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Saturday, July 11, 2009

LOST Rewatch: S1E20 "Do No Harm" and S1E21 "The Greater Good"

Here are some of my thoughts after rewatching episodes 20 and 21 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.

Season 1 Episode 20 - "Do No Harm"

Jack promises Boone, "You are not going to die. I'm going to fix this, okay? I am going to save you."

We find out through flashbacks that Jack was married to Sarah, who became his fianceé after he "fixed her" when a car crash left her with a broken back that other doctors said was irreparable.

Claire begins to go into labor while Jack is trying to save Boone. Jack can't deliver the baby because by the time he finds out about Claire, he's in the middle of giving a blood transfusion from himself to Boone using a rubber tube and sea urchin spines as needles.

In a flashback, Jack's father shows up the night before the wedding. Jack has been drinking, and he asks Christian, "What if I can't be the husband, or the father, that I want to be? What if I asked her because I saved her life? Should I marry her, dad?" Christian's response seems very insightful, especially in the context of Jack's attempt to save Boone's life: "Commitment is what makes you tick, Jack. The problem is, you're just not good at letting go."

Jack decides that Boone's leg needs to be amputated because the blood is pooling there. Sun discovers that Boone is coughing up blood, indicating that he's bleeding internally, and she tells Jack that he can't save Boone. Interestingly, Jack says to her one of Locke's oft-repeated lines, "Don't tell me what I can't do!" Boone regains consciousness before Jack can amputate, and Boone lets Jack "off the hook" for his promise to save him. Boone's last words are "Tell Shannon— tell Shannon I..."

Meanwhile, at about the same time that Boone dies, Claire's baby boy Aaron (as he will later be named) is born.

As Claire, her newborn, Kate, Charlie, and Jin return to the beach, the other survivors all gather around to see the new baby. While everyone adores Aaron, Sayid and Shannon return from an overnight excursion on another beach, and Jack approaches them and tells Shannon about Boone. Later when she sees his body, she mourns bitterly.

Jack sits alone on the beach. Kate walks up to him and asks if he wants to talk about Boone's death. Jack answers, "He didn't die. He was murdered." He begins to walk away while donning a backpack, and a confused Kate asks, "What? Jack, where are you going?" "To find John Locke." Rather than blaming himself for Boone's death or just letting it go, Jack seems to want to put the blame on someone else. In the next episode, Jack explains to Kate that the reason he blames Locke is that "Boone did not fall off any cliff. His leg was crushed, and I based my medical treatment on his lie."

Season 1 Episode 21 - "The Greater Good"

The episode begins with Sayid trying to comfort Shannon as she plays with her deceased step-brother's hair. Sayid asks if there's anything he can do for her, but she doesn't respond.

In a flashback, Sayid is escorted in handcuffs through Heathrow Airport in the UK. This wouldn't be the last time Sayid would wear handcuffs in an airport; in Season 5, Ilana escorts a handcuffed Sayid onto Ajira Flight 316. In the UK airport, Sayid is coerced by CIA and ASIS agents into helping them shut down a terror cell to which his former roommate Essam is connected, and in return the agents offer to give Sayid information on Nadia's whereabouts.

At Boone's funeral, Shannon doesn't want to say anything. Everyone is quiet until Sayid shares a few kind words. Then Locke shows up wearing a shirt drenched in Boone's blood, and he explains how Boone died. He says that Boone died while trying to call for help on the Beechcraft's radio, and that Boone was a hero. After Locke finishes his speech, Jack flips out and runs toward Locke, tackles him, and screams at him, demanding that Locke explain where he was and what he did to Boone, and accusing him of having lied the night before. Jack collapses, still weak and exhausted from the blood transfusion he gave Boone the night before.

A little later after Jack has had a chance to calm down a bit, Jack tells Sayid that Boone had mentioned a hatch and that Locke had told Boone not to tell anyone about it.

In a flashback, we see Sayid praying in the same mosque where Essam is praying. We would later see Sayid pray in this manner on Desmond's boat in the Season 2 finale, "Live Together, Die Alone". At Essam's apartment, Sayid finds a small microphone concealed in a non-working smoke detector and defuses it, and Essam explains to his leader Haddad that Sayid worked for the Republican Guard and "He knows things." This pleases Haddad, who says, "Perhaps it's not happenstance that you and Essam met at the mosque. Perhaps it is fate."

Charlie calls Claire's baby "Turnip-Head" for the first time, explaining to Claire that "It's just what I'm calling him until you give him a name because his head—it's like a turnip." Thankfully, Claire doesn't take long to decide on a name. She names him Aaron in the second half the season finale, "Exodus, Part 2".

Locke approaches Shannon while she's sitting alone on the beach and gives Boone's backpack to her. He sits down with Shannon and offers her a sincere and heartfelt apology. Locke asks for her forgiveness, and when she doesn't say anything else, he gets up and walks away. Shannon then goes to Sayid and says, "You asked if you could do anything for me. John Locke killed my brother. Will you do something about that?"

Sayid goes with Locke to the plane, interrogating him along the way. He tells John that he knows he's concealing a gun, and John gives it to Sayid explaining that he found it on the body of a drug smuggler, but this fails to bring Sayid to trust him. Locke then voluntarily reveals something that Sayid doesn't know: that Locke was the one who knocked out Sayid when he tried to triangulate the source of Danielle's radio transmission (as seen in the episode "The Moth"). Sayid is furious, and Locke explains his opinion that Sayid hadn't been thinking clearly and wouldn't have listened to him if he told Sayid it was a bad idea to go to "The source of a distress call that kept saying they're dead, it killed them all, over and over." Sayid asks John if he burned the raft, and John says no. He then asks "What is the hatch?" and Locke is visibly surprised, but quickly thinks up the response that there are "Two hatches on a plane, Sayid, could be forward or aft."

In flashbacks, the CIA agent orders Sayid to convince his friend Essam to go through with a suicide bombing, and the agent threatens to arrest Nadia if he doesn't, saying "Your girlfriend's an Iraqi living abroad with a record of insurgency. Wouldn't it be terrible if she got picked up as an enemy combatant, Sayid?" Sayid begrudgingly complies. Essam is concerned about taking the lives of innocent people because "The Imam preaches peace, Sayid. Every human life is sacred." Sayid convinces him by saying "It's true, innocent lives will be lost—in service of a greater good." This is where the episode title comes from.

Kate drugs Jack to force him to get some sleep. While Jack is sedated, Shannon steals the key to the gun case from him and goes to get a gun to kill John Locke. How in the world did Shannon know where the gun case was? Or even that Jack had the key to it around his neck? These mysteries were never explained on the show.

Shannon corners Locke in the jungle and Sayid finds her holding a gun and preparing to shoot. Jack and Kate show up, and Locke repeats to Shannon that "it was an accident," and Shannon says "Jack, you told me he was a liar." Shannon then shoots at Locke, but Sayid leaps at her just as she begins to fire the gun, and the bullet just grazes the side of John's head. Jack gives Locke a dirty look and walks away.

We find out through flashbacks that Sayid tries to convince Essam at the last minute not to kill himself and to run away instead, explaining that he has been working undercover for the CIA. Essam is distressed and angry at Sayid for lying to him, and he shoots himself in the head (yet another suicide by a gun to the head). When the agents show up, they give Sayid an Oceanic plane ticket, but Sayid asks "What happens to his body?" They explain that Essam will be cremated because there's nobody to claim the body. Sayid tells the agents that "A Muslim man is supposed to be buried," and he volunteers to stay in Sydney an extra day so he can ensure that his friend will be buried instead of cremated. Sayid was on Oceanic Flight 815 because he stayed the extra day in Sydney to ensure that his friend received a proper burial. If he had gone on the earlier flight, he never would have been on the Island, and he likely would have found Nadia and lived happily ever after. Back in the episode "Walkabout", Sayid was the first to object to Jack's plan to burn the fuselage and all the bodies inside because he felt it wasn't right to have no regard for the wishes or religions of the deceased passengers.

Sayid approaches Locke as he puts some ointment on his head wound. John thanks Sayid for saving his life, saying "I know what it cost you to do what you did," referring to losing Shannon as his girlfriend (although Sayid begins to woo her again by the season finale). Sayid demands that John take him to the hatch: "John, no more lies."

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Friday, July 10, 2009

LOST Rewatch: S1E18 "Numbers" and S1E19 "Deus Ex Machina"

Here are some of my thoughts after rewatching episodes 18 and 19 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.

Season 1 Episode 18 - "Numbers"

Hurley notices the number sequence "4 8 15 16 23 42" written over and over again on Danielle Rousseau's papers. He has a flashback to winning the lottery with those numbers. Throughout the episode, there are lots of individual occurrences of these numbers, so I won't attempt to chronicle all of them here. There are lots of things that happen in Hurley's flashbacks that indicate to him that the Numbers are cursed. I like the juxtaposition of the very serious and grim episode "...In Translation" right before this very humorous Hurley-centric episode.

Hurley finds out from his accountant that he is "the majority shareholder for a box company in Tustin." Guess who worked at a box company in Tustin? John Locke. Hurley's former boss from Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack, Randy, would later work at the box company as John's insolent boss.

We find out that Hurley got the Numbers from Leonard Simms, a patient at Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute, where Hurley used to live. After Hurley begins to believe that the Numbers are cursed, he goes to tell Lenny that he used the Numbers to win the lottery, and Lenny freaks out. He tells Hurley, "You've opened the box. ... It doesn't stop. ... You've got to get away from it or it won't stop," and says that he got the numbers from Sam Toomey in Kalgoorlie, Australia. Hurley visits Sam Toomey's house (which is the reason why Hurley was in Australia prior to Flight 815). Sam's wife Martha explains that Sam and Leonard "were stationed at a listening post monitoring long wave transmissions out of the Pacific" and one night they heard "a voice repeating those numbers over and over again." Perhaps this was the same voice that Danielle and her team heard being transmitted from the radio tower on the Island. Sam used the numbers to win $50,000 at the local fair, and on the way home Sam and Martha got into a car accident that caused Martha to lose part of her leg. After that, "Anything terrible that happened to anyone around us, he believed it was all because he used those numbers." Martha tells Hurley that Sam committed suicide to get away from the Numbers. Interestingly, his chosen method of suicide ("He put a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger") is identical to that of Kelvin's hatch mate Stuart Radzinsky, who also had a connection with the Numbers, having to type them every 108 minutes into The Swan's computer. Perhaps Radzinsky also felt cursed by the Numbers, or perhaps he simply went crazy from being cooped up in the hatch for so long. Martha Toomey tells Hurley that the numbers aren't cursed, and that "You make your own luck, Mr. Reyes."

I wonder why Hurley takes so many life-threatening risks on the Island in this episode. Is it because he believes that the curse of the Numbers will keep him safe, or because he's testing Sam's wife's theory that you make your own luck?

John recruits Claire to help him build something out of wood, but he doesn't tell her what it is. I wondered in my commentary for "Raised By Another" why Claire would later become friends with Locke after having seen him in a frightening dream. At least part of the answer is that Claire lost her memory, and she's still getting it back "Bits and pieces here and there. Nothing that makes any real sense." She most likely doesn't remember her nightmare.

Danielle Rousseau rigged her lair with explosives in anticipation of the return of Sayid or another one of his fellow crash survivors. Beforehand she moved all of her belongings to some undisclosed location. When Hurley finally locates "the French chick," he demands that she explain the Numbers. Danielle responds, "Our ship picked up a transmission: a voice repeating those numbers. We changed course to investigate. After we shipwrecked, my team continued to search for the transmission source. It was weeks before we found the radio tower... up by the Black Rock. Some of us continued to search for the meaning of those numbers while we waited for rescue. But then the sickness came. When my team was gone, I went back up to the tower and changed the transmission." Hurley asks about the Numbers' power and says that they're cursed. She replies, "The numbers are what brought me here. As it appears, they brought you. Since that time, I've lost everything, everyone I cared about. So yes, I suppose you're right. They are cursed." Hurley is overjoyed that someone finally agrees with him, and embraces Danielle in a big hug. It's been over 16 years since anyone has hugged Danielle, so Hurley's hug must be quite a surprise to her. Shortly after that, Hurley comes back with a battery which presumably Danielle gave to him; earlier in the episode, Hurley had used the battery as an excuse to go find Danielle, since Michael had been looking for a power source for a distress call for the raft.

John Locke finally shows Claire what she has been helping him build. It's a crib for her baby. I find it a bit humorous that Claire didn't figure out what it was sooner considering that she was right there the whole time it was being built. Claire reveals to John that it's her birthday, and she hadn't told anyone because she didn't think it mattered, but John warmly says "Happy birthday, Claire" after showing her the cradle.

Charlie approaches Hurley on the beach and they have a conversation about Hurley's bad luck. Charlie doesn't think it was Hurley's luck that led to the plane crash, and he tells Hurley about his heroin addiction and rhetorically asks Hurley whether he thinks that was his fault, too. Charlie then asks Hurley to reciprocate and tell his biggest secret since Charlie has just revealed his own. Hurley says "Okay. Back home I'm worth 156 million dollars." Charlie doesn't believe him and storms off, shouting "I bare my soul, and all I get is bloody jokes"—a classic moment.

The episode ends on a mysterious note, as we see a shot of the partially unearthed hatch door, and the camera zooms in to reveal "4 8 15 16 23 42" engraved on the side. Hurley later sees these numbers on the hatch in the season finale, "Exodus, Part 2", and repeatedly shouts "The Numbers are bad!" while trying to prevent Locke from blowing open the hatch door. In the Season 5 episode "Some Like It Hoth", when Hurley is stuck in the 1970s, he sees a DHARMA Initiative worker engraving the Numbers into the hatch door as The Swan is being built. The worker refers to the Numbers as "the serial number that goes on the hatch lid." Hurley explains to Miles how he knows about The Swan: "...they're building our hatch. The one that crashed our plane."

Season 1 Episode 19 - "Deus Ex Machina"

The episode begins with a flashback to when John Locke has some hair and is working in a toy store. He shows a kid the game Mouse Trap, which he says he used to play with his brother. This game would later appear in the recreation room at The Others' barracks in the Season 3 episode "Left Behind". In the toy store, John sees a woman watching him. He walks over to her to ask if she needs help, and she says she's looking for footballs, so Locke tells her "Aisle 8 for regulation, aisle 15 for Nerf." We find out later in the episode that the woman is his biological mother, Emily Locke, whom John has apparently never met. She claims he doesn't have a father and that he was "immaculately conceived." As an aside, the Immaculate Conception is the Catholic doctrine that the Virgin Mary was conceived free from all sin, and is unrelated to the doctrine of the Virgin Birth, which seems to be the doctrine that Emily Locke meant to reference.

Locke's plan to break the glass on the hatch door using a trebuchet fails. This makes him angry and he yells "This was supposed to work!" Boone notices that a large metal fragment of the trebuchet is embedded deep in Locke's leg, which doesn't cause Locke any pain. John discovers that he's lost the feeling in both of his legs. This may have been caused by his wavering faith in the Island.

In a flashback, a private investigator tells John that there's a 99% certainty that the woman claiming to be Emily Locke is really his mother, based on a hair sample DNA analysis. Before handing over the red folder containing information on John's father, Anthony Cooper, the private investigator warns John, "I've done this enough times to know this stuff isn't meant to be, even though it may feel that way. But this probably won't have a happy ending." John takes the folder anyway and meets Anthony Cooper for the first time, who invites him to go hunting.

On the Island, Locke has a lucid dream in which he sees a Beechcraft airplane crashing on the Island, a bloodied Boone repeating "Theresa falls up the stairs, Theresa falls down the stairs," and his own mother standing in the jungle. After awakening from his dream, Locke wakes up Boone and convinces him that the dream is a sign by mentioning Theresa. Boone later tells Locke that she was his nanny when he was six, and she broke her neck falling down the stairs in their house. Locke's vision of a bleeding Boone and the story about Theresa falling and receiving a (presumably) fatal injury foreshadow Boone's own demise.

On the way to where Locke saw the plane crash in his dream, Locke and Boone find the body of a Nigerian man with gold teeth dressed like a priest and toting a gun. We now know that this is Goldie, who had been a drug smuggler along with Mr. Eko. Goldie was directly responsible for Yemi being on the Beechcraft plane and Eko getting left behind in Nigeria, which saved Eko's life and led to him falsely assume the role of a priest in Yemi's stead.

John begins to have difficulty walking. Eventually they see the plane, a yellow Beechcraft just as John had envisioned it. It's up high on a cliff, lodged in some branches. Because of the condition of his legs, Locke tells Boone, "You're going to have to climb up there for us and find out [what's inside it]." Boone nods in compliance and takes off toward the cliff. Inside he finds Virgin Mary heroin statues and a two-way radio embedded in the console. He fires up the radio and it still works, so he sends out an SOS. He hears a man's voice reply, "We're the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815!" In the Season 2 episode "The Other 48 Days" we find out that the person who responded to Boone was Bernard, although the actor who plays Bernard had not been cast yet when this episode was filmed, hence the voices don't match.

The plane begins creaking and suddenly falls with Boone still inside, leaving him badly injured. Locke somehow musters enough strength to carry Boone back to camp and bring him to Jack. As Jack prepares to operate, Locke sneaks away without any warning.

In a flashback, we find out that John's dad conned him into giving up his kidney. Emily Locke shows up in the hospital and apologizes to John, saying it was all Anthony's idea and that she went along with the plan for the money he promised to give her. It turns out that the private investigator was right; there wasn't a happy ending to Locke's reunion with his father. Little did the viewers know that there was more to this tragic story that would be revealed later in the series, including John being pushed out an 8th-story window by his father. Anthony Cooper didn't have much of a happy ending, either; he was strangled to death by Sawyer in the Season 3 episode "The Brig".

Interestingly, Anthony Cooper's driveway security guard is named Eddie, which is the same name as another character seen in Locke's flashbacks in the Season 3 episode "Further Instructions".

Locke pounds on the hatch in frustration, much like he pounded on the inside of his car after learning that his parents had conned him. Suddenly, the hatch light turns on, and that's the shocking end of the episode. John later related to Desmond in the Season 2 finale, "Live Together, Die Alone", that he originally thought that the light emanating from the hatch was a sign, "But it wasn't a sign. Probably just you going to the bathroom."

The title of this episode, "Deus Ex Machina", is a Latin phrase that literally means "god from the machine." The term is used to denote a sudden unexpected occurrence that saves the day. What was this episode's deus ex machina? The episode title seems to have reference to the light that came on in the hatch. Prior to that moment, nobody had any idea what was inside the hatch, so this event was a shock to both Locke and the viewer. Locke viewed it as a sign that he was on the right track, that he had pleased the Island and was fulfilling his destiny, thus turning John from his feelings of despair and intense frustration to feelings of wonder and elation.

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

LOST Rewatch: S1E17 "...In Translation"

Here are some of my thoughts after rewatching episode 17 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.

Season 1 Episode 17 - "...In Translation"

The episode begins on Jin's eye, and it focuses on his perspective as he deals with the frustration of not being able to communicate with any survivors other than his wife (hence the episode title, LOST "...In Translation").

We find out in a flashback how Jin became such an unpleasant person: the deal he made to work for Sun's father, Mr. Paik, turned out to be not at all what Jin expected. Mr. Paik "promotes" Jin to be his new special assistant to personally deliver messages of Mr. Paik's displeasure. When Jin simply delivers a verbal message to the man at his home, apparently the recipient doesn't take the hint, and Mr. Paik later tells Jin that another associate will show Jin how to deliver a message. As Jin drives back to the house, the associate puts on gloves and pulls out a gun with a silencer on it. Upon arriving, Jin rushes past the associate into the house, violently beating the man with whom Mr. Paik is displeased—right in front of the man's wife and children. Jin says quietly to the man, "I just saved your life." Thus Jin begins "saving people's lives" from assassination by Sun's father's thugs.

Incidentally, the first time Jin went to the man's home, Hurley was on the television in the background, so this evidently took place sometime after Hurley won the lottery.

On the beach, Jin sees Sun wearing a bikini and rushes over to cover her with a blanket. They get into a small scuffle, and Michael runs up to stop Jin from mistreating Sun. When Michael pushes Jin, Sun slaps Michael's face, and Sun and Jin walk away. Shortly thereafter, Jin asks Sun, "What's going on between you and him?" Sun denies that there is any connection between her and Michael. She later explains privately to Michael that slapping him was her way of protecting him from Jin, saying, "You don't know what he's capable of."

Michael's raft gets set on fire during the night and everyone wonders who did it and why. Michael and some of the other survivors blame Jin. When Sun sees that Jin's hands are burned, she accuses him, and Jin leaves angrily.

Sawyer, who was one of the 4 people who would have been on the raft, finds Jin, attacks him, and ties him up. He tells Jin, "Folks down on the beach might have been doctors and accountants a month ago, but it's Lord of the Flies time now."

I hadn't given it much thought previously, but the book Lord of the Flies (Wikipedia, Amazon) has a number of striking parallels with LOST. In the book, a plane crashes on a deserted island with no adult survivors, leaving a group of boys completely on their own. Two factions arise, one of which is led by Ralph, whose group is concerned with keeping the signal fire lit, and the other group is led by Jack, whose group is concerned with hunting pigs and protecting each other from a monster that they believe to be on the island. Eventually only Jack's group remains, and Jack becomes a true savage, setting the entire island on fire—at the risk of destroying their only sources of food—just to murder the evasive Ralph. An adult navy officer sees the blazing island and comes to rescue the boys. In spite of being rescued, Ralph is deeply troubled, having witnessed the darkness that can come to possess a human soul. The transition from civilized to barbaric behavior is precisely what Sawyer was referencing when talking to Jin. Sawyer's remark leads us to perhaps the most stunning connection between the two tales: Ralph's discovery of man's potential for darkness is a direct correlation with Jacob's enemy's views about the wickedness of human nature. In the opening scene of the Season 5 finale, Jacob and his enemy watch as a ship (presumably the Black Rock) approaches the Island. Jacob's enemy says, "You brought them here. Still trying to prove me wrong, aren't you?" Jacob replies, "You are wrong," and his enemy comes back with "Am I? They come, fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same." Jacob's enemy (who badly wants to kill Jacob) seems to think that man will always degenerate to a savage state because it's their nature, while Jacob seems to be trying to prove that human nature is not inherently evil.

After Sawyer brings Jin back to the camp, Michael begins beating Jin, and Jin keeps standing up and voluntarily taking punches without fighting back. To prevent her husband from getting badly injured, Sun blurts out in English, "Stop it! Leave him alone!" Everyone, including Jin, stares at her in shock. Only Michael and Kate knew her secret, and now everyone knew it. Obviously, Jin would be upset that Sun had lied to him so many times on the Island about not knowing what was going on, and for never telling him that she spoke English. Sun defends her husband, explaining that "Your raft was already on fire when he arrived. He burned his hands trying to put it out." After Locke steps in and reminds everyone that there are others on the Island who have attacked them before, everyone walks away, leaving Sun and Jin standing there. Sun approaches Jin, and feeling betrayed because she had lied to him about not understanding English, he walks away from her, and later he refuses to speak to her at all.

Jin's treatment of Sun may have been a bit harsh since she wasn't the only one who had lied in their relationship. Ashamed of his heritage, Jin had tried to make Sun believe that his father was dead, as early as before they were married. In this episode's final flashback, Jin goes to visit his father, who is still very much alive. Jin tells his father that he's married, and that he doesn't speak to Sun anymore because he doesn't want her to know about the horrible things her father does. Jin's father encourages him to do the one last job that Mr. Paik asked of him—deliver watches to his associates in Sydney and Los Angeles—and then to run away and live together in the United States. Jin was planning to follow his father's advice to try to save his marriage, but the crash interrupted his plans.

Michael tells Walt that he's going to rebuild the raft and make it even better, and Walt offers to help. Later, Walt is sitting in front of a backgammon board, and he tells Locke that Hurley now owes him $83,000—a lot more than the $20,000 he owed him just six episodes earlier. Walt asks if Locke's dad is cool, and John says, "No. No, he's not." We'll learn a bit about why Anthony Cooper isn't "cool" two episodes later in "Deus Ex Machina". Locke asks Walt why he burned the raft, which indicates that Locke's earlier speech about there being other people on the Island was purely out of a desire to support Sun's statements and protect Jin from being attacked when Walt was the secret arsonist. Walt confesses to the crime, saying that he doesn't want to move anymore and "I like it here." John confesses, "I like it here, too."

After telling Sun that "it's too late" to start their relationship over again, he brings Michael some bamboo and says "boat" in English, indicating that he brought the bamboo to help Michael rebuild his raft.

Hurley's CD player finally dies on the 34th day on the Island.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

LOST Rewatch: S1E15 "Homecoming" and S1E16 "Outlaws"

Here are some of my thoughts after rewatching episodes 15 and 16 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.

Season 1 Episode 15 - "Homecoming"

After Claire comes back, she can't remember anything that has happened since she was on the plane. The entire past month is gone from her memory. Jin asks Sun if Claire is all right, and then he asks about the baby. Sun says in Korean "I'm sure the baby is fine." Sun and Jin exchange awkward looks, which in retrospect was a small hint about their inability to conceive a child of their own prior to the Island.

Ethan seems to have been a very mentally disturbed person. He tells Charlie in this episode that he'll kill someone every day until he gets Claire back and that he'll kill Charlie last. On the first night, Ethan not only murders Steve (presumably by breaking his neck) but he also breaks "his arms [and] all the bones in his fingers" according to Kate. Later when Ethan sees Claire, he has an angry, sinister look on his face before he begins chasing her through the jungle. This is a very different perspective from what we later see of him in flashbacks. He seemed to have been very kind to Juliet, and surprisingly he even seemed to care for Claire after having captured her (aside from keeping her drugged and injecting her abdomen, of course).

How did Ethan sneak past the Flight 815 survivors' guards and traps to kill Scott? Locke suspects that Ethan came by water, and although this was never verified we do know that The Others had a submarine, at least two boats, and canoes at that time. It's also possible that Ethan sneaked past Boone, who fell asleep during his shift.

Ahh, the Numbers again. In Charlie's flashback, the copier machine he was trying to sell was a "Heatherton C815 Copy Center."

In spite of the horrified look Claire gave Charlie after he shot and killed Ethan in front of her, she seemed to have completely forgotten about it by that night when she walked up to him and asked him why she remembered peanut butter. Perhaps after some introspection she became attracted to Charlie because she knew how vigilantly he would protect her. Either that or her sudden leap from horror to love was a bit of an oversight by the writers, directors, or producers.

Season 1 Episode 16 - "Outlaws"

The episode starts on the eye of a young Sawyer, and we witness his perspective from under his bed of what happened the night that his father killed his mother and then himself.

Sawyer wakes up from this nightmare flashback and sees a boar rummaging through his things. He chases the boar into the jungle, and after it gets away, Sawyer hears whispers much like the ones Sayid heard in "Solitary", but he also hears one that says clearly, "It'll come back around."

In a flashback, Sawyer's former partner Hibbs is missing a finger, which is another instance of a missing body part. Hibbs tells Sawyer that he found the original Sawyer—the man who conned his mother, leading to the deaths of his parents. We find out later in the episode that the man whom Hibbs identified, Frank Duckett, was not really the original Sawyer; Hibbs conned Sawyer into killing someone who owed him money.

Why is Charlie being a creep to Claire all of a sudden? At the end of the last episode they were becoming friends again, and now suddenly Charlie's conscience is catching up with him for killing Ethan? Again, it almost seems like the last Claire and Charlie scene from "Homecoming" doesn't fit well with the rest of the plot.

Sawyer and Kate's "I never" drinking game is the first time we hear about Kate's brief marriage. We don't find out the details of her marriage to police officer Kevin Callis until the Season 3 episode "I Do".

Locke tells Sawyer a really strange story about how his foster mother believed that her daughter, who died in a tragic accident for which the mom blamed herself, was reincarnated as a golden retriever. The dog showed up out of nowhere about six months after the daughter's funeral, and after the mother died five years later the dog "disappeared back to wherever it was she came from in the first place." Sawyer later seems to relate this story to Frank Duckett and the boar who has been causing him trouble.

When Sawyer meets Frank Duckett at his shrimp truck, they introduce each other casually, and we learn that Sawyer's first name is actually "James." In the first part of the season finale, "Exodus, Part 1", we learn from an officer at an Australian police station that Sawyer's full name is James Ford.

In a flashback, Sawyer runs into Christian Shephard at the bar. Christian admits that he loves his son and that he's proud of him and grateful for "what he did to me. What he did for me."

I came across an interesting theory on Lostpedia that Sawyer may have unknowingly and unintentionally contributed to Christian Shephard's death. The coroner told Jack that Christian died of a heart attack caused by excessive alcohol consumption, and Sawyer paid for Christian's liquor because Christian claimed he had misplaced his wallet (he apparently left it in his hotel room according on Jack's flashback in "White Rabbit"). Christian's death is ironic because of his remark to Sawyer that Australians "think Americans can't hold their liquor."

There are an awful lot of Flight 815 survivors who have killed someone. In this episode, Kate and Sawyer reveal to each other through their drinking game that they've both "killed a man." In an attempt to help Charlie work past his feelings of remorse for having killed Ethan, Sayid tells Charlie about the nightmares he had after voluntarily being on a firing squad that killed a terrorist.

After Sawyer shoots Frank Duckett, Frank says "You didn't have to— tell Hibbs I would've paid." He realizes that Sawyer was conned into being Hibbs' hitman. Just before he dies, Frank says "I was going to pay. It'll come back around." The last sentence is what Sawyer heard amidst the whispers more than once in this episode.

When Sawyer finally tracks down the boar, it just watches him calmly. Sawyer, presumably thinking about Frank Duckett and perhaps about the story Locke told him, has compassion on the boar and decides not to shoot it. This is a redemptive moment for Sawyer, which is very interesting because death often follows redemption on the Island. Two of the most notable examples of this phenomenon are when Ana Lucia, in spite of having murdered Jason prior to the Island, was unable to bring herself to murder Ben, and then right afterward she was killed by Michael, and later Michael redeemed himself for the murders he committed by sacrificing his own life to save the lives of several people including fellow Flight 815 survivors on the freighter. In spite of Sawyer's notable moment of redemption in this episode, he's still alive as of the Season 5 finale (unless, of course, the explosion of the bomb in the last few seconds of the finale killed him).

By the end of the episode, Charlie has apparently let go of his remorse for killing Ethan, and he finds Claire on the beach and offers to take her for the walk that she asked for earlier in the episode.

Sawyer recognizes Jack's line "That's why the Red Sox will never win the Series" and figures out that the man he talked to in the bar was Jack's father. Rather than tell Jack that his father loved him and thought very highly of him, Sawyer chooses not to say anything at all. In the first part of the season finale before Jack goes off to get dynamite from the Black Rock and as Sawyer prepares to leave on Michael's raft, Sawyer realizes that they might not see each other again and he tells Jack about his conversation with Christian.

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