Tuesday, July 21, 2009

1:16 Outlaws

"It'll come back around." This phrase is repeated four times in this episode: three times in the whispers Sawyer hears in the jungle, and once by Frank Duckett, who Sawyer mistakenly kills. Locke gives a possible explanation:

LOCKE: My sister Jeanie died when I was a boy. Fell off the monkey bars and broke her neck. And my mother, well, my foster mother, she blamed herself, of course. She thought she wasn't watching close enough. So, she stopped eating, stopped sleeping. The neighbors started talking, afraid she might do something to herself, I guess. Anyway, about 6 months after Jeanie's funeral, this golden retriever comes padding up our driveway, walks right into our house, sits down on the floor, and looks right at my mother, there on the couch. And my mother looks back at the dog. After about a minute of this, of them both staring at each other like that, my mother burst into tears. Beautiful dog, no tags, no collar, healthy, and sweet. The dog slept in Jeanie's old room, on Jeanie's old bed and stayed with us until my mother passed 5 years later. Then, disappeared back to wherever it was she came from in the first place.

KATE: So, you're saying the dog was your sister?

LOCKE: Well, that would be silly. But my mother thought it was.

Sawyer spends most of the episode tracking a boar who has ransacked his belongings - Sawyer believes out of spite. When he finally finds it, he has a moment that parallels his confrontation with Frank Duckett. Like the dog in Locke's story, they look at each other.

In LOST, we've seen a lot of things "come back around," literally and figuratively. Sawyer's experience of his past "coming back around" to haunt him in the form of the boar is not unique; all the characters have experienced their histories intertwining with happenings on the Island. Not being able to escape the past is an overarching theme (remember "What Happened Happened"?) Sawyer experiences a bit of redemption here by letting the boar off the hook. He does what he was unable to do with Frank Duckett: show mercy and let him go. It's not permanent though; when Anthony Cooper "comes back around" Sawyer shows him no mercy and no remorse.

A literal "coming back around" happens repeatedly on LOST when we see the return of previously dead characters: Charlie, Boone, Ana Lucia, Emily Linus, and most importantly, Christian Shephard and John Locke. This fits in nicely with the theme of never being able to escape the past; even death isn't permanent.

Something else that keeps "coming back around" is time itself. A popular fan theory is that the whispers are the voices of people who have lived on the Island (probably the Others) echoing through time as the Island moves. In Season 4 and 5 we got to see the Losties themselves come back around to different points in time on the Island.

This is one of my favorite episodes of the season, although I find the opening scene with young Sawyer excruciating to watch. Amazing characterization of Sawyer (once again!) and lots that carries over into the overall story of the Island.


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