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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Lost 6x01 and 6x02: LA X

In the runup to the season premiere, the producers were adamant about two things: that season six would utilize a new narrative device, and that it would reflect back on the show's first season. "LA X", the sixth and final season premiere, showed the audience exactly what they meant, with the former making the later possible.

After flashbacks, flashforwards and time traveling flashes, we're given the flashsideways. With the detonation of Jughead seemingly fracturing reality, a new narrative is created, one in which the island was destroyed by the blast, sunk, and Oceanic Flight 815 landed safely in LAX. As a result, the flashsideways in this episode fulfills the producers' second tease. Old characters from season one, such as Boone and Dr. Artz, return and we watch as flight 815 continues safely on its way, comparing this flight to the one witnessed in the show's pilot. Events eerily parallel those of season one: Flashsideways Jack resuscitates Charlie just as he did after Ethan's attack; Hurley remains a lotto winner, though with the numbers dying with the island, he is apparently curse-free; Boone and Locke strike up a friendship based on Boone's admiration for Locke's survival skills; fleeting moments suggest that Kate's initial attraction to both Jack and Sawyer had nothing to do with the crash. And most curiously of all, Jack's dad's coffin disappears en route.


There are differences, however, from the way things played out originally in the pilot, differences brought
about before the plane deviated from its crash, details both minor and major: Jack receives only one, not two, illicit liquor bottles from Stewardess (and later, Other) Cindy; Shannon never boarded the plane with Boone, who's in coach, not First Class. Michael and Walt, who in the pilot, were seated near Hurley, are nowhere to be found; Charlie, who originally went into the bathroom to get high, instead tried to kill himself. Like Hurley considering himself lucky because he never encountered the numbers, these changes suggest this alternate reality's deviations are bigger than just the plane crashing, and that the island's influence over these characters' lives was in play long before flight 815 crashed. Perhaps we are seeing the outcome not just of the flight landing safely, but of having that influence removed entirely.

At the same time, the original, "prime", narrative raced forward, with Flocke revealed as a manifestation of
Smokey, the surviving Losties taken to the Others' temple, and Sayid seemingly reborn. While this episode wasn't a specific character-centric episode, Hurley definitely came into his own, determinedly acting on Jacob's instructions. In the wake of Sawyer and Jack's relative devastation over Juliet's death and the seeming failure of Jughead, Hurley stepped up, becoming the de facto leader of the Losties and their liaison to the Temple Others. There's definitely an ominous feeling hanging over this portion of the episode, with the Others losing Jacob's protection and preparing the temple for Smokey's attack, with Richard so easily knocked out and casually slung over Flocke's shoulder, with Locke's body lying on the sand, his last thoughts a depressing testament to his sad life, with even the usually unflappable and scheming Ben seemingly shocked into submission by the turn of events. It's a "it iss always darkest before dawn" feeling, and it will be exciting to see just how dark it gets, and what, if anything, ultimately brings about the dawn, in Lost's remaining seventeen hours.

Stuff Worth Mentioning
The CG in the underwater zoom to the island was pretty crude, but I loved the shark with the Dharma logo on it (another callback to the earlier seasons).

It seems the circle of ash around Jacob's cabin was meant to protect him, keeping Smokey out (a natural sonic fence, if you will). Or to keep someone else safe from Smokey (it remains unclear who was in the cabin when Locke and Ben visited it in season three). 

Speaking of which, it was pretty cool when, after Bram protected himself in the circle of ash, Smokey just attacked the room around him and forced him out of the circle.

While much of the islands' ruins are Egyptian in nature, the temple seems very Asian, from the large bell to the fireworks, right down to the cups offered to the Losties.


Jin and Sun are closer than ever, now both in the same time and place.

Sayid's delivery into the healing pool was very Christ-like, and the entire process seemed very baptismal. Sayid has now seemingly undergone the same healing process that he caused young Ben to undergo when he shot him in '77.

That healing pool seems to suggest that some of the island's healing abilities is related to its water table as much as its unique energy.

Ben: "You're the Monster". Flocke: "Let's not resort to name calling."

More deviations from the original plane ride as seen in the Pilot: The dialogue between Jack and Rose is slightly different; Charlie's hair and appearance are different; Desmond's seemingly there, of course; Ana Lucia, Libby and Eko, are nowhere to be found, as far as we can tell; Jin and Sun don't seem to be married (I didn't see any rings, and the security guard called Sun "Miss Paik" as opposed to "Mrs. Kwon").
On the plane, Desmond was reading "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" by Salman Rushdie, while the corpse of Montand beneath the temple wall had a Kierkegaard book, yet another famous philosopher name-dropped on Lost.


The kids that brought the food and drink for the Losties at the temple were Zac and Emma, the kids the Others kidnapped from the Tailies in season two.

I'm appalled that in all these years, I never before saw the connection that exists between Locke (whose spine is broken) and Jack (the spinal surgeon with a penchant for miraculous surgeries).


Questions Answered
What happened after Jughead exploded? Reality fractured, creating one world in which the island was destroyed and Jack and company safely flew on from Sydney to LAX on Oceanic 815 while sending the Losties back to the 2007 of the world they knew, in which the Incident and everything else occurred as they remembered (presumably).

Is the Man in Black Smokey? Yes.

Who are the Shadow Seekers? Jacob's bodyguards

What's in Hurley's guitar case? An Ankh envelope containing a message from Jacob.



Questions Asked
How does Juliet know it worked?

What's the point of the flashsideways? Afterall, the flashbacks and forwards revealed character and plot information to us, but the flashforwards can't, really, do that. I suppose they might help develop character by showing how certain characters behave in different circumstances, but I hope (and presume) there's a bit more to them than that. I love the idea and the execution, thus far. I just hope the flashsideways reality ends up impacting the "main" narrative somehow, even if just to the same extent as the flashbacks and forwards did, so as not to seem just like glorified filler, or a narrative device used simply because the show is known for using abnormal narrative devices.

Why was Desmond on the plane? Why did Jack seem to recognize him (presumably, with Widmore dying on the island, there was no boat race for which to train, thus he and Jack wouldn't have met at the stadium before the flight, as in the original narrative)?


If the Shadow Seekers are Jacob's bodyguards, why weren't they on the island with him? How were they recruited? How did they know how to find the island?

Is the Man in Black we saw Jacob talking with at the beginning of "The Incident" last season Smokey's real/original form, or was that merely the form of another dead person on the island which he took to communicate with Jacob?

Where is Smokey's home? The temple? Somewhere off-island?

Why can't he cross the line of ash?

How does he know Locke's last thoughts? How do his impersonations work?

So the water in the temple is clearly what healed young Ben; what's the significance of it not being clear and it not healing Genghis Otherton's hand, yet it brought Sayid back (eventually). Is Sayid really alive, or is Smokey impersonating him? Is Jacob?

Why does Flocke say he's disappointed in everyone when he emerges from the statue?

What does Smokey mean when he says that Richard is no longer chained? Was Richard a slave on the Black Rock? Or does he simply mean that with Jacob dead, Richard is no longer bound in service to him?


Next Week
"What Kate Does". The promo was less than helpful, so let's just hope that the adventures of Alternate Kate are more interesting than the majority of her flashbacks.

12 comments:

Your Friendly Neighborhood Palindrome said...

I take back my Cindy being brainwashed comment...

The temple seemed Mayan to me and maybe they just showed Cindy a "higher purpose" and she decided stay with them. You know, a life without meaningless fear and anger...etc. So now she has a sort of Stockholm syndrome and she's working with the Others. It's all very Zen in my mind.

Side Note: to prove just how much of a nerd I am, I'm listening to the Lost soundtrack.

I was, personally, NOT pleased to see Chah-lee. I could do without his appearance though for the flashsideways aspect, I see how it would be necessary.


I don't know how familiar you are with "Supernatural" but they use multiple "circles" of protection.
And the baddies have always done something to either disrupt the circle or knock someone else out of it; I enjoyed the similarities.

I wonder if the Shadow Seekers are only Jacob's protection when he's off the island...

And just because the island was sunk, does that mean that the Dharma Initiative just disappeared? Are they operating somewhere else? We know the island is unique but does that mean they gave up all together? Like after they were taken out by the Hostiles...what happened to them?

I still really want to get into the history of the statue and with the Ankh, with it's meaning of immortality...Richard and the Black Rock...Jacob the man in white and the MIB/Flocke, good vs evil? God and the Devil? Jacob's reminder to Ben that he had a choice, reminded me of the Tree of Knowledge.

I'm really pumped up for this season!

And yes, more Kate next week...blahblahblah. I'm so tired of Kate.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Palindrome said...

That was the longest comment I've ever made on "Lost"...whoa. I need to take a nap now.

Joan Crawford said...

Genghis Otherton - Hahaha!

Cindy says "They were all on the plane twice, like me" or something along those lines.

So...these people are aware of the other universe as it is happening? They are already "melded" - sort of like what Jack is almost doing, with him being on the cusp of recognizing Desmond?

Your Friendly Neighborhood Palindrome said...

Joan- I didn't remember that about Cindy. Oh, I'm intrigued even more, if that's possible. Maybe that's how Juliet knew...she just remembered?

I also like Genghis Otherton. I hope that's his real name.

Joan Crawford said...

@Palindrome - Yeah , I wonder if when Juiet was dying here - she was still alive in the other universe and was "melded" so she was aware of what was happening there?
It's so confusing - I think I have an idea and then as I am typing it out I'm like "Wait - what?". Haha - so, it's fairly typical for me.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Palindrome said...

@Joan- LOL, I'm the same way when it comes to "Lost" or anything where I have to think too much. I think I have a theory and then...it's gone. I'm ALMOST a genius.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Palindrome said...

I just now noticed, that when Ben takes Locke to see Jacob, there was a ring of ash around where the cabin was...

Teebore said...

Palindrome: You're right, there is a Mayan feel to the temple, too. Probably the ziggeraut that does it.

If we're given no other explanation, then "Stockholm Syndrome" is as good an explanation for Cindy as any, but I hope we get something more.

Good question about Dharma in the alt world; I hadn't thought of that. I wonder if they'll show up somehow?

As for the ring of ash, when Ben and Locke visited Jacob's cabin in season three, it was in place, but then someone (presumably Hurley, in the season four premiere) broke the line (which we saw when Locke was trying to find the cabin shortly thereafter).

So the question then becomes, was the line keeping Smokey out, protecting Jacob in the cabin, protecting someone else (Ilana said Jacob hadn't lived there for awhile), or imprisoning someone (probably not Smokey, since he's been roaming the island since the beginning of the show)? Really, it comes down to who Locke saw in the cabin in season three, the person who said "help me".

@Joan: To be fair, Benny or Blam coined "Genghis Otherton" over on Nikki's blog. I will be dissappointed when he's called by something else.

I think what Cindy said was along the lines of Jack, Hurley, etc. having been on the first plane, with her. Meaning Oceanic 815, as opposed to Ajira 316.

I wouldn't be surprised if the alt or prime versions of the characters end up becoming aware of the other, somehow. Actually, I'm hoping the two realities converge in some way.

Juliet's dying words reminded a lot of people about Charlotte's, so there's a lot of speculation that as she was dying, Juliet somehow slipped over to the other reality for a moment, letting her know it worked.

Dr. Bitz said...

First of all, shouldn't this be labeled as Lost 6x01 & 6x02?

I assumed Charlie was trying to smuggle the heroin past customs by swallowing it...but botched it. I could be wrong.

Whenever I see Boone I just think of him and Shannon having sex...and getting really weirded out.

I'd have to go back through the timeline but does it even make sense that the numbers would get to Hurley with the island destroyed?

Beyond that, do the numbers not hold the same powers without the island? Or was it the island cursing Hurley all along and the actual 'numbers' had nothing to do with it?

When I hear the non sequitor about getting coffee Juliet spouts before dying, I wonder if in the Flashsideways there will be a scene in which Juliet is talking/flirting with Sawyer and ends up saying those exact words to him...only they make sense.

So, like, in dying she existed in both realities at once or something...I don't know.

Also, you said:

It's a "it is always darkest before dawn" feeling...

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be suggesting that one of the Losties will have to find some sort of "Matrix of Leadership" in order to "light their darkest hour." Am I wrong in this assumption?

Falen said...

I was making the assumption that juliet was merging with flashsideways juliet (we'll have to come up with a better term...) which is why she said the whole coffee, dutch thing. And which is how she, ulitmately, knew it worked.

Teebore said...

First of all, shouldn't this be labeled as Lost 6x01 & 6x02?

Honestly, I have no idea. I'm not sure if this was a single two hour episode or two separate parts. I'll see how they're billing the next episode and adjust accordingly, if needed.

does it even make sense that the numbers would get to Hurley with the island destroyed?

Hurley should not have gotten the numbers, at least not the way he did in the prime reality. Since the island sank, they never would have been broadcast, so the Navy listeners never would have heard them and passed them onto to Hurley in the mental hospital.

So he either won the lottery playing different numbers, or was destined to win the lottery WITH THOSE numbers, regardless of whether he heard them from a crazy person or picked them randomly.

you seem to be suggesting that one of the Losties will have to find some sort of "Matrix of Leadership" in order to "light their darkest hour." Am I wrong in this assumption?

That is exactly what I'm suggesting. I'm just hoping that whomever lights their darkest hour is more Optimus than Rodimus.

Teebore said...

Dr. Bitz, Falen:

So, like, in dying she existed in both realities at once or something...I don't know.

I was making the assumption that juliet was merging with flashsideways juliet


That seems to be the most accepted theory at the moment. I won't be surprised if, at some point, we see Sideways Juliet asking someone (Alt Sawyer or someone else) out on a coffee date.