A Case of the…. Lost – Episode 4-7

Before I get to this week’s column, I have to discuss something written in the always-entertaining EW.com Lost Watch article:

Sun’s flash-forward fake-out seemed to close out the first act of Lost’s future-time story line: identifying the members of the Oceanic 6, the celebrity miracle survivors of Oceanic 815. To recap, they are Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Aaron, and Sun. Now, I know what some of you are saying: Aaron can’t be a member of the Oceanic 6 because he wasn’t born prior to the crash and therefore was not technically an Oceanic 815 passenger. To which I say, Please. Don’t be so literal. In the Lost world, the Oceanic 6 is clearly a media-coined term, pinned on these six souls by some clever headline writer or newscaster. And being in the business, I can tell you that tiny little facts like Aaron’s non-passenger status would never, ever get in the way of a easy, catchy piece of phrasing.

No, no, no, no, no! I’ve been arguing this case since Ben’s big reveal in the Sayid episode: The Oceanic Six ONLY refers to individuals who were on the flight 815 manifest. Anybody believing the contrary cannot do so out of assumption. The burden of proof is on that argument, so until Aaron is explicitly referred to as one of the Oceanic Six, I’m standing by the argument that we only know five of the escapees. I’m sure many people will note that this episode’s preview indicated that by the end of the episode, we’ll know all six individuals, but I will remind everybody that the Lost writers/creators/producers have stated numerous times that they have absolutely nothing to do with the post-episode teasers. That’s all ABC, who may have either (a) not understood the episode (or seen the entire thing) and assumed Jin was a survivor, or (b) considered Aaron (or Ben, for that matter) as one of the survivors. It’s also worth noting that at Kate’s trial, Jack clearly states that eight people survived the plane crash, and two died before being rescued. That means that six people who were on the plane survived. Obviously, Aaron wasn’t on the plane.

Along with that, Lost is hardly the type of show that is lackadaisical with its writing. The writers expect us to analyze and dissect every word, action, and expression to an obsessive degree. I hardly think they would sacrifice that for the sake of “a easy, catchy piece of phrasing.”

I will also note that somebody in the “Comments” section of that article brought up an awesome point that I had previously missed: In a past column, I noted that I found it odd that Jack lied about there being eight survivors, with two dying before they were rescued. It just seemed like such a random, unnecessary lie. The poster brought up the fact that Penny had previously spoken to Charlie, so she — at the very least — knows that more than these six people had survived the crash. Excellent observation.

Moving on….

Watching the episode, I could just sense that something was up with the whole Jin/Sun flash forward. To be honest, I was predicting that, in the future, these two had divorced, and that Jin was in fact remarried, and heading to the hospital to watch his new wife give birth. Remember, while Sun was obviously pregnant in the flash forward, it was never stated that this particular child was the one she had conceived on the island, or that it was even Jin’s for that matter. While on the subject of the baby — and I don’t want to come off as rude or immature — but how gross did that think look? I mean, geez…..wipe it off with a towel or something! The baby itself was adorable, but it was, like, nauseating seeing it covered with all that crap .

Ultimately I was wrong, and instead we learned that Jin’s story was a flashback, while Sun’s was a flash forward. I thought that this method of storytelling was exceptionally clever, my only problem with it was that it reeked of manipulation. Let me clarify: Obviously, the point was to manipulate the viewer, but I just wish it served an even greater purpose. At the end of the episode, after the twist had set in, I was kinda asking myself, “Why did we even see the Jin flashback in the first place? What significance did it provide, other than to trick the viewer?” For example, I would have been more satisfied had Jin’s flashback offered some back story as to why he wanted to name the baby Ji-Yeon (yes, I know that the name has a literal special meaning). That would have at least tied everything together (past, present, and future). That minor criticism aside, I thought it was a brilliant episode.

So now everybody is asking, of course, if Jin is really dead. The date on his gravestone was September 22, 2004 — the day that the plane crashed. My guess is that, no, he is not dead. He’s actually still on the island with the Oceanic X – 6 (is that a funny piece of phrasing?), and the gravestone is a combination of continuing the lie and representing of her genuine loss. While he may not be dead, I’m sure she considers visiting his grave an act of honoring his memory and the love they share. As a side note, I thought that Hurley visiting Sun, softly noting that the baby looks like Jin, then gently suggesting they visit his grave were overall very touching few moments.

Also, while I am a 26 year old heterosexual male, but c’mon, how adorable is Bernard? His innocently goofy behavior when he clearly interrupts a tense moment between Sun and Jin, only to be quickly replaced by embarrassment when he realizes it entirely too late, was awesome. As was the scene while they’re fishing, when he breaks down and opens up to Jin. Ya’ know, it’s funny, these two have a pretty tight relationship. Jin was one of the three survivors that found the tailies, and the two of them stayed at the beach during the Others invasion. This reminds me a bit of Charlie and Desmond (and even Sawyer and Hurley), as one of those close, meaningful friendships that sorta sneaks up on you. Another thing I liked about this particular interaction was their similar, yet very contrasting spousal situation: Should Rose leave the island, she dies. Yet she’s opted to stay with Jack’s group, which wants to be rescued. On the other hand, should Sun stay on the island, she dies, and she wants to go off to Locke’s group, which plans to remain on the island. Despite this, both husbands choose to follow their wives. Quite poignant.

In the least surprising surprise return yet, we once again see Michael, who is going under the name Kevin Johnson. Could this alias support my theory about last season’s finale, which is that Michael is the one in the casket, and that he had changed his name because of what he had done on the island? Also, does he have amnesia, or is he pretending not to know Sayid? Whatever the case may be, I loved Sayid’s calm and collected reaction of (also?) pretending not to know Michael. A great moment, and not many characters other than Sayid could pull it off.

There is a theory going around that Michael isn’t actually Michael. Instead, it’s an adult Walt. There is something to this theory. There’s clearly some time vortex surrounding the island, and some people are proposing that different coordinates lead to different periods of time. Consider that there have been a least two moments when one character has urged somebody leaving the island that they stick to the coordinates they are given. Just a few episodes ago, Daniel made a similar insistence to Frank. At the end of season two, Ben told Michael the same thing. What if the coordinates that Ben provided Michael and Walt sent them to the future? When they returned to society, their consciousness took over their future selves. So Walt — now an adult and bearing a striking resemblance to Michael — makes it his mission to somehow, someway rescue the survivors who had cared for him, and risked their lives to keep him safe. This theory is not without its gaps, but “Kevin’s” face did look distinctly more harmless and innocent than Michael’s. We also know that Walt has the ability to appear in places that he is not, so it could explain how he is able to communicate with Ben. My biggest criticism of this possiblity is that I find it hard to believe that an adult Walt would be the spitting image of Michael.

Of course, two questions could debunk this theory: Why would he help Ben, the guy who kidnapped him? And why would Taller Ghost Walt (in his teenage form) appear and tell Locke not to trust the people on the boat?

Speaking of the freighter, it seems that the crew is going a little mad, with people jumping overboard and shooting themselves and whatnot. We’ve also met the not-so-trustworthy captain, who seemed to confirm that, yes, Charles Widmore is the man behind the boat (Desmond’s reaction was awesome). This further solidifies my earlier prediction that Widmore knows that Desmond can travel through time. The way I see it, Widmore eventually finds the island BECAUSE of Desmond. Whenever Desmond’s consciousness goes back in time, Widmore ensures that the appropriate actions take place to make certain that Desmond ends up on the island (hence why he so willingly gave Desmond his daughter’s address, despite previously doing everything he can to keep them apart). I also really liked Sayid’s notation that the captain was “surprisingly forthcoming.”

Overall, this episode did a wonderful job of regaining the show’s momentum, which was slowed ever so slightly in last week’s episode. Lets just hope that the writers come through next week with the LONG awaited Michael episode. Not only has this episode been built up for over a season, but it’s gotta maintain interest for the month-long hiatus before new episodes return. If this season has shown anything, though, it’s that the writers deserve the benefit of the doubt (and internet sales, for that matter).

Sir Linksalot: Lost