A Case of the…. Lost – Episode 4-2

Last week I proposed that if Claire and Aaron get off of the island, like Desmond had envisioned, they’d be numbers four and five of the Oceanic Six. Upon more thought, I’d like to amend that statement. While Claire would be number four, Aaron would not be number five. Since he wasn’t on the flight to begin with, he can’t be considered one of the crash survivors. That’d be like if Juliet left the island. Surely she wouldn’t be considered one of the Oceanic Six.

That said, evidently next week we do find out the identity of number four. While I don’t have a strong early guess, I am predicting that Sawyer will not be one of the six escapees. I firmly believe that you need at least one character left behind that viewers care about a great deal, and he fits the position to a tee. Consider some of the other major characters: Locke remaining on the island would be a happy ending for his character. On top of that, there are some great stories that could be told about Locke being removed from the island. Does he once again lose the use of his legs? Does he become a lost soul? Considering how obsessed Jack became with returning to the island, imagine how crazed Locke’s reaction would be. Along similar lines, Sayid being left behind on the island isn’t considered quite as “sad” as it would be for some other characters. He’s constantly portrayed as a soldier, and is frequently put in situations that put his well being in danger, so I think that many viewers would consider it fitting for his character to remain in peril on the island.

While I love Jin, I don’t think that the audience connects with him the way they do Sawyer. That said, I could conceive a possibility where Sun gets off of the island, but Jin doesn’t, forcing the former to raise their child while knowing that her husband (and her baby’s father) is trapped (for lack of a better word) on the island.

So, basically, at this point I’m predicting that number four will be revealed as Claire with baby or Sun with baby. I’m leaning slightly towards Claire, since that would reveal somebody while not necessarily revealing too much (since Desmond already told us she gets rescued).

There’s another thing I forgot to mention last week, and that’s my delight over the topsy-turvy relationship between Ben and the Oceanic survivors, particularly Jack. During the latter half of the second season, Jack and co. was holding Ben captive in the hatch. During the first portion of the third season, Ben and The Others held Jack, Sawyer, and Kate prisoner. And now, in the fourth season, Ben is once again at the mercy of the survivors, in the first episode by Jack, and now by Locke and Sawyer. It’s been a really enjoyable and entertaining ride, written brilliantly to ensure that the relationships between captor and prisoner remains fresh and interesting.

So this week we met our four rescuers and had some light shed on the “discovery” of Oceanic 815. We learned that yes, Naomi was telling the truth and that people at home truly do believe that those on the flight were killed, but who is responsible? And what was the purpose of faking their deaths? This mysterious Matthew Abaddon, who had previously claimed to be an attorney for Oceanic (but couldn’t back it up with a business card), seems to play a big part in this conspiracy.

I must also ask, who is Naomi? How did she know that there actually were survivors? And if she knew, why did she act so surprised when she finally met them (unlike Miles)? And how did she get that photo of Desmond with Penny?

Despite all the sorta-answers and new questions that arose this episode, as well as the introduction of some new characters, I think this episode was really fueled by the various interactions between the core cast of characters. Lets start with Locke’s team, which featured some dealings between Locke and Hurley, Locke and Ben, Locke and Sawyer, Sawyer and Ben, and a brief and mostly nonverbal communication between Locke, Hurley, and Ben.

As Peter Griffin said in the Star Wars parody, lets start with Part Four. Earlier in this commentary I noted the roller coaster relationship between Ben and the Oceanic survivors. What is interesting about this dichotomy is how brutally Ben is treated in comparison to Jack, Kate, and Sawyer. When Ben was held captive in the hatch, he was tortured on a daily basis. Now, his face looks like a piece of rare steak after having it slammed by Jack, Locke, Sawyer, and even Danielle. Meanwhile, Jack was shacked up in a dimly lit room while being fed cheeseburgers. They also, for the most part, kept their hands off cage-ridden Kate. I guess it’s fair to say the only exception is Sawyer, who went nose to nose with The Others on more than one occasion. Therefore, I understand his general aggression towards Ben more than, say, Jack.

I also like how Sawyer can seemingly so easily read Ben, but still falls into his trap. He sensed that Ben was up to something and should just be killed and he warned Karl that Ben is just trying to get under his skin, and not to let him do that. Then, just moments later, Ben manipulates Sawyer the same way, noting that if they ever get off of the island, Kate will realize that a renown spinal surgeon is a much more attractive option than a low class conman. Instead of heeding his own words, he violently attacks Ben and continues to do so for the remainder of the episode.

Speaking of jealousy, one must not overlook the quick scene in which Hurley accidentally revealed that he, too, could see Jacob’s cabin. Both Ben and Locke quickly picked up on this, however it was Locke who seemed especially bothered and perhaps insecure. His surprised reaction also suggests that Locke was not inside of the cabin, leading me to believe that it was Jacob and, for some reason, a dead Christian Shephard.

Coming from somebody who appreciated the “everything happens for a reason” theme of the movie Signs, I loved how Locke noted that he survived the gunshot wound because of the fact that his kidney had been removed. In a lot of ways, Locke’s father swindling him of his kidney was the best thing that ever happened to him, as the chain of events ultimately brought him to the island, giving his life more meaning than he had ever had before, and allowing him to survive being shot.

We also got a clearer understanding for why Locke is being so tolerant of Ben (and thank goodness Sawyer asked the obvious question, as to why Locke’s stringing along somebody who had just tried to kill him), as his knowledge of the island may prove useful. I also liked how Locke cut right to the chase, asking what the smoke monster is when Ben tried to use his answers as leverage to save his own life. I’m glad Locke did that, as otherwise he would have looked like a real chump. I mean, how many times is he going to allow Ben to use his “I can give you answers” argument with Locke to get out of dire situations? Especially when he rarely actually provides substantial answers.

Not surprisingly, there were some verbal gems between Sawyer and Locke as well, especially after Locke revealed that he was receiving his marching orders from Walt. This episode’s notable quotable must be Sawyer’s sarcastic “who are we to argue with taller ghost Walt?” remark. Another highlight, though, was when Locke convinced Sawyer not to execute Ben by noting that it would be right in front of his daughter, covertly alluding to what had essentially happened to Sawyer during his own childhood.

I gotta tell you, Matthew Fox is a brilliant wink actor. In the premiere, his sly wink to Ben as he told Hurley to pack up his stuff in preparation of being rescued was a genuinely humorous moment. In this week’s episode, he once again threw a wink, this time signaling to Kate that everything was under control. While that is perhaps negligible, his explanation later in the episode, telling Kate that he was trying to warn her was hilarious. I’ve always liked Jack, but I know a lot of viewers don’t. This season has, thus far, done a fantastic job of making him a generally more likable person.

I previously noted Sawyer’s jealousy over the fact that Jack and Kate are together, and we got a glimpse of that with Kate as well, after Juliet and Sayid arrived. I appreciated the fact that it wasn’t heavy handed and overt. Instead, we just saw a distinct difference in Kate’s overall demeanor. With Juliet now present, she was suddenly a lot less comfortable and generally less talkative with Jack. I really like Juliet and Sawyer, but the money relationship is with Jack and Kate. I truly do hope that these two end up together at the end of the series. And for what it’s worth, the writers have done a fantastic job of keeping them apart in a non-contrived fashion, unlike most series, which really struggle with keeping their male and female leads apart.

At the risk of contradicting myself, I will also note that I’ve been a huge fan of the Jack/Kate scenes we’ve seen so far. Last year was sorely lacking in that department (I strongly believe that their chemistry was what helped the show become such a hit to begin with), so it’s great to see them share so much screen time together in these first few episodes.

The other major interaction of Jack’s crew was with Sayid and Juliet. Considering how skeptical Sayid initially was of Juliet, I enjoyed the way these two have sort of bonded. After all, Juliet was one of the people who had come to Sayid’s aid when The Others held him (along with Jin and Bernard) prisoner when the beach attack failed. It’s also strange to think about how Juliet was once this timid fertility doctor, but is now one of the go-to people whenever a situation arises in which they need to use guns.

Of course, I cannot ignore the four new characters that we met this episode. We’ve got the nervous and finicky Daniel, Miles the ghost whisperer, Charlotte the archaeologist (no cute nickname for her without knowing more about her personality, although she was great on Justice), and Frank the drunkard pilot.

So far, Daniel is my favorite, as his fish out of water persona is really fun to watch, from his overall uneasy innocence to his completely inappropriate way of holding a gun. His quirky personality is reminiscent of Adrian Monk, an undeniable genius that doesn’t quite comprehend accepted social behavior. However, given his extreme purity, I can’t help but feel like he’s the mole that Ben later refers to.

Of the bunch, Miles is probably the most intriguing, since the show rarely gets so explicitly supernatural. Don’t get me wrong, the whole premise of the show is inherently paranormal, but things are usually presented in a way that you at least have the option of coming up with some rational, scientific explanation. It’s rare that something is so overtly mystical, such as Miles’ ability to communicate with the dead. Of course, this power opens up a whole world of possibilities, as dead characters can now appear in forms other than flashbacks or the smoke monster. In theory, anyway.

Frank’s screen time was minimal, but crucial, as he provided the audience with “solid” proof (within the Lost universe) that the plane discovered wasn’t the real Oceanic 815. We must also ask ourselves, though: Why did he wake up bloodied and nowhere near the helicopter he had apparently landed safely? That inquiry aside, him climbing a cliff only to see an out of place cow was the perfect introduction to the island.

While we may not have learned a great deal about Charlotte (as a side note, I think it’s great that one member of the rescuers ended up with the “wrong” crew), her flashback did provide a neat nugget of information. For some reason, in the middle of the desert, archaeologists excavated a polar bear wearing a Dharma Initiative collar. Does this suggest that Dharma has existed for centuries (I couldn’t get a sense of how deep they were digging, and thus how far back this relic dates. But based on the fact that the initial guess was “dinosaur,” I’d venture to guess it was relatively deep)? Or does the Initiative possess the ability to time travel? After all, Desmond traveled back in time when the hatch – a Dharma station – blew up.

This may also explain why they’re after Ben. As far as we know, Ben is the only surviving member of the Dharma Initiative. Perhaps this mission isn’t to capture Ben, per se, but instead to nab the remains of whatever the Initiative was experimenting on. If that’s the case, this may provide some explanations regarding Abaddon and who he works for. To further solidify this possibility, Frank referred to Juliet as a “native” which I believe is also what Dharma called The Others.

As a sidenote, I’ve also decided to open up a blog, and I encourage everybody to visit it. It’s still in its beginning stages, but I’m going to make it a point to update it frequently, with a lot of immediate thoughts on shows right after they air. Please give it a visit, and feel free to leave any comments: A Case of the Blog