

"But I've looked into the eye of this island, and what I saw... was beautiful." Locke, letting us know that he doesn't see the monster as monstrous.

"Why can't you?"
"Because I'm not a leader."
"Yet they all treat you like one."
"I don't know how to help them. I'll fail. I don't have what it takes." Jack, showing his weakness.

"A leader can't lead until he knows where he's going." Locke, with some insight into Jack, and the idea of a leader.

"Who would you rather meet in a dark alley? Whatever's out there? Or that old geezer with his four hundred knives? Now me, I only have room for two hundred knives. Three hundred at most." Charlie, with some much needed humor.

"I really need to bury my father." Jack, with the understatement of the year.

"It's been six days. Six days, and we're all still waiting. Waiting for someone to come. But what if they don't? We have to stop waiting. We need to start figuring things out. A woman died this morning just going for a swim. He tried to save her and now you're about to crucify him. We can't do this. Every man for himself is not going to work. It's time to start organizing. We need to figure out how we're going to survive here. Now I found water. Fresh water, up in the valley. I'll take a party up there at first daylight. If you don't want to come then find another way to contribute. Last week most of us were strangers. But we're all here now. And God knows how long we're going to be here. But if we can't live together--We're gonna die alone." Jack, finally accepting his duty, and setting the thematic stage for the next three years (well, 60 or so days in their time).
 
 
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
 
 
Mistress of Lostie Island
23 June 2007 @ 05:45 pm
Original Airdate: 10/13/2004
Written By: David Fury
Directed By: Jack Bender
Character: Locke
Days Four - Five

I said in
my reviews of the pilot that Locke had a very good reason for being the only happy person on the island. I also claimed that no one on the island, even Kate, comes close to the freedom and sense of belonging that Locke feels upon letting go of his old life and claiming the island as his new home. Because that's just what he's doing, claiming the island as his own. Nothing could prove this more than the fact that the monster let him live. In fact, let's start with the monster. Up until this point, the monster has done nothing but kill and terrify our precious Losties. And then it meets Locke, Locke who has literally been healed by the island, or so we must assume. Locke who has not walked for four years, who wanted nothing more than to take a Walkabout of Australia and to commune with nature. He certainly got his wish. That the monster allows him to live means that Locke does not pose a threat, even that the monster may feel some affinity with Locke.

There has been much speculation over the past three seasons of the show over Locke's connection to the island, but it all begins right here: the moment that Locke looks into the eyes of the monster and lives. I argue that what that monster sensed, what connects Locke to the island, is nothing more than his simple, but very strong, faith. Faith in himself, faith in the future. And faith in the healing power of nature. We see in this episode that Locke prior to the crash was living a very sad, almost pathetic existence. He works for a box company for a man who mocks him at every turn; his only sense of adventure comes from playing war games. He tells his friends that he has a girlfriend named Helen, but we soon learn that he has become emotionally attached to a woman that he pays to talk to him. God only knows what kind of company she works for. Even with her, though, we see his faith in the goodness of humanity. Even though he literally pays her to talk to him, he still truly believes that she cares about him enough to buy her a ticket as his Walkabout companion. More importantly, this shows that he believes himself worthy of being cared for. This is even more amazing when you consider the amount of stomping-upon this man's heart has taken, but I don't want to get too far ahead of myself.

Finally, we come to the most important indication of his faith: the wheelchair. We learn that he has been paralyzed for four years, that he has lived this barren existence for four years. And yet he still believes himself capable of going on this walkabout, it never even crosses his mind that he might fail. When the walkabout agent tells him that he cannot go, that he wouldn't be able to handle it, Locke becomes incensed with rage. Who is this man to tell him what to do? Who is this man to judge what Locke is capable of, what Locke knows he is destined to do? When the agent doubts him, he is not only doubting Locke's abilities, he's doubting his beliefs, the very core of his being. And so he is sent back home, only to be given the most magnificent gift...

His freedom, a chance to start over, and a blank slate with which to do it upon. This is not the blank slate that Kate struggles with, Locke's blank slate seems to be the island itself. In his former life he could only play at adventure, preparing with optimism for the day that a true one might come along. Now he's living a true Walkabout, and the island is a sea of mystery just waiting for him to discover its secrets. When Locke sees the boars on the beach, his eyes light up. He sees not danger, but opportunity. He is more willing than any of the others to let the island work his magic upon him, and so it does. When Kate tells Jack that Locke is gone and he believes her, it is apparent that none of the others, with the exception of Rose, have as much faith as Locke does. They immediately believe him dead because that is what they expect to happen; they have no hope, no faith in the positive. They expect the worse, and the worse they shall receive. There is only one moment in the jungle when Locke's faith wavers and his paralysis seemingly returns when he lets his fear of the boars take over, but soon so does his faith and Locke is healed once again. Rose, like Locke, has copious amounts of faith. We see her sitting alone on the beach and we assume that she is in mourning for her husband. What she is really doing is praying, hoping for the fate that she believes will come: that he is alive, and whole, and just as worried about her as she is about him. She certainly surprises Jack with her beliefs.

Speaking of Jack, when the first image we see in this episode is Locke's eye, we immediately remember the opening shot of the pilot: Jack's eye. I argued before that Jack and Locke were set in opposition in the pilot and this is made visually clear by this shot. The Pilot was Jack's perspective: save those who can be saved and prepare for rescue, be practical and do the right thing. This episode is Locke's: a man who recognizes not the negatives of their situation, but the opportunities. When Jack tells the others that he must burn the fuselage he has finally come to accept that their course of action must be adapted to their circumstances. He knows that these people deserve a different fate, but he also knows that they cannot have it unless the lives of the other Losties are put in jeopardy. He is finally playing by the new rules that Sawyer understood implicitly. He is not, however, accepting his role as leader. Claire and the others intrinsically sense in Jack the qualities of a leader, so when she comes to him and asks him to lead the memorial, he doesn't understand why. (It is worth noting that Sayid, who clashes with Jack over decisions, would like to be the leader. It is for precisely this reason, his arrogance, that he is not as fit to lead as Jack.) They look to him as their safety, a person who knows what to do. It is only natural that they should look to him for solace. It is the same when Boone approaches him about Rose. He doesn't understand why he must be the one to help her, but in the end his connection to her is too strong and he goes to her.

Jack may not have Rose's faith, but he does share something with her: their compassion and lack of selfishness. Jack has been killing himself to help everyone else since the crash, and when he tries to comfort Rose she simply tells him that everyone is in the same situation as she is. She's nothing special. This is in stark contrast to Shannon, who complains loudly to Boone that she is special and is going through something horrible. Shannon thinks nothing of others at this point. She uses Charlie and his obvious attraction for her to make a point for her brother. Even more cruel, she doesn't even bother to hide it from him, but lords her argument with Boone right in front of his face. It's no wonder that the next time we see Charlie he's getting a fix.

The final thing I want to talk about is Walt and Michael. We finally learn why they are so awkward with each other. Michael literally does not know how to be a father to Walt because he barely knows him. He tries so hard to connect with his son that he pushes him away. Locke, the man of the hour, however, treats Walt with respect and intelligence and does not try to get him a babysitter. This immediately puts Michael at odds with Locke: he's competition. Possibly dangerous competition. Even Locke's kind gesture of finding Vincent has put Michael off because it was something that Michael couldn't do. Moreover, because Locke is so connected to the island and he has seemed to bond with Walt, this suggests that Walt might somehow become connected to the island as well. There's also Vincent to support this argument; in the very first scene of the Pilot, we see Jack through Vincent's eyes, implying a connection with the island. Maybe this has something to do with dogs being closer to nature, but in either case, Vincent is connected to island and Vincent is connected to Walt. This is not coincidence, people.

Some quick, final thoughts. I loved seeing Shannon screaming again right after the crash; it just cracks me up. Locke's confusion at being able to walk is wonderful. I understand him completely, but I still thinking Michael is an annoying little turd. I loved Walt's response to Sun: "Yeah...whatever." I smell puberty coming. Michael asking Kate what she was doing in Australia makes us wonder what all of them were doing in Australia. Claire reading off these pathetic pieces of people's lives is so pathetic that it's touching; they're trying to stay human in the midst of all the horror. Hurley and Charlie fishing was really, really funny. Sawyer's Jack-insults were especially dead-on today. Jack-ass....very clever.


Questions Raised

1. How was Locke healed of his paralysis?
2. Who was the man on the beach that Jack was fixated on?
3. Why was everyone on Flight 815?
4. Is Rose's husband alive? Or, more importantly, what happened to the tail end of the plane?
5. Why did the monster let Locke live?

Questions Answered

1. The miracle that happened to Locke was that he can walk again after having been in a wheelchair for four years.

Mythology

1. The island has healing powers?

Motifs/Themes

1. Eyes
2. Spiritualism
3. Back to Nature vs. Corporate Civilization
4. Freedom
5. Blank Slate
6. Destiny
7. Faith and Hope

Death Count

1. One wild boar.

Sawyerisms

1. To Jack: "Right behind you, jackass."
2. To Hurley: "I'll hurt you, pork-pie."
3. To Jack: "Stay out of this, metro."
4. To Kate: "The mighty huntress returns. What's for dinner, hon...?"

Character Connections

n/a



The eyes have it...a fresh perspective from Locke, and an image connecting him directly to Jack.



Kate, pondering just how anxious she is not to get off the island.



A classic shot, if only we could see Sawyer this freaked out more.



Rose, sitting on the beach, and thinking exactly the opposite of what we expect her to be thinking.



Seeing the heart of the island.



The mysterious man who freaks the crap out of Jack.



Locke, broken and defeated, never gives up on himself...



...and proof that he was right not to.


Lines of the Week

"It's not about what they deserve, they're gone....and we're not." Jack, finally understanding that it's time to play by new rules.

"It appears you're as anxious to get off this island as I am." Sayid to Kate, being really wrong.

"Who is this guy?" Hurley, on Locke, after the spectacular knife toss.

"If I didn't know any better, I'd say you have trouble staying in one place for very long, Kate." Jack, with a much more accurate read of Kate than Sayid had.

"So tell me something, how come any time there's a hike into the heart of darkness you sign up?" Jack showing us he's not only a hero, but he's well-read.

"Hey, hey, don't you walk away from me. You don't know who you're dealing with! Don't ever tell me what I can't do, ever! This is destiny. This is destiny. This is... This is my destiny. This... I'm supposed to do this, dammit! Don't tell me what I can't do! " Locke, telling us how he really feels, and so much more.

"Everyone who was in the rear of the plane is dead."
"They're probably thinking the same thing about us." Jack and Rose, with a lesson in faith.

"You know, doctor, you don't have to keep your promise."
"What promise?"
"The promise you made to keep me company until my husband got back from the restroom. I'm letting you off the hook." Rose, displaying her sense of humor, and acknowledging Jack's efforts.


A note to my readers, all ten of you: I'm not exactly sure how to get people to read this strange little thing that I'm doing, or even what the protocol for that sort of thing calls for. If you could spread the word about my journal, that would be awesome!
 
 
Current Mood: geekygeeky
 
 
Mistress of Lostie Island
19 June 2007 @ 01:32 am
Original Airdate: 10/6/2004
Written By: Damon Lindelof
Directed By: Jack Bender
Character: Kate
Days Two - Four

And here we have it, the first "real" Lost episode. Centered around a single character and a main, central theme, in some ways it is much easier to get a handle on than the pilot. In other ways, it's much harder. The writers know many things we don't. Even now, three years later, I know that I've missed things: themes, connections...etc. But with Kate as the anchoring character we are more clearly able to grasp the "bigger picture", as Sawyer so aptly puts it.

Let's start with the obvious. We know from the previous episode that Kate is a fugitive who was on the run from a U.S. Marshal. That's some serious business. She must have done some heavy hitting to merit the attention of a Marshal. We still, however, do not know what it is that she did, although she offered to tell Jack as a sign of faith. That he refused has to do with the central theme of the episode, the "tabula rasa" or "blank slate". Everyone knows the idea of the blank slate even if they don't know from where it originated. In popular culture today, we know the blank slate as one that has been wiped clean. Of crimes. Of sins. Even of memory. The most obvious way that the blank slate is being used in this episode refers to the fact that Kate and all the rest of the Losties have a chance to start over. No matter who they were in their previous lives, because the other survivors know nothing of those pasts, they can effectively become new people if they wish, possibly the people they've always wanted to be but never could because of the emotional baggage they have been carrying around. The use of Kate to exemplify this notion is extremely effective. Although the other characters might have just as heavy emotional baggage as Kate, none have such visible or socially vilified sins as Kate does. She is a criminal, a fugitive. She has done something so bad that the U.S. government sent a Marshal to Australia to hunt her down. She's dangerous. And yet she has, just as the others do, a chance to be free, to redeem herself. "It doesn't matter," Jack says when she offers to reveal her crime.

But there is also a problem with the blank slate idea...forgiveness doesn't come easy. And I'm not only speaking about others forgiving. Jack himself demonstrated that it's easier to forgive someone for a past regression, to allow them to start over as he has done for Kate, than it is to forgive yourself. He sits on the beach thinking, but we can see that he is upset by his inability to save the Marshal. He berates himself as he tells Kate that her slate has been wiped clean. When the Marshal says to Kate, "You don't look free to me," he's speaking double. Kate is literally trapped on the island, but the real meaning in his words lies in her guilt. Kate will only ever be free if she can forgive herself for the crimes that she committed. And Jack is an extreme case, of course. As Sawyer likes to point out, he's a hero. He finds it much easier to do the right thing, such as forgiving others, than your average follower might. Not all of the Losties will find it so easy to allow others the chance at that promised fresh start. Hurley is a good example of this. We like Hurley. He is jolly and friendly and kind. But he can't see past the idea of Kate The Fugitive. Eventually, we know that he does, but the point is clear. I'm delving pretty deep into psychology when I say this next bit, but isn't it our memories that make us who we are? Our experiences? This goes two ways. First, we have experiences and learn from them. This is the blank slate in action: Kate has the chance to learn from her errors and start over. But can she? How much of her actions resulted from chance and how much from personality? Isn't the smart thing to do judging a person by what he's done? Second, drawing from the former statement, isn't it impossible to truly wipe your slate clean? It's not as simple as a snap of the fingers. In reality, "wiping the slate" is nothing more than forgiveness and redemption, both of which take time and patience. So what Jack says is true; Kate and the Losties do have a chance for redemption, but it won't come as easily as wiping a chalk board with an eraser.

Something interesting to note about "tabula rasa" is that the idea originated with a 17th Century philosopher named
John Locke. Sound familiar? It's definitely not a coincidence that Locke was named after this man. In the nature vs. nurture debate, Locke was on the side of nurture, the side of faith, which we know is the side that Locke is most definitely on. He has experienced a miracle and has a new outlook for life. If anyone's slate has been truly wiped clean, his comes the closest. He wipes his past away gladly.

The other meaning for the "tabula rasa" is more theoretical and less personal. Locke the philosopher theorized that the human mind was blank at birth with no built in instincts or rules to guide it and that it is one's experiences in life that shapes how one's mind works. I argue that this can be applied to the new life the Losties have found on the island. This is a new world. Jack says that everyone's slate is wiped clean of sin, but it's also wiped free of civilization and rules. Sawyer seems to be the only one who recognizes their true situation. Alone in the wilderness with a dwindling chance of rescue. It's either create something new, a way to survive, or perish. While Jack may be right in clinging to his sense of duty, he also needs to come to his senses and accept Sawyer's insight. It is Jack's duty to forge a community with his morals and enable it to survive in their new habitat. He's so focused on his old life, exemplified by his futile attempt to save the Marshal, that he lets his brief leadership stint fail. It is Sayid who begins to organize the camp while Jack is still playing by the old rules. Sawyer may be crude but he at least understands about the blank slated world they're living in. The old rules don't apply anymore. When he shoots the Marshal, he is playing by the new rules: the island's rules. His act, seemingly evil (murder), was in his eyes one of compassion.

Which brings me to another point: Sawyer. This is a smart guy. He sizes up the situation and takes action, although that action is motivated by selfishness. I said above that his act was one of compassion, and it was, but I also think that it was a show. Sawyer knew that putting the man out of his misery was the right thing to do but he didn't do it for that reason alone. His proximity to Kate has clearly affected him: he's attracted to her. His first use of "Freckles" is an indication. From his own lips we know that he heard Kate telling Jack that she thought the Marshal's suffering should be ended. Sawyer knew she would appreciate the gesture. He is the anti-Jack, able to see the big picture, but doing things for himself alone. He scavenges, Jack gives out. And they both are attracted to Kate. Oh, what a triangle is brewing.

The last big thing I'm going to discuss in this review is the campfire scene. It contains two important moments revolving around Kate and Sayid. First, Sayid is clearly the leader in this expedition. He has the knowledge and the power. The gun is not just a gun, it's a metaphor for that power, and Sayid has taken it from Sawyer. He is the one who decides not to tell the others about the signal; he knows that it would do nothing but harm their states of mind. Only those who can handle the information should know, meaning the "leaders". And it is Sayid who takes charge in the camp. Kate's moment is also related to the gun. It's very interesting to me that her companions immediately had a consensus that she should carry the gun. They obviously sense a toughness in her, a strong capability, but there is also trust there, something that Sawyer is definitely lacking. This is ironic. As far as we the audience know, Kate is a fugitive. Sawyer may be an asshole, but we don't know anything about him yet. We know that Kate is "bad" but we like her anyway. Chalk up another hit for good old redemption; we feel that Kate deserves it, no matter what her crime.

Some quick final thoughts. "Nice stick." Two penis references in less than a minute...power struggle much? Even though Shannon is a brat, I feel for her when she is defensive about being stupid. Clearly there's something else going on with her. So far, only Hurley and Jack know about Kate's past. When Jack says "Anything else?" to Kate you know he wants her to tell about the Marshal but he is giving her a chance to do it on her own terms. Charlie and Claire using Locke's discarded wheelchair as a dolly is amusing as well as foreshadowing. Sun looks old and sad and Jin's "I love you" does nothing to help. Hurley cracks me up; what a coward. Locke has a kind heart to do what he did for Walt and Michael. It's strange looking at the Marshal (especially as he makes a fake gun with his finger) knowing that he's going to die in two minutes. I love that Michael has to go out in the jungle immediately after he says "as soon as it stops raining". Be careful what you wish for on this island. Never underestimate the power of hope for the future. When the camera closes in on Locke at the end and the music changes from happy and bouncy, it's really creepy and sinister: what is to come?


Questions Raised

1. What miracle happened to Locke?
2. Why was Kate in Australia?

Questions Answered

1. The secret that Locke told Walt was that a miracle happened to him. Whether or not he told him what that miracle was, we'll never know.
2. The favor that Kate asked the Marshall was that she wanted Ray the farmer to get his $23,000 reward.

Mythology

1. The island "miracle" that happened to Locke.

Motifs/Themes

1. Freedom
2. Redemption
3. A Fresh Start, a "Blank Slate"
4. Appearance vs. Reality
5. Hope and Optimism vs. Truth and Reality

Death Count

1. The U.S. Marshal

Sawyerisms

1. Referring to Sayid: "...Abdul, here..."
2. To Kate: "Freckles?" (recurring nickname use #1)
3. To Boone: "You take my gun, boy?"
4. Referring to Sayid, again: "Okay, give it Al-Jazeera, he'll protect us."
5. To Jack: "Brother...Doc." (recurring nickname use #2)
6. About the Marshall dying: "That poor boy."
7. To Kate about Jack: "I heard you tell the hero."

Character Connections

n/a

Songs


1. "Leavin' On Your Mind", Patsy Cline: Fitting, Kate is always leaving. Why shouldn't Patsy Cline sing to her about it?
2. "Washed Away", Joe Purdy: It's really beautiful as this song plays, singing of washing away sins. It's especially poignant when the camera hits on Kate and then Sun, whom has literally washed herself clean in the episode.



Ray the farmer finds a sleeping Kate in his barn.


"Boo!" Sawyer, being a jackass and inadvertently taking all the heat away from Kate.


Is she trying to decide whether he's alive? Or does she just want to kiss his little face? There's some odd sexual tension going on between Kate and the mortally wounded man.


Doing what Michael cannot.


Alone.


Visual foreshadowing?


Lines of the Week

"Put your gun back in your pants, Sawyer." Kate, with a not so veiled metaphoric warning.

"If we tell them what we know, we take away their hope...and hope is a very dangerous thing to lose." Sayid, playing the wise man.

"He looks kind of...dying." Hurley with an excellent use of proper grammar.

"You're just not looking at the big picture, Doc. You're still back in civilization."
"Yeah? And where are you?"
"Me? I'm in the wild." Sawyer, with a reality check for Jack.

"She will do anything to get away." The Marshal being only half-right.

"In case you noticed, I did get away."
"You don't look free to me." The Marshal, being cryptic about what's really trapping Kate and causing her to run.

"Three days ago, we all died. We should all be able to start over." Jack, saying a very important thing and ignoring the Marshal's advice.
 
 
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