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Saturday, October 21, 2006

"Further Instructions" Commentary and "Every Man for Himself" Spoilers

In the third episode of Season 3, Further Instructions, we (sort of) found out what happened to John Locke, Desmond, and Mr. Eko as a result of the hatch implosion: Locke wound up outdoors lying on his back, Desmond somehow woke up without any clothes, and Mr. Eko had apparently been dragged off by a malicious polar bear. Exactly how all three of them survived the implosion is still a mystery, especially after seeing the gaping crater that once was the Swan station.

When Locke awakens, he finds himself to be unable to speak. Temporary muteness is a rather strange and unusual condition. There are various scientific and religious explanations for why Locke may have become mute, some of which may include injury to the brain or nervous system, demon possession, or being cursed by God (see the Comments section of this article for other potential causes and references). The fact that Locke can speak again after "talking" with the island implies that the island itself may have somehow brought this condition upon him.

In order to facilitate communication with the island, Locke builds a sweat lodge inside the frame of Mr. Eko's unfinished church, and he then eats a self-made hallucinogenic paste (presumably the same one he used on Boone in Hearts and Minds) that leads him to believe he sees Boone. Some of the things that Boone tells Locke in the dream sequence are very revealing about the safety of various survivors. Notable quotes include:
  • "I'm going to help you find your way again so you can bring the family back together."

  • "John, someone in this airport is in serious danger. You're the only one who can save them."

  • (Regarding Charlie, Claire, and Aaron:) "Not them. They'll be fine... for a while."

  • (Regarding Jin, Sun, and Sayid:) "I think Sayid's got it."

  • "Not Hurley."

  • (Regarding Desmond:) "Forget it. He's helping himself." (Spoiler: We'll start to find out more about what this means in the next episode.)

  • (Regarding Kate, Sawyer, and Jack:) "There's nothing you can do for them. Not yet. First you have to clean up your own mess."

  • (When Locke ascends the escalator and finds Eko's Jesus Stick:) "Clean it up, John. They've got him. You don't have much time."
After the dream sequence seems to end, Locke sees a brief flash of an angry polar bear as he leaps out of the sweat lodge. We find that Locke is no longer mute, as he grabs his knife and tells Charlie: "I'm going to save Mr. Eko's life."

Questions regarding Eko's disappareance: Why would a polar bear attack Eko and drag him back to its cave? When Boone says, "They've got him," does "they" mean that there was more than one polar bear who captured Eko, or did Boone mean that The Others had something to do with it? Why was there a toy truck in the cave? Who was the person wearing a DHARMA Initiative t-shirt whose desiccated body was in the cave?

After Locke has rescued Eko and while Charlie is off looking for water, Eko speaks to Locke and tells him, in reference to the captured Jack, Kate, and Sawyer, "You can still protect them. You can still save them." Locke expresses his concern, "I don't even know where they are," but Eko replies confidently, "You will find them. After all, you are a hunter, John." (Spoiler: We will begin to see how Locke will come to find the captured survivors in episode 5, The Cost of Living, which will be Eko-centric.) When Charlie returns, Eko is unconscious, and we are led to believe that Locke had dreamed his conversation with Eko.

Another perplexing mystery from this excellent episode: How in the world did Desmond hear Locke's speech before Locke gave it? An interesting theory based on time-travel movies and books is that when one travels through time, one's clothes do not also time-travel, so perhaps Desmond visited the future as a result of a time rift on the island, which caused him to lose his vestiture. (See the Comments section for details on The Time Traveler's Wife, a book that fits with the Desmond time travel theory.)

In the next episode, Every Man for Himself, we're going to have a very Sawyer-centric episode, with him being tortured by The Others to Kate's horror, and we may see flashbacks of him in prison. The official ABC synopsis: "Sawyer discovers just how far his captors will go to thwart any plans of escape he and Kate might have, and Jack is called upon to scrub up in order to save the life of one of 'The Others' [probably Colleen]. Meanwhile, Desmond's behavior begins to perplex the survivors when he starts construction on an unknown device." New characters Nikki and Paulo are scheduled to make their second appearance in this episode.

In this week's Official Lost Podcast (which didn't show up in their feed, although you can download the MP3 here), LOST executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse said that Sun will eventually find out on the show who is the father of her baby. Damon pointed out that if Benjamin Linus (aka the fake Henry Gale) had really lived on the island for his whole life, then he must have been there a long time before the DHARMA Initiative, which judging by the Orientation videos came to the island around 1980. Carlton pointed out that another pre-DHARMA group on the island might have been the creators of the foot statue seen in the Season 2 finale, and Damon recommended that fans revisit their theories based on this information. Damon said that we may see more of Shannon in flashbacks. Carlton revealed that "we will learn a lot more about both Jack's tattoos and the Flame station in upcoming episodes," and we will see the Flame station in Season 3. Damon would neither confirm nor deny whether Ben is the "Him" that is the leader of The Others. Carlton said that there will be some "twists and turns" in Claire and Charlie's relationship, and he indicated that it would turn into a love triangle but did not say who the third person might be.

Don't forget to read the Comments section this week for further analysis of Further Instructions!

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Blogger Josh Long said...

Following are some possible explanations for John Locke's inability to speak at the beginning of Further Instructions.

Scientific explanations:
"Some causes of speech and language disorders include hearing loss, neurological disorders, brain injury, mental retardation, drug abuse, physical impairments such as cleft lip or palate, and vocal abuse or misuse. Frequently, however, the cause is unknown."

Scriptural explanations:
Matthew 9:32-33 - Being possessed with a devil
Luke 1:11-20, 59-79 - Being cursed by the power of God as punishment for disbelief (this may relate to Locke's loss of belief in the island and his doubts about the importance of pushing the button)
Alma 30:47-53 (Book of Mormon) - Being cursed by the power of God for questioning God's existence and demanding a sign

Saturday, October 21, 2006 11:15:00 PM  
Blogger Josh Long said...

Regarding the possibility that Desmond's nudity may have been caused by time travel, there's a book that was published in 2004 called The Time Traveler's Wife in which the main character (named Henry) involuntarily travels through time. Whenever he time-travels, he loses his clothing. Another interesting fact is that Henry's wife's name is Clare—both of these names are obviously very familiar to LOST fans.

Read the Wikipedia article about the book

Buy the hardback edition - Currently $18.15* on Amazon.com
Buy the paperback edition - Currently $11.20 on Amazon.com
Buy the abridged audio cassette edition - Currently just $7.98 on Amazon.com!

*These are all U.S. prices, and of course Amazon.com may change them at any time. You may be able to find used or new copies for sale through these links that are less expensive than the quoted prices.

Saturday, October 21, 2006 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger Josh Long said...

Update to the Desmond time travel theory: Apparently, executive producer Damon Lindelof has said that time travel will not be a part of LOST.

In January 2005, during the first season of LOST, Damon stated: "I don't think we've shown anything on the show yet ... that has no rational explanation in the real world that we all function within. We certainly hint at psychic phenomena, happenstance and ... things being in a place where they probably shouldn't be. But nothing is flat-out impossible. There are no spaceships. There isn't any time travel." (Source: Science Fiction Weekly, January 31, 2005, emphasis mine)

Assuming that LOST's producers have decided to hold to this previous statement, then there must be some other explanation for Desmond having heard Locke give his speech before he gave it. Perhaps Desmond heard the speech in a lucid dream, similar to the dreams produced by Locke's hallucinogenic mixture. But if so, what would have caused Desmond to have such a dream if not drugs?

Sunday, October 22, 2006 5:23:00 PM  

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