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Saturday, June 20, 2009

LOST Rewatch: S1E09 "Solitary" and S1E10 "Raised By Another"

Here are some of my thoughts after rewatching episodes 9 and 10 of the first season of LOST, as part of my contribution to The LOST Rewatch (see my previous rewatch posts). When I get a chance, I'll post my rewatch commentaries in the podcast feed as well.

For those who are strictly following the Rewatch schedule, you'll notice that I didn't get a chance to watch all four episodes this week. I found so much to research and write about these two episodes that I spent several hours on them, so I've had to put off episodes 11 and 12 for now. You can subscribe to this blog (see the links in the sidebar) and/or follow me on Twitter to be notified about my LOST articles as soon as I publish them.

Season 1 Episode 9 - "Solitary"

The episode begins with Sayid sitting on the beach looking at a picture of Nadia with a note written on the back. He later tells Danielle that the writing says "You'll find me in the next life if not in this one" and we find out in a flashback that Nadia wrote this.

The episode title has reference to both Sayid, who has been traveling by himself around the Island, and more particularly to Danielle, who has been all alone for 16 years (16, of course, is one of the Numbers which we find out about in a future episode).

Sayid notices a cable partially buried in the sand. He digs it up and sees that one end goes into the ocean, and he decides to follow the other end into the jungle. Kate tells Jack that Sayid has been gone for two days, so apparently it's a pretty long walk to get to the cable when following the shoreline. We now know that the cable goes to the underwater DHARMA station known as The Looking Glass. According to Mikhail Bakunin in the Season 3 episode "Enter 77", the cable's main purpose is for communication, and that the other end goes to the Flame Station.

While following the cable, Sayid triggers one of Danielle's snare traps. He wakes up in Danielle's lair and hears voices repeating over and over again in French, Spanish, and English the words "Where is Alex?" It is well known that Danielle speaks French and English, but apparently she also speaks Spanish, or at least knows some basic phrases.

Regarding her science team's crash on the Island, Danielle says that "Our vessel was three days out of Tahiti when our instruments malfunctioned." She doesn't specify which direction their vessel had been heading, or whether she was going to or coming from Tahiti, but assuming a similar rate of speed to the 9 knots Desmond was traveling when trying to escape the Island, the Island was definitely in a different place when Danielle arrived than when Desmond arrived (refer to my Google Earth file and search the globe for Tahiti to see its location in relation to where Desmond thought the Island was).

Danielle claims that she and her science team "made camp" and "Dug out this temporary shelter" in which she is now living. Her story seems to conflict with what we later see in the Season 5 episode "This Place Is Death," in which (as far as I can recall) it appears as though Danielle and her team never left their initial camp on the beach. Danielle tells Sayid that two months after their vessel crashed on the Island, they were coming back from the Black Rock when something happened (implying that that's when her team got infected), and she says that "The Others" were "the carriers" of the sickness. From what we later see in "This Place Is Death" it is implied that going into the Cerberus Vent—the hole in the ground next to the wall surrounding the temple—caused Danielle's colleagues to become infected, so it doesn't look like they ever went to the Black Rock with her unless it happened sometime after that event. Another discrepancy is that Danielle tells Sayid that she hasn't seen other people on the Island, although she's heard them whispering in the jungle; however, we know that she saw Ben when he took Alex from her. There are a number of inconsistencies in Danielle's story, many of which are detailed in the Lostpedia article about her.

Danielle explains that the sickness "took" her team members "one after the other," which is why she killed them. "I had no choice. They were already lost." Her use of the word "lost" is interesting, and may hint at some sort of connection with the title of the show. Does being changed by the Island make someone lost?

Danielle finally explains who Alex is, saying only that "Alex was my child." Danielle doesn't correct Sayid's repeated assumption that Alex is male, and hence for a long time most viewers probably assumed that Alex was Danielle's son until eventually a teenage female named Alex is seen on the show.

We hear whispers for the first time on the show when Sayid makes his way through the jungle as it's getting dark. By the time he makes it back to the caves, he tells Jack that they're not alone on the Island, and his franticness implies that he's referring to the source of the whispers, not just to Danielle.

Another notable event in the episode (or should I say "an Other event") is when Ethan Rom shows up at the caves with Locke, and Locke introduces him to Hurley as his hunting partner. This is the first time we've seen Ethan on the show. We see him later in the episode among other spectators at Hurley's golf course.

Season 1 Episode 10 - "Raised By Another"

The episode starts on Claire's eye as she begins to have a frightening dream about her baby. Among other occurrences in the nightmare, Claire sees a scary version of John Locke who tells her "You know what's happening. He was your responsibility but you gave him away, Claire. Everyone pays the price now." Assuming there's some significance to Nightmare Locke's words, what does he mean by "everyone pays the price now"? How would "everyone" (perhaps meaning the other Flight 815 survivors) be harmed by Claire's choice to fly to Los Angeles to give up Aaron? Perhaps the meaning is that if Claire hadn't been on the plane, Ethan would not kidnap her and try to take her baby, Charlie might not get hanged nearly to death by Ethan, Ethan would not get shot and killed by Charlie, etc. Certainly a lot of things were set in motion because of Claire being on Flight 815.

When Nightmare Locke looks up at Claire, we see very clearly that his left eye is white and his right eye is black. This gets back to the theme of black and white, light and dark, but perhaps more significantly it may have been a hint about who Locke would ultimately become—or rather, that Jacob's enemy would ultimately take on the persona and appearance of Locke. The real John Locke was loyal to the Island and to Jacob, hence the all-white eye. In contrast, Jacob's enemy (who would pose as Locke on the Island throughout Season 5) wore black when Jacob wore white in the beginning of the Season 5 finale, indicating that he's not one of the "good guys"; hence, Locke's all-black eye in Claire's dream may represent Jacob's enemy.

Also interesting is what Nightmare Locke had on the table in front of him: crystals (possibly quartz) and a deck of cards (perhaps tarot cards), which are tools of the fortune telling trade. This may be an indication that the things Locke said to Claire were wise and based on knowledge of future events, or perhaps they may have just been a concoction of Claire's mind because of her interest in psychics, astrology, and the like.

I also find it interesting that Claire would later become friends with Locke after having seen him in such a frightening nightmare.

After Claire wakes up screaming a second time, she claims that someone held her down and then just ran away. Ethan is one of the people who comes running up to see what the commotion is about, and Jack asks Ethan to bring some water for Claire.

In a flashback, Claire's boyfriend Thomas says during their breakup fight when discussing the baby, "Perfect. Now I get all your daddy abandonment crap." We didn't realize it at the time, but it sounds like Thomas was referring to Claire having previously mentioned that her dad had abandoned her. We now know that Jack's dad Christian Shephard is also Claire's father, and that Christian chose to live with his wife and son in the United States rather than staying in Sydney with his mistress and his daughter. Later in the episode, Claire says that her dad used to sing "Catch a Falling Star" to her when she was little, so perhaps Christian made frequent visits for some time after Claire was born.

Hurley begins taking a census to find out about all the survivors, presuming that one of them may be responsible for attacking Claire the previous night. One of the people he talks to is Ethan, who reveals that his last name is Rom. Ethan Rom is an anagram for "Other Man." Later in the episode, Hurley gets the flight manifest from Sawyer and discovers that Ethan's name was not on the manifest.

Richard Malkin, Claire's psychic, says "It is crucial that you yourself raise this child. ... This child parented by anyone else, anyone other than you— danger surrounds this baby. ... There is no happy life—not for this child, not without you. ... It can't be another. You mustn't allow another to raise your baby." Many fans have pointed out that the line "You mustn't allow another to raise your baby" could also be interpreted as "you mustn't allow an Other to raise your baby."

Richard Malkin later tells Mr. Eko in the Season 2 episode "?" that "...I'm a fraud. ...I make my living as a psychic. You see, that's what I do. I gather intelligence on people and I exploit it. Every day I meet people looking for a miracle, desperate to find one. But there are none to be had." Why, then, did he give Claire her money back after both readings, and why was he so persistent for four months trying to convince Claire not to give up the baby for adoption?

Perhaps Richard Malkin really does have some psychic ability after all. My theory is that someone either paid or threatened Richard Malkin to get him to tell Claire about the supposed couple in Los Angeles, offer her money with the promise of more in L.A., and give her the ticket for Oceanic Flight 815. It may even be that his daughter Charlotte Malkin was nearly drowned by whomever was trying to get him to convince Claire to take that flight. Perhaps Jacob (or someone on his side like Richard Alpert) used Richard Malkin to make sure that Claire would come to the Island. It could be that Richard Malkin told Mr. Eko that he was a fraud because of the guilt he felt about having just deceived Claire.

In a conversation with Claire in the jungle, Charlie shares a different theory about the psychic. He speculates that Richard Malkin was a real psychic and that he knew that Flight 815 would crash on the Island, that Claire would survive, and that this would force her to raise the baby herself. Now that we've seen more of the story, however, Charlie's theory is less plausible. If Richard Malkin really sent Claire to the Island on purpose to force her to raise her baby, he should also have foreknown about Claire's unexplained disappearance in the middle of the night to go with her dead father and that Aaron would afterward be raised by Kate, not Claire.

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Anonymous Kirsten said...

By the way, Danielle also speaks German in this episode; she can be heard to say, "Wo ist Alex?" during the beginning interrogation scene of Sayid.

Thursday, June 25, 2009 7:44:00 AM  

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