Friday, February 13, 2009

This Place is Death

This season of Lost just keeps getting better and better! I lost track of how many times I gasped out loud during this week's episode - it was revelation after revelation.

First off, my dream came true and we got to see more of Rousseau! We even got to see Montand losing his arm and Danielle shooting Robert. Grim scenes, but it was cool to see this mythology we've heard about since the beginning being played out as it happened. Time travel rules! I was surprised that the "sickness" Rousseau was always talking about seems to have been caused by exposure to the smoke monster rather than the "side effects" of traveling to and from the Island. Interesting, and really creepy.

One of the big questions for me in this one is about Charlotte. We finally heard her confirm was has been hinted at for a long time - that she was born on the Island and lived there as a child. So who are her parents? She says her mother left her father behind to get her away from the Island, so her father could be someone we've seen before. (Charles Widmore? Richard? Tom?) Charlotte telling Daniel she met him as a child was one of those gasp-inducing moments. Talk about a twist!

I loved the scene where Ben convinced Sun that Jin was still alive - and that we got an explanation for why Locke didn't tell Sun that slightly important information when he visited her. Ironic that Ben used Jin's ring to convince her that he was alive, when Jin gave the ring to Locke specifically to prove to her that he was dead so she wouldn't come back.

Which brings me to a central conflict of this season. There seem to be two distinct forces at play, one of which wants the castaways to return to the Island, and one that wants them to stay away. Locke is guided by Christian Shephard to get them to come back, and Ben and Ms. Hawking have the same goal. But every once in a while one of the characters gets a conflicting message. Kate has the dream where Claire tells her "don't you dare bring him [Aaron] back." Charlotte has an apparent vision that leads her to shout to Jin "don't let Sun come back here - this place is death." Something or someone doesn't want them to make it back. Ben claims that he's gone to extraordinary lengths just to keep the Oceanic 6 alive. Someone is willing to kill them in order to prevent them from getting back to the Island.

That conflict is played out further in Locke's decision to turn the wheel and leave the Island. From the start he has insisted that no one is supposed to leave, and that he never intends to go. It's a great irony that he is the one that has to leave in order to save everyone who is still there. Maybe it's precisely because he's the only one who doesn't want to leave that he has to be the one to do so. When Boone died, Locke said that it was a "sacrifice the Island demanded." Now he is the one who has to be sacrificed. Something that puzzled me was Christian Shephard refusing to help Locke stand up. Could it be because he doesn't have a physical body and is an apparition of some kind? Or was it simply that Locke had to move the wheel completely on his own, much as Ben wouldn't allow Locke to come with him when he turned the wheel? It was interesting too that both Locke and Ben fell and were injured before they turned the wheel.

Another interesting detail: the van that Ben is driving with Locke's body inside has the words "Canton-Rainier" painted on the side. Since anagrams are ubiquitous on Lost (remember Hoffs-Drawlar=Flash-Forward?) I took a closer look at those names, and what do you know - they're an anagram for REINCARNATION. There's little doubt in my mind now about what's going to happen when they get Locke's body back to the Island. I can picture it as a very dramatic season finale.

As always, I can't wait for next week. Like Ms. Hawking said: "Let's get started"!


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