Wow, so my Revisited column sure garnered some interesting backlash, huh?
Basically, I attempted to make a point and, in the process, used some inaccurate information. And the way I’ve planned on responding has changed dramatically over the course of the day. Initially, my reaction was “Oh, I guess I was wrong about those episodes. My bad.” And maybe a little bit, “I don’t remember Creed being that harsh.”
As the comments and insults started filtering in, I did start to get a bit bothered. I simply couldn’t understand how so many people could harp so much on a single paragraph of my column – less than 200 words of an over 1,000 word episode review. I could understand people pointing out my error, but not people starting getting downright nasty, calling me a moron and a dummy. By no means were my feelings hurt, as it was obvious that this backlash was excessive, but it absolutely boggled my mind. I mean, seriously, think about it: I incorrectly recalled two episodes that aired a few years ago. And I openly admitted going into the column that I may be remembering things wrong.
And then something occurred to me. Call it my “aha” moment. It happened when two very sad words were uttered: “Skaters” and “Jaters.” At that point, my response settled at a permanent spot: Pity. This onslaught of insults had very little to do with my inaccurate information. It was that, in their eyes, I was attempting to disprove that Sawyer and Kate were soul mates, and that she belongs with Jack.
And the thing that made it so much worse and more pathetic was that they completely missed the point I was trying to make, instead harping on two facets of my argument in an attempt to discredit everything else I had said. I mean, for a group of people who were so incredibly critical of my error, the majority of you REALLY need to work on your reading comprehension skills. At no point did I criticize this Fishbiscuit person – in fact, I’d say my comments were overall complimentary – nor did I ever say I would try to go toe-to-toe with the person. Hell, I never even stated that I disagreed with the points she was making. For goodness sake, she has fancy screencaps to prove her point! My contention was merely that this connection that exists between Sawyer and Kate is a moot point, as these same bonds exist between countless others as well. Quite simply, I was just saying that there’s nothing special about the fact that Sawyer and Kate have some sort of tie in their past, future, and sideways world. The fact that this is true for most of the characters is sorta the theme of the show. So fret not, “Skaters,” I wasn’t arguing that Jack and Kate were destined to be together (but for what it’s worth, they HAVE had a sex scene. Remember the disturbing angry sex they had the night before the Ajira flight?), nor was I claiming that Sawyer and Kate AREN’T destined to be together. I just don’t buy that they’re destined to be together because they share a bond in the most obvious, straightforward way possible.
I thought it was obvious that I was being facetious with my examples here. I clearly was not trying to prove that every one of Kate’s actions were motivated by Jack. Then again, this is a group of people who apparently need a car crash and chase scene to hammer a point home.
And the irony, of course, is that these people that commented did a far better job of proving my other point than I did in my original column, and that’s the idea of selection bias. This idea often comes up in numerological claims (popularly exhibited in the movie The Number 23). Basically, people ONLY look at the evidence that supports their point (which is what I was attempting to prove in my Jack/Kate counter to the Kate/Sawyer examples). As noted above, the people who left a comment completely harped on a single paragraph of my column. Within that paragraph, I made three references – two of which were incorrect. Nearly every single person pointed out how incredibly stupid and idiotic I was for making those two errors, while conveniently ignoring the correct point I made. Only one person brought up my correct point, but brushed it off, noting that Jack is a doctor, so who else would Kate bring Sawyer to? Yet that logic doesn’t seem to work both ways. Since Jack is a doctor, it was a logistical choice for Kate to seek his aid. Yet when she needs a gun and goes to Sawyer (who, ya’ know, is hiding the guns), it’s because they’re destined to be together forever and ever?
So, yes, these visitors did a rather remarkable job of proving that certain viewers only see things that prove the point they want to make. Forget the fact that I complimented Fish’s column and had no issue with the examples she laid out. To these people, since I dared question the Sawyer/Kate bond, I’m just an idiot trying to go toe-to-toe with another writer as I worship Juliet and have delusions about Jack and Kate. It absolutely boggles my mind that anybody could read my column and come to that conclusion.
But Creed (the real one) is right about one thing – one of the best things about Lost is the fact that it encourages such discussion. I’m certainly not always right and I’m willing to admit when I’m not (Aaron/Oceanic Six debacle, anybody?) But to be quite honest, I have absolutely no interest in discussing the show with most of the people who posted on my Revisited column. I was going to offer the invitation as long as they can be civil and respectful, because I love talking about the show with people who share my passionate, but it’s abundantly clear the majority of those people aren’t capable of that. One of the posters said that I should do a little research and it would save me from embarrassment. I can honestly say that there’s nothing about my prior column – or any of my reviews – that I’m ashamed of. The only thing that would embarrass me is if people read those comments and say, “So this is what Lost fans are like?” To me, that’s the only embarrassment.
So from this point forward, all of these angry, hateful comments will be ignored. I have no interest in having debates built on negativity and rudeness. My advice is to cool your jets. This is a show we’re all supposed to enjoy, so there’s no reason to get angry or nasty.
And just so everybody understands, I’m not going to “rewatch” over 100 episodes for a weekly column. While I think that might be a fun little exercise once the series concludes, I simply don’t have the time to do that now. So, for the time being, I’ll just resort to using my memory and relying on you kind folks to point out my errors. Trust me, I have no interest in being a genius or hell, even being credible (I’m not a journalist). I’m just a guy writing a column about a show I enjoy.
Now, with that unpleasantness out of the way, let’s focus on this incredible and highly anticipated episode! In my Revisited column, other than making two errors, I noted that this was one episode that needed to deliver – that simply could not show any restraint. And in my view, it succeeded, even though I got a bit nervous at the end. Actually, this really reminded me of “Flashes Before Your Eyes” – quite possibly the best episode of the stellar third season – as it recognized that the flashback was so substantial and interesting that switching between timelines would actually hinder the story.
And I’m sure I’m not the only one who, at the end, was kinda sorta loving Richard. In this interesting Lost ensemble, you have a cast of characters that are all flawed or damaged or insecure or evil or petty or jealous or disturbed. Yet then you have Richard Alpert – a man who made a regrettable, fatal error purely out of his intense desire to save his wife’s life. Richard seems to be a victim of unfortunate circumstances – and unlike many of the other characters who may fall into that category, Richard seems especially free of guilt.
Now, part of me expected this episode to chronicle Richard’s time on the island, all the way to the modern period (perhaps up until Widmore and his crew arrived). Only because with seven episodes left, I’m not sure we’ll have the time to devote another Richard-centric one (considering we still have to find out what happened to Claire, and we’re yet to have Hurley, Jin, and Sun sideways stories). But I have to say, it might have been smarter to focus their attentions on Richard’s immediate story. Namely, why he’s eternally young and how he came to earn his position. In the grand scheme of things, isn’t that more important than, say, being the best man at Charles and Eloise’s wedding.
Not surprisingly, there was a great deal that fascinated me. First off, I didn’t expect the Man in Black to play such a critical role in rescuing Richard. First he saved him from getting stabbed. Then he rescued him from his chains. Finally, he fed him and gave him water. A fair point could be made that Richard simply would not have survived had it not been for Smokey personified. But as the episode played out, I thought this made sense. The Man in Black tempted and tried to manipulate Richard, but ultimately he used his better judgment and intuition and did the right thing. And I think that worked better than if Richard felt like he owed Jacob something.
What I did love, though, was that the Man in Black gave Richard instructions that were identical to the ones Dogen gave Sayid. One has to wonder: If these actions are played out exactly how they’re supposed to, would it have any effect? I don’t believe the act of speaking has any impact, because Jacob spoke before Ben was able to successfully commit murder. So what was the intended result? I don’t think he was sending Richard out to get killed, otherwise why spare him to begin with? Something to ponder.
I’d also say that, at the conclusion of this episode, it’s pretty conclusive that Jacob is the good guy and Smokey is the bad guy. No question about that anymore. And I do think Jacob’s comment about how he doesn’t want to straight out tell people what’s right and what’s wrong, and who’s good and who’s bad, is a nice little wink, wink to the audience courtesy of the writers.
If I have one criticism of the ending, it’s that I wouldn’t have concluded it with the scene with Jacob and the Man in Black. For whatever reason, it just seemed choppy to jump back to the present day, only to return to the 1800’s.
And finally, I absolutely must mention the phenomenal acting all around this episode, particularly Nestor Carbonell. On top of capturing some genuine, raw emotion, his appearance and accent really made me buy his past character. It really was a wonderful performance. And for what it’s worth, Jorge Garcia really nailed it in his scene with Richard near the conclusion of the episode as well.
Oh, and I kinda love that Jack now accepts, without hesitation, that Hurley might be talking to an unseen Jacob. He just bursts into the scene saying, “I know you’re talking to Jacob.” My how you’ve grown, Dr. Shephard.
Anyway, I suspect – and hope – that this episode will encourage a lot of feedback (hopefully from nice people). So be sure to send me your thoughts! You know the procedure – you can comment below, visit my blog, or shoot me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you!
Provided you’re not an ass.
Matt Basilo has been writing for Inside Pulse since April 2005, providing his insight into popular television shows such as Lost, 24, Heroes, and Smallville. Be sure to visit his blog at [a case of the blog] and follow him on Twitter.