Getting Lost: The Last Recruit

It’s time for another installment of “Getting Lost,” where John S takes you through all the salient questions from last night’s episode of Lost:

First thing’s first: Why were Jin and Sun speaking English in the last scene? I suppose it was to stress what Lapidus pointed out—“Look’s like someone got her voice back”—since Sun could speak Korean but not English before seeing Jin, but I’m not buying it. These two grew up in Korea, lived almost all their lives together in Korea, and Jin couldn’t even speak English until last season—there is no way they would speak English after seeing each other for the first time in three years.

Still, though, wasn’t it nice to see those two together again after all this time? It was, actually. I pointed out last week how Sun kept showing up places slightly after Jin gets taken from them, and I had gotten so used to it that I totally forgot that Jin was at Widmore’s camp until they both showed up at the beach. The scene itself was a little generic, but it was a well-earned sappy moment since those two have been apart for so long and—unlike some relationships I can name on this show—they have been so constant in their desire to reunite. It also served as the nice capper to an episode that was all about reunions.

Tell me about it. How many were there? Well, let’s count. First the on-Island reunions:

1) Jack and Locke, who haven’t seen each other since Locke was reanimated

2) Jack and Kate, who hadn’t seen each other since they ran into each other briefly after Jack left the Temple in search of the Lighthouse

3) Jack and Sawyer, who haven’t seen each other since Sawyer left the Temple

4) Jack and Claire, who hadn’t seen each other Jack and the rest of the Oceanic Six left the Island, which was before these two found out they were half-siblings

5) Claire and everyone else, particularly Hurley, who was the only one to enthusiastically greet Claire, even telling her that she looked great

6) Sun and Kate, who haven’t seen each other since the Ajira flight landed and the two groups from it got split up along the time-continuum

There were some others too, I guess, involving Lapidus and Sayid, but these seemed like the most significant. Not as significant, though, as the off-Island reunions:

1) Sun and Locke, who happened to be on adjacent carts while each being rushed to the hospital, at which point Sun ominously says, “Oh no, it’s him!”

2) Desmond and Claire, who met originally at LA X. Desmond managed to track Claire down again and bring her to his lawyer—who turned out to be Ilana! Who also represents Jack! Speaking of which…

3) Jack and Claire (again!), who were reunited briefly by Ilana, who has been tracking down Claire Littleton ever since she was named in Christian Shephard’s will

4) Jack and Locke (again!), which didn’t really count as a “reunion,” since Locke was unconscious on Jack’s operating table at the time, but Jack recognized Locke, which is pretty significant given Jack’s character arc in the on-Island timeline

5) Sawyer and Kate, who technically reunited briefly at the end of “Recon,” but had a more extended interaction here

6) Sawyer and Sayid, who only met briefly, while Sawyer the cop was arresting Sayid the murderer

So that’s at least a dozen pretty significant reunions.

You didn’t get sick of all the fortuitous path-crossing by the end? Well, a little, but this IS Lost, and that kind of thing is pretty much par for the course. As soon as we saw ambulances, I think every viewer thought, “Oh gee, I wonder who will be asked to operate on Locke.” But that’s one of those things that you just have to accept as something Lost does.

Actually, I thought this was the first episode of the season in which the off-Island scenes were at least as good, if not better, than the on-Island scenes. Even in this season’s best episodes (not counting “Happily Ever After,” which wasn’t a split story), like “The Substitute” and “Recon,” the off-Island stories were mainly good for illuminating what was happening on the Island. Pretty much every scene off the Island, though, contributed something meaningful to the overall plot, or at least provided a more overarching and meaningful character point. Of course, these scenes often raised as many questions as they answered—

Like how did Sun recognize Locke? How does Desmond know Ilana, and what did he hope Ilana would do for Claire? Did Ilana seem to recognize Claire? Why was Sawyer talking to Kate? Is Jack still going to operate on Locke? Whoa whoa whoa, slow down! Let’s go one at a time.

OK, how did Sun recognize Locke? Well, this is a pretty easy one in retrospect, but I have to credit NPI commenter James for pointing this one out to me: Sun’s gunshot wound provided her with the near-death experience that she needed to glimpse the Island reality, but, as we have seen with Charlie and Desmond, these glimpses are often brief and unclear. So the glimpse Sun got of Locke was as the foreboding, ominous Locke 2.0, even though we know that the Locke she saw was a just a gentle, good-natured old man.

How does Desmond know Ilana, and what did he hope Ilana would do for Claire? Claire got off pretty lucky, compared to Locke, in Desmond’s quest to jog the memories of those on 815. Instead of running her over, Desmond offers her free legal counsel. But what did he think that counsel would result in? Did he know that Ilana also represented Jack, and if so, how did he know that Jack and Claire were related? And even if he knew that, how does he expect running into Jack to allow Claire to glimpse the Island reality?

My guess would be that Desmond has things a little backwards. After all, he’s only a fellow client of Ilana’s, so I doubt he knows the whole story of the case. He probably recognized Claire Littleton’s name from the manifest and, upon discovering that the Shepard Estate was looking for a Claire Littleton, he remembered running into a pregnant Claire at the airport and erroneously inferred that Jack was the estranged father.

Did Ilana seem to recognize Claire? It did seem like Ilana recognized Claire even before Desmond said her name, or at least before she had a chance to process it. This makes sense. Ilana, after all, had such a near-death experience in the last episode that she actually died, and we’ve seen that characters who are dead in the Island timeline (Charlie, Faraday, Libby) have a greater perception of it in the off-Island time.

Why was Sawyer talking to Kate? That scene, in addition to reminding the audience that not every scene with Kate has to suck (actually, that’s a little unfair: Kate/Evangeline Lily were pretty good in last night’s episode), was a good reminder of why Sawyer/Kate scenes work well: They both see through each other’s bullshit. Kate knows that Sawyer must have been hiding something in the elevator at LAX. Sawyer, meanwhile, is sounding like Jack sounds on the Island, convinced that fate is brining people together. Perhaps Sawyer’s run-in with Charlotte is starting to bring on glimpses of the Island reality?

Is Jack still going to operate on Locke? Well, I don’t think a passing meeting at the airport qualifies as a conflict of interest, so yes. And if there’s one thing we know that Jack does well, it’s spinal surgery. I don’t think he’ll reverse Locke’s paralysis, but I do think he’ll save Locke’s life. Locke’s near-death experience, though, will have given him knowledge of the Island, and, once again, Locke will attempt to convince Jack that the two of them are destined to “save the Island.” This new Jack, though, may listen.

Is off-Island Jack as compliant as New on-Island Jack is? Well, we don’t know, but “Lighthouse” seemed to imply that this Jack was more laissez faire than the original Jack. But, man, this New Jack is so into fate and talk of “Island magic” that he actually jumped off the boat and swam back to the Island. And that final scene, with Locke 2.0 and Jack narrowly avoiding the bombs of Widmore (Locke 2.0 because he seems immune to them, since he didn’t even flinch), and Locke 2.0 carrying a wounded and temporarily deaf Jack into the jungle and “reassuring” him by saying, “Don’t worry, Jack, you’re with me now,” was pretty intimidating. It was one of the more foreboding endings Lost has had this season.

Yeah, what was with Claire’s whole “as soon as you let him talk to you, you made up your mind” thing? Well, that fits with a theme from both “Sundown” and “Ab Aeterno,” in which the mere act of Jacob or the Man in Black speaking to you makes them unable to be killed. Although, Jacob certainly spoke to Ben before Ben stabbed him, so who knows? The rules of Jacob and the Man in Black have yet to be fully elaborated.

But were you at least satisfied about the answers we got regarding the dead? To be honest, I was shocked that Jack asked such a direct question about whether the Man in Black was the one who appeared as Jack’s dead dad way back in “White Rabbit.” Characters on Lost, particularly Jack, so rarely ask direct questions. Also, Locke 2.0’s answer, that he only did it to help Jack find water, was not really consistent with his “always be straightforward and honest, never manipulative” theme of the past. But, between that and Michel’s explanation of “the voices” to Hurley last week, we seem to have a complete answer about what the Island does to dead people, which was one of my big questions heading into Season Six.

Any other thoughts? Well, a lot went down in this episode, so I have a couple other thoughts. First, regarding Sayid: Something slightly lost in all the action of last night’s episode was that Sayid affirms that either the Man in Black did in fact bring him back from the dead or that Sayid at least believes this strongly enough to trust him to do it for Nadia. The scene with Sayid and Desmond at the well was actually a rather poignant touch for Sayid’s character, who has been kind of one-dimensional since “Sundown.” Desmond pointing out that, even if Nadia does come back, she and Sayid cannot be together because of the monster Sayid has become to get her back was well played. And I subscribe to Alan Sepinwall’s “comic book theory” that until we see Desmond’s dead body, he’s not actually dead.

Also concerning Sayid: Sawyer’s arrest of Sayid was a nice bookend with Season One. Lost has progressed in so many ways since its inaugural season that it’s sometimes easy to forget how enmeshed certain characters—like Locke and Boone, Sayid and Sharon, Locke and Charlie—were originally. The animosity between Sawyer and Sayid, for example, played a big role in the show’s early episodes, most notably when Sayid tortured Sawyer for Sharon’s asthma medicine. Sawyer’s arrest of Sayid is some long overdue, different reality revenge.

Finally, the scene in the ambulance between Locke and Ben was one of the best scenes of the season. Since “Dr. Linus,” Ben hasn’t had much to do, but this was another great glimpse of the always reliable Ben-Locke team. From Ben’s sincere concern for “Mr. Locke”—whose first name he doesn’t even know in this timeline—to Locke’s declaration he “was going to marry Helen,” to Ben’s assurance that Locke still would, the whole thing was a very cool instance of those two actually getting along.

Predictions for next week? Well, actually, next week is an off-week, so there won’t be a new episode.

Ugh, fine. For the week after that? As I said, last night’s episode ended on such a foreboding note that the next episode seems destined to be a dark one. Locke 2.0’s plan has been foiled as all the candidates—minus Jack—have fled. As Claire says, this is probably going to make him very mad, since he can’t leave unless they are all together. And since Locke 2.0 seems to be both immortal and capable of mass destruction and murder, it’s probably less than ideal to anger him. I imagine that next week will see Locke 2.0’s attack on Widmore’s camp; meanwhile, Widmore has to decide what to do with Sawyer’s crew now that he’s evidently called off the deal. Killing them, though, as Zoe seemed ready to do, would be a really bad idea, since the Man in Black can apparently leave if all the candidates are dead. Finally, here’s a prediction based on nothing but putting two loose ends together: Richard, Ben, and Miles, on the way to the barracks to find explosives, come across the well and help Desmond get out, leading to a Desmond/Ben confrontation since, you know, Ben tried to kill Desmond’s wife.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by James Schneider on April 21, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    i suppose I am pretty integral to this blog’s success….

    Reply

  2. Posted by James Schneider on April 21, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    A)I wrote that ellipsis before I realized I would comment again, and B)Was yesterday’s episode’s preview the most irrelevant preview in the history of previews.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tim on April 21, 2010 at 8:14 PM

      James,

      I actually thought along similar lines with the episode preview. With shows like “Lost,” the episode previews don’t tell enough to fill in anybody who hasn’t been watching and just annoy the regular watchers by rehashing old details and adumbrating what’s going to happen in this episode (by, for instance, showing Sawyer and Kate’s prior meeting last night). Of course, the episode preview still wasn’t as worthless as it was for this week’s “Treme,” where the various plot points seem to be of little consequence to the actual show.

      So see? We can get along in some comments.

      Reply

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