Wednesday, February 03, 2010

LOST: It worked...

6.01 / 6.02 : "LA X"


The writers are having their cake and eating it, too! Greedy, lucky bastards! Except for some surprising low-budge underwater effects, I'm loving it, too. =)

Okay! So! The rules they've followed for the past five seasons are still in play. You cannot rewrite history (unless you're Desmond =). What you CAN do is write a new history alongside the old one. Create an alternate reality that diverges at a specific moment. So, the Incident always happened the way it happened and it was always the nexus for two realities.

And the show is giving us both of them. No flashBACKs. No flashFORWARDs. We're looking at flash...OVERs. Well, okay, there *is* a consistent three-year flash-back-and-forth between the two realities. In Reality1 (R1), in which the Incident occurs in 1977 and leads to the construction of a Swan station to regulate the aggravated energy pocket, our "present" is 2007, three years after 815 fell out of the sky, and in Reality2 (R2), in which the Incident occurs in 1977 and leads to the sinking of the Island, our "present" is 2004. That's cuz the show is focusing on these "presents" for the sake of storytelling.

Think about this, tho. In comparing R2 to R1, there's 27 years from 1977 to 2004 for the effects of the destruction of the energy pocket to cascade through. 27 years of exotic-energy powered butterfly effect originating on the Island. Granted, the Island is practically quarantined from the rest of the world, but consider its shadowy influence over the decades revealed so far in the show...

It seems like the big picture in R1 is the boiling down of all the mysteries and connections into a basic battle between two sides, good and evil, order and chaos, with the Others and Losties on one side and the Esau-Locke-Monster (and indentured minion Ben?) on the other. Good times!

Backwhile and over in R2, we're getting an IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE look at the world without the 815 crash, and how much more awesome it really isn't.

I have a half-baked prediction for each reality...

In R1, I think that all of the Lostaways who were touched by Jacob will have to renunite and form Voltron to save Jacob and/or beat Esau. That's why Sayid has to live or they're all in trouble.

In R2, I think Desmond knows things, or has his flashes, and will try to round up the Losties and somehow try to fix things. Maybe there's a cosmic instability issue with this Incident-created doubling of reality and they need to be collapsed back into a single reality. Eloise kills her grown son before the Incident and relieves him of his journal from R1, remember?


The premiere begins in the skies over the Pacific, in the cabin of Oceanic 815, en route from Sydney to Los Angeles. We see familiar faces. Jack, Rose, Bernard, the flight attendant, Locke, Frogurt, Boone, Kate, the marshall, Hurley (the luckiest man in the world), Arzt, Sawyer, Sun and Jin, Sayid, and Charlie. We hear the voice of the substitute pilot over the intercom, not Lapidus. We even see Desmond, for a short visit in the seat next to Jack. Later, we also see Claire in a cab at the airport. We do not see Shannon, who decided to stay with her scumbag boyfriend in Australia. We do not see Michael and Walt. We do not see Barbie and Ken. We don't see any of the Tailies. No Libby, Anna-Lucia, or Eko. Just because we don't see them does not mean they weren't on the plane. I'm just sayin'.

This is September 22, 2004 in R2. In 1977, Jughead detonates on top of the energy pocket, releasing or destroying the energy, we don't know, but ultimately causing the destruction of the Island, resulting in it basically sinking to the bottom of the ocean. With a somewhat limited special effects budget, apparently.

I mean, was the Island like a cartoon bathtub boat and Jughead effectively pulled the stopper out of the drain?

Allright, let the effects go. The actual fate of the Island in R2, post-Jughead-Incident, is still pretty cool in that it's pretty frickin final. What does it mean? I think that depends on the immediate aftermath of the Incident, and how long it took the Island to go down. If it was fast, with the Island's snowglobe vanishing like a bubble popping, giving in habitants no time to escape on boat, raft, or buoyant debris, then it means the end of the Dharma Initiative in 1977 and the death of all their members, including Horace, Pierre Chang, and Radzinsky. Also, the end of the Hostiles in 1977 and the death of all their members including little Ben, Charles Widmore, Eloise Hawking, all big players in R1, AND, sadly, their children, including Faraday and Penny

However, if the Island took it's time, perhaps sinking in quakes and shudders over hours, days, or weeks, survivors from all camps would be more likely, maybe even a return trip or three by the DI sub would be possible. If Widmore had already begun his sorties to the outside world, maybe he could call on rescue resources of his own.

Someone builds the Oceanic Airline corporation. I always thought it was Widmore. Maybe he just bought it, tho? Paik Industries seems to be intact, and I always thought that CEO Paik had cabalish ties to Island insiders, via Hanso and/or the DI. If Widmore didn't survive, there would be no Penny, and Desmond would be with someone else, or no one. However, he calls Jack "Brother," a habit he picks up at the monastery, where he first meets Penny. Perhaps Widmore's survived and Desmond's more the self-made man in this reality than in the other, one whom Widmore approves of as his daughter's suitor...

Surviving the DI are the likes of Charlotte, Miles, and Ethan, who were evacuated on the sub before the Incident. Possibly surviving the Hostiles is Richard, cuz, hey, he doesn't age, he's gotta be pretty resilient, eh?

What of Jacob and Esau themselves? At the time of the Incident in 1977, Jacob has already visited young Sawyer and probably young Kate, right? Is he able to make his other visits?

On the plane... Rose and Bernard are so very in love. Desmond introduces himself to Jack for the first time, or is it the second? Desmond calls him "Brother" and Jack swears he's met him before. Kate bumps into Jack and picks his pocket. Sawyer spots Kate in her cuffs. Locke meets Boone. Sawyer eyes Hurley as a potential mark. Sayid assists Jack in saving Charlie from asphixiating on a stash of heroin. Jack sees Locke de-plane in a wheelchair.
Charlie: You should've let it happen, man. I was supposed to die.
Once off the plane, Kate works on escaping the marshall, attempting to pick her cuff locks with the pen she lifted from Dr. Shephard. When the marshall forces her hand, she has to knock him out and leave him in the women's room and make a quick escape.

Jin and Sun are stopped at customs. A cache of cash is found in Jin's luggage. Was Jin planning on "escaping" with Sun after completing this final job for Sun's dad? Sun refuses to speak any English to help get them out of this jam. I suppose it's possible she never learned in R2, but given Jin's gruff treatment of her on the plane, I suspect she still had her own escape plan in the works and would have learned English as part of that.

Oceanic informs Jack that Christian's coffin has been lost, never loaded onto the plane in Sydney. Locke is apparently told that his case of knives for every occasion has also gone missing. They finally meet up in the Oceanic lost baggage office. Lost. Baggage. How much more appropriate of a place for their encounter could there be, right? Jack asks Locke about his condition...
Locke: Surgery isn't gonna do anything to help me. My condition is irreversible.
Jack: Nothing is irreversible.
Locke gives him a serious look and Jack seems to return it. Jack gives him his card, they formally introduce themselves, shake hands, and say goodbye. Does Jack feel the resonance of that statement across the bleed between realities?

Kate eventually commandeers a cab at gunpoint. The cab's already got a fare, tho—Claire. So, she was on the flight as well. A flight that the Aussie "seer" arranged in R1 because he saw that Aaron would need to be raised by Claire and only Claire, and that, barring any destiny-meddling-events, flight 815 crashing on the Island would force that scenario and apparently save the world from demon baby. I wonder how and why an LA adoption arrangement went down here in R2.

The premiere splits its time between 2004 and Oceanic 815 in R2 and 2007 on the Island in R1. In R1, we arrive soon after Jacob's death. The chronologically challenged Losties have once again been bumped in time, but not in space, reappearing in 2007 in their locations around the Swan site, and, in the case of Rose, Bernard, and Vincent, presumably, by their retirement home by the beach (unless they didn't jump and are now years dead and gone and resting in the caves by the fresh water pool~ =).

Kate, Miles, Sawyer, and Jack are right by the imploded Swan hatch. Jin, Hurley, and the still-bleeding out Sayid, are by the Dharmawagen. It takes a couple minutes to realize it, but Juliet is alive some ways down the hatch shaft. They manage to clear enough hatch rubble for Sawyer to get to her and find her remarkably unperforated.

Juliet owns up to setting off the bomb. Sawyer's disbelieving...
Sawyer: You hit the bomb? Why?
Juliet: I wanted you to be able to go home. I wanted to make it so you never came to this damn island.
Hurley meets Jacob again...
Jacob: Your friend Jin won't be able to see me... Because I died an hour ago.
Hurley: Sorry, dude. That sucks.
Jacob: Thanks.
Hurley: How'd you die?
Jacob: I was killed by an old friend who tired of my company.
Jacob tells Hurley that the only way to save Sayid is to take him to the Temple. Sayid will be saved and it's somewhere safe for all of them.

Meanwhile, back at the Foot. Bram and some of his Shadow buddies discover that Jacob is dead. Esau-Locke recognizes Bram and co as Jacob's bodyguards and proclaims them free, now that Jacob is dead. They open fire, aparently tagging him at least once. He disappears. Bram picks up a bent/deflected bullet as we hear a familiar clicking and howling. It's Esau in monster form, roiling into the Foot with a mad on for Shadow bodyguards. He quickly dispatches Bram's wingmen while Bram rings himself in a circle of ash, poured from a pouch. This circle of protection saves him from Esau's first assault, but when the Monster takes a wack at the infrastructure, he shakes Bram out of his circle and spikes him on a log or torch. Bye bye, Bram.

That's one Big Question answered. The Monster is one Esau's forms. Now, is Esau a monster who walks like a man, or a man who can turn into a monster?

Was great seeing Richard get a bit upset, relax his composure, just a bit, when he drags Ben to Locke's dead body on the beach.

Meanwhile, back at the imploded Swan...
Juliet: I have to tell you something. It's really really important...
Sawyer: You tell me... Juliet...? You tell me...
Wow, so many great characters have gotten crappy deaths, but Juliet gets two pretty decent ones? Blerg. At least Sawyer was there for both.

Sayid is in bad shape and Jack says he can do nothing for him. Hurley explains that Sayid's only hope is at the Temple. Everyone but Sawyer and Miles load up into the van for the Temple. Those two stay behind to bury Juliet.

I've gotta say, the premiereness of the premiere really suckered me into dropping my guard at times. I totally didn't get that Jacob, when he appeared to Hurley, was a ghost until he said so. I also totally missed the obvious reason for Sawyer asking Miles to stay behind and help him bury Juliet.

Hurley gets Jin to lead them to the hole in the wall where the first member of the French team was taken by the Monster. This is the wall of the Temple, where Richard took little Ben to be saved from death by Sayid's bullet, where Locke led Ben to meet the Monster for his supposed judgement, and where Ben told his people to retreat to when the mercs stormed the Island in 2004. Within the chambers of the wall, Jack and co are abducted and escorted out into the Temple courtyard. This is the first time we've actually seen the Temple itself.

When Locke and Miles are done with Juliet's burial, Sawyer asks Miles to find out what Juliet wanted to tell him. Use his power to do that. Miles resists at first. Frankly, I don't know why. Maybe he actually finds it painful/unsettling to "read" people he knows? Sawyer presses him (into the dirt) and Miles agrees. He reads her final words for Sawyer: It worked.
Miles: That's what she wanted to tell you: it worked.
Sawyer: What worked?
And Sawyer stomps off. That's a little LOSTly aggravating. Miles reveals those words, but look at his expression, his reaction, what did he actually READ? Does dead Juliet give up more than the pronoun "it" in the reading? Given Miles's stunned look, I'd like to think so. He's notoriously close-mouthed about significant events and info, tho. Remember how he let Claire walk off w the guy she called her father in the middle of the night? And in the spirit of LOST's traidtion of withholding, not surprising that Sawyer doesn't stick around to demand clarification. So not helpful.

So, what does "It worked" mean? On a lame, Juliet-Sawyer level, it could just be a last kind word about their relationship. Sadly, lame.

But, what it SHOULD mean is that Faraday's plan worked. That Jughead did just what it was supposed to, destroying the energy pocket and wiping out the events that lead to flight 815 falling out of the sky over the Island. But how does she know that? In her minutes in the Swan shaft, broken, did she have a near-death experience, fade out and back in and finally out again? In those seconds where she asks James (whose name does she say?) about going dutch for coffee together, did she go into, or peer into, the light and see her Sawyerless life in the new reality, R2? Then come back just long enough to be delirious with Sawyer, about to tell him what she learned, and then die? Is this a way for Lostaways to look over and across the realities? Near-death experiences? Only those who are still a-tingle with timey-wimey particles? When he was choking on his stash, did R2 Charlie see that he is meant to die? Will Sayid reveal that he's had a vision of a family he's built with his beloved Nadia?

At the Temple—hey, look! It's DEADWOOD's Saul!—the flight attendant, now one of the Others, steps forward to identify Hurley and company. She explains that they were with her, on the first plane. The LAST SAMURAI Temple leader is not impressed, and orders them killed. Only when Hurley mentions Jacob and then hands over the guitar case do they lower their weapons. When the leader opens the case, he discovers an ankh sculpture, which he cracks open, Maltese Falcon style. Inside is a piece of paper. He asks for the Losties' names and seems to check them against the paper. A list. It's Jacob's way, right? They're spared. Hurley demands to know what was on the paper...
Saul: The paper said that if your friend there dies, we're all in a lot of trouble.
I'm pretty convinced that on the paper is a list of names. Something familiar to the upper echelon of the Others. The interpreter is giving him the meaning of the list, that everyone on it needs to live, most likely to play a part in Jacob's plan. I'm thinking that all of the ones touched by Jacob have to unite and form Voltron.

Y'know, figuratively.

Temple leader cuts his hand and dips it in the unclear waters of the spring. I assume it's a test of the spring's healing abilities. Fail. But, they proceed anyway. The Interpreter explains that if they do this, there are risks. Jack tells them to do what they have to do (to save Sayid). The Others carry Sayid into the spring and flip over their egg timer to time how long he's held under water. Sayid regains consciousness and struggles, but the Others hold him under. When Jack attempts to force the leader to stop, LAST SAMURAI kung fus him soundly to the ground. Only when the sands run out do the Others remove him from the spring, lay him on the ground, and inform his friends that he is dead. O well.

Meanwhile, back at the Foot, Lockesau wants to tell Ben what the real John Locke's last thoughts were...
Lockesau: "I don't understand."
Isn't that just the saddest thing you ever heard? But it's fitting in a way, because when John first came to the Island, he was a very sad man. A victim. Shouting at the world for being told what he couldn't do, even tho they were right. He was weak, and pathetic, and irreparably broken. but, despite all that, there was something admirable about him. he was the only one of them who didn't want to leave. The only one who realized how pitiful the life he left behind actually was.
Ben: What do you want?
Lockesau: Well, that's the great irony here, Ben. Because I want the one thing John Locke didn't. I want to go home. my planet? Where could home be? The Temple? That's kinda weak, cuz he was able to go there w Ben to "judge" him just the other day. To ancient Egypt, where he was properly feared and worshipped as a god? I like the idea of that. That he wants to go back to a home that no longer exists. That he's a creature out of time, who's lived past his time or usefulness. Like the mighty Apollo in STAR TREK the original series, y'know? And Jacob might be that Q-ling space Liberace they encounter, too.

Back at the temple, LAST SAMURAI has a meeting with Hurley. After the leader reveals his distaste for speaking English, Hurley breaks the news of Jacob's death. The Others immediately mobilize and put the temple into anti-Esau lockdown, creating a barrier of ash around the structure and launching a flare into the sky.

Lapidus, Sun, Richard, the Others, and the Shadows all see the flare from the Temple. Esau-Locke comes strolling out of the Foot and all eyes turn. Richard orders everyone not to shoot, urgently, even. Esau-Locke walks up to Richard...
Lockesau: Hello, Richard. It's good to see you out of those chains.
Richard: You?
Lockesau: Me.
And Esau-Locke knocks Richard out.
Elocke: I'm very disappointed... In ALL of you.
He picks up Richard's limp body and walks off, right past Locke's body.

Richard's warning to not shoot Esau made me think that once mortally wounded, Esau might have no choice but to revert to his deadly and all-powerful Monster form, and that he might be easier to defeat or contain as a human.

Esau's remark about Richard in chains gave me the impression of a past conflict in which Richard went up against Esau and was punished or imprisoned for it. Maybe Richard cannot be killed, as part of Jacob's gift, but only imprisoned? Or perhaps he was Esau's man, or priest, once, and had to be punished for turning against him.

Esau's disappointment. Along the lines of TWILIGHT ZONE's "small talent for war?"

Back at the temple, the Interpreter requests an audience with Jack. Jack begins to resist when Hurley calls attention to the stirring Sayid, who raises himself and asks, "What happened?"

I'm guessing the idea of showing us R1 in 2004 is to reveal how much crappier everyone's lives would be if they'd never been to the Island. There was a flash of goodness when Locke tells Boone about his walkabout. I wanted to believe that in this reality his father never stole his kidney, that he never had to confront him, and so, was never paralyzed, maybe even that he'd married Helen. Alas, not to be.

When Esau-Locke tells Ben what Locke's dying thoughts were... that was just so frickin sad and miserable and unfair. Feckin Ben.

Keep on keepin on~

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