Monday, March 12, 2007

Lost - "Par Avion"

(Short and sweet this week – like life in “Two Step” – because Mom, it’s my birthday – like in “What Would You Say”. Enjoy!)

Episode Title: Par Avion


Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: Ah, the circle of life. Once of the first foreign languages we had to translate as obsessive viewers of Lost was the French radio transmission from the end of the Pilot episode. Since then, we’ve learned about Korean, Egyptian Hieroglyphics, Chinese Symbols, and Russian in one episode or another – which brings us back to this episode and French.

“Par Avion” is French for “By Air” or “By Airplane” (French scholars, help me out – I rely on freetranslation.com), a simple but surprisingly deep episode title when you consider the context of the show. I mean really, without traveling “by airplane”, where would any of our characters be physically or emotionally? The show we know and love wouldn’t even exist. But what’s that got to do with this particular episode? Focus, Brian, focus!

Given that this episode is Claire-centric, the episode title becomes a little more puzzling. For one – why is the episode title in French? The Claire we know and love (and by love, I mean “tolerate, but would be okay if she died on the show”) seemingly was born and bred in the decidedly non-French speaking continent of Australia. So why not simply title this episode “By Airplane”? Or “By Flydinger”, as the Australians would say? Is it a way for the show’s creators to make it more fancy sounding, thus appealing to a richer demographic? Maybe… but I think we’re more likely due for a French Connection (famous old movie pun intended) this episode.



With last week featuring Sayid working as a chef in Paris, I have to think the writers are more creative than to feature a Claire flashback from when she was “studying abroad in France” – but that doesn’t rule out Claire spending some time in any of the other 32 French speaking countries of the world.

Or, you could look at the title from the other perspective, with the episode featuring someone from France (or a French speaking country) visiting Claire in Australia (being brought “by airplane”, perhaps?) More on the flashbacks later – because I think it gets clearer when you read the Episode Description.

But what about the “By Air” or “By Airplane” part on the Island? I have to admit, it’s pretty hot and tempting to imagine that being a reference to the arrival of Penny to the Island, but it doesn’t feel like the story is ready for that bombshell at this point, does it? While for the first few episodes of the season, I was begging for it – now I’m much more interested in the Others, the rescue of Jack, and an understanding of their nature. The story seems to be barreling towards resolution, and the introduction of Penny at this point would jolt it right off track. Plus, you can’t have Penny show up in a non-Desmond flashback episode, could you?

What about just some random airplane coming to the Island? Well, in a way that’s already been done too – we had Yemi’s Beechcraft just a season ago. You can’t have people constantly crashing into the Island over the course of three months. With that sort of crash-rate, the Island would be crawling with all sorts of random people, which clearly is not the case.

The only thing remaining is someone or something going “by air” FROM the Island. Which ties in nicely with…


Episode Description: Charlie exhibits peculiar behavior when Claire has an idea that could get everyone rescued; tensions mount between Sayid and Locke as they continue their journey to rescue Jack. Guest starring are John Terry as Christian Shephard, M.C. Gainey as Mr. Friendly/Tom, Mira Furlan as Danielle Rousseau, Andrew Divoff as Mikhail, Gabrielle Fitzpatrick as Lindsey, Julian Barnes as Dr. Woodruff, Rhett Biles as Officer Barnes, Danan Pere as ER doctor, Anne Elizabeth Logan as head nurse and John Medlen as man at crash site.


Episode Breakdown: This is one of the more straightforward episode descriptions of the spring season. There’s really only two major concepts:

First, we have Charlie exhibiting peculiar behavior when Claire has an idea that could get everyone rescued. Why would Charlie be opposed to getting rescued? Is he becoming Locke-like in his desire to remain on the Island, where he is free from his former drug addiction and Claire has no other potential guys to hook up with, thus increasing his odds? It’s a thought – but the real answer is going to be much simpler.

Desmond is going to tell Charlie that participating in Claire’s plan to escape will result in him dying. Charlie, who broke out of his funk two weeks ago with Hurley in the Van, still isn’t likely to be participating in risky actions on the Island, just in case. All it would take is a simple warning from Desmond for Charlie to stay a hundred feet away from Claire – which coincidentally will provide some great dramatic and romantic tension between the two former lovers, a very smart writing choice.

As for Claire having an idea of getting everyone rescued – it’s about time! How long have we been complaining about our Survivors being so complacent on the Island that it doesn’t even seem like they’re trying to get off of it anymore? It doesn’t seem like anyone has attempted an escape since the Raft at the end of Season One! So what is Claire’s new, brilliant idea that is going to get everyone rescued?

How much do you want to bet it involves doing something “By Air”?

We’ve seen that “By Water” didn’t really work for Michael, Walt, Sawyer, and Jin – so “By Air” seems like the next most logical choice. The only problem is – how in the world are our Survivors going to escape by air? They clearly lack the technology to manufacture a flying machine – and even repairing the Beechcraft or Hot Air Balloon is an impossible mission with their lack of fuel.

My next inclination would be some sort of kite-structure, but didn’t we just see that storyline three weeks ago in Jack’s flashback? Again, it would be too much of a rehash… and I really don’t know how flying a kite could rescue everyone.

So what’s left? What else flies besides planes, balloons, and kites? All I can think of is “birds” – but we all know how noticeably absent birds have been on the Island thus far (with the exception of the giant, freaky “Hurleybird”, of course). Still, this idea seems to be the most logical, the one that most fits with Claire’s easy-going personality, and the only one that has a chance in hell of working.

Hypothetically, if Claire were to find a nest of birds (or the Others’ Bird Sanctuary hidden somewhere on the Island), it would be possible to attach some note to them in hopes that they would someday find their way back to the rest of the world, where someone could potentially see a bird with a note, catch them, read the note, and rescue everyone.

Granted, there are a LOT of holes in that plan. Starting with, how are you going to catch a bird? They can fly and people can’t – it’s nearly impossible. Even if you do, what are you going to put on the note? “We’re stuck on an Island in the middle of nowhere – come get us”? That doesn’t help. Who’s to say the birds will even leave the Island? Or that someone on the mainland will also possess the cat-like reflexes to catch a bird, read a note, and put a plan in action? Maybe creating fuel for the Hot Air Balloon would be the easier plan…

The second main concept involves tensions mounting between Sayid and Locke, probably as a direct result of last week’s explosive ending. It’s clear that Sayid blames Locke for the loss of a good amount of Dharma Data (“What have you done, John?”) and will likely start questioning the motives of Locke in their quest to rescue Jack. Is he really in it to save Jack? Or (more likely), is he in it to discover more about the Island and try and find another “purpose” there with the Others? Locke may have been able to trick Jack into going along with his “greater mission” Number pushing inside the Swan Hatch – but something tells me that Sayid isn’t going to fall for a similar story. God (Allah) bless Sayid and his questioning of those around him. Here’s hoping he keeps up the logic, which keeps the answers coming for we, the viewer!

That brings us to the guest stars – which, this week, is probably the most intriguing part of the episode description. Why? Two words:

Christian Shephard. That should immediately raise a red flag for the Lost theorists among us. Remember last season’s “Two for the Road”, where we saw Ana-Lucia accompany Jack’s Dad on a trip to Australia where he drunkenly knocked on some lady’s door and demanded to see his daughter? Remember again that this is a Claire flashback episode. Do the math.



I’ll wait for you.

Get there faster.

Bingo. Factor in that the never-to-be-trusted ABC promo hints that “an unknown connection between two Survivors will be revealed” and I think it’s almost too obvious. Claire and Jack are brother and illegitimate sister. People have been speculating about this since last season, and it looks like it’s going to end up being true.



I’m actually not a big fan of this development. Sure, the interconnectivity of all the Survivors is entertaining in a “we’re all connected” sort of way – but to have a brother and sister who don’t know about each other end up as two of the forty-two Survivors of a plane crash feels a little too cheesy, soap opera-y… or Star Wars-y. Something about it doesn’t sit right with me. But the good news is, short of the Others coming out and telling Jack or Claire about it (since they seem to know everything about everyone on the Island anyways), there is almost no way the two characters will ever put this together. That means we’ll be spared the sappy reunion, telling childhood tales, and comparing “How Dad Ruined My Life” stories.

But when you factor in this little nugget of detail, the “By Air” storyline in the flashback gains another wrinkle. Can’t you just picture a young Claire asking her mother who her father is and learning that he came “par avion” to Australia long ago, but then disappeared out of her life? We’ll have a young Claire growing up dreaming about her mystery father who quickly flew in and out of her life via airplane – giving us ample opportunity for airplane symbolism and Oceanic Air symbols in the background. Sounds good to me.

The other thing that sounds good to me? This episode looks to bring the search party right up to the Others’ doorstep, since we see that Tom is listed as a guest star. Next week figures to be the big reunion / clash of Sayid, Locke, Kate, Jack, Juliet, Ben, and the Others – which I have to admit, makes me more excited than anything that has happened on any other television show this season.



…and thus is the power of Lost. Is this week’s episode going to be a “Blow You Away” episode like last week? Probably not. But it does look to keep the momentum of the main storyline going, setting us up for what promises to be an insanely huge episode next week.

Apprécier!

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

The offical ABC LOST website shows a smok'n trailer for this weeks' episode. For those of you adverse to spoilers, of sorts, don't go of course. The Others are some cult like group who worship or idol some leader (Jacob?). They view most of our survivors as "flawed"...being scared, angry, etc and not able to understand the meaning of The Others purpose and existence on the Island. Patchy and The Others know about the survivors' pre-island lives (as we saw with Jack's file too of course). Should be a strong episode!

Craig said...

The title could also refer to a letter being sent via airmail - you still see it down here in NZ, I expect in Oz too:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airmail_etiquette

Anonymous said...

In French par Avion usually refers to "By Airmail" as a stamp on mail. Technically it does mean "by plane" but the most common colloquial usage means airmail.

senor feesh said...

I have no idea how much fuel something like a hot air balloon would need, but Hurley's Hippy Wagon has some...

Although I reckon if Par Avion typically means "by airmail" then that's most likely where we're heading with this.

joe d. said...

I think that the fuel in the hippy fan is too stale to use. I think the island made that van start for Hurley.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps "par avion" has something to do with CFL? Just a guess at a theory of an idea...

KtKat

Anonymous said...

Air Mail.. With birds delivering messages tied to their legs.

BOOK IT!

Double meaning? Her father coming in "Par Avion" and tripple, arring to the island "Par Avion".

SmokeMonster said...

i just rewatched the end of season 2 ep 17. Locke is unable to press the button and sends ben, then later that night there is a food drop. Did ben initiate a food drop the same way locke could have? Maybe to distract them or some other reason. I thought it was interesting.

Heather's Brain said...

okay, the bird thing...a bit out there. I agree this is how they are doing it but I must say it is out there! Flock of Seaguls...bad 80's moment! Des must be saying some nasty things to Charlie about his 'lack of breathing' and I feel real soon it will be lights out for Charlie anyway, but his reaction to Claire's plan will be a creepy one at that! Oh I wish everyday were Wednesday!

andi said...

Just to be clear, "Par Avion" is part of the international postal code to mean "By Airmail".

i.e. it is a French phrase that has since been adopted by most other cultures (America being the exception of course - who needs to send airmail from there? JOKE)

Think of it as you would deja vu or profiteroles.

David said...

This is an off the wall idea that I'm sure is wrong, but I thought I'd throw it out to be chewed up and spit out by better analysts than I. Could par avion (by air) have any reference similar to a Paul Revere type thing? 1 if by sea, 2 if by air? Not one of my better thoughts, but a thought none the less.

Anonymous said...

i wonder if they'll ever do a backstory on Ben?

Brian said...

Ben flashback you ask? Rumor has it that the season finale will feature precisely that! I'll let you know when this is confirmed.

David said...

I have what I believe is a really good theory regarding "Enter 77". I posted it on the last blog post, but I think it's dead and I'd really like some feedback. Is it okay to post the same comment here?

Anonymous said...

Smokemonster, I think the consensus to the food drop was that the hatch would 'lockdown' when a food drop was to happen. Somehwhere, we saw note of this as 'lockdown' food drop.. was it on the blast door?

It is possible that someone from the others may have requested a food drop from the flame, which may have resulted in a lockdown, but I would assume that such a request from the flame would be recieved at the 'flame', and I'm still unsure why a lockdown was required to drop the food.

David said...

At lack of objection... here's my theory.

In Brian's last post, he writes:

>But then - for some unknown reason, since Dharma had been on the Island for nearly 20 years without major incident - in the early 1990’s, Dharma decided to finally wipe out those pesky Others.

What if this wasn't so much of a waging of wars as a field test. In the "Lost Experience", doesn't the guy from Dharma mention injecting "Natives" with what they think is a Vaccine, but is really a disease? Could the Others be those they were injecting? Maybe the natives figured it out and fought back. I could be way off. Please, someone correct me if I am. But it's an intriguing idea.
After watching the "Lost Experience" video again. I've confirmed that it mentions injecting two villages who believe they have a disease with a "Vaccine". What if the Others are the inhabitants of one of those villages who fought back when the Dharmaites stopped giving them the Vaccine. That also fits with the belief of CFL about a disease and with Ethan giving claire a vaccine. Anyone?

andi said...

More French lessons: You probably should have written "apprécié" (as in "appreciated") not "apprecier" (as in "to appreciate")…Anywho this is obviously not native French as the term “appreciated” is not used in concluding remarks (it’s more like a direct English to French translation) – the French just say “Merci”.

Tim said...

Carrier pigeon

joe d. said...

If you break down and watch the aol promos, you will see exactly what her plan is. hehehe

annie said...

a) i think david's theory has some merit. it certainly fits with CFL's paranoia and insistance that they always lie.

b) methinks the episode title won't be as much about birds carrying messages off the island, but rather a reference to letters from christian to claire/claire's mother. i'm guessing a young clair sees 'par avion' on letters and associates the term with her father? just a hunch...

Seventoes said...

Still, i think when they throw patchey into that fence (last pic in the post), Smokey comes and gets him! Im suprised you didnt mention that, brian!

Patrick said...

I just remembered a tought I had before but forgot......

So Kelvin was a full blown member of Dharma. Why was he making the blast door map? You can say that he was living after the time of the "war" between the Hostiles and Dharma. If that is the case, then he came to the island pre-war (or maybe pre INCIDENT???!!!??? Maybe that is what the incident is). If he came to the island pre incident why wasn't he in the battle too? You can say "well, it was really an exiperiment, he was kept isolated and they forgot about him." If that is the case, then Dharma never knew about the real powers of the swan hatch/numbers/computer. I don't know where I am going with all of this. I just find it intersting that Kelvin was left out of all of this. True, the Swan is well hidden. But once the Hostiles (and/or others) took over the Flame, they would know where the Swan was and go get it. Something just doesn't add up here at all.

Savaron said...

if you are interested in all of the three sneakes, abc gives us - check youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXfI61pfAD0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42iGFWcBRos
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BlcF8jwsHY

joe d. said...

I would really like to know when this "purge". Kelvin came to the island sometime after 1991, but sometime before 2001. If Kelvin truly was Dharma, and he was the last member of the group.....then the purge had to occur sometime in between the years of 1991 and 2001.

During Live Together, Die Alone, did Kelvin ever tell Desmond how long he had been on the island??? I can't remember.

BTW...SAVARON...there are now 4 promos out. you might want to find the other one. You can watch all four at spoilerslost.blogspot.com

Just scroll down and you will find them all.

THE GREAT ONE said...

i did post this on theo "eneter 77" analysis, but it was today, so here it is again...my theory on the others/dharmites relationship...


the entire "others as hostile that lived here forever" bothers me. if you look at them now, they got ppl on the mainland, boats, and all the stuff we have today. but if they lived on the island forever, and have remained hidden, i highly doubt they would be in contact with the rest of the world. using ur native american reference brian, it makes sense that thes eothers would be backwards when the dharmites got to the island. i think a better explanation would be that the dharmites took the natives in, and used them for experiments or to do other stuff, and in return, gave them technology. then the native realized they wanted theior land back, and kicked the dharmites out, and now all thats left are the natives, dharma-enhanced with all of the dharam technology, aka the others.

its out there, but im trying to making things fit logically...

Dennis said...

WTF is Flydinger??

I'm an aussie and i have never heard of it....

SmokeM said...

Flydinger hahaha.. i woulda called it a chazwazzle..

Anonymous said...

A Ben flashback, huh Brian? Cool. Would be cool if the flashback was recent perhaps including the experience of being captive in the Hatch. This would serve to explain the circumstances and rationale for getting caught. Also, would explain what Ben REALLY did when he went to enter the numbers into the computer when Locke was trapped. On the other hand, a long-ago flashback would be cool showing how Ben came to the Island and if he had been there forever or not....also, what his purpose and goal is.

jase said...

Flydinger... wtf?... sorry mate... I stopped reading right then and there...

Brian said...

Catching up on all sorts of comments...

david - that's a great theory actually. I had forgotten about the "experimentation on locals" part of the Lost Experience video. That would mean that the Dharmites didn't literally "attack" the Others, which would be out of character - but rather starting doing experiments on them, which the Others took as an attack.

andi - once again, freetranslation.com has let me down. It gave "apprecier" as the translation for "Enjoy!". I guess you can't trust everything you get for free on the Internet...

dennis - no offense intended for the Aussie readers, I was just making up what sounded like a fun Australian slang-term for "airplane". To the best of my knowledge, there is no such thing as a "flydinger"... yet.

Other said...

What's the crak, mate?

I once played knifey-spooney with a dingo for hours on a flydinger from Gallipoli to Mel-bin!

Danny Mac said...

i just thought of something that i dont remember being brought up recently. now that we have been to 'every' hatch, how did Walt communicate with Michael on the computer in the Swan? he wrote to him as Dad? so i am guessing he must have seen him at the computer on the moniter. i love how the computers are from 1962 but have video processing features and IM.

Anonymous said...

Danny Mac...excellent question. Your assumption is probably good in that Walt may have been seen his dad on the camera. But I wonder if it will ever be explained how Walt was allowed to venture off into areas containing computers and cameras, let alone the notion of being able to use them as well. Maybe he communicated thru the computer telepathically?

Jeff said...

I don't think Walt was the one talking to Michael. I think the others were the ones talking to him to get him to take off like he did to come after Walt. This way they could get Michael to rescue Ben.

Brian Leonard said...

Walt addressed Michael as "Dad" on the computer only after Michael entered his name (that is, if it was indeed Walt on the other side of the IM conversation. "Other side", get it?)

Brian L.

Anonymous said...

Actually "apprécier" does mean "to enjoy", but the conjugated form would be "appréciez". Anyway, just wanted to let you know that freetranslation.com didn't really mislead you, it just doesn't know how to conjugate;).

Anonymous said...

True...the IM between Walt and Michael may have been a ploy by The Others to screw with Michael's head and lure him to them. For what reason however is unclear.

ocho cinco said...

I'm pretty sure next week is guaranteed to be a badass episode.