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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Lost 4x13: There’s No Place Like Home Part Two

So the good Doctor and I, along with our wives, got together to watch the finale. And let’s just say the bag I brought along wasn’t big enough to pick up off the floor all the pieces of Dr. Bitz’s mind after it was blown.

Seriously though, this episode was a suitable finale to Lost’s dense and speedy fourth season, one which wrapped up the season long plots (how and why do the Oceanic Six get off the island and what’s the deal with the freighter) and put things in motion for next season (how and why do the Oceanic Six get back to the island).

The title of the episode was appropriate, as throughout all three parts we’ve seen various characters return home: Locke, the island moved and mercenary-free, is welcomed home by Richard and the Others, the Oceanic Six are reunited with their families, Desmond finally gets a physical reunion with Penny, and there’s even some vague and cryptic muttering that perhaps Charlotte has a past with the island, and that it may be her true home. However, much like how Dorothy returned home from the magical and wondrous land of Oz to a home of drab colors and unending toil and hardship (at least, that’s how I’ve always imagined she must feel at the end of the Wizard of Oz) the Oceanic Six, in this episode’s flash forwards, are finding that “home” may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

The flash forwards in this second part jumped around chronologically, but they all dealt with how the Oceanic Six are reacting to the notion of returning to the island (a notion suggested, unseen, by the enigmatic Jeremy Bentham). The episode begins where the season three finale ended, with Jack bleeting to Kate the need for them to return to the island. Kate returns long enough to bitchslap Jack and call him on his seemingly pill-induced BS. It is obvious that of all the Oceanic Six, Kate will be the hardest to convince to return. However, she later experiences a cryptic dream in which she receives a backwards-speaking phone call telling her to return to the island (I missed that the first time around, but thankfully the internet is there to help- DocArzt has an audio clip here) and then is told by Maybe-A-Dream-Maybe-A-Ghost-Maybe-The-Island Claire not to bring Aaron back to the island. After she wakes up, she goes to see a sleeping Aaron and tearfully apologizes to him. But the question remains; is she apologizing for passing herself off as his birth mother, or because she knows that Jack is right, and that she will be going back to the island.

The other likely stumbling block to getting the Oceanic Six back to the island is Sun, now even more determined and in control than when we last saw her usurp control of her father’s company. She has a loaded conversation with Widmore, and it seems possible that an alliance with him lies ahead. I certainly hope her justifiable anger towards Jack for Jin’s death isn’t leading her down that path, as really, it was Ben that killed Keamy and Widmore that put Keamy and his C4 on the boat that killed Jin. It seems more likely, however, that Ben is the person she blames for Jin’s death (as Ben killed Keamy and ignited the bomb) and she is willing to help Widmore get him, which will put her into conflict with Jack’s Ben-assisted efforts to get back to the island.

Meanwhile, after a visit from Taller Fro Walt, Hurley is busted out of the mental hospital by Sayid, who is presumably getting the band back together on Ben’s orders. Finally, we return to Beardo-Jack breaking into the funeral home he visited last season to gaze upon the waxy and mysterious corpse of Jeremy bentham aka John Locke, while Ben (fooled you!) emerges from the shadows to affirm Jack’s belief: the Six must go back to the island, and they must bring Locke with them.

And so we have our setup for next season: a schism between the Six, as Jack must somehow convince them to return to the island, despite having destroyed any trust and credibility he may have once had. And hanging over that, the ominous “very bad things” that somehow befell the Islanders as a result of the Six’s absence, tragedies that Locke somehow foresaw when he told Jack on the island that it was his destiny to stay, tragedies Locke did his best to avert by traveling from the island and meeting with the Six as Bentham, an act which led, it appears, to his untimely death.

Much as last season’s finale changed the narrative structure of Lost by introducing the flash forward, this finale called into question that structure once again. With the “present” (the island) caught up to the events of the “future,” (the Oceanic Six in flash forwards) how will the narrative be told next season? Will the “present” be reset to Beardo Jack and Ben working to get back to the island, with flashbacks showing what’s happing on the island and filling in details on the Oceanic Six that occurred between their rescue and the new present (will we have whole episodes with nary an appearance by the island?), or will we return to the island present and see what happens to Locke and the Others, Juliet, Sawyer, Rose and Bernard, Charlotte and Miles (and where, exactly, is Daniel anyway?), including Locke’s trips to the mainland as Bentham (I very much want to see him visit Taller Fro Walt), with flash forwards showing us the quest to return the Six to the island and flashbacks filling in the backgrounds of the Freighties and the island itself? And of course, there is the possibility that the island moved through time as well as space; after all, we know now that Ben was thrust into the future after turning the frozen turnstile; perhaps the island was thrown forward with him, or back in time. If so, by definition, would any events we watch occurring there be flashbacks? All that is certain is that after this finale, on a show that has always played fast and loose with narrative time, never before has that time been more relative.

Highlight:
Ben: “If you mean time travelling bunnies, then yes.”

Miles’s intentionally cryptic remark to Charlotte on her possible connection to the island: “What do I mean?”

Or another fourth wall-breaking comment from Hurley, about Walt: “You’re getting big, dude.”

Did You Notice:
Aaron has a very large head

So it was Locke in the coffin all along. The producers had said we’d find out who was in it during this episode. When they mentioned it was Jeremy Bentham, I totally thought the producers were going to screw with us. “Yeah, we told you who was in it. What? You want to know who Bentham is? Well, that’s another question. We never said we’d answer that.”

Jeremy Bentham is a utilitarian philosopher greatly influenced by the philosophies of Locke. Wikipedia to action!

When Sayid asks the guy watching Hurley’s mental institution the time, it’s 8:15.

The Orchid orientation video (not a film this time) was slightly different from the one shown at Comic-Con last summer. Presumably what we see in that one occurs later in the tape Locke was watching (though the Comic-Con video had “Halliwax” speaking to the cameraman and involved an experiment gone wrong, so perhaps it’s an “outtake.”

I leave it to the physics experts to describe the Casimir Effect. And by “physics experts”, I once again mean Wikipedia.

The rocks in the snowy cave with the turnstile had hieroglyphics all over them, not unlike the ones in the secret room inside Ben’s other, slightly less secret, room in New Otherton.

As Ben turned the island-moving turnstile, to everyone else it looked and sounded a lot like when the hatch imploded. It’s probably safe to assume some electromagnetic energy has a hand in moving the island as well as the negative matter alluded to in the Orchid video.

Heh. Ben fell down “Jacob’s ladder” on his way to move the island.

This commercial appeared towards the end of the U.S. broadcast of the episode. Apparently the Dharma Initiative is alive and kicking, and looking for recruits (the dates listed are during Comic-Con International. Presumably the producers will be unveiling something similar to last year’s Orchid video there again).

So Many Questions:
So where’s the island? Did it move through time as well as space?

When Ben fell down the ladder into the snowy hieroglyphic cave with the turnstile, was he already off the island, or did the act of turning the wheel cast him off it?

Why did the Orchid orientation tape stop and rewind on its own? Was it moving in time?

What happened to Daniel and his boat full of extras?

What “very bad things” happened on the island that were caused by Jack’s absence?

Was Hurley playing chess with Mr. Eko? Did he see him the same way he saw Charlie? If so, was Eko a manifestation of the island, or just Hurley’s craziness?

What did Sawyer tell Kate before jumping out of the helicopter?

What did Sun mean when she said they weren’t the only ones who left the island? Has Bentham/Locke visited her at that point? Is she referring to Desmond and Lapidus? Is a grief-stricken Sun going to go so far as to ally herself with Widmore and sacrifice Desmond and the others?

Ben’s apology to Locke: was it sincere? And why did apologize for making his LIFE so miserable, when they’ve only known each other for a few months? Has Ben been involved (presumably along with Richard) with some behind-the-scenes meddling in Locke’s pre-island life, or was Ben just being melodramatic (I thought of an angry teen telling their strict parent that their forbiddance has ruined the teen’s life)?

So what’s Charlotte’s deal? Was she born on the island? Is she Annie, Ben’s childhood sweetheart? Or some other Dharma love child?

Was the Claire in Kate’s dream a manifestation of the island? If so, why did it warn her not to take Aaron back? Doesn’t the island want them all back? Or was that just Kate’s subconscious worry for Aaron taking the form of his actual mother? Or was that Claire herself, somehow projecting herself to Kate in opposition to the island’s wishes?

When Ben says the price for moving the island is to never return to it, does he mean that literally (some kind of island/Jacob magic will prevent him from coming back in the same way it prevents people from dying before their time) or metaphorically (meaning that the act of moving it takes you off it, and once its moved, you’ll no longer know where it is-but should you find it, you could physically return to it)? Or is he just flat out lying?

Is Jin dead? Sure looks like it, but no body=no death. He may have leapt off the freighter before it blew, and managed to survive being pulled under as it sank (plus, it couldn’t be that deep that close to the island, with reefs all around it). I hold out hope only because it would be a truly cool moment if a reluctant-to-return Sun gets back to the island and finds Jin alive and well.

What happens to Juliet, Sawyer, the remaining Losties like Rose and Bernard, and the remaining Freighties? Will Locke bring them into the Others’ fold? Would they let Juliet back in? Would she go back, or just begin a Rousseau-esque hermitage on the island?

How does Locke learn that the Oceanic Six made it back? Presumably, Sawyer and Juliet (and anyone else who saw the freighter explode) believe everyone on the boat and copter to have died, but at some point Locke must learn about the Oceanic Six (the Others have the ability to contact the outside world). Does he share that info with a likely-distraught Juliet, Sawyer, and the other Losties?

Next Week:
No more Lost until 2009 (where’s a time-traveling wormhole when you need one?) but I’m working on a post that will look back on all the questions this season gave us, and what kind of answers we’ve gotten now that the season is in the books.

4 comments:

  1. The comment about the possibility of Jin still being alive and on the island is doubtful, after all do you think he could swim faster than the helicopter. The only way he could survive is if he was picked up by the other raft.

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  2. Oh yeah, it's a longshot, at best. The only way he could have survived is if the Daniel-boat picked him up, and then, its still up in the air as to where that boat is at the moment.

    I will not be surprised at all if Jin, is in fact, dead. But at the same time, I'd think it'd be cool if he wasn't.

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  3. baroness van bitzenhoferJune 8, 2008 at 4:43 PM

    It may be a long shot, but remember that the island decides who dies and who lives. There have been many other instances where someone should have died but didn't.

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  4. This is true. Jin didn't die a heroic or necessary death (like Michael and Charlie) so it's possible he won't be allowed to die until his work is done.

    That assumes, of course, he has work to do for the island, and isn't just there to setup other, more important people's work, like Boone and Shannon :)

    I can certainly come up with arguments going both ways regarding Jin's survival.

    Personally, I just think it would make a better story if Jin is still alive. Doesn't mean the writers necessarily agree with me though. They, after all, know a lot more about the whole story than I do.

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