Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thoughts on LOST: The Last Recruit

Yeah, I know...I am WAY late with this one. So let's just get to it, yeah?

- Boy, Hurley sure did give up that "leadership" role pretty quickly, huh? "Have at it,'s all you".

- It was good to see Jack and Locke together again, even if it isn't really Locke. Their conversations seem to always hit at the crux of what is currently going on, and this one wasn't any different.

There is a LOT to get to in this conversation.

- We get "confirmation" that when Jack saw his father back in White Rabbit, he was actually seeing Smokey. I think we all knew that, right?

But I DON'T really believe that Smokey was just trying to get Jack to follow him because he "needed water". I think he was actually trying to get Jack to follow him off a cliff. That's actually where he led Jack...and then Jack was pulled to safety by John Locke, and THEN they found water. Smokey is the bad guy here, no matter how many times he tries to tell us he's not.

The other issue is whether or not Christian has been Smokey EVERY time we've seen him. The two instances that most people have a problem with is when Jack saw him in the hospital back in the Oceanic 6 period and when Michael saw him on the freighter.

When Jack saw him in the hospital, and then the smoke alarm went off, a lot of us assumed that Jack was actually seeing a manifestation of Smokey. Knowing what we know now, that Smokey can not leave the Island, I'm going to guess that Jack was just hallucinating...he was already into his downward spiral at this point, one that would end up with him taking suicidal flights across the ocean and trying to jump off a bridge. I think the smoke alarm was just some clever misdirection on the part of the writers.

The Christian that Michael saw on the freighter is a little more difficult to explain. Smokey has said that he can not travel over water (for whatever reason), so if it was Smokey then how did he get there? And this one can't be explained away by saying that Michael was hallucinating, because Michael never met could he "hallucinate" him?

I think this goes back to a theory that I sort of agree with...there could be TWO manifestations of Christian. He is always wearing one of two outfits...sometimes he's wearing the suit he was buried in, and sometimes he's wearing a more casual outfit. I call them Suit Christian and Club Med Christian. There is a theory that Suit Christian is Smokey and Club Med Christian is...something else. Jacob, or maybe The Spirit of the Island (evidenced by him telling Michael "You can go now" before he dies)? Or maybe it's just Christian as a ghost?

I obviously don't know...the only thing I think I DO know is that Smokey can not have been Christian every time we've seen him, unless the writers have totally screwed up.
Also interesting that Smokey doesn't answer the question about who else he has looked like...

- I'm serious...if John Locke doesn't get some SERIOUS redemption, I'm going to be pretty ticked off. Smokey calls him a stupid sucker, and I just sat there blustering at my TV screen like a 6 year old. "Nunh-UNH!!! YOU'RE a STUPID SUCKER!!"

I mean, it's one thing for him to die sad, lonely, and we have to resort to name calling?

And I think Jack feels the same way.

- I'm still not buying the whole "we all have to get on the plane together" thing that Smokey has going on. I still think he's trying to get them all in one place, but for much more nefarious purposes.

Wow, all that and we're only through one scene? I'll be lucky to get this thing finished before NEXT week's episode.

- In the flash-sideways, I think Desmond's plan worked and Locke did in fact get a glimpse of the other side...I think that's what he means when he says he WAS going to marry her, rather than just identifying her as his fiancee.

- Really cool moment when Sun recognizes John at the hospital.


We have a serious timeline all accounts, Sun and Jin were only in town for two days (at the most) before the shootout at the restaurant. Desmond told Hurley last week that it has been a week since they were on Flight 815 together. So, did Sun ride around in that ambulance for four days? That seems rather inefficient, not to mention dangerous, don't you think?

Only three possible explanations that I can think of, other than just a writer screwup: 1) Jin and Sun were holed up in that hotel for longer than we think, and maybe the "morning after" scene we saw wasn't the morning after the plane landed; 2) The Desmond scenes are out of sequence, and he actually hit Locke with his car BEFORE he went and visited Hurley; or 3) This timeline is wonky and unstable, and is being affected somehow by what is happening on the Island, which is the "real" timeline.

By the way, the discussions about this timeline problem are pretty heated over at Lostpedia. Check it out HERE if you A) want a laugh, and B) want to get a look inside the minds of some people who are even more obsessed than you are, and feel better about yourself in comparison.

My thoughts? None of those three explanations above really hold water for I think it's a timeline error. And a pretty major one at that, and not something you would really expect out of this group. Oh, well...

- Claire and Jack's first meeting as brother and sister...I loved Emilie de Ravin's delivery on the "Cuz he's my brother" line. Very sweet.

- Again, we get the reference to the fact that once Smokey talks to you, it's all over...he's got you. You're on his side now.

But...he's talked to Sawyer a LOT, right? And also Kate? And neither of them really seem to be "on his side". Hurley, either, for that matter...or Sun. Or Richard.

Maybe it only really works on people who aren't Candidates, and non-Candidates just don't realize that is part of the rules? And Richard sort of exists "outside" the rules somehow? Otherwise, I don't know how to explain it.

Man, that's three things already in this episode that I don't really have a logical explanation for, and we just now got to the opening credits. Hope the writers are doing better with this stuff than I am...

- Sawyer doesn't know who Anakin is? Really? He knows the "old Wookie prisoner gag", he calls Michael and Jin "Han and Chewie", he calls Hurley "Jabba"...but he doesn't know who Anakin is?

Maybe he was smart enough to just avoid the prequels altogether and stick with the original trilogy...the name "Anakin" wasn't really as prominently used in those three films.

Man...I'm a nerd.

- Hurley: "Hey, Claire! You look....GREAT!"


- Nice scene between Sawyer and Kate in the police station, and further proof that Evangeline Lilly is not a bad actress when given decent material.

I wonder what it's going to take for these two to start having their "memories"? For Sawyer, I think it may be a certain stranger inviting him out for coffee...for Kate, I don't know. Still think there's a chance she is there when Claire gives birth to Aaron?

- OK, back to the Island...President Laura Lemon shows up, accusing Smokey of stealing their Package and calling in the bombs. Pretty cool that Smokey never flinches, probably because he knows that the bombs can't hurt him. Maybe Widmore doesn't know that...after all, when he met up with Smokey on the beach, he said most of what he knew about the Smoke Monster was just scary stories.

- Flash-Sideways...everybody's favorite stalker, Desmond, shows up to harass Claire some more. He REALLY wants her to meet with his lawyer friend, who happens to be...Ilana, with a purely American accent!

One more thing I had to talk myself theory about Desmond has been that he is not so much fully AWARE of both timelines, only that something about this one isn't right. If that's the case, then he sure does seem to know an awful lot about Jack and Claire's situation, doesn't he?

Here's one explanation...he studied the manifest and saw Claire's name. He's obviously friends with Ilana somehow in this timeline (more on that in a minute), and that's how he knew that she was looking for Claire, and also that she was looking for her because she is the half sister of one Dr. Jack Shephard, who is ALSO on the manifest. So he arranged for the "coincidental" meeting in Ilana's office.

Or...maybe we are going to see another scene, where Desmond and Ilana somehow meet, and she is helping him get them all together because she IS fully aware of both timelines, much like Eloise Hawking, and this is all part of her service to Jacob?

- Back to the, Smokey is a true politician, isn't he: "Those people have forced our hand...CLAIMING that we stole something from them, trying to provoke US into a confrontation."

Talk about the tail wagging the dog, huh?

- Sawyer continues the leadership we saw from him as Lefleur...and it's further evidence that just because Smokey talks to you, that doesn't mean that you are going to follow him mindlessly.

- On Smokey's orders, Sayid goes back to the well to kill off Desmond (um...yeah, right).

Was it just me, or did that well seem a lot DEEPER when Smokey threw that torch down it?

- Desmond seems to get through to Sayid. I think that Sayid was so easily brainwashed by Smokey because he is very open to the idea that he is a horrible person, destined to do horrible things.

He says Smokey promised him the "woman he loves"...we all assume it's Nadia, right? But couldn't it be Shannon? Or any of the other plethora of women in Sayid's life who all seem to die?

Just kidding...I think it's Nadia, too. But wouldn't it be funny if Locke brought Shannon to him, all, "Well, here she is, just like I promised!" and he was like, "No, not THAT one! The OTHER love of my life who died in my arms!"

- OK, let's blow through these next scenes for the sake of time...Miles and Sawyer show up at Nadia's and arrest Sayid (who, in a nice callback to the last scene, can't bring himself to tell her what he's done), and then Sawyer fills Kate in on his little plan to ditch Locke, leaving Claire behind, which doesn't make her very happy.

- I agree with what Cindy at TelevisionWithoutPity says about Claire...yeah, you've had it rough living on this Island with out your bay-bee for three years. But YOU'RE the one who walked away and left him in the jungle.

Maybe she just doesn't remember all of that too clearly, maybe Smokey brainwashed her...but it's getting old, anyway.

- Jack isn't really good at the "inconspicuous getaway", is he? They just all took off through the jungle, away from everybody else, without checking to see if anybody was looking? And sure enough...Crazy Claire sees the whole thing!

- Something about the way Sayid is talking to that a flash of the old Sayid I see? Breakdance him to death, Sayid! Go on, DO IT!!!!

- Lapidus tells Jack that the Smoke Monster runs a lot faster than they do. Actually, if Sun could speak English (rather than being struck dumb by a really stupid storyline), she would probably disagree...she wasn't having a problem outrunning him.

- Nice work by both Evangeline Lilly and Emilie de Ravin in the scene where Kate talks her onto the boat. I've really been impressed by Emilie all season, after thinking she was one of the weak links in her scenes early in the show.

- Flash Sideways. Jack is talking to David's mom, which reminds me...I think the mother is Sarah, but the only reason it might NOT be is that he never mentions her name. If the name is being held back on purpose, than it may in fact be somebody they're not ready to reveal right now.

- Another reason I think Ilana may know something...she seems really happy to be springing Claire on Jack, doesn't she? I would think that giving a grieving son the news that his dead father had a secret daughter would call for a little more gravitas.

- GREAT scene between Jack and Sawyer on the boat. I love that Jack's line of thinking, while it's crazy on the surface, is also grounded in some logic: If Smokey wants us to leave so bad, why do we think that's a good thing?

And if there was any doubt as to where Jack is on his character journey...Sawyer calls him jumping off the boat a "leap of faith". Add that to Jack's telling Smokey earlier about how much Locke believed in the Island, and the way he said it with such admiration, and I think he has officially come full circle.

- Sawyer: "We're done going back, Kate."

Yeah, we'll see.

- Back in the hospital, Jin tells Sun that "it's over", and "we're all going to be OK".

Man, he really doesn't believe in jinxes, does he?

- As an aside...nice stuff between Jack and David this week...think they're just setting us up for the fact that Jack is going to have to choose a life without him?

- Jack is the "dural sac" expert, I guess.

- Dude...I can not WAIT for Locke to wake up after this surgery.

- The Jin/Sun reunion scene was even worse on rewatch...first of all, did they MEAN to shoot it in such a way that most of us were convinced that they were going to run into the sonic fence? And why are they speaking to each other in English?

And the less said about Frank's line, the better...ugh, that was bad.

- And then...THIS happened:

- Told you guys Widmore wasn't a good guy.

- And, no, I don't think Jack died, or was claimed, or anything like that. I just think Smokey is sadly mistaken if he thinks Jack is "with him now".

Final Thoughts:

Man, that was a great episode.

Since we are so close to the end, there are a lot of conversations going on about what we are looking for in the end, up to and including the finale.

Personally, I don't need every question answered in order to be satisfied. We've established that the Island is "Mysterious"...part of what makes a place mysterious is that there are mysteries, right?

I want an ending that is not only true to the characters that have been established, but it also enhances them in a way that makes sense both logically and emotionally. That's the main thing, for me. As far as whatever "explanation" we get regarding the Island, Jacob and Smokey, etc...I just need it to fit in logically (in other words, it can't destroy six seasons worth of continuity), and give me enough information that I can intelligently fill in some of the blanks left over by any "unanswered questions" that we may have.

What about you? What are you looking for as we approach the end? And, since we are on a hiatus week with only four more episodes to go, how satisfied have you been with the season so far? How confident are you in the writers to bring this thing in for a satisfactory landing?



Shan said...

I'm pretty damned satisfied with S6 so far. I could nitpick it to death, or question the pacing of the reveals or some of the sideways hijinks, but for the most part, I've followed happily along and been very entertained. I'm frustrated at still not knowing the "nature" of the sideways world, but if they eventually lay it all out, and it fits logically, then I won't harbor any grudges.

If Smokey's "I'm always Christian" story is revealed to be the whole truth of the show, then I'll be disappointed, because it doesn't add up when you examine his every appearance (in every time period and every location). I sure hope there's more to that.

Also, you mentioned some possible continuity errors with timing. I've noticed those too, and hope that they weren't THAT sloppy with things as we head down the stretch. (Though we do know they can be human and miss things, like Charlotte's birthday, Sideways Claire's ultrasound date and most recently, Des's wedding ring. In a recent interview, Cusick acknowledged he wasn't supposed to be wearing it in any timeline, and he forgot to take it off. Now, is that last one actor misdirection? Maybe, because we saw it pretty clearly, but it could just be one of those things that drives Lost fans crazy with postulating when an actor simply made a mistake and no one noticed it).

As for what I want and need answered, I'm actually working up a list on that one, but it will probably be shorter than I would have thought this winter before the season.

Scott said...

Yeah, I agree...about halfway through the season I had to recalibrate my expectations about what I wanted to see this season. At this point, the only thing that will really disappoint me is if the ending doesn't "fit" logically and emotionally with the rest of the show.

To use an example that we are both familiar with, the ending of BSG made sense logically, I guess...but I didn't think it came close to fitting the emotional tone of the rest of the series, so there was a great deal of tonal dissonance that we were left with.

If LOST leaves me with a whole bunch of questions unanswered, but gives me an ending that fits from a continuity, logic, and emotional standpoint, I think I'm fine with that. I can spend the rest of my life coming up with my own answers to those questions, if they give me enough context.