Tuesday, February 2, 2010

6:1 LA X

It finally arrived! The final season premiere. After all the anticipation I think a lot of us were worried that the premiere would be a letdown. Thankfully all the worrying was for naught. I can't imagine a better season opener. There were lots of revelations, and enough left unanswered to keep us scratching our heads - which is just the way I like it. (For those of you who are interested, my friend Erin referred me to an interview with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse where they talk about the premiere. I found it very interesting!)


-First, the biggie: Fake Locke is the smoke monster! I'm sure the implications of this will continue to unfold for the rest of the season. In a podcast last summer the producers said that by the end of this season premiere, all the pieces will be in place for viewers to figure out the end game of the entire show. I'm sure this is what they meant. I keep thinking of the scene where Locke plays backgammon in season one: "Two sides; one is light and one is dark." I think we can unequivocally say now that the smoke monster is not using the bodies of those who have died on the Island, because the whole time he is walking around with Ben, Locke's body is lying there on the beach.

-One of my favorite aspects of LOST is the use of unconventional narrative styles. First it was flashbacks, then flashforwards, then time skipping, and now it's what the producers call "flashsideways" - a glimpse at an alternate timeline. To many viewers this was the only logical next step, but I have to say I'm thrilled that they've introduced it in a way that no one would have expected: showing an alternate reality while leaving some of the Losties on the Island to deal with the aftermath of the hydrogen bomb detonation. Did anyone else notice that the "whoosh" sound they use for flashbacks is different now? It sounds like a combination of the flashback sound and the time travel sound.

-Juliet is definitely dead. It was devastating watching her die again. With the recap show, and the opening sequence showing her fall down the hole yet again, I felt like I'd watched her die dozens of times in one episode. She seems to have had a glimpse of their alternate reality as she died. Will she and Sawyer be meeting up for coffee in that timeline (and go dutch)?

-There is a group of Others living at the Temple, and they have a pool that can heal people. I think we now know where Richard took young Ben in season 5 after Sayid shot him. Richard tells them that if he is healed, Ben will lose his innocence and he will always be "one of us." Sayid doesn't have much innocence to lose, but I'm guessing he will be changed in a significant way as a result of his experience in the pool.

-Detonating the bomb DID change things...but not the way they thought it would. They assumed that flight 815 would land in L.A. as scheduled and their lives would go on as normal. But in our glimpse of the alternate 815, things are already different way in advance of the flight. Hurley still owns a Mr. Clucks and says he's the luckiest guy in the world. Shannon stays in Sydney instead of flying home with Boone. Michael and Walt don't appear to be on the flight at all. Sun doesn't speak English (although there may be reason to believe she's lying about this.) Cindy gives Jack one bottle of alcohol instead of two. Charlie is convinced he's supposed to die. Desmond was on the flight - Desmond, who caused the original crash of 815! - and then seems to disappear. And the biggest surprise to me: the Island itself is completely under water. We haven't seen this yet, but it's likely that Kate has been arrested for a different crime this time, as seen in this video clip from Comic-Con 2009.

-Both Jack's déjà vu on the plane and Juliet's last words seem to indicate that there is some kind of crossover between the two timelines. I think this might be what causes the Whispers, the temporary intersection between two versions of reality. The Others seem to be able to control this in some way, and perhaps can even view what people are doing in other times and places.

-The contents of Jacob's guitar case are finally revealed. I laughed when Hurley admitted he had peeked inside, because a few minutes before I had said "there's no way I would carry that thing around for three years without peeking!" The object inside was an ankh, the Egyptian symbol for eternal life. It's the same symbol that was carried by Tawaret (the four-toed statue when it was still whole) and worn by Paul, Amy's husband who was killed by the Others in season 5.

-We see yet another of Jacob's lists. Everyone on the list is someone we saw Jacob visit (and touch) off the Island in season 5 - Jack, Kate, Hurley, Jin, and Sayid. The ones missing are Ilana, Sun, Sawyer and Locke.

-It's very interesting to me that so many characters we know from the Island make connections in the flashsideways. Jack and Locke, Kate and Sawyer, Jack and Charlie, Jack and Desmond, Locke and Boone, Kate and Claire. There must be something about these people that draws them together. (When Kate got into the cab with Claire I thought for a second "Hey, maybe Claire will ask Kate to adopt Aaron!" - but then I realized Kate was holding the cab driver at gunpoint. Not quite the ideal person to give your baby to.)

Literary References and Allusions:

-I recently explored how in seasons 1 and 2 the writers often used the symbols of fire and water, and that theme is back big time. The scenes in the statue use fire (burning Jacob's body, torches), and the scenes in the temple use water (the healing pool.) Both fire and water often refer to baptism - in this case Jacob had a literal baptism by fire (which doesn't seem too pleasant) and Sayid was baptized in water (also not a fun time.) When they carry Sayid out of the pool his arms are extended out in the shape of a cross, which can't be coincidental. Religious symbolism is one of my favorite aspects of LOST and I'm glad it seems to be making a comeback.

-The healing pool reminds me of the Biblical story of the Pool of Bethesda. Bathing in pools has a long history within ancient medicine (i.e. the Roman baths) and some of that tradition shows up in the Bible. The story says that sick people would wait around the edges of the pool for the water to move. When they saw movement it meant that an angel has stirred the water, and the next person to get in the water would be healed. Jesus comes and heals a man who has been waiting by the water for years, showing that he was more powerful than the legendary waters.

-Hurley discovers a copy of a French translations of Søren Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling. The title refers to Paul's epistle to the Philippians, a verse which reads, "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed — not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence — continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling." The book specifically addresses aspects of the Abrahamic test, when Abraham was commanded by God to kill his only son Isaac, and explores the ethical dilemmas inherent in a religious life. The foremost question: Does duty to a higher power override common sense morality? (The Others could probably benefit from these kinds of questions, don't you think?)

Moments of Pure Awesomeness:

-Boone asking Locke "You aren't pulling my leg are you?" and Locke responding "Why would I pull your leg?" HA! And then even better, Boone goes on, "If this thing goes down, I'm sticking with you." Maybe not the best idea, Boone.

-The smoke monster's description of Locke's final thoughts broke my heart. And I SO wanted it to be true when he told Boone that he went on the walkabout. It seems that even in the alternate reality Locke is a broken, frustrated man. I hope he gets some sort of redemption.

-Jack's whole conversation with Desmond. Suddenly the oft-repeated phrase "See you in another life, brother" has a whole new meaning.

-Jack offering to help Locke and saying "Nothing is irreversible" gave me shivers down my spine.

Still unanswered:

-Why is everyone in trouble if Sayid dies? Are they still in trouble now that he's come back to life?

-Is the pool how Richard has stayed so young all these years? And Jacob?

-I heard Damon and Carlton answer a very interesting question (I think it was at Comic-Con): "Has Jacob ever appeared in another form?" The answer was no. I think it might be safe to say that whenever we've seen someone dead appear alive again, it was the smoke monster.

-We've heard a lot about course correction when someone tries to change their destiny. Are we going to see course correction taking place in this new timeline, even with the Island underwater?

-Now that we know a circle of ash is a protective measure against the smoke monster, what was it being used for at Jacob's cabin? Was it keeping Smokey in, or keeping him out? Locke hears a voice in the cabin saying "help me". Was that Smokey or Jacob? I'm inclined to think it was the smoke monster, but I don't think we can know for sure yet.

-Where are Christian's body and Locke's knives?

-How does the smoke monster have all of Locke's memories, including his thoughts as he was dying?

-How does Richard recognize the smoke monster/Jacob's nemesis, and what does is mean that he was "in chains" (slave on the Black Rock?) Was Richard a witness to the smoke monster's arrival on the Island?

-I think the title "LA X" refers to "X" as a variable - we are seeing an alternate arrival in L.A. The big question is, what is that variable that has caused so much to change? Is it free will, as Daniel Faraday has hypothesized? Is it Desmond (who is the one character who the rules of time travel don't apply to)? Is it because of Jacob's death? Or is it simply that they detonated the bomb at the right time and the right place?


Holly said...

LOVED IT. Such a good episode.

So if the smoke monster can appear as people who have died ( but not IN their bodies) He obviously was appearing as someone who had died when he was sitting with Jacob on the beach. Right?

There was a point, and maybe i need to go back and watch, I think it was just after they drowned Sayid, that the water was clear again. ( atleast it appears that way for a minute) Or I'm just on crack :)

Oh and I have one big question, because I honestly cannot remember. Since you have been doing all the rewatches you would probably know better. Who tells Locke he needs to die ( besides himself telling Richard to tell him) I can't remember how he comes to that conclusion.

Cozytailmom said...

Maybe Jacob has reincarnated into Sayid's body?

Andrea said...

oh my. Too much to think about in one 2 hour sitting. (and still too much for the next day)

Erin said...

Thanks for the shout-out!

Chelsea - this is such a great synopsis and bringing in all the previous episode and religious references is SO beneficial for those of use who have forgotten or never picked up on it in the first place! How long have all these people been in the temple? They seem so un-Ben like (at least for now). I wonder who the Japanese (?) guy is, how long he's been there and who he answers to - "Other's" leader or directly to Jacob. Or are these Temple "others" other others?

Erin said...

Thought about the Kierkegaard reference again after watching the Substitute and Richard's reaction/response to fake Locke's offer/temptation in the jungle.

Are Jacob's followers like the "knights of faith" that Kierkegaard describes as a person who completely submits himself to the Christian life without doubt?

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