The first thing I do when I sit down to write an episode analysis is pull up a previous one I wrote and basically type over it – it helps to make sure there is some consistency in format, and that I’m not missing anything or repeating myself from my earlier writings. For this post, I pulled up my episode of analysis of Season Three, Episode One – “A Tale of Two Cities”.
Guess what my review was?
UNDERWHELMED. (http://lost-and-gone-forever.blogspot.com/2006/10/lost-glass-ballerina-and-tale-of-two.html )
I had totally forgotten how disappointed (and not surprised) I was by the first episode of Season Three – at least compared to how fantastic the Season One and Two openers were. By comparison, the Season Four premier was better – but still not up to the level of One or Two.
The good news is that even though Season Three started slow, it ended with what I would argue were the best stretch of episodes that Lost has ever had. So I have faith that this means our current season has the potential to be even better. After all, even the best shows need to reset their seasons each year – to start laying the ground work for the upcoming episodes.
Enough reminiscing. On to the analyzing…
Beginning. Was I the only disappointed with the opening scene of the season? Fruit? Even if it was exploding due to a car driving through it, it lacked the artistic flair of the Lost-esque opening eye / wakeup scene of Seasons One through Three. It’s a stupid little thing, but I thought a pretty cool creative, symbolic moment of consistency throughout the series. I guess the good news is that it immediately answered our question of if this was a Flashback or a Flashforward, and immediately brought up the pseudo-spoiler that I accidentally read a few weeks back:
The Oceanic Six. Truth be told, I had no idea what that giant number 6 that kept popping up in the previews meant – but then I saw where one magazine referred to the phrase “The Oceanic Six” and immediately my mind clicked. It was clear from the end of last season that Jack was pretty well known among the public for his actions (being referred to as “two times a hero”), which meant that the public must have known about his survival of the Oceanic Flight 815 plane crash. But what we didn’t know was if he was the only one. Now we do – there are (or were?) six of them.
Before we get too far into this, let me first state that based on the wording, characters like Ben, Juliet, and Desmond would NOT be a part of this group… and not only for semantic reasons. Think about this – characters like Juliet and Desmond have been missing from the “real world” for years prior to the Oceanic crash, and even if people were looking for them – it wouldn’t have drawn large national attention. Therefore, their return to the “real world” may be big news to their immediate families and friends, but for the most part no one else would care. This means that their return wouldn’t require any elaborate explanation for where they had been or what happened to them, or any need to “cover up” anything.
Not so with the Oceanic Six.
International passenger airplane crashes are kinda a big deal, especially those that lead to huge search parties and temporary shut-down of airlines – which is exactly what happened with Oceanic 815. The names and faces of the people who were on the crash were likely splashed all over media around the world, which means it would be pretty difficult for any of those individuals to show up back in the “real world” without causing a stir.
Enter the Oceanic Six.
At least as far as the media is concerned, only six members of the flight survived. From what we’ve seen and heard, they were basically treated like early-Driveshaft-era rock stars, being hounded for autographs, receiving “Golden Tickets” for free flights around the world, and potentially given a boatload of money for their trouble (see: Kate’s fancy car last season). This could also help explain how a pre-crash fugitive like Kate could end up walking around without fear of arrest. For me, it’s entirely plausible that after all the “trauma” she and the other Oceanic Six have been through, she would have a pretty easy time explaining her situation to a jury of her peers (abusive father-in-law) who would exonerate her of the crimes. Or – she might just have the best lawyer that money can buy (courtesy of Oceanic Airlines) working her case, exploiting the system.
But who are the Oceanic Six?
Well, we know we’ve got Hurley, Jack, and Kate. That means we have room for three more. I went back and looked at my pre-episode analysis of who had the best shot of getting off the Island, and there are (conveniently) only three members left on my original list who were actually on Oceanic Flight 815: Claire, Sun, and Jin.
The interesting thing about knowing that Jack, Kate, and Hurley are part of the Oceanic Six is that it means that both members of Team Island and Team Rescue make it off the Island – which means their current separation is somewhat temporary, and doesn’t lead to the ultimate decision of who makes it off and who doesn’t. That isn’t overly surprising considering that if nothing else – it’s pretty clear that some very serious and bad stuff goes down between now and leaving the Island, and that everything isn’t neatly resolved when those Six do leave the Island.
So is this to say that Claire, Sun, and Jin are the other three members? Of course not. It’s very easy to think of scenarios that feature Claire and Aaron staying on the Island (after all, remember how important Aaron was supposed to be to the overall mythology of the Island back in Season One?), or to see Jin dying in battle (which he came very close to doing in the Season Three finale) – but I think Sun is the only lock for one important reason: if she doesn’t get off the Island in the next six months, she is going to die – and I really don’t see that happening.
So for now, let’s leave the Oceanic Four as Sun, Kate, Jack, and Hurley – with some open slots available for other characters down the road. We’ve got other things to discuss…
Ana-Lucia. Bet you didn’t see her name coming, did you? Dead for over a season, the mention of her name during Hurley’s investigation brings up one other point about the Oceanic Six – they are not talking about the Island, their experience on the Island, or any other Survivors.
For me, this smacks of some conspiracy theory, where the Oceanic Six cut a deal with their rescuers and agreed to never talk about the Island or anything that happened there in exchange for a return to the “real world”. You’ll note that Big Mike only asks Hurley if he met Ana-Lucia before they boarded the plane, or on the plane – not during the three plus months that he was on the Island.
Which actually makes perfect sense.
We’ve seen that there are some pretty rich and powerful people making sure that everyone though Oceanic Flight 815 crashed to the bottom of the ocean. We’ve also seen how the Others will stop at nothing at keeping the Island secret, hidden from the rest of the world. It stands to reason that whoever the Freightors are, they don’t intend to turn Lost Island into a Jurassic Park, but rather want to continue the experiments / exploit the unique properties of the Island, which are probably best kept secret from the rest of the world.
That means that the “official story” behind the rescue of the Oceanic Six doesn’t involve a helicopter landing on an Island – but more likely a passing ship finding them floating in the ocean on a piece of airplane wreckage or a makeshift raft. This would allow everyone else to assume that the other members of the flight died in the crash, that the plane is at the bottom of the ocean, and there is no magical Island full of Smoke Monsters and unique magnetic properties. In fact, this might even be documented on the chalkboard behind Hurley in the mental institution. Check it out:
Hurley. On to the flashforward. The one comment that I haven’t had much luck in wrapping my head around was Hurley’s “I’m sorry I went with Locke. I should have stayed with you” to Jack in the flashforward. Think about the implications of that phrase. From everything we know, Team Island is the “right” team to be on, since they are focused on staying on the Island. Hurley went to Team Island, but apologizes for this action. In my mind, there are a few scenarios possible:
1. Team Rescue has an opportunity to “defeat the enemy” or “rescue everyone” or something equally good – but is unable to do so because of their lack of members. If Hurley (and maybe a few other Survivors) had went with Jack, they could have turned the tide.
2. Somehow the members of Team Island find or put themselves in a position of needing rescue from Team Rescue (how fitting!), and this causes some death / loss / chance of clean rescue for everyone else, and Hurley feels bad about it.
3. It’s just a literary technique to tie the flashforward to the on-Island action by having Hurley reference a scene that just happened.
Heck, maybe it’s some combination of the three. For me, this just further goes to indicate that we are nowhere close to anyone actually getting off the Island, and some very bad stuff happens between now and then – and the separation of our Survivors into these two teams somehow exacerbates the situation.
However, the rest of Hurley’s flashforward illuminated a lot about the mindset of his fellow Oceanic Sixers. Eventually, they’ll all feel guilty about what happened, and have their conscience / hallucinations / Jacob start telling them that they need to go back to the Island. There are also a few clues in the flashforward that lead us to the conclusion that the other Survivors are very much alive, and very much in need of help back on Lost Island.
1. Charlie’s hand – first “Not Penny’s Boat”, now this? Someone buy this guy a notepad! During Hurley’s hallucination in the interrogation room, Charlie’s hand contains another written message – “THEY NEED YOU”.
2. When Abbadon (freaky black dude) visits Hurley and offers him a loony bin upgrade, he cryptically asks “Are they still alive?” This would seem to indicate that he isn’t so much a part of Oceanic Airlines (also he couldn’t produce a business card from Oceanic), but rather from some other organization concerned with finding the Island / the other Survivors / the Freightors / the Others (the options are endless!)
Does this mean that whatever “bad stuff” happens on the Island, at the end of the day, the Island returns to its cloaked status, and no one else is able to find it? If so, this would even lend more evidence to the possibility that there is some sort of battle raging on the Island for control of it, and members of both parties of this battle are looking for confirmation or information about what the Oceanic Six know.
3. Charlie’s slap-tastic message of “They need you, Hugo.” on the grounds of the mental institution. Okay, it’s pretty much a repeat of his hand-written message above, but it gives me a nice segue to discuss Charlie.
Charlie. Was he real? No. Was he a figment of Hurley’s imagination, just like Dave (who was conveniently a focus of the one hour recap show that aired before the season premiere)? Maybe. But remember that it was another member of the mental institution that pointed out someone was staring at Hurley. I suppose this person could have also only existed in Hurley’s mind, or shouldn’t be trusted since he’s, you know, crazy – but it seemed to me that this was the writers’ way of stating that Charlie was able to be seen (at least temporarily) by more than one person. There’s only one place that we’ve seen multiple Lost characters seeing images of people who are dead / not really there – on Lost Island.
Think about the similarities between some of the other out of place “images” we’ve seen on Lost.
- Both Eko and Jack have seen images dead family members (Yemi and Christian).
- Both Kate and Sawyer saw the same black horse in the jungle (which may or may not have been real).
- Both Sayid and Shannon saw freaky backwards talking Walt.
- Locke has had all sorts of visions, ranging from Walt to Jacob to Boone.
- Ben saw his dead mother, giving him instruction.
A lot of people contribute these to Smokey or Jacob (in my previous writings, I’ve used the term “Island Spirit” as a catch-all for whatever Jacob is – and Smokey may be the same entity or some “bodyguard” for this entity) – but who is to say that the power of the Island Spirit is limited to the Island? Is it possible that it can still cause our Oceanic Six to be having images, even after they are off the Island?
If so, Charlie’s plea of Hurley to “help them” is the Island looking for help… calling out to the only people in the world who know the Island exists and exactly what is going on there – the Oceanic Six. Based on confident “we’re never going back” Jack in this flashforward, he hasn’t started having these images yet… although based on the “we have to go back Kate!” Jack of the Season Three finale, it’s likely they started coming. So if Hurley saw Charlie, I wonder who Jack would start seeing?
Christian Shepherd. Bam. Remember how everyone noted that Jack referenced his dead dad as if he was very much alive while stealing pills from the Hospital in his flashforward? Well, what if Jack really was just “upstairs” in the Hospital and seemingly saw his dead dad sitting there and talking to him. In Jack’s drunk state, it would be very easy to blend the images that haunt him with reality, leading to the scene that caused so much discussion at the end of last season. Maybe Christian is writing “THEY NEED YOU” on medical pads and showing them to Jack in his dreams. It would make a whole lot of sense - especially since we’ve already seen that an image of Christian Shepherd already exists on the Island.
Before I get to the Christianity of this episode, I really do need to address the last “Missing Pieces” that came out earlier this week. Check it out, and prepare to flip out:
…and with that, the Christian Shepherd debate will undoubtedly rage on for another season. It’s like the Lost writers do this just to torment me.
Let’s keep in mind that the most logical explanation of the story of Christian Shepherd is as follows:
- He DIED in Australia. There was an autopsy that confirmed it.
- Oceanic refused to let Jack board his body onto the plane due to regulations. Instead, they boarded his empty casket to appease Jack, who needed to arrive in Los Angeles with something to bury (this explains the empty casket Jack found in the jungle).
- Jack saw images of his father with white tennis shoes (like a doctor would wear) and a suit (like he probably wore in the casket) – a hybrid of the two lasting images of his father in Jack’s head.
- The images could be caused by Jack’s subconscious, or by the Island Spirit.
If anything, this Missing Piece tells me that there is more than Vincent than meets the eye (he’s a Transformer?) and that the Island Spirit has the ability to directly communicate with him. Heck, maybe it can communicate with all animals, which might help explain some of those wacky Dharma animal experiments.
The other really interesting thing? In the clip, he says “he has work to do”, which is almost the exact same thing that Island Spirit Walt told Locke when he was laying in the Dharma Ditch dying. What does this mean? For one – it might mean that the Island has now brought both Locke and Jack back to life with its healing powers (again, we’re reminded that Jack landed far away from the other Survivors of the crash, in the middle of the jungle). For another, it might mean that the Island is picking and choosing how it interacts with our Survivors based on what it needs.
If you argue that the Island wants our Survivors to survive and help start fresh / re-populate it / overthrow Ben (based on Alpert’s comments about Ben’s obsession with baby-making, Ben’s ash “cage” around Jacob’s house), it would need Jack to survive the crash to apply his medical knowledge to save people, and to apply his leadership skills to keep everyone from killing themselves in the first few days post-crash. It would then need Locke to survive Ben’s shot to the stomach to help protect it against the Freightors. You can see how even though Locke and Jack are basically enemies and opposites on the Island, the Island Spirit needed both of them to get to where we are right now.
Back to Christian Shepherd. As I correctly predicted in the episode preview, he appeared in Jacob’s cabin – which still doesn’t make sense to me. However, he’s still wearing the same shoes and suit as every other time we’ve seen him.
We then see an eye appear in front of the window, startling Hurley.
I really wish this eye looked like Locke, because it would make so much sense to have John Locke chilling in the cabin, talking to Jacob (currently in the form of Christian Shepherd), getting instructions on what to do.
Unfortunately, it looks like the same eye that appeared in the window during “The Man Behind the Curtain”. For me, that doesn’t look like the eye of any character we’ve met on the show. You can see the hints of a mustache beginning at bottom, and perhaps the indication of longer dark hair around the edges. The eye also doesn’t match the look of any current characters that I can see.
This leaves us with the puzzling scenario where the mustached Jacob is sitting and having a conversation with… himself, in the form of Christian Shepherd. It doesn’t make much sense, unless you argue that Christian is really Smokey, and Jacob is a separate entity from Smokey – or that there are two different forms of Smokey, one light (and good) and one dark (and bad) and they are both at play on the Island.
For us, it’s best to just leave this one alone for now. Anything we could conclude would just be unfounded speculation at this point – but we’ll keep this scene in mind for the future.
Two more quick points, and I’ll wrap it up!
Ben. Isn’t it ironic that Locke willing allowed Ben to join Team Island, when Ben shot and attempted to kill him only a few days prior? Especially if the Island Spirit really has anointed Locke as the new chosen one, you would think it would have instructed Locke to keep Ben away – unless it views him as someone who genuinely wants to protect the Island, and it will take whatever numbers it can get to do so.
It’s also strange that Locke chose to go to the Barracks, instead of attempting to find “the Temple” where the remaining Others went at the end of last season. Part of me is afraid we won’t be seeing those remaining Others for quite some time – which saddens me since there is still so much to learn about them. But it really looks like the story is heading away from them and towards the Freightors in the first part of this season (which is convenient, since Richard Alpert probably wouldn’t have been able to be on the show anyways since he’s on a failing CBS show).
Naomi. Why did Naomi lie to her fellow Freightor about her injury? Was she giving some code to them when she said “tell my sister I love her?” Is she really concerned about getting our Survivors rescued? Or is she afraid that a distress signal would cause the Freightors to abandon their mission out of fear of succumbing to the same fate on the Island?
It’s a mystery.
It’s also a mystery why they are continuing to parachute drop on the Island instead of sending in a boat or landing a helicopter on one of the many open fields on the Island. Could it be that the Island is still “protecting” itself with some sort of magnetic shield that prevents mechanical engines from getting too close (if you remember, this was one of the early favorite arguments for the crash of Oceanic Flight 815)?
I’m not sure – but that’s a discussion for my next post, since next week’s Freightor-centric episode should have a ton of answers.
Until then – happy Losting!
Official “The Beginning of the End” Analysis Message Board Post: http://facethewoods.com/lost/index.php?topic=237.0