Before we start this week, I might as well go ahead and get these out of the way. I title them “What Something Nice Back Home Looks Like”:
Okay – on to the more intellectual side of this episode…
Scars. One of the downsides of writing “Instant Reactions” is that they come after one viewing of the episode, in real-time, on my non-HD living room TV. To my naked eye, I didn’t notice any major appendectomy scars on Jack’s naked body at the start of the episode, which raised all sorts of timeline / alternate reality / dream sequence questions about the episode. But it turns out that I just wasn’t looking close enough. Check it out.
It’s a little scar (tricky makeup people!) – but it’s a scar – which confirms that “Something Nice Back Home” was indeed a flashforward that took place after Juliet’s Island appendectomy surgery on Jack. This also confirms that Hurley was talking crazy talk when he said that they were all dead, even though Jack was living what many men would consider to be a “dream life” – hooking up with uber-hot Kate (note: does this mean that I am also currently living a “dream life”?)
This still doesn’t answer the Freighter Doctor (Ray) scar question from last week (man, am I glad I wasn’t here to have to figure that out last week!), which seems to raise some seriously tough questions. Ray’s cut on his cheek was merely a scar when Sayid and Desmond arrived on the Freighter, but was freshly cut and stitched when he washed ashore on the Island a few days later… even though the Freighter said he was fine when Faraday asked about him.
It boggles the mind. If the Freightors are serious when they say Ray is fine, it could mean that the Island is “in the future” relative to the Freighter. But since the body washed ashore with the fresh cut, that means the body is “in the past” relative to when Sayid and Desmond arrived on the Freighter… even though they talked to Jack which seems to indicate they are both on the same timeline.
Like I said, boggling.
Timeline. Speaking of puzzling, the newspaper article at the start of the episode seemed to give us the timeframe for the flashforward… but there were some unfortunate inconsistencies that are outlined on Lostpedia:
By virtue of the Yankees/Red Sox and Indians/Mariners scores in the newspaper article, only one date is viable for the publication of the paper: August 31, 2007. Article states Yankees finish their sweep of the Red Sox with winning pitcher Chien-Ming Wang beating Curt Schilling 5-0. The only occurrence of this game is the date above.
However, the newspaper also lists "Angels 8 - Astros 4" but the Astros were playing the St. Louis Cardinals over these dates. As such, the newspaper most likely isn't able to indicate the correct date.
The Angels-Astros result is from June 20, 2007. The Angels are in the American league, and the Astros play in the National. This was an inter-league game, and the first time these two teams had played against each other since 2004. The box-score is accurate.
The other side of the fold of the newspaper has an article with the headline "Dodgers 8-4 win over Astros" which conflicts with the Angels-Astros box score on the opposite side of the fold.
Personally, I find it a little hard to believe that the Lost prop guys would go to the trouble of painstakingly reproducing an accurate account of the Red Sox and Yankees game from August 31, 2007 – but wouldn’t look and see what other games actually happened on that day… or would include the same team playing two different teams on the same day.
According to Lostpedia, Aaron was born on November 1, 2004. In the “Eggtown” flashforward, Aaron was listed in the credits as a “Three Year Old Boy” – which would put the timeline around November 2007. Since “Something Nice Back Home” takes place after “Eggtown”, it would have to be after that date – which seems to throw the newspaper’s accuracy into question.
Now, it’s always possible that we’re nitpicking here. Maybe Aaron was “almost three” in “Eggtown”, and “Something Nice Back Home” took place just a few weeks afterwards – in August 2007. Or, maybe the logical errors in the newspaper are actually clues that we shouldn’t be overly concerned about the specific date of the flashforwards – just the chronological order of them. I mean, does it really matter if it’s 2007 or 2008? As long as we know that the flashbacks in this episode took place after “Eggtown” and before “Through the Looking Glass”, from a storytelling perspective, we’re good to go.
Storytime. But speaking of storytelling, did you notice what story Jack was reading to Aaron at the start of the episode? None other than “Alice in Wonderland”, the second most referenced story on the show behind “The Wizard of Oz.” But this wasn’t just a fun easter egg – check out the specific passage that Jack was reading:
'Dear, dear! How queer everything is to-day! And yesterday things went on just as usual. I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is, Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle!'
It’s so deep on so many levels.
It also speaks to all our Survivors – and how time on the Island has changed their lives – but more specifically I see it referencing the Oceanic Six and their return to the real world, finding that although they started out feeling find and happy – things changed, and they have all started to feel a little different. Likewise, they all had a very specific goal and purpose during their time on the Island – escape – but now that they are back in the real world, they’re questioning their purpose, who they are, and what they should be doing… but all are changed. Sayid’s an assassin, Hurley’s totally crazy, Kate’s pretending she’s a mom, Sun’s a widow, and Jack’s an alcoholic junkie obsessed with finding the Island… and this episode showed us how he got there.
Hurley. Although Hurley was wrong about some things (the Oceanic Six aren’t all dead – Hurley thinking they are all dead, and are living in a heaven / dream world is actually pretty similar to the “Dave” episode a few seasons back), he did bring up a number of interesting points to Jack during their brief and uber-creepy conversation. He outlined the path that Jack’s life would take by comparing it to his own.
“I was happy too – for a while anyways. Then I saw Charlie.”
This week showed Jack during that “happy stage”, living with Kate, raising Aaron, being a respected doctor and probably an international celebrity. However, once Hurley started seeing Charlie, he started to lose it. Perhaps he started feeling guilt about what happened when the Oceanic Six left the Island, or who they left behind, or maybe it’s as simple as the fact that they really weren’t supposed to leave the Island in the first place. But these thoughts either come from, or coincide with, the appearance of the dead Charlie to Hurley… and as we saw this week, Jack is starting to feel the same things once he starts seeing his dead dad.
So for those keeping track at home, we have Hurley haunted by dead Charlie, Jack haunted by dead Christian, and Michael haunted by dead Libby. You could hypothesize that Sayid is haunted by dead Nadia. But when we saw Kate most recently (in “Through the Looking Glass”), she still seemed to have it together – so perhaps she hasn’t started seeing her ghost yet (or Jin, for that matter). But Hurley’s conversation with Jack seemed to serve as a warning that bad times are coming for each of the Oceanic Six.
Aaron. The other thing that Hurley mentioned to Jack seemed to shake him considerably: “You’re not supposed to raise him, Jack”, referring to Aaron. As I mentioned in the Instant Reactions, it would be pretty awesome (and quite intriguing) if the writers actually pulled the Aaron storyline back to the forefront. We’ve had a psychic warn Claire that she needed to be the one to raise Aaron (ironically, he initially told Claire to give Aaron away to a couple in Los Angeles… and weren’t Jack and Kate living in Los Angeles this episode?).
I always assumed that Kate ended up with Aaron due to Claire dying… but if Charlie (who you could argue is an Island Spirit) is passing along messages that Jack isn’t supposed to raise him, does that mean that Claire is still alive and well on the Island? Is the Island calling Aaron back because Claire is alive there? Or because she is dead, but that it’s still important for Aaron to be raised on the Island? Otherwise, if Aaron wasn’t really important to the Island, and if Claire was dead, Jack would seem to be the next best candidate to raise him. I mean, they are related after all.
Christian. Which brings us to the big “whoa” moment of the episode – the surprise reappearance on Christian Shephard… who wasn’t even listed as a guest star this episode! Pretty sneaky ABC (why don’t you do this more often for surprise guest appearances?) Although I expected to see him appear to Jack in the flashforward, his appearance to Claire came out of nowhere – but served three very important points:
1. It reminded the average viewer about the relationship between Jack and Claire. Even for the most faithful viewer, this is a storyline that’s been on the back burner for so long that most probably had forgotten about it. But by having Christian appear to Jack in the flashforward and to Claire on the Island (accompanied by her exclamation of “Dad?”) it reminded everyone about the connection. In the flashforward, we saw Jack yell at Kate “you’re not even related to him” in reference to Aaron, meaning that he finds out about the connection before leaving the Island.
2. It separated Claire from Aaron. This is actually a strong argument why dead Christian doesn’t represent the Island, or that the Island doesn’t really care about Aaron – because if it did, wouldn’t it have made certain to bring Aaron along wherever he was taking Claire? However, this puts 5/6 of the Oceanic Six on their way to, or already on the Beach – with Hurley sure to follow after leading Locke and Ben to Jacob’s Cabin. This might explain why Aaron leaves the Island without Claire – because Claire isn’t around when rescue comes.
3. It showed that dead Christian / Island Spirit can physically interact with things. Christian was holding Aaron. We’ve hypothesized that this was possible in the past, but this proves it’s possible. This means that anyone that we’ve seen on the show (including our Survivors or the Others) could theoretically be dead or just be an Island Spirit. Once this hit me, my first thought was “did Claire really survive that explosion at the Barracks?” followed by “could the non-aging Alpert already be dead?”
Something tells me that a lot of these answers are coming next week. For those that missed it, here’s the episode preview that aired immediately following this week’s episode that has people floored:
It’s tempting to start letting my mind wander about the possibilities of next week’s episode – but I think I’ll save that for my episode preview… otherwise I’ll have nothing to write for it.
Sawyer. One last thing for this week. You can read a lot into the brief conversation between Jack and Kate at the end of the episode where he starts to lose it. Sawyer chose to stay on the Island. This either means that it was a logical decision about who left and who stayed (as opposed to a hectic, mid-battle escape where those nearby became the Oceanic Six and all others were left behind). Jack is responsible (or thinks he is responsible) for saving the Oceanic Six. And most importantly, for all the ladies out there… Sawyer is still alive on the Island. The way that Kate and Jack were talking was in the present tense, that “Sawyer wouldn’t want Jack to know” rather than “Sawyer didn’t want Jack to know”. Note that the differences between this and the Sun / Hurley conversations about Jin a few weeks back.
So officially, I’m thinking that Jin dies (sad!), Sawyer is alive and well on the Island, and Claire has maybe been dead for over an episode - and is living with the other dead people on the Island with her daddy.
We’ll see. Like I said, next week should be huge.