Lost – Episode 6-9 Revisited

Not surprisingly, last week’s episode of Lost got quite a bit of attention and had a lot of people talking. And what better way to start than with some of the comments left on my blog? DaBooty offered his thoughts on the episode:

This episode did not disappoint me one bit. I loved every minute of it. Richard is one of my favorite characters and his story was much sadder than i thought it would be. It really made me feel for the guy.

When Richard told everyone around the camp fire that they are in hell, I totally believed him and my jaw hit the floor. Then, as Lost often does, the episode explained how Richard may have come to think that. Its just crazy to me how long he has been there and yet he still holds on to everything that he learned in those first few days with the MIB and Jacob.

Actually, I must say, if anything about the episode did disappoint me, it was that Richard submitted to the idea that they’re in Hell. And that the other characters didn’t argue the ridiculousness of that statement. Yes, I recognize that none of them were in the best frame of mind, and that they’ve experienced some crazy ass stuff since arriving on the island, but the fact remains that everybody within that group – Richard included – had left the island and integrated with every day, mainland society. So I wish somebody had kinda said, “Um, no. I just spent three years in Los Angeles.”

Of course, that’s a nitpick that doesn’t tie into the heart of the episode, so it didn’t bother me enough to really impact my view of the episode. Which was, if you haven’t gathered, I thought was AWESOME.

I believe that the Man in Black saved Richard only after killing the others in hopes of making Richard actually believe he was in hell. Notice how he didn’t save him right away but let him suffer in the brig for a while before finally showing up with the keys…how convenient! Richard should have been skeptical right off the bat.

This is a great point, and in my shock of the Man in Black being the one to rescue Richard, I guess I didn’t quite notice the sinister fashion in which he did it. Like DaBooty notes, he was downright cruel in the way he handled the situation. While the Man in Black likely could have rescued Richard immediately, he instead tortured him through visions, dehydration, and starvation. He allowed Richard to hit the ultimate low so that he could be his savior when he did offer a helping hand.

I don’t agree with you, however, that it is now so clear cut that Jacob is good and the MIB is bad. It certainly appears that way from this episode, but that is only if we believe Jacob. The MIB just wants to leave and he just seems willing to manipulate to kill Jacob. That may seem evil to us, but we don’t know the circumstances of the MIB being trapped. Where will he go when he gets off the island? Clearly he isn’t going to the main land and getting a shift at Mr. Clucks. We need to find out what “getting off the island” actually is for the MIB and why Jacob is keeping him there.

I just feel pretty adamant that at this time, the writers are more concerned with wrapping things up than throwing more and more curveballs (that may sound odd to the viewers who insist that we’re getting more new questions than old answers). Throughout the series Jacob has seemed decidedly “good” while the Smoke Monster has seemed decidedly “bad.” Now that we’ve met and seen both characters – and both seem to be sticking to those roles – I just don’t see the writers pulling a swerve just so they can say “gotcha!” in the 11th hour. I do think they want us to question who is good and who is evil – should we choose to narrow it down to such simple terms – but I also think they want us to lean in this direction. The light/darkness, white/black thing is no mistake, in my view. Nor is the Man in Black’s penchant to try to tempt people, compared with Jacob’s “absentee landlord” approach. To me, the powers that be are giving us enough information to pretty surely determine that Jacob is the good guy and the Man in Black is the bad guy (again, it’s obviously more complex than this). Those that are in doubt, in my opinion, are only questioning it because they’re expecting a twist. But nothing has happened that would lead me to believe Smokey is the good guy here.

Unless, in Jacobs metaphor of the island being the cork and the wine being the evil, the MIB is actually the wine and Jacob is the cork. Maybe the MIB leaving will spread evil around the world? I just dont know. I am not sure i fully understood Jacobs explantion of the island. Especially since at the end Richard’s wife stated that they’ll all go to hell. Does that mean the island (the cork) is some kind of weird purgatory where failure in your mission takes you to hell and fulfillment of your purpose brings you to…heaven? sideways world? i just dont know!

I’m not necessarily sure I’m right here, but my interpretation of Jacob’s metaphor is that the Smoke Monster/Man in Black is evil personified. He has the ability to infect souls (a la Claire and Sayid, and Rousseau’s buddies), which darkens their personas – possibly even making them into killers (could you imagine sweet Aussie Claire from seasons ago jamming an ax into somebody’s gut?) Right now, that embodiment is contained on the island. Should he escape the island, his dark power could touch anybody, anywhere. And do any of us want a bunch creepy, Emo Sayids and crazy-haired Claires running around?

I also found Jacob’s offer to Richard to be extremely interesting. Why could he only grant him eternal life and not any of those other things? It seems to me that if he were truly good, he could offer Richard what he truly wanted. MIB on the other hand did offer Sayid what he truly wanted when he was recruiting him…

I also found it curious that Jacob was seemingly unable to grant certain things, but WAS able to grant something rather extraordinary. I was especially surprised that he wasn’t able to absolve Richard of his sins, considering that he’s being portrayed as a Christ-like figure. But then again, maybe Jacob wasn’t “unable” but rather “unwilling.” Maybe Richard needed to truly earn his forgiveness and learn to forgive himself, instead of having Jacob twirl his finger and make it all better. And eternal life made that possible.

Also on the blog, Kyle had this to say:

Also, here’s a question that doesn’t much matter, but is weird nonetheless. Most people call him Richard (modern day name). But Jacob and others have called him Ricardus. I expected that to be his pre Island name, but it’s not…it’s Ricardo. I’m sure it’s not important and won’t be answered, but at what point did someone randomly start calling him Ricardus? My guess is this was just a total red herring to make you think Richard was a lot older than he is, since Ricardus makes me think of Rome and the like. Just a little strange.

I found this curious as well. My thought process, though, is that “Ricardus” is merely the usage appropriate for Ilana’s heritage (whatever that may be). Keep in mind, the only time we’ve heard him referred to as Ricardus was when Ilana said it, or when somebody said it to Ilana.

Let’s take a look at the very thorough and entertaining review over at the Entertainment Weekly website. Regarding Richard’s first encounter with Jacob, the review had this to say:

He then dumped him on the beach. ”Get up. We need to talk,” he said. Interesting: MIB’s m.o. was all about helping people to their feet. Jacob’s m.o. was all about making people do it themselves. Physician, heal thyself!

This is yet another example of Jacob and the Man in Black taking opposite approaches, with the apparent “villain” offering the easier/more compassionate route, and the possible “good guy” providing a more hardened, but perhaps better alternative. Yes, Jacob is notoriously secretive and perhaps even stand offish, while the Man in Black is charming and very transparent. However Jacob’s non-information affords people the opportunity to make decisions for themselves, while Smokey seems to spill in order to manipulate people’s decisions.

And in this instance, the Man in Black DID help Richard to his feet. But as discussed above, it was after knowingly leaving him in a torturous situation. On the other hand, Jacob told Richard to get to his feet (ironically, after using a torture technique) and immediately opened a dialogue and offered him a position.

But instead of a rendezvous with the devil, Richard got Hurley instead. What followed was an extremely effective and affecting scene that flirted with trite emotional resolution but managed to work thanks to some great acting and direction. Leveraging his Ghost Whisperer secret powers, Hurley was able to facilitate a moment between the living and the dead, between Ricardo and Isabella, and translate and impart some spiritual wisdom that Richard desperately needed to hear. Put another way: Hurley and Richard basically switched roles last night, with Hurley playing Island advisor and Richard playing castaway spiritual seeker.

I really enjoyed this observation because it has been a real joy seeing Richard – who we know has been on the island for over 100 years now – being as confused as anybody over the past two seasons. His look of utter shock and confusion as the Locke Ness Monster – disguised (as the name suggests) as a newly confident Locke – barked orders and assured him that he should just be faithful and trust him, was fantastic. It’s just such a contrast from what we’d seen up until that point. And so, yes, I did enjoy seeing him in this unknowing, vulnerable way, while Hurley – who, for whatever reason, is far more in tune with the island’s strange powers – guided him through his difficult spiritual journal.

But actually, I found myself more interested in some of the comments left on EW.com. Here’s one of them:

I just can’t get over the 1867 ridiculousness, especially as (unless I’m wrong) there is no reason the episode couldn’t have been placed in 1667, in which case it would have made a lot more sense.
In 1867, there was no “New World,” the African slave trade has basically been abolished, and ships were way more advanced.

I’ll admit that my history is a little shaky, but this does seem like a fair point. Thankfully, before I had to do any real research, another poster offered this response:

1667 or 1767 would have created some major retcon problems with the story – the Black Rock was stocked with dynamite, which wasn’t invented until the mid-19th century,

There ya’ go. I’ll take a strangely old boat and archaic verbiage over stocking something that hasn’t been invented yet. And another person verified this claim:

I Googled it:
Nobel patented his fuse cap (shown when Richard tried to kill himself, last episode) for dynamite in 1867.
The last *legal* slave trade ships ran thru 1867.
Tight timing, but very possible.

So there you have it. Quite simply, it HAD to be 1867, and no earlier (and perhaps no later) than that.

Aside from its involvement in the slave trade during those days I wonder if making his home Tenerife has any deeper meaning, or if there’s any correlation between the horrific real life plane crash on Tenerife in 1977 and island time of 1977.

Again, excuse my lack of historical knowledge, but I was unaware of this fact. And it’s actually quite interesting and relevant once you look into it a bit. This disaster, which is the deadliest aviation accident of all time, occurred when two aircrafts collided on a runway on the island of Tenerife in 1977.

Without getting into further detail, there are a few facets that should strike you as relevant right off the bat. First, there’s the year 1977, which we all know is the year the Incident took place. Then, there are the two planes. Two separate planes – Oceanic 815 and Ajira 316 – brought the castaways to the island.

So out of all the Spanish islands they could have picked, this seems a bit too coincidental to be an accident.

The canary islands are off the coast of Africa, so the journey of the black rock was across the Atlantic. I know the island moves but from the Atlantic to the Pacific?

I just found this complaint humorous. We’re okay with the idea that the island jumps through time and has strange, mystical powers. We can even accept that it moves. But for it to transport to an entirely different ocean? That’s just plain preposterous! I’m not one of those people who says, “it’s just a TV show!” as I do believe every form of storytelling must create and adhere to a certain set of rules within its own universe, but this is one of those things I think you should just let go and not really question too much.

On a final note, in last week’s review I noted that I wasn’t going to acknowledge any of the overtly negative, disrespectful, or hateful messages that were spewed off by our new visitors last week. Well, I did get a comment from Rockwell, and I was initially going to ignore it. However, in fairness, the content was well thought out and it wasn’t particularly negative or disrespectful. So I did think it warranted a response. Having said that, I still don’t have any interest in getting into a long winded debate about the romantic fate of Kate, especially since it hasn’t been a major story point in quite some time. So the conversation will pretty much end here:

Ah, so now you’re going back to the good old stand-by: shippers are dumb and biased and hormonal and crazy, and they can’t be right about anything because they simply ignore what they don’t want to see.

As it happens, I’m a literature professor who prefers Sawyer and Kate when it comes to relationships on Lost. I analyze storytelling for a living. So you’re saying that because I prefer this side of the triangle, I must necessarily be ignorant of anything to do with Jack and Kate? I don’t suppose you’d believe that I (and many others) actually pay just as much attention to that part of the triangle, seeing as how vitally relevant any developments there are to the other side? But no, being an intellectually superior male, I don’t suppose you would concede it’s possible for anyone to have a preference and ALSO, at the same time, look at the story logically and as a whole, taking into account anything negative so as to stay realistic about our favorite’s prospects.

First off, don’t waste your time throwing around titles. I could care less if you’re a literary professor if you’re a teenager writing from your bedroom. I promise you it won’t impress me, and I judge comments based on their content, not on who it’s coming from. But I will certainly say that I hope you show just a bit more objectivity when you “analyze” your students’ papers, because based on my experience with you so far, you’re not very accepting of opposing views.

Secondly, to insinuate that I view myself as an intellectually superior male says a lot more about your insecurities than it does about me. Now who’s resorting to “good old stand-bys”?

And finally – and perhaps most importantly – in all of my writings, where did I ever say that I didn’t think it was possible for anybody to have an opposing preference? I was merely stating MY preference. Again, you might want to take your own advice and recognize that people have different beliefs than your own. At the end of the day this is all going to come down to who the writers want her to end up with (if anybody). And once she does make a decision, people will have loads of scenes to reference supporting how she ALWAYS loved that person. And that will be the case whether she ends up with Jack or Sawyer.

“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.”

Nothing special? Oh, come on! Show me two characters who have a connection like Sawyer and Kate did with Clementine and Cassidy. Kate met and befriended the mother of Sawyer’s daughter while she was pregnant with that daughter. She spent an entire episode with her pre-island, and offered to find the guy who knocked her up and “kick his ass.” In the flashforwards, Kate kept her promise to Sawyer to look after his daughter, and re-connected with her old friend, and Sawyer’s old flame, Cassidy. It was Cassidy who helped Kate come to the realization that she’d kept Aaron because Sawyer broke her heart, and she needed that baby. This connection is a major story element, not a cute little cameo.

I completely disagree with this notion that no two characters have a connection like Sawyer and Kate. That’s just ridiculousness. If we are going to look at any two characters that have a connection that transcends time, space, and universe – that eclipses every other connection on the show – it’s Locke and Ben.

And I really don’t see the big deal about the whole Clementine and Cassidy thing. Sure, Kate met her and spent some time with her. Sayid also met Kate’s dad. Jack’s wife also got in an accident that killed Shannon’s father. Jack met Desmond in a stadium. Desmond used Libby’s boat to get onto the island. Locke worked for Hurley’s company. Jack’s dad met any and every body there is to know about this show. Artz is, like, ALL OVER THE PLACE!

Oh, yeah, and how about the fact that Locke’s dad committed the act that turned Sawyer into the person he is today???? In my opinion, THAT connection is the most significant one in Sawyer’s life. And, if I’m not mistaken, it’s the ONLY connection that managed to integrate itself into the island reality.

Also, it seems clear to me that Cassidy was projecting when she said that Kate kept Aaron to fill a void that was left by Sawyer. To me, that was a super straight case of projection, as Cassidy was ACTUALLY talking about herself. Yes, I recognize that the creators of the show seemed to confirm that she was making an astute and accurate observation, but I still think they were just going along with it and hoping the viewers would see the more complex meaning. Does that make me stubborn? Perhaps. But to me, the idea that Kate essentially adopted a baby she always cared about, that was now motherless, because she missed Sawyer is a bit unbelievable.

Furthermore, I don’t really see it as a major story element. Since that point, Kate has been entirely motivated by reuniting Aaron with Claire. She’s yet to mention this idea that she became his mother to fill a void. If it hasn’t been mentioned since, how is it a major story point?

Now, in the sideways timeline, we see that while Sawyer was instrumental in helping Kate escape from the airport, it’s not that easy. Because now she’s crashed back into his life again, and we have yet to see where that storyline takes us.

Saying that these connections are just the same as any other two characters is the height of opaque thinking. The writers have written a story for Kate and Sawyer that not only has them falling in love on the island, being separated and then reunited, but that also connects them off-island in the real world in a very significant way. It’s not the same as Hurley and Locke. It’s not the same as Jack and Dogen, and you know it. Unless I’ve just missed the scene where Hurley and Locke made love while their own musical theme played.

I think the fact that you believe that two characters must share a sex scene together in order to be “significant” is why you are unable to accept that any other connection could be significant. And again, pointing out that Kate and Sawyer are tied together both on and off the island, and in the sideways universe, is completely moot, as that’s sorta the point of the show. Again, I point to Locke and Ben. On the island, Ben spent the majority of the time we’ve known him feeling insecure about his position, and feeling inadequate when compared to Locke. Through flashbacks, we’ve learned that Locke was offered numerous opportunities to come to the island, but circumstances prevented it for one reason or another. And in each of those instances, something significant happened in Ben’s life. This basically taught us that Ben was ALWAYS the silver medal – he was always the “back up” because things with Locke just weren’t working out.

And yet, in the sideways universe, these two come together yet again. Ben seems like a relatively honest man without much ambition. And who’s the person who encourages him to take his seat at the throne? The very man who would usurp him in the universe we all know.

Also, think of it this way: Shannon and Sayid – a relationship I daresay most people have forgotten about – were, I believe, the first two on the island to sleep together. On the other hand, I’m not even sure that Claire and Charlie (most definitely a revered romance) ever consummated their relationship. Which couple was more “special” and “significant”? I don’t think it’s the same two that “made love”?

I mean hell, Sawyer slept with Charlotte in one universe and she popped up into his life in another, so maybe THEY’RE star crossed lovers!

And no, I’m sorry to tell you, Kate and Jack haven’t had a “love scene.” They had a kiss, accompanied by dark creepy music in a fade-to-black implied sexual encounter, followed by Kate trying to sneak out in the morning. A love scene is what took place in the cages, with beautiful lighting, close-ups on skin and clothes being removed, intimate eye contact, swelling music, and naked cuddling afterwards. Jack and Kate have never had, and will never have, a scene like that, and there’s a reason for this. If you haven’t figured it out yet, in a season where they’ve had only two scenes together, then you probably never will.

I’m sorry, but I simply can’t resist pointing out that in your original comment, you contended that Jack and Kate never had a “sex scene.” When I pointed out they did, you conveniently changed your criteria to a “love scene.” Can you please keep in mind that Jack had basically become Aaron’s surrogate father, and that these two were possibly living together? At the very least, they were engaged. Do you want to honestly argue that they weren’t “making love” off screen? In fact, didn’t they have a pretty intense shower make out session?

And personally, seeing Kate leave her home, with a picture of Jack and Aaron sitting on her desk, is a more beautiful, telling image than that of Kate and Sawyer having cage sex. Oh, and let’s also conveniently overlook the fact that Kate once banged Sawyer because she got so incredibly jealous over seeing Jack eating with Juliet on the beach. Yeah, that’s romantic.

Throughout the series, Kate’s episodes are either about Sawyer or feature Sawyer in the B-story slot. Sawyer’s are the same, always featuring Kate. Sawyer’s character arc is about love. Jack’s story is not, and never has been. Now more than ever, it’s clear his destiny lies in a different direction. Kate made one brief appearance in The Lighthouse, and that was just to wish him well on his quest and decline to go with him. How many times did she appear in Sawyer’s episode? Do you have to be a shipper to understand that this is significant? Sadly, I guess the answer is yes.

I disagree with the idea that Sawyer’s character has been about love. It’s been about redemption. He started off a selfish, heartless criminal who murdered an innocent man in cold blood because he was so incredibly blinded by his own bitterness and anger. Yet, by the end of the series, he’s transformed into a legitimately selfless hero. To me, THAT’S his arc – and it doesn’t need to conclude with him “getting the girl.” On the other hand, Jack’s arc has been his inability to maintain a healthy relationship and to accept people for their flaws, yet love them unconditionally. His father/son relationship was a mess. His marriage fell apart. And in the sideways universe, he struggled to connect with his son. In my view, from a writer’s perspective, he DOES need to end up with the girl in order for him to get that happy ending. Him and Kate accepting each other for who they are – imperfections included – but loving each other nonetheless, to me, is a beautiful, fulfilling ending. And that’s why scenes like Jack defending Sawyer and explaining to Kate that he did so because he loves her just “work” so well. It’s because, on the island, he’s grown to the point that he can put his jealousy and paranoia aside for the woman he loves (and it’s worth noting that Kate also recognized that Sawyer wouldn’t do the same thing. How highly she thinks of him).

And as far as their characters always playing a part in each other’s stories, I would say that, if anything, this can be considered a criticism of their characters – that they’re not strong enough individual characters to carry their own story. I honestly don’t see it as some spiritual bond. And looking at some early Kate episodes, while Sawyer physically played a part, the emotional attachment was with Jack. In “Tabula Rasa,” Kate and Sawyer were part of the signal party. But it was with Jack that she had the emotional and trusting scene in which she offered to tell him what crime she had committed. In “Whatever the Case May Be,” Kate and Sawyer found the briefcase, but it was with Jack that she tearfully opened up about her past.

In closing, I couldn’t care less if you think or want Kate to end up with Sawyer, Jack, or even Sun. So let go of this idea that I can’t accept you having a different perspective. I simply just don’t agree with you.

And that’s the bottom line, because I’m an intellectually superior male, apparently.

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.