Episode Title: “Confirmed Dead”
Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: Before we get to the deeper meaning guess, we have some catching up to do. You see, in the haste and excitement of the season premiere of Lost last week, I totally forgot to post about the conclusion to the Lost Find815 ARG that started about a month ago (coincidentally, this is the same ARG that was hinted at by the Oceanic commercial during “Eli Stone” last week – what a waste of watching that show for an hour!). At any rate, last week, while we were all counting down the minutes and seconds until Lost returned, a funny thing happened at the end of the ARG – they came upon the wreckage of Oceanic Flight 815.
For those too lazy (or smart?) to waste your time playing through the ARG, here’s exactly what happened at the conclusion:
Granted, that doesn’t give a whole lot of details about the wreckage – but instead provided some brief images that seemed to be enough to convince our fearless crew of the Christiane I that the Oceanic and all its passengers had succumbed to a watery fate.
Why do I mention this now? Because I think it’s the far more intriguing choice of “deeper meaning” to this week’s episode title. Remember, both Anthony Cooper and Naomi have made reference to the fact that all on-board of Oceanic Flight 815 were presumed dead once the wreckage was found at the bottom of the ocean. Naomi provided even more details that seem to corroborate the ARG storyline, mentioning that Flight 815 was found in a four mile ocean trench, using cameras and robots to survey the wreckage. Hmmm – sounds an awful lot like the video posted above, doesn’t it?
So what does this mean?
For me, it really ramps up the whole “conspiracy” aspect of Lost – an aspect which, up until now, one could largely dismiss due to lack of evidence. Yes, the plane crashed and the Island is freaky – but as we learned at the end of Season Two, the crash was an accident, not a pre-meditated act by some ultra-powerful organization. So how do you explain the “fake” plane full of “fake” bodies at the bottom of the ocean? Even if they didn’t plan it, clearly SOMEONE wanted to hide the truth after it happened, and I think finding out who or what that someone is will introduce the chief antagonist for the remaining seasons of Lost.
Think about it – whoever went to the trouble of planting a fake crash site clearly wouldn’t want that hoax to be uncovered. They clearly wouldn’t want our Survivors getting back to the “real world”, blabbering about the Island, and exposing the truth. For me, this premise goes a long way in explaining the current state of the “Oceanic Six”.
What I’m predicting is a “battle” of sorts – maybe not a full fledged “guns and grenades” war, but some struggle of power between our Survivors, the Others, and the Freightors. One side (Team Rescue) wants to get off the Island. One side (Team Island) wants to keep the Island to themselves and keep it secret. One side (Team Freightors) wants to overtake the Island and keep it secret (or possibly turn it into an amusement park). Clearly, if you wanted to keep an Island secret, you need to keep people from scanning the ocean for a wrecked airplane – thus the fake wreckage!
As you can see, the goals of each side are in direct opposition with those of the other two. The really interesting part is that by having three participants in this battle, it opens the door for a number of different alliances, Alias-esque double-crosses, and overall distrust among all parties.
Using this as a background, it’s not much of a stretch to picture an end-game where Jack, Kate, Hurley, and three other Survivors somehow wind up finding a way to secure a one way ticket off the Island. It’s actually quite similar to Jack working out a way to get off the Island by performing surgery on Ben – only this time, the only thing they have to do in return is adhere to a well-crafted script that corroborates (is that the second time I’ve used that word in this post? I think that makes three total times I’ve ever used that word in my life!) the fake crash of Oceanic Flight 815. That means saying that there was no Island, no other Survivors, and no Dharma / Hanso Foundation / whoever the heck the Freightors are! Meanwhile, representatives from all parties involved are searching for clues, information, and help – ranging from the Island Spirit in the form of Charlie / Jack’s Dad to the uber-freaky Abaddon, and our Oceanic Six are stuck in the middle, slowly going crazy as their sub-conscious eats away at them with the guilt of leaving everyone else behind.
We’ll see how this theory holds up over the next few weeks, but right now it seems to be the best “catch all” theory I can come up with. The funny thing is, I’m getting way ahead of myself and this episode probably won’t delve into any of this stuff – instead, it will focus on introducing Team Freightor… that, and possibly confirming the existence of the fake plane crash… and with it, the fake confirmed dead on board.
Like I said, a reference to the fake plane crash would be the far more intriguing meaning behind “Confirmed Dead”. But it’s not the only option. The far more likely (and boring) option would be that the Freightors (some possibly still operating under the assumption that Naomi is alive and well and “gathering firewood”) come to the Island to try and save her… only to confirm that she is already dead. Sure, this might lead the Freightors to flip out and start accusing / attacking our Survivors, but it still wouldn’t be as cool as a tie-in to the findings of the Lost ARG, would it?
I think this seems like the best opportunity to finally address some of the “you are all dead” comments we heard in passing last season, giving the topic sufficient attention to make our Survivors ask themselves the big questions we’ve been asking for a while (“Who would fake a plane crash? Why? Are we all really dead?”)
ABC Description: The survivors begin to question the intentions of their supposed rescuers when four strangers arrive on the island. Guest starring are Ken Leung as Miles, Jeremy Davies as Daniel Faraday, Rebecca Mader as Charlotte, Jeff Fahey as Frank Lapidus, Mira Furlan as Danielle Rousseau, Tania Raymonde as Alex, Blake Bashoff as Karl, Marsha Thomason as Naomi, Lance Reddick as Matthew Abaddon, Jill Kuramoto as female anchor, Necar Zadegan as translator, Azure McCall as Mrs. Gardner and Kanayo Chiemelu as African/Tunisian man.
Episode Breakdown. Wow, not a whole lot to go on this week... but that’s honestly just the way I like it – much less chance of the episode description totally ruining the episode this way! All we have to work with is one short sentence which basically confirms what we’ve all known was coming since last season’s finale. But we’ll see what’s in there to breakdown…
Guests. Once again, by simply looking at who is included in the episode, you can start to piece together where the story is likely to go. The first thing that jumped out at me is the inclusion of both Naomi and Abaddon again this week. Assuming that Naomi is definitely “confirmed dead”, if she’s appearing, it would seem to confirm the “Freightor-centrality” of the episode. But since she is dead in the present, she’s ruled out from being the central flashback character of the episode. Instead, I’m guessing that this week’s episode will unfold similar to “The Other 48 Days”, where we learn bits and pieces about all the Freightors – possibly through the form of individual flashbacks for each character, or possibly through vignettes of their travel to the Island together.
The inclusion of Abaddon is also particularly revealing. If he is included in an episode centered on the Freightors, it would seem to indicate that he is actually one of them. Based on his conversations with Hurley last week, he has no idea what happened to the Freightors, and basically asked Hurley if they were dead or alive. This puts an even more intriguing spin on the Oceanic Six storyline. If they didn’t come back with the Freightors, who did they come back with? Were they really just sent out on a floating airplane wing in the middle of the ocean and have someone happen upon them by chance? I’m beginning to think they aren’t so innocent after all, and somehow totally screwed over their fellow Survivors, the Others, and the Freightors with their escape. It’s no wonder that they have this intense feeling of guilt and are so concerned about each other spilling the truth – they might be directly or indirectly responsible for the death of any number of the other people on the Island, making the Oceanic Six the true “bad guys” when you look at the big picture. (Hey, my original idea for the series conclusion to Lost – with our Survivors turning out to be the real “bad guys” - might come true after all!)
But what about Abaddon? His inclusion in the episode pretty much confirms the flashbacks will go back to before the Freightor set sail in the Pacific. But where did it come from? Check out some of the other guest stars…
Conveniently, a number of the guests this week are native Hawaiians. For example, Jill Kuramoto (who plays “female anchor”) is actually a Hawaiian news anchor.
Azure McCall is Hawaii’s “preeminent jazz singer”. Could it be that the series will finally pay homage to its “home base” by having scenes set in Hawaii, rather than having Hawaii stand in for some other locale on planet earth? It seems logical that a Freightor sent out to find the Island would leave from a Hawaiian base, so I think there’s a good chance.
Finally, we meet the other three Freightors referenced in the title. Last week we got our first glimpse of Daniel “I can’t say that rescuing your people is our primary objective” Faraday. This week, we meet Miles (who, if you’re like me, you’ll recognize but not be able to place where you know him from – the answer is “he was Uncle Junior’s mental institution friend / bitch on Sopranos”), Charlotte, and Frank "I look eerily similar to Jacob" Lapidus.
Freightors. And that really brings us the big question of this episode – who are these Freightors and what do they want? Well, let’s go back and review what we actually know.
According to Naomi, she was part of a rescue team hired by Penelope Widmore to find Desmond. However, this proved to be inaccurate based on last season’s “Not Penny’s Boat” finale. This makes it even more puzzling that Naomi was in fact carrying around a picture of Penny and Desmond… a picture that you could argue was only in the possession of Penny and/or Desmond.
According to Naomi, they were just given a set of coordinates in the middle of the ocean and her helicopter went crazy when flying over the Island. This story seems pretty accurate, especially after we saw Farday’s helicopter acting erratically while flying over the Island at the conclusion of last week’s episode. The unique electromagnetic properties of the Island seem to be alive and well post-Hatch Implosion.
Based on the high tech equipment Naomi was carrying (a third generation iPhone) and her obvious military-esque training (talking in multiple languages upon crashing on the Island, surviving a knife to the back), it’s clear that the Freightors mean business. They’re on a very specific mission, with very specific instructions, and were probably individually selected to go on this mission for very specific reasons. But what are those reasons?
Well, back at the end of last season, I thought through the most likely scenarios – and in looking back, not a lot has changed since then. Here’s what I originally mused:
I think the easiest answer is that Naomi’s Crew are Dharma, coming back for some serious revenge on the Others that killed their brethren on the Island years ago. But there are two big holes with that theory – one that Dharma has continued making the Periodic Ration Drops on the Island, so clearly they know fully well where it is, and wouldn’t need Jack’s phone call to track the coordinates. Two, it doesn’t explain why Naomi would have a picture of Penny and Desmond among her belongings.
The next easiest answer is that she is working for some sort of “rival organization”, looking to pick up where Dharma’s research left off on the Island in hopes of succeeding where they failed (perhaps in hopes of saving the world after all). Based on some assumptions from “Bad Twin”, Dharma has close ties to Penny’s father’s organization, Widmore Corporation. It’s reasonable to think that this rival organization would have tried to dig up as much information as possible about the Island from Widmore (assuming that Dharma no longer exists) – and in doing so, just might have come across Penny / Desmond’s friend Donovan, who just might have mentioned that Desmond once crazily talked about being stranded on a mysterious Island (during his flashback / time travel episode earlier this season). The rival organization carries the picture of Desmond (stolen or copied from Penny), knowing that if they can find him, they can probably find the Island.
It’s a stretch, but it’s the best we’ve got at this point.
I know there is always the “easy way out” answer that Penny is a rich heiress, and wouldn’t actually know Naomi or personally be on the boat searching for Desmond. Although her reaction seemed to indicate total surprise, as if she didn’t have any sort of rescue team out looking for Desmond – this doesn’t make much sense either. Based on last season’s finale, if Penny had people sitting in the Arctic constantly monitoring for electromagnetic anomalies, she most certainly would start combing the ocean for that anomaly once it happened. Heck, you could even hypothesize that this crew was sent by Charles Widmore, not Penny, in a race to find Desmond first as part of some massive scheme to keep Desmond away from his daughter. But that seems a little out there.
So nine months later, is there anything to add? Actually yes – one potentially very important thing: The Maxwell Group.
This is another entity introduced through the Find815 ARG, and we don’t know a lot about them. They have a website that even the best of the Internet nerds have yet to crack (http://www.the-maxwell-group.com/ ), they are a division of Widmore Corporation, they funded the search for the Black Rock which turned up the fake Oceanic crash, and their employees seem to know a lot about EVERYONE.
For me, all these pieces seem to fit in rather nicely with the second option from my original analysis – that the Freightors are actually working for a “rival organization” to Dharma – and that organization is none other than the Maxwell Group. We’ve had bits and pieces of information from various mediums that connect the Black Rock to Magnus Hanso to the Hanso Foundation to the Dharma Initiative to Widmore Corporation to the Maxwell Group back to the Black Rock. They all seem to be fairly interconnected, and rich and powerful enough to pull off something like a fake plane crash.
The biggest question, as I mentioned originally, was why the Freightors would need to find the Island, since Dharma should know precisely where the Island is – and in fact made a food drop there as recently as two months earlier. The only explanation I can think of is that somewhere along the way there was a “split” in this organization (perhaps coinciding with Mittelwerk forcing Hanso out of power – an event documented in “The Bad Twin”). Hanso refused to give up the information about the Island, and had already prepaid some trustworthy outside organization to continue the ration drops in perpetuity. Widmore / Maxwell, learning of the potential and power of the Island, began their search for it. Through Widmore, it’s easy to get to Penny Widmore, which would explain Naomi’s picture of Desmond, his time traveling adventure noted by Donovan, and then piecing together that he vanished during a sailing expedition around the world. By following the general route of that course, they could have stumbled upon the Island without even knowing it.
Is it convoluted and way out there? Absolutely. Is it the best that I’ve got right now. Yep. So we’ll go with that for now, and let this week prove otherwise.
The other fun possibility if this storyline holds true is that now Penny knows that Desmond is alive and that some ship (and some girl named Naomi) are claiming to be rescuing Desmond in her name. This could open the door for a huge confrontation between Penny and her father to find the truth, and set her out on her own mission for the Island – but we’ll leave that theory for another day. First, let’s first see how far off we are on this first step.
I’ve got high hopes for this episode, and really think it will serve as the impetus for the remaining episodes of the season. I’ve also cautiously optimistic that this blasted writer’s strike will end this Saturday, and we’ll be able to squeeze out four more episodes of Lost in May to help wrap up the story arc of the season – but only time will tell.
(Fun Fact: This would also conveniently put Lost on a month and a half hiatus to coincide perfectly with my upcoming nuptials. Thank you, writer’s strike!)
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