Monday, February 09, 2009

Lost - "This Place is Death"

Episode Title: “This Place Is Death”


Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: Welcome to the most depressing, creepy episode title of Lost ever (although "The Glass Ballerina" is a close second). But what does it mean? Pop quiz time! Who remembers the episode preview that aired immediately after the season premiere a few weeks back?



It turns out, for the second time this season, we have already seen a character uttering the episode title in a preview for the episode (the first being “Because You Left”). In this case, we have a seriously creepy, almost demonically possessed looking Charlotte uttering “this place is death!” Note that she isn't gushing blood from the nose when she says this, but instead looks like a zombie. Is this the second stage of the Nosebleed sickness? Is this some "dream sequence" that Faraday has, similar to Locke's encounter with Horace Goodspeed last season? Tough to say, but odds are it's going to be pretty creepy, and give me nightmares for days to come.



It seems pretty obvious that the "place" she is referring to is the Island - which is pretty ironic since thus far in the series, the Island has seemed to represent LIFE.


From Richard Alpert (who seemingly has eternal life) to our Survivors becoming more "healthy" once they crashed there (Locke gaining the ability to walk, Rose being cured of cancer, Jin being able to make babies, etc), it's often seemed that Locke was correct in saying "This Island is a place where miracles happen." But we've also seen the so-called “Island Spirit” deciding when people live or die. It wouldn't let Michael die in a car crash, but would allow him to die in the Freighter explosion. Conversely, it seems to have found a way for Jin to survive the same explosion. This might tie back to the overall question of how the Island determines who is "worthy" (those who made Jacob's list) vs. those who are deemed "outsiders" that need to die. It makes you wonder if the Nosebleeds could also be tied to this concept. Although Faraday's current theory is that it's all tied to the amount of time spent on the Island, which is why it's affecting Charlotte, Miles, and Juliet - what if the Island is just slowly killing the people who aren't supposed to be there, while those who are destined to be there (our Survivors) are simply annoyingly skipping around in time?


It's possible, but I tend to think this episode title is a little more direct. While I hope that someday we do get a better explanation about what makes someone "worthy", which would explain what makes the Island "death" for one, but "life" for another, I'm thinking this week's episode title seems to be directly tied to the skipping in time. That's the current "problem" on the Island, and the one that is putting lives in danger. It also seems that this is the storyline that the Skipping Survivors are attempting to resolve this week by visiting the Orchid. Unless they are successful, it will turn the Island from a place of "life" for them to a place of "death".


The title also makes me wonder if this week finally brings about an actual death due to the skipping, with the most likely candidate being Charlotte.


She's probably the most expendable character out of the three currently suffering from Nosebleeds (we need Miles to explain the weird ghost stuff on the Island, we need Juliet for the "love rhombus" with Sawyer, Jack, and Kate) - and even though we've never learned her backstory, it seems like we could get a pretty quick resolution to it through a scene or two once our Skipping Survivors end up in the 1970's - which I assume is coming, based on Faraday being there when the Orchid was being constructed. In my mind, Charlotte's death can serve a lot of function - lighting a fire under Faraday to start taking some serious action instead of giving wishy-washy answers whenever someone asks about what is happening. Heck, the audience could even get a touching scene of Faraday running into a child Charlotte to put a poignant "bow" on their storyline together.


It’s just a thought. In the end, I don't think Charlotte dies this week simply because her character hasn't seemed to serve a lot of purpose yet, and she provides an easy way to get an eventual flashback that shows what happened twenty or thirty years ago on the Island. But it would be the ultimate irony if she spent her entire life searching for the Island, viewing it as a paradise that would give her life peace… only to arrive and have it end up killing her.


That’s a way easier deeper meaning than last week!


Episode Description: Locke takes on the burden to stop the island's increasingly violent shifts through time. Meanwhile, Ben hits a roadblock in his attempt to reunite the Oceanic 6 and bring them back to the island.


Guest Stars: Rebecca Mader as Charlotte Lewis, John Terry as Christian Shephard, Fionnula Flanagan as Eloise Hawking, William Blanchett as Aaron, June Kyoko Lu as Mrs. Paik, Melissa Farman as young Frenchwoman, Guillaume Dabinpons as Frenchman #1, Marc Menard as Frenchman #2, Bruno Bruni as Frenchman #3 and Jaymie Kim as Ji Yeon.


Guest Star Breakdown: Now we're talking. One of my criticisms of last week's episode was that the Off-Island storyline just wasn't as strong as the On-Island storyline - but with the inclusion of Ms. Hawking this week, I'm already more excited for the Oceanic Six stuff! The real question is if she will appear as part of Ben's storyline (telling him how to get back to the Island), or part of Desmond's storyline (how to "save" the Skipping Survivors) - or both! Either way, she seems to be a character capable of providing the audience with some information about what is happening on the Island and why – which is exactly the sort of information that everyone is waiting for.  


We also have the Non-Crazy French People, continuing their storyline with Jin. As I mentioned last time, I’m hoping they’re around as long as possible to try and get as much information from our time with them about the Sickness, to try and see if it’s legit, or just some crazy lie that CFL made up. By the looks of this scene from the episode preview, it seems that we can already prove that she was lying about never coming in contact with the Others, only “hearing them whisper”, unless someone else is trying to blow them up in the Jungle (I suppose it could also be leftover traps from the US Military in 1954).



This episode will also mark the first appearance of a three year old Ji-Yeon. Does this mean Sun is going to drag her along with to the Island? If Ben is telling the truth, and once they get back to the Island they will never come back, you would think that Sun would drag Ji-Yeon along to complete the happy family with Jin back on the Island. But I think Ji-Yeon is exempt from those that need to return to the Island since she has never set foot there... and therefore might not even be invited to tag along. We’ve already got Aaron and Walt (who needs to come back at some point this season, right?) as potentially supernatural, “chosen ones”. I think adding a third child to the mix seems a little “Lost: The New Class” for me. Instead, here’s hoping that we simply get a scene of Sun talking to Ji-Yeon and Mrs. Paik (watching her while Sun is away), explaining why she is going to be gone for a little longer than planned… long enough to take a quick trip to the Island to retrieve her husband.


Lastly, there’s Christian Shephard. Although it’s possible he appears as an image to Jack, as we saw last season, I think it’s more likely he makes a reappearance on the Island to Locke…  


Episode Breakdown: The episode preview indicates that Locke (not Faraday) takes it upon himself to stop the Island’s deadly skipping. I’m guessing he receives a visit from Christian Shephard who gives him the long-awaited details of exactly what he needs to do and how he needs to do it, explaining how to turn the FDW and why he needs to die in order to get the Oceanic Six back to the Island.


With this in mind, the episode preview also seems to feature Locke being lowered down a well (with a FDWish blue glow at the bottom). But at the end of last week’s episode, our Skipping Survivors were in 1988 – many years after the Orchid Station was constructed (and we know it was still around in 2004). It seems like we’re due for another skip this week before the episode ends, and that means we’re not going to get as much time with CFL as we were hoping for. This would mean we’re going farther back than we’ve seen thus far (pre-1970’s!) which could be pretty exciting. If the tradition holds that each skip coincides with a time that “outsiders” came to the Island, this could mean we’re going to see something awesome like the Black Rock arrive on the Island! I’m also curious to see if the FDW was always there, or if originally there was just a well that dropped off into a blue nothingness… and Locke will simply “fall” into it and end up off the Island without any FDW involvement. Or has the FDW always been there, and Locke will land in front of it, knowing what to do thanks to information received from Christian? Either way, exciting stuff!



The second sentence of the sparse episode preview indicates that Ben hits a roadblock in his attempt to reunite the Oceanic Six. We’ve already had the roadblocks of Hurley being arrested and Sayid almost being killed – so what’s next? Based on how last week ended, the biggest obstacle right now appears to be Sun, who has Aaron, a gun, and a wicked score to settle with the Oceanic Six. Or it might be Kate, who seemingly flat out refuses to go along with anything that Ben says. But really, there are hundreds of potential obstacles for Ben in his question to return to the Island. The odds are stacked against them and the clock is ticking.


At the end of “The Lie”, an unconscious Sayid was placed under the care of Jack and Hurley was arrested. The next morning, Ms. Hawking told Ben that he had 70 hours. Last week, Jack told Sayid that he was out for 42 hours after being hit with the tranquilizer darts. That means we have roughly one day until the Oceanic Six need to leave to reach the Island at the precise moment. With so little time left, whatever obstacle that Ben faces must be pretty short-lived. If I was a betting man, I’d say we have a maximum of two episodes left until everyone reunites on the Island… and I can’t wait.


Short and sweet this week!


Happy Losting!


Anonymous said...

"I think adding a third child to the mix seems a little “Lost: The New Class” for me."


LOL, good one. They tried with saved by the bell too, didn't quite work out.

jack elder said...

People are sure going all over the island as if there was no smoke monster out there patrolling. Remember Season 1 when people were afraid to leave the beach and go into the jungle?

Salvar said...

Weren't Charlotte's eyes always like that?

Rebecca said...

I love your analysis posts, so keep them coming! =] I thought I 'saw' smokey or the affects of smokey in the preview but not positive. I can't wait until they're all back on the island & am really hoping it happens before next season. So excited for this week!

Anonymous said...

just a minor question....why do you think Sayid and Kate had an apparent "falling out"? when Kate saw Sayid at the end of last episode, she pretty much iced him (and visa versa).

VictorC said...

Soooooo can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Daniel Day Kim was on The View today. Just FYI.

Lisa said...

Does anyone else think that well Locke is being lowered into in the previews look an awful lot like the cavern the monster tried to drag him into in the season 1 finale? I remember Locke saying it was his destiny to go in there. So maybe that's true, he just wasn't supposed to go right then.

Also, I'm with Rebecca. That's definitely smokey attacking Jin and the French people.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else having problems accessing the Forum pages (facethewoods*)?

Keep getting a "Sorry Guest, you're banned" error.

Clicking on Login/Register produces no results.

orangejack said...

I've said for a long time this is the best blog about LOST. I created a new aggregated site that contains what I consider the best posts on LOST around. I call it LOST soup and I wanted you to know I've included this blog. Congrats and keep up the great work! if you want to check it out, it's

Anonymous said...

My name is steve I just dont want to create an ID....

I just have a thought that I want to share I dont know if it holds up at all but would it make sense having skipping Rose maybe telling non-skipping Rose that Bernard is alive. Maybe that could be why she was so adamant about Bernard being alive? I was just thinking that cause Rose is the kind of person that would approach herself...I mean she seems to think she knows best ya know....anyway just a though.

Anonymous said...

Hi Brian - yes this is the best LOST blog.
I thought the name of the episode alludes to what Richard said - that Locke has to die to leave the island (or something to that affect). Cheers

Gael said...

Anonymous said..of 7.02AM re Sayid and Kate falling out ...

Yes and whatabout the 'nurse' that Sayid fights with the in the hospital when asked 'who are you working for' said 'address in pocket' - which is Kate's address.
Is there a connection here? (or am I being a typical Lost-tragic and reading too much into anyolthing).

Anonymous said...

Steve -- great thought about Rose and Bernard. Sure....why in past episodes was she always so confident that Bernard survived the tail section crash? Maybe your explanation is the answer.

Gael -- I overlooked the connection with the "nurse" having Kate's address in his pocket presumably going there following sedating Sayid. BTW....interesting that now, evidently, whomever these people are want Sayid (and again, presumably Kate) alive; not dead. Any thoughts?

Di said...

I don't think we need skipping Rose to tell herself that Bernard is alive, and I doubt that any of the skippers are going to approach themselves, given what we've seen so far. The story in which Rose told Jack she "knows" Bernard is alive is simply one of the things that defined her character--it showed her connection to her husband and their abiding love (despite the rather petty quarrels between them that I remember being depicted in their flashback.) It also helped define Jack, in that it served as another example of faith that rational Jack couldn't quite grasp. Remember, much of what the writers did back then was character development and not pseudo science/time travel/etc stuff.

Anonymous said...

Di -- your depiction is beautifully written and probably spot on the mark too!

Gael said...

Steve & others:
Brian's convinced me now that last week's episode showed us that the characters are not going to interact with themselves from other times. It would be very messy story telling.

The 'nurse' implies that the person responsible for him sedating Sayid is Kate - but that doesn't make sense does it. Still there's a backstory we're yet to enjoy as to why Sayid & Ben and perhaps Sayid & Kate have fallen out.

Anonymous said...

In regards to convincing the O6 to return, Sayid is clearly the hardest to convince - Jack already wants to go back; Hurley has said numerously that they should've have left; Sun will go back for Jin; Kate will want to protect Aaron and ultimately go along with Jack re:'I've always been with you'; and as for Aaron, he doesn't have much of a choice being so young and all.

I've listened/read numerous 'Darlton' posts, and they've stated that when we find out the identities of 'Adam and Eve' we'll know the show was planned from the start, but I still can't think of any combination of people that would provide us with such information (not that I doubt it, at least in the 'overall arc' sense.)

I'm dreading the episode preview for the final episode. Brian, I love your blog and thoughts, but you and avid bloggers are intelligent enough to guess the ending, so I think that'll be the ONLY week i won't read the blog. Thanks again Brian.


Anonymous said...

Gael -- why in the world would Kate want Sayid sedated? doesn't make any sense.